Graffuturism is one of the best blogs out there for innovative work by graffiti writers. The site is run by Poesia, who has just curated a group show at San Fransisco’s White Walls Gallery based around some of the artists he blogs about. L’Avenir opens this Saturday the 14th and runs through January 4th. I’ve been a fan of Graffuturism for years now and Poesia and I have gotten into some great discussions on Twitter, but we’ve never really had a chance to chat, so I emailed him a few questions about the blog and the show in the run-up to L’Avenir.
RJ: In one sentence, what makes someone a graffuturist?
Poesia: Most likely an artist with a graffiti background who has evolved and progressed beyond his initial roots.
RJ: I guess I always thought about Graffuturism as having to do with graffiti writers going in an abstract direction, but with this show you’ve included a lot of artists known for figurative works and made it clear in your artist statement that the movement isn’t purely about an abstract aesthetic. Can you go into a bit more detail on the similarities you see between say Sainer and Clemens Behr?
Poesia: Many people get this part of Graffuturism confused, but I feel it is because graffiti artists tend to move in a more abstract direction due to graffiti’s initial abstract nature. When compared to street art that already is more representational, Graffiti was and is an abstract form of art already. But we have to remember that graffiti has always used representational images cartoon characters etc since the early days of graffiiti, most the artists that were more inclined to paint representational or figurative work would get character or background duty on walls. Many of these talented artists never learned proper letters because they were always busy painting the backgrounds for the letter artists. One of the positive byproducts of Street Art was that now all these talented representational painters who had painted graffiti characters forever now saw that they could take center stage and create their own work without letters. This was an important evolution of graffiti and thus an artist like Sainer is just as an evolved graffiti artist as Clemens Behr who moved into a more abstract avenue of work. Both have this history that has evolved and thrived in a new age where painting whatever you like is possible without adhering to the traditional rules of graffiti. To me they are the same even if aesthetically polar opposites. The reason why Graffuturism is seen as an abstract movement is more due to the fact that there were more letterbased artists than figurative artists that have gone onto progress thus the surplus of abstract artists versus figurative ones.
This link-o-rama is super helpful for me, because all week I’ve been working on my upcoming ebook instead of blogging. Hopefully the ebook will be out in November… Anyways, links:
I love that this show at LeQuiVive Gallery reframes a certain kind of work that often gets lumped in with street art or urban art as Neu Folk Revival, which describes the work much better than calling it street art or urban art or low-brow art. Some real talent in this show: Doodles, Troy Lovegates, Cannon Dill, ghostpatrol, Zio Ziegler, Daryll Peirce, Justin Lovato… It opens next month.
This piece by Part2ism needs to be seen. And look closely. That’s not just paint on the wall. Very interesting. I am glad to see Part2ism on the streets again, and I can’t wait to see what he does next. Once again, he has shown that he is ahead of the rest of us. This piece doesn’t look like graffiti. It doesn’t look like street art. It looks like art on the street, and that’s much too rare.Swampy has relaunched his website and posted a video diary sort of thing. I’m very curious what people think about it. Have a look and let me know.Check out this concept from Jadikan-LP: Art that only exists within Google Maps. Click the link. Explore the room. I normally hate lightpainting or “light graffiti,” but I absolutely love this piece. As far as I’m concerned, the internet is a public space and Jadikan-LP has invaded it with artwork, so this project is street art.
CDH wrote a really fascinating article in Art Monthly Australia about the commodification of street art. While I don’t agree with him entirely, I think it’s a must-read because at least it sparks some thoughts. It’s one of the best-written critiques I’ve read of the capitalistic nature of contemporary street art. Over on Invurt, they have posted CDH’s article as well as a response by E.L.K. (who CDH calls out in his critique). In his article, CDH called out E.L.K. for using stencils with so many layers that the work isn’t really street anymore, since stencils were initially used for being quick and a piece with 20 layers isn’t going to be quick. It’s just going to look technically interesting. Well, E.L.K. shot back in his response and made himself look like an idiot and seemingly declaring that all conceptual street art and graffiti is crap. There were arguments he could have made to defend complex stenciling or critique other points of CDH’s article, but instead E.L.K. mostly just attacked CDH as an artist. Anyway, definitely read both the original article and the response over at Invurt. The comments on the response are interesting as well.
Here’s a look at the latest street art collaboration from London’s own The Krah and Brazilian artist Milo Tchais.
The Krah first started painting the streets and the subway trains of Athens in 1997, but his graffiti and street-art can also be seen in the streets all over Europe and places such as Tokyo and Bangkok. Since then The Krah has also exhibited in galleries both in London and internationally, as well as holding many group shows alongside artists such as Os Gêmeos, D-face, Sickboy and Swoon, which may explain a thing or two about his latest collaboration.
Roa painted these pieces on Tuesday atop The Foundry in London. The building is about to be knocked down, so go check these out while they’re still around. I should have a video of Roa painting this spot coming soon.
There are a number of artworks being painted on The Foundry right now as part of a pop up art exhibition by Our Cultural History that opens April 15th and runs through the 25th.
Put simply: MuTate has sculptures shooting fire into the air. ‘Nuf said.
In all seriousness though, the sculptures and paintings are very cool. Best Ever, Busk, Mode2, Sickboy and many many many others have contributed to make something special and unique.
I could say that I liked this painting or that painting, but half the time I didn’t know who painted my favorite pieces, they were just good, regardless of the name behind them.
But is it the absolute best art in the world? Not always. It’s just fun to see. Even a poorly painted stencil contributes to the atmosphere and makes MuTate a nice place to grab a beer or two.
This is the art show you can bring your friends to who would rather just go to the pub (see: my comment about fire).
MuTate Britain is located underneath Westway in London near Ladbroke Grove station. Who knows how long this party is going to continue (even the artists I spoke with said anywhere from a few weeks to indefinitely), so go check it out now.
Last night my friends and I made it to four gallery openings.
We started at Pam Glew‘s show at Stella Dore. There are a few pieces that are pretty cool and her bleeching technique is interesting, but I think I’ve become a bit jaded by street art. I couldn’t keep from thinking: “portraits from a one-layer stencil” And of course, those seem to be everywhere these days. My friend who doesn’t obsessively follow street art didn’t have that same bias, and really enjoyed everything. Continue reading “Last Night’s Openings”
This Thursday is going to be, as it always seems to be, a very busy night for me. I’ll be visiting up to 4 galleries with a traveling brigade of my artsy friends. Here’s the plan:
1. Start at White Cube Hoxton Square for the Marcus Harvey exhibit “White Riot” for the portrait of Thatcher made out of sex toys and the bust of Churchill with a mohawk. Get there around closing time so that we can be unceremoniously tossed out at 6pm.
2. Next it’s off to Stella Dore for the Pam Glew show “Noir”. I’m not yet sold on her work, but I’m definitely open to seeing what she’s doing and the painting pictured on the advert they gave me is pretty sweet.
3. Perhaps the most surprising show of the evening will be at the Pure Evil Gallery. Panik, a member of London’s ATG crew, will be trying his hand a gallery work. I give this a 75% chance of not working out but just being a fun experience. It seems like graffiti artists usually can’t make that jump to the gallery. Panik’s work is awesome on the street, but the gallery is a completely different world. If it works though, as I’m hoping it will, it should be great.
4. And to cap off the evening, Part2ism has his show at The Art Lounge.