banner

Brooklyn Street Art

…loves you more every day.

The Audubon Birds Of Broadway

Posted on January 14, 2017

Birds flyin’ high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin’ on by, you know how I feel
It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.

~ Nina Simone

ATM. Williamson’s Sapsucker for The Audubon Mural Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

192 species of birds are seen in Central Park regularly, says the NYC Audubon Society, thanks to “New York City’s position along the Atlantic ‘flyway,’ a major avian migration route, and its variety of habitat types, the metropolitan area is rich in bird diversity,” says the Museum of Natural History.

ATM. Red-face Warbler for The Audubon Mural Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Since 2014 the streets of New York have also become home to many painted birds as well. In the Upper West Side neighborhood in Manhattan where founder and artist John James Audubon lived in the 1840s after publishing his major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), there is a growing series of paintings on roll down gates by Street Artists, graffiti artists, studio artists, and muralists depicting bird species that are in danger thanks climate change and to us humans.

ATM. Townsend’s Warbler for The Audubon Mural Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Audubon Mural Project combines the efforts of art gallerist Avi Gitler of Gitler &_____ Gallery and The Audubon Society and 50+ artists over the last 2 years or so and gradually this area is becoming a bird sanctuary. The birds are painted mostly along Broadway but many more painted birds can be found from 135th Street to 165th Street on the Upper West Side. Many of the birds are painted on gates so when the shops are open, the gates are up and bird sighting is off…so go early in the morning or when the shops close.

Mary Lacy. Pinyon Jay for The Audubon Mural Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hitnes. Fish Crow for The Audubon Mural Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LNY. Swallow-tailed Kite (and others) for The Audubon Mural Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

James Alicea. American Redstart for The Audubon Mural Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

To learn more about The Audubon Mural Project click HERE

 

Here is a recent story from PBS about the project. Unfortunately, many artists names are not mentioned in the story, a typical unfortunate oversight by the press for artists whose work is on the streets and not inside galleries or museums. Nonetheless, the story gives valuable  information and context.

The artist ATM in profile for his new installations just completed this autumn.

BSA Film Friday: 01.13.17

Posted on January 13, 2017

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. OLEK: In The Blink Of An Eye
2. Москва – Artmossphere by Kevin Lüdicke
3. Morden Gore: Painting for the Italian Earthquake of October 2016.
4. Art Is Tra$h


bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: OLEK: In The Blink Of An Eye

“It is one thing to read about the events in those parts of the world, but it is something totally different to actually look in the eyes of the women who lost everything while running from the war,” says artist Olek about how her world view changed when crocheting the project featured this week.

While gathering and producing materials for her installation with Verket Museum in Avesta, Sweden, the Brooklyn based Street Artist was holding informal crochet workshops with volunteers who would be producing the decorative yarn skin that covered every single item inside and outside of the house with their handmade crochet stitches.

Some invited guests were refugees who had escaped war in Syria and Ukraine and the artist and local folks shared stories and crocheted, sewed, and prepared the art materials together over the course of a number of days. It was during these exchanges of personal stories that, “a conversation started that has changed me forever,” she says – and she immediately needed to reflect it in her project with the museum.

The documented result is here for you today. It was decided to destroy the domestic bliss of the home with a blast from outside, shattering and scattering the contents, a dramatization of the blasts from war and the machines manufactured to create them. The results are recorded in the video that leads BSA Film Friday this week.

In a split second our lives are turned upside down by explosions like these, and we block it from our minds until it happens to us or someone we love or someone we simply see the humanity within.

“I decided to blow up my crocheted house inside the museum to demonstrate the current, unfortunate situation worldwide, where hundreds of thousands of people are displaced,” Olek says. “In 2015, over 27.8 million people in 127 countries lost their homes due to conflict, violence and disasters.”

 

 

Москва – Artmossphere by Kevin Lüdicke

A thoughtful well-paced look behind the scenes of artists at work in studio – painting, sculpting, sawing, sanding, pouring concrete – preparing brand new works for the Artmossphere exhibition. Mounted in Moscow at the end of summer 2016 with 60 or so international and local artists drawn mostly from the Urban Art scene, this short film by director Kevin Lüdicke is narrated by artists and illustrated by common scenes in the city of Moscow. The artists are reflective, unhurried, and dig a little deeper to explain their work and process. Quiet spaces are allowed – which is where a number of revelations lie.

Learn more about the event from our BSA’s visit to Moscow for Artmossphere here:

60 Artists at a Moscow Street Art Biennale: “Artmossphere 2016”

 

Morden Gore: Painting for the Italian Earthquake of October 2016.

Aerial scenes of rubble caused by an earthquake put you at arms length, as does the hypnotizing synth glitchy pop track from Coconut Scale that enables you to focus and swerve away, zoom in and pull out before the pain gets too intense. Two earthquakes four days apart in the center of Italy shook these mountain areas and medieval villages – houses, schools, offices, histories, lives all crumbling. Artist Mordengore painted the mobile headquarters of the CGIL in the midst of the aftermath and documented his work and the context he created it within to capture what happened as a way to “not forget what happened to these lands only because we are hard-working and peaceful people.”

“Dedicated to Sylvester, pastor of Visso, symbol of these fragile lands, but tough, because we want to rebuild, despite everything.”

 

Art Is Tra$h

The Street Artist named Art Is Trash creates a full installation in an abandoned hotel to advertise sneakers for a well known brand.

Civic Dialogue & “Fake Walls” : A New Interview With Gaia

Posted on January 12, 2017

He calls them “fake walls”; these mockups of murals in Baltimore that feature adorable pets. With these clever photoshopped pieces of mural fiction the Street Artist Gaia is perhaps skewering the coy shallowness of mural festivals that encourage a content-free decorative approach, rather than a substantive historically/socially/politically rooted one.

If Street Art has been hi-jacked by mural festivals from some of it’s higher minded origins, the New York born, Baltimore based Gaia has raced quickly on hot feet in the opposite direction during the last five years – preferring to immerse himself in local history, sociopolitical developments, and the implied cultural ramifications of his work.

Partially as critique to one increasingly commercial trend in Urban Art “festivals” that contorts murals as vehicles for brand and lifestyle messaging or aims only to prettify and sanitize public space, Gaia keeps assigning himself homework when he’s asked to paint in a new city, and he wishes he had more time to study.

Today we would like to share with BSA readers a recent interview he did with Shelly Clay-Robison, an adjunct faculty at York College of Pennsylvania and at the University of Baltimore who teaches peace and conflict studies and anthropology – with the hope of furthering the discussion on some of the points he raises and which we similarly have been discussing over the last few years with you.

In the interview Gaia speaks to the trivialization of the mural as meaningful expression in public space, a frequent lack of community engagement in Urban Art festivals, and his own sensitivity to what he may describe as the overwhelming whiteness and educated privilege in a scene that in many ways evolved from lower income communities of color. We’re pleased that Gaia and Ms. Clay-Robison have allowed us to share the interview with you.


From STREET ART AND CIVIC DIALOGUE: AN INTERVIEW WITH GAIA

Shelly Clay-Robison: Should we call the work you have made outside and on architecture street art, mural art, or graffiti and why would terminology matter?
Gaia: I would like to make a distinction that may seem insignificant, but is very important. Street Art, as I personally define it, is an umbrella term that seeks to explain any intervention understood as an artistic gesture, in a shared space, and must necessarily be illegal. The purview of Street Art entails anything under the rubric of contemplation or performance; tactical urbanism, painting, sculpture, etc. Murals on the other hand, are legal, sanctioned and are much more stringently understood as painting. Finally graffiti, as a tradition where the scrawling of a name becomes stylized, is a more pure action that is self-identified by its various participants as “writing” and not in fact “art.” Hence the continued relevance of the Street Art distinction.

SCR: So is it just an issue of legality then? Or are their social implications behind which type of work or medium is chosen?
Gaia: I stress these distinctions so firmly because we are at an extremely problematic crossroads within this rhizomatic movement, where the mural in the Americas, traditionally understood as within the realm of celebration, especially of colonized and oppressed peoples, has been wrested from the control of community art, by the spirit of Street Art. What I mean to say is that the production of a mural in the United States has traditionally been a multilateral, consensus-based process, but now control is being wrested from civic groups and representatives.

Instead, the procedure of creating a mural is increasingly being determined by property owners with the power and means to circumvent community, and thus, facilitate work that speaks to an imagined, future audience. I call this a liberalization of the mural: international, highly skilled individuals, who have transitioned from illegal, singular authorship to unilateral, sanctioned mural production have created a race to the bottom that defies the old Works Progress Administration model of full employment and is instead more aligned with the 10-99 subcontractor economy.


Click the link below and automatically download a PDF of the full interview here:

Clay-Robison, Shelly and Gaia. “Street art and Civic Dialogue: an interview with Gaia.” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory vol 16 no 1 (2016): 89-93.

 

“Meeting Of Favela” and a Thousand Artists in Rio : Martha Cooper Dispatch

Posted on January 11, 2017

Rio is hot in December. When you add a thousand artists to the favela it gets a lot hotter.

Aquilas Mano Costa from Rio De Janeiro. Mr. Costa a community coordinator and a tattoo artist displays his Meeting Of Favela tattoo. Aquilas is a member of the Costa family which was the host family of Ms. Cooper and other guests durin MOF. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)


The 10th Meeting of Favela (MOF) is a homegrown Graffiti and Urban Art mural festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil that has happened every November/December with more than hundreds of national and international artists. To give you an idea of scale, some estimates of the number of artists who flock here number well past a thousand and include participants from the Americas and Europe in addition to Brazilians.

Even though the huge multi-day event contains many of the familiar signposts of other Urban and Graffiti Art Festivals; live hip hop music performances, MCs, DJS, live B-boying (breakdancing), theatrical and circus elements, for example, the organizers of MOF take pride that they are the considered by many as the largest voluntary Urban Art event in the world.

Pixador JJ from Rio De Janeiro. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

There are other significant differences, according to long time documentor of this global street scene, photographer and living urban art icon Martha Cooper, who says that she had been to Sao Paulo a number of times but never to Rio despite hearing of Meeting of Favela many times over the last few years.

“Unlike most Street Art festivals,” Cooper tells us, “MOF is open to all artists to paint.” This alone is a departure from the increasingly curated and selective Street Art festivals that are held in many cities today. Additionally, the wall allocation is more organic and inclusive of a social contract between residents and artists – an important and very significant rule, says Ms. Cooper.

Conebo from Rio De Janeiro. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

“Artists must find their own walls,” she says. “This means they must walk around the favela and interact with the residents to get their permission before starting to paint. Some artists have established relationships with owners and return every year to paint the same wall. Other residents recruit artists and ask them to paint something special, such as a portrait.”

What about supplies? “Artists must supply their own paint – however MOF organizers often arrange to have discounted paint available on site.”

Bixcoito from Rio De Janeiro. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Modeled loosely after the popular and global “Meeting of Styles” graffiti events, this one intends to be more inclusive and engaged with the community. You can see that it is primarily a graffiti event but there are influences from what is more commonly considered the Street Art scene as well as traditional community murals. “The favela was full of pretty much every style of letters and images,” says Ms. Cooper.

Painting on selected individual walls begins in earnest on Sunday so on Saturday artists paint on a long collaborative wall at the base of Vila Operária, in Duque de Caxias, a real meeting of styles. “In addition there were spray workshops for the kids, a graffiti clown who juggled spray cans, a brass band, b-boys and b-girls breaking with live DJs, and numerous bars and food stands,” says Martha.

@odairdon83. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A volunteer run organization, Meeting of Favela relies on people who love the community, the culture, and the artists to keep this many constituencies happy and involved. While much of Urban Art’s early roots are associated with rebellious acts of mark-making conceived of and delivered antagonistically with negative or cynical intentions, at the opposite pole is a true community festival like this that successfully celebrates the creative spirit in myriad ways.

Not to mention how organized they have to be. “An experienced band of volunteers, many who have participated for years, is on hand to facilitate the artists and handle any problems on the spot,” Ms. Cooper reports.

Jocivaldo Silva AKA Bigod from the Northern State of Bahia, Brazil. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Naturally it feels like it is impossible to document completely. “There were so many fresh walls tucked away up and down the narrow streets and around every corner it was impossible for me to find and photograph them all,” says Cooper. But somehow, looking over the photos she collected and remembering the atmosphere, it was okay if she missed a couple of opportunities.

“The favela was intensively alive with residents and visitors mingling freely and happily,” she says.

AMO Crew from Brazil. Carla Felizardo – NEGRA, Lu Brasil, Mariana Maia – Ato and Taina Xavier- Baker painted the portraits of these girls on the wall of their home. Their names are, Ana Luiza, Laryssa and Marcelly. The girls’ grandmother had wished for portraits of her granddaughters painted during last year’s event but sadly she passed away. This year the girls’ mother, Ms. Gomes shown here holding the sketch for the mural arranged to fulfill the grandmother’s dream with the help of the AMO Crew. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Brazilian artists Othejo, Lirow and Jason. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

An unidentified artist paints the wheels of a wheel chair. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Chilean artist Edie. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Mav Group from Valparaiso, Chile; Jonas Salio De La Ballena, Isaac Codomano, Cha AH and Juan Pablo Lopez Sepulveda paint the portrait of Favela Operaria resident Suellen Ferreira Santos. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Fabio Tirado from Curitiba, south of Brazil. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Unidentified Artist. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Carão from Rio de Janeiro. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A hidden portrait by Carlos Bobi at Ipanema Beach. Mr. Bobi is a founder member MOF (Meeting of Favela). Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Unidentified Artist. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Sergio with his dog Thor. In the background a mural painted by Talu for last year’s MOF. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Unidentified artist. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Stilo Sucio Crew from Chile. Sometimes people scratch out the eyes on murals. One story that people tell is that the eye-scratchers are addicted to drugs.  Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Unidentified artist. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Young boys and their dog. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

 

Chilean artists Jotael and Luciana Munoz enjoying Ipanema Beach the day after MOF. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Soccer in Vidigal Favela with a mural by Andre Kajaman (one of the MOF founders) and Tarm1. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Painted houses by Dutch artists Haas and Hahn in Santa Marta Favela. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Unidentified Artist. Vidigal Favela. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

From let to right: Vinicius Spam – MOF Team, Nextwo Viniius – MOF Team, Clarissa Piveta – Producer and photographer, Rafael Cruz – MOF Team, Andre Kajaman MOF Co-cofounder (Carlos Bobi is the other co-founder and is not in the picture) In the background holding a mic is Bruno Napo – MOF Team. Meeting Of Favela 2016. Favela Operaria. Duque de Caxias. Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (photo © Martha Cooper)

 

We wish to thank Martha Cooper for her generous time dedicated to this article and for sharing her photography work with BSA readers. Follow Ms. Cooper on IG at @marthacoopergram

Thank you to Clarissa Pivetta


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

« Recent StoriesEarlier Stories »