Lois Stavsky is an educator, curator and writer with a particular passion for global street art. She has recently contributed to: Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art, Rizzoli, 2010; C215: Community Service, Criteres, 2011 and Graffiti: 365, Abrams Books 2011.
I had last visited Bethlehem in 2008. Few of the pieces I saw then on the Separation Wall or in the city itself remain. The wall and its surrounding environs continue, though, to serve as a canvas for a range of – largely political – art. Here’s a bit of what my son and I captured during our recent visit:
Whereas the authorities in Istanbul are quick to buff any political graffiti, they seem to be quite tolerant to other public art — both sanctioned and unsanctioned. Here are a few more examples of what currently can be seen in the city:
Thanks, again, to Erbil Sivaslioglu for sharing his knowledge of his city’s street art scene with us.
Relatively new to Istanbul, the modern street art movement is beginning to make its mark and gain recognition as a legitimate contemporary art form. In our few days in Istanbul, we — my son and I — saw everything from tags and throw-ups by both local and international writers to huge murals by first-rate artists. We also discovered some local street artists whose aesthetics fuse the best of Eastern and Western sensibilities. Here’s a sampling:
Special thanks to Erbil Sivaslioglu who shared with us his passion and knowledge of his city’s street art scene.
As Shepard Fairey suggests in his artful introduction to this first-rate survey of D*Face’s artwork and life, D*Face is a master of art that is both subversive and skilled. And of particular appeal to me is that despite his commercial success, the artist continues to use the streets as a canvas.
Like so many artists I’ve spoken to and interviewed, D*Face hated school and survived it through drawing and doodling anything — from bubble letters to cartoons — all over his school books. Through a mix of fortuitous circumstances, hard work and extraordinary skill, he emerged from a working-class family to become one of the globe’s most successful urban artists. Prodded by his determination not to ever work at a job he hated — as he had seen his mom and too many folks do — he was saved by the skateboarding culture that introduced him to graffiti.
He began tagging while looking for spots to skate, and with the discovery of Thrasher Magazine, Subway Art and Spraycan Art, he was on his way to forge a successful career as a street artist, fine artist and designer. And with the launch of his gallery, Stolen Space, in 2005, he’s paved the way for other artists, as well.
Always experimenting and evolving, D*Face represents the best of urban art. With his particular fusion of pop culture and graffiti meshed with his rebellious streak and ingenious imagination, D*Face draws both our eyes and minds into his vision. With its dozens of first-rate images and engaging text, The Art of D*Face: One Man and His Dog — published by Laurence King Publishing — is a model of an artist’s monograph. It came my way just as Banksy left town and it was the perfect antidote!
RAE’s “Word of Mouth” is perhaps the most entertaining exhibit I’ve yet to experience. And it is an experience! In his recreation of an East Village bodega, RAE places his wonderfully zany characters – crafted from and on just about every imaginable surface – amidst surveillance cameras, lottery tickets, plastic EBT cards, loaves of bread, sundry cans of beans, lose cigarettes and just about anything you’d expect to find in a bodega. Here are a few images:
“Word of Mouth” continues through November 16 on the corner of Avenue C and East 12th Street. It is open Thursday through Saturday from 2 to 7 p.m.
Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson, Tara Murray and Lois Stavsky; image of bodega as seen when open courtesy of RAE
Early last month, UK-based Stik spent a few days in NYC and left one more variation of his signature character on East 9th Street in the East Village. This coming Tuesday, October 29, he is participating in ARTWALK NY 2013, a benefit auction for the Coalition for the Homeless. Piggyback, a woodcut print on Japanese paper, was fashioned during his recent visit to Japan.
Photo of Stik on East 9th Street by Tara Murray; inside Dorien Gray Gallery by Dani Reyes Mozeson and Piggyback print, courtesy of the artist
With so much quality street art and graffiti concentrated within the same neighborhoods — generally those edgier ones or on the edge of gentrification — I am delighted that Zed1 and Phlegm have brought their visions to Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. A rather staid middle-class neighborhood, Sheepshead Bay now boasts two of the finest pieces in town.
In from Italy, Zed1 has been getting up these past few weeks in Brooklyn and Queens. More images to come soon, but these two are the ones that found a home in Sheepshead Bay:
And a few weeks back, UK-based Phlegm painted right nearby. While I had assumed his signature characters were burying themselves in books, the word on the blogosphere is that they’re deep into their tablets!
Sheepshead Bay native Joe Bouganim, the owner of Bottleneck Gallery, organized these walls.
A huge fan of Middle Eastern calligraphy and modern graffiti, I found much to love at Calligraffiti: 1984-2013 at the Leila Heller Gallery. And, not surprisingly, among my favorite works were those by artists with strong roots in graffiti who are — or who have been — active on the streets. Here’s a sampling: