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.
Just because Colossal Media paints murals based on designs by people like KAWS and Faile doesn’t mean there should be any love for them. They paint advertisements. That is their business. If they paint some murals on the side, that doesn’t excuse billboards invading public space. Unless you think BP sponsoring art exhibits excuses oil spills and pollution…
Also what’s up with KAWS’ work being used for a mural (I hesitate to say he did a mural, since it appears all he did was license his imagery)? He’s spent the better part of this site’s existence distancing himself from street art and graffiti and his public art has consisted of sculptures and flyposted advertisements (if you consider that public art).
Maybe I’ll be able to ask KAWS about all this myself soon, since presumably he’ll be in Philadelphia for his show at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Arrested Motion has a bit of a preview, but I think the link really worth checking is PAFA’s website (and this archived version of the same page from mid-August) because of this section of the show description which has since been removed: “Placing KAWS’ sculptural works throughout PAFA’s historic galleries will further the ‘graffiti effect,'” and the edit of (emphasis added) “KAWS grew up in Jersey City, where he emerged as a graffiti artist in the early 1990s.” to “KAWS grew up in Jersey City, where he emerged as an artist in the early 1990s.” So that’s interesting.
FAME Festival is no more, although ad hoc projects will continue to be organized in the town of Grottaglie, Italy by festival organizer Angelo Milano. It’s definitely sad news, but Angelo is always ahead of the times. Maybe this glut of street art festivals is just too much. Maybe it’s time for something different. Let’s hope Angelo figures it out. I can’t wait to see what he tries next.
We made it over to Brooklyn’s Mighty Tanaka last week to check out its first exhibit of the new year: Lost & Found. Featuring the artwork of Adam Void, Curtis Readel, Alice Mizrachi, ELLE and John Breiner, the exhibit features an intriguing array of work in diverse media created largely from found objects. Here are a few images:
The exhibit continues through February 5 at Mighty Tanaka’s new space @ 111 Front Street in Brooklyn’s DUMBO district.