Interview with a “street art expert”

February 17th, 2014 | By | 6 Comments »
Banksy Bandaged

“Bandaged Heart Balloon”. Photo courtesy of FAAM.

On Tuesday afternoon, Fine Art Auctions Miami (FAAM) will be hosting an auction that includes pieces by BanksyFaileKenny Scharf, BambiAiko and Terror161/J.SON that have been pulled (sawed, ripped, unscrewed, hammered off, etc.) from the street and brought to the auction house in Miami. Two pieces from Banksy’s recent NYC residency “Better Out Than In” are up for auction, including a car door from the Crazy Horse installation, and the bandaged heart balloon. You can have a look at the full catalog here (warning: it’s a PDF) or go here to follow the auction live.

Some of you might be thinking “Hey, those were for the public to enjoy!” or “Why should an unaffiliated auction house profit from the work/legal risks of these artists?” Good questions. But consider this… Who wouldn’t want to enjoy a literal piece of New York City from the safety of their home?

Ethical qualms aside, FAAM contacted Vandalog with an opportunity that we just couldn’t pass up: An interview with the auction house’s official “street art expert” Sebastien Laboureau of Moonstar Fine Art Advisors. Since many published authors and curators with extensive knowledge of street art and graffiti still don’t consider themselves experts, I decided to see what I could learn from a real street art expert…

Caroline Caldwell: At what point would a street artist be considered a ‘sell out’? If possible, provide examples.

Sebastien Laboureau, Street Art Expert: Art has a market, and street artists also sell their works, as long as artists stay true to their personal style and create from their hearts the concept does not apply. Recently many works from street artists sell at auctions, and in galleries because this art is contemporary and talks to a wide audience and public. Banksy is the leading street artist, and he sells hundreds of works everywhere in the world every year at increasing prices.

CC: The Banksy’s “Bandaged Heart Balloon” from her residency in New York City is a portion of the wall that was physically removed and transported to Miami. How do you suggest or imagine people display large pieces like this in their homes?

Expert: Street art is amazing in the way that there is no set medium, street artists can work on canvas, metal, walls, doors. The beauty of it is to keep it in its original medium, we find that collectors enjoy buying and displaying street art because it feels like the work is created in their home.

What "" might look like in a home. Photo illustration by RJ Rushmore, using photos courtesy of FAAM and by Bart Speelman.

What “Crazy Horse Car Door” might look in a home. Photo illustration by RJ Rushmore, using photos courtesy of FAAM and by Bart Speelman.

CC: How much of the art available in this auction was actually relocated from the street to the auction house?

Expert: Quite a few came directly from the streets, including two Banksy walls, a metal roll down gate by Kenny Scharf, and another large security gate by Lady Aiko & Terror 161. The great thing about these works is most of them were created in the street and will live a second life now. They will be preserved for eternity.

CC: If a street artists paints work on a canvas, should it be considered ‘street art’ or just ‘art’?

Expert: I do not feel the need to differentiate between the two, all is art, street art is art regardless medium it is created on.

CC: What is the difference between a ‘street art’ and a mural?

Expert: Street art is a style of painting and a mural is large scale work done on a building, one is genre and other is a medium.

"Kissing Coppers"

“Kissing Coppers”. Photo courtesy of FAAM.

CC: Who was the first authentic street artist to refer to themselves as a “street artist”?

Expert: The reality is that street art has always been around us. Some say street art was born in the late 70’s in New York City through graffiti art in public places. Some called it vandalism, some are still calling it vandalism… THIS IS ART!

CC: Should street artists in New York have NYC at the end of their Instagram handle?

Expert: Street artists should have any handle they please, to show where they have come from or where they are working.  New York City is very active in street art, but Miami has also become a street art mecca, with so many murals painted over the past year with an incredible quality and concentration in the Wynwood District. Street art is everywhere, in the London suburbs, in Barcelona, Paris, everywhere! And even in museums now.

CC: Would it be advantageous for street artists to align their personal brands with current trends in urban wear?

Expert: Historically, street art has been linked to hip hop. Fashion has always been intertwined with art. There is no limitation into what can and should be done!

CC: Is illegal street art graffiti?

Expert: It is still illegal in many parts and areas of the world, but more and more artists have been granted areas where they can create their works. Art is above any law, as art is life! Art pertains to our everyday life, and everywhere I look when I see art I see beauty.

Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 3.40.00 PM

Lady Aiko & Terror 161 on a metal gate originally located on the street in Wynwood, Miami. Photo courtesy of FAAM.

CC: Should there be a different word for street artists who are female?

Expert: There are more and more female street artists. We have great examples at our auction including Bambi and Swoon. Swoon has a museum show set-up in the Brooklyn Museum in April. Kazilla is a very talented street artist from the Wynwood who will be showing works and has brought local street artists together for the exhibition. There are many others! Once again, it makes no difference! ART IS ART!

CC: How long do you need to do the street arts before you’re considered a street artist?

Expert: There is no lead-time. A street artist is an artist that happens to use the streets as their canvas, there is no school. Some artists are better than others, but once again, there is no diploma to become a street artist!

CC: What’s the best city to get blog coverage in?

Expert: Miami is now becoming the street art mecca! But street art is everywhere in the world now.

Photos courtesy of Fine Art Auctions Miami (FAAM) and photo illustration by RJ Rushmore, featuring photos courtesy of FAAM and by Bart Speelman

Category: Auctions, Featured Posts, Interview | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

In the streets of Paris with Lilyluciole

February 8th, 2014 | By | 2 Comments »


The first time I returned to Paris after a few years of exile in Montreal, I was very excited by the idea of all the art I’d be able to find on the streets. But I rapidly realized that it would be difficult to hunt street art as I used to in Montreal… not the same art, not the same way to catch it. Paris is very intense, always the same artists, at every street corner, seen hundreds time on blogs, Flickr, instagram, etc… not easy to have the sensation of finding something new… not that I hate these productive artists, I really appreciate some and respect all of them, but I expected something different. So I asked someone that really comes from the streets in this city to give me a private art tour, Lilyluciole. Lucky me! What she showed me is not necessarily new, except a few pieces, but what a pleasure to see some precious artists like Kub, Baubô, Kraken, Kouka, Koleo, Sobre, Hopnn, Le Diamantaire, to see the refreshing pieces of my friend Lilyluciole in Paris, to admire illegal art work by Swoon, Stinkfish, InvaderMr Chat, to discover some amazing unknown spots, like the rue de l’Ourcq in the north of the city with walls covered by Da Cruz, Batsh, Sly2, Orfée… and some other spots, the Rue Desnoyers, Les Usines Éphémères. So, here is a personal point of view of the streets of Paris, by Lily and me.


Kraken. Le Marais.


Lilyluciole, Le diamantaire. Le Marais


SOBRE, Lilyluciole. Le Marais


Da Cruz, Space Invader. Canal de l’Ourcq


collective work of Lilyluciole and Baubô. Canal de l’Ourcq


Da Cruz, Lilyluiole ans Zola, Baubô. Canal de l’Ourcq


Da Cruz, Batsh. Rue de l’Ourcq


Da Cruz. Rue de l’Ourcq


Horfée. Rue de l’Ourcq.


Sly2, Da Cruz. Rue de l’Ourcq.


Da Cruz. Rue de l’Ourcq.


A view of the Rue Desnoyers, Belleville


Koléo, Swoon. Rue Desnoyers.


Stinkfish. Rue Desnoyers.


Hopnn. Rue Desnoyers.


Kouka, Le Diamantaire, Hopnn. Rue Desnoyers.


M.Chat. Les Usines Éphémères, Canal Saint-Martin

Photos by Aline Mairet

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

Melbourne Monthly Madness – October 2013

December 4th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »

This post is super late but definitely worth sharing with you all. I have been flat out working on the 2nd and final installment of ALL YOUR WALLS (last Wednesday through Friday – which was a HUGE success, I’ll be doing a full post on that soon). October’s post is short and sweet with some amazing content. Take some time to watch the videos and check out some of the awesome pics below.

This interview from Upstart Magazine with Australian stencil artist Damien Mitchell is a great way to start (Damien now lives in Brooklyn NYC). Damien gives a good insight into Melbourne’s scene and some great shots of some of the city’s best spots for street art and graff. Being a dog lover I’m a huge fan of the story behind the dog stencil.

This great short doco reappeared on vimeo after a long time in hiding. Melbourne Ink was filmed back in 2008 by Julien Sena and Romain Levrault while visiting from France. The video features the work of and interviews with some of Melbourne’s best artists; right in the midst of the massive explosion of street art in our city. Big ups to Fletch for the link!

Melbourne Ink from romain levrault on Vimeo.

Seeing this music video was a great surprise. Australian band Spiderbait recently released the music video for the track ‘It’s Beautiful’ (from their self titled album). A great video showing off some of Melbourne’s best lane ways and featuring the work of many Melbourne street artists and some music by a rad band.

Miso’s latest show ‘Bright Night Sky’ at Backwoods Gallery was amazing to say the least! Each piece created with a series of intricate pin pricks that come together to form beautiful pieces. Sold out before it opened, nice! These great shots show off some of her work and the awesome installation (in particular the fish eye shot).

Miso - Photo by Dreaded Cat Studios

Miso. Photo by Dreaded Cat Studios.

Miso - Photo by David Russell

Miso. Photo by David Russell.

Miso - Photo by David Russell

Miso – Photo by David Russell

My friend Lou Chamberlin launched her new book “Street Art Melbourne” in Hosier lane. Lou has been collecting shots of Melbourne’s amazing street art in our streets and lanes for the last 6 years or so, and the result is this great new book, showcasing some of Melbourne’s best artists alongside interstate and international visitors. Lou also invited a bunch of artists down and provided some paint to help colour the lane. I was asked to write the forward for the book which I was happy to do. Check out some of the work painted on the day here. You can preview the book and grab a copy here.

Lou Chamberlin - Street Art Melbourne Launch

Street Art Melbourne Launch. Photo by David Russell.

Kirpy painted his iconic Metcard stencil at Revolver. A common sight around Melbourne a few years ago, before it was replaced by the latest ticketing system. If you don’t get why it’s ripped then you probably won’t appreciate the stencil as much ;) I love the crispness of the stencil against the texture of the wall, it sort of looks like it’s floating.

Kirpy - Metcard - Revolver

Kirpy’s Metcard at Revolver

Reka painted this awesome mural in San Francisco – a mad piece. He also did a great interview on the local news.

Reka - San Francisco

Reka – San Francisco. Photo by Reka.

Reka - San Francisco

Reka – San Francisco. Photo by Reka.

He also painted in Portland this Autumn themed wall, titled “The Fall”. I’m really loving the direction James is taking with his work, to me it seems like he is incorporating more traditional shapes and objects meshed with his awesome style that we know and love!

Reka - The Fall - Portland

Reka – The Fall – Portland. Photo by Reka.

Reka - The Fall - Portland

Reka – The Fall – Portland. Photo by Reka.

This recap of Project 5 in Sydney, featuring Rone and Adnate from Melbourne. A great little project with Rone, Adnate, Numskull and Jodee Knowles. All proceeds from the works went towards supporting a great charity (ICE). A good close up of the live work and interviews with the artists.

David Russell’s “Through the Lens” for October brings the goods from around town, as usual. Here’s some of my faves.

RESUME - Photo By David Russell

RESUME. Photo By David Russell.

Facter - Photo By David Russell

Facter. Photo By David Russell.

Slicer - Photo By David Russell

Slicer. Photo By David Russell.

And to finish up a couple of rippers from Dean Sunshine’s Top Ten.

Taylor White - Photo by Dean Sunshine

Taylor White. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Two One and Senekt - Photo by Dean Sunshine

Two One and Senekt. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Adnate - Photo by Dean Sunshine

Adnate. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Photos courtesy of Dean Sunshine, David Russell, Dreaded Cat Studios and Reka.

Video Courtesy of Ambush Gallery, Upstart Magazine, Romain Levrault and Spiderbait.

Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Interview, Photos, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Banksy + 5: October 17th

October 17th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »
Banksy in Brooklyn. Photo by carnagenyc.

Banksy in Brooklyn. Photo by carnagenyc.

Today’s Better Out Than In piece only lasted for a few minutes after it was announced before it was defaced, which is too bad because it’s really a great example of how a simple intervention with the right placement can be great. Banksy is one of the best at this sort of thing.

Today Swoon, Zap, Mygalo, Sweet Toof, Paul Insect and one unknown artist make up our + 5:

Swoon. Photo by Alex Ellison.

Swoon in London. Photo by Alex Ellison.

Zap in Paris. Photo by vitostreet.

Zap in Paris. Photo by vitostreet.

Mygalo in Paris. Photo by vitostreet.

Mygalo in Paris. Photo by vitostreet.

Sweet Toof and Paul Insect. Photo by liborius.

Sweet Toof and Paul Insect in London. Photo by liborius.

Iztok Alf Kurnik in Cádiz, Spain. Photo by Iztok Alf Kurnik.

Unknown artist in Cádiz, Spain. Photo by Iztok Alf Kurnik.

Photos by carnagenyc, Alex Ellison, vitostreet, liborius and Iztok Alf Kurnik

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

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

Read the rest of this article »

Category: Art News, Books / Magazines, Events, Featured Posts, Gallery/Museum Shows, Interview, Photos, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tim Hans shoots… Swoon

September 1st, 2013 | By | No Comments »


Caledonia Curry aka Swoon has to be one of my all-time favorite artists. Her wheatpastes have inspired a generation of street artists, and her work indoors and outdoors touches hearts in a way that many artists aspire to but few achieve. Earlier this year, Tim Hans met up to Swoon for the latest in our continuing series of photo-portraits of artists by Tim, and I asked her a few questions over email.


RJ: You always seem to have a lot on your plate. What projects are you working on at the moment?

Swoon: Today I am gonna finish a paper cut out that’s hanging on my wall and needs my attention… what else?

I have a big installation coming up at the Brooklyn Museum that I’m pretty excited about, it opens in April 2014, along side Ai WeiWei and Judy Chicago, so I am honored to be in such good company, as well as just excited to create a big project in New York again after all these years.

And then besides a few other small projects in the works, the rest of my energies revolve around the big 3 that have dominated my life for the last couple of years – Konbit Shelter, sustainable architecture in post earthquake Haiti. Braddock Tiles, restoring a formerly abandoned church in Braddock, Pa to become an arts based learning center. And Dithyrambalina, musical architecture for New Orleans!

Whew! I get tired just thinking about it all!


RJ: You just finished a community mural with Groundswell, right? How does that process compare to your usual public art or street art projects?

Swoon: Actually the mural is still in progress. We will be installing a version of it together on the Bowery wall in Manhattan in October. What I love about groundswell is the thoroughness of their process. Everybody benefits from a groundswell mural, all of the youth artists that are involved, as well as the community members who get an awesome colorful mural that they helped to inform and create. It’s been amazing watching them work.

RJ: So many of your projects (Miss Rockaway Armada, Swimming Cities, The Music Box…) seem to be able inspiring people to be creative themselves. Why is that such a focus of yours?

Swoon: I’ll answer this one in a story.

So, one night in New Orleans we had an event to introduce our ideas to community organizers from various neighborhoods. There was a woman there named Linda Jackson, a resident of the Lower Ninth Ward who has been working tirelessly to bring her neighborhood back since the storm. This woman was fierce and I really admired her. She came up to me and said “Whatever I have to do to welcome you to into my community, I will. I got your back if you guys decide you want to work in the Lower Nine.” I asked her a bit about why she thought a project like musical architecture could be good for her neighborhood and she said “You know, it’s gonna really help these kids. We have kids with no parents, latch key kids, and kids whose parents are addicted to drugs, and in that situation creativity can save a kid’s life.”

Right then a light bulb went on in my head.  I don’t know why I had never put this thought together until this conversation, perhaps I had been avoiding it, but all of the sudden I understood something about my own life — and perhaps something about why I do the work that I do — and I said, “It’s true, my parents were hardcore drug addicts and my mother stayed an addict for the whole of my life. When I was 10 years old, and I found painting, it absolutely saved me.”


RJ: What is it about block printing that keeps you interested in the medium after all these years?

Swoon: I was just saying this the other day, that I find it funny that no matter how many blocks I carve, each time I start to carve one I get excited to begin it. I just love the process. I love the transformation that happens to the drawing through carving, and I love the permutations you get to experiment with when you have a bunch of different prints to work with.


RJ: What was the last great book you read?

Swoon: Hmm, well, I just watched a documentary and started on a book I found from watching it, and to be honest the documentary was only barely watchable, and the book may or may not turn out to be great, but both of them are on a subject that is so incredibly important that I dearly hope they keep up their work.

The doc was called Punishment: A Failed Social Experiment, and it centers around the way that the prison system, and indeed the idea of punishment are both dysfunctional in philosophy and in practice, and then tries to highlight the work of some people like the psychiatrist Bob Johnson who worked for years in the maximum security prisons in Britain and believes that even the hardest criminals can heal psychologically given the proper help. It’s a whole mind shift toward the idea that retribution is barbaric and unacceptable, and that our only real goal is to help people heal and to stop violence from continuing in our communities. Seems a really promising direction.



Photos by Tim Hans

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

Beautiful Decay: NYC’s withering wheatpastes

August 2nd, 2013 | By | No Comments »

My favorite wheatpastes rarely lose their beauty. They just continue to evolve until they, sadly, wither away. Here are a few:

Imminent Disaster in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Imminent Disaster in Bushwick, Brooklyn — 2013

Swoon in Gowanus, Brooklyn

Swoon in Gowanus, Brooklyn — 2012

Swoon, close-up, in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn

Swoon, close-up, in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn — 2013

Cake in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Cake in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, 2010

Photos by Dani Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky

Category: Photos | Tags: , , , , ,

Swoon’s print release for Braddock Tiles

June 27th, 2013 | By | No Comments »


In her ongoing effort, since 2007, to revitalize the suburb of North Braddock, Pennsylvania, Swoon has recently launched a print shop Braddock Tiles. Through creating and selling prints of images donated by 50 artists, Swoon is trying to raise funds for the construction of a new roof for the town’s community center made of 20,000 handmade, honeycomb-shaped, ceramic tiles. The prints are priced at a reasonable $45 and each at an edition size of 250. Definitely worth the purchase, in my opinion. You can have a look at the collection of prints here.

Butch Anthony

Butch Anthony

How & Nosm

How & Nosm

Chris Stain

Chris Stain

Cash for your Warhol

Cash for your Warhol



Logan Hicks

Logan Hicks

Photos courtesy of Braddock Tiles

Category: Print Release | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Swoon, Greg Lamarche, Oliver Vernon, David Ellis and more at Joshua Liner

April 16th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »
Swoon, Thalassa, screenprint on mylar with coffee stain and hand painting

Swoon, Thalassa, screenprint on mylar with coffee stain and hand painting

Since 2006, Joshua Liner’s Chelsea gallery has consistently featured an amazing range of works by first-rate artists. His new venue – a huge, bright ground-floor space at 540 West 28th Street – is ideal, as the artworks beckon you in from the street. These are a few of my favorite pieces – by artists who also work in public spaces – from his current exhibit, Direct Address: An Inaugural Group Exhibitionthat closes this Saturday. It is worth a visit.

Greg Lamarche aka SP1, Free for All, Aacrylic and graphite on found wood

Greg Lamarche aka SP1, Free for All, acrylic and graphite on found wood

Oliver Vernon, Renegade Trajectories, acrylic on canvas

Oliver Vernon, Renegade Trajectories, acrylic on canvas

David Ellis, All That Glitters, kinetic sound and light installation

David Ellis, All That Glitters, kinetic sound and light installation

Photos by Dani Mozeson

Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: , , , ,

Toe The Line for PS 132

March 18th, 2013 | By | No Comments »

Joe Iurato

Logan Hicks has organized an online auction to benefit the PTA at his son Sailor’s school, PS 132 in Brooklyn. Toe The Line includes contributions from Joe Iurato, Swoon,  Shepard Fairey, Chris Stain, Dabs and Myla, How and Nosm, Eric Haze, Faile, and others. Logan’s girlfriend and Sailor’s mother Kristen Zarcadoolas is the PTA president of PS 132, and they organized the auction after after yet another funding cut at the school.

“There is a lack of resources at every level within the public school system and I want to do all that I can to ensure that my son has a proper education,” says Hicks. “There is a moral responsibility to do everything possible to help support the public education.”

The auction went live just a few hours ago. You can see all the works and bid here.




Photos courtesy of Logan Hicks

Category: Auctions | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,