From New Yawk City Walls to virtual reality

February 2nd, 2015 | By | 2 Comments »

Concrete to Data

This weekend, a particularly forward-thinking yet historically mindful street and graffiti exhibition opens at Long Island University. CONCRETE To DATA, curated by Ryan Seslow, explores the history of street art and graffiti from golden age of NYC subway graffiti through to the emerging potential for digital public art in forms such as virtual reality environments and animated GIFs.

CONCRETE To DATA includes work by many Vandalog contributors and friends including Caroline Caldwell, Gaia, ekg, and Yoav Litvin. Seslow also included my book Viral Art and our collaborative project Encrypted Fills in the exhibition. On some level, CONCRETE To DATA feels like vindication and the physical manifestation of Viral Art, albeit through the eyes of another curator. Seslow and I both have a deep love for early street art and graffiti, as well as a belief that some contemporary digital art is created and disseminated in that same spirit.

In a fitting coincidence, the exhibition takes place at the Steinberg Museum of Art at Long Island University in Brookville, NY and will run during the 10-year anniversary of Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls, an exhibition curated by John Fekner that took place in the same space in 2005. Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls was actually conceptually similar to CONCRETE To DATA, not just another street art exhibition in the same space. Ahead of his time as always, Fekner included digital works in Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls and arguably even hints at the possibility of viral art in the exhibition’s curatorial essay. A decade later and the world predicted in Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls has come to fruition, and artists are creating new works for a new world, as seen in CONCRETE To DATA. In this way, Seslow provides an important and expansive update to his friend Fekner’s exhibition.

But CONCRETE to DATA is more than an exhibition to promote digital media as a route for contemporary street art and graffiti. It’s also an exhibition that attempts to capture, again much like Tawkin’ New Yawk City Walls, the most interesting elements of the contemporary streetscape in NYC and place those in a historical context alongside the best of previous generations. There’s work from Adam VOID, Swoon, Gaia, Fekner, Cash4, and many others. So, there are visuals to enjoy too.

Adam VOID's installation at CONCRETE to DATA

Adam VOID’s installation at CONCRETE to DATA

CONCRETE to DATA opens on Friday, February 6th from 6-9pm and runs through March 21st. Learn more here. I’ll be missing the opening because I’ll be at Sam Heimer‘s Why Are You Here?, opening that same night at LMNL Gallery in Philadelphia, but I’m really looking forwarding to checking out CONCRETE to DATA in person soon.

Photos by Ryan Seslow


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

What and where are open walls?

December 24th, 2014 | By | 3 Comments »
Partial buffed Barry McGee mural at Bowery and Houston (the buff marks cover more red tags). Photo by Andrew Russeth.

Partially buffed Barry McGee mural at Bowery and Houston (the buff marks cover more red tags). Photo by Andrew Russeth.

UPDATE: Xavi Ballaz (known for Difusor and the Open Walls Conference in Barcelona) has responded to this post with some of the more positive advancements towards open walls, and suggests that the open walls movement does indeed need a manifesto.

A friend of mine recently used an interesting phrase: “the open walls movement.” I thought he was using the term as a synonym for “the street art festival circuit,” which upset me, because street art festivals do not have what I would call “open walls.” But really, my friend was commenting on a larger movement perceived to be spreading around the world to use public space differently (insomuch as walls on private property are public space). On the surface, he’s right. Street art festivals, grassroots muralism programs, free walls, curated alleyways and everything in between now exist in cities and small towns around the world.

Does that make a movement? I don’t know. Nobody is getting together to write a manifesto and participants’ aims and methods are diverse, but there is a disparate group of what I’ll call “open walls people” who share a new way of looking at walls and public space: Public walls are for the artists, murals enliven streets and communities, and there should be limited or no government regulation of murals, but advertising in public space should be heavily regulated or eliminated entirely. Simply put, “open walls people” believe in unrestricted art in (often odd) public spaces.

But how open are our walls today? Surfing the web, it sometimes feels like globe-trotting muralists can hop off a plane in any city, find a wall, and begin painting the next day, or that every small European city is covered in murals. That’s simply not true. Despite valiant and well-intentioned efforts, there’s a long way to go before we have anything approaching “open walls.”

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Below government radar, street artists discover the people’s permission

October 28th, 2014 | By | 3 Comments »
Nether

Nether. Photo by Nether.

In Baltimore, where every water is uncharted, street art has navigated its own course. What began as a covert creative expression of artistic imagination by individual street artists has matured to become an important force that binds artists and neighborhoods. Baltimore’s growing legion of street artists has piloted a course of creating art on parched streets and using it to quench neighborhoods’ thirst for something beautiful and sometimes provocative in their midst.

Ways

Ways. Photo by Ways.

When I began wheatpasting, there were only three other street artists in town who regularly got their pieces up: Ways, Gaia, and Nanook. Mata Ruda began wheatpasting about the same time I did and we worked together often. Everyone used a fly-by-night installation approach, using the cover of darkness to get our work up. Unsanctioned street art was something relatively new to Baltimore and the public viewed it as a sort of furtive “where’s waldo” game. We used the element of surprise to start the conversations that our work desired.

Gaia. Photo by David Muse.

Gaia. Photo by David Muse.

Everything changed in 2012. Under the direction of Gaia, Open Walls Baltimore began and with it the Station North neighborhood—Baltimore’s arts district—was transformed by the presence of spectacular, large murals funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and PNC Bank. With the arrival of the street art mural circuit to a city new to street art, Baltimore discovered street art’s ability to change an urban landscape. Most works didn’t deal with Baltimore politics and social issues directly but their presence acted to educate the public about the value of this new-to-it art form in giving voice to and beautifying our town. With Open Walls, Baltimore found a place on the map in the street art world. This place was solidified after the launch of Articulate by Stefan Ways in October 2012.

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PUBLIC by FORM Gallery – Perth – Western Australia

August 10th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
ROA - Photo by ROA

ROA. Photo by ROA.

I’m back after a brief blogging hiatus. I’ve been meaning to post my review for this great event that happened back in April over in Western Australia for a while now…

Leaving a cold wet 17 degrees in Melbourne, I was pretty damn excited to fly to Perth on the 10th of April, right in time for the grand finale of PUBLIC by Form Gallery in Perth, Western Australia, which I posted a preview of a while ago.

I arrived to a perfect sunny 30 degrees and soon as I hit the ground, I had a good feeling about Perth, I hadn’t been before, but something felt right. I went straight to the hotel and dropped off my bags, and went for an explore. Within a few hundred metres of my hotel, I could see the amazing Phlegm and ROA murals in progress. I made a beeline straight for them. Upon entering the car park I also saw the work of many other great artists. The works were spread throughout the CBD and inner city suburbs. Here’s a selection of some of my favourite pieces from the event.

ROA - Photo by Bewley Shaylor

ROA. Photo by Bewley Shaylor.

Pixel Pancho - Photo by Dean Sunshine

Pixel Pancho. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Pixel Pancho - Photo by Pixel Pancho

Pixel Pancho. Photo by Pixel Pancho.

Pixel Pancho - Photo by Pixel Pancho

Pixel Pancho. Photo by Pixel Pancho.

Phibs - Photo by Luke Shirlaw

Phibs. Photo by Luke Shirlaw.

Hyuro - Photo by Luke Shirlaw 2

Hyuro. Photo by Luke Shirlaw.

Hyuro - Photo by Luke Shirlaw

Hyuro. Photo by Luke Shirlaw.

Phlegm - Photo by David Dare Parker

Phlegm. Photo by David Dare Parker.

Alexis Diaz - Photo by Alexis Diaz

Alexis Diaz. Photo by Alexis Diaz.

Alexis Diaz (detail) - Photo by Alexis Diaz

Alexis Diaz (detail). Photo by Alexis Diaz.

Amok Island - Photo by Amok Island

Amok Island. Photo by Amok Island.

Ever - Photo by Ever

Ever. Photo by Ever.

GAIA - Photo by Dean Sunshine

GAIA. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

GAIA and Ever - Photo by Brendan Hutchens

GAIA and Ever. Photo by Brendan Hutchens.

Lucas Grogan - Photo by Dean Sunshine

Lucas Grogan. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

Lucas Grogan - Photo by Jean-Pierre Horre

Lucas Grogan. Photo by Jean-Pierre Horre.

2501 - Photo by Luke Shirlaw

2501. Photo by Luke Shirlaw.

Maya Hayuk - Photo by Jean-Pierre Horre

Maya Hayuk. Photo by Jean-Pierre Horre.

2501 vs Maya Hayuk - Photo by 2501

2501 vs Maya Hayuk. Photo by 2501.

Beastman and Vans the Omega - Photo by Dean Sunshine

Beastman and Vans the Omega. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

HEAVY Projects - Photo by Dean Sunshine

HEAVY Projects. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

HEAVY Projects - Photo by Dean Sunshine

HEAVY Project. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

HEAVY Projects - Photo by Dean Sunshine

HEAVY Projects. Photo by Dean Sunshine.

HEAVY Projects - Photo by HEAVY Projects

HEAVY Projects. Photo by HEAVY Projects.

While the event spanned over ~30 days, the main event was the painting of Perth’s 1st ever giant murals over the last 3/4 days of the event. In total there were around 30 murals painted for the event, spanning across the City of Perth. I was very impressed by the organization of the event by the FORM Gallery crew. With a logistical nightmare trying to coordinate over 45 artists, paint and equipment, all in 35 degree heat, the FORM Crew did an amazing job, Well done guys!!! A very friendly and hospitable crew. Thanks very much for taking such great care of us while we visited.

There was a great selection of artists from ac cross the globe representing all different styles and genres. Unfortunately there was no graffiti, but I suppose street art was a big stretch for conservative Perth, so graffiti may have been avoided for this reason. For a city not really known for street art, the public reaction was encouraging. People of all ages and walks of life filled the city over the weekend. I love walking around randomly and listening to some of the conversations and questions people ask each other. In particular I was really impressed by the public’s reactions to the HEAVY PROJECTS installations (interactive works of art that use Augmented Reality on smart phones and tablets). Here’s a short video the guys out together to document the event (plus some footage from a previous project).

Re+Public: Austin + Perth from The Heavy Projects on Vimeo.

On the Friday night there was also a great show at FORM Gallery – PUBLIC SALON showing off canvases from the contributing artists, some great work on display, check out some shots here.

And finally. This great video by Chad Peacock is a really accurate representation of the event and well put together. Damn it takes me back!!!


The FORM guys also took a number of artists to visit the Pilbara, a very special part of top end of Australia with breathtaking views and incredible nature (also sadly known for mining – the 2 don’t really go hand in hand). A few of the artists had a paint while there, I particularly like the piece by Remed.

Remed - Photo by Ben Fulton-Gillon

Remed. Photo by Ben Fulton-Gillon.

2501 and Remed - Photo by 2501

2501 and Remed. Photo by 2501.

2501 and ROA - Photo by 2501

2501 and ROA. Photo by 2501.

2501 and Alexis Diaz - Photo by 2501

2501 and Alexis Diaz. Photo by 2501.

After all of the above, any street art fan in Perth would have to be pretty happy, but it didn’t stop there. FORM has continued putting up murals in Perth, with Creepy (aka Kyle Hughes-Odgers) painting at Perth Airport (a sponsor of PUBLIC) and also Vans the Omega and Beastman’s new piece that went up last week.

Kyle Hughes-Odgers - Photo by  Kyle Hughes-Odgers

Kyle Hughes-Odgers. Photo by Kyle Hughes-Odgers.

Kyle Hughes-Odgers - Photo by Kyle Hughes-Odgers

Kyle Hughes-Odgers. Photo by Kyle Hughes-Odgers.

Vans the Omega & Beastman - Photo by Jarrad Seng

Vans the Omega & Beastman. Photo by Jarrad Seng.

Vans the Omega & Beastman (detail) - Photo by Jarrad Seng

Vans the Omega & Beastman (detail). Photo by Jarrad Seng.

What I loved most about the event wasn’t just the art, and was not unique to PUBLIC; is the sense of community I felt. This is something I really love about the street art scene. I got to catch up with some great old friends, and made some new ones who I will undoubtedly randomly catch up with again somewhere around the globe.

Fingers crossed that this event is on again next year. I will be there with bells on!

If you are in Perth, check out the full list of artists and the mural map. FORM has also put together this short book called PUBLICation available for Purchase at the Gallery and viewable online for free here. FORM have also started “PUBLIC Urban Art Walks” to give fans a guided tour of the city, well worth checking out.

Ok, so that’s enough, right? Actually no, there’s more. And it’s massive. Due to some logistical ;) issues SANER was unable to make it over for the original dates. I was gutted to hear this when I found out, but when I found out FORM are still bringing him over in August to paint in Perth and also the Pilbara, I was pretty damn excited! I’ll make sure to cover this later in the month.

Photos courtesy of: ROA, Dean Sunshine, Bewley Shaylor, FORM, Pixel Pancho, Luke Shirlaw, David Dare Parker, Alexis Diaz, Amok Island, 2501, Ever, Brendan Hutchens, Jean-Pierre Horre, HEAVY Projects, Ben Fulton-Gillon, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Jarrad Seng.


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Who is Creative Placemaking?

July 6th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
-1

Painted by Gaia in broad daylight in Baltimore’s arts district

Gaia would like to know, who is creative placemaking? Anyone? Anyone?

Photo by Gaia


Category: Photos | Tags:

PUBLIC – Art in the City – FORM – Western Australia

April 10th, 2014 | By | No Comments »

A little while ago I heard whispers of something big happening in Perth, Western Australia. I usually only cover Melbourne based art and events, but this is an exception and needs to be shared. I’m heading over to Perth tomorrow so I will be covering the remainder of the event for Vandalog.

PUBLIC started on the 5th of April and continues through to the 13th and will feature street art, projections and installations across the city. 45 amazing artists will paint over 30 giant murals and walls over the fortnight.

The line up is mind blowing and an Australian first, with names like 2501, Phlegm, Yandell Walton, Hayley Welsh, Jordan Seiler, Jerome Davenport, Amok Island, Ian Mutch, Casey Ayres, Chris Nixon, Darren Hutchens, Martin E Wills, Paul Deej, Daek William, Stormie Mills, Hurben, ROA, Ever, Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Peche, Natasha Muhl, Phibs, Beastman, Lucas Grogan, Andrew Frazer, Hyuro, Mekel, Mow Skwoz, Drew Straker, Jaz, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Maya Hayuk, Reko Rennie, Pixel Pancho, Jetsonorama, Gaia, Alexis Diaz, Nathan Beard, Remed, Vans the Omega, The Yok and Sheryo and more.

Here’s a couple of work in progress shots I stole from Sam Gorecki via Invurt. More here.

Pixel Pancho - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Pixel Pancho

Phlegm - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Phlegm

ROA - Photo by Sam Gorecki

ROA

Phibs - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Phibs

The Yok and Sheryo - Photo by Sam Gorecki

The Yok and Sheryo

Maya Hayuk - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Maya Hayuk

Lucas Grogan - Photo by Sam Gorecki

Lucas Grogan

More to come once I get to Perth.

Photos by Sam Gorecki


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Alleged slumlord Stanley Rochkind fights back against Wall Hunters

December 24th, 2013 | By | No Comments »
LNY install at 539 N. Longwood Street. Photo courtesy of Wall Hunters.

LNY install at 539 N. Longwood Street.

Earlier this year, a group of artists (led by Nether) working under the Wall Hunters banner teamed up Carol Ott of Baltimore Slumlord Watch for the Slumlord Project, an effort to draw attention to “dilapidated vacant houses” in Baltimore that the project organizers determined were owned by peopled they considered “negligent property owners.” One of those property owners, Stanley Rochkind, is now suing Ott through two of the shell companies through which Rochkind owns property. The lawsuits demand that Ott remove two murals from buildings that were painted by the Wall Hunters artists. The lawsuits are particularly ironic because Rochkind initially claimed not to own these buildings and the Wall Hunters artists painted these buildings specifically because Rochkind has not bothered to maintain them.

So… Rochkind is suing for “repairs,” on dilapidated buildings that he has not bothered to actually repair in any way and which, in an effort to discredit the Wall Hunters, he initially claimed not to own. Sounds like a stand-up guy.

Check out the full story over at Balitmore’s City Paper.

Photo courtesy of Wall Hunters


Category: Art News, Random | Tags: , , , ,

Best of Woodstock, as photographed by Jared Aufrichtig

September 26th, 2013 | By | 1 Comment »
DALeast

DALeast

A note from the editor: Today we have a guest post from Jared Aufrichtig, an artist who has been taking some really interesting photos of street art Woodstock, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. His book about South African youth culture launches this week at Kalashnikovv Gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa. I love Jared’s willingness to make these photographs his own, rather than just documenting the art straight-up. There’s a place for that traditional documentation, but these photos are great examples of how people can use the gifts that street artists give to the public and make their own art out of them. Jared’s photos here feature work by DALeast, Cern, Faith47, Gaia, Jace, Jaz, Know Hope, Louis Masai Michel, Freddy Sam, Paul Senyol, Mak1one, Pastel Heart, Jared Aufrichtig, Kasi, ?All and Makatron. – RJ Rushmore

These images were taken over the past 6 months while I got to know the Woodstock Community and explored the explosion of new work by local and international artists. During my many visits I was welcomed by the kind majority-Muslim community, they commissioned me to do work for them and I shared many fond experiences (except for when my original custom made RETNA Art iPhone grew legs while painting a mural). I was able to freely document their lives and unique area; I even shot portraits of a small child that ended up being used for a piece I had done by my friend from Durban Pastel.

Over the past few years the level of work and roster of international artist has risen dramatically. Woodstock will soon become Cape Towns ONLY area filled with creative public expression. I believe in and support the beautification of urban areas like this and others around the world.

Know Hope

Know Hope

Cern

Cern

Faith47

Faith47

Gaia

Gaia

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Nether on Wall Hunters’ “Slumlord Project”

September 6th, 2013 | By | 2 Comments »
Mata Ruda’s piece on Broadway

Mata Ruda’s piece on Broadway. Photo courtesy of Wall Hunters.

Editor’s note: I tried to write about this fascinating project that just finished up in Baltimore, but for some reason I was unable. So, instead, I asked Nether to write about the project for Vandalog. Nether was one of the co-organizers, so instead of my guesswork and thoughts based on a few articles I had read, now we have a first-hand account of one of the more daring street art projects in recent memory: Wall Hunters’ “Slumlord Project”. – RJ Rushmore

Wall Hunters‘ “Slumlord Project” was a project that installed 17 pieces on dilapidated vacant houses that are owned by people we consider to be negligent property owners. The project was a collaborative venture between the newly-minted street artists’ nonprofit, Wall Hunters, and Slumlord Watch, a local blog that documents the city’s shameful and shockingly large stock of uninhabitable vacant homes. QR codes and text descriptions were pasted alongside the art. A cell phone app scan of these instantly unveiled ownership information on the guilty landowner by linking to the Baltimore Slumlord Watch website. The artists’ ephemeral work and the community reaction to it was recorded for a documentary being produced by the project’s third partners, filmmakers Tarek Turkey and Julia Pitch. The project’s goal was to catalyze a larger conversation on Baltimore’s vacancy issue–a conversation that includes the normally muted voices of those who live in the targeted neighborhoods, as well as politicians and the developers whose phone calls get answered by city hall.

The idea for the project was born about a year ago. At that time I was putting up wheatpastes on dilapidated, vacant houses. As I was researching specific properties I was hitting, I regularly came across the Baltimore Slumlord Watch blog run by the housing activist Carol Ott. Slumlord Watch is basically Wiki-leaks for Baltimore’s underfunded housing authority. As blog posts make clear, many of the blighted houses are owned by entities with the means to fix their crumbling properties–slumlords who blithely ignore the cost of their neglect on city communities. Since much of my work uses images to deal with the vacancy problem and Carol was battling the same issue, we decided to meet and try to do something that joined street art with housing activism. I began driving her around while she catalogued vacants and researched ownership, and I wheatpasted.

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Wall\Therapy, the finished products

July 31st, 2013 | By | No Comments »
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Smith

This year’s Wall\Therapy festival is winding down in Rochester, NY, so let’s have a look at the finished work (although a few were already covered by Daniel’s posts). There are a few really killer pieces, including this piece by Ever that I haven’t seen professional photos of yet, and some legal work along abandoned train tracks which is really interesting, but I’m not sure about this spot that looks like a little hall-of-fame setup. Those are valuable to have, but I personally wouldn’t put one in a mural festival these days. Still, plenty of good work all around, and I love that there are way more old-school writers at Wall\Therapy than just about any other mural festival I’ve ever seen besides perhaps a Meeting of Styles event. Conor Harrington knocked it out of the park, and Jessie and Katey did a simple but really effective piece.

Conor Harrington

Conor Harrington

Wise2

Wise2

Jessie & Katie

Jessie & Katey

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