All posts tagged: Bisco Smith

Layer Cake Bring Their “Versus Project” to UN

Layer Cake Bring Their “Versus Project” to UN

The brilliant Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark (C100) have been at the graffiti/street art/contemporary art nexus for much of the last decade, delineating the boundaries, and then artfully shifting them.

A multi-year project now welcoming guests at Urban Nation’s Special Projects space in Berlin reveals the imprecision of terminologies and commonly-used nomenclature in this period of hyper-hybridization.

Mick La Rock/Aileen Middel VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

When you consider the volley of influences that bounce and collide on metro cars and street walls and digital screens these days, it makes sense to describe the experimentation now afoot as a dialogue. As the Munich-based duo called Layer Cake, the two artists have been doing exactly that with one another’s art for a half dozen years.

“One begins to paint, the other reacts,” say Hartl and Hundertmark in their recent interview for the UN website. “Thus (we) conduct an artistic dialogue. The marker asks a question, the paint can answers, the brush completes or provokes,” they say, “until both artists agree that the mural is finished.”

It is not an automatic process for graffiti writers to create work this way; as one of the basic tenets of the street, you don’t go over someone else’s work unless you mean to show disrespect or provoke a battle.

Drawing upon an eclectic selection of participants with experience on the street, the two act as curators of the new show called ‘Versus’. The rules are similar to their personal practice – produce a collaborative piece with another artist whose style and references may not match yours directly – with each contributor agreeing when the piece is complete.

The clashing and crashing can be seen on the canvass as each new addition rebalances the abstraction, and not everyone was sure it would work.

Bisco Smith VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

Artist Flavien Demarigny hesitated to participate versus Layer Cake because he wasn’t sure if he could work with their style that often incorporates calligraffiti techniques, he says. “As it is a major ingredient of Layer Cake‘s visual language I wasn’t sure if I was the right fit for it,” he says in a Facebook post.

“Then I remembered this is precisely what collaborations are about: pushing your limits, opening your perception, and create together new horizons. As a result, we started three collaborative pieces and one came out fantastic, which we decided to present in this show. Their choice of sticking to the repetitive pattern of my style was the wise one, so the two vocabularies can interact, as accidents make it unexpected and create the poetry of it.”

Dave The Chimp VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

With 13 different artists passing canvasses back and forth – each adding and subtracting, obliterating and augmenting, they say that at the root of the process was a rule not to consult, but rather, react.

The results fairly wrestle under the constraints, each cutting forward, marking and gesturing and claiming space on the canvass. These works illustrate the tension you may associate with the harshly pounding street in cities, sometimes still glittering insistently despite the struggle.  

Usugrow VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

“It is not easy to make an intervention in someone else’s painting,” says graffiti style-writing veteran Mick La Rock of her ingrained hesitancy during the art-making process. “You want to avoid taking the painting over and make it your own style. Every part I added to the painting was thought over at least ten times before painting it,” she says in an interview for the show.

On view in the Special Projects room near the museum, “Versus” is a sharp reminder of the community that joins together on walls and surfaces all over the world. Each style challenges the one next to it, sometimes holds it accountable, other times revealing its true nature. The curators say “The Versus Project is an artistic experiment in communication, challenging dialogue, the struggle for a final form.”

Chaz Bojorquez VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)
Wandal VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)
Flavien VERSUS Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)
Layer Cake. Versus Project. Urban Nation Berlin. (photo courtesy of UN/layer Cake)

PARTICIPATING ARTISTS:

Layer Cake (Patrick Hartl und Christian Hundertmark aka C100), Chaz Bojorquez (Los Angeles / US), Mick La Rock / Aileen Middel (Amsterdam / NL), Sebastian Wandl (München / DE), Dave the Chimp (Berlin / DE), Bisco Smith (New York / US), Vincent Abadie Hafez (Zepha) (Toulouse / FR), Formula 76 (Hamburg / DE), Usugrow (Tokio / JP), Bust (Basel / CH), Jake (Amsterdam / NL), Egs (Helsinki / FI), Imaone (Tokio / JP) und Flavien (Apt / FR).

“The Versus Project” curated by Layer Cake is currently open to the general public at the Urban Nation Project Space. The exhibition will be on view until December 31, 2021. Click HERE to find more information about the exhibition, Covid protocols, and schedule.

Project space of the URBAN NATION Museum, Bülowstrasse 97, 10783 Berlin

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BSA Images Of The Week: 01.26.20

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.26.20

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The city is in mid-winter “blah” mode. We suffered a fire at the New York City’s Museum of Chinese in America this week, and the Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams used his Martin Luther King Day speech to tell recent arrivals to ‘Go back to Iowa,’ Things can be tough out here people.

In Street Art and graffiti news, New York has had some “whole car” pieces on the subway line recently, including one that looked like a whole train! Old timers were rubbing their eyes. According to a local media outlet, legendary graffiti artist Chris “Freedom” Pape gave his assessment; “..based on the artist’s philosophy, he gives it an “A” but based on the quality of the graffiti on old subways, he gives it a “C”. Also a new film about New York octogenarian Street Artist Robert Janz opened this week at the Anthology Film Archives. Janz in the Moment is the passion project of Filmmaker Joanna Kiernan that features many corners and crazy details of New York’s streets that are familiar to us – and probably to you.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week from Miami, and this time featuring Add Fuel, Atomik, Bisco Smith, CRKSHNK, Dal East, Feik, Hysterical Men, Jilly Ballistic, Kai, Mr. June, Pure Genius, Rick Azevedo, WCKT, What Will You Leave Behind, Will Power, and Winston Tseng.

London Kaye gives a shout out to the Australian’s wildlife, and of course to the people as well. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
London Kaye gives a shout out to the Australian’s wildlife, and of course to the people as well. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Feik. Wynwood. Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Will Power (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Will Power (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jilly Ballistic (photo © Jaime Rojo)
CRKSHNK (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bisco Smith. Wynwood. Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Add Fuel. Wynwood. Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Atomik. Wynwood. Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hysterical Men (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Winston Tseng (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Kai. Wynwood. Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pure Genius (photo © Jaime Rojo)
What Will You Leave Behind (photo © Jaime Rojo)
WCKT (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mr. June. Wynwood. Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ric Azevedo. Wynwood. Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. NYC Subway. January 2020. Manhattan, NY.(photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 11.24.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.24.19

What is more consequential to you today as we head into Thanksgiving week?  Social justice? Economic justice? Environmental justice? If we’re looking at Street Artists who are making new stuff for the passerby these days, it looks like themes nature and animals and endangered humans pop up a lot.

Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations since 1970, according to a report cited in The Gaurdian this week. Great job, people! If the steady build-up of environmental themes in Street Art is an indicator, we know that killing off the worlds’ animal species will kill us off too.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week from Berlin, and this time featuring AJ LaVilla, Bisco Smith, Blek le Rat, Damon, Tito Ferrara, Key Detail, Lee Quinones, Surface of Beauty, Jeremy Novy, 7DC and LMNOPI.

Tito Ferrara for East Village Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Key Detail (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lee Quinones. Lion’s Den Mural, 2018 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Blek le Rat (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bisco Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)
We can’t read this piece on a Berlin train…can you? (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Damon for 212 Arts. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jeremy NOVY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Surface of Beauty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
AJ Lavilla (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist(s) in Berlin (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Magnet wall in Berlin (photo © Jaime Rojo)
7DC (photo © Jaime Rojo)
LMNOPI (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 06.23.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.23.19

Two things come to mind simultaneously as we publish this collection of Street Art and graffiti.
1. All the Rainbow Flag waving means nothing if you are not willing to help protect the dignity of immigrants who are being dragged from their homes and thrown in jail-detention centers in the US, and
2. All white people are immigrants and descendants of immigrants.

We’ve all seen this movie before. Or our parents did. Or our grandparents did. You’re next, baby!

It was great to see/hear/feel Faile and Swizz Beats doing a quick summer dance party this week in Manhattan – flourescent madness ya’ll. Also, it was astounding to see so many graffiti heads and other notables at Beyond the Streets this week – It was a cultural event that blew our minds. Seriously, Corn Bread was actually selling t-shirts on a table at the entrance – and that started the litany. You can see our review published yesterday.

And finally, can we call a moratorium on rain for a few days? The grass and trees are green already.

So here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring AME 72, Bisco Smith, Emma Apicelli, Feminists in Struggle, IXNAY, Joe Caslin, Katsu, Part Time Artist, Royce Bannon, and Tonk Hawaii.

Joe Caslin. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Royce Bannon (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Katsu (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bisco Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Part Time Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
AME 72 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
AME 72 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Feminists In Struggle (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Emma Apicelli (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jaye Moon. Calle Me By Your Name. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ms. Moon made this installation using Legos with a message in Braille. The words in the message was taken from the script of the movie “Call Me By Your Name.”

Jaye Moon. Call Me By Your Name. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jaye Moon. Call Me By Your Name. WorldPride Mural Project Initiative. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. Manhattan, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Street protester (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tonk Hawaii (photo © Jaime Rojo)
IXNAY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. The Last Picture. Brooklyn, NY. June 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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“The Art Of Writing Your Name” Expands Potential for Both Art & Writing

“The Art Of Writing Your Name” Expands Potential for Both Art & Writing

Niels Shoe Meulman on the cover of The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

“Writing”, as in the graffiti sense of the word, has become quite tastefully adventurous of late, as calligraffiti pushes and pulls it in height, dimension, finesse. Evolved from our first recorded history, the modern stylizing of the letter form is as fascinating and wild as it is domesticated, the mundanity of your particular tag now veritably swimming in many depths and swirling currents, weaving complex melodies, hitting notes previously unheard.

JonOne The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

This was inevitable, now that you think of it, this organic and ornate practice of making your mark, and the freedom to explore it came from the street. Mark-making indeed. You can call it “The Art of Writing Your Name,” as have the authors/artists Christian Hundertmark and Patrick Hartl.

Born of many late night talks and collaborative painting sessions together, merging Christian’s abstract graphics and collage with Patrick’s calligraphy and tagging, the two slowly discovered a mutual collection of writers and artists whose work they both admired, a book slowly taking form in their minds. “Our late night sessions also implied long conversations about the evolution of Graffiti to Street Art to urban calligraphy,” the authors say in their preface.

Poesia The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Graff writers in the mid 90s Munich scene, both had developed their individual styles beyond the classic street vocabulary, now evermore interested in discovering new materials, forms, processes, influences. Just released this summer, this new collection confidently illustrates what until now may have been evident to only a few; the aesthetics of writing have expanded and permutated far beyond their own roots in graffiti, tattoo, traditional calligraphy.

“Every artist brings a different approach with their calligraphy artwork,” says perhaps the most prominent of the genre today, Niels Shoe Meulman, who blazed into the publishing world with his tome “Calligraffiti” in 2010 after bringing his practice to the street and gallery. “We all come from different experiences and have different things to say.”

SheOne The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Indeed the list here includes the literal interpretations to those so far dissembled as to appear purely abstract, the aerosoled, the inked, the drippy, the purely light, the monstrously brushed acrossed floors and rooftops, the molded and bent and aroused into sculpture. Here the letter form is stretched to its limits, far beyond its relevance as part of codified language, more so the malleable warm putty in the hands of the artist, molded and mounted and even mystifying in the service of energy, kineticism, emotion.

“I start with quite randomly placed fat cap tags on the white surface,” says German author/artist Hartl to describe his particular technique, “then I overpaint it like 80% with slightly transparent paint, tag the wall with markers, overpaint that layer again, then I do stickers and posters, rip parts off again, repeat all these steps again and again until I’m happy with the result.”

Said Dokins The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Without doubt many will find inspiration in these nearly 300 pages, these insightful interviews with artists like Stohead, Usugrow, Saber, Kryptic, Faust, Carlos Mare, L’Atlas, Lek & Sowat, Poesia, Tilt; the forward by Chaz Bojorquez, the singular, at times stunning, photos and supportive texts.

Made for “graffiti fanatics, hand lettering fans, street art junkies, calligraphy lovers, and type enthusiasts”, co-author Christian Hundertmark edited the respected “Art of Rebellion” series and he knows his audience and this slice of his culture. The 36 artists are not the only ones representing this evolution in calligraphy, but they are certainly some of the finest.

Lek & Sowat The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

L’Atlas The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Tilt The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Carlos Mare The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Faust The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.


The Art Of Writing Your Name: Contemporary Urban Calligraphy and Beyond by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags – und Handels GmbH & Co. KG. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Artists included are Chaz Bojorquez, JonOne, Niels Shoe Meulman, Poesia, Cryptik, SheOne, Said Dokins, Stohead, Usugrow, Patrick Hartl, Lek & Sowat, L’Atlas, Tanc, Mayonaize, Soklak, Mami, Tilt, Blaqk, Soemone, Jan Koke, Jun Inoue, Vincent Abdie Hafez / Zepha, Carlos Mare, Egs, Simon Silaidis, Faust, Luca Barcellona, Bisco Smith, Creepy Mouse, Defer, eL Seed, Rafael Sliks, Saber, Pokras Lampas.

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Low Brow Artique Presents: Bisco Smith “World Upside Down” (Brooklyn, NYC)

Bisco Smith

Low Brow Artique is proud to host Bisco Smith’s solo exhibit, World Upside Down. Bisco Smith (aka Bisc1) is best known for his graffiti work on walls, as well as his audio and visual work within hip hop culture. World Upside Down is a collection of observations, commentary, and attempts to make sense of today’s world—a moment in time where systems are collapsing and social fabrics are shifting. A time when the train of progress continues to gain speed, moving us faster and further into the unknown…
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