Hellbent is in LA to open his show at CAVE tonight, and he shares with you these exclusive shots of the next phase of his abstract patterned color bars for the gallery he calls Mix Tapes. New is the sophistication in dimension and shadow, and a lot more white space, with pieces broken apart and reassembled in a looser, less dense buildup – a continuation of the direction he began for the “Spectrum” group show he was in last month.
“My ‘No Wave’ paintings are a further exploration of abstraction that I have been working on for the last year and half and I feel that they are going to continue to evolve,” he says. “In the same way that Richard Dieberkorn’s Ocean Park series was a 7-year journey, I think the Mix Tape series is only in its infancy.”
“With these current paintings I have been exploring leaving parts of the canvas untouched and allowing the white of the gesso to become a part of the paintings. I think this lets the painting breath and provides a ground for the viewer.”
“I have also been adding shadow to some of the different ‘Shafts’ to enhance the dimensionality of these paintings. While in the early phase of this work I think the color itself had achieved a 3D effect, if subtly, with the shadows it is instantly apparent. I was initially hesitant about the shadows but I have been having so much fun and since I had used them in murals in the past it was an easy transition. I am having a lot fun playing with these different layers and figuring out the different planes of the canvas as I construct them.”
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: Augustine Kofie in Paris with TRBDSGN, C215 is “Dreaming In The Back of The Classroom”, Ben Slow with Jim McElvaney and Best Ever in London, and Know Hope prepares for “The Abstract And The Very Real”.
BSA Special Feature: Augustine Kofie
in Paris with TRBDSGN
Kofie, Hobz and Honda address the wall schematically and with precision; an integrated and collaborative conversation with cans, tape, diffusers, an improvised protracter, and cell phones of course. It’s an unassuming record of a dedicated trio working together while kids fly by on transportation methods that are similarly time-tested as well as improvised.
C215 is Dreaming In The Back of The Classroom
For his recent TED Talk Christian Guémy reveals his philosophical approach to his creativity on the street, the impact of his personal relationships and his life path on his work. It is instructive to see the profound effect of a persons’ biography on the selection of work and even how it is expressed on the street.
(Turn the CAPTIONS button on lower right corner for subtitles)
Ben Slow, Jim McElvaney and Best Ever in London
Four guys on Old Street in London take on the challenge of a huge wall together at The White Collar Factory by Fifth Wall.
Know Hope prepares for “The Abstract And The Very Real”
The weight of the world, patriotism, and his place in the street. Living in Israel, Street Artist/fine artist Know Hope understands well the personal, the political, the historical – and how a continuously charged environment affects the art he creates. For his new gallery show at Lazarides, the artist reflects on his poetic approach to abstract realities. While examining walls, borders, and fences Know Hope pursues avenues to show how the bonds between emotional perceptions and political ones are inseparable.
A quick check with Detroit’s Hygenic Dress League, the conceptual Street Art duo who brought rainbows, butterflies and semi automatic weapons to Oakland and the tropical islands of Hawaii this August. As always, the messages are intentionally mixed, and particularly when viewed through chain linked fencing topped with razor wire in Oakland, the scrambling of transmissions is pleasantly disturbing.
Soon the leaves will be falling and the hottest Fall ’13 looks will be ready for you to buy. In this high-security retail environment, HDL’s militarized and sexy guard could be handling a dangerous “situation” or is just directing you to a nearby sales rack of fall fashions in this tough and trendy boutique. Perhaps it is HDL’s concept of an idyllic shopping paradise for consumers that conveniently is also a high security prison to keep you safe from outside danger. Hope they take credit cards.
“We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.”
The streets have always been a powerful venue for everyday men and women to advocate their political views and to be visible, to be heard, to champion and to demand. Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and all that it achieved and how we all changed as a result of it, even as we recognize how far yet we have to go for everyone to be treated fairly and the great cost the struggle exacted from many. This march had an impact on the American people like none other and even now the struggle for freedom, equality, and economic justice continues here and around the world as the words of Martin Luther King Jr. remain an inspiration to many.
The Loss Prevention. John Lewis. March On Washington. August 28, 1963. (photo @ Jaime Rojo)
Martin Luther King “I Have A Dream” Speech
“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.
But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.
In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.
It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.
But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.
We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.
As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.
This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.
This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”
And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!
Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!
Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!
But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!
Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!
Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
The slow proliferation of Street Art festivals around the world has been notable in many ways, including in what people are not saying. So it was good to bring out the topic of whether this really is “Street Art” when created in these new contexts. Thanks to everyone who wrote, and we welcome the conversation.
“Street art (or urban art) at its roots blossomed in the last couple of decades at least in part due to the illegal graffiti movement, avant-garde artists, intellectuals, political theorists, and critics of the so-called mainstream and much of the art making ethos that evolved from these calls for the autonomous selection of location, method and content. The idea of seeking approval is anathema to many a street artist, and meddling from the outside is nearly reproachable. Because no permission is usually sought, it is also accepted that the work itself is never guaranteed to have a long-running life and its meaning may be misunderstood, misinterpreted or altogether missed.
“For most the Street Art practice is an outcropping of personal inspiration or appeal, an experiment in the street laboratory. It may be dissed by another artist or “buffed” (painted over) by someone the following day, but all of the other choices are on the artists’ terms alone. In our tours over the last week through Atlanta we saw plenty of this self-directed sort of stuff on abandoned gas stations and buildings or on semi-approved graffiti walls that are unofficially set aside for that form of expression; it just wasn’t part of the formal festival. To expect that an organized annual event in any community could hew to that method of art making is probably delusional. But these new murals are also probably not street art, for those concerned with labels.”
Today we have a little reminder of the upcoming third edition of the Galeria Urban Forms Festival in Lodz, Poland, which will be really take off in the beginning of September. Already new work has begun from Etam Crew from Lodz with a mural on Politechniki Avenue inspired by Julian Tuwim’s poem “W aeroplanie” (“On the Airplane”). The second one in advance is by Gdansk artist M-City.
On the roster for this year is ROA from Belgium, who will inaugurate the festival shortly, and many are talking about the 11-floor skyscraper that INTI from Chile is going to paint, which will be the largest in Lodz and one of the largest in Europe. Below you can see the one INTI did last year entitled “Holy Warrior”. Also on tap is a 3D pavement painting by Ryszard Paprocki and other guests include 3TTMan – the Spaniard whose work you saw in BSA coverage of Atlanta last week along with INTI – and TONE, PROEMBRION, and CEKAS from Poland.
Urban Forms will have a variety of related events during the nearly month long festival that celebrate the existing 24 murals along with the new ones, including live music, a laser light show, bus and bicycle tours. BSA will be bringing you exclusive coverage of the new murals as they go up, so stop by to see brand new work by these artists over the next month.
Summer has been pretty stellar for those passersby on Brooklyn streets and here we have a great selection of installations including a couple from Dennis McNett, who posed a nine foot guy perched over traffic on Flushing Ave. Also notable is a new installation on the Williamsburg Bridge by Hot Tea using hundreds, maybe thousands of colored yarn strands washing over the pedestrian walkway in waves of color – not to mention the axonometric tags on fences that require you to stare and turn your head to finally see them. Finally you might want to check out the first really large scale piece that took N’DA days to complete in Bushwick, all by hand and on to top of a ladder. Cool lion, although those cherries really just look like big balls, right?
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week including Blanco, Buff Monster, Dain, Dennis McNett, Hot Tea, Judith Supine, Lamour Supreme, Misery, ND’A, Nychos, Pyramid Oracle, ROA, Rusty Rehl, Sheryo, Stikman, Tristan Eaton, and YOK.
From Spain Jeice2 has just completed a ghostly painting on the side of an abandoned and damaged building and he sends us some images of it, including a cleverly photoshopped obscuring of himself in the lower corner. In the face of usually bold and saturated graphic Street Art that one often sees today, this one nearly fades into the mottled and worn facade of the weathered building it is on. The disembodied head looks down, perhaps from a mountain, at the metropolis down below in a valley; a “City of Ether” that is as ephemeral as the painting itself.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: Bast and Pins, Nychos X Sheryo X The Yok on a Schoolhouse Rolldown, Jeff Frost. Modern Ruin: Black Hole and Roseanna Bach shares Wall\Therapy 2013.
BSA Special Feature: Bast + Pins
OldSkool New Vid
Bast and Paul Insect just put out this stop action this week of what appears to be some character painting in dilapidated buildings – and according to the accompanying text it was all shot on an iPhone 4. The soundtrack gives it a funhouse appeal and makes us want to go to Coney Island one last time before they tell us that summer has ended.
Nychos X Sheryo X The Yok on a Schoolhouse Rolldown
A couple of weeks ago The Yok launched the new edition of his King Brown magazine with a gallery show inside the schoolhouse in Bushwick. It was 8000 degrees inside but a few hundred people milled around to see the 30 or so new small works by artists like NEVS, Keeley, and N’DA. There was major spillage of people out the street and across it just to get some air and enjoy conversations and to see the rolldown in progress with Sheryo, Yok, and Nychos. Today you get to see the finished video of that piece.
Jeff Frost. Modern Ruin: Black Hole
Photographer Jeff Frost has been featured on BSA in the past – mainly because his high-def stop action videos of modern decay juxtaposed with natural wonder and beauty are so mesmerizing. Jeff is raising funds to complete his newest project “Modern Ruin: Black Hole” on Kickstarter, and you can check out the first few amazing minutes of the completed work here.
“Modern Ruin is a contemplation of the idea that creation and destruction is the same thing (this half of the film focuses on destruction),” says Frost. The white hole from which our universe sprang, and the blackness into which it may disappear testify to as much, yet these bookends of existence are inadequate to address everything in between.”
“As with all my films, every event depicted in Modern Ruin happened in naked reality, from the riots, to the optical-illusion paintings. In the same way that you, life itself and even the laws of the universe are deeply paradoxical, so too are the realities pieced together to form this non-reality.”
Jeff Frost. Modern Ruin: Black Hole
The first half of a film 150,000 photographs in the making combining time lapse footage of riots and optical illusion paintings.
BSA was the official media partner of Wall Therapy 2013 and as you know we covered it in multiple postings for BSA and Huffington Post (below). Here is a personal reflection from Rosanna Bach of some of the scenes she captured while there.
August has been brutally hot in Giardini Naxos in Sicily where Alice Pasquini joined a number of artists like Ericailcane, Oricanoodles, Bastardilla, The London Police Pork*Erya, Diamond, and JBrock for the Emergence Festival. It took a number of days to complete this mural in the heat, but says Jessica Stewart, who provides these exclusive photos for BSA readers, “We somehow survived!” At the end of the series of photographs you can see and hear a description of the project from the artist herself.
In neighboring Taormina, Ms. Pasquni used some the found materials she collected in the port of Giardini Naxos to create new pieces for a show at NN Gallery. In “Di Rotta” she uses found wood and inspiration from Sicily. According to Stewart, some postcards she collected in London also were incorporated into the work. Here are a few in-studio shots of Alice as she prepares.
Street Artist Maki Carvalho recently was inspired while driving through the rural Northeast and decided to do a takeover of hay bales. Using a large format printout of a dollar bill and some clever articulation of the “roll”, he created a giant wad of cash in the hay field.
He explains the thinking behind this sort of unconventional installation this way, “I’ve always found it funny how our government can constantly throw money at big business and “bail out” companies because of their irresponsibility. Driving though the back roads of Westport, Massachusetts I came across these hay bails and the connection immediately came to mind. Where’s the “bail out” for our hardworking,responsible, yet struggling farmers?”
Is there anything lower than a slumlord? Slumlords: Those building owners who basically abandon their properties to fall into disrepair, endangering individuals and threatening communities with physical and economic harm? Okay, maybe some reality TV stars are lower than slumlords, but that’s a different sort of poverty.
Historically Street Artists have been drawn like bears to honey when it comes to decayed buildings and abandoned places. Aside from it not feeling patently illegal, painting or wheatpasting the decay also feels like a contextual installation full of meaning, even when it is not. So it appeared a natural alliance when local Baltimore Street Artist Nether decided to join forces with the local organization named Slumlord Watch and create Wallhunters in his city last year. In an ironic twist, Street Artists are currently being credited for improving a community – at least until they are bashed for encouraging gentrification, but that won’t be till next year probably.
Born from the corporate free-trade economic abandonment of American workers that took off during the Reagan administration and which continues to ravage our cities right now, a huge swath of Baltimore’s housing stock stands empty, whistling in the wind as the blue collar jobs that sustained the city for decades sought shelter in lands with no worker protections, pesky regulations, and near-zero taxes. With no tenants and no income to pay Baltimore property taxes or to keep up homes, many owners simply abandoned them, in turn leaving the city with a bill it was unable to pay. Yes, we’re generalizing, but that’s the part of the cycle that we’re swirling in now.
Last month Street Artist Specter joined a growing list of Wallhunters, artists who use their tools to draw attention to the landlords who effectively abandoned neighborhoods and who are creating progressively unsafe conditions and evolving eyesores for an already hurting community. When it doesn’t get the attention of landlords, it does get the attention of the city. In Baltimore, where entire blocks have been boarded up, it is not unusual to find only one or two hapless families still trying to eek out a life while the structures to the left and right are falling, or worse, providing shelter to drug dealers or other unsavory types. For the few who have managed to keep their homes here, this is the reward paid for their perseverance.
“Artists illegally paint on abandoned property owned by notorious slumlords in Baltimore,” explains Specter, who recently did this installation for WallHunters: The Slumlord Project, . What happens next is instructive. Because the art draws attention, the neighbors begin targeting the owner of that specific property. Specter, who calls the abandonment an epidemic, says that some of the former homes are beginning to generate positive action because the neighbors are feeling connected and empowered to change their neighborhood. “It encourages and helps to facilitate local residents to take action,” he says. “Once the painting is finished and residents hear about the new artwork, someone will paste a notice with the name of the owner and all the information necessary to properly report a complaint.” He says the sudden attention often has results.
We said Satan in the headline just to grab your attention, but really we were referring to that wheat based meat substitute increasingly favored by an increasingly vegetarian population, Seitan. Specter is down with seitan and last week put up his own painting for Uptons Naturals, a company that produces it. BSA is not sponsored by anybody so don’t worry, this is not a clever “integration” into our editorial. But we do think vegetarians are generally very sexy, agreed?
“My piece comments on how eating meat alternatives like Seitan is good for the environment,” explains Specter, who debuts this work on BSA today. But what’s the cloud connection – are people starting to store Seitan via cloud computing? Specter tells us that those are cow farts. More Seitan equals less bovine flatulence. “Seitan can heavily reduce the methane gas that is released into the air by large animal farms,” he explains. Hence the bright clouds.