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


ROA - Photo by Sam Gorecki


Phibs - Photo by Sam Gorecki


The Yok and Sheryo - Photo by Sam Gorecki

The Yok and Sheryo

Maya Hayuk - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Maya Hayuk

Lucas Grogan - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Lucas Grogan

More to come once I get to Perth.

Photos by Sam Gorecki

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

Labrona and Jason Botkin in Mexico

March 30th, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »


This past February a group of Canadian artists including Jason Botkin and Labrona were invited to Mexico to paint at Fiap, International Festival of Public Art, in Holbox. While they where there, they met friends who invited them to paint in Cancun and Mexico City. In Cancun, Labrona and Botkin joined Liz Rashell, a local artist, who organized a mural (below) with the support of the CRAD, Cacun Riviera Arts Destination. The mural above, also located in Cancun, was organized by Leon Alva and painted by local artists Alva, Marisol d’EstrabeauCarlos Generoso and Canadian artists Ruben Carrasco, Labrona and Botkin.


Labrona, Jason Botkin and Liz Rashell in Cancun





In Mexico City, Labrona and Botkin had a lot of fun painting a mural, wheat-pasting and exploring the capital. The mural was done at a school. Labrona said, “It was an amazing place to paint because all the children got to see us painting and maybe some of them will be inspired to try art. Also, when we were painting, the teachers brought there kids out to watch and draw.”


Labrona and Jason Botkin in Mexico City


In progress


Jason Botkin aka Kin in Mexico City


Labrona in Mexico City


Labrona and Jason Botkin in Mexico City


Labrona in Mexico City


Jason Botkin aka Kin in Mexico City

Photo by Jason Botkin

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

Ian Strange updates Gordon Matta-Clark for a new time and context

January 27th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

“Untitled House 2″ by Ian Strange

Ian Strange aka Kid Zoom‘s latest work is FINAL ACT, a project somewhat similar to last summer’s very surprising and impressive SUBURBAN. The results of the project are on display now at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand. As you can see in the photos and video in this post, the work involved artfully deconstructing four homes in Christchurch. The process was heavily documented in video and still photography, as were the results of the deconstruction. Really, the final artworks in this project are the photographs and films (and some sculptures that come from the process of cutting up the homes), and that’s what is on display now at the Canterbury Museum. It’s all a part of the Rise Festival that’s going on there now, and Ian’s response to the earthquake that shook Christchurch in 2011.


Photo by Jedda Andrews

If I remember correctly, Ian and I discussed the work of Gordon Matta-Clark when he first showed me some previews of SUBURBAN. SUBURBAN seemed to me like a uniquely Kid Zoom project, but also clearly influenced by Matta-Clark. And there’s nothing wrong with influence, especially if you bring a fresh perspective. I feel that Ian’s work does that. Because he incorporates these intricate photography, videography and lighting setups (as well as paint in the case of SUBURBAN), there’s something different going on than what Matta-Clark was doing. And Ian has grappled with ideas of suburbia in his work for years before FINAL ACT or SUBURBAN, and he’s also acutely aware of the power of documentation. So the work has a different impetuous and a different meaning from Matta-Clark.


“Untitled House 3″ by Ian Strange

Still, when I saw the photos of FINAL ACT, I could not help but say to myself, “Wow. I can’t believe Ian’s just taken a quintessentially Matta-Clark visual and thrown in some fancy lighting, and then done some quintessentially Matta-Clark sculptures.” I suppose I could have brushed this off, except that nowhere in any official descriptions of FINAL ACT could I find a reference to Matta-Clark. It’s not like there was no explanation of the project. There was a written press release, and a sort of making-of video has been released in addition to the 12-minute video art piece and the still photos. Why, in none of that supplementary material, would such an essential reference point be neglected? It would be like this Sherrie Levine piece being described or displayed without any reference to Duchamp. That neglect rubbed me the wrong way.


Photo by Jedda Andrews

In the Juxtapoz-friendly art world (or maybe just among PR people), I’ve found that it’s just not usually considered cool to acknowledge an artist’s influences or references unless they are somehow subversive or could be a way of getting more press attention (ps: that’s not a dig against Juxtapoz, just a way of describing a very large scene). I’m guilty of falling into similar traps sometimes too. There’s a lack of critical exploration of the artwork that blogs like Vandalog cover, and examples like this going unacknowledged only continue that pattern. And it’s even worse that museums perpetuate the same issues when education is one of their traditional responsibilities.


“Untitled House 1″ by Ian Strange

But maybe I’m just a pretentious “high brow weiner” (sic). So before ripping into FINAL ACT, I decided to reach out to Ian and ask for a comment on the similarity to Matta-Clark. Here’s his response:

Matta-Clark is a huge influence on my work – Also artists like John Divola, who’s work documenting suburbia and his vandalism series using aerosol, also his recent dark star series.

In Final Act, the initial idea was to use light if it was paint – Allowing the negative space of the cuts to be filled with light and in a sense be an extension of the painted gestures and markings from Suburban.

The house cut works in the exhibition have a strong reference to Matta-Clark’s work. But in this this body of work they were also a way for me to physically archive the Christchurch homes in their museum. The homes I worked on will be demolished, along with the entire neighborhood they are in, that neighborhood is part of over 16,000 homes which will be eventually demolished. I was interested in the works being artifacts which will remain long after the homes are gone – Ultimately I would have loved to move an entire house into the museum, which wasn’t possible.

That’s a well-considered and enlightening comment in what was almost an immediate reply to my email, so it couldn’t have taken too long to write up. And Ian has mentioned Matta-Clark in interviews before, so it’s not like he’s been trying to hide anything. Why couldn’t something like that have made it into a press release or some wall text in the museum (and if someone has been in the museum and they do have some wall text like this, please let me know, but it seems unlikely to me given the text I’ve seen about this project)?


Photo by Jedda Andrews

While I still thing the similarities to Matta-Clark’s work are a bit much in FINAL ACT (less-so in SUBURBAN), I appreciate that Ian is trying to do is a bit different. While I suppose he would argue that it’s more than this, I see FINAL ACT as a modern update on a classic, and there’s nothing wrong with that, as long as we acknowledge it.


Photo by Jedda Andrews

Photos by Ian Strange and Jedda Andrews

Category: Featured Posts, Festivals, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Videos | Tags:

Troy Lovegates, new mural in Miami

January 19th, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »

Detail of “Falling”. Photo by Troy Lovegates.

Last December, during the famous Art Basel Miami Beach 2013, Troy Lovegates (aka Other) did a stunning mural in Wynwood. Beautiful, always. Rather than describe it or try to explain Troy Lovegates‘ work, I invite everybody to check out the video, and to listen to his own words….Beautiful, always.


Large view of the mural “falling”. Photo by Troy Lovegates.

Photos courtesy of Troy Lovegates

Category: Festivals, Videos | Tags: ,

Spaik hits up Medellin for Street Skills

October 31st, 2013 | By | No Comments »


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).


Photos courtesy of ANCK and Spaik

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

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

Category: Art News, Festivals, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Print Release, Random, Vandalog Projects, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Read the rest of this article »

Category: Art News, Featured Posts, Festivals, Guest Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Off-Murales, a feminist vision of street art in Montreal, Canada

August 22nd, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »

Stela, Lilyluciole for Off-MuralES

Last June, the first edition of MURAL festival took place on boulevard Saint-Laurent, in the heart of Montreal. Beside this official and stunning event (covered here, here and here), a group of women street artists created a non-event, called Off-MuralES, all based on illegal artistic actions. The collective was created by Lilyluciole, Zola, Stela, Wall of femmes, Harpy and Camille Larrivée, and joined by 52HZ and Zuzu. When I asked Lilyluciole to explain me the logic of this Off, this is what she told me:

“Regarding Off-muralES, it is composed only of women street artists. However, the initial motivations for participating in this group are different for each of us. We share the same values: anti-racism, anti-corporatism and feminism. I think we all try to assert our presence as women artists in the streets of Montreal while remaining as independent as possible. Regarding illegal street art, yes we claim this expression over all. In addition, the Off-muralES was created in reaction to MURAL Festival to offer an alternative vision of street art closest to social realities in which most of us live.”

Here are some illegal street art works from some of the collective’s members, Lilyluciole, Stela, 52Hz and Zola. You can now follow their work and action here.






Stela, 52Hz




Stela, 52Hz



DSC_0440 - Version 2_01


Photos by Aline Mairet

Category: Festivals, Guest Posts | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Weekend link-o-rama

August 9th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »
Gold Peg

Gold Peg

What am I missing? Because I don’t have much to add this week for the link-o-rama. It’s the middle of summer? Aren’t people getting up? Am I just not seeing it?

  • Horfe and Coney/Ken Sortais went wild in an abandoned swimming pool.
  • Sweet Toof is understandably upset that a recent mural project in Hackney, where he and the rest of the Burning Candy crew painted some of their best illegal street art and graffiti, intentionally avoided including local artists. You’ve gotta love this quote from Sarah Weir, who heads the charity that commissioned the new murals: “We unashamedly wanted to showcase the best international artists and transform this part of the canal into a destination for street art.” That might be the dumbest thing I’ve read all summer, except for course for arguments defending the NSA or calling for Edward Snowden to return to the USA. First of all, murals (while interesting) emulate street art and graffiti, but there is a distinct difference between legal murals by street artists and illegal street art by the same artists. I’m sure that on Vandalog I have referred to murals as street art for the sake of simplicity, but not in a context like this where the difference between murals and street art is actually quite important. Hackney Wick’s canal already is a destination for street art, in large part due to the work of Gold Peg, Sweet Toof and the other members of Burning Candy. Weir is trying to turn it into a destination for murals, most likely at the expense of street art and graffiti if the intense pre-Olympics graffiti removal efforts in the area are anything to go by. Mural projects and festival are awesome, but they are not the same thing as illegal street art or graffiti.
  • Israel Hernandez, an 18-year-old Miami graffiti writer, was killed this week when he was tazered by police. They were chasing him after catching him writing in an abandoned building. CNN’s coverage of Hernandez’ death was surprisingly fair. Their piece was framed as the tragedy that is clearly is, rather than a piece demonizing Hernandez for his artwork like you might expect from some mainstream media.

Photo by Alex Ellison

Category: Art Fairs, Festivals, Photos, Random | Tags: , , , ,

A street art festival in Athens about Athens, with no artists from Athens

August 6th, 2013 | By | 6 Comments »


The Greek street artist Bleeps painted the above piece in response to a recent street art festival in Athens. Essentially, a mural festival was held ostensibly to spark discussion about the economic crisis in Greece and “on the controversial issue of the value of street art in a period of crisis.” Oddly it would then seem, the festival featured no Greek artists. This raises the issue of street artists being flown around the world to paint murals in communities to which they have no connection to in order to aid the existing power structures there. Bleeps says:

[In] the field of street art which has become a main “attraction” for the last decade, we have been experiencing the proliferation by corporate logic and the state in an “antagonistic” policy, while independent voices are either kept in silence, or subjugated.

Most recently the Αthens School of Fine Arts (state University) in collaboration with municipality of Nikea and private galleries organized a “crisis” street art festival entitled “CRISIS?WHAT CRISIS?”, from which Greek artivists were of course excluded. The organizers invited 20 European artists to create works for the festival. The formal argument of the Αthens School of Fine Arts to exclude local artists was that graffiti and street art in Athens are mostly anonymous and of dubious artistic value. The attempt to commodify art in the public sphere and the “politicized” orientated one, is more than obvious.

In addition to that a festival’s spokesman stated that the goal of the imported artists is to start a discourse with the local ones. Of course no discourse can occur on the basis of exclusion.

There are some amazing street art festivals around the world, but there’s something to be said for the argument that festivals and murals are antithetical to street art and graffiti. I imagine there is more to the story here than just Bleeps’ critique (although I can’t find much about the festival online), but I think Bleeps makes a valid point. Maybe next year Bleeps will be invited to take part in the festival, but I hope he declines the invitation. After all, capitalism is absolutely brilliant at co-opting it’s critics. As @JonHanna recently tweeted, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they make you a brand, then they win.”

Photo by Bleeps

Category: Featured Posts, Festivals, Photos | Tags: ,