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Stickers Vol. 2: More Stuck-Up Crap from DB Burkeman

Stickers Vol. 2: More Stuck-Up Crap from DB Burkeman

In the Street Art continuum that presents itself to the passerby on city streets, the early practice of hand-drawn tags on stolen postal stickers eventually morphed into mass-produced slick runs of personal branding and large scale one-off hand rendered/cut paper pieces wheat-pasted with a brush. This story, ever-evolving, is more inclusive than some may think of when you talk generically about “slaps” on a door or on the base of a streetlamp in the city’s visual dialogue. For the book Stickers Vol 2, author DB Burkeman takes a wider survey of the practice, however, and in his second compendium, he goes where BSA has always followed the creative spirit; wherever it leads.

DB Burkeman. Stickers Vol. 2: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art. (aka More Stuck-Up Crap) Rizzoli, NYC, 2019.

In practice, there are few strictly “sticker artists”. More often there are artists and taggers who also use stickers as part of their public practice which may include painting, aerosol tagging, freehand marker tagging, printing, wheat pasting, sculpture. By adapting the techniques and language of advertising, propaganda, and branding, artists have seized the opportunity to have a voice in the public sphere that is more often only reserved for commercial interests.

Street Artists’ practices of self-promotion are indistinguishable from those of commercial or political interests – and why not? The public space has always been used as a battleground for ideas, a marketplace for attention, a proving ground of identity and power, a theater for capturing imagination, a Socraterial classroom for presenting and probing ideas and the examination of our assumptions about them.

DB Burkeman. Stickers Vol. 2: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art. (aka More Stuck-Up Crap) Rizzoli, NYC, 2019.

In a fiercely democratic way, with a very low admission price, all motivations are presented here, and all of them are flawed, and all of them are perfect.

Burkeman’s sophisticated examinations of sticking practices are equally wide in his survey – his own full immersion into art, music, performance, consumer psychology, pop culture, and advertising giving him a comprehension and appreciation of its seeming seamlessness. 

DB Burkeman. Stickers Vol. 2: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art. (aka More Stuck-Up Crap) Rizzoli, NYC, 2019.

Burkeman’s introductory essay addresses topics ranging from billboard busting, culture jamming, market forces and Warhols’ bananas – admitting that his baseline appreciation has not waned even as his own study lead him ever deeper and deeper into an ocean he still hasn’t fully fathomed since launching his first sticker volume, Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art.

“Even after ten years of having this adhesive monkey on my back, I’m surprised that I can still get a kick out of the conversation that happens on the street when someone puts up a sticker,” he says. “It’s like a radiating signal to have others put their own stickers up next to it, as if to say, ‘hey, what’s up?’ The result is a cluster of paper and vinyl personalities.”

DB Burkeman. Stickers Vol. 2: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art. (aka More Stuck-Up Crap) Rizzoli, NYC, 2019.

Keeping it contemporary, he also calls in experts from this idiosyncratic world of expressions to further your appreciation for the sticking practice as a reflection of society and a catalyst for it – from the Street Artist Invader to the blue-chip curator/innovator Jeffrey Deitch to fans/visionaries like Stretch Armstrong, C.R. Stecyk III, Dante Ross, and The Super Sucklord.

Using his first book as calling card, many doors have opened to Burkeman, enabling access to collections and rarities, deep dives into the crates, selections of unknowns that you would otherwise not have access to – let alone the opportunity to appreciate. You also get a selection of stickers for your own collection by serious names, including Bast, Lister, Shepard Fairey, Skullphone, Futura, Ron English, and Neckface.

“Cheap, immediate, and unapologetically in your face, the sticker remains the go-to, lo-fi expression for many a band, brand, and fan,” says Don Letts, a founding member of Big Audio Dynamite, among other things. Clearly, the images and messages sent and received using this method have been a boon to those looking to have a voice, and the sticker practice will continue apace. Undoubtedly, DB Burkeman has it covered.

DB Burkeman. Stickers Vol. 2: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art. (aka More Stuck-Up Crap) Rizzoli, NYC, 2019.
DB Burkeman. Stickers Vol. 2: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art. (aka More Stuck-Up Crap) Rizzoli, NYC, 2019.
DB Burkeman. Stickers Vol. 2: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art. (aka More Stuck-Up Crap) Rizzoli, NYC, 2019.
DB Burkeman. Stickers Vol. 2: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art. (aka More Stuck-Up Crap) Rizzoli, NYC, 2019.
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Jay Shells: The “Rap Quotes” Book

Jay Shells: The “Rap Quotes” Book

Context and placement are key to the success of Street Art. Jay Shells’s project, “The Rap Quotes” more than meets those standards. Indeed his project might be one of the most relevant examples of street art responding to a specific time and place in history that you’ll ever see.


Jay Shells: The Rap Quotes Coast To Coast. Dokument Press. Sweden, 2019.

We’ve been repping Jay Shells (Jason Shelowitz) for years since we first found his text-based signage on Brooklyn streets in the oddest of locations. Within a short time they began to make sense, and then brilliant sense – since they acted as a GPS for some of your favorite rap lyrics. 

“What if somehow these lyrics existed visually, in the exact location mentioned?” he says to illustrate his original idea.

Since that time the artist has taken his Rap Quotes across the country (Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles), faithfully hunting down streets and neighborhoods and corners and businesses referenced by a host of recordings from classic rap era and a few of the new kids on the block as well.

“I’ve always had a serious passion for lyricism, partly because I’ve always been envious of people who are gifted with words,” he says in his new hardcover book that documents the 5 year campaign. It is gratifying to see him out scaling the telephone poles and climbing ladders with drill in hand to post these signs. They are a semi-permanent claim to public space and people’s history at the same time; a recognition of an art form of writing that rarely gets such laudatory treatment.

See the video at the end documenting the process – which Shelowitz credits as being the force that encouraged him the most. “My friend Bucky (Turco) ran a magazine and website called Animal New York, and when I told him about the project, he wanted to be involved. He introduced me to his newly hired photographer and videographer, Aymann Ismail at a party on a Friday night in early March 2013. We hit the streets early the next morning to get the 30 signs up, with Aymann document the process. About a week later, they posted the video and photos with a short write-up, and the rest is history.”

Check out some photos of the book in the mean time.


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SMASHED: The Art of the Sticker Combo by “I Will Not”

SMASHED: The Art of the Sticker Combo by “I Will Not”

Anyone born after 1960, and that includes most sticker artists on the street today, has a positive association with the humble sticker. From “smiley” and “gold star” rewards stuck to the top of your grade-school class papers to scratch-n-sniff or puffy stickers to MAD magazine product parodies for Quacker Oats and Minute Lice, a lot of kids grew up with good feelings about slaps.

Over the past two decades a serious community of sticker designers, traders, artists, exhibitors and collectors has emerged – virtually assuring that public bathrooms in heavy metal/ punk / hip hop/ alternative music clubs will be covered top to bottom or ‘smashed’ with stickers. Adhesive equivalents of a business card or portfolio sample for many artists, musicians, philosophers, anarchists, and wise guys/gals, stickers are a quick and relatively inexpensive way to get your message out to the world.

The sticker artist and curator named “I Will Not” has rallied together thousands, even hundreds of thousands of stickers by artists from all over the world during the last few years to mount sticker shows inside of the gallery space – taking the concept of a group show into near infinity. A solo practice intended for public campaigns, the global interconnectedness of this scene is irrefutable, enabling entire galleries to showcase a massive amount of work at once, including these from the DC Street Sticker Expo.

Like most subcultures, this one has a semi-tight set of rules and conventions and customs. For example, it is common to share your stickers in packs with other artists, but you are expected to put theirs up in your city. As in graffiti and Street Art, it is also verboten to obscure another artists sticker with yours on the street and any violation of this rule may result in “beef”, or a street grudge and public rivalry.

A book like “Smashed” can only come about with the complete passion of an author like IWillNot, who shares his infectious enthusiasm for the sticker game in this softcover volume. Here are some images from the book, as well as a link to learn more about it.

iwillnot. SMASHED: The Art of the Sticker Combo. DC Street Sticker EXPO. 2018
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How & Nosm Studio Confessions

How & Nosm Studio Confessions

It is an age of self-discovery, and the twins continue to be surprised by what they find as they attack huge walls with zeal and precision in New York, LA, Miami, Stavanger, Prague, Las Vegas, Rochester, Philadelphia, Rio – all in the last 12 months. Now while they prepare for their new pop-up show, “Late Confessions”, to open in Manhattan in a couple of weeks, the combined subconscious of How & Nosm is at work, and on display are the personal storylines they will reveal if you are paying close attention.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s a crisp sunny Saturday in Queens and we’re in the studio of a secured elevator building with cameras and clean floors and air thick with aerosol. Davide (or is it Raoul?) is on his knees with a tub of pink plastering goo, applying and smoothing and sanding this large oddly-shaped structure. When it is painted it will debut in the newly renovated Chelsea space whose walls were destroyed during the flooding of falls’ super storm “Sandy”. The gallery space of Jonathan Levine wasn’t large enough for the scale the brothers have grown accustomed to working with, so this more cavernous temporary location will take on a feeling of being part exhibition, part theme park.

How & Nosm. At work on a sculpture. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The impermanent sculpture of pressed cardboard is rocking between his knees as he straddles the beast and chides his dog Niko for jumping up on it. Rather than a sculpture, you may think it’s a prop for a high school play at this phase, but soon it will become a shiny black beacon of psychological/historical symbolism culled from the collection of objects they gather in travel. Born from the imagination of the brothers and affixed with bird decoys, clock faces, large plastic blossoms, and a rotary dial telephone, these rolling clean lines and saw-toothed edges of these sculptures will glisten under a heavy coating of midnight lacquer soon.

How & Nosm. Detail from a sculpture. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like so much of the work HowNosm choose for their sweeping street murals, these new pieces may be read as undercover confessions of artists on display, but you’ll need to figure that out on your own.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As you walk through the high-ceilinged studio, the excited twins talk continuously in their deep baritones at the same time at you around you and in German to each other. The barrage of stories are spilling out and trampling and crashing like cars off rails; An energetic parlay of authoritative statements and direct questions about work, walls, gallerists, graffers, cops, trains, toys, techniques. All topics are welcomed and examined, sometimes intensely. Sincere spikes of laughter and sharp swoops of fury act in concert: clarifying, praising, and dissing as they swirl in a rolling volley of goodness, pleasantly spliced with a caustic grit.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Looking at the precise lines and vibrant patterns at play in their work today, there is a certain cheerfulness and high regard for design in the compositions and sense of balance. Both of them site influences as wide as early graffiti, later wild style, cubism, and the abstractionists in their work. Fans are attracted to the confident and attractive illustrative depictions of scenes and characters, appreciating the ever strengthening free-hand command of the aerosol can and stencil techniques that HowNosm have demonstrated in their machine-like march through the streets of world over the last decade plus.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Though they estimate they have visited over 70 countries, they still love New York and both call Brooklyn their home right now.  And while the work they do hits a pleasure center for many viewers, time with both reveals that the stories within can be anything but cheerful. Raoul characterizes their work as dark and negative, born from their shared past, the adversity of their childhood.

“Negative sounds… I don’t know if that’s the right word for it,” says Davide, “but it’s not the bright side of life.”

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And so goes the duality you’ll find everywhere – a study of opposites intertwined. One paints a skull in the half circle, the other paints it’s reflection alive with flesh. You’ll see this split throughout, unified.

“We came from one sperm. We split in half,” says Raoul. “Life, death, good, bad. We’re one, you know. We used to do pieces by ourselves with graff – you know I would do “How” and he would do “Nosm” – then with the background we would connect.  Now we would just do pieces with our name “HowNosm” together as one word. I never do a How anymore, really.”

Their early roots in graffiti are always there, even as they became labeled as Street Artists, and more recently, contemporary artists. But it’s a continuum and the line may undulate but it never leaves the surface.  Davide describes their auto-reflexive manner of moving from one icon or scenario to another seamlessly across a wall and he likens it to a graffiti technique of painting one continuous stream of aerosol to form a letter or word.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“It’s like a ‘one-liner’,” he says, referring to the graffiti writer parlance for completing a piece with one long line of spray. “That’s kind of far from what we are doing right now but it is all kind of one piece. The line stops but it kind of continues somewhere. We are refining and refining, and it takes time to develop.”

Blurring your eyes and following the visual stories, it may appear that a spiral motion reoccurs throughout the red, black, and white paintings of HowNosm. Frequently the pattern draws the viewers eye into the center and then swirls it back out to connect to another small tightening of action. While we talk about it Raoul traces in the air with his index finger a series of interconnected spiral systems, little tornadoes of interrelated activity.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This technique of creating inter-connected storylines is a way of intentional communication and storytelling, and how they describe events and relationships. It is an approach that feels sort of automatic to the brothers. “Our pieces make you think. You look and look and you find more images and you try to understand the whole concept,” says Davide. “I think you can spend quite some time just looking at one piece. You start somewhere and you can develop a story around it but you go somewhere else in the piece and you may do the opposite.”

Would you care to make a comparison to those other well known Street Art twins, Os Gemeos? They are used to it, but aside from being brothers of roughly the same age who began in graffiti and work on the streets with cans, they don’t find many similarities.

“Our stuff is more depressing,” says Raoul, “and way more critical. We talk about the negative aspects and experiences in life.” How much is autobiographical? As it turns out, it is so autobiographical that both brothers refer to their painting historically as a therapy, a cathartic savior that kept them out of jail and even away from drugs growing up.

“We kind of had a very disturbed childhood,” explains Raoul, “Welfare too, so…. I smile a lot and shit but in my paintings I think it is more important to express myself with what most people want to suppress and not show, you know? There’s a lot of love stuff, too. Like heartbroken stuff, financial situations – about myself or other people.”

How & Nosm. The sun goes through a hand cut stencil. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Davide agrees and expands the critical thinking they display in these open diaries to include larger themes they address; deceptively rotten people, corporate capitalism, familial dissension, hypocrisy in society, corruption in government.  It’s all related, and it is all right here in black and white. And red.

“Ours are continuing lines,” Davide says as he traces the canvas with his fingers, “Like this knife here is going to turn into a diamond.”

Niko provides security and inspiration at the studio. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm. Detail of a completed sculpture. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm. Detail of a completed sculpture. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm’s pop-up exhibition “Late Confessions” with the Jonathan Levine Gallery opens on February 1st.  at 557 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011. Click here for more details.

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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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Quick Shots of The Grassy Lot: Edition 2012

We’re keeping it local today with an empty patch of real estate on Manhattan’s Lower East Side called “The Grassy Lot” that’s been semi-curated for about a year with an eclectic mix of American and Australian ex-pats. It’s a nice little patch of grass that is sometimes rented out for events and receptions – also it is used occasionally for rumored topless sunbathing, water balloon fights, or the periodic impromptu late night assignation after stumbling out of a nearby watering hole.

Queen Andrea on the wall where Nanook and GAIA painted last year. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like all fun things, Summer is drawing to a close, at least officially. For those of you who walk the streets of this city either with your eyes closed or fixed on your belly button we inform you that it was the Summer of Love ’12 for The Yok and Sheryro, who stayed at the top of the aerosol charts due to their sheer industry. This little lot has some examples of their stuff, but really they seemed to get up all over.  Here also is Queen Andrea, who has also been making a strong showing of late, along with stuff from Cake, Cern, Daek1, Gaia, Nanook, Never, and Sean Morris.

Brooklyn impresario Joe Franquinha of Crest Art Show fame was the procurer of art at “The Grassy Lot” again this year and we extend our gratitude to him for letting us give a peak to BSA readers.

Queen Andrea. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Queen Andrea. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Queen Andrea detail with a duet with Cern’s birds on the right. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cern (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Yok from last year illuminates the way for Cern. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Never (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Daek 1 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Oh, and one more thing…”, Cake (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sean Morris ate too many Sheryo hot dogs this summer, evidently, and is still in a food coma. (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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NohJColey New Images and Video From “In The Midst of Living”

NohJColey has been working studiously for 10 or 12 hours a day in his kitchen all summer. And his dining room. And his living room. Chain smoking hand rollies and cranking up the Thelonius Monk, pacing and staring and drawing and hand coloring and constructing. He is telling stories again and it will be up to you to interpret them at his first solo show, “In the Midst of Living”.

NohJ studies and presents the personal and the social throughout his work on the street and here also in the gallery. The webs of connective tissues that create a sense of equilibrium to seemingly disparate elements in the storytelling are metaphorical and visually (sometimes structurally) functional devices.  Portraits of faces full of expression are anchors in a small universe of rotating objects, each signifiers of greater interrelated subplots and story lines.

NohJColey. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A graff writer turned street oracle, NohJ offers a continuous commentary and societal analysis of behaviors and stations of the actors he observes on the path, often with indictment or praise gently posited within. One of the new players on the scene in the late 2000s that produced highly personal time intensive one-off pieces that tell stories, NohJColey has presented work on the street that is always deeply personal and complex, open evidence of his thought processes. Hidden in plain sight, the significance of these symbols are usually known only to him. As wheatpastes and linocut prints turned to sculpture and interactivity, each turn in turn has been revelatory. This show’s revelation is the finer tuning, the clarification of line and confidence in a style that has been highly individual from the beginning.

NohJColey. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like cave writers and muralists, these are the symbols that tell a complete story, each element carefully selected and placed with the sensibility of a rapid fire montage video caught in freeze frame. Like a therapist or sociologist inferring the nature of relationships by analyzing body language in a family photograph, NohJ is observing carefully and presenting. Open mouth surprise and glee, shock, animated hands, eyes, electronics, personal objects, possessions, gestures and stances all matter to these stories.  With themes that touch on lifestyle, entitlement, personal politics, societal status and station, ignorance, poverty, privilege, poetry, disgust, adoration, and quite possibly longing – the stories are all here on display. If you have a minute to talk, NohJColey may give you greater context.

NohJColey. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NohJColey. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NohJColey. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NohJColey. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo

NohJColey. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NohJColey. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NohJColey. Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“In the Midst of Living” by filmmaker Christian Carroll (VIDEO)

“In The Midst Of Living” NohJColey Solo Show at Weldon Arts Gallery Opens this Friday. Click here for more information regarding this show.

 

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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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Judith Supine is “Too Much for One Man”

Judith Supine is “Too Much for One Man”

Bloated heads, severed limbs, plump and luscious lips; these are the fruits harvested from art, fashion, and porno magazines, carefully cut from their previous contexts and precisely reconfigured to reveal new ones that mock, shame, and cavort in glorious dayglow blasphemy out here in public. It’s probably more than most men can handle but Judith Supine keeps slashing  forward with a sideways smile.

Judith Supine. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thoughtfully arranged and stained fluorescent hues, the pretty collage chaos that is Judith Supine pops monstrously from these new canvasses. As he preps in studio for his solo at Jonathan Levine Gallery in Manhattan this week, the somewhat anti-social and highly admired Street Artist whose funhouse wheat-pastes twisted the sensibility of street art in the mid-2000s is now pouring a thick toxic gloss on what’s happening these days. “It’s really fucking boring. It just looks like shitty graphic design a lot of the time,” he says with a flippant derision that he almost pulls off.

The new huge gallery slabs here piled in the messy former living room facing the street are covered in an inch of drying clear resin, ensconcing the portraits, freezing them in place for decades, if not centuries. Despite the lickable and alluring effect of this material when finished, these fumes could kill him before he’s finished embalming the painted lips and bobbing heads. The last time he poured a batch of pieces like this he was preparing for a huge show in LA and the experience left him bleeding through his pores.

Judith Supine. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I got really sick from it. It triggered an autoimmune disease and I was in and out of the hospital for three or four months. I got really sick from it…it made all my blood vessels explode but I kept using it and I was still doing drugs,” he remembers aloud as we sit on folding chairs atop a silver coated Brooklyn roof in the sun. The rotten experience left him weak and feeling like a punched out headlight but he hasn’t completely found a production solution and says it’s slightly stressful as we talk in the open air on the roof while his studio is a cloud of fumes below us.

Brooklyn Street Art: So when you describe it, it sounds self-destructive.
Judith Supine: Yeah. I would pass out and fall asleep in the room with the windows closed ’cause I didn’t want dust to get in. It would be a bad idea to sleep in resin.
Brooklyn Street Art: It’s bad to sleep in a resin-plume in an enclosed environment?
Judith Supine: Yeah, it was probably.
Brooklyn Street Art: And to do drugs that make you pass out?
Judith Supine: Yeah, probably people should be aware of that.
Brooklyn Street Art: “This is a public service message…”
Judith Supine: “..To all the kids out there; if you are going to huff resin, open a window.”

Judith Supine. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So it’s good to see new Judith, even if he’s not on the streets, and it’s brilliant to witness the sharp mind and hear the articulate and sometimes lacerating banter that has not been dulled by the addictive behaviors that he’s been working on.

BSA: Did it improve your art?
JS: Getting sick? No.
BSA: How about getting high?
JS: No. It just made me lazy and dysfunctional.
BSA: Yeah sometimes it makes you lethargic and apathetic. You don’t care.
JS: I mean drugs are, I don’t know, sometimes they are – there’s like a certain point where they could be inspiring, kind of help you relax.
BSA: Yeah
JS: Get in kind of a childlike state, right?
BSA: Loosen up your inhibitions
JS: Yeah, but I wasn’t good at doing that though, in a moderate way. So it’s not effective. It’s like you are just constantly fucked up all waking hours.
BSA: Well moderation is not a word I would normally associate with your work.
JS: Yeah, well I’m not into it so much, I’m not very good at that.
BSA: I mean it’s extreme, it’s pungent.
JS: But now I’m at the other end of the spectrum.
BSA: And how do you feel about that?
JS: I feel healthier, physically and psychologically.
BSA: That sounds good.
JS: Yes, so I’m gonna stick with it.

Judith Supine. Detail of a piece in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In fact Judith Supine has pulled off a pretty strong collection that he’ll be showing this week, and he credits the new sense of depth to the techniques he’s been teaching himself to build up his work. One piece even brought him back to his lino carving days that pre-date his collage work, but he’s unsure of showing that one.

BSA: What inspired you to do these pieces for the show?
JS: Money. Actually it is getting more exciting – especially making these pieces I’ve been getting more excited about the idea of working back into something?
BSA: When you say “working back into” the painting…?
JS: Like I probably repainted each painting three or four times. I pull the image out and repaint the same image.
BSA: Put it back in, draw out certain aspects of it..
JS: Yeah,
BSA: So how much time would lapse between iterations?
JS: A few hours. It’s pretty immediate the way I’m using multiples and xerox machines and shit. I can have lots of stuff painted to draw from.

BSA: Do you get the room ready first and then begin, or do you discover en route that you needed more stuff?
JS: It’s all pretty haphazard. I’m not like … I make a small-scale collage. That’s what I enjoy making – the actual collage – those tiny collages from books and magazines. To me that’s the most enjoyable part and creative part. And that’s become a kind of compulsive behavior. It’s something I do every day and I’ve done every day for the last 10 years. And then, from those I’ll edit out and I’ll pick one out of 20 of them or 30 of them to make into a painting. And then half the time I don’t like it when I start painting and I just abandon it.

BSA: So it’s like the thrill of that initial creative process …
JS: Yeah it’s like sifting through all these images and kind of finding these other hidden images – that part is really interesting and exciting to me. I’m trying to figure out ways to make the other end of the process, the actual painting part, more interesting to me where I’m like building up more layers of the resin and doing more like hand-painted shit so it’s not like “paint by numbers” – it’s boring.

Judith Supine. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So that’s it. No more work in the public sphere from Judith Supine, right? Not quite.

If he’s not into the Street Art scene that flourishes, at least in part, in his wake these days, it doesn’t look like he is completely out of it either, at least not just yet. While the thought of wheat pasting seems boring and uninspired and he has harsh words to describe the current scene, and the rise of organized “Street Art” events in cities around the world leave him feeling cold, he might just conjure up a new idea for sculpture one of these days.

BSA: So, you wouldn’t want to associate yourself with shitty graphic design and a bunch of derivative stuff?
JS: (laughing) What I like about Street Art is the feeling of the transgressive part of it and the illegal nature of it. That’s what’s exciting to me about it. You know, what qualifies as street art now is like legal murals and that shit just seems kind of boring to me. It’s kind of just like in the style of… it just kind of loses its power.

BSA: Well, that’s because it’s art whose installation has been approved. There’s no risk involved, it isn’t transgressive. You’re not breaking any rules.
JS: Not that there’s really a lot of risk involved anyway. It’s like fucking jaywalking, or something. You know, or maybe more. I mean on a daily basis, especially while using drugs, I was breaking more laws doing other shit that I could get in a lot more trouble for. It’s really not a big deal. It’s fucking slap on the wrist.

BSA: Some people have said that they’ve had really bad experiences when they’ve been arrested.
JS: Yeah, I don’t know. I’m still interested in doing things out doors. I guess it still needs to be illegal for me, for it to be fun.
BSA: To get you hard.
JS: Yeah, and I don’t have very much interest in putting up wheat pastes and posters – so maybe more site-specific sculptures – it’s kind of more interesting to me, more exciting. I’m more like excited about how to like plan something and get away with it than, a lot of times, the actual final result.
BSA: So it’s like the process of the heist. Planning the logistics, executing the plan..
JS: Yeah, that part is intriguing to me. It’s not anything really exciting about walking around fucking gluing some Xerox to the wall. It’s pretty simple to do it and not get caught.
BSA: I wonder if there is an age element involved with the “fun-ness” of this?
JS: Probably. I don’t know what I want to do. I’d probably like to stay home and fucking read a book.

Judith Supine. Detail of a piece in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Judith Supine. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Judith Supine. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Judith Supine. Studio shot with a detail of a piece in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Judith Supine. A sketch/study for a piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Judith Supine’s solo exhibition “Too Much For One Man” opens this Saturday, Sept 08 at the Jonathan Levine Gallery. Click here for more details on this show.

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Hugh Leeman, Eddie Colla and D Young V prepare for “Epilogue”

Street Artists Push Past Comfort Levels to Create New Show and Video

As the post- “Citizens United” restructuring of civil society gets into full swing and democracy is effectively hollowed out before our eyes, Street Artists Hugh Leeman, Eddie Colla, and D Young V are contemplating an eventual collapse of society and what it might look like – and have created an art show about it.

Epilogue is an immersive installation based art show,” explains Leeman as he describes the almost cinematic way they are seeing their presentation and the promotional video we are debuting for them today. Not explicitly horrifying, the implications of a lawless violent society that no longer feels “futuristic” makes this trailer uncomfortable and a breath of fresh air.

Still from promotional video for “Epilogue” (© Taylor Morgan)

“What we did with the video was a new feel for us in that we did not show the artwork nor do a traditional narrated artist interview but instead looked at the video as a piece of art itself,” says Leeman as he talks how the three Street Artists really pushed their work for the show to imagine what it would be like to start making art after we’ve burned everything down. Maybe they’re just sticking to the theme or testing their individual resourcefulness but it is interesting to see them skipping the oil paints and canvasses and instead choosing reclaimed billboards, fire stencils, even hand painted assault rifles for the varied display.

Hugh Leeman, Eddie Colla and D young V “Epilogue” (photo © Shaun Roberts)

Are these guys really rattling their Jungian subconsciousness with a death of Western society foretold or have they been spending a lot of time on NetFlix in the apocalypse section? If you hear Hugh describe the preparation they’ve undertaken at Hold Up Art, it all sounds pretty serious. “Its processes and concept have been inspired by America’s gun loving culture, the corporate behemoths considered “too big to fail”, and another pending financial meltdown. It has pushed the three of us as artists away from what we have come to identify as our own individual styles.” We give them credit for going there, and for challenging us in a new way to go with them. The murkier the answers, the more alive the imagination can be when triggered by these symbols and images.

Hugh Leeman, Eddie Colla and D young V “Epilogue” (photo © Shaun Roberts)

A death mask from Hugh Leeman, Eddie Colla and D young V in “Epilogue” (photo © Shaun Roberts)

Hugh Leeman, Eddie Colla and D young V “Epilogue” (photo © Shaun Roberts)

Hugh Leeman, Eddie Colla and D young V “Epilogue” (photo © Shaun Roberts)

“Epilogue” by Taylor Morgan  (VIDEO)

“Epilogue” opens this Saturday Sept 8.  Click here for more information regarding this show.

A print variant for the”Epilogue” show that will be released through Hold Up Art starting Sept. 8th

 

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Recap of Galore Urban Art Festival in Copenhagen

This summer festivals around the globe like Galore in Copenhagen have given many a Street Artist and graffiti artist a new shot at an audience in the last decade or so. While the old skool graff heads and Street Artists may deride these affairs as illegitimate bastards of a legitimately illegit scene, more artists seem to just care about getting up and are happy to not look over their shoulder doing it. But let’s admit that it’s a fine line many are treadin to not let the event fall into a “community craft fair” feeling or into a logo-filled “lifestyle” brand jam of products and to still keep it fresh. No matter what, haters gonna hate and you just gotta do your thang, and for us, it’s all about the creative spirit.

So the Galore Urban Art Festival just ended and photographer Henrik Haven has just sent us some of his images of the happenings on the ground as many of the artists were busy completing their pieces. You may have seen the huge mural from Gr170 on Images of the Week yesterday and a couple of weeks ago we featured a full description of Aryz big mural for Galore. Special thanks to Henrik for all the exclusive images just for BSA readers.

Nelio (photo © Henrik Haven)

Zoer (photo © Henrik Haven)

Zoer (photo © Henrik Haven)

Gary (photo © Henrik Haven)

Blank (photo © Henrik Haven)

Blank (photo © Henrik Haven)

Mr. Wany working on his piece and on the right Semor and Dais at work on their piece. (photo © Henrik Haven)

Vizie on the left with Mr. Wany completed piece on the right.  (photo © Henrik Haven)

Sobek and Kcis at work on one of their pieces. (photo © Henrik Haven)

Sobek and Kcis (photo © Henrik Haven)

Sobek and Kcis (photo © Henrik Haven)

Galore Urban Art Festival, Copen (photo © Henrik Haven)

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“See No Evil” in Bristol Brings Thousands to the Streets

Basking in the warm glow of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the “See No Evil” festival unabashedly celebrated Street Art in Bristol with thousands of fans thronging through the street while London was scurrying to deal with the threat of the unofficial Street Art of the Olympic kind.

In its second year, the one-week festival invited about 40 Street Artists from around the globe to hit up the walls of one long street while visitors traveled great distances to watch. In yet another sign of the full emergence of this first global art form, people witnessed live painting day and night, took photos, visited pop up galleries, attended graffiti workshops, danced to live music on six stages, and ate huge mountains of food at what organizers called a “New York Style” block party.

M City, Nick Walker, She One and El Mac. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

On the map for the Street Art scene since the early 1980s, Bristol was known for its own style then, eventually giving rise to some of todays’ better known names. With this expansive celebration initiated by locally raised graffiti star Inkie, many styles from the worldwide scenes of graffiti and Street Art exist alongside one another in this grand thoroughfare. Notably only 3 of last years 72 or so works survived into this year (by Nick Walker, Aryz and El Mac), suggesting a very slim chance that many of these new pieces will last for long, but few seemed to mind this month.

El Mac. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

The 2012 crop includes painters from Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Poland, Austria, and across the UK who used an estimated 3,500 cans of aerosol to collectively create a massive gallery of public art. With roots in what was once strictly illegal, it’s mind-bending to imagine how occasionally even a police officer or mayor has been photographed proudly adding to the artworks at festivals like these. Within the space of one small decade or so, the appreciation for this form of expression has skyrocketed and in fact this month thousands in Bristol are seeing no evil in it.

Our special thanks to the talent of photographer Ian Cox, who shares these images with BSA readers. Also thanks to Ben Merrington for his photo of the ROA piece.

M City, Nick Walker, She One. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

M City (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

She One (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Conor Harrington (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Conor Harrington. Detail. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

TCF Crew (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Sick Boy (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Sick Boy (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Pixel Pancho (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Mark Lyken (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Mark Lyken (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Paris (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Nychos, Flying Fortress (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Nychos (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Flying Fortress (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Cheo, Soker, CanTwo and Mark Bode. (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Mark Bode (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Duncan Jago (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Kashink (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Kashink (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

KTF Crew (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

She One (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

Lucy McLauchlan (photo © Ian Cox 2012)

ROA (photo © Ben Merrington 2012)

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Os Gêmeos and “The Giant of Boston”

The twins have left Boston, but not before they opened their first solo museum show in the U.S. and left behind a handful of public installations that have garnered major attention as people once again grapple with the concept of art in the streets. Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo have done large installations in large cities before, but few as visible and central to a city as their 70 x 70 foot mural on the side of a “Big Dig” ventilation building rising above the greenway with the shape of the character’s formed by the semi-circular façade.

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Photographer and BSA contributor Geoff Hargadon says that the project received permission from a number of civic and private organizations before it could go up over ten days in July in this storied city that usually favors conservative historical themes in it’s public works. “Given the short amount of time organizers had to put the pieces together and get all the approvals,” says Hargadon while ticking off names of entities who green-lighted the project, “it was a small miracle it was able to get off the ground.”

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

The internationally known Brazillian Street Artists had time to create a few pieces around town that reference their more graffiti-influenced roots, including one each on the side of a hotel, a pizza place, and a van. Not surprisingly it was the seven storey portrait of a seated barefoot boy rendered in signature Os Gêmeos yellow and wearing shrouded headgear that got the most attention on the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square. Its bright colors and patterned pajama-like garb have a cheerful childlike appeal to some picnickers, while other townies and Internet commenters see something less attractive, even sinister, depicted here where much of the Occupy Boston protests took place in the last year.

By the time “The Giant of Boston” had been discovered by equally yellow media types, the barefoot boy had been transformed into a danger in this birthplace of democracy and a small media-generated dust bowl was kicked up. “Looks like one of the Simpsons dressed like a terrorist,” said a clever commenter on a local TV affiliate’s Facebook page, one of over 200 who offered their considered opinions on the mural’s appearance.

Os Gemeos never miss an opportunity to collaborate on a van or truck when in the USA. This side of the van was with Graffiti Artist Lead. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

As with most knee-jerk assessments, this one could be tempered with a few minutes of Googling the work of the artists, which would reveal that this figure fits quite neatly into the dreamscape tableaux of oddly costumed and funnily proportioned figures whom the Twins have been painting for a few decades. But who knows, each of those little kooky figures could have been bombers and no one realized it until now. Without adding credibility to that line of unthinking, Hargadon remarks about these aerosol bomber brothers, “Maybe Os Gêmeos have inadvertently done us all a favor by helping us understand how some people have come to see the world during the past ten years. In any case, like all noteworthy art, it is not meant to please everybody.” If that’s the case, “The Giant of Boston” is noteworthy.

Of more important note is the solo show by Os Gêmeos that has opened concurrently at The Institute of Contemporary Art Boston. Organized by Pedro Alonzo, who also curated the Swoon, Shepard Fairey, and Dr. Lakra shows for the ICA, it’s a somewhat intimate overview of their professional and personal journey as artists, peppered with a few surprises from inside the imagination of these in-the-moment creators who “depict their visions in surreal paintings, sculpture, and installations,” according to the shows official description. Reporting on the makeup of the pieces exhibited, Hargadon says, “Some of them are from the recent show at Prism LA, while others are older works. The VIP opening on Tuesday was packed, and was followed by a Brazilian themed party Friday night – which was sold out.”

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. This side of the van was with Graffiti Artist Rize. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

If you get to Boston to see this show and this large mural, make time in your trip to see the brothers other works in less obvious locations to get a greater appreciation for their history growing up as teens in the mid 80s while pouring over books like “Subway Art” and seeing the hip-hop and graffiti scene from New York spreading around the globe. You’ll find a mural at the Revere Hotel on Stuart Street and a piece they did along with a handful of friends in Union Square in Somerville at Mama Gina’s Pizza. Among the other contributors to that piece were RIZE, Coyo, and Caleb Neelon.

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. One of The Twins signing a memento for a fan. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos “The Giant of Boston” at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos at the Revere Hotel on Stuart Street, Boston. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos with Rize, Coyo and Caleb Neelon at Mama Gina’s Pizza in Union Square, Somerville. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos with Rize, Coyo and Caleb Neelon at Mama Gina’s Pizza in Union Square, Somerville. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos Installation at Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos Installation at Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos Installation at Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art. Detail. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Os Gemeos. General view of the Exhibition at Boston’s Institute for Contemporary Art. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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The exhibit at the ICA will be up through Thanksgiving, 2012.  Click here for further information regarding this exhibition.

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“The Giant of Boston” mural at the Rose Kennedy Greenway at Dewey Square  will be up for 18 months.

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Our special thanks to BSA contributor and photographer Geoff Hargadon for capturing these amazing images of the walls going up and for the coverage of the installations inside the museum.

See our interview in August 2010: Futura Talks: Completion of the “Kid” at PS11 with Os Gemeos

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Street Art, Bomb Scares, and Times of Anxiety

Last Friday morning all was going normally on the streets of Williamsburg, Brooklyn as the  cool, crisp breeze of a sunny May day made New York as it often is: Glorious. Up and down the sidewalk smartly dressed professionals hurriedly carried coffees and pushed baby carriages as meandering tourists stared quizzically at clean cut NYU students in their search for the fabled hipster scene that their travel guides had told them would be here.

Suddenly police activity seemed to hasten on the streets and police patrol cars were rushing to sidewalks and scattering flustered pedestrians. Within a matter of minutes Bedford Avenue was cordoned off with “CRIME SCENE” yellow tape from North 4th to North 7th streets and officers in various uniforms descended upon the neighborhood with fire trucks wailing and helicopters thundering.

Quickly word spread that there was a bomb scare. Possibly in a tree.

photo © Jaime Rojo

“Scare” is a relative word for New Yorkers, as police gently prodded curious rubberneckers to stand back and swept sleepy cafes clear of reticent morning journal doodlers. An impressive armamentarium of tools and gadgets were pulled from trucks and trunks and assembled in a somewhat semi-circular arrangement near a shady tree that bended gently back and forth with the breeze.

These officers’ firm and calm demeanor gave a sunny day a relaxed atmosphere, but the tension was still thick – a potential bomb was in the midst and protection was top priority. The offending piece in question hung from a thin metal arm duct-taped to the tree’s limb; the container was a simple deli grocery bag with the ubiquitous pledge of fealty to the city, “I Love NY” screen-printed on the front. The little bag swung gently as wires poked out from it’s handled top.

photo © Jaime Rojo

photo © Jaime Rojo

To photographers who document Street Art every day in this city, continuously scanning the urban environment for any manner of creative expression, this object might have caught an eye and been captured with a camera. But frankly, the competition for attention is fierce.

Williamsburg nearly birthed the Street Art scene here in the early 00s when artists called it home and every discipline of fine art transmuted itself into installation. A new sort of direct engagement with the public sphere took root and it continues to grow in cities around the world. No longer simply stencils, wheat-pasted paper or stickers on a news kiosk, in Brooklyn you are now likely to see more three dimensional pieces like a DarkClouds board bolted to a sign post, a steel REVS sculpture welded to a fence, a tiny match-stick Stikman embedded in the pavement, or a pink and purple camouflaged crocheted piece by OLEK covering an entire bicycle.  For years local artist Leviticus has been reassembling discarded furniture, musical instruments and found objects and placing them on these sidewalks on Bedford Avenue to the indifference of the rivers of people walking by.

And let’s not forget so-called “conceptual” work, ever able to confound.

photo © Jaime Rojo

In the case of this piece, this non-bomb in a tree, the materials were very familiar to the public: A vellum plastic box, an “I Love New York” shopping plastic bag, duct tape, some wires. The materials? Non-threatening. Their arrangement and location: potentially threatening.

According to news reports, the artist Takeshi Miyakawa was arrested long after the scare was called off as he was discovered installing a second piece not far up the street. It appears he had planned an illuminated string of bags to pay a tribute of some sort to the city.

photo © Jaime Rojo

According to the New York Times and The Huffington Post, Mr. Miyakawa, 50 years old, was arrested and charged with two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the first degree, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of second-degree criminal nuisance. He was also placed under psychological evaluation.

Few will rightly question the actions of the bomb squad to prevent a catastrophic event from taking place, and most would openly express thanks for their work that can put them at great risk. But art like this, and any sanctioned public art that goes through a more vetted process, does raise questions about its intersection with the law and ethics. In a time when almost anything is considered as possible art, it also could be considered a possible bomb.

Should an artist be held accountable for every possible interpretation of the work, despite its original intention?  Can other evidence be considered before assigning guilt? Does an artist, particularly those who install work without permission, bear responsibility to consider it’s effect on public safety? During a time in our history that is permeated with vacillating levels of fear and anxiety, should we attempt to agree on some guidelines?

Online images of Miyakawa’s studio and coworkers and their methodical design plans for this installation make you think he’s probably not a criminal, just a kooky artist with a questionable judgement. Welcome to New York; that sort of thing is the norm where academic and creative investigation often pushes into unusual territory we haven’t been in before. It even appears his intentions were to cheer the public – an expression of love for his city.  But one does wonder what affect a renewed surveillance of trees and signposts and street furniture might bring to a Street Art scene that doesn’t look like it has tired of exploring itself.

Takeshi Miyakawa “I Love New York” This is how the installation was left after it was dismantled by the police. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Below are some examples of work on the street that are more than your run-of-the-can aerosol art.

In later winter this year artist Jean Seestadt created a series of installations in bus shelters and subway cars entitled “If You See Somethin;”. Her idea was to highlight the issue of objects that we encounter on our daily routine and as we use the public transportation system. Jean Seestadt. “If You See Somethin'” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jean Seestadt. “If You See Somethin'” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Click here to read our full interview with Ms. Seestadt and to see more images of her installation.

An unknown artist installed a series of metal and glass “eye” sculptures in Williamsburg in 2007 and 2008. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Here is a pair of BZBD shoes with LED lights in the soles for an installation a couple of weeks ago in Brooklyn. (photo © BZBD)

A shack installation in Brooklyn by an unknown artist. Or maybe it was a fort? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist XAM creates and places bird feeders and dwellings all over the city. Some are fitted with solar panels and an LED light. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read our interview with XAM here.

RAE commonly uses discarded household items and vintage appliances to create his sculptures before bolting them to streets signs. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

OLEK has become well known for crocheting entire coverings for bicycles, strollers, sculpture, and even the Wall Street Bull. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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