Fairey Finally Speaks Out Against Obama

Shepard Fairey has FINALLY said a few words criticizing soon-to-be-president Obama.

From obeygaint.com:

I’m very disappointed by Obama’s appointment of Rick Warren to deliver his invocation during Obama’s inaugural address. Rick Warren is against gay marriage and reproductive rights, and he does not believe in evolution (maybe he offers himself as proof of lack of evolution). I understand that Obama is trying to appeal to conservatives and evangelicals, but this move is symbolically a slap in the face to many people. Warren is not a uniter, but a divider… he is intolerant in many of his views. I still think Obama is the best choice for president, but I can’t condone Warren’s involvement in Obama’s inauguration, no matter how insignificant it is.

Shepard Fairey Obama ProgressFairey goes on to say that some of the proceeds from his pro-Obama posters will now go towards initiatives working to reverse California’s Prop-8, which re-banned gay marriage in the state.

I’ve had a hard time with all of Fairey’s pro-Obama work (it seems a bit pro-establishment compared to the rest of his work), but I really respect Fairey for still being willing to criticize Obama.

If you’re in DC for the inauguration, check out Fairey’s Manifest Hope gallery, running from Jaunuary 17-19.

Via the art collectors blog

The Smartest Man or The Dumbest Ad-Man Alive

Photo by the lonely villein
Photo by the lonely villein

The above piece appeared in London recently. The question is, is it a real Banksy? Check the logo on the bottom, close-up below. Then check out the logo for this advertising agency called The Bank (also below).

The Banksy

The Bank Logo

So here are the possible ways that this has happened:

1. It’s a legit Banksy and the quality isn’t up to his usual standards.

2. Bansky is licensing his images in viral ads.

3. It’s a viral advert for The Bank designed with no respect for art.

4. It’s a legit Banksy made to look like a viral ad by The Bank.

I really don’t think it’s #1.

I really hope it’s not #2.

#3 is definitely possible. The Bank’s website is full of photos and quotes from pop culture icons like Elvis. Advertising agencies have certianly used graffiti before, and in many case paid the artists for their work. And of course, advertising agencies have stolen from each other and from artists before. So this seems possible, and I’d say it’s probably the most likely scenario. It’s a great ad if you have no morals. They’ve certainly got me talking, so their ad is effective, and that’s what they’ll want to provide for their clients.

I hope it’s #4. How great would that be? Banksy’s recent show in New York had posters done by an ad agency and he was criticised for it. What if this poster is meant to be about the subversion of advertising campaigns? Maybe he’s parodying viral marketing by making a poster sure to be confused with viral advertising. That, would be amazing.

Via Arrested Motion

Auction Saboteur Turns One


Auction Saboteur will be one year old this week so its time for a little celebration, this Thursday at the Mutate Show from 7pm. It will also be the last Thursday party with the Mutoid Waste Crew, it will be great night. Sausages on sticks, cheese and pickled onions, mince pies as well fizzy pop and lots of rum. Not to forget a special Mucky dip and possibly the best show in Britain right now.

The end is nigh, mutate of die !!!

Send and email to info@auctionsaboteur.com and the first 150 people with ‘happy birthday’ in the subject bar will be placed on the guest list.

Here is a pic of one of the exclusive Mutate Britain Ceramic Spray cans by the Baroness that could be won in the £5 Mucky dip on the night.

Mutate Spraycan

Also there will be three special other exclusives released this thursday, half on the night half the next day online at www.auctionsaboteur.com

Week of The Tag

I’ve been a bit light on posts this week. Schoolwork has been piling up a bit, and I submit my university applications next week, so I’ve been working on those. I have been following the news though, and it seems like everybody is talking about tags this week.

Photo by RJ
Photo by RJ
  • Hooked has released a zine called Tags: East London, and you can probably tell what it’s about from the title. 30 pages full color photos of some of London’s best tags. Get a copy for just £3.50 including UK postage here.
  • Beautiful Crime sums up “The Great Debate” about “the merits of paste-ups, graffiti, street art, tagging and photoshopping” based on this flickr comments exchange between Mike Marcus, nolionsinengland, HowAboutNo! and redalert51.
  • Fecal Face has a Q&A with graffiti photographer Martha Cooper. Fans of ’80’s graffiti should definitely have a read. Cooper has a new book out called Tag Town: The Origins of Writing, available here.
  • There’s also been some great news in the world of character tags:
    UK Street Art reports that The Toaster has put out a couple of fairly cheap prints over at Nelly Duff. Just £50, but they aren’t very large.
    Hooked announces the release of new Sickboy prints from his recent Stay Free show (I wasn’t able to go, but Graffoto’s got a review)

The Coveted Red Dot

Mike Marcus has started a great new project where he’s painting red dots on pieces all around London (galleries put red dots next to pieces that have been sold).

Photo by Sandrine Plasseraud
Photo by Sandrine Plasseraud

Here’s an excerpt from Mike’s blog post on the project, which makes some very valid points on the state of street/urban art:

Like many fine artists eventually do, I have reached a point where I want to devote myself to my practice full time. In order to do this, I need to make enough money through public funding and print sales to cover my needs for rent, food, art materials and the occasional beer. Obviously the urban art scene is a good place to target because so much money is being spent. For this reason I devoted much of the past month to marketing myself in this sector.

As this period draws to a close, I have to say that I have been left a little disappointed. Of the long conversations I have had with collectors and dealers, I have come to the conclusion that the scene wants to consume (both commercially and intellectually) safe art. Because of the supreme lack of imagination shown by its aficionados, todays urban art seems to be a retrospective of yesterdays street art, a parody of itself.

What happened to the radical movement where we could say what we wanted without being moderated by galleries? Weren’t we meant to be subversive? These days it seems that we are more conservative than the art establishment which we reacted against. Somewhere during the change from “street” to “urban”, the movement lost its passion and subsequently its message.

I think Mike is right about this (to an extent). His work is certainly on the controversial side, and I think some of his most controversial stuff is his best. Unfortunately, it also gets ripped off the walls after 30 seconds and I don’t know many street art collectors who would want to put such controversial work in their homes.

Mike has decided to push the boundaries, and street art says he’s pushed too far. Isn’t that the point of street art? Are street art fans getting complacent and boring?

Anybody go to Pictures on Walls today? I enjoyed it, but after reading Mike’s post, I’m starting to see it differently. What boundaries were being broken? Isn’t that what attracted us to street art in the first place? Artists were tearing down the art establishment by giving away their art, now they are trying to become the art establishment.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love street art, I just think we need to be careful. Street art needs to remember what it is supposed to be. I love that street art took over the Tate Modern, but the Tate needs to adapt to us, we shouldn’t adapt to suit it.

Street Art Awards Tonight

The Street Art Awards are tonight at Rough Trade East, and today they’ve been featured in The Independent. Below is an except, but check the full article, along with profiles of Guy Denning, Case, Matt Small, SPQR and others, here.

Street artists paint on the street, graffiti writers tag on walls and urban artists paint on canvass – right? Think again. The boundaries between these genres are blurring to create a new movement that echoes the punk ethos of anything goes. Artists grouped together under this “street” umbrella are not just spraying Bansky style stencils on walls. Some, like German duo Herakut, are highly skilled painters who create “photorealistic” graffiti with spray paint, others, like Tel Aviv artist Know Hope, are more craft-based.

It seems fitting then that street art, in all its guises, is to be recognised at the first ever Street Art Awards ceremony. The public have been encouraged to vote for their favourite piece of street art from 2008 both online and at the awards night which takes place at Rough Trade East record store, London, tonight. The evening promises top-name DJs including Andrew Weatherall, magicians, live painting and a charity raffle.

“Street art has always been a democratic art form,” says Mark Bracegirdle who runs urban art business Auction Saboteur and founded the awards out of a desire to let ordinary people decide what constitutes good art. “We wanted to take that idea further and encourage everybody to become an art critic rather than just the elitist few.”

In addition, over 50 international artists have each donated a work on vinyl to be raffled at the event and in month-long eBay auctions – a pick of the best on offer can be found on these pages. Raffle tickets will be £10 each on the night – a bargain if you walk away with an original by Matt Small or Guy Denning that would usually sell for thousands of pounds. All monies raised will go to the charity Single Homeless Project.

The manager of Rough Trade East and keen art collector, Spencer Hickman, said: “Music and art go hand in hand so it seemed fitting to get the artists to produce work on a record. Every medium including stencils, cut and paste and fine art is on offer and people will be amazed at the range of work. The artists have really made these second-hand objects beautiful again, just like painting on a dirty wall outside.” Who said vinyl was dead?

For tickets to the awards and to cast your vote, go to www.streetartawards.com.

5 Reasons POW’s Open Day Is A Can’t Miss Affair

This Saturday and Sunday, Pictures on Walls will be hosting their first annual “Open Day” (which is actually two open days). As the title says, here’s 5 reasons why I expect to see you there (assuming you live in this country, plane ride might be a bit much for a Banksy print).

1. New Banksy print being sold in a lottery system. Everybody gets a shot at the tesco image. This alone should get a line of people back into the Old Street tube station.
2. New Vhils print being signed in person with inscription to avoid ebay flippers. His work is top quality, and people won’t be forgetting his work at Cans Festival for a long time. If the world were fair, getting access to this should be as in demand as the Banksy print.
3. New Micallef prints. No more “Bomber Girl” prints here. “Bethlehem” looks great (though we’ve yet to see any high-res images). These are also going through a lottery system, so hopefully that means fewer flippers, but I doubt it.
4. Some kind of legal stenciling. I’ll be bringing some stuff down for sure, and maybe this will be like the Cans free stencil area and some real talent will show up as well.
5. Umm, it’s a two-day long street art party and everyone’s invited. Did I really need the rest of the list?

New Stella Dore Space

This week, Stella Dore expanded and reopened on the street art oasis that is Rivington Street. I suppose I’m a bit late to be posting the flyer for their grand opening night, but I didn’t make it over until yesterday afternoon.

The new space is bigger, nicer, and easier to find. It’s just a block from Black Rat Press and Behind the Shutters, so there’s no reason not to check it out if you’re in the area.

Right now, there’s work from some really talented artists, including Shock1 and Eelus.

Prices are reasonible too. I picked up a great Kid Acne spray can for just £30. I don’t expect it to fetch much at Bonhams or anything, but I like Kid Acne’s work.

Best of all, they’ve got a couple Banksy Christmas cards. Thanks to Romanywg for the tip there.