Largely self-promotional link-o-rama

stikman in Philadelphia
stikman in Philadelphia

Apologies that this particular link-o-rama is full of self-promotion and conflicts of interesting, but I do think these are all interesting projects and I hope you do too:

  • It takes a lot to get my excited about a mural festival, but this year’s Wall\Therapy in Rochester, NY looks great. It’s difficult to put on a mural festival. One short cut is to work with obvious artists. Your festival will look like 50 other festivals, but the walls will probably seem impressive. Wall\Therapy has not gone that route. This year in particular, they put together a surprising and diverse line up to create an arguably cohesive body of new work, and the quality of the murals is still strong pretty much across the board. Check out Brooklyn Street Art’s photos and review for the full story.
  • From the selections I’ve read, I’m still not sure how I feel about the book What Do One Million Ja Tags Signify? by Dumar Novy, but a philosophy book centered on the work of a prolific graffiti writer seems like something that should at least catch the interest of Vandalog readers.
  • Phlegm is in the middle of his latest art-making experiment, spending a month making art in the woods of rural England. I’m loving the results so far, and of course the concept of challenging himself in this way.
  • Shepard Fairey’s latest print about corporate greed and campaign finance reform is about to drop. It’s a nice print, and I’m always glad to see Shepard tackling this important but not particularly sexy topic. Plus, the profits from this print go to two great organizations fighting for campaign finance reform. I’ll just note that Shepard is working on a couple of projects right now for my employer, but campaign finance reform and political corruption really are topics that I care a lot about.
  • Speaking of my employer, I recently got to work on a really fun project with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and Ben Eine. Back in June, Eine came to Philly for a few days and painted almost 40 of his classic shutter letters. Philly now has a complete Eine alphabet, and then some. Eine’s work can be found throughout the city, but the shutters are definitely clustered in South Philly around Southeast by Southeast, a community center and art space for the neighborhood’s large Southeast Asian refugee community. Brooklyn Street Art has more on this project.
  • And one more Mural Arts project to mention: JR recently installed a huge mural right in the heart of Philadelphia as part of Open Source, our public art exhibition curated by Pedro Alonzo. The mural is a portrait of Ibrahim Shah, a local food truck chef who came to Philadelphia from Pakistan about a year ago. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran a great profile on Ibrahim. I love how this mural looms large on the side of one of the biggest buildings right in the center of Philly, but isn’t actually that visible from the ground except from a few choice locations. Sounds like that could be a problem, I know, but the mural actually pops out from behind buildings in the most surprising places, and catching a glimpse of it winds up being a thrill, a bit of hide and seek. Plus, that game plays into the meaning of the mural, which is about how immigrants are a big part of our cities, but aren’t always celebrated or allowed to be made visible.
  • Okay, actually, Mural Arts has something coming up with Steve Powers too, but hopefully it will last longer than these signs in NYC! No surprise, a great series of street signs by Powers, installed legally as part of a project with the NYC Department of Transportation, seem to be being ripped down and stolen by greedy collectors or maybe thieves hoping to make a buck. It’s no surprise, but it is still disappointing.
  • A few days ago, I appeared on Al Jazeera English as a guest on their show The Stream. Gaia and I joined their panel to talk about street art. You can watch the full episode, plus some bonus online content, here.
  • If you’re in New York City, do not miss Faile’s exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. It’s on now, and visiting is a really exciting experience. Vandalog contributing writer Caroline Caldwell currently works as an assistant at Faile’s studio, but even hearing bits and pieces from her as things were coming together did not prepare me for the awesomeness that is Savage/Sacred Young Minds. Without a doubt, the highlight of the exhibition is the latest and (I think) largest iteration of Faile and Bast’s Deluxx Fluxx Arcade, with custom foosball, pinball, and of course video games. It’s just an unabashedly fun experience. Arrested Motion has photos of much of the exhibition.

Photo by RJ Rushmore

Ben Eine and Ludo join up with The L.I.S.A. Project NYC

Ben Eine on the Bowery. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ben Eine on the Bowery. Photo by Rey Rosa.

I’ve got two small but exciting pieces from The L.I.S.A. Project NYC to talk about today.

When I first started working on organizing murals in Little Italy, we called it The L.I.S.A. Project NYC for Little Italy Street Art. We never expected to get beyond Mulberry Street, but about 18 months later, have our first mural in Chinatown. Earlier month, The L.I.S.A. Project NYC invited Ben Eine to paint a mural at 161 Bowery, and he knocked it out just before the opening of his show at Judith Charles Gallery. Eine and his work will always hold a special place in my heart. His work helped me get interested in street art when I saw shutters much like his piece for The L.I.S.A. Project NYC peppering Shoreditch six years ago when I knew absolutely nothing about street art or graffiti. Ben was also one of the first artists that I spent any proper time with or chatted with about street art, and he really inspired me to explore things further. For all those reasons, plus I just plain enjoy his shutter alphabets, it was a joy to help arrange a spot for him to paint, and for him to be our first artist painting outside of Little Italy. He helped me expand my horizons six years ago, and now he’s doing the same for The L.I.S.A. Project NYC.

Eine’s show at Judith Charles Gallery in NYC, Heartfelt, runs through March 16th, but here’s one photo from the show. You can see more over at Arrested Motion.

Ben Eine. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ben Eine. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ben Eine. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ben Eine. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ludo on Mulberry Street. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ludo on Mulberry Street. Photo by Rey Rosa.

This month we’ve also worked with Ludo. Earlier this week, he pasted a piece on a door on Mulberry Street in the heart of Little Italy. I’ve been a fan of Ludo’s work for years, so I’m bummed that Wayne and Rey, my partners at The L.I.S.A. Project NYC, got to handle this one themselves while I sit in Philadelphia. On the plus side, in addition to the door with The L.I.S.A. Project NYC, Ludo has been getting up around NYC and he has a solo show opening at Jonathan Levine Gallery this Thursday evening (6-8pm). So I’ll have a lot to check out next time I’m in town.

Ludo at work in Little Italy. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ludo at work in Little Italy. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ludo at work in Little Italy. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ludo at work in Little Italy. Photo by Rey Rosa.

I think these are great pieces, but let’s face it: Ben and Ludo both painted work with The L.I.S.A. Project NYC in the run-up to gallery shows. And some of the work we have planned for the next few months also coincides with gallery shows. I know some people find that controversial, suggesting that the murals become mere ads for the gallery work. As someone who really doesn’t like outdoor advertisements, this is something I think about. I look at things from a different angle: In many cases, the artists we work with who time their pieces with a gallery show are out of town artists. They aren’t going to come back in a month when their show is down to put up work, so we grab them while they are around. And yes, the work may function as an ad to some viewers, but the work has no real branding on it beyond the artist’s own signature style. For 99% of the people who see these works in person, they see pure public art, not ads. And if you look at a work of street art or public art and do see an ad, it’s only because you’re already aware of the show that you may think the work is there to promote. Do murals help promote shows in a roundabout way? Sure. But it’s a subtle promotion that results in the creation of public art, and personally I have no problem with artists working in galleries. I want to support my talented friends so that they can live off of their art, if they choose to do so. So yes, we at The L.I.S.A. Project NYC are proud to say that sometimes we work with artists who are putting up art that coincides with gallery shows, because it allows for a more diverse set of murals and furthers supports the artists we love.

Ludo. Photo by Rey Rosa.
Ludo. Photo by Rey Rosa.

Photos by Rey Rosa for The L.I.S.A Project NYC

Next week: Eine in NYC at Judith Charles Gallery


Ben Eine has a show, Heartfelt, opening on February 5th at Judith Charles Gallery on The Bowery. Somewhat surprisingly, Heartfelt will be Eine’s first NYC solo show. I’ve always had a very strong personal relationship with Eine’s art, as his letters peppered London’s streets when I was first getting into street art, and his SCARY piece was probably the first piece of street art to really surprise and thrill me when I came across it unexpectedly. I’m looking forward to checking out Heartfelt, and I’m hopefully that Eine will leave a few pieces on the streets of New York during his visit as well.

Heartfelt opens February 5th from 6-9pm and runs through March 16th at Judith Charles Gallery, 196 Bowery in New York City.

Photo courtesy of Eine

Banksy + 5: October 2nd

Banksy on 25th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue. Photo by Luna Park. Click to view large.
Banksy on 25th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue. Photo by Luna Park. Click to view large.

So I know that late last night I said that I didn’t expect we would be covering all of Banksy’s new NYC work on this blog (also, did you somehow miss that he’s doing a bunch of work in NYC in October for his Better Out Than In project?). I said that we’d probably just be sending out links on Facebook or that I’d be tweeting about it. But then Jonathan Lynn from Anewspace in Dublin tweeted an idea at me: “you should do a column called ‘this is the new banksy & here is 5 more artists who painted today'”.

Banksy + 5 is a slight twist on Jonathan’s idea. Every time a new Banksy work for Better Out Than In is discovered, I’m going to post a photo of that work, as well as 5 photos of street art by other artists. The photos will be photos are sent to me or were uploaded to Flickr the day before the latest Banksy piece. So, for example, today’s Banksy + 5 includes the latest Banksy (the “New York Accent” stencil shown above) and 5 photos that were uploaded to Flickr on October 1st.

For today’s +5 we have NiceOne, Kid Acne, El Mac, Loretto and a collaborative piece by Shuby, Rowdy and Sweet Toof next to a piece by Eine:

NiceOne. Photo by Christmas Junkie.
NiceOne. Photo by Christmas Junkie.
Kid Acne. Photo by Kyla Borg.
Kid Acne. Photo by Kyla Borg.
El Mac. Photo by bernardoh.
El Mac. Photo by bernardoh.
Loretto. Photo by Sarflondondunc.
Loretto. Photo by Sarflondondunc.
Shuby, Rowdy and Sweet Toof next to Eine. Photo by Delete.
Shuby, Rowdy and Sweet Toof next to Eine. Photo by Delete.

Want to digitally side-bust Banksy and get some attention by being featured in a Banksy + 5 post? Get up, take some photos, and send them my way (rj a-t vandalog dot com).

Photos by Luna Park, Christmas Junkie, Kyla Borg, bernardoh, Sarflondondunc and Delete

Parasites and magnets: a story about street art and photography


I am bored. In fact, I am not that bored, I am more disillusioned. But why?

Firstly I am slightly fed up of seeing a lack of creativity in much of the street art I am currently viewing in London, hence these photos of interesting pieces by Monkey and the ATG Crew in Hvar, Croatia I snapped whilst on holiday a couple of months ago. It may just be that I am looking in the wrong places, and don’t get me wrong, there are a huge amount of artists living and working in London that I admire, but it seems I keep seeing the same dull work from many others.


But that is not quite why I am writing. It is a second point that has caused me to become even more disillusioned. Money makes the world go around and money always seeps into everything eventually, street art included. This is not necessarily a bad thing, artists need money to keep doing what they are doing in addition to feeding and clothing themselves, but at the same time money brings parasites.

These parasites, as I like to call them, come in various forms and varieties. You have flippers, forgers, and reclaimers, who just steal street art off the street to sell. Then there are others, such as agents, who I will never understand really. An agent, really?


But there seems to be a final parasite that is increasing in numbers, and that’s the photographer. Actually photographer is a bad term to use, but they call themselves that so, so be it. A photographer to me is someone that is creative, an artist with a camera. Someone who sees a shot, frames it, and shoots it. Taking light, composition, angle and various other important aspects into account. A good photographer (at this point note Mark Rigney, Sandra Butterfly, NoLionsinEngland, RomanyWG, HowAboutNo, Martha Cooper, Ian Cox et al), makes an image come to life in a photo. They add something to a picture.

I see photographers as important for a couple of reasons, firstly as I have previously alluded to, they are artists in their own right and I am all for creative people who have something interesting to exhibit. But secondly, and more importantly to an extent, is their ability to document. Martha Cooper is the prime example and others have followed suit. My pictures in this post are a documentation of street art in Croatia and this blog is a documentation of street art from around the world. In essence it becomes a window to history and that’s why I have a penchant for photography.


Yet over the last two weeks in particular, and over the last few weeks, months and years in general, I have become disillusioned. In no small part because of the increasing numbers of people printing Banksy images onto canvas and selling them at every market in London, but more recently by photographers tapping into the same practice.

Over the last two weekends I have attended two outdoor art events. One in Brixton, and one near Old Street. Both these events have included some fantastic, talented artists, and in particular, Brixton had a few great photographers who’s work I really admired. But both have also had those types of photographers who steal others’ creativity.


Poor photos are one thing, but couple that with a market stall, price labels, and in one case fridge magnets and Oyster card holders and you have a recipe for disaster. Gone is the creativity and the innovation of a good photographer or even if the documentation that the mediocre photographer can provide. All you are left with is poor photos, bad cropping and product.

There has been a recent breakthrough on this subject with regard to Wooster Collective working their magic to ensure than offers commission to artists and show artists the photos they are hoping to use before they start selling them. This really is a massive step in ensuring that companies who deal in wall art act in a moral manner, but as RJ mentioned in his post on the subject, this is far from a complete problem solver.

In one of the cases I came across, I asked if the photographer had got permission from the artists. He said yes of course, the majority had agreed and that they are extremely grateful for their work getting promoted.

I would have loved to have been there when the guy asked Banksy, Eine, Phlegm, Mr. Brainwash, Os Gemeos and others if he could use their images to make money for himself. I hardly believe they are happy that others are making financial gains without paying any dues, in this case commission.

At a time when there are so many good artists releasing high quality affordable screen prints and even originals, it annoys me that some members of the general public are paying out sums of money for awful images. The stall at the street party near Old Street always had a large crowd around it with people paying good money for pictures they could have taken themselves and printed at home.

The moral of this story is that if you are reading this thinking about lining the pockets of one of these so called photographers, then I urge you to invest that money in your own camera, get outside and take some photos yourself. And if you need a bit of training then get yourself along to one of NoLions photography workshops if he organises a few more soon, fingers crossed he does, as they were very well received. Be creative, don’t let others steal what in essence is meant to be free art for all to enjoy.

This problem is not going to disappear completely, but you can all do your bit by not handing your money over to these parasitic photographers, and don’t let your mates do it either. In fact, I believe this is where street art tours come into their own as they get the general public into places where they can take their own documentary images. It is summer, so get yourself outside, walk around, see what turns your head, and just be creative.


Photos all by Shower. Not purchased in any way. Taken himself whilst on holiday in Hvar, Croatia. And they will not be printed onto magnets any time soon!

Weekend link-o-rama

Buff Monster and Hoacs
Buff Monster and Hoacs

Enjoy the weekend:

Photo by Lois Stavsky

Ben Eine’s “Innocence” in LA

Eine_Vandalism lores 1000

That guy that paints letters has an upcoming show in LA called Innocence, at CGH Circa (a new art venue from the people at Corey Helford Gallery at 8530-A Washington Boulevard in Culver City). The show opens on June 15th at 7pm and will run until July 13th. The show will feature letters painted in such a way that calls attention to the relationship between art and vandalism, and that’s why the show is called Innocence.

Nothing To Lose, artwork by Ben Eine

Photos courtesy of Corey Helford Gallery

Weekend link-o-rama

Roa in London
Roa in London

Happy weekend. Hope you’ve had a less busy week than me.

Photo by Unusualimage

Tim Hans shoots… Ben Eine


Ben Eine is a busy man these days with lots of shows, walls, and a move to San Fransisco. Tim Hans met up with Eine in Shoreditch while he was painting for the latest in our continuing series of photo-portraits of artists by Tim Hans.

RJ: How did changing the Pro/Anti walls in Shoreditch to the Extortionist/Protagonist walls come about?

Eine: Basically I have just moved my studio from Hastings, the courier company wouldn’t allow me to ship the spray paint, I had a few thousand cans. so I thought I would use as much of it as I could. LondoNewcastle who own the building with anti anti anti on it had contacted me around the time of Shepard paintings down the road to see if I was up for repainting it. Yes was the answer, I then spoke with Mother who own the propropro wall, they were up for it as well but no one had any budget for paint or anything, wankers. The old paintings had been there for nearly 3 years and were looking shabby, plus I never liked the way antiantianti photographed, the contours of the wall made it look weird, the challenge there was to paint something that photographed better than the old anti.

RJ: Why the move to SF? What’s that been like?

Eine: I fell in love with San Francisco and a lady called Carrie, plus London is easy for me. I wanted to paint somewhere where walls are harder to get and not everyone is on your side. The move has been fucking slow and expensive, my new studio is 4 times as expensive as my old one in Hastings.


RJ: How do you think the recent harsh prison sentences for graffiti in London have affected the work that is going up or not?

Eine: It’s bollocks, Oker had almost stopped, he has kids and a job, nothing violent in what he does, I don’t think he was that much of a menace that he needed to be sent to prison especially for 2 years, we just did an art auction for his wife at pure evil gallery, so at least she doesn’t have to worry about loosing the house while her man is inside. I’m not sure if these crazy jail sentences really stop people from painting trains and bombing. Getting caught is part of being a vandal.

RJ: What’s a dream location for you to paint?

Eine: More cities in America, big walls in New York, SF, LA and some other cities I can’t think of.

RJ: What upcoming projects can we expect to see from you?

Eine: I got a show in Paris, Galerie LE FEUVRE (164, Faubourg St. Honoré 75008 Paris) which closes April 21st. It’s a group show with Sickboy, and Shoe from Amsterdam. Then a solo show with Corey Helford opens June 15th, and then a few big walls around.


Photos by Tim Hans

SMoA brings guerilla curating to the streets of London

Screen shot 2012-12-26 at 5.15.31 AM

The Street Museum of Art has launched its second venture in “guerilla curating” in London’s artsy district of Shoreditch. Like their first exhibition, it’s basically a self-guided street art tour with museum-like wall labels. The exhibition’s title, “Beyond Banksy: Not another gift shop“, is likely a tongue and cheek reference to the commercial attention that street art has received in London these past few years, with Banksy at the forefront of the movement. In all fairness, Banksy has become enough of a household name that he and Exit Through the Gift Shop are frequently my reference points when speaking about street art to people outside this niche community. For that, I am thankful that I get to SMoA advises that the name is not meant to undermine the work of the beloved stencil artist, rather it is to encourage those who have Banksy as their token understanding of street art to the diversity of the other talented artists on the streets. This exhibition highlights works by artists such as C215, Christiaan Nagel, Eine, Mobstr, Pablo Delgado, Phlegm, Roa, Run, Skewville, Space Invader, Stik and Swoon.


The map of the exhibited works are available here and the hours are… well, unlimited.

Photo by Street Museum of Art