Andrew H. Shirley’s Traveling Sideshow Visits Superchief Gallery for Halloween

October 25th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

Screening in Reno, NV. “This Wasted Land” by Greg Henderson. Costume by Wolftits. Wolfsuit by Briana Barber. Photo by Alisha Funkhouser.

The word sideshow comes up several times in conversation when discussing the traveling installation centered on Andrew H. Shirley’s Wastedland 2 film. The touring exhibition is as much of a whirlwind as the artist himself, connecting collaborators from across the country in an ever-evolving project.

Sculpture by UFO and William Thomas Porter at the Wastedland 2 screening at the Knockdown Center. Photo by Jaime Jarvis.

While the upcoming screening of Wastedland 2 this Friday at Superchief Gallery is the first screening with an emphasis on audience participation through costumes, the film had previously shown in New York City at the Knockdown Center. At this venue, from the moment I stepped into the installation it felt like a family reunion, a theme that is echoed throughout the film. It was a feeling I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and decided it was probably all the personal connections I had with the people and left it at that. However, when I went to interview Andrew, I had to ask if he could illuminate why even people I knew who were not personally familiar with the crews involved still came away with this sense of kinship. Shirley explained, “In many ways Wastedland 2 created not only a new platform of film exhibition, but perhaps exemplified the idea of collaborative action and support from a community that is sometimes over looked as far as how genuinely loyal and generous they are. The graffiti community not only looks out for each other, but they are a family that looks out for people in need- in many ways.” From assisting in the entry of buildings to a floor to call a safe home for the night, the filmmaker was quick to name all of the people and places who helped him out. It may not have been a direct connection, but maybe a friend of a friend, because as he stated they are the family that always looks out for one another.

Beyond these overarching themes, I was curious about how the process varied city to city, having only attended the Knockdown Center screening myself. Read the rest of this article »


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows, Interview | Tags: ,

Sharing Inspiration: Noxer for Frontal Labotomy at Tender Trap

April 29th, 2015 | By | No Comments »
Lance de los Reyes

Lance de los Reyes. Photo by Darryl Nau.

Since reopening in Greenpoint, Tender Trap has hosted an ongoing series of shows curated by Andrew H. Shirley. The Frontal Labotomy series takes place biweekly in a 3′ by 4′ display case in the middle of the bar.

Russell Murphy

Russell Murphy. Photo by Paul Reubens.

Shirley explains:

The idea came to me from staring at my bedroom wall. I was thinking how psychologically explicit the assortment of objects and art I have displayed are- how they tell a story of me and my emotional being. I wanted to be able to create a setting where artists could display themselves the same way. That said, it’s totally up to them how they want to inhabit the box. It’s completely hands-off in the sense that I don’t have any involvement in the content outside of asking individuals to participate in the residency. In the future, I’m looking to curate people from backgrounds outside the world of art- plumbers, vagrants, clowns, convicted felons, and crossing guards in attempt to let the public look into their lives in a more intimate way.

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One of Noxer’s pieces for Frontal Labotomy. Courtesy of Noxer.

Tonight, April 29, Frontal Labotomy rotates and New York writer Noxer takes over the space. The opening reception starts at 7pm. Know for bringing his “black man robbing” character to graffiti, drawing, and puppetry, viewers can expect a mixed-media approach to the 4′ x 3′ space, including the above image.

Photos by Darryl Nau, and Paul Reubens, and courtesy of Noxer


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: ,

Across four countries: A travelogue with NDA

November 28th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

Last month, New Jersey-based artist NDA arrived back in his city from an extensive trip across four countries: Norway, England, Spain, and Portugal. This was is first time painting in Europe. With as many memorable encounters as walls, he shared these recent adventures through a series of anecdotes and photographs.

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Initially he was invited by artist Nipper to paint at a local high school in Halsnoy, Norway. During the trip, a few requisite big cities were painted, including London and Barcelona, however it was painting in the smaller cities where he found the biggest rewards. Here his work was able to breathe, unencumbered by looming buildings. In Norway, a lush landscapes surrounded the loosely painted characters.

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“When painting in smaller towns you begin to realize that the work can be a huge contrast to its surroundings. I felt like some of the murals and street art that I saw in these areas had a greater impact than perhaps some of the work in NY because it wasn’t over saturated. In parts of Brooklyn you can’t turn around with out seeing a mural, wheatpaste or what-have-you. Some times the work can get a little lost in the shuffle. But when you turn the corner of a small town and see a large mural standing alone against beautiful scenery, it can really smack you upside the head! The context is so dramatically different that your impression of it has to change as well.” said NDA of his time in Halsnoy. I was curious to ask NDA how the police reaction in these suburban areas stacked up against our ever-paranoid NYPD and Vandal Squad. The artist said, “Everywhere I went to, the cops were just waaaayyyy more relaxed! I think it’s no secret that NY cops are often turned up to 10. Even when you’re painting legal walls here, you’re likely to get some hassle. It was nice to not feel that stress.”

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After staying with Nipper and a stop to check out famed festival Nuart, the artist hopped a plane to London, where the NDA’s one negative experience on his excursion took place. He recollects, “The one wall I had a problem with on the trip was a legal spot in London. I was given permission to paint a wall of a canal. 10 minutes into sketching it out a woman in the houseboat facing the wall came out and said that it would be too much for her to see this everyday. Instead of going on I agreed to stop and she power washed it of the wall. This was a first for me. I was pretty frustrated at first but it was a good lesson to have: Not everyone wants your shit!” However, not all of NDA’s experiences in London were so fraught with difficulties. Nearly all the passersby NDA heard from enjoyed the 30-foot long wall on Hanbury Street that he painted thanks to Ben Slow.

Collaboration with Vulpes Vulpes

Collaboration with Vulpes Vulpes

Collaboration with Vulpes Vulpes

Collaboration with Vulpes Vulpes

The finale of his trek came while visiting Vulpes Vulpes in Leiria, Portugal, where they collaborated on several pieces. The artist recounts, “Vulpes Vulpes and I were doing an unauthorized piece on an abandoned building in Leiria. We turned around to see all the students from the beauty school next door laughing and waving at us from the window. A few of them came out to chat and it was all so nice and casual. At the end they gave us a round of applause. The whole thing was incredibly positive and I don’t think the topic of legality came up once.” Now back in the metro-area after his extensive travels, viewers should watch to see how the natural landscape affects the artist’s imagery going forward. I, for one, look forward to some Halsnoy-inspired flora to liven up the cold winter ahead.

Photos courtesy of NDA


Category: Interview, Photos | Tags: ,

This summer Droid 907 is Sick of Society

September 23rd, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »
Sick of Society by Droid 907

Sick of Society by Droid 907

A little over a year ago, I interviewed Droid 907 for the release of his first SOS zine, Sex or Suicide. This summer, through Carnage, he is sharing his past year of adventures riding through the United States. As with the previous volume, Sick of Society exists on the fringes of the mainstream where Droid 907 finds comfort from a society he abhors. As much as the title gives a negative connotation, the pages of the zine are instead filled with intimate portraits of those the writer cares for, including friends both here and departed. Using typewriter gifted by Amanda Wong, the author redacts locations, crosses out spelling errors while leaving in others, adding characterization to himself while continuing his narration. His continued fascination with analog technologies can be seen not only in the text, but through the production of the zine itself. Unlike the Internet, print production contains a finite means of dissemination (albeit large editions of 400). Within the hand silkscreened pages and closed-edition volumes, Droid completely placed himself on the fringes of society in which he exists and documents. Fittingly, when sent interview questions, the Sick of Society author returned with pages fresh from his typewriter rather than a Word Document.

Photo by Droid 907

Photo by Droid 907

Rhiannon: So, the last typewriter for S.O.S. was found by the train tracks. What did you write Sick of Society on?

Droid:

INTVW_backgrnd

R: With equally a pessimistic title as the first zine, what makes you Sick of Society?

D:
INTVW_1

SOS page w text

SOS Page from Droid 907

Read the rest of this article »


Category: Books / Magazines, Featured Posts, Interview, Photos | Tags: , ,

Nanook gets lost in the sunset

March 28th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

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Last month Nanook ventured to Central America to paint for Mamutt in Mexico City. “Perdido en la Puesta del Sol,” or “Lost in the Sunset” draws upon the local history as well as the site. The former flour production factory Nanook painted this mural on is located in the very industry driven neighborhood of Camarones. Nanook speaks of the enmeshing of narratives, stating:

“About 15-20 years ago many of the factories closed and moved either outside of the city or out of the country. The neighborhood subsequently fell into decline. The parrot wing is representative of two things 1. The nickname for cocaine is parrot, while the neighborhood was losing industry many people began using and selling drugs. 2. The wing is also representative of the Quetzalcoatl, which had many meanings, but one of which was fertility and growth. It is attached to the corn and the woman squinting into the sun as a representation of growing past the loss of industry and ultimately the rebirth of the industry.”

While exploring the representation of local history, the artist continues his experimentation with portraiture and landscape. The juxtaposition is reminiscent of a mural he created last year for Living Walls Atlanta, which set two figures against a pastoral scene. As Nanook continues his nomadic lifestyle, the artist grows from the local experiences, leading viewers to imagine what the next amalgamation will be.

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Photos courtesy of Nanook


Category: Photos | Tags:

A punk’s fantasy: Droid907 directs for Japanther

March 26th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

Droid has been described eloquently as, “giving punk meaning again.” In the ultimate dream partnership, in my humble opinion, Droid 907 directed, edited, and wrote the video for Japanther‘s new single “Do It (Don’t Try).” The video follows as he writes out the song’s lyrics in his signature style. He then surreptitiously places the stickers around Bushwick while the band belts out “Do Do Do Do Why Fight It?” The juxtaposition of lyrics with illegal art underscore the song’s do or die attitude, one that Droid faithfully lives by.

It is also important to note that the video ends with a shot of a “Droid = Afrika” sticker. This piece pays homage to one of the crew’s deceased friends, writer Afrika.


Category: Videos | Tags: , ,

Tim Hans shoots… Vexta

February 17th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

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We’ve interviewed Vexta, now a New Yorker by way of Australia, twice before, so why not a third time? Last summer, she invited Tim Hans and I to rooftop in Brooklyn to meet up as part of his continuing series of photo-portraits of artists. What we found there was not just Vexta, but a semi-secret gathering of street artists taking over this random rooftop and just having a fun time together. Thanks to Vexta, Tim ended up photographing a bunch of artists whose photos we have been posting over the last few months. Rhiannon Platt recently included Vexta on a list of “15 Women Who Are Killing It in Street Art Right Now,” so of course Rhiannon was the perfect person to interview Vexta for this post. – RJ

Rhiannon Platt: Tell us a little about yourself.

Vexta: I’m from Sydney, Australia… though I came up in the street art scene in Melbourne where I live for a long time. I moved to Brooklyn about a year and half ago… since then though I’ve been traveling a lot painting walls, making art for music festivals and other exhibitions, commissions and projects in India, Mexico, Australia and across Europe. My artwork is pretty psychedelic and I guess I’m most interested in ideologies surrounding ultimate freedom and the interconnectedness of all matter and how that can relate to us in a real world way.

Rhiannon: Why did you choose this image in particular?

Vexta: It was a while back when I painted this… it wasn’t too long after Pussy Riot had been put in jail in Russia and in general there just felt like this global oppression of human rights and women’s rights… I start thinking about protesting and the connection to graffiti culture and started painting a series of people in bandanas and ski masks… the bandana part of that painting is made up of these diamond stencil shapes. I’ve been using these in my work for a while and they signify transformation and the atomic particles that make up all matter… so they create another layer of meaning too… like a physical representation of communication and the need for it. I like to leave a certain ambiguity in my work though so there’s space for people to bring their own meanings.

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Rhiannon: You paint abandoned or repurposed spaces a lot. How was painting this space in Brooklyn different?

Vexta: I haven’t painted that many rooftops because in Australia we don’t have that many locations like that… It kinda felt like painting an empty warehouse only in the sunshine with a view of Brooklyn.

Rhiannon: What was particularly important about painting on this roof?

Vexta: So it was a rooftop accessed by my friends Icy & Sot’s place. We had been talking for a while about getting a group of us together and painting it. So one day we had a bbq up there, spent the day hanging out and painting. I think there was maybe 8 or 10 of us up there painting that day. It’s those moments when street artists come together as a community and inspire each other and make new connections. That part of our world is important – Making art for ourselves and each other, making an empty space beautiful together.

Rhiannon: What did you take away from this experience?

Vexta: Some new friends & happy memories and I left behind a small piece of beauty with some ideas and feelings imbedded in it…

Vexta_TimHans_03

Photos by Tim Hans


Category: Interview, Portraits by Tim Hans | Tags: ,

Ladies Run Basel with Women on the Walls

December 11th, 2013 | By | No Comments »
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Maya Hayuk

This year Wywood Walls turned five and to mark the special occasion curator Jeffrey Deitch called on on the finest ladies in the field for Women on the Walls. International artists AikoMiss VanFafiMaya HayukLady PinkFaith47LakwenaKashinkSheryoOlekTooflyClaw MoneyJessie & Katey, Myla, and Shamsia Hassani all created murals or showed in the adjacent exhibition space. The participating artists have come from cities such as Cape Town, Paris, New York, and London. Part gallery part mural exhibition, the project acts as a history guide to the great presence of women muralists.

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Miss Van

Women on the Walls is a dream come true and also a proverbial screw you to people who say that the reason women artists are often overshadowed in the media is due to a dearth in street art. That, to be blunt, is bullshit. Older artists and the younger generation they inspired came together in the Wynwood district of Miami this Art Basel to prove their stronghold in the public art community. The scope of media alone proves their mastery of the craft as spray paint, yarn, text, stencils, and free handed characters all co-mingle to form a variety that has something to please most tastes.

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Sheryo

Not only is the perfect storm of artists curated in this year’s Wynwood Walls enough to be in awe of, additionally Martha Cooper has shared some breathtaking progress photos. As artfully as the walls are decorated, each image thoughtfully reveals the personas behind the iconography. Each picture displays the strength of these women, whether unveiling the sheer amount of effort behind a production to those who stand boldly in front of completed pieces. Cooper shows that these women are heroes, or warriors as Toofly depicts, taking on whatever challenges lay in their wake and simply killing it.

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Lakwena

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Aiko

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Kashink

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Fafi

All photos by Martha Cooper


Category: Art Fairs, Photos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Tim Hans Shoots… Jordan Seiler

November 18th, 2013 | By | No Comments »

JordanSeiler_TimHans_01

Note from RJ: It’s been a little while since we posted any of Tim Hans‘ photos, but his series of artist portraits is still ongoing. Today we have our latest photo from Tim, one he took of Jordan Seiler at the site of one of Jordan’s ad takeovers. Rhiannon Platt asked Jordan a few questions. – RJ

Under the moniker of PublicAdCampaign, artist and activist Jordan Seiler aims to help the public regain control of their visual atmosphere. His latest project, Public Access, aims to give artists the power to change their visual landscape. The artist has reproduced keys for bus shelters and phone booths for several countries, beginning first in New York and recently expanding to Brussels for an exhibition with Harlan B. Levy Projects. Today is also the launch of the app Re+Public, an augmented reality app for iPhone and Android created by Jordan and The Heavy Projects.

Rhiannon Platt: When did you first start combating commercialism with takeovers?

Jordan Seiler: I began ad takeovers in December of 2000 with an entire station takeover at the 18th street 1/9 stop. It took about 32 posters to cover both platforms. At that point, and somewhat still to this day, it isn’t about combating commercialism but rather deciding for ourselves what our collective visual landscape looks like.

Rhiannon: What made you want to start Public Ad Campaign? Was there a specific instance that you can point to?

Jordan: My first takeover was motivated purely by aesthetics. I thought the station would feel quite different with a new set of images. It was only once that feeling manifested, and I began to worry about being caught by the cops, that I began to see the differences between commercial and public media production.

Rhiannon: How does your passion for ad-busting manifest itself in your other work?

Jordan: I know this sounds trite but I prefer the word ad-takeover to ad-bust. An ad-bust suggests a play on meaning, a decrypting of the encoded media message to reveal its weaknesses or faults. My feeling is that we are already very good at reading between the lines and seeing most commercial messages for what they are. Despite this critical insight we sill cannot seem to resist their allure. Ad-takeovers on the other hand obliterate the initial media message and in doing so demand the space be used for other conversations. I think this is a very important distinction because if we are going to wrestle with the impact of media messages on our society, we need a critical distance from which to start. Ad takeovers demand an ad free public space and by extension ask the question of what we might fill that space with. I think with most of my other projects that aren’t directly ad-takeovers, I try to ask the question of how we might collectively take up the responsibility of public media production by encouraging other people’s participation, and exploring new tools for public media production.

Rhiannon: Are you currently working on any projects?

Jordan: I am currently working on a project called Public Access where I make tools that can be used to open advertising locations around the world so that people can engage their public media space directly. This is an ongoing project and I hope to continue to add more tools and more accessible cities in the coming years. I am also about to launch the Re+Public AR mobile app with my partner from The Heavy Projects. Our newest collaboration with MOMO was a wonderful experience and we are excited to finally make the app widely available through iOS and Android platforms.

Photo by Tim Hans


Category: Interview, Portraits by Tim Hans | Tags: , ,

Tim Hans shoots… Remi/Rough

September 4th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »

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Remi has been a friend and an artist I’ve followed closely for many years, one of the artists putting some fresh energy graffiti with his abstract style, so I was glad that Tim Hans could meet up with Remi Rough at his studio in South London earlier this year and that Rhiannon Platt could interview Remi for our continuing series of portraits by Tim Hans. – RJ

Rhiannon Platt: For those who may not be familiar with your work, when did you start using spray paint?

Remi Rough: I did my first piece in 1984. Paint was different then, as were the styles, techniques and obviously the fan base, which hardly existed at all except in the younger generation.

Most of the artists, paint brands and the pieces themselves don’t even exist anymore.

It’s quite funny to think of something I was part of as a kid being considered historical now!

Rhiannon: And how has your work evolved since then?

Remi: It became a lot simpler. In the late 90’s and early 00’s I stripped back a lot of the chintz in my graffiti pieces and lettering. Colour, background and periphery became unimportant to me. I guess things continued to simplify and become more minimal from there. Now the colour has regained a key importance in my work and the line and shape is just a conveyance for that. As long as I can create a similar tension in my paintings to the graffiti pieces of my youth, then I’m doing something right I think.

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Rhiannon: What does abstraction mean to you?

Remi: Abstraction is all about questioning what you see. Graffiti was and still is abstract right from the very beginning. The entire concept of Wildstyle is completely abstract. the fills, the outlines and the backgrounds. Taking basic type forms and abstracting them into a more stylised version of the original product is as about as abstract as it gets.

Abstraction is keeping your feet firmly planted in reality whilst your head is in the clouds of imagination.

Rhiannon: What keeps you going creatively?

Remi: Many things to be honest. Good coffee, amazing people (of which I think I’m lucky to be surrounded by a lot of the time), great art of any kind, good food, my family and most of all I guess I manage to find new challenges for myself on a constant basis.

Rhiannon: What projects are you working on right now?

Remi: I’m off to Detroit in November to work on a very large mural project, which I’m quite excited about as I’ve never been there before. I have also been working on a collaborative show with Shok1 and I have a couple of solo shows booked in for next year already. Lastly I have a new book available next month called #roughsketches it’s a huge book of sketch work dating back from 1996 until now. It marks my evolution into the style I work with now and has a good few hundred outlines in it. There’s only going to be 100 editions tho, plus 25 special editions! It’s my Seventh self published book and I personally think it’s my best one so far…

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Photos by Tim Hans


Category: Interview, Portraits by Tim Hans | Tags: ,