Photo by Gaia
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.
More to come once I get to Perth.
Photos by Sam Gorecki
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.
Photo courtesy of Wall Hunters
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.
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.
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.
With just a few days in town left, I decided to make my Thursday a whirlwind tour through Rochester, and now that I am sitting here thinking about it, I have a feeling that Friday will be much of the same.
I started off my day almost exactly like I did on Wednesday, by checking out the progress on the Daleast mural. I was impressed by the progress that I saw but Dal still had a big section of the wall that he needed to bang out. I was told Thursday evening that the wall is complete and that I had to go see the mural in the morning.
My travels then brought me all around town, specifically the South Wedge section of Rochester. The South Wedge is where cashril plus, Gaia, Conor Harrington, Freddy Sam, Thievin’ Stephen, Cern, Mike Ming, and Adam Francy all have murals. It was really cool to see cashril plus’ mural being that the dude is still in his mid teens! Look out for this guy as he progresses though life. He has the right genes being that he is Faith47’s son.
After a quick lunch it was back into the abandoned subway tunnel to try to catch Roa finishing his North American Skunk. While I was unsuccessful in this venture, I was able to catch some graffiti legends rocking a sick piece. Daze, Binho, and Pose2 rocked a sick wall towards of the end of the natural light in the tunnel; the burner, if you will, is a sick blend of old school letters and characters, my favorite!
Wise2 from Kenya then came down and rocked a throwie as I called it. His combination of stencils and freehand spray painting brought his African mask to life in under an hour!
Another highlight was getting to see local FUA Krew member Cruk rock a sick burner. I am much better versed in the “Street Art” game so whenever I can get a writer to teach me more about graffiti and train painting culture I am always excited. Cruk spent about a day on his burner, which includes found object that are sprayed and then used as part of the installation. While he may not be an official part of the Wall\Therapy team it is easy to see that the locals are pretty down with the cause.
After a quick run to check out the finished Freddy Sam mural, it was off the see LNY as he continued on his wall. Lunar New Year was in the zone when I showed up and I didn’t want to distract the man.
Martha Cooper then me if I’d been to Ever’s wall, and it was at this point which I realized that I had not seen it yet! My timing could not have been better. He had about 30 minutes of work left and I was able to spend that time on the lift with him as he finished a few details on the wall.
The mural is beautiful and kind of trippy, and if you know anything about me you would know that I dig on that combination. The wall itself is very wide and for someone with only an iPhone and an almost nice camera it was fairly difficult to shoot. Hope you like my picstitch!
After visiting Ever’s wall it was off for another night of dinner, drinking, and dancing. This time it included a late night bonfire with local artists, score!
Photos by Daniel “Halopigg” Weintraub
In her ongoing effort, since 2007, to revitalize the suburb of North Braddock, Pennsylvania, Swoon has recently launched a print shop Braddock Tiles. Through creating and selling prints of images donated by 50 artists, Swoon is trying to raise funds for the construction of a new roof for the town’s community center made of 20,000 handmade, honeycomb-shaped, ceramic tiles. The prints are priced at a reasonable $45 and each at an edition size of 250. Definitely worth the purchase, in my opinion. You can have a look at the collection of prints here.
Photos courtesy of Braddock Tiles
Montreal really matured during the MURAL Festival. The high level of quality of all the murals gives an idea of what this city is able to offer to the artists: An incredible visibility and an enthusiastic audience. It’s a gift for all the urban artists that love to share their art in a public space. Here are the completed murals of Labrona, Gaia, Lny, Jason Botkin, FinDac & Angelina Christina, EnMasse, Chris Dyer, Paria Crew, and Wzrds gng.
One of the most pivotal aspects of street art is the democratization of public space. Whether people choose to engage or not, graffiti and street art are a way of reminding the everyday pedestrian that they have the power to manipulate their environment (sometimes at a price). Many residents of Balitmore have had to accept dilapidated neighborhoods as their everyday quality of life. The structures around them are literally falling apart due to neglect from city government property owners and has resulted in a massive property-vacancy problem. If Broken Window Theory has anything to do with it, that “If the city doesn’t care, why should I?” mentality has fostered one of the highest crime rates for any city in the country.
What does street art have to do with Baltimore’s structural issues and decline in living standards? Over a dozen street artists have taken on the task of bringing attention to these issues in a grassroots effort, through installing large pieces on some of the city’s dilapidated, vacant houses. Nether, Gaia, LNY, Noh J Coely, Mata Ruda, Nanook, Harlequinade and others have joined their forces as a non-profit organization called Wall Hunters have teamed up with Baltimore Slumlord Watch to put up large-scale murals on these eye-sore structures with QR codes alongside which informs viewers of who owns the vacant property. Simultaneously, they are creating a documentary with Nether and Carol Ott at the forefront, showing this massive issue corroding Baltimore and their relatively small effort to combat it. They’ve received a bit of funding to make their project possible but not enough, so they’ve created this Indiegogo campaign to bring it to fruition.