Boa Mistura presents Somos Luz (We Are Light)

January 30th, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »

Spanish collective Boa Mistura has premiered their documentary based on Somos Luz (We Are Light), a project created in Panama last year in the community of Chorrillos.

Boa Mistura highlights a distinction between community based projects and street art for the sake of decoration or self-appropriating places. This work and many of their previous projects serve as agents for communities to trace memories, create narratives and involve a collective identity that serves to beautify their public space. The debate whether street art is done for the public or for the self- interested artist is becoming more widely discussed as many artists feel inclined to give back to the communities they temporarily work in. I have yet seen a collective that embodies so delicately this participatory inclination of sanctioned street art and community engagement. Community based projects are another vehicle for artists to push their perspectives and, at times, their visual tendencies and possibly propel more discussions that can give us varied answers to “what the hell are we doing with these large-scale murals?”

Video courtesy of Boa Mistura


Category: Featured Posts, Videos | Tags: ,

From Bogota “Este Territorio Tambien Es Nuestro”

January 28th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

In a city where public graphic expressions are defined as a symptom of low standards of living and education, the wave of redefining what it means to reclaim spaces through throw ups, bombing and large scale murals, continues to fortify a new sense of citizenship and belonging. Bogota carries a lot of burred histories and identities that are making their way toward becoming visible as efforts of expression geared to “include” rather than “seclude” become a higher priority in contemporary cities.

Last July, Bogota Street Art participated in the First Meeting of Writers and Urban Art in Bogota, as part of a public policy that aimed to change the perception of graffiti and street art in the city. This video shows the process of combing artists from Colombia and Peru in one strip of 26h Street, a highway that splits downtown Bogota in half and stretches all the way to the airport. Participating  artists include Guache (Bogotá), Toxicomano (Bogotá), Lesivo (Bogotá), Entes & Pesimo (Peru), and Elliot Tupac (Peru).

Video courtesy of Albeiro Toro Ayala


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Elian, a geometric captivator

November 1st, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »

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Last week, Elian finished a piece titled Environmental Influences, situated in the outskirts of Cordoba.

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Elian’s work captivates shapes, colors that contribute to building structures in a way that can definitely bring life back to the space and, as he put it, the environment. I appreciate the thoughtful  intent in all his works found in different places, even in abandoned country sides  (like this one).

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The explanation to his interventions is cohesive and shows strong efforts to communicate with the already built structures that are then enhanced by transformative colors and shapes that play in just right.

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Photos courtesy of Elian


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Spaik hits up Medellin for Street Skills

October 31st, 2013 | By | No Comments »

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Spaik got an early start on his mural for Street Skills in Colombia. The mural is part of the third edition of Street Skills, a festival aimed to gather street artists and graffiti writers to showcase their works in various cities throughout Colombia.

Street Skills will be taking place in 3 different Colombian cities throughout the month of November. Invited artists include Does (Brazil), Lelin (Brazil), Lola  (Brazil), El Pez (Spain), Cix  (Mexico), Olfer (Peru).

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Photos courtesy of ANCK and Spaik


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

Praxis bombs Bogota with surveillance reminders

September 25th, 2013 | By | No Comments »

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Lack of surveillance, personhood and privacy are new, modern world era problems that are hitting every  corner in major cities. In Bogota, stencil artist Praxis took on a project to create reminders all over the city of just how much we have lost our privacy.

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People have all become accustomed to seeing cameras on their walk home from work, or at parks, areas that used to be public, but have become grounds of surveillance. The technological advances that allow for a surveillance culture to become normative have also engaged a new form of understanding the individual and the public space.

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Praxis played with the idea of how people in Bogota would react to seeing the stencil or sticker of a surveillance camera as opposed to their reaction to a real camera. I saw a few of these in Bogota while I lived there this past year, I must say, it did kick my consciousness and attention to realize that I’ve become accustomed to the prevalence on constant visual control in my everyday life.

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Praxis has provided a stencil for those who want to spread his reminder in other parts of the world. Download it here.

Photo courtesy of Praxis


Category: Photos | Tags:

Tim Hans shoots… Trek Matthews

September 24th, 2013 | By | No Comments »

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Trek Matthews is a young Atlanta-based artist whom I have had the pleasure of getting to know through his work with Living Walls. Through complete coincidence, Tim Hans ran into Trek on a Brooklyn rooftop earlier this year. Tim photographed Trek for the latest in our continuing series of photo-portraits of artists by Tim, and Laura Calle met up with Trek back in Atlanta for an interview. – RJ

Laura: Let’s talk about your experience as an artist who  also works on the streets. How did you start painting outside?

Trek: I’m gonna tell a short story to answer this. Basically one summer, when I recently had moved into this city, I think it was the second year of Living Walls but it was the first year that I heard of it. There was a call for volunteers and I got involved and it was rad. I assisted for Gaia and Nanook and Sam Parker and it was super super rad. I had seen their work before cause I had always been passively interested in seeing what they were doing at that time. I decided to keep going with it, and kept hanging out and trying out new things. At that time I was part of the graphic design program at a university, and then shifted the focus to drawing and started to bring that to a certain direction, with no intention of painting, until Living Walls approached me with a project. Until that point I had not done anything large at all, I hadn’t painted on a wall, or at all. I started practicing and experimenting anywhere I could, then I did my first wall a couple of weeks later. So it pushed me really quickly. Then I tried to adapt my aesthetics to different situations and aspects.

L: How do you think you participate in this contemporary movement, which going outside to the streets art, do you see yourself as an illustrator, a street artist, none or all of the above?

T: Yeah, I kinda just try to do a mix of anything instead of being a purist on any intent and that tends to include doing things on paper that I can push myself personally on a small scale and then how that translates to the public realm, whether its sanctioned or illegal, it’s always sort of interesting, to see how things aesthetically adapt to the public environment, or conceptually adapt to the public environment. So, with personal pieces I tend to go more with memory based objects or things that are purely based on what I have experienced or things that I remember, whether they be memories or fractions of memories, and when my work goes into the public I tend to look at how that area has progressed in a very subtle level. So it’s about my personal memory and what I experienced in that area even for the short time that I have worked there. So with things like public transit, public infrastructures, I try to see how they change the specific spaces I come across. So I like putting things both on paper or any sort of material, but I think the ability to react with the public is really good and to have a conversation with people that aren’t ‘art people’ and how they see things, how they react to things, especially now that I am pushing more towards a minimalized and abstract aesthetic.

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L: How has your style evolved in the past few years?

T: I was trying to focus on illustration and basically straight up drawing things, drawing anything from an animalistic approach, I liked that a lot at a certain point. I had basically not painted at all so I have always enjoyed deconstructing things and re-drawing them how I’d like to see them, but still pretty simple. I didn’t have too much concept so I tried to look into cultures in my area, the descending cultures of where I was from, and tried to branch out into other cultures without re-appropriating it too much. Just to keep it personal but try and still exhibit a culture that was here previously, so I kinda wanted to keep doing that for a while and got interested in color, cause I was just doing black and white and I wanted to do more color based stuff, therefore I had to start to focus into paintings or pushed ink. So that changed the subject into people and transportation and the process of moving in general. So I tried to make it more dynamic and minimal, I guess I started doing that earlier this year. I’ve been bouncing between doing things large scale and small scale, so I would go to location, like when I was in Spain I’d sketch something and then go and see how that it fits into the space, then bouncing that into paper and adapt that by adding more depth and trying to increase my speed.

L: Does the setting of where you’re working influence you?

T: To an extent, I like to have the composition fit what it’s on to a certain extent and then trying to base it on the loose history of that area, without getting to apparent or in your face, I like to keep it fairly loose and conceptual so that people can give it their own personal narratives or a narrative of that area. So if it’s not sanctioned, they are kind of just compositions that adapt to the area that I’m working on, but I just wanna quickly put it up. But if its sanctioned I want it to be relevant to the area, for example the piece I did in Bushwick in March, I wanted it to relate to the area and how it’s changed. I learned that the spot that I was working at was an area with high volumes of violence towards prostitutes, so I kinda wanted to look into that and keep it very loose, but with that I wanted to make it more powerful on the feminist approach. When I was sketching it, I was keeping that in mind, so the concept that I was going for and the composition reflected that local history.

Photos by Tim Hans


Category: Interview, Portraits by Tim Hans | Tags: ,

Pedro Uilli x Ha Crew x CuellIimangui in Valparaiso, Chile

September 17th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »

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I’ve heard many many stories about a city that sounds like a mythical mirage in Chile. The stories usually come from old school graffiti writers turned street artists, turned global painters of the world. I have never wanted to travel so badly just to see urban art and portrayals of political expressions in a city as much as I’ve wanted to visit Valparaiso.

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This huge collaboration, titled “Injusticia” (“Injustice”) by Pedro Uilli, Ha Crew, and CuellIimangui in the Barrio del Puerto, criticizes the proposed Public Order Control Law, or as commonly named after its creator, the Hinzpeter Law proposed by Rodrigo Hinzpeter.

The Hinzpeter Law aims to raise punishment, jail time and harsh treatment of protesters.

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Last week was the 40th anniversary of the beginning of the Pinochet coup in Chile. This dictatorship took away countless young leaders, political innovation and the right of free speech and assembly. The political repression introduced by this dark historic period in Chile, pushed protesters and everyday folk to voice their oppositions through wheat pastes, political writings on public walls, and later on a fully developed muralist approach was implemented. This mural will be imprinted on people’s consciousness and I am looking forward to seeing more expressions in our cities that can expand awareness on any form of repression. I associate any protest and opposition to the silencing of a whole country; the biggest idea is one that cannot be easily silenced, erased or ignored.

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Photo courtesy of CuellIimangui


Category: Photos | Tags: , ,

First Meeting of Writers and Urban Art in Bogotá (Part 1)

July 30th, 2013 | By | No Comments »
Elliot Tupac

Elliot Tupac

Last week, the First Meeting of Writers and Urban Art – 26th Street  – kicked off in Bogotá, brought you by IDARTES (District Institute of the Arts.) Participating in these interventions are groups that obtained a grant from the city to work on recreating new expressions in the urban space.

Participating  artists include Guache (Bogotá), Toxicomano (Bogotá), Lesivo (Bogotá), Perversa (Bogotá), Vertigo Graffiti (Bogotá), Entes & Pesimo (Peru), and Elliot Tupac (Peru), Jade (Peru).

Here are some process shots of the murals:

Guache

Guache

Entes & Pesimo

Entes & Pesimo

Lesivo

Lesivo

Vertigo Graffiti

Vertigo Graffiti

Perversa

Perversa

Stay tuned for more updates!

Photos courtesy of Camilo Ara


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

Cuellimangui and ASJ

July 29th, 2013 | By | No Comments »

Yet another trippy work by Cuellimangui, collaborating with muralist ASJ. Both artists from Orihuela (Spain) have incorporated two very distinct styles: realism and abstract expressionism. Really enjoying this match.

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Photos courtesy of Cuellimangui


Category: Photos | Tags: ,

Ark in San Bernardo del Viento (Colombia)

July 26th, 2013 | By | Comments Off

I absolutely love seeing expressions by street artists in geographic areas that sometimes are left out from those offers of spontaneity and appropriation of spaces that shape our identities and memories. Recently Ark visited San Bernardo del Viento, a fishing community of families who’ve been victims of displacement due to political violence prevalent in some parts of Colombia.

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This mural beautifully narrates a story of a culture that needs to bind themselves to their traditions and seek strenght in the unity that has saved their lives in previous experiences.

Photos courtesy of Ark


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