All posts tagged: Bill Posters

“The Street Art Manual”; Rebel Artivism and Good Manners with Bill Posters / Dispatch From Isolation # 34

“The Street Art Manual”; Rebel Artivism and Good Manners with Bill Posters / Dispatch From Isolation # 34

Bill Posters knows his street art and activism history.

From Beuys’ practice of ‘social sculpture’ and John Fekner’s blunt upbraiding of urban planning hypocrisies to AIDS activists using street art to shame government homophobia and the paint-bombing of a Mao portrait that led to the arrest and torture of the artists/activists for counter-revolutionary propaganda, he’ll give you a solid foundation on precedence for this rebellious art life in “The Street Art Manual.”

He also knows how to yarn-bomb.

And myriad other techniques for freelance intervening in city spaces that you own, that all of us own, but which are often commandeered for commercial messages, political propaganda messages, or commercial-political propaganda messages – otherwise known as fascism.

His new book on hacking public space is one of the most instructive, constructive, serious and light-hearted romps through your world with new eyes. He has mastered a balance of educational and fun, sane and irreverent as he takes you methodically with text, photos, and cleanly modern diagrams through practices such as graffiti, stencils, paste-ups, subvertising, large-scale murals, yarn bombing, guerrilla theater, dropping banners, light projections, launching paint projectiles, and mastering aerial art via drone.

One may say that it is a handbook for taking back your voice in a sea of disinformation to advocate for a point of view. But don’t take yourself so seriously, dawg. Also, mind your manners. For being a rule breaker, Bill Posters wants you to be gentlemen and gentleladies and gentlepersons – Don’t just hit the streets as a hormone-fueled dunderhead who rides roughshod over others in a toxic, abusive way.

Check out his list for how to do the most fundamental of forms, graffiti. The “DO” list includes admonitions to “say something more than your name. Stick up for those less privileged”, which may sound like a tear-jerking sermon. But then he also tells you not to bring your cellphone to the train yard, which just seems logical.

In the “DON’T” list he suggests you don’t go into train yards without experienced writers, and he implores aspiring aerosol mark makers to be original, “Focus on developing your own voice and your own style.” In many ways, Bill Posters is the supportive dad you never had, which probably would have helped you avoid this whole vandalism lifestyle to begin with.

But since you are a vandal or are unwittingly breaking some municipality’s law by wrapping a sculpture with crochet to look like a clown, he does offer direct advice on dealing with authorities, knowing your rights, knowing what your options are, and knowing that some times police actually like your art and might let you off if you don’t act like a jerk.  All that said, this book is not about breaking laws, it’s philosophically about reclaiming public space and having a voice in your society.

“Throughout history, people have used creativity to push against conformity in search of experiences that create more meaning,” he says in his introduction. “Street art, and its predecessor, graffiti, are two art forms that do just that.” 

And when doing your subversive or society-saving art installation under cover of night, elsewhere he recommends, “Don’t forget to scope things out and check for onsite security. Dogs are a real issue when you’re stuck on a fence, hanging there like a tasty human sausage.”

The Street Art Manual by Bill Posters. The Street Art Manual new US on-sale date is now Sept. 8th. 2020. Published by Laurence King Publishing Ltd. London, UK. 2020.

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We had a question going into the BSA Talks program at Urvanity in Madrid earlier this month: How deep is the street? Turns out it’s very deep.

We had 10 minds from different countries and disciplines on the stage talking to us about a wide range of issues in depth, and armed with a vast wealth of knowledge.

As we reflect on our week in Madrid we realize that we came out of it vastly enriched. The knowledge shared on the stage came from people who have devoted a great part of their lives researching, studying, producing, traveling, writing, exposing, taking risks, creating on the streets, on stages, outdoors, indoors, alone, with a team, with funds, without funds.

Denis Leo Hegic (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Many have made their own path by walking.

Multiplying the effect was the fact that we were presenting in a bubble. Perhaps that is a metaphor to some, but in this case our three day exploration was while inside a room that had been covered with plastic top to bottom, side to side; a red bubble cave made of plastic. The site specific installation by the Madrid based collective Penique Productions changed our very perceptions because everything was drenched in a red/pink glow.

Here are some of the images from those few mind-expanding days;

Fernando Figueroa (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From the start, big thinker Denis Leo from Berlin spoke to us with his current vision on “The Intelligence of Many” and what it means in terms of collaborative place-making, curating, and problem-solving. It seemed a perfect note to begin as we contemplate a world where long established hierarchies are flattening and power is reallocated to those who can work collectively and independently. He reminded us that pretending to know about art may mean that we close our mind to new opportunity, new experiments and possibly the whole point.

Following him Dr. Fernando Figueroa from Madrid spoke about how Graffiti and Street Art can act as a social barometer; an emotional and ethical reflection of a neighborhood, a community, and a city. With an unearthing of research on societies attitude toward graffiti and mark-making that went back centuries, his research combined classical notions of civilization, architecture, and urban planning with the individuals’ psychological need to have a voice. He also talked about how to decode the messages we see on the street.

Juan Peiro (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Juan Peiro from Spain and Sergio Pardo from New York spoke about how we can thoughtfully program works that respond to the rhythm of a city, cognizant of its systems, in concert with its various populations.

A New York City Arts programmer and a professor at Universitat Politècnica de València, the two of them have worked in public space with artists and the community. Each had valuable observations about the interactions. An underlying theme: What is “creative placemaking” and how does one obtain permissions from all the parties who are affected by works in the public sphere?

Sergio Pardo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Prague based multidisciplinary artist Jan Kaláb spoke about inclusivity and exclusivity in Street Art as seen through the eyes of someone who’s art practice has continuously evolved in the past two decades. Reclining on the plastic red couch with mic in hand, Jan shared his personal experiences as a graffiti writer hitting trains and explained to us how the graffiti crews are an inclusive community who rely upon each other to succeed and how graffiti is a social experience that thrives in collaboration. Lessons learned from his foundations working collaboratively led him to different forms of working with artists, creators, administrators, galleries, and fans.

Jan Kaláb (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alberto González Pulido from Madrid touched on a timely and very important set of topics from the Gag Law in Spain, censorship to copyrights and artists’ intellectual rights. Armed with in-depth detail about current laws that are evolving to address Internet matters and copyright and free speech – casting a frightening pall of power overreach by corporations into areas exclusively reserved for our courts and governments. The main message for us was that we all need to educate ourselves.

Alberto González Pulido (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sabina Chagina from Moscow took us on a personal trip and shared her experience and the process and difficulties co-founding a Biennale of Street Art in Moscow, a city with practically no culture of street art on the streets. A frank and open sharing of knowledge, it was instructive on how huge projects can come together with the right partners and the ability to pivot when necessary toward opportunity. Also, think big!

Sabina Chagina (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Susan Hansen and Bill Posters took us on a learning trip with their lectures about hacking public space with subvertising, brandalism, collaborative interventions, the street practices of Creative Activism. They both spoke of the role that activism plays in a time of social-political-psychological upheaval and how Street Artists are using the existing public furniture to disseminate their message – and reclaim public space.

Susan Hansen (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bill Posters (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And finally curator, visionary, publisher and gallery owner Pascal Feucher from Berlin spoke about the importance of nurturing artists and giving them the space and the freedom to create, experiment, fail, learn and succeed.

Pascal Feucher (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Three days of intense learning and meeting people and talking about why we do what we do – and the importance of remaining independent and commercial free – gave us new impetus to continue taking risks. We are newly determined to make things happen; providing a platform for artists, curators and big thinkers to present their proposals and voice their dreams and aspirations. For galleries to announce their exhibitions. For art fairs to promote their programs, for authors to voice their thoughts and for the public to experience art without the intrusion of advertisements.

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Bill Posters and Valtònyc: ‘The Gag Law Made Me Do It’ / ‘Lay Mordaza Me Obliga’

Bill Posters and Valtònyc: ‘The Gag Law Made Me Do It’ / ‘Lay Mordaza Me Obliga’

‘The Gag Law made me do it!,” says Street Art activist and social commentator Bill Posters as he talks about his new kiosk takeovers in Placa Espanya, Barcelona. The large black and white photographs are of two free speech advocates arrested for offending ‘Ley Mordaza’ in Spain – a curious concoction of restrictions passed as law 3 years ago that most people would tell you are clearly repressive and are frankly difficult to believe would last for long in a European country.

Including restrictions on photographing police, organizing on social media, public protesting, even leaving furniture in the street (?) (a tradition), in the first seven months of the law being passed 40,000 sanctions were imposed, according to statistics from the Ministry of Internal Affairs on the website European Center for Press and Media Freedom. Euroweekly says that the current average is 80 citations per day. Although some of those cases have been overturned and El Pais says the government has been backtracking on these laws recently.

Bill Posters. Portrait in Exile 2 – Anna Gabriel. ‘Lay Mordaza Me Obliga’ / ‘The Gag Law Made Me Do It’. Intervention in Placa Espanya. Barcelona, Spain. October 2018 (photo © Bill Posters)

Article 578, known as ‘Ley Mordaza’ (the ‘gag law’) has been condemned by Amnesty International and is symbolized in these Street Art pieces by the piece of red tape that goes across the subjects’ mouths. Mr. Posters tells us he intends it to be an interactive piece that the public can remove the tape themselves, symbolically allowing the subject to speak. This act of de-censorship is a novel idea and in fact someone recently did that and photographed it (below).

The artist tells us more details about the two subjects, who he says are, “taken hostage by the Spanish state’s legal apparatus that is increasingly designed to silence both political and cultural dissent.”

Anna Gabriel: “After the holding in 2017 of the Catalan independence referendum, called by the Generalitat de Catalunya, and declared illegal by the Constitutional Court of Spain – the former spokesperson for the Catalan pro-Independence campaign, was called to appear in front of the Spanish Supreme Court to give evidence about her participation in those events. On February 20th, 2018, she stated in an interview to Le Temps that she would not show up for her court hearing, while in a self imposed exile in Switzerland.”

Bill Posters. Portrait in Exile 1 – Valtònyc. ‘Lay Mordaza Me Obliga’ / ‘The Gag Law Made Me Do It’. Intervention in Placa Espanya. Barcelona, Spain. October 2018 (Screen grab from the video)

Valtònyc: “A vocal pro-independence rapper from Catalonia was sentenced to 3 years in prison in March 2018 for lyrics that contained (alleged) glorification of terrorism, slander, ‘lèse-majesté’ (defamation against the crown), and threats.”

Here at BSA we don’t pretend to know all of the history or innerworkings of Spain and Catalonia – or Brooklyn for that matter – but we do worry seriously when we hear about artists being silenced and jailed for speech – and you should too.

Through a third party BSA was able to send a few interview questions to the twenty-four year old Catalonian rapper Valtònyc, who is featured in one of these Street Art pieces and who Belgium recently refused to extradite. With a number of “western” societies going in a hard-right direction politically, we wanted to understand how a country like Spain could have passed these recent laws and how they are affecting artists – those weirdos who usually are the first to test the limits of free speech.

Edited for clarity and brevity, these are the answers we received back:

BSA: Democracy returned to Spain in 1977, yet 41 years later you were convicted by the Supreme Court of Spain for exercising your rights to express your opinions not only as a citizen but as an artist. How is it possible that a member state of the EU, one that bills itself as a democratic state, can rescind freedom of speech among its citizens?
Valtònyc: Being condemned for a song lyric is not the most serious thing that happens in Spain. Since the beginning of the supposed “democracy”, Spain has the only general secretary of a communist party in prison under a life sentence. Now he is also joined by the president of ERC and the ministers of Catalonia without trial and with accusations of up to 30 years for rebellion.

In Spain, multiple daily newspapers, websites and illegal political parties have also been closed. All this while Europe watches. We are not a bourgeois democracy like other countries in Europe, we are a fascist state and it is demonstrable.

The above photo of the installation shown without the red tape was sent to Valtonyc (the Catalonian rapper in exile) which shows his portrait with the red tape removed. “Someone, an unknown member of the public transgressed the boundary from observer to participant which is what the project intended!” Bill Posters

BSA: What about democracy? What’s happened to the Spanish Institutions that were created after the dictatorship to protect the rights of its citizens?
Valtònyc: In a democracy, institutions are there to serve citizens. In Spain they only serve to condemn them. There are 20,000 people affected by the ‘gag law’. When there is a wave of organization and demonstrations, they respond with repression.

It is curious that they never condemn fascists or Nazis and that the accused are always communists and anarchists. The constitutional court does not respond to violations of the constitution, such as my sentence and that of the remaining 15 rappers. Is not freedom of expression a constitutional right?

BSA: Do you think the current state of Spain is a direct consequence of corruption?
Valtònyc: Brussels recently has shown that Spain is the most corrupt country in Europe. Of 1400 corrupt politicians, only 70 have entered prison and none of them has served their sentence in full. Worst of all is corruption within justice – how judges paralyze investigations of political parties or destroy evidence of illegal financing. It’s a disaster.

BSA: Do you see other young people like yourself being aware of the social issues and the struggles facing Spain now? How are they getting involved to help create a better country?
Valtònyc: Every day people are more aware of what is happening in the Spanish state and are organized or mobilized. There are never enough, but as in France, we in Spain also have examples of organization and struggles that have ended in victory. There are the examples of Gamonal, the train of Murcia, or the miners of Asturias. It shows that the people united and on the street, not only on the Internet, can preserve all the rights they try to take away from us. History proves this as a fact and it has never changed.

(photo © Pepe Marín)

BSA: Do you think most young people in Spain view the Spain of Franco as something in the distant past and see no connection between his 35 years in power and the concerns of contemporary Spain?
Valtònyc: I believe that many people are aware of the rise of the extreme right throughout Europe; how the extreme right takes advantage of the weaknesses of the popular classes in their speeches and thus wins their sympathy. The problem is that we do not organize ourselves to stop fascism and then we are surprised that in the elections they win so many votes. Fascism advances if it is not fought and it is a pity that people do not understand that this is more than a simple slogan.

BSA: Do you think artists must take a position with their art to lead a revolution for change? What is the part that art plays during times of social unrest and injustice?
Valtònyc: I believe that art has to be a tool for social transformation; a hammer to shape reality. All art is political, many people think not, but that’s the way it is. Your art can serve the oppressor or the oppressed class, but it is impossible to stay out of politics. Now in the HipHop scene the Trap sound abounds and the political rap is not so notorious, but we still remain combative rappers in the trenches – especially in South America and in France.


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Just In Time for #CyberMonday: Mr. Bill Posters Brandishes “Waste World” in UK

Just In Time for #CyberMonday: Mr. Bill Posters Brandishes “Waste World” in UK

To coincide with #CyberMonday we’re bringing you the satiric stylings of Billboard takeover artist Bill Posters in Manchester, England.

Bill Posters. “Waste World” (photo still from the video)

His newest ‘Waste World’ billboard and video (below) chides our blithe consumerism and the colonialist practice of dumping our waste and “recycling” on poor people in other countries – so they can sift through our lifestyles and possibly become poisoned by the toxic materials inside discarded electronics.

Installed last Friday, or as advertisers are training the population to say, “Black Friday”, Mr. Posters tells us that he was thinking of better activities to do rather than get stampeded by TV addicts in a big box store.

Bill Posters. “Waste World” (photo still from the video)

“We should probably be paying more attention to where the majority of our ‘recycled’ waste actually ends up,” he says. “In low-income countries, 93% of global waste is dumped due to inadequate urban provisions. Western countries can’t process their own waste, instead – they sell it to other low-income countries in Asia and Africa.”

It’s true, we don’t see photos of people sitting and sifting on mountains of trash when we’re chasing bargains. That’s why Mr. Posters says he wants to create a campaign that commandeers advertising space to show “the profound social and environmental impacts of consumer waste in countries and communities hidden from view”.

Bill Posters. “Waste World” (photo still from the video)

Done in concert with Brandalism and other individual artists around the world who stripped ads from bus stops, phone kiosks, and billboards on Saturday for NO AD Day, the new billboard features a collage of people celebrating the fabulous products rich people can buy amidst an ocean of consumer detritus. With new installations that take aim at at brands including Nike, Pretty Little Thing, Apple and Gucci, the artists says he is also inspired by the latest issue of the magazine New Internationalist’s which talks about our garbage stream in a scintillating piece called “Modern Life is Rubbish”.

A bit of an exaggeration, right?

“Over 15 million people around the globe – the majority women and children, earn their living as waste pickers, literally sifting through westerners waste to earn a living,” he says.

Bill Posters. “Waste World” (photo still from the video)


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BSA Film Friday: 11.16.18


Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 44. In this short film, street artist D*Face discusses his own issues with isolation and loneliness and explains why he has joined forces with leading men’s health organisation, the Movember Foundation, to raise awareness about men’s mental health. D*Face and eight other famous faces from the street art world have created agenda-setting pieces aimed at opening conversations about mental health and suicide prevention. The bold works, including pieces by Shepard Fairey, Jonathan Yeo and Conor Harrington, will go on view at Sotheby’s London (16–20 November) ahead of our upcoming sale Contemporary Curated (20 November | London). Proceeds from the sale of these works will benefit Movember’s groundbreaking mental health programmes.


Bill Posters: “La Ley Mordaza Me Obliga” / “The Gag Law Made Me Do It”

Amore “Lucky Russian”



Franchise Freedom by Studio Drift at Burning Man 2018


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BSA Images Of The Week 09.02.18 – Artmossphere Biennale 2018

BSA Images Of The Week 09.02.18 – Artmossphere Biennale 2018


It’s been a packed couple of weeks between traveling to Moscow for the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 and immediately hopping to Leipzig, Germany for the magnificent Monumenta opening. Our heads are full of stories and conversations and images in two distinctly different scenes that somehow are still completely connected. Can’t tell if its euphoria or relief or jetlag but this Sunday is a dizzying day of taking account and being really thankful to be involved with an astounding amount of talent and camaraderie in the Graffiti/Street Art/Urban Art community that is connecting people around the world.

Here are our images of the week this time around; some selections from the Thursday night Artmossphere Biennale 2018 in Moscow, featuring 108, 1UP, Adele Renault, Bill Posters, BLOT, Canemorto, CT, the DOMA Collective, Egs, Faith XLVII, Faust, Finsta, Hyland Mather, LOT, Lucy McLauchlan, Lyall Sprong, Martha Cooper, Pablo Harymbat, and Pink Power.

Canemorto. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faust. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faith XLVII . Lyall Sprong. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Finsta. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Finsta. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper . Adele Renault. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper . Adele Renault. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1UP Crew. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1UP Crew. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pablo Harymbat. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hyland Mather. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

108. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

CT . 108. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

DOMA Collective. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lucy McLauchlan. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

EGS. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BLOT. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pink Power. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bill Posters. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sabina Chagina. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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