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Brooklyn Street Art

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Jetsonorama’s New Piece in Telluride and “Wastewater Snow”

Posted on May 24, 2016

“What we do to the mountains we do to ourselves,” says the blocky hand written text across the Native American activists Klee and Princess Benally, and on the face of it you’re bound to agree with this gently oblique environmental sentiment. However, at the base of this black, white and crimson red portrait is a far stronger critique of the commercial practice of using wastewater to make snow for ski bunnies.

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Jetsonorama (photo © Jim Hurst)

Street Artist Jetsonorama (real name Chip Thomas) is on a ladder in Telluride just in time for the famed and prestigious Mountain Film Festival and he says he only has a two week permit for this mural during the Memorial Day-centered event that kicks off Wednesday downtown at Sheridan Bar. He seems like he has doubts about locals’ ability to stomach a broadside like this piece of art in public space, but he’s got a long history of bringing people’s history to the people.

It’s sort of an irony that a film festival named after mountains in a picturesque Colorado town that is lauded for its views of said mountains may not be addressing this issue more directly.

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Jetsonorama (photo © Chip Thomas)

The website for the festival says that it “showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter” and yet it may takes a couple of tenderly posed Native Americans wheat-pasted on a prominent wall in a 96% white town to really get the conversation going. The festival is giving the new mural full support however and program director Kate Klingsporn even assisted in the installation and wrote about it on the festival blog.

“Chip’s work has made a huge impression in our small town this week and it’s been amazing to talk to people about it,” says David Holbrooke, the Festival Director. “One woman told me she was spending a lot of time with it and a friend told me that it sets the tone for Telluride,” he says and remarks about a spirit in the town that he thinks can countenance difficult issues where others might ignore them.

“Despite it’s size,” Holbrooke say, “Telluride has an unusual history of bold innovation and I think the mural reflects that very much.”

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Jetsonorama (photo © Chip Thomas)

And the issue, as explained by native activist Klee Benally in the short video “Waste Water” below, directed by Mari Cleven, is that 13 indigenous nations consider a local mountain range to be sacred and that putting treated sewage effluent upon it is tantamount to desecration. Religious liberty aside, it also appears during public hearings in the video that standards of testing the water used to make this snow may be overlooking some pretty gross ingredients that will later turn local people and animals into science experiments.

“I wanted to help opponents of waste water snow so I interviewed several friends about the issue,” says Jetsonorama, “Whatever they said was written onto their faces and then photographed.” In addition to this large piece he also pasted a handful of other faces in Flagstaff with related opinions written across their faces.

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Jetsonorama (photo © Chip Thomas)

This old mining town may like to talk about being home to the first bank robbed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but will it want to talk about yellow snow or pharmaceutical residues seeping into soil, washing into rivers, eaten by toddlers in snowsuits?

Interestingly, Jetsonorama tells us that the town of Telluride has a ban on public art but an exception was made for the film festival.  The temporary permit is expiring right after Memorial Day and the future of this mural is uncertain. He says that the town council will meet May 31st to determine the mural’s fate.  “My fingers are crossed,” says the artist.

 

 

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Jetsonorama’s The Painted Desert Project at The Navajo Nation will resume this year with in situ works by Icy & Sot, Sten & Lex among others. We’ll bring you their new works as they appear across the desert.

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Olek Crochets The New York Times: “Good News” At Virginia MOCA

Posted on May 23, 2016

It’s a “good news” day! A perfect sunny spring day to flip through the newspaper while sitting at the windowsill and enjoy the gentle breezes that will lead us to summer.

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Olek. Virginia MOCA. April 2016. (photo © Olek)

It’s good news especially for Street/crochet/fine artist Olek at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art and her brand new recreation of a shockingly large crocheted front page of The New York Times that she draped on an exterior facade of the museum last week.

“Can you imagine a day that only had good news? I dream that someday there will be at least one day a year with only good news to share,” she told us during an interview and as idealistic as that sounds, you can imagine the effect of that on readers when you experience the scale of this work. In effect, Olek is speaking to the power of the media to shape our perception of the world as much as she is dreaming that there would be enough good news to fill it. Perhaps there is already, she posits, but we’re not focusing on it.

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Olek’s new work ready to be unbundled and completed in situ. Virginia MOCA. April 2016. (photo © Olek)

With a lead story about the rise in “underwater parks’ and headlines trumpeting a steep rise in vegetarianism and a global ban on plastic bags, you would be hard-pressed to imagine an above-the-fold selection like this to be featured in the Times ever – especially only four years from now, as indicated by the 2020 date in the masthead. For a variety of reasons, this amount of this sort of news wouldn’t be “fit to print”, as the times likes to refer to its content.

But Olek says that she is dreaming and she was inspired by the “Turn the Page” theme of this show, which encouraged her to look forward as she created this crocheted piece in Poland and New York of 576,000 loops. The exhibition just opened over the weekend celebrates the 10th Anniversary of the San Francisco based Hi-Fructose, a glossy quarterly art magazine that has set a high-quality standard for Low Brow and its various cousins that are bending conceptions and challenging categories of pop, surrealism, hyper-reality and fantasy.

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Olek. Virginia MOCA. April 2016. (photo © Rebecca Davidson)

At the opening Saturday, the visitors were treated to a wide variety of contemporary artworks that satisfied and challenged with unusual imagery which plays as much on the last fifty years of pop culture as it does with modern perceptions of traditional art-making. Running through the end of the year before traveling to the Akron Art Museum in Ohio and the Sacramento Art Museum, the show features 51 artists that span a number of the newer genres of surrealism, dark pop, design and influences from street culture of course with names that have grown appreciably in the last decade including  Camille Rose, James Jean, Tara McPherson, Shepard Fairey, Kehinde Wiley and Mark Riley, whose surreal fantasy works here have somehow irked the irony-challenged protectors of goodness some folk in the community.

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Olek. Virginia MOCA. April 2016. (photo © Rebecca Davidson)

Hopefully they won’t be outraged by Olek’s new tapestry inspired work which implies that humans are somehow responsible for global warming and pollution, instead of islands of plastic consumer packaging growing organically in our oceans because God wants it that way. In fact, Olek is suggesting that each of us holds a responsibility to sway the headlines with our own actions.

We spoke with Olek about the philosophy behind this new work and how it arrived here for “Turn the Page.”

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you decide to create a work like this featuring what you call only good news?
Olek:
Every paper, TV and radio station will publish only positive news. Negativity creates negativity so I hope positivity will create positivity. I travel a lot and I always stop by the bookstore in the airport and take a look at the front pages of different magazines and newspapers. And there are always all bad news… once I even saw a front page with headlines conjecturing about which celebrities were going to die next. How horrible is that?

So, yes, I dream about good news.

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Olek. Virginia MOCA. April 2016. (photo © Rebecca Davidson)

This grand desire served as inspiration for this piece. When I came to Virginia Beach over two years ago I searched different locations for my public projects. I felt strongly that my public piece should be about the environment since Virginia Beach is so connected to the ocean. Later, I came up with the idea to create a wall for the museum as well and wanted to connect the pieces together.

I would like this work to inspire change. All the messages that I crocheted could be actually real. We can start simply with using own bags instead of plastic bags that should be banned globally. We blame big corporations but we should really blame ourselves. Everything starts and ends with a customer.

Sometimes some choices might not be the most convenient but most of us have that choice. Start with replacing the bottled water – especially the one that travels across the globe to your fridge – with your own water bottle that you can refill – especially when you live in a place where you can drink tap water.

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Olek. Virginia MOCA. April 2016. (photo © Rebecca Davidson)

Brooklyn Street Art: The style is a departure from most work you’ve done in the past – recreating a fictional newspaper seems like it could be a rather repetitive experience.
Olek:
Crochet is always a repetitive experience. That is why I am trying to challenge myself. I actually did some crocheted portraits a while ago and this piece is the same technique. You might have seen it in the installation I created in collaboration with Michelle Dodson (video link). It requires me for sure to have a total focus and patience.

I started crocheting phone “text” into some of my studio works in 2006 and my very first pieces in 2003 were installed in the forest in upstate New York. I think there is continuity with my previous work but my technique is better now, although I still have plenty to learn and that is what keeps me so in love with crochet.

The process for creating this piece was really long. Every time I go back to Poland and you see me on social media posting images of trees, flowers and sunsets it simply means I am working on something new and do not want to share it yet.

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Olek. Virginia MOCA. April 2016. (photo © OLEK)

I have a place in a forest by a river where no one could ever find me. In that house my grandmother was born, my mother was born and I took my first steps. In the same house I’ve learned how to sew and crochet. It inspires me the most and gives me the most energy.

I remember when I went there in May 2005, the first time I returned after immigrating to New York in 2000, and I exploded with ideas. I crocheted trees around the house, a car, a footbridge… this was long before anyone could think about it. Years later I crocheted a whole stable there that only my grandmother and my parents have seen in person.

I grew up in a city but spent a lot of time in the countryside. This is probably why nature is so close to my heart. And I am devastated as I see our mother nature dying in front of us.

For my recent birthday I spent the day with my family and I celebrated it by hugging 38 trees. This ephemeral performance was shown publicly only on Snapchat and I think the only person who saw it was Faith 47 because I did not know that my account was set to “private”.

Brooklyn Street Art: What were some of the challenges making this?
Olek:
Time! As usual the final and best idea arrives when the deadline approaches. As you know, my work is very time consuming and this piece especially was challenging.

I worked on it with my New York assistant Whitney Spivey and my Polish crochet master Ewa Szylewska. Whitney was working with me on graphics and making sure that the design was good for crocheting.

But before we even started the design process, I asked different people about possible headlines. And to be honest it was more difficult than you might think.

Who helped me? I’ll give you a clue. Who would you guess is hidden behind the name Callie Slonowska? What about the date of the paper? There is much more info here than you might think.

Brooklyn Street Art: A work like this has the potential to spark conversation about topical matters you feel strongly about. Did you have an opportunity to discuss any of them with viewers while you were installing or during the opening?
Olek: I am interested to know how this will inspire and motivate people on many levels.

The most common reaction I’ve heard was: “WOW”. People were admiring both the detailed work and my dedication to it as well as the positive message. Someone suggested that I might have started crocheted photorealism. I hope to start some positive movement. Or maybe someone will publish a new paper with me that would focus on good news only.

Brooklyn Street Art: Hi Fructose has really been on the forefront of an aesthetic that still hasn’t gone mainstream in many ways. How did you feel walking around and seeing the work of these artists at Virginia MOCA?
Olek: I think the show is really good. It is a great selection of artists and the curators chose amazing pieces to represent each artist. The magazine is really great and they are doing an amazing job to keep it up-to-date.

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If you are in the area, please go hear Olek in person June 9th at the museum. Our sincere congratulations to founders Annie Owens and Daniel “Attaboy” Seifert of Hi-Fructose for an astonishingly beautiful 10 years of Hi-Fructose.

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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BSA Images Of The Week: 05.22.16

Posted on May 22, 2016

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No time to talk, you’ve been running to the streets to see new pieces and peaches like a new D*Face in Soho, Rubin’s solo show in the Bronx, the Brooklyn-themed pop up at Doyle’s Auction house in Manhattan, Swoon and Shep and Swizz at Pearly’s in LA, the Social Sticker club collabo melee with Roycer and Buttsup at a bar in Williamsburg, and the growing collection of rocking new Coney Art Walls. Also, Post-It Wars in corporate agency-land Manhattan.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 1Penemy, BG 183 Tats Cru, Bio, Bristol, Daze, D*Face, Eric Haze, Goms, Nicer, Nova, Pegasus, POE, Stikki Peaches, Thiago Gomez, and Word to Mother.

Our top image: D*Face for The L.I.S.A. Project in Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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HAZE completed this fresh tribute wall dedicated to MCA of the Beastie Boys for Coney Art Walls 2016 in Coney Island, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Ain’t seen the light since we started this band
M.C.A. get on the mike, my man!
Born and bred Brooklyn
The U.S.A.
They call me Adam Yauch
But I’m M.C.A.”

No Sleep Till Brooklyn

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1PENEMY stenciled of a mock mug shot of famed supermodel Stephanie Seymour. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikki Peaches comes out with a dream posse of rebels; James Dean, Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley, and Marlon Brando on the streets of Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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DAZE completed this wall for Coney Art Walls 2016. Included in the composition of this mural is the Elephant Hotel, a seven story, 31 room fantasy hotel built in old Coney Island in 1885 shaped like an elephant. Besides the guest rooms the structure also boasted an observatory, a gift shop and a concert hall before it burned down in 1896. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A Banksy inspired window piece made entirely of Post-it notes makes an appearance on the Post-it notes war between two buildings that face each other in Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

According to New York Magazine the Post-it “artists” took their craftsmanship to new heights after someone installed a simple “hi” message on  the window of one of the two buildings facing each other on Canal Street. After one week the “war” is in full effect with several messages directed at each other offices ranging from “Will you marry me” to songs’ lyrics and other pleasantries and pop references. The two buildings are known for housing several ad agencies, Getty images and New York Magazine.

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A Keith Haring-inspired window piece made entirely of Post-it notes makes an appearance on the Post-it notes war between two buildings that face each other in Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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An unidentified “artist” applies his final touches to the Snoopy inspired window piece made entirely of Post-it notes makes an appearance on the Post-it notes war between two buildings that face each other in Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A close up of two window pieces made entirely of Post-it notes makes an appearance on the Post-it notes war between two buildings that face each other in Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A general view of several windows and pieces made entirely of Post-it notes makes an appearance on the Post-it notes war between two buildings that face each other in Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A “Marry Me?” sign made entirely of Post-it notes makes an appearance on the Post-it notes war between two buildings that face each other in Manhattan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Unidentified artist. The piece is signed but we don’t recognize the signature. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pegasus’ Trump piece on the streets of Bristol, UK. (photo © Urban Art International)

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POE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Word To Mother beautified the AthenB Gallery van in Oakland, California on the occasion of his solo show currently on view.  (photo © Brock Brake)

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Bio, Nicer and BG 183 of Tats Cru completed their totally fun and vibrantly hued wall for Coney Art Walls 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Thiago Gomez and Emilio Cerezo collaboration wall in Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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NOVA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Berlin. April 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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How & Nosm Strike a “Balancing Act” in Detroit

Posted on May 21, 2016

Yin and Yang.
Good and Evil.
Joy and Pain.
Positive and Negative.
Bitterness and Forgiveness.
These are among the laws of polarity that are at play in our daily lives with us somehow moderating, ameliorating, mollifying, strengthening, accentuating one or the other to achieve a sense of balance.

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How & Nosm. “Balancing Act” Detroit, USA. May 2016. (photo © How & Nosm)

Graffiti writers/Street Artists and twin brothers How & Nosm draw our attention to this continuous and natural process in an epic new mural that they just completed in Detroit. They tell us that the framework of “family” was on their minds when conceptualizing the piece, with cogitations on the traditional polarity of matriarchy and patriarchy and the often delicate nature of providing a harmonious structure within that framework. It’s an idyllic concept, and in their press release the brothers acknowledge that is not always the case.

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How & Nosm. “Balancing Act” Detroit, USA. May 2016. (photo © How & Nosm)

Completed in conjunction with their “In Between” show at the Library Street Collective, this balancing act is “We are each pulled in different directions and balancing work, personal life, family and friends and health is increasingly difficult.”

The massive work contains symbols of struggle and throughout the composition looks for optical counterweights to answer overages, completed with patterning, character, and calligraphic linework. As with many of their nested storylines, How & Nosm leave much of the interpretation to the viewer here – a vibrant and organic painting that provides a balance to an equally massive one on this prima facade by Shepard Fairey that was also commissioned by a real estate company.

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How & Nosm. “Balancing Act” Detroit, USA. May 2016. (photo © How & Nosm)

Proudly coming from a background of graffiti and vandalism to completing a paid legal mural itself encompasses a polarity that many fans and critics discuss regularly today, not always producing agreement. We don’t know if the brothers considered this debate specifically when approaching the project,but you know it probably crosses their minds. Maybe that’s why the last statement they make in their description of the new work is “This mural stands as a reminder to strive for that balance.”

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How & Nosm. “Balancing Act” Detroit, USA. May 2016. (photo © How & Nosm)

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How & Nosm. “Balancing Act” Detroit, USA. May 2016. (photo © How & Nosm)

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How & Nosm. “Balancing Act” Detroit, USA. May 2016. (photo © How & Nosm)

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How & Nosm. “Balancing Act” Detroit, USA. May 2016. (photo © How & Nosm)

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How & Nosm. “Balancing Act” Detroit, USA. May 2016. (photo © How & Nosm)

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How & Nosm. “Balancing Act” with Shepard’s Fairey on the right. Detroit, USA. May 2016. (photo © How & Nosm)

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