All posts tagged: Baltimore

TOVEN says “Happy Skulloween” on the Streets of Baltimore

TOVEN says “Happy Skulloween” on the Streets of Baltimore

Happy Halloween! It’s going to rain on all the Trick or Treaters in the streets in New York tonight. Nevertheless, ye olde drizzle and mist doesn’t really put a damper on the eerie festivities, including the East Village Halloween Parade, which is reliably a misshapen, humorous and frightening mess of creativity, imagination, psychiatric therapy, music, and theatrical spectacle; all of it careening through the sloppy streets for your pleasure.

TOVEN. Giraffe Skull. Baltimore. October 2019. (photo © TOVEN)

This holiday used to be only for children and art-inclined weirdos, now its cosplay across the nation with children of all ages are in costume on the subway, on the bus, in line for pumpkin-spice latte.

In Baltimore Street Artist TOVEN has made plenty of preparations for you: cheerful and possibly unsettling skull wheatpastes for you to see out of the corner of your mask as you run door-to-door asking for candies.

TOVEN. Goat Skull. Baltimore. October 2019. (photo © TOVEN)
TOVEN. Deer Skull. Baltimore. October 2019. (photo © TOVEN)
TOVEN. Dear Skull. Small antler. Baltimore. October 2019. (photo © TOVEN)
TOVEN. Goat Skull. Baltimore. October 2019. (photo © TOVEN)
TOVEN. Ram Skull. Baltimore. October 2019. (photo © TOVEN)
TOVEN. Homo Sapiens Skulls. Baltimore. October 2019. (photo © TOVEN)
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BSA Film Friday: 09.16.16

BSA Film Friday: 09.16.16

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

Now screening :

1. M-City at WL4
2. Faith47 – Who Will Guard The Guards Themselves
3. Henk and Louise Schiffmacher by Rust and Mako Deuza
4. Narcelio Grud: Mattress
5. Nether in Baltimore Philadelphia, Chicago and New York

 

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BSA Special Feature: M-City at WL4

Polish Street Art stencillist, professor, and man-machine, M-City shows us with great dispatch the mechanics of production, with the occasional break for a snort of paint aroma to keep him going.

Also, are those pirates going by on a pirate ship?

Arrrrrr

 

Faith47 – Who Will Guard The Guards Themselves Film by Zane Meyer. Los Angeles 2016

Zane Meyer is killing it with his videos of artists in situ on the the street fighting and dancing with the wall. Faith47 is in her full stride with this herd of galloping wild horses, symbols perhaps of the runaway power we have allowed to take over our banks, military, companies – freed from regulation or governmental (citizen) interference.  It is perhaps thrilling to watch, and then the herd turns toward you.

“This quotation is the embodiment of the philosophical question of how power can be held to account. It refers to the impossibility of enforcing moral behaviour when the enforcers are corruptible, as seen in timeless cases of tyrannical governments, uncontrollably oppressive dictatorships, and police or judicial corruption and overreach. How can we trust authoritative guardians of power when only they are left to guard themselves against themselves? It’s an age-old challenge; the phrase, as it is normally quoted in Latin, comes from the Satires of Juvenal, the 1st/2nd century Roman satirist,” says the text accompanying the video.

Only problem is the video is too short, too brief, not enough. But maybe that’s how Faith wants it.

 

Henk and Louise Schiffmacher by Rust and Mako Deuza

You don’t see stop action videos too much today in the Street Art realm but its nice to have this minute by minute account of the building of the image, complete with artists, friends, passerby, photographers, kids, butchers, bakers, shoemakers. The subjects here are the famed dutch tattoo artist Henk Schiffmacher and his wife Louise, or as the grandiose 90s rock star Anthony Kiedis is reported to have called him, “an absolute rapscallion of Dutch proportions.”

Made in Corsica in the City of Ajaccio, the artists say that the mural “is about a life dedicated to tattoo, art, lovers, inspiration and many things word can’t describe.” Rust made the portrait of Henk schiffmacher and Mako Deuza the portrait of Louise – all with cans.

 

Narcelio Grud: Mattress

Mr. Grud recycles foam mattresses and creates new public artworks from dreams. His inventiveness never ceases to amaze, his resourcefulness without end.

 

Nether in Baltimore Philadelphia, Chicago and New York

A lot has happened in our lives over the last couple of years and muralist Nether from Baltimore captures his street work from ’15 and ’16 here in his reel. A messenger to the streets as much as a reflection of it, Nether calls out the strife and the violence that people are marching in the streets about in cities like Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York.

 

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‘Homo Naledi’ in Baltimore Points to Our Modern De-Evolution

‘Homo Naledi’ in Baltimore Points to Our Modern De-Evolution

When you look at the corporate yellow journalism flashing across screens today, the shallow and sensational rhetoric may lead you to believe we are devolving as a race. In fact it is just the opposite in many quarters, so media literacy is more important now than ever to discern who is propagating this narrative, and to what ends?

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Alfredo Segatori and Pablo Machioli (photo © Matt Fox-Tucker/BA Street Art)

Certainly many cultural observers deduct that man and woman have not progressed since prehistory and a new Baltimore mural by Street Artists Alfredo Segatori (Argentina) and Pablo Machioli (Uruguay) is a throw-back to our less-evolved selves. “I believe that cavemen still exist today and this mural is a like a mirror to look back at our roots,” says Segatori about the singular ‘Homo Naledi’ figure whose bones were discovered by anthropologists in South Africa in 2015  “We need to decide what future we want for our kids and if we want to move forward as a human race.”

The mural is part of a larger initiative including more than 20 street artists participating in a two continent cultural exchange between Baltimore and Buenos Aires, an outside component of a gallery show entitled “Roots”. The show is curated by Baltimores’ Richard Best of Section 1 Project and Matt Fox-Tucker of Buenos Aires Street Art along with local Gallery 788.

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Alfredo Segatori and Pablo Machioli (photo © Matt Fox-Tucker/BA Street Art)

As Street Art and murals are continuing to bring more of the social and political themes to the streets in cities like Baltimore and Buenos Aires, traditional organizers of public art programming appear to be on the wane – perhaps because taxpayer funded initiatives have evaporated in most cities and more complex privately funded programs triangulate outcomes.

Actual grassroots organizers of programs like this, while still related to a gallery show, are more likely to respect intellectual rigor and are increasingly carving out their own curatorial niche. It is an interesting crack in the dialogue in public space where the final artworks often respond to society in more challenging ways, rather than producing only pleasing imagery and messages approved by committee or commercial interests.

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Alfredo Segatori and Pablo Machioli (photo © Matt Fox-Tucker/BA Street Art)

For Segatori, this mural is a direct response to how we are behaving as a race – particularly toward one another. “I believe that in the world today there is still a lot of violence and intolerance so the idea of our mural is to show the reality of the society that we live in,” says Segatori of the new piece.

“There are people around us who are still forced to live in poverty, suffer from racism, discrimination and persecution due to the color of their skin.” Whether locals will take this message away from the mural is anyone’s guess, but the organizers of “Roots-Raices” say they hope to open the discussion between communities about how to assist in our collective evolution.

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Alfredo Segatori and Pablo Machioli (photo © Matt Fox-Tucker/BA Street Art)

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Alfredo Segatori and Pablo Machioli (photo © Matt Fox-Tucker/BA Street Art)

‘Roots’ brings together artworks by more than 20 street artists from Argentina and Baltimore exploring origins, cultural identities and social and racial history. Baltimore street artists who have created new artworks for the show include Gaia, Pablo Machioli, Paul Mericle, Billy Mode, Nether, Reed, Mas Paz, Ernest Shaw, Gregg Deal, Lee Nowell-Wilson and Toven plus photographs by Martha Cooper. Argentine artists represented are Alfredo Segatori are Nazza Stencil, El Marian, Luxor, Ice, Patxi Mazzoni Alonso, Maxi Bagnasco, Primo and Juan Zeballos.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 05.29.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 05.29.16

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Woo hoo! Dip your toe in the ocean and the official beginning of summer in NYC. It’s Memorial Day Weekend and it is hot outside and Coney Island is already crowded and has new works this week from John Ahearn, Nina Chanel Abney, Tristan Eaton and more to come. Also you can hear that ice cream truck jingle in some neighborhoods, a welcome sound that will cause batty-ness in the brain after hearing it the 300th time.

Prospect Park and Central Park and hundreds of smaller parks around the city have barbecues and frisbees and refreshments and naps under trees. There is even the smell of marijuana wafting through the streets again. Also there’s a new Strokes album projected on the wall above Futura’s on Houston (soon to be refreshed), there’s a Ramones exhibit at the Queens Museum, and international artists are showing up to paint at the Bushwick Collective street party next weekend. Until then, let’s go up on the roof – you may see Duke Riley’s LED lit birds over Wallabout Channel at dusk. It all kind of feels like the 1980’s, minus the hair spray.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Aiko, Jins, John Ahearn, Lapiz, Nether, Nick Walker, Nina Chanel Abney, Pose, TurtleCaps, Saone, Sipros, Stavro, Stikman, Stu, Such and Turtle Caps.

Our top image: Fine artist and muralist Nina Chanel Abney for Coney Art Walls 2016. Coney Island, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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John Ahearn for Coney Art Walls 2016. Coney Island, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pose for Coney Art Walls 2016. Coney Island, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Aiko. Side A. For Coney Art Walls 2016. Coney Island, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Aiko Side B. For Coney Art Walls 2016. Coney Island, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nick Walker (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lapiz for KURA Festival. Wittenburg, Germany. May 2016 (photo © Lapiz)

“Sigmar Gabriel (the German Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy) is riding a Leopard 2 tank. The tank is for sale (a little price tag is showing a €) and is painted in the colors of the German Flag (black, red, yellow). Gabriel is holding up a sign that reads ‘Nie wieder Krieg *’ (‘No more war *’). Running away from the tank is a family of refugees.” – Lapiz

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Sipros. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sipros. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Such. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Zaone. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Zaone. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stu. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jins. The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown. White people ruined Bushwick. Discuss. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NETHER from last year. That’s what is all about out here. Survival. Baltimore. (photo © Pat Gavin)

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NETHER. Baltimore. (photo © Nether)

“A woman stands in water, half submerged, holding a withering lotus flower as the sky, lit by a rising sun and a setting moon, pans from darkness to light. The lotus in this setting symbolizes strength and courage when getting through life’s hardest obstacles such as addiction. The character is trying to save the lotus, which reflects her beauty and strength, as it is losing its pedals into the darkness. Her half-hidden face is slightly turned towards the light showing that she is turning towards help to revive her inner beauty and spirit. The obscured face speaks to the recovering addict’s battle with shame, anonymity, and pride for overcoming addiction due to public stigma. The 303 stars painted into the sky pay homage to the 303 people that died from overdoses in the last recorded year in Baltimore including a friend of mine.” – Nether

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C3 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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TurtleCaps and Stavro.(photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Brooklyn, NY. May 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 09.14.14

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.14.14

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The street appears in the living room when you visit some artists homes or those of hard core collectors. “Brooklyn is in da house!” suddenly takes on additional meaning. So imagine rolling through a heavily graffitied section of Bushwick this week to find someone’s living room is on display on the street. It’s like a set for a TV show, or a theater stage; The couch, the coffee table, a lamp, paneling, even a hard wood floor comprised of, well, not really hard wood.  A hunter’s lodge maybe? A cabin in the Adirondacks? Without a back story, this looked like a stage had been built but you couldn’t be sure what for. Just as our intrepid photographer raised his camera to his eye, the woody indoor scene became exactly that – a stage.

“As I was taking the above photo a fast and furious dude came like a flash out of nowhere on his bike, stopped abruptly, and threw his bike on the floor,” says Jaime. “I didn’t know what to expect and watched him fish a spray can from a plastic shopping bag and step up on the sofa and write his tag upon the living room wall. The actor muttered something I couldn’t hear as he sprayed over another’s tag and then stepped down, leaving just as quickly as he has appeared. It was as if the fourth wall really did exist and he didn’t see me, the audience. I did want to ask him about the tag and about his very fashionable French chignon.  But really, I wasn’t even visible.”

See him in action in the photo below.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring C215, Dain, Damon, Dope, Dotmasters, Jamie Paul Scanlon (JPS), Marilyn Minter, NRG US Crew, Pøbel, Richard Best, Stefan Ways, Wolfe Work, You Go Girl!, and Østrem.

Top Image >> The living room set in the street. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A stage set in the street with an impromptu live tagging performance. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pøbel and Østrem in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Artist Unknown. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Wolfe Work (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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C215. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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You Go Girl (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jamie Paul Scanlon AKA JPS. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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NRG US Crew (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Dotmasters. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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Damon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A fox by an artist from Chile. Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

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DOPE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stefan Ways in front of his Warner Mural in Baltimore. Detail. (photo © David Muse)

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Richard Best. Warner Mural in Baltimore (photo © David Muse)

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Untitled. I took this photo from a Marilyn Minter video commissioned by the Brooklyn Museum for the current exhibition “Killer Heels” curated by Lisa Small. Brooklyn, NYC 2104. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
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Nether and New Community Murals This Summer In Baltimore

Nether and New Community Murals This Summer In Baltimore

A colorful harvest of local folk on walls here as we bring you images Nether has been painting this summer in his native Baltimore by himself and with friends. A mix of community projects and independently initiated walls painted on Baltimore’s surplus quantity of abandoned buildings, the style brings to mind community murals of the past, but it also has a genuinely new spirit. Nether and others like Gaia, LNY, and Mata Ruda are among some who are influencing and ushering in what BSA is calling “the new muralism”.

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Nether. “The Fight For Building Blocks” Baltimore, MD. (photo © Nether)

The new muralism has evolved in the last five years from clusters of Street Artists who were originally interested in getting their name out and to advocate in some cases for their sociopolitical viewpoints but who also are often responding to calls from communities for intermediaries who can help them tell their stories. Taking root in this city and others like Newark, Jersey City, Atlanta, Bushwick (Brooklyn), and others, artists take into account local roots and are creating themes and portraits of everyday heroes and heroines and telling their stories. These are US eastern seaboard names but we have seen and heard these sentiments from cities as far as Honolulu, Berlin, and Delhi. This is what happens when people talk to each other.

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Nether. “Tangled” Baltimore, MD. (photo © Nether)

In cities where “Street Art” or “Urban Art” festivals have been hosted, artists and producers have heard criticism that the international circuit of visiting artists are not always sensitive to the culture and the history of the locality. Their point is enhanced by a certain homogeneity of styles recurring on walls in many cities that is somehow separate from the culture, like a chain store or restaurant. Many organizers have responded by being more inclusive of the locals and today we are seeing a mural making tributary of Street Art that is maturing with an altruistic, intention-driven interest in empowering neighborhoods and their various populations that is reflective of the local in addition to the global.

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Nether. “Fingers Crossed” Baltimore, MD. (photo © Nether)

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Nether.  A tribute to the author and poet Maya Angelou in Baltimore, MD. (photo © Nether)

Nether paraphrased this quote near this portrait;

“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”

– Maya Angelou

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Nether.  Vulpes Vulpes. Baltimore, MD. (photo © Nether)

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Nether. Detail.  Vulpes Vulpes. Baltimore, MD. (photo © Nether)

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Nether. Detail.  Vulpes Vulpes. Baltimore, MD. (photo © Nether)

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Nether. Detail.  Vulpes Vulpes. Baltimore, MD. (photo © Nether)

 

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
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Stikman: An Enigma Marching On

Stikman: An Enigma Marching On

His rigid wooden stick constitution keeps him from faltering even when bending and his ubiquity on the streets and in small secret hiding places keeps you from forgetting him, the ever-present Stikman. Expressed in wood, fabric, vinyl, paper, steel, plastic; embedded into pavement and stuck upon every surface, Stikman is timely and timeless.

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

When you see one of these unemotional little fellas you cannot be sure if it is new or more than 20 years old, since he began appearing that long ago. Not showy nor preening, he certainly is versatile and colorful, appearing on record covers, playing cards, riding airplanes… and in a number of prints and pieces in a handful of small street art/graffiti centric galleries the last few years. He can appear as a sole figure on the street and can be remixed into vintage photos or illustrations, shape-shifting and implicating himself into other time periods and other worlds.

His maker says he is inspired by the public arena and by decay and the energy of the streets – and by his ongoing fascination with flea markets, which explains the variety of materials and situations his character appears in.  In some way Stikman is an avatar in the real world having adventure and conversation and interaction with thousands, maybe millions of people by now. Today we share a selection of the many images that Stikman stars in by photographer Jaime Rojo.

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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OWB2 : Open Walls Baltimore 2 Winding Up (VIDEO)

OWB2 : Open Walls Baltimore 2 Winding Up (VIDEO)

Two years after Baltimore opened its walls to Street Art, the street artist Gaia has again summoned artists this spring and summer to regale walls with murals throughout the up and coming neighborhood it was meant to help develop and revitalize, the Station North Arts & Entertainment District. From March through June this year fifteen artists from hometown Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Europe and South America were slated to come through and hit big walls.

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Escif. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © M Holden Warren)

With the majority of the original works still remaining from the first phase, the new walls OWB2 were scheduled for Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, Betsy Casanas, El Decerter, ECB, Escif, Gaia, LNY, Logan Hicks, Santtu Mustonen, Nanook, Ozmo, D’Metrius (DJ) Rice, Ernest Shaw Jr., Katey Truhn & Jessie Unterhalter, Zbiok, and the Urban Playground Team.

Thematically derived in many cases from local history and figures and culture, the publicly/privately funded mural program is complemented by a series of free performances and workshops throughout the duration of this year’s installations.

Here are some recent images of walls being completed thanks to Martha Cooper and M Holden Warren. Back in April we also published a selection of images from OWB from photographer Geoff Hargadon.

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Escif. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © M Holden Warren)

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Santtu. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Santtu. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © Martha Cooper)

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Gaia. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © M Holden Warren)

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Gaia. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © M Holden Warren)

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Ozmo. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © M Holden Warren)

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Ozmo. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © M Holden Warren)

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Nanook. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © M Holden Warren)

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Nanook. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo courtesy © OWB)

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Logan Hicks. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © M Holden Warren)

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Logan Hicks. Open Walls Baltimore 2014 (photo © M Holden Warren)

 

 

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New Shots from Open Walls Baltimore 2

New Shots from Open Walls Baltimore 2

Open Walls Baltimore 2 has begun and only a few pieces have been completed but we thought you’d like to take a look, courtesy photographer and BSA Contributor Geoff Hargadon, who was tooling around one afternoon.

This spring Baltimore will be hosting a list that includes Zbiok, Anttu Mustonen, Ozmo, Nanook, Logan Hicks, Lesser Gonzalez, LNY, El Decertor, ECB, D’metrius Rice, Ernest Shaw, Escif, Gaia, Jessie and Katey, and Betsy Casanas.

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Gaia (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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Clearly! Baltimore (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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Nether at work on his wall. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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Nether. Detail. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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Santtu Mustonen (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

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What’s the 911? A police mini-bunker features Open Walls Baltimore 2 posters. (photo © Geoff Hargadon)

Click HERE to learn more about Open Walls Baltimore 2

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The Power of Color via Street Art, Graffiti, and Murals

The Power of Color via Street Art, Graffiti, and Murals

No doubt it is the grey days of late winter that is making us think about this as we brace for the next snowstorm, but today we’re considering the impact that Street Art color has on architecture that never asked for it.

We’re not the first to think of hues, shades, tones, and palettes when it comes to the man made environment of course, but it does strike us that most of the buildings that are hit up by street art and murals today were designed by architects who never imagined art on their facade.

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Os Gemeos in Boston. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Modern architecture for some reason is still primarily grey, washed out greens, beige, eggshell, snore.

“Color is something that architects are usually afraid of,” said internationally known and awarded architect Benedetta Tagliabue in an interview last May about the topic of color.  A generalization probably, and you can always find exceptions of colorfully painted neighborhoods globally like the Haight in San Francisco, La Boca in Buenos Aires, Portafino in Italy, Guanajuato in Mexico, Bo-Kaap in Capetown, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and the Blue City of India, but many of those examples speak to color blocking and pattern.

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Interesni Kazki in Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We’ve been looking at the power of Street Art to reface, re-contextualize, re-energize, and re-imagine a building and its place in the neighborhood. Some times it is successful, other times it may produce a light vertigo. The impact of work on buildings by today’s Street Artists and muralists depends not only on content and composition but largely on the palette they have chosen. It sounds trite, and self-evident perhaps, but much of Street Art is about color, and primarily on the warm scale first described by Faber Birren with his OSHA colors and color circle in the 1930s .

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Faile in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Birren developed his color system with the observation that artists favor the warm colors more than the cold, from the violet side of red and extending beyond yellow because “, their effect is more dynamic and intense and because the eye can, in fact, distinguish more warm colors than cold.

It’s common now to think of 21st century Street Art as the graffiti-influenced practice that primarily activates the detritus of the abandoned industrial sector blighting western cities in the wake of trade agreements that sent all the jobs to lands without protections and regulations. While that is definitely the sort of neglected factory architecture preferred for “activation” by many graffiti artists and Street Artists alike, we also see more curious couplings of color with the delicately ornate, the regal, or even modernist structures today thanks to artists being invited, rather than chased.

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Shepard Fairey in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The results? Abstractionist, cubist, geometric, letter-based, illustrative, figurative, text-based, outsider, folk, dadaist, pop.  One common denominator: color.

“The environment and its colors are perceived, and the brain processes and judges what it perceives on an objective and subjective basis. Psychological influence, communication, information, and effects on the psyche are aspects of our perceptual judgment processes,” writes Frank H. Mahnke in his recent piece for Archinect. The author of Color, Environment, & Human Response has made it his mission to explore psychological, biological effects of color and light and to help creators of the man-made environment make good choices.

Whether all of these choices are good, we leave up to you. But it is worth considering that Street Artists have been part of the conversation on the street for decades now, making powerful suggestions to architects and city planners , so maybe it’s worth taking another look at what they’ve been up to lately.

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Ever in Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Escif in Atlanta. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kenton Parker and Roa in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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LUDO in Chicago. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anthony Lister in Los Angeles. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kobra in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Smells, Cash4 and Spiro in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Don Rimx in El Barrio. Harlem, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Agostino Iacurci in Atlanta. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Barry McGee in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaz and Cern in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pose and Revok in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rime, Dceve and Toper in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pixel Pancho in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Deeker and David Pappaceno in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Reka in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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RRobots in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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MOMO in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville in Brooklyn, NYC with an old NEKST tag on top. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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3ttman and Elias in Atlanta. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode tribute to Martha Cooper in Brooklyn with ROA on the water tank. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rubin in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Os Gemeos in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JMR in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Greg LaMarche in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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This article was also published on The Huffington Post

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Street Art and Activism with “The Slumlord Project” in Baltimore

In a twist on the Broken Windows Theory, Street Artists are using their skills to combat urban blight in Baltimore with “The Slumlord Project”. By drawing the attention of neighbors to abandoned and vacant properties and giving pertinent ownership information to take action on, 17 artists are spray painting and wheat-pasting in a D.I.Y. educational program that aims to renew the social contract in communities hard hit by crumbling real estate, crime, and diminished opportunity.

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Harlequinade. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

With tongue in cheek, Baltimore Street Artist Nether calls “The Slumlord Project” an “unsanctioned public art festival”, where artists are invited to conceive of targeted installations on neglected properties. Along with Carol Ott, the founder of website and organization The Slumlord Watch, he encouraged artists to create with a sense of focus to draw attention to the companies, investors, private tax payers, and even the Housing Authority of Baltimore City about the large swaths of depressing and dangerous buildings decaying where neighborhoods and communities once flourished.

The result? A good old-fashioned bricks and mortar shaming project that calls property owners on the carpet, activates city agency responses, and encourages neighbors to get involved in a civic way to improve conditions on their block.

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Harelequinade. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

“The goal of the project was to catalyze a larger conversation about Baltimore’s ignored vacancy issue,” says the Nether, who had been putting up his wheat-pasted portraits of neighborhood folks on boarded-up doorways of the city’s abandoned buildings when he met Ott and became impressed with her enthusiastic online blog that documents the sad side of Bmore. Just how many buildings are vacant ranges from the city estimate of 16,000 to community group estimates of more than 40,000. But just looking at a Google map that uses some of the data from the groups website gives an idea how widespread the problem of vacancy is in Baltimore.

“It’s really frustrating when the government won’t acknowledge the problem,” says Ott in a video about her experience with her organization and her work to make neighborhoods structurally safer, “You cannot fix what you won’t acknowledge.”

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Nanook. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

Now with “Wall Hunters Inc”, a recently created non-profit organization, Nether has invited 17 artists to create this new series of installations that combine art and activism – installing unauthorized artwork on various dilapidated vacant houses. Next to the art are posted notices that incorporate QR codes that link to online data on the Slumlord Watch website so community members may learn about the housing and safety code violations on the property and about the owner responsible for the property’s decline. When neighbors started accessing this information, phones began ringing. Already some of the properties have been razed because of their precarious condition and the danger they posed.

Here are the stories of some of these installations as told by artists themselves and along with images of their work you can read some informational, insightful, even poetic, observations about their pieces for “The Slumlord Project”. As you read, you realize that some undertook a fair amount of research  to understand the relationship of their art with the vacant and abandoned property.

Underlying some of these stories are also critiques of the developers who have more recently begun rehabilitating or renaming neighborhoods, social conditions, and the history of the properties. Below the images of the new pieces here some of the artists give background of their process and the conditions. While we would have liked to confirm the names of some of the landlords who have been referenced in their accounts, we could not in time for publication and felt it would not be responsible to print them.

 

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Jetsonorama. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

Jetsonorama

“I spent a month in Baltimore in 1982. Shortly after leaving I heard Nina Simone’s version of Randy Newman’s song ‘Baltimore.’ Though I’ve never heard Randy Newman’s version, Nina sang is like she owned it and defined the persevering spirit of the city.

I shot this image in May of 2012 during Open Walls Baltimore. The girl in the photo, Johnnyasia, is an apprentice of Tony Divers, who is known at the Birdman of Greenmount West. The lyrics of the song appear around the periphery of the photo as a shout out to the city.”

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Stefan Ways. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

STEFAN WAYS

“When conjuring up an idea I will be the first to admit I did play it a little “safe” going for a Raven — Baltimore’s football mascot — but I feel the piece received a very positive response from the community. That was important to me since they are the ones who not only have to live with the eyesore of the building, but my semi-permanent installation as well. I created a mixed-media piece of a Raven building a nest. Wood slats from the building are held tightly in its grasp while “caution” tape blows in the wind from its calling beak. Nether popped up the QR code and we were out in a couple hours.

To our surprise, days later the QR code displaying the owners info had been torn down. Nether went and put it up again – it was later found torn down. About a week later Demolition signs were put all over the property – did our project come to fruition? Nobody is quite sure, but I want to say ‘yes’. The property was eventually demolished about two weeks after its set date. All and all I am so glad for the neighborhood that those terrible buildings are gone.

The project was amazing to be a part of and everyone’s work was held in high regard by everyone – community members, the police, the drug boys, city officials, the general public, and fellow artists. Wall Hunters has now made me look at my work, where I work, and my city in a much more specific way and I hope to do many more ‘unsanctioned murals’.”

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Stefan Ways. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

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Nether. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

Nether

“The piece I made for my second install for the Wall Hunters ‘Slumlord Project’ was a piece that I designed for the Cherry Hill/ Westport/ Mt. Winan’s area of southwest Baltimore. This is an area of town that is very off-the-map and many people don’t even know it exists. It’s an area with a lot of historic importance, has been crippled by drugs, vacancy, and poverty since the 90s, and soon will be developed into the new “Harbor West”. It was created after FDR’s “New Deal” and was built for black veterans returning from WW2. I find it most interesting and shameful when developers change the names of neighborhoods as they develop them. This area will become another example of that.

The character in the piece is my good friend Troy, who is from Cherry Hill. Troy has talked to me a lot about the area’s history, and he encouraged me to do a Wall Hunters piece on the side of the abandoned Mt. Winan Projects.

The Mt. Winans projects have some unsettling history in the dating from the 1990s. The police department twice, in 1995 and 1998, tried to put police substations into the projects and both times the substations were firebombed before opening. The drug operation running out of the Mt. Winans projects was estimated by some to gross $100,000 a month.

It is my belief, and the belief of many people in the area, that the City and developer’s plans are to destroy the collapsed identity of the area rather than help it once again thrive. In the piece, Troy is holding together three structures which symbolize the fading history of the area, probably never to be revitalized. From left to right, a burned down abandoned multi-purpose center at the top of Cherry Hill which has been turned to a methadone clinic, some Westport-style row houses along Annapolis Boulevard, and the Section 8 building called The Cherry Hill Homes.”

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Gaia. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

GAIA

“This piece depicts the crown of King Tut with the visage replaced by a cotton field that fades into another row home owned by Rochkind. A normal suburban home from Pikesville with eagle wings floats above the words Exodus in Hebrew and English. Rather than vilify an individual who could fairly be labeled a slumlord, this piece visualizes the connection between the Jewish and African American experience with migration.”

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Gaia. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

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Mata Ruda. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

Mata Ruda

“ ‘The Slumlord Project’ is a direct overture to a much-needed, urgent dialogue layered with complexity. To put it simply, the project is a visual catalyst for reform. From its conception to the moment I approached the wall with paint, two terms, in particular, had resonated with me: narrative, as a lead-up and description to a conversation of the condition of a specific form.

I painted a bust depicting a Greek Hellenistic muse next to a deteriorating cube. I chose the muse as a source of knowledge, relating a historical narrative of the neglected block. And for posterity, the bust of the muse personifies a face of prudence, relating the ability to govern and discipline oneself by the use of knowledge, reason, and truth.”

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LNY. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

LUNAR NEW YEAR (LNY)

“ ‘Shawnee’s Call’ was totally colored by the public conversation Baltimore was having about the “Wall Hunters” project on paper and around town. I arrived a day before the Baltimore Sun published this article voicing businessman and real estate owner Stanley Rochkind’s allegations of racism as a distraction to the real issue and I was painting on yet another one of his neglected properties. Needless to say the whole experience was very political but that is the point: anything that happens in the public realm is inherently political. Loitering, picking up trash, smoking, putting up illegal murals, commenting on newspaper articles – it all comes loaded with meaning so my attempt was to channel that focus and attention back to the core of this project, which the mural depicts.”

From what I understand, a neighbor of this property called the Baltimore Slumwatch and reported the property next to her house along with its violations, which, in turn, led me to that location to paint and it is this small act of concerned citizenship that the mural celebrates.”

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Pablo Machioli. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

Pablo Machioli

To describe his project and his experience, artists Pablo Machioli wrote this poem.

“Breathing Peace”

Mother Nature’s arms warmed
By colorful patches of human skin.

Urgently they break through
Among millions of fallen daisies,
And open our windows.

They beg us to look outwards,
They beg us to look inwards .

Outside there’s Milagro, but she is my sister.
She’s nine years old.
Each time she inhales, a daisy falls,
Each time exhales, a dove is born.

Each dove brings a vein in its beak:
To continue sewing patches ,
To continue warming arms,
To continue opening windows,
To enable us to look outwards and inwards,
And to let us and them breath peace.

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Sorta. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

SORTA

“Like many of the pieces in the project, mine was catered for the specific property. The “Vacant” that I pasted up on was noted as a lead paint infested dwelling. The house, which is listed as being owned by the Mayor and City Council, sits on the corner of a block with occupied houses all around it. Many of these houses have children living in them.

Lead paint exposure has been proven to cause many problems for growing children, including learning disabilities. The subject of the piece is a real person, the son of a friend of mine. He’s holding a Baltimore City Schools report card with failing grades and he’s standing in an oversized bucket of Dutch Boy lead paint.

I loved this project and the piece as the majority of my street works are portraits of people from the community. Additionally I often focus on children. But more often than not I try to capture real life topics, regardless of content and put it all together in a tasteful way. Sometimes I fail at this.

However I know who is walking or driving down that street. As a parent I am cautious to not offend other parents who might be exposed to my work without compromising the point I’m trying to make. The best part about street art for me is the interactions I have with the people walking up and down the street when I’m installing something. Baltimore offers a lot of love for street art and street artists; at least that’s been my experience. They seem to appreciate it. I mean, what’s easier to look at, a 14 foot tall portrait of a young man or the naked vacant building behind it that has been sitting there rotting for years?”

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Sorta. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

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Specter. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

Specter

“ ‘The Scaffold’ is a work that uses elements of construction and demolition
to comment on the uncertainty of vacant properties in Baltimore. The stairs have an eerie emptiness to them that reflects on this uncertainty leaving the viewer in limbo and questioning the fate of these structures.”

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Specter. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

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Tefcon. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

TEFCON

“In addition to my installation, I was given the opportunity to design the ‘Wall Hunters’ logo. The project was rooted in some pretty complicated cultural issues. Attempting to broach such an involved ideology was causing me to churn out this… overly complex, incomprehensible logo art. So, I decided to approach both the logo and my piece from a more literal standpoint, using animal hunting imagery.

I illustrated the lettering for the logo, adding a pair of horns as the ‘t’ in ‘Hunters.’ I mimicked the knotty / gnarled horn texture throughout the lettering and added a cool light source to give it some dimension. My installation was a carryover from the logo. I chose to go with a hunter character in a ‘hero’ pose. I would never go as far as to say what we were doing was heroic as I have too much respect for the actual heroes out there. However, I did consider the participants and the overall project to be a force for good and I wanted to convey that feeling in my piece.”

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Sirus. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

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NohJColey. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

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Doom. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

Doom

“This piece was pasted on what was reported to be the former base of operations for a self-proclaimed ‘King of Baltimore’, who was a convicted cocaine dealer and slumlord. These properties have been vacant for over 10 years.”

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Doom. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

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Cera. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

CERA

“In order for this piece to function, it simply needed to be activated. Creating ‘A Ship Will Sink With A Neglectful Captain,’ was such an exciting experience.

One of the more crucial points I try my hardest to maintain in my practice is the attention given to the viewer. Working on this wall, with this community, gave me the opportunity to see the their reactions to my artwork as well as their interest and noninterest.

Literally speaking with the community while working on this piece helped me understand what I do in my practice, and why I do it. I’m there for the process of assembling content, altering content, fragmenting it and spreading it out in layers. But I’m mostly driven by our people and our commonality.”

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Cera. Slumlord Project, Baltimore Summer 2013. (photo © Tarek Turkey)

 

For more information on The Baltimore Slumlord Watch please click HERE:

For more information on The Wall Hunters Slumlord Project please click HERE:

 

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The Synthesis Collaborative Presents: Wall/Therapy 2013 -Kickoff at 1975 Gallery. (Rochester, NY)

Wall Therapy
The city known as “The World’s Image Center” will once again be living up to its title as it welcomes nearly 30 world renown street artists for the third installment of WALL\THERAPY. They will be transforming walls both large and small throughout Rochester into works of art, serving our collective need for inspiration.

Expanding upon the success of its previous years, WALL\THERAPY will be hosting a week long event starting on July 19th, showcasing the extraordinary talent of artists from across the globe and from our own back yard. Faith47 and Chinese artist DALeast, both hailing from Cape Town, South Africa are returning to Rochester for the third consecutive year. New additions to the artist lineup include Gaia from Baltimore, Binho from Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wise Two from Nairobi, Kenya and London-based Irish artist Conor Harrington. Rochester-based artists Mr. Prvrt, Range, St. Monci and Sarah C. Rutherford will join other local artists and our visiting “wall therapists” to create 30 original pieces of art throughout the city.
To kick off this week long mural festival, there will be block parties in each neighborhood where the murals are being painted featuring local musicians and performers, adding to the experience as crowds watch the “wall therapists” at work. An open community dialogue with the artists will take place mid-week.
WALL\THERAPY is brought to you by The Synthesis Collaborative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health in the developing world using the tools of teleradiology and cloud computing. The common thread is “Imagery,” which has the potential to preserve and enhance life by addressing the needs of both the body and spirit. Its co-founder Dr. Ian Wilson envisions this event and the art it will create to be a lasting influence on the heart of the Rochester community. WALL\THERAPY brings these talented individuals together as a community-level intervention to use mural art as a vehicle to address our collective need for inspiration.
The 2013 WALL\THERAPY has also been made possible by the generous individuals who donated through our indiegogo campaign this past Spring. With their help and donations from local artists, our campaign was able to reach its goal of over $30,000.
Members of the press and public are invited to visit and engage the “wall therapists” as they paint their murals on the various walls generously donated by individuals and businesses in the South Wedge and El Camino Trail area.
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