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Brooklyn Street Art

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The Tiniest Brutalist Sculptures – HKWalls 2017, Dispatch 3 (as in 3 x 3 x 3)

Posted on March 23, 2017

This week BSA and Urban Nation (UN) are in Hong Kong for the 4th edition of HKWalls to capture a very international and local mix of artists in this East/West nexus; a world-class city for art and culture, English and Cantonese, hi-tech and traditional methods – all during the enormous Art Basel week. We’ll bring you the new walls, some previous pieces, some graffiti, stickers, and a whole lot of color from this fast moving and dynamic city on the Pearl River Delta of East Asia.


When you spot one of these palm-sized concrete sculptures on the street in Hong Kong they may remind you of Brutalist architecture  or the dense clustering of concrete beehives like so many of this cities’ neighborhoods.

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The tiny formations by UK Street Artist Steev Saunders aka 3x3x3 may point you toward the man-made environment, but they may also recall organic shapes, sort of like industrial barnacles which attach themselves to the bodies of factory-whales during their free-swimming concrete larval stage.

These could be hi/low tech sensors of the city environment, in much the same way as Hong Kong ocean scientists use selected barnacles as biomonitors to measure concentrations of trace metals like arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, lead, manganese, nickel, silver, zinc.

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3x3x3 has worked as a sculptor and sound designer with complex creations that employ fundamentalist mechanics in rather a Steam-Punkian manner and style. On the street simply as “3” he has used a triad of sprayed repetitions of stenciled symbols and the numeral 3  as well as larger complex tags formed with rebar that is fired and pounded and beaten and bent into outlines.

These smaller pieces are so understated that they may well be overlooked, but once you discover them you are tempted to childhood, playing with your toys, imagining all the tiny people who live within them and realizing what a gargantuan giant you have become.

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Certainly these expressions of the creative spirit on the street are not easily grouped with the massive murals that have characterized the rise of so-called Street Art festivals, and their humble simplicity and scale makes the impact that much more impressive.

An invited exhibiting artist in the formal inside exhibition at HKWalls this year, 3x3x3 tells us that these pieces on the street art not only recalling his experience of the city, but also the country.

BSA: What inspires these small sculptures? Architecture? Materials? Comic books?
3x3x3: Architecture is the inspiration behind the concrete pieces, as you can see around, HK is packed with the stuff. Yeah they are brutalist style but in a delicate way. I’m not a fan of giant skyscrapers, I like the countryside, mountains and rocks.

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Have you watched someone discover one of these pieces? How do they react?
3x3x3: I haven’t watched anyone discover the pieces. They are so small I think few people notice them and I often put them in positions where they blend into the surroundings, I like that they can be unnoticed but in plain view. Some government workers have even painted around them.

BSA: You have also tagged with a metal cutout of the number “3”. Are you the 3rd child in the family?
3x3x3: Ha ha , I’m not the 3rd but I like the number, it has many graphic possibilities , it’s a nice shape and it’s a lucky number too. In the graffiti scene it’s all about getting your name up so I thought “I’ll be just a number”.

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: There is a rebar sculpture in the fine art show for HK Walls. Can you talk about your interest in art that takes a third dimension in public space?
3x3x3: I’ve always been interested in sculpture, making stuff is fun and the processes bring up new ideas. Welding and bending steel is physically demanding so I don’t focus on that exclusively. In 1995 I started carving spirals into wet concrete whenever I came across it, which was fairly often in HK. When street art started to become noticed more I was inspired but wanted to do something unique so in 2003 I put up my first concrete pieces.

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


How to Detect a Brutalist Building by Charles Humphries (© Charles Humphries)


HKWalls and Hong Kong stories come to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN)

#urbannationberlin #allnationsunderoneroof #unblog @urbannationberlin @bkstreetart

SNIK, Flip-Flops, Amuse & Merlot – HKWalls 2017, Dispatch 2

Posted on March 22, 2017

This week BSA and Urban Nation (UN) are in Hong Kong for the 4th edition of HKWalls to capture a very international and local mix of artists in this East/West nexus; a world-class city for art and culture, English and Cantonese, hi-tech and traditional methods – all during the enormous Art Basel week. We’ll bring you the new walls, some previous pieces, some graffiti, stickers, and a whole lot of color from this fast moving and dynamic city on the Pearl River Delta of East Asia.


“Hong Kong is that tough sweaty dude with a gas blowtorch in his hands, soldiering a metal frame on the sidewalk while wearing a muscle shirt and flip flops with a cigarette tucked over his ear and a lit one in his mouth,” to roughly paraphrase the description of this city from an artist at a discussion panel here last night.

As he delivers this gem, you look to your left at the pink-cheeked bearded half of the artist duo SNIK, who shakes his head in agreement. Yes, this does seem like a good description of HK so far.

The first finished wall for HK Walls 2017 is this multi-layered stencil by the duo Snik. Detail. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hong Kong also is the top-boss-lip-gloss power babe waiting for a train at the Prince Edward station with sharply drawn persimmon red lips and cinnamon-bun braided hair bobs that look like Mickey Mouse ears on her head – striking a commanding stance with one hand on her waist and her cool eyes laser-focused on her phone screen.

Also, Hong Kong is the pounding staccato noise of 5 double-decker buses hurtling around a concrete road curve at top speed only 5 meters away from you on the sidewalk, propelling hot bluffs of gritty wind that push you closer to base of factories here here on Wong Chuk Hang Road.

Snik. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot and Amuse, an artist duo who know a lot about letter style, hand style, and style in general are painting a massive 30 meter long tag in a opening between industrial buildings knocking out their text based monikers that borrow and snatch from raw graffiti, wildstyle, pop, and advertising design. Lately, drips.

Merlot is originally from Seattle and its outskirts and has been writing/painting for a decade roughly. For the last two years she and Amuse have been hanging together, sometimes calling their two-person crew “The Alphabet Monsters”, possibly alluding to the cosmic comic influences that may evoke fantasies and stories from graphic novels.

Snik. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

I’ve been testing and doing a bunch of different things because I am a graphic designer and so I like exploring a couple of different approaches,” she explains during a break from painting. “Typically the letters will all stay pretty much the same but with this one we wanted to have more fun and do something different,” which includes painting letters in each others names.

We point out the “S” in amuse, which appears to split wide at the top – little molecules spreading apart and spraying upwards. That’s his “S,” but she says he’s coming over later to give the treatment to her “O”.

BSA: Have you two used the fire extinguisher much before?
Merlot: I haven’t but he has before and I would really like to start using it more. He is into this very drippy kind of zone right now and I think that is what he wants his new look to be this year – he actually did a new fire extinguisher piece recently and he incorporated all of these different elements and it was really amazing.

Snik. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Where did you learn how to paint with the extinguisher?
Amuse: My buddy Morgan is a big solid influence of mine and he said to me, “We need to try something different.” Now that is all I want to do. A graffiti writer for more than fifteen years, Amuse says he gets his new tricks sometimes from other guys in other crews he is part of. “Morgan is another guy in the crew – we’re all in the same crew and his approach – Also a very good street artist who I grew up with (in Chicago)- Esteban del Valle – he is amazing and he has this same approach with the dripping and then the nice detailed line work over it,” Amuse explains, “and he told me ‘dude you are killing yourself with all the spray paint – why don’t you incorporate some other kind of paint?’ And he’s right, the bucket paint allows you to paint so much bigger and faster and then you can go back and work on it.”

Snik. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evidently HK Walls is in full effect right now, with the French trio Anyway, Berlin Duo Snik, Hong Kong’s Wong Ting Fung, Philippine’s Kris Abrigo, and Italy’s Pixel Pancho all on the street, on ladders, on bamboo scaffolding, on cherry pickers.  Just saw Spain’s Spok in an elevator, Zoer showed us his purple/moss/tan color pallet on his phone and tape artist Buff Diss has been lurking from every corner.

And this is a taste of what it is like on the street; The electric/eclectic High/Low influences of Hong Kong are knocking everyone about – sounds of traffic and trucks and construction and laughter and the smell of a cigar smoke and petrol and sweaty basketball players on the public court and aerosol paint and flowering trees all blend together in a heady HK romance sort of way.

Thinking of buying some flip-flops.

Pixel Pancho. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wong Ting Fung. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wong Ting Fung. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anyway. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anyway. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anyway. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anyway. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kris Abrigo. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kris Abrigo. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kris Abrigo. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse . Merlot. Process shot. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mundano . Martha Cooper. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We met with Brazilian Street Artist Mundano, who just one first prize at the International Public Art Awards for 2017 for his “Pimp my Carroça” project here in Hong Kong Sunday night. He gave us this hand-made book that he made with photographer Martha Cooper calle “Viva or Catadores”. Congratulations Mundano!

Mundano . Martha Cooper. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 



HKWalls and Hong Kong stories come to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN)

#urbannationberlin #allnationsunderoneroof #unblog @urbannationberlin @bkstreetart

Catching Up With Hong Kong – HK Walls 2017, Dispatch 1

Posted on March 21, 2017

This week BSA and Urban Nation (UN) are in Hong Kong for the 4th edition of HKWalls to capture a very international and local mix of artists in this East/West nexus; a world-class city for art and culture, English and Cantonese, hi-tech and traditional methods – all during the enormous Art Basel week. We’ll bring you the new walls, some previous pieces, some graffiti, stickers, and a whole lot of color from this fast moving and dynamic city on the Pearl River Delta of East Asia.


A day after heaving rains delayed the first couple of walls and a projection mapping show on  Sunday, a few walls are getting started, like the sprawling text of Amuse and Merlot, a vertically soaring robot of certain pedigree by Pixel Pancho and the trio called Anyway deconstructing a car on a roll-down gate that covers the mechanic shop.

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As the artists arrive into HKWalls headquarters in the base of the Ovolo Southside hotel in the Wong Chuk Hang neighborhood, we decide to head up north to the more congested and commercial center of Kowloon to say hello to Pixel and Dr. Fjordor as they start to sketch out the new figure of their wall way up above the traffic on a cherry picker.

Pixel radios to a young guy who is about 22 years old in English his next directions for where he would like to move the the basket they are riding in next. The helper then translates into Chinese the directions – move to the left and a few meters upward – to a grey haired gentlemen manning the mechanical controls that are mounted to the back of the crane on the street. We ask the walkie-talkie guy to tell Pancho we say “hello” and he turns in his bucket to wave down 10 stories below.

Peeta. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We hop back on the super modern and smooth MTR system train to the Sham Shui Po neighborhood and wander through the markets and alleys and congested commercial streets to see the vendors selling fabrics, zippers, buttons, leather goods… and small groups of guys playing poker on card tables.

We also find a huge 3-D text piece by Italian Street Artist Peeta that wraps around corner of the second story façade that may remind you of a department store at a mall. Eventually we found more free-form one-color characters in some thin alleyways and a very talk Okuda multi-colored geometric patterned fox mural sandwiched between residential high-rises with freshly washed clothing and bed linens hanging outside apartment windows.

Paola Delfin. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Riding the high-tech train back to Wong Chuk Hang at rush hour and crammed closely with people who are poking and swiping at their phones playing games or texting friends, you could watch world news on the screen just above your head as you ride. The images and headlines are featuring news about FBI Director Comey talking about an investigation into Russian interference in the US elections – and an image of Donald Trump inveighing at a rally microphone with a few guys wearing red “Make America Great Again” caps smiling behind him.

It strikes you that a fourteen hour flight to literally the other side of the world has just collapsed into one second. It’s true that people around the world watch these political developments and make judgements – which is why someone tells an American at a party at the end of the night that just hearing his US accent makes the guy think he must be a racist. Real talk, bro.

Shida. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Okuda. Detail. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Okuda. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

GR1. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zids. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Phron & Sars = Seduce. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Suiko. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


HKWalls and Hong Kong stories come to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN)

#urbannationberlin #allnationsunderoneroof #unblog @urbannationberlin @bkstreetart

GAIA Paints in Virtual Reality for New Mural in Gainesville, FL

Posted on March 20, 2017

Street Artist and renaissance man Gaia tried his hand at developing his mural for the Grove Street Neighborhood in Gainesville, Florida in Virtual Reality recently and we have few new shots to prove it.

Gaia. Gove Street Neighborhood. Gainesville, FL. February 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Part of a community mural revitalization project in the historic neighborhood, Gais features a magnolia/azalea framed duo of local prominent educator Wilhelmina Johnson and the beat poet Jack Kerouac. Together they are connected by literary and African American history, says the artist. Now they are connected by virtual reality as well.

Gaia hitting the high notes at the Civic Media center in Gainesfille Florida. Here he is painting in the air and in Virtual Reality as a parallel performance to the wall installation above.

Gaia. Gove Street Neighborhood. Gainesville, FL. February 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Following those images are new walls painted as part of the community initiative that is volunteer run and relies on community support. Walls here include local artist Nicole Holderbaum and Martin Torres (Jacksonville), Steven Speir and Sanders Soloman (Gainesville), Rachel Sommer (Gainesville), Chaya Av (Orlando), with contemporary graffiti by Ras Justo Luis (Gainesville) and Bhuta Bhavana Das Adhikari (Gainesville).

Ruben Ubiera. Gove Street Neighborhood. Gainesville, FL. February 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Chaya Av. Gove Street Neighborhood. Gainesville, FL. February 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Nicole Holderbaum . Martin Torres. Gove Street Neighborhood. Gainesville, FL. February 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Nicole Holderbaum . Martin Torres. Gove Street Neighborhood. Gainesville, FL. February 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Nicole Holderbaum . Martin Torres. Gove Street Neighborhood. Gainesville, FL. February 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Grove Street Neighborhood in Gainesville, Florida is founded and coordinated by Iryna Kanishcheva (Curator and Photographer) and Maria Huff Edwards (Project Coordinator). The project is coordinated by including Iryna Kanishcheva, Maria Huff Edwards, David Edwards, John Wilson, Rachel Sommer, neighborhood supporters Mary Mehn, Tom Salmon, and Greg Stetz.  For more information please click HERE.

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