“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 may provide the viewer an imaginary doorway to jump through – a momentary mental health break.
“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 across the tops of trains taken forty or so years ago.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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”.
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.
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”.
“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.
For more please see @forgetmenot.nyc on Instagram.
A serious bomber and a bit of a barbed bard from Brooklyn has his first virtual contemporary art show with the Museum of Graffiti in Miami. You couldn’t write a sentence like that a decade ago.
Straddling his own chaotic line between graffiti and Street Art for a decade and a half now, this smart aleck at times is layering the abstract and hand-styling the letters like a pro sign maker. Profane and smashed imagery, nearly profound snatches of two-edged prose, and a penchant for truth-telling that gets him in trouble are all hallmarks of Cash4’s game, but this selection of new pieces is timely and searingly on-point.
While New York has always been a melting pot of cultures and languages and people from all over the world, it’s also a fundamental responsibility to also keep our eyes and ears on the folks who are “born and bred” here as they say.
They hold a deeper sense of the DNA of an ever-evolving city and its history, its true nature; the lowdown of what it means to be from this place.
We’ve been hit hard. Some much more than others.
The economics and their implications of this Covid-19 disaster are devastating to many of us, but the mourning and human loss compounds our sense of sadness, even while we are resolute to overcome. If we are all metal in that melting pot of New York that explains how we create a powerfully strong alloy of humanity. We know how to triumph together in times of need and we are unbeatable and loyal allies, despite our sometimes aggressive side.
Artist Oliver Rios was raised in El Barrio of New York from Puerto Rican parents and grew up as an artist drinking in the color, sounds, smells, and style of late 70s Hip Hop culture. Shaped and formed by the beauty and the devastation that life can bring to us, he has channeled his spirit into memorial wall painting, illustration, photography, advertising, digital design.
Profoundly moved by the events that Covid-19 has spun into existence here, Rios is sharing with us a dense and meaningful piece of art that speaks to his history, his heroes, his fears, and his passion for this city and the people in it. Using a subway map for canvas, he depicts first responders – in this case people he knows personally or admires sincerely.
“The image of the nurse is my wife Carol Rios,” he tells us. “She is a Nurse Practitioner at the John Therur Cancer Center in Hackensack, NJ. The police officer is PO Ramon Suarez who perished in 9/11 and who was also my first daughters’ grandfather. The image of the fireman is inspired by a retired fireman and childhood friend from East Harlem who helped at Ground Zero in the days after 9/11. His name is Dennis Mendez. The subway train is an homage to the Late Great Dondi White.”
We asked him more about the creation of and motivations behind “Native New Yorker 2020”:
Brooklyn Street Art: As a Native New Yorker you’ve probably seen and experienced this city being hit hard by different crises while living here: Financial crisis, economic downturns, 9/11 etc…This pandemic is possible New York’s biggest crisis during our lifetimes. What do you think makes New Yorkers get up and fight every day? Oliver Rios: In order to survive you have to be “NY Tough”, to quote Governor Andrew Cuomo! It’s a different kind of toughness that not many people understand. To live in NYC you have to understand and go through the city’s everyday grind! Understanding the everyday hustle, the history, the diverse cultures, the crime, the rats, the pigeons, the parades, the clubs, the bars, the historical sites, the crowded subways, the cabs… everything. Once you live in NYC and understand that lifestyle – to overcome anything is possible.
Going out to party in the greatest city in the world also helps ease the daily stress. We as New Yorkers protect and love the city and that’s why we get up every day and fight!!
BSA: Your work on the poster sends a message of unity and perseverance while at the same time it honors those who are at the forefront of the pandemic. Can you tell us what was your inspiration to create this artwork? OR: This project was really about painting a piece on a subway map. As I tuned into Instagram and join DJ DNice’s “Club Quarantine”, I heard him play “Native New Yorker” by Odyssey , a favorite song of mine. I immediately started with the “Native New Yorker” theme and decided to give it a 2020 version. I wanted to really honor my wife Carol Rios who’s a Nurse Practitioner at the John Theur Cancer Center in Hackensack NJ, my Brother-in-Law who’s a Fireman/Veteran in Belleville, NJ, all the first responders and essential workers dedicating their lives to help fight this pandemic.
I started with my wife who is on the top of the poster and it evolved from there.
BSA: You mentioned that your wife is a nurse. How has it been for the family to see her every day going to work knowing the risks and dangers she will confront at the hospital? OR: It’s an uncomfortable feeling every day, knowing that your loved ones are heading out the door to face danger every day. I try to keep the kids busy with school work and video games as we wait for her to get home to have dinner, watch our favorite TV shows, or play board games. We appreciate all she does and her patients do as well.
BSA:By including some members of your family and friends in your artwork you are honoring them and their work, preserving and commemorating their memory, and at the same time you are persisting with your creativity. How does an artist find the motivation to create works like these in such challenging times? OR: For me, it’s never easy… the inspiration is around me every day in my studio; I have a framed photo taken by Martha Cooper of a memorial mural dedicated to my good friend Juan Anthony “TEE” Castro that I painted during 1993 in El Barrio (East Harlem). On the frame, I have prayer cards of family and friends who have passed away during the years. Next to it I have a photo of my brother who was murdered by gun violence in 1981. My oldest daughter’s grandfather PO Ramon Suarez is there too; He perished saving lives during the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers. The UPS worker is the guy I see driving up and down the street delivering packages. Fireman Dennis Mendez is a childhood friend from East Harlem who helped dig out debris at ground zero days after 9/11. The Subway train is an homage to the Late Great Dondi White.
I find that as artists we have to remind ourselves how we are all connected. This is my way to thank and connect to my Native New Yorkers. God Bless!
Such a New York sentiment and at the heart of it we believe in our fellow New Yorkers and people in general to pull through this series of cavalcading catastrophes that are befalling us as many of our would-be leaders stand by and watch.
“Times are tough..” – It’s also a new piece this week on BSA Images of the Week from Captain Eyeliner. Let’s look for common ground, fundamental fairness and a common dream – without being tricked into fighting each other.
Meanwhile here’s some of the genius and humorous works this week on New York streets (and one from Tel Aviv), as we nurse our wounds and mourn our dead, and praise our nurses – and so many others. Hang tough people!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fujita, Almost Over Keep Smiling, Billy Barnacles, Captain Eyeliner, CRKSNK, Lunge Box, Maya Hayuk, Merk, No Sleep, Praxis, Quasar, Sac Six, Tag, and You Go Girl!
You’re forgiven if you didn’t realize that – it’s not so easy right now to tell what day it is; when it is the week or the weekend as we have been endlessly in quarantine, so many of us.
Many of us are without jobs, without school, without those events that provide punctuation, making life into one long run-on sentence. But it is easy to tell who has been getting up on the street, if you are able to venture outside to go to the store and see new Street Art popping off the wall as you scurry back to your hovel.
Here we have some of the new faces from Damon NYC, who’s suddenly peeking out of doorways on the street. Frustrated, consterned, befuddled? Yeah, Damon gets that.