Albany

Stencils: Simple, Small, Effective

One trend these days in the world of Street Art is to go lavishly large, big with a bang, gargantuan with gusto!  Copius expanses of epic walls, scissor lifts, cases of cans and buckets of wheat-paste, an assortment of assistants, photographers, a public press release, and a panting play-by-play on social media as the Street Artist progresses across the cinder blocks. The desire to think big is a historical human inclination, from the pyramids to the Great Wall of China to Burj Khalifa to the works of Christo and Jeanne-Claude , we love gigantic work.

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Due to its completely democratic nature, the Street Art practice also includes the simplest, least showy, and anonymous pieces. Often we find little one-layer stencils, sprayed in ten seconds, to be just as interesting, and sometimes more powerful than the largest mural. Hidden, tucked away on the bottom of a doorway or a lamppost, the stencil is a fast way for an artist to get up and run, as fast as a sticker slap and just as effective. This collection of stencils recently collected in a few cities reminds us of those days when a lot of Street Art was not conspicuously installed and the works were small.  The artists here are unknown to us but maybe you have seen them.

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Don’t crack your knuckle! They’ll grow as big as the Ritz-Carlton. Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Could be hallucinating but does this fly have a lion face? Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Even pugilists take a break. Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Señor Conejo has an announcement. Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles for Living Walls : Albany

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Finished Piece Frees Itself From Fear

That dude Doodles completed his piece at “Living Walls : Albany” in this hidden alley of the state capitol after all the camera-packing explorers and six-packing parties ran out of town.  Out behind of storehouse Doodles had a lot of time to himself and he created this ode to shaking off the burdens of life with a progressive story across a cinder-blocked wall.  The Street Artist explained to us that in one interpretation the figure represents an average modern person accumulating possessions in a materialistic world. But the metaphor he likes best is about shaking off the mounting burden of fear. The final frame, inspired by the artist’s recent trip to the wilds of the Adirondacks in upstate New York, shows the figure freeing himself from those fear and making a break for the woods.  Off the grid! Here we go!

Thanks to Samson Contompasis for photos of the finished piece.

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Doodles (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles (photo © Samson Contompasis)

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Doodles (photo © Samson Contompasis)

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Doodles (photo © Samson Contompasis)

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Overunder Completes Astounding Tiled Piece : “Living Walls: Albany” Update

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Overunder stays after class at “Living Walls” and gets extra credit

Street Artist Overunder just completed his astounding tiled installation this weekend in Albany on the wall of L’esperance Tile Works, a local tile maker with a special 1920s “dust press” that the artist also worked into the piece. For an artist with such a fluid and freewheeling figurative style with a spray can, it is surprising to see it interpreted with such permanence and cogitative consideration. As part of “Living Walls : Albany”, Overunder had already smashed a few walls around the city in the weeks leading up to this opportunity, but after touring the small tile press facility with co-owner Donald Shore, he fell in love with the idea of tiles as medium. “A lot of these tiles were in the backyard up north at our other facility – he and White Cocoa were standing in the pouring rain digging through these boxes of discards and overruns and he brought these back with him,” explains Shore.

brooklyn-street-art-overunder-albany-lving-walls-09-11-web-4Overunder’s initial sketches in his sketch book. (photo © Overunder)

“I think collaboration is a huge part of being an artist. That being said, I was excited when I learned I was doing a mural on a tile manufacturers building. I had never used tile for a mural let alone doing a full out mosaic but now the opportunity was right in front of me. Don was more than willing to teach me as I went and I was more than willing to experiment with this crazy, new medium, ” says Overunder.

“I particularly like the way he’s marking the tiles with his spray can for us to cut,” says Shore, who owns the business with his wife and founder, Linda Ellett.

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The chosen piece is sketched on the actual wall to plan for how the tiles will be cut to fit. (photo © Overunder)

With assistance from a number of young helpers who live in the neighborhood, the project took a little more than a week to complete, and the results take his stuff to a new level. With a patterned face like an Alexander McQueen model, the figure’s limbs get added dimension with Overunder’s mastery of the can. Small details let you know you shouldn’t be too serious about this, like the painted toenails. As the materials are all discards and overruns from other projects, it’s interesting to note that a number of these same tiles are actually in buildings right now, including the Kol Isreal Synagogue designed by Robert Stern in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, the Lt. Governors building in Albany, and even the home of Bill Gates.

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The pool of defective and unused tiles that Don showed Overunder made him weak in the knees. The selection process begins. (photo © Overunder)

“The patterned tiles are created using the encaustic method – an inlaid clay where you take a plaster impression using clay and it leaves a reservoir that you fill with different colors and you plain it smooth and it gives you a very nice two dimensional image — that’s a technique we believe was developed in the medieval period and it was reindustrialized in the 1860’s,” explained the enthusiastic as he gave us a tour of the mural while Overunder and his assistants Roberto and Messiah worked.

It’s not often that Street Art has this heft, and certainly it’s pretty rare to take this much time to complete a piece and manage to include the participation of the community at this level. In fact, certain arts critics and public arts academics might want to reclassify this work as something other than Street Art, but we grant wide berth to the term. One thing is for sure, the resulting piece is no less than a tribute to everyone involved and as a business owner in Albany during the first year of Living Walls, Mr. Shore is sold, “I totally support this thing”

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Overunder, Roberto and Messiah collaborating. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder confers with Roberto. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Messiah plays paparazzi. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Completed Piece (photo © Overunder)

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Overunder. Detail. (photo © Overunder)

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Overunder. Detail. (photo © Overunder)

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Living Walls : Albany Roundup

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RECAP – BSA and Living Walls : Albany

This weekend in Albany very important Street Art presentations were made at the New York State Museum during “Living Walls: Albany”, including one from Street Art duo Broken Crow, pictured here in custom made aluminum foil head gear that reflected light rays all around the Clark Auditorium.

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There were so many moving parts in this large and easy going cultural festival this weekend, and we were really happy to meet so many people in the street, at the Marketplace encampment, in St. Joseph’s Church, at the tile factory, and during our keynote lecture at the New York State Museum Saturday. Thanks to Samson Contompasis for asking BSA to partner with him for LWAlbany and a quick shout out to other local partners James Shultis at Grand Street Community Arts, Sivan Shimoni, the staff at NYS Museum, and local blogger KC Orcutt at KeepAlbanyBoring.com along with photographers Andrew Franciosa, Bob Anderson, MC3, Frank Whitney, and Ken Jacobie.  Also big ups to Monica Compana, who c0-spearheaded Living Walls Atlanta, which we covered a lot when it began last year.  For all the locals mentioned, they are just the tip of the iceberg of a large committed creative and professional community in the Upstate New York region who helped to pull this thing off with almost zero dollars and tons of planning and hustling. For the first year, it is/was a major achievement.

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Broken Crow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Of course our main focus is always the Street Artists and the creative spirit that is alive and well on the streets so it was a total honor to see the artists and see brand new stuff going up, like the last one before catching a train last night – Broken Crow’s ram under a bridge.  There are still some pieces being finished by NohJColey, Clown Soldier, Doodles, and one we missed from Michael DeFeo. Also coming up should be Hellbent and possibly some other artists this fall, so we’ll get back to you on that. Not all these pics are from Living Walls : Albany by the way — when you are combing the streets you find all kinds of stuff you didn’t expect.

Check out all BSA coverage on the archive page here.

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Broken Crow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Broken Crow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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White Cocoa (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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White Cocoa (photo © Jaime Rojo)brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-albany-living-walls-09-11-web

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles at work on his wall. He explained to BSA that it will eventually contain 5 frames of a figure gradually being crushed under a backpack, which he will shake himself from and run into the wild. It’s meant to symbolize the fears and problems that can accumulate in life and our need to shake the “baggage” if possible.  — and some more esoteric descriptors that we can tell you about if you want to know.  Stay tuned for the finished piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles at work on his wall (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles wall in progress (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey at work on his wall (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey at work on his wall (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey at work on his wall (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Cake, Infinity (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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(photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder next to an old Radical! (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Veng RWK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Clown Soldier (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Michael DeFeo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Radical (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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N’DA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Take your own tour this fall with the Living Walls : Albany MAP

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Images of the Week 09.18.11, during Living Walls : Albany

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For the last 10 months this initiative to bring Street Art and public art to the forefront of the conversation in New York’s capital has been a boon to discourse, unusual during a period of retrenchment and an ongoing financial crises that is rocking every segment of society in the US. After years of incremental cuts to arts programming in public schools and cultural institutions at every level, it is a perfect opportunity for artists to re-assert their voices as this Street Art movement continues to evolve and develop in an organic way. Ironically this scene with roots in graffiti has shape-shifted and its emergence looks like a democratic movement, messily yet constructively filling a creative void for this new generation while the budgetary axes continue to fall around them.

As Street Artists have been installing their new works on walls around Albany these past 10 days or so, the common story one witnesses is the level of engagement of adults and kids stopping on the sidewalk, in their cars, watching the process, photographing and discussing the art, and exploring the creative process. Some folks have even become assistants to the artists, creating a sense of ownership, and yes, community. There is obviously more to this evolving story, and we’ll continue to track it.

Below are photos from photographer Jaime Rojo to give you an idea of the wealth of creativity that is alive in Albany at the moment. And we commence with our weekly interview with the street this week featuring Broken Crow, Chris Stain, Gaia, How and Nosm, Joe Iurato, LNY, Nanook, ND’A, NohJColey, OverUnder, Radical! ROA, Shin Shin, and Wing.  First, we go to church with Joe Iurato.

brooklyn-street-art-joe-iurato-jaime-rojo-living-walls-albany-09-11-web-1Joe Iurato (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Joe Iurato (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Joe Iurato (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Joe Iurato (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia and Nanook (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey made one of his most expansive and eclectic sculptural installations yet inside St. Joseph’s church. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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LNY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Broken Crow called a quorum of penquins to hold a discussion on weighty topics of the day .  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Broken Crow worked overnight and completed this elk downtown on Mikes birthday this week.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Broken Crow is literally stopping traffic on Second Avenue with this powerful stencilled piece. People are jumping out to take pictures of this and question what it might symbolize. The puncturing of the foreground plain with the spilling of “blood” from the carcass is a temporary and powerful effect that will last only until winter. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Broken Crow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A bird in the hand from GAIA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Birds of a different feather from Street Artist Radical (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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N’DA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How and Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How and Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shin Shin and Wing (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Radical (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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This new large scale mural created by Street Artist Chris Stain is at the entrance of the New York State Museum, where many presentations and symposia have been taking place since Friday under the “Living Walls : Albany” auspices. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Street Artist ROA and a Dead Squirrel for Living Walls : Albany

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Words by KC Orcutt
Photos by MC3 and Andrew Franciosa

Within moments of ROA’s arrival on site to his designated building for “Living Walls : Albany,” he spotted a recently departed squirrel, took it as a sign and it became quite clear what he was going to do next.

The squirrel population in Albany is (somewhat) jokingly of a “different” breed – they are as tough as they are territorial, while still somehow managing a natural presence and a non-intrusive interactivity with passer-bys. Squirrels are everywhere in Albany, making it a more-than-fitting subject for ROA’s large-scale contribution to the Living Walls project.

brooklyn-street-art-roa-MC3-living-walls-albany-2-webROA (photo © MC3)

Cosmically or maybe even comically enough, as ROA was working up in the lift adding detail to the animal laying on its back, a man associated with the building’s owner shared an anecdote of how a couple years back a pesky squirrel’s nest almost resulted in the same building burning down, with firefighters called to the scene and all.

During ROA’s time creating the piece, people stopped by to inquire more about the wall and what was going on, with many lingering on the “why a squirrel” question.

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ROA (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

“People are bored with simple messages,” said ROA “they want something deeper.”

With the inspiration of the piece still laying off to the side, ROA entertained the public’s curiosities with a grin saying, “Its for you to figure out if it’s dead or alive and the meaning behind it. It’s a very simple message – just a squirrel on it’s back,” as another onlooker proudly repeated his take on ROA’s work in succession, “that symbolizes something!”

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ROA (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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No animals were harmed during the making of this mural. (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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ROA (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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ROA (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Clown Soldier, Wing, Shin Shin, NohJColey, N’DA at “Living Walls : Albany”

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A Special Report

Words by KC Orcutt
Photos by Bob Anderson

With Marketplace Gallery transformed into what is best classified as a sleep away art camp — complete with scattered sleeping arrangements, wheat pastes hung up on the gallery walls ready to greet the outside world, in progress portraits of some of the participating artists by White Cocoa and a healthy buzz of street art-fueled conversations late into the night — the past couple of days and nights have blurred together leading up to the debut of the Living Walls project in Albany, officially launching this weekend.

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Clown Soldier (photo © Bob Anderson)

Away from the hustle and creation taking place both in the street, at the gallery and St. Joseph’s church, a conductor of sorts sits under a bridge in Rensselaer at the Art Park, overlooking Albany. The piece, as created by Clown Soldier, puts a figure in command of the happenings of the city from a detached control station. One can’t help but picture the happenings in Albany in relation to the Living Walls as beneath the futuristic bubble Clown Soldier created. The tag line that organically manifested surrounding the Living Walls in Albany — “This Is Happening In Your City” — is setting in.

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Clown Soldier (photo © Bob Anderson)

Kitty corner to the Clown Soldier piece is another Living Wall where Shin Shin and Wing collaborated under the massive support of the bridge in Rensselaer. The pair got to work using a bright palate environmentally fitting for the open industrial space, creating a natural and whimsical balance on the surface of the bridge’s support.

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Wing and Shin Shin Collaboration (photo © Bob Anderson)

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Wing and Shin Shin collaboration (photo © Bob Anderson)

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Wing and Shin Shin collaboration (photo © Bob Anderson)

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Wing and Shin Shin collaboration (photo © Bob Anderson)

NohJColey, Depoe and N’DA also got down in Rensselaer, working over the course of several days on large-scale pieces, bordering existing (and aging) public murals, while also bouncing in between St. Joe’s church, where Living Walls installations are coming into form from a multitude of artists, local and beyond.

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N’DA (photo © Bob Anderson)

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NohJColey and N’DA work in progress (photo © Bob Anderson)

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N’DA and NohJColey lend a hand to Shin Shin with the installation of one of her Golden Trees at St. Joe’s Church (photo © Bob Anderson)

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N’DA and NohJColey (photo © Bob Anderson)

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N’DA (photo © Bob Anderson)

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Living Walls : Albany Presents: Keynote Lecture by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo “Street Art Stories: A New Direction on the Street” (Albany, New York)

Living Walls Albany
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Saturday, September 17th
Located in the Clark Auditorium of the New York State Museum

3:30-4:45PM
KEYNOTE LECTURE
“Street Art Stories: A New Direction on the Street”

Presented by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, founders of Brooklyn Street Art

In Street Arts’ latest chapter, the storytellers are hitting up walls with all manner of influences and methods. More than ever before, formally trained and self taught fine artists are skipping the gallery route and taking their work directly to the public, creating cultural mash-ups and highly personal stories of their own, altering the character of this scene once again. Eclectic, individual, and as D.I.Y. as you can imagine, these Street Artists may have knowledge of who came before them or not, but they are determined to be a part of one art scene that is perceived as authentic, relevant, and alive.

Join Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, authors (“Brooklyn Street Art”, and “Street Art New York”, published by Prestel/Random House) and founders of Brooklyn Street Art (BrooklynStreetArt.com) and contributing Street Art writers for The Huffington Post ARTS, as they show and compare examples of work from New York’s streets today. Then join a lively discussion in a Q&A session to help explore this storytelling practice and discuss how it may be evolving what we have been calling “Street Art” for the last decade.

Hosted by “Living Walls : Albany”, Samson Contompasis, Director,  and Grand Street Community Arts, James Shultis, Executive Director.

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Cake at Living Walls: Albany

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Street Artist Cake brought her hand painted people to Albany yesterday, with these portraits of a “wondrous traveler”named Saige. A fine artist who makes one of a kind wheate-pasted pieces as a means of therapy and tribute, Cake has a unique style that is at once melodic and medical, enabling the viewer to have x-ray vision. Recently Cake has been introducing metallic, as in these two new pieces using silver leaf.

Learn more about Cake and see Jaime Rojo’s photos of her work in our recent interview with her on Juxtapoz.

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Knock knock, Cake is at the door. (photo © Cake)

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Cake (photo © Cake)

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Cake (photo © Cake)

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Living Walls Albany: The City Speaks (Albany, NY)

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About

*For the most up to date information follow us Mural by Mural on-
http://livingwallsalbany.tumblr.com/
and also

About

Living Walls: Albany is a project designed to raise awareness about the use of public space. It is about exploring options that a smaller city like ours has and giving the people here a chance to interact with public space as they never have before. Through a series of lectures, performances, and the involvement of some of the world’s great mural artists, we are looking to provide and education into public art. The Living Walls project is intent on creating an open dialogue between the people and city.

The Living Walls conference was started in Atlanta GA. Along with changing the urban landscape, the Living Walls conference set out to highlight a number of problems facing the city. Living Walls did not just showcase art, but also built a platform for much-needed dialogue in the city. The success of the event was so great that Living Walls is returning this year to take place in Atlanta, Ga and Albany, NY.

Dates For 2011

September 16th – 18th

Venues for Living Walls: Albany

St. Joe’s– 38 Ten Broeck
The Marketplace Gallery
– 40 Broadway
Grand Street Community Arts
– 68 Grand St
“Arrival and Departure” Performance Art venue-99 Pine St.

Contact

For more information please feel free to contact us by email: livingwallsalbany@gmail.com

or visit our site at:

http://livingwallsalbany.com/

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Chris Stain in Church, Museum : 9/11 Mural With “Living Walls: Albany”

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The Street Artist Creates 40 Foot Mural Marking 10th Anniversary

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Living Walls with Chris Stain

Words by KC Orcutt
with photos from Andrew Franciosa, Frank Whitney, and Ken Jacobie

Working in the monumental landmark of St. Joseph’s church, the focal point marking Albany’s Ten Broeck Historical District, everything echoed. The shake of the spray paint can, Chris Stain’s soft but direct voice, friends casually eating out of take-out containers and the sliding of a huge ladder against the wooden floor echoed against the high, detailed ceilings of the church, breaking the silence in what felt like both a privileged and private setting to be working in.

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Samson prepares the wall at St Joseph’s church for Chris Stain (photo © Ken Jacobie)

This portion of the “Living Walls: Albany” project directly faced the challenge all artists face: make something out of nothing. For the organizer, Samson Contompasis, that challenge was making a 40 by 16 foot wall out of 20 wooden pieces for Chris Stain to create his contribution to the project. Challenge met. Next.

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

As Chris Stain humored me in talking about Albany, the culture of zines and independent art books, doing his art homework on the train up here and how the quietness of the church was peaceful, he worked very swiftly. With one can of spray paint on deck in his back pocket and one in his hand, he got to work on his installation piece, depicting a scene of firefighters, an American flag and slanted city buildings, working with the ‘perfect’ red and an assortment of spray paint cans aligned like soldiers ready to go.

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

The finished piece alongside the ornate details of the church allowed for a natural moment of silence, soaking in what Stain sprayed before us, ready to be taken apart and installed in the setting of the New York State Museum the next day as a part of the new exhibit, “Reflecting on September 11, 2001.”

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain’s mural being installed at the New York State Museum (photo © Frank Whitney)

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Chris Stain’s mural being installed at the New York State Museum (photo © Frank Whitney)

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“Reflecting on September 11, 2001” opens at the New York State Museum Friday 10.9.11. Please click here for more information.

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