May 2020

BSA Images Of The Week: 05.31.20 / Dispatch From Isolation # 70

BSA Images Of The Week: 05.31.20 / Dispatch From Isolation # 70

Welcome to BSA Images of the Week.

The streets are alive with street art and pointed political protest. NYC citizens are joining the cities and communities across the country who are demonstrating furiously over the newest examples of systemic, latent, and explicit racism and police brutality that have characterized our society for so long. Of course it’s just one fire that has been waiting to spark as economic conditions run parallel with social inequity. In the face of sky-high unemployment, unpaid rents, increasing food insecurity, a “rescue” program that gave the store to the rich, and the ever-growing gap between hyper-rich and the chronically poor/ newly poor, the summer here looks like it could be torrid.

We won’t need or see a large number of street art festivals for a while. This show of politically/socially inspired artworks and text messages is probably just warming up on the streets and you can imagine that artists won’t find it appealing to be sitting on panels and pontificating about the genesis of mark-making, the original roots of punk anarchy, or how they are incorporating being woke or inter-sectionalism into their “street practice”. The creative class, however you define it, has suffered a huge blow and many are out of work, and patience. Based on what we have been witnessing here these past few weeks, you may predict that the more aesthetically inclined will seize the opportunity to make art for the city, on the city.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 1UP Crew, Adam Fujita, Almost Over Keep Smiling, Billy Barnacles, Combo-CK, Denis Ouch, Indecline, Jason Naylor, Lunge Box, Matt Siren, Mr. Toll, and Woof Original.

Adam Fujita (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Almost Over Keep Smiling (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A literal manifestation of conversations on the street. This campaign addressing the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement is answered with spray painted x’s and attempts to rip down the posters. Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Matt Siren (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Matt Siren (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A very pink Superman has a roll of toilet paper on his chest. Denis Ouch (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lunge Box (photo © Jaime Rojo)
HOPE (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Indecline (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Billy Barnacles (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Billy Barnacles (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Should patriarchy in the Catholic church be replaced by matriarchy? Is it a matter of empowerment for women to assume the highest positions of power in religious orders? Or have those establishments become discredited too much already? The French street artist Combo CK wheatpasted these holy women in Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Woof Original (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Who you lookin’ at? Mr. Toll, surely you aren’t saying that Brooklyn is ugly, are you? (photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Spring 2020. Queens, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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“Avant Garde Tudela 2020” Celebrates Decade in June / Dispatch From Isolation # 69

“Avant Garde Tudela 2020” Celebrates Decade in June / Dispatch From Isolation # 69

In what is possibly the first mural festival to take place in the world after, or during, Covid-19, BSA once again is proud to support Avant Garde Tudela International Contemporary Muralism Festival next month in Spain.

Miss Van (photo courtesy of the artist)

Commemorating a decade of existence as a quality cultural force with and exceptional lineup, it’s featured the works of artists some may consider part of a gold standard in public/street art interventionists and thinkers: Sixe, Mark Jenkins, Evan Roth, BLU, Ron English, Spy, El Mac, Escif, C215, Faith XVII, Vhils, Franco Fasoli (Jaz).

Mina Hamada (photo courtesy of the artist)

This years’ Avant Garde Tudela event is curated by Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada and BSA will be pleased to bring you exclusive behind the scenes reportage as well as shots of the artists at work courtesy a BSA frequent collaborator and photographer Fer Alcala.

Jeff McCreight AKA Ru8icon (photo courtesy of the artist)

Taking place from the 8th to 14th of June, this year features a line up including Miss Van, Mina Hamada, and Jeff McCreight (Ru8icon).

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BSA Film Friday: 05.29.20 / Dispatch From Isolation # 68

BSA Film Friday: 05.29.20 / Dispatch From Isolation # 68

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

Now screening :
1. “InkStemism” from Tinta Crua in Lisbon
2. STIK at Picadilly Lights in London: Hope & Solidarity
3. The PR Economy Shapes “News” and Perception
4. Big Joanie, “Fall Asleep”

BSA Special Feature: “InkStemism” from Tinta Crua in Lisbon

Portuguese activist, street artist and illustrator Tinta Crua says he hasn’t had a lot of action in Lisbon since the virus outbreak, so he’s been experimenting with animation and seeing his figures come to life across the screen. Today we have a look at the homemade video called InkStemism.

He says he’s been using wheat-pasting to display his hand-painted original acrylic pieces on construction walls or downtown shop windows. The style of figures and archetypes may recall for some the hand-drawn aesthetic punk/heavy metal fanzines: A stark wit and a bit of sarcasm – softened by an underlying sentiment of goodwill, romantic tendencies.

“I started back in 2008 when the crisis hit Portugal with its full impact. Lots of shops closed. People lost their jobs like me at the time and now again…but this window became my canvas!” says Tinta. Given the dire economic situation that appears to be headed our way, its safe to say there will be more artists working on the street soon, addressing fundamental issues in social, economic, and geo-political spheres.

“I don’t know what will be the scenario post-pandemic,” says the artist. “I hope that people will  keep their jobs and that the shops keep open. Well I’ll keep doing my thing – just have to walk more and wait till I find a good place to paste.”

STIK at Picadilly Lights in London: Hope & Solidarity

A curious turn of events leads STIK to Picadilly. His forms unite in a warm glow, yet few are here to see it.

The PR Economy Shapes “News” and Perception

When you hear and see the same story repeated multiple times by serious faces in authoritative positions, does it affect your perception of a company, politician, poet, artist, businesswoman, race, war? Sidenote: Is this journalism?

Big Joanie, “Fall Asleep

London based trio Big Joanie going from strength to strength. A great sound evolving from the DIY community and a fresh frank take on feminist punk.

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Barcelona Opening Slowly / Dispatch From Isolation # 67

Barcelona Opening Slowly / Dispatch From Isolation # 67

Barcelona, Spain has begun the process of re-opening the city from the confines of Covid-19. Lluis Olive, a frequent BSA collaborator tells us that phase I of re-opening includes bars and restaurants but only at 50% of their capacity. Stores under 400 square meters are also allowed to re-open. Groups up to 15 individuals are permitted to gather in public as well. For him this is a welcome relief for much needed open air.

Teo Vazquez. Barcelona, Spain. 05-2020 (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

And what does a street art fan and photographer do when you let him outside after weeks stuck in his home? That’s right, he captures the voice of the artists in the public sphere.

Here Mr. Olive shares a few shots on the streets of Barcelona – artists’ view on the pandemic.

Teo Vazquez. Barcelona, Spain. 05-2020 (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
El Rughy. Barcelona, Spain. 05-2020 (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
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Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper x Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France / Dispatch From Isolation # 66

Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper x Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France / Dispatch From Isolation # 66

“One paste up per month for the public health,” is the theme for this program called Le Mur, now on their 84th piece. In our time of self-imposed quarantines, invariably we feel our liberties are being infringed. Yet seeing this lad skipping down roof-tops of trains may provide the viewer an imaginary doorway to jump through – a momentary mental health break.

Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)

“I guess you could say that the boy running on the train reminds us of the innocent freedom to play that we don’t now have,” says photographer Martha Cooper of this youthful romp taken forty or so years ago. The original plan was for Martha to be there documenting Ella & Pitr at work pasting her photograph on the wall. Alas, Covid-19 thwarted those plans, just like millions upon millions of people all over the world have seen their own plans derailed, canceled, and postponed.

In the middle of a pandemic, artists Ella and Pitr succeeded in getting this image printed large format and pasted it here in St. Etienne. There is something reassuring about seeing this image persisting through time, emancipated into the public realm, waving its flag of self-directed liberation here on the street.

Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
Ella & Pitr x Martha Cooper. “Boy running on top of train” Subway Art, 1982. Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne, France. (photo © E. Grange / Le M.U.R. Saint Etienne)
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Brazil Alert: Narcelio Grud Concocts “Call Bell” / Dispatch From Isolation # 65

Brazil Alert: Narcelio Grud Concocts “Call Bell” / Dispatch From Isolation # 65

Brazilian street artist and public artist Narcélio Grud favors kinetic and sound-producing sculpture, preferably with your direct interaction completing it. What fun is a bell if you can’t tap it with your finger or bang it with a percussive drumstick of some girth?

Grud’s pieces are often on the street beckoning the passerby to use them to play music and we can see this new one could prove to be a thrilling prototype.

Narcelio Grud. “The Bell”. Festival Concreto. Fortaleza, Brazil. 05-2020 (photo © Narcelio Grud)

Adapting the call bell, that metal dome that alerts the attendant behind the counter at a hotel, Grud places shiny metallic cupolas all over plexi mothership one. Peal, peep, clap, clink, ping! He says we need something like this to draw attention to what is happening at this this moment.

“The alert calls us at this moment to pay attention!” Mr. Grud says. “Which are the bells that we can ring, and which are the bells that ring us?”

Narcelio Grud. “The Bell”. Festival Concreto. Fortaleza, Brazil. 05-2020 (photo © Narcelio Grud)
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CLET and “London Calling” / Paul Simonon’s Bass Smash with The Clash / Dispatch From Isolation # 64

CLET and “London Calling” / Paul Simonon’s Bass Smash with The Clash / Dispatch From Isolation # 64

It’s September 1979, the creaking fissures of societal liberalism were being formed by a retrenchment of money into public coffers, attacks on labor, and to fund western war machines – privatization was afoot on both sides of the Atlantic and the punks were now in full scream, those counter-cultural canaries in the coal mine.

We had the Three Mile Island nuclear meltdown, the USSR invading Afghanistan, the bombing by the IRA in England, the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, the cold slap of Margaret Thatcher in the UK, 17% inflation for the UK.

CLET”s interpretation of the iconic photo by British photographer Pennie Smith of Paul Simonon of The Clash smashing his bass guitar at a concert at The Palladium in NYC in 1979.

New York and London were making common cause on the street with a shared interest in this new music and its defiantly angry peacock anti-fashion, and the London Palladium had a bill with Sam and Dave, the Undertones, and The Clash.

A bloated middle class decade of arena rock bombast and coke-fueled disco hedonism had left Boomer white youth with rage with a rumbling sense of empty. Rebellious Punk was a vehicle, ready to tear a self-satisfied commodified hippie system down, perhaps thinking someone else would build it for us later. The lore is that bassist Paul Simonon was frustrated and furious at th ushers telling people to sit in their seats, not stand. In a rageful heat he smashed his bass on the stage, the act was captured by Pennie Smith, and it became the iconic cover of their album “London Calling.” 

Pennie Smith. Paul Simonon / The Clash. The Palladium. NYC, 1979

Here we find a Brooklyn “Do Not Enter” sign on the street with artist Clet’s inspired tribute to that now-famous pose – a symbol of blind rage that ultimately was self-sabotage. Simonon is quoted as saying he wished he hadn’t done it to one of his favorite guitars “a shame because the bass I had to play for the rest of the tour was a lot lighter and didn’t have any density to it when you played it.”

Ray Lowry used Ms. Smith’s photograph on his design for the cover of The Clash’s London Calling album.
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BSA Images Of The Week: 05.24.20 / Dispatch From Isolation # 63

BSA Images Of The Week: 05.24.20 / Dispatch From Isolation # 63

Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! Happy Memorial Day Weekend in the US. Happy Eid-ul-Fitr 2020 to all our friends celebrating it, wherever you are. Wash you hands, practice social distancing, don’t fight with people over small things. It’s not worth it.

This week we have some new art from the streets that appears purposeful and dense with meaning – not beating around the bush these days. Maybe there is too much at stake, and artists know it too.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Caryn Cast, Cheer Up, City Kitty, Dylan Egon, Gane , Glare Rakn, Hearts NY, Praxis, and Sara Lynne-Leo.

Hearts NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sidebusted Sara Lynne-Leo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cheer Up (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Caryn Cast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dylan Egon (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dylan Egon (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dylan Egon (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
City Kitty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Flash on top. Gane on the bottom. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Glare Rakn (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. SOHO, NY. 05.2020 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Shepard Fairey Hand-Colored Art in Hands of Essential Workers : Dispatch From Isolation #62

Shepard Fairey Hand-Colored Art in Hands of Essential Workers : Dispatch From Isolation #62

The mayor of Poughkeepsie, New York may not know who Shepard Fairey is but Jodi Cox-Kyle has spent some recent afternoons with his art and a pile of sharpies.

The upstate town resident, who is a retired professional advocate for persons with intellectual disabilities in the county, tells us that she created the posters by downloading them from this site last month.

Stuck inside her house quarantining with her husband and dog for the last few months, she says she’s been looking for projects to show support for the community that are affordable and safe.

“I printed 10 copies of the ‘Thank You For Your Service’ graphic and spent two relaxing afternoons coloring the images with the art supplies I had on hand: a half box of colored pencils and some sharpies,” says Cox-Kyle. When she finished the posters she put them out for the sanitation, recycling, and mail delivery people who she sees regularly through the window.

“I’ve been a fan of Shepard Fairey for many years and admire his commitment to advancing social and political causes through his art,” she says. After attaching candy bars and Rice Crispie bars to the signs and putting them out she said it was sort of a home-based adventure to watch and see if anybody saw them.

She says the sanitation worker appeared hesitant at first and stared at the poster for some time. “Then he removed the sign and passed around the ziplock bag to his co-workers.”

The recycling worker was a bit more demonstrative.

“Our recycling guy picked up the posters mounted on paint sticks and waved them in the air! – before putting them in the cab of his truck,” she says.

Days later a friend told her that she saw the signs on social media and Cox-Kyle couldn’t believe it. “She said it was on Facebook on the mayor’s page, and I was really happy. I’m still kind of shocked”

It also looks like the whole art and activism experience has been a good one for her, and she’s looking at other projects as well.

“I have 5 posters left. I don’t know where they are going yet, but I promise they’ll end up in the hands of one of Poughkeepsie’s fine essential workers.” We’re guessing that candy bars will also be involved.

A collaboration, if you will, between Shepard Fairey and Jodi Cox-Kyle – ready for posting.
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BSA Film Friday 05.22.20 / Dispatch From Isolation # 61

BSA Film Friday 05.22.20 / Dispatch From Isolation # 61

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

Now screening :
1. SOFLES: Layers

BSA Special Feature: SOFLES: Layers

Without the pomposity and subtle class-conscious signaling that those Youtube ads for MasterClass use to coat their appeal with, here is Australia’s master of myriad graffiti styles, SOFLES, giving you the inside look at tools and techniques for his craft with confidence and flair.  

Yes, he’s spraying and showing you the right caps to use, but if this hadn’t been abundantly clear before, this discipline is as much about choreography and parry and thrust as it is anything involving paint and hue. Here are the details, the product of knowledge and history, his 10,000 hours.

Technology has enabled the ease of this conveyance of knowledge in a way that early graffiti writers couldn’t have dreamed, and the classroom here is amply captured and framed for you by director/editor/artist/instructor Colin Mckinnon (@profetsone), but it is also the mindset of a generation so far removed from graffiti’s roots that enables SOFLES to instruct us this way as well as his personal character.

Generous in his instinct to share with you, SOFLES gives all to his gesture, his handstyling, his tracing of contour, his building of volume, application of dimension and texture, his sweep, his footwork. Did he just perform a pirouette?

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OKUDA “Mother Natura” / Dispatch From Isolation # 60

OKUDA “Mother Natura” / Dispatch From Isolation # 60

Have you noticed that the air and sky in your city is cleaner than you ever remember it to be? Car traffic is down, plane traffic is scant. Many polluting industries have had no workers in the last few months either. Mother Nature is happy.

Okuda “Mother Natura” for Justkids/Park MGM Las Vegas. (photo courtesy of Justkids)

One wonders about the connection between our outright slaughter of nature and the fact that this virus is wreaking havoc on our physical health and economies. Mother Nature inserts herself into every conversation eventually – what fools we were to think that we were separate from her.

Okuda “Mother Natura” for Justkids/Park MGM Las Vegas. (photo courtesy of Justkids)

Street Artist OKUDA San Miguel says that he has been inspired by Mother Nature in his new commission for that natural oasis Las Vegas. Creating 3 new sculptures and a mural inspired by Mayahuel, the Mexican goddess of agave and fertility, his fragmented pop surrealist dreams will great guests and invite them to gamble the future at this luxury resort. He created this installation in coordination with Justkids founder and curator Charlotte Dutoit and he’s calling it “Mother Natura”.

Okuda “Mother Natura” for Justkids/Park MGM Las Vegas. (photo courtesy of Justkids)
Okuda “Mother Natura” for Justkids/Park MGM Las Vegas. (photo courtesy of Justkids)
Okuda “Mother Natura” for Justkids/Park MGM Las Vegas. (photo courtesy of Justkids)
Okuda “Mother Natura” for Justkids/Park MGM Las Vegas. (photo courtesy of Justkids)
Okuda “Mother Natura” for Justkids/Park MGM Las Vegas. (photo courtesy of Justkids)
Okuda “Mother Natura” for Justkids/Park MGM Las Vegas. (photo courtesy of Justkids)
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“Forget Me Not” in NYC / Dispatch From Isolation # 59

“Forget Me Not” in NYC / Dispatch From Isolation # 59

The street and its art is a reflection of the society that it is part of, and right now in New York many in our communities are mourning the loss of family, friends, leaders, and followers.

Forget Me Not NYC (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Because of the circumstances of the illness, many people could not see their loved ones while they were in the hospital, could not bid them goodbye in the way they would have wanted, worry about what their last days had been like.

No matter the station, the loss of someone can have an impact on you. One street artist has created a new campaign honoring those who have left us called “Forget Me Not”.

Forget Me Not NYC (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“For those parts of our community whom we can not properly mourn, a small tribute asking that we honor the overlooked. Reminding us of our fellowship,” the artist says.

Forget Me Not NYC (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For more please see @forgetmenot.nyc on Instagram.

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