‘Beyond the Streets’ Is a Virtual Art Exhibit You Can Shop From Your Phone
Snap up investment-worthy artworks made by everyone from art star Shepard Fairey to tattoo legend Mister Cartoon.
Never mind the convention hall crowds at Miami’s Art Basel this week–you can now bid on works from art legends like Takashi Murakami and Shepard Fairey from the comfort of your own phone.
The two-day virtual art fair kicked off December 1 with merch drops debuting new works by the biggest names in urban contemporary art.
BEYOND THE STREETS founder and graffiti historian Roger Gastman partnered with LA-based artist Cleon Peterson to craft a marathon lineup to release throughout the fair, offering everything from paintings, sculptures, and limited-edition prints to skate decks, collectibles, apparel, and home goods.
Online exhibitions and virtual viewing rooms have become standard art world practice ever since the pandemic started. For BEYOND THE STREETS, pop star J Balvin steps in as official emcee, connecting with the creatives for exclusive video footage to accompany each drop.
“It could be 30 seconds long, it could be 15 minutes long,” Gastman remarked. Each clip’s premise varies according to the artist, from enlightening conversations to animations and studio tours.
“It’s like you keep changing the channels and there’s something new and exciting next,” Gastman continued. It’s all available for later viewing, but lucky fans can catch live content while it’s streamed.
Since 2018, BEYOND THE STREETS has celebrated zeitgeist muralists like Maya Hayuk and Hoxxoh alongside graffiti writers like Cornbread and Aiko—originators of the art form who went out and got up when most of the world saw spray paint as destruction, not creation.
The exhibition’s first edition launched in LA. In 2019, BEYOND THE STREETS took Brooklyn, spending the summer in a sleek glass building with views of the skyline. About 100,000 people came through each show.
“We want to reach as many people as we can,” Gastman said. NTWRK’s capabilities expand their audience to unprecedented new numbers.
Gastman got into graffiti back when the scene was underground and music was the magic key in.
“I got introduced to graffiti through punk rock and hardcore music in the early 90s, in Bethesda, Maryland,” he said. “We were going to shows, and everybody had a tag.”
He’d gone all in by ninth grade—traveling and tagging, sharing film photos of his work with graffiti pen pals around the world. By 2010 he’d produced the iconic, Academy Award-nominated Banksy documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop.
Online and in-person, BEYOND THE STREETS introduces casual counterculture fans to the vast ecosystem and history thriving beyond the Banksy phenomenon. “This community is larger than just graffiti,” Gastman noted. “This art is larger than just street art.”