I’ve recently been spending a lot of my recent free time with a paint roller getting the inside of a building to look very white, so to counterbalance that, I’ve been seeking out some more disruptive uses of paint rollers. Here are a few recent pieces that I came across.
Often I find myself asking why certain artists have not been included in a book, but when it comes to Abstract Graffiti by Cedar Lewisohn, the spotlight is not on who should have been showcased but who has been and what they offer.
This insightful, thought provoking, and perhaps most importantly, interesting book, focuses on the increasing abstract nature of both graffiti and street art. Covering topics as diverse as knit graffiti and street training, alongside more conventional sprayology and pop influenced chapters, Abstract Graffiti immerses the reader in a world of vibrant colours, political statements and folk inspired characters.
Beginning with a fantastic introduction and conversation with Patricia Ellis, the book’s main basis is a series of interviews with both established graffiti artists and new practitioners of art based avant-garde practises. Each interview covers a different topic, my personal favourites being with Barbara Kruger, Futura, and the interviews on law with the Honourable Judge Hardy, Sweet Toof and Tek33. Juxtaposed alongside some great photos, the book not only provides an extensive review of graffiti and street art, but raises questions about how you yourself view the highly controversial art forms and their impacts on public space.
For me, the only negative is that despite Cedar stating that he does not aim to outline a new form of art, at times I feel it does portray it as exactly that. However, I do say that with reservation, it’s more of a slight downside rather than any issue or problem. And this negative is completely forgotten when you start reading the final chapter – a conversation with Les Back, a professor of sociology at Goldsmiths in London. Not defined directly as a conclusion, the conversation provides a perfect ending to the book and rightly so. Les’s clear passion for graffiti and street art comes to the fore whilst you read questions and answers on society, race, and London’s over jealous planning authorities. Often these topics are not usually raised, or in fact covered, in the usual run of the mill street art book, but this book is not run of the mill, it’s a fantastically written and completely absorbing.
In short, I think everyone interested in art should pick up a copy and get reading. It’s thoroughly enjoyable and I highly recommend it.
More information can be found here on the Merrell Publishers website.
Photos courtesy of Merrell Publishers. By KR, Cedar Lewisohn, and Escif.
There are a few little bits to mention today about my friends in Burning Candy. The crew have been keeping pretty busy lately.
The above wall (thanks to Tek33 for putting me up) is the latest in at least 3 large walls painted in London by members of BC in the last month or so. Nolionsinengland has photographed the othertwo.
Important note: I worked at High Roller Society for one day last week, but it’s not a regular job or something I expect to repeat since I’m moving soon. The crew’s Candy Shop show at High Roller Society kicks ass. It’s a small space, but Burning Candy have really made full use of the gallery. The installation is really fun to explore. There are so many little bits that it’s unlikely anybody noticed every minor detail that the crew had put into the assemblage of paintings, stickers, sculptures, drawings and found objects. There are photos on High Roller Society’s flickr, but I think that this weekend was the show’s last and it is now closed. But double check with HRS I guess, because I could be wrong.
Recently, I’ve been working with Burning Candy (Cept, Cyclops, Dscreet, Gold Peg, LL Brainwashed, Mighty Mo, Rowdy, Sweet Toof and Tek33) on a project that’s really got me excited. For me, Burning Candy are some of the most interesting and talented street artists living in the UK right now. In the UK, there isn’t a street artist who gets up harder, a graffiti writer who hits better spots or a crew that pushes the boundaries of their art further than the members of BC. So about this project…
A man called The Barron is directing a film about the rest of Burning Candy called Dots. This isn’t your ordinary graff film though. Since The Barron is a friend of the crew, he’s got more access than the standard documentary filmmaker would ever get. So far, he’s filmed and edited the first 20 minutes or so of the film. The next 70 minutes? It’s on its way, but Burning Candy needs the help of their fans to make it happen. To fund the making of the Dots, BC have made a box set of prints. All nine members of the crew have contributed an image to this print release. Since I’m working with BC on this print release, I’m obviously biased, but I don’t think there’s a bad image in the bunch.
So here’s the press release with all that vital info:
To help raise funds and make Dots a reality, Burning Candy has put together a limited edition set of 9 screenprints, one print from each member of the crew. The set will come in a hand-screenprinted bespoke box. The prints are 2-colors and A5 sized and the edition size is just 150. These prints aren’t only artwork; anyone who buys a set of prints will also own the rights to 0.05% of the films revenues for the next 10 years. 100% of the profits from these prints will go to funding the making of Dots.
The prints will be released online imminently for just £500. In the mean time, you can email sales(at)dotsfilm.com for more information.
And for those curious about my personal involvement in the film and print release, I’m helping out friends and artists that I believe in, but I’m also getting paid for my work.
I touched on this issue the other day, but I thought there was more to be said and some examples to be given.
There are a few graffiti writers who are blurring the line between graffiti and street art by painting trademark characters or symbols instead of, or in addition to, their names. Of course, painting characters has been around since the earliest days of graffiti, but in recent years, certain crews and writers have taken that a step further.
Here are a few examples of writers who I think are really pioneering a new form of character based graffiti. I think it could, and should, be one important direction for graffiti and street art in the coming years.