UNDERCITY from Andrew Wonder on Vimeo.

UNDERCITY is a really interesting and daring documentary by Andrew Wonder, in which he follows urban historian Steve Duncan in to the belly of the New York Underground system.From the tops of bridges to the depths of sewer tunnels, Steve’s explorations of the subterranean environment are said to help him “puzzle together the interconnected, multi-dimensional history and complexity of the great metropolises of the world.”. You really have to admire Steve’s love and appreciation for the city’s lost urban infrastructure and the dangerous lengths of which he goes to in order to be one of the very few to experience it. On the other hand I do kinda think he’s a little insane, but I think that probably helps when your hobby is an extremely illegal one! A very insightful and eye opening watch!

Photo by Undercity.org

Vandalog Interviews – PANIK ATG

Photo by delete08

Whilst we here at Vandalog strive to cover the latest and freshest street art creations and goings on, we’ve noticed that in our haste our coverage of graffiti, at least it the purest sense of the word, has for lack of a better word been slipping as of late. In a new series of interview we’ve decided to go back to basics or back to where it all began if you will and interview some of the pioneers of the underground art scene before street art became a house hold name. In this, our first interview, we spoke to graffiti artist Panik from North London. Panik is one of the co founders of ATG – one of the most prolific and notorious graffiti crews England has seen in the last decade. From their cross over into music, fashion and now main stream street art, Panik exclusively talks to Vandalog in the wake of his latest solo exhibition at Pure Evil Gallery.

Just for our readers, can you tell us who you are, what crew(s) you represent and where are you from?

I’m Panik aka Mr.P, I represent the ATG crew and I’m from the borough of Camden, North London.

Photo by delete08

How long have you been doing graffiti for and how did you first get into writing?

I’ve been doing graffiti since 1999. I first got into it through my school funnily enough. There was a hall of fame behind the sports hall and a train tunnel that runs underneath the school with pieces by all of the old school heads. I used to check all the graff when skating over round the Westway and the South Bank as well. When I started, it was quite a natural thing to do as everyone had a tag. There’s still people I paint with today that I was going on my first bombs with at age 12 in my school corridors! It started with trying to be the most up in my school, then the local area then the whole of London and nowadays I am painting wherever I find myself in the world.

Photo by ATGLDN

Do you see what you do as some thing of an addiction?

Graffiti is an addiction and if your in it for the long haul then it is all about how to tame that addiction in a way that allows you to get on with the rest of your life. When you are fully immersed in it, you become a junkie for it and you start to neglect other things in your life, but if everything in your life is going bad, then it is that thing that will always be there for you and reminds you who you are and helps you move through changes in your life. Going out painting graffiti on my own has helped me sort my head out during hard times but when you know you’re probably going to be doing it for a long time, it’s important not to abuse it. In other words don’t go getting shitfaced on cheap cider all week if you want to be able to enjoy a cold pint on the weekend.

Photo by delete08

How did your involvement with ATG come about?

My involvement with ATG started in 2001. It came about through friends that were loosely connected through a scene in North-west London that was more or less orientated around selling weed. Basically there was a few of us at that time that were beginning to stand out and were pushing the graff scene forward north of the river so we joined forces under the name ATG
(Antagonizers) which was a name Aset had thought up. The original line up was me, Rest, Aset, Snore, Rayds and shortly after, Harm. ATG was and always will be a lot about partying as well as painting which is how we spread so quickly. We would go to random parties all over the city and then after when we were all charged up we would climb all over shit, bombing our way
home. We also wanted to raise the bar with illegal graffiti in London and try to step on stage with the people doing big things internationally.

Photo by mikeion

Who were/are you inspirations?

Artistically my inspiration has come from all over from old school London Graffiti to Street Art in South America and Europe and various typography and illustration from the past, but my energy is always found through my friends and London Town.

Photo by nolionsinengland

How do you feel the internet has affected Graffiti?

The internet has changed graffiti a lot, everyone knows this, but then it has changed everything in life. The one thing I’ve noticed about the internet and graffiti is that it has almost killed off regional styles. Before the internet really took off you could tell the difference between South London and North London graffiti not to mention the different styles in cities across the world. This was because people would be inspired by the graffiti they see in their area when growing up so the style of local heads would rub off on them. Because of the internet, now no matter where you are from you are probably looking at graffiti from around the world online more than local stuff on walls and so the styles these days all start to look the same like some international Euro/NYC mesh. The internet has made the graffiti subculture ridiculously easy to access. Info on almost anything about it is available online. People these days find spots to paint by checking photos on flickr, order all there specially designed graffiti paint online and track down and message their favorite writers on Facebook or MySpace.

Before the net you had to go out and search for your spots, spend a while stealing shit paint from hardware shops until you finally worked out the good paint to use and if you ever managed to cross paths with one of your favourite writers, it was a special moment. The internet has changed all that, but I’m not bitter. Graffiti has been adapting from it’s birth and this is just another era.

Photo by Pure Evil

This month you’re opening your second major solo show at Pure Evil Gallery. Can you tell us a little bit more about the show and how it differs from your first?

My first show at Pure Evil was my introduction to the gallery world so although I was at a stage with my work that I felt was ready to put out there, I was still only dipping my toes in the water. Since I started making artwork outside of graffiti, it’s sort of been centered around trying to capture moments of energy in my life, which can be hard as it’s not particularly slow paced and often a juggling act of highs and lows. For this next show my work feels like it is moving closer to channeling that energy through my style and visual communication of my thoughts. I’m sure it will feel a lot more like you are stepping inside my world. The work that will feature has been done over the last year in London and Amsterdam.

Photo by Pure Evil

What is the key to keeping your ideas fresh and not becoming mentally/physically burnt out by what you do?

I think there are different ways to keep yourself buzzing off your work, but variation in approach is always going to be the most important. Sometimes you just have to live and go and get yourself in to all sorts of situations in order to then go back and enjoy creating work. It definitely helps when I see someone doing things in a way that I have completely slept on. Seeing other people really going for it in a way I relate to always reminds me of why I do what I do. At the end of the day, I’ve grown up in a graffiti world so although I enjoy creating work for myself, I also love to come and make noise, let people know where I’m at and then move on to the next one. And there is always a next one, so that keeps the ball rolling in my world.

Photo by delete08

And finally, what does the future hold for yourself? In regards to your work, new projects and any other personal aspirations you have in life. Is there anyone you’d like to give a shout out to?

Who knows what the future holds for me? My life isn’t slowing down at all so probably just more of the same carry on, more often. At the moment I’m liking the idea of getting into a new studio at the beginning of 2011, spend at least a year getting really lost in my work until I feel I’m creating something that is completely on point to how I see the world and what I want to convey and then do my next show in 2012 sometime. But who knows? I want to do a lot of things so could very easily be pulled in a different direction altogether. There’s always a lot of ATG projects to get busy with and walls that need paint on them. Generally at the beginning of the year I have a long list of stuff I want to complete or get underway by the end of the year, and then I just get stuck in and see how much of it I can do while while dealing with all the other stuff life throws at you. It’s nice to not know what’s around the corner.

Panik’s solo show at Pure Evil Gallery opens on November 11th.

Photos by nolionsinengland, delete08, Pure Evil, mikeion and ATGLDN

Olivier Kosta-Théfaine’s Pyromania

Olivier Kosta-Théfaine: Monde Sauvage from Raphael on Vimeo.

I’ve always considered myself to be a bit of Pyromaniac. Fire is element that has always managed to catch my attention. Whether it be in photography or film, I’ve always been fascinated with it. But don’t worry, I can assure you that I don’t have a long history of burning down houses or setting myself alight behind me. French artist and fellow Pyromaniac Olivier Kosta-Théfaine on the other hand has been throwing caution to the wind lately; attacking walls and ceilings with lighters in order to create a number of burning phrases and patterns into ceilings (see the video above). But what on earth is it all for?

On his website it explains

“In each of his interventions, Olivier Kosta-Théfaine plays with the codes and clichés of popular culture. He uses the languages and codes of the city and its suburbs, changing or modifying their original meaning so it can be understood by a broader public. His reflection is essentially based in rehabilitating the, often deconsidered, elements that belong to the city. His fascination for the suburbs has switched to a passion that is essential to his everyday work. The city is his muse, the drive for his artistic inspiration.”

Yeah, I didn’t really get much out that either! But what the hell, it looks pretty cool!


Spiffy Films presents this short trailer for Dan Witz’s Street Art Project for 2010: WHAT THE %$#@? (WTF)

If you’re not familiar with Dan’s work or have a taste for street art that’s a little more provocative definitely check this video out! Dan latest work focuses around a number of very surreal and realistic panels, placed in and around urban locations; depicting various characters looking out from behind iron bars, cages and window panes. Whether they are trapped, being held against their will or simply there for their own enjoyment remains to be seen, but this is certainly something that will have you thinking – “WTF?”.

Jeff Soto & REAL Skateboards Limited Edition Skate Decks

I’m a HUGE fan of Jeff Soto and having already had the opportunity to interview him a long time ago, I can safely say I’m a fan for life. There was also that one time when I stood next to him at the opening of his debut UK solo exhibition and didn’t have the balls to say hello, but let’s not talk about that! Instead lets talk about Maxx242 vs. Jeff Soto; a new collaborative project between the two artists and longtime friends which will focus on releasing limited edition items such as toys, skate decks, apparel and prints. The project also includes two limited edition decks made for REAL Skateboards (seen above), both made in limited quantities. The boards (which will have a special coinciding Bearbrick Toy for special release at Unit in Tokyo, Japan) were both made at a quantity of 200, with 50 of each going straight to Japan, so only 150 will be available in the US!

Maxx242 and Soto have worked together on various projects over the past 20 years and have always pushed each other to progress as artists and more importantly, they share a deep respect for one another. Now they are joining forces again to make some cool shit for the world!

Alex Pardee & Greg “Craola” Simkins Halloween Print Release

Two of my favorite artists of all time Alex Pardee and Greg “Craola” Simkins recently teamed up to create this special Halloween print appropriately entitled “The Orange Lantern”. I can’t think of a cooler collaboration and the concept fits both of these guys perfectly!

The print is now available as an ultra limited giclee print from Zerofriends. Each print is hand signed and numbered and also comes packaged with a FREE additional 10″ x 8″ print displaying the story of The Orange Lantern which you can read in full on Alex’s  Juxtapoz Blog.

Neck Face Returns This Halloween

I’m a huge Neck Face fan. No really, a HUGE fan! From the camo and balaclava clad get up, to his scratchy carvings and cannibalistic creations, the whole Neck Face persona has always intrigued and fascinated me. I mean the name “Neck Face” in itself is enough to warrant a good dose of media and public attention; something that Mr.Neck Face has never shied away from, even snagging himself an up coming documentary involving director Spike Jonze. A quick search of Youtube or Google will find you a number of videos with Neck Face openly embracing the cameras into his world, happily discussing his influences and ideas. But that fact that the very same search exposes the once anonymous graffiti artist from California (if you look hard enough), is probably more then enough reason to lay low and cool off for a while. Right?

Well apparently not because Neck Face is back with a new solo show, Into Darkness – which in true Neck Face fashion is naturally opening this Halloween. The show will feature his latest series of drawings, paintings, and sculptures. While maintaining the hand style and imagery now considered his trademark, this body of work introduces new elements into Neck Face’s visual codex. A collection of watercolors, with vignettes arranged in comic strip format, feature his idiosyncratic, stubble-haired creatures.

Here’s a cool video from the opening night of last years show.

I guess I’d be really interested to see how this show turns out considering the fact that for Neck Face himself, the jig is pretty much up and the novelty mystery that once surrounded who he is has seemingly come to an abrupt end. I mean, what kind of repercussions is that going to have? Do you still turn up with your balaclava on? Who knows. All I know is Neck Face will always be sick! And where as some people may say that having your own shoe line or series of skate decks and/or clothing range might be “selling out”, I say more power to him!  Get with the times people! With or without his mask Neck Face will always be a legend!