Counter-productive street art

Update: This post is factually inaccurate. As it turns out, Jeice2 did not wheatpaste this poster to the shutters. Instead, as I suggest in the article might be a kinder alternative, he actually taped it to the wall temporarily, took a photo and then removed the poster. If you look very closely at the edges of poster in the above photograph, you can see the tape. I am keeping this post up because the concern that street artists often do not respect graffiti is still generally valid, even if it is not valid in this example.

Sometimes I wonder why so many graffiti writers have such a negative view of street art. And then I see pieces like this by Jeice2 and remember at least one of their reasons: The lack of respect that young street artists often have for graffiti. This poster by Jeice2 is not bad. Clearly he’s spent some time on it. Okay, it’s not amazing or particularly unique, but it will probably look pretty cool in person while it is fresh.

There are two problems though:

  1. It’s a wheatpaste on a shutter. If that shutter opens regularly, the paper may rip and and look a lot worse very quickly while still taking up lots of space on the spot.
  2. Jeice2 seems to have gone over as many tags (and possibly throw-ups) as he possibly could.

What Jeice2 seems to have done is put up a piece over a bunch of other work without any consideration for those writers, and it’s a piece that will quickly look terrible. Since the primary audience for the pristine piece seems to be the internet, maybe Jeice2 should have just taped his poster to the shutter, taken a photo and then removed it, leaving the graffiti undamaged and visible.

It’s difficult to do a piece that large that isn’t going to cover at least one tag, but surely there was at least one more appropriate spot in all of Seville for this poster.

It’s mistakes like this one by Jeice2 that give street artists a bad name among graffiti writers.

I hope that next time Jeice2 will pick a more respectful spot for his work.

PS, Some people may wonder why I am pointing this out while I have (mostly) defending Banksy’s initial piece in the Banksy versus Robbo feud. The difference that I see between Jeice2 and Banksy versus Robbo is that Banksy actually brought way more attention to Robbo’s piece, Banksy’s piece interacted with the graffiti already on site and Robbo’s piece was tagged over a lot already. But I imagine a lot of people don’t see that same distinction. That’s fair enough and only furthers my point that graffiti writers see street artists as often being disrespectful to graffiti.

Photo by Jeice2

Weekend link-o-rama

Os Gêmeos in Greece

It’s 11/11/11, so I guess that’s a big deal to some people. That seems so arbitrary to me, since our calendar is pretty arbitrary to begin with. Besides, it’s really 11/11/2011. A few years ago, 11/02/2011 was much cooler. In my social sphere though, 11/11/11 seems like an excuse to throw parties, so maybe I shouldn’t complain. While I was thinking about the ridiculousness of this date, here’s what almost passed me by this week in art:

Photo by Nolionsinengland

Banksy complains the old-fashioned way

According to The Guardian, Banksy‘s got a little problem with Channel 4’s Graffiti Wars documentary about Robbo and the Banksy versus Robbo feud. Rather than taking it to the street like you might expect when a street artist has a problem with the government or mass media, Banksy has sent a formal letter of complaint to Channel 4 and demanded an investigation. Among other concerns, Banksy is particularly upset that, in his opinion, the end of the documentary implies that Banksy was responsible for putting Robbo in a coma. To be clear, Banksy was not responsible for Robbo’s injury. Check out more details of Banksy’s complaints over at The Guardian.

Speaking of Robbo, a fundraiser for him took place today at Cargo in London. We hope it was a success.

Photo by Nolionsinengland

Weekend link-o-rama


With my mind still on Living Walls, I’ve got some catching up to do with what’s been going on outside of Atlanta. So here’s some of that catching up…

  • King Robbo is currently having serious health issues, and there’s a fundraising art auction at Cargo for him next month.
  • Brooklyn Street Art’s LA show, Street Art Saved My Life, opened and BSA has photo of the entire thing.
  • The Zoo Project are a major street art force in Paris, and this wall is one of my favorites from them in a while.
  • Tristan Manco contributed a list of his 10 favorite pieces of street art to The Guardian.
  • Shepard Fairey had quite an ordeal in Copenhagen. On the whole, I’ve got to agree with Shepard on this one. He made a mistake and tried to make it right, but people still beat him up and newspapers still sensationalized their stories in inaccurate ways. Uncool. That said, it’s worth pointing out that right in the midst of Shepard complaining about newspapers getting their facts straight and being ethical, he writes “I adhere to my ethical beliefs in all areas of my artistic and business practice.” I hate to kick a guy while he’s down, but it needs to be mentioned that Shepard did attempt to falsify evidence during his lawsuit with the AP, so those ethics aren’t always adhered to. Anyway, sucks that Shepard and Obey Clothing’s Romeo Trinidad were beat up.
  • Futura and Stash getting up in NYC.
  • James Marshal aka Dalek is trying something very different with his new work.
  • Nunca, Miss Van and others are at work on a mural project in Berlin.
  • Sao Paulo’s Museum of Art just opened a huge show of street artists including JR, Swoon, Invader and Remed.

Photos by Sabeth718

Graffiti Wars

So the other night I finally got around to watching Channel 4’s Graffiti Wars, otherwise known as “The documentary about ROBBO.” I have some mixed feelings about it, and obviously want to tread lightly talking about it with ROBBO’s condition (He is currently in a coma), but feel that RJ and I should at least attempt to address the pseudo-documentary.

For those who haven’t seen it yet, and you can over here on 4od online in the UK, the hour long special focuses on UK graffiti writer ROBBO and his ongoing turf war with Banksy. Vandalog has covered the “graffiti war” since the beginning, but pretty much Banksy covered a ROBBO piece along the Camden canal that had been there since the 1980’s and in retaliation ROBBO began writing graff again and he and his team would vandalize Banksy works.

My main issue with the documentary is not the extreme sympathy and bias that Channel 4 shows towards ROBBO throughout or the lack of interviews from street artists (not just all the graff writers that spoke on camera), but actually this alleged success story for ROBBO of him on the brink of becoming a fine artist.

I went back to Pure Evil yesterday (who is featured in the film for hosting ROBBO’s first solo show) to look at some of the unsold works. He has put them on display in the basement, so if you have a chance do go check them out. In all honesty, however, the work is not that great. Now we all know there is a lot of shit out there that people praise, but from a strictly artistic perspective, in my opinion the work is sub-par that was shown in the gallery. He is a graff writer and does amazing graff works, but his gallery work doesn’t reflect that wild style. The film focuses on ROBBO’s dreams of becoming a fine artist in his own right and that is is the crux of my issues. He is not a fine artist and he just used the feud between him and Banksy to make some money. He hadn’t been working for years, but all of a sudden, he used the notoriety of Banksy to get noticed and maneuver his way into the gallery system. Plenty of artists take advantage of publicity to sell art (Eine…), but eventually the work has to stand on its own. ROBBO’s does not. ROBBO might be a “king”, but he is not a great artist.

I am sure people have other views on this, but the documentary could have been more well-rounded and unbiased. It is a tragedy what happened to ROBBO, and my thoughts are prayers go out to his family and friends. If you want to help support ROBBO, there is a fundraiser/art auction taking place next month at Cargo.

Photos courtesy of Channel 4

Don’t Panic and Channel 4’s design competition

The UK’s Don’t Panic and Channel 4 have teamed up for a design competition celebrating Channel 4’s Street Summer, a summer line up of street culture related shows, including the UK TV premiere of Exit Through the Gift Shop and a documentary about Robbo, a graffiti writer at war with Banksy. Don’t Panic is asking for artists and designers to submit ideas to this website, which will then be voted on by the public and judged by guest artist judges like Faunagrafic. There will be 7 winning designs, one from each region of the UK. Each of those designs will then be rendered by the guest artist from the winning designer’s region and put up for two weeks outdoors. In addition, and for me this is the highlight, the winning designs will be featured in one of Don’t Panic’s trademark posters. In the past, artists like Eine and Banksy have done posters for Don’t Panic. Winners also get £300, their work on a postcard to be put in Don’t Panic pack and to be featured in a short film.

I don’t usually post about design competitions, but Don’t Panic packs and the posters inside are quintessentially London, so this opportunity for young artists and designers immediately caught my eye. Plus, I can’t wait to see how Channel 4’s film about Robbo comes out.

You can enter the competition and get more details here. Hurry though if you are looking to enter because voting begins on July 4th and the competition closes on the 17th. Also on that page, each of the regional artist judges have made a video about their local scene as well as what they are looking for in this competition.

Robbo thinks he is being clever

Another Robbo show, this time at Signal Gallery. Opening April 8, the gallery walls will be graced again with Robbo and friends’ cheeky works making fun of some of his more famous contemporaries. Maybe this time he will do something more original since people still seem interested in what he has to contribute to “art.”

Robbo Showing at Pure Evil Gallery

Usually, I love the shows that Pure Evil hosts. With a keen eye for fellow artistic talent, Pure Evil has put on some amazing solo shows with the likes of ROA, Dran and Specter, just to name a few. This time around though, I am a little disappointed to hear that Robbo is the latest artist to invade the gallery. You can think what you want, but in my blunt opinion, I think this atrocious to back an artist who has remade a name for himself late in his career because of a beef with another artist. I am, however, surprised it has taken this long for him to capitalize on his rejuvenated fame since the “War on Banksy” began. No doubt, there will be some pieces that make fun of the stencil artist, but I think this would be a good time for Robbo to step away from the controversy and show his own talent in a gallery, especially one that is so well respected in the street art community. If he does, I will eat my words. But his current actions in London, hyping the show, beg the differ as he and his cronies continue to bomb over Banksy pieces and make digs at him. For someone who has issues with an artist selling out and getting too big for his britches, I think the pot is calling the kettle black.

The show’s preview will take place tomorrow, September 30, at Pure Evil Gallery on Great Eastern Street. Stop by and let me know how it goes down since I am in Liverpool for the Biennial this week.

Top Cat at the Canal in Camden
More from The Canal

Photos courtesy of Robbo, Nolionsinengland, and Pure Evil

Juxtapoz interviews Robbo

After 6 months of “Team Robbo” running around, you’d think people would be tired of the guy already. I am. When 10 Foot dissed Banksy and a few other street artists, he was still getting up. As far as I can tell, dissing Banksy is all Robbo is doing these days. It’s not even that I agree or disagree with the politics of what Robbo is up to, it just bores me after 6 months. Juxtapoz isn’t bored yet though. They just posted an interview with Robbo. So, you know, if you disagree with me and you think Robbo is still interesting, you may want to check out that interview on Juxtapoz’ website.

Photo by MakaniMike