Great In ’08: Street Artists Pick Their Favorites

Update: Check out the other posts in this series here.

Unless you live in a strange world where time does not exist, we’re coming to the end of 2008. As my contribution to street art’s end-of-year/Christmas/Hanukkah/winter solstice activities, I’ve organized a series of posts which will run from tomorrow until the end of the year.

What’s so special about these posts? I’ve asked a number of street artists one question: “Who is one artist doing really great work right now?” and given them the chance to respond and “gift” a post to the artist or artists that they’ve chosen.

Starting tomorrow, and continuing for the rest of the month (or at least until Boxing Day), I’ll be posting one of these responses every day, along with photos of work by chosen the artists.

Here’s a small selection of the artists who will be sharing some of their favorite artists with Vandalog readers in the coming weeks:






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.

Q’s For Klone. Q’s For Klone. Q’s For Klone.

Klone is one of Tel Aviv’s most prolific street artists, and lately he’s been making waves on the internet was well. Klone’s recent work has involved a series of “predator” characters that he’s painted and wheatpasted throughout Tel Aviv.

I’ve mentioned Klone before, but I didn’t really know anything about him besides what I found on his flickr. Luckily, I was about to get in touch with him to do a little Q&A session that I’m very excited to share with you.

RJ: When did you start doing work on the street, and do you have an art background?
Klone: My story with the street started in 1999 when I somehow stumbled upon graffiti, I went on trying this thing and got really into since the first time out, back then doing graffiti in Israel meant pioneering it, learning it all by yourself from internet and books since there was practically nothing out there, both writing and street art scenes started to develop only in last few years and still in their beginnings.
I don’t have any art education background but as a kid I was always drawing, building and inventing worlds for myself and the friends I used to play with.

RJ: Where did you get the name Klone?
Klone: 5 years ago I was still into writing my name which was MAKE back then, and through sketching I came upon my first characters, that looked almost the same, really simple ones, same but different, I called them klones – same clones but different, thus the ‘K’, and since then it became my name. I rarely do letter pieces nowadays, concentrating more on image work.

RJ: In addition to your work in the street, you’ve done work for galleries/charity events. What’s different about working on the street versus working in a “gallery friendly” medium like canvas?
Klone: Hmm, I still think that the only friendly thing about canvas is the fact that I can roll it up when I finish painting it so I don’t have to see it or stumble into. But seriously now I see gallery as just another place to express myself with its own terms, It wasn’t an easy thing for me to put my work on white walls, took me awhile to get used to it and be able to really handle it. I still see the street as the ultimate gallery, with the best critics, and the galleries serve as a platform to show the stuff I’m fuckin’ around with in my studio.

Read the rest and see more photos after the jump… Continue reading “Q’s For Klone. Q’s For Klone. Q’s For Klone.”

Dirty Laundry Review

Thursday night was the opening of Herakut’s new London show “Dirty Laundry“.

In short, this is one of the best shows of the year. Adam Neate has plenty of work to blow people away, and group shows like White Noise (last night at Black Rat) have some great variety, but all of these shows have a piece or two that just aren’t that great. The general consensus Thursday though was that people would be happy to have any of the pieces. There wasn’t a single piece that people looked at and said, “well, maybe that’s not for me.” Even the weaker pieces for this show would be highlights at almost any group show. Continue reading “Dirty Laundry Review”

MuTATE Britain Review

Friday was public opening night for the sickest show in London. MuTATE Britain, the opening show for the new Behind The Shutters gallery, was an idea five weeks ago, and now it’s a four or five story tall hodgepodge of (usually good) art. The list of artists would be too long to list here, but here are a few: Mutoid Waste Company, Part2ism, Pure Evil, Snub23, Dr. D, The Krah, Dotmasters, and many many many more.

I twittered photos and a few comments live from the show for a few hours, but I’m sure I didn’t see half the work. Romanywg actually ran out of space on his memory card.

All photos by WallKandy, who has a great set of images on his flickr.

Entering Cordy House, the first room is full of sculptures that are a mesh between man/animal and machine. Sure, it’s been done before, but that doesn’t mean these aren’t still sick. The walls of this room are covered in work by some of the most talented artists that I can’t name, plus some amazing stuff by the Best Ever crew, who also did this piece on Leake Street. Watch your head in this room. There’s literally an anvil hanging from the ceiling.

Continue reading “MuTATE Britain Review”

Pakistani Truck Art

An interesting post today from WebUrbanist about Pakistani truck art. I’d never heard of this before, but it turns out that in Pakistan, people decorate their trucks by painting on crazy designs and attaching little sculptures and trinkets. Each truck can cost up to $5,000 to paint, more than twice to per capita income!

Truck Art In Baluchistan. Photo by Umair Mohsin
Truck Art In Baluchistan. Photo by Umair Mohsin

From WebUrbanist:

The under-appreciated, indigenous Pakistani tradition of truck painting has an extraordinary history, starting in the days of the Raj. As early as the 1920’s, competing transportation companies would hire craftsmen to adorn their buses in the hopes that these moving canvases would attract more passengers. The technique worked so well that pretty soon you couldn’t purchase a ticket without seeing dozens of beautifully painted trucks waiting to take you to your destination. While the art doesn’t serve the same purpose anymore, it is still as prevalent as ever and has become more intricate and developed a deeper cultural significance over time.

Painters of Truck Art. Photo by Umair Mohsin
Painters of Truck Art. Photo by Umair Mohsin

Hero Drops Sunday + My Find

So it seems like a few artists were took notice of Adam Neate’s massive 1000 piece drop last weekend.

Last night, I was walking down Brick Lane after MuTATE Britain (more on that later tonight) and what do I see (besides an awesome Barry McGee piece)? A piece just propped up against a shopfront, mine for the taking. The work (photo below) wasn’t signed though, so maybe somebody could tell me who made it. Anyway, I took it home with me, and it’s made a great addition to my collection. It’s not by the next Adam Neate, but for given the price, it was a great deal. A big thank you to whoever painted it.

My found piece. Photo by RJ
My found piece. Photo by RJ

But if you’re a bit jealous of me or all those guys who got Adam Neates last week, all is not lost. Tomorrow (Sunday), Hero is going to be dropping 10 pieces somewhere in the West End.

Here’s a couple of the pieces he’ll be dropping:

Photo by Hero
Photo by Hero
Photo by Hero
Photo by Hero