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Brooklyn Street Art

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Dede Discusses New Site-Specific Stencil Series In Tel Aviv

Posted on July 28, 2014

“Site-specific” is a term employed by some Street Art conceptualists often today, but the relevance of location to the piece on the street may not be as clear to the viewer as the artist would have intended even when it is the product of a high-minded process for selection. This is not the case in Tel Aviv where Street Artist Dede is taking “site-specific” quite seriously in a new series of pieces where a stenciled view of a city scene appears precisely where this view can also be observed with the bare eye.  By producing this visual double-take, the location and stencil placement instantly invoke a closer examination and consideration of just what is being called into view, and perhaps to ask why.

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Dede (photo © Yoav Litvin)

It could be a scene you otherwise would have overlooked, but somehow now it is elevated by the fact that the artist has taken the effort to cut and spray a stencil here and probably did so with purpose. It’s a highly effective method of sharpening our focus and we’re glad that it has brought Yoav Litvin to BSA today to share his recent interview with Dede about the series as well as to discuss his views on life in Israel during this time of intensified conflict with Palestine. Yoav also shares his photos from these new site-specific installations as well as other examples of the artists’ stylistically eclectic offerings.

 

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Belonging, Territoriality and Healing in Israel: An interview with Dede

by Yoav Litvin
 

Whenever I visit a city, I try to dedicate time to venturing on the streets in search of art as a way of assessing the local and current creative vibe. By chance, I was in Israel when the most recent violent conflict erupted between the Israeli army (the IDF) and Hamas in the Gaza strip. During my two-week long visit there, I spent countless hours arguing against violence and for peace and reconciliation; against the powerful interest groups and for the people.

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Dede. Close up. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Together with Dede, a local street artist, I walked through various neighborhoods in Tel Aviv in search of art. Seeing the beautiful and at times chaotically colorful walls, I once again felt the positive and potentially healing power of art, even more so in this dire context of war. I have always believed street art can represent a creative, non-violent form of rebellion. It can serve to challenge the powerful, the violent and the selfish and offer an unfiltered, free and raw voice- from the people to the people! As composer and playwright Jonathan Larson epitomized in his famous quote: “The opposite of war is not peace… it’s creation!”

Here I talk with Dede about his current series of site-specific stencils, and how these may reflect some of the realities in this troubled town and part of the world. Additionally we see his most recent large-scale murals, which revolve around relevant issues of belonging, displacement and escape.

Yoav Litvin: What’s your thought process behind these site-specific installations?
Dede: I began this ongoing site-specific series of stencils at the end of 2013. It stems from many thoughts/ideas on technique and the ways in which we are exposed to street art today. Importantly, I was very much influenced by a text written by the cultural critic Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction and its ramifications on our modern way of life.

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Dede (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Yoav Litvin: Why did you choose the locations you did?
Dede: Every location has its own reasons, each attempting to focus attention on an important issue within our modern urban reality. These include the housing crisis in Israel, urban development and restoration of historical landmarks/buildings.

Yoav Litvin: There is a long-standing conflict surrounding territory in Israel. Do your site-specific installations address it? How?
Dede: There is always conflict on territory/resources, perhaps everywhere in the world but I see it clearly here in Tel Aviv. Just like in any capitalist society, real estate here is bought and sold in accordance with personal interests and therefore can be controversial in a community. For example- see my stencil of the tower that was built in Neve Tzedek in Tel Aviv (below). The rest of the neighborhood is only two stories high and many residents were against the construction of such a tall building- there were petitions and protests but eventually those with money won out. Land is expensive and Tel Aviv is prime real estate in Israel. There is a constant increase in housing prices and this is making Tel Aviv a city exclusively for the wealthy.

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 Dede (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Yoav Litvin: I had a lot of fun shooting these stencil installations, trying to capture the art together with its subject. Are you trying to create a dialog between artist and documenter? How do you view street art documenters within the scene, especially with the central role of the Internet, social media and photo sharing?
Dede: Documentation is extremely important for street art, because of this art form’s inherently ephemeral nature. However, seeing a photograph can never replace the feeling of standing in front of a piece and personally experiencing it. Documentation conveys the idea as best as possible without experiencing it first hand. In this series of stencils, documentation is a central theme.

Stencils are regularly cut based on photographs, and this series was sprayed at the location the pictures were taken. Thus, the photographer has a central role in capturing both subject and the art it conveys. My notion was to challenge the documenter and in turn, the viewer of the photo. This work was intended for an audience that relies on social networks for its street art consumption.

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Dede (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Yoav Litvin: How has your art evolved since last we spoke? Is it becoming more personal or do you feel you are reaching out to the public with relevant issues to the community?
Dede: This is a question I ask myself all the time. Honestly, I cannot really say what has changed in my art. I let my art lead me, and do not try to lead it. I feel I am trying to evolve in both realms you mention, focusing on my personal style, but also my interaction with the community, both locally and globally.

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Dede (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Yoav Litvin: I find street art to be an excellent device for an artist to communicate with the surrounding communities. Do you try to appeal to a strictly Israeli audience in Tel Aviv? How do you engage the Palestinian  population, for example in neighboring Jaffa?
Dede: Street art engages everyone everywhere, especially today in the age of the internet. As an artist in Tel Aviv, Israel, I am aware that my art reaches Palestinians as well as Israelis. In fact, I often correspond with Palestinian artists, and am pleased when they enjoy, interested and/or are emotionally touched by my work. I feel my work is a personal reflection that appeals to people everywhere, not just Israelis, Palestinians or any other category of people.

I love painting in Jaffa, and during your last visit we walked through an abandoned building in Jaffa in which I and friends painted. Local residents are very positive and appreciate street art. I wish art could bridge all gaps between peoples here and everywhere.

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Dede (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Dede. Jaffa as seen from Tel Aviv. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Yoav Litvin: One cannot discuss Israel today without addressing the current violence. Has it affected your art? How so?
Dede: The situation here is very complicated and disturbing. It is a conflict that has been going on for years. This conflict has affected my art and inspired me to create in many ways. I love Tel Aviv, but during wars it is a difficult place to live in. One of the central themes in my works is the need to escape to a safer place, whether in the physical or emotional realm. This stems from different motivations; mental, social and political. I do not believe any citizen should live in a state of fear anywhere, and my art conveys these notions.

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Dede and Latzi collaboration. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Dede (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Dede (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Dede (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Dede’s studio. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Interview written, edited and translated by Yoav Litvin. Mr. Litvin is the author and photographer of the recently published book Outdoor Gallery – New York City by Gingko Press.

For more information regarding Yoav Litvin click HERE. For more information regarding Dede, click HERE

 

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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: 07.27.14

Posted on July 27, 2014

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Tragedy is grabbing world headlines again and we can’t help but be swayed by it as the downed passenger aircraft in Ukraine smells of a lawless future and the international community seems rather helpless to address it meaningfully. Simultaneously the Israeli / Palestinian crises flares for the seemingly millionth time along with international opinion, a fire now fed with large helpings of social media oxygen, buffeted by various marches in the actual streets around the world and here in NYC.

Our banner today is a relatively new collage/painting currently on view in the Italian Cultural Institute of New York by the Street Artist BR1, who depicts the strife in somewhat cartoonish exaggerated simplicity, flattening the complexity of history with two dimensional caricature. Comments some made when we ran it a couple of weeks ago for the opening of the show (before the current events had begun) made it clear that even art about the conflict seems radioactive.

Our top image this week is an actual street piece from Icy & Sot and it brought more comments on Instagram than most other photos, so strong are people’s reactions to it. As far as the Ukraine/Russia news, we haven’t seen any Street Art about that – except maybe for that Billi Kid caricature of Putin as a cowboy earlier in the year but you couldn’t really say it is directly related.

With this pall of strife filling screens and streets right now its no wonder the one image below of Ewok’s wall full of discontented people was shared so many times on our FB Fan Page this week. “Hey these grumpy faces make me happy,” said one commenter.

So anyway, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Art is Trash, Atom, BustArt, Cold World, E.L.K., Ewok, False, GG, Gualicho, Icy & Sot, Kuma, Myth, Osch, Otto Schade, Post No Selfie, QRST, Sean9Lugo, Sebs, Sexer, Topaz, UFO907, Unvale, Wing, and Zaria.

Top Image >> Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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EWOK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sean9Lugo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Atom (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kuma . False (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sebs (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BustArt, Zaria and Osch AKA Otto Schade . Detail. New collaboration in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (photo © Bustart)

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BustArt, Zaria and Osch AKA Otto Schade . New collaboration in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (photo © Bustart)

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E.L.K. for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The housing boom, now broke. Unvale. Bethlehem, PA (photo © Unvale)

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Wing (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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QRST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Art Is Trash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sexer is thinking perhaps you have to hit people over the head with love. At The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Post No Selfie (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Cold World (and Chena, Lily, and Yusef as well). Not sure what this is about. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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UFO907 traced over UFO907 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Topaz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Myth (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gualicho from Buenos Aires likes to merge organic with mechanic, natural with industrial, offering cross sections and diagrams from his imagination. This abstraction of a fish and water is in downtown Warsaw, Poland. (photo © Gualicho)

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Gualicho for Monumental Arts. Gdansk, Poland. (photo © Gualicho)

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GG spearing dinner for a nice fish barbecue. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. East River, NYC. July 2014 (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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JBAK in Berlin, a 32 Meter Human Totem and How it Got There

Posted on July 26, 2014

Karl Addison and James Bullough, as JBAK, Share Their Trip With You

Berlin’s dedication to public art takes another leap with a newly completed mural by American duo James Bullough and Addison Karl, creatively partnered as JBAK. Nearly a year after the art and education initiative LOA Berlin (Lichtenberg Open ART) put out the call for submissions to hit this tower in the housing association HOWOGE Wohnungsbaugesellschaft mbH, the two guys find themselves exhausted and elated with their latest photorealist painting in this high profile location.

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JBAK (Karl Addison and James Bullough) and their new “Totem Mural” for Howoge LOA. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Just Photography)

“From meters away the seeping feeling of being proud and accomplished washes over. The kind words of passer-bys, neighbors and the local business owners. Making every long moment worth every second of it,” Addison tells BSA below as he recounts how personally affected they were by the process of pitching to be considered and eventually awarded above a competitive field of around 50 artists and artist teams from six countries.

And then there was the execution of the actual mural.

The average observer of a mural like this one in Lichtenberg, and Street Art or urban art in general, has little appreciation perhaps for the psychological/ spiritual / physical energy that can go into the process for any given artist or project. In fact, many artists don’t realize the effort until they endeavor to try. When the project is formalized to the degree that this one is, many artists simply choose to not apply at all, so intimidating and resource intensive it the process. Not to mention the setbacks, sudden turns, revisions, and problem solving on the fly. But of course, it happens all the time and people who create art in the streets can be pretty scrappy and resourceful.

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JBAK (Karl Addison and James Bullough) and their new “Totem Mural” for Howoge LOA. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Just Photography)

 

With a generous sense of sharing some insight on the process, Addison gives BSA readers personal view of the experience from an artists perspective, revealing the costs involved to merely to be considered for a public/private works project such as this where a variety of voices are involved in the conversation before an ultimate decision is made. It reads like a personal journal, but it is a template for many who would try to make the transition to professional artist.

“ ‘For the long haul’ – it’s one of those things you hear about from a good friend and exceptional fellow artist. At first glance the whole experience seems a bit overwhelming but then you put your head down and buckle down for the application process. What to show, how to explain – will the work stand-up by itself? Some times you may complete 10-15 applications like this per month – it is always the beginning with very little turnover to actual work or the creation of beautiful things to come.

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JBAK (Karl Addison and James Bullough) and their new “Totem Mural” for Howoge LOA. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Just Photography)

“ ‘Maybe this one is different’. After a few months we received a nice letter of acceptance. Surprised, happy – and ‘oh shit’ are all simultaneous reactions. Now the grind of what comes next – so many factors to include; the building, the audience, the people who live there, the colors, my collaboration with James Bullough, HOWOGE (the ones organizing the whole project under LOA), my own interests, passion, the scale and much more.  Then there is ‘The Unknowing’ ; is this the best artwork I can create for this project – will it be accepted – can I do better? Every question leads nearly to no answer, but 45 more questions.

‘It is the winter months and we’re working online and in a studio going back and forth as to the possibilities and composition. After a long day of taking hundreds of mock-up photos somehow the very last photo taken has the concept we need. We begin planning out the colors, the theory and the collaboration aspect of the painting. We make a full canvas piece in the proportions of the wall to get the right details.

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JBAK (Karl Addison and James Bullough) and their new “Totem Mural” for Howoge LOA. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Just Photography)

“ The time has come for us to present our idea – in a room sits many people loaded on every side except directly behind James and I. We’re overwhelmed because there are three times more people in the room then we expected to be there. Pushing forward, we begin to discuss and present our artwork and concept. It does not go well. We leave discouraged and feeling all the holes of our artwork for this project. A week or so goes by – and again to our surprise we get another nice email asking for some revisions to our artwork.

“Back to the studio, we’re trying to fill those holes in – and to fix what we can with the work. We come to a point where the collaboration is happy – we have both created something in over three years of doing projects together and we are both happy with this. The artwork compliments both sides – it is strong and subtle with room for the imagination and interpretation of the viewer. It has a strong positive message for it’s new home on Landsberger Allee 228b in Lichtenberg. With fingers cross we send in the second proposal.

‘Waiting….. waiting….. waiting… doubt…. waiting…..

“An email comes in – I read it once, twice and for a third time. It sinks in. The Totem Mural is accepted! In an instant we have been selected for the next Howoge LOA mural. I’m sitting on my couch in my studio when I read it, lucky for me. I’m nearly speechless as I show the computer and email to one of my best friends Adrian – and he is screaming with excitement.

“Because of all the work we did during all this process – we have already addressed such a huge part of the painting : everything is nice planned out, prepped and nearly ready to go. The only things left are the logistics about the painting, the materials and how to get up a 32 meter wall. We get the help of a good friend Dennis G. to help us organize the installation – then we plan for the next 4 weeks of work.

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JBAK (Karl Addison and James Bullough) and their new “Totem Mural” for Howoge LOA. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Just Photography)

“ It takes long days and nights, two nights to outline – the first going from sundown to sun up. We focus on keeping the artwork in proportion as we do it in three sections and from different locations. Without sleep we are back up to do it again the next day. The first week is long and unsure and our lift breaks three times,  we have some rain delays and down time until we change machinery. Our schedule for the next month is 6 days a week, 12-14 hours a day. There are late nights coming home when I feel barely able to stand. But then there is the rising up early every morning and getting to work and feeling the warmth of the wall radiating from the sun throughout the day. After four weeks of nothing else, the Totem Mural is finished.

“From meters away the seeping feeling of being proud and accomplished washes over. The kind words of passer-bys, neighbors and the local business owners. Making every long moment worth every second of it.”

 

For more about Lichtenberg Open ART (LOA Berlin) and HOWOGE please click HERE.

 

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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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