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The Transgendered Self as Muse: Julien de Casabianca and His New Outing

The Transgendered Self as Muse: Julien de Casabianca and His New Outing

“Grand Mozeur Feukeur.”


French Street Artist Julien de Casabianca is debuting a new series of photographs that may appear as a surprising departure from his previous multi-year multi-city OUTINGS project, but a closer examination contains many similarities between that one and “Grand Mozeur Feukeur”.

The street artist’s pastings for his OUTINGS Project featured scenes from figurative artworks, classical and modern, from museum collections. Julien de Casabianca wanted the images displayed on facades of buildings in public view rather than hidden away for a limited audience. By bringing outside these selected artworks from cultural institutions worldwide, the artist created a genuinely new category of street art, which doesn’t occur with the frequency you might expect.

From Poland to Mexico to Thailand to Egypt, OUTINGS expanded to be many things at once, including a form of public service that exposed passersby to cloistered artists whose works were prized but generally unseen by the everyday citizen, therefore unconsidered. Everyone was required to re-think the artworks as well as their pre-conceptions of propriety.

Two acts of sexual congress pasted by the OUTINGS project (©Julien de Casabianca)

Sometimes partnering directly with local art institutions, Casabianca traveled the world, bringing images into the light of day. Considered anew in this city street context, these excised images took on newly discovered relevance, weights, and character. While some appeared as ghosts of the past, others were remarkably contemporary in these modern surroundings. With the implied or explicit imprimatur of academics and art institutions, his novel approach to art on the streets was timely and of our time, short-circuiting convention and garnering countless press articles in cities and cultures widespread.

Shocking to audiences a hundred years ago, a self-portrait by the Austrian artist Egon Schiele pasted on this Parisian street certainly alerted passersby in a way that few street art wheat-pastes do (© Julian de Casabianca for the OUTINGS project)

For one campaign, he selected only “sex scenes,” as he calls them. Motivated by his disappointment at the lack of sexual themes in the street art scene, Julien de Casabianca isolated duos and polyamorous parties engaged in the erotic arts. “It was my first step of questioning sex, gender, and body in street art,” he tells us in an exclusive interview. A redefining of the street art scene, which can be ironically conventional considering its unconventional origins, was necessary.

“My pasting work used characters taken directly from classical paintings – and I put them in the streets,” he says. “There were dozen of sex scenes – heterosexuals and homosexuals – extracted from classical paintings.”

The impulse to expose audiences to these images was liberating, leading him to publish a manifesto on the streets of his home city, Paris. The long screed excoriated his fellow street artists worldwide for what he perceived as their lack of bravery and possibly hypocrisy by avoiding explicitly sexual scenes.

One excerpt says, “What’s wrong with you guys? Street artists are the purest of them all, then? The least ballsy, apparently. The least boobsy too.”

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

Today, following his own counsel, Casabianca presents a personal campaign in photographs that again introduces themes infrequently seen on the street, this time using himself as muse and canvas. As LGBTQ issues have mingled with a volley of newly coined terms and freshly minted (often self-appointed) experts in the academy, the media, and the street, many everyday persons have continued to navigate through life with seemingly new definitions of gender identity. This new campaign may clarify, or not.

As an artist familiar with both public display and figurative artwork, Casabianca models here his unique flair for fashion. He also displays a previously little-known relationship with gender, sexuality, and our coding guidelines for classification of each. In this new project, he models dresses that he has collected, each endowed with several associations and assumptions.

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

As in the OUTINGS project, these photographs are excised from their original intended context, if you will, and given a new venue for consideration. Along with the quality of materials and construction, the viewer will evaluate categories such as “day” or “evening,” occasion, income level, social status, age, gender, sexuality, sexual availability, and degrees of masculinity or femininity.

“This new series of pictures presents my body as a form of street art. I do not see the body used in street art either, but I believe it can be a kind of contemporary art performance,” he says in his description of the new project he’s calling “Grand Mozeur Feukeur.”

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

Paired with footwear that is not typical for the styles of dress, he poses with some deadpan expressions, occasionally appearing as solicitous, coy, non-plussed, or decisive. You may even say they are a parody of the poses in classical antiquity or fashion magazines. This is a very personal act of self-exposure, and the project reveals his questioning of identity and the paradox of self-expression – and society’s propensity for categorizing.

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

In total, “Grand Mozeur Feukeur” is a very intimate, provocative presentation that may surprise and draw closer examination by viewers. Grand, severe, and even humorous, the performer/muse/artist places himself against a “typical” scene of urban aerosol graffiti tags on walls. – It’s not exactly street art, yet you can imagine some of these images may end up on the street in a city near you.

“This work questions gender,” he says. “There is a malaise in the masculine aspect in our society at this moment, and I’m uncomfortable with manhood. I’m not gay; I’m a boy-girl, maybe. I’m attracted to women but not attracted to the heterosexual way of being. I identify as queer, and I’m sexually attracted to people who identify as this as well. Heterosexuality is a lifestyle. I may be something like a cross-dyke, because “dyke” at one time was a slang term for a well-dressed man. A well-dressed man for me is a man in a dress. A man cross-dressed.”

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

BSA interviewed Julien de Casabianca about his new project:


Brooklyn Street Art (BSA): Can you talk about what led you from your previous street art project to this new one? A number of those pasted works focused on sexual and erotic themes. Is the new project related to each other in any way?

Julien de Casabianca (JC): My OUTINGS work uses characters removed from classical paintings to paste them in the streets. I pasted a dozen sex scenes extracted from classical paintings in Paris streets, and I published the series in Nuart Journal. Some were heterosexuals in nature, and some were homosexual. So this was my first step in questioning sex and gender in street art. And I discovered how sex and gender are rare in street art.

Sexuality is seldom discussed, except in a way meant to be comical. Homosexuality is rarely addressed, except in a political way, in defense of visibility, for example. Rarely are these themes presented for just what they are: sex and love. So once I realized this, it opened my eyes, and I decided to continue to work on these queer questions.

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

BSA: The dresses present a traditional look at female gender roles. Here they are contrasted with perhaps more modern classic male presentation. How is a costume/dress selected?

JC: These are only “old lady” dresses, grand-mother style. I’m fascinated by kitsch and how there can be a beautiful state in the sublimation of ugly. I think these dresses fit me really well. Since I was 15 years old, I always wore these dresses when I went to a queer party. I did not intend it as a travesty or an absurdity, not just to “dress up.” It is just because I’m beautiful in it! I don’t act like a girl. I’m a man, with my virility intact, and I’m absolutely not androgynous. And some are funny, yes. I have a huge collection, around 150.

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

BSA: The footwear and socks are frequently well-matched to the color scheme of the dress, yet they are not directly related to the style. Is this intentional?

JC: Yes, I’m a sneaker addict, and I always wear sneakers, even in a dress. And I’m in urban style all the time, and it’s my job, so I wanted absolutely to create this mix between old-school and contemporary.

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

BSA: Does posing before heavily graffitied walls make these modeling sessions more “street” or “urban”?

JC: Yes, I’m a street artist, and this wall is in my home. There are two ways to connect this series of photography in the continuity of my street art work: the urban style association of the sneakers and the walls covered in graff.

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

BSA: Are you challenging gender roles and definitions, or are you expressing identity and sexuality?

JC: This work questions gender. There is a malaise in the masculine in our society. I’m uncomfortable with manhood. I’m not gay; I’m a boy-girl, maybe. I’m attracted to women but not attracted to the typical heterosexual way of being. I identify as queer, and I’m sexual attracted to people who identify as this. Heterosexuality is a lifestyle. Maybe I am something like a cross-dyke, because people used to use “dyke” as slang for a well-dressed man. And a well-dressed man for me is a man in a dress. A man cross-dressed.

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

BSA: Is there comedy here?

JC: There is comedy too, sometimes, because I’m funny in my life and the photographs are my work. But these styles are from my nightlife. At my house, my decor is full of old-lady stuff. I’m in love with those things. They are deeply moving.

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

BSA: In terms of society and your personal evolution, could this project have occurred in 1991? 2001? Or is there something about 2021 that makes it feel “right”?

JC: It has been an incredible evolution in the last few years in the overall recognition by people of the variety of genders that exist. Ten years ago, people would have regarded my looks as travesty or comedy, period. I’m not either one, not traditionally hetero. I’m queer. During the day, I wear what could be considered a “heterosexual urban” style – maybe androgynous. At night I’m wearing old lady dresses while keeping my virility and masculine behavior.

Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
Julien de Casabianca. (photo © Julien de Casabianca)
In a piece de resistance, Julien de Casabianca models a wedding dress in front of one his installations from the OUTINGS project in Paris, 19th Arrondissement (photo © Julien de Casabianca)

Learn more at
https://www.instagram.com/grand_mozeur_feukeur/

https://www.instagram.com/julien_de_casabianca/

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BSA Film Friday: 05.07.21

BSA Film Friday: 05.07.21

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

Now screening:
1. Artists of The Collie Mural Trail in Australia

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BSA Special Feature: Artists of The Collie Mural Trail in Australia

The Collie Mural Trail in Australia is a beautification project meant to draw tourism and celebrate the people and history of this town and the Collie River Valley a few hours from Perth. By bringing locally grown artists to the town, the collection retains an authentic quality that remains contextual to daily life as well as educational to visitors. Some of the artists come from the graffiti and street art practice, while others have followed a fine arts path, some self-taught. Today we have a look at a few of the artists of the Collie Mural Trail and brief introductions to them from the website.


Jarrad Martyn

Jarrad Martyn’s practice explores how different moments in history have been framed and how we engage with spaces after they have become abandoned. Through painting and installation Martyn employs the principles of bricolage – something constructed from a diverse range of things – to bring together imagery and research to create a more conversational meaning of the history being explored. The use of paint which slips in-between figuration and expressionism encourages the audience to look longer to try and deduce what is unfolding and to ultimately consider how complicit they are prepared to be in that framing.

Jacob Shakey Butler

“Jacob Butler (Shakey) is a young, self-taught artist based in Fremantle. Jacob works in many mediums including acrylics, oils, pastel and aerosol. Jacob’s essential tremor that existed from birth got him branded ‘Shakey’, giving him his unique, free-flowing, intuitive style. Since becoming a full-time artist he has been invited to paint live in front of large audiences for private concerts, gala balls, weddings and large charity events internationally, with his paintings yielding very successful results due to the raw energy put into his work whilst under pressure. He is currently working on large scale murals and performing live wedding art in and around Australia. Between commissions he also continues his art workshops for people with disabilities and is working towards his second exhibition.”

Jack Bromell

“Jack Bromell is an Italian-Australian artist born in Perth and raised in the South West. After studying various creative-based degrees at University Jack left his studies and worked several jobs around the Perth region.

In 2015 while practicing art as a hobby Jack was given an opportunity to paint a large mural on a shopfront in Mandurah. The mural was received well by the community and projected him into a full-time career in the arts. Since then he has painted small and large scale murals throughout the South West and Perth Metropolitan areas. He has also painted internationally throughout 2016-2018. Jack is now based in Northbridge, Perth.”

Ian Mutch

“Ian Mutch is an Australian artist exploring beauty through nature, narrative and details. Mutch creates work on a variety of scales using acrylics, aerosol, and inks. Brushstrokes and layered backgrounds are detailed with entertaining illustrations, whimsical characters, trees, birds, animals and pop culture references. Mutch draws a great deal from his upbringing surrounded by wild landscapes, animals and patterns. He has lived in various parts of the world, now residing in South West Western Australia. His artwork has won awards, given life to public spaces, and featured in a range of publications.”

Unmasked and Entitled

FILM FRIDAY BONUS KAREN OPERA

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BÄST, New York Original, In Memoriam

BÄST, New York Original, In Memoriam

His wit is what we’ll miss the most! BÄST took no statement so seriously that he couldn’t satirize it – including ones that came from your mouth. A sweet-faced wiseguy with sartorial style, his illustrations on the street at once celebrated and skewered popular culture, codes of behavior, and our presumed heroics; His experimental reworkings of images and texts were a charged play on our assumptions and insinuations, an intrinsic, peculiarly bright purveyor of visual communication.

Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thoroughly schooled in New York street parlance, BÄST nonetheless toyed with graff culture and its preoccupations. Some OGs of graffiti may have expected a polished vocabulary – a certain Wild Style finesse and layered smooth hand, perhaps. Neu D.I.Y kids were rocking long-handled rollers and beginning to fiddle with uncontrollable extinguishers. BÄST claimed his fame with a full-body gestural fury and indifference – a single color nihilistic splatter tag that nonetheless delivered style and raw energy, well framed by a freight elevator or a doorway. 

Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)

When BÄST played in concert with duo Faile his compositions set new standards in image-making and manipulation, arguably defining a critical and intelligent street art culture that shook specific New York neighborhoods in the late 90s and early 2000s. Together they mastered new screen-print and stencil techniques on the street in real-time, poking fun at pop and advertising conventions at a scale not seen previously. Here were familiar, sometimes mysterious faces recombined, with messages chopped and collaged and stuttered and glittered, warped and bloated, sprayed and wheat-pasted.

Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Time and again, BÄSTs mangled and unmatching graphics somehow smashed it. His cryptic text and wordplay seemed comic; his intentional command of the power of the image was confident, its relevance ripe for the hi-jacking. His continuum of offerings wasn’t simplified for your comfort and certainly not spoon-fed, steering clear of stereotypical street art signifiers – unless he’d been the one to originate them. It is not that he wasn’t painfully aware of the game; he was bored by it and knew how to write his own.

Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As the swelling commerce of Street Art beseeched him to produce “product,” he responded to his competing instincts as well – how to embrace reward and the funhouse absurdity of an art market while rejecting the cynical underbelly and easy commodification. It’s a familiar dynamic with which we all contend if we have a conscience.

As he moved from street to gallery with enthusiasm and reluctance BÄSTs insatiable discover-lust set him on new streets of alchemy, embracing a fully sensorial alterna-world filled with characters and curious tales. In-studio and on the Insta-stage, you could say that his more recent creative industry was a further evolution of some of his earlier street work but with much more dimension heartened by fevered experiment, ingenious craft, candy-colored storytelling, and stiff early-Kraftwerkian automation.

Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spattered, controlled, or soaked in absurdity or critique, his work was somehow always buoyant, often perfect, and it brought much joy to a great number of people on the street, in the studio, and in the museum.  Here’s to BÄST for setting new standards.

Our sincere condolences to his wife and family for their loss and our hopes for gentle healing as time goes forward.

Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast with fellow friends and artists Faile. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bast (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Greg Jager and a Roman Basketball Court: “Tiber Courtyard”

Greg Jager and a Roman Basketball Court: “Tiber Courtyard”

The sheer number of painted basketball courts that we see in the last two years makes us think there may be an evolving new category of art practice somewhere between street art, land art, billboard takeovers, and municipal public art. Clearly, a coffee table book will arrive here shortly.

Greg Jager. Tiber Courtyard. Rome, Italy. (photo © Roberta Ungaro)

Today we have a new project in “Valco San Paolo” by Greg Jager. The press release describes the design challenges of creating something for a population that lives on a tract of land that is “not a real neighborhood, not a suburb, not even a victim of that phenomenon that some have called beautification.”

Greg Jager. Tiber Courtyard. Rome, Italy. (photo © Roberta Ungaro)

Nonetheless, we soldier on. The artist says the result here is “Tiber Courtyard, a hybrid intervention between art and design curated by Michele Trimarchi that investigates the theme of coexistence in the public space.” Thusly, it is appropriate for “a territory made up of contradictions, multitudes, and balances.”

And you can play basketball upon it.

Greg Jager. Tiber Courtyard. Rome, Italy. (photo © Roberta Ungaro)
Greg Jager. Tiber Courtyard. Rome, Italy. (photo © Max Intrisano)
Greg Jager. Tiber Courtyard. Rome, Italy. (photo © Max Intrisano)
Greg Jager. Tiber Courtyard. Rome, Italy. (photo © Max Intrisano)

Tiber Courtyard is part of Cantieri San Paolo, a project of the Municipality VIII of Rome Capital with the support of the Lazio Region and produced by the cultural association Dominio Pubblico.

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BSA Writer’s Bench : “Street Art and Graffiti: The Role of Copyright” by Enrico Bonadio

BSA Writer’s Bench : “Street Art and Graffiti: The Role of Copyright” by Enrico Bonadio

Like graffiti writers sharing black books and styles, BSA Writer’s Bench presents today’s greatest thinkers in an OpEd column. Scholars, historians, academics, authors, artists, and cultural workers command this bench. With their opinions and ideas, we expand our collective knowledge and broaden our appreciation of this culture ever-evolving.


by Enrico Bonadio


Street Art and Graffiti:
The Role of Copyright


Artists are getting robbed. It is time to give them the legal tools they need. With this spirit, a few years ago, I started researching copyright aspects of street art and graffiti.

These artistic movements have been intriguing me for a while. Living for several years in the East London area of Shoreditch, where creativity has exploded and developed after the new millennium’s arrival, has certainly nurtured my curiosity towards these forms of art.

Walking through Brick Lane, Red Church Street, Hackney Wick, and other London neighborhoods full of free-hand graffiti pieces, stenciled images, myriads of stickers and paste-ups, street poetry and sculptures, abandoned miniatures, and many other artworks – opened my eyes and broadened my knowledge of these artistic movements. Visiting, discovering, and experiencing graffiti-friendly areas around the world – including Stokes Croft in Bristol, Kreuzberg in Berlin, Williamsburg and Bushwick in Brooklyn, Hosier Lane and Fitzroy in Melbourne, Florentin and Nachalat Binyamin in Tel Aviv, La Candelaria and Puente Aranda in Bogota’ – filled me with even more curiosity and willingness to study further and understand these creative subcultures.

Skull by Paul Richard. Paris 2019. (Photo © Paul Richard)

“So I started wondering about whether the artworks I was admiring could and should be protected by copyright in the very same way works of fine art are, even where the pieces are created illegally”

Bonadio

Keo piece. Brooklyn, New York 2016. Photo by Keo

While studying and admiring the beautiful art that cityscapes can offer us for free, I could not help thinking about whether and to what extent the branch of law I’ve been researching (and practicing) for many years – i.e., copyright law – may regulate such forms of creativity. So I started wondering about whether the artworks I was admiring could and should be protected by copyright in the very same way works of fine art are, even where the pieces are created illegally, namely, without the consent of the owner of the tangible support upon which the piece is placed, for instance, a wall.

Corporate Appropriation Must End

The research I have begun is increasingly relevant in many areas. In recent years there has been a sharp increase in cases where corporations from diverse sectors as fashion, food, entertainment, cars, and real estate, have been sued by street and graffiti artists because their artworks were used and exploited without the artists’ authorization. For example, their works have been used in advertising campaigns, as backdrops in promotional videos, or as decorative elements or motifs in products.

Cases of misappropriation of art placed in the public space are alarmingly increasing in many corners of the world, confirming that these forms of art are vulnerable. They are actually more exposed to unauthorized exploitation and destruction than works of fine art are because they are placed in the public – not in closed galleries or museums. As noted by criminologist Alison Young, graffiti and street pieces are ‘written on the skin of the city.’

Corporate appropriation is particularly risky and troublesome. The graffiti and street art boom of the last decade has attracted attention from marketing professionals in pursuit of new commercial ideas that attempt to give their products an aura of street credibility. What marketing experts and advertisers of these companies may think is: “these murals are placed outside, on the streets; they are often illegal and therefore can be freely used and commercially exploited without asking permission.”

That is wrong. Street artists and writers can, if they so wish, rely on copyright to protect their art—no matter where it is placed. The fact that they create in public spaces does not indicate that they waive the rights and protection offered by copyright law, meaning that artists and writers may stop corporate appropriation and co-option, and they may be entitled to economic compensation.

Here to There. Mural by Vincent Ballentine. Flatbush, New York 2017. Photo by Vincent Ballentine

What marketing experts and advertisers of these companies may think is: ‘these murals are placed outside, on the streets; they are often illegal and therefore can be freely used and commercially exploited without asking permission.’

Tag by Keo. New York 2016. Photo by Keo

The communities’ interest in preserving street artworks is also growing, for example, when famous artists create them; such pieces indeed are sometimes protected by perspex glass or if painted on plywood or other removable surfaces preserved in indoor locations. As a way of example, it is worthwhile to highlight the mission pursued by the Memorialize the Movement group in Minneapolis, which collects and conserves the many outdoor artworks that had been painted to commemorate George Floyd since the day of his murder.

(Images © Memorialize the Movement)

In my research, I’ve also been interested in finding out whether street artists and writers may invoke moral rights protection to successfully oppose destruction or other treatments of their works that they may feel to be unacceptable; and what the impact of such outcomes would be on the rights of property owners and other people.

More specifically, in recent years, we have witnessed cases involving the removal of pieces originally placed in the street and their relocation in galleries, museums, private collectors’ houses, or other indoor places to be sold. This occurred with murals painted by famous street artists such as Banksy, Stik, Invader, and Swoon. The phenomenon is well represented in the 2018 movie The Man Who Stole Banksy, directed by Marco Proserpio, a provocative documentary about how murals painted by the famous English artist can be removed, sold, and collected legally. It is also funnily satirized in Stik’s mural ‘Art Thief,’ painted in Shoreditch (East London).

“Art Thief” by Stik. Hackney, London 2011. (Photo © Stik.)

Community Mural by Stik. Gdansk, Poland 2011. Photo by Laznia Center for Contemporary Art.

Three of the pieces from the Stik mural at the Bankrobbery gallery in London in late 2015. Photo by Stik


The Impact of 5Pointz and VARA


A recent case that has attracted wide media attention is the dispute concerning 5Pointz. In 2018 a New York judge awarded twenty-one street and graffiti artists who had painted at the famous outdoor mural space in Queens US$6.7M in damages under the US Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), as the owner of the site had whitewashed their paintings illegally.

This decision is quite revolutionary. Practitioners of a type of art that wide sectors of society have long considered of minor artistic value have been offered a form of legal protection originally designed with traditional fine artists in mind. In other words, what this case seems to confirm is that the gap between street and graffiti art and fine art is narrowing, which may contribute towards changing the perception that members of the general public have of these forms of creativity.

5Pointz, 2013 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Murals at the 5Pointz complex in Long Island City, Queens, were whitewashed in 2013.
(©Todd Heisler/The New York Times)

Who would have imagined such a scenario in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when a bunch of kids in New York (and to a lesser extent in Philadelphia) started and developed a subcultural lettering-based artistic movement, which would spread to many cities around the world, and later evolved into, influenced and merged with more figurative forms of art in the street such as muralism? The graffiti pioneers of that era obviously couldn’t care less about asserting copyright on their pieces (predominantly painted illegally on walls and subway trains) or about trying to save them from whitewashing.

After all, how could you ask the company managing the subway system to preserve a piece you’ve painted on the external panel of a train? Instead, their focus was on improving their lettering style, competing with their peers, and eventually advancing the artistic subculture.


What Art My Rights as an Artist in Public Space?


Although several street artists and writers I’ve talked to in recent years have proved to be generally conscious of how important these laws have become, many practitioners within these creative communities still ignore relevant aspects, aims, and facets of a field of law that may seem far out of reach and difficult to grasp.

Some typical questions that artists may ask include;

  • Is my piece protected by copyright even if it is in public space?
  • Don’t I waive rights when I place my work out there?
  • Do I keep the copyright on my piece when I do a commissioned work?
  • Can I oppose the destruction or removal of my mural or other artwork?
  • How could I extract value from my artwork?

These are just a few of the questions I’ve heard during my encounters with street artists and graffiti writers. Their curiosity is understandable. They put effort, passion, and love into something that often beautifies our neighborhoods. They inject creativity into the cities for artistic self-pleasure and to decorate, complement, and often challenge the environment where the artwork is created and placed.


Support the Artist and the Arts


This is also why I decided to research these very issues, and in particular, to investigate to what extent general principles and rules of copyright law apply to these art forms and how the law can help and empower artists. In my research, I’ve looked at both street art and graffiti: I am, of course, aware of the differences between these art forms, with the former being more open to the general public and the latter being more secret as it revolves around lettering and the re-interpretation of the alphabet. However, I’ve decided to research both artistic movements as the copyright issues that affect them are similar.

The ultimate aim of my research is to shed light on certain aspects and issues of a branch of law – copyright – which has become relevant to these creative subcultures. And being aware of such issues—I believe— makes street artists and writers more confident and encourages them to keep beautifying our cities.




Enrico Bonadio

Enrico Bonadio is Reader in Intellectual Property Law at City, University of London and a street and graffiti art aficionado. His current research agenda focuses on the legal protection of non-conventional forms of creativity. He recently edited the Cambridge Handbook of Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti (Cambridge University Press 2019) and Non-Conventional Copyright – Do New and Atypical Works Deserve Protection? (Elgar 2018). He is currently working on his monograph Penetration of Copyright into Street Art and Graffiti Sub-Cultures (Brill, expected 2022).

Enrico is Member of the Editorial Board of the NUART Journal, which publishes provocative and critical writings on a range of topics relating to street art practice and urban art cultures.

His academic research has been covered by CNN, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, BBC, Washington Post, The New York Times, Financial Times. Reuters, The Guardian, The Times, Independent and The Conversation, amongst other media outlets.

Enrico’s current title is Protecting Art in the Street: A Guide to Copyright in Street Art and Graffiti (Dokument Press), with a foreword by Zephyr



Opinions expressed on BSA Writer’s Bench do not necessarily reflect those of the editors or BSA.

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Lleida POTFest 2021 in Catalonia

Lleida POTFest 2021 in Catalonia

All Eyes on Lleida

Belin. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)

As Lleida has discovered, the murals that we place in public these days can have a contemporary finish that is professional. Perhaps that is why this Catalonian city in Spain has begun in the historic center of this city, a storied place that is documented back to the Bronz Age. Here the traditions of past artisans are revered, studied and emulated – with the new vocabularies still determining the tenor.

Belin. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)

Today we share a few of the new walls at the Lleida Pot Fest, a collection of the new generation of mainly figurative painters who go large scale and then go home.

https://lleidapotfest.paeria.cat/

Belin. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)
Malakkai. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)
Malakkai. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)
Elisa Capdevila. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)
Elisa Capdevila. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)
Lidia Cao. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)
Lidia Cao. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)
Llukutter. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)
Llukutter. Lleida potFest 2021. Lleida, Spain. (photo © Rafa Ariño)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 05.02.21

BSA Images Of The Week: 05.02.21

Hooray Hooray, first of May!” chanted your cousin Felix, “outdoor fucking starts today!”

You both broke out in peals of laughter while your mom was walking out from the kitchen with a basket of garlic bread for your Saturday night spaghetti dinner. “What did you just say??”

It’s hard to believe it’s May already, and the smell of lilacs and aerosol paint and pot smoke is in the air in New York again. Ahhhhhhh. Duck between the skateboards and the hellions delivering Chinese on electric bikes, and you’ll see the chess players are setting up again in the park.

For the 12th week in a row, the President of the United States hasn’t tweeted something glorifying violence or attacking faith in public institutions, and people are beginning to mention the “H” word in reference to the rate of Covid-19 vaccinations in New York.

Dare we say it, “HOPE”.

Keep squeezing your silver and keep your eyes open and don’t get hit by any NFTs. They seem to be dropping everywhere


So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: 2 Much, Andrea Carlson, Banksy, Bastard Bot, Bueno, Free Britney, Homsick, Marcos De La Fuente, Myles, Posterboy, Resop, Same PPP, Tom Bob, Vanessa Alvarez, WGE, and ZigZag.

Homesick. This is for all the people all over the world that would have wanted to go home but couldn’t due to the Pandemic. We feel your pain. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Banksy. #notbanksy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Posterboy phone booth transformation. “LEFT ON READ” Talk about THE red phone. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Posterboy phone booth transformation. “LEFT ON READ” (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Posterboy phone booth transformation. “LEFT ON READ” (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bastard Bot (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SAME PPP (Peter Pan Posse or Paycheck Protection Program?) (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vanesa Alvarez and Marcos De La Fuente (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Resop #freebritney (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Myles. Snoop With Pearl Earring. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
2 MUCH (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tom Bob (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tom Bob (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tom Bob (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tom Bob (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bueno (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Andrea Carlson (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Andrea Carlson (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
ZigZag . WGE (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Brooklyn, NYC. Spring 2021. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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VERMIBUS: A Full “IMMERSION” into his Berlin UBahn NFTs, Complete with Glossary of Blockchain Terms

VERMIBUS: A Full “IMMERSION” into his Berlin UBahn NFTs, Complete with Glossary of Blockchain Terms

This project represents an innovative attempt to solve one of the biggest problems when exhibiting street art,” says Berlin-based street artist Vermibus, “- the lack of its original context.”

Vermibus. “Immersion”. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Vermibus)

True, something about our previous curated exhibitions of street art – even our current show of Martha Cooper’s photography work at Urban Nation Museum here – loses the feeling of the street once it enters the museum doors.

“I truly believe this way of experiencing and conserving Street Art will be the inevitable future.”

Vermibus

Perhaps the advent of 360° audiovisual experiences with illegal artworks in their original locations, complete with sound and movement, will finally bridge that space between the viewer and the art. By donning VR goggles, which can vary in price from $20 for a Google Cardboard to $800 for an HTC Vive, a Vermibus ad takeover can be experienced now as a full train-station immersion, if you will.

Vermibus. “Immersion”. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Vermibus)

For those art collectors who have been buying NFTs these last few months since public knowledge finally caught up to the concept of art on the blockchain, Vermibus is now offering four brand new hi-res experiences in Berlin’s U-Bahn. He likes to call this subway station futuristic and brutalist, and what better aesthetic to view the harshly beautiful pieces he installed at station U-Bhf. Schloßstraße? The campaign lasted about 5 days before being replaced by advertising.

Vermibus. “Immersion”. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Vermibus)

Still, it was enough for Vermibus and Experience Designer Juanca Cardell to create new 360° records of the installations and encode them on the Ethereum blockchain. Launched through V’s wallet, he’s calling them his “U SCHLOßSTRAßE” Collection.

Explaining the work and his excitement to Brooklyn Street Art, Vermibus says, “I truly believe this way of experiencing and conserving Street Art will be the inevitable future.”

See FULL GLOSSARY of Blockchain terminology at end of article.

Vermibus. “Immersion”. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Vermibus)
Vermibus. “Immersion”. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Vermibus)
Vermibus. “Immersion”. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Vermibus)

Use your mouse or pad when viewing the videos to get the 360 effect. If you happen to own a pair of VR glasses you’ll be able to get the immersive virtual reality effect when watching the videos.


The collection is available for purchase from Opensea’s Vermibus profile. All NFTs are launched through Vermibus’ wallet.

Click HERE to go to NFT / Vermibus IMMERSION

VERMIBUS “IMMERSION” GLOSSARY NFT:

An NFT (Non-fungible token) are types of digital assets that are intended to represent ownership of something that is unique and scarce.
These tokens are validated by third parties through the blockchain and can be traced back to the original creator, thus certifying their authenticity.

They can simply be certificates of authenticity themselves or contain images, music, videos or other files, depending on the platform and language used.

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-fungible_token

Blockchain:

Blockchain is a system of recording information that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack or cheat the system. A blockchain is essentially a digital chain of transactions that is dupli- cated and distributed throughout the network of blockchain computer systems. Each block on the chain contains a number of transactions, and each time a new transaction occurs on the block- chain, a record of that transaction is added to each participant’s chain.

Euromoney. https://www.euromoney.com/learning/blockchain-explained/what-is-blockchain

Smart Contract:

A smart contract is a computer program or transaction protocol whose purpose is to automatically execute, control or document legally relevant events and actions according to the terms of a con- tract or agreement.

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_contract Immersion:

Immersion into virtual reality (VR) is a perception of being physically present in a non-physical world. The perception is created by surrounding the user of the VR system in images, sound or other stimuli that provide an engrossing total environment.

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immersion_(virtual_reality)

VR:

Virtual Reality (VR) is the use of computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, VR places the user inside an experience. Instead of viewing a screen in front of them, users are immersed and able to interact with 3D worlds.

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BSA Film Friday: 04.30.21

BSA Film Friday: 04.30.21

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

Now screening:
1. REFLECTIONS: Guido Van Helten and The Wellington Dam Mural
2. Mear One in Los Angeles via Bird Man
3. Telmo Miel: Tunnel Vision in Brussels

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BSA Special Feature: REFLECTIONS: Guido Van Helten and The Wellington Dam Mural

A trip today to Wellington Dam, a jewel in the national park in Southwest Australia, only a couple of hours from Perth. Queensland Artist Guido van Helten took care to study the history and people from the dam area to understand their connection to it better – and in the process, it found a more profound connection to the water by some of the people who have lived there for many years.

“It’s just weird to feel like you’re this ‘issue’ in society and that the world is divided with how much they should care about you or how much they should listen to you or should be concerned with issues around your life. It’s weird to be like a battleground,” says co-director and subject Kwesi Thomas says in the opening of the film.

Using a bespoke swing stage, the artist painted the 8000 square meter mural with the help of serious engineering talents from the dam authority, who moved him 30 times to paint in enormous strips of texture and memories.

“I was basically painting while it was moving up and down, up and down,” he says. Part of The Collie Mural Trail that consists of 40 murals throughout the town, Guido says that “Reflections” is inspired by local stories and photographs. In addition to the sheer size and impact of its focus, the video also tells a rather moving story.

Behind the scenes: The making of the Wellington Dam Mural by Guido Van Helten



Mear One in Los Angeles via Bird Man

The Melrose alleys in LA provide inspiration here in this video shot and directed by Birdman – of the tribute to the Czech painter, illustrator and graphic Alphonse Mucha by graffti/muralist Kalen Ockerman, known as Mear One.

Choosing the goddess Gaia as muse, Mear One talks in his over-narration of what he say as Mucha’s treatement of the feminine and how it was reflected in the beauty of nature, its harmonious design, function and aesthetic. “I always loved how he expressed visually the spiritual and mystical,” he says. The clarity of his focus is apparent here as he pays honor to the artist as well as science, art, and philosophy.



Telmo Miel: Tunnel Vision in Brussels

Here is a tunnel in Brussels artists Miel (Amsterdam) and Telmo (Rotterdam) painted a human chain metaphorically connecting the neighborhoods of Machelen and Diegem. The public work is meant perhaps to ease among residents amid news reports of increased vandalism, drug use, and traffic nuisances among some. As in many western countries, it may have something to do with economics, race, and class. Says organizer All About Things, a private gallery-fueled public cultural initiative that has locked in many international street artists to beautify the area, “this mishmash of people indicates that we are stronger together.”

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Spanish Tipplers Frolic in Falset, Spain: Marina Capdevila Celebrates Her Roots

Spanish Tipplers Frolic in Falset, Spain: Marina Capdevila Celebrates Her Roots

A certain sunkissed and saucy lust is coupled with all manner of vice for the frolicking senior set that is often featured in scenes by the muralist, painter, and illustrator Marina Capdevila from Barcelona.

Born in the mid-1980s, she nonetheless favors wrinkled grandpas who are playing with cigarettes and giggling grandmas who have their eyes on the pool boy, peering at him from under a large bamboo hat and over a frozen margarita.

Marina Capdevila. Falset, Spain. (photo © Oscar Sánchez)

Here in her hometown of Falset in Spain, her newest festive partiers are celebrating all things wine, as is the practice of this place that hosts one of the more important festivals del vino in the country.

Of course, Covid is ruining this event again this year, but presumably, some people here are tipping a glass of Tinta o Blanco. “It’s a mural that pays homage to the traditional wine fair,” she says, “which this year will not be held, but at least you can enjoy this work.”

Marina Capdevila. Falset, Spain. (photo © Oscar Sánchez)
Marina Capdevila. Falset, Spain. (photo © Oscar Sánchez)
Marina Capdevila. Falset, Spain. (photo © Oscar Sánchez)
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Remembering the Paris Commune 150 Years Later: TWE Crew, Black Lines, and Art Azoi

Remembering the Paris Commune 150 Years Later: TWE Crew, Black Lines, and Art Azoi

“The revolution will be the flowering of humanity as love is the flowering of the heart” Louise Michel, revolutionary, activist, and significant figure of the Paris Commune.


TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)

Montmartre, Belleville, and all those poor neighborhoods in the 11th, 18th, 19th and 20th arrondissements all shake with the memory of the Paris Commune as we mark the 150th anniversary this spring of the short-lived self-governance ended by a “Bloody Week.”

To mark those events and the thousands killed when the rich fled, we share with you new public works from artists of the TWE Crew in collaboration with the Black Lines movement – and in association with Art Azoi in the heart of the 20th arrondissement of Paris. A combination of street art, graffiti, mural art, and illustration influences all join forces in black and the bloody red that stood as their flag. Figures depicted may be contemporary or of the period, but their universal plight appears devastatingly on-point.

TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)

“Working men’s Paris, with its Commune, will be forever celebrated as the glorious harbinger of a new society. Its martyrs are enshrined in the great heart of the working class,” said Karl Marx.  Professor John Merriman speaks in his book “Massacre” of that eclectic revolutionary government that held power in Paris across eight weeks between 18 March and 28 May 1871 and says that the crushing of the poor who were unable to escape the city sadly anticipated the horror shows that would follow in the 20th Century.

In other words, they were killed because they were too poor to get out.

TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)

Conversely, in many ways, the Commune created a template as well for social and political justice movements that would come – proposing in their city council such things as economic laws, workers rights, separation of church and state, abolishing the death penalty and mandatory conscription, and labor’s self-management. From these brutal times and events, you may wish to salvage many of those radical ideas – the only spoils of victory, if you will.

TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)

But even today, a century and a half later, conversations about how to remember the Commune are divisive.

“You can summarise the Commune in one word: violence,” says Rudolph Granier, a member of the centre-right Les Républicains (LR) on the city council, according to an article by Hugh Schofield of the BBC News last month.

“It was a populist movement. And in the current state of France and the world – when in Paris we have the yellow vests and in Washington they’re storming the Capitol – I do not think we should be celebrating people who burned down our city hall.”

Participating artists are @lasktwecrew, @kwim__t.w.e, @kracotwecrew and @al_zoyer of the @blacklinescommunity

TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)
TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)
TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)
TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)
TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)
TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)
TWE Crew and Black Lines movement in association with Art Azoi. Square Henri Karcher, Paris. (photo courtesy of Art Azoi)
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Shepard Fairey in Dubai: A Mosaic Future and a Solo Show at Opera

Shepard Fairey in Dubai: A Mosaic Future and a Solo Show at Opera

Shots today from last month’s Shepard Fairey “Future Mosaic” at Dubai’s Opera Gallery. With works on canvas, paper, wood, and metal, as well as examples of iconic images and repeated motifs from the breadth of his art and design history, Fairey was very much present for his first solo show here. In a grueling schedule of just 9 days he also managed to install two huge murals facing a skate park in a commercial district of the city, the d3 (Dubai Design District).  

Shepard Fairey. “Future Mosaic”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 

Rise Above Peace Dove and Rise Above Peace Fingers incorporate what appears as a richer vibrant palette and pulsing graphic interplay than previously, perhaps due to more dense hues and the fact that his core crew of Dan Flores, Luka Densmore, and Rob Zagula were on hand along with Jon and Marwan offering additional help. Staying clear of strident language or slogans, the new works are largely representational and universal in themes of “justice, peace and human rights.”

Shepard Fairey with the dream team ready to work. “Future Mosaic”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 

Fairey withstood criticism on social media for even working in the region, it would appear, let alone lending his name to an effort that they saw as hypocritical in light of his previous vocal stances on human rights, for example.

He took to Instagram to address his critics, “I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but it’s not a perfect place, but perfection does not exist and certainly not in the US. However, without this experience, I would not have been able to engage in robust discussions with the great people I met in Dubai. There’s nothing more relevant to my inside-outside strategy than traveling there and doing public art conveying harmony and positivity.”

Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Fingers”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 

Elsewhere in another post, he wrote, “It is very important for me to do public art when I travel because it engages people outside of the art world, but it is not easy to secure public walls in Dubai.”

The opportunity to show and share and sell your art is something we want for any artist. In the case of Fairey, judgment metrics would need to include his two decades of generous acts promoting and supporting all manner of environmental, social justice, and civic participation efforts. We’ll confidently observe that year after year, his impact can far outstrip the average street artist and certainly most art collectors by miles. We dare say he’s unmatched. Let that be your goal.

Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Fingers”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 

“The show was massive, with 159 works that utilized the gallery space with a rhythm of scale and concentration,” he says. “My art practice focuses on the work’s cumulative effect, both visually and conceptually, so I was pleased with the final result.”

Shepard Fairey. “Future Mosaic”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. Skectch for “Rise Above Peace Fingers”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Fingers”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Fingers”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Fingers”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Fingers”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Fingers”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Dove”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Dove”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Dove”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
Shepard Fairey. “Rise Above Peace Fingers”. Dubai. UAE. March 2021. (Photo: Courtesy ObeyGiant.com / Photographer Jon Furlong) 
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