A very street art Christmas: some holiday gift ideas

After procrastinating and procrastinating about writing this post, I missed Hanukkah and Eid, so I guess this is a gift guide for Christmas. Sorry for the delay.

Here are a few street art related products that have come out in the last year or so that I think are pretty cool. If you’re looking for a last-minute holiday gift for the street art obsessive in your life, hopefully this will help…

  • DB Burkeman’s book Stickers: Stuck Up Piece of Crap is one of the best art books I have ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you have even a passing interest in stickers. If you buy one thing off this list, it should probably be this book. The photo at the top of this post is for the deluxe edition which comes with signed stickers, but that version doesn’t come cheap.

  • Now, the flip side of that anti-fashion comment, I want to remind everyone that Vandalog still has shirts available from Gaia, Troy Lovegates and Faro. These very limited edition shirts are $30 each and you can buy them online.
  • Martha Cooper’s latest book is Name Tagging, a book about the Hello My Name Is stickers and graffiti. Personally, I prefer Going Postal, her book about postal stickers, but Name Tagging is a good quick read too. It has brief interviews with Twist, Sure, Cost and others plus plenty of photos.
  • These Buff Monster plush toys are on sale for $12.00 right now. Very cute.
  • If you want a unique iPhone case, either Incase or Uncommon seem like good options. Incase has that Jose Parla iPhone case and Uncommon let’s you customize your own case with designs from a number of artists including David Ellis, Dennis McNett and MQ.
  • I’ve only just started to read Trespass, but I’ve heard from others that it is a great book.

Or, if you’re a street artist, you could go out on Christmas, brave the cold, and do some art. Give a gift to the rest of us. Not enough street art happens in the winter months.

Buff Monster: Child’s Play at Best

I meant to write about this show weeks ago, but I kept debating whether to stay true to my snarky self and write what I really think about Buff Monster’s latest solo show at Corey Helford Gallery. Finally, and by my peers’ encouragement, I sad “screw it” and am just going to be honest. The work is terrible. Not to hate on cute cartoon art because some artists do it pretty well at times, but Buff Monster’s one dimensional childish monsters remind me of scratch and sniff stickers or the sadistic product of Lisa Frank and Hello Kitty. On the streets, the characters look cutesy, colorful and fun, but within gallery walls they translate as shallow and not genuine.

The following pictures are several works featured in the current show. Inspired by what looks like complete anarchy in Candy Land, an emo Spongebob on hallucinogenic drugs, and a futuristic mythical anime world, the pieces display little design concept and thought. The whole show further saddens me about the art world, since many outlets praised the works with no critical eye. Those reviews are fluff, just like Buff Monster’s art.

Ultimately, in my opinion, Corey Helford made a huge mistake with this show. After forging a name internationally for their curatorial work in collaboration with the Bristol Museum with Art from the New World (one of the best urban art group shows to date), this show confuses me as to why they would plan and host such an atrocity. As a gallery well known for marketing and branding of their artists and exhibits, Buff Monster seems like the perfect choice for just that, since all he stands on is those aspects.

There is a major debate raging in the art world whether street art can translate inside gallery walls, but Buff Monster’s show gives another point to the doubters. Maybe if there was an installation, sculptures, or even a giant mountain of his plush toy in the gallery, I may not be so harsh. But Buff Monster’s work is so commercial that it has to be branded as such, because fine art surely is not it. Maybe, next time Buff.

Pink Wunderland
Split Kit
Happy Solitude

Pictures Courtesy of Corey Helford Gallery

The Monster Within – customized Buff Monster toys

Looks like Giant Robot’s GR2 store in LA will be a Buff Monster fan’s paradise on Saturday. Buff Monster has brought together almost 50 artists to customize blank Buff Monster toys. And the list of artists is impressive. I can’t wait to see what Flying Fortress, Skinner, Tristan Eaton, The London Police, Travis Louie and so many other talented people have come up with.

Speaking of Buff Monster, he’s been putting up some posters in LA recently:

Photo by Reserve Result