New Zealand: Small place, big talent

April 15th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
Askew at Hit The Bricks in Newcastle, Australia. Photo courtesy of Askew.

Askew at Hit The Bricks in Newcastle, Australia. Photo courtesy of Askew.

A note from the editor: Last month, Si Omer emailed me and very politely noted how we don’t cover a lot of art in New Zealand or by New Zealanders on Vandalog. As part of an effort to correct that, I asked Si Omer to put together a post introducing me and the rest of the Vandalog community to what’s going on with New Zealand these days. Here is that post. Also, for more New Zealand street art and graffiti, Si Omer recommends checking out the Street Arse blog. – RJ Rushmore

New Zealand (NZ) situated in the South Pacific Ocean, next door to Australia and fitting into the US 36 times, New Zealand is definitely a small place but houses and is home to some seriously big talent.

New Zealand has turned out some amazing and dedicated innovators to the international graffiti and street art scene in the past 15 years. Being involved in the international community has provided a platform and vital inspiration for many artists who may at times feel isolated because of the country’s geography. It has also provided inspiration for the tight scene here in NZ and enabled many to be a part of one of this profound movement.

Owen Dippie in Tauranga, New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Owen Dippie.

Owen Dippie in Tauranga, New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Owen Dippie.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of many artists (such as Askew and others of the TMD, The Most Dedicated) locally and internationally the general public’s perspective on graffiti and street art is changing, it is beginning to be accepted as relevant and significant art form. This fresh understanding of the importance of art on the street is being celebrated by the start-up of annual events and festivals all around the country, allowing established and emerging artists to showcase their work on a scale this country has never seen before.

"Blue Prints" by BMD in Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo courtesy of BMD.

“Blue Prints” by BMD in Christchurch, New Zealand. Photo by Luke Shirlaw. Click to view large.

Some of the most prominent events include ‘Rise Festival’(Christchurch),’Get up’ festival (New Plymouth), ‘Graffiato’ (Taupo) and ‘From the Ground Up’(Christchurch) many of which have started in the past 12 months.

In addition to showcasing national artists these events have also bought in a flood of outstanding renowned artists and interest from around the world, creating a positive influx of interest locally, opening the eyes of the public and business owners alike to the goodness street art can offer – which is great for the artists and the people who get to enjoy their pieces. Of course there are still some sceptics who prefer the underwhelming look of a grey wall but we can only hope they come to their senses with ongoing exposure!

Elliot Francis Stewart in Auckland City, New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Elliot Francis Stewart.

Elliot Francis Stewart in Auckland City, New Zealand. Photo courtesy of Elliot Francis Stewart.

Do not be fooled by the size of this scene, it really does have some heavy hitters, world renowned and up and coming when it comes to painting in the streets. The proof is definitely in the pudding, so here’s a selection of stuff that kiwis and adopted kiwis have been up to over the last six months or so.

Cracked Ink in Sohole, Auckland City, New Zealand. Photo by Magda Coccinella.

Cracked Ink in Sohole, Auckland City, New Zealand. Photo by Magda Coccinella.

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Category: Guest Posts, Photos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

ÑEWMERICA: Birth of a Nation at Exit Room NY with LNY, Icy & Sot, ND’A, Mata Ruda and Sonni

April 14th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
LNY, El Prieto

LNY, El Prieto

Somewhat reminiscent of RAE’s remarkable recreation of an East Village bodega, Exit Room NY’s current exhibit, ÑEWMERICA: Birth of a Nation, focuses on the endangered bodega. In addition to a impressive installation recreating a bodega that is about to give way to a Bank of America, the exhibit features dozens of artworks by the members of the newly launched collective, ÑEWMERICA. Here’s a sampling:

Icy and Sot refashion bottles and cigarette boxes

Icy and Sot refashion bottles and cigarette boxes

Bodega exterior, collaborative installation

Bodega exterior, collaborative installation

NDA

ND’A

Mata Ruda, The Passage to Cosmos

Mata Ruda, The Passage to Cosmos

Sonni, El Tio Colorido

Sonni, El Tio Colorido

LNY, When he dies, Judith will bury him in the Gucci store

LNY, When he dies, Judith will bury him in the Gucci store

The exhibit continues through this week at 270 Meserole Street in Bushwick; check the Exit Room NY Facebook page for hours.

Photos by Lois Stavsky


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: , , , , , ,

Melbourne Monthly Madness – January (belated) 2014

April 12th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

Ok, So I am a few months behind on what’s been happening in Melbourne since the start of the year. Summer in Melbourne is always action packed with lots happening. Here’s some of my favourite work from January. February and March posts coming soon.

AllThoseShapes is always capturing all the happenings on the street. I’m loving Akemi Ito‘s stencils that seem to be popping up everywhere lately, I not only like the imagery but also his process drawing, inking and cutting each stencil from scratch. Good to see some new stencils. A great paste by Lifetime Stickyfingers and I love these abstract pieces by Quellle Atak and Madmax. AllThoseShapes also released his new book Figment – which is available here. A great book.

Akemi Ito - Photo by AllThoseShapes

Akemi Ito. Photo by AllThoseShapes.

Lifetime Stickyfingers - Photo by AllThoseShapes

Lifetime Stickyfingers. Photo by AllThoseShapes.

Quelle Atak - Photo by AllThoseShapes

Quelle Atak. Photo by AllThoseShapes.

Madmax - Photo by AllThoseShapes

Madmax. Photo by AllThoseShapes.

David Russell, chief photographer at Invurt, has really stepped up his game lately and has captured some amazing photos. I have also included a couple of shots below Dave’s by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva, a new photographer in Melbourne, to show the contrast in styles. I love what Roberth does and his shots give you an amazing and different perspective of the works. Roberth takes photos from all angles and then combines them, with stunning results.

Adnate and Two One - Photo by David Russell

Adnate and Two One. Photo by David Russell.

Adnate and TwoOne - Photo by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva

Adnate and TwoOne. Photo by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva.

Adnate and TwoOne - Photo by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva

Adnate and TwoOne. Photo by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva.

Kaffeine - Photo by David Russell

Kaffeine. Photo by David Russell.

Kaffeine - Photo by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva

Kaffeine. Photo by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva.

Awesome pieces by Putos, Style, Straker and TwoOne. I’ve also included a shot of Keith Haring‘s mural painted in the 80′s which was recently restored (and if you look closely some idiot has tagged it already, hmmm).

Putos - Photo by David Russell

Putos. Photo by David Russell.

Straker - Photo by David Russell

Straker. Photo by David Russell.

Style - Photo by David Russell

Style. Photo by David Russell.

TwoOne - Photo by David Russell

TwoOne. Photo by David Russell.

Keith Haring (restored) - Photo by David Russell

Keith Haring (restored). Photo by David Russell.

One from StreetsmART featuring Senekt‘s infamous fingers  alongside another stencil by Akemi Ito.

Senekt & Akemi Ito - Photo by StreetsmART

Senekt & Akemi Ito. Photo by StreetsmART.

And to finish off the month, here’s my picks from Dean Sunshine’s top ten – great pieces by Shida, Senekt and DEAMS.

Shida - Photo by Dean Sunshine

Shida. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Senekt - Photo by Dean Sunshine

Senekt. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

DEAMS - Photo by Dean Sunshine

DEAMS. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Photos courtesy of Dean Sunshine, David Russell, AllThoseShapes, StreetsmART and Roberth Pinarete Villanueva


Category: Photos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Broken Fingaz, beef and lady parts

April 10th, 2014 | By | 3 Comments »
BFCpussycat2-m

(Click here for the original)

A few days ago, an anonymous person painted over two new walls by Broken Fingaz Crew in Hackney Wick, London. Both walls featured curvaceous women engaging in sex with skeletons, which the person buffed black and brandished with the words “Kill all men”. BFC responded to the defacement by altering it to read “Kill yourself” and adding “Why so mad? Give smile pussycat!” Broken Fingaz then shared the incident on their Facebook, sparking a surprising and intense response from their fans that has me questioning Broken Fingaz, their art and the people who enjoy it.

BFC-pussycat-m

(Click here for the original)

I have been a huge fan of Broken Fingaz for a while now. We’ve covered their work on Vandalog over the last few years and I cite them as a personal inspiration for my own art. Skeletons interacting with the living and sexualized women have been two prominent (although mostly separate) themes in BFC’s body of work. Over the last several months, Tant and Unga of BFC have developed a new, highly sexualized body of work. With their SuperSex series, BFC painted people having sex with various animals and a skeleton (which I covered for Vandalog here). The SuperSex series was predominantly women and animals, however they also included Unga’s fat male character, which led me to believe that the series was coming from a place which was inclusive of both men and women. In their more recent series, the crew has been painting women copulating with skeletons in massive colorful orgies. There’s one fat male figure slipped into one of the pieces in the series, but spotting him is like a game Where’s Waldo. My issue with this more recent work is not that it is sexual (though I could see why people might find it problematic in public spaces), but rather that it portrays only women as sexual and never shows women in a non-erotic manner. It’s a simple matter of equality.

I would be open to the idea that these images were painted in an effort to honor the feminine figure, not to merely objectify it. After all, the women are whole people and the men are depicted as skeletons, arguably neutered objects. Yet within the context of their larger body of work, these latest images emphasize BFC’s unequal portrayal of men and women. When men appear in their work, they are typically clothed in formal attire, or are humorously unattractive on the few occasions they are naked. Women are rarely shown in any other setting than a sexual one, and an objectifying one at that. Their fans and this anonymous protestor are not interpreting this as honoring women, and BFC’s comeback to the protestor doesn’t support that idea either with dehumanizing jibe “Give smile pussycat!”

DSC_5489-cc

DSC_5472-cc-1

I’m not saying it’s wrong to show women in a sexual setting, but to only ever show them in such a way reduces their role to merely erotic creatures. One very easy solution to this: paint men having sex with skeletons (in lieu of dropping the series altogether), and paint women in formal, non-sexual settings every once in awhile. Might not be the perfect portrait of equality, but it’s one way to show that they hold men and women with equal respect.

Defacing two walls and writing “Kill all men” over BFC’s work is not a route I would promote, but the dialogue it provoked is important. Much like the commenters on BFC’s Facebook, my knee-jerk reaction was to write this act off as an overly-aggressive reaction from a radical feminist. In all likelihood, “Kill all men” is a derivative of the Twitter hashtag that was turning heads last month, which feminists were using as a space to vent their experiences with misogyny. Yet in closer consideration of this particular incident, this person isn’t saying anything that BFC didn’t say themselves first. Why should we take offense from the statement “Kill all men” when this was written on top of a BFC mural that literally depicted a group of dead men having sex with women?

To this act of vandalism, BFC’s responded with “Kill yourself!” and “Why so mad? Give smile pussycat!” Even if we give them the benefit of the doubt and say that this response is comedic ribbing and graffiti bravado in response to being capped, their response incited a slew of sexist and objectifying responses on Facebook, with commenters calling the anonymous vandal(s) a “fucking slut”, “stupid hoe”, “fags”, etc.; which is all a bit ridiculous when you consider that these terms being used as insults are in defense of an artwork depicting women in a way that fits stereotypes of whore-ish/slutty behavior. One commenter said, “Must be one of them ‘broken-b**ches’ … Doesn’t shave under the arm-pits, yet goes to pole dancing class every monday and thursday…”. A female commenter said, “I guess they don’t like drawings of girls fitter than them”. This is exactly why portraying women (and only women) in an exclusively sexual manner becomes problematic. These comments were not made by BFC, but some their supporters, yet would these comments have been made if these fans had felt that BFC were strong supporters of women’s rights?

Curious how our readers feel about Broken Fingaz’ response to this protester and their fans’ subsequent response to the back and forth.

Photos by Broken Fingaz Crew


Category: Art News, Featured Posts, Photos, Random | Tags: , , , , ,

PUBLIC – Art in the City – FORM – Western Australia

April 10th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

A little while ago I heard whispers of something big happening in Perth, Western Australia. I usually only cover Melbourne based art and events, but this is an exception and needs to be shared. I’m heading over to Perth tomorrow so I will be covering the remainder of the event for Vandalog.

PUBLIC started on the 5th of April and continues through to the 13th and will feature street art, projections and installations across the city. 45 amazing artists will paint over 30 giant murals and walls over the fortnight.

The line up is mind blowing and an Australian first, with names like 2501, Phlegm, Yandell Walton, Hayley Welsh, Jordan Seiler, Jerome Davenport, Amok Island, Ian Mutch, Casey Ayres, Chris Nixon, Darren Hutchens, Martin E Wills, Paul Deej, Daek William, Stormie Mills, Hurben, ROA, Ever, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Peche, Natasha Muhl, Phibs, Beastman, Lucas Grogan, Andrew Frazer, Hyuro, Mekel, Mow Skwoz, Drew Straker, Jaz, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Maya Hayuk, Reko Rennie, Pixel Pancho, Jetsonorama, Gaia, Alexis Diaz, Nathan Beard, Remed, Vans the Omega, The Yok and Sheryo and more.

Here’s a couple of work in progress shots I stole from Sam Gorecki via Invurt. More here.

Pixel Pancho - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Pixel Pancho

Phlegm - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Phlegm

ROA - Photo by Sam Gorecki

ROA

Phibs - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Phibs

The Yok and Sheryo - Photo by Sam Gorecki

The Yok and Sheryo

Maya Hayuk - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Maya Hayuk

Lucas Grogan - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Lucas Grogan

More to come once I get to Perth.

Photos by Sam Gorecki


Category: Festivals | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hunting for new stikman work in Philadelphia

April 9th, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »
s1

Fishtown, March 31st

Note from the editor: Today we have a guest post from Damon Landry, a photographer and urbanite who has been documenting street art in Philadelphia for many years. It’s warming up in Philadelphia, which means there are new stikman pieces to be found, and Damon is on the lookout. Damon has contributed to Vandalog a couple of times before, and I hope he’ll continue to update us on what’s going on in Philadelphia. – RJ

stikman often shows up around my house on the edge of Fishtown in some form or another over the years. This week a few installs popped up after I noticed new work in center city, oddly enough both are pink!

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Fishtown, March 31st

I work as a photographer for a company in an office overlooking Mid-town Village aka The Gayborhood so am in and out of this area on a daily basis. It has not been a normal area where stikman installs anything over the past 5-6 years or so. So it was a surprise to find a fresh install of maybe 6-7 pieces up last week. I quickly walked around for a bit covering quite a few streets but it seemed as though this was pretty much it. stikman seems over the years to come to Philly to install new works often based on major shows at the PMA so I ? have been keeping an eye out for something Korean inspired but nothing to date. (Come to think of it no Flower Show inspired works this year either) This latest batch all appear to  be inspired by old electrical circuits and/or diagrams. Very cool. After 21+ years on the streets stikman still keeps it fresh and he never seems to have gone away which is pretty  amazing when you think about it.

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

Photos by Damon Landry


Category: Guest Posts, Photos | Tags:

A smack in the face from DosJotas

April 8th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

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The Spanish artist DosJotas was in New York City recently, and the left some signage around town (including in MoMA). For more from his DON’T EVEN THINK series, go here. While TrustoCorp’s street signs make me laugh DosJotas’ signs make me angry, whether they are true or just stereotypes that usually bubble underneath the surface. There’s no subtlety and little humor, if any. Just raw injustice in red, white and black. It can be great to laugh at life’s problems, because otherwise how would we all manage, but sometimes we just need to be smacked in the face with them. Okay, the MoMA piece is funny though.

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At MoMA

Photos by DosJotas


Category: Photos | Tags:

SHOK-1 helps extend The L.I.S.A. Project NYC further north

April 8th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

Shok1_Day 3-4 _RRosa-69

The UK’s SHOK-1 is the latest artist to work with us at The L.I.S.A. Project NYC, and besides doing a great version of one of his trademark x-ray/rainbow pieces, this marks another minor milestone for the project: X-Rainbow (Arc) can be found at the corner of Mulberry and Kenmare streets in Manhattan, which makes it the northernmost mural for The L.I.S.A. Project NYC so far. Okay, it’s only about half a block further than our previous northernmost mural, but I’m celebrating the little victories as the project continues to expand.

Check out more in progress and detail photos after the jump…

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Category: Photos | Tags: ,

Barry McGee, Dan Murphy and Isaac T. Lin together in Philadelphia

April 3rd, 2014 | By | No Comments »

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Good news! One international superstar and two great Philadelphia mainstays are showing together in Philadelphia starting next week at the Department of Neighborhood Services show at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery. Barry McGee is of course Barry “TWIST” McGee. Dan Murphy is half of Megawords and Vandalog readers may know him as a key member of Steve Powers’ ICY Signs company. Isaac Lin used to be at Philadelphia’s famous Space 1026 and graffiti nerds around the world may know him for his involvement with the DFW zines (which Dan Murphy has also been involved in). These three artists have shown together before and Murphy and Lin are regulars in the Philadelphia art scene, but I don’t think McGee has not shown in Philadelphia since the Indelible Market show at the ICA Philadelphia in 2000.

That McGee should return to Philadelphia with this show and at Fleisher/Ollman is fitting, since Indelible Market was curated by Alex Baker, who is now the director of Fleisher/Ollman, and also included three artists with one foot in the art world and one foot in graffiti: McGee, Todd James and Steve Powers. If the name of that show and the artist line up sounds familiar, it’s because Indelible Market was the first in a series of historic installations including the same trio that have taken place in spaces including Deitch Projects and the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles (the others being called Street Market and Street, with Street also including Murphy and others).

Is it too much to hope that Baker can strike gold again? Maybe that’s asking too much and expecting too little. Not every show that Baker does in this format has to be historic to be interesting, and it’s unfair to let one show define his curatorial/directorial career. Still, I’m really looking forward to Department of Neighborhood Services. At the very least it’s three really interesting artists, including one who hasn’t show in Philadelphia in far too long.

Philly, don’t miss this thing.

Department of Neighborhood Services opens on Friday, April 11th from 6-8pm and runs through June 7th at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery.

Image courtesy of Fleisher/Ollman Gallery


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: , , ,

Philly Tech Week talk about Viral Art

April 2nd, 2014 | By | No Comments »
Ted Talk

A piece of viral art. Click the here to understand why.

Okay, so I’m not quite speaking at TEDxPhiladelphia, but I am pretty excited to be giving a talk next week at AIGA Philadelphia‘s Old City headquarters/gallery, SPACE, as part of Philly Tech Week. The talk, Viral Art: Disruptions in the spectacle from spray paint to Google Bombs, will focus on some of the ideas found in my free ebook Viral Art.

I’ll be speaking about two main themes: 1. How the communication technologies from zines to books to the internet have affected the street art and graffiti that we see on walls and 2. How street art and graffiti are closely linked to hacking and net art. That will be followed by a Q&A, which I’m really looking forward to.

So if you’re in Philadelphia, I hope you’ll stop by SPACE on Thursday, April 10th. The event runs from 6-8pm. The talk is free, but you can RSVP here.

Photo courtesy of Evan Roth


Category: Events, Vandalog Projects | Tags: ,