All posts tagged: Add Fuel

BSA Images Of The Week: 03.03.19 – Madrid Special

BSA Images Of The Week: 03.03.19 – Madrid Special

What a blast it has been this week in Madrid – on the street and on the stage with curators, artist, urban planners, professors, researchers, disrupters, and dreamers. We’re happy we managed to hit a number of the new murals as well as the one-off smaller pieces in the unsanctioned margins of the city. Our thanks to Madrid for its hospitality.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring 1Up Crew, Add Fuel, Alice Pasquini, Ben Eine, Clet, Dan Witz, Dingo, Kill It, La Tabacalera, LaNe Leal, Lelo021, Nano4841, Okuda, Ruben Sanchez, and Wolf.

Ben Eine (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bordalo II. Detail. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Okuda. Detail. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Okuda and Bordsalo II collaboration in Lavapies. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Okuda at La Tabacalera. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Witz (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Witz (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Clet (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Clet (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Alice Pasquini at La Tabacalera. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dingo (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Kill It (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ruben Sanchez at La Tabacalera. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Wolf (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lelo021 at La Tabacalera. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
LaNe Leal (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nano4814 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
Add Fuel at La Tabacalera. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP (Photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 01.20.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.20.19

Brexit deadlock is like a thorn in the side of the UK people this week, Trump is shutting down the US government partially here for almost a month (to celebrate 2 years in the White House?), the ‘Yellow Vests’ are striking through France for the 10th weekend, its going to get very cold tonight in New York, and your cousin Marlene is back from the local Women’s March with fire in her eyes and hope in her heart. As usual, the streets are alive with Street Art and graffiti, and we’re bringing it to you.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring 2501, Add Fuel, BirdCap, BustArt, C3, City Kitty, Cranio, Duster, Edu Danesi, Fafi, Frances Forever, Jaeryaime, Kram, LMNOPI, Mark Jenkins, Neon Savage, Os Boys, Pez, Rx Skulls, Sickid, Tatiana Fazlalizadeh, UFO 907, and Zaira Noir .

Jaeryaime in Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
UFO 907 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A Mark Jenkins installation in Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A Mark Jenkins installation in Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Duster (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Never 2501 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Never 2501 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Never 2501 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Edu Danesi. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Os Boys (photo © Jaime Rojo)
LMNOPI x City Kitty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Neon Savage x City Kitty x C3 x Rx Skulls (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Fafi (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bird Cap. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Add Fuel. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pez x BustArt x Kram x Zaira Noir. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cranio. Wynwood, Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hand painted sign at the NYCLT for #expandtheloftlaw in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sickid with Frances Forever on the right and Tatiana Fazlalizadeh on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Wynwood, Miami. December 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Top 15 Videos On BSA Film Friday From 2018

It’s BSA Film Friday! Now we present the best of the year, according to you. We bring you new videos each week – about 240 of them this year. The beauty of the experience is that it can feel quite random and exhilarating – rather like the serendipity of finding new Street Art.

You helped us decide who made it to the top 15 – and we feel proud to see some of these because we liked them too. When we take videos on the road to different cities and countries doing our BSA Film Friday LIVE we also like to share these in classrooms or theaters or lecture halls with locals, students, city leaders. Nothing can beat seeing faces light up, a person thrilled to finally get the sense of something, better understanding the scene, helping people with a new way to look at art in the streets.

The best part is many of these videos encourage you to create, to co-create, to actively participate in public space with meaning and intention. As a collection, these 15 are illuminating, elevating, riveting, strange, soaring, secretly otherworldly, and achingly beautifully human.

Special congratulations go out to artists/directors Kristina Borhes & Nazar Tymoshchuk who landed on the list two times this year, including the number 1 position. Their work is about the intersection of art and theory and life, how to create it, to see it, and how to re-see your world.

We hope you can take some time to enjoy some of the best Street Art videos from around the world and on BSA this year.


No. 15

Fatheat and TransOne/”The US Tapes”

From BSA Film Friday 06.01.18

“Listen, my only request…. When you’re done doing your thing, do an Italian flag with my daughter’s name on it,” says a guy who is shouting up from the street to the roof where two Hungarian graff writers are preparing to hit a wall with a giant rat in Jersey. That rat looks fantastic as it basks in the blinking glow of the marquee for Vinny Italian Gourmet on the streets in the Newark night below.

That scene alone can stand as their American iconic moment for the US Tapes, but Fatheat and TransOne documented a number of golden moments on their trip this winter to New York, Wynwood, LA, and Las Vegas. Travel with them as they try to square the television mythology of modern America with the one they are encountering in all its ridiculous free-wheeling self satisfied unreflective emotional consumerist funkified freedom*.  Standby for sonic blasts from the cultural pulp soundbook and prepare for a celebrity visit.

Slyly they observe and sample and taste and catalogue the insights by traversing the main stage and the margins, smartly not taking it too seriously, finding plenty of places for wide-eyed wonder and wiseguy sarcasm. Steeped in graffiti history with mad skillz themselves, this is all an adventure. Generous of heart, they also share it with you.

Ready for your Friday road trip?

No. 14

Nadia Vadori-Gauthier/”One Minute Of Dance”

From BSA Film Friday 10.26.18

“And lost be the day to us in which a measure hath not been danced.” ~ from Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra


Every day since the shootings of artists and journalists at the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 14, 2015, dancer Nadia Vadori-Gauthier has made sure to dance for a minute or more. It sounds like a good idea.

“Without editing or effects, in the place and state of mind I find myself that day, with no special technique, staging, clothing, or makeup, nothing but what is there,” she says on her website.

“I dance inside or outside, in public or private places, alone or with others, strangers or people I know, sometimes friends.

I dance as protesters demonstrate, to effect a living poetry, to act through sensitivity against the violence of certain aspects of the world.

This is the solution I found: an action to my own measure, a concrete, repeated action that may redraw lines, disrupt the design, shake up the norms.”

Here she is in Paris on Esperance Street in front of a mural by Street Artist Seth.

No. 13

1UP Crew – Selina Miles /”Graffiti Olympics”

From BSA Film Friday 03.02.18

All the subversive drama of a terrorist cell, all the color of Mardi Gras, all the pomp and ceremony of an Olympic triathlon. Wielding the long-handled roller like a javelin in the hands of Järvinen, weight lifting multiple backpacks full of paint cans, climbing and jumping walls with speed and dexterity, the 1UP team goes for the gold.

Debuting today on BSA is the flaming new 1UP crew video directed by the ingenious Selina. Slicing the streets with the drone camera like a hot knife through butter, she follows the unruly yet highly organized vandals from overhead in a manner more melodic than menacing as Miles lines up one shot after another in this instantly classic continuous thread of aerosol mayhem.

Passing the aerosol can like a baton, this relay race puts 1UP over the finish line while many rivals would have just blasted out of the blocks. But will those Olympian circles turn into golden handcuffs before the closing ceremony?

No. 12

Banksy /”Banksy in Paris”

From BSA Film Friday 06.29.18

A quick overview to catch you up on the 7 most recent pieces attributed to Banksy in Paris. He’s said to be creating work more attuned to the plight of migration, but others have observed it is a return to the classic Banksy sarcastic sweetness that has characterized the clever sudden missives he has delivered since he began. See Butterfly Art News’ coverage here: Paris: Banksy for World Refugee Day

No. 11

Street Atelier /”Rocco And His Brothers”

From BSA Film Friday 04.13.18

It’s an Italian movie directed by Luchino Visconti in 1960, yes. It is also the name of a crew of Berlin graffiti/installation artists whose satirical interventions play on issues propriety and property – and on social experiments that dupe the media, the public, and banks.

Did they really set up an apartment inside the subway? Is that really the tracks and wall of a metro inside a gallery? Is that Wagner playing in the mobile war arcade set up in the Christmas market? Are those hand grenades being lobbed by children? Is the bank facade blinking red every 20 seconds?

Rocco und seine Brüder (Rocco and His Brothers) have you engaged. Now you have to answer the questions.

Shout out to Red Tower Films for the great storytelling.

No. 10

Colectivo Liquado /”Pandereteras” at Parees Art Festival.

From BSA Film Friday 11.23.18

The Uruguayan Street Artists/muralist Florencia Durán and Camilo Nuñez are “Colectivo Licuado” and here in the middle of Oviedo in Northern Spain to create a new mural for the Parees fest this September. As is their practice they study the culture that they are visiting and create an allegory that is familiar to the community, if still rather mystical.

In this case they visit Colectivo Licuado & Nun Tamos Toes for a visit of great cultural exchange – sharing sketches, songs, and learning the history of women’s roles in traditional Asturian culture. The resulting mural project is collaborative in nature and powerful in person.

No. 9

YZ YSeult Digan /”Street Vendors”

From BSA Film Friday 05.25.18

“I pay attention to the intensity of the gaze and the posture, so the passerby is challenged and seeks to question the project.”

A sociological experiment and intervention on the streets by the French Street Artist YZ takes place in Abidjan and camera work in the crowds allows you to appreciate the action on the street. A city of 4.7 million people and the economic capital of Côte d’Ivoire, the city has a lively culture of street vending that is unregulated and often populated by children.

YZ speaks with the folks she meets who are vending, who she refers to as “girls” although many are women. Her goal is to better understand them, she says, and to create a Street Art campaign of their portraits.

“I realized that their situation was very different from the men. So I wanted to know more about them. So I started the project ‘Street Vendors’,” she says.

No. 8

Bane & Paste /”Recover – Street Art in Chernobyl”

From BSA Film Friday 02.02.18

Chernobyl is a nuclear disaster that figures profoundly into the modern age – and for centuries into the future.

Today not so many people talk about this man-made horror that killed a Russian town and chased out its survivors in 1986 just 90 kilometers northeast of Kiev. Called the most disastrous nuclear accident in history, it evacuated 115,000 and spread a radioactive cloud around the Earth, with European neighbors like Scandinavia, Switzerland, Greece, Italy, France and the UK detecting the effects of radiation for years afterward. Three scientists at The New York Academy of Sciences have estimated that over time the number of people killed by effects from the meltdown was almost a million.

Because of the nature of radiation, Chernobyl has been estimated to not be safely habitable for about 20,000 years.

No. 7

Gonzalo Borondo /”Matiére Noire”

From BSA Film Friday 07.06.18

A short documentary today taking us through last autumns On October 7th in Marseille, France in collaboration with Galerie Saint Laurent and Spanish artist Gonzalo Borondo as they presented Matière Noire. A massive collection of individual installations that took over the top floor of an exhibition space normally used for shops, Borondo’s influence in the selections is throughout, a story told in three acts on Projection, Perception and Interpretation.

No. 6

Shepard Fairey/Johny Cash

From BSA Film Friday 09.14.18

“When I was just a baby, my Mama told me, ‘Son, always be a good boy, don’t ever play with guns.’ But I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die.” Johnny Cash sings with some bravado in Folsom Prison Blues on an album released 50 years ago this year. Street Artist Shepard Fairey honors the album and here in Sacramento, California to raise consciousness about the outrageously high rate of incarceration here. “The United States has 5% of the world’s population but 25% of it’s prisoners,” he says, making you question the system in the Land of the Free.

No. 5

MZM Projects – Kristina Borhes & Nazar Tymoshchuk/”Wasteland Wanderers”

From BSA Film Friday 10.05.18

This week we feature a couple of new film pieces from the Ukraine based duo of Kristina Borhes and Nazar Tymoschuk which fairly present an insightful treatise on a particular flavor of Post-Graffiti. Think of it as a two volume textbook and your professors will guide you through the darkness into the light.

A Dilogy.

“The place tells you what to do,” is a poetic and truthful phrase uttered in “Night” on the relationship a vandal has to an abandoned factory, school, home, medical facility; it is spacial and alchemical.

It is also personal, says the female narrator. “The presence of their absence,” is something that every Wasteland Wanderer will be familiar with, the knowledge and feeling that others have been there before you. The work is undeniably affected, even created in response.

“Echoes, whispers, shadows, lines.”

No. 4

FWTV/”On The Road With Add Fuel”

From BSA Film Friday 03.16.18

“I’ve started a new series called ‘On the Road’ which looks at life behind the scenes in street art culture,” Doug Gillen tells us about this debut episode. Look forward to Doug’s unique perspective on Street Art festivals, art fairs, and studio visits as he expands to the world of urban contemporary.

Not typically who you think of as a Street Artist, here we see Add Fuel and Doug talk about his first book and you see examples of work from this tile maker who infuses traditional Portuguese techniques and pattern making with pop-modern cultural references and cartoon archetypes.

No. 3

Chip Thomas

From BSA Film Friday 04.06.18

He has a hat, sunglasses, and he has been creating huge black and white photo installations of people wheat-pasted to the sides of buildings for how long? Surprising to us that Jetsonorama is not more of a household name in Street Art circles – his work is solidly tied to biography and human rights, uses his own photography, and routinely elevates humanity – and has been doing it for some time now.

Why isn’t he in huge museum exhibitions?

Today we have a new video giving you a good look at the work and the artist along with the genuine connection and presence that he has with community, taking the time to share their stories.

No. 2

Vegan Flava/”While They Seek Solutions”

From BSA Film Friday 01.19.18

“The speed of ruin is just something else,” says Street Artist Vegan Flava, and it’s an exasperating realization. Extrapolated to thinking about the enormous war industry, and there is such a thing, you realize that pouring money year after year into ever more sophisticated and destructive weaponry only results in broken bridges, buildings, water systems, vital infrastructure, lives.

Construction, on the other hand, can be arduous and time consuming, takes vision, planning, collaboration, and fortitude. Like great societies.

How quickly they can be eroded, destroyed.

But since Vegan Flava is creating during this destructive enterprise, you get a glimpse into his creativity, and sense of humor. Similarly the psychographics of this story and how it is told reveal insights into the artist and larger themes.

“A drawing, an idea on a piece of paper, can swiftly grow into something larger, thoughts and actions leading to the next. But creating something is never as fast as to tear it to pieces. The speed of ruin is just something else,” he says.

No. 1

MZM Projects – Kristina Borhes & Nazar Tymoshchuk /”Aesthetic of Eas”

From BSA Film Friday 01.12.18

“We wanted everything to occur naturally in this movie. We wanted to achieve spontaneity,” say film makers Kristina Borhes and Nazar Tymoshchuk about their up close look at graffiti writer/abstract painter EAS. In this new film they have captured the creative spirit in action as unobtrusively as they could, allowing the artist to speak – in a way he never does, they say.

Today on BSA Film Friday we’re proud to debut this new portrait by three artists – one painter and two film makers – to encourage BSA readers to take a moment and observe, inside and outside.

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Lisbon Part II: Where Street Art is Becoming “Urban Contemporary”

Lisbon Part II: Where Street Art is Becoming “Urban Contemporary”

Street Art, graffiti, and murals are adding to the cultural character of Lisbon streets, this is undisputed. A quick tour of a museum show, a gallery exhibition, a hybrid art supply store/residency, and an artist’s studio give you an idea of the spirited and inventive contributors who are affecting the cityscape from behind closed doors as well.  Just ask artists and organizers here in the Portuguese capital a few questions and you’ll hear (and see) how the Street Art and graffiti scene graffiti scenes are also evolving to fine art and “urban contemporary”.

An Escher Show Reminds Us of His Influential Eye


Our look inside Lisbon begins with a visit to the M.C. Escher exhibition at the Museu de Arte Popular, which lays on a tract of land between Avenida de Brasília and the lapping waves of the waterfront. For some reason you always start or end near the water here, perhaps because this is where the city’s complex history brings you with nearly three centuries of international trade, culture and maritime lore forms the the foundation of this rich culture.

What brings us here today is the eclectic Dutch graphic artists work that is in our minds directly related to Street Art for a couple of reasons. A serendipitous intersection of visiting while the traveling exhibition stopped here, we had no idea that Escher’s original drawings of architecture and impossible spaces would be so handily on display for us to visually interrogate – and the artists’ wit and guile locked us into his gaze for an afternoon.

M.C. Escher. Museu De Arte Popular. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Known perhaps best for his works popularized during the surrealist and op art youth culture of 1960s and 70s, his mathematically-inspired illusions on famous rock album covers, posters, and advertisements are often reflected in the works of Street Artists today who also play with photorealism, hyperrealism, and flights of rhythmic visual fancy.

M.C. Escher. Museu De Arte Popular. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Secondly, as we had previously learned from architect Dennis Leo Hegic in Berlin, who was deeply involved in the design of the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) interiors, Escher’s famous drawings had inspired the museums walkway that wends its way overhead throughout the space. We were eager to examine many of the drawings which effectively play on bending perspective.

At any given point along the path of that walkway you are granted views near and far but you are unsure exactly how, and as you tour the artworks on walls you feel yourself inperceptibly rising and lowering your own angle. It may give the impression that you are in some way inside an Escher riddle yourself.

M.C. Escher. Museu De Arte Popular. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As museum curators at the UN, we were interested to see the original works of visual play that inspired the Graft Architects team to create the stunning interior of the haus in Berlin. We also better understood why Hegic refers to Graft as “the Rock´n´Rollers within the German architecture.”

M.C. Escher. Museu De Arte Popular. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The darkened corridors of the exhibit itself seemed to play tricks on our bearings as we looked upon Eschers “subjects and patterns of mathematical precision, impossible objects, explorations of infinity, reflection, symmetry and perspective.”

Into the Gallery with Underdogs


Gallery Manager Raul Carvahlo leads us through the Mário Belém exhibition on display in the former industrial low-rise building that houses the Underdogs Gallery down by the river in an area of the city many remember for old factories and which is now becoming better known for its vast warehouses accommodating the city’s startup and coworking scene.

Mário Belém. Detail. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“He always has this surreal quality,” says Raul about the 50 or so paintings, reliefs, lazer wood-cut sculptures, and suspended mobile installations by Belém that surround three sides of the pitched ceilinged space. “He uses his work to express his fantasy world and he is quite gifted with a number of techniques.”

Owned and guided by one of Lisbon’s best known Street Artist’s Vhils (Alexandre Farto), Carvahlo says that the 400 sm space is meant to act as a platform that provides support and encouragement to local and younger artists as well as the bigger names.

Mário Belém. Detail. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As an internationally recognized portraitist known for an unusual technique of blasting away the façade of a building to reveal the personality hidden within it, Vhils and the gallery also partner with and feature the occasional international Street Artist sensation like last year’s Shepard Fairey show, where the two collaborated on a street wall. This spring a full-scale exhibition blow-out by Downtown New York 1990s Street Art icon WK Interact is happening in the gallery with a large scale work also on the street.

Since the Underdogs space opened in 2013 and the initiative began in 2010, Vhils and company have invited a powerhouse parade of former or current Street Artists like Nunca, Sainer, Finok, Okuda San Miguel, How Nosm, Pixel Pancho, Remed, Cyrcle, Anthony Lister, and Felipe Pantone to mount shows and murals here – effectively putting the city on the map for high-quality international urban contemporary art.

Mário Belém. Detail. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Notably Underdogs has also provided their platform to more conceptual artists in the Street Art/public art scene like Pedro Matos, Wasted Rita and ±MaisMenos±, perhaps indicating a healthy respect for cerebral engagement and interventions that are not primarily aesthetic.

Among the local talents, the gallery also gives support to artists like André da Loba the illustrator and sculptor known for his 2-D emblematic works in publications like the New York Times and Washington Post as well as the illustrator AkaCarleone, a 33 year-old Portuguese former graffiti writer now commercial illustration/graphic artist who has worked commercially with a number of international brands. He has also created a municipal wall mural in the city and elsewhere.

Mário Belém. Detail. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We’ve been working with him for quite a few years now and in 2018 we will be doing a big show with him,” says Raul of the poppy bright politics-free collages of typography, characters, and geometric forms. Later when touring with Carvalho through Lisbon streets we see on a rising hillside in the more historic part of town a large mural by AKACarleone overlooking the valley below, visible from many vantage points.

Mário Belém. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Propaganda Posters, Art Supplies, and Street Art Tours


As a more accessible and commercial extension to the brand The Underdogs Gallery works collaboratively with their storefront space on Rua da Cintura in Porto de Lisboa only a 15 minute drive along the waterfront from here.

20th Century Propaganda Posters culled from the personal collection of Alexandre Farto AKA VHILS exhibited at the Underdogs Store. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Shaped like a red brick channel that opens on one end into the Tagus River estuary that flows past into the Atlantic, the Underdogs store is part art supplies, print store, exhibition space, café, and mural tour company. In addition it just happens to have two small artist residencies above looking over (and on display for) art fans and tourists who make the small spot into a bustling and vibrant hub.

20th Century Propaganda Posters culled from the personal collection of Alexandre Farto AKA VHILS exhibited at the Underdogs Store. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Raul tells us it is a family affair for Farto, with a father in business who acts as integral advisor and guide as Vhils continues to expand an international presence and nutures the business on many aspects of Street Art-graffiti-contemporary art here.

A member of an early 2000s loosely formed artist collective called Visual Street Performance that held annual exhibitions, a co-organizer of the seminal Crono Project in 2010/11 with Pedro Soares Neves and Angelo Milano, and more recently co-curator of the MURO Urban Art Festival, his is a formidable creative force that influences the flow of this multi-player and quickly professionalizing scene.

Prints for sale at the Underdogs Store. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Beginning as a graffiti vandal writing his name in Seixal on the outskirts of Lisbon, Vhils now works with the government on occasion to facilitate public art projects and uses his own high profile art practice to spread socio-political goodwill internationally while proudly promoting his own heritage and city.

Underdogs Store on the foreground with the Montana store on the background sharing the same space. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Underdogs Store. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In Studio with Add Fuel


Another local talent that Underdogs works with is Diogo Machado, otherwise known as Add Fuel. A trained graphic designer and illustrator well versed in the language of skating and his own youth as a graffiti writer, he’s become known internationally for his characters and his large-scale stencil-painted murals that incorporate the classic and traditional visual patterning of Portuguese tile work, or Azulejo.

On an overcast day his buddy and slightly younger peer, the sculptural Street Artist who works with recycled trash, Bordallo II, offers to take us to Cascais, a coastal town 30 kilometers west of Lisbon, where Add Fuel lives and has his studio.

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The brightly lit and spotless split level studio has a public viewing room in the front and his office/studio in the back, where a firing kiln that Bordallo II likes to experiment with sits in the corner. The two of them assemble a number of materials together and load them into the kiln while we gaze at the primarily blue and white artworks of symmetrical repetitions interspersed with Pop and cartoon elements that he is better known for in galleries.

While we visit the two of them break off into rapid-fire Portuguese conversations about some collaborative projects they are working on – and we learn that Add Fuel often gives his rejected tiles and discards to the recycling Bordallo II. “For me there are no mistakes,” says Bordallo II, “I love mistakes.”

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Add Fuel shows us screen prints, giclee high definition prints, lithographs, and multi-tile mounted works that he has for sale or is shipping to galleries and art fairs throughout Europe and the US. He even has created textiles – covering a chair using a technique called sublimation on fabric to reproduce the patterning of his tile creations.

“I think I have a lot of inspiration from cartoons and from 80s skate culture,” he says. “I also like Jim Phillips’ work. He made so many great skate graphics at that time. I sort of mix and match and create my own cartoon style. There are always some elements that people will recognize like some Disney character’s hands or some old cartoon characters’ eye but they are all sort of mixed together.”

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Working with the DNA strands of Portuguese design that go back centuries may scare some artists, but Add Fuel considers it an inheritance that he respects and has the latitude to mess with to make it accessible to modern audiences.

“I also use similar elements of the original tiles,” he says showing you the tiles that Lisbon buildings are skinned in. “Like this geometric one is a very traditional Portuguese or Mediterranean pattern and I just added some small details, why not?”

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II interjects, “You just f**ked it up.” The chide is answered rapidly.

“Yeah I just steal stuff, you know?,” Add Fuel retorts playfully. “Its not all from my imagination, I just stole it.”

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Then he turns to another tile work. “This one here is actually a two model pattern – is based on 13th century Portuguese leather work- small details that were in leather belts. But once tile making began the tile makers often took patterns from leather making and iron making as well. So many of the ornamental aspects that you see in tiles come from other artisans as well. I also grabbed them and then made them into something new.”

This moment is ripe for art in the streets for Lisbon, and based on the conversations we had and the artists and curators we met in galleries, museums, and studios, the collaborative action inside the door is as lively as the stuff out in public.

 


With most gratitude to Raul Carvalho, General Manager of Underdogs Gallery and to Pedro Soares Neves for taking the time to talk to us, for sharing their knowledge and insights with us and for showing us around Lisbon. Sincere thanks as well to Diogo Machado AKA Add Fuel for letting us visit his studio and for Bordallo II for taking us there.

 

 

This is the second of two articles with BSA in Lisbon in collaboration with UN Berlin, it was originally published on the Urban Nation website, and the project is funded in part with the support of Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) in Berlin.

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Add Fuel Reimagines Azulejo in His First Monograph

Add Fuel Reimagines Azulejo in His First Monograph

Street Artist Add Fuel is exporting azulejo to the rest of the world. Slightly differently than they did in previous centuries.

Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018.

Via his own pop-culture interpretation of the interlocking curvilinear, geometric and graphic motifs, the Portuguese artist is firing new pieces daily in the kiln of his studio in Cascais. For a decade or so his interpretations of the tin-glazed ceramic tilework have been appearing on inordinate secondary city skins in the paths of pedestrians: visual illusions meant to appear as layers of urban bark peeling back from surfaces you take for granted to reveal heritage, history, artisanship.

While the interiors and exteriors of churches, palaces, schools and subway stations are covered with azulejos in Lisbon, thanks to Add Fuel (Diogo Machado) they have travelled to other cities and cultures as well. Each time he is attracted to the tilemaking traditions locally, and he often incorporates his study of these new histories as well.

Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018.

What makes his work contemporary is the reworking of elements to include zombies, snakes, Gameboys, and selfie sticks in his patterns. A graphic designer and illustrator, he imagines his complex tile ornamentation as a patterned fill for masking or knocking out type. Entire walls become quilted blocks and remnants stitched together. Taking inspiration from Jacques Villeglé and his torn poster collages (or even Faile’s more recent reworking of the method for ripped away pop revelation) Add Fuel uses the device of showing the past, the foundation for the culture, helping us to imagine a life before ours.

Add Fuels first monograph is tile-shaped and precisely rendered, a survey of the patterned and pixilated, pleasant and pernicious imagined motifs he has placed upon tiles, screenprints, embroidery and façades. Using historical, artists and artisanal work as inspiration, with his archive of ideas and executions he has created himself as one for others.

Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018.

Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018.

Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018.

Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018.

Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018.

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BSA Film Friday: 03.16.18

BSA Film Friday: 03.16.18

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1.”On the Road” With Street Artist Add Fuel
2. Wandelism in Berlin
3. Flamingo Cave with Rymd
4. SNIK / Amsterdam Street Art Museum

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: “On the Road” With Street Artist Add Fuel

“I’ve started a new series called ‘On the Road’ which looks at life behind the scenes in street art culture,” Doug Gillen tells us about this debut episode. Look forward to Doug’s unique perspective on Street Art festivals, art fairs, and studio visits as he expands to the world of urban contemporary.

Not typically who you think of as a Street Artist, here we see Add Fuel and Doug talk about his first book and you see examples of work from this tile maker who infuses traditional Portuguese techniques and pattern making with pop-modern cultural references and cartoon archetypes.

Wandelism in Berlin

On the street change is constant and in this scene when you stand still you get blown by. The ingeniously constructive and cooperative Street Art and graffiti community again gather to blow your mind with a new show in a newly abandoned building, opening tomorrow for hundreds of guests. We’ve seen many of the installations already, and no one is doing it like the Berlinians!

Flamingo Cave with Rymd

The briefest video contest is still afoot, with this one clocking in at little over a minute. Soon videos will be one second long, or, a picture. This missive from Stockholm graffiti writer Rymd has a nice tight bass clicking beat under it from Robin Carlheim that emphasizes without overwhelming the can action here in Flamingo Cave.

SNIK / Amsterdam Street Art Museum

The SNIK duo go to Amsterdam to create a canvas for the nascent Street Art museum that is coming! A really well executed stencil that has the flowetry you hope for when spraying out the layers.

 

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BSA “Images Of The Year” for 2017 (VIDEO)

BSA “Images Of The Year” for 2017 (VIDEO)

Of the thousands of images he took this year in places like New York, Berlin, Scotland, Hong Kong, Sweden, French Polynesia, Barcelona, and Mexico City, photographer Jaime Rojo found that Street Art and graffiti are more alive than every before. From aerosol to brush to wheat-paste to sculpture and installations, the individual acts of art on the street can be uniquely powerful – even if you don’t personally know where or who it is coming from. As you look at the faces and expressions it is significant to see a sense of unrest, anger, fear. We also see hope and determination.

Every Sunday on BrooklynStreetArt.com, we present “Images Of The Week”, our weekly interview with the street. Primarily New York based, BSA interviewed, shot, and displayed images from Street Artists from more than 100 cities over the last year, making the site a truly global resource for artists, fans, collectors, gallerists, museums, curators, academics, and others in the creative ecosystem. We are proud of the help we have given and thankful to the community for what you give back to us and we hope you enjoy this collection – some of the best from 2017.

Brooklyn Street Art 2017 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;

Artists included in the video are: Suitswon, Curiot, Okuda, Astro, Sixe Paredes, Felipe Pantone, Hot Tea, Add Fuel, Hosh, Miss Van, Paola Delfin, Pantonio, Base23, R1, Jaune, Revok, Nick Walker, 1UP Crew, SotenOne, Phat1, Rime MSK, Martin Whatson, Alanis, Smells, UFO907, Kai, Tuts, Rambo, Martha Cooper, Lee Quinoes, Buster, Adam Fujita, Dirty Bandits, American Puppet, Disordered, Watchavato, Shepard Fairey, David Kramer, Yoko Ono, Dave The Chimp, Icy & Sot, Damien Mitchell, Molly Crabapple, Jerkface, Isaac Cordal, SacSix, Raf Urban, ATM Street Art, Stray Ones, Sony Sundancer, ROA, Telmo & Miel, Alexis Diaz, Space Invader, Nasca, BK Foxx, BordaloII, The Yok & Sheryo, Arty & Chikle, Daniel Buchsbaum, RIS Crew, Pichi & Avo, Lonac, Size Two, Cleon Peterson, Miquel Wert, Pyramid Oracle, Axe Colours, Swoon, Outings Project, Various & Gould, Alina Kiliwa, Tatiana Fazalalizadeh, Herakut, Jamal Shabaz, Seth, Vhils, KWets1, FinDac, Vinz Feel Free, Milamores & El Flaco, Alice Pasquini, Os Gemeos, Pixel Pancho, Kano Kid, Gutti Barrios, 3 x 3 x 3, Anonymouse, NeSpoon, Trashbird, M-city, ZoerOne, James Bullowgh, and 2501.

 

Cover image of Suits Won piece with Manhattan in the background, photo by Jaime Rojo.

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BSA’s 15 Most Popular Murals Of 2017 – A “Social” Survey

BSA’s 15 Most Popular Murals Of 2017 – A “Social” Survey

How do you measure the success of a street piece? Foot traffic? How long it runs before being dissed?

The Internet revolutionized our lives and our definition of community and along with that we extend the experience of art on the street to the conversations and sharing that takes place in the digital “social” realm. BSA lives in both spheres daily, capturing stuff on the street and then telling its story to a global audience online. The truth is, we never really know what people will like.

Actually we do know some things will always be a hit as time moves forward – pop culture references. Banksy and Shepard and D*Face and their generation could always count on Sid Vicious, Marilyn, Mickey, Her Majesty QE2 and the ironic turn of pop parlance to drive a humorous, campy, sarcastic point home. Today we can count on 90s rapper Biggie Smalls and Star Wars Storm Troopers in any iteration to send the image volleying through our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter referrals, comments, feeds. In fact, both Biggie and the Trooper made it into the top 15 mural collection this year and last year – made by different artists.

In fact, these 15 images are not all murals but they resonate with larger numbers than others we published this year; a visual conversation that includes legal, illegal, small, anonymous, massive, deliberately confounding, tossed off scrawling, handmade and mass produced stickers, tags, poetry, diatribes, culture jamming, ad takeovers, sculpture, installations. Every week we aim to present a varied selection of expressions currently represented on the street, and then it is your turn to respond.

During 2017 BSA readers responded to images via our website, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbr, and Facebook pages. In a thoroughly unscientific survey that calculates “likes” and “clicks” and “re-Tweets” and “impressions”, we tallied up which murals (or images) got the most interest from you. Care to interpret the results?


15 – Lonac.

Here is his multi-story mural of an artist friend painting a wall for “No Limit” Borås. Borås, Sweden. September, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


14 – Add Fuel.

His mural of traditional Scottish tile patterning in Nuart Aberdeen captivated many readers. Aberdeen, Scotland. April, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


13 – Daniel Buchsbaum.

Converting this water heater in a room of the Antique Toy Museum. Mexico City. November, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


12 – Axe Colours.

For the second year in a row, but in different cities by different artists, the 1990s Brooklyn rapper Biggie Smalls appears on the top 15 list. This time he is in Barcelona, Spain. November, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


11 – Miss Van.

Ever more surreal, this is an instant classic by Miss Van is in Barcelona, Spain. November, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


10- Dave The Chimp.

The simplicity of Dave The Chimps’ characters can be a bit deceiving, considering how he manages to put them everywhere in so many situations. This one taps into our societal fears and the realization that our public (and private) moves are being recorded and scrutinized all the time, ready or not. Berlin, Germany. February, 2017.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


9 – ATM Street Art.

Dude, the bird-admiring contingent online took this one and flew with it. It’s a Red-faced Warbler for Audubon Birds of Broadway. Manhattan, NYC. January, 2017.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


8 – Suits.

A prize-winning use of existing conditions in furtherance of his message, Suits used this damaged wall very effectively. It helped to have Manhattan as a backdrop. Brooklyn, NYC. June, 2017  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


7 – BK Foxx.

Directly borrowed from a scene with Robert Dinero in the movie Taxi Driver, Street Artist BK Foxx uses the background to reference the never-ending scenes of violence that are in the news in the US. Brooklyn, NYC. November, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


6 – Tatiana Fazlalizadeh.

This garden of the mind grows in Manhattan at public school PS92. Manhattan, NYC. January, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


5 – The Outings Project.

Created during Nuart Aberdeen by Julien de Casabianca of the Outings Project, this reproduction of a painting was perfectly placed in a part of the city once known for the selling of people as slaves. An uncomfortable bit of beauty maximizes the possibilities with perfect placement. Aberdeen, Scotland. April, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


4 – 1UP Crew…and other vandals.

An iconic and isolated Brooklyn rooftop scene in the winter is made forbidding and welcoming by the snow storm and picnic tables.  Brooklyn, NYC. February, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


3 – Pyramid Oracle.

Ascending the subway stairs to see the grand wizened man with a third eye, this black and white image was somehow inspirational to many of our fans. Manhattan, NYC. April 2017.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)


2 – Raf Urban.

A mid-sized wheat-pasted stencil piece claims the number 2 spot with the former President and First Lady, along with the message “Diversity is Hope.” Brooklyn, NYC. April, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


1 – Jerkface.

Guy Fawkes is a folk hero for the Occupy generation, here surrounded by the encroaching anonymous armature of the police state, represented by Storm Troopers. You can read many messages into this and like most good art, you’d would be right. Manhattan, NYC. March, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Add Fuel and “OVERLAPANHA” in Viseu, Portugal

Add Fuel and “OVERLAPANHA” in Viseu, Portugal

Today we have a fresh look at a new piece by Portuguese Street Artist/muralist Add Fuel. Titled “OVERLAPANHA”, the freshly painted wall in Viseu is part of the Tons de Primavera Festival which just ran this weekend.

Typically Add Fuel studies the local craft of tile making and traditions that are honored in a region, as well as their significant histories, before beginning his sketches – and this new one is no different. The modern aspect of these traditional patterns in the “ripping away” illusion he creates, providing the illusion of seeing something hidden, perhaps gaining understanding of the present by studying the past.

Add Fuel. Tons de Primavera Festival 2017, Viseu, Portugal. (photo © Add Fuel)

different.

Here we find that one of the oldest established wine regions in the country (located in the Dão region) provides plenty of design inspiration and his patterning is revelatory. For those who know this precise work and Add Fuel’s native tile making influences, this blue and white tableau is a very classic and traditional Portuguese style.

“This is the result of an exploration on how two distinct quadrilateral shapes can inhabit in the same space and how this experience can be occupied by a semi-human component,” he says, “depicted as the romantic act of simply ‘holding’ ”.

Add Fuel.  Detail. Tons de Primavera Festival 2017, Viseu, Portugal. (photo © Add Fuel)

Add Fuel. Detail. Tons de Primavera Festival 2017, Viseu, Portugal. (photo © Add Fuel)



@municipio_viseu @visitviseu
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BSA Images Of The Week: 04.23.17

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.23.17

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Boom! There it is! This is springtime and there is a lot of new stuff popping up like tulips and out like cherry blossoms. If you didn’t get to the Martha Cooper opening at Steven Kasher gallery this week it is open during the week- a great cross section of her work during the last four decades or so. Additionally the Richard Hambleton film “Shadowman” debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival Friday night and is making a lot of waves and you can see works of his at Woodward Gallery right now.

Also this week a group of New York Street Artists officially are suing McDonalds for using their street work in long-form commercials without permission – a story we first brought to fore and we subsequently discussed – including giving one of the artists who was deeply affected a platform to speak. It remains to be seen who is directly responsible for this infringement but that doesn’t stop the fabulous loose talk and salacious assertions. Some people are lovin’ it.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring: Add Fuel, C3, Cash4, D7606, Cope, Don Rimx, Hardened Lock, Hervé, Immaker, Isaac Cordal, Jaune, Julien De Casabianca, Lunge Box, Okuda, Order55, Phil, and Queen Andrea.

Top image: Collaboration with Add Fuel and Jaune (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Add Fuel and Jaune collaboration in Aberdeen, Scotland. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Add Fuel and Jaune collaboration in Aberdeen, Scotland. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Raf Urban (photo © Jaime Rojo)

#missingobama (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Raf Urban (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Don Rimx drops the can… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Don Rimx (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Don Rimx (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cope and Okuda collaboration. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

D7606 with Kafka is Famous in Aberdeen, Scotland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

C3 in Aberdeen, Scotland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hervé in Aberdeen, Scotland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Queen Andrea and Cash4 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A stencil by an unidentified artist reminds us of Russian geometric modern art from the revolution. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal in Aberdeen, Scotland. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Phil (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hardened Lock (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lunge Box . Imamaker (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Order55 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Julien de Casabianca/Outings Project in Aberdeen, Scotland. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Spring 2017. Manhattan, NY. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Film Friday 04.21.17 – Vids from Nuart Aberdeen 2017

BSA Film Friday 04.21.17 – Vids from Nuart Aberdeen 2017

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. ADD FUEL – Nuart Aberdeen 2017
2. Alice Pasquini – Nuart Aberdeen 2017
3. Isaac Cordal – Nuart Aberdeen 2017
4. M-City in Aberdeen for Nuart 2017 via BrooklynStreetArt.com

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Features: Vids from Aberdeen

Doug Gillen from Fifth Wall TV shadowed artists at work in Aberdeen, Scotland last week and began a series of videos that give you an idea about their art and their individual approach to it. Today we have the first three freshly released from Nuart Aberdeen for your enjoyment.

ADD FUEL – Nuart Aberdeen 2017

So, how do you get the party started in Aberdeen? You Add Fuel!  The artists’ practice of tile making back home in Portugal is translated here by his study of local Scottish decorative motifs and tradition – with one layer tearing back to reveal another beneath it.

Alice Pasquini – Nuart Aberdeen 2017

Roman Street Artist Alice Pasquini has a color palette rather custom made for nautical scenes and seaside cities- and somehow brings a Mediterranean air of romance to this stormy Scottish city on the North Sea. Her figures and portraits seem to appear by surprise on small sections of doorways or corners of disused billboards – and this larger mural sized piece is rightly juxtaposed on Ship Row almost across from the Aberdeen Maritime Museum.Video by Doug Gillen/Fifth Wall TV.

Isaac Cordal – Nuart Aberdeen 2017

The Spanish Street Artist continued his indirect critique of corporate capitalists by installing his little grey-suited businessmen throughout the oil city that has been shaken by markets. For some reason, the scale makes the figures comic, and the context of the great wide world helps put these soldiers of white-collar shenanigans into a position of low impact. But we’re just kidding ourselves if we think they are inconsequential – they are the enablers of the machine. These are the human levers of the oligarchy who Isaac Cordal is perching on ledges, balancing on wires, placing on terraces staring intently at spreadsheets and stock numbers on their phones. Now his miniature worried men are perched all over Aberdeen. Can you spot them? Video by Doug Gillen/Fifth Wall TV

 

M-City for Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Video by BSA

Who would like to experience the slow ascent into the air on a cherry picker with M-City as you survey his new completed mural for Nuart Aberdeen? This short home made video by Jaime Rojo gives you a look at a street level perspective while travel mills around the freshly painted piece.

 

 


Many thanks to Doug/Fifth Wall for sharing his video work here with BSA readers. For for information about Fifth Wall please go HERE.

Twitter @FifthWallTV

https://www.instagram.com/fifthwalltv/

 

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Nuart Aberdeen 2017 Already Has Locals Saying “Haste Ye Back!”

Nuart Aberdeen 2017 Already Has Locals Saying “Haste Ye Back!”

The sky is still twilight blue above the streets of Aberdeen at 21:00 this time of year and as you walk the city’s edge on the beach of the North Sea the winds pick up with a chilly bluster. Of course, that’s just for this minute. In a half hour it may be a gentle warm caress, or you’ll be pelted with hail and sleet mercilessly. Locals like to say that this northern Scottish seaside city has 4 seasons in one day. During one Street Art tour that we gave for 350 Aberdeenians on the day before Easter, we cycled through those seasons, twice.

This is Nuart, the festival begun in Stavanger, Norway in 2001 by loveable bad boy and (some would argue) curatorial visionary Martyn Reed which invites Street Artists from around the world to partake in thoughtful aesthetic excursions on the street and in public space.

The cumulative success of Nuart’s indoor/outdoor programs is now well recorded and looked to as a model. Remarkably they have risen despite tensions that occur when commingling frameworks of illegality and institutional acceptance; including a relatively new academic rigor that is now investigating the family of practices called Urban Art, their absorption into the commercial market as contemporary art, the badass anti-establishment musings of jilted outcasts who want nothing of it, and a somewhat romantic notion of communicating with the public in a meaningful dialogue.

Jaune. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ah, but this is the bumpy, potholed, slimy street along which counter-culture becomes culture and the marginalized becomes the mainstream  producing a modicum of nausea for all involved. While not explicitly aiming for legitimacy on these fronts, the Nuart Festival has gradually metamorphosed into a standard by which some others are judged, with reason.

Now for the first time Nuart exports its hard won and uniquely prickly formula in a perhaps more reserved manner to this new, old city which lies 500 kilometers across the North Sea in Scotland.

This is the stirring, storied North Sea known globally for the black oil lurking beneath it, and the two cities of Stavanger and Aberdeen have both been impacted greatly by the plunge of world-wide petroleum prices since the end of the last decade; a downturn described by London’s Telegraph as “vicious”.  We may have stumbled upon evidence of this during one of our walking tours when we remarked on the large number of people there who were interested in seeing the new artworks and one woman cracked with some sarcasm, “that’s because none of us has jobs.”

Jaune. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And here we are with eleven international artists to ease the grayness of this historic and granite Gothic city by the sea where daffodils cover the meadow in Union Terrace Gardens and single malt whisky eases the sight of iron leg fetters in the 17th century prison museum called Tolbooth.

When it comes to Nuart Aberdeen the people whom we met are nearly exuberant in their responses, even awestruck by the appearance of this new art in their city. With the introduction of aerosol, brush paint, wheat-paste, stencils, miniature sculpture, and poetry to street walls, it is as if a hidden pent-up desire for art in the public sector has burst open, a geyser if you will.

“I think there are quite a lot of places now in Aberdeen that are quite plain. It’s like there are a lot of empty canvasses. It’s good to see something be done with them,” says Mark, who’s touring the new pieces through the streets with Julia, who’s originally from the capital Edinburgh. Map in hand, the couple appears to be about 30 and they say that while they’ve seen work like this in other cities, they’re glad to see something more youthful now appearing here in a historical seaport that boasts soaring, turreted and spired cathedrals and narrow stone streets.

Jaune. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’ve been to Leipzig lots of times and there’s lots of sides of buildings,” says Mark, “they’re similar in size to these, with lots of murals in the city center, and it really kind of brightens the place up, makes it a lot more lively.”

“Welcome to a city investing it its city and its culture,” says Councilor George Adam, the Lord Provost, a prestigious post and an ancient office with its roots in the 13th century. During a reception with other members of the Aberdeen City Council and the local business improvement district (BID) named “Aberdeen Inspired,” Mr. Adams says that he is excited by Nuart and has received a lot of positive feedback as well.

Add Fuel. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Indeed, the reception from youth, middle aged and senior patrons at our 14 short-video film lecture and the sold-out screening of the premiere of “Finding Bansky” at the independent art theater Belmont Filmhouse was ardent, enthusiastic and full of inquiries afterward. The walking tours had more people than anyone had predicted, with a few people using canes and others pushed in strollers. It would appear that the worldwide Street Art phenomena had seemed frustratingly out of reach for some of the young people, who have been fascinated by it from afar. Seeing these works by international artists here in their city was like a jolt of electricity.

During an entertaining slide show by festival participant Julian De Casabianca at the Lecture Theatre at the Anatomy Museum Thursday night, the steeply angled seats held a full capacity crowd, with many sitting on the floor and steps. The somewhat inebriated and raucous artists and students in their twenties hooted and hollered and pounded on desks during the 50 minute lecture which included mobsters, murder, the Holocaust, stolen artworks, and Street Art – specifically the museum art images which De Casabianca has been wheat-pasting on public streets for all to see for the last decade or so called “The Outings Project.”

Add Fuel. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martin Reed’s curation of the program is wise and the selections are contextual from the perspective that Nuart Aberdeen 2017 presents an array of disciplines from a solid thoughtful selection of perspectives, each attached to the history of graffiti and Street Art from their unique evolution of practices – as well as to the culture of Aberdeen.

Germany’s Herakut dominates one concave wall of Aberdeen Market overlooking “The Green” with their improvisational blending of illustration style portraiture, textual flourish, and symbols germane to the city. De Casabianca chose images form the Aberdeen Art Gallery of two children – haunting in a narrow street known by local folklore for ghosts of children who were sold as slaves to America in previous centuries.

Belgium’s Jaune peppers doorways and electrical boxes with multi-layer stencils of fluorescent-vested municipal workers in humorous scenarios. These are partnered in scale by small grey-suited and somber businessmen by Spain’s Isaac Cordal, which are hidden before your eyes and camouflage into the daily city until you discover one standing on a ledge, balancing on an electrical line, or sitting atop a CCTV camera.

 

Robert Montgomery. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Norway’s Martin Whatson has perhaps the most obvious reference to the locality, with a golfing figure swiping into a plume of colorful graffiti tags. With Donald Trump’s golf course only minutes away, the piece raises an immediate association with a guy who is heartily disliked here. The Street Artist named Add Fuel create an enormous tile-patterned wall that refers to local motifs and decorative artisans on a wall that can be seen easily by pedestrians looking from Aberdeen’s Union Bridge the largest single-span granite arch in the world. Italy’s Alice Pasquini brings imagery of the harbor into her figurative pieces and Norway’s Nipper works directly with local artists to compile gifts of art posted on clipboards around the city.

This is not to say that Reed is running from possible controversial material or opinion: Poland stencilist M-City is without doubt critiquing the oil industry with his oil barrels flying through the sky and tankers in the sea, the UK poet Robert Montgomery’s piece addresses topics like the definition of modernism, race, and social equality, and Australia’s Fintan Magee’s very large mural diptych obliquely references rising sea levels and man made environmental degradation.

Martin Whatson pays an homage to graffiti writers and taggers, from whom much of today’s Street Art and mural festivals evolved. “Luckily we got one of the local guys who came past,” says Aberdeen photographer and expert art blogger Jon Reid, “He left a tag in the bottom right hand side. So at least he managed to get a bit of ‘local’ in as well.” Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In review of the successful event and the relatively young history of the Street Art movement as one that is continually in motion, a few points come to mind as worth mentioning: The first is the ongoing discussion of illegal graffiti and Street Art culture giving way to legal mural festivals that have as their aim some form of business improvement and/or gentrification in a city, particularly when a city previously persecuted and derided the organic and illegal artists who began the scene.

This situation is not specific to Aberdeen, but the concern probably will come up in conversations (including during panel discussions at Nuart) and at the very least it is an irony that art practices once reviled or verboten are now to some extent embraced as worthwhile because they can be economically advantageous. These are not direct relationships, but close ones certainly.

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Similarly there have been a few so-called Street Art festivals in recent years where the primary driver is commercial brand-building and while they give opportunities to artists they somehow cheapen the dialogue between people. It is always ironic, if inevitable, when a subculture becomes more closely associated with mainstream culture, sometimes specifically because of its cache as being rebellious. The trick here would be to accommodate the activist voices in the program, and clearly Nuart aims to do so with panache.

An argument could be made that counters the quick-on-the-draw “selling out” charge that says true rebels are somehow abandoning their values by working for “the man”. From our perspective, we’re happy when artists are working, are treated fairly, and when people get to enjoy their work. Even in this second least affordable city in Scotland  where artist spaces are at a premium if not scarce altogether, it is a good development to see art on the walls outside and a public dialogue facilitated by art.

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This mural initiative will invariably jump-start two outcomes. One will be a renewed interest in the zone in which the art appears, driving foot traffic and, if all goes according to plan, new business initiatives and increased interest in the arts in general.

Secondly, it will spur an uptick in locally grown Street Art. We already witnessed it mushrooming overnight on surfaces during the days we were in the city and were pleased to learn of many local artists who have been looking for opportunities for exposure in addition to this one and last years’ “Painted Doors” project, which was spearheaded by Aberdeen artist Mary Butterworth. As this local scene continues to coalesce in public space, one hopes that the city will challenge itself to find healthy and proactive ways to support this organic scene as well.

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Overall, the first year of Nuart Aberdeen has been hands-down successful by many standards, and talk of a 2018 program has already started popping up in discussions online and elsewhere. From what we could see and hear, the city is longing for more.

“We want you all back! You showed us what can be done!” says Dr. Fiona-Jane Brown, the author of “Hidden Aberdeen” and founder of Graft Theater Company in her comment on Facebook to the Nuart team.

“Haste ye back, loons and quinies!” says Morag Russell, another Facebook commenter as the Nuart artists, production team and assorted misfits say their final goodbyes in a posting.  The sentiment rings just as sweet at the song it comes from, like this version from Scotland’s legendary entertainer Andy Stewart.

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Isaac Cordal. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut. Detail. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fintan Magee. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jon Reid)

Fintan Magee. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jon Reid)

M-City. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alice Pasquini. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alice Pasquini. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Julien de Casabianca. Outings Project. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Julien de Casabianca. Outings Project. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper. This is an interactive piece where the public is invited to use the stencil. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nipper. And an enthusiastic street art fan is accepting the invitation. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The very supportive people of Aberdeen came out in huge numbers to all four of the official art tours. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. We began with pigeons…we must end with pigeons and spring love. Nuart Aberdeen 2017. Aberdeen, Scotland. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


We would like to express our gratitude for the professionalism and support of the Nuart Team, to all the volunteers whose work and dedication made our work more efficient and our stay a lot more pleasant, to the team at Aberdeen Inspired and to the people of Aberdeen for being such gracious and generous hosts, and to all the artists whose work we love and admire and for your inspiration and talent. Thank you. We hope to meet again next year.

For more information on Nuart Aberdeen click HERE.


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