Laser 3.14 has a show in Newcastle, UK next month at Unit 44. A Decade of Aerosol Poetry, celebrating (of course) a decade of activity for Laser 3.14, opens September 29th and runs through November 1st.
My friends are Lebowski Publishers are hosting this event next week at Christie’s in Amsterdam. At the next auction at that Christie’s location, there are going to be a number of pieces for sale from old-school writers, which is how this party has come about. Nothing against old-school graffiti on canvas, but it’s not really my thing. What I’m more interested in with this party is the living painting collaboration between Shoe and Quik, plus whatever Laser 3.14 and WorldWarWon get up to in. WWW is a clever and new street artist in London, and Laser 3.14 does some great text-based street art/graffiti. Also, the first 50 people there will get a copy of a classic book: The Faith of Graffiti.
Well I’ve been back in London for about a week now, and I am beginning to understand why people think it’s so grey. When you live here, you get used to it, but wow I’ve only been away for a few months and already I think the constant greyness is annoying. Still, it’s good to be home. Here’s what the world has been up to while I’ve been watching it rain.
A group of artists protested the removal of Blu’s mural outside of MOCA this week by projecting images onto the buffed wall. Here’s a news story and a video.
Kyle Chayka went on a bit of a rant about Banksy’s possible Oscar nomination, but he makes some good points.
Also on the topic of Exit Through The Gift Shop, the NYTimes is reporting that a man who has come forward as an original editor of Mr. Brainwash’s film Life Remote Control wants some credit for making the film that eventually sort of morphed into Exit.
Carolina A. Miranda wrote the latest cover article for the magazine ARTnews about the future of street art and it moving away from figurative work. You can read the entire article online. On the one hand, a move away from pop-art and figurative art seems to be counter-productive to the “art for the people” ethos at the core of so much street art, but it’s also certainly easier to turn a pop-art image into a marketing campaign while an abstract painting may do a better job of brightening up a grey wall without the artist and the viewer immediately thinking of dollar signs. I think street artists will just have to be careful to not become so conceptual that the possibility for people to understand or appreciate the art on some level without an artist’s statement is lost.
A mural by Shepard Fairey was partially painted over in LA by some other artists/writers. No big deal right? Happens all the time, right? Wrong, apparently. The mural was painted over by another artist showing at a gallery nearby. According to JetSetGraffiti, the artist has since apologized and will be paying for Shepard to repair the wall with a new mural. Okay, so should that mural still be there untouched? Maybe. Sounds like the local neighborhood liked it. Can it suck when things get dissed or buffed or written over accidentally or whatever else? Yeah. Should the artist have to pay for damages? Hell no! That’s the sort of thing that happens when you get arrested by the police for graffiti or street art, not something that art lovers should impose upon each other. The mural didn’t last forever. That’s the nature of street art. It sucks sometimes and there are ways to deal with it, but don’t make the vandal pay for damages!
After procrastinating and procrastinating about writing this post, I missed Hanukkah and Eid, so I guess this is a gift guide for Christmas. Sorry for the delay.
Here are a few street art related products that have come out in the last year or so that I think are pretty cool. If you’re looking for a last-minute holiday gift for the street art obsessive in your life, hopefully this will help…
DB Burkeman’s book Stickers: Stuck Up Piece of Crap is one of the best art books I have ever read. I cannot recommend it highly enough if you have even a passing interest in stickers. If you buy one thing off this list, it should probably be this book. The photo at the top of this post is for the deluxe edition which comes with signed stickers, but that version doesn’t come cheap.
Now, the flip side of that anti-fashion comment, I want to remind everyone that Vandalog still has shirts available from Gaia, Troy Lovegates and Faro. These very limited edition shirts are $30 each and you can buy them online.
Martha Cooper’s latest book is Name Tagging, a book about the Hello My Name Is stickers and graffiti. Personally, I prefer Going Postal, her book about postal stickers, but Name Tagging is a good quick read too. It has brief interviews with Twist, Sure, Cost and others plus plenty of photos.
If you want a unique iPhone case, either Incase or Uncommon seem like good options. Incase has that Jose Parla iPhone case and Uncommon let’s you customize your own case with designs from a number of artists including David Ellis, Dennis McNett and MQ.
I’ve only just started to read Trespass, but I’ve heard from others that it is a great book.
Or, if you’re a street artist, you could go out on Christmas, brave the cold, and do some art. Give a gift to the rest of us. Not enough street art happens in the winter months.
There are a lot of art books in my house. From time to time, I like to spend an afternoon just flipping through book after book. But there is one that I keep returning to time and time again: Laser 3.14’s Are You Reading Me. It’s been sitting on my desk for the last few months. Okay, so part of the reason it’s been there is that I keep meaning to write about the book here, but it’s also because I can flip through a few pages of Are You Reading Me? whenever I am looking for inspiration.
Usually, I like to read art books from cover to cover in the order they were intended, but Laser 3.14’s work defies that sort of logic. It’s more fun to just flip to a random page and see what he has to say. Laser 3.14 is a master of re-using found text and coming up with quick little thoughts that stick with you. His are some of the most interesting tags to come across in the real world, and having so many of them all together book in a book is a treat.
One more interesting thing about the photos in Are You Reading Me? is that they aren’t all taken 30 seconds after Laser 3.14 has finished his piece. A number of the images are of pieces that have been half-buffed or tagged over or even turned upside down when a piece of wood is re-used on a new hoarding. Street art is an ephemeral medium, and even though Laser 3.14’s artwork probably should be seen right-side-up and untagged, the reality is that the work does get messed with, and that’s acknowledged perfected in this book.