This week we see a few new walls in New York mixed with images from Stavanger and Utsira, Norway that we caught a few weeks ago. Speaking of Stavanger, last night we had a Nuart reunion of sorts in New York as we saw the first solo exhibition of Norwegian Martin Whatson here at Harman Projects, and it was good to see the artist and many beautiful people from this scene that we love so much.
Here is our regular interview with the street: this week featuring 1Up Crew, Martin Whatson, Helen Bur, Carrie Reichardt, M-City, Ardif, XSM, JPO Art, the J0N, Never Satisfied, StayOne, SynSynerSynet, HOPES, SHIE, Ban Box, Dr. AW, John Fekner, and La Staa.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! This week we have a stunning array of street art pieces in Norway, from small detailed stencils to sweeping murals, figurative to conceptual to heroic. We’re in Stavanger for the Nice Surprise festival. Naturally, our own Jaime Rojo also had to strike a pose atop Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock), which takes all the stamina and courage you can affjord. We are also seeing pieces and installations from previous Nuart festivals all over the place in Stavanger, many of which we’ve published previously but have not seen in person. Of course, not all of these shots are from Nuart and one is in Flekkefjord – a storied town that looks like it is frozen in time. And by frozen, we mean, well…
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: 1UP Crew, John Fekner, HYURO, Add Fuel, EVOL, Snik, Jaune, JPS, Pøbel, Ammparito, Nuno Viegas, Vlady Art, Slava Ptrk, Toddel, Mendioh, and STRØK.
Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! This week we have some great stuff from Norway for you.
The southern tip of Norway, graced by picturesque towns like Flekkefjord, Obrestad, Bryne, Sandnes, and Stavanger, is imbued with a rich tapestry of history, culture, and breathtaking natural beauty. Nestled along the summer coastline, these towns stand as a testament to Norway’s maritime history and heritage.
As you are driving and winding through the green rolling countryside and into quaint old idyllic towns countenancing picturesque harbors, waterfronts, wooden buildings, cobblestone streets, boat parades, seafood-focused cuisine, towering cliffs, and steep mountainsides plunging dramatically into the deep, serene waters below that, produce and interplay of light and shadow and a mesmerizing tapestry of colors, you think “Where did all of these sheep come from?” At first, during our two days of driving the south Norwegian countryside, we thought we had stumbled into a unique town with those puffy white animals dotting the green hills, constantly chewing, but they would soon disappear. Little did we know.
In the US, there are 16 sheep per person in the country. In Norway, it is 463.
And they are all freaking adorable—also rams. Rams are very adorable but might knock you on your rumpa if you get too close.
Also, there was a very modest amount of street art among all the natural beauty and stunning architecture. Still, with our expert guides, we found surprising occurrences of stencils and murals and the occasional tag while traipsing through places like Flekkefjord, Sandness, and Obrestad (in a lighthouse!).
Our sincere thanks to Tor and Marie for showing us the sights and the beautiful fjords. Hey, did you hear about the musical fjord? It’s quite a harmonious inlet!
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Isaac Cordal, 1UP Crew, David De La Mano, Said Dokins, Ethos, JPS, Pøbel, Hama Woods, Smug, Jofre Oliveras, Helene Norkildsen, Nimi, RH-74 Renate, Pablo S. Herrero, Juan Fiveliner, Skrue, Anette Moi, Ugly Logo.
We wrote a story about the piece above back in February 2021. Read it HERE.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening: 1. 1UP – ONE WEEK WITH 1UP – THE SHORT FILM
2. 5 MINUTES WITH: MADC in the Maldives
3. Liberation for Black Trans Women / CANS Can’t Stant / The New Yorker
BSA Special Feature: 1UP – ONE WEEK WITH 1UP – THE SHORT FILM
Global brand 1UP continues to build their mountain of exploits and is smart enough to engage the premiere film director Selina Miles to tell the story. “I loved seeing so many people rushing into action all at once,” says veteran graffiti documentarian Martha Cooper as she relates the adrenalin rush of highly planned aerosol operations on the U-Bahn that she and Ninja K captured for this book/short film entitled “One Week With1UP”.
The risks are measured in the duration of rapid heart rates, multiplied by the long slow burn of anticipation and divided by the dull hours of strategizing, discussion, and planning. Cooper says she’s fascinated by the persistence of the graffiti practice over 50 years, and she should know because she’s shot the evolution of this youth-centered practice since she was a cub photographer for the New York Post in the 1970s. Miles captures the prevalent sensations of the cat-and-mouse adventurism running through this hormone-fueled grey cloud that floats somewhere between art, self-expression, pranksterism, and straight-up vandalism. By leaving the area grey, the viewer is pushed to draw their line about privilege, propriety, and its additive/subtractive relationship with the cityscape.
“It takes community and camaraderie, and skills and experience, and preplanning and all of that,” says Martha.
Big up to Spray Daily and Ilovegraffiti.de for sharing this.
5 MINUTES WITH: MADC in the Maldives
“Painting in these surroundings is unbelievable,” says graff writer MadC as she marvels at the natural beauty she is working in tandem with in the Maldives. “You are right there on the water, there are eagle rays right under you, fish everywhere, flying foxes coming…,” she explains. “I don’t think while I’m painting. It’s on an emotional level.”
Liberation for Black Trans Women / CANS Can’t Stant / The New Yorker
While there is greater support for trans people today, in the end its usually trans people and their closest allies who still do all the work of creating a safe, just world. In this film by Matt Nadel and Megan Plotkawe, we gain a greater understanding of the insidious nature of transphobia as we see a group of Black trans women fighting to repeal a law used to target queer locals.
In Miami’s Wynwood District for a handful of days, we weaved through the humid, hot, dirty streets. We captured the chaos of new graffiti bombing, street art murals, stickers, commercial commissions of street artists, bland abstracts on massive facades, billboards posing as street art, and even some yarn-bombing. Every retail store is selling products that have been spray-painted with non-descript cheerful, sticky, drippy, stenciled, ironic messaging.
The construction cranes that soar overhead are nearly grazed by the low-flying 737s streaming to and from the airport, reaching ever higher, foretelling of higher rents and luxury condos. Meanwhile, a guy is pissing on the sidewalk behind a dumpster.
Nighttime escapades include chock-a-block clubs with big-gunned men and ropes out front and hostesses in bras and thongs, teetering on high heels. Because competition among these clubs is thick, they are yelling to you over the gut-thumping Shakira-Bad Bunny-Meghan Thee Stallion remixes blasted out to the street, “No cover charge! 2 for 1 drinks!” and other come-ons. The lines queue for the door with IDs in hand while a police cruiser lurks on the corner, throwing blue and red lights flashing across murals and dazed passersby.
Today we have part two of our coverage of the MEMUR Festival in Oldenburg, Germany. More than 30 regional and international artists painted a 280-meter-long wall of the railway elevation on the Oldenburg federal railway path – street artists on one side, graffiti artists on the other. In addition to the aerosol action, there was a photo exhibition featuring our featured documentarians, Martha Cooper and Nika Kramer, film screenings, photography and art workshops, and an educational program in cooperation with the Oldenburg City Museum and the Oldenburg Prevention Council.
Organizers say they needed 500 liters of wall paint just to prime the walls, and probably 1000 spray cans were used during the 3-day event. The 3D style is ruling the moment, but you can see bubble style and semi-wildstyle, some neofuturism, – as well as introductions of characters and brief fictional scenarios. Most importantly, most of the pieces get ample space to breathe and to stand on their own.
The sheer number of organic and community walls in Berlin means that you are exposed to a great variety of styles and opinions and perspectives through art daily on the street. There is a sense of pride about this as well – and we’re pleased to see free speech here while privately held social platforms are growing tumors of censorship. Long live the contradictory opinions that challenge our minds and our assumptions.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: 1UP, Dave the Chimp, Lacuna, Anne Bengard, Murad Subay, Caro Pepe, Sam Crew, Dafne Tree, Little Ms. Fierce, Emily Strange, Anne Baerlin, Kiexmiezn030, Cippolini187, Artmos 4, Juliana Zamoit, Paris, Urteil, and Mate X.
It has been a somewhat delirious spring week in Berlin-town as we cope with that special blend of bliss and dysphoria that envelopes you – mixing intercontinental jet lag, blooming cherry blossoms, birds chirping, aerosol spraying, and the chaos and grief of war at the doorstep. The shadow of war was never far from conversations.
All week we have been gratified, elated, to see the spirit of creativity everywhere- murals, tags, stickers,pop-up gallery show; but friends and colleagues speak of institutional failures, inflation, and fears of war spiraling. Notably in three conversations Berliners told us they expect America to re-elect Trump and that the US will soon be convulsed into war.
But the art! The streets! The spring! The murals in the rag-tag parks here that are dotted with skater half-pipes and blooming lilac bushes, the smell of piss and marijuana and cherry blossoms – it is all here in gritty and eclectic Berlin. People help point you in the next direction, and you discover more. The new real estate developments tend toward towering glass, and some previously artist neighborhoods are decidedly gentrifying, but the balance with the creative sector is still healthy, or so we think.
Today we are back in dirty old Brooklyn, but we already miss our sister-brother Berlin and the beautiful people we spent time with.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: 1UP Crew, Nafir, CMYK Dots, Anchor, Emikly Strangre202, Andrea Villanis, Andioh, Liz Art, Tobo Berlin, Devita, and Mash.
Clandestine abandoned former factories are ideal locations for graffiti writers to practice their skills. Regardless of your intuition or expectations, you never know what you’ll find. Graffiti pieces that go up, are dissed, or simply crumble – all of it is possible. For fans with cameras, it is a revolving exhibition and no two visits will ever be the same, lending the location and air of discovery – if you know where to go.
In Ljubljana, Slovenia, for the Ljubljana Art Festival last summer, veteran graffiti photographer Martha Cooper got into a hidden spot, a so-called graffiti garage near the capital. Here she found some fresh paint and some fresh ideas on her tour, and she shares them here with BSA readers exclusively.
Read more about the Ljubjana Art Festival HERE, HERE, AND HERE.
It was sunny that particular day in Wynwood, Miami in November of last year. The air was fresh and the humidity mercifully low. The sun rays weren’t piercing one’s shoulders. It was what winter in Miami is supposed to feel like. Dreamy.
That’s how we were feeling; dreamy – when we turned the corner and saw them. A motley crew of five or six men taking on a gargantuan wall in the less noisy part of Wynwood. The congenial 1UP Crew is the Berlin-based masters of the mixed message – here to vandalize, but politely. In this case of course the wall is completely legal, but associates of this notorious crew have been credited/blamed for leaving their marks on walls, trains, water tanks, elevators – anything that strikes their fancy in multiple cities across many continents.
The wall was still in progress that day with many more aerosol cans to go. We chatted, took photos, and reported on the encounter HERE. By the time we had to return to NYC, the wall wasn’t completed yet – so we returned to the winter paradise weeks later.
We were glad we pulled ourselves away from the ocean to see this in all its glory. Judging from the description below from one of the 1UP Crew members we think that this wall has it all.
“So it is kind of a movie planet, we don’t know which planet it is,” says one of the 1UP guys, “But it is a planet of the future – and there are all these Metro’s coming up out of the sand along with pyramids and street signs and figures… It’s growing now. I think that we have three more days to paint.”
Up to 13 artists joined in to complete it including members of 1UP Crew and members of the MSG Crew as well as Vlok, Giz, and Fuzi UV TPK crew from Paris.
It’s that time of the year again! BSA has been publishing our “Hot Lists” and best-of collections for more than 11 years every December.
Our interests and understanding and network of connections continued to spread far afield this year, and you probably can tell it just by the books we featured: stickers, illustration, murals, copyright law, a cross-country spraycation, anamorphic street installation, Hip-Hop photography, graffiti writers community, and a lockdown project that kept an artists sanity.
So here is a short list from 2021 that you may enjoy as well – just in case you would like to give them as gifts to family, friends, or even to yourself.
Leon Keer: “Break Glass In Case Of Lost Childhood”
One of the challenges in creating a book about anamorphic art is presenting images that tell the viewer that they are being tricked by perspective yet hold onto the magic that this unique art conjures in people who walk by it on the street.
In a way, that brass skeleton key that allows entry into another world is precisely what Dutch pop-surrealist artist Leon Keer has been seeking for decades to evoke in viewers’ heads and hearts. Some would argue he is preeminently such; certainly, he is the wizard whose work on walls and streets has triggered memories for thousands of children and ex-children of the fantastic worlds they have visited.
“You develop your senses all your life. Through what you experience, you involve affinities and aversions,” he says in his first comprehensive bound collection of gorgeous plates entitled In Case of Lost Childhood Break Glass. “Your memories shape the way you look at the world. When it comes to reflecting my thoughts, my memories are key. I needed to feel some kind of affection or remorse towards the object or situation I want to paint.”
Street Art Today 2 by Bjorn Van Poucke: An Update on 50 “Most Relevant” Artists
A worthy companion to the original tome, Bjørn Van Poucke and Lanoo publishers extend the hitlist of favored muralists that he & Elise Luong began in Street art/ Today 1 – and the collection is updated perhaps with the perceived cultural capital many of these artists have garnered since then.
Replete with full-color plates from the artists’ own collections and garnished with brief overviews of their histories, creative background, and philosophies, the well-designed and modern layout functions as an introduction for those unfamiliar with the wide variety of artworks that are currently spread across city walls as large scale opus artworks in public space. As organizer and curator of The Crystal Ship mural festival in Oostende, Belgium, Mr. Van Poucke has had his pick of the litter and has showcased them during the late twenty-teens.
A new illustrated tome capturing the black and white work of one-half of Ukraine’s mural painting duo Interesni Kazki welcomes you into the past wonders and future imaginings of a world framed in “Phantasmagoria.”
Full of monochromatic fantasies at least partially inspired by the worlds unleashed by Belgian inventor and physicist Étienne-Gaspard “Robertson” Robert, Waone’s own interior expanding fantascope of miss-appended demons, dragon slayers, riddle-speaking botanicals, and mythological heroes may borrow as deeply from his father’s Soviet natural science magazines that brimmed with hand-painted illustrations – which served as his education and entertainment as a child.
This book, the first of two volumes of graphic works, explores Waone’s move from the street into the studio, from full color into black and white, from aerosol and brush to etching, lithography, augmented reality, and sculpting.
“Closed (In) for Inventory”: FKDL Makes the Most of His Confinement, 10 Items at a Time
The world is slowly making movements toward the door as if to go outside and begin living again in a manner to which we had been accustomed before COVID made many of us become shut-ins. Parisian street artist FKDL was no exception, afraid for his health. However, he does have a very attractively feathered nest, so he made the best of his time creating.
“March 17, 2020, the unprecedented experience of confinement begins in France,” writes Camille Berthelot in the introduction to Closed (in) for Inventory, “Time that usually goes so fast turns into a space of freedom, and everyone has the leisure or the obligation to devote himself to the unexpected.”
FKDL quickly began a project daily, sorting and assembling 10 items and photographing them. He posted them to his Instagram by mid-day. Eventually, he saved the photographed compositions together and created this book.
“My duty of tidying up and sorting out turned into a daily challenge. I dove like a child into the big toybox my apartment is to select and share my strange objects, my banalities, my memories, my creations, and those of others,” he writes. “I gather these treasures, valuables or not, in search of harmony of subject, forms, materials, and nuances.”
The street sticker, be it ever so humble and diminutive, is profligate and sometimes even inspiring. An amalgamated scene that is anonymous, yet curiously stuck together, the organizers and sponsors of so-called sticker jams have been overwhelmed in recent years by thousands of participants.
Artist and organizer IWILLNOT has compiled, organized, archived, and preserved this collection as a ‘field guide,’ he says, and another artist named Cheer Up has laid out page after page. It is a global cross-sample from 60 countries and a thousand artists – a treasure trove of the witty, insightful, snotty, and sometimes antisocial street bards of the moment, seizing their moment to speak and mark territory.
A year after its close, we open the book on American street artist MOMO’s new book chronicling the exhibition “Parting Line.” Writing about and covering his work for 15 years or so, we’re always pleased to see where his path has led – never surprised but always pleased with his evolution of decoding the lines, textures, practices, serendipity of discoveries unearthed by this wandering interrogator.
Here, along the river Seine banks, we see his exhibition for the still young Hangar 107, the recently inaugurated Center For Contemporary Art in Rouen, France. While we think of his work in New York in the 2000s, we see the steady progression here – his cloud washes, raking patterns, his experimental, experiential zeal. This is the spirit of DIY that we first fell in love with, the lust for uncovering and the desire for making marks unlike others across the cityscape, quizzically folding and unfolding, pulling the string, drawing the line.
“Born In The Bronx” Expanded: Joe Conzo’s Intuitive Eye on Early Hip Hop
Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop
Yes, Yes, Y’all, it’s been a decade since this volume, “Born in the Bronx,” was released. The images here by photographer Joe Conzo seem even more deeply soaked in the amber light of early Hip Hop culture from the late 1970s and early 80s, now taking on a deepened sense of the historical.
As the city and the original players of this story have evolved through the decades that followed the nascent Hip Hop era, it’s clearer than ever that this was nothing less than a full-force eruption, a revelation that cracked and shook and rocket-fueled an entire culture. Thanks to Conzo it was captured and preserved, not likely to be repeated.
Born in the Bronx is full of gems, insider observations, interviews, and personal hand-drawn artworks. One critical cornerstone is a timeline from Jeff Chang that begins in 1963 as the boastful but failed Urban Planner Robert Moses constructed the Cross Bronx Expressway – painfully destroying and displacing people and families, severing culturally significant, vibrant areas of the borough and producing a dangerous malaise.
Enrico is a Member of the Editorial Board of the NUART Journal, which publishes provocative and critical writings on a range of topics relating to street art practice and urban art cultures.
His academic research has been covered by CNN, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, BBC, Washington Post, The New York Times, Financial Times. Reuters, The Guardian, The Times, Independent, and The Conversation, amongst other media outlets.
A “Gentle People” Aussie Tour: Paint, Fun, and Run with 1UP & Olf
It’s almost sublimely subversive to publish your illegal graffiti escapades in a handsomely bound photo book with creamy paper stock and gauzy, professional photos. Positioned as a travelogue across the great Australian continent (complete with a hand-drawn map), the international troupe of sprayers named 1UP from Germany provides a genteel accounting of their expansive itinerary in a diary here for you, dear reader.
The stories are not without surprise and carefully touch on all the necessary road trip tropes you may wish for but cannot be assured of in a cross-country graffiti tale of skylarking and aesthetic destruction: angry rural police, security cameras, sleeping in rolled-up carpets, fancy receptions with Aperol Spritz, climbing over fences, sudden fire extinguisher tags, exploding paint cans, smoky wildfires, beaches, wallabies, long never-ending-stretches of road, the Sydney Harbor, an emergency-brake whole-car in Melbourne, and yes, a large kangaroo smashing into your car on a darkened country path.
“Nation Of Graffiti Artists” Opens Another Chapter of NYC Writer History
SCORPIO, BLOOD TEA, ALI, STAN 153, SAL 161, CLIFF 159. It was the mid to late 70s in New York and train writing was in its foundational stages, later to be referred to as legendary. For a modest crew of teenagers, it was the hypest stage you could be on, and going all city constructed many dreams of fame and recognition on the street.
Jack Pelsinger wanted to help shepherd these talents and energies into something they could develop into a future, maybe a profession. With a lease on a storefront from the city for a dollar in 1974, he made way for the Nation of Graffiti Artists (NOGA). An artists workshop and haven for a creative community that was regularly sidelined or overlooked, the author of this new volume, Chris Pape (acclaimed OG Freedom), says “Like moths drawn to a light, the kids showed up, hundreds of them.”
With extraordinary photos shot by Michael Lawrence, the book serves as a true document for the New York of that moment and opens doors to a chapter of graffiti history you may not even have known of until now.