“We don’t do reporting” link-o-rama

Unknown artist in Bushwick, Brooklyn
Unknown artist in Bushwick, Brooklyn

It was recently suggested that Vandalog doesn’t do any reporting or write much anymore, and that’s part of why we suck. It’s true that I haven’t been posting as much lately. In part, this is because I didn’t want to just regurgitate the same press releases and photos that all the other major street art blogs are also regurgitating. I only want to write something when I have something exclusive or something to add, which might not be every day. Plus, at the moment, my apartment has no internet connection, which makes things a bit difficult. That should be fixed soon, and posting will probably start to happen more regularly. As for reporting, if an ad agency wants to buy Vandalog and pay all of my bills for no apparent reason, I’d be happy to take your money and spend more time on “proper” reporting. In the mean time, here’s what I can say from Philadelphia with a day job and without a proper internet connection…

  • Saber and Zes recently painted a mural for Branded Arts in LA. It’s huge, and I really like it. I tend to find Saber’s work hit or miss, but I this one is a major success. I’ve been having a lot of conversations lately about legal versus illegal work, illegal work versus the buff and graffiti versus street art. This mural addresses all of those topics on a grand scale.
  • Shok1‘s mural for The L.I.S.A. Project NYC is no more, things are a bit more complicated than that… Before Shok1 painted that spot, there was a really beautiful tag there by Serf. Over time, the rest of the wall got tagged up, and the singular tag was no longer looking so hot. Additionally, we at The L.I.S.A. Project NYC got permission to put a mural at that location. Shok1 was in town and we were itching to work with him, so he got the spot and painted a great piece. Before Shok1 painted though, I reached out to Serf to give him a heads up, and let him know that we would like to find a wall for him and Mint if he was interested in the idea. I don’t normally do that when we cover illegal graffiti with a mural, but I had a lot of love for this particular tag. That was in April. Recently, Shok1’s mural was tagged up, so we quickly buffed out the tag. It was clear that this mural’s life had ended and something new was in order. We called up Serf again, and arranged for Mint and Serf (aka Mirf) to paint something. Their idea was to create a wall that looked almost abstract but full of graffiti, like a bombed-out wall of an abandoned warehouse. It might not be clear to random passersby whether the work was legal or illegal. Kind of like the (slightly more controlled) shutters that SMART Crew painted recently as part of their installation in Chinatown, although Mirf were working on this idea before the Chinatown piece was completed. Turns out, some people don’t like murals that look like illegal graffiti, even if the wall was originally home to actually illegal graffiti that was going unbuffed. Neighborhood residents complained. We knew the mural would be temporary, as the property owner was about to install advertising on that wall, but we thought it would at least last more than 48 hours. Now, the wall has been buffed black and a street-level advertisement has been installed… It looks like this. Animal New York has more on the story. While I’m bummed to see both Shok1’s work and Mirf’s work gone already, that wall has been a learning experience and an interesting experiment of sorts for us at The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. There was illegal graffiti on the wall, then Shok1 painted a colorful mural. That was replaced by a legal mural that looked like illegal graffiti by the same same artists whose illegal graffiti had graced the wall previously without complaint, and suddenly residents had a serious problem with what they were seeing. The truth is that we at The L.I.S.A. Project NYC are often in close communication with property owners, realtors, building managers, restauranteurs and shop-owners when we put up murals, but rarely do we connect with a building’s residents. Usually, this isn’t a problem, and we have received a lot of positive feedback from residents even when they have not been consulted before a mural goes up, but occasionally we have problems like these. Should we slow down our process and always seek input from a building’s residents and nearby neighbors, or should we keep going as is, giving artists more freedom but always risking a negative reaction after the work is completed? A balance has to be struck, but I’m not sure exactly what that balance is. Every mural program and every mural site is unique, so there are no easy answers, but it’s something we have to continue to think about…
  • Mighty Mo, Rowdy, Gold Peg and Horror of Burning Candy have put together a show opening June 27th at the Leeds College of Art. Should be a good one, particularly since Mighty Mo’s work has gone in a very surprising and interesting sculptural direction over the last two years or so.
  • Two more upcoming shows of note are the Crash and Anthony Lister solo shows at Jonathan Levine Gallery in NYC.
  • Pure Evil is trying to do a piece of street art every day for a year. I know he’s not the first to do this kind of a marathon, but good on him for taking on the project.
  • The (unauthorized)Banksy retrospective on at the moment at Sotheby’s in London is well worth stopping by. Banksy’s comment on the exhibition (“As a kid I always dreamed of growing up to be a character in Robin Hood. I never realised I’d end up playing one of the gold coins.”) sounds about right though. It’s hard not to be taken aback by the prices at this exhibition, including almost £100,000 for a single print. And yes, that piece sold, as have others. So while prices may be high, it appears there is demand, even if the buyers aren’t always the most Banksy-literate bunch. One comment I overheard from a visitor to the exhibition is telling. But hey, for those of us who just want to look at some good artwork, it’s a solid show. There are pieces I don’t think I’d ever seen before, and many museum-worthy bits that I’m not sure when I’ll see again. For that reason, it’s worth stopping by. And hey, at least the works at Sotheby’s are (mostly) authenticated by Pest Control (someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I think one or two of the test prints are without authentication…), and there are no street pieces. So if you are looking to spend a couple hundred grand on a Banksy at the moment, you could do worse than Sotheby’s, like this forgettable and unauthenticated maybe-formally a Banksy for $40,000+.
  • Max Rippon (aka Ripo) and Roa are currently showing at Stolenspace Gallery in London. Ripo’s show in the front room is solid, but I wish there were more works on paper, or works that are more physically complex. The real highlight from Ripo is this painting on handcut paper, but it’s the only piece like it in the show. The rest are canvases like this one with amalgamations of text in strips or slices of varying size. Nothing wrong with those, but I don’t think the fully showcase Ripo’s talent. Roa’s show is among the best I’ve seen from any street artist in a long while. At first glance, yes, it’s what you’d expect from Roa: Animals in black and white or in varying states of decay on wood, plus some moving parts that allow the viewer to change up the paintings a bit. Honestly, I went to the show to see Ripo’s work and see friends, not expecting to be too amazed with Roa’s work. It’s good and all, but I figured that I’d seen it 100 times before. I was wrong. Graffoto’s review and images (and Stolenspace’s images) provide some idea of what Roa did, but really you just have to walk through the show. I hope someone with a steadicam goes in and makes a beautiful video exploring the space. Still, I’ll try to explain… You can’t just look at the work in this show and call it a day. You have to walk around it and see it from every angle. One piece, London Mole Installation, is made up of four piece of wood, arranged like this with different images of a mole, each running across two of the wooden panels, so that as you walk around the piece, you effective get at least 8 significantly different compositions of the mole depending your angle. But that is just a warm up for Osborn Bat Installation, a 3-piece installation involving mirrors and painted wood panels. Each of the three pieces is interesting on its own and sort of a mini version of London Mole Installation, but then the three pieces also come together to form compositions depending on your angle. You might be reading this and think, “Well duh, you look at installation art from different angles and it looks different,” but this goes beyond that, because every angle you look at this work from actually feels like a complete and different composition. The piece is like a puzzle, except that each piece of the puzzle is interesting on its own too, and the puzzle fits together in a myriad of interesting ways. Really, you just have to walk through this thing. If you happen to be in London, do not miss this show. It proved to me that Roa is not just a guy who can simply by written off as painting the same animals over and over again in the same style. He’s much more than that.

Photo by Lois Stavsky

Pure Evil reflects on the perceived financial value of street pieces


With this Tuesday’s auction of alleged artwork ripped from the streets in order to destroy it’s meaning and increase its value, I thought it would be a great time to share some recent pieces by British street artist Pure Evil. He’s been working on a series of street pieces that comment on both the theft and protection of street art in London. For years, it’s been common in London to cover “valuable” street art with a layer of perspex/plexiglass in order to protect it from would-be vandals. And of course, more recently, work (mostly by Banksy but also by a few others street artists) has been removed from the street and put into private hands. But what am I rambling on for? Here’s Pure Evil’s response to all of that:

I encourage you to try calling this number.
I encourage you to try calling this number



Photos by Pure Evil

Tim Hans shoots… Pure Evil


Pure Evil is one of the familiar faces of the British street art scene both for his own art and for The Pure Evil Gallery that he runs in Shoreditch. Tim Hans met with Pure Evil at his gallery/studio for the latest in our continuing series of photo-portraits of artists by Tim, and Caroline asked Pure Evil about art and his gallery.

Caroline: Do you think it’s important for artists to have a sort of trademark or logo? 

Pure Evil: No, I think artists who stick to the same recognizable thing and just do it again and again are being boring. This is ironic because I repeatedly draw bunnies everywhere. I don’t see that as a logo, it’s a tag. I was watching a film about David Bowie the other night and I got this from it which is very good advice. HOW TO BE A GREAT ARTIST – Change the diversity of what you do at a mind boggling rate. Be prodigious and act as a lightning rod for your time. Bowie did it, I want to achieve something similar, just by doing a whole bunch of crazy different stuff.

CC: What inspires you to create? Where do your ideas come from?

PE: They kind of bombard me from everywhere.. its that whole ‘being a lightning rod’ idea…There’s a flash and then it’s embedded in my cranium.  It might be a sentence in a book I’m reading. It might be an image on Tumblr. It might be something I misheard but decided the new form of the phrase is interesting. It might be from a dream. It might be something that I saw and then promptly forgot and then later on thought of it as an original idea.

I just did a check through my history to see what I have been looking at in the past week :

CC: What was it like being raised by a father who is an artist? 

PE: He only took me to the cinema once, to see “LIVE AND LET DIE” which was awesome to watch as a kid, but boy he took me to a lot of art museums and we saw a lot of celtic standing stones all over Europe. It was great being surrounded by Picasso’s and Pop Art when I was growing up. I loved seeing how he never stopped painting EVER. It’s really inspiring… he’s probably painting right now.


CC: What was starting your own gallery like? 

PE: It was totally inspired by Aaron Rose’s Alleged Gallery. That was the blueprint, that and Santa’s Ghetto… Just get a space, paint the walls white and hey presto! You have a gallery. I didn’t even think of keeping it going for more than 2 weeks, but it just seemed like fun. Finding a whole basement that could be used to make art and music was a bonus, and the area is smack bang in the middle of street art central which is pretty cool. I call myself the accidental gallerist though, working out how to actually run it and make it work in the long run was a bit of work, but I just looked at Leo Castelli and what an amazing job he did with Pop Art in the 60’s… he’s a bit of a guru. Read Leo and His Circle. It’s an eye opening book.

CC: Your creativity is pretty multifaceted. Could you talk about the different mediums you use in your artwork? Or about the projects you’ve worked on besides visual arts? 

PE: I like spray paint quite a bit. Right now I’m having a lot of fun doing freehand spray stuff and layering OCD tags on top of each other to make randomness. I also like using Krink which moves so beautifully. Then there’s neon which is bloody beautiful to look at and because it comes from signage it’s a perfect medium for street art, which is street signage. I’ve got a neon in a contemporary auction in Paris which is quite humbling because it’s in there with complete legends like Victor Vasarely and Kenneth Noland. Making a genre jump is pretty exciting. Being stuck in one box is tedious. My baby sits in a little brightly coloured doughnut for about half an hour and then she just gets bored and wants some boob. Street Art is the doughnut, Contemporary art is the boob.

I’m quite into making films, just short shonky stuff, and I’m looking into using 16mm just because it’s beautiful and analog. In the basement we have an amazing music studio. It kicks ass. Here’s the music stuff. I’ve got an album called A NEW DAWN coming out in July and another coming out soon after called THE NATIONAL ARCHIVE. All art movements have a soundtrack and were making ours in-house.

CC: Any upcoming projects we should look forward to?

PE: No. Fear them all. Actually I had a baby called Bunny recently and she is going to be something….

Photos by Tim Hans

Come and Get It! Half Price: The Apprentice Takes on Urban Art

As most of you may know, last night premiered the latest episode of The Apprentice UK concentrating on the sales of urban art. The two teams were split up and tasked to represent two street artists and flog their work the public in East London at a night only gallery show. Obviously knowing very little about the genre himself, Lord Sugar set the teams up with car company Renault and gin manufacturer Beefeater in attempt to generate big sales for the teams by way of a corporate client. And then the circus ensued…

The episode opened with the teams standing looking frightened in Leake Street Tunnel in Waterloo with an ominous video of Lord Sugar talking them through the task. The candidates were then immediately split into their teams with half traveling to Bristol “the birthplace of graffiti” and the other half staying in London to source artists. In Bristol, the candidates met with SPQR and Copyright. Not liking the controversial wares of SPQR (the hypodermic needle freaked them out) the team fell for the stencil/tattoo-like stylings of Copyright. One of the guys kept trying to offer his own ludicrous interpretation the work as the camera panned to the silent artists making the situation just as uncomfortable for the viewer watching. In London, the teams met with Pure Evil, Nathan Bowen, and James Jessop. The teams fought over who wanted to sell Pure Evil’s work as he eventually went with the team that showed more enthusiasm rather than the pretty boy who kept talking out of his ass about how much he knew about street or rather that he may have viewed Exit Through the Gift Shop and retained a few facts. Bowen was also chosen to be shown, in order to impress Beefeater with his London centric characters. It was, however, ironic that half the team saw his work outside in Bristol and expressed how much they hated only to find out that they were selling it the next night. Nice job boys. The other team settled on Jessop and Copyright in the hopes of selling a large Jessop canvas to someone who was drunk enough to drop 10,000 pounds securing the team the win.

The shows themselves took place in Black Rat and Arch 402 with the usual street art crowds and bankers trolling through. The teams had no idea how or who to sell to, but just talking bullshit as if they were selling insurance. I’m just hoping that the artists who were involved were happy clearing overstock that night and making some extra money. Pure Evil alone sold over 10,000 pounds worth of work apparently. Not a bad haul and I’m sure some great publicity will come from it. Bowen got into the spirit by doing a live canvas based on the London landscape that could have gone to Beefeater, but with his representatives crappy client skills, the company left empty handed and their pockets still teeming with money. But in the end, the team that had Pure Evil won, even though it was only by 173 pounds. Bit of a shame. If only someone had enough space for any one of those 10 feet Jessops…

So what is the lesson here boys and girls? Is that anyone can sell urban art nowadays? Is it that almost anyone will buy something if you tell them it is cool/hip/trendy/up and coming? No no no. The lesson is that if you paid full price for any artists’ works than you paid too much. With an hour left to selling the teams started giving 50% discounts to some of the work. Half Price! Come and get it! Because that is not in bad taste whatsoever…

Images courtesy of BBC

Pure Evil goes really pop

Pure Evil has a solo show opening this Thursday night at XOYO, which is just around the corner from his galley in East London. The Last Good Time is a series of very pop art portraits of artists’ muses. It runs through September 8th.

Photo by Pure Evil

Printmaking Today at Black Rat Projects

Last night hosted a packed opening at Black Rat Projects entitled Printmaking Today. Normally print shows tend to be a bit tedious, since they are usually reproduced images of originals or have been so before upon their initial releases. But Black Rat hosted a refreshingly eclectic display of prints by artists ranging from Damien Hirst, Banksy, Matt Small, D*Face, Shepard Fairey and more. As much shit as I got for a previous post of mine about street artists becoming accepted into the art canon, this show only adds further evidence to my point. While many high end fine art establishments look down on street art and find it a passing trend in galleries, this show saw Hirst’s work next to D*Face and Bridget Riley (whose work is in the Tate) close to a Shepard Fairey, without any work looking out of place. My friends and I were discussing how not only does street art borrow from fine art, but fine artists are definitely borrowing from the work of street and outsider artists. The lines are quickly blurring between low brow and fine art, so it is finally nice to see the two in such a show, and not just in an auction.

The show also boasted an incredible pop-up project space by ROA. Each angle showed a new image, and I swear you could walk around it ten time and would still see something different. The works may not be new, quite similar to the LA and NY shows, but the concept is so much more complex and is worth checking out just for that reason.

My favorite of the night had to be Pure Evil‘s “Dripping Liza” work that culminated with a puddle of teal paint down on the floor near the canvas. Andy Warhol may be done to death, but Pure Evil still manages to put a new spin on an over-saturated piece of art that needs to be seen in person to attain the full effect.

Pictures by butterfly. View the whole set here

Pure Evil “Strange Girls” Exhibit Opens Tomorrow

I always get excited when Pure Evil decides to display new work his Shoreditch Gallery.  One of my favorite street artists, Pure Evil takes a new direction with his latest series of works entitled “Strange Girls.”  Reflecting a fascination with the female facial structure, the artist painted several emulsions of interesting ladies of the past and present including Daisy Lowe, Bridget Bardot, and Sylvette David (a muse for Picasso).

Sylvette David
Daisy Lowe

The opening reception is July 1 from 6-9pm at The Pure Evil Gallery in London.

The entire show catalogue can be seen on the Pure Evil site.

All photos courtesy of Pure Evil

London art-world weirdness

Most of the time, despite all the politics and whatnot, people in the street art world seem to get along. But there have been two incidences in London recently that have shocked me a bit.

Photo by unusualimage

First is what is currently happened to Jon Hammer (aka Elate). Jon believes that for a past few months he has been stalked and intimidated by people who presumably don’t like him and his artwork for whatever reason. This has even gone so far as somebody putting a virus on Jon’s computer and attempting to break into his home. The full story can be found on his blog.

And at the Pure Evil Gallery, two artworks were bought using stolen credit cards. One was by Herakut and the other by Pure Evil. Images of the artwork and more information can be found at Crack For Your Eyes.

Three minute wonders

Those 3-minute wonder videos that were made off of City Road in London can now be watched online. Which is great for me as I missed their original broadcast on Channel 4. Here are the videos for Burning Candy, Pure Evil and Blek le Rat. And if you want to see these pieces in person, check out my video of how to sneak into the space.

Burning Candy

Pure Evil

Blek le Rat