Many artists are feeling betrayed this week, as they realize that their art has been used without their permission in a McDonald’s advertisement, apparently thanks to the cooperation of The Bushwick Collective‘s Joe Ficalora.
As first noted by Brooklyn Street Art, McDonald’s new ad campaign for the “New York Bagel Supreme” (a burger/bagel hybrid launching in the Netherlands) centers on “the vibe of Bushwick.” They got that local flavor from The Bushwick Collective, one of New York’s more well-known mural projects. A cornerstone of the campaign is a 4-minute advertisement (UPDATE: McDonald’s appears to have taken the advertisement offline, but we’ve uploaded a copy to Facebook) with Bushwick Collective founder Joe Ficalora giving a tour to highlight his project’s collection of murals. Except… At least two of the murals in the ad aren’t even Bushwick Collective murals (despite what is implied) and at least five artists whose work is featured did not give their permission for McDonald’s to use their work.
McDonald’s just teamed up with the Gentrifying Bushwick Collective to exploit street art in Brooklyn to sell Burgers in Netherlands. This will not stand. They did not get my permission to use my work in their psuedo doc and the mural is NOT part of the Bushwick Collective. PERIOD
Fun story behind NDA‘s mural Fathers and Sons, which was painted last month as part of the Staufferstadt Artist Residency in Strasburg, Virginia. NDA explains, “The bottom half is a photo I found of a man in town from 1932. He had a prominent last name and after four phone calls we had tracked down his son (featured on the top part of the mural).” Of course, that son is now in his 70’s, so you end up with a portrait of a man in his 70’s combined with a portrait of that man’s father in his 20’s.
Jordan Seiler was the first artist in recent memory to bring ad takeovers to Philadelphia, back in 2010. And until last summer, that’s about all there was, until Seiler made the Philadelphia infinitely easier to open up by producing a “key” that matched their custom security screws. Vandalog contributor Caroline Caldwell was probably the first to test out a Philadelphia key. Since then, the tools have reached a handful of artists in the city.
Unfortunately, it looks like this new-found street art surface may be short lived in Philadelphia. Hundreds of the city’s bus shelters are being replaced with an upgraded model featuring electronic billboards. With that in mind, for those with keys, here’s to making good use of them while you still have a chance.
Around this time last year, Philadelphia got great news with NDA moved to town. He very quickly became one of the most noticeable street artists on Philly’s walls. Now, we’re celebrating NDA’s first year in the city with a show at LMNL Gallery. Minor Anniversary opens February 5th. The show is NDA’s diary of the friendly faces, characters, and environments he has come across since coming to Philadelphia.
It’s particularly exciting for me to be working on this show. I’ve worked with NDA before through The L.I.S.A. Project NYC, and been a fan of his work for years. However, until recently I was mostly observing from afar through Instagram or blogs. When NDA moved to Philly, I was finally able to catch his work in person. Maybe I’m a bit biased, but I think the energy of Philly’s street art community shifted when NDA arrived. Over the last year, I’ve seen more wheatpastes than ever, often by NDA or people he gets up with.
And if you really can’t wait for Minor Anniversary to see new work from NDA, he’s also a part of the upcoming #StreetsDeptTurns5 show at Paradigm Gallery + Studio, one of my favorite Philly galleries. #StreetsDeptTurns5 is curated by Conrad Benner of the blog StreetsDept, a stellar blog of Philadelphia street art, and also features Joe Boruchow, NoseGo, and others.
Last month, New Jersey-based artist NDA arrived back in his city from an extensive trip across four countries: Norway, England, Spain, and Portugal. This was is first time painting in Europe. With as many memorable encounters as walls, he shared these recent adventures through a series of anecdotes and photographs.
Initially he was invited by artist Nipper to paint at a local high school in Halsnoy, Norway. During the trip, a few requisite big cities were painted, including London and Barcelona, however it was painting in the smaller cities where he found the biggest rewards. Here his work was able to breathe, unencumbered by looming buildings. In Norway, a lush landscapes surrounded the loosely painted characters.
“When painting in smaller towns you begin to realize that the work can be a huge contrast to its surroundings. I felt like some of the murals and street art that I saw in these areas had a greater impact than perhaps some of the work in NY because it wasn’t over saturated. In parts of Brooklyn you can’t turn around with out seeing a mural, wheatpaste or what-have-you. Some times the work can get a little lost in the shuffle. But when you turn the corner of a small town and see a large mural standing alone against beautiful scenery, it can really smack you upside the head! The context is so dramatically different that your impression of it has to change as well.” said NDA of his time in Halsnoy. I was curious to ask NDA how the police reaction in these suburban areas stacked up against our ever-paranoid NYPD and Vandal Squad. The artist said, “Everywhere I went to, the cops were just waaaayyyy more relaxed! I think it’s no secret that NY cops are often turned up to 10. Even when you’re painting legal walls here, you’re likely to get some hassle. It was nice to not feel that stress.”
After staying with Nipper and a stop to check out famed festival Nuart, the artist hopped a plane to London, where the NDA’s one negative experience on his excursion took place. He recollects, “The one wall I had a problem with on the trip was a legal spot in London. I was given permission to paint a wall of a canal. 10 minutes into sketching it out a woman in the houseboat facing the wall came out and said that it would be too much for her to see this everyday. Instead of going on I agreed to stop and she power washed it of the wall. This was a first for me. I was pretty frustrated at first but it was a good lesson to have: Not everyone wants your shit!” However, not all of NDA’s experiences in London were so fraught with difficulties. Nearly all the passersby NDA heard from enjoyed the 30-foot long wall on Hanbury Street that he painted thanks to Ben Slow.
The finale of his trek came while visiting Vulpes Vulpes in Leiria, Portugal, where they collaborated on several pieces. The artist recounts, “Vulpes Vulpes and I were doing an unauthorized piece on an abandoned building in Leiria. We turned around to see all the students from the beauty school next door laughing and waving at us from the window. A few of them came out to chat and it was all so nice and casual. At the end they gave us a round of applause. The whole thing was incredibly positive and I don’t think the topic of legality came up once.” Now back in the metro-area after his extensive travels, viewers should watch to see how the natural landscape affects the artist’s imagery going forward. I, for one, look forward to some Halsnoy-inspired flora to liven up the cold winter ahead.
In Baltimore, where every water is uncharted, street art has navigated its own course. What began as a covert creative expression of artistic imagination by individual street artists has matured to become an important force that binds artists and neighborhoods. Baltimore’s growing legion of street artists has piloted a course of creating art on parched streets and using it to quench neighborhoods’ thirst for something beautiful and sometimes provocative in their midst.
When I began wheatpasting, there were only three other street artists in town who regularly got their pieces up: Ways, Gaia, and Nanook. Mata Ruda began wheatpasting about the same time I did and we worked together often. Everyone used a fly-by-night installation approach, using the cover of darkness to get our work up. Unsanctioned street art was something relatively new to Baltimore and the public viewed it as a sort of furtive “where’s waldo” game. We used the element of surprise to start the conversations that our work desired.
Everything changed in 2012. Under the direction of Gaia, Open Walls Baltimore began and with it the Station North neighborhood—Baltimore’s arts district—was transformed by the presence of spectacular, large murals funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and PNC Bank. With the arrival of the street art mural circuit to a city new to street art, Baltimore discovered street art’s ability to change an urban landscape. Most works didn’t deal with Baltimore politics and social issues directly but their presence acted to educate the public about the value of this new-to-it art form in giving voice to and beautifying our town. With Open Walls, Baltimore found a place on the map in the street art world. This place was solidified after the launch of Articulate by Stefan Ways in October 2012.
Somewhat reminiscent of RAE’s remarkable recreation of an East Village bodega, Exit Room NY’s current exhibit, ÑEWMERICA: Birth of a Nation, focuses on the endangered bodega. In addition to a impressive installation recreating a bodega that is about to give way to a Bank of America, the exhibit features dozens of artworks by the members of the newly launched collective, ÑEWMERICA. Here’s a sampling:
ND’A painted the latest piece at The L.I.S.A. Project NYC (co-curated by Wayne Rada and I) this week in NYC’s Little Italy. He painted on a door that was last painted by Bishop203 earlier this year. I probably shouldn’t write this, but this is honestly my second favorite piece I’ve helped to organize in Little Italy so far. The first is of course Ron English’s massive Temper Tot, but I think ND’A really outdid himself here. I hope everyone walking down Mulberry Street this summer is as big a fan of ND’A’s work as I am.
For the last week, Argentinian artists Ever and Sonni, along with Brooklyn-based ND’A, have been at work on a Williamsburg, Brooklyn rooftop. I’m loving the results. Here are a few more images I captured yesterday evening: