Drawings for the Masses: a group show of personal sketches made public

June 14th, 2013 | By | 2 Comments »

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Drawing for the Masses is a group show of about a dozen international street showing, not just any drawings, but personal drawings and prepatory sketches that would be the blueprints for eventual murals. While a rough sketch of an existing mural may not seem that exiting, 999 Gallery assures you that these works are sometimes more precious to the artist than the public work since these were not intended for others to see. So, stop by to see see the personal work of 108AndrecoBorondoGaia2501Guy DenningHitnesLucamaleonteMartina MerliniMoneylessOzmo and Tellas.

The show opened last night in Rome’s 999 Gallery.


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Vhils, Vexta, and more in Very Nearly Almost

May 13th, 2013 | By | No Comments »

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Longtime readers will know that I am a big fan of Very Nearly Almost, a British art magazine for street art, graffiti, illustration and the like. Their latest issue has been a very welcome reprieve for me as I’ve turned to it in between writing essays upon essays for my final exams. Issue 22 features interviews with Vhils, Vexta, Cranio, Moneyless, Husk Mit Navn and more.

The Vhils and Husk Mit Navn interviews in particular make this issue worth seeking out. Vhils talks about his early career as a graffiti writer and suggests that he’s still active today, although the work isn’t traceable back to his career as a fine artist or muralist. This certainly isn’t unheard of for street artists who have “gone legit,” but it’s still a bit surprising to hear him talk about it, and about how graffiti still informs his work today. And Husk Mit Navn is an absolutely fantastic and underrated artist (check out some of his work here) who also has a lot to say about how his work is perceived in galleries, on the street, and online. Good stuff.

Although he is interviewed, the one thing this issue doesn’t answer for me is what people see in Cranio’s work. Seems to me like Nunca + Os Gêmeos – awesomeness/originality = Cranio, but people seem to go nuts over it. Is he a really nice guy? Is it just that people are so in love with what Os Gêmeos and Nunca are doing that they’ll accept a substitute when the masters aren’t available? This isn’t one of those times where I’m gonna say a grey wall would be better than Cranio’s work. There’s plenty of street art in the world that’s better than a grey wall but still doesn’t need to be celebrated like it’s the next big thing, and Cranio seems to me to fall into that category. If you have an answer or an opinion, I’d love to read it in the comments. Anyway…

You can pick up a copy of VNA 22 here.

Photo courtesy of Very Nearly Almost


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Yarn bombing: You can’t sit with us

November 13th, 2012 | By | 28 Comments »

Photo by StreetsDept

Conrad Benner of Streets Dept. noted that yarn bombing is probably one of the most verbally attacked forms of street art and in my experience, he’s right. Actually, most of the hate I hear comes from other street artists. Why? As Jason Eppink puts it, “Yarn bombing exemplifies the ‘do it for the photo’ method of street art. There’s a disingenuousness. … It’s bright and colorful for a day, then it looks gross and someone else has to clean it up.” And it’s no beautiful decay, like the withering of wheatpastes or chipping paint. Personally, I always feel a bit uncomfortable with the awareness that someone put in a disproportionate amount of hours to make such a short-lived mess. Yarn bombers, why not document your pieces a week after you put them up (or the places where they had formerly been) and tell us if this was made for the audience that would see it physically?

There is a family-friendly quality to yarn bombing that allows these crafters to feel comfortable putting up work in middle of the day in front of observers. It is relatively low-risk. I assume that the association of this with “street art” and “graffiti” has to be frustrating for painters, writers, wheatpasters and sticker artists who wait until the wee hours of the morning to put up work because they risk being charged with a felony. Let’s repeat that: felony. There is a hierarchy of risk in the world of vandalism and street art is already understood as less risky then straight graffiti. Below both of these would be stickering which despite being regarded as toothless in some circles, can still have you arrested in certain cities. Yarn bombing would probably rank so low in terms of risk that it would fall on a separate page. Illegality does not make a work better or worse (though admittedly the risk factor definitely adds interest), but if the playing fields are not equal for yarn bombers and street artists why should they be classified as one and the same?

Here’s the contradiction: I’ve seen yarn used as a street art medium in ways that I thought were extremely imaginative and visually interesting. Works by Moneyless, Spidertag, and HotTea aren’t any less temporary, any less susceptible to decay (perhaps even more so), or any less legally benign than typical yarn bombing. What makes them different for me? The fact that these artists’ works could be identified in a lineup. Part of what has street artists and street art appreciators writing off the genre completely, as Conrad initially asked, is not the medium but the lack of creativity. A plethora of yarn bombers would like their work to be seen as unique or distinct, as any artist would, but are they putting in the effort in to earn that? Let’s look at a few examples of what most people envision when they envision yarn bombing

Photos by Alona Arobas (top), jimmyhere (middle),  Robert Couse-Baker (left), amy_b (right)

And here are the yarn-wielding street artists previously named.

Hot Tea (top), Moneyless (middle), and Spidertag (bottom)

Point made or need we look further?

Olek had always been one of these artists whom I’d come across frequently but always skimmed over with a sort of neutral reaction, like “That might be cool if yarn bombing were something that was cool.” Then the other day Jonathan LeVine Gallery sent me this video compilation of Olek’s work over the past year. Through the entire video, I was trying to reconcile why I still hate yarn bombing but why Olek was starting to feel like an exception. The reason is that she has moved beyond many of the drawbacks of typical yarn bombing. She has a relatively large body of work and it is not built solely on sweatering trees in different cities. The sheer size of some of her pieces are enough to make even biased observers do a double-take. Olek’s work does not last longer or decay prettier, but like Hot Tea, Moneyless and Spidertag, her personal style is identifiable. Unlike usual yarn bombs which don’t seem to be communicating anything specific, Olek’s work is often blatantly addressing the greater art community. Naturally, I don’t like everything but the versatility in Olek’s work proves that there is colossal room for creativity in this genre.

Yarn bombers, I encourage you to point out any shortcomings in this post, but more importantly I challenge you to be more creative.

Photos by Alona Arobas, amy_b, Hot + Teajimmyhere, MoneylessRobert Couse-Baker, Spidertag and StreetsDept


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Murals at FAME Festival 2012, part one

October 6th, 2012 | By | 1 Comment »

Erica il Cane

Henrik Haven visited FAME Festival in Grottaglie, Italy for the festival’s opening events last month. Naturally, he took plenty of stunning shots of the new work there. In a two-part series, we’ve selected some of our favorite pieces from FAME 2012. In part one here, we’ve got walls by Erica il Cane, Conor Harrington, Interesni Kazki, Vhils, Moneyless, Brad Downey, Akay and Cyop & Kaf.

Cyop and Kaf

Vhils

Brad Downey and Akay

Read the rest of this article »


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Nanook updates (plus a bit of Ever)

July 28th, 2012 | By | No Comments »

Nanook and Ever in Foligno, Italy

The work of Baltimore-based artist Nanook has been appearing around the world a bit lately. Here’s work of his in Italy, Germany and Canada. His mural in Foligno, Italy with Ever is part of Attack Festival, which looks like they will have more artists coming to Foligno through September including Ericailcane, Sten&Lex and Moneyless.

Berlin

Newfoundland (installed by Tekar)

Newfoundland (installed by Tekar)

Photos courtesy of Nanook


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Weekend link-o-rama

June 22nd, 2012 | By | No Comments »

The week isn’t over yet, but this week’s news is going to be old if I don’t mention it soon. Here’s some of what I missed this week:

Photo by SMKjr


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Katowice Street Art Festival – part 2

May 22nd, 2012 | By | 2 Comments »

Roa

In continuation of Katowice Street Art Festival – part 1, this post concludes the two-part series on the Katowice Street Art Festival, which took place last month from April 20th to the 29th.

Toward the end of last month the Katowice Street Art Festival came to a close. Held in southern Poland, the festival featured a reputable lineup of street artists from around the world including Roa, GanzeerEscifHyuroLudoM-CityOlek, Mentaglassi, and more. The energy surrounding these artists provided the opportunity for a few local artists to exhibit some work on the streets as well (though not affiliated with the festival). Here are some more of the completed murals, and an interesting collaboration between Mark Jenkins and Moneyless; the only two artists involved whose outdoor work primarily consist of sculptures.

Aryz

Mark Jenkins and Moneyless collaboration

Mark Jenkins and Moneyless collaboration

Swanski

Hyuro

Etam Cru

Photos by Kalevkevad


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Katowice Street Art Festival – part 1

April 28th, 2012 | By | 1 Comment »

Escif. Photo by Foto Sigma DP1S

Poland is playing host to some of the world’s most talented street artists and muralists for the Katowice Street Art Festival. From April 20th to the 29th, the festival will feature artists such as Escif, Hyuro, Mark Jenkins, Ludo, M-City, Olek, Roa, Moneyless, and many more. Here are a few of the pieces already in progress or completed. There are many more photos on the festival’s facebook page.

Fantastic piece by Olek. Courtesy of Arrested Motion.

Ludo’s piece is a massive wheatpaste that incorporates paint. It looks great, but the one worry I have for this piece is that someone will probably have to paint over the eyesore that’s left when the paper weathers and inevitably comes down.

Ludo. Photo by Wojciech Nowak

Mark Jenkins. Photo by Foto Sigma DP1S

Hyuro in progress. Photo by Paweł Mrowiec

Tellas and Moneyless. Photo by Tellas

Photos by Foto – Sigma DP1S, Wojciech Nowak, Tellas and Paweł Mrowiec, also courtesy of Arrested Motion

Via Arrested Motion and Street Art News


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My Turn: Group Show at the Carmichael Gallery

March 27th, 2012 | By | No Comments »

Bumblebee, Sleeping Child Stencil

As Lois mentioned, “My Turn” (curated by L.A.-based Bumblebee) opened at the Carmichael Gallery recently, showcasing global artists deserving of wider audiences. Although the show’s title and theme failed to carry through to the works on display, it’s worth noting that Bumblebee showed admirable range in selecting fellow artists from the UK, Colombia, Argentina, Italy, and the Ukraine.

Interesni Kazki stood out as capably transitioning indoors without losing the magic that makes their large-scale work so spectacular. Building on their solo opening at Mid-City last year, the duo contributed separate pieces this time (each attributed to either WAONE or AEC), employing acrylics, rather than aerosol, in all but one piece.

Moneyless also showed strongly, with geographical works that utilized similar techniques to his yarn sculptures. (In fact, I’d be very interested to see what Moneyless could do if given free range in an entire gallery.) Though I love the idea behind Jaz’s animal transformations, they weren’t nearly as impressive on a smaller scale. However, what was impressive about the show was the diversity of work on offer–from Hyuro’s detailed pen work to Klone’s watercolors–bringing a solid perspective on where street art is going, and how it might continue to transition into gallery spaces.

“Play Me” runs through April 7 at the Carmichael Gallery, 5795 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232.

Bumblebee, "Black"

Interesni Kazki's AEC, "Star"

Interesni Kazki's WAONE, "Portal"

Moneyless, "Untitled"

Jaz, "Lions"

Klone, "Sabbath Bride"

Photos by Ryan Gattis. More photos available here


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Bien Urbain festival in Besançon, France

November 13th, 2011 | By | 2 Comments »

Sam3. Photo by E. Murcia Artengo

We’ve been posting images here and there from the Bien Urbain mural festival that took place in Besançon, France, but now photos of all the works are on flickr. These are a few of my favorite images (from Sam3, Hyuro, Moneyless, TBLR-ONE, Escif, Quillograma, Nelio, ), but definitely take the time to check out this Bien Urbain flickr set to see everything from the festival.

Hyuro. Photo by E. Murcia Artengo

Hyuro (detail). Photo by E. Murcia Artengo

Moneyless. Photo by D. Demougeot

OX. Photo by OX

TBLR-ONE. Photo by E. Murcia Artengo

Escif. Photo by E. Murcia Artengo

Quillograma and Nelio. Photo by Nelio

Photos by Nelio, E. Murcia Artengo, OX and D. Demougeot via Bien Urbain


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