Who doesn’t love popsicles?

September 17th, 2017 | By | 1 Comment »

Who doesn’t love popsicles? You? If you don’t love popsicles, maybe you work at JCDecaux (and even if you do work at JCDecaux and claim they aren’t your thing… we all know you still love popsicles).

Well, I love popsicles, and it seems that my friend Vlady is also a normal popsicle-loving person. For JCDecaux Ice Lolly, he covered up a series of JCDecaux’s ad spaces in Turku, Finland. This particular kind of outdoor ad, where the ad just pops up out of the ground, unattached to a pay phone, bus shelter, or any other public amenity, is sometimes referred to as a lollipop, for obvious reasons. So, Vlady took the hint and turned all of these annoying lollipop ad kiosks into summer treats.

It’s a wonderfully simple intervention, one that doesn’t even require a key to open to ad kiosks, since Vlady just paints right over them. I’ve been thinking about how New Yorkers could do something similar with the LinkNYC towers that have been popping up everywhere… Maybe white sheets that turn the towers into ghosts for Halloween? But the popsicle idea is just perfect. Turn something hated into something everyone can enjoy.

Here’s one more:

Thanks Vlady! This series really made my day. Certainly the best street art I’ve seen all week (although Banksy at the Barbican is pretty great too), and something that anyone who feels inspired can replicate or adapt to their own environment.

To my readers: enjoy the last bits of summer. And remember: There’s no better way to enjoy the nice weather than a bit of vandalism for the public good!

Photos by Vlady


Category: Photos | Tags:

Blu and Escif in Basque Country

September 2nd, 2017 | By | No Comments »

Escif at night. Photo from Escif.

Escif and Blu just wrapped up two murals each at Errekaleor, a self-managed neighborhood in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain that’s been around since 2013. The Errekaleor community is currently fighting against eviction, and has transitioned to renewable energy via solar panels after the city cut them off from the grid.

I’m not usually one for glow-in-the-dark murals, but I love this one from Escif. On his blog, Escif wrote (translated here by Google and me), “The city cut the light without thinking that night belongs to the residents, and they were given, unknowingly, the possibility of making the darkness a little clearer. They say cats can see at night. So we painted the eyes of this great black cat with fluorescent paint so that he too can be self-sufficient.”

Escif’s mural by day. Photo from Escif.

And this Blu mural is an instant classic, and hopefully an inspiration to the residents of Errekaleor who are resisting eviction and development.

Blu. Photo from Blu.

You can see Blu’s 2nd Errekaleor mural here, and Escif’s here.

Best of luck to the residents of Errekaleor as they continue their fight.

Photos from Escif and Blu


Category: Photos | Tags: ,

Aliens Welcome

August 29th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

Been slow on updating Vandalog lately, and I’m realizing it’s because I’ve spent so much of this year focused on curating and project management, and that’s meant that writing has taken a backseat. Still, sometimes I come across something great that doesn’t need much additional commentary.

Today, that was this piece by Rub Kandy and Andrea Nolè, which you can find in Potenza, Italy. Aliens are welcome became immigrants are welcome. Aliens are welcome because sometimes it feels like my country is so messed up right now that it couldn’t possibly get any worse with aliens in charge (although I guess that’s the sort of logic that got us into this mess…). Aliens are welcome because if you’re gonna write something on a wall, it might as well be a greeting to a stranger. Aliens are welcome because why not.

Photo courtesy of Rub Kandy


Category: Photos | Tags: ,

Today I Touched My Queer Body Until It Became Cathedral

July 21st, 2017 | By | No Comments »

“Today I Touched My Queer Body Until It Became Cathedral” by Jess X Snow in Kailua, Hawaii. Photo by Chad Shomura.

Jess X Snow (@jessxsnow), the author of this post, is a queer Asian public artist, filmmaker and poet.

The moment I walked away from painting this piece, I knew it was going to be defaced, I just didn’t know how soon. I made this piece as a prayer to the queer body–in a world where LGBTQ people are thrown into the margins. When home does not exist for us in this world, where can we discover home other than within the beauty of our own bodies? Sometimes that home-making looks like masturbation. This piece, resting at the top of the Lanikai Pillbox Hike in Kailua, Hawaii, lasted barely two days before the word “queer” was crossed out, and a penis was spray painted between the hands. This leaves me wondering: is queer street art/graffiti perpetually destined to be short-lived? What does that have to say about the safety of queer people of color in America and the world?

When queer people of color have no safe havens, religions, or churches in this society, we must turn to our own bodies for safety. In the same way a lover’s touch across a chest can calm the fiercest of storms, when I touch myself, I become my own queer lover. For one moment, all the forces that marginalize me cease to exist. When I wrote this poem and birthed it into public space, I was thinking about what it could mean for queer people to happen upon acknowledgement of their own survival at the top of a long hike. I was thinking about queer immigrant children whose identities are rejected by homophobic parents and the complicated push and pull of duty and desire when you still love your family but also love yourself enough to know some identities run deeper than bone and cannot be unlearned. I was thinking about the dancers who lost their lives in the Pulse nightclub shooting, and all the queer bars and clubs across this world that have learned to operate underground. I was thinking about the late Chinese photographer Ren Hang, and queer and transgender warriors who were already living in a future so brilliant, this world was not ready for them. I was thinking about all the times where the violences of this world collapsed in on me and I too didn’t know how much longer I could stay in this world, but somehow, by touching myself, or making a piece of art, I rooted my body back into the Earth and found the resilience within me to live another morning.

Photo by Ren Hang.

Birthing queer poems and murals often feels akin to what I imagine it would be like to be a mother to queer children. I imagine bracing them for the violence of this society, preparing them for a never ending war–where they will be bullied, forced into a closet or pressured to camouflage with their heteronormative surroundings. Yet no violence and silencing will stop me from giving queer art the beautiful life and care that it deserves. Body bent over the wall, for once in my life, I was able to share the intimate experience of my survival in public space and make a poem out of it. These words were sacred to me, and when they appeared as a monumental prayer, surrounded by the roaring Pacific, it felt as if there were not one but thousands of mornings left for me to live.

The mural two days after being painted. Photo by Ittai Wong.

The erasure of the word “queer” and the painting of a penis on top of a queer woman’s art is a reflection of the patriarchal and homophobic world we live in. If queer survival and masturbation is so threatening to this society, then I suppose it must be some type of magic. If our words are to be feared, crossed out and set to fire, let them burn bright like a meteorite and blind those who cannot acknowledge the beauty of queer survival. What the homophobic and transphobic world doesn’t understand is that no matter how many times our identities are crossed out, there is an impenetrable home within our bodies we can always return to.

This resilience is ancestral. Like the genderless leopard slugs that hang upside down from trees and mutually penetrate, or polyamorous lesbian bonobo monkeys who resolve conflict through sex, queerness and sexual diversity has existed since the dawning of life on Earth. It is the construct of heteronormativity that truly has been short-lived.

I will continue to put queer joy and self-love into public space regardless of those it provokes because I believe in a queer future. I believe in a world where young queers can finally be affirmed by their own secrets on the streets and at the tops of buildings–whether they are just coming out, or have long celebrated their queer crushes, or are learning the beauty of self-pleasure for the first time. We have been invisibilized, burned, and marginalized long enough. Most importantly, I believe the truths that keep us living and in love must be made public.

Note: Thank you to queer multi-disciplinary artist, Jocelyn Ng and Hawaiian artist Ittai Wong for making this piece possible and uplifting me and the beautiful communities that surround you. A few of the themes brought up in this article came from “Toward a Queer Eco Feminism” by Greta Gard.

Thank you Ocean Vuong, and his poem “Ode To Masturbation” for giving me the courage to bring these thoughts to poetry. Thank you Tatyana Fazlalizadeh for giving me the courage to bring my poetry to the streets.

Thank you Ren Hang (March 30, 1987-February 24, 2017) wherever you are, I hope there is no censorship, or borders, only joy.

Photos by Chad Shomura, Ren Hang, and Ittai Wong


Category: Featured Posts, Guest Posts, Photos

Strange Things are Happening Every Day

July 15th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

Brake by Dosjotas. Photo by Dosjotas.

Who doesn’t like something a bit weird and surprising on the street? Who doesn’t want to see something strange? This week, two such interventions landed in my inbox, while a fundamentally unimaginative attempt has been going viral and clogging my social media and blog feeds. I’m not even sure that these two successful pieces have much in common with each other, except that they are both new, made me think about all the imaginative ways to mess with public space, and compare favorably to what’s been going viral.

Resurrection by Elfo and Biancoshock. Photo courtesy of Biancoshock.

Resurrection, a collaboration between Biancoshock and Elfo, is a commentary on the Italian village of Bussana Vecchia. The town was devastated by a deadly earthquake, which led to to be abandoned as a ghost town. Over half a century later, it was resettled by artists, and has been an artist colony since the 1950’s. The duo write that the work reflects, “the impossibility of reconstructing [the village] except through the artistic ability and will.” So here you have a really beautiful piece, relatively simple, in a unique location, and certainly something that would be a surprise to come upon if you were exploring the ruins of Bussana Vecchia.

Brake, by Dosjotas, imagines a world with the physics of Mario Kart or Batman, with a car slamming on its breaks climbing up the wall of a building rather than crashing through it. Very fun, and a nice use of multiple surfaces. It was painted for Unfinished Museum of Urban Art in Fanzara, Spain.

Brake by Dosjotas. Photo by Dosjotas.

As for the work that’s been frustrating me every time I see a tweet about it… no need to link or name names, but maybe you’ve seen it. The work in question shows that the artist actually has a great eye for placement. However, this piece is basically an advertisement designed to go viral. If you need to paint the entrance of a posh restaurant with someone else’s cartoon character while bringing no new concepts to that character, what you’re doing is closer to an ad campaign for the restaurant than muralism or street art. Arguably, for the artist, that’s fine. Get paid. But us bloggers should know better than to help something like that go viral when truly strange things are happening every day.

Photos by Dosjotas and Biancoshock


Category: Photos | Tags: , , ,

RJ and Good Buy Boris Talk Internetchki

July 6th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

Good Guy Borris, Mick La Rock, RJ Rushmore, Mathieu Tremblin, and Jasper van Es in Eindhoven.

Last month, The Grifters’ Good Buy Boris and I sat down with Radio Slik to chat about graffiti and the internet (or, as Boris would call it, the “internetchki”). We all know that internet is changing the way culture is created and consumed. And of course applies to graffiti too. Performance is more important, styles cross borders faster than ever, and social media is essential. Viral Art is all about that shift, but it’s really Boris who is at the cutting edge of it as a practitioner and content creator. Just check his Instagram.

Excerpts of our conversations have been turned into a podcast. Have a listen:

Thanks to MU artspace in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and Radio Slik for putting together that podcast. Boris and I were in town together because MU and the EMOVES festival had invited us to town as part of MU’s #VIRALVANDALS exhibition (co-curated by Jasper van Es and Boris). More about that exhibition here.

Photo by Boudewijn Bollmann


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

Articles I’ll Never Write

June 26th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

mobstr. Photo by Bablu Miah.

I just discovered a list on my phone of headlines for fake/satire street art articles that I wanted to write a few years ago, but never found/created a satire art site to pitch it to. So here they are:

  • Non-native Street artist had a lot to say about gentrification
  • The difference between street art and graffiti, according to angry graffiti writer
  • Street artist priced out of own neighborhood
  • Blogger recently discovers women are also artists, decides to “put them on the map”
  • Local mom discovers “possible Banksy” which is clearly signed by other artist
  • Man does first piece of graffiti, immediately makes Instagram
  • Why bodega tribute murals are the realest shit on the street
  • Local artist with no street presence commissioned to do “graffiti” in new barber shop
  • [Famous Artist who I won’t name] paints pretty woman’s face from NEW angle
  • Instagram famous street artist discovered to have only painted one wall repeatedly. “The internet enabled this”
  • First ever graffiti group show happens for the 300th time
  • Small town overwhelmed by years of street art festivals “we have no more white walls”
  • Shepard Fairey indecisive about personal stance on political controversy
  • What if the real Banksy is “friendship”?
  • Shepard Fairey peer pressured into collaboration: “sometimes it’s easier just to do it,” he says quietly.

I’m bored. You’re bored. Punk is dead. Cowabunga ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

PS, Shepard, I think ur great. I know u can take a joke.


Category: Featured Posts, Random

A Trip to Bethlehem, Also… BANKSY

June 20th, 2017 | By | 1 Comment »

As just about anyone reading Vandalog will know, Banksy has opened up a hotel in Bethlehem, Palestine. The Walled Off Hotel has “the worst view of any hotel in the world,” with rooms looking out onto the illegal separation wall that Israel has built in the West Bank.

When the project was first announced, I was eager to hop on the first flight available and spend a week in Palestine. After all, when Banksy says to show up somewhere, it’s a good idea to show up. But I was reminded that perhaps it was a bit silly to visit Bethlehem just because Banksy’s got some art up there. That was a fair point, and then a dozen other real-life considerations started to make the whole thing feel impractical. So, on a personal level, perhaps I’m living on a boring life and I’d just rather pay my rent on time than have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But on a broader level: That’s the whole question of the hotel, right? Should someone travel half way around the world to see a Banksy installation in Palestine? To what extent is going to The Walled Off Hotel “slum tourism” or its opposite (is there a phrase for visiting a country or a neighborhood for the sake of visiting a tourist attraction instead of experiencing the everyday of the place, like flying to the gated-off Mar-a-Lago and saying you’ve seen Palm Beach)? Is Banksy exploiting a situation or helping the local economy and bringing press attention to an under-reported and deeply-worrying situation?

I’m tempted to lean in Banksy’s favor here. He’s not an idiot. He knows that, as he’s done before, working in Palestine will give press attention to the situation there. He knows that people will fly to wherever he puts on a project (as I’ve done before). And, as is the case with so much of Banksy’s work, the question then becomes how the audiences reacts, and that’s largely on them. Which is why it was so encouraging when I saw a “review” of The Wall Off Hotel by my friend Doug from Fifth Wall TV. Check it out:

Well Doug, I couldn’t have said it better myself. I think that’s the way to experience The Walled Off Hotel. Actually, now you’ve made me want to visit again…

Photo courtesy of The Walled Off Hotel


Category: Videos | Tags:

Virtual Graffiti: #ViralVandals at MU artspace

June 12th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

At first, graffiti writers wrote on walls to get their names up. Then, they wrote on trains because those trains traveled all over the city, and got their names up all over. Soon, they started snapping photos and mailing those photos to friends in other cities, to get their names known there. That evolved into zines and books, and the culture (and certain names) spread even further. All the while, styles of writing evolved to fit those new communication tools. And then the internet came along. #ViralVandals, an exhibition open now at MU artspace in Eindhoven, considers how graffiti writers have responded to the internet, social media, VR, and other new technologies. It’s a familiar question for me, as it was also the inspiration for my book Viral Art.

MU #VIRALVANDALS from stichting MU on Vimeo.

It’s exciting for me to see curators Jasper van Es & Good Guy Boris thinking about some of the questions that I looked for Viral Art, and to see how they see the scene having evolved in the years since Viral Art was published. Plus, their focus is more on graffiti while mine was on street art. Which is all to say, I’ve been looking forward to seeing #ViralVandals since I first heard about the idea for it, almost a year ago.

That will finally be happening later this week, when I’ll be in Eindhoven at the invitation of MU artspace and EMOVES to participate in a panel about #ViralVandals with Good Guy Boris (The Grifters), Mathieu Tremblin, and Mick La Rock. I dunno how many Vandalog readers we have in the Netherlands, but I hope to see a few of you there.


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

When Women Disrupt

June 11th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

When Women Disrupt Tour. Photo courtesy of Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

I just want to take a moment to applaud Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Jessica Sabogal, and Melinda James for their When Women Disrupt tour, where Tatyana and Jessica traveled through California, Arizona, New Mexico installing a series of bold murals (with Melinda documenting the process). The tour wrapped up this week, and these three women pulled no punches in their work. Here’s some more about the tour from The Root:

It seems like everything that went up for When Women Disrupt is amazing and necessary. I could go on, but I’ll just let the work speak for itself: Read the rest of this article »


Category: Photos, Videos | Tags: ,