An interview with man behind the “Stealing Banksy?” auction

April 18th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
The former site of the "Old School" piece by Banksy that is up for auction next week

The site in London where Banksy’s “Old School” piece, which is up for auction next week, was once located. Photo by eddiedangerous.

Back in February, there was an auction in Miami that included the sale of street pieces formally by Banksy. Shortly before that auction took place, Caroline Caldwell interviewed the auction house’s representative, a so-called “street art expert.” We decided that since the auction felt like a joke and the very claim of “street art expert” sounded like a joke, we didn’t want to ask serious questions, lest that might suggest that he was worth taking seriously. But we did see an opportunity to have a bit of fun at the expense of their “expert,” so Caroline interviewed him in a style befitting The Daily Show or The Colbert Report.

Not everyone agreed with our strategy. A few people criticized us for missing a chance to ask hard-hitting questions about an important topic. While we don’t believe that the salesman we were interviewing would have said anything insightful about the sale he was promoting, we do agree that it would be great to ask thoughtful questions of someone who facilitates the sale of street pieces. Recently, Caroline and I had that opportunity.

Next week in London, The Sincura Group will be holding a similar auction of street pieces formally by Banksy. That’s the same company that last year successfully sold the Banksy “Slave Labour” wall at auction for just over $1 million. They’ve titled their auction Stealing Banksy? and it will include approximately 18 works, at least 7 of which are street pieces formally by Banksy that have been removed from their original locations, some of them specifically removed for this sale.

The difference between Fine Art Auctions Miami, the auction house with the “street art expert,” and The Sincura Group is that The Sincura Group does not come across as a complete joke. The Sincura Group has publicly tried to address some of the logistical and ethical issues surrounding the sale of street pieces. By titling their auction Stealing Banksy? and calling it a “project exploring the social, legal and moral issues surrounding the sale of street art” rather than just an auction, they try to position themselves as observers to a phenomenon that they want to see debate about, rather than facilitators and promoters of the ethically questionable market for street pieces. They have released statements about their work, making what they do appear to be a somewhat transparent, thought-out and ethically sound process while acknowledging some criticisms like rational people. If you’re just a casual observer, they do an alright job looking like the good guys, a group of people willing to engage in thoughtful debate.

That’s why Caroline and I decided to interview Tony Baxter, Director of The Sincura Group, and this time, we thought it was appropriate to ask real questions to challenge the way The Sincura Group bills themselves. Caroline wrote the initial draft of our questions, which we then edited and added to collaboratively. Because our time is limited by the fact that we are not a professional news outlet but rather full-time students, we decided to conduct the interview over email. Email is not the ideal format for something like this, but it’s better than no interview at all.

Frankly, I find some of Mr. Baxter’s answers misleading, but I’ll save more of my thoughts on that for tomorrow, when I’ll publish a response to this interview on Vandalog. In the mean time, here’s the interview…

Read the rest of this article »


Category: Auctions, Featured Posts, Interview | Tags: ,

The new Banksy(s)

April 17th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
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Banksy in Bristol. Photo from banksy.co.uk.

I don’t have much to add beyond what’s already been written elsewhere about the new Banksy pieces or pieces that have been all over the news in the last few days. But I do want to link to some of the best and most up-to-date articles I’ve seen covering these pieces.

In case you somehow haven’t heard, Banksy posted a new piece to his website earlier this week, shown above. Kinda looks like an old cover of The Atlantic, but it’s a well done piece and I imagine The Atlantic wasn’t the first to do something along those lines either. The manager of a financially struggling Bistol youth club located just down the road from where the piece was installed quickly removed the piece from the wall (which he does not own) in the hopes of selling it. Animal argues that this isn’t so bad. Then the piece was put on display in the youth club. The club’s CCTV cameras may have caught a really useless image of Banksy installing the piece. Then, the youth club manager started receiving death threats, so he worked with the city of Bristol to have the work removed by police and placed on display in the Bristol Museum.

Detail of Banksy's piece once moved inside the youth center. Photo by Banksy Locations & Tours.

Detail of Banksy’s piece once moved inside the youth center. Photo by Banksy Locations & Tours.

Police entering the youth club to remove the Banksy piece. Photo by Banksy Locations & Tours.

Police entering the youth club to remove the Banksy piece. Photo by Banksy Locations & Tours.

Another piece, a possible Banksy, has appeared in Cheltenham, near the headquarters of British NSA-equivalent GCHQ. While this piece hasn’t shown up on Banksy’s website, it looks like a Banksy to me. And I’m not the only person who thinks so. If we’re wrong and it’s not a Banksy, okay, but whoever the artist is is at least trying harder than most to emulate Banksy in concept, technique and placement. Given this piece’s proximity to the GCHQ headquarters, I really love the spy theme. Oh, and some people tried to vandalize the vandalism and then someone else washed off the paint… So begins the saga of this piece’s destruction.

Possible Banksy in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Kathryn.

Possible Banksy in Cheltenham, England. Photo by Kathryn.

Photos from banksy.co.uk and by Banksy Locations & Tours and Kathryn


Category: Art News, Photos | Tags:

Fra.Biancoshock’s loving destruction

April 17th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
Detail of "Come to see my graffiti collection"

Detail of “Come to see my graffiti collection”

These new works by Fra.Biancoshock make me really uncomfortable. I love them. They are all part of his new series Graffiti is a Religion and were unveiled last month at his solo show Ephemeralism at 77 Art Gallery in Milan, Italy. The series is Fra.Biancoshock’s tribute to graffiti and graffiti culture, but it’s not as straightforward as that. Other artists, if they wanted to pay tribute to graffiti, might replicate what they see on the street onto a canvas. That’s certainly not unheard of. But that’s sort of work is just a facsimile. Fra.Biancoshock wanted the real thing, so he went out onto the streets of Italy and got it. He chipped graffiti off of walls and is putting it back on display in a series of artworks.

"Graffiti Puzzle"

“Graffiti Puzzle”

With “Graffiti Puzzle,” Fra.Biancoshock plays off the idea of famous paintings that get reproduced in puzzle form. Except, this time, it’s the actual wall that players are urged to reassemble. The wall is by the VMD 70′S crew (or a member of the crew), one of the most famous Italian graffiti crews. Although the labeling on the box suggests that the VMD 70′s were aware of this project and willing participants, I’m not sure, and I’ve decided that it’s more interesting not to know, so I haven’t asked Fra.Biancoshock.

Detail of "Graffiti Puzzle"

Detail of “Graffiti Puzzle”

For “Come to see my graffiti collection,” he carefully cataloged a process of removing small pieces of works of graffiti from around Italy and has put the tiny paint fragments back on display like a series of holy relics that references not only the complete pieces from which they were removed but the entire careers of those writers. Destruction, maybe? But as Fra.Biancoshock says, “The culture of graffiti here is treated like any other theme in the history of humanity.”

"Come to see my graffiti collection"

“Come to see my graffiti collection”

“Cornerstone” goes a step further and anonymizes the artists, a tribute to graffiti culture as a whole. It is made up of fragments of graffiti by some of the most historically important Italian writers, the people who together form the cornerstone of Italian graffiti culture.

"Cornerstone"

“Cornerstone”

We all long for physical representations of the things we hold dear or somehow important. But graffiti is ephemeral. 99.9% of the historic graffiti has been destroyed, and it’s really only through documentation that anything gets preserved. If graffiti is a culture that many people treat like a religion, what physical representations can we hold on to when the graffiti itself is made to be destroyed? Just old copies of Subway Art and black books I guess…

In this series, Fra.Biancoshock tackles that subject, and while his conclusions may seem absurd at first, they are not totally unfamiliar. Religious relics and historical artifacts are often treated like the pieces in Graffiti is a Religion: They are chopped up and spread so thin that they no long depict the whole of what they were, only reference it. In trying to love and preserve relics and artifacts, we often destroy them, as has been done here. And of as I’ve argued in the past, even ripping an entire artwork off of a wall in one piece, as has happened so often with Banksy’s work, does not really preserve it. That only gives a reference to what once was: An artwork placed on a particular wall in a particular public space. These paint chips are not graffiti, but they are all that we have once the buffman shows up.

With Graffiti is a Religion, Fra.Biancoshock simultaneously brings graffiti indoors and humbly acknowledges the impossibility of such a task. All of these pieces make me uncomfortable. The best art does that.

Photos by Fra.Biancoshock


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags:

Melbourne Monthly Madness – February (belated) 2014

April 17th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

Still playing catch up on my posts, so here’s my favourites from February. Lots of great stuff yet again in February featuring works by Melbourne’s local talent and a few from our many interstate and international visitors.

To start off the month AllThoseShapes brought us some great bits and pieces, including this great paste from Lucy Lucy, another neon piece from Straker (loving this new style of his), some more rad stencils from Akemi Ito, this apt piece by Spie with an angry gorilla commenting on taggers in Hosier and Rutledge lanes (2 of Melbourne’s most tagged/capped lanes) and a couple of slaps from MIO, who is killing it at the moment with stickers and lots of throwies around town.

Lucy Lucy. Photo by AllThose Shapes

Lucy Lucy. Photo by AllThose Shapes.

Straker. Photo by AllThose Shapes

Straker. Photo by AllThose Shapes.

Akemi Ito. Photo by AllThose Shapes

Akemi Ito. Photo by AllThose Shapes.

Spie. Photo by AllThose Shapes

Spie. Photo by AllThose Shapes.

MIO. Photo by AllThose Shapes

MIO. Photo by AllThose Shapes.

MIO. Photo by AllThose Shapes

MIO. Photo by AllThose Shapes.

Dean Sunshine captured these great abando pieces by Slicer, Rashe and Jaw. A shot of the finished wall at the annual Park St Party paint up by Mayo, Steve Cross, DVATE, Ethics, Askem, Sat, Porno, Awes and Simple Sime. And finally 3 from Dean’s top ten, amazing pieces by Choq and Sueb, Makatron and SAGE.

Slicer. Photo by Dean Sunshine

Slicer. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Rashe. Photo by Dean Sunshine

Rashe. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Rashe. Photo by Dean Sunshine

Rashe. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Jaws. Photo by Dean Sunshine

Jaw. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Mayo, Steve Cross, DVATE, Ethics, Askem, Sat, Porno, Awes and Simple Sime (Park Street Party). Photo by Dean Sunshine

Mayo, Steve Cross, DVATE, Ethics, Askem, Sat, Porno, Awes and Simple Sime (Park Street Party). Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Choq and Sueb. Photo by Dean Sunshine

Choq and Sueb. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Makatron. Photo by Dean Sunshine

Makatron. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

SAGE. Photo by Dean Sunshine

SAGE. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

David Russell was a busy man as usual. Rad pieces from the Pull UP party at Juddy Roller (which saw a full repaint of the space) by Choq, Slicer, Shawn Lu, Adnate, Jaw, Rashe, DEAMS, Taylor White and Brian Itch. A nice new piece from Kaffeine. And finally Ink and Clog, who visited us from Singapore, painted these 2 great walls. I’ve also included another great shot by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva showing a different perspective again of the Hosier Lane with his awesome 180 degree technique.

Choq. Photo by David Russell

Choq. Photo by David Russell.

Slicer, Shawn Lu, Adnate, Jaws, Rashe. Photo by David Russell

Slicer, Shawn Lu, Adnate, Jaw, Rashe. Photo by David Russell.

Slicer, Jaws, Shawn Lu Rashe, Adnatea and DEAMS. Photo by David Russell

Slicer, Jaw, Shawn Lu, Rashe, Adnatea and DEAMS. Photo by David Russell.

Taylor White. Photo by David Russell

Taylor White. Photo by David Russell.

Brian Itch. Photo by David Russell

Brian Itch. Photo by David Russell.

Kaffeine. Photo by David Russell

Kaffeine. Photo by David Russell.

Ink & Clog. Photo by David Russell

Ink & Clog. Photo by David Russell.

Ink & Clog. Photo by David Russell

Ink & Clog. Photo by David Russell.

Ink & Clog. Photo by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva

Ink & Clog. Photo by Roberth Pinarete Villanueva.

Ink and Clog also put this short video together after their trip to Melbourne.

Phoenix the Street Artist -  Photo via Invurt

Phoenix the Street Artist. Photo via Invurt.

Finally I had to include this interview by Fletch from Invurt with Phoenix the Street Artist, one of my favourite interviews I have read in a long time, about one of my favourite Melbourne street artists. (Check out his work here).

That’s all for February. March post coming soon.

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

Video courtesy of Ink and Clog


Category: Events, Gallery/Museum Shows, Interview, Photos, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Francesco Garbelli’s street art before “street art”

April 16th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
"Altare," 1984

“Altare,” 1984

Recently, VladyArt introduced me to the work of the Italian artist Francesco Garbelli. Garbelli has been working outdoors since the mid-1980′s. While he certainly wasn’t the first to do street art and the term was used in its present meaning as early as 1970′s, Garbelli was certainly active long before the term street art was commonplace, and many of his projects predate by decades similar works by artists that most of us in the street art world are much more familiar with. In this interview, VladyArt asks Garbelli his early work and what it was like to be so far ahead of his time. - RJ Rushmore

"La via per immagini," 1985

“La via per immagini” (“The road to images”), 1985

VladyArt: Do you remember your first urban intervention? What year was it and how did it all start?

Francesco Garbelli: I started quite early, in the first half of the 1980′s. At that time I was writing poems and songs, and I loved the idea of giving these words the opportunity to leave the sheet for walls and sidewalks. I thought it was the way to maximize the word; I called these “letters in action”… but nobody knew about it. I took pictures of these letters, however, my intention was not being as an artist, yet. As an artist, I started only between the ’84-’85 when, together with a group of other artists, I occupied a large dismissed factory (Brown-Boveri), entering down through a window with a rope. It was a great place to work, and quite central, in Milan. We stayed almost a year, calling dozen of artists afterwards. The place was then reopened to the public, totally transformed by our installations. That was probably the most noticeable artistic event of the decade! One of my installations there was called “altare” (altar) to underline the importance of that abandoned but still “holy” place; my church. Life at Brown-Boveri was very inspiring. My first outdoor works popped up on my way to the university, where I studied architecture, in 1985. They were all located between the metro (subway) exit and the university gate. All streets had names of significant people (such as Leonardo Da Vinci) and I deleted all surnames, making the streets being dedicated to no one in particular: Maria, Giuseppe or Davide. After this, in another intervention, I substituted the person’s name with an image of their work (See Escher). Ultimately on this street name subject, I renamed the streets with sentences and meaningful words (as in “Le lettere vi guardano” = letters are looking at you).

"Il ritorno delle parole," 1985

“Il ritorno delle parole” (“The return of the words”), 1985

VladyArt: Did you have any role models or artists who inspired you?

Garbelli: No, especially not in the beginning. All it was taken from my studies and cinema. For example, admiring the wild nature taking back the space at the Brown-Boweri factory, I was immediately thinking of movies such as Stalker and Blade Runner.

"Neo post trans," 1988

“Neo post trans,” 1988

VladyArt: Did you know other active urban artists in Italy, Europe and America?

Garbelli: In those years, painting was getting back in the world of art, under the name of Neo-expressionism in Germany and the States and as “Trans-avanguardia” in Italy. This return was totally welcomed by the art biz. I wasn’t exited about that, however the phenomena were pretty cool: people got back to painting and playing guitar like in the 1970′s! I felt very distant from conventional painting, so much that in 1988 I did the “!” danger sign; underneath the triangle I wrote “Neo, Post, Trans,” meaning beware of post/trans-avanguardia and Neo-expressionism.  Providentially, in the States was emerging a new art scene, a fresh air breath: Rammellzee, A-One (Anthony Clark), Futura 2000, Richard Hambleton, Kenny Scharf, Keith Haring… just to mention a few. The term “street art” did not exist or I did not know about it. We called it New York Graffiti. We knew about the Lower East Side movement or as the Hispanic were saying “Loisaida.” We knew graffiti: some Americans came to Milan, especially at  Salvatore Ala gallery. I actually briefly met Rammelzee, A-One and Haring. I remember particularly A-One, asking, “Are you an artist or a graffiti writer?” to anyone while shaking hands. I understood that for him, the difference was beyond art, it had a social value within. For me it was a bit different: I was not a painter such as in canvas making, extracting bits from Picasso or Carrà, but I was not that urban graffiti type of guy either. I needed my way, a less instinctive approach certainly, and that’s how I got closer to road signs.

Untitled, 1989

Untitled, 1989

VladyArt: So why road signs?

Garbelli: Aside from the historical reasons already mentioned, I have found interest in road sign for their international appeal, the communication made without the words, their attempt to substitute the language with images; a sort of revenge by the old pictography. I was fascinated by some native North American tribe that used knots on ropes or tags on woods to communicate basic concepts; but that’s how our road sign system works! I took the opportunity to launch ironic, fantastic and critical messages through road signs.

"Idrante ionico con fregio," 1990

“Idrante ionico con fregio” (“Hydrant with ionic frieze”) 1990

VladyArt: How did the people and your colleagues react on your art expression?

Garbelli: Opposite and polarized opinions. It was cool for many, while others were wondering whether road signs could be art or not. With the most of my interventions, I got the attention of the media. However, due to the nature of my uncommissioned (and unsigned) installations, I wasn’t aware of that attention in real time; I couldn’t follow the feedback like people can do today via internet. There was much more surprise when buying the papers and finding my latest work on it. In Italy, beside the Macam (an open air contemporary museum in Maglione, Italy), there was not much availability or interest. My really first interventions done with permission were made abroad, in Holland and Germany, were they let me realized my installations without that ton of nonsense bureaucracy we used to have (City Council, local police, fire dept., Church or so!).

"Macam," 1989

“Macam,” 1989

VladyArt: Have you been influential to some younger artists, on your opinion?

Garbelli: I wouldn’t know. The first time I noticed this possibility was by the end of the nineties. I remember two particular episodes, closer to one another. In both cases I was introduced to some younger artist and both told me to have been my fans. As that sounded pretty weird to me at that time. I managed to answer to one: “I guess you had a difficult childhood then,” and we both started laughing.

"Transito Velocipedi," 1990

“Transito velocipedi” (“Transiting cycles”), 1990

VladyArt: How did you make connections within the art community? Physically or even by mail?

Garbelli: Well, Milan in the 1980′s was really hectic and full of parties; we were basically going out all nights. Hedonism and yuppie were not my cup of tea, but the city was truly full of events and opportunity. We gathered pretty easily. Otherwise we used the phone, fax and even letters, especially for sending catalogues, pictures and projects.

VladyArt: What’s your opinion regarding this “explosion” of interest in urban art and urban artists?

Garbelli: The growing success of urban artists (and their art) is the combination of several factors. Certainly, the public opinion has changed dramatically, in a positive way. Today there are plenty of festival and exhibitions about public/street art and this is not only considered acceptable by the people but even strongly encouraged by the authorities. In the 1980′s, the public opinion was hostile and my interventions were marked as vandalism by many, even if I did all so graphically and “clean.” From the authorities and the police I noticed about the same attitude but certainly there was less territorial control compared to today. I had no CCTV on my neck. But mostly, today’s boom is thanks to the internet. The public can see all your stuff; artists can form communities. Isolation isn’t a problem, all can happen in real time. I think this has been decisive. On top of that, consider TV; while the “other” art isn’t truly media-friendly for its contents and tempo, (it’s a hard topic for TV formats), street art is photogenic, camera friendly, young and it fits perfectly. This helps the spread of street art via TV, which is globally still the most popular information tool of our times.

"La via per immagini," 1985

“La via per immagini,” 1985

VladyArt: Have you got new project and installation for the near future?

Garbelli: Yes absolutely, and I will keep you posted about it. Milan will host the 2015 world expo with the theme “nourishing the planet.” I am conceiving a new outdoor installation about the tribal world, the only people who are doing effectively something to help and save the planet, despite being unaware about it. My world, our modern world, is outlined by Non-Places, characterized by ignorant and criminal minds and their visual rapes; as I feel more and more out of the place, I find it appropriate today to care about these people.

"Peace," 1990

“Peace,” 1990

Photos courtesy of Francesco Garbelli


Category: Featured Posts, Guest Posts, Interview | Tags: ,

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.

Read the rest of this article »


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 »
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(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.

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(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!”

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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


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