Know Hope Video Interview

One of my favorite artists, Know Hope, made it on Wooster Collective today for his video interview with Zach Nielson. Check out the video below. The audio quality isn’t great at parts, but the video is worth watching for the images alone, and what can be heard properly is just a bonus insight into Know Hope’s work. For more on Know Hope, check out the interview I recently did with him.

Know Hope Interview from Zack Nielsen on Vimeo.

Interview with Damon Ginandes

Yesterday, I had a chance to chat with artist Damon Ginandes. He has a few works for sale at Presciption Art’s Outside In show, which opens tonight in Shoreditch at the Truman Brewery. I’ve made comments in the past questioning why Ginandes is associated with street art, but I really love his work. It’s got a refined quality that’s lacking in a lot of street art, and the wire relief creates an awesome effect.

Degraw Street Mural. Photo from
Degraw Street Mural. Photo from

Although Ginandes did some graffiti in his teens, he first got involved in street art in 2007 when he painted a mural in Brooklyn. Wooster Collective posted photos of the mural, and since then, he’s been associated with street art. Ginandes doesn’t necessarily see himself as a street artist. “Street art is a good jumping off point, but it boxes people in,” Ginandes said.

Waiting Guard by Damon Ginandes. Photo from
Waiting Guard by Damon Ginandes. Photo from

As for the work itself, Ginandes uses paints and wire to draw what he describes as “portraits of souls.” The paintings are part of his process of getting to know the souls. “[Outer] identity is defined by factors like music and clothes, not the core of the person,” Ginandes said. In his paintings, Ginandes tries to strip away those factors. Often times, the people are squished together or merged (one man’s head turning into another’s body) like pieces of a puzzle.

Loggerhead by Damon Ginandes. Photo from
Loggerhead by Damon Ginandes. Photo from

Although the watercolors are interesting, Ginandes’ best work is his sculpture and wire relief pieces. Loggerhead (above), a piece from his recent solo show “Dimentionals” at The Artbreak Gallery, is a great example of his sculpting. Some artists, such as Banksy, have taken great paintings of their’s and made terrible sculptures out of them. Ginandes doesn’t fall into that catagory.

Ginandes has been making his wire relief pieces for about a year and half, and they are one of the reasons I think his work is so great. The wire relief is hard to appreciate online because from photos shot straight on, you don’t realize how much of the piece encorporates wire, but his website has some videos that show what they are really like.

Ginandes has big plans for the coming year. Besides the Outside In show, he’ll have his work in shows in the USA, and he plans on doing more work on the street. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing a lot more of his murals.

Preview: Outside In Show

Tomorrow night is the start of something that I’m really excited about: Prescription Art‘s Outside In show.

I stopped by the Truman Brewery today to see how it was going and to snap a couple photos. They’re all on my flickr here, but I’ve put one below. Prescription Art also has this official teaser image on their flickr.

Damon Ginandes
Damon Ginandes. Photo by RJ

I didn’t see too much, but what I did see I am really excited about. I’m a huge fan of Case (part of the Maclaim crew along with Akut), and think he is one of the best artists that nobody in the UK seems to have heard of, so it’s great to see some of his work in London. Dscreet has a pretty unique piece there, which I think most people who like Dscreet will like. Zeus’ work is very different from his big 3d pieces, and there is a preview on my flickr, but you’ll just have to go in person to see what is so great about it. Rowdy has some really cool pieces as well. Like Sweet Toof, his gallery pieces are very different from his street pieces, but still great. Damon Ginandes is another artist who I think is very undervalued right now. He’s got a few pieces in the show, and I’d be more than happy to take home any one of them. Jpegs do not do justice to FKDL’s work. Seeing online, I was unimpressed, but actually seeing it in the gallery and getting up close to it, I began to appreciate why he is in the show. It’s really cool stuff. Similarly, I’d never really understood what people liked about Cake’s work through seeing it on flickr, but she has a few pieces that I really like and I’ve changed my mind about her. I’d never seen Freek Van Haagen’s work before, but it blew me away. He’s got a few really strong pieces at the show. I didn’t see any work from Bortusk Leer or Broken Crow, but that’s why I’m going back tomorrow.

Also, for tomorrow, I’ll be posting an interview with Damon Ginandes.

Isolitude: Mike Marcus & Amie Slavin

Jealous Gallery presents…
Mike Marcus and Amie Slavin
(06/11/2008 to 16/11/2008)

Newly opened in Crouch End, Jealous Gallery is hosting a two-week installation ‘Isolitude’ by artists Mike Marcus and Amie Slavin. Mike Marcus is a street artist and photographer who currently works in London and Tel Aviv,  Amie Slavin is a sound artist currently involved in the Liverpool Biennial project. Work installed in the gallery coincides with paste-ups by Mike Marcus in the local area of the gallery, and in central London, Paris and New York. Amie Slavin’s intriguing soundscape of late night revelers and ambient urban background noise interacts with Marcus’s over life-size paste up figures to transform the space into an unsettling and disorientating exploration into the sociology and psychology of modern urban life.

A small edition of 35 signed 6 colour screenprints will be released to coincide with the exhibition. To pre-order please contact the gallery (details below). Please note that this is the first official exhibition of Mike Marcus’s street work in London. Any other work shown is unsanctioned and displayed without permission of the artist.

The show will run 06/11/2008 to 16/11/2008, open 10am – 6pm, closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, entrance is free. Please feel free to contact Ellie Phillips on

Gallery Profiles: Black Rat Press – Part 2

Yesterday, I posted part one of this interview with Mike Snelle, owner of The Black Rat Press. Part one focused on Black Rat at the present. This half has more on street art in general, and what’s ahead for the gallery.

RJ: Time and time again, art critics say that street art is a fad, and other people say it shouldn’t be even be considered art, but you make a living on selling it. How do you respond to those critics?

Mike Snelle: I think when art critics make bold sweeping statements about ‘street art’ it’s an indication that they have not looked around at the huge variety of work being produced by artists who work in the streets. The very idea that there is something that unites all artists who sometimes do work in a public environment beyond the fact that they put things in the street is a false one. To say that a Swoon woodcut for instance, should not be considered art is a very strange position to hold and suggests that you probably haven’t seen one. So I think the question about whether street art can be considered art is a misguided one. And judgments about whether it a ‘good’ art or not is equally not a valuable question. Some artists who work in the streets are important artists with valuable things to say and others less so. The thing about putting things up in the street is that there are no curators, or gallery directors filtering what gets seen and making value judgments along the way. This is one of the most positive aspects of street art and why there is such a huge variety of work. Not all of it is perhaps significant as a work of art (and nor is much of it intended to be) but to say that within street art there are not great artists is just false.

The fad bit is interesting. The problem with this is the idea the grouping together of a group of artists with little in common and then labeling it as a movement called ‘street art’ and then the media writing a million articles about it. There is some danger in this that it is something fashionable and that when the public get bored of reading about it they move on to the next thing and great artists get harmed in the process. I don’t think this will happen as I feel that people and institutions recognize that there are some interesting and important artists working in the streets and these artists will still be interesting and important artists with valuable things to say even if the mainstream media get bored of ‘the next Banksy’ type article. Continue reading “Gallery Profiles: Black Rat Press – Part 2”

Space Invader’s QR Code

Looks like Invader has been raising the bar lately with pieces made of QR code. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch JetSetGraffiti’s video interview with Invader below.

But what are QR codes?

The amazingness that is Wikipedia has a great article on the codes and their history.

From Wikipedia:

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR Codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging). QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards or just about any object that users might need information about. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR Code causing the phone’s browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hardlink or physical world hyperlinks. Users can also generate and print their own QR Code for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR Code generating sites.

As Invader mentions in the video, you can read QR codes from your iPhone. 2D Sense (formally known as iMatrix, the software Invader mentions) is free to download, but I couldn’t get it to work.

As cool as these QR codes are though, this “hardlink” technique experimented with before to little success. Unlike Invader’s usual mosaics, these QR codes are more of a secret invasion that won’t be understood by the average viewer. I think most people will prefer the normal mosaics.

Here’s a QR code I made online. Maybe you’ll have more luck decoding it than I’ve had:

My Custom QR Code
My Custom QR Code

Gallery Profiles: Black Rat Press

Update: Part Two is now online here.

This is the first in a series of interviews with directors/curators/whatever-they-wish-to-be-called of art galleries.

To start it all off, I’ve got Mike Snelle, the owner of The Black Rat Press. BRP is one of London’s premier galleries specializing in street art. In the past year, the gallery has shown work from Swoon, Blek le Rat, Nick Walker, D*face, and many others. Located in Shoreditch, behind Cargo and next two a few Banksy pieces, BRP is a must-visit gallery for any street art fan.

On a personal note, BRP was the first gallery I ever visited that sold street art, and I did a work experience there this summer. They are some of the most fun people I know in the art world, and I certainly wouldn’t have started Vandalog without their willingness to let me spend far too much time admiring their shows.

This is part one of a two part interview. I’ll post part two tomorrow.

RJ: What sets The Black Rat Press apart from other galleries?

Mike Snelle: I think galleries are similar to artists in that those that are most interesting have their own unique voice and do not imitate others. I feel that we are developing that here at Black Rat and hope to continue to do so next year. It’s partly a matter of not being dictated to by the marketplace and what’s hot at the moment. It is more valuable and interesting to work with artists that you believe in even when sometimes other people don’t get it. You hope as a gallery that over time people will come to share your belief in an artists work.

Continue reading “Gallery Profiles: Black Rat Press”