November 2017

Tic Tac No: Leon Keer and Team at Venice Chalk Festival in Florida

Tic Tac No: Leon Keer and Team at Venice Chalk Festival in Florida

TIC TAC NO

Anamorphic Street Art has been a parallel universe to the illegal Street Art scene for years, and Dutch pop-surrealist Leon Keer is one of the most ingenious on the scene and well travelled; having been to Europe, The United States, The United Arabic Emirates, Australia and several Asian countries with his work.

Leon Keer. Tic Tac No Chalkfestival. Venice, Florida. November, 2017. (photo © courtesy of the artist)

Here in Venice, Florida before heading to Miami for Art Basel he worked with four other artists to create a huge piece of anamorphic land art in a grass field at the airport grounds for the 10th anniversary of the Chalk Festival during the second week of November.

Using symbols of some of the world’s religion in a 3-D game of tic tac toe, Keer designed an environmentally friendly chalk piece that required the work of 5 artists over 4 days painting with rollers and a handheld garden sprayer. Also, the field had to be mowed. With the longest line in the artwork at 300 feet, you can begin to appreciate how difficult this game is.

Lead artist and design: Leon Keer.

Other artists: Massina, Sjem Bakkus, Ives One and Eric Keer.

Leon Keer. Tic Tac No Chalkfestival. Venice, Florida. November, 2017. (photo © courtesy of the artist)

Leon Keer. Tic Tac No Chalkfestival. Venice, Florida. November, 2017. (photo © courtesy of the artist)

Leon Keer. Tic Tac No Chalkfestival. Venice, Florida. November, 2017. (photo © courtesy of the artist)

Leon Keer. Tic Tac No Chalkfestival. Venice, Florida. November, 2017. (photo © courtesy of the artist)

Leon Keer. Tic Tac No Chalkfestival. Venice, Florida. November, 2017. (photo © courtesy of the artist)

Leon Keer. Tic Tac No Chalkfestival. Venice, Florida. November, 2017. (photo © courtesy of the artist)

 

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Castellers, Correfocs, and Stencil Art in Barcelona Streets

Castellers, Correfocs, and Stencil Art in Barcelona Streets

We always say that Street Art reflects us back to ourselves and during a recent trip to the streets of Barcelona we found some great examples of regional traditions that build community and celebrate culture, even strengthen it. Of course we also found some great stencil art that we hope you’ll enjoy.

Ceaser Baetulo. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The above stencil is a part of a larger wall where multiple artists have gone up over the years. It depicts a human tower or Castellers a tradition unique in Catalonia that dates back to the 18th century. In today’s Barcelona the Castellers perform in competitions, usually in the Town Hall Square during the traditional holidays of the particular town or city.

Unidentified artist. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The stencil above is also on the same wall as the Castellers. This stencil depicts a Catalan tradition as well called the Correfoc. The Correfocs are a group of individuals dressed as devils playing with fire, mostly fireworks. As the Correfocs light their fireworks they get near the crowds, many spectators choose to participate by getting very close to the devils while others decide to watch the festivities from afar.


Akore. At La Escocesa in Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

AKORE does Run DMC at The Hangar in Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BToy in Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rice in Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rice in Barcelona, Spain. Also, anarchy. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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Nafir & FRZ in Milan: Mandalas to Stop War

Nafir & FRZ in Milan: Mandalas to Stop War

Nafir (left) “Flight of Eslimi” and FRz (right) “Fa Kingz” recent collaboration in Milan, Italy. (Photo © Andrea Fortis)

Two new street mandalas here in Milan, Italy from two Street Artists from Iran, Nafir and FRZ. Not surprisingly, the theme is peace, something that feels very endangered in certain parts of the world due to oil, natural resources, banking, private profits, and sometimes geopolitical rancor. The side by side pieces, one based on natural and traditional Iranian decorative patterning, the other more folkloric in motif, each take a different route to the same goal.

Nafir. “Flight of Eslimi”.  Milan, Italy. (photo © Andrea Fortis)

“This piece is called ‘Flight of Eslimi’ and it is a statement about changing for the better,” says Nafir, who is originally from Tehran and whose work on the street is usually darker in mood and outlook than this one. “It talks about our ability to become a new form of existence, like the worm (idea) that can change to a butterfly (gold).”

FRz. “Fa Kingz” Milan, Italy (Gif courtesy of the artist)

Tabriz based FRZ creates his mural (and GIF) “Fa kingz” as perhaps a colorful condemnation of the people who are using war and violence to steal and destroy lives and cultural heritage. “It is about the ambitions of those who have power and their unreasonable demands for governing the world,” he says. “Those human beings demolished priceless lives and homes of others just to prove their power and wealth are showing us the selfishness of those who say they are searching for immortality – but for them it does not exist.”

 

 

FRz. “Fa Kingz” Milan, Italy (Photo © Andrea Fortis)

 

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Canemorto X Studio Cromie Salute this “Golden Age” in Famed Grottaglie

Canemorto X Studio Cromie Salute this “Golden Age” in Famed Grottaglie

“Angelo, you’ve brought many oafs here,” says his mom at the dinner table, “but these guys… ”

“They really look like rabid dogs,” remarks his father.

Yo Daddy, you’re closer to the truth than you may realize.

Canemorto rapping through the winding streets of Grottaglie, Italy in Golden Age.

Everyone’s favorite Italian trio of graffiti-writing, Street-Art-painting, canvas-painting, rapper-pizza-makers are back on the big screen! And they are still failing successfully.

It’s a running joke now that these witless brothers-in-art are tormented by myriad intertwined demons about their insecurities and conflicts with seeking/avoiding commercial “success” and the mainstreaming/authenticity of the Street Art scene in street culture.

Golden Age, their solo show this fall is hosted by Studio Cromie and Angelo Raffaele Milano, the owner of the 11 year old gallery and empresario behind FAME festival.

FAME, of course, was of the first so-called Street Art festivals, far before the current onslaught of festivals in cities and towns everywhere. FAME was underground and seemingly authentic before Milano halted it after five years for many of the same conflicting feelings Canemorto has expressed about commodification of the counter-culture. You’ll see an ad for his now-touring “FAME” movie embedded within this one.

Fake it till you make it. Canemorto sporting slick New York shades in Golden Age.

Golden Age is the new partner video to the show, and the Marco Prosperpio directed film follows the hapless trio through the streets of Grottaglie, Italy, or as one Canemorto calls it in their rap, an “historic shithole”.

“It represents a sort of sequel of our previous video Toys,” Canemorto tells us, “this time the infamous trio has to fool both a crazy gallerist and a gloomy record producer in the desperate hope of getting rich and famous.” Ever brutal and ever witty, this is an ingenious way to fail.

Together with the video Canemorto is publishing Golden Age EP, a vinyl record (12” – 30×30 cm) with 4 of their jams on side A and a silkscreen print on side B.

Alongside the standard edition, there is also a special edition of 10 copies with handpainted covers, all different from each other.

 

CANEMORTO

CANEMORTO & ANGELINO – GOLDEN AGE LP

12″ vinyl one sided record, screen printed on the other side.
4 tracks recorded by CaneMorto & Angelino. Only 100 copies available. Click HERE for more information.

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 11.26.17 Mexico City Special

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.26.17 Mexico City Special

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Mexico City this week was full of graffiti tags, large murals oozing with character, astral techno hippie dudes, strong women, slick talkers, traffic jams, street protests, stories about the 43, couples kissing on park benches, rooftop tours, men in suits, professional ladies in really high heels, smoothly running buses, sustainable community gardens, pick-pockets, indigenous people selling crafts, police with high pitched whistles, wannabe hipsters, live rock bands, tacos, craft beer, poinsettias, quesadillas, chille rellenos, pulled pork, nopales, avocados, tortas, Frida Kahlo, babies, Bohemia, marijuana smoke, and ultimately, Ricky Martin singing for hundreds of thousands of people free in the Zócalo.

We’ll catch you up on on the details soon.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Arty & Chickle, Blu, Curiot, DFace, El Mac, Erica Ilcane, Escif, Herakut, Interesni Kazki, Maria Guardado, Retna, ROA, Saner, and Sego.

Our top image : Erica Ilcane. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Ilcane. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Ilcane. Deatail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot. Detail. For Lienzo Capital Project with Street Art MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curated by Roberto Shimizu with the collaboration of the Mexico City Goverment on the Metro and the official building of The Nation Youth Institute

Curiot. Detail. For Lienzo Capital Project with Street Art MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot in Roma neighborhood for Capital Mural. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

D*Face (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Escif. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Retna. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interesni Kazki. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interesni Kazki. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interesni Kazki. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Saner. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sego. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Mac. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Portrait of Maria Guardado, a social activist and poet from Guatemala. Ms. Guardado was tortured and killed by the Guatemalan army during the bloody civil war in 1980.

El Mac. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Arty & Chikle. “Only Love”. Street Art MUJAM in collaboration with the Mexico City National Youth Institute for Young Adults. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Torre Latino Americana. Mexico City. November 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Exploring New Techniques and Processes with Elian, Jaz and Ever in Mexico City

Exploring New Techniques and Processes with Elian, Jaz and Ever in Mexico City

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


In a cacophonous neighborhood in downtown Mexico City that sells musical instruments and equipment the second floor verandas are emitting an aerosol fragrance, a cloud of lime green to mix in the air. Some how it mixes well with the honking cars and roaring live rock and roll concert across the street in a musical equipment store where they are performing covers of 80s metal bands like Mötley Crüe and Judas Priest.

Elian. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Elian is balancing his new pieces on saw horses and fumigating them with bright paints which he normally might be covering a huge mural wall with.

“I’m trying to break with my tradition of being a painter do you know,” he says, one of three close friends on the Street Art scene from Argentina here in this studio.

Elian. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Each of the artists say they are taking a little break from the work they normally do to experiment for their upcoming show at Toba Gallery here at the beginning of December.

The year-old gallery is owned by a local Street Art celebrity named Smithe, who still pursues his own art career while choosing artists from his peers to show at this location in el Centro de la ciudad.

Elian. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I want to build these kinds of objects and to create a dialogue with the space by changing the focus of attention by placing them around the gallery,” Elian says, pointing to imaginary spots in the air above and punctuating with his pointed index finger.

“Sort of like tick-tick-tick, like acupuncture needles, and I will mount all these pieces try to mix with the pieces of the guys.”

Elian. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The guys are Franco “JAZ” Fasoli and Nicolas “EVER” Romero, who each have their own small room in this artists’ studio enclave that is sort of hidden, requiring you to look carefully for an entrance hall behind a lottery ticket vendors signage on the street.

All three have often travelled and work together with a fourth Argentinian named Pastel in festivals and exhibitions over the past half decade, and these three consider this a happy reunion to work again with one another.

Ever. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nicolas “EVER” Romero is next door sitting cross-legged on the floor trying to balance a chunk of raw meat inside a papaya, accented by a jalepeno pepper. Around him are various tropical fruits and everyday vegetables teetering upon each other and bottles of sugary sodas.

He says his newest still-lifes are mixing traditional subject matter with pieces of modern life to draw attention to the contrasts and as a critique of the commercialized consumer culture that is eroding our connection with history.

Ever. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I feel like Mexico has the combination of ancient roots like the Mayan and Incan culture,” he says, “and their culture of cultivation of fruits and vegetables edit is in huge contrast with the modern world.” He blames a lot of the commercial junk food that has come into the country on the neighbor to the north, the United States.

“You can go to this store chain called Oxxo, like the 7-Eleven of Mexico, and you can see what the Mexican People are being offered to eat,” he explains.

Ever. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Basically they have tacos and tortillas and basically shitty food like Lays or Bimbo – super unhealthy foods.”

“That, for me, is a metaphor for Mexico. This super amazing strong food history and then you have this stuff – for me working with these real foods is part of the description for what is happening in Mexico today.”

Ever. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The still-lifes are a departure for EVER from his figurative work as well, and he is enjoying concentrating on craft in this way.

Free from the large walls and magic surrealism of his street murals, he says he can also hide his identity in this kind of painting that is a respected practiced thought to help artists “warm” their hands.

 

Jaz. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Another figurative painter known for his muscular strong characters and people, JAZ is taking a few steps back from realism to abstract. His studio features a large pile of ripped papers that he is gluing onto a sketch on brown paper.

The sketch comes from a digital collage on his laptop. He says he needed to separate himself from direct painting by creating a multi-step process like this. “I am kind of forcing myself into more abstract in a very artificial way because if I try to do it by myself.”

 

Jaz. Sketch shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The 10 meter long fragile piece will hang from wires in the gallery and it reminds you that he was a sceneographer before he was know for graffiti or Street Art.

The finished rolls feature figures running with backs to the viewer in a jumbled, violent chaos of hooligans in the street. Strung overhead across the ceiling is a colorful fiesta decor, denoting a sarcastic overlay to the lawlessness. It’s contrast he enjoys.

Jaz. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“This is a typical hooliganism that happens in South America but I also mixed up with this idea of a party or a celebration so I’m going to have these decorative streamers papers hanging from above,” he says. “It may be difficult to understand because it looks like it’s a party but at the same time there’s this clashing and it is in a sort of carnival environment in a formal way – it’s more of scene in a cinematic way.”

Having lived in Europe for the last couple of years, JAZ talks about his home town of Buenos Aires and his new ability to have perspective on some corrupt behavior and social structures that he has been examining.

Jaz. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Argentinian hooliganism is also a very strong political force,” he says. “It is not just about the activities related to the sport, it’s the mafia. It is 100% connected with politicians and drugs and crime all under one roof or protection of the sport.”

“It is a very social tool used for manipulation… extortion. It is very integrated into our society you can talk with any of us three Argentinians and talk about how deep inside our society it is. I do a kind of x-ray of how the society works by looking into just that particular segment of society.”

Jaz. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With Mexico City considered as a doorway to the Americas, it is interesting to note that these three Street Artists all express a certain admiration and solidarity with Mexico and are very familiar with the cultural traditions, heros and artifacts of the history and society; a pronounced departure from the neighbor to the north.

It is good to see again the maturation and evolution of these thirty-something artists as they dare themselves to try new techniques in pursuit of an art practice apart Street Art, and to witness the network of support that they create for each other regardless of their stylistic differences.


PROCESS: Elian, Jaz and Ever in Mexico City

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BSA Film Friday: 11.24.17

BSA Film Friday: 11.24.17

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

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

Now screening :
1. PROCESS: BSA Raw Video with Tres Gauchos Elian, JAZ, Ever Siempre
2. “See Her” by Ann Lewis
3. The Grifters. RAGE DFS
4. Yoko Ono: Imagine Peace

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: PROCESS: BSA Raw Video with Tres Gauchos Elian, JAZ, Ever Siempre

The process of making art in the studio is a privilege to see and be a part of. This week in Mexico City we have been invited into that sacred space where three Street Artists from Argentina are working in rooms of an old building in the central part of the city as they prepare for an upcoming show.

Here are a few minutes of creativity in the moment as we watch Elian, Franco JAZ Fazoli, and Nicolas EVER Romero each work in mediums that they were not originally known for. Each is stretching themselves creatively- JAZ is working on ripped paper collage instead of sculpture or painting, Elian is creating extruded shapes and objects to hang rather than painting geometrics, and EVER is constructing “still lifes” to paint with oil on canvas instead of surreal figures.

 

“See Her” by Ann Lewis

Formerly GILF!, now Ann Lewis, the activist Street Artist and fine artist completed a mural called “See Here” this summer in Boston as part of the Now and There program.  A compelling image raises awareness of women incarcerated and the route to inclusion in society and the many challenges that accompany that route. For our part, it is important to see her.

 

The Grifters. RAGE DFS

Commemorating 20 years of hitting up trains with RAGE, here is graffiti bombing as action movie, courtesy of Boris and the Grifters and RAGE DSF.

 

 

Yoko Ono: Imagine Peace

Every Christmas season we look forward to Yoko Ono and John Lennon’s “War is Over (If You Want It)” sign in Times Square. A few weeks ago we were fortunate to see in person Yoko’s latest project withCreative Time’s Pledges of Allegiance program. Here is a bit of video showing the flag flapping in the wind in Manhattan.

Yoko Ono has been talking about and advocating peace for half a century and with her husband John Lennon she asked us first to imagine it.

Is it the absence of something, or the presence of it?

“Think Peace. Act Peace. Spread Peace. Imagine Peace.”

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Panteón and Watchavato “No Esto No Es Lo Que Fue” Opens In Mexico City

Panteón and Watchavato “No Esto No Es Lo Que Fue” Opens In Mexico City

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Newly opened Panteón in the very historic part of Mexico City features pizza, live music, and a series of open spaces for public programs and well appointed galleries – all inside a 400 year old colonial Spanish-style building on the cities’ oldest street. Architecturally registered as part of the cultural heritage of the city and country, these spaces are being preserved in their original splendor, and Street Artists/graffiti artists/contemporary artists are being carefully selected to breath new life into them.

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Intended as a cultural meeting place where exhibitions, panel discussions, artist talks, community participation, screen printing facilities, and even “happenings” around social issues can co-exist, you can feel a positive inclusive vibe here, and you can imagine a number of new partnerships blossoming at Panteón going forward.

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thursday night features a much anticipated opening by a Mexican Street Artist Watchavato, who many here point to as a pioneer in the local Street Art scene of the mid-late 1990s’s. Known for his stencils, his devoted fans, and his insightful sarcasm in sign-making messages, the Sinaloa-based artist has incorporated sideways critiques of drug traffickers (“narcos”), by playing with the image of Jesús Malverde, a folklore hero of his home state who sometimes known as an angel of the poor, or the “narco-saint”.

Visitors to the show will see again a reference to Malverde here at the show as well as what can only be described as pieces expressing Watchavato’s existential feelings about graffiti and Street Art culture two decades after he began.

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The sharp wit is not lost on us, as we have crossed paths with many an old-skool graff writer or early phase Street Artist who laments what they see as a loss of edge, rebellion, or even the transgressive nature of the early scene. The entire room can be taken into account as one installation, rather than individual pieces. Most notable of course are the gravestones, the most literal announcement of the death of Street Art we’ve seen.

Mourn not, we say, the future is unwritten.

We were incredibly fortunate to receive a full tour of every space (and future space) in Panteón by two of the curators of these newly opened art galleries, Andrés Medina who also serves as Director of the space and Mariela Gómez and the quality of concept and research that has gone into exhibits since opening this spring is already remarkable. Our sincere thanks to them.

Here are some of the images of the new show, NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE (NO THIS IS NOT WHAT WAS).

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato. NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE. Centro Cultural Panteón. Mexico City. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Watchavato NO ESTO NO ES LO QUE FUE opens today at the Centro Cultural Panteón in Mexico City’s Centro Historico. Click HERE for more information.

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Saner, Mexican Muralist and Painter, Studio Visit. BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 2

Saner, Mexican Muralist and Painter, Studio Visit. BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 2

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Saner has been a significant Mexican mural painter for the last decade, is invited to festivals regularly, works with some respected galleries, has partnered with some top brands, and has work in private collections and museums including Museo de las Americas in Denver and the newly opened Urban Nation museum in Berlin. A graffiti writer here during the explosive 1990s scene on the streets and trained as a graphic designer, his identity as a Mexican painter became more important to him as he grew older and began to be less concerned with emulating European or American visual and cultural language.

Saner.  Detail. Work in progress.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

That was when his personal voice emerged and he began synthesizing traditional symbols, colors, clothing, and (particularly) masks into the study of humans and our universal truths. His version of “primitive” is not so primitive, simplicity not so simple, upon closer observation, rather there are darker stirrings of profound truths about our nature. The masks and surreal scenes have multiple meanings, the characters and situations drawn from archetypes of history, his own taste in popular culture, and his critique of current events.

Saner.  Detail. Work in progress.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We visited Saner at his private home in a neighborhood not far from Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s colonia, a significant point in the personal story because of our association with their powerful voices, pride in Mexican traditions and history, and their individual desires for their work to have an impact on the lives of others. While Kobén, his beige (or golden) retriever paces around the living room with various chew toys and pushes them into our hands as an entreaty for play, Saner sits relaxed in loose chinos and a Café Tecuva t-shirt, chatting amiably while slouched in a hand woven reed chair.

He published a children’s book last year named after the dog about a boy facing his fears so you know that Kobén is part of our every conversation – barking and running and chewing on toys while we talk about stuff like the new mural scene internationally, the troubles with corruption and political parties, drug related crime and the disappearance of 43 students in Ayotzinapa, his personal art projects with local kids, helping the community after the last months earthquake here, and his recent wedding to his beloved Lalix a term of endearment he and other use to call his wife Lizbeth.

Saner.  Detail. Work in progress.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The oversized spiritual recreations of the bride and groom sit in left and right corners of their dining room listening quietly to us. Saner and Lalix had worn them as they danced into the party this April in nearby Cuernavaca; modern and folkloric, peaceful and booming with promise.

He is so excited to tell the story of the wedding that he runs upstairs for a DVD and shows us footage from the ceremony and celebrations where we can see the two of them dancing together – many times he appears near tears, full of joy. So many of the stories we hear all tie back to this seamless integration of an artist, his life, his aspirations, his beliefs, philosophies, and evolving awareness.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Later when we climb the stairs to see his studio, the small and bright space carries a similar optimism, despite the range of emotion expressed on the wall of masks and the characters in his multiple sketchbooks and the papers/canvasses stacked neatly or fanned out before us. Our conversation ranges again and settle for awhile on his experiences as world-travelling mural painter and his realization that his work needs to be in dialogue with the people and the neighborhood he is visiting.

Saner recounts a turning point a few years ago when painting an impromptu mural, just to pass the time in collaboration with local celebrated graffiti/Street Artist Smithe and other writers here in la ciudad. He says the content of their mural was meant to be violent and provocative and a commentary on the topical political events and warring drug factions in the country.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The final product was an unexpected one for all when a neighbor stopped by on the sidewalk and questioned the artists about their intent with the mural – and in the process she revealed that a person in that same neighborhood had been killed violently on the corner. She stressed that she had known the individual and that the mural was painful to her. He says the connection between his art and how it affects the people who live with it suddenly came into focus, and he began to re-approach his public work.

Another experience of actually being stoned by small kids in Morcocco while he was painting his masked figures on a wall also shocked him into a sort of sensitivity immediately.

“They said that their mothers didn’t like the faces because they were evil. I decided to alter some of them by making them more friendly, removing the long tongues, adding some smiles – and checking with them about the results,” he says. The inclusion of the neighborhoods’ suggestions made the mural “theirs” he says, and the discord ended with some of the folks expressing a sense of pride in the new painting.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ironically, a few peers suggested to him that by including the feedback of the people who live there, somehow the neighbors had “won”. Maybe that perception is informed by the contentious attitude of graffiti culture which may not take the opinions of the neighborhood into account, focusing primarily on the sport of “getting up” and the admiration of peers instead.

But this is a different approach for Saner and the comment that the neighbors had “won” makes him smile. “No, no, no. It’s not like that at all. If you think of painting in terms of someone winning or someone losing, you are doing it for the wrong reasons.” He says that he originally appreciated the cross cultural nature of the mural festival experience, but today he does extensive research before he even arrives in a new city – about the people and the history. He even interviews locals when he arrives to see if he has interpreted his research correctly.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mexican artists, especially the muralists are inspirational for him – Rivera, Jorge González Camarena, Rufino Tamayo, the Spaniard Goya. Saner’s own mystical and grounded interpretations are modernized and contemporary, somehow timeless in a magic realism sort of way.

He also sites influences like his childhood cartoons and even the novelist Chuck Palahniuk, who wrote Fight Club and who specializes in a sort of transgressive fiction that could recall the dark surrealism evoked in some of Saner’s tableaus.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We talk more and look at his newest sketches, experiments with colors and materials, even geometrically crisp forms. While Kobén circles us again, tail wagging and offering the occasional bark, the late winter sun through the 70’s suburban ranch windows sets the room aglow.

Saner tells us of his desire to challenge his viewers with slightly uncomfortable scenes. His process includes addressing an issue, then handing the microphone to the viewer, asking them to take ownership in the outcome.

It’s a subtle activism that many will miss in this psychological and sometimes spiritual play enacted before us; a gentle and insistent voice that tells you about the transformational power of art.

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Saner  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Based on real life characters. From the children’s book Kobén by Saner. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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An Unlikely Museum for Street Art? MUJAM is in the MX MIX : BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 1

An Unlikely Museum for Street Art? MUJAM is in the MX MIX : BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 1

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Not much happens in Mexico City’s modern Street Art scene that Roberto Shimizu Jr. doesn’t know about.

El Mac is in good company. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With his namesake father at the helm of the Mexican Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM) since it opened in 2006, the younger Shimizu has organized 30 or so Street Art events, founded the All City Canvas program, worked with city and federal public art programs. He has also been a personal clearing house for some of the most recognized talents and new practitioners on the scene, inviting them to paint inside and outside this eclectic and curiously expansive, overwhelming museum of toys that span a century or so.

ROA. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We spent hours with Roberto walking the floors of this imagination-provoking museum today – oggling an ocean of hand-made and mass produced items here that his father has collected for almost 60 years in every state of Mexico, only 5% of an estimated 5 million individual pieces in their collection. As the son of a voracious lifelong collector with a razor sharp eye and appreciation for positive energy Roberto Jr. has an omnivore’s appetite for Street Art, public art, graffiti.

So naturally since the museum first opened he’s been bringing in an eclectic array of aerosol/brush painters, wheatpasters, stencils, sticker slappers to hit up walls in the courtyard outside, on the roof, inside the museum, and on walls around the industrialized/residential neighborhood of Colonia Doctores.

Curiot. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We’ll be telling you more about this ingenious genius and his heartfelt amor for toys and Street Art later, but we thought we’d just show you some excerpts of a large rolled canvas signed by the important artists, curators, sincere fans and occasional rock stars that he’s been amassing for the last few years.

Here you’ll find a number of the big names from today’s Street Art scene from before anyone really knew them – people to whom he personally gave opportunities and encouragement and materials and who later have landed in the collections of museums and collectors thanks to him giving them an opportunity, or two, or three. Also it was good for us to see names of the new kids on the block and a number of Latin American talents we all will be getting to know in the future.

Herakut. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JAZ. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Neuzz. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Liqen. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

M – City. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Luca Dalto. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

For more information about MUJAM click HERE

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Perplexing the Poles, Mark Jenkins Plays Publicly in Łódź

Perplexing the Poles, Mark Jenkins Plays Publicly in Łódź

“Wanna taste these ramen noodles? They’re really good,” says the woman leaning forward to offer you a fork full of the Japanese food, dangling it over your head.

What?

Mark Jenkins. “Ramen Noodle”. For Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń in Lodz, Poland. November 2017. (photo © Rafaà Tomczyk)

The ultimate public still life sculptor and installation artist, Mark Jenkins has just positioned this woman on a lamp post in Łódź, Poland as part of Michał Bieżyński’s ongoing curation of his city’s public space.

Jenkins continues to refine his true-to-life interactions, with realistic, if troubling and surreal, figures frozen mid-action. He casts his own body and sometimes others’ bodies, using packing tape and plastic wrap, and then dresses them in unremarkable clothing that is conventional to the culture and environment.

Mark Jenkins. “Ramen Noodle”. For Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń in Lodz, Poland. November 2017. (photo © Rafaà Tomczyk)

This is a kind of human taxidermy, if you will, with bizarre scenarios invoked by the presence of the life-like figure in public space, implicating passersby into the scene before they even realize it.

Here we have six new installations from Jenkins in and around the city center, throwing people off their daily rhythm. They chuckle uncomfortably and point or snap a photo, slightly picking up the pace when walking by.

Mark Jenkins. “Ab Cruncher”. For Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń in Lodz, Poland. November 2017. (photo © Rafaà Tomczyk)

Mark Jenkins. “Holy Man”. For Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń in Lodz, Poland. November 2017. (photo © Rafaà Tomczyk)

Mark Jenkins. “Holy Man”. For Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń in Lodz, Poland. November 2017. (photo © Rafaà Tomczyk)

Mark Jenkins. “Rapunzel”. For Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń in Lodz, Poland. November 2017. (photo © Rafaà Tomczyk)

Mark Jenkins. “Rapunzel”. For Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń in Lodz, Poland. November 2017. (photo © Rafaà Tomczyk)

Mark Jenkins. “Back Stretcher”. For Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń in Lodz, Poland. November 2017. (photo © Rafaà Tomczyk)

Mark Jenkins. “Flower Girl”. For Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń in Lodz, Poland. November 2017. (photo © Rafaà Tomczyk)


Artist: Mark Jenkins
Location: Piotrkowska street, Łódz, Poland
Curator: Michał Bieżyński @lodzmurals
Organizer: Łódzkie Centrum Wydarzeń @lodzkiecentrumwydarzen

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BSA Images Of The Week: 11.19.17 : Barcelona Special

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.19.17 : Barcelona Special

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Barcelona this week was a tale of many opinions, passionately expressed, even hammered home. Geographically at the epicenter of a fight for/against the secession of Catalonia this fall, the conversations about everything from futbol to Guaudi to tourists can take on great enthusiasm.  Although, no one argues about tapas. Tapas are just always good.

The organic Street Art scene in the city that was famous during the early 2000s has been calmed as a result of a crackdown on illegal works, but some still exists in pockets of stencils and stickers and one-off paintings. The legal stuff, or ‘permissioned’ murals, are more likely what you will find in the central city, with a little more illegal stuff as you move away from the center to Sant Feliu de Llobregat or L’Hospitalet de Llobregat,

In general the Barcelona scene feels alive, vibrant, varied; and the quality of execution can be quite high. There is also an elusive feeling of magic and history infused within the integrated street scene and a healthy amount of socio-political critique – a swirling mix of illegal murals, commissioned murals, and controlled chaos in the artist compounds. Our sincere thanks to our hosts on the streets this week, especially Fernando and Esteban.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 1Up, Axe Colours, Escif, Hosh, Kenor1, Kwets1, Mina Hamada, Pantonio, Rice, and Zosen.

Miss Van at La Escocesa from 2012. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Miss Van at La Escocesa from 2012. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Miss Van at La Escocesa from 2012. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Escif at La Escocesa. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Axe Colours. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pantonio at The Hangar. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pantonio at The Hangar. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rice. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rice. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rice. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zosen and Mina Hamada. Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hosh. Contorno Urbano.12 + 1. Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kenor1. Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1UP Crew. Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bombers. Sant Feliu de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kwets1 . Kaligrafics. Sant Feliu de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kwets1. Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist and muralist Kwets1 spent three months working on two monumental murals on two tunnel walls right across from each other in the immigrants friendly, working class town of Hospitalet de Llobregat in Barcelona. The obvious theme of the mural is nature, conservation and climate change. The underpass is located right next to a river that attracts a plethora of exotic birds that use as a sanctuary and a rest stop as they migrate south during the winter season. We were actually witness to several large parrots flying from tree to tree while we were there.

The artist says that he took his inspiration directly from the nature story, and the human one of immigration here as well.

The other source was the human immigrant stories in this town. In the late 60’s and 70’s the immigration to the town was from several regions of rural Spain, with agrarian families who left farmlands and came to Barcelona seeking job opportunities in the large manufacturing companies that had established themselves in Barcelona. Many of those original immigrants eventually left the town to retire within Spain or to other European countries – leaving room for a new wave of immigration coming from several parts of Africa and Central and South America.

Presently Hospitalet is a vibrant community of old and new residents, and these murals capture the feeling of colorful, tumultuous, exiting and difficult change.

Kwets1. Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kwets1. Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kwets1. Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kwets1. Hospitalet de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Mine is bigger than yours. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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