Sad news to report: Very Nearly Almost, the UK’s premier magazine covering street art/graffiti/muralism…, is shutting down after 10 years.
VNA was an early inspiration for me when Vandalog was just starting out. I would devour their interviews. VNA privileged the voice of the artist, publishing in-depth interviews with street art superstars like Shepard Fairey, as well as people who probably don’t get quite the same chances to take deep dives exploring their work. A few times, I’ve been fortunate to contribute to VNA as an interviewer. Actually, an interview with Case for VNA might have been the first time that someone else published my work.
The community around VNA, a community of contributing writers, photographers, and even artists who collaborated on limited edition covers, is a testament to the importance of the magazine and the genuine love and excitement with which the VNA team approached their work.
Between two projects launching at Creative Time and preparations underway for two major personal projects (more on one of those in just a moment), Vandalog has been pretty quiet lately. Taking a step back has allowed me to get excited about all the good things happening in street art, graffiti, and public art over the last month or two, and there’s lots more goodness still to come in through the fall. So here’s a bit of a round up of what I’ve been working on, the great things some friends of Vandalog are doing, and all the interesting stuff that people who I were were my friends are doing.
Over at my office job at Creative Time, we just launched Doomocracy, an immersive artwork by Pedro Reyes. Basically, it’s a haunted house in Brooklyn, themed around the state of American politics. I’llet the folks at artnet News explain. I’ll just add that I am consistently amazed by the epic projects that the production team at Creative Time is able to pull off. Tickets to Doomocracy are free, but right now they’ve all booked up. You can sign up here to get an email if we release more tickets.
Simultaneously, we’ve also got the Creative Time Summit coming up in DC next week. Dozens of amazing speakers coming together to talk about art, social justice, and the state of democracy. And tickets to that are still available. See you there?
In January, I’ll be returning to Haverford College in suburban Philadelphia to curate ALL BIG LETTERS, an exhibition about the tools, strategies, motivations, and innovations of graffiti writers. It’s an honor to be curating a show at Haverford’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery, where I worked for almost four years while I was in school there. More info on ALL BIG LETTERS as that approaches.
Wooster Collective is releasing a book to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of their historic 11 Spring Street exhibition. Although I missed the original 11 Spring Street, I’m looking forward to celebrating the project with this book.
Luna Park, one of the most important photographers of contemporary street art and graffiti, is releasing her first book. (Un)Sanctioned: The Art on New York Streets will launch next month as part of the 10 Years of Ad Hoc Art show at Brooklyn’s 17 Frost Gallery, and you can pre-order the book on Amazon. This is LONG overdue. We all know that there’s a glut of generic street art and graffiti photography books already on the market, but (Un)Sanctioned seems likely to be an essential purchase on par with Trespass, Subway Art, and Stuck Up Piece of Crap.
Had a quick holiday in New York City combined with a nasty cold to delay posting this link-o-rama, but I’m back so here we go…
Dave aka nolionsinengland has been a friend and also one of my favorite street art/graffiti photographers for many years now. I’m very excited to see that he’s now offering street art tours of London in addition to his street art photography workshops. There aren’t too many people who can take me on a graffiti or street art tour of London, but Dave has shown me around before and he still schools me every time we meet up. This guy knows his stuff, and regular reads of this site have seen his photos on here for years. I haven’t taken this tour of course, but from every experience I’ve had with Dave over the past 5 or so years, I cannot recommend him highly enough.
Banksy’s No Ball Games street piece in London has been removed from the wall and is due to be sold next year. The profits from the sale will be going to charity, but I’m curious if that means the profits for person who owns the wall, or if the group organizing the removal and sale are also forgoing any profits. The company that removed this wall is the same one that managed the sale of Banksy’s Slave Labour street piece earlier this year.
Faile are on the cover of the latest issue of Very Nearly Almost, so there will be launch events in both NYC and London. The NYC launch is July 31st at Reed Projects and the London launch will be 8th August at Lazarides.
Remi/Rough recently put together a book of sketches that you can read online. Most artists who have met me know that I’m always carrying around a blackbook, and that I love to collect sketches, so this project of Remi’s was a real joy for me. It’s really fascinating to see what’s going on behind the scenes with this work.
Caroline and I went to this show in Brooklyn on Saturday night. I was really impressed with EKG’s drawings. A few of them definitely reminded me of Rammellzee. Col’s screenprints on wood were also interesting as a change of pace for someone who I’ve always known as a master with spray can.
Longtime readers will know that I am a big fan of Very Nearly Almost, a British art magazine for street art, graffiti, illustration and the like. Their latest issue has been a very welcome reprieve for me as I’ve turned to it in between writing essays upon essays for my final exams. Issue 22 features interviews with Vhils, Vexta, Cranio, Moneyless, Husk Mit Navn and more.
The Vhils and Husk Mit Navn interviews in particular make this issue worth seeking out. Vhils talks about his early career as a graffiti writer and suggests that he’s still active today, although the work isn’t traceable back to his career as a fine artist or muralist. This certainly isn’t unheard of for street artists who have “gone legit,” but it’s still a bit surprising to hear him talk about it, and about how graffiti still informs his work today. And Husk Mit Navn is an absolutely fantastic and underrated artist (check out some of his work here) who also has a lot to say about how his work is perceived in galleries, on the street, and online. Good stuff.
Although he is interviewed, the one thing this issue doesn’t answer for me is what people see in Cranio’s work. Seems to me like Nunca + Os Gêmeos – awesomeness/originality = Cranio, but people seem to go nuts over it. Is he a really nice guy? Is it just that people are so in love with what Os Gêmeos and Nunca are doing that they’ll accept a substitute when the masters aren’t available? This isn’t one of those times where I’m gonna say a grey wall would be better than Cranio’s work. There’s plenty of street art in the world that’s better than a grey wall but still doesn’t need to be celebrated like it’s the next big thing, and Cranio seems to me to fall into that category. If you have an answer or an opinion, I’d love to read it in the comments. Anyway…
We’ve got 5 issues of Very Nearly Almost magazine’s latest issue to send off to Vandalog readers. I’ve been a fan of VNA since around the time I started Vandalog, and it’s a magazine that I always recommend as an alternative to Hi-Fructose and Juxtapoz.
For issue 19, they’ve got a great cover article on Anthony Lister, as well as interviews with Twoone, Remed and others. As it tends to be with VNA, my personal favorite part of this issue is not what you might expect (the interviews) but their photos of graffiti and street art in Newcastle. Of course the interviews are great too, particularly Lister’s.
We’ve got 5 copies of VNA issue 19 up for grabs, just answer this question in the comments: What country is Anthony Lister from? Out of those who answer correctly, 5 will be selected at random and sent a copy of the magazine. Answer by noon East Coast time on Saturday, September 8th. We’ll notify the winners via email shortly after that.
Screw Conor Harrington. Screw Ronzo. Screw Remi/Rough. Not because all of those people aren’t great. Not because I dislike their work. Not because their interviews in Very Nearly Almost issue 18 are uninteresting. I don’t know Ronzo personally, but Conor and Remi have been nothing but nice to me. All three of them have made cool art. Their interviews in VNA are worth reading. But screw them because all of Very Nearly Almost issue 18 pales in comparison to their spectacular interview with the legendary Mode2. I’ll certainly admit that I don’t like everything Mode2 has ever done, but he has been an innovator in Europe for decades and when he gets it right, he gets it very very right. He is also very clearly a smart man. VNA’s interview with Mode2 is detailed, insightful and worth every moment you’ll spend reading it.
If you still haven’t picked up a copy of VNA18, I highly encourage you to do so now. You won’t regret it. Plus, after you’re done reading the Mode2 interview, Ronzo, Conor, Remi and the rest of the artists in this issue honestly do have some interesting bits to say as well, and there are some rare pics of How&Nosm’s work in Brazil.
I was finally been able to set aside some time this past weekend to ready Very Nearly Almost‘s issue #17. As usual, VNA have confirmed why they are my favorite magazine covering street art. For their latest issue, which is admittedly not that new so sorry for the delay, VNA interview some of the most interesting figures in street art, including El Mac and Interesni Kazki. Juxtapoz also recently had an interview with IK, but I get bored with Juxtapoz’s interview and found VNA’s interview interesting, so that’s saying something. As long as you ignore the interview with Goldie, VNA has once again shown their commitment to producing a magazine which is equally timely and timeless. They speak with some of the best-known names in street art today, but the magazine will be almost just as readable in a year or more.
The interviews with El Mac and Pablo Delgado were particular highlights for me. El Mac is well-spoken and just seems like a smart guy, which is always nice to learn. And Delgado is a figure who seemed to pop up out of nowhere in London and get bloggers and photographers all wondering “Who the hell is this guy putting up awesome tiny pieces all over Shoreditch?” practically overnight.