Happy almost Halloween. It’s been a week of wasted energy, or so it seems. A potential legal wall that I was organizing has fallen through for the time being, but hopefully things are just delayed rather than cancelled. Here’s some of what I should have posted about this week:
Reported, this sculpture at Occupy London was made and left there by Banksy, but that claim is unconfirmed by Banksy so far. Nonetheless, Zeus added this modification to the piece. And Above has also made some work in solidarity with the Occupy movement. Similarly to K-Guy’s work at Occupy London, I’m conflicted here. On the one hand, it’s great when artists who know how to get headlines do so in solidarity with a political movement of sorts, but on the other hand these artists are of course latching on to the movement and associating themselves with it in a way that they know will get headlines and potentially help them sell some paintings. Of course the same could be said of many of the celebrity speakers who have been generally well-received at Occupy events. So there’s that dilemma to think about.
Last time I was in NYC, I saw this billboard for Hennessy cognac with designs by Kaws. Just interesting to see the flip from a decade ago when Kaws would have modified that billboard illegal to insert his work onto it in an effort to associate with the Hennessy brand, and now Hennessy pays Kaws to associate with their brand. Also, this new Kaws/Snoopy toy goes on sale today on Kaws’ website. Okay, one last bit of Kaws news: I love this new painting by him.
K-Guy put out the above “carpet bomb” last week at Occupy London, which is taking near the London Stock Exchange. While Nolionsinengland has some nice things to say about K-Guy and the piece over on Graffoto, I’ve got a major problem with it. Is the “carpet bombing” idea a bit funny upon first hearing it? Yeah, I guess. Is K-Guy’s pun worthy of being on a protest sign? Sure. I like it. But there’s a funny story about how I hear about this piece… The above image was emailed to me by the woman doing PR for K-Guy’s upcoming solo show at London West Bank Gallery in the hopes that I would post about this piece and, in the process, also mention that K-Guy just happens to have a show coming up next month where he will be trying to sell a lot of artwork in a short amount of time.
In the past, I’ve defended the practice of street artists getting up in order to build hype for a show, so long as the work isn’t overtly advertising a show (such as putting the gallery name and date of the opening on a poster). Particularly when an artist isn’t from the city where the show is being held, it’s a way to get their artwork out on the street when it otherwise wouldn’t be there, regardless of any advertising angle. That’s not what happened here.
It seems like K-Guy has gone too far here. He has made what is (likely) a very temporary piece, put it right next to a legitimate protest about putting people over profits, and then used photographs of the protest and his artwork in order to immediately turn around and try to sell something. He is blatantly trying to make a buck off of these protestors, which seems to me to be quite disrespectful the Occupy movement, even if the spread of K-Guy’s image may potentially raise some awareness for Occupy London. For me, his PR campaign delegitimizes this piece by K-Guy, and it will likely make me think twice about any of his politically-charged work in the future. The whole incident reminds me a bit of this Levi’s ad.
Oh crud, I guess the PR machine worked anyway. Didn’t Warhol say something about not reading your press, but weighing it?
This past weekend, the UK played host to two big street art and graffiti festivals. I’ll do a post on each. First, Bristol’s Upfest. This event is more street art focused. Probably the biggest named involved was Hush. Here are a few of the highlights…
Street art is a chance for the average Joe to voice their opinions and concerns and to connect with the rest of the public. Often, that means artists put out work that is subversive or anti-corporate. For these reasons, it is only natural that the recession makes it way into street art. So here’s some of the best recession-themed street art I’ve found. Add your favorites in the comment section.
Everybody’s been talking about how the recession is going to destroy every part of our economy, and yeah, it probably will, but it’s not all bad new… street art might actually get a boost in the long run thanks to this economic downturn.
Here are three possible advantages for street art in this recession:
1. The not very talented artists who have found their way into galleries are going to be put in their place.
So many people have been buying street art either for the name of the artist, or just because it is street art. This year, some collectors are concerned that even great artists won’t sell much work. People have stopped buying for name or genre recognition. Collectors are buying those “special pieces” that they feel are particularly great. At the end of this recession, there are going to be a lot fewer crap street artists because their work is going to stop selling. Nobody wants to buy a piece any more just because the Sotheby’s catalog describes it as “stencil and spray paint on found wood.” Continue reading “3 Reasons A Recession Is Good For Street Art”
As part of Vandalog’s “Great in ’08” series, which will be running every day for the rest of the month. Check out previous posts here. Street artists from across the world have been given one post to give away to one artist who they feel has been doing great work recently. Today Zeus and K-Guy have both picked the same artist.
Who is one artist doing really great work right now?
This is part of Vandalog’s “Great in ’08” series, which will be running every day for the rest of the month. Check out previous posts here. Street artists from across the world have been offered one post to “gift” to one artist that they feel has been doing great work recently. Today it’s Grafter‘s turn (on a completely unrelated note, I hope to see some of you at the opening of Urban Angel‘s Art Lounge tonight, where Grafter will have some work for sale).
Who is one artist doing really great work right now?
There is a lot of great work going on at the moment and some fantastic shows being produced on a regular basis. The recent Eelus show at Electric Sheep was outstanding and some of the work displayed showed, I felt, a real change in direction for a well established artist who could easily have stayed within the comfort zone of his previous work but was brave and confident enough to explore new avenues within his work and show us all a much darker approach to his art.
An artist I have kept a close eye on and have been impressed by his recent efforts is K-Guy. The “Love Hate” print was of outstanding quality and showed a massive step up from “Lislam” which I felt was rather weak. The installations he left around the City of London after that were very nearly a stroke of genius.
The artist I feel that is busting everyone out of sight at the moment though has got to be Vhils. The piece he did at the 1st Cans festival, where he chiseled the image out of the brickwork of the wall, was innovative, fresh and helped to breathe new life into the portrait genre. In amongst the real big hitters of the scene he managed to completely steal the show and I couldn’t wait to see how these works would translate to paper/canvas. The 2 paper releases he issued through POW were simply stunning and the technique of forcing bleach through the screen to the image was again an innovation that helped to make it a whole lot more than just a simple screen print.
The 2nd time at Cans he showed us another new technique were he peeled layers of posters off of a billboard to reveal the layer underneath and produce an image from the different colors of the revealed posters. A truly innovative and creative artist who obviously enjoys exploring various mediums and techniques in order to produce class imagery.