How many street artists can Hyundai rip off in 30 seconds?

April 28th, 2015 | By | 11 Comments »
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Screenshot from the Hyundai ad

Major hat tip to Ian Cox for coming across this one, as well as Caroline Caldwell for alerting me to Ian’s find and for research help.

A car commercial currently airing on UK television for the Hyundai i20 appears to steal the work of at least half a dozen street artists in just 30 seconds. Here’s the ad:

I guess this just goes to show you what advertising executives mean by “inspiration”.

How many stolen pieces can you spot? Spoilers after the jump.

Read the rest of this article »


Category: Featured Posts, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday link-o-rama

April 12th, 2015 | By | No Comments »
"the beauty of un-advertising" by VladyArt in Catania, Italy

“the beauty of un-advertising” by VladyArt in Catania, Italy

Got a few things that caught my eye recently, so I’m going back to the old link-o-rama format for a day:

  • A group of anonymous artists installed a bust of Edward Snowden at a park in Brooklyn, but the piece was almost immediately taken down by the city. Luckily, as the artists noted to ANIMAL, “The fact that a risk was taken, the fact that an image comes out of that event that can be passed around can never be undone. So you can rip the statue out, but you can’t erase the fact that it happened and that people are sharing it.” It’s all a bit reminiscent of when the British government forced The Guardian to destroy hard drives containing files leaked by Snowden, even though there were other copies of the files outside of the UK. Of course the sculpture wasn’t going to last. Take it down or leave it up, it hardly matters. We have the photos.
  • Faile and Bast are showing at the Brooklyn Museum in July. So I’m looking forward to that, and you should be too.
  • But if you’re looking for something up now in NYC, definitely stop by Roa’s solo show at Jonathan Levine Gallery. ANIMAL very cleverly made a series of GIFs of the show. I had a pretty similar reaction to this show as I had to Roa’s show at Stolenspace last year in London. Basically, I went in with a negative attitude of thinking I’d seen the work before, and I left happy as a kid in a candy store because Roa’s pieces are so damn fun to experience and play with. It’s a really stupid fear/attitude that I have about Roa’s shows, and it’s one that the work always seems to overcome, proving my preconceived notions wrong. Good stuff, as always.
  • And if you’re in Paris, Know Hope just had a show open there.
  • Check out this spot-on anonymous critique of crappy stencils in Shoreditch by terrible street artist Bambi.
  • It’s great to see Aakash Nihalani getting some love from Juxtapoz for his interactive work.
  • Niels “Shoe” Meulman is retiring his use of the term “Calligraffiti”, because he feels his work is now better represented by the term “Abstract Vandalism,” now that his work is moving away from letters and becoming more abstract. Okay, he’s evolving as an artist, but really: who cares? That’s a pretty standard evolution these days for artists coming out of graffiti. Two reasons this is interesting. First, he’s published a short manifesto of Abstract Vandalism, which I love, and I highly recommend picking up a copy for the great little tidbits like “The difference between art and vandalism is only in the eye of the law upholder.” Second, Shoe is giving up admin control of the Calligraffiti facebook page, which has over half a million likes. In a few days, Shoe will be selecting new admins for the page, artists whose work he feels is in line with Calligraffiti now that his work is not. You can learn more about that, and suggest yourself as a new admin, here.
  • Gotta love Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada’s latest pieces.
  • I’ve never really cared for MTO‘s realistic figurative murals, even though they do play with space in an interesting way, but he’s really piqued my interest with a new piece for Memorie Urbane 2015 in Gaeta, Italy. The piece is a conceptual look into the future, a future where Google controls what information we have access to (oh wait, maybe this isn’t so futuristic…) in public space. The mural is a response to the Google Cultural Institute’s Street Art Project, which ostensibly acts as a digital archive for street art and murals. The project is highly curated and controlled, begging the question: Who decides what’s included, and what isn’t? MTO’s piece also hints at a future where augmented reality is the norm. The re:art has a great article with photos and analysis of MTO’s mural. For now, I’ll just add: I can’t wait for this mural to show up on Google Street View.

Photo by VladyArt


Category: Animation, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Random, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Street art for a rainy city

March 22nd, 2015 | By | 2 Comments »

rain

How have I not seen this before? Am I the only one?

Rainworks is a series of street art pieces by Seattle-based artist Peregrine Church that will only appear when the ground is wet. Using a commercially available “superhydrophobic coating” (basically a spray-on sealant that repels water), Church stencils Roadsworth-esque artworks onto concrete surfaces. On a sunny day, the artworks are invisible, but when it rains, as is known to happen from time to time in Seattle, the stencils appear. The rain soaks into the surrounding concrete, making it appear darker, and rolls right off the sections that Church has coated so that those areas stay bone dry and remain lighter.

Very cool idea. I hope this takes off. It shouldn’t be too hard for works like these to start appearing in other cities. The material Church uses is pretty pricey, but Rust-Oleum makes a similar product.

weather

Photo and GIF courtesy of Peregrine Church / Rainworks


Category: Photos, Videos | Tags: ,

SOFLES – Graffiti Mapped – Presented by Juddy Roller

March 5th, 2015 | By | No Comments »
SOFLES - Photo by David Russell

SOFLES – Photo by David Russell

I was going to wait for my Jan/Feb post which is coming very soon, but this can’t wait and deserves its own post.
A few months ago SOFLES came to Melbourne to paint this EPIC piece. Selina Miles and the guys from Juddy Roller were also hanging around, so there bound to something special going on… Special is not the word to describe what came next.

The piece itself was spectacular in black on a all white background – reminding me of a raw sketch straight outa Sofs’ black book. I also love how he left all the raw throws and tags around the piece. The piece was painted over 3/4 days using a massive crane and a fuck load of paint. Note the cheeky PORK roller that just popped up recently..

After the painting was completed – that’s when the projection mapping started. You can tell by the video that’s it’s an excruciatingly detailed process – which is also evident in the final production.

The production was a part of Melbourne’s annual ‘White Night’ Projection festival. This year was the first time graffiti and projection were combined. Clearly a great idea as the project attracted hundreds of spectators.

Shaun Hossack, creative director for the project (who also runs Juddy Roller studios and runs one hell of a party) did a fantastic job bringing all the parties together and providing overall direction.

From the Press Release: “Over 5 stories high, Sofles’ inner city mural is his biggest work to date. Add to that Grant Osborne’s incredibly detailed motion design and a musical score by New Zealand music producer Opiuo, and you have a truly innovative work of art. Visible for one night only, but destined to leave an impression on the city’s skyline Sofles – Graffiti Mapped was one of the most exciting events of the entire White Night Melbourne festival”.

Check out the full length video below to show the full projection sequence – it goes for about 7 minutes in total.


Also make sure you check out the incredible video below by Selina Miles (director of the famous/viral Sofles – Limitless video) of the end to end process. Selina’s videos not only show off Sofles’ amazing work – they also pay homage to the process and the context around the piece as well ad the scale. I love the movement of the lift with the music and the use of a drone camera (from UAV drones) also brought a great perspective to this piece.

I can see this graffiti mapping business has a big future – the possibilities are endless. Unlike other forms of moving art (e.g.: INSA’s gif-itti) this form has so much more flexibility (and while labour intensive for the projector – much less laborious than re-painting an entire wall).

Watch out for my January/February Melbourne post – coming soon..

Photos courtesy of David Russell.

Video courtesy of Selina Miles and Sofles.

Projection by Grant Osborne.
Music bu Opuio.


Category: Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

A second look at Hanksy’s “Surplus Candy” webseries

January 7th, 2015 | By | No Comments »

hanksy

This past fall, moderately anonymous street artist and pun extraordinaire Hanksy did something pretty surprising by launching a sort of online travel show on YouTube, sponsored for some reason by The Hundreds and Squarespace. The show’s original name was Trivial Pursuits, but even its final title of Surplus Candy (a nod to his last surprising project) is a nod to the equal parts awesome and patronizing theme of the show: Exploring the “trivial” cities of North America (read: Everything except New York City or Los Angeles) in search of what makes their art scenes amazing and unique.

With every episode, Hanksy gets to know a new city by meeting with local artists and art-supporters. By the end of each episode, Hanksy is so pumped on each city that it almost sounds like he’s going to move there. But alas, Hanksy remains a transplant in New York City, chasing his dreams in the Big Apple. And that’s my main frustration with Surplus Candy, an otherwise great series. It’s just a bit difficult to believe that any of the cities in Surplus Candy are quite as great as Hanksy says they are, or that it’s true that great art can thrive in a “surplus city,” when the show is hosted by a man who moved from Chicago to New York City. But okay, the host isn’t perfect, but damn he’s a lot better than you might expect…

I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a Hanksy fan, and Hanksy’s not ashamed to say that his art isn’t the most serious or sublime thing in the world. As the theme song to Surplus Candy goes, “From east to west he’s got the smarts, when jokes are dicks and laughs are farts.” So how can Hanksy host a travel show? Actually, quite well. Yes, there are silly puns and probably a few fart jokes, but Surplus Candy is no Borat. In each city, Hanksy talks to all the right people and gives them a real chance to celebrate their city, plus he slips in some serious commentary about issues like gentrification and the commodification of street art along the way. As someone who used a host a web series about street art (yes, really) and considered hosting a street art-centric travel show, I’m confident that Hanksy has done a better job than I did.

There’s one point that comes up again and again in Surplus Candy that I particularly loved. As you watch each episode, you’ll begin to notice how Hanksy embraces the notion that every city has a unique kind of street art because of its unique architecture and design or regulations governing art outdoors. As much as people complain that graffiti and street art styles have become globalized, and they have to a large extent, Hanksy shows how every city has a unique environment, lending itself to different kinds of interventions. That’s something that a lot of people don’t realize, and it comes across beautifully in Surplus Candy as Hanksy celebrates the unique opportunities and pitfalls of each city he visits.

Plus, in a few episodes, Hanksy touches on points that relate to my recent post about “open walls.” Yes, Montreal has a street art festival, Chicago has Pawn Works organizing murals, and in Portland there is an official process permitting murals, but Montreal criminalizes the work of the same artists being celebrated at its festival, it’s illegal to purchase spraypaint in Chicago, and the mural permitting process in Portland seems ineffective and slow. So I enjoyed that.

I’ll say it again: Surplus Candy is not Borat. It’s a genuine guy trying to highlight other genuine people in North American cities that don’t always get enough shine, and he happens to be doing it through a character known for dick jokes.

The final episode of Surplus Candy‘s first season was posted in early December, so I’m a bit late at getting around to these, but tonight I rewatched each episode, and now I want to take a road trip… Check them out for yourself below… Read the rest of this article »


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Supplemental materials from Nuart

November 24th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
Maismenos at Nuart

±maismenos± at Nuart

One of the great things about Nuart is the content that gets created around the festival. Participants in Nuart Plus conference write critical essays (something all too rare in the street art and graffiti worlds), the artists are interviewed for professionally-produced videos, and parts of Nuart Plus are posted on the web. It’s a bit late as these materials have now been online for a while, but I’d still like to share them.

Brooklyn Street Art‘s Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo have always been champions of the little guy, the artist getting up because they love it. In their Nuart essay, the duo reminds us not to get too caught up in celebrating the global abundance of street art festivals and mural programs, because such murals always come with strings attached, namely censorship and the risk that grassroots street art is silenced among the mega-murals.

I wrote a brief essay titled Art Ignites Change, which is our slogan/mission at the Mural Arts Program (I was attending Nuart as a representative of Mural Arts). In the essay, I try to take a new approach to looking at the perceived divide between muralism and street art. In contrast to Steven and Jaime, I tried to show how some legal murals can be even more powerful than street art when it comes to bringing about social change. As I say in the essay, I’ve never felt more like an agent for positive change than now that I am working for “The Man.”

In his essay, Peter Bengtsen writes about how unsanctioned street art can turn cities into sites for exploration, which is harder to do with mega-murals.

Juxtapoz editor-in-chief Evan Pricco’s essay is on some level the most honest of all. Evan declares that it’s inevitable that corporate interests would embrace street art, and suggests that maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

And there’s my favorite part of Nuart Plus: Fight Club, a no-holds-barred 2 on 2 debate on the local pub, surrounded half by Nuart fans and half by random patrons who are generally confused as to what all the fuss is about. This year, Evan Pricco and I teamed up against ±maismenos± and Mathieu Tremblin on the topic of illegal street art versus legal murals. It was a fun debate. Here’s what happened:

Nuart also conducted video interviews with a few of the artists.

I love the ±maismenos± interview in part because he echos my thoughts in Viral Art, that the internet is like a virtual street:

Mathieu Tremblin’s interview is interesting because I’ll watch anything where a street artist brings up Situationist philosophy, and because it shows a hint of the true final product of Temblin’s indoor installation at Nuart:

Similarly, Fra.Biancoshock’s interview includes video footage of a few of his Nuart street interventions that didn’t get much photographic coverage:

Photo by RJ Rushmore


Category: Festivals, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Happy Halloween from Pøbel

November 1st, 2014 | By | No Comments »

This new piece from Pøbel was painted on what I can only assume was Halloween on Tokyo. I’m sure he’s not the first to use this particular strategy (hell, it’s pretty well established that Banksy uses a tarp set up), but still, I love watching how this piece goes up: Quickly, calmly and easily, with the simplest camouflage.


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Link-o-rama

October 19th, 2014 | By | 1 Comment »
Gane and Texas in Philadelphia

Gane and Texas in Philadelphia

Sorry if some of these links are a bit dated, but hopefully they’re still interesting:

  • Don Leicht, the original Space Invader, has a exhibition of his work on now at Mary Colby Studio & Gallery on City Island in the Bronx. Leicht has been making space invader characters for the street and for galleries since 1982, often in collaboration with John Fekner. Both Leicht and Fekner have never really embraced the spotlight in the way that others from their generation have (particularly in recent years), and so Leicht’s place in early New York street art often goes unacknowledged. Whereas Space Invader’s characters are generally lighthearted and fun and more about interesting placement than interesting content, Leicht’s content is political. His invaders, painted in camo, serve as a reminder/warning that war is real and of the relationship between videos games and the military.
  • The app NO AD, which I was pretty excited about when it launched and even more excited about once I got to try it out myself, recently announced their next exhibition on the app. NO AD is working with the International Center of Photography to display images from their current exhibition, Sebastião Salgado: Genesis. I love that the ICP is into this idea. NO AD is a fantastic exhibition platform, but it’s also a bit of an odd one, so it’s very cool to see the ICP embracing both augmented reality technology and an anti-public-advertising platform. Click here for more info on the exhibition.
  • Speaking of public advertising, this crazy thing happened in Hong Kong.
  • And over on Hyperallergic, Julia Friedman addresses the major discrepancy in how  New York City enforces laws relating to public advertising. Essentially, the current enforcement strategy seems to punish artists and activists while leaving corporate interests to do whatever they please.
  • I really enjoyed this article on the painfulness of advertisers appropriating street art and graffiti for their own ends, to the point that Perrier actually replaced a mural of Nelson Mandela with an advertisement featuring the hashtag “#streetartbyperrier”.
  • Speaking of water companies, street art and hashtags…  The folks being the for-profit bottled water company WAT-AAH (aka Let Water be Water LLC, or as I like to call them “Evian for Kids”) sent The L.I.S.A. Project NYC a cease and desist letter for using a hashtag that they claimed to own the trademark for (they don’t). Animal has more on that ridiculous story.
  • Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada created a massive piece on the National Mall. Impressive piece. Impressive location. Good stuff.
  • Conor Harrington had a great show in NYC, at a pop up space with Lazarides Gallery from the UK. I went up for the opening, and despite the space being lit like a haunted house and seemingly pumped full of mist from a fog machine, the work looked even better than I had anticipated. Plenty of artists can paint traditionally beautiful paintings, and plenty of artists can use drips and tags and half finished elements and things like that to make their paintings look “street” or to make it look like they are saying “screw you traditional notions of beauty and fine art painting!” Few artists can do what Conor does, which is to utilize all of those styles and techniques, from beautifully staged scenes painted with perfection to all the different ways to make a painting look rough and cool, but utilize those things in the right balance and with respect. To Conor, it looks like a drip is no different than the a detailed brush stroke. The “disruptive” elements look like they belong. He isn’t trying to destroy painting. He’s trying to bring it to new heights, and he’s much better at it than most.
  • It was a surprise to see that Jonathan Jones at The Guardian actually liked a recent Banksy piece, but then again it was a good piece with an even better story in the end.
  • This article on the utter failure of a major “street art biennial” in Moscow is an absolute must-read.
  • This fall I’ve seen (online) two interesting pieces of endurance art, both of them by female artists in New York City who took to endurance art to address what they see as crises.
    • gilf and Natalie Renee Fasano walked 15 miles barefoot around the city. 60 million or more people worldwide live every day without shoes. Interestingly, Gilf’s project was not so much an awareness campaign as an opportunity for self-reflection that she documented and publicized. None of her Instagram posts on the performance provide information about what can be done about this problem, and the video documenting the work provides no context except the text “A day in the Shoes of the Shoeless with gilf!” On some level, I find that frustrating. But of course the work wasn’t about raising national awareness for this issue. gilf’s own description of the project makes that clear. It was more a project for herself. And that’s great and useful too, but on some level I can’t get over the missed opportunity here to make the project more than personal suffering/meditation and self-promotion. Why not simply say, “And if this project is bringing the issue of people without shoes to your attention and you want to help, here’s something you can do.”? Yes, it’s a personal project for self-reflection, but it’s also an artwork that was promoted all over the web. So, I’ll close by saying that if you do want to help provide shoes for people in need, Soles4Souls seems to be the place to go (thanks to Animal for that tip).
    • Emma Sulkowicz has to be one of the bravest, most impressive people I’ve read about in a long time, and I almost hesitate to call what she’s doing an art piece, lest it devalue her actions in an age when so much art is devoid of the kind soul this particular performance/way of living requires. For nearly two months, Sulkowicz has been carrying her dorm room mattress with her to every class, every lunch break, every party, and everywhere else she goes, constantly, and she says she will continue to carry her mattress with her “for as long as I attend the same school as my rapist.” More about this piece, and the reaction she’s received from her fellow students at Columbia University, at Hyperallergic.

Photo by RJ Rushmore


Category: Art News, Festivals, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Random, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

DEGA Films’ final Wild In the Street episodes: featuring ELLE and Royce

September 26th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

Screen Shot 2014-09-26 at 4.11.07 PM

DEGA Films consistently does an outstanding job in their documentation of New York street artists. Their series Wild In the Streets covered NDA, Enzo & Nio, Jilly Balistic and Mr. Toll. The series comes to a close with two new episodes featuring ELLE and Royce. In conjunction with The LISA Project, these two episodes will be screening at 8:30pm Sunday, September 28 in Little Italy under Ron English’s Temper Tot mural (on Mulberry St between Canal and Hester).

What impresses me about DEGA’s work is the production quality and the creativity that goes into their shots and cuts. When it comes to capturing illegal work, the videos I’m used to seeing tend to look like this, with quick cuts and a shaky camera. Or the standard time lapse video with a dub-step song in the background. Legally speaking, perhaps it is more comfortable to shoot someone putting up illegal street art versus graffiti and that’s definitely a discussion worth having. But for now we’re just going to focus on the quality of DEGA’s product.

Elle’s episode really highlights the diversity of her street art methods, showing ad busts, rollers, extinguishers, marker tags, wheat pastes, stickers, and so on. The creative direction was interesting, by showing Elle transform through various “looks”, and thus breaking the stereotypical hip hop characterization of graffiti writers.

I’m really into the fact that Royce’s episode begins with a butt crack about 15 seconds in. I’d like to think of it as a statement: street artists are assholes and DEGA isn’t here to dress up that reality for you. It is a testament to DEGA’s commitment to the honest portrayal of street artists. Revealing the butt is an attempt to reveal the humanity behind these anonymous artists, how they are just regular people, carrying out their days with no time for petty concerns like the height of their pants.

Royce’s video is a cool look at his approach to interacting with his visual environment. He takes it in stride, without having to creep around at dusk. Whether this is how he always works is not clear, but the episode inspires a feeling of ‘second nature’ to Royce’s tactics.

Though the Wild in the Streets series has come to a close, Vandalog is excited to see and share with you what DEGA has in store for the future.


Category: Videos | Tags: , , , , , ,

Skewville + Dscreet + two dead rats

September 9th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

Later this month, the new DUBL TRUBL collective is going to be having their first exhibition. It will be at Urban Spree in Berlin, and it opens on September 18th. A bunch of great artists are involved, brought together by Dscreet who is curating the show, and all of the work will be done collaboratively in pairs. You can learn more about the show here.

That all sounds great. Except that Skewville didn’t make any paintings or sculptures for the show. So instead, Skewville and Dscreet made a video. I’m not totally sure how people are going to react to this video, but I imagine there will be a lot of love, a lot of hate, and some viewers just left feeling a bit queasy. Anyway, enjoy…


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