Whitecross Street Party 2011

Whitecross Street party 2010

This weekend, the 23rd and 24th of July, Whitecross Street in London is host to this year’s Whitecross Street Party. Last year featured artists like Dr. D, Filthy Luker and the Burning Candy crew. Expect more street artists at this year’s event including Milo Tchais, Shepard Fairey (probably not the man himself, but something from him) and Ronzo. There’s also an indoor art exhibition. Here’s the flyer, and there’s more info on the party’s website:

Photo by Keri.flickr

The Man Behind Crunchy…

With the launch of Ronzo‘s latest solo show, “Crackney’s Finest,” Vandalog thought it would be a good idea to get to know the mastermind behind the roach pizza man and Crunchy. Here are some pictures of the opening night as well. And if you haven’t gone to see it yet, get your arse down to Brick Lane ASAP.

How did you get into art in the first place, eventually evolving into your aesthetic today?

When I was little I just always wanted to draw and paint. Later on in school it seemed to be a good career choice as it was the only thing I was  really enjoying plus I wasn’t good in anything else but art class. I think the result of my aesthetics today is a mixture of all the stuff that influenced me on the way, my own ideas/ things I think would be cool to do and the ‘Ronzo Credo’ which is: innovate – don’t imitate. I like my work to look a bit different to the generic perception of ‘Street Art’. That’s how I ended up with the look and feel we see now.

Where do you come up with the concept of your characters? Most of them, although funny and light on appearance, embody a socio-cultural commentary. Would you agree?
Definitely! I’m trying to strike a balance of the work being humorous/entertaining with an element of more or less meaningful social commentary. I don’t want to be shallow but on the other hand I don’t want it to be to political and serious either  –  it would get boring. A good way to get to people is via humour. An excellent example for this is ‘Modern Times’  by ‘Charley Chaplin’. He is one of my heroes. I haven’t got real concepts for my characters. More ideas and things that I see in real life. When I draw I try to remember people or situations I’ve seen and add a bit of a Ronzo twist to it. I try to ‘keep it real’ this way and not overcomplicate things too much.

One of my favorite works of yours will always be the giant Crunchy on the Village Underground. It was one of the first pieces I saw when I lived in London a few years ago and I fell in love with the piece and the intent behind it. How did your notions of Crunchy begin?
Thank you – He’s my favourite too. I always try to melt non-fiction and fiction together. In case of Crunchy, I feel it couldn’t have worked out better. I lost my job then and so did many people I know. I felt it wouldn’t be much use to look for a new job as there weren’t any. Instead I wanted to spend my time on doing something in the public eye that is dealing with the subject. The result was ‘Crunchy’ – a mixture of a real life economy crises and a Godzilla fable creature. I had lot of help while doing it from my friends and Village Underground as well. I’m happy that we did it because I feel that people can relate to it. Everyone has their own experience with the recession and Crunchy reminds as a bit about it everyday.

Can you explain the use of unique materials in your work? I know I was surprised when i discovered what some of your works were made of?
I use spray paint, acrylics, pencil, paper, canvas, fiber glass, resin, wood, metal. clay etc. I’m interested in any materials really. But in the end of the day it’s just materials. They don’t mean anything. The Idea is the only important thing.

Congratulations on your solo exhibit, “Crackney’s Finest,” going on now at Stolenspace gallery. How did you decide what you wanted to do for the solo show?
Thank you – Glad you like it. ‘Crackney’s Finest’ came about as I realised I had too many characters with their individual stories to put under on roof. I just needed a good phrase to round them all up. And as they all live in the virtual borough of Crackney I thought to name them ‘Cracknety’s Finest’ fit’s just fine. Like if they were the ‘creme de la creme’ of the neighbourhood.

Your work is created in so many different mediums? Which outlet do you like to work in most?
That’s difficult to tell – I love everything really. And all of it starts with sketching and drawing.

What is your favorite piece from the show?
The Pizza Roach  (Giant spinning cockroach on Honda delivery bike)

What projects can we look forward to in the immediate future from you?
The good old stuff – Just bigger and better. I’m preparing a big street installation at the moment and a view other things. All top secret of course – but I will keep you posted…
Photos via Butterfly

Preview: Ronzo at StolenSpace Gallery this week

Ronzo‘s second solo show at London’s StolenSpace Gallery, Crackney’s Finest, opens on Thursday evening, and Ronzo sent over a couple of photos of the show coming together…

While Ronzo may be best known for his sculptures, he also makes cool distopian dioramas

The show is going to include paintings, collages, prints and sculptures. While my favorite artworks from Ronzo are his diorama paintings, I think most people’s favorites are probably the giant sculptures like these…

Crackney’s Finest opens at StolenSpace on Thursday and runs through November 28th, so get there quick.

Photos by Ronzo

Weekend link-o-rama

A lot of events have been happening this week, most likely so that everyone can make a last minute push in shows and such before the holidays. Then we have nothing to write about. Gotta love when a whole industry shuts down for a month or so.

Blu (photo vua Nuart)

Anyways, so here is what has been going on:

  • Tonight is the opening of the London Miles Gallery “The Idol Hours”. The show is a group show that gives artists like Luke Chueh, Travis Lampe and Scott Young the opportunity to portray artworks from the art canon in a modern sense
  • Factory Fresh will be hosting a Block Part in Brooklyn Nov. 20th with a live mural painting from Gai, Imminent Disaster, Chris Stain and Skewville. The Burning Candy Crew will also be showing new portions of their ongoing documentary Dots
  • New Blu piece in France popped up recently. Such detail as usual
  • Remi/Rough has been busy in England lately. He has a new print released, designed the decor of the new Wahaca Soho eatery, and put up a nice piece in Birmingham with time lapse video
  • Finally, A Barry McGee retrospective will take place in 2012 in Berkeley, California in conjunction with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. The two organizations were awarded a $100,000 grant by the Andy Warhol Foundation to put on the show
  • Unusual Image has some great photos of the Best Ever show that took place at Blackall Studios last night
  • Stolenspace will play host to the second solo show by Ronzo entitled “Crackney’s Finest.” The show will open Nov. 19th

The Making of Crunchy

Ever since I lived in London two years ago during study abroad,  I fell in love with countless street pieces that are sadly R.I.P. Yet, one of my favorite pieces still stands above the Village Underground in Shoreditch untouched and unscathed by vandals and the elements. Ronzo’s Crunchy the Credit Monster stands as a symbol of the recession overlooking the now gentrified Great Eastern Street, although to me, he still looks like a baby Reptar from the Rugrats (which is actually what I thought it was before I researched the piece). Recently, Ronzo and company released a video finally explaining the making of the adorable sculpture.

Crunchy the Credit Monster

CRUNCHY – The Credit Crunch Monster from Ronzo on Vimeo.

Dreweatts Urban Contemporary auction

This Wednesday, Dreweatts hosts their latest urban art auction in London. This time around it’s called “Urban Contemporary.” Honestly, I’ve avoided posting about this auction until now because while there are some highlights, the lowlights are awkward and disappointing to write about.

Lets start with the positives. Some of works that I’m really liking (in no particular order):

Lot 89: Point Blank by Martin Lea Brown. 67cm x 167cm. Estimated £3,000-5,000. This painting looks okay online, but is just so nice in person.

Lot 72: Musas by Sam3. 91.5cm x 61cm. Estimated £700-900. An interesting painting for the price. It amazes me how cheap a Sam3 original can be. Though I suppose his work is best experienced outside.

Lot 64: African Fence by Rowdy. 91.5cm x 61cm. Estimated £900-1,100.

Lot 47: Studio Critics by Sweet Toof. 91.5cm x 61cm. Estimated £2,000-4,000. Sweet Toof is a painter. He’s a graffiti writer. He’s a street artist. He’s a print-maker. What is he? He’s talented.

Lot 49: Cruncy – Pity of London by Ronzo. 40cm x 40cm Plinth. 106cm x 40cm. Estimated £1,000-1,5000. Apparently this is the only Pity of London sculpture that didn’t go on the streets. So it’s something kind of special.

And now the things about this auction that epically disappoint me. The things that made me not want to write about this auction at all. In no particular order. And there are others lots in this sale that were very disappointing to see at auction, but I’m not going to list them all. Hopefully this gives you a taste.

Lot 13: Self Portrait by Adam Neate. 167cm x 123cm. Estimated £15,000-20,000. Almost everyone I know believes that Adam Neate’s pieces like these should be kept out of auction at all costs. Even if this reaches the high estimate for the piece, it will only serve to further damage the market for his paintings. And in my opinion, Adam is one of the most talented British painters working today, so I’d like to see the market for his paintings recover.

Lot 9: Morons by Banksy. 76.5cm x 56cm. Estimated £3,000-5,000. Every “urban art” auction seems to have at least one Morons print.

Lot 17: Untitled by Seen. 60cm x 70cm. Estimated £600-800. I don’t take issue with this painting. I definitely take issue with how Dreweatts has handled the artwork in their sale. In the catalog, this painting is upside down. Luckily, that’s been fixed online. But when I went to see this piece in the flesh at the auction house last Thursday, it was hung sideways. That, or it’s now sideways online (but given that the central icon of the piece is a Seen tag, I’m guessing that the tag is meant to be read left to right, so the online image is correct and it was hung sideways). Either way, that’s more than a little bit upsetting.

Lot 63: Number 5 by Herakut. 80cm x 100cm. Estimated £2,000-3,000. Another great painting that Dreweatts has just handled poorly. Again, it’s online and in the catalog sideways (and possibly hung that way in the auction-house as well, I can’t remember)! Now, given the content of the painting, I can see how somebody might not be sure which way is up. In fact, you’d have to look at the painting for more than half a second to realize that it might be sideways. How did I figure out that the piece is sideways? There’s an image of the piece online. And it was originally part of a tetraptych, so you know that the image I found online has the painting hanging the right way. Could Dreweatts have missed this? Sure. Except that lot 62 is a painting from the same tetraptych. It amazes me that nobody at Dreweatts took the 30 seconds of research that it took me to figure out which way this painting is meant to hang. Epic fail.

So that’s the Dreweatts “Urban Contemporary” auction. It takes place on Wednesday April 21st in London, and you can bid online.