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Pejac: Refugees, Immigrants, Mothers and Children in Jordan

Posted on April 26, 2016

Spanish Street Artist Pejac paints small intimate works in public space that are neither splashy nor enigma. Straightforward in themes, he often balances the sharp flat silhouette with the muddied impressionistic daubing of an earlier romantic period of painting. His work can lie between illusion and reality, and both can seem plausible.

Two new pieces in Jordan – one in the booming metropolis of Amman, another in the Azraq Camp for Syrian refugees an hour and a half away – speak to the status of children in the world today and tomorrow.

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Pejac. “Mothers Artists” Al-Azraq Syrian refugee camp. Jordan. April 2016. (photo © Pejac)

20,338 people live in Azraq Camp right now. 56% are children. A third of them live only with their mother as the head of the family.

The long days here are monotonous, uncertain and unfamiliar as these families once had homes and jobs and lives back in Syria – Aleppo, Dar’a, Homs, rural Damascus. No one knows if they will ever resume a life like the one they had.

The military style metal shelters in the intensely hot northern desert area lack electricity, but there is enough water and food thanks to the Jordanian people and the UN Refugee Agency.

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Pejac took inspiration for his work from this painting from 1908 titled  Playa de Valencia a la luz de la Mañana by the Spanish painter Sorolla.

Pejac took his inspiration from the mothers here who care for their children and create entertainment and stories and fantastical games to occupy them, distracting them from their current situation. He says he recognizes the skills of artists at work “A mother’s creativity is something truly admirable – how they manage to create a special world to protect their child by transforming reality into a better place,” he says.

To symbolize the power of imagination the mother figure here is compared to one in a painting by Spanish post impressionist Sorolla in the early 1900’s Playa de Valencia a la luz de la Mañana (Valencia Beach in the morning light). Here you can see the echoed figures and the mother describing the splashing ocean to her child while bathing her/him in a basin.

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Pejac. “Mothers Artists” Al-Azraq Syrian refugee camp. Jordan. April 2016. (photo © Pejac)

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Pejac. “Mothers Artists” Al-Azraq Syrian refugee camp. Jordan. April 2016. (photo © Pejac)

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Pejac. “Mothers Artists” Al-Azraq Syrian refugee camp. Jordan. April 2016. (photo © Pejac)

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Pejac. “Mothers Artists” Al-Azraq Syrian refugee camp. Jordan. April 2016. (photo © Pejac)

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Pejac. “Mothers Artists” Al-Azraq Syrian refugee camp. Jordan. April 2016. (photo © Pejac)

Elsewhere in Amman there are other new neighbors who are not in camps, living and playing alongside Jordanians. The small piece Pejac has painted next to a children’s playground is called “Rotation” and has two meanings, both of them tributes.

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Pejac. “Rotation” Jabal Al Webdah, Amman. Jordan (photo © Pejac)

“On the one hand I’m talking about Jordan, a country that has a long history of hospitality towards refugees,” he explains. “Today, for example, there are over 1.6 million Syrian refugees and over 2 million Palestine refugees in Jordan.”

Secondly, the spinning globe, much like a basketball being played by kids on the court, has a fate determined by this population with a median age of 22 (compare to US 37, Germany 46). “Without knowing it,” says Pejac, “a big part of Jordan’s population and its future is being determined by, is in the hands of, the kids.”

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Pejac. “Rotation” Jabal Al Webdah, Amman. Jordan (photo © Pejac)

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Pejac. “Rotation” Jabal Al Webdah, Amman. Jordan (photo © Pejac)

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Pejac. “Rotation” Jabal Al Webdah, Amman. Jordan (photo © Pejac)

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Pejac. “Rotation” Jabal Al Webdah, Amman. Jordan (photo © Pejac)

For more information about the refugee center you can read a PDF of the Azraq Fact Sheet APRIL 2016.

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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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Spider Tag: “Secuencias Minimas” Opens in Madrid

Posted on April 25, 2016

Doors, windows, shipping pallets, nails, yarn. These are the humble materials that Spidertag uses in his geometric abstractions, commingling handmade craft traditions, mid-century modernism, and the history of commercial graphic sign painting.

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Spider Tag. Secuencias Minimas Swinton Gallery. Madrid, Spain. (photo © courtesy of Spider Tag)

SECUENCIAS MÍNIMAS is his new Madrid solo show just opened with 23 works that include sculptural wallhangings, video, lights, logs, and a generous amount of fire engine red.

The Street Artist has been pounding nails into the walls of community gardens, winding small streets, and abandoned old houses and factories for nearly a decade, each time responding to the environment with his materials and geometry based compositions in new ways to create one of a kind installations. By retaining that ability to be resourceful on the spot, Spidertag knows how to transform many angles of the gallery effectively and without pretension.

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Spider Tag. Secuencias Minimas Swinton Gallery. Madrid, Spain. (photo © courtesy of Spider Tag)

The new show at Swinton Gallery presents Spidertag’s facination for experimentation and the simplicity of form, dimension, and materials – often with a touch of levity. Choices of color, shape, and placement in the gallery environment are wry and unassuming, reminding the viewer that the creative spirit can be simultaneously challenging and rewarding while remaining disarmingly simple.

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Spider Tag. Secuencias Minimas Swinton Gallery. Madrid, Spain. (photo © courtesy of Spider Tag)

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Spider Tag. Secuencias Minimas Swinton Gallery. Madrid, Spain. (photo © courtesy of Spider Tag)

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Spider Tag. Secuencias Minimas Swinton Gallery. Madrid, Spain. (photo © courtesy of Spider Tag)

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Spider Tag. Secuencias Minimas Swinton Gallery. Madrid, Spain. (photo © courtesy of Spider Tag)

 

Spider Tag Secuencias Minimas is currently on view at Swinton Gallery in Madrid, Spain. Click HERE for more information.

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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: 04.24.16

Posted on April 24, 2016

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If you are a New Yorker feeling the burn it could be the Hasidim who lit fires every two blocks in parts of Brooklyn Friday to mark Passover (see our final image). The smoke and ash were staining sidewalks and wafting through neighborhoods until being washed away with the Purple Rain Friday night, or maybe those were just the collective tears of so many who were mourning the sudden death of a loved one, Prince.

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life,” he inveighed to us in the beginning of one of his songs, and we’re going to have to find a way to celebrate his life when this heaviness passes, but for now a black lacey veil seems more appropo. Yes, Street Artists have begun to put up their tributes, and we hope to have some fine examples to show you next week. The one featured here by Pussy Power was actually up before he passed away.

So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Balu, Bast, Christina Angelina, Dain, Dee Dee, FTW, Icy & Sot, Irwin Bakx, Kid Super, Kuma, Purge, Pussy Power, ROA, Star Fightera, Thomas Allen and Wall Play.

Our top image: Icy & Sot “let Her Be Free” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Thomas Allen (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pussy Power (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dee Dee (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dee Dee (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kid Super . Wall Play (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Feel The Bern (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Did She? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kuma Purge (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Star Fightera for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Star Fightera for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Balu (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Balu (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA. Wynwood District. Miami. (photo © Irwin Bakx)

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Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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FTW (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Passover ritual. Williamsburg, Brooklyn. April 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK Stencils Ernest Zacharevic Playing in a Brooklyn Doorway

Posted on April 23, 2016

Strøk is in Brooklyn briefly and he had time to spray out a brand new 8 layer stencil on a doorway here before traveling a bit to see more of the Eastern Seaboard with his girlfriend. We found him this perfect fire engine red metal door in Williamsburg this week with the always gracious and at-the-ready “Mayor of Williamsburg” Mr. Joe Franquinha of Crest Arts-Hardware fame.

The figure appears to be mid-action, fully engaged in an activity and unaware of you. It is a relationship with the subject that the Norwegian-now-Berlinian likes for you to have. When you see one of his figures, or many of them spread across an expansive wall, he likes you to imagine your own storyline about what a figure is doing, what they may be engaged in.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In this case, he is experimenting with a more formal collaboration, shooting photos of fellow Street Artist, the Lithuania artist Ernest Zacharevic while he was playing a game dexterously with rudimentary tools of sticks and a rubber ball during a time when they were both in Hawaii for a mural festival.

Ernest’s in-motion action seems as if he is dancing – a combination of gusty winds that day and him trying to manipulate whatever he was holding from his hands. They set up the session and shot it from a little distance.  “I asked him if he wanted to do it on the roof that was opposite of my hotel balcony,” he says of the session of play and photo shoot.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“It’s the second time that I asked someone specifically to do something. Otherwise it’s just snapshots of strangers in the street. I like it kind of better that way. I like hunting for the perfect shot or the perfect moment to take a picture. If you have model and you are telling them what to do it kind of turns into a different thing. “

When describing the formal versus the documentary style of capture, you can see that it’s a process choice that he is ambivalent about – whether to capture images purely by chance or to have a more direct relationship with the model and the creation of the image.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

By removing the background context – a flying ball for example – and placing his figures that cavort with perspective, attaching them to a walls’ surface with a distinct shadow, Strøk has developed a recognizable style that makes viewers contemplate if they are the ones on the wall and Strøk’s people are the ones on the ground.

“I like the way they are connected to the surface,” he tells us and he discusses the shadows, how they are formed by the light and the figure touching the ground, and the resulting perspective that can be created.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I like it when they are almost standing on their toes, or caught mid-air. I like it a lot when they are running after a ball or chasing something.” In the artistic tradition of experimentation, he says that he is beginning to turn the figures ninety degrees to see what the effect is. “I’m doing a wall in Paris where it looks like the figures are falling but if you tilt your head then it looks like they standing.”

He explains that the idea came from someone else’s mistake. He shipped paintings to be displayed and the installer hung them at the incorrect orientation, turning the canvas 90 or 180 degrees – without realizing that Strøks’ signature on the back was meant to guide the proper angle to hang. When Strøk arrived to see the canvasses he was surprised. “In one of the paintings it looked more interesting. I didn’t intend it to be like that – obviously the composition changes a lot. It was just fun to see.”

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

When looking for a surface to paint, he doesn’t want it to be perfect and prefers to let its characteristics become part of the painting, filling in additional details that contribute to the emerging storyline. “I like the wall, and these textures. If there is a crack in the wall it becomes like it is a crack in the ground. I like all of these things. It kind of messes with you.”

In developing his style as a young stencilist in the early-mid 2000s, Strøk was inspired by the work of artists like Banksy and Blek le Rat. “I heard of Banksy before I heard of Blek actually,” he says, which is a common recollection of artists and Street Art followers. Without playing favorites, he says that he has also followed the work of another Norwegian named Dolk, the Germans EVOL and Pisa 73, and the American Chris Stain among many others he mentions with admiration.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As realistic and full of kinetic life as his static stencils can be, it’s not photo realism. “No it’s like a level between painting and realism,” he says. “If you wanted realism you could just paste photographs and then it would be a photo exhibit.”

A true hands-on artist, Strøk personally cuts his stencils – and here you can see a frame-by-frame story of how a multi layer stencil gets on a door.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Our very special thanks to Joe from Crest Hardware for offering this excellent spot.

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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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