Nether on Wall Hunters’ “Slumlord Project”

September 6th, 2013 | By | 2 Comments »
Mata Ruda’s piece on Broadway

Mata Ruda’s piece on Broadway. Photo courtesy of Wall Hunters.

Editor’s note: I tried to write about this fascinating project that just finished up in Baltimore, but for some reason I was unable. So, instead, I asked Nether to write about the project for Vandalog. Nether was one of the co-organizers, so instead of my guesswork and thoughts based on a few articles I had read, now we have a first-hand account of one of the more daring street art projects in recent memory: Wall Hunters’ “Slumlord Project”. – RJ Rushmore

Wall Hunters‘ “Slumlord Project” was a project that installed 17 pieces on dilapidated vacant houses that are owned by people we consider to be negligent property owners. The project was a collaborative venture between the newly-minted street artists’ nonprofit, Wall Hunters, and Slumlord Watch, a local blog that documents the city’s shameful and shockingly large stock of uninhabitable vacant homes. QR codes and text descriptions were pasted alongside the art. A cell phone app scan of these instantly unveiled ownership information on the guilty landowner by linking to the Baltimore Slumlord Watch website. The artists’ ephemeral work and the community reaction to it was recorded for a documentary being produced by the project’s third partners, filmmakers Tarek Turkey and Julia Pitch. The project’s goal was to catalyze a larger conversation on Baltimore’s vacancy issue–a conversation that includes the normally muted voices of those who live in the targeted neighborhoods, as well as politicians and the developers whose phone calls get answered by city hall.

The idea for the project was born about a year ago. At that time I was putting up wheatpastes on dilapidated, vacant houses. As I was researching specific properties I was hitting, I regularly came across the Baltimore Slumlord Watch blog run by the housing activist Carol Ott. Slumlord Watch is basically Wiki-leaks for Baltimore’s underfunded housing authority. As blog posts make clear, many of the blighted houses are owned by entities with the means to fix their crumbling properties–slumlords who blithely ignore the cost of their neglect on city communities. Since much of my work uses images to deal with the vacancy problem and Carol was battling the same issue, we decided to meet and try to do something that joined street art with housing activism. I began driving her around while she catalogued vacants and researched ownership, and I wheatpasted.

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Specter hits Japan and Russia

June 15th, 2013 | By | No Comments »
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“Bodega Window” in Tokyo’s Harijuku fashion district

Specter is a rare and fascinating thing; his acrylic, hand-painted wheatpastes are detailed enough to emulate the real thing, and subtle enough for passersby to not even notice them. Really, it’s quite a gift and a curse. In the last year, he’s worked on projects around the world and is finally back to his hometown of Brooklyn to share some of his latest installations.

While in Vladivostok, Russia he put up his “Chromatin Structure” in the Sister City Park. In Tokyo, Specter put up his piece “Bodega Window” in the Harijuku fashion district. Before leaving for this trip, he also installed his “Brooklyn Windows” at King and Grove in Williamsburg. “Brooklyn Windows is a documentation of Brooklyn’s changing life examined through windows. Each painted window is a representation of actual windows from various long-standing buildings in the Williamsburg area. The placement and concept of this work comment on the abundance of windows surrounding the space that reflect on each other and on the painting.This reflection of the painted windows is a reflection of the past in the current where each old window represents a new replacement,” says Specter.

"Chromatin Structure" in Sister City Park in Vladivostok, Russia

“Chromatin Structure” in Sister City Park in Vladivostok, Russia

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“Brooklyn Windows”

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“Brooklyn Windows”

Photos courtesy of Specter


Category: Photos | Tags:

Weekend link-o-rama

June 22nd, 2012 | By | No Comments »

The week isn’t over yet, but this week’s news is going to be old if I don’t mention it soon. Here’s some of what I missed this week:

Photo by SMKjr


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Weekend link-o-rama

April 15th, 2012 | By | 3 Comments »

Specter for Open Walls Baltimore

This week’s link-o-rama is a few days delayed. Parents were in town earlier this week and even came to an event some friends of mine organized at Haverford College: A talk by Jayson Musson (the artist who created and plays the character Hennessy Youngman). I don’t think my mom was amused. Here’s what I’ve been reading this week:

Photos by Martha Cooper


Category: Books / Magazines, Festivals, Gallery/Museum Shows, Interview, Photos, Products, Random, Vandalog Projects | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Open Walls Baltimore Kicks Off

February 28th, 2012 | By | 4 Comments »

Open Walls Baltimore is a project that I have been personally coordinating with the not for profit Station North and is supported by the PNC foundation and a generous Our Town grant from the NEA. The intention is of course to produce great art on the streets and put on for my city that I love so much. Yet, of course, as every public art project must be, the OWB initiative will hopefully produce more than just spectacular murals. This is about an investment in a neighborhood that is burdened by 150 vacant homes and bridging the gaps between the artist community that calls Station North home and the residents of Greenmount West. Inspired by my experience with both Wynwood Walls in Miami and Living Walls in Atlanta, this initial and very exciting start will hopefully result in a continued support for public art and experimental intervention that can become more holistic as time moves forward. The current line up is as follows: Interesni Kazki, Maya Hayuk, Swoon, Specter, Doodles, Jaz, Ever, Freddy Sam, Mata Ruda, Nanook, MOMO, Vhils, Sten and Lex, Chris Stain, Jetsonorama, Overunder, and others. The website is now live. More to come!!!

Photos by Martha Cooper


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So many shows about to open

February 9th, 2012 | By | No Comments »

Bom.k and Sowat of Da Mental Vaporz

There are so many interesting shows opening in the next week or two that I thought I’d just throw them all together into one post. Here’s what I think looks worth checking out:

  • Yesterday, the Museum of Sex in New York opened a show that sounds absolutely awesome called F*ck Art. It’s on through June 10th and features artwork by Aiko, El Celso, Lush, Mode2, Cassius Fouler, Miss Van and many more.
  • Love & Hate is a group show opening at StolenSpace this week and runs through March 4th. D*face, Dan Witz, Ronzo, Word to Mother, Jeff Soto, Eine, Charles Krafft and others are included.
  • Chris Stain, Veng and Taka Sudo will be showing together at C.A.V.E. Gallery, beginning February 11th. Brooklyn Street Art has a preview of Chris’ work.
  • Zes and Retna are together at Known Gallery in LA. LA TACO has the info.
  • Nick Mann aka Doodles, Brett Flanigan, Craig Rodgers and Dan Bortz are collaborating with one another in Oakland, CA.
  • Another collaborative group show will be in Da Mental Vaporz‘ (Bom.k, Blo, Brusk, Dran, Gris1, ISO, Jaw, Kan, and Sowat) show at Melbourne. That show, Le Venin, will be at RTIST Gallery from February 16th through March 4th.
  • All Talk at Pandemic Gallery will include Aakash Nihalani, Cassius Fouler, Gabriel Specter, Jesus Saves, NohJColey and others and runs from February 17th through March 11th.

Photo courtesy of Da Mental Vaporz


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Underbelly resurfaces: The Underbelly Show

November 8th, 2011 | By | 4 Comments »

Surge, Gaia, Stormie, Remi/Rough and in The Underbelly Project

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 posted a lot about 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 Beach Wynwood.

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, Miami 78 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.

Photo by RJ Rushmore


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A studio visit with Gabriel Specter

July 18th, 2011 | By | 4 Comments »

Here’s a guest post from Caroline, who will hopefully be taking some more photos for Vandalog – RJ

I had the pleasure of visiting the studio of Brooklyn based artist Gabriel Specter recently. Getting to see how these notoriously massive pieces come together exposed the incredible amount of detail in each of his pieces. What’s more is that these intricate, hand-painted giants take a beating from whatever the weather can bring, and last not nearly as long as us viewers might like. But at the rate Specter’s been getting up (internationally at that), with gallery shows, and an increasingly large following on the web, ephemerality has nothing on him.

Speaking with Specter, it’s clear that the detail is very obviously not just in the aesthetics of the finish product. Every piece he showed me came with a captivating explanation.

Specter has been really busy these pasts few months, from his Things Change solo show in Paris, his Repeat Offender show at Pawnworks in Chicago, and he’s hoping to do more city commissioned mural work in the near future, which is essentially doing the same thing he’s been doing, but maybe a little bigger since he’ll have the city’s written permission.

While he’s not planning any solo shows for the near future, we’re gonna be seeing a lot of fresh stuff from Specter indoors and on the streets soon. Catch him in the up coming group shows Crown Heights Gold opening July 28th (6pm – 8pm) @ Skylight Gallery in Brooklyn, NY,  as well as Street Art Saved My Life @ C.A.V.E. Gallery in Venice(LA),California on August 12. This September, Specter will be traveling to Tajikistan to put up new work.

Photos by Caroline Caldwell


Category: Guest Posts, Studio Visits | Tags:

Gabriel Specter’s “Repeat Offender” at Pawn Works Chicago

June 18th, 2011 | By | No Comments »

We’re way late on this one, but Gabriel Specter had a show at Pawn Works Chicago last month. Here are a few of my favorite works from Repeat Offender. Check out the rest at the Pawn Works website.

Photos courtesy of Pawn Works Chicago


Category: Gallery/Museum Shows | Tags: ,

Photos from Factory Fresh’s Bushwick Art Park

June 6th, 2011 | By | No Comments »

Skewville at the Bushwick Art Park

Last weekend, Factory Fresh hosted another 1-day iteration of their Bushwick Art Park with new murals by Veng, Bast and Skewville and sculptures by Leon Reid IV, Specter, Skewville, Infinity and others. Above is a photo of Skewville’s mural. Right next to is Bast’s mural. The Street Spot has photos of Veng’s mural and the sculptures.

Photo by astrodub


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