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Brooklyn Street Art

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Labrona and DB on the Road, Dispatch From Portugal

Posted on May 2, 2017

“I didn’t get invited to paint anywhere this winter so I made my own street art trip,” says Labrona of his new wheat-pastes in Portugal. “It’s sort of a throw back to before mural festivals, when we just did stuff on the streets.”

Is that Buster Keaton? Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

A clear distinction is made thusly, between the multitude of public-private-commercial mural initiatives that artists are participating in these days and the practice of creating Street Art, which is necessarily self initiated, without permission, an autonomous performance or intervention in public space. To merge these terms and practices is to disregard the significance of the distinction between.

Furthermore, this is not new. There just happen to be a lot of mural festivals right now and organizers sometimes misappropriate the term “street art” when in describing events. We can help.

DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

But we’ve digressed a little from Labrona and DB, who took a trip to Lisbon and set up shop. “We rented a place and turned it into a studio for 10 days and made a bunch of wheatpastes,” Labrona says. The figurative, character-driven painted pieces began to appear in this city that is known today as much for its Street Art as it is for its hills.

A painter with a studio practice, DB hadn’t done Street Art previously, says Labrona, so it is interesting to see what choices DB makes for his work here in the public realm where it suffers the indignities of abuse and neglect. As ever, we are also interested whether the placement has a particular contextual component or whether he uses the existing architecture as a framing device.

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

It is also significant to some observers how choices are made for the new wheatpastes to interact with pre-existing graffiti – sometimes in tandem, to the side of or sometimes directly pasted upon it, possibly angering the graff writer, maybe not. Because of the temporary quality of wheatpasted paper, the aerosol work will probably outlive it anyway. Sometimes a big bubble tag seems like an intentional background or co-actor. Other times a quickly dashed tag looks like it is not considered at all.

These are all metrics and filtering devices, and subjective ones at that. How an aesthetic expression hits an individual in that moment of discovery is as real as it gets.

Their dual experiments ended after 10 days and Labrona says he carried on solo for the rest of his trip, with some pieces appearing to have been drawn directly on the walls or doors – which rather lessens the distance between studio practice and street practice.

DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

This may be Picasso staring angrily from the corner at Labrona’s amorous couple, we aren’t sure. Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

 

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