Welcome December! Welcome final month of the decade!
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week with 1 Up Crew, Bergero, Dirt Cobain, Disturbanity, Goal, Felix Gephart, Konozco, Lego Party, Leonardi, Lik Mi, HOAC, LOL, Phetus, Rice, Traz, TWC Krew, and Yard5 Festival.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. “Graffiti Rock” Hip Hop TV 2. JR and the “Tehachapi Project” 3. PICHIAVO – Esplugues de Llobregat 4. Walala Pump & Go in Arkansas
BSA Special Feature: “Graffiti Rock” Hip Hop TV
year was 1984. “Subway Art” was fresh on the bookshelves and “Style Wars” had
just been aired on PBS and won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance, and “Wild
Style” had shown in sticky Times Square. With ascendant music stars like
Grandmaster Flash and The Cold Crush Brothers rocking mics at the clubs,
Blondie bringing Basquiat and Fab Five Freddy to MTV and Rock Steady Crew
commanding all the competition, MCing, turntablism, graffiti and b-boying were
making serious inroads into popular culture across the US and into Europe.
Enter showman and empresario Michael Hollman with a fresh idea for Hip-Hop TV that would inherit the mantle from teen dance shows of previous decades. Highly produced and rehearsed, the spontaneous looking show featured all the elements you could dream of; fly fashion, phat laces, Adidas, Kangol, a scratching lesson, Jam Master J and Run DMC battling with Special K and Cool Moe D, New York City Breakers, graffiti artist “Brim” Fuentes with the smooth disco song stylings of Shannon.
“Graffiti Rock” held everything in its hands in that moment in June when it aired, and even though the show couldn’t continue, it’s a shining beacon of triumph, empowerment and promise for the positive scene that had evolved around youth in cities like New York that gave it agency. A primer on a scene, it was so dense that you could think of this as skool, fool.
JR and the “Tehachapi Project” (Trailer)
No mention of the feckless politicians paid on the side by for-profit
prisons to trample justice and capture bodies for beds, but here JR ventures
inside prisons to talk about humans caught inside a system of prisons that few
in the media even bother with anymore.
PICHIAVO – Esplugues de Llobregat / Video by Marta Romero
Great attitudes, European idealized classical images of women, colorful graffiti tags layered and dancing around and above your head; It’s a winning combination for Street Art duo Pichiavo, who have been on a tear around the world painting ever larger commercial walls for the last five years wherever you look. Here are two recent videos created by one of their more recent clients, a real estate investment and development company headquartered in Madrid and Lisbon.
PICHIAVO en Temprano Esplugues – Video by Marta Romero
Walala Pump & Go in Arkansas
The creative agency Justkids produced a new project in Fort Smith, Arkansas this month by rehabilitating a bit of urban blight with “eclectic tribal pop” from French artist Camille Walala. The best part? When you paint this gas station with vibrant geometry you can name it after yourself. Just call it “Walala Pump and Go”.
What visit to Berlin is complete without a train adorned with a 1UP piece?
Chased since 2003, this anonymous amorphous and acrobatic aerosol crew has a rock -steady habit of getting up and staying up in unusual spots and while waiting for the U3 in Warschaurer station this one rolled in. The bright canary U-Bahn has nary a graffiti piece, so we were surprised to see this for a minute, before it rolled away.
Many images this week are from our short visit to Querétaro, Mexico this week – where, among other things, we saw first hand many of the murals mounted by the festival Nueve Arte Urbano over the past few years. Each festival around the world is unique to its local culture – with the possible exception of the highly commercial ones that are self-styling as a franchise of cool McArt dipped in tangy “Street” flavored sauce. We had a good survey of this mural/street art/graffiti scene in the context of Mexico’s historic mural masters, and a true sense of how counterculture can be embraced by so-called “mainstream” culture for the betterment of both.
short, the DNA of this festival is not about self-promotion but engaging
community in meaningful dialogue, respecting tradition of indigenous culture,
and embracing the modern day rebels who have brought art to the streets in
myriad ways. Combined with an unprecedented 101 photo exhibition of graffiti,
Street Art, and urban culture mounted on the streets that was too meta for our
brains, we saw people walking the walk, not just talking the talk. We only wish
we had more time, and a drone!
Additionally this week we have a few more favorite shots from a quick trip to Berlin last week. Berlin is basically Brooklyn’s sister city and it was also in the full throes of Spring, with long lines at the all-night dance clubs way after the sun came up. This weekend it looks like Brooklyn is warming up too – almost beer garden time!
Until then, let’s head over to Bamonte’s for a vodka martini with the fine men and women of what’s left of Italian American Williamsburg here in Brooklyn. This is an institution that’s 119 years old lined with framed photos of famous Italian Americans and celebrities who ate there like Telly Savalas and that guy from the Sopranos!
No music, only the clinking of glasses and animated storytelling and some people who may have been dining here when the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn – all eating lobster tails, shrimp cocktail, clams oreganata, iceberg lettuce salads, pastas, meat balls, fish, sautéed porkchops, scalloped potatoes, green beans, chicken parmesan, and blueberry pie or tiramisu. Okay it’s not five star, you big hotshot, but it’s at least as good as your Aunt Rosa’s kitchen, amiright? Bamontes not good enough for you now, you big Broccolini?
And the portions, my god, you won’t need to eat again
until Good Friday.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring 007, 1UP Crew, Calladitos, City Kitty, Clown Soldier, CS SZYMAN, Deih XLF, drsc0, Ger-Man, La Madriguera Grafica, Mantra, Nespoon, Paola Delfin, Santiago Savi, Victor Lopez, and Voxx Romana.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Icy & Sot Overview 2. Imaginary City. Teaser from MZM Projects (UA) 3. “Martha Cooper: Evolucion de una Revolucion” Queretaro, Mexico. 4. Fanakapan x 1UP Crew in Berlin.
BSA Special Feature: Icy & Sot Overview
The Iranian brothers have been toiling and innovating and taking risks on the streets of Tabriz and Brooklyn now for more than a decade. Now commercial brands are discovering them as well. These guys just keep marching forward with purpose, staying true to their beliefs.
Icy & Sot Video Project
Imaginary City. Teaser from MZM Projects (UA)
Entirely of their own volition and vision, filmmakers Kristina Borhes & Nazar Tymoshchuk created this ode to Stavanger and the Street Art festival called Nuart.
Two BSA quickvids in a row here from our recent travels in Berlin and Queretero…
“Martha Cooper: Evolucion de una Revolucion” Queretaro, Mexico.
Urban photographer Martha Cooper now has 101 of her photographs on the streets — literally on the streets of Queretero, Mexico. Part of the Nueve Arte Urbano festival, the exhibition is called “Evolution of a Revolution” and we were pleased to be a part of the opening events with Ms. Cooper, who said she was very pleased with the quality of the large format photos and the reception of the people on the streets.
Thanks to a new big empty city lot this building seems primed for the big stage! First the Alanis angel has ridden on this wall for a long time with grace and beautiful realism. Secondly, Berlin Kidz climbed vertically down from the roof in their distinctive and colorful language.
But we were lucky to see the British Fanakapan working with the worldwide, Berlin-based, anonymous graffiti crew 1UP for a stunning collaboration. This kind of shit can turn you into a fanboy or fangirl in a heartbeat. If you had a heart.
Berlin streets are regularly teeming with the Vox Graffiti in shouting chaotic profusion – and have been for decades. The bubbling laughing raging hordes proffer a visual conversation that often roars, and you’ll have to yell to get your voice above the rest.
1UP and Berlin Kidz are two of the graffiti crews who reliably blast out their viewpoint, each with a uniquely unmistakable cadence and flair. This week one gilded the urban stage while the other was transformed upon it by British guest star Fanakapan with a ringing whoop, and with the angelic welcome of Alanis at the entrance, the Frühling party of Berlin is in full bloom.
Set upon a newly opened urban arena in Kreuzberg (thanks to the demolishing of a building adjacent to it) the actual bubble letters that distinguish the guileful Londoners’ letter style now rise above the rubble with multi-colored glee. Spelling out the 1UP letters in a way they never could, his interpretative take is framed by two runners of Berlin Kidz translation of Pichaçao-style colored cryptic tagging.
“As one can imagine this was just to good to be true,” says Sam Walter of YAP Productions, the organizers and facilitators of the lift and permissions. “Yes we did have problems with a security and also police since we had no official paper which gave us permission for the wall – but we got a couple of confirmations via phone calls,” he says with all the reassuring confidence of a Cheshire cat .
Together with the rest of the steel-spined-velvet-clad YAP posse, the 1UP crew and Fanakapan were celebrating on this vast muddy lot ringed in concertina wire as the sun set one night this week. Word spread quickly and the reunion at the wall felt like 50% Graffiti God magic mixed with 110% adrenaline helping everyone ignore the psychotic spring weather that warms you one minute and converts you into a popsicle the next.
The original motivation for the collaboration is based on an one-year-old idea between 1UP and Fanakapan, says Sam, “bringing those beautiful, shiny, giant 7-meter “1UP’ letters. These are young artists who take on a lot of risk to push the graffiti culture beyond its boundaries.”
“No animals, plants or 1UPs were harmed during this production,” quips the charismatic cultural curator and YAP team member Denis Leo Hegic as he texts process shots of the wall to the squad as the secret/public wall goes up.
“1UP carries the zeitgeist of Berlin out into the world like no other contemporary collective. The DNA of the crew is rooted in the streets of Kreuzberg, but the group also developed into a global family,” he says. The statement is only partial bravado, as a serious graffiti head in many cities will be able to tell you a rooftop, elevator, or train line that they’ve seen hit by the amorphous and amazingly anonymous crew that seems to shape shift and reconstitute itself – evidenced here where their enormous tag is painted by another artist entirely.
BSA: Is this a tribute piece to 1UP or is it a collaboration? Denis Leo Hegic: It’s gravity graffiti. Collaborative and collective work is already included in their spirit “one united power”. Fanakapan managed to portray it in such a powerful and gravity defying way and gave us the largest 1UP letters hovering weightlessly over Berlin. 1UP is a ubiquitous tag in Berlin. You can’t help but be aware of it.
BSA: Did the authorities take any interest in visiting the site when Fanakapan was painting the tag, perhaps thinking that it was actually 1UP painting? Denis Leo Hegic: We had quite an interaction with the local law enforcement. However, all the officers that appeared on site were being alarmed by other people and did not come on their own initiative.
BSA: How did you get permission to paint on this wall? Denis Leo Hegic: Through the intelligence of many. We managed to thrill lots of good, curious and courageous people who made everything possible: from a large wall in the center of Kreuzberg to the entire production. Fanakapan was extremely motivated and he literally blew those balloons up the wall.
BSA: Previously there was a building in front of the current wall. Now the whole wall is fully exposed, showing fully the long-running Alanis angel piece. Was any consideration given to the Alanis piece while planning the 1UP piece?
Denis Leo Hegic: Absolutely. I hate when some people say “curating a wall” or “curating a mural” – that’s such utter nonsense! How can one person possibly “curate” one single painting on one single wall? However, this wall succeeded to curate itself naturally. It’s a great composition with the two vertical stripes by Berlin Kidz on each side of the piece and being held by the Alanis angel from the ground. With Fanakapan’s addition of the 1UP bubble tag it became a marvelous “Kreuzberger Mischung” (Kreuzberg Mixture).
Here in Basque country you can casually drive between Bilbao (Spain) and Bayonne (France) as if you were just heading out to the shopping mall to buy new kicks. The signs of course are in multiple languages (Spanish, French, Basque) and there is much more political street art in these towns- addressing topics like fracking, racism, women’s rights and amnesty for political prisoners.
With an atmosphere that is more politically charged than other parts of the world, you can quickly forget it when you see so many rolling green hills dotted with puffy round sheep and old white farm houses along the highway.
Arriving in Bayonne we were happy to see many of the medieval small streets still boast Gothic-style cathedrals, a cloister here, the occasional castle there. It’s a walkable city with centuries of history, conservative cultural values, and a cool Street Art festival from the last few years called Points de Vue. Co-Founder Alban Morlot obliged us with a tour of the city and a multitude of murals produced over the past few years (You can read here our article of the recent 2018 edition of the festival with exclusive images from Martha Cooper and Nika Kramer).
Headquartered in the public/privately run community center/gallery called SpaceJunk since the early 2000’s Alban and director Jérome Catz have been organizing shows here and in Lyons and Grenoble as their interests and network of artists has expanded. The two met when Catz was better known as a celebrity snowboarder organizing an art show for a sponsoring brand, and Marlot attended the show as a self-described “groupie”.
With a common interest is providing artists a platform and complementary abilities with funding and collecting, the two have gone on to mount shows and festivals in their organic path through the lenses of “board culture”, graffiti, Street Art, Lowbrow and Pop Surrealism.
Shows and exhibitions over the last decade and a half have included artists such as Lucy McLauchlan, Adam Neate, Will Barras, Jeff Soto, Laurence Vallières, Robert Williams, Robert Crumb, Isaac Cordal, Vhils, C215, Slinkachu, Ron English, Zevs, Shepard Fairey, JR, Lister, Augustine Kofie, Beast, NeverCrew, Monkey Bird, Daleast, and Seth.
A topic close to our heart for a decade, they also began a new film festival for there 2017 edition of the Grenoble Street Art Fest.
Headquartered in the public/privately run community center/gallery called SpaceJunk since the early 2000’s Alban and director Jérome Catz have been organizing shows here, Lyons, and Grenoble as their interests and network of artists has expanded. The two met when Catz was better known as a celebrity snowboarder organizing an art show for a sponsoring brand, and Marlot attended the show as a self-described “groupie”.
With a common interest is providing artists a platform and complementary abilities with funding and collecting, the two have gone on to mount shows and festivals in their organic path through the lenses of “board culture”, graffiti, Street Art, Lowbrow and Pop Surrealism. Shows and exhibitions over the last decade and a half have included artists such as Lucy McLauchlan, Adam Neate, Will Barras, Jeff Soto, Laurence Vallières, Robert Williams, Robert Crumb, Isaac Cordal, Vhils, C215, Slinkachu, Ron English, Zevs, Shepard Fairey, JR, Lister, Augustine Kofie, Beast, NeverCrew, Monkey Bird, Daleast, and Seth. A topic close to our heart for a decade, they have also began a film festival for there 2017 edition of the Grenoble Street Art Fest.
As we walk through a very windy afternoon that kicks up the new construction dust that coats this neighborhood by the river, Alban talks to us about the suspicious embrace of locals and politicians of his work, the various working personalities of artists for the festival, the creation of a new currency by the Basque community, the tradition of socialist bars and political activists in the neighborhood, and his own connection to graffiti that began when he was hanging out in his hometown of Pau as a teenager with other skaters.
would listen to music, smoke a blunt, and skate all day. At some point graffiti
became my culture,” he says of those times that formed his character and
informed his aesthetic eye. “I don’t think I realized it at the time when
I was a teenager but by the time I was 25 I said to myself ‘this is my culture’.
I know I’m not the only one to feel this way but I knew that I wanted to share
this experience and make it visible for other people in my generation.”
and riding in a car to see murals, small installations, illegal graffiti, and
formally approved artworks, you may wonder how this organizer and curator looks
at his position in an evolving urban art scene that has witnessed the arrival
and departure of many over the last 15 years. He says that his work has always
centered on the artists, and that despite the chaos and change, this may be why
job is to know the artist and learn where they want to go and what their
context is,” says Alban. “Afterwards I let them express their hearts without any conditions
because I want them to have the maximum pleasure to produce their art. This way
you receive the best from them.”
You may wonder where this philosophy comes from, and ask if he always felt this way.
“I think I just love artists so much,” he says. “People at Space Junk often ask me if I am an artist and I am not. I just consider artists to be very important in our lives and in society and I think we have to put artists in the middle of the system and not like they are just observers. I think artists belong in the center of society and I think people have to learn again how to listen to what they have to say. The way they present society is a very different point of view that helps us to understand who we are, who our neighbors are and help us to drive together.”
Our sincere thanks to Alban and Jérome for their work and hospitality and we hope you enjoy some of these pics from Bayonne.
If art that is also vandalism is destructive then Artivism is meant to be something more constructive in the balance – even a polar opposite. For those of us who prefer to see the world holistically, the graffiti / Street Art continuum globally has always held wildly opposing instincts and missions simultaneously, neither specifically negating the other and none to be overlooked.
The term Artivism has been around about 20 years, some saying it gained currency with artists helping the Zapatistas in Chiapas in the 90s. In the Street Art world, we’ve been witnessing its used by those artists and organizations who would like to distinguish the intent of the artist as something with a social/political goodness at its core.
It’s a generally positive trend, although one has to be as critical of it as any; because our marketing-soaked modern consciousness knows that terms like these can quickly be adopted/adapted to whitewash/greenwash so many initiatives. In practice, artists have espoused politics in their street murals and less-official works for decades before we began branding it artivism.
The Pangeaseed initiative has been encouraging artists to put their best flipper forward for a few years when organizing painting festivals that center on aquatic themes, and notorious Berlin-based vandals 1UP Crew have actually taken the plunge in a spectacular way here in Nusa Penida, a small island off the gorgeously scenic Bali.
“It took us a while to figure out what we can do, but we did it,” says a 1UP spokesperson about the cage they designed and built beneath the blue. “The world’s first underwater 3D installation that we hope will serve as an artificial coral reef to help regenerate corals and marine life.” It also is a giant “1Up” tag, although this one is down.
Perhaps all this communing with nature is slowly turning the attitudes of notorious vandals. “Please take care of your environment!,” they say without a trace of irony, “One United Power! One Love!” As usual, we discover that the graffiti/Street Art conversation is not always conveniently black and white.
Sometimes it is green, or aqua.
Special thanks to: Pangeaseed Foundation and Seawalls Festival Bali team. Photos by @martincolognoli & @trax51
Here it is! Photographer Jaime Rojo of BSA selects a handful of his favorite images from his travels through 9 countries and around New York this year to present our 2018 BSA Images of the Year.
Seeing the vast expressions of aesthetics and anti-aesthetic behavior has been a unique experience for us. We’re thankful to all of the artists and co-conspirators for their boundless ideas and energy, perspectives and personas.
Once you accept that much of the world is in a semi-permanent chaos you can embrace it, find order in the disorder, love inside the anger, a rhythm to every street.
And yes, beauty. Hope you enjoy BSA Images of the Year 2018.
Here’s a list of the artists featured in the video. Help us out if we missed someone, or if we misspelled someones nom de plume.
1Up Crew, Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fujita, Adele Renault, Adrian Wilson, Alex Sena, Arkane, Banksy, Ben Eine, BKFoxx, Bond Truluv, Bordalo II, Bravin Lee, C215, Cane Morto, Charles Williams, Cranio, Crash, Dee Dee, D*Face, Disordered, Egle Zvirblyte, Ernest Zacharevic, Erre, Faith LXVII, Faust, Geronimo, Gloss Black, Guillermo S. Quintana, Ichibantei, InDecline, Indie 184, Invader, Isaac Cordal, Jayson Naylor JR, Kaos, KNS, Lena McCarthy, Caleb Neelon, LET, Anthony Lister, Naomi Rag, Okuda, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Pejac, Pixel Pancho, Pork, Raf Urban, Resistance is Female, Sainer, Senor Schnu, Skewville, Slinkachu, Solus, Squid Licker, Stinkfish, Strayones, Subway Doodle, The Rus Crew, Tristan Eaton, Vegan Flava, Vhils, Viktor Freso, Vinie, Waone, Winston Tseng, Zola
Happy Halloween Ya’ll! More than your average number of freeks, misfits, and naughty school girls with fangs on the subway this week, did you notice?
As if any of us need to conjure more scary scenarios than the daily horrors we face – bomb threats, traffic on the FDR, Meghan Kelly.
Anyway, stay safe out their this week peeps.
So here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring 1UP Crew, A Cool55, Bla Bla Meow, Clint Mario, El Cekis, Harlem Picasso, Javier Barriga, Kobra, Lin Logic, Phoebe NY, Stikman, and XO Homeless.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. The (mostly) True Story of Hobo Graffiti
2. Bathroom Run at Urban Spree in Berlin
3. 1UP Crew in Moscow for Artmossphere Biennale 2018
BSA Special Feature: The (mostly) True Story of Hobo Graffiti
Anthropologists and graffitiologists have been trying to piece together the antecedents for mark-making in the modern era. Many times the history is rather North America-based, as is this particular tributary, but of course our need to leave proof of our existence is global and forever. How to fit that into a 3 minute video that won’t send Millenials to sleep? Instead, we present: Hobo Graffiti! Have a good ride friends.
Bathroom Run at Urban Spree in Berlin
This would be the precisely perfect time for Smell-O-Vision! Sometimes photographer Jaime Rojo finds a location so completely three dimensionally awe-inspiring that the only way to fully share it with you is through video. Like the Sistine Chapel, for example. Or the bathrooms at Urban Spree! Imagine these during a night of eclectically selected music thumping, full of a splendid selection of thespians, punks, painters, poets, fornicators, miscreants, and the occasional real estate investor all drunkenly scuffling through – and you’ll get a better idea of these walls in all their glory.
1UP Crew in Moscow for Artmossphere Biennale 2018
A few weeks ago in Moscow we had the opportunity to co-curate the exhibition for the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 with some knowledgeable and talented folks and leaders in the expansive field of graffiti/Street Art/urban art/contemporary art. Among those were the envelope pushing all-city, all-world 1UP crew. Anonymous and amorphous, you never know who is behind the t-shirt mask, but when the cans start there is no doubt. Here are a couple from the crew who left their mark at Winzavod while on break from installing their work in the Biennale.
Berlin’s 1UP Crew was in Moscow to participate in this year’s Artmossphere Biennale. We caught up with the guys for an impromptu action on the walls of the Winzavod Art Center while the installations in the gallery were taking place.
It was good to see them in action without having to climb through holes in fences or dodge the third rail! Here they are in the company of other writers and we’re guessing this spot will become a future Hall of Fame.