Has street art “sold out and gentrified our cities”?

The entrance to Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida. Photo by Osseous.
The entrance to Wynwood Walls in Miami, Florida. Photo by Osseous.

Earlier this week, the online street art community was abuzz about an article by Rafael Schacter for The Conversation, From dissident to decorative: why street art sold out and gentrified our cities. Between the time I left my apartment on Monday morning and when I arrived at work half an hour later, it seemed like a dozen of my friends had shared the article or reacted to it in some way.

Schacter has captured a feeling about street art and contemporary muralism, a nagging fear really, that seems to have been bubbling just beneath the surface for a while now. Basically, Schacter argues that street art isn’t rebellious anymore. Rather, that it’s most notable form is as a tool used by corporations to spur gentrification. Agree or disagree, the article is a must-read.

Rather than go on my own rant responding to Schacter like I would usually do, I reached out to some of the biggest names in street art and muralism for their reactions. A few of them answered. The prompt was pretty open-ended, basically just to share some thoughts after reading the article. Here’s what Buff Monster, Living Walls’ Monica Campana, 1xRun’s Jesse Cory, Jeffrey Deitch, Libray Street Collective’s Matt Eaton, Tristan Eaton, John Fekner, Gaia, Ganzeer, Carlo McCormick, The Painted Desert Project’s Chip Thomas, Jessie Unterhalter, Vexta, and Wall Therapy’s Ian Wilson had to say (with emphasis added)…

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Buff Monster: The perfect treat for Little Italy


After probably a year of people mistakenly thinking that this piece was organized through The L.I.S.A. Project NYC and participating with in a collaborative wall for us late last year, we’ve finally had the chance to get Buff Monster a solo wall with The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Late last month, he painted this piece at the corner of Mulberry and Broome streets. As I’ve said before, one of the things I love to do with our murals in Little Italy is find artists whose work supports the heritage of Little Italy and the businesses there today, but still looks like something you wouldn’t expect to see. I think Buff Monster’s mural fits that. It’s definitely unexpected and bold, but it also features some Neapolitan ice cream and there’s probably 3-4 local spots within sight of the mural to get some gelato.


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Live painting, new murals and music in Little Italy this Saturday


As I mentioned yesterday, this Saturday we’re holding a party outdoors in Little Italy. Presented by Wix.com, the party is to celebrate all the murals that myself and others in The L.I.S.A. Project NYC have been organizing in Little Italy, particularly Tristan Eaton’s brand new Liberty mural. The party is also a chance to watch a brand new mural painted live as part of a Secret Walls competition.

I’m especially pumped for Secret Walls. Tristan Eaton and Jay Edlin aka J.SON/TERROR161 will be judging as Bishop203, Epic, SeeOne and Meres face off against Greg Mishka, L’Amour Supreme, Buff Monster and Jon Burgerman in an 90-minute live painting session just below Ron English’s Temper Tot mural.

So, come by Mulberry Street this Saturday afternoon for some art, drinks and music.

More info about the party here.

Flyer courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project NYC

Tristan Eaton’s “Liberty” mural in Little Italy

Liberty 2

Earlier this week, Tristan Eaton completed this mural, titled Liberty, in Little Italy in New York City. Liberty is just across the street from Ron English’s Temper Tot mural from last October. I helped a little bit with organizing Tristan’s mural as part of my work with Wayne Rada at The L.I.S.A. Project NYC, but this mural had been in the works since before I got involved or The L.I.S.A. Project even existed, and it was the planning of this mural that resulted in the creation of The L.I.S.A. Project. I am so happy to finally see Liberty up on the wall, visible from Mulberry Street and Canal Street, adding something really special to the area. From the moment I saw Tristan’s first mock-up, I thought, “This is going to be iconic,” but Tristan has really outdone himself. Liberty is beautiful and iconic, but it really is Tristan’s interpretation of the Statue of Liberty and American ideals, rather than just a straightforward depiction of an already-iconic image.

If you want to check out the mural in person, I suggest coming down to Little Italy on Saturday afternoon when we’ll have five hours of events planned around Liberty and the other murals on Mulberry Street, including the live painting of a new piece as part of a Secret Walls competition. Bishop203, Epic, SeeOne and Meres will be competing against Greg Mishka, L’Amour Supreme, Buff Monster and Jon Burgerman, with Jay Edlin aka Terro161 aka J.SON (author of the book Graffiti 365) and Tristan Eaton as judges. More info on the Facebook event page.

Lastly, I want to thank Wix.com and all the individual supporters who have sponsored the mural. Hopefully, this is just part one of two, with Tristan adding Justice to Mulberry Street soon.


Photos courtesy of The L.I.S.A. Project NYC

Weekend link-o-rama

Buff Monster and Hoacs
Buff Monster and Hoacs

Enjoy the weekend:

Photo by Lois Stavsky

Weekend link-o-rama

Zéh Palito and Tosko

It is time for me to get a reasonable number of hours of sleep. Until I have to get up in the morning. Here’s what we didn’t get to write about on Vandalog this week:

Photo by Zéh Palito

Miami murals captured in progess


Mike Pearce was in Miami last week taking photos of the murals getting painted. As it has been over the past few years, Wynwood was overrun (in, I think, a good way) for about a week with artists working outdoors on any wall they could get permission to paint or get away with painting. Here are a few of Mike’s pictures of the artists at work…

La Pandilla
Free Humanity, Anthony Lister and Col
Pixel Pancho
Augustine Kofie
Greg Mike
Tati Suarez
Entes and Jade
Buff Monster
Trek 6

Photos by Mike Pearce

Secret Wars at Underbelly Miami

UPDATE – LOCATION CHANGE: The Underbelly Show has moved to 78 NW 25th Street in Wynwood, Miami to accommodate the large scale of the artwork in this show. The address on this flyer is WRONG.

The Secret Wars painting battle series will be making its way to Miami for this year’s Basel insanity. Secret Wars is a team paint battle where two teams are given 90 minutes to simultaneously paint two walls live in front of a crowd of cheering and partying spectators. Secret Wars Miami is going to take place on December 1st at The Underbelly Show with Chaz (of The London Police), Wayne Horse and Mr. K on one team and Tristan Eaton, Buff Monster and Kano on the other.

Buff Monster in London

God help us all. On April 28, Stolenspace Gallery in London will play host to one of Los Angeles’ most hyped up street artists: Buff Monster. The show is entitled The Reign of Pink. I cannot wait to put on my Harajuko outfit and show up to the opening smiling and all the cutesy and colorful crap that Buff has to offer. If he paints a wall or wheatpastes in London, well I doubt the paint would be dry before someone rips it down/covers it up/throws up on it.

I don’t normally copy and past press releases, but this one is now a personal favorite of mine to describe this upcoming bastardization of urban art:

Buff Monster lives in Hollywood and cites heavy metal music ice cream and Japanese culture as major influences. The colour pink, a symbol of confidence, individuality and happiness is present in everything he creates. Buff Monster’s creative endeavors began by putting up thousands of hand-silkscreened posters across Los Angeles and in far-away places. His frequent poster missions developed into a productive street art career and he now works on fine art paintings, collectible toys and select design projects. He paints on wood, taking great care to create his images as flat as possible, and his work has been shown in galleries worldwide, often accompanied by large installations. Buff Monster works tirelessly day and night to spread happiness, joy and a love of pink.

I was going to try and retype a press release that would be even more affable than the actual one, but I just couldn’t think of anything funnier than the aforementioned. Ok, I will try to be nice here and give Buff credit where credit is due. He is standing up for all of the real men who wear pink, like Hello Kitty and wish anime characters were real women. Those are causes that definitely need to be artistically expressed. Spread the pink!

Eh, at least he makes decent toys.

Photo courtesy of Stolenspace