How and Nosm’s visit to Palestine


Today we have a guest post from William Parry about How&Nosm’s recent trip to Palestine to work with the charity Medical Aid for Palestinians. Parry is the communications officer at Medical Aid for Palestinians and it’s certainly a bit atypical for a communications officer to write a guest post for Vandalog about a project they are in charge of, but Parry is also the author of Against the Wall: the art of resistance in Palestine (2010), which was reviewed on Vandalog a while back, so he’s also uniquely qualified to write about graffiti writers and street artists working with Palestinians and painting on or near the separation wall. I also had to privilege of seeing Parry speak at Haverford College last year, and it’s clear that improving the lives of Palestinians is his passion as well as his job. Also, if you want to read more about How&Nosm’s time in Palestine, Brooklyn Street Art also have a great post about the experience. – RJ

Sometimes you take a chance and it pays sweetly. Bringing How&Nosm to Palestine over the past two weeks was one of them, and I believe they feel the same, as they also didn’t know exactly what they were setting themselves up for.

Almost a year ago, I first met the Perré twins, Raoul and Davide, while doing an article about Prague’s ‘Stuck on the City’ street art exhibition. We got talking about politics and the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and I eventually asked whether they would ever consider collaborating with the UK-based charity I had just begun working for, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), doing art workshops with MAP’s local partners in Palestine. “Sure,” they said. It would give them a chance to also do their own artwork on walls around Palestine.

A year on and countless emails later, I was anxiously waiting for them at the airport in Tel Aviv, wondering if the Immigration officials had caught wind of the project and would send them back to NYC. The heavily tattooed, stencil-and-cap-carrying twins said they were here for a 10-day organized tour. Nosm appeared after some time and said his brother had got stopped. “They didn’t believe we were here for the tour and asked us who else was on it,” he said. “How should I know, I told them, maybe just us for all I know! What could he do?” Another 10 minutes went by before How walked through the sliding doors, straight-faced, then he cracked a smile. “They went through my photos on my camera, asked why I was here of all places. I said: ‘I’ve been to 60 countries but not here yet. I want to tick Israel off the list.’”

Within minutes we were in the car for central Tel Aviv to get them a pre-order of cans in their signature colours. Three young guys running the shop were clearly honoured to have How&Nosm on their turf and volunteered to guide them to the best places to bomb. “What have you got planned?” one asked. “We’re here for some work,” said Nosm, keeping schtum. They clearly wanted to paint with them but Nosm took their numbers and said they’d be in touch. We filled the trunk with boxes of spray cans and headed for occupied Palestine.

Split Identities

Their natural environment is the street so I shouldn’t have been surprised that How&Nosm were keen to check into their East Jerusalem hotel, grab a quick shower and then head immediately to Bethlehem to sort out more paint, rollers, ladders and walls to paint – despite having travelled for about 20 hours by this time. We met a Palestinian street artist who goes by the name ‘Trash’ – he worked with Banksy to sort out his 2007 Santa’s Ghetto project in Bethlehem, and has also helped JR with several local projects. As dusk fell, Trash gave them a quick tour of ideal spots to do murals and arranged to meet the twins the following morning.

While Drinking Tea
While Drinking Tea

Over the next two days they produced three murals around Bethlehem – the largest ‘Lost Conversation’, as well as ‘In Mother’s Hands’ and ‘While Drinking Tea’ – and one in East Jerusalem, ‘Split Identities’. Locals would stop and talk to them, as usual, asking where they’re from, why they’re here, what the intricate images mean. But with four murals done, it was down to other serious business.

More is Not Enough. Click to view large.
More is Not Enough. Click to view large.

What How&Nosm witnessed for themselves as we drove through the occupied West Bank – scores of illegal Israeli outposts and settlements built on Palestinian land, the scandalous route of Israel’s illegal separation wall, seeing the freedoms that Israelis enjoy at the expense of Palestinians’ human rights, and hearing of Palestinian homes being demolished or taken over by Israeli settlers, shocked them deeply. They spent one day with a former Israeli military commander, Yehuda Shaul, who co-founded an Israeli human rights organization called ‘Breaking the Silence’. He drove them to the southern point of the West Bank and, throughout the journey, gave them a clear understanding of the layers of Israeli occupation and their intended impact on Palestinian communities – ethnic cleansing. I spent many days in the car with How&Nosm, talking about the situation among other things, and you could see their frustration and outrage growing with every mile covered as the occupation unfolded before their eyes.

In Mother’s Hands

Continue reading “How and Nosm’s visit to Palestine”

Weekend link-o-rama

Buff Monster and Hoacs
Buff Monster and Hoacs

Enjoy the weekend:

Photo by Lois Stavsky

Web hosting craziness link-o-rama

Photo by Luna Park

For the last week or so until today, we’ve been in the process changing Vandalog’s web hosts. No need to get into the technical details, but now the site should run more smoothly and with less downtime. Unfortunately it means that we haven’t been able to write anything new on the site since that process began (everything that’s gone online was pre-scheduled). So this is a mega-link-o-rama combining the usual weekend link-o-rama content with stuff that I could have written about last week even if I’d had the time.

Photo by Luna Park

Weekend link-o-rama


As I tweeted the other day, my mind is kinda stuck on how much I wish the Parra show at Jonathan Levine Gallery opened today and not on Saturday so that I could go see it. So while I’ve been distracted by that point, here’s some of what I almost missed this week:

  • KATSU’s April Fools prank is a bit early, but still pretty funny.
  • The Outsiders / Lazarides has some really nice prints by Ron English. They are variations on his Figment image, aka Andy Warhol wig and a skull.
  • Barry McGee, Chris Johanson and Laurie Reid are showing together at City College and SF starting today.
  • Here’s a new piece from the always-interesting 0331c, but if you don’t know 0331c’s work, here’s an introduction.
  • Nice video of Eine updating one of his walls in London from saying PRO PRO PRO to PROTAGONIST. Interesting comment about street art being a thing that “looked like it would offer what graffiti promised but didn’t deliver.”
  • Nychos x Jeff Soto = Yes!
  • New work from Isaac Cordal.
  • Woah. Nice work from How and Nosm in San Fransisco.
  • Jonathan Jones is up to his old tricks of dissing Banksy to get more hits for his column, and I’m biting. He writes, “Banksy, as an artist, stops existing when there is no news about him.” Even if that is the case, is that the end of the world? Does that relegate Banksy to “art-lite”? No. Banksy is one of the most talked-about artists in the world. I would bet that the same criticism was leveled against Warhol, who I believe Jones likes. Banksy’s manipulation of the media, playing it like a damn violin sometimes, is some of his greatest artwork of all. He manipulates the media to spread a message. The best example of this was probably him going to Bethlehem to paint on the separation wall because he knew that the media would cover it. He was able to play the media to draw attention to an issue that he felt strongly about. Banksy’s paintings are sometimes great and sometimes not. But his ability to make people fascinated with him and his paintings is just as much of an art, and that shouldn’t discredit him.

Photo by Luna Park

How and Nosm’s upcoming pop-up show in NYC


How and Nosm have a show opening this week with Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC, but not at the gallery’s usual location. The duo’s Late Confessions show opens this Friday evening (7-9pm) at 557 W 23rd Street in Chelsea. Caroline and I stopped by the show over the weekend for a preview and were both very impressed. I’ll have to go back at some point to look at everything properly, but it seems to be some of the best work I’ve seen from How and Nosm to date.

Sometimes the extreme detail and intricate layering of complex visuals in How and Nosm’s artwork is a bit too much for me. I just can’t follow everything. In those cases, I feel like I’m seeing too much at once, and my brain just shuts down to the point where I see and understand nothing rather than at least part of the whole. I know that many people get a very different experience, and the qualities that I’m describing are exactly why they love How and Nosm’s work so much. Those fans need not worry. There’s plenty for them at Late Confessions. But for people like me who can reach a point of sensory overload with the complex pieces and long for something easier to follow, How and Nosm also have a good number of simpler-to-read works in the show. The artists took a risk with that decision. The simple works could have fallen flat and exposed a hollowness masked by the more complex works, but instead, I think the simpler works are some of the best paintings at Late Confessions. They are visually engaging on their own, and in a wider context, they helped me to better-understand the worlds that How and Nosm develop in their more chaotic paintings.

Late Confessions opens on February 1st from 7-9pm and runs through February 23rd at 557 W 23rd Street, New York City.

Photo courtesy of Jonathan Levine Gallery

Re+Public’s augmented reality app at Wynwood Walls and Bowery and Houston

From the great minds of The Heavy Projects and Public Ad Campaign, Re+Public has emerged as the collaborative effort to revision and “democratize” public space through the use of their Augmented Reality app. Two new videos have recently been released which show this technology in full effect: (above) the app reacts to preexisting murals by How & Nosm, AikoRetna, and Ryan McGinness at Miami’s Wynwood Walls by turning the murals into giant 3D animations, and (below) the app unveils the timeline of New York City’s Bowery and Houston wall, including the work of Keith Haring, Faile, Barry McGee, Aiko and others who have historically left their mark on the wall.

You can sign up to download the beta version of Re+Public’s Augmented Reality app on their website. Follow them on Facebook for updates.

Keith Haring’s wall depicted in place of How and Nosm’s wall at Houston and Bowery
How and Nosm

Photos courtesy of Public Ad Campaign

Weekend link-o-rama


It’s the weekend…

Photo by Jade

Weekend link-o-rama

Had a fantastic time in New York last weekend finishing up The Art of Comedy, but that meant missing out on a lot of news, so some of this week’s link-o-rama is a bit more dated than usual:

Photo by Luna Park

Weekend link-o-rama


A very late link-o-rama, but hey, Sunday is still the weekend.

Photo by Nychos

Nuart part 4: More outdoor work

Niels “Shoe” Meulman paints a mural within sight of a former bank. Photo by Ian Cox.

In part 4 of my series of posts about this year’s Nuart Festival (here are parts one, two, and three), I’ve finally gotten to the murals and more traditional street work of this year’s festival. This year, Nuart is responsible for new murals in Stavanger by Niels “Shoe” Meulman, Ron English, Dolk, How&Nosm, Mobstr and Eine.

Ron English. Photo by Ian Cox.
Mobstr. Photo by Ian Cox.

More after the jump… Continue reading “Nuart part 4: More outdoor work”