The Sky Is Falling

The Dreweatts Urban Art auction underperformed.

Work at Frieze didn’t sell as well as in previous years.

The Sotheby’s Contemporary Art auction was a flop.

Bonhams’ Urban Art auction left great pieces onsold and others at far below the estimate.

The art market, and the urban art market in particular, is not looking good. But is it over?

Adam Martin at  Beautiful Crime says no, and I have to agree. Martin argues for a second wave in the urban art market.

I talked to a number of dealers there and the odd Euro rich punter and the feeling was, the market had gotten a little overheated at the top end of late and this was a ‘shake down auction‘.

Ultimately it’s a positive outcome, greed has been replaced by a need for more realistic pricing. Lesser known Artist’s, Zero, Cept, Word to Mother did well and I think reflect the market’s need to look beyond the Banksy’s and Neate’s which are now in hedgeless hedge fund realms, and look to nurture some new talent.

I’d say this was officially the beginning of the second wave of urban art.

I very much agree with Martin’s prediction of a second wave of urban art. In this second wave, prices readjust and (to an extent) take hype out of the equation, and the size of the midrange market increases, offering underrated artists like Cept, Armsrock, and Know Hope a chance to increase both their fanbase and their prices. Artists like D*Face, on the other hand, may have a hard time in this new market.

The economic downturn is certainly not the end of the genre that some have speculated. In fact, due to the nature of urban art, it would be pretty hard for it to ever die out completely. Because of the anti-establishment and “working man” nature of a lot of urban art, parts of the market should be embraced and grow much stronger during an economic downturn, and others will decline. Essentially, the “real” collectors of urban art will come back into control of the market (for a little while).

I see the urban art market as a bit like a pickup truck on a dirt road. Right now, we’ve hit a rough patch, and when we make it back to a smooth road all the contents of the truck will be a bit jumbled around. Some artists will have fallen to the bottom of the market, and others will rise to the top.

Judith Supine In NYC

I think these are new, either way, some great work by Judith Supine.

Eye Woman - Judith Supine
Eye Woman - Judith Supine. Photo by SReed99342
Judith Supine - Eye Woman (Detailed)
Eye Woman (Detailed) - Judith Supine. Photo by SReed99342
Man and Child - Judith Supine. Photo by SReed99342
Man and Child - Judith Supine. Photo by Diane DaCruz-DiDonato

Gee Vaucher Print @ POW

Gee Vaucher released a new print at Pictures on Walls today. Sold out less than an hour after they sent our an email announcing the release.

Vital stats:

Title: Great Scott

Edition size: 200

Price: £175

Size: 54 x 66cm

Colors: 9

Sale Status: SOLD OUT

Gee Vaucher - Great Scott
Great Scott - Gee Vaucher

At first, I didn’t get this image, but upon closer inspection, I love it. Sure it isn’t the absolute most original idea ever, but it is well executed and very subtle. Also, it’s just a great screenprint. Reminds me a bit of Peter Kennard’s “Haywain with Cruise Missiles”, as well as Agent Provocateur’s Biggles character.

Biggles in Grey Clouds
Biggles in Grey Clouds - Agent Provocateur

Recent Shows

Thought I’d make a short list of links to some of this week’s street art exhibitions.

1. Shepard Fairey‘s latest exhibit, in DC, has opened, and the opening looks like it was great. Very jealous of whoever got to attend. Arrested Motion has the details.

2. Chris Stain has an online show at Dirty Pilot with some pretty cool stencils. I have a version of the image below (just the center bit though), and it is one my favorite pieces in my collection. Really strong imagery.

Chris Stain - From Here You Can See Tomorrow
Chris Stain - From Here You Can See Tomorrow

3. The Thaw, a group show for charity, opened in London. Matt Small, Pure Evil, Cept, and many others have work in the show. The Thaw raises money for Medical Aid for Iraqi Children.

4. Dain‘s show, Time Machine, at the Brooklynite Gallery has opened this week as well. Arrested Motion once again has the details and more photos.

Dain - Betty Davis
Dain - Betty Davis

5. Burning Candy with Sweet Toof, Cyclops, and Tek 33 is in London at the Satorial Gallery. Looks cool, though I haven’t been yet. Possible updates on this when I get over there, in the mean time, check Graffoto.

6. Frieze Art Fair of course was this weekend in Regent’s Park. Personally, I was unimpressed by 90% of the work, but no doubt there was some good work such as Jake and Dinos Chapman model at the White Cube booth, and some life size army men. Graffoto has some great photos, and I’ll upload my low-quality camera-phone ones tomorrow (my usual camera broke).

7. Art of the State seems to have beat me to posting show round ups this weeks, and they have the info on the exhibits at the Truman Brewery. Opus Art put on Kounter Kulture with all of thier best artists, and Dave White has Planes, Tanks and Automatics.

Une Interview Avec C215

If you have have ever walked passed a piece by C215, you know how powerful they are. His stencils engage the viewer and transform their surroundings. Banksy may make great political stencils, and Logan Hicks has amazing technical skills, but C215 makes some of the most beautiful and moving stencils currently on the street.

Stencil by C215 in London. Photo by RJ

Most of his work is portraiture, but C215 also does scenes (such as the inside of a prison). Though C215 lives is Paris, his work has appeared around the world, from LA to Brazil to London. His flickr has over 1000 images (including from his recent trip to New Delhi), so be sure to have a look.

He recently exhibited at the Ink-d Gallery in Brighton, and has a book out called Stencil History X featuring interviews with many of the world’s top stencil artists.

Interview after the jump. Continue reading “Une Interview Avec C215”

Graf Wall Vandalized Before It Opened

This article in The Sun caught my eye today.

A BLANK wall built for teenage graffiti artists has been vandalised by an angry resident writing – ”I paid my tax and all I got was this lousy wall”.

The £3,000 6ft high by 30ft long wall was installed so youths could practice their graffiti artwork without using local property.

But ahead of its opening on October 31 the fed-up resident sneaked behind a security fence and daubed a protest about the use of taxpayer’s money.

Personally, I find the whole story hilarious.

First, because the council now thinks they need to repaint the wall. Now, I don’t know the exact details of this wall, and maybe the plan is to repaint it every few months, but it seems like it would be easy enough to just wait until the wall opens and let the kids paint over it.

Second, because they automatically assume that some disgruntled taxpayer did this. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was an ironic teenager. If I lived in Wadebridge and was clever enough, I might have sprayed that even though I like the idea of the wall.

Thirdly, the idea of the wall itself. Yes, I just said i like the idea of the wall, and I do because it gives artists a place to paint where they don’t have to worry about being arrested (or maybe not). I just don’t think this is going to limit the amount of graf in the area. Part of street art and graffiti is the illicit nature of the work.

Hopefully we can see some photos when the wall is opened officially.

Shepard Fairey Obama Video has done a video about Shepard Fairey’s Obama images which includes a pretty cool interview with Shepard Fairey himself talking about the project.

I think this series of images has become a lot of people have realized. Today I saw a friend of mine, who would never normally wear something by the OBEY brand, wearing a t-shirt with the Progress image on it.

Progress by Shepard Fairey
Progress by Shepard Fairey. Photo by BitBoy