New Zealand: Small place, big talent

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: , , , , ,

Hunting for new stikman work in Philadelphia

April 9th, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »
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Fishtown, March 31st

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

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

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Fishtown, March 31st

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

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

The Gayborhood / Midtown Village, March 24th

Photos by Damon Landry


Category: Guest Posts, Photos | Tags:

A smack in the face from DosJotas

April 8th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

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

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At MoMA

Photos by DosJotas


Category: Photos | Tags:

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

April 8th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

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

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

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Category: Photos | Tags: ,

Tim Hans shoots… Dan Witz

March 31st, 2014 | By | No Comments »

DanWitz_TimHans03

Dan Witz is one of the original New York street artists, with almost 35 years of experience getting up. He’s also one of my favorite realist painters and pranksters. If you want to see some of Dan’s work in person, he’s got a solo show opening this week at Jonathan Levine Gallery‘s 529 West 20th Street space in New York City. Tim Hans met Dan at his studio for the latest in our continuing series of photo-portraits of artists by Tim. I asked Dan a few questions over email.

RJ: What’s the best prank (involving art or not) that you’ve ever pulled?

Dan Witz: Hmm-best? Hard to say: I mean most of my street stuff over the past 35 years could be described as pranks. I wouldn’t want to single out a winner, but probably the one that consistently gets the most ‘likes’ out of all my one-off pieces would be the clown face house in Brooklyn.

RJ: How did your work with Amnesty International come about and what keeps you working with them?

DW: They got in touch with me. Or, actually, an ad agency that was handling them in Germany reached out to me. Like most street artists I get a lot of e-mail probes from marketing types eager to link their product or cause with urban art. It’s been pretty easy for me to avoid this because my stuff works much better if I keep my identity, or “brand” as much under the radar as possible. When Amnesty International got in touch though, I was so honored and such a long-time supporter of theirs that I was willing to consider it. And I’d already been working with figures trapped behind grates in my WHAT THE %$#@? (WTF) series, so advocating for illegally detained prisoners was an easy fit.

I am so incredibly glad I opened up to this. The 20 or so Wailing Wall pieces in Frankfurt became one of the peak experiences of my career. Oddly, even with all the media frenzy (and the accompanying police attention) there was no pressure on me to compromise my normally aggressive installation tactics (these days, to avoid easy theft I anchor my grate pieces into the wall, which involves serious industrial adhesives and a hammer drill). It turns out that Amnesty international, despite its mainstream respectability, is a surprisingly bad-ass organization. They recognized that my methods, although illegal, were the most effective way to galvanize public attention. If anything they even pushed me to go larger and bolder than I usually do. I date a huge growth in my street practice to that first Amnesty project.

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RJ: Whose artwork hangs in your home and why?

DW: There’s a rotating selection of friends’ work, a few copies of old master paintings I’ve done, (in gold frames, which really class the place up), and the usual magnetized refrigerator masterpieces from our two year old. I have to say, I’ve really been enjoying fooling around with the non-toxic kiddie art supplies. Don’t look for a new Crayola series from me or anything, but it’s reminded me how great it is to draw just for the fun of it

RJ: The kitschy artist Thomas Kinkade called himself a “painter of light,” but that description is probably more appropriate for you. What fascinates you about light in paintings?

DW: Didn’t that guy copyright or trademark the “Painter of Light” thing? And isn’t he like the best selling artist, ever? I’ve never seen one in real life but I bet they have a nice heartwarming glow. To be honest, not to put him down, but simulating light with oil paint isn’t really that hard to do. And yeah, like him (I’m guessing) I’ve never gotten over what a miracle it is. It’s magic. And addictive. Same for me with creating trompe l’oeil illusions of space. I never get sick of it. I guess I should be grateful to artists like Kinkade: if it wasn’t for them I might forget how easily these effects can turn into clichés.

RJ: What are you working on at the moment?

DW: As usual I’ve got a few projects simultaneously dead-lining in my studio. Right now, on easel one I’m preparing this summer’s street art; and easel two has my ongoing Mosh pit painting series. Most days I bounce back and forth—I get sick of one and take refuge in the other. But in a few weeks  I’ve got a show, NY Hardcore, opening at Jonathan Levine Gallery so we’re frantically varnishing and framing and e-mailing and packing. Fortunately my studio has a separate ‘dirty’ room in the garage downstairs so I can spray and do woodwork without endangering the artworks and my family’s health. But it’s out of control over here. Which used to be an unbearably stressful way to live, but I’ve gotten used to it, and sometimes (like now, answering these questions) I even get a brief moment to step back and appreciate how lucky I am to be so busy and have all this crazy shit going on.

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Photos by Tim Hans


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

Labrona and Jason Botkin in Mexico

March 30th, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »

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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.

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Labrona, Jason Botkin and Liz Rashell in Cancun

Details

Details

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Details

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.”

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Labrona and Jason Botkin in Mexico City

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In progress

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Jason Botkin aka Kin in Mexico City

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Labrona in Mexico City

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Labrona and Jason Botkin in Mexico City

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Labrona in Mexico City

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Jason Botkin aka Kin in Mexico City

Photo by Jason Botkin


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

Zoo Project, Parisian street artist, is dead at 23

March 29th, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »
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Photo by urbanartcore.eu

Some very sad news. Earlier this week, we posted about the graffiti at Detroit’s Brewster Projects. What we did not know at the time is that Zoo Project, a 23 year old street artist whose work is very well known in Paris, had been found murdered at the Brewster Projects last summer. His body has only just now been identified.

Photo by gildas_f

Photo by gildas_f

I remember seeing a lot of Zoo Project pieces around Paris the last time I was there. They seemed to be everywhere and they immediately caught my eye. Unfortunately, I’ve never been all that good about covering Parisian street art on Vandalog, and I absolutely failed to properly cover Zoo Project’s work while he was alive. The why of that is unimportant right now. Zoo Project was like a young Blu: Painting large pieces on the street in black and white or muted colors, commenting on society, politics and technology with surreal imagery… He will be greatly missed, and his death is a loss to street art. To make up in a very small way for me neglecting his work on Vandalog despite my admiration for it, here are a few Zoo Project pieces…

Photo by G@ttoGiallo

Photo by G@ttoGiallo

Photo by kayexalate

Photo by kayexalate

Photo by Gaël Chardon

Photo by Gaël Chardon

Photo by marcovdz

Photo by marcovdz

Photo by gillesklein

Photo by gillesklein

Photo by Béatrice Faveur

Photo by Béatrice Faveur

Photo by gillesklein

Photo by gillesklein

Photo by gillesklein

Photo by gillesklein

Photos by urbanartcore.eu, gildas_f, G@ttoGiallo, kayexalate, Gaël Chardon, marcovdz, gillesklein and Béatrice Faveur


Category: Art News, Photos | Tags:

Nanook gets lost in the sunset

March 28th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

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Last month Nanook ventured to Central America to paint for Mamutt in Mexico City. ”Perdido en la Puesta del Sol,” or “Lost in the Sunset” draws upon the local history as well as the site. The former flour production factory Nanook painted this mural on is located in the very industry driven neighborhood of Camarones. Nanook speaks of the enmeshing of narratives, stating:

“About 15-20 years ago many of the factories closed and moved either outside of the city or out of the country. The neighborhood subsequently fell into decline. The parrot wing is representative of two things 1. The nickname for cocaine is parrot, while the neighborhood was losing industry many people began using and selling drugs. 2. The wing is also representative of the Quetzalcoatl, which had many meanings, but one of which was fertility and growth. It is attached to the corn and the woman squinting into the sun as a representation of growing past the loss of industry and ultimately the rebirth of the industry.”

While exploring the representation of local history, the artist continues his experimentation with portraiture and landscape. The juxtaposition is reminiscent of a mural he created last year for Living Walls Atlanta, which set two figures against a pastoral scene. As Nanook continues his nomadic lifestyle, the artist grows from the local experiences, leading viewers to imagine what the next amalgamation will be.

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Photos courtesy of Nanook


Category: Photos | Tags: