Street artists transform abandoned East Village building into dynamic canvas

Hanksy. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

Over three dozen artists were busy last week transforming an abandoned East Village building into an explosively expressive canvas. Conceived and coordinated by Hansky, the venture culminated in a one-night showing, “Surplus Candy,” that rivaled the best gallery exhibits in town.  Here are a few more images:

LNY (huge fragment on left) and Icy and Sot
LNY (huge fragment on left) and Icy and Sot
Alice Mizrachi
Alice Mizrachi. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.
Magda Love
Magda Love and Edapt +
Hanksy and Mata Ruda
Hanksy and Mata Ruda. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.
Col with Enzo Nio on extreme right
Col with Enzo Nio to the right. Photo by Lois Stavsky.
And a message from Gilf!
And a message from Gilf!. Photo by Dani Reyes Mozeson.

Photos by Dani Reyes Mozeson, City-as-School intern Eduardo Dibono and Lois Stavsky

Melbourne Monthly Madness – November 2013

Wow! What a year it has been in Melbourne street art and graffiti, this is my 2nd last post covering 2013. December post coming soon. I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Years Eve whatever you got up to.

I’ll start off with this great talk Ghostpatrol gave at Renew Newcastle Creative Talks. GP talks about his current life as a full time artist, growing up and the influence and importance of street art on his current work. GP also mentioned the ABC documentary made about him (and his partner – Miso) which is also definitely worth a watch – available here.

Kaffeine used the All Your Walls event as a launching board for her latest project HEARTCORE. (I’ll be doing a separate article on All Your Walls Part 2 soon).

Kaffeine painted her 1st piece for her new project HEARTCORE. For this amazing project Kaff is working with Berry Street, a child and family services organisation, and using real stories created by young people at the at Berry Street.

Kaffeine's HEARTCORE sketch. Photo by Kaffeine
Kaffeine’s HEARTCORE sketch. Photo by Kaffeine.
Kaffeine. Photo by Kaffeine
Kaffeine. Photo by Kaffeine.
Kaffeine. Photo by Kaffeine
Kaffeine. Photo by Kaffeine.

From the Just Another Blog “Creative writing and poetry from young people in Berry Street School will be interpreted by renowned Victorian street and contemporary artist Kaffeine and painted as a series of large and small street art murals on walls across Melbourne; including one that will take up a whole inner-‐city laneway. A coffee-‐table book titled HEARTCORE will then be launched at the conclusion of the project, made up of professional and artistic photographs of the murals together with the writing”.

Plus here’s a great interview (via an article in The Age newspaper) with Kaff talking about the project/piece.

I’m really excited to see what else Kaff produces as a part of this project.

Continue reading “Melbourne Monthly Madness – November 2013”

Juxtapoz and Complex miss Banksy’s uniqueness, celebrate his sameness

While I doubt anyone in that crowd is Banksy, they're all participating in Banksy's artwork. Photo by Ray Mock.
While I doubt anyone in that crowd is Banksy, they’re all participating in Banksy’s artwork. Photo by Ray Mock.

These last few weeks, I’ve been processing Banksy‘s Better Out Than In residency project and reading what other people have had to say it about it. Now, some mainstream media outlet like Forbes writes a silly article about Banksy and focuses almost entirely on money using numbers pulled from thin air, I understand. And hey, Jerry Saltz isn’t a fan or someone with a background in street art or graffiti, so of course his list ranking the pieces in Better Out From In from terrible to less terrible is a somewhat ridiculous. What really upsets me is when writers on media outlets that should know better miss the point entirely. Two articles in particular, in Juxtapoz’ print edition and on Complex’s website, struck me as particularly off-base.

The latest issue of Juxtapoz arrived in my email inbox on November 12th, so it’s very possible that Nick Lattner wrote at least the majority of his article before Banksy finished Better Out Than In, which is just the unfortunate reality of print journalism from time to time I suppose. If that was the case, I understand why Lattner went for writing about Banksy’s use of social media during Better Out Than In than the works in the show. Or maybe it was an attempt to stand out among the hundreds of blogs and magazines doing round ups of the top X pieces in the show. Whatever his reasoning, Lattner tries to argue that the real brilliance of Better Out Than In is how Banksy showed “a mastery of [his] command” of social media and the internet for getting his work out there. Lattner praises Banksy’s use of an Instagram account, a website and a hotline for audio-descriptions-by-phone.

None of that was innovative. It might have been cool, but it was not new. Cost and Revs listed a working phone number on their wheatpastes in the 1990’s. Banksy has had a website for years, as have most serious street artists, and Banksy was late to the game joining Instagram. Was it a surprise to see Banksy on “social media” networks? Sure. But only because he’s anti-social. And once on Instagram, he used it to push out content, not to engage. What Banksy did by putting his work on his website and posting it to Instagram was not innovative. It was simply not being stupid, assuming he wanted as many people as possible to see his work. Why is Lattner applauding a lack of stupidity like it’s a stroke of genius?

Similarly, Leigh Silver over at wrote an article with the headline Banksy’s “Better Out Than In” Took Place on the Internet, Not the Streets. I’m very pleased to see Silver writing something of such substance on Complex and she connects the show to a larger narrative about street art and graffiti online that I think is important to understand, but I disagree with her somewhat. Basically, she argues the same thing as Lattner with regard to Banksy: That the noteworthy aspect of Better Out Than In was that Banksy was posting this photos online. That’s where most people saw the Better Out Than In, and it helped to “preserve” the show in a sense by allowing it to be seen in photos even after the work was tagged over or otherwise destroyed. That’s all true, but I wouldn’t say that’s what was noteworthy about Better Out Than In.

On the one hand, with a book on basically the topic of street art and the internet coming out soon, I’m excited that other people have picked up on this shift. That said…

  • Even Silver admits that this has been the modus operandi of other street artists for years. It isn’t like Banksy just suddenly invented the idea of people seeing street art online.
  • Banksy himself has done work that’s made to be seen on the internet before (for example).
  • Seeing the work online was an option, but it’s not what Better Out Than In was about. Banksy is more interesting than that.

We need more people like Silver, people who suggest that “maybe ‘getting up’ is not on the streets anymore; it’s on social media,” but it seems odd to cite Better Out Than In as a prime example of that mindset. While there were a handful of pieces in the show that were meant to be seen online or really only existed online, there were many more pieces that were intended to be seen in person. Many of the best pieces in Better Out Than In begged for, or even required, crowd interaction to be activated and seen as complete. Here are the ones I’m thinking of:

  1. This is my New York accent – Perfect placement for people to crouch down and take photos while flashing fake gang signs.
  2. You complete meDogs peed on it.
  3. Truck delivering “calm” – This truck was supposed to be delivering calm, but really it delivered endless chaos as fans chased it down the street and crowded around for a photo.
  4. Balloon heart – You mean to tell me photos like this one weren’t the point of this piece? Oddly, this is a piece that Lattner cites as one of his favorites.
  5. Banksy beaver – Maybe crowds weren’t intended as essential to this piece, but Lattner cites this video as evidence that the show had a focus on digital experiences, which is ridiculous since the video only exists due to the actions of people at the site of the piece.
  6. Sirens of the lambs – Yes, the video of this piece is great, but it’s one of those pieces where the experience is 10x better in person.
  7. Confessional – Again, this is about the crowd staging photographs. Yes, those photos are shared online, but a crowd needs to be there away from keyboard as the first step.
  8. Central Park stencil sale – Even this piece, which it seems no hardcore Banksy fans saw in person, required some crowd interaction or lack thereof. Without that, what’s the story?
  9. Twin Towers tribute – Many people have suggested this was Banksy essentially daring people to tag over the work. Who would dare tag over a 9/11 tribute piece?
  10. Big malletMore site-specific posing.
  11. SphinxJust like many ancient Egyptian ruins, Banksy’s work is often subject to looting.
  12. The banality of the banality of evil – How much will you pay for a painting of a Nazi (okay, admittedly this auction took place online…)?

Better Out Than In was not about the internet. It was not about Banksy “broadcasting” his work to an Instagram audience as Lattner suggests in Juxtapoz and it did not primarily take place on the internet as Silver suggests, at least not any more so than 99% of mainstream street art today. Yes, Banksy utilized the internet, but for the most part only to the extent that any reasonable street artist utilizes the internet. In fact, Banksy probably had more of a focus during this show than most contemporary mainstream street artists have in their work on away from keyboard crowd interaction and response. What Silver and Lattner are noticing is street art in general, not Banksy.

If you want examples of street art that exists on the internet and was actually designed to exist there, check out the other examples in Silver’s article, or these posts I’ve written, or wait for my ebook Viral Art, which will be out in a few weeks.

Photo by Ray Mock

ALL YOUR WALLS :: Hosier Lane :: Melbourne

ALL YOUR WALLS - Photo by David Russell
F1 & ID – ALL YOUR WALLS. Photo by David Russell.

Ok, so I am pretty damn excited to share this event with you.

For the last 6 months or so Dean Sunshine from Land of Sunshine, Fletcher Anderson (aka Facter) from Invurt (who I also write for), Toby from Just Another and I ( Chairperson of Hosier Inc) have been working together on this exciting project. ALL YOUR WALLS is a satellite event for the National Gallery of Victoria‘s Melbourne Now event, a 3 month programme of work celebrating Melbourne art. It is the gallery’s largest ever exhibition, so the association with the event is very special indeed. The NGV have always been big supporters of street art and graffiti as I’ve mentioned in the past.

The project commenced many months ago when Dean was approached by the NGV and told about the upcoming Melbourne Now exhibition and asked how best to represent this fundamental part of art in Melbourne. Dean then approached us and we all came up with ALL YOUR WALLS. Thanks to Dean for the opportunity to be involved in this amazing project.

So what’s the project all about?

Over 6 days in November more than 100 of Melbourne’s best artists and writers (incl. 11 crews) will repaint (sculpt/paste/stencil/etc) the entire Hosier and Rutledge lane precinct. Artists are painting high and low, so we’ll be covering parts of walls that have never before seen paint. The project’s intention is to celebrate the significant role that street art and graffiti continues to play in the cultural life of Melbourne. ALL YOUR WALLS is a great representation of the diverse range of artists and styles on the streets of our city.

The event is being held over 2 sessions. The 1st session (last weekend) was for the high walls, and the 2nd (27-29 November) for the ground level walls. We will then launch the event with an opening party on the 29th from 6-9pm.

The project has been made possible by the generous support of sponsor Ironlak. Also with support from NGV, Melbourne City Council and Hosier Inc.

Hosier Inc is a not for profit, community based association made up of residents, business owners, artists and anyone that loves Hosier and Rutledge lanes. Street art and graffiti are obviously topics of interest but the Inc also focuses on issues such as public safety and upkeep of the lanes amongst other things. Hosier Inc has been undoubtedly been instrumental in the concept behind the project; access to untouched walls is a result of the relationship we have forged with residents and users of the space.

I recently described the lanes in detail after Rutledge lane was painted blue; for anyone that didn’t read that – in summary Hosier lane (and the lesser known Rutledge lane) is Melbourne’s most iconic street art and graffiti location, without a doubt. (Whether or not it was the best spot is debatable, it is certainly the most well known). Continue reading “ALL YOUR WALLS :: Hosier Lane :: Melbourne”

Live painting, new murals and music in Little Italy this Saturday


As I mentioned yesterday, this Saturday we’re holding a party outdoors in Little Italy. Presented by, the party is to celebrate all the murals that myself and others in The L.I.S.A. Project NYC have been organizing in Little Italy, particularly Tristan Eaton’s brand new Liberty mural. The party is also a chance to watch a brand new mural painted live as part of a Secret Walls competition.

I’m especially pumped for Secret Walls. Tristan Eaton and Jay Edlin aka J.SON/TERROR161 will be judging as Bishop203, Epic, SeeOne and Meres face off against Greg Mishka, L’Amour Supreme, Buff Monster and Jon Burgerman in an 90-minute live painting session just below Ron English’s Temper Tot mural.

So, come by Mulberry Street this Saturday afternoon for some art, drinks and music.

More info about the party here.

Flyer courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project NYC

Melbourne Monthly Madness – August 2013

Sorry this post is so late. I’ve had an injured hand, so typing has been a pain, literally… Here’s my round up for August. I’m calling this month the Video Edition, cos I don’t think I can recall a month where so many awesome videos came out… Here we go…

To start off check out this great video from Jack Douglas. Jack is a talented Melbourne street artist and tattooist; this video shows some of his street and tattoo work. His characters are always awesome.

Another rad video featuring local writer BOLTS smashing some walls across Melbourne with his always super tight style.

Do you know what a “bogan” is? It’s an Australian colloquialism, this video from Melbourne writer AEON (created alongside VNA magazine) gives you a perfect explanation of the Aussie Bogan, lost in London.

LINZ from Queensland visited Melbourne and painted this great piece. LINZ also talks about his time as a writer and how things have changed so much over the years.

This video from Spacerunner is definitely my favourite video for the month. SIMR and Rides showing us how it’s done painting one of Melbourne’s trains in the dark of the night.

Check out this video featuring interviews with Rone, Sandra Powell and Andrew King discussing their views on street art in galleries and the streets and the general attitude towards the art recently in Melbourne.

Rone was in Portland Oregon recently for Forrest for the Trees festival.

A new video from LUSH.

And finally Reka painted this epic 8 story wall in Copenhagen.

Continue reading “Melbourne Monthly Madness – August 2013”

Calligraffiti 1984/2013 at Leila Heller Gallery with upcoming artist talk

eL Seed as seen from outside the Leila Heller Gallery
eL Seed as seen from outside the Leila Heller Gallery

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:

eL Seed
eL Seed
eL Seed on opening night
eL Seed on opening night
Keith Haring and LA2 collaboration
Keith Haring and LA2 collaboration
Niels "Shoe" Meulman
Niels “Shoe” Meulman

And for those who live in or near NYC, a Calligraffiti Artist Talk will be held in the gallery, 568 W. 25th Street, this Thursday evening at 6:30.  Featuring Ayad Alkadhi, Julien “Kaalam” Breton, Fab Five Freddy, eL Seed, LA2 and Rostarr, it will be followed by a site-specfic Light-Calligraphy performance by Julien Breton at 8 pm.

All photos by Dani Mozeson, except for eL Seed as seen from the outside the gallery by Lois Stavsky

Melbourne Monthly Madness – July 2013 (belated)

Apologies for the delay posting this. I have had to hold off posting it due to Illegal August.

HAHA - Photo by David Russell
HAHA – Photo by David Russell

Metro Gallery started off the month with the opening of their group show “Writing on the Wall” with works from local and international artists such as Swoon, Rone, Matt Adnate, HAHA, Word to Mother, E.L.K, Dabs Myla and D*Face and more. Some shots from the opening below and more here.

Rone - Photo by David Russell
Rone – Photo by David Russell
Word to Mother - Photo by David Russell
Word to Mother – Photo by David Russell

The day after the opening Metro hosted more live painting, this month featuring work by Unwell Bunny, Two One and again E.L.K. More shots here.

Unwell Bunny - Photo by David Russell
Unwell Bunny – Photo by David Russell
Two One - Photo by David Russell
Two One – Photo by David Russell
E.L.K - Photo by David Russell
E.L.K – Photo by David Russell

Chaotic Gallery’s 1st show BRUISER by Creature Creature was a cracker. A massive turnout for the Southside’s newest gallery. The works were amazing; a combination of the two artists styles which mesh so well together, featuring influences from the samurai era throughout. Check out some of my favourite pieces below and more here.  Also check out some of their recent paste ups, which I also love, here.

Creature Creature - Photo by David Russell
Creature Creature – Photo by David Russell
Creature Creature - Photo by David Russell
Creature Creature – Photo by David Russell
Creature Creature - Photo by David Russell
Creature Creature – Photo by David Russell

Continue reading “Melbourne Monthly Madness – July 2013 (belated)”

Melbourne Monthly Madness – June 2013

June was another busy month in Melbourne. My round up for the month includes trains, walls, shows, a rad new publication and some other bits and pieces of goodness.. I’ll start with my favourite train for June. This one ran on June 6th – thanks to The best of Melbourne Graffiti for the pic. This guy has been killing it lately!

01 RUNZ - Photo via The Best of Melbourne Graffiti
RUNZ. Photo courtesy of The Best of Melbourne Graffiti.

Some shots from Burg’s show at the Vic below, more here. Burg’s street characters are some of my faves with twisted and expressive faces appearing all around Melbourne.

BURG - Photo by AllThoseShapes
BURG. Photo by AllThoseShapes.
BURG - Photo by AllThoseShapes
BURG. Photo by AllThoseShapes.
BURG - Photo by AllThoseShapes
BURG. Photo by AllThoseShapes.

Knock Knock Magazine released their latest issue, Issue 4 -The Travel Issue. Knock Knock is an online magazine focusing on talented creative people, this issue features articles on Ben Quilty, Mark Drew, Geoffrey Lillemon, Dave Cragg, Sobekcis, Sheryo & The Yok, Onur Gulfidan, Rosek, Haribow, Maaden, Beatrix Curran, Kate Florence Knowlden, Val Kelmer, Jess Howell, Robyn Aubrey, Arman Nobari, Embassy, Spoonty and DoubleTrouble. A great read and a well put together production. Check out these screen shots from Issue 4:

Screenshot from KnockKnock Issue 4
Screenshot from KnockKnock Issue 4
Screenshot from KnockKnock Issue 4
Screenshot from KnockKnock Issue 4
Screenshot from KnockKnock Issue 4
Screenshot from KnockKnock Issue 4

Continue reading “Melbourne Monthly Madness – June 2013”

Weekend link-o-rama

Nemo in London
Nemo in London

Happy weekend. Are you on the east coast of the USA? If so, are you melting?

Photo by Unusualimage