We are all immigrants and refugees

May 26th, 2016 | By | No Comments »

we-are-all

Iranian street artist FRZ has a simple and beautiful truth for the world, written on a wall in Tehran: We are all immigrants and refugees. If only we could get that through our heads, things might be a lot simpler.

Photo by FRZ


Category: Photos | Tags:

Biancoshock and Alice’s twist on World Heritage Sites

May 23rd, 2016 | By | No Comments »

heritages

Loving this new piece from Biancoshock and Alice Pasquini. It’s their take on UNESCO‘s logo, and despite what UNESCO might say, there’s as much European heritage wrapped up in the current state of Syria as in the Palace of Versailles.

Photo courtesy of Biancoshock


Category: Photos | Tags: ,

Hanging with mobstr

May 18th, 2016 | By | No Comments »

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Another fantastic piece by mobstr. Context is king. First of all, how did he install this piece? But also, what a great spot for it! And of course, it doesn’t hurt that the little alleyway it’s on is just off of the heart of Brick Lane, one of the busiest roads in London for street art tourism. Mobstr knows his audience, for better or worse.

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Photos by NoLionsInEngland


Category: Photos | Tags:

Student loans, probably something worth fretting over

May 17th, 2016 | By | No Comments »

Don't Fret on Student Loans

Don’t Fret has a graduation gift for the class of 2016: A reminder of the crushing debt that will likely follow many of them for decades. Don’t Fret’s latest mural echoes this recent headline from The Onion, envisioning college students as investment products, with the high cost of education driving them into debt, effectively garnishing their wages and making saving made next-to impossible.

Don’t Fret’s piece is part of a new series of murals organized by the Wabash Arts Corridor, an initiative of Chicago’s Columbia College. Most of the other murals in the project, while big and well-painted, are purely decorative. This is the only explicitly political piece, and perhaps the only piece where the artist took location into account. Don’t Fret’s mural is on the Roosevelt Hotel building, which is now student housing.

I’ve got to get credit to the Wabash Arts Corridor and Columbia College for commissioning this mural. It would have been easy to say, “We don’t want that conversation taking place on our buildings,” but you can be damn sure its taking place inside the building. Don’t Fret is an alumni of Columbia College and I’ve only ever heard him say positive things about the school, but the cost of higher education is a systemic issue across almost all American colleges and universities. This mural is a gentle, but important, reminder of that fact.

Don't Fret on Student Loans

Photos by Chris Geick


Category: Photos | Tags:

Something to reflect on in France

May 16th, 2016 | By | No Comments »

reflect

Wow. Ekosystem, probably my favorite European street art blog, drew my attention to this piece on the beaches of Northern France. Réflechir was made by placing pieces of mirror onto a “blockhaus,” a common remnant of World War II. Naturally, the piece is meant as a memorial. The piece was created anonymously, but the artist did create a website and issue a statement about the monument.

There’s also a video:

Beautiful.

Photo by the artist


Category: Photos

GoddoG latest murals in Cambodia and France

May 15th, 2016 | By | No Comments »
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Phnom Penh, March 2016 for the “Cambodia Urban Art” Festival.

Goddog is a French artist from Avignon, well-know medieval city in southern France. He started practicing graffiti at a young age, then turned to figurative work that he’s put aside for a moment to achieve more abstract compositions. In time, he began to combine both trends to define a style he calls figurative abstraction. GoddoG takes inspiration from movements like Constructivism, Bauhaus, to create androgynous figures. The narration is never linear, and the dreamlike poetry that emerges encourages multiple interpretations. His hope to allow everyone to build their own story from what he paints on the wall.

The main quality of an artist is to be able to put him always in danger, to be able to renew itself, which GoddoG does successfully again and again. He does not claim a clear way of thinking, socially or politically speaking. He has always painted in order to escape, to dream, to create a comfort zone.

You can see in versatility and passion above the mural he did during the “Cambodia Urban art” Festival in Phnom Penh in March 2016, and following that his work for the French project “Le M.U.R de Bordeaux,” also in March, and a wall painted in Marseille, France, for “la cité des arts”, in February.

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“Le M.U.R de Bordeaux”, Mach 2016.

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“Le M.U.R de Bordeaux”, detail.

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Cité des Arts – Marseille, February 2016.

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Cité des Arts – Marseille, February 2016.

Photos by Damien Mauro.


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

Meeting of Styles Melbourne 2016

May 4th, 2016 | By | No Comments »
Meeting of Styles Melbourne 2016.

Meeting of Styles Melbourne 2016

A few weeks ago now, Melbourne was host for the first time to the internationally renowned Meeting of Styles events. Meeting of Styles Melbourne 2016 saw around 300 artists paint all of Melbourne’s legal laneways over four days – as well as a couple of secret spots in and around the city. This was the first time this many lanes had been painted simultaneously.

This event was different to the usual arts events I have attended and posted about in the past, this one focused on graffiti and paid homage to Melbourne’s rich history and still strong graffiti scene.

Apart from the amazing pieces produced and having all of he city’s walls look their best, the vibe over the four days was incredible. Artists and their friends and fans filled the streets – it didn’t feel like we were right in the middle of the Central Busienss Districy of Melbourne at all, which is where many of the lanes are located. Thousands of spectators came to watch and tourists stopped and took hundreds of photos. Check some of the photos out here: #MOSMelbourne

It was refreshing to see some of Australia’s best writers come to town and remind us why Melbourne/Australia has a rich and vibrant graffiti culture, and how much we have to thank graffiti for it’s cousin, street art – also a massive and important part of our city’s fabric and culture.

Locations included, Hosier and Rutledge Lanes, Union Lane, Flinders Court, Croft Alley, Blender Lane, Electric Place, Drewery Lane, Lovelands (next to the Queen Victoria Market) and Whiteman Street and a number of “secret” spots in Footscray and South Yarra.

Check out these great photos by David Russell of the event – more here.

Meeting of Styles Melbourne 2016

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Category: Festivals, Photos | Tags: , , ,

Can you copyright graffiti? We’re about to find out

April 21st, 2016 | By | 1 Comment »
Rime's artwork (left) and a suit by Moschino (right)

Rime’s artwork (left) and a suit by Moschino (right)

Last year, the fashion designer Jeremy Scott quite obviously appropriated artwork by Rime for a capsule collection with the brand Moschino. The collection got a fair amount of attention when Katy Perry wore one of the dresses at the Met Gala, and Rime decided to sue Scott and Moschino for using his work (and his name, in the form of tags on other clothing in the collection).

This week, Moschino and Scott’s lawyers filed paperwork arguing that the lawsuit cannot possibly go forward. Why? Because graffiti cannot possibly be copyrighted. They say, “As a matter of public policy and basic logic, it would make no sense to grant legal protection to work that is created entirely illegally.”

First of all, it’s not entirely clear that the work was painted without permission, so that argument could be rendered moot pretty quickly. But part of me hopes that Rime’s Vandal Eyes was painted illegally, because that will be an interesting question for a court to take up.

In Australia, graffiti is protected by copyright, even if it was painted illegally. Enforcing that copyright can get tricky though, since the artist could still be arrested for vandalism. Why wouldn’t similar protections apply in the United States?

We’ll have the answer soon enough. Rime’s lawsuit is set to move forward in May.

HT to Brooklyn Street Art for spotting this story, and The Fashion Law for their more detailed article about it.

Photo from The Fashion Law


Category: Art News | Tags:

Placement makes perfect

April 20th, 2016 | By | No Comments »
Os Gemeos in Milan. Photo by Os Gemeos.

Os Gemeos in Milan. Photo by Os Gemeos.

It’s no secret that good placement can make or break a piece or street art or a mural. That can mean picking the perfect place to install an artwork, or responding to the space that’s available and making something that takes that space into consideration. Think of it this way: Site-specific should mean the work is in some way specific to a site, not simply located at a site. And when art is site-specific, it can make a big difference. Recently, some artists practicing good placement have really caught my eye. Here are a few examples:

1. Os Gemeos in Milan (above): Wow. Milan is a lucky city right now, with a spectacular new mural by Os Gemeos, facilitated by Pirelli HangarBicocca. Responding to the shape of the site, Os Gemeos took a drab building and transformed it into a massive subway car. Os Gemeos’ murals are always a treat, but they knocked it out of the park with this one.

Invader in London. Photo by Butterfly.

Invader in London. Photo by Butterfly.

2. Invader in London: Simple, but effective, placing his mosaics around a CCTV camera. In some ways, quintessentially London.

Biancoshock in Milan. Photo by Biancoshock.

Biancoshock in Milan. Photo by Biancoshock.

3. Biancoshock in Milan: This series form Biancoshock seems to have really caught people’s attention on social media. I’ve been seeing these photos posted everywhere, so if you’re reading this, they probably aren’t new to you. But why are they so popular? Yes, I have a tiny apartment and can appreciate the joke too. But I think it’s more than that. Placement is an essential part of these pieces. If Biancoshock had made small rooms as sculpture for a gallery, or painted a tiny apartment on a wall, it wouldn’t have worked quite so well. It’s that he took a space and make work inspired by the location that simultaneously transformed the location.

Elian

Exercise Of Anamorphosis #2 by Elian. Photo by Elian.

4. Elian in Ostend with Exercise Of Anamorphosis #2: What happens when you get to a mural festival and you’re told that you aren’t painting a flat wall, but rather two walls of a building without a lot of flat surfaces? For some artists, this could trip them up. Or they could still treat the surface like they are applying wallpaper, and it would probably work out okay. But Elian went a step further, creating an optical illusion that messes with your perspective. He took something that could have been a weakness (an odd wall), and he made it a strength.

eL Seed in Cairo. Photo by eL Seed.

eL Seed in Cairo. Photo by eL Seed.

5. eL Seed in Cairo, for his Perception series: eL Seed painted this mural across dozens of buildings in Cairo, Egypt. It’s painted in a marginalized neighborhood in Cairo, where the residents are written off by the rest of the city as dirty because many of them are trash collectors. eL Seed’s text reads, “Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eye first.”

Photos by eL Seed, Butterfly, Biancoshock, Elian


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

Saving Banksy? A film about taking street pieces off the wall

April 18th, 2016 | By | 1 Comment »
Still from Saving Banksy

Still from Saving Banksy

This week, a curious film will premier at the Nashville Film Festival: Saving Banksy, a documentary about the legality, politics, and ethics of removing street art from the street, and what happens once you have a giant unauthenticated Banksy sitting in your garage. I’m curious to see how this turns out. If anyone is in Nashville this week and sees the film, let me know what you think. In the mean time, here’s the trailer:

For now, I’ll just add one thought about stealing/saving street art from the elements and the buff. Removing art off the street is a lot like an art theft. And not just because you’re stealing work from public view.

There’s a funny thing about art thefts: Usually, it’s not an inside job. Truth is, the heists are generally orchestrated by people who don’t quite know what they’re stealing. They just know it’s supposed to be valuable. Maybe they steal a painting that could be worth millions if it were sold legitimately at Sotheby’s. Except that stolen art is worth barely a fraction of non-stolen art, but stealing, transporting, and storing the art can be expensive.

Similarly, chopping up a wall to “save” a Banksy isn’t cheap. And then you have to ship it. And store it. And ship it again to where it might go on display. And to the buyer (if there is one). All the while, the vast majority of collectors would rather buy an authenticated painting than an unauthenticated piece with a shady history. Just because a giant authenticated Banksy canvas can go for $1,000,000 doesn’t mean that a similar street piece can be sold to anyone for any price. But by the time anyone figures that out, it’s too late. The piece is already off the wall and in private hands.

From what I’ve heard, Stealing Banksy touches on a similar point, which should be interesting to see play out on camera.

Still from the Stealing Banksy trailer


Category: Art News, Videos | Tags: ,