Between two projects launching at Creative Time and preparations underway for two major personal projects (more on one of those in just a moment), Vandalog has been pretty quiet lately. Taking a step back has allowed me to get excited about all the good things happening in street art, graffiti, and public art over the last month or two, and there’s lots more goodness still to come in through the fall. So here’s a bit of a round up of what I’ve been working on, the great things some friends of Vandalog are doing, and all the interesting stuff that people who I were were my friends are doing.
Over at my office job at Creative Time, we just launched Doomocracy, an immersive artwork by Pedro Reyes. Basically, it’s a haunted house in Brooklyn, themed around the state of American politics. I’llet the folks at artnet News explain. I’ll just add that I am consistently amazed by the epic projects that the production team at Creative Time is able to pull off. Tickets to Doomocracy are free, but right now they’ve all booked up. You can sign up here to get an email if we release more tickets.
Simultaneously, we’ve also got the Creative Time Summit coming up in DC next week. Dozens of amazing speakers coming together to talk about art, social justice, and the state of democracy. And tickets to that are still available. See you there?
In January, I’ll be returning to Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia to curate ALL BIG LETTERS, an exhibition about the tools, strategies, motivations, and innovations of graffiti writers. It’s an honor to be curating a show at Haverford’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, where I worked for almost four years while I was in school there. More info on ALL BIG LETTERS as that approaches.
Wooster Collective is releasing a book to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their historic 11 Spring Street exhibition. Although I missed the original 11 Spring Street, I’m looking forward to celebrating the project with this book.
Luna Park, one of the most important photographers of contemporary street art and graffiti, is releasing her first book. (Un)Sanctioned: The Art on New York Streets will launch next month as part of the 10 Years of Ad Hoc Art show at Brooklyn’s 17 Frost Gallery, and you can pre-order the book on Amazon. This is LONG overdue. We all know that there’s a glut of generic street art and graffiti photography books already on the market, but (Un)Sanctioned seems likely to be an essential purchase on par with Trespass, Subway Art, and Stuck Up Piece of Crap.
Ever wanted to place your own messages into bus shelter advertising kiosks? Well, now it’s easier than ever with PublicAccess from PublicAdCampaign, a new service that will provide you with just the proper art object for opening up ad kiosks in your city.
Since November 2013, Jordan Seiler and a handful of other artists and street art photographers have been using the somewhat curious hashtag #yeahwegotkeysforthat on Instagram. While it was never quite a secret what was going on, perhaps PublicAdCampaign’s most ambitious project to date remained in semi-stealth mode until today. The results of the project were never secret, but it was never fully explained either.
If you were paying close attention, you would discover that Seiler was manufacturing and distributing sculptures to artists around the world. These sculptures double as “keys,” to bus shelter advertising kiosks around the world. Slowly, Seiler has been buliding up an inventory of various key designs (the locks are standarized across a given public transit system, but can vary from city to city) and mapping out where each design works. New York? Yeah, he’s got keys for that. London? Yeah, he’s got keys for that. San Fransisco? Yeah, he’s got keys for that. Hence the hashtag.
Until today, Seiler was just distributing the keys to friends and word of mouth connections, but now he’s opening up the project to the general public. At PublicAccess, you’ll find a map telling you which keys work in which cities, as well as links to download each design for free as a 3D printable file or buy a premade key for $35. Now, everyone’s got keys for that.
The open source project is still in the process of expanding, with keys for more cities coming soon. In the mean time, even with just a few key designs, PublicAccess has greatly expanded the general public’s access to bus shelter advertisements.
Of course, the site carries the disclaimer, “THE TOOLS OFFERED THRU THIS SITE ARE HANDMADE ART OBJECTS AND NOT INTENDED FOR USE…” so keep that in mind while you’re using your key.
stikman, one of the most elusive and fascinating street artists active today, has given us 10 of his 2015 stikman calendars to give away. These things are great to put on the fridge.
We’re making the rules for this giveaway pretty simply. To enter, just make sure you’re following @vandalog on Instagram, and like this photo. On Monday evening, I’ll randomly select 10 winners out of that pool. Each winner will be mailed one calendar.
Just in time for the holidays, I am thrilled to announce the release of the first book from the elusive artist stikman, entitled SIGNS, published by my new art book project Dirt Worship Publishing. For over two decades, the anonymous artist stikman has plastered his character on the pavements and walls of major cities and small towns across the US. Finally, there’s a book celebrating a selection of this elective artist’s work.
SIGNS documents a collection of stikman’s art on street signs across the United States, highlighting the huge variety in stikman’s work like his innovative methods and materials, clever placement, and diverse references from folk art to fine art. “stikman has retained his freshness by constantly reinventing his iconic character, unafraid to experiment with new mediums and configurations,” says graffiti photographer and blogger Luna Park.
He has gained something of a cult following among street art enthusiasts and pedestrians alike. “When I stumble across a stikman, I feel as if I’ve found a treasure,” says legendary street art and graffiti photographer Martha Cooper.
Typically, finding a stikman in the wild is a feat of chance. A few eagle-eyed photographers have made his image accessible to the masses. And now, for the first time ever, stikman and Dirt Worship Publishing have compiled a selection of his work in an official book.
You can get your copy of SIGNS in time for Christmas by placing your order through The Vandalog Shop anytime before December 18th (for domestic orders only). The standard edition is available for $30, plus shipping and handling. A limited edition deluxe version of SIGNS, limited to just 75 hand-embellished copies and featuring an exclusive inkjet print on archival paper (6.5” x 8”), is also available for $50 plus shipping and handling.
Invader recently released his own iPhone app, but it’s a lot more than a glorified eBook or an artist edition rebranding of standard drawing app. Invader’s app is a game that combines video games with real life. Flash Invaders is played by photographing (“flashing”) actual Invader pieces on the street, for which the players earn points. When players spot an Invader mosaic on the street and flash it, the app compares the player’s photo to a database of pieces to see if it is a match. If it is, the player is awarded a set number of points for that particular piece. Cleverly, the app has been designed to only allow players to flash pieces when their phone’s GPS shows that they are near the piece in question, so you can’t just take all your old Invader photos and flash those for points (trust me, I tried).
Invader’s work has always been a game in some sense, at least for the artist. He’s spoken about awarding himself points based on the complexity of the pieces he installs, and some of hisworks have even mentioned their point value. Now, it’s not just Invader playing, but his fans too.
I am very excited about this app because A. It’s not quite augmented reality, but it’s close and I could see Invader going in that direction in the future, and B. It’s a way to connect the virtual and the physical. I for one spend way too much time on my smartphone, often to the detriment of paying attention to what is around me, but Invader uses a game on a phone to get people paying attention to their physical surroundings. Players might not spend quite as much of their time in public spaces scrolling through other people’s photos of street art on Instagram. Instead, they’ll be keeping their eyes peeled.
While I have a lot of respect for him, I’m not one who usually gets overly excited about Invader these days, but the prospect of competing against a group of fans from around the world and hunting down his work has got me falling in love with Invader’s mosaics all over again. Kudos.
Chicago street artist Don’t Fret just launched a great little project. For $25, you can buy one of 50 scratch-off lotto tickets that Don’t Fret has painted on. Some of the tickets are loser tickets that have already been scratched, but what I love is that some are new tickets. You could have a winner under that artwork, and you’ll have to make the choice whether you’ll keep the painting intact or test you luck and scratch part of it away to a chance at big money. Plus, the artworks are being sent out randomly, so you can’t choose which one you’ll get.
Update: gilf! sent me this screenshot from a post on Instagram by @willnyc. @13thwitness is Tim McGurr, the son of Leonard McGurr aka Futura. Futura designed the original Supreme logo. Futura’s daughter Tabatha McGurr blogged for years on the Married to the MOB website. @willnyc’s post went up before Kidult’s image. A case of “it’s a small small streetwear world” and “Suepreme” was an inevitable and obvious gag for people to pick up on, or (and this is a total conspiracy theory) a case of collaboration between Supreme and Kidult, facilitated by Tim McGurr? Thoughts? This isn’t the first time Kidult has been suspected of working for the brand he is supposedly skewering. And of course, even if Supreme didn’t hire Kidult, there’s the argument that even a “Suepreme” parody t-shirt is still a great advertisement for the real Supreme.
Other artists have taken to commenting on the ridiculousness of this suit as well, most notably Kidult. The artist known for painting his name on storefronts (including Supreme’s NYC shop) who have appropriated graffiti aesthetics for fashion or advertising purposes is going to be giving away free t-shirts on his website today with the above “Suepreme” graphic.
KATSU, one of my favorite writers of all time, has had quite a week. I was just going to throw these things in the weekend link-o-rama because other blogs have covered the events so well, but then stories about KATSU just kept piling up. So, here they are:
KATSU is part of F.A.T. Lab, and they have a show (F.A.T. Gold) on right now at Eyebeam in NYC. This evening from 5-7pm, KATSU and Mike Baca aka 2ESAE will be in conversation live online. That event should be streaming here and will presumably be available to watch at a later date as well.
It seems that KATSU’s most noticeable contribution so far to F.A.T. Gold has been to paint the outside of Eyebeam with a fire extinguisher, as pictured above. As it turns out, those things are hard to control when it’s windy. Some of the paint got onto the gallery next door, Paula Cooper Gallery. Paula Cooper is not happy about that. For the rest of us, there’s a hilarious video to watch of a Paula Cooper Gallery employee trying to figure out what’s going on with all the gold paint flying everywhere.
Vandalog is proud to announce the latest product in The Vandalog Shop and our second product in the shop by a Vandalog contributing writer. Tag Happy, Rx Uppers is an edition of sculptures by Caroline Caldwell. These relabeled spray cans include veiled references to key people and places in the history of graffiti. How many can you spot?
Tag Happy, Rx Uppers comes in black or pink versions, each an edition of 10 which are signed and numbered on the underside of the sculpture. When shipped within the continental United States, Tag Happy, Rx Uppers will arrive as a full can of real spray paint. For all other orders, the cans will be emptied and a small hole will be put in the bottom of the piece. Tag Happy, Rx Uppers are available now at $22 for one black or pink sculpture, or $40 for a matching set of black and pink pieces. Each sculpture also comes with a set of handwritten instructions.
I’ve had an early version of the Tag Happy, Rx Uppers sitting on my shelf for the last year alongside sculptures by artists including Faile, Sweet Toof, and Skewville, and it more than holds its own against those classics. Caroline’s sense of style is perfectly encapsulated in these pieces, and they’re a friendly reminder for the vandal in all of us.