The city of Chicago is famous for many things, one of them is the city’s zero tolerance for Graffiti and Street Art. Lore has it that if a piece runs for more than one day before “The Buff” hits it with a drab splotch of municipal death, it’s because they thought it was an ad.
One piece that has survived the wrath of The Graffiti Blasters (as they are officially known) is the only known Banksy piece in Chicago. It’s a vintage baby carriage tumbling down the ghosted remnant of a staircase. It brings to mind the movie ‘The Untouchables” with mobsters and police and screeching cars and a panicked baby just for the hell of it. But, really, no one knows why this Banksy baby has survived so long.
Compounding the question this summer was the appearance of a mysterious unfinished non-Banksy body lying further down the staircase. Oddly stiff and praying, nobody knew the cadaverish forms’ origin as we looked through a lense at the Banksy in all it’s faded glory, looking more poignant and beautifully decayed, tagged but not destroyed. The unfinished form appeared to be levitating above the steps, it’s incompleteness adding an eerie feel to the Banksy carriage. Who painted it? Why was it not finished? Que significa?
Today we can report to you with certainty that the unfinished piece was by that side-busting Specter. And it is unfinished no more.
According to one account, it looks like the Brooklyn Street Artist had gotten in a little deeper than he intended when he began his unwanted collaboration with the biggest name in spraybiz, and he lost his concentration, one could say.
The resulting work, the “restoration” of the original Banksy, will surely infuriate some BSA readers. In the context of Specters other “sidebusts” and his own semi-rigid rulebook, however, it makes it’s own curious sense. And the woman who appears to have inched her way closer to the baby carriage as she become more complete? What of her? Reached for comment, Specter only said that in this unwanted collaboration he “used the Banksy baby carriage to make a reference to the conservative agenda that attempts to control women’s reproductive systems.”
Miami is basically “South Brooklyn” starting right about now, minus the bagels, the B62 bus, and the compulsive habit of cutting you off mid-sentence. Artists, galleries, fans, party girls and boys, djs, – they all head south the first few days of December for the big fair and all the little ones.
It already seems a little quieter here because Fountain took the weirdos, Wynwood Walls took the Soho softshoes, and The Underbelly collected the hardcore characters just long enough to sign a book and scarf some pizza before looking for a tunnel somewhere. Art Basel is a feast and the draw of Street Art and graffiti continues apace this year, with entrants from all the strata looking for a wall, and maybe a party, and a honey to go skinny dip with.
We picked a few Street Art related gems here that you might want to hit, but even if you show up in Miami this week with no plans, you’ll easily find some trouble to get into, we trust. Do your best.
After a full year underground, The Underbelly Project is coming to Miami during Art Basel. A pop up gallery, the show will feature original artwork from many of the 103 international artists who participated in the hidden subway project in New York. The exhibition will feature a video piece of multiple installations happening simultaneously, as well as new pieces by many of the artists. Additionally a book signing of the first volume to come out about the project, published by Rizzoli, will take place on December 2nd. Artists participating in the signing include: Dabs & Myla, Rone, Gaia, Lister, Eric Haze, Joe Iurato, Adam Feibleman, Know Hope, Jeff Stark, Jason Eppink, Jim and Tina Darling, The London Police, Dan Witz, Specter, Surge and other surprise artists.
Included in the show are street, graffiti and fine artists alike. The full line-up includes: Faile, Dabs & Myla, TrustoCorp, Aiko, Rone, Revok, Ron English, Jeff Soto, Mark Jenkins, Anthony Lister, Logan Hicks, Lucy McLauchlan, M-City, Kid Zoom, Eric Haze, Saber, Meggs, Jim & Tina Darling, The London Police, Sheone, Skewville, Jeff Stark, Jordan Seiler, Jason Eppink and I AM, Dan Witz, Specter, Ripo, MoMo, Remi/Rough, Stormie Mills, Swoon, Know Hope, Skullphone, L’Atlas, Roa, Surge, Gaia, Michael De Feo, Joe Iurato, Love Me, Adam 5100, and Chris Stain.
THE UNDERBELLY SHOW 29 November – Press Preview 5pm/ Private View 7pm 30 November – Collector’s Preview 7pm 1 December – Secret Wars US vs. UK 6pm 2 December – General Opening 5pm and Artist Book Signing 6pm
The show will take place in the heart of Wynwood at 78NW 25th Street
“Placing a focus on public art for this program, the gallery will present a series of works that highlight a diverse range of distinct styles, cultural perspectives and unconventional mediums. Each of the four artists selected represent fresh directions in creating work in public space through their innovative vision and inventive use of materials. Photography documenting their interventional imagery, sculpture, and performances convey the transformative effect their work has on its surrounding
White Walls will be hosting four booths at SCOPE, situated in the center of Miami’s Wynwood Gallery Arts District, featuring a MTN Colors Group show with APEX, Neon, Estria, Vogue, Blek le Rat, HUSH, Kofie and Chor Boogie, a White Walls Group show with Casey Gray, Ben Eine and Greg Gossel, and solo shows for both ABOVE and ROA. APEX, Eine, Kofie, ABOVE, ROA and Chor Boogie will also be painting at the Kohn compound on 24th street.
For a full listing of exhibitors and events click here SCOPE
Wynwood Walls is premiering 7 new Street Art murals and 16 new pieces at Wynwood Doors and walls outside.
Debuting in tandem with the new murals and installations during Art Basel this year on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, the “Shop at the Walls” the first Wynwood Walls Pop Up gallery space that will offer artworks and the new Wynwood Walls book.The book has interview with Street Artists and photography by Martha Cooper.
Artists include Retna, The Date Farmers, How and Nosm, Gaia (USA), Saner and Sego (Mexico), Liqen (Spain), Neuzz (Mexico), Nunca (Brazil), Vhils (Portugal), Interesni Kazki (Ukraine), Faile (USA) and b. (Greece). Kenny Scharf is expected to augment his existing wall, and remaining work from the last two years from Nunca, Shepard Fairey, Aiko, Ryan McGinness, Stelios Faitakis and avaf will be on display.
Walls Outside the Wynwood Walls, encompassing key locations outside of the actual art park itself and in the surrounding neighborhood, will be created by Friends With You (USA), avaf (Brazil and France), Nunca, and Interesni Kazki (Ukraine); joining works previously completed by Swoon and Barry McGee.
Wynwood Walls and the Pop Up Shop are located at NW Second Avenue – between Joey’s Italian Café on 25th Street and the art-filled Wynwood Kitchen & Bar on 26th Street – and are open to the public free of charge.
HERE COMES THE NEIGHBORHOOD: WYNWOOD (Video)
Fountain Art Fair
“Our preferred punk rock lopsided Anti-Fair.” —Brooklyn Street Art
This year Fountain Miami’s signature on-site street art installation is curated by Samson Contompasis, director of Albany’s The Marketplace, and will feature over 150 feet of work Street Artists including Sharktoof, Chris Stain, Olek, Hugh Leeman, Chor Boogie, OverUnder, White Cocoa, Army of One, Clown Soldier, Joe Iurato, CAKE, Tip-Toe, Elle, Ian Ross, Know Hope, Depoe, and Zero Cents.
Brooklyn’s own Mighty Tanaka Gallery is showing at Fountain Participating artists include: Adam Void, Alexandra Pacula, Alice Mizrachi, ChrisRWK, Ellen Stagg, Gigi Chen, Hellbent, Hiroshi Kumagai, JMR, John Breiner, Max Greis, Mike Schreiber, Robbie Busch, Skewville, TooFly, URnewyork, VengRWK & Miguel Ovalle
December 1–4, 2011 2505 North Miami Avenue (at the corner of 25th St) | Miami, FL 33137 General Hours: 12pm–7pm daily Tickets: $10 daily / $15 weekend pass. All tickets sold at door.
A new exhibit debuting during Art Basel Miami Beach 2011
Thursday, December 1
7:00 to 10:00 p.m.
RETNA, Jessy NITE, Stormie MILLS, Evan ROBARTS, Lena SCHMIDT, Luis PINTO, Andrew SCHOULTZ, Karen STAROSTA-GILINSKI, Kenton PARKER, TM SISTERS, Samantha SALZINGER, Emmette MOORE, Anthony LISTER, Charles KRAFFT, Tatiana SUAREZ, Edouard NARDON, Andrew NIGON, Johnny ROBLES and Lawrence GIPE.
From graffiti and street art, science fiction and tattooing, to cartooning, fine art, master shading and pristine line work – Paranormal Hallucinations will twist your senses and flip your head around. With so many different styles converging into one gallery the outcome will be exceptional. Come witness the divergent beauty of 16 Artists with different backgrounds, all united through one common medium used in their works; Pen . Ink . Brush . Official Website
Opening Reception: Friday, December 9, 2011 6-8:30 pm
LOS ANGELES, CALIF.- After taking pictures of gallery openings, artists and street art, Bryan Meyer or Birdman is stepping out from behind the camera and displaying his collection of photos for the first time at Novel Cafe in Los Angeles on December 9 at 6pm.
Birdman’s exhibition, “Wish You Were Here,” will feature his adventures in the art world. Including shots on roof tops, night sessions and rare images of artists up close working on murals.
“While climbing buildings, going wheat pasting, and watching murals being painted I try to capture an artist’s process that not that many are able to see,” comments Birdman on his work. “The night photography gives the average person a glimpse at the world we see at night; the amber glow of street lights and the dangerous installment process of donating art in the streets.”
Due to legal restrictions, street art’s lifespan is considerably short. What Birdman has accomplished with his photography is preserving the artists‘ work so that others can enjoy.
He is also unveiling his collaborative project with artists Phil Lumbang, David Flores, Lydia Emily, KH no 7, Gregory Siff and Cyrcle. Using photos taken by Birdman, each artists painted on images of themselves further personalizing the average environmental portrait.
Birdman has contributed to: Brooklyn Street Art, Huffington Post, Hi Fructose, Street Art News, The Dirt Floor, The Site Unscene, and Warholian. Is the in house photographer for Lab Art Los Angeles, and the Maximillian Gallery. A street art correspondent for LA Canvas magazine and featured in the October Juxtapoz center spread in a Dabs Myla interview.
On behalf of LAB ART Los Angeles we would like to invite you to the opening of “Everything Popular is Wrong” on Saturday, December 10. The show will be a spotlight on the artist collective DD$ ( Double D’s) who are also known as CYRCLE. Their alternative name for their different style of art transcends their humorous nature that they merge into beautiful paintings.Please let me know if you plan on attending.
Artists interpretation of the living world in Sculpture, Painting & Installation.The wild life of wildlife.
A flower growing through the crack in the pavement, the ivy scaling the fascia of a building, camouflaging, cloaking, pulling it to the ground, the tree growing around a concrete pillar, engulfing it slowly, morphing year on year. The birds nest in the rafters of a roof, made up of twigs and plastic ties, the nested young being fed the preservative pumped, calorie powered garbage bin rewards. These are glimpses of wildlife interacting, adjusting, adapting to the environment that we’ve created, over, around, on top of it, the once green meadow now a sea of steel work, glass and poured concrete, trees confined to their architect planned and perfectly aligned boxes.
But our wild life, this wildlife is playing a slow game, a slow deathly dance between the static, lifeless concrete structures we’ve built and the unstoppable force of nature. Adapt or be adapted, adjust or be adjusted, remember me? I was here before you, I’ve always been here, you need me, I am life.
Is mother nature reclaiming our temporary oasis or is it adapting to the obstacles that we’ve put in its way or are we now having to listen to the reminder that this place is not ours, we are simply borrowing it?
Josie Morway (Painter)
Rose Sanderson (Collage)
Jennifer Murphy (Painter)
Kelly Allen – (Painter)
D*Face (Mixed media)
Dan Witz (Mixed media)
Jake Wood Evans (Painter)
Roxanne Jackson (Sculptor)
Kelly McCallum (Sculptor)
Jessica Joslin (Sculptor)
Kai & Sunny (Mixed media)
Katja Holtz (Painter)
Renhui Zhao (Mixed Media)In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.
How long can men thrive between walls of brick, walking on asphalt pavements, breathing the fumes of coal and of oil, growing, working, dying, with hardly a thought of wind, and sky, and fields of grain, seeing only machine-made beauty, the mineral-like quality of life.
If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
– Charles Lindbergh
StolenSpace Gallery | Stolenspace Gallery, The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane | London, UK E1 6QL, United Kingdom
The upcoming show at Mighty Tanaka entitled “Robots Will Kill and Friends” brings together a collection of artists who have collaborated, shown, worked etc directly with the members of RWK. The show also marks the second anniversary for Mighty Tanaka. The show brings together a eclectic group artists, not just street artists and graffiti artists.
British artist, Xenz presents a new major solo show, Cloud Cuckoo Land in London this December.
Famed for his graffiti murals, the artist exhibits a beautiful collection of new landscape paintings which immerse the viewer in an undiscovered world filled with exotic species drawn from the vivid depths of his imagination.
Xenz offers a panoramic view of his fantasy world, presenting a strange utopia where peculiar plants, insects and birds are sighted among the tropical lagoons of moonlit forests. But with the satirical slant of an artist who paints from a dark, gritty warehouse in Hackney Wick, viewers can expect interesting twists such as a bird of paradise sporting Burberry feathers.
Cloud Cuckoo Land shows a body of work created over the last two years. In addition to a new collection of paintings and prints, Xenz’s newest work has seen him experiment with scale by painting on large-scale murals that divide into smaller, compact and highly-desirable pieces.
Xenz successfully marries fine art with urban art forms, using the spray can to capture fragments of memory and subject matter often drawn from the natural world. A love of ornithology and a search for ever-exotic wildlife has led to this greater evolution of the artist’s work.
Xenz explains: “Cloud Cuckoo Land is a kind of childhood fantasy of setting sail to discover a lost world, but ending up in an opium den in Singapore. It’s a celebration of creativity; something happy and joyful, but with a slight twist. I suppose living as an artist is seen as living in cloud cuckoo land by many people and I want to celebrate this by showing people what my dreams look like. Scientists estimate that there are more than 7 million undiscovered species on the planet — that’s inspiration right there!”
An extraordinary cohesion between mind, memory and spray can, allows this influential artist to walk up to a wall or canvas and paint epic landscapes and fantasy dreamscapes from his imagination. Offering a sense of escapism, a Xenz painting has universal appeal, and in the last two years alone, his work has been commissioned for a show by the British Council in India, exhibited globally from Australia to Ibiza, and his work hangs in mud huts in Gambia to celebrity homes in Chelsea.
Xenz paints landscapes imbued with escapism and symbolism and his background in graffiti is still evident. Look closely at a Xenz composition and you might find the letters of his tag worked into the twisted vines or the rocks in a waterfall. “It’s like a game, trying to decipher the code,” he says. “All my work is about escapism: the exotic and that vein. It’s about freedom and I suppose I’m trying to preserve a sense of value in art. I like to create work that takes you somewhere; a picture that takes a few moments more to soak up than an instant slogan or striking image.”
Opening under cover of night somewhere in Paris, four stories beneath la rue, a secret subterranean gallery in a sealed tunnel appears suddenly. While activity on the street overhead is hectic and dense with cars, trucks and pedestrians, the dry dust is ankle-high here in this darkened silent morgue, its cool dank air now permeated with fresh aerosol. The Underbelly has been here, and if you discover this curated collection of Street Art and graffiti in the chilled dim light, you are officially lost. And lucky.
“You start climbing down and it seems like it never ends,” says Workhorse, the project leader who, along with a partner named PAC, has lead wandering artists down a similar path with pounds of spray paint in their backpacks once before, “You feel like your descending into this black pit.” The last time Underbelly appeared, it was in Brooklyn with 100 artists mounting an unsanctioned show in abandoned tunnels during a one-year period. Now these organizers stood in an underground location deep beneath Paris with a tense troupe sworn to secrecy; ten artists, three organizers, two photographers and one writer, converging here from five countries for one goal; to paint walls unencumbered, if quietly, for half a day.
“The mood was a little tense until we were all safely in the tunnel,’ says Martha Cooper, the graffiti and Street Art photographer who has been doggedly pursuing these kind of painting parties in challenging locations for about 40 years. After decades of urban exploration, the world renowned photog with a journalists tenacity recounts stories like this with a glint in her eye and a sort of seasoned glee. “The process of climbing down steep ladders in narrow spaces in the middle of the night felt like a grand adventure.”
For Workhorse, the fear factor felt much more tangible, “If you get seen and stopped, there really is no good way to explain why you’re entering an illegal location with a dozen cameras and spray paint. I think we were all aware of the fact that it wasn’t a time to joke around or fuck up.”
If you’ve ever tried to organize artists, you know it’s almost impossible, and it always takes longer than you expect, especially when flights are delayed, luggage gets lost, and traffic is thick. “It took us 36 hours to finalize the supply list, get everyone in at the same time and same place and go over the itinerary of how things would work. We met up before sunrise, and made our way into the tunnel,” says Workhorse when describing the corralling of the crew.
The crew for Underbelly this time was a mixture of heavyweights and relative newcomers on the graffiti/Street Art continuum, each with a solid presence in an ever morphing scene; C215, Tristan Eaton, Futura, Conor Harrington, How and Nosm, Alice Pasquini, Saber, SheOne, and Will Barras. If there was street beef, nobody was showing it. In fact some of the biggest fans of these artists are their peers and many of them were just happy to be in each other’s company for the first time. “I felt very privileged to be a part of such an amazing secretive project in one of my favorite cities. It was an honor to paint with these artists and be photographed by Martha Cooper,” says Los Angeles graffiti artist Saber, whose recent health issues caused the team to craft a contingency plan for one of the intermittent paroxysms he’s had in the last year.
“As real dangers go, these guys had worked out the logistics of how to get me out of the deep hole if I happened to have a seizure. Lifting my unconscious big rear-end up many feet is no easy task. I felt safe with these guys knowing they had looked at all sides of the logistics,” he says, now happily at home.
But what about his piece on the wall? How did his painting go? “I was next to Futura, so no pressure there! How and Nosm’s piece along with SheOne`s wall was amazing. My piece wasn’t so fancy,” he explains while relating how delayed flights and jetlag contributed to a painting performance he feels was less than his best, “I got crushed by the friendly competition.”
Similarly, the New York Street Artist Tristan Eaton says the poor lighting leaves him wondering what his final piece even looks like today. “My area was only lit on one side, so half of my piece was in darkness while I painted. I planned a figurative piece with mostly dark reds, so how it came out is still a mystery to me. I haven’t seen any pictures, so I’m crossing my fingers that it’s not a total disgrace,” he says only half joking. The guy usually exhibits a technical mastery of the can, so it’s not unusual to hear him talk about taking on a new challenge with gusto. “I was trying to paint the Ferry man from Michelangelo’s Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel for God’s sake. I’ve been trying to do more figurative spray paint work lately, so I thought I’d push myself. Bad idea. I can normally trust myself to make anything work but given the challenges of the situation, I should have done a classic piece in a comfortable style and called it a day.”
For the ever sanguine quipster Futura, a graffiti legend whose savoir faire was primed by experience from the moment he arrived underground, his active imagination seemed enlivened by possibility and fantasy. With an elegant red cape and a can in hand, the graffiti and abstract artist clearly let his mind wander while the groups’ other amazing photographer, Ian Cox, looked for opportunities to capture the action and the attitude of the moment.
Four years in the US military will make a man look at this art project as a mission, and Futura was thinking of video games, regarding Underbelly as a real life multi-player call of graffiti duty. “You know it’s one thing to play Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops: Parisian Metro,” he intoned semi-seriously while talking about the planning that brought him to this sweet spot to paint, “but the precision and logistical coordination was, without question, a highlight in danger and daring.”
Setting aside heroic associations with the mission, the paintings themselves are imbued with a mysterious quality that is aided by their clandestine location and the conditions in which they were created; There is Connor Harrington’s epic and faceless horseman astride a stately galloping steed, Alice Pasquini’s Pipi Longstocking girl shrouding her frightened face in the corner, and How and Nosm’s sharp swooping symbols, lines and patterns waiting to be decoded.
Imagine walking with a flashlight through this tunnel of darkness and discovering the 12 foot high stencil portrait by hometown Street Art star C215 as it hovers slightly above you. The large grizzled face looms as a memory, perhaps a miner or a railroad worker, with one eye closed, or missing. Maybe he is wincing at you because of the thick dust in this airless tunnel.
He could be also reacting to the aerosol spewing from many cans spraying all at once. Advance planning aside, one detail escaped the group; ventilation. While none of the participants we spoke with regrets for a minute the opportunity to bury paintings far below the surface of a historical city that celebrates it’s artistic culture, everyone mentions the fumes.
“The tunnel was pretty much sealed with no ventilation,” Cooper remembers, “Had I not been loaned a respirator, I would not have been able to breathe. The paint fumes accumulated so that there was a visible haze in the space.”
“Inside the tunnel, it became 60% visibility with the spray paint fog with an instant headache wall when you walked in,” says Eaton, “We all felt bad for Saber who showed up last and had to bear the worst of it all.”
Saber agrees, “If you stayed too long you could possibly get inhalation poisoning. Seriously, in my 21 years of painting I have never experienced a wall of fumes like that.”
Curiously, no one bolted from the space and six hours stretched to nine, nine to twelve. After fourteen hours, everyone in the party was exhausted by the stress, the fumes, and the new paintings they had labored over. With completed pieces installed and documented, the crew re-packed their bags and collapsed their equipment to begin their ascent back up the steel ladders to emerge into the streets one small group at a time.
Brooklyn Street Art:Did you see many rats? Martha Cooper: I don’t remember seeing any rats. Workhorse: Nope, usually rodents are in active areas because they are looking for food. We were in a section that hadn’t been used in decades so there was no sign of life there. Saber: No, but I was searching for as many Space Invaders and Horfe pieces I could find.
“After being in the drafty tunnel we were all a bit dried out and hungry,” says Workhorse when describing the scattering of the team once they hit the street. Above ground they were much more relaxed, and sleepy. But not everyone hit the couch.
Says Eaton, “We were all doing what we love doing more than anything in the world. We got three blocks from the tunnel and ended up sitting down for five cold beers, covered in black dirt from head to toe. The buzz from the experience was strong. Most artists covet the moment when the work is done and you sit back to reflect on what you did with the weight off your shoulders. This was that moment times infinity.”
As for Futura, he’s just a romantic, “Merci beaucoup Paris . . . Je T’aime.”
Here in New York everybody is still out kickin around the streets because the weather is warm and to welcome the oceanic flood of tourists who are here to see the big parade, the Rockettes, The Book of Mormon, and to buy fake Louis Vuitton bags on Canal Street. After Thanksgiving, it’s a tradition that we get mobbed by shoppers from all over the place, and it’s a tradition to complain about slow moving wide people in sweatpants slowing us down, even though secretly we’re happy to see cousin Bruce and Aunt Ida again. Also, if you slow down a little, you might even see some new Street Art and appreciate it.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Anthony Lister, Betten, CID, Dr. Za, Erik Berglin, Jaye Moon, Leidy, OverUnder, Phil, RWK, Sise, Veng, and Willow.
The Photographer Continues to Explore Storytelling With Video
Leading up to the Paul Insect exhibit over at Venice’s Post No Bills gallery, photographer Carlos Gonzalez continued to challenge his visual skills by creating a video to impart a visual narrative, a psychological grounding to the physical process of the artist preparing for the show. The discovery of what it takes to create the show and the prints that were to sold inspired Carlos to tell the story in a new way, using video more than he has before.
Careful observation of movement, pattern, subtleties of technique – all underlaid with a sophistication in audio selections – reveals a talent in the storyteller that keeps unfolding before our eyes even as he endeavors to tell us about Paul Insect the artist and the Ramon De Larosa, the print master. As De Larosa mans the 2oo year old machine to create pieces for the U.K. based artist, bobbing and rolling and pulling and pressing play out as dance over a bed of electronic music and mechanical beats, succinctly merging two centuries into one.
And in this newest video the screen printing process is explained in 80 seconds to the quick cuts and fluttering drum meter of a motor city inflected rockabilly beat as De Larosa gently applies rich patches of color to a new Insect portrait. It feels like we are all learning at one time – artist, master, videographer, observer.