Skewville’s Fame, Fortune & Desire – When Ad met Butterfly

March 31st, 2011 | By | No Comments »

I feel I’ve gone rather Skewville crazy recently since Ad landed in London about 3 weeks ago. But personally I believe this is justified, as amongst the increasing flood of street art, the twins are still producing work that is not only unique but is constantly evolving, adapting and pushing boundaries.

Before his show at High Roller Society, Butterfly caught up with Ad, sat him down in front of some rather hot gallery lights and grilled him about his art. The video she has produced is great and well worth watching!

SKEWVILLE – SLOW YOUR ROLL from Butterfly on Vimeo.

Category: Interview, Videos | 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.


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: , , , ,

Weekend link-o-rama

August 31st, 2013 | By | No Comments »
Judith Supine

Judith Supine

It’s the last week of my summer. Why am I on my laptop? Okay, I’ll make this quick…

Photo by Luna Park

Category: Art News, Photos, Random | Tags: , , , , ,

Parasites and magnets: a story about street art and photography

July 27th, 2013 | By | 6 Comments »


I am bored. In fact, I am not that bored, I am more disillusioned. But why?

Firstly I am slightly fed up of seeing a lack of creativity in much of the street art I am currently viewing in London, hence these photos of interesting pieces by Monkey and the ATG Crew in Hvar, Croatia I snapped whilst on holiday a couple of months ago. It may just be that I am looking in the wrong places, and don’t get me wrong, there are a huge amount of artists living and working in London that I admire, but it seems I keep seeing the same dull work from many others.


But that is not quite why I am writing. It is a second point that has caused me to become even more disillusioned. Money makes the world go around and money always seeps into everything eventually, street art included. This is not necessarily a bad thing, artists need money to keep doing what they are doing in addition to feeding and clothing themselves, but at the same time money brings parasites.

These parasites, as I like to call them, come in various forms and varieties. You have flippers, forgers, and reclaimers, who just steal street art off the street to sell. Then there are others, such as agents, who I will never understand really. An agent, really?


But there seems to be a final parasite that is increasing in numbers, and that’s the photographer. Actually photographer is a bad term to use, but they call themselves that so, so be it. A photographer to me is someone that is creative, an artist with a camera. Someone who sees a shot, frames it, and shoots it. Taking light, composition, angle and various other important aspects into account. A good photographer (at this point note Mark Rigney, Sandra Butterfly, NoLionsinEngland, RomanyWG, HowAboutNo, Martha Cooper, Ian Cox et al), makes an image come to life in a photo. They add something to a picture.

I see photographers as important for a couple of reasons, firstly as I have previously alluded to, they are artists in their own right and I am all for creative people who have something interesting to exhibit. But secondly, and more importantly to an extent, is their ability to document. Martha Cooper is the prime example and others have followed suit. My pictures in this post are a documentation of street art in Croatia and this blog is a documentation of street art from around the world. In essence it becomes a window to history and that’s why I have a penchant for photography.


Yet over the last two weeks in particular, and over the last few weeks, months and years in general, I have become disillusioned. In no small part because of the increasing numbers of people printing Banksy images onto canvas and selling them at every market in London, but more recently by photographers tapping into the same practice.

Over the last two weekends I have attended two outdoor art events. One in Brixton, and one near Old Street. Both these events have included some fantastic, talented artists, and in particular, Brixton had a few great photographers who’s work I really admired. But both have also had those types of photographers who steal others’ creativity.


Poor photos are one thing, but couple that with a market stall, price labels, and in one case fridge magnets and Oyster card holders and you have a recipe for disaster. Gone is the creativity and the innovation of a good photographer or even if the documentation that the mediocre photographer can provide. All you are left with is poor photos, bad cropping and product.

There has been a recent breakthrough on this subject with regard to Wooster Collective working their magic to ensure than offers commission to artists and show artists the photos they are hoping to use before they start selling them. This really is a massive step in ensuring that companies who deal in wall art act in a moral manner, but as RJ mentioned in his post on the subject, this is far from a complete problem solver.

In one of the cases I came across, I asked if the photographer had got permission from the artists. He said yes of course, the majority had agreed and that they are extremely grateful for their work getting promoted.

I would have loved to have been there when the guy asked Banksy, Eine, Phlegm, Mr. Brainwash, Os Gemeos and others if he could use their images to make money for himself. I hardly believe they are happy that others are making financial gains without paying any dues, in this case commission.

At a time when there are so many good artists releasing high quality affordable screen prints and even originals, it annoys me that some members of the general public are paying out sums of money for awful images. The stall at the street party near Old Street always had a large crowd around it with people paying good money for pictures they could have taken themselves and printed at home.

The moral of this story is that if you are reading this thinking about lining the pockets of one of these so called photographers, then I urge you to invest that money in your own camera, get outside and take some photos yourself. And if you need a bit of training then get yourself along to one of NoLions photography workshops if he organises a few more soon, fingers crossed he does, as they were very well received. Be creative, don’t let others steal what in essence is meant to be free art for all to enjoy.

This problem is not going to disappear completely, but you can all do your bit by not handing your money over to these parasitic photographers, and don’t let your mates do it either. In fact, I believe this is where street art tours come into their own as they get the general public into places where they can take their own documentary images. It is summer, so get yourself outside, walk around, see what turns your head, and just be creative.


Photos all by Shower. Not purchased in any way. Taken himself whilst on holiday in Hvar, Croatia. And they will not be printed onto magnets any time soon!

Category: Featured Posts, Random | Tags: , , , , , ,

Weekend link-o-rama

July 13th, 2013 | By | No Comments »
Buff Monster and Hoacs

Buff Monster and Hoacs

Enjoy the weekend:

Photo by Lois Stavsky

Category: Art News, Festivals, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Print Release, Products, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekend link-o-rama

May 3rd, 2013 | By | No Comments »
Smells, Cash4, Don Pablo Pedro and Keely

Smells, Cash4, Don Pablo Pedro and Keely

Last class of the school year yesterday. Now for finals. Can’t wait… Here are some distractions in case you’re in a similar boat:

  • NoseGo has some new prints available today with Unit44. These are not giclee prints, but rather archival pigment prints, a significant step up in quality as I understand it.
  • The fantastic ceramic street artist Carrie Reichardt is organizing this show in London.
  • Great sculptural installation and indoor mural by Pixel Pancho in Mexico City.
  • Loving this collaboration between Kofie and El Mac.
  • S.butterfly has photos of the Bom.K show in Paris. Wish I could see this one in person.
  • And Kaws has a solo show in Tokyo at the moment. It’s Kaws, so feel free to check out the photos, but you pretty much knows what’s coming.
  • JR and José Parlá collaborated on a mural on the outside of Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, where they have a two-man show opening next week. Glad to see Parlá working outdoors, but it always strikes me as a bit odd since he tries to distance his work from graffiti. I guess when there’s a show to promote… Although to be fair, the show is about a series of collaborative murals that JR and Parlá made together in Cuba.
  • JR’s Inside Out project booth in Times Square is a huge hit. He’s been covering the street with photos of people who stop by his little photobooth, and it looks awesome. The billboards in Times Square were even (briefly) given over to JR for the project. The whole thing is a fight against outdoor ads and for public spaces for the public, but JR manages to make his point without beating people over the head with politics. Instead, JR just shows people a better world and makes them smile. I’m not a JR fanatic, but I absolutely love this project.

Photo by Hrag Vartanian

Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Print Release, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekend link-o-rama

March 23rd, 2013 | By | No Comments »

“Abstract Ace” in Paris by Ludo

It’s a bit late, but it’s link-o-rama time…

Photos by Ludo

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

Paul Insect – “Out of Chaos”

November 26th, 2012 | By | No Comments »

“Butterfly Face Hoodie”

As a great follow-up to their Ron English show, the next show at Opera Gallery’s New York location is a solo show with Paul Insect. Out of Chaos is Paul’s first solo show in New York City, despite seriously great and equally successful solo shows in London and LA in the past. The show opens November 29th from 6-9pm. I’m going to miss it, but I have a good excuse: I don’t live in the state. If you do live in New York, you’d best be there.

I’m a fan of a lot of Paul’s work on the street and in the gallery (as are people like Damien Hirst and Patrick Miller and Patrick McNeil Faile), so I’m excited that New York will finally be properly introduced to him (although he has had work in group shows at Opera Gallery in the past). Arrested Motion has photos from a studio visit with Paul Insect with more previews of what to expect at Out of Chaos. There are definitely a few pieces in the post on AM that could be mistaken for Banksy pieces or look heavily influenced by Banksy, but it’s worth noting that Paul Insect has some close ties to the Banksy camp and Opera says that Paul has been involved in “graphically developing [Banksy’s] work.” So, can you really blame a guy for making work that resembles the work of another person whose work he has helped to develop? While the Banksy-esque stuff isn’t usually my favorite of what he does, I’m also not going to call Paul Insect just another Banksy rip off artist either, because that’s not what Paul at all.

Photo courtesy of Opera Gallery

Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: ,

Weekend link-o-rama

October 26th, 2012 | By | 2 Comments »

Rothko from beyond the grave by Freddy Sam

Not much to say this week except of course that I’m pumped for The Art of Comedy. Not too much news either, but some important stories…

Photo by Faith47 and via Wooster Collective

Category: Auctions, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Weekend link-o-rama

October 6th, 2012 | By | No Comments »


Here’s some stuff I missed this week while sitting under a giant stack of books and papers to read, mostly stuff I was supposed to read for school but avoided because I was at Nuart last weekend.

Photo by Colin Chazaud

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