Letters From America opened last night at Black Rat Projects in London. The show, organized by Corey Helford Gallery, includes work by Ron English, TrustoCorp, Risk and Saber. I wasn’t sure how work from all of these artists would look when put together in one room, but it looks good. As usual, it looks like Ron and TrustoCorp brought some solid work, but the real treat is that the show is a rare opportunity for Londoners to see pieces by LA’s Risk and Saber. Risk and Saber’s work can certainly be a bit over the top, but so is graffiti. In particular, I am really enjoying Saber’s tribute to the UK’s National Health Service.
LA’s Corey Helford Gallery (who do advertise on Vandalog) have teamed up with London’s Black Rat Projects to put on a show, called Letters From America, in London on the 4th of July. Because the 4th is Independence Day in America, Corey Helford Gallery are bringing over a team of four American street artists to show at Black Rat Projects: Risk, Saber, TrustoCorp and Ron English. There aren’t many more details available for now, but I’ve been a lot of very exciting whispers about this show…
Update: This post should have been about Snyder’s lack of originality rather than a lack of creativity. As pointed out in the comments, Snyder has been drawing Doodle for many years. While perhaps creative, I still find much of Snyder’s work, particularly this piece, to be unoriginal. Maybe that’s worse.
Fromtime to time, I have posted about Snyder. He seems like an enthusiastic artist, and that’s commendable. He also as a talent for finding good placement for his pieces.
Sure, Snyder’s best work was always a fair amount like something Banksy would or had come up with, but I tried to ignore that and find the positives about Snyder’s work. After all, how many contemporary stencil artists can say that they’ve never been a bit too inspired by Banksy at least once?
And then Snyder introduced a character into his work whom he named Doodle. Okay, the character looks like a stenciled version of Dran’s character whom Dran named Scribble, and they are pretty much the same character. Both are slightly mischievous young artists. Again, this alone was frustrating, but Dran isn’t particularly well-known outside of Europe, so maybe Snyder, who is based in LA, hadn’t heard of him. Maybe it was just a coincidence.
And then I saw the stencil by Snyder at the top of this post, which is actually one of at least two in a series of similar pieces. Again, I was reminded of Banksy and of Dran, even a specific piece by Banksy (the maid, shown above). But now another artist came to mind too: Saber. Revealing tags beneath the buff is pretty much exactly like Saber’s Ripped Tag series of canvases. Saber’s canvases are significantly better executed than Synder’s work, but the similarities are clear.
At first, I saw Snyder’s clear Banksy influence and I thought that it was a phase. I thought that he would eventually grow out of it and get his own style. Influences are one thing, but Snyder goes beyond that. As time has gone on, it is clear that Snyder has not only failed to develop a personal style, but he has perhaps even increased his reliance on the ideas of other artists.
This buff/zipper piece goes too far. It’s actually not a bad idea. But it is quite transparently 3 other artists’ ideas mashed into one with little original content added by Snyder.
As flattering as it may seem for artists’ to be inspired others’ work, at the heart of this issue is pretty simple: if you are going to take inspiration from others’ work or blatantly rip their ideas, then do it better and make it your own. Snyder has clearly done neither and that in itself is disappointing at best.
I’d like to point out two fake Banksy social media accounts that I’ve been enjoying late. The first is the @BanksyIdeas Twitter account. It’s full of ideas for future Banksy pieces that will hopefully never be made. The other is The Real Banksy, a tumblr account made by Cardinal Burns. They are a comedy duo with a new show on E4 in the UK, and the guys behind this video. Their suburban Banksy character will feature in every episode of the Cardinal Burns show on E4. Here’s one of their new Banksy sketches.
Shepard Fairey has worked with Neil Young to make paintings inspired by Young’s latest album. The work will premiere at Perry Rubenstein Gallery’s brand new LA space in June during a one-day private event. Of the one piece previewed so far, the work looks distinctly Shepard Fairey, but also distinctly un-OBEY. I like it.
Saber is upset and taking to Twitter because this fantastic mural was buffed. While Saber seems to think that the wall was buffed for something related to the show Sons of Anarchy, The LA Weekly has the least biased overview of what’s gone down. Whatever reason though, it’s a real shame that that mural was destroyed. I must note that I find it interesting how, in the past, Saber has been all about the rights of property owners to do whatever they want with their walls, but now he has suddenly changed his tone and begun speaking out against public advertisements now that work by his friends has been destroyed. Glad to see the change of heart, but I’m disappointed that it took such an unfortunate incident for Saber to see some of the downsides to public advertisements.
Galerie F, possibly Chicago’s next art gallery focusing on street art, has taken to Kickstarter to help fund the repairs to their space that will make it usable a gallery.
Word To Mother’s show at White Walls looks great. That said, Word To Mother still seems to be finding his voice. He, as usual, experiments with some styles that are little-more than his own riffs on ideas by Barry McGee, Phil Frost and possibly Saber. In the past, he’s fiddled with things very reminiscent of Swoon and Monica Canilao. But the funny thing is that Word To Mother already has a style that is distinctly his own and almost all of his best work is in that style. While yes, the baseball bats inspired by Phil Frost are cool, it’s the original works on wood featuring characters and bits of text that are the stand-outs and the pieces that are most unique to Word To Mother. I understand not wanting to be boxed in and the urge to experiment, but this piece which clearly developed by spending a lot of time looking at Barry McGee/Phil Frost/maybe Saber is not the way to experiment. Still, overall looks like another cracker of a show from Word To Mother.
Two bits of Kaws news this week: He has a show in Hong Kong that his fans are going ga-ga for. I love the red Chum painting, but otherwise I’m not really bothered, although I think Kaws is, surprisingly, someone whose work is best appreciated in person so maybe I’m just plain wrong for being unimpressed by the jpegs. The big news for Kaws though is that there will be a balloon of one of his Companions in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this November.
I love the idea behind The New Blood, a show that Morgan Spurlock (of Supersize Me) has curated at Thinkspace Gallery: He asked established artists to each select one up-and-coming artist whose work they want highlight, with both artists having work in the show. Here’s what Spurlock has to say about the show:
I’m a massive art collector who, by way of my habit formed a relationship with Thinkspace’s Andrew Hosner, and when he offered me the opportunity to curate a show I jumped at the chance. The concept of the show is how the torch is passed from one artist to the next. One opens the door so another can follow. And this show is all about artists who I think have and are continuing to impact and change the art world, and each one of these artists is bringing along an ‘apprentice’ or ‘protege’ who they think we all need to know about, the artists they believe are the ‘New Blood’ of the art world.
The line-up looks really exciting…
Camille Rose Garcia / Travis Lampe
The Date Farmers / Albert Reyes
Dzine / Jesus Bubu Negron
Elizabeth McGrath / Morgan Slade
Gary Baseman / Jesse Dickenson
Gary Taxali / Adrian Forrow
Jonathan Yeo / Charlie Gouldsborough
Mark Jenkins / Sandra Fernandez
Nicola Verlato / Marco Mazzoni
Ron English / Kid Zoom
Saber / ZES
Shepard Fairey / Nicholas Bowers
Tim Biskup / Patrick Hruby
The New Blood opens at Thinkspace Gallery on April 28th and runs through May 19th.
UPDATE – LOCATION CHANGE: The Underbelly Show has moved to 78 NW 25th Street in Wynwood, Miami to accommodate the large scale of the artwork in this show.
The Underbelly Project is back. Last year, I posteda lotabout the project where 103 artists from around the world secretly painted an abandoned/half-completed New York City subway station. After that initial burst of press here and around the web, The Underbelly Project organizers stayed silent. With only occasional vague tweets from a mysterious twitter account and the appearance on Amazon of an upcoming book about the project. Yesterday though, The Underbelly Project announced that they will be participating in this year’s Basel Miami Week madness with a pop-up gallery in South BeachWynwood.
The organizers of The Underbelly Project and The Underbelly Show, Workhorse and PAC, have this to say about the show:
Workhorse: The New York Underbelly was an important chapter for us, but the story hadn’t been comprehensively told. The Underbelly Miami show gives us a chance to present the broad scope of documentation – Videos, photos, time-lapses and first hand accounts. The project is about more than just artwork. This show gives us a chance to show the people and the environment behind the artwork.
PAC: While the experience each artist had in their expedition underground can never be captured, it is my hope that this show will highlight some of the trials and tribulations associated with urban art taking place in the remote corners of our cities. Too often the practice of making art in unconventional venues remains shrouded in mystery and I hope this exhibition will shine a faint light on those artists who risk their safety to find alternative ways to create and be a part of the cities they live in.
35 of the 103 artists from The Underbelly Project will be exhibiting art in The Underbelly Show, plus video and still footage of the artists at work in the tunnel. Here’s the full line-up: Faile, Dabs & Myla, TrustoCorp, Aiko, Rone, Revok, Ron English, Jeff Soto, Mark Jenkins, Anthony Lister, Logan Hicks, Lucy McLauchlan, M-City, Kid Zoom, Haze, Saber, Meggs, Jim & Tina Darling, The London Police, Sheone, Skewville, Jeff Stark, Jordan Seiler, Jason Eppink and I AM, Dan Witz, Specter, Ripo, MoMo, Remi/Rough, Stormie Mills, Swoon, Know Hope, Skullphone, L’Atlas, Roa, Surge, Gaia, Michael De Feo, Joe Iurato, Love Me, Adam 5100, and Chris Stain.
For this show, the space will be transformed into an environment imitating the tunnel where The Underbelly Project took place, right down to playing sounds recorded in the station while The Underbelly Project was happening.
If you absolutely cannot wait until February to get We Own The Night, the book documenting The Underbelly Project, a limited number will be available at The Underbelly Show in a box set with 9 photographic prints and the book all contained in a handcrafted oak box. Additionally, you will be able to your book signed by the artists participating in The Underbelly Show.
The Underbelly Show will take place at 2200 Collins Avenue, South Beach, Miami78 NW 25th Street, Wynwood, Miami. There will be a private opening on November 30th, and the space will be open to the general public December 2nd-5th, with a general opening on the 2nd from 8-10pm.
We visited Opera Gallery earlier today just a few hours before the official opening of “Abstractions,” a retrospective of the abstract movement that features artists who’ve used the streets as their canvas, alongside such “fine” artists as Miro and Matta. Here are a few images:
The exhibit continues through October 16 at 115 Spring Street in SoHo.
While some people would argue that LA has one of the most vibrant mural, street art and graffiti scenes in the world, there’s something holding it back: The legal impossibility of painting murals with permission. Because the city of LA essentially considers all murals commercial signage, getting permission from the property owner is not enough. Without permission from the city government (which sounds nearly impossible to get), even murals painted with the building owner’s permission are illegal in the eyes of the city.
Today, Saber decided to fight back against the city by hiring 5 skywriters to write messages in support of art and his friends across the skies of LA. Additionally, Saber has a blog post explaining his opposition to the city’s mural moratorium and cataloging instances where good art has been impacted by the absurd enforcement of a law that was intended to impact public advertising.
Normally I’d like to avoid doing a link-o-rama post in the middle of the week, but there have been a number of big stories to break in the last 24 hours or so, and since I’m in the middle of moving house, there’s no way I was going to be able to otherwise cover them in a timely manner. So here we go…
Liu Bolin, aka that artist who paints himself into landscapes and photographs himself sort of disappearing, has collaborated with Kenny Scharf on his latest piece at Kenny’s mural in NYC. Wooster Collective has that story.
Although Art in the Streets was supposed to move from MOCA in LA to the Brooklyn Museum next year, the Brooklyn museum has cancelled their iteration of the street art and graffiti show. They cite financial difficulties, but the show is set to break attendance records in LA, so that’s probably some BS to cover their asses. The show has already caused controversy in NYC, and there is speculation that the cancellation is due to political pressure and fears about that controversy. Hopefully a museum with some balls will pick up the show and it will still make it to NYC.
I normally am not this much of an ass, but this was too good to pass up and not post. I have heard about this show at Opera Gallery for awhile now, as I am sure most of you have as well. I may have been able to overlook the ridiculous name of the show, The Street Art Show, because of the incredible line-up: Keith Haring, Jean-Michael Basquiat, Banksy, Blek Le Rat, Seen, Ron English, Logan Hicks, Crash, The London Police, Nick Walker, How & Nosm, Saber, ROA, D*Face, Sweet Toof, Mr. Jago, b., Swoon, Kid Zoom, ALEXONE, Anthony Lister, Alexandrous Vasmoulakis and Rich Simmons, but then I remembered that this is still a show put on by Opera Gallery, the home of the beloved Mr. Brainwash. They do put on good show as well as some really shit ones, and I really do want this to be good, but that association still leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Plus I cannot help, but feel a bit suspicious since the show is launching on the heels of Art in the Streets.
The Street Art Show seems to be more for the collectors’ benefit who are still salivating over the interest in the LAMOCA show and want to buy more/start buying some pieces for their own collections. Well, at least Mr. Brainwash isn’t an option this time around, although i am sure he will be again soon enough.
The show opens June 17th at Opera Gallery in London.