Banksy + 5: October 16th

October 16th, 2013 | By | No Comments »
Banksy in the South Bronx. Photo courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project.

Banksy in the South Bronx. Photo courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project.

Another performance piece today from Banksy for Better Out Than In. This custom Ronald McDonald statue will be traveling to McDonald’s restaurants (okay, restaurants is a stretch) around the city all week, where you can visit it to see “his shoes shined by a real live boy.” Definitely check out the audio guide on this piece. Funny as always.

In random Banksy updates: Check what Hyperallergic found – a photo of a “signature” that the shoe shining actor in this piece gave to a fan (plus their description of the context for this sculpture is helpful); apparently the Bronx Borough President is a fan of Banksy, unlike Mayor Bloomberg.

As usual, we have a + 5 today. This time, I’m featuring work by C215, Clam Nation, Lisk Bot, Dylan Egon (although this piece is also a blatant ad for a show if you look closely, so there’s that…) and Beastie.

C215 in London. Photo by Boring Lovechild.

C215 in London. Photo by Boring Lovechild.

Clam Nation in Chicago. Photo by Brian Knowles.

Clam Nation in Chicago. Photo by Brian Knowles.

Lisk Bot. Photo by markheybo.

Lisk Bot. Photo by markheybo.

Dylan Egon in Jersey City. Photo by Bill Benzon.

Dylan Egon in Jersey City. Photo by Bill Benzon.

Beastie in Gloucester, UK. Photo by kennysarmy.

Beastie in Gloucester, UK. Photo by kennysarmy.

Photos by Boring Lovechild, Brian Knowles, markheybo, Bill Benzon, kennysarmy and courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project (who have been visiting every Banksy)


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How and Nosm’s visit to Palestine

October 9th, 2013 | By | 4 Comments »

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Today we have a guest post from William Parry about How&Nosm’s recent trip to Palestine to work with the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians. Parry is the communications officer at Medical Aid for Palestinians and it’s certainly a bit atypical for a communications officer to write a guest post for Vandalog about a project they are in charge of, but Parry is also the author of Against the Wall: the art of resistance in Palestine (2010), which was reviewed on Vandalog a while back, so he’s also uniquely qualified to write about graffiti writers and street artists working with Palestinians and painting on or near the separation wall. I also had to privilege of seeing Parry speak at Haverford College last year, and it’s clear that improving the lives of Palestinians is his passion as well as his job. Also, if you want to read more about How&Nosm’s time in Palestine, Brooklyn Street Art also have a great post about the experience. – RJ

Sometimes you take a chance and it pays sweetly. Bringing How&Nosm to Palestine over the past two weeks was one of them, and I believe they feel the same, as they also didn’t know exactly what they were setting themselves up for.

Almost a year ago, I first met the Perré twins, Raoul and Davide, while doing an article about Prague’s ‘Stuck on the City’ street art exhibition. We got talking about politics and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and I eventually asked whether they would ever consider collaborating with the UK-based charity I had just begun working for, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), doing art workshops with MAP’s local partners in Palestine. “Sure,” they said. It would give them a chance to also do their own artwork on walls around Palestine.

A year on and countless emails later, I was anxiously waiting for them at the airport in Tel Aviv, wondering if the Immigration officials had caught wind of the project and would send them back to NYC. The heavily tattooed, stencil-and-cap-carrying twins said they were here for a 10-day organized tour. Nosm appeared after some time and said his brother had got stopped. “They didn’t believe we were here for the tour and asked us who else was on it,” he said. “How should I know, I told them, maybe just us for all I know! What could he do?” Another 10 minutes went by before How walked through the sliding doors, straight-faced, then he cracked a smile. “They went through my photos on my camera, asked why I was here of all places. I said: ‘I’ve been to 60 countries but not here yet. I want to tick Israel off the list.’”

Within minutes we were in the car for central Tel Aviv to get them a pre-order of cans in their signature colours. Three young guys running the shop were clearly honoured to have How&Nosm on their turf and volunteered to guide them to the best places to bomb. “What have you got planned?” one asked. “We’re here for some work,” said Nosm, keeping schtum. They clearly wanted to paint with them but Nosm took their numbers and said they’d be in touch. We filled the trunk with boxes of spray cans and headed for occupied Palestine.

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Split Identities

Their natural environment is the street so I shouldn’t have been surprised that How&Nosm were keen to check into their East Jerusalem hotel, grab a quick shower and then head immediately to Bethlehem to sort out more paint, rollers, ladders and walls to paint – despite having travelled for about 20 hours by this time. We met a Palestinian street artist who goes by the name ‘Trash’ – he worked with Banksy to sort out his 2007 Santa’s Ghetto project in Bethlehem, and has also helped JR with several local projects. As dusk fell, Trash gave them a quick tour of ideal spots to do murals and arranged to meet the twins the following morning.

While Drinking Tea

While Drinking Tea

Over the next two days they produced three murals around Bethlehem – the largest ‘Lost Conversation’, as well as ‘In Mother’s Hands’ and ‘While Drinking Tea’ – and one in East Jerusalem, ‘Split Identities’. Locals would stop and talk to them, as usual, asking where they’re from, why they’re here, what the intricate images mean. But with four murals done, it was down to other serious business.

More is Not Enough. Click to view large.

More is Not Enough. Click to view large.

What How&Nosm witnessed for themselves as we drove through the occupied West Bank – scores of illegal Israeli outposts and settlements built on Palestinian land, the scandalous route of Israel’s illegal separation wall, seeing the freedoms that Israelis enjoy at the expense of Palestinians’ human rights, and hearing of Palestinian homes being demolished or taken over by Israeli settlers, shocked them deeply. They spent one day with a former Israeli military commander, Yehuda Shaul, who co-founded an Israeli human rights organization called ‘Breaking the Silence’. He drove them to the southern point of the West Bank and, throughout the journey, gave them a clear understanding of the layers of Israeli occupation and their intended impact on Palestinian communities – ethnic cleansing. I spent many days in the car with How&Nosm, talking about the situation among other things, and you could see their frustration and outrage growing with every mile covered as the occupation unfolded before their eyes.

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In Mother’s Hands

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Banksy comes to New York City, first piece damaged within hours

October 2nd, 2013 | By | 5 Comments »
Banksy in NYC. Photo by carnagenyc.

Banksy in NYC. Photo by carnagenyc.

Update (October 2nd, 11am): AnimalNY is reporting that Smart Crew temporarily replaced the sign with one of their own making, but that sign is now gone too and the entire piece has been buffed.

We now have some idea of what Banksy‘s Better Out Than In project is, the project that was hinted at on his website last month. It seems Banksy is putting up work around New York City (not LA as rumors initially suggested) throughout October. The work above is the first piece of Better Out Than In and is located on Allen Street around Chinatown/the Lower East Side. Pretty much everything that’s known about the project is on a new site, Banksyny.com. There’s also an Instagram handle (@banksyny). Looks like we will be getting regular updates from those two sources as to when new pieces go up. The site currently says, “For the next month Banksy will be attempting to host an entire show on the streets of New York.” To make this like (scare quotes) “a real show,” there’s an audio guide of sorts. Note the little stenciled numbers to the right of the piece in the above image. That’s a phone number (1-800-656-4271) that you can call to hear the audio guide (the item number of this piece is, naturally #1). You can also listen to the audio description (at least of this first piece) on banksyny.com.

As Bucky Turco at AnimalNY says, “So to recap: Banksy, a street artist who puts up work in the street–as other street and graffiti artists are wont to do–will be putting up work in the street. Got it.” But that seems to be missing the point, at least the point of where I suspect Banksy may be going with this. Just like The Street Museum of Art is absurd, there is a level of absurdity in Better Out Than In, but I think it’s probably useful absurdity making a point.

It may be the case that Banksy is trying to comment on street artists’ desires to get into museums or paint legal murals rather than work on the street in a guerrilla fashion. Are Banksy’s stencils good? Yes. Are they usually mind-blowingly brilliant? Nah. As Melrose&Fairfax points out, the concept of first stencil of this “show” is similar to work that went up earlier this year in LA last year by Plastic Jesus. If Better Out Than In continues in this vein of the kinds of stencils and public interventions that we have come to expect from Banksy, then I think Better Out Than In may be using those “typical” works to make a larger commentary about Banksy’s work and street art in general. So it’s not really the individual works that will matter but the show as a cohesive whole. Could Better Out Than In be the street art equivalent of institutional critique, really only using the works of street art as props? If so, Banksy may once again outdo himself, a commendable feat when the question among his fans always seems to be “What can Banksy do next? How can he top that last thing?”. Like I say, it’s too early to say with any confidence if this is what Better Out Than In is really about. So far we’ve only seen one piece and gotten a hint at the larger project, so I’m just speculating out loud and tomorrow it could become apparent that I’m completely wrong and have just my head too far up my own ass to see that yet. Maybe Banksy just wanted to make some jokes that didn’t work as stencils or he’s upset that MoMA hasn’t given him a show yet. I guess we’ll find out soon, although with Banksy it seems that hardly anything is ever completely clear.

One of the questions that people seem to be asking about these works is how long they are going to last, given the recent spike in the number of Banksy street pieces that people have sold or are trying to sell. Well, if this first piece is any indication, the works won’t last very long. This first piece has already been damaged. The sign has been removed and some tags have been added. My partners in The L.I.S.A. Project stopped by the wall late Tuesday night and took this photo:

Photo courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project

Photo courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project

Or, for the gif-lovers out there, I’ve made this:

Photo courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project

Photos courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project

The point is, if you really want to see one of these pieces, it’s probably best to keep a close eye on the project website, the project’s Instagram and other social media channels where the location might be revealed (since it appears Banksy’s sites will only be giving an approximate location) so that you can get to the new work before thieves or people bent on destroying it do.

Speaking of other social media channels. I tweeted a bit this evening that perhaps Banksy had joined Twitter for this project as @banksyny, but pretty soon after that I realized that the account is almost definitely a hoax. Obviously there’s no way to no for sure, but the general rule-of-thumb for confirming anything Banksy-related is to see if it appears on his website. While the @banksyny Instagram account is linked to from banksyny.com (which his official site, banksy.co.uk, currently redirects to), the Twitter account is not. So, I think it’s safe to say that the Twitter account can be assumed to be a hoax. Ironically, right after tweeting about the @banksyny Twitter account and believing that it could be real, I tweeted this about how people shouldn’t report Banksy rumors as fact. So, I screwed up on that one…

My guess it that we won’t be posting updates about every new piece in Better Out Than In or news about the project to this blog. Instead, you’re probably better following Vandalog on Twitter or Facebook for those updates (or of course following Banksy’s own site).

Photos courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project and by carnagenyc


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Melbourne Monthly Madness – August 2013

September 30th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »

Sorry this post is so late. I’ve had an injured hand, so typing has been a pain, literally… Here’s my round up for August. I’m calling this month the Video Edition, cos I don’t think I can recall a month where so many awesome videos came out… Here we go…

To start off check out this great video from Jack Douglas. Jack is a talented Melbourne street artist and tattooist; this video shows some of his street and tattoo work. His characters are always awesome.

Another rad video featuring local writer BOLTS smashing some walls across Melbourne with his always super tight style.

Do you know what a “bogan” is? It’s an Australian colloquialism, this video from Melbourne writer AEON (created alongside VNA magazine) gives you a perfect explanation of the Aussie Bogan, lost in London.

LINZ from Queensland visited Melbourne and painted this great piece. LINZ also talks about his time as a writer and how things have changed so much over the years.

This video from Spacerunner is definitely my favourite video for the month. SIMR and Rides showing us how it’s done painting one of Melbourne’s trains in the dark of the night.

Check out this video featuring interviews with Rone, Sandra Powell and Andrew King discussing their views on street art in galleries and the streets and the general attitude towards the art recently in Melbourne.

Rone was in Portland Oregon recently for Forrest for the Trees festival.

A new video from LUSH.

And finally Reka painted this epic 8 story wall in Copenhagen.

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Weekend link-o-rama

September 21st, 2013 | By | No Comments »
Unit 12, maybe. Photo by Dani Mozeson.

Unit 12 or Unit 112, maybe?

This link-o-rama is super helpful for me, because all week I’ve been working on my upcoming ebook instead of blogging. Hopefully the ebook will be out in November… Anyways, links:

  • I love that this show at LeQuiVive Gallery reframes a certain kind of work that often gets lumped in with street art or urban art as Neu Folk Revival, which describes the work much better than calling it street art or urban art or low-brow art. Some real talent in this show: Doodles, Troy Lovegates, Cannon Dill, ghostpatrol, Zio Ziegler, Daryll Peirce, Justin Lovato… It opens next month.
  • This piece by Part2ism needs to be seen. And look closely. That’s not just paint on the wall. Very interesting. I am glad to see Part2ism on the streets again, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. Once again, he has shown that he is ahead of the rest of us. This piece doesn’t look like graffiti. It doesn’t look like street art. It looks like art on the street, and that’s much too rare.Swampy has relaunched his website and posted a video diary sort of thing. I’m very curious what people think about it. Have a look and let me know.Check out this concept from Jadikan-LP: Art that only exists within Google Maps. Click the link. Explore the room. I normally hate lightpainting or “light graffiti,” but I absolutely love this piece. As far as I’m concerned, the internet is a public space and Jadikan-LP has invaded it with artwork, so this project is street art.
  • CDH wrote a really fascinating article in Art Monthly Australia about the commodification of street art. While I don’t agree with him entirely, I think it’s a must-read because at least it sparks some thoughts. It’s one of the best-written critiques I’ve read of the capitalistic nature of contemporary street art. Over on Invurt, they have posted CDH’s article as well as a response by E.L.K. (who CDH calls out in his critique). In his article, CDH called out E.L.K. for using stencils with so many layers that the work isn’t really street anymore, since stencils were initially used for being quick and a piece with 20 layers isn’t going to be quick. It’s just going to look technically interesting. Well, E.L.K. shot back in his response and made himself look like an idiot and seemingly declaring that all conceptual street art and graffiti is crap. There were arguments he could have made to defend complex stenciling or critique other points of CDH’s article, but instead E.L.K. mostly just attacked CDH as an artist. Anyway, definitely read both the original article and the response over at Invurt. The comments on the response are interesting as well.

Photo by Dani Mozeson


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Adrian Doyle paints a Melbourne street art hotspot completely blue

September 10th, 2013 | By | 8 Comments »
Adrian Doyle in the new Blue Rutledge Lane - Photo by Adrian Lagniton.

Adrian Doyle in the new Blue Rutledge Lane. Photo by Adrian Lagniton.

A couple of weekends ago on Sunday the 25th of August, I started walking down Hosier Lane, which I do at least 5 times a week, but this time I noticed something very strange. Rutledge Lane (located parallel to Hosier Lane – one of Melbourne’s most well known street art and graffiti locations) was completely fenced off and there were trucks and equipment. When I made it down to the other end, an even more surprising site met me.

It was Adrian Doyle (who I’ll tell you a bit more about later) in a full white body suit, spray gun in hand, starting to paint Rutledge Lane completely BLUE. An eery light blue glow came all the way to the edge of the lane with a distinct sharp blue line all the way to the edge of Hosier. What followed has been the talk of the Melbourne street art and graffiti community, and whilst it has calmed down now, or has even been forgotten, it definitely created quite a stir.

The ‘installation/artwork/buff?’ was not only the talk of the local street art and graffiti community, it also attracted much media attention on radio, TV and in newspapers due to the infamous nature of the lane way.

The Lane being painted - Photo by David Russell

The Lane being painted. Photo by David Russell.

The Lane being painted - Photo by David Russell

The Lane being painted. Photo by David Russell.

Adrian continued down the entire laneway and proceeded to buff everything in sight, and I mean everything, every bin, every spec of rubbish laying around, everything. Top to bottom, even the road. Scissor lifts and spray guns were his tools of choice to get as much paint up as high as he could.

Rutledge Lane - GIF by Khoon Sorasiri

Rutledge Lane. GIF by Khoon Sorasiri.

Later that day Invurt posted an article on the project, which contained Doyle’s explanation behind the project, taken from his Facebook page:

Today piece was not a buff….. it was a burner.. Hell yeaH…

Houses are a major influence on my aesthetics and imagery. Most of the important events in my early life were focused around our quarter acre block in the heart of suburbia. We had an outback toilet, complete with its own dunny man that came every week to change the bucket. We went through numerous above ground pools and sadly, many pets. My house was not really different than any other suburban house. Yet it was my world for many years, a curated world, in which I learnt social skills and perceived normality from my parents.

I watched from a very young age as my parents struggled with house payments and debt collectors. They worked so hard to pay the bills and bring up 5 kids. They worked in jobs they hated with little respect from their bosses. They married in their teens, and did all the expected norms and learnt behaviour passed down from their parents. The house was a symbol of their hard work.

This experience made me reflect on my childhood home, and the hold it had over me, my family and my art. When my parents eventually lost the house to the bank, my parents moved four hours away to a small cottage in East Gippsland. But the grief and pain followed them. I began to play with the idea of creating a colour that represents my childhood and my suburban experiences. Was it possible to create a colour that could capture that kind of experience?

So I decided to come up with my own colour. I named it: Empty-Nursery Blue

The way I decided to create Empty-Nursery Blue was by sitting in the studio and creating hundreds of different blues until I found the one that expressed my experiences the most. It was a baby blue that had hints of mauve in it. It’s a beautiful colour, a bright pastel. This colour expresses the feeling that something has been disturbed. All is not quite right. I took my disturbing yet beautiful colour to a paint lab and worked out its recipe.

But what good was Empty-Nursery Blue, if it was without a context. I needed to find something to paint to physicalise the concept of the colour.

As mentioned above, after losing their house, my parents moved to an island in the Gippsland Lakes. It’s a significant removal from the realities of suburban Frankston. Their house is alone in the landscape, only bushes and trees to keep it company. Not even a bridge links the island to the nearest shop. This physical removal from the past does not automatically come with emotional removal.

This is why I decided to paint my parents’ new house Empty-Nursery Blue.

Empty-Nursery Blue once placed in context became a symbol of a collective past. Surrounding the new house with the memory and emotions of an experience that ruptured my family’s suburban dream.

In recent years I have spent much of my time lost deep in the Melbourne Street Art world. Street art has become a major part of my life and the lane-ways have become my world. I have lived and breathed art all my life. My art, however, is conceived of and formed from my past experiences. I cannot exist today without recognizing my roots in the past.

Thus, I would like to incorporate my past and my present in a Street Art piece using the colour Empty-Nursery Blue, and only this colour. By using Empty-Nursery Blue to cover Hosier Lane, I am symbolically ‘coating’ my present with my past, it is reminder to me and anyone who is living, that you are a product of your former experiences, and you should be reminded of them as you work your way through your present and into your future. By doing this, I am claiming that a colour in its pure form can be street art or graffiti. This is a great conceptual link from fine art to street art, a link that is often lacking in the Melbourne Street Art scene. By bridging this gap, I hope to expose more people not only to Street Art, but also to the importance of art in general.

Doyle explains that his piece reflects the experiences of his childhood and his relationship with the suburban house, in particular the negative impact of his parents losing the house to the bank when he was young. “We’re all victims of suburbia” he said on a radio interview on 774. This all inspired him to create the “Empty Nursery Blue” colour.

Doyle claims the piece wasn’t a buff, but by nature it can’t really be called anything else. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t an interesting piece of art, although some argue it is not art, at all.

Doyle is no stranger to street art in Melbourne. He runs Blender Studios; Open since the birth of the circa 2000 street art explosion in Melbourne and home to so many of Melbourne’s best past and present street, contemporary and fine artists. Doyle also helps run the Signal Arts mentoring program which provides young kids paint and the opportunity to learn from some of Melbourne’s best street art and graffiti artists. He is a well known character in the closely connected Melbourne scene.

Does his intimate relationship with street art give him the right to paint an entire lane way blue though?

The Lane just before it was painted - Photo by David Russell

The Lane just before it was painted. Photo by David Russell.

For readers not familiar with them, let me tell you a little about Hosier and Rutledge Lanes. Hosier Lane is Melbourne’s most renowned street art location by far – I say renowned, not best; because there are MUCH better places for street art and graffiti in Melbourne. Just open any Lonely Planet or travel book about Melbourne and you’ll see that it is considered as a must see tourist attraction. On any given day of the week, hundreds and hundreds of people (from all walks of life, ages and parts of the world) visit Hosier and Rutledge Lanes to see what amazing artwork has been left for them to admire. The lanes are also one of the most popular places in the city for wedding photographs, which I personally think is extremely tacky, each to their own through.

Rutledge Lane before the buff - Photo by Dean Sunshine

Rutledge Lane before the Doyle’s project. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Hosier and Rutledge Lanes are close to the middle of Melbourne (off to the side a little) and are apparently a legal painting precinct, which means anyone can paint there, any time.

For many years the laneways were cared for and curated by a guy called Andy Mac, who used to run Until Never Gallery on the corner of Hosier and Rutledge Lanes. This kept the level of quality artwork fresh and relevant and to some extent meant that the lanes had a caretaker of sorts.

Since Andy left, Rutledge Lane in particular has gone downhill in terms of quality and in terms of respect shown to the work, unlike most other places people paint in Melbourne. I mentioned my disappointment in my July article at a piece by German artist MSYK getting capped almost immediately after being painted (at the time it was by far the best piece in the lane). This is what Rutledge Lane is like now.

More recently in particular Rutledge Lane has gained a reputation as a “practice spot”. This reputation definitely doesn’t do any favours for the longevity of pieces painted there or to encourage respect, an unspoken rule in most other places you find graffiti and to some extent street art. “Don’t cap what you can’t burn” is not a saying that generally holds true in Rutledge Lane.

All of that said, while the lane was a little out of control, the layer upon layer of paint and tags and sculptures, was a spectacle in itself. There really wasn’t many (so publicly accessible) places quite like it in Melbourne. It even caught the eye of Futura when he was last in Melbourne. From my interview with him: “Well that’s the fucking craziest street in the world, I mean, that one back alley, it’s like DONE. Jesus it’s impressive. Fuck, I mean, you gotta see it to believe it. I don’t care where you go, you know, Germany, Italy, France no no no, it doesn’t exist. Plus your architecture.. the lanes, just the set up.” Not everyone will agree with this opinion, but it was a pretty special place in hindsight.

Walking through the lane after Doyle had finished, was a pretty surreal experience, love or hate the project. The fact that every single surface was well and truly covered in bright blue buff and it was quite unique. The lane stayed fenced off for 45 minutes before it was opened back up to the public, and once the fences removed it didn’t’ take long for the cans to come out and some awesome burners to grace the new blue walls. (“Thanks for the Blue” – someone wrote). Sadly these pieces were capped with shit soon after. (Check out #RutledgeLane on Instagram or Flickr to see lots more shots, it changes daily).

What was I expecting though? One criticism of the project relating to this point, would be the lack of community consultation and engagement. Could this have had a different outcome if let’s say all the artists and writers were a) across the project, b) endorsed it, and c) aware of it happening? What if it had been discussed and debated? What if the majority of artists did support it, and organised to meet in the lane once it had been reopened, and repainted the new blank canvas? Would that have changed things? Could it have been one almighty refresh of Rutledge Lane?

Watching the event in time lapse is also fascinating. Personally I would still be filming the experiment, to see how long it takes for all the blue to disappear. I think this was also a bit of a missed opportunity; how fascinating would it be to watch it over 6 months or a year?

Rutledge Lane - Photo by David Russell

Rutledge Lane. Photo by David Russell.

Another disappointment from my perspective was the lack of intelligent discussion this project generated. Not because it didn’t have potential to do so, but because most people are idiots. I found the reactions to this fascinating.

The majority of the reactions on Facebook and Blogs was just mindless insults and abuse. Some interesting (and ill informed) rumours too: “It’s for a new commercial,”  “It’s the cops, they’ve baited the lane and they’re filming to catch people,” “It’s illegal to paint there now.” There were a few sensible and intelligent comments though. Along the lines of “It’s a fresh canvas”, “Nothing is permanent” or “Go down and paint your best stuff and stop complaining”.

Others complained that he destroyed a iconic place with some classic pieces. As Doyle says “the lane was trashed” there were no really significant pieces there except for maybe 2 or 3; as Acclaim Magazine rightly noted “in my opinion, it is a shame to see those Mic and Tekno rollers disappear” (those pieces were only still left intact because they were up so high). The rest of the lane way was a mess. And, it will be back before people realise, I bet.

I think one of the things that pissed many people off was the fact the project was endorsed and facilitated by RMIT University (a large institution) and (as it turned out) the City of Melbourne. Two of the least relevant authorities on street art. It was also interesting timing given the Lord Mayor had said he was “worried about the quality of the street art” in the Herald Sun only a week earlier.

Was it a kick up the arse the lane and the scene sorely needed? Was it a challenge to the community? Why has this lane become a “practice lane”? Is this what the painters of Melbourne want people to see when they visit “the most iconic street art and graffiti location in Melbourne”? (According to the public/tourists anyway). Or was the lane perfect, just the way it was?

I still don’t know exactly what I think about this very unique project. I can see so many good things about it, but I also understand many people’s negative opinions. For me the negatives were only in the execution, maybe missing out on some potential opportunities to make this project even more effective.

Anyway, it’s over now. I am looking forward to watching the evolution of the new Rutledge lane. I wonder how long, if ever, it will take for every drop of blue to be covered.

I’d be interested to hear what you think in the comments section below.

Photos courtesy of: Adrian Lagniton, Khoon Sorasiri via Art Fido, David Russell and Dean Sunshine


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Weekend link-o-rama

September 7th, 2013 | By | 4 Comments »
Paul Insect and Sweet Toof

Paul Insect and Sweet Toof (and Sope)

For me, school is back in session. Hopefully everyone else out there is still enjoying the tail end of the summer. Here’s some art to keep your weekend interesting:

  • Martha Cooper and I have announced our picks for the MOCAtv Upload More Art challenge. You uploaded your street art videos, and we selected our favorites. I used the opportunity to highlight videos of Enzo & Nio and A.CE. As you can probably guess when you watch me explain my picks, I made those picks during Illegal August, so those sorts of thoughts were on my mind. Martha Cooper also selected two videos to highlight.
  • Just because Colossal Media paints murals based on designs by people like KAWS and Faile doesn’t mean there should be any love for them. They paint advertisements. That is their business. If they paint some murals on the side, that doesn’t excuse billboards invading public space. Unless you think BP sponsoring art exhibits excuses oil spills and pollution…
  • Also what’s up with KAWS’ work being used for a mural (I hesitate to say he did a mural, since it appears all he did was license his imagery)? He’s spent the better part of this site’s existence distancing himself from street art and graffiti and his public art has consisted of sculptures and flyposted advertisements (if you consider that public art).
  • Maybe I’ll be able to ask KAWS about all this myself soon, since presumably he’ll be in Philadelphia for his show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Arrested Motion has a bit of a preview, but I think the link really worth checking is PAFA’s website (and this archived version of the same page from mid-August) because of this section of the show description which has since been removed: “Placing KAWS’ sculptural works throughout PAFA’s historic galleries will further the ‘graffiti effect,’” and the edit of (emphasis added) “KAWS grew up in Jersey City, where he emerged as a graffiti artist in the early 1990s.” to “KAWS grew up in Jersey City, where he emerged as an artist in the early 1990s.” So that’s interesting.
  • I’ve never been a big fan of Elle’s work, but I do love this ad takeover.
  • And here are more ad takeovers, these from Jordan Seiler.
  • So many nice graffiti pieces on Ekosystem today.
  • I really like this new print from Shepard Fairey.
  • Pablo Delgado tiny pieces alway makes me smile.
  • Speak of small street art, here’s BSA’s take on the subject.
  • FAME Festival is no more, although ad hoc projects will continue to be organized in the town of Grottaglie, Italy by festival organizer Angelo Milano. It’s definitely sad news, but Angelo is always ahead of the times. Maybe this glut of street art festivals is just too much. Maybe it’s time for something different. Let’s hope Angelo figures it out. I can’t wait to see what he tries next.

Photo by Alex Ellison


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Nether on Wall Hunters’ “Slumlord Project”

September 6th, 2013 | By | 2 Comments »
Mata Ruda’s piece on Broadway

Mata Ruda’s piece on Broadway. Photo courtesy of Wall Hunters.

Editor’s note: I tried to write about this fascinating project that just finished up in Baltimore, but for some reason I was unable. So, instead, I asked Nether to write about the project for Vandalog. Nether was one of the co-organizers, so instead of my guesswork and thoughts based on a few articles I had read, now we have a first-hand account of one of the more daring street art projects in recent memory: Wall Hunters’ “Slumlord Project”. – RJ Rushmore

Wall Hunters‘ “Slumlord Project” was a project that installed 17 pieces on dilapidated vacant houses that are owned by people we consider to be negligent property owners. The project was a collaborative venture between the newly-minted street artists’ nonprofit, Wall Hunters, and Slumlord Watch, a local blog that documents the city’s shameful and shockingly large stock of uninhabitable vacant homes. QR codes and text descriptions were pasted alongside the art. A cell phone app scan of these instantly unveiled ownership information on the guilty landowner by linking to the Baltimore Slumlord Watch website. The artists’ ephemeral work and the community reaction to it was recorded for a documentary being produced by the project’s third partners, filmmakers Tarek Turkey and Julia Pitch. The project’s goal was to catalyze a larger conversation on Baltimore’s vacancy issue–a conversation that includes the normally muted voices of those who live in the targeted neighborhoods, as well as politicians and the developers whose phone calls get answered by city hall.

The idea for the project was born about a year ago. At that time I was putting up wheatpastes on dilapidated, vacant houses. As I was researching specific properties I was hitting, I regularly came across the Baltimore Slumlord Watch blog run by the housing activist Carol Ott. Slumlord Watch is basically Wiki-leaks for Baltimore’s underfunded housing authority. As blog posts make clear, many of the blighted houses are owned by entities with the means to fix their crumbling properties–slumlords who blithely ignore the cost of their neglect on city communities. Since much of my work uses images to deal with the vacancy problem and Carol was battling the same issue, we decided to meet and try to do something that joined street art with housing activism. I began driving her around while she catalogued vacants and researched ownership, and I wheatpasted.

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Melbourne Monthly Madness – July 2013 (belated)

September 2nd, 2013 | By | No Comments »

Apologies for the delay posting this. I have had to hold off posting it due to Illegal August.

HAHA - Photo by David Russell

HAHA – Photo by David Russell

Metro Gallery started off the month with the opening of their group show “Writing on the Wall” with works from local and international artists such as Swoon, Rone, Matt Adnate, HAHA, Word to Mother, E.L.K, Dabs Myla and D*Face and more. Some shots from the opening below and more here.

Rone - Photo by David Russell

Rone – Photo by David Russell

Word to Mother - Photo by David Russell

Word to Mother – Photo by David Russell

The day after the opening Metro hosted more live painting, this month featuring work by Unwell Bunny, Two One and again E.L.K. More shots here.

Unwell Bunny - Photo by David Russell

Unwell Bunny – Photo by David Russell

Two One - Photo by David Russell

Two One – Photo by David Russell

E.L.K - Photo by David Russell

E.L.K – Photo by David Russell

Chaotic Gallery’s 1st show BRUISER by Creature Creature was a cracker. A massive turnout for the Southside’s newest gallery. The works were amazing; a combination of the two artists styles which mesh so well together, featuring influences from the samurai era throughout. Check out some of my favourite pieces below and more here.  Also check out some of their recent paste ups, which I also love, here.

Creature Creature - Photo by David Russell

Creature Creature – Photo by David Russell

Creature Creature - Photo by David Russell

Creature Creature – Photo by David Russell

Creature Creature - Photo by David Russell

Creature Creature – Photo by David Russell

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Weekend link-o-rama

August 31st, 2013 | By | No Comments »
Judith Supine

Judith Supine

It’s the last week of my summer. Why am I on my laptop? Okay, I’ll make this quick…

Photo by Luna Park


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