NYC is having a good couple of weeks for magazine launch parties. Today was the Very Nearly Almost issue with Faile on the cover, and August 10th is the launch of King Brownissue 9. This issue comes in a bag with designs by Unga of Broken Fingaz and Ed Templeton and the magazine includes features on Ed Templeton, Unga, Nychos, Huskmitnavn, Dabs Myla, Ghostpatrol and others. Issue 9 will be launched at Schoolhouse Gallery (330 Ellery St Brooklyn – Flushing Ave stop off the JMZ) on August 10th from 6-10pm. The launch party will include music by Fake Hooker and live painting by The Yok, Sheryo and Nychos. All good things. Except that I won’t be there, so please have fun for me.
Longtime readers will know that I am a big fan of Very Nearly Almost, a British art magazine for street art, graffiti, illustration and the like. Their latest issue has been a very welcome reprieve for me as I’ve turned to it in between writing essays upon essays for my final exams. Issue 22 features interviews with Vhils, Vexta, Cranio, Moneyless, Husk Mit Navn and more.
The Vhils and Husk Mit Navn interviews in particular make this issue worth seeking out. Vhils talks about his early career as a graffiti writer and suggests that he’s still active today, although the work isn’t traceable back to his career as a fine artist or muralist. This certainly isn’t unheard of for street artists who have “gone legit,” but it’s still a bit surprising to hear him talk about it, and about how graffiti still informs his work today. And Husk Mit Navn is an absolutely fantastic and underrated artist (check out some of his work here) who also has a lot to say about how his work is perceived in galleries, on the street, and online. Good stuff.
Although he is interviewed, the one thing this issue doesn’t answer for me is what people see in Cranio’s work. Seems to me like Nunca + Os Gêmeos – awesomeness/originality = Cranio, but people seem to go nuts over it. Is he a really nice guy? Is it just that people are so in love with what Os Gêmeos and Nunca are doing that they’ll accept a substitute when the masters aren’t available? This isn’t one of those times where I’m gonna say a grey wall would be better than Cranio’s work. There’s plenty of street art in the world that’s better than a grey wall but still doesn’t need to be celebrated like it’s the next big thing, and Cranio seems to me to fall into that category. If you have an answer or an opinion, I’d love to read it in the comments. Anyway…
HuskMitNavn has a show, One of These Days, open now through February 16th at Copenhagen’s V1 Gallery. HuskMitNavn is one of those rare and talented painters and drawers who seems to transition effortlessly between indoors and outdoors while producing both quality and quantity wherever he is working. This show seems to be no exception. The work is serious mixed with just the right amount of cookiness in the the content. Thankfully, Henrik Haven was there to capture photos of the show.
Note from RJ: We at Vandalog are excited to publish Tristan Manco‘s first post on the site, hopefully the first of many. Tristan is one of contemporary street art’s greatest champions and most-distinguished writers. Tristan curated by iterations of Cans Festival, worked at Pictures on Walls for half a decade, has written or in some way contributed to 8 art books since 2002 as well as numerous magazine articles in publications such as Juxtapoz. I’ve known Tristan for a couple of years, and he is one of the people whom I really trust when it comes to art.
Taking place in the 24-hour daylight of a Northern Norway summer on a small island town called Vardø north of the Arctic Circle – Komafest was always going to be a unique event…
Vardø is the oldest settlement in Northern Norway and in recent years has become depopulated with many buildings left empty, partly as a result of the collapsing fishing industry. The curator and organizer of the festival, the Norwegian artist Pøbel saw the potential of a street art festival to make a visual transformation of the town and to show the local people it was possible to make changes. While developing the idea Pøbel spent time getting to know the locals and with his unassuming nature and enthusiasm he began to gain their trust. Soon the public began to get behind the idea and offer up buildings for artists to paint on and volunteering to help in the organization. It became a truly grassroots movement rather than something imposed on the community.
The island, shaped like a butterfly, has an otherworldly atmosphere and is only accessible overland by a winding 3km undersea tunnel, which appears out of the ground like something out of a science fiction movie, but the real stars of the show are its traditional wooden buildings. Many of the wooden jetties, warehouses and buildings are abandoned, weather-beaten and in a state of beautiful decay. Although standing empty these heritage buildings all have owners who are often unable to afford their proper restoration. The idea of project is that the art that is created on them can awaken these buildings out from a coma, giving the festival it’s name – Komafest.
What I found inspiring about this project was the way the invited artists responded to the place. Each artist had some idea of what they might experience but in most cases their preconceptions soon changed once they began to speak to the locals and learn more about their environment. According to local fisherman Aksel Robertsen, Philadelphian artist Steve Powers had many ideas planned but scrapped them as soon as he began to meet the people and experienced the place for himself – all those encounters shaped his final murals; such as “Cod is Great” and “Eternal Light – Eternal Night”. The French artist Remed painted a mural on an old seafront warehouse, which took some of its imagery from the seascape but included the text Hellige Heks Fortuna, (Hellige Heks means Holy Witch in Norwegian). This references to witches dates back to the Vardø witch trials that were held there in 17th century resulting in many of the accused being burned alive at the stake.
So I’ve been working a lot lately on Re:Humanities, a symposium of undergraduate work in the digital humanities. It’s taking place next week at Swarthmore College, just outside of Philadelphia. I hope you’ll come check it out if you’re nearby. I’ll be speaking about how the internet has changed street art, and there are a bunch of other great topics up for discussion for anyone interested in the digital humanities. Okay, that’s my personal announcement for the week, now onto the news:
Okay so this video of a piece by Verbo isn’t the best quality, but the piece is pretty awesome and very different from a lot of what is out there. I wish I could have seen the animation in the flesh and I hope he continues to work with this combination of mural and digital projection.
2 Many Printers is a cool little clothing brand with t-shirts by Husk Mit Navn, Ian Stevenson and others.
This mural is probably my absolute favorite piece of public art that I’ve seen related to the Egyptian Revolution.
Lydia Fong, aka Barry McGee, and HuskMitNavn have a two-man show opening on March 25th at the ALICE Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels called The Last Night. Should be awesome. I think that’s about all I need to say. Hopefully I’ll take a train over for the opening and take lots of photos.