Phillips de Pury NOW sale

On Tuesday night I went to the preview of Phillips de Pury’s latest auction, Now: Art of the 21st Century, which will occur on Saturday. Overall, I was impressed with what I saw, and it is a great example of how important it is to view work in person and not judge things by their jpegs. Unfortunately this is a website and I can’t fly all of Vandalog’s readers to London, so jpegs will have to do for this post. This auction is a really solid sale all around, but since this is a street art blog, I’m just going to focus on a few pieces today.

This series of prints from Barry McGee (lot 170) is probably my favorite piece in the auction from a street artist. They are APs from an edition of 25. The set of 10 includes screenprints, aquatints and etches. This series would be a perfect introduction to Barry McGee’s work, beacuse it is varied and includes many of his best known characters. The best part is that some of these actually look like originals. Unfortunately, they are estimated at £6000-8000, and after tacking on the auction house fees and all that, you might as well look for a deal on an original McGee cluster for a similar price.

McGee dePury

Judith Supine (lot 177) is one of the few street artists who has never really flooded the market with his work. While you can buy Faile originals on eBay these days, I was suprised to see an original by Supine at auction (though, this particular piece has actually floated around quite a bit). While the jpeg may not look all that impressive, this piece in person is really something else. All three of his pieces at FAME Festival sold quickly, and he hasn’t shown in London recently (and I don’t think he plans to), so if the right buyers spot this piece, I think it could go for more than the £3500-4500 estimate.


A Kaws companion (lot 178). This time the collaboration is with Yue Minjun. I’m not a huge Minjun fan, I go back and forth in my opinion of Kaws, and I rarely like toys, but I think I’m the minority on all three of those. Though after seeing it in person it isn’t my taste, it seems like another one of those pieces that could really catch the interest of a couple big collectors because both Kaws and Minjun are extremely important artists. The question is, does their collector base have enough overlap?


I’m guessing that with this piece (lot 176) Phillips was hoping to capitalize on Lister’s solo show at New Image Art (opened September 12). Unfortunately, most of what I’ve seen from that show (thanks Arrested Motion) was meh. This painting does look nice in person though.


All that I really know about Chris Johanson is that he is a Beautiful Loser and not a street artist. I love this painting (lot 172) though. Art that comments on the state of modern art either works or it absolutely does not. This one works (I think).


5 artists with skull logos

Street artists love skulls almost as much as Dick Cheney enjoys shooting people in the face (God, that’s a really dated pop culture reference, isn’t it). Here are five pieces by artists who use some form of a skull as their logo:

1. Kaws

Maybe an ad disruption would be a ‘better’ piece by Kaws, I love the way somebody spray painted around this sticker. Very few stickers get that much respect.

Photo by Jake Dobkin
Photo by Jake Dobkin

2. Cyclops

You can’t mention London street art or graffiti right now without a nod to Burning Candy, and Cyclop’s skulls are in many of their best collaborative pieces.

Photo by bixentro
Photo by bixentro

3. Booker

Booker/Reader/Readmorebooks/Boans… This writer gets up under too many names to keep track of, but one of his many trademarks are these skulls:

Photo by funkandjazz
Photo by funkandjazz

4. Katsu

No discussion of skulls on the street would be complete without Katsu.

Photo by dreamsjung
Photo by dreamsjung

5. Skullphone

Don’t really know what Skullphone is trying to say with this image, but he’s said it all over the world.

Photo by Laughing Squid
Photo by Laughing Squid

So that’s five street artists and graffiti writers who use skulls as logos. Now the reason I started thinking about this post. This is a new piece by Elbowtoe that I’m really liking:


Street art and advertising

There is often a very fine line between street art and public advertisements. They are both on the street, and often times they are both illegal. When that line gets very blurred though is when street artists start putting up advertisements as artwork or vice versa.

There are numerous examples of artists who put up wheatpastes or flyposted advertisements when they have a show about to open, but they also aren’t what I want to address today. I want to focus on a few more recent and blatant examples of street at as advertising and advertising as street art.

First, there is Kaws. He did some work for Kanye West’s new album, including this piece in Times Square:

Photo by JOE M500
Photo by JOE M500

For a guy who started as a graffiti writer and transitioned to a street artist who subverted (or at least changed) advertisements, he sure has come a long way. I’m not going to say it’s good or bad that Kaws is doing advertisements. I’d probably rather he didn’t, but I can’t blame him for wanting to make some money and get up in Times Square. People change, and I don’t think he’s shy about how he has changed. There isn’t a false front there. Kind of like Kanye himself.

Rappers don’t usually start out their careers by saying “I really want to rap and get a connection with fans and spread a message.” The stereotypical rapper justs comes right out and says “I wanna get really extremely rich.” By comparison, your average rock start has to worry about “selling out” and staying true to their originals and all that. Inside, that rock star is probably thinking “I really want to buy a mansion some day,” but they’d never be allowed to say that out loud.

Kaws doesn’t claim to be this anti advertising subversion king at all, so more power to him I guess.

And the important thing to keep in mind here is that Kanye’s record label paid for that ad. It’s not like that billboard is a wall which would have otherwise been taken and used by street artists or graffiti writers.

More after the jump… Continue reading “Street art and advertising”