Link-o-rama

August 31st, 2014 | By | No Comments »
art_museum

Unknown artist in Philadelphia

Loving my time so far at the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, but it’s definitely more than a 9-5, so it’s time for me to play catch up yet again…

  • Speaking of the Mural Arts Program, I am really pleased to say that we now have a major Shepard Fairey mural in Philadelphia. Find me some day and ask me the whole story of this mural, but let’s just say it’s complicated and thank goodness for Roland at Domani Developers for getting us a wall at the last minute.
  • We also have a new much more politically-charged mural from Shepard Fairey through The L.I.S.A. Project NYC, and while I’m sure the process for that was also quite complicated, my friend Wayne took care of that and all I had to do was pitch Shepard on the idea of a big wall in NYC and the property owner on the idea of a Shepard Fairey mural on his building (neither of which were too difficult). I’m absolutely honored to have played even my small role in each of these murals. It was my first time working with Shepard, and it was a pleasure.
  • Two real kings of NYC graffiti, Blade and Freedom, have shows open now at the Seventh Letter flagship store in LA. Blade is an undisputed subway king who also pushed graffiti forward as an art-form, a rare combination. Freedom is a personal favorite of mine (his piece in my black book is a real prized possession) for combining pop art, an ability to paint very well, comics, and graffiti in an intelligent way without too much of an ego. I’m sad to be missing both of these shows, but I hope LA will give them the love they deserve.
  • Hi-Fructose posted some interesting GIFs by Zolloc, but the best part of the post is the first sentence: “While GIFs have yet to find an established place in the art world, they’re fascinating because they have the potential to go beyond the frozen image in two dimensions.” Of course, Hi-Fructose is part of the art world, so just having them post Zolloc’s GIFs counts for something. Hi-Fructose seems to be saying (albeit hesitantly) that GIFs being in their corner of the art world, which is great. That’s not a bad corner to be in, and it’s a hell of a lot better than nowhere. So, why be hesitant? If the work is fascinating, embrace it.
  • Oh Olek, always the best of intentions, but the results are not so great…
  • Some absolutely great ad takeovers.
  • These projections from Hygienic Dress League are a bit different. Very cool though. Anyone know of other artists who are projecting onto steam?
  • Smart Crew have teamed up with Beriah Wall on a series of cool collaborations. Does anyone else see this as further evidence of Smart Crew growing up, aka transitioning from a crew producing illegal graffiti into a brand or collective that does legal (and sometimes commercial) work referencing illegal graffiti? Nothing wrong with that. I’m just noting the transition.
  • Even when recycling old work, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh is always poignant and powerful. She’s also created a new poster of Michael Brown that you can download on her website.
  • I’ve been saying for a while that there’s great similarity between GIFs and street art, so I’m a big fan of this series of installations organized by Guus ter Beek and Tayfun Sarier.
  • Hyperallergic has been covering artist reactions to the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson. Public performances in Philadelphia (by Keith Wallace) and New York City (by Whitney V. Hunter) exemplify to the unsurprising obliviousness to the situation or at least lack of caring that so many people openly display (for more, see Kara Walker at Domino). It’s amazing to see these two striking performances go widely ignored while it’s mostly pretty but empty murals that go viral. Is that the state of street art and muralism today? I hope not. And of course, maybe what makes those performances so jarring online is that they were ignored on the street.
  • I have tried to resit the allure of Pejac’s work for a while, but no more. Yes, some of the jokes are cheap and feel twice-told, exactly the sort of easy made-to-go-viral work that I am complaining about in the previous paragraph, but Pejac is painting them really well, and they consistently catch my attention. As much as I would like to write him off as a Banksy-ripoff who even came to that idea a few years too late, I can’t do so any longer. The work is actually quite good. Have a look for yourself.
  • Last week I was in Atlanta for the Living Walls Conference. A great time was had by all. I was there to speak with Living Walls co-founder Monica Campana and Juxtapoz editor Austin McManus about the evolution of street art and graffiti over the past five or so year, and Vandalog contributing writer Caroline Caldwell was there to paint a mural. Atlanta got some real gems this year, including new work by Moneyless, Troy Lovegates and Xuan Alyfe in collaboration with Trek Matthews. Juxtapoz has extensive coverage. Congratulations to Living Walls on a truly impressive 5th anniversary event.
  • This coming week I’ll be in Norway for Nuart and Nuart Plus. The artist lineup features some of my personal favorites, including John Fekner, SpY and Fra.Biancoshock. I love Nuart because it’s a festival that always strikes a balance between the best of the best artists painting epic murals on the “street art festival circuit,” and the oft-under-publicized but highly-political activist artists intervening in public space. Putting these artists in the same festival strengthens the work of everyone there, and reminds us that murals can serve many different purposes. I’ll be speaking at Nuart Plus on behalf of the Mural Arts Program in a few capacities. I’ll be moderating a panel about activism in art, presenting couple of short films during Brooklyn Street Art’s film night, sitting on a panel about contemporary muralism and giving a talk about how government-sanctioned art and muralism can be used to promote positive social change. There will be a lot of great speakers at Nuart Plus this year though. Brooklyn Street Art has the whole line up for the festival and the conference.

Photo by RJ Rushmore


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See you at Living Walls 2014

August 11th, 2014 | By | No Comments »
Troy Lovegates at work in Atlanta

Troy Lovegates at work in Atlanta

This week the annual Living Walls Conference is taking place it Atlanta. This is the 5th year of the conference. Artists for the mural-making portion of the conference include Troy Lovegates, Moneyless, HENSE, Bayete Ross Smith, Borondo and Vandalog contributing writer Caroline Caldwell. This year’s supplementary events include an outdoor screening of Brad Downey‘s Public Discourse, the annual bicycle mural tour, a series of talks with people like Meres from 5Pointz, the opening party at The Goat Farm, and a panel discussion with me and my friends Monica Campana (Executive Director of Living Walls) and Austin McManus (Photography Director for Juxtapoz).

If you’re in Atlanta, I hope you’ll come out and support, not just because I would love to see a packed house for the panel that I’m on (although that would be nice), but because I love Living Walls and Living Walls has made me love Atlanta. This is going to be a great conference.

Photo courtesy of Living Walls


Category: Events, Festivals | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Drawings for the Masses: a group show of personal sketches made public

June 14th, 2013 | By | 2 Comments »

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Drawing for the Masses is a group show of about a dozen international street showing, not just any drawings, but personal drawings and prepatory sketches that would be the blueprints for eventual murals. While a rough sketch of an existing mural may not seem that exiting, 999 Gallery assures you that these works are sometimes more precious to the artist than the public work since these were not intended for others to see. So, stop by to see see the personal work of 108AndrecoBorondoGaia2501Guy DenningHitnesLucamaleonteMartina MerliniMoneylessOzmo and Tellas.

The show opened last night in Rome’s 999 Gallery.


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Vhils, Vexta, and more in Very Nearly Almost

May 13th, 2013 | By | No Comments »

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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…

You can pick up a copy of VNA 22 here.

Photo courtesy of Very Nearly Almost


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Yarn bombing: You can’t sit with us

November 13th, 2012 | By | 28 Comments »

Photo by StreetsDept

Conrad Benner of Streets Dept. noted that yarn bombing is probably one of the most verbally attacked forms of street art and in my experience, he’s right. Actually, most of the hate I hear comes from other street artists. Why? As Jason Eppink puts it, “Yarn bombing exemplifies the ‘do it for the photo’ method of street art. There’s a disingenuousness. … It’s bright and colorful for a day, then it looks gross and someone else has to clean it up.” And it’s no beautiful decay, like the withering of wheatpastes or chipping paint. Personally, I always feel a bit uncomfortable with the awareness that someone put in a disproportionate amount of hours to make such a short-lived mess. Yarn bombers, why not document your pieces a week after you put them up (or the places where they had formerly been) and tell us if this was made for the audience that would see it physically?

There is a family-friendly quality to yarn bombing that allows these crafters to feel comfortable putting up work in middle of the day in front of observers. It is relatively low-risk. I assume that the association of this with “street art” and “graffiti” has to be frustrating for painters, writers, wheatpasters and sticker artists who wait until the wee hours of the morning to put up work because they risk being charged with a felony. Let’s repeat that: felony. There is a hierarchy of risk in the world of vandalism and street art is already understood as less risky then straight graffiti. Below both of these would be stickering which despite being regarded as toothless in some circles, can still have you arrested in certain cities. Yarn bombing would probably rank so low in terms of risk that it would fall on a separate page. Illegality does not make a work better or worse (though admittedly the risk factor definitely adds interest), but if the playing fields are not equal for yarn bombers and street artists why should they be classified as one and the same?

Here’s the contradiction: I’ve seen yarn used as a street art medium in ways that I thought were extremely imaginative and visually interesting. Works by Moneyless, Spidertag, and HotTea aren’t any less temporary, any less susceptible to decay (perhaps even more so), or any less legally benign than typical yarn bombing. What makes them different for me? The fact that these artists’ works could be identified in a lineup. Part of what has street artists and street art appreciators writing off the genre completely, as Conrad initially asked, is not the medium but the lack of creativity. A plethora of yarn bombers would like their work to be seen as unique or distinct, as any artist would, but are they putting in the effort in to earn that? Let’s look at a few examples of what most people envision when they envision yarn bombing

Photos by Alona Arobas (top), jimmyhere (middle),  Robert Couse-Baker (left), amy_b (right)

And here are the yarn-wielding street artists previously named.

Hot Tea (top), Moneyless (middle), and Spidertag (bottom)

Point made or need we look further?

Olek had always been one of these artists whom I’d come across frequently but always skimmed over with a sort of neutral reaction, like “That might be cool if yarn bombing were something that was cool.” Then the other day Jonathan LeVine Gallery sent me this video compilation of Olek’s work over the past year. Through the entire video, I was trying to reconcile why I still hate yarn bombing but why Olek was starting to feel like an exception. The reason is that she has moved beyond many of the drawbacks of typical yarn bombing. She has a relatively large body of work and it is not built solely on sweatering trees in different cities. The sheer size of some of her pieces are enough to make even biased observers do a double-take. Olek’s work does not last longer or decay prettier, but like Hot Tea, Moneyless and Spidertag, her personal style is identifiable. Unlike usual yarn bombs which don’t seem to be communicating anything specific, Olek’s work is often blatantly addressing the greater art community. Naturally, I don’t like everything but the versatility in Olek’s work proves that there is colossal room for creativity in this genre.

Yarn bombers, I encourage you to point out any shortcomings in this post, but more importantly I challenge you to be more creative.

Photos by Alona Arobas, amy_b, Hot + Teajimmyhere, MoneylessRobert Couse-Baker, Spidertag and StreetsDept


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Murals at FAME Festival 2012, part one

October 6th, 2012 | By | 1 Comment »

Erica il Cane

Henrik Haven visited FAME Festival in Grottaglie, Italy for the festival’s opening events last month. Naturally, he took plenty of stunning shots of the new work there. In a two-part series, we’ve selected some of our favorite pieces from FAME 2012. In part one here, we’ve got walls by Erica il Cane, Conor Harrington, Interesni Kazki, Vhils, Moneyless, Brad Downey, Akay and Cyop & Kaf.

Cyop and Kaf

Vhils

Brad Downey and Akay

Read the rest of this article »


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Nanook updates (plus a bit of Ever)

July 28th, 2012 | By | No Comments »

Nanook and Ever in Foligno, Italy

The work of Baltimore-based artist Nanook has been appearing around the world a bit lately. Here’s work of his in Italy, Germany and Canada. His mural in Foligno, Italy with Ever is part of Attack Festival, which looks like they will have more artists coming to Foligno through September including Ericailcane, Sten&Lex and Moneyless.

Berlin

Newfoundland (installed by Tekar)

Newfoundland (installed by Tekar)

Photos courtesy of Nanook


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Weekend link-o-rama

June 22nd, 2012 | By | No Comments »

The week isn’t over yet, but this week’s news is going to be old if I don’t mention it soon. Here’s some of what I missed this week:

Photo by SMKjr


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Katowice Street Art Festival – part 2

May 22nd, 2012 | By | 2 Comments »

Roa

In continuation of Katowice Street Art Festival – part 1, this post concludes the two-part series on the Katowice Street Art Festival, which took place last month from April 20th to the 29th.

Toward the end of last month the Katowice Street Art Festival came to a close. Held in southern Poland, the festival featured a reputable lineup of street artists from around the world including Roa, GanzeerEscifHyuroLudoM-CityOlek, Mentaglassi, and more. The energy surrounding these artists provided the opportunity for a few local artists to exhibit some work on the streets as well (though not affiliated with the festival). Here are some more of the completed murals, and an interesting collaboration between Mark Jenkins and Moneyless; the only two artists involved whose outdoor work primarily consist of sculptures.

Aryz

Mark Jenkins and Moneyless collaboration

Mark Jenkins and Moneyless collaboration

Swanski

Hyuro

Etam Cru

Photos by Kalevkevad


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Katowice Street Art Festival – part 1

April 28th, 2012 | By | 1 Comment »

Escif. Photo by Foto Sigma DP1S

Poland is playing host to some of the world’s most talented street artists and muralists for the Katowice Street Art Festival. From April 20th to the 29th, the festival will feature artists such as Escif, Hyuro, Mark Jenkins, Ludo, M-City, Olek, Roa, Moneyless, and many more. Here are a few of the pieces already in progress or completed. There are many more photos on the festival’s facebook page.

Fantastic piece by Olek. Courtesy of Arrested Motion.

Ludo’s piece is a massive wheatpaste that incorporates paint. It looks great, but the one worry I have for this piece is that someone will probably have to paint over the eyesore that’s left when the paper weathers and inevitably comes down.

Ludo. Photo by Wojciech Nowak

Mark Jenkins. Photo by Foto Sigma DP1S

Hyuro in progress. Photo by Paweł Mrowiec

Tellas and Moneyless. Photo by Tellas

Photos by Foto – Sigma DP1S, Wojciech Nowak, Tellas and Paweł Mrowiec, also courtesy of Arrested Motion

Via Arrested Motion and Street Art News


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