July 2016

Jet Martinez says “Beauty” is the End Game in Oakland

Jet Martinez says “Beauty” is the End Game in Oakland

Athen B. Gallery in Oakland just produced a field of flowers with decorative muralist Jet Martinez in Oakland, California and if you were looking for something floral to look at, it will interrupt your view on this Downtown landmark.  He says that beauty is necessary for this area that was ravaged by crack and high crime in the 80s and 90s.


Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)

“The I Magnin building for me has always been one of the most beautiful buildings in Oakland.  A green tiled, art deco beauty, this building is a symbol of golden era from yesteryear. After the devastating effects of the Reagan drug wars and the crack epidemic, downtown Oakland became a shadow of the vibrant space it once was. Now, as downtown Oakland is experiencing a rebirth of sorts, I really felt a real responsibility to add to rather than subtract from this beautiful building and the downtown skyline. ”


Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)

Motifs come from the artists Mexican heritage, folk art, Amante paintings, textiles, and of course mural painters like Diego Rivera, who frequently featured the calla lily in his socialist commentaries. Now of course these murals are privately financed and are part of a business improvement district initiative and the presentation is strictly one of beautification.

But sometimes beautification is also cool, though to say that in the Street Art world today might get you chased out the room for encouraging gentrification or not being “real” street.

A. This is not Street Art, it is a commissioned mural.

B. Martinez is an accomplished painter AND a family man who talks about his kids and feels strongly that men can make a positive contribution to community by doing just that, creating beauty. “It is a way for me, as a man in society, to be able to contribute beauty and not just destruction. I think it’s really important in our time for men to embrace the making of beautiful spaces and I hope this achieves that goal.”

C. Be happy, people, life is really short.


Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)


Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)


Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)

The mural is located on 20th and Broadway in Downtown Oakland.
Mural Title:  “There’s More to Green than Money


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BSA Images Of The Week: 07.17.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.17.16




Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring American Puppet, Ant Carver, CDRE, Consumer Art, Crisp, Dain, David Hollier, Dee Dee, El Sol 25, Jules Muck, Myth, Ron English, The DRIF, and VJZ .

Our top image: Dee Dee (photo © Jaime Rojo)


JR from his Ellis Island Series. Sorry we don’t know the name of the original artist. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


JR from his Ellis Island Series. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


American Puppet (photo © Jaime Rojo)


David Hollier (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Text on  the illustration from Steppenwolf’s  “Monster/Suicide/America”, written in 1969

“America where are you now?
Don’t you care about your sons and daughters?
Don’t you know we need you now
We can’t fight alone against the monster”


Speaking of monsters…Donald Trump as re-imagined by Ron English. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


…and by Consumer Art. This is a takeoff of a Banksy piece (photo © Jaime Rojo)


…and by an unidentified artist. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


But Jules Muck has hope and so do we… (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Ant Carver (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Ant Carver (photo © Jaime Rojo)


CRISP (photo © Jaime Rojo)


CRISP does “Bling Vader” (photo © Jaime Rojo)


The Drif for The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And let’s pay tribute to all the ballerinas out there who train so hard for years and years and days and days and hours and hours and go on the stages big and small all over the world who rapture us with their grace and artistry. We salute you!


CDRE (photo © Jaime Rojo)


CDRE (photo © Jaime Rojo)


El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


VJZ (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Okay, okay! No shampoo. We get it. Myth (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Myth (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Untitled. China Town, NYC. July 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


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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Borondo and a Blood Battle in Berlin About His Mural

Borondo and a Blood Battle in Berlin About His Mural

A recent mural by Street Artist and fine artist Borondo in the neighborhood of Tegel in Berlin has drawn some attention because of its potentially uncomfortable associations and imagery. Sponsored by Urban Nation as part of their “One Wall” initiative of bringing many large murals to neighborhoods across the city, this one has engaged the ire of at least a portion of the community it appears in.


Borondo for Urban Nation this spring (UN) in the Tegel section of Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A so-called “controversy” is on media (print, online, and social) radar thanks largely in part to the efforts of one aspiring community leader and candidate for town hall on the center-right CDU ticket, who has rallied neighbors and reached out to the press to protest imagery they say is depressing and frightening because there is red paint that appears to be blood coming from the figure of the girl. The second figure tied to a tree also is a big concern. A new campaign to gather signatures on a petition has begun and accounts in the press say the group would like to find an alternate solution to this mural.


Borondo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Works of art, of course, will have fans and enemies – as well as people in the middle who have no interest or opinion. This may be a similar situation with the many advertisements on the streets of Berlin featuring images of bare bottoms and breasts that are exalted salaciously from every angle, bearded leather men in carnal embraces, and various action-warriors and criminals and brandishing bloody swords and weaponry.

Berlin, by and large, appears to withstand the thousands of advertising images that undoubtedly challenge the various tastes of its populace. Last year, for example, 200 large Berlin billboards even featured a sex toy by Amorelie with the text “Multiple Orgasmen”, which for you kids and English speakers is translated as “multiple orgasms”. Naturally some racy or violent images, messages, or themes will possibly offend older folks, children, conservative Christians, Jews, Muslims, atheists and immigrants arriving from new countries.


In his personal Facebook page the artist Borondo wrote a lengthy description of his surreal and metaphorical mural called, “Willkommen Refugees” (Welcome Refugees), which he created as Urban Nation’s program PM/9 this spring, curated by Justkids and StreetArtNews.  In it he appears to describe the piece as a cautionary tale of looking before leaping, something we always encourage children to do. One of the figures is based on the iconic figure of Saint Sebastian, an early Christian saint and martyr venerated by both Catholic and Orthodox Churches; an interesting figure who is said to have been persecuted for his religious beliefs in Rome in 288 AD and who was comforted by Irene of Rome.


Martyrdom of Saint Sebastian, by Il Sodoma, c. 1525

Saint Sebastian has been depicted in paintings, sculpture, icons, and tattoos as tied to a tree or column, shot full of arrows.

The same image has proven powerful to hundreds of artists through the centuries and has been seen publicly by varied audiences of adults and children in churches, museums, galleries, – and reprised as an archetype for fashion and editorial features in magazines and websites – including a famous one of the boxer Muhammed Ali as a martyr figure similar to Saint Sebastian on the cover of Esquire magazine, which was sold publicly on newsstands.


Photographer Carl Fischer’s  magazine cover image of Muhammad Ali was directly influenced by Andrea Mantegna’s c.288 painting of Saint Sebastian – with inspiration from art director George Lois, according to High Snobriety.

Borondo says he doesn’t like to impose his own interpretation on his work, which he clarifies is not meant to be just a decoration, and he indicates that he did a fair amount of research into the community, its history, even its weather, when choosing the images and the color palette. But for the sake of continued dialogue, he does break it down for viewers.

“If I explain the work my meaning seems to suggest that there is only one interpretation that is right and all others would be wrong. But sometimes the viewer’s interpretations are more interesting and completely different from the ones I had and I don’t want to close this discourse or exchange.

For me it is a poem composed by images and colors instead of words. I believe that in an art piece it is important to get not an immediate reaction but to promote critical thinking, a research of meanings and different levels of communication.

In this case I wanted to flow on the surface using different image and references to create a sort of big collage realized directly on the 14th floors high wall.


Borondo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The wall is divided in two sides with a gap of windows in the centre so I used this gap to represent a wall that creates a double dimension. On the left side there’s a figure looking through a hole, while the right side depicts St. Sebastian inspired by Renaissance paintings inserted in a snow forest with a cloud accumulation on top. The “wall” represents a division, a frontier and in this case creates a distance: outside the drama and inside an empty room with a small hole from which one can see the reality. A reality that we may pretend to not see but we need to be curious about – as the child depicted here – to know and understand.”


Not everyone is convinced by Borondo’s description of his work, and some are particularly sure that children and emotionally scarred adults who go to a nearby therapy center will be very negatively impacted. Additionally there is a sentiment that the artwork is an imposition on daily life. A user on Facebook named Katrin Balcou responds on Borondo’s posting,

You forgot to mention, that there is a daycare for children between 1 to 6 years old next to this building and on the other side a house, which is known as the suicidehouse.

I understand what you want to tell us, but it won’t help me or other parents to explain this to our little children every day, we have to walk there. And for the Refugees, who will come there to the end of the year … I don’t know, but if I would have seen what they have seen, I would want to see something different at a place, which will be my new home in safety … no reminder every day of a horrible past.

The real Problem I see here, even if I know the picture by now, I have no chance, not to look at it every morning and evening, when I cross the Street there. Art is good and needed, but I want to decide by myself, if I want to see it or not and here you force me to look at it and that is — for me — no art anymore.”

Online and on TV, Felix Schönebeck has been at the front of the protest against the mural and he is also running as one of the youngest candidates for the CDU this September. Mr. Schönebeck is not quoted mentioning Saint Sebastian or Borondo much when he is standing before the cameras of various news stations that come to Tegel to see him and the mural. Similarly, many of the media reports don’t mention the artist or his explanation of his work. It does appear that Schönebeck has analyzed the art and has concluded that the artist has created an affront to the community.

This Borondo wall is 4th in a series of murals begun last year for the residents by some pretty famous Street Art names that include a duo named The London Police, the German twin brothers How & Nosm, and a collaboration with Collin Van Der Sluijs and Super A. Until this new Borondo mural went up this spring, Schönebeck and the community have given the other murals good marks. What is a little unclear is why these other murals have escaped criticism and threats of public petitions and media campaigns. That is perhaps one of the ironies of art – it can be very subjective.


Collin Van Der Sluijs and Super A created this mural just to the right of Borondo’s for Urban Nation this spring (UN) in Tegel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The English Art critic Clive Bell was an advocate of formalism but his intellect also clearly recognized that our experience of art is often skewed through that other less measured and quantified quality, our emotions. In an essay from his book entitled “Art” just over a hundred years ago, Bell wrote, “The starting-point for all systems of aesthetics must be the personal experience of a peculiar emotion. The objects that provoke this emotion we call works of art. All sensitive people agree that there is a peculiar emotion provoked by works of art.”

With this in mind, it may be that the emotional response to these artists painting styles has revealed how different audiences are affected by them, because at least two of the three other murals here contain elements, that is “content” in modern Internet parlance, that could prove equally objectionable to certain viewers. However political candidates and community residents have given some paintings high marks possibly because of the artist’s particular aesthetics.


German twins How & Nosm created this mural in the same housing complex Borondo’s for Urban Nation last summer (UN) in Tegel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Installed for a year, the How & Nosm piece “On Tip Toes” has gone without negative comment from politicians or community members, despite what may appear to some as a composition showing a figure cut in half, bisected. There is a heavy use of the color red in their work that also could be seen as dripping or gushing blood in the various symbolic scenes that play out across the wall. Perhaps it is a matter of personal taste that this wall has been embraced to some degree – as the brother’s work contains more clearly defined, energetic geometric shapes and rhythms, emulating styles more often associated with comics, cartoons, or graphic novels.


German twins How & Nosm created this mural in the same housing complex Borondo’s for Urban Nation last summer (UN) in Tegel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The themes inside the illustrative forms and figures are less obvious than Borondo’s mural but How & Nosm’s work has been described in the past as including complex motifs that often address topics such as drug abuse, fraud or oppression and they personally have described many dark themes that draw from their own challenging biography in interviews.


The London Police created this mural in the same housing complex on the opposite end of Borondo’s building for Urban Nation (UN) in Tegel. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

There has also been a surprising lack of commentary regarding the otherworldly scenario depicted 42 meters high by The London Police in the housing complex – at the exact end of the building that Borondo’s mural is on. Enormous sperm-like smiley faces float in the toxic green sky, gently delivering dead or nearly unconscious robot figures down on top of a Berlin cityscape. This imagery also could prove nightmarishly scary to children who can see it very clearly from the nearby playground, yet, no public campaign has arisen to protest it.

We exaggerated the description of that mural, but for illustrative purposes. One can see, as most people do, that art is purely subjective and has always been. Contemplating the inexact and sometimes murky quality of an artists’ expression may be frightening to some viewers, reassuring and encouraging to others.


Saint Sebastian is flanked by angelic looking young figures over the doorway at Kath. Kirchengemeinde St. Sebastian Church in Berlin’s Wedding neighborhood, about 12 kilometers from the Borondo mural in Tegel. The church’s website says that Children’s services are held at 10 am on Sundays.

On the day we went to see this contested mural we saw perhaps of handful of people on a typical weekday walking by it, including an older couple who stopped to snap a photo of the mural as well as the Collin Van Der Sluijs and Super A collaboration next to it of a multi-hued bird. Neither seemed particularly unnerved but were pleasantly pointing to areas of it and discussing it – which rather seems to be to point of public art. They walked further up the sidewalk, albeit slowly. We also saw a few kids riding bicycles past, and a family of father, mother and two kids get into a car parked across the street from it. It was not evident superficially that the mural had impacted them, but of course we are not social scientists. We did notice that the sky was grey and cloudy, and the atmospheric quality of Borondo’s piece rather blended directly into it.

Full disclosure, we have worked with Urban Nation as curators of art and artists, most recently for our “Persons of Interest” show in the nascent UN museum space for a show the Spring of 2015, so we are familiar with at least that part of the organization and it’s director, Yasha Young. From an intellectual perspective on how our show was handled by UN, we can say that our 12 Brooklyn-based artists delved deeply into the cultural and social history of Berlin as well as Brooklyn, and UN stood behind some of the more challenging themes addressed directly or indirectly by artists such as religious freedom, the wearing of headscarves, feminist empowerment, immigration, African-German identity, GLBT issues, racism, corruption, the damaging effect of drugs and alcohol, celebrity culture, and depression.

As ever, one can also see the value of seeking and finding a balance with art and the community. Naturally, dialogue can be intrinsic to the success of large-scale mural projects. It will be interesting to see how the future of Borondo’s “Willkommen Refugees” plays out but we’re guessing that more discussion about the piece, its authors intentions, and the community’s opinion will be better than less.

I Love Tegel site http://ilovetegel.de/category/allgemein/

Schönebeck’s FB page  https://www.facebook.com/felix.schoenebeck


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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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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Borondo-Berlin-Urban-Nation-Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 9.51.13 AM


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BSA Film Friday: 07.15.16

BSA Film Friday: 07.15.16




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

Now screening :

1. In Memory: Giulio Vesprini
2. “The Yarn” Trailer.
3. Michael De Feo: Crosstown Traffic


BSA Special Feature: In Memory: Giulio Vesprini

Murals have an entirely different function in the urban environment than Street Art and graffiti, although some folks use the terms interchangeably. One of the time-honored functions of a public mural in many cities has been the “memorial mural,” the one that recalls a person or people or a  significant event that has impacted a neighborhood, even a nation. Because it is artwork mounted publicly, it can be used as a meeting point for people in a community to gather and talk about it, trading stories and impressions and gaining understanding.  At its’ worst, a memorial mural can be superficial or overwrought, moralizing, even stunningly unartful.

Sometimes however, it can provide to a community a sense of pride or history, and it can be empowering. Other times there is a mental, emotional catharsis that takes place with the artwork providing a forum, a safe space to discuss the undiscussible in a public forum or simply to share in a common sense of loss, or experience some sense of healing.

“It’s not mere decoration, but deals with ethics,” says Giulio Vesprini as he paints this mural remembering Camp No.70 Monte Urano, a WWII prison camp a mile or two from the sea and Porto San Georgio, in Italy. “So it has been very important to me that I could give my contribution.”

“The Yarn” Trailer.

“Meet the artists who are redefining the tradition of knit and crochet, bringing yarn out of the house and into the world. Reinventing our relationship with this colorful tradition, YARN weaves together wool graffiti artists, circus performers, and structural designers into a visually-striking look at the women who are making a creative stance while building one of modern art’s hottest trends.”

Also, OLEK is in it!


Michael De Feo: Crosstown Traffic

The Flower Guy has found a way to parlay his decorative style further, coupling advertising imagery with his simple organic abstract shapes and patterns. Here he tells you how he rather stumbled upon this new direction, an approach that looks like it has taken off! Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

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ROA and Pastel in Kiev for “Art United Us”

ROA and Pastel in Kiev for “Art United Us”

Two new pieces in Kiev from Belgian Street Artist ROA and Argentian Street Artist Pastel, both for the ArtUnitedUs project.

Pastel took some time to study history of the Makhnovist movement during the 1917 Russian Revolution, he says, as well as the libertarian revolution in the Ukraine. Naturally, botany was his chosen method of communicating such complex events.


Pastel for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)

He also studied local plants for inspiration, and posted this quote on his Facebook page.

“We have all flirted with freedom and, deep inside all of us have the urge to make it a serious relationship. The Anarchist values of individual freedom, grass roots democracy, and the decentralisation of all forms of power are, if anything, more pertinent today then over. See you on the barricades.” -Tony Allen, Kiev

See here a photo he used for a sketch of his new wall during his preparation.


In his familiar monochromatic aerosol hand rendering below ROA depicts local marginalized friends from the animal world. His practice is to study his host city and find the local animals that are not commonly celebrated or thought of very often, in effect giving them a visual voice in the cityscape. His painting took five days and was slowed by a painful foot problem, but ultimately he powered through.


ROA for ArUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)


ArtUnitedUs co-founded and curated by Geo Leros, Iryna Kanishcheva, Waone Interesni Kazki

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Borders and Boundaries : A Multi-Disciplinary Exhibit at St. Petersburg’s Street Art Museum

Borders and Boundaries : A Multi-Disciplinary Exhibit at St. Petersburg’s Street Art Museum

Rafael Schacter Takes a More Nuanced Approach to the Migration Crisis

Commerce and technology have been eroding traditional constructs of the borders and boundaries, especially in the age of the Internet, satellites, transnational banking and trade agreements that create governing bodies that openly dismiss national sovereignty, integrity, identity, aspirations. Borders and boundaries are contested, guarded, or disregarded at will; open to international capital, porous to immigration, hardened by armies.

Daily they are in the headlines: Trump’s plans to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, Syrian war refugees immigrating across European borders, Israel and Palestine’s ongoing land and settlement disputes, even maritime territorial claims of China and the Phillipines in the South China Sea that were ruled upon yesterday  – all reveal clues to our historically complicated relationships and geo-political perspectives.

Art to the rescue!

A current show mounted by primarily urban artists under the direction and curatorial vision of Rafael Schacter in Saint Petersburg, Russia takes on a thin, rich slice of this story; a conceptual examination of borders and boundaries from the perspective of migration. With global forced displacement breaking all records in 2015 at 60 million people according to the UN we clearly need to re-examine these constructs and decide what purpose/ which people borders are serving.

Sorry, we’re using terms interchangeably, which Schacter will correct us on. Toward that end, we are pleased today to present Mr. Schacter, an anthropologist, researcher of street art, author, and lecturer, here on BSA to share observations and experiences from his most recent project, a fascinating show at the Street Art Museum (SAM) called Crossing Borders /Crossing Boundaries. Our thanks to the artists, only a small number of whom we are able to present here, as well as to the museum for sharing their talent and resources. A full list of the participating artists is at the end of the article.



~ from Rafael Schacter

In May of this year, I spent nearly four weeks in Saint Petersburg curating a large scale exhibition at the Street Art Museum (SAM). The Museum, set in a functioning factory on the edge of the city, is a mammoth site. The first plastics factory in the Soviet Union, the site became partially abandoned in the 1990s after the collapse of communism, and has since been taken over and partly given over to this new museum. Containing huge outdoor and indoor spaces, the museum is truly a dream location to work.

For the summer exhibition this year, we decided to focus on what has been termed the Migration Crisis. Rather than tackling this head on, however, something that I feel can often be crass and exploitative, something that I feel can often be seen to be utilizing peoples’ hardships for artistic ‘gain’, I sought to provide a concept that could explore the theme from a more nuanced angle.


The title of the exhibition, Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, thus attempted to explore the differences between these two terms; words which are often used interchangeably, but are in fact quite distinct.

Utilizing the work of renowned sociologist Richard Sennett, borders were hence posited as zones of high organic interactivity and development, engaged, permeable spaces such as the zones between the land and the sea in which different species thrive, intermix and exchange. In contrast however, boundaries were understood as guarded, impenetrable locations, locations, for example, like the territorial perimeters of creatures such as lions or wolves.

Focusing on these differences, on the fertility and vibrancy of the border compared to the sterility and aridity of the boundary, we then commissioned 20 artists from around the world to produce works on this theme.


Working with artists from a background of street art as well as contemporary art, with video artists and photographers, muralists and artivists, the exhibition is thus truly multi-media and multidisciplinary. I was beyond impressed with the results, all the artists bringing an amazing set of ideas to the table and delivering them in the most fantastic of ways.

We had over 5,000 people come to our launch on May 14th, as well as a huge international conference on the topic of migration taking place in the museum on the same day. Living, working, eating and sleeping in the factory with all of the artists over the entire period of production was tough, to say the least. However the energy was unrelenting, with the artists and the whole team at SAM working without rest to deliver this incredible project.Brooklyn-Street-Art-5-Rafael-Schacter-740-VideoStill-Copyright-Street-Art-Museum-Crossing-Borders

I’m super proud of what we achieved, to both sensitively and critically explore this theme, to not just provide the traditional liberal consensus positionality but rather to challenge people’s thoughts and ideas on this topic. Who knows what effect it will have, if any. But I hope that the project can push people to think about the topic in a more nuanced rather than binary way.

Following the video are a few of the artists and their work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries


SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Go Home / Crisis / Basket

  1. Printed banner on chimney / Acrylic paint on oil barrels / Basketball hoop and backboard on containers, acrylic paint on asphalt

SpY’s deceptively simple yet conceptually ingenious interventions focus on the upturning of spatial and societal norms. Using irony and humour to create a dialogue with the viewer, SpY attempts to impress multiple readings onto a space, re-presenting it as a “frame of endless possibilities”.

His set of works here follow this method precisely. In particular, his giant work Go Home, at first an apparently aggressive, deeply antagonistic phrase (to put it mildly), plays with the variety of meanings that this expression can contain: the very ability to go home, for example, to return back to the place of one’s family, one’s birth, one’s life, is the very thing that most immigrants desire but simply cannot undertake (whether due to war or famine, economic or ecological pressures). To be able to go home is thus a privilege that not all of us have.

As with his famous method of renegotiating the set rules of sporting activities, provoking, as he says “disorder and chaos through context and content”, SpY’s works do not simply invert or subvert their spaces but playfully distort them. They “misuse” their environments to show the latent possibilities that lie within.


SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Untitled / A Revolution Nobody Cares About

  1. Scaffold, laminate photographic prints, flags, and spray paint and acrylic on containers / Acrylic paint on wall

Fillipo’s installation for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries explores different border zones throughout the globe. From the sea border of North and South Korea to that of Mexico and California; from Morocco and Mauritania to Cambodia and Vietnam; from the invisible border between Northern Mali and the disputed territories of the Azawad; to abandoned NATO bunkers at the Belgian Dutch border, these images present us with some of the most politically fraught locations on the planet which, somehow, contain a strangely alluring beauty. Alongside this, Filippo presents a series of Whatsapp conversations documenting his personal struggle to gain entry into Russia for this exhibition: a series of Kafkaesque scenarios in which he was sent from location to location in a seeming test of his resistance. The installation as a whole can be seen to bring together Filippo’s joint obsession with political, industrial and internet aesthetics.

His mural, A Revolution Nobody Cares About / Nobody Cares About a Revolution speaks, quite loudly, for itself.


Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo Evgeniy Belikov)


Kirill KTO. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)



  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Kirill’s work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries arose through his correspondence with curator Rafael Schacter. Focusing on the barrier of language and the complexity of translation, the work is about the impossibility of understanding and the unwillingness to understand. As KIRILL says “I understood only a small percentage of what we discussed and so decided to make this the heart of the work”. It is thus the borders and boundaries of language that KIRILL takes aim. As he continues “there are two borders of misunderstanding: you see unfamiliar letters and you do not understand everything completely. Signifier and signified become equally incomprehensible. Or even it’s a familiar language, but still it is not clear”. Kirill’s work, although colourful and bright, is in fact the image of alienation. The image of the migratory and the incomprehensible.


Gaia . Mata Ruda. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


If Capital Can Move So Freely Why Can’t Bodies?

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Gaia and Mata Ruda have produced a monumental work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, a work which functions in the classical tradition of political muralism. Using imagery from the filmmaker Marc Silver and photographers Jonathan Hollingsworth and Alex Kurunis (both of whom show other work within the exhibition itself), Gaia and Ruda present us with an assemblage of figures and artefacts which together convey a dense narrative about contemporary migration. Including individuals and stories from the borders of the USA and Latin America as well as Africa and Europe, the artists also produced a group portrait of three Uzbekistani employees at the factory who work and live in the very site where the mural exists.

The story Gaia and Mata tell is one of inequality and injustice, a story of the imbalance of our contemporary global system. Yet within this it contains hope and strength, the strength of the individuals who strive to fight these inequities on a daily basis.


Gaia . Mata Ruda. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Nano4814. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)



  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Nano4814’s half-abstract, half-figurative mural for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries demonstrates the strangely discomforting yet visually arresting style which we can now instantly recognize as his own. Frequently focusing upon the apprehension he has with his own work, Nano’s characters can often be seen to be in states of tension or strain (both literally and metaphorically), an angst reinforced by their compressed captivity within their sites. Moreover, his use of brick-walls, barriers, and wooden shards, symbols that act as leitmotifs throughout his work, play with the idea of boundaries as objects that encourage intrusion and trespass: Like masks, these borders both suggest and occlude a veiled truth, hinting whilst hiding, implying yet escaping. It is thus the very limitation that enables us to venture beyond.


Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Double Yippie Hollow Super Power

  1. Slides, DIA projector, flags, photographs, socks, coins, drawings in collaboration with Clemens Behr, SPY, Paco, and Fillipo Minelli, computer guts, digital prints, plastic, wood, plexi-glass, mounting hardware, sound installation, radio, headphones, cables, paint, chess set, soviet fabric, and industrial  spools.

Double Yippie Hollow Super Power is a joint project between artists Brad Downey from the USA and Igor Ponosov from Russia. Taking inspiration from the parlor game “cadavre exquis” or “exquisite corpse” (a method by which a collection of words or images is collaboratively assembled), the pair have sought to combine the varying national symbols of their home nations into a new, exquisite set of iconic forms. The “unity of the opposites” that they have created – utilizing objects such as flags, coins, and anthems – plays with the sacrality of these national symbols, the almost divine status that they contain. Moreover, it alludes to the strangely intimate relationship that the two countries are entwined in. Whilst apparent opposites, common enemies, both locations create their identity through their connection with the other: the objects Downey and Ponosov have thus created contain both a critical and playful edge. They ridicule the stereotypes of both themselves and each other in the same moment.


Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)



Jazoo Yang. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Dots / Painting Blocks

2016, Korean ink on wall / Found objects, cement, and acrylic paint on wooden palletes

Jazoo Yang’s Dots series originates from her work in her native Korea, in particular within areas of the city going through the process of redevelopment. Using traditional Korean ink, and solely using her thumbprint (a marking used as a signature on important documents), Yang’s work sought to bring focus on the increasing amount of “redevelopment refugees” in the city

For Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, Yang has expanded her Dots Series to incorporate the issue of refugees and migrants in Europe and further beyond. Working mainly on her own but also with immigrant workers from the factory itself, Yang discusses their stories, their histories, their existence with these individuals as they mark the wall together. These imprints act as a record of this moment whilst remaining entirely silent.

In Yang’s Painting Block Works, this theme of memory and regeneration continues. Exploring the violent so central to the contemporary city, Yang wants to ask how much we perceive our lives and make independent decisions within these oppressive environments. She aims to bring these problems to the surface through rebuilding them with the materials we so readily abandon, in Korea using objects from deserted houses and buildings, here in Russia using the detritus and ephemera of the factory itself.


Jazoo Yang. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Jazoo Yang. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Clemens Behr. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


The Final Frontier (Space) / Our House (In the Middle of the Street)

  1. Laminate doors, wooden pallets, wooden battons, hinges, and acrylic paint / Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Mimicking and playing with their settings through a process of transformative deconstruction, Clemens Behr’s geometric shapes and abstract forms come to distort the viewers’ perspective, merging two and three dimensional spaces in a single plane.

His installation for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries acts as what he terms a “social maze”. Utilising one of the most classic example of borders/boundaries, the common doorway, the work explores the potentially empowering or inhibiting abilities of these structures: as one door opens, another closes, enabling some and disabling others in the same moment. As a participatory sculpture, its visual possibilities become endless. However conceptually it demonstrates how every decision we take effects those around us. Like many of Behr’s installations, this work was produced with what was at hand, in this case the products and detritus of the factory site itself.

Behr’s mural tackles another question however. Playing with the shadows and design of the adjacent fence, with the actuality of space (and time) versus the potentiality of painting, he questions the boundaries of art itself: Can it go beyond reflection to truly generate the new?


Clemens Behr. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Clemens Behr. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Eltono. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Random Geopolitical Map / Upside-down Fence

  1. Acrylic paint on wall / Barbed wire, steel poles, metal fence, laminate warning signs

Eltono’s mural is a reaction to the absurd rationality of national boundaries. As opposed to the natural flow of borders (as can be seen in perhaps the world’s only natural country, Chile), the carving up of the planet’s boundaries happens at right angles: diagonal, horizontal, and vertical lines cutting up the planet into a perfectly linear patchwork.

As such, Eltono has created his own world map using a generative art technique; using a basic randomizer to choose a digit between 1 and 7, the numbers which emerge then come to define both the color of the country and its borders, indicating the direction that each color, and each boundary will thus take.

Unlike his mural, for his fence installation, Eltono presents us with the opposite of the rationality as seen within maps. Rather, he displays a perfectly irrational object, an upside-down fence. For Eltono, however, the inversion of the fence makes it something lighter, not an object that prevents our movement, but a compact object that can be upended “as if the wind had blown it upside down”. As he continues, “it’s not a massive obstacle anymore. A fence that can be flipped is a territory that can be freed.”


Eltono. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Merijn Hos. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Merijn Hos

Lost in a Dream

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Merijn’s mural has a simple, yet vitally important message. His five globes show us the development from a basic binary of black and white to a densely colored, intricate, heterogeneous space. The final image thus shows us a planet in which, as Merijn says, “everything harmonizes. All the colors are there together and they all work and flow seamlessly with each other. Of course borders exist in many ways, but if we take it a step further and forget about the rules and just go with our feeling this is what I think can be understood as the ideal. That we should not be limited by the rationality of borders. Probably a bit of a cliché. But that’s how I see it and feel it”.


Superproject. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)


Four Zero

2016, High Pressure Laminate installation

SUPERPROJECT, a two-man design operation spearheaded by visual artist Jasper Niens and industrial designer Thijs Ewalts, focus on computational design and digital fabrication, embracing art, architecture, engineering and technology. For Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, they have created Four Zero, a space within a space, a location only accessible through four, tunnel-like entrances. Due to the curvature of the entrances, the visitor is not immediately sure where they will end up. As such, the work is about revealing and concealing, possibility and difficulty; once people enter the space they can either feel locked up and exposed or protected and safe within its embrace.


Tita Salina. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Tita Salina

1001th Island: The Most Sustainable Island in Archipelago

2015/2016. Video, trash, fishing net and wood

Tita Salina’s 1001st Island is a work exploring the changing borders and boundaries of Jakarta. A city which is currently sinking between 2.9 and 6.7 inches per year, and which exists mainly below sea level, Jakarta is currently undertaking a huge land reclamation and producing a 32 kilometer sea wall to try and protect its boundaries, a project that will construct 17 new islands and take an estimated 30 years to complete. The installation presented here, a reproduction of an artificial island built by Salina and local fisherman using marine debris and litter, aims to highlight the negative impacts of the project, in particular the fact that the city refuses to fix the causes of its problems — namely, excessive groundwater extraction and inefficient waste management. Salina thus connects the reclamation and land issue with the human waste that plagues the ocean and the future of the traditional fishermen who live and work within this now perilous space.



ARTISTS Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries.

Alex Kurunis, Brad Downey, Igor Posonov, Clemens Behr, El Tono, Filippo Minelli, Gaia, Mata Ruda, James Bridle, Superproject ( Jasper Niens & Thijs Ewalts, Jazoo Yang, Jonathan Hollingworth, Kirill KTO, Martha Atienza, Merijn Hos, Nano4814, Rob Pinney, SpY, Tita Salina

For more information please go to The Street Art Museum (SAM)

Additional images at beginning of article are stills from video and are ©The Street Art Museum




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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Discovering a “Magic City” in Dresden, Germany

Discovering a “Magic City” in Dresden, Germany

A couple of weeks ago BSA was in Dresden, Germany to help lay plans for a new Street Art show opening there this fall called “Magic City” and naturally we hit the streets with bicycles three days in a row to see the city’s graffiti, Street Art, and murals whenever time would permit. The first day we had the honor of getting a tour from Jens Besser, an artist, author, lecturer, and producer of mural festivals in the city who sped ahead of us through a labyrinth of streets to show us a number of the impressive murals he and partners have brought to the city in the last decade or so.


Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jens is also a local historian and cultural observer so whether we were talking about a graffiti tag, aerosol hand styles, the Fürstenzug mural of 23,000 porcelain tiles, the overflow of the Elbe River during a European flood in 2002 or the architectural subterfuge of a former cigarrete factory/mosque named Yenidze that escaped allied bombings in 1945, he proved a friendly, adept and educational host.


Optic Ninja – a hand rendered wheat paste. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We did some investigating on our own later through Dresden’s more bohemian/neglected gritty neighborhoods but that first tour clued us in to some of the magic that can be found in this city that lies only two hours south of Berlin. The multitude of skills and voices on the street added additional color to the rich conversations we were invited to contribute to by sage and storied writer, critic and chief curator Carlo McCormick. Carlo generously asked us to be a part of his vision of a “Magic City”, a constructed simulacrum and somewhat surreal streetscape with 30+ artists creating new works of many disciplines and mediums inside a former plane engine factory here, and for years we have provided a platform for this form of storytelling on BSA so it’s fantastic to bring to a theater setting here.


Optic Ninja (photo © Jaime Rojo)

McCormick has an intense affinity for the artists and the creative spirit that rivals how extensively he is versed in the antecedents, undercurrents, and greater intellectual and cultural implications of this world that is loosely described as Street Art or Urban art. We’re honored that Carlo tapped us to create a BSA Film Program to work within this newly designed city and to expand the definitions and perceptions of freewill art in the public sphere. Likewise we are grateful to the incredibly talented and ingenious Magic City team under the leadership of Christoph Scholz for inviting us on board for this project – all of which we’ll tell you more about soon.


“Auch das Team von Brooklyn Street Art (Steven P. Harrington und Jaime Rojo) und das Kuratorenteam um Carlo McCormick und Ethel Seno freut sich, Euch als Magic Citizens ab 1. Oktober in der Magic City in der Zeitenströmung Dresden begrüßen zu dürfen. Der Vorverkauf startet am 3. August!” #MagicCityLife  (Photo © Frank Embacher)

In the meantime, here are new images from Dresden for you along with some more information about the upcoming show.


Frm-Kid . Otecki for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in DresdenFriedrichstadt . Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Other . Saddo for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curarted by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Mono Gonzalez. Dabtar . Gregor for Time for Murals. Curated by Jens Besser and Denise Ackermann. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Graphic Surgery for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


JBAK. Detail. For CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Ryan Spring Dooely . Moneyless for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Kenor . H101 for CityBilder – Collaborative Murals in Dresden Friedrichstadt. Curated by Jens Besser and Frank Eckhardt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Artourette (photo © Jaime Rojo)


A day and night diptych from Jens Besser (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Jens Besser. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Jens Besser. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Jens Besser (photo © Jaime Rojo)


No Name . No Game. – An “open source” roller tag repeated often and seen in many locations in Dresden. We found this one poignant because of the placement of a commercial real estate developer above it, effectively showcasing two uneasy players in the ongoing discussion about the role of art and artists in the gentrification of neighborhoods. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


ZCKR Crew (photo © Jaime Rojo)


SMC . GWK . ZBG (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For more check out #magiccitylife  magiccity.de


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!


A version of this article was also published on The Huffington Post


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Shepard Fairey: Earth Crisis

Shepard Fairey: Earth Crisis

Artist and activist Shepard Fairey this week releases a 2 volume “Earth Crisis” set that commemorates a recent public environmental project and doubles as a collection of plates to jumpstart your collection which you could easily frame and hang. With it comes powerful socio-political messages common to his wheelhouse delivered with the artists often iconic sense of design.

Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016

With his enormous “Earth Crisis” globe project mounted at the Eiffel Tower for COP21 last November, Fairey brought his activist history, design history, and sense of timing and location to a stunning crescendo with this project. Suspended 60 meters overhead at the base of the tower while world leaders were gathered to discuss global warming, climate change, and energy policy in the so-called First world and Developing world, the globe incorporated many of the messages that Fairey has been bringing to the streets over the last two decades to provoke discussion.


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016

In addition to thick cardboard plates of details from the Mandela he created for Paris, a second book of posters addressing related themes is included with his signature style incorporating mid-century slogans and advertising design, punk rock culture rage, and word-play that illuminates and hammers.

Topically the plates address themes including only some of those Mr. Fairey has continued to feature front and center in his street work and fine art and design: campaign-finance reform, the oil economy, air and water, corruption in politics, private control of public natural resources, green energy, the seduction of advertising, corporate collusion, fake patriotism and real climate change.


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016

Of particular poignance are some of the artists observations and motivations for making the work, including one particularly reflective statement that may point to an artists own struggle to affecting change. He speaks about reading Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” published in 1962 and the effect it had on many.

“The title ‘silent spring’ was intended to force readers to contemplate spring time without the sound of songbirds – a jarring picture but also a reminder that our emotional connection to our environment is mainly just aesthetic,” Fairey writes. “If we stay oblivious to ecological destruction until we notice the aesthetics change by then it will be too late.”


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


Shepard Fairey / OBEY. Earth Crisis. Albin Michel Publishers . Galerie Itenerrance. Paris. July 2016


All photos of the book’s plates  © Jaime Rojo

Shepard Fairey / OBEY Earth Crisis published by Editions Albin Michel. Paris, France. July 2016.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 07.10.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.10.16



For this Sunday’s edition of BSA Images Of The Week we have decided to publish one image only. It’s a brand new piece and is a portrait of an anonymous African-American man painted by Street Artist Overunder and wheat-pasted somewhere on the streets of Brooklyn.

“It’s a portrait of an anonymous black man. So it very well could be a victim, or a future victim,” he told us in an email.

This week has been a horrific one on the streets in this country. Forgive us if we speak too much here or are out of our depth but we are on the street a lot obviously and we think the conversation among all of us needs to continue if we are going to find solutions. The new videos posted online of our citizenry being murdered, some at close range, others in ambush, tell a story of where we are as a nation right now.

After seeing the videos of Philando Castile dying of gun shots by a police officer in Falcon Heights, Minnesota and of Alton Sterling being shot at close range by a police officer while subdued and on the ground in Baton Rouge, Louisiana viewers can walk away from them feeling as if they were being witness of the shootings. Seeing police downed by sniper fire in Dallas has confirmed that violence is not the answer.

We are bigger than this, all of us.

One would have to be either racist or delusional or both to not be angered, outraged, horrified, worried and profoundly saddened by the images coming out of those videos and photographs.

But we’ve inherited the legacy of our past and no one should feign surprise that we are dealing with it nor deny its impact on us today. Americans used to send postcards bragging that they had attended a lynching of a black man or woman, and most of those acts were to punish imaginary transgressions. Picture postcards.

Suddenly the lyrics of “Strange Fruit” sang first by Billy Holiday and later by Nina Simone and others come to mind. Those disturbing, haunting words could be easily applied in today’s America. The “…Black bodies…” are not “…Swinging in the southern Breeze…” -they are being tossed around in the back of a van, or trampled upon, or choked, face down against the hard and dirty concrete of our cities’ sidewalks. They are slumped, bleeding inside their own cars. They are suffocated and piled upon while gasping for air. They are taken down while playing in the playgrounds or just walking down the street, any street. Now we are seeing them on our phones.

The pain and the grief are the same. The sense of injustice is the same. The frustration is the same. The anger is the same.

Sweep it under a rug for a while if you like, but it won’t go away.

The police officers who were murdered in Dallas while on duty and while protecting the people who had gathered peacefully to protest the killings in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights didn’t deserve to die. Random or targeted killing of police is despicable. Their families were waiting for them to have dinner together and to do what families do at the end of the day. Instead their lives were cut short and now their families have to cope with the loss of their fathers, husbands, brothers, boyfriends, friends.

Violence against police is not going to solve any problems because it assigns collective guilt – and we know the majority of cops are good hard-working everyday people trying to do the right thing. It is also just as morally wrong as violence against citizens. We are collectively smart enough not to allow this complicated scene to be simplified by media needs to polarize us into separate camps like it is a sporting match. Some families have police and protesters sitting at the kitchen table and those families, like our greater American family, find a way to identify common ground.

Many have observed that brutality against people of color is not new – we just have cameras to record it in this modern moment and now the utter pain and injustice is available for us all to see and discuss with each other. It makes you wonder about the complicity of the news organizations over the last decades, doesn’t it? Now that we all are confronting it, let’s do the right thing and work toward a more just society.

It’s racism. It’s systemic. And we can fairly call it a broken system.

That’s why there are demonstrations system-wide;
across the country over the last few days in tens of cities like Philadelphia, Tucson, Oakland, Austin, Portsmouth, Norfolk, Portland, Nashville, New York, Chicago, St. Paul, Birmingham, West Palm Beach, Columbus, San Antonio, Los Angeles, Phoenix, – even Brixton in the UK. Our consciousness has been raised – and we realize there is work to be done.

We have to believe that the majority of people don’t want to go out on the streets and do this marching and yelling – most people would rather be at a swimming pool or in a movie theater or sitting under a tree with a cold drink. But the system is broken, has been for a long time, and the injustice, pain and fears are simply too great and people are demanding solutions.

We just collectively are realizing that we can’t be silent anymore about the evidence that blacks and other minorities are being subjected to the use of force disproportionately than any other group by many police officers around the country. According to The New York Times the data is there to support the assertion in a new study released on Friday titled “The science of Justice: Race, Arrests and Police Use Of Force”

“When force is used, a new study has found, the race of the person being stopped by officers is significant,” the Times says.

Let’s not blame anybody else, let’s not be cynics, or try to deflect. These problems belong to all of us and we have to accept responsibility for improving things in our own back yards, our front yards, our sidewalks, parks, stores, stadiums, museums, laundromats, offices, schools.

What people of color have to endure day-to-day in this country just to run an errand is everyone’s responsibility. Creating an environment where people live in a continuous low-level state of fear is immoral and it’s certainly not in alignment with Christian values, nor those of any organized religion we know of. We all are morally obliged to make certain that we all as people are treated equally and with fairness. That’s the real American way. When there is injustice, we all have to be accountable for a system that corrects the injustice.

We all deserve to go home at night to those whom we love and who are waiting for us to share dinner, to tell a story, say a prayer or be kissed goodnight.

And since it is July and it is hot in NYC and across the country; please brothers and sisters, protesters and police, let our cooler heads prevail. We can do this.

With love.




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!



Image above: Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)


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A New Reka Diptych in Kiev, Ukraine

A New Reka Diptych in Kiev, Ukraine

 “До побачення Київ, я буду повертатися найближчим часом! (Goodbye Kiev. Thanks for the good times and the inspiration),” says Reka as he leaves the Ukrainian capital and celebrates the latest mural for Art United Us, a newly minted global campaign to promote peace through the public display of creativity. This new mural is actually split over two walls and features the abstract signature of the Melbourne born 90s graffiti writer James Reka who has become a globe-trotting muralist and who now lives in Berlin.


James Reka for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)

Conceived of as a diptych when viewed from the correct angle, you can see how Reka relies on a natural flow and rhythm that connects the two walls with one another and each in response to its individual plane and surroundings. It is difficult for an artist to strike a balance in the urban environment and formal plan, particularly one who has traveled far to discover this historic and storied cityscape.

Here Art United Us appears to have a natural predilection for appropriate placement and their aspirations for a global showing of over 200 artists in the next two years looks promising. Begun in response to the shock and pain of war, the international project is celebrating the creative spirit – something BSA has been doing here with you for 8 years – with an eye toward raising “public awareness and attention to the problems of war, aggression and violence.”


James Reka for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)

Congratulations to Reka and the co-founders/curators of Art United Us; Geo Laros,Iryna Kanishcheva, Waone Interesni Kazki, and Ilya Sagaidak. We look forward to seeing more of your heart and creativity at work!

Next up: ROA is finishing his wall, despite dealing with a bad foot and Pastel is researching local botanicals in preparation for his next wall. We know them both and they are up to the job! – and will bring AUU more murals for Kiev to be proud of.


James Reka for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)


James Reka for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)

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