Baltimore

“Articulate: Baltimore” Hits the Streets

The City of Baltimore just got hit with its second large scale mural project in one calendar year as Articulate: Baltimore joined Open Walls Baltimore during a five week period this autumn.

Chris Stain . Billy Mode. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

A mixture of local artists and some Street Artists who are known internationally, the project is sponsored by a collection of public, private, and tourism development concerns as a way of activating a small selection of the city’s huge inventory of vacant spaces to “increase the visibility (of) the new westside district and encourage more visitors to frequent its venues”. With this sort of laser-sharp urban renewal employed in a very confined area, we may be witnessing the splintering of so-called Street Art festivals into more focused venues, employed in a more selective way to achieve specific ends.

Baltimore natives and well known Street Artists Chris Stain and Billy Mode get to do something at home for a change. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

The list of artists in Articulate: Baltimore includes artists Ways & J. Digital, Jessie Unterhalter & Katey Truhn, Indigo, HKS 181, Chris Stain & Billy Mode, Pixel Pancho, and 2501. Co-curated by Maryland-based artists Stefan Hauswald and Jesse James, the full collection covers roughly a two-block area that is very near the center of downtown.  The whole initiative appears to be one conceived with rejuvenation in mind, as public art often does for previously moribund areas. According to the website for Articulate, all of the artists realize that their work isn’t meant as a permanent installation and may be replaced at any time. “The artists expect their impact to be powerful but limited in duration— they expect that their work will be replaced over time, perhaps a matter of months or years.”

Many thanks to photographer Martha Cooper, who was there to capture official images of the installations, and she shares them here, including some that are exclusive to BSA.

Chris Stain . Billy Mode. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

Combining the colorful 3-D letterforms of Mode and the stencil-styled portraiture of Chris Stain for Articulate, Baltimore. 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

Canada’s INDIGO. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

INDIGO. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

INDIGO. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pixel Pancho. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pixel Pancho. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pixel Pancho. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pixel Pancho. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn bring a D.I.Y. aesthetic by using additional materials for a poppy hand-made collage effect. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

Jessie Unterhalter . Katey Truhn. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s 2501. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

2501. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

2501. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

Having pink eye in this case is something good. HKS 181. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

HKS 181. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

WAYS – J. Digital. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

WAYS – J. Digital. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

WAYS – J. Digital. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

WAYS – J. Digital. Articulate, Baltimore 2012 (photo © Martha Cooper)

For more information about Articulate Baltimore click on the link below:

http://www.articulatebaltimore.org/

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Creative Alliance Presents: “Zim Zum” A Collaboration Exhibit with MOMO, Michael Owen and GAIA. (Baltimore, Maryland)

ZimZum

ZimZum Show Explodes Street Art World with Genre-­‐Defying Piece Created by Street Artists MOMO, Michael Owen, & Gaia Opens Sept 15, 2012, 7-­‐9pm

ZimZum turns street art on its head with a first-­‐time collaboration between renowned artists Michael Owen, Gaia, and MOMO, by merging the work of multiple street artists into one unified piece that subsumes the individual styles of the artists into a new, singular voice. Such an intertwined, profound collaboration is rarely done in the street art world, where maintaining one’s unique imprint is at the essence of the genre.

The colossal work will fill the Main Gallery and spill onto the street, thereby pushing street art and the artists in a second way. The work must resonate with two radically different audiences simultaneously: the gallery world and the pedestrian consumer of street art, the casual passer-­‐by. ZimZum is the kabbalistic idea that the creation of the universe was caused by God breathing in then out.

With large wheat paste line drawings of animals and historic figures referencing urban development, Gaia has burst into public view since 2009, exhibiting internationally from New York to Seoul, and Los Angeles to Amsterdam. Michael Owen is known as the artist behind the Baltimore Love Project, a planned series of 20 murals across Baltimore with silhouetted hands spelling the word “Love.” He’s also a Resident Artist at the Creative Alliance and has completed numerous public and private commissions, including one of the world’s longest murals in the underpass near the Baltimore neighborhood of Highlandtown. MOMO garnered early notice for “the world’s largest tag,” an innocuous, wobbly, 8-­‐mile line of orange paint, spelling his name across the streets of Manhattan. He has since emerged as a leading presence internationally, with beautiful, site-­‐sensitive, geometric-­‐abstract murals pushing both abstraction and street art in new directions.

Following the opening, stay for the Sweatboxx Dance Party, from the producers of the successful FUSION series, paying tribute to the Baltimore club scene. We dare you to dance ALL NIGHT LONG! Two DJs, Booman (B-­‐More) and Jav (Chocolate City), bring you the best of Baltimore Club and classic Hip Hop in one night. DJ Booman Is well known for his Doo Dew Kidz classics like “Watch Out For The Big Girl.” He’s engineered remixes for Usher, Katy Perry and Michael Jackson. DJ Jav (Javier Velasco) is a regular on WPFW’s “Decipher” Hip Hop Show.

Creative Alliance at The Patterson
3134 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224

http://www.creativealliance.org/

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The Superior Bugout Presents: Monty and The Boozehound “The Never Gonna Cry Tour” (Detroit, Michigan)

Monty and The Boozehound

When: Friday August 17, 2012, doors open at 7 pm bands at 8 pm.

Where: 1480 Gratiot Ave. Detroit MI (Free Parking the back lot)

How much: $3

On Friday August 17, 2012 at 7 pm The Superior Bugout presents an evening with artwork by a traveling duo working under their hobo moniker aliases “Monty” and “The Boozehound” sharing their photos, sculptures, and diatribes of the road along with very loud live sounds produced by Detroit’s own Sheefy Mcfly, Pupils, Mexican Knives, LT Dan and The Sugarcoats.

Monty and The Boozehound left Baltimore earlier in the Summer, traveling across America’s northeast corridor, southern and midwestern states stealing freight train rides and paint.  Along the way they’ve reworked the visual landscapes of the towns they passed through with colorful signage and roller pieces, now pausing to take part in the current artistic renaissance taking place in “surreal urban ruin of Detroit’s streets” as The Boozehound puts it. “Detroit is a lot like camping.” Monty says in his North Carolina drawl, “it’s intense!”

This event will take place in the newly renovated space at 1480 Gratiot Ave, self titled Fourteen-Eighty Gallery in downtown Detroit’s Eastern Market.

Through the creation of a new venue for alternative and underground expression Fourteen-Eighty Gallery is a vision recently renewed by gun enthusiast and local Detroiter Miles Michaels and will continue to be able to be part of the growing arts community in downtown Detroit.

The Superior Bugout seeks to bring a synergy of sight and sound, combining elements of the streets with contemporary sound visionaries. The party aesthetic comes from Brooklyn based multimedia artist Andrew H. Shirley, who’s been spending the Summer in Detroit bathing in the Detroit River and assisting Mr. Michaels in the growth of the gallery space.

FB even page http://www.facebook.com/events/339725266114082/

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Street Art in Historic SOWEBO (South West Baltimore)

Unsanctioned Baltimore (Part 3 of 3)

The SOWEBO section of Baltimore has been a hub of activity in recent months as Street Artists have been passing through town, often with an introduction or two from Martha Cooper to the people who live here. It’s not uncommon for an artist to do a portrait of a resident, as in the case of Troy Lovegates (AKA Other), below, or even of their horses, as in the case of LNY, Jetsonorama, and Jaz who created cool pieces that reference the few horse farms that are nestled into the historic blocks in this neighborhood. Traditional to basic transportation, they are known locally as the animals that pull carts of produce for the sellers, or “arabs”.

Troy Lovegates (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Labrona does a little jig with Other (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jaz created this mirror image of the photo portrait by Jetsonorama (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stikman had some Mondrian leanings when here. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X are tribute worthy subjects here. Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist LNY combines metaphor and symbolism in these two pieces that feel very site-specific and germane to the the resilience of the neighborhood and the stories you will hear. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LNY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gaia pasted this piece he made from a Martha Cooper photo. The wheat paste has been seen in a number of cities. Notice the little Stikman working his way into the scene with aplomb. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

See Part 1 of Unsanctioned Baltimore HERE: Pixel Pancho and 2501

Part 2 Unsanctioned Baltimore: Midtown Back Alleys

 

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Unsanctioned Baltimore 2: Midtown Back Alleys

Unsanctioned Baltimore (Part 2 of 3)

Dude, we found a lot of righteousness coming down hard in Baltimore. Don’t know why I said it that way, but I’m totally street for saying it. Right?

Here’s stuff from C215, Chris Stain, Flower Boy, Gilf!, Labrona, N310, OverUnder, Stikman, and Veng RWK.

C215 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nether (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nether (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gilf! and Co. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A very old Chris Stain piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Toven pays tribute to Edgar Allan Poe in Graffiti Alley. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Veng RWK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Labrona (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Labrona (photo © Jaime Rojo)

I Will Not (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nether (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nether (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tony’s Pigeons. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

See Part 1 of Unsanctioned Baltimore HERE: Pixel Pancho and 2501

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Pixel Pancho and 2501 in Unsanctioned Baltimore

Unsanctioned Baltimore (Part 1 of 3) : Pixel Pancho, 2501

What’s better than hunting around back lots and alleys in Baltimore’s boarded up neighborhoods looking for Street Art? Having Baltimore native Martha Cooper as your guide, showing you all her favorite secret spots, listening to her stories, and meeting the neighbors, who all call her “picture lady”.  Open Walls Baltimore brought a lot of attention to the city this spring and we were lucky to see many familiar Street Artists and see the giant murals in process in the district where Gaia staged it.

But zipping through SoWeBo with the formidable hosts of Martha and her cousin Sally, who used to take the bus to school together through these streets a half century ago, leaves all that stuff in the shadow. With a natural radar for finding the unsanctioned, Martha is a blur, pointing in different directions and laughing and telling you about trailing Stikman up the street or hooking up Other (Toy Lovegates) with a spot – with much the same ease as she recalls stories of graffiti artists Dondi and Blaze and Lee in NYC rail yards in the 70s.  We’ve been happy to share our Street Art knowledge with her these last few years, and she always generously leads us to a head-scratching bit of gorgeousness that’s just beyond this alleyway, or tracks, or skateboard park, if you know where to look. We are most grateful for the sweet moments of discovery together.

Pixel Pancho and 2501. Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho and 2501. Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2501. Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2501 and Stikman. Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho and 2501. Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. The owner of this house asked them to include the mascot from Baltimore Oriols baseball team into the composition for her children. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho and 2501. Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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MOMO Up In The Air: Geometry, Color and Balance in Baltimore

MOMO has just completed what he calls the largest mural he has ever done in the US. Baltimore is the lucky recipient of this piece by one of Street Art’s modern abstractionists, a fine artist who has proven to be a quietly inspired force for exploration in one of the developing new directions for Street Art.

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The city of Baltimore has it charms and many people here will greet you and offer to help you or chat for a minute, and this weekend it was evident that Open Walls Baltimore has touched off an excitement in a few of the neighborhoods here.  MOMO’s own contribution enlivens and activates such a large space that you can imagine the empty lot it’s in turning into a playground or park or at least a block party. We saw so many youth and children in this neighborhood with eyes wide and full of curiosity and interest in participating in the act of creativity. Perhaps work like this can eventually put doors on boarded homes, shore up foundations, create a sense of hope and connectedness and community engagement that supercedes mere dreams of making money.

During the MOMO installation, the blasting sun was ongoing and so was the serenade of the incessant singing of mockingbirds in nearby trees. Sincere thanks to MOMO for letting us get a close look at his process and his work.

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. Wild flowers on the vast empty lot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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Baltimore Opens Its Walls To Street Art

Abstract geometrist and Street Artist MOMO is still sweeping across a massive brick wall in his cherry picker as he leads Open Walls Baltimore across the finish line with more than twenty artists and murals spread across these blocks straight off “The Wire” TV series.

 

 

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. Stay tuned for process shots of MOMO’s wall on BSA tomorrow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Oh, man, he’s really getting it down over there,” says local pigeon trainer Tony Divers, who is looking out his back door past the bird’s coop at the new 5-story MOMO piece coming alive in the empty lot next door. Mr. Tony, whose pigeons have also had a starring role in the series, himself became the subject of a massive building-sized portrait by Jetsonorama two blocks up the street.

 

VHILS. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Welcome to Open Walls Baltimore.

New York Street Artist Gaia had been racing his fixie around this town since he started studying at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) a few years ago. In between trips back home he began hitting walls with his large scale paste-ups on sides of some of the abandoned buildings that comprise entire blocks in this city. Somewhere along the way he gradually fell in love with the neighborhood and it’s lively conversations on the stoop, secret speakeasies on the weekend, and eclectic shows with Dan Deacon and the Wham City Arts Collective.

Freshly graduated, the talkative 23 year old artist with a natural knack for organizing decided to stay in B’more and plot a Street Art revitalization of sorts. With Ben Stone and Rebecca Chan of Station North Arts & Entertainment as partners, the trio secured monetary backing and city support for 20 artists to come and paint murals this spring.  When asked if the grand outlay of almost a hundred thousand dollars is a civic/private program, Gaia is quick to answer, “Totally private. I guess you could call it civic because they’re non-profit.”

Gaia. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Armed with a budget and Gaia’s knowledge of Street Artists on the scene, the team was able to garner a wide collection of artists to create murals. When Baltimore native and famous graffiti/hip-hop photographer Martha Cooper agreed to shoot it all, Gaia knew OWB was going to be a hit. Large walls were pretty easily secured with help from the City of Baltimore and sponsors helped with paint and services. From March to May the neighborhoods of Station North and Greenmount West have played host to internationally known Street Art names of the moment like Vhils, Sten and Lex, Swoon, Jaz, MOMO, and Interesni Kazki getting up on walls alongside a list of local and regional talents.

 

Chris Stain and Billy Mode. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The reviews and interactions between the organizers, artists and local residents have generally been positive in this part of town where the drug trade has filled the vacuum since all the factories died and communities were destroyed. With “art as a gentrifying force” being a huge discussion, these hippy kids have formed community in bombed out factory buildings here over the last decade and a burgeoning artists community has somehow sustained itself tenuously through the rigors of a ruthless recession. Programmatically OWB is not entirely new as a cultural stimulus but this sort of “jump-start” approach to engendering a creative renaissance by public/private development may be watched carefully by other cities as a possible formula to imitate.

Sten & Lex. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For the upbeat organizer/curator of the project, it’s been extremely gratifying and an eye opener to be accountable to such a range of interests, “I learned that murals can be a little threatening to people and bring out their latent fears and that the parties you think who are going to be most afraid generally might not be,” Gaia explains, “and the ones you think might be the most into it – provide the most criticism.”

“For example the artists community turned out to be the one that was most afraid of being a gentrifying force and was most critical of the project. And all the legacy residents were generally not bringing that up, even if I asked them,” he says.

 

Sculptor John Ahearn performs a live casting of a couple. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Two young art fans watch in wonderment as Mr. Ahearn applies the liquid rubber to cast the mold. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mr. Ahearn’s street installation of previous casts. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist Nanook, also a student at nearby MICA and a logistical lynchpin for OWB, created his own mural that strikes at the historic manufacturing base that once provided a livelihood for the people who lived in many of these abandoned buildings. For him, the artist’s role is to connect the lines between past and present, “And so it’s just about bringing back these signifiers to the neighborhood. Especially for this housing area that was built to house the people who were working at these factories. It has been interesting to meet the people who are old enough to have worked at these factories – they actually worked at the coat factory and the rudder factory and the bottling factory down the street.”

As he smokes and points to the gears and the large hand on his mural, Nanook also talks about the former coat factory two blocks away that is now being renovated to be a magnet art school, and the possibility that work by creatives can create help neighborhoods re-imagine a future, “I think most artists are intermediaries for the communities they reside in.”

 

Swoon. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As we tour around the streets with Ms. Cooper, we make sure to hit the hot graffiti spot in town, an alley she’s known for more than 50 years and one that has provided uninterrupted opportunity for exploration with an aerosol can for many artists who start out here. “Usually there are people painting back here and there’s often somebody doing a fashion shoot back here,” she remarks while snapping images of tags and colorful pieces. “There was a “Wild Style” reunion here a few years ago with Charlie (Ahearn), and they painted all kinds of stuff. It’s fun and they all come to this – because there really aren’t too many locations to do this”

While we watch a handful of 20-year-olds pulling cans from backpacks and arranging them on the cracked concrete in front of a wall, we talk to Jeremy, a local Baltimore artist who also makes puppetry and masks. He says he likes the effect that OWB has been having on the neighborhood. “It’s an interesting project. It’s nice to see a kind of subtle but effective change. Baltimore is kind of rough. But because (OWB) is there it invokes something different and the space actually is transformed.”

On a Friday evening at a block party celebrating the completion of the final wall, Gaia is happy with how it has turned out, and pleased with the multiple conversations he’s been able to have with people in the community about murals, walls, pigeons, paint, and wheat-paste. “My only curatorial process was matching the artists with walls and sites that I thought would be pertinent and I thought would really work with the artists’ process – that was my biggest goal and it succeeded.”

Interesni Kazki. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ever. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JAZ. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JAZ. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Freddy Sam. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Specter. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Maya Hayuk. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Josh Van Horn. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Overunder created a new facade within the facade of this building and a tribute to a local resident, Dennis Livingston. Says Gaia, “OverUnder is remarkably improvisational and really works well with children and people and is super engaging.” Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Overunder.Dennis Livinston. Detail. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mata Ruda. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Doodles. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jetsonorama’s portrait of Mr. Tony as he watches his pigeons in the sky. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Jetsonorama and Nanook collaboration from a Martha Cooper photograph. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Jetsonorama and Nanook collaboration from a Martha Cooper photograph. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Jetsonorama and Nanook collaboration from a Martha Cooper photograph. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nanook’s wall in progress. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Open Walls Baltimore includes the following artists: Gaia (Baltimore), Momo (New Orleans), Doodles (Port Townsend, WA), Maya Hayuk (New York City), Ever (Buenos Aires, Argentina,  Overunder (Reno, NV), John Ahearn (New York City)
Specter (Montreal), Mata Ruda (Baltimore), Josh Van Horn (Baltimore) , Caitlin Cunningham (Baltimore) , Jessie Unterhalter & Katey Truhn (Baltimore), Freddy Sam (Capetown, South Africa), Intersni Kazki (Kiev, Ukraine),
Gary Kachadourian (Baltimore), Chris Stain (New York City, Baltimore), Billy Mode (Baltimore),  Jetsonorama (Arizona), Swoon (New York City), Sten and Lex (Italy), Nanook (Baltimore), Jaz (Buenos Aires, Argentina), and Vhils (Portugal)

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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MICA Decker Gallery Presents: Adam Void “An American Dream” (Baltimore, MD)

Adam Void

 

This immersive installation will feature new paintings, sculptures and writing. An American Dream forces the viewer to interact with often overlooked subcultural groups in a sophisticated and complex manner. Topics addressed include homelessness, evangelical religion, freight hopping, protest culture, surveillance and urbanization.

Opens Friday March 23 (5-7pm) – April 1
MICA Decker Gallery
1301 West Mount Royal Ave.
Baltimore, MD

Adam Void “Private Property” (image courtesy © of the artist)

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Gaia and Nanook New Baltimore PasteUps with Martha Cooper

Last weekend Street Artists Gaia and Nanook had some fun touring around with photographer Martha Cooper in her neighborhood of South West Baltimore. Gaia’s ongoing “Legacy” series of big ol’ heads of white men – we should say portraits – who have contributed to the history of urban environments and conditions continues here too.

Photo © Martha Cooper

We’ve been seeing Gaia continue this theme recently in cities like New York, Albany, Atlanta, Miami and even his studio piece in our “Street Art Saved My Life” show last summer in LA – and it’s strangely rewarding and even entertaining…site specific postings of people like NYC’s master builder and corporate beneficiary Robert Moses from mid-20th century may look strange posted in the wilds of decayed New York, yet his big mug is probably more related to the state of our local economy than most people who are running things today. Where Moses’ critics accused him of destroying much of New York’s culture and life through building, Baltimore’s ill-famed developer is accused of killing parts of the city through active neglect. Gaia’s new big head is that of Baltimore billionaire Harry Weinberg, who bought clusters of buildings and abandoned them, effectively bringing blight to part of the city for decades, including today, according to Gaia’s position paper on the topic.

Gaia frequently assists passersby with helpful background information to help explain and contextualize his work like this one-pager above. (copyright Gaia)

“ First we installed a site generated piece of Weinberg’s portrait across the street from his formerly decrepit, now demolished, real estate holdings,” explains Gaia about his travels with the well-known street life photographer. Afterward they all  toured with Martha through her hood, hearing her perspective and insights on urban decay and sociological aspects of the neighborhood now better known as the site for the TV show “The Wire” – a tour which is a genuine treat BSA has also enjoyed.

Photo © Martha Cooper

Eventually it was time to put up a Gaia piece created from a Martha photograph of HE3 from the 1970s. Says, Gaia, “The piece is situated in an alley where a lot of the neighbors congregate and is right now the street from the active stables and pigeon coops.”

Nanook at work (photo © Martha Cooper)

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See more images by Martha Cooper and read her posting on the events of the day with the guys on 12 oz. Prophet here.

Here is a link to the finished pieces on Gaia’s Flickr
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gaiastreetart/6662613139/in/photostream

Here is Nanook’s Flickr http://www.flickr.com/people/nanookart/

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Seeing Baltimore With Martha Cooper

The Photographer Takes You On a Tour Through Sowebo

Walking in the street with Martha Cooper is part anthropology, part history, part celebrity, and always discovery. Known for 40 years of documenting with a clear eye the emergence of graffiti and hip hop culture and for introducing it to a world audience, Ms. Cooper will tell you that her primary interest has always been to simply observe closely and let the images speak for themselves.

brooklyn-street-art-rams-doke-soviet-arek-jaime-rojo-baltimore-05-11-web-28Mama Kat and White Mike welcome you to B-More. Mural by Rams, Doke, Soviet and Arik (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With a gentle frankness she repels your impulse to canonize her and her work and prefers to talk about the people she meets and her beloved hometown Baltimore, the site of her six-year photography project in the neighborhood of Sowebo. In much the same way her journalistic intuition led her to Brooklyn to meet graffiti king Dondi in the mid seventies, she has slowly earned the trust and friendship of many people in this neighborhood challenged by dire economics and the influence of drugs and guns.

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White Mike talks to Martha about the mural and some neighborhood news. Mural by Rams, Doke, Soviet and Arik (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tailing Martha, and that’s what you do in an effort to keep up with the photographer with yellow shoelaces, you soon hear young voices calling “Picture Lady!”, “It’s Picture Lady!”. Across the street, up the block, on the stoops, clusters of folk cooling themselves turn their collective heads to see Martha with her heaving backpack clipping up the sidewalk toward them. The littlest among them come right up and bob back and forth talking with animation to her and she answers each question and inquiry about her camera and what she’s been up to.

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Man and his best friend in the shade at the Sowebo festival (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Setting the backpack on the pavement under a tree, she unzips compartments and produces printed photos of the neighbors that she made since the last time she came by. With thanks and some storytelling and maybe another pose for the camera, Ms. Cooper smoothly departs up the block, scanning all sides of the street for more photo opportunities. Here we stop for a tour of a garden, there we see an abandoned lot converted to a grassy lawn-chaired community barbeque, and finally we are upon a large graffiti wall installation. “Welcome to Baltimore!” it cries and within moments some passersby greet her to talk about the piece and pose in front of their names on the rollcall – a tribute to some of the folks in the community.

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Napping on a landing at the Sowebo festival (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Your day includes a street fair with crafts and bands and crabcakes and lemonade that Martha thinks is too watery and skateboarders with tattoos and piercings doing a double take and figuring out how to approach this familiar lady with a giant camera and chat for a moment with her. Many times. Graciously. Finally a small crowd gathers as she shoots a new box truck being painted on this leafy street, with youth piled up on stoops and even sitting on the black pavement of the street for a front row seat while a skateboarder does tricks for just the right flick. It’s community. It’s creativity. It’s Cooper.

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A little girl with her puppy pose for Martha (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Three lil’ sweet rascals hop like popcorn when they see the “Picture Lady” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Action figure in a private garden (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martha and her cousin Sally take us on a hike over the railroad tracks to a skatepark. One of the riders falls, and Sally digs through her purse to find a band-aid, which he’s too cool to accept. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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An unusual site that is normal for Sowebo; A stable with this beloved cart pony owned by an “Arab”, the old-custom name for local street vendors who sell produce from horse-drawn carts. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tagged pigeons at the stables (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Street Artist Gaia in downtown Baltimore (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia in downtown Baltimore pays tribute to Martha Cooper by interpreting a photo of hers and pasting it on the street. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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…upon close inspection, Martha approves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia pays tribute to important people in the history of Baltimore’s downtown  with a retro version of work similar to that of French Street Artist JR. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia in downtown Baltimore (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia in downtown Baltimore (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Unknown artist in downtown Baltimore (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Unknown artist in downtown Baltimore (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nanook in downtown Baltimore (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Looks like AIKO was in Baltimore (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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As soon as artist Adam Stab got the news that Martha was in town he procured a small truck to paint, and waited until she arrived to begin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A little lift helps the reach. Adam Stab (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Adam Stab (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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101 KSW in Baltimore (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The sky going back to NYC (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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