Virtual Graffiti: #ViralVandals at MU artspace

June 12th, 2017 | By | No Comments »

At first, graffiti writers wrote on walls to get their names up. Then, they wrote on trains because those trains traveled all over the city, and got their names up all over. Soon, they started snapping photos and mailing those photos to friends in other cities, to get their names known there. That evolved into zines and books, and the culture (and certain names) spread even further. All the while, styles of writing evolved to fit those new communication tools. And then the internet came along. #ViralVandals, an exhibition open now at MU artspace in Eindhoven, considers how graffiti writers have responded to the internet, social media, VR, and other new technologies. It’s a familiar question for me, as it was also the inspiration for my book Viral Art.

MU #VIRALVANDALS from stichting MU on Vimeo.

It’s exciting for me to see curators Jasper van Es & Good Guy Boris thinking about some of the questions that I looked for Viral Art, and to see how they see the scene having evolved in the years since Viral Art was published. Plus, their focus is more on graffiti while mine was on street art. Which is all to say, I’ve been looking forward to seeing #ViralVandals since I first heard about the idea for it, almost a year ago.

That will finally be happening later this week, when I’ll be in Eindhoven at the invitation of MU artspace and EMOVES to participate in a panel about #ViralVandals with Good Guy Boris (The Grifters), Mathieu Tremblin, and Mick La Rock. I dunno how many Vandalog readers we have in the Netherlands, but I hope to see a few of you there.


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: , , ,

Supplemental materials from Nuart

November 24th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
Maismenos at Nuart

±maismenos± at Nuart

One of the great things about Nuart is the content that gets created around the festival. Participants in Nuart Plus conference write critical essays (something all too rare in the street art and graffiti worlds), the artists are interviewed for professionally-produced videos, and parts of Nuart Plus are posted on the web. It’s a bit late as these materials have now been online for a while, but I’d still like to share them.

Brooklyn Street Art‘s Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo have always been champions of the little guy, the artist getting up because they love it. In their Nuart essay, the duo reminds us not to get too caught up in celebrating the global abundance of street art festivals and mural programs, because such murals always come with strings attached, namely censorship and the risk that grassroots street art is silenced among the mega-murals.

I wrote a brief essay titled Art Ignites Change, which is our slogan/mission at the Mural Arts Program (I was attending Nuart as a representative of Mural Arts). In the essay, I try to take a new approach to looking at the perceived divide between muralism and street art. In contrast to Steven and Jaime, I tried to show how some legal murals can be even more powerful than street art when it comes to bringing about social change. As I say in the essay, I’ve never felt more like an agent for positive change than now that I am working for “The Man.”

In his essay, Peter Bengtsen writes about how unsanctioned street art can turn cities into sites for exploration, which is harder to do with mega-murals.

Juxtapoz editor-in-chief Evan Pricco’s essay is on some level the most honest of all. Evan declares that it’s inevitable that corporate interests would embrace street art, and suggests that maybe that’s not such a bad thing.

And there’s my favorite part of Nuart Plus: Fight Club, a no-holds-barred 2 on 2 debate on the local pub, surrounded half by Nuart fans and half by random patrons who are generally confused as to what all the fuss is about. This year, Evan Pricco and I teamed up against ±maismenos± and Mathieu Tremblin on the topic of illegal street art versus legal murals. It was a fun debate. Here’s what happened:

Nuart also conducted video interviews with a few of the artists.

I love the ±maismenos± interview in part because he echos my thoughts in Viral Art, that the internet is like a virtual street:

Mathieu Tremblin’s interview is interesting because I’ll watch anything where a street artist brings up Situationist philosophy, and because it shows a hint of the true final product of Temblin’s indoor installation at Nuart:

Similarly, Fra.Biancoshock’s interview includes video footage of a few of his Nuart street interventions that didn’t get much photographic coverage:

Photo by RJ Rushmore


Category: Festivals, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

The two sides of Nuart

October 9th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
Maismenos

Maismenos

This year was my third time visiting the Nuart Festival. I went first in 2009 as a tourist, returned in 2012 to participate in Nuart Plus (the conference portion of the festival) participant, and finally this year participated in and helped a bit to plan Nuart Plus. I have a lot of love for Nuart. For me, the three models of muralism festivals that I look to most often are Nuart, FAME and Living Walls. But, out of the three, Nuart has always confused me the most.

IMG_4353

John Fekner

FAME is (or was, since it’s no longer active) perhaps the only no-holds-barred street art festival. It can be difficult to tell what’s been painted legally and what’s been painted illegally, and festival organizer Angelo Milano doesn’t hide his face. In the small town of Grottaglie, Italy, it would be easy for anyone to track down Milano and confront him about painting on their home. Still, Milano never seemed to care. He just wanted to invite amazing artists to town to paint walls and maybe make a print or two at his studio. Grottaglie now has one of the finest collections of murals, graffiti and street art in the world.

Living Walls is one of the most professional DIY outfits I’ve ever encountered. They are the model of a well-run muralism conference with next to no budget, sometimes stumbling but always trying to do something great for Atlanta. Living Walls has the uncanny ability to launch or at least predict the impending launch of a muralist’s career. They produce some blockbuster murals, but usually not from the artists you would expect.

Martin Whatson at Stavanger's Scandic Hotel. His art also decorates the inside of the hotel.

Martin Whatson (with BON and Alex Face) at Stavanger’s Scandic Hotel. Whatson’s art also decorates the inside of the hotel.

Nuart is a brilliant schizophrenic beast, oscillating between Martyn Reed’s seemingly dueling interests of creating a spectacle of corporate art and disrupting The Spectacle. That was more true than ever this year, with an artist line up including Martin Whatson, SpY, Tilt, Fra.Biancoshock and others. What I mean is, there are artists who were invited to paint murals that function as billboards for print releases and decor for posh hotels, and artists who are invited to install “interventions” (Nuart’s euphemism for illegal street art). Even Nuart Plus was split (and this is an idea I agreed to when we were planning the conference so if this is a problem, I’m as much at fault as anyone) into one day about “activism” and one day about “muralism.”

Maismenos

Maismenos’ intervention for an existing public sculpture

Sometimes, this schizophrenia results in beautiful things that few other festivals would be able to facilitate. Maismenos‘ mural, indoor work and outdoor interventions this year are a great example. Reed isn’t afraid to let artists get political, with their topic of choice typically being oil, since Nuart takes place in the oil city of Stavanger, Norway. And maybe he’s only able to get away with that because he also brings in artists like Tilt and Etam Cru.

Read the rest of this article »


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Weekend link-o-rama

June 8th, 2013 | By | No Comments »
R.Satz in London

R.Satz in London

Sorry for all the downtime on Vandalog this week. I dunno what’s up with Vandalog’s web host. If you have suggestions of a good web host that I could move to (even though I just switched to Gandi), let me know. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading:

Photo by RJ Rushmore


Category: Art News, Books / Magazines, Events, Festivals, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Random, Videos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Dancing trash bag sculpture

March 28th, 2012 | By | No Comments »

Dancing Trash Bag is one of Mathieu Tremblin‘s latest pieces. If you like it, also be sure to check out Strictly Cone Dancing by Filthy Luker and David Ellis’ trash sculpture.

Via Rebel:Art


Category: Videos | Tags: , ,

Mathieu Tremblin’s “Graffiti Statue”

February 19th, 2012 | By | 2 Comments »

I am loving Mathieu Tremblin‘s latest work, Graffiti Statue. It was made for Art4Context’s 1+1=1 1+1=2 residency. The piece almost perfectly encapsulates the strategy of the stereotypical modern street artist: Only make art when you’re getting paid and make art that looks mildly rebellious but is actually socially acceptable and perfectly legal. Here’s a video documenting Graffiti Statue:

GRAFFITI STATUE Mathieu Tremblin (2012) from Mute Mutiny on Vimeo.


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Weekend link-o-rama

June 24th, 2011 | By | No Comments »

Peter Fuss

This week the link-o-rama is coming from Steph’s room, where I’ve been staying. After all, got that beautiful baby boy to take care of… Here’s what’s been going on elsewhere in street art this week:

Photo by Peter Fuss


Category: Books / Magazines, Gallery/Museum Shows, Photos, Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Those aren’t tags, it’s a tag cloud

September 11th, 2010 | By | No Comments »

Before

Here’s something from Mathieu Tremblin. It’s sort of similar to that famous Wild Style piece or that guy who painted the flickr logo on walls (sorry I can’t find a link), but I like this nonetheless. It’s called Tag Cloud, as in an online tag cloud of tags. As a computer geek, I can’t help but laugh.

After

Photos by Mathieu Tremblin


Category: Photos | Tags: