– don’t know why I say it that way but it seems that the streets had a few more historical references and sudden intricate storylines when Gore B. was around. His new “drawing” show opening at Pandemic Gallery in South Williamsburg tomorrow features densely layered elements in black white and silver – all of his favorites: painted portraits from early photos, symbols from science, religious and maybe astronomy textbooks, ornate filigranic linework, and an ongoing fascination with type styles and letter faces.
But Gore B. will not be alone at Pandemic by any means on Friday – “Stokenphobia”, a show about two geometric shapes, will feature the work of around 40 street artists and friends in a show of community love for signage.
Says Robbie D. of Pandemic, “It’s kind of sporadic. There was no real theme except ‘Just do whatever you feel on the objects we give you.’ We provided the metal signs and basically everybody is allowed to do what they want. So there’s no real theme to the artwork – it’s just about the shapes.”
Speaking about the makeup of the group who was invited to participate in the show, Robbie D say, “Mainly they are street artists but there are a lot of friends and artists who don’t work on the street but work in a studio. So it’s really just acquaintances and other street art people we respect and have known for a while now – kind of a close group of people that we know.”
Please join us for the opening of our newest exhibition, “Stokenphobia”. Featuring drawings from Gore B and hand painted signs from over 30 artists. We will be having an opening reception Friday, March 12 from 7-11pm.
Gore B has long been an integral part in the street art scene coast to coast, from hand painted signs bolted around New York City, to crisp roller letters hidden around Santa Cruz. His work, painted either on canvas or scrawled across the walls of bridge underpasses depicts characters of regional importance and cultural significance.
“Stokenphobia” or the fear of circles and round objects is a fear we have decided to confront head on by displaying the work of many urban artists hailing from New York, Philadelphia, and California on large round metal road signs. If this circular display becomes too overwhelming for those afflicted by the phobia they need only to turn around and will find over 60 small rectangular signs painted by the same motley crew of unconventional art misfits. Pandemic is giving those afflicted with Stokenphobia a chance to confront this debilitating fear.
Artists participating include:
Abe. Lincoln Jr., Armer, Becki Fuller, Bloke, Buildmore, Cahbasm, Celso, Chris Campisi, Chris RWK, Dana Woulfe, Darkcloud, Deuce7, Dickchicken, Droid, Enamel Kingdom, Egg Yolk, Faro, Infinity, Jordan Seiler, Keely, LA2, Luna Park, Matt Bixby, Matt Siren, Moody, Morgan Thomas, Nate Hall Paper Monster, Plasma slugs, Royce Bannon, Sadue, Shai Dahan, Stikman, Skewville, Ski, Swampy, Veng RWK, Wrona, 2esae, and more TBA
Graff started on the street, I think. Street art started in the studio.
Main difference. That was easy, right?
Now graff keeps going into the studio, the gallery, the museum. And now we are watching as fine art, or some approximation of it, is continuallly leaving the home studio (kitchen table), gallery, collective, etc. and flooding the streets. The explosion of street art is having it’s effect and the opinions it produces are as varied as, um, people. The point is that the veil has been punctured, and the creative spirit is not willingly being confined today. Everything and everyone is becoming a hybrid.
Last weekend in a neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s home to a lot of variety at the moment – Bushwick – a three day Bushwick Open Studios event took place, featuring over 200 open studios, live music, parties, workshops, panels, student art shows, puppet shows, the whole enchilada. Don’t worry, it’s not all high-minded, or necessarily thought provoking. It’s just an indication of where we are moving. It’s impossible to see everything so you just have to pick and choose a few of your favorites and see which way the slimey wind leads you.
Started off at “2012” the new show at Factory Fresh featuring the work of graff/street art youth – the place was pretty young and sweaty and full of excitement, and parts of the inside looked like it could have been outside – plywood, tags, partial messages, and organized chaos. Sorry for the crappy pics from the phone, but you get the idea.
A wall of 9"x9" pieces by Faro, Bloke, and Avoid. (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Faro, UFO, others that you may know at "2012" at Factory Fresh (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Bad Kids, Erotic Kids, Charles Barkley, Krink markers (photo Steven P. Harrington)
A is for Apple, Abbreviation, Aiko, Anarchist, Arriviste, Artist? In this case, probably it's for Avoid (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Then Kings County Bar also hosted a show that night for ELC and their new collaborations, which were kind of hard to see because it was, uh, a dark bar. Also there were other gyrating distractions that may have taken patron’s focus off their art show. Included in the show were Royce Bannon, Anera, Infinity, Celso, Abe Lincoln Jr., Ad Deville, Dark Clouds, and Matt Siren.
A quick way to cut through a crowded bar is to tiptoe across the top of it. (photo (cc) Hrag Vartanian)
Following a rainy Friday, the rest of weekend was nice. In fact, a new Bishop 203 appeared out of nowhere on this abandoned building, like an urban flower.
Bishop 203 with a black heart (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Pocket Utopia had it’s last show this weekend, featuring a 16 foot tall fiberglass monster that dispensed beer in the back yard, a performance by artist/musician/dynamo Andrew Hurst in the basement that was viewable through a hole drilled in the floor, and this large scary portrait by Kevin Regan. You might recognize the revolutionary jowls. It’s not street art, per se, but certainly we’ve seen this king of photographic mutation on the street in the work of MBW, Judith Supine, Dain, Bast, and others.
Kevin Regan at Pocket Utopia (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Speaking of Judith Supine, English Kills was showing a large piece by said street artist called “God of Mars” Chris Harding, visionary owner of the space, explained that this is the biggest canvas Supine has ever done, and that numerology figured into it’s actual dimensions to bring good luck to the piece.
Chris points out a detail on the Judith Supine piece (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Large new canvas by Judith Supine (courtesy English Kills)
Later, after too many beers, we stumbled into a salon of 20-something Illinois settlers (Illinois in the House!), a true sign of the everchanging makeup of the music and art scene. An appreciate audience of 50+ people were spread out over salvaged furniture (and one in a bathtub) to listen to old timey folk inspired singers and bands.
Rockin the autoharp, which is slightly older than wearing trucker caps (photo Steven P. Harrington)
While thumping house music from down the block and the occasional police siren wafted in the cracked 4th floor factory windows, singer-songwriters plucked on autoharp, glockenspiel, electric guitar, and a variety of hand held percussion instruments. The really remarkable part was the lack of manic cell-phone snapping, texting, or Twittering among such an assembled group of youthful beauty during the performances. They appeared to be paying attention. Is that even POSSIBLE? Maybe this was a movie set. Or maybe Illinois artist-peeps are just more respectful. I was going to try to get through this paragraph without mentioning Sufjan Stevens, but there, I’ve said it. Baahhhhhhhhhh!
The tunes were folky and relationship-centric, but she did say "f*ck" a few times in one song, so that's what gives it the edge. (photo Steven P. Harrington)
So there you have it, one shard of a giant shattered crystal mirror that is Bushwick. The torch is passed again to a new generation of weirdos and misfits to develop beauty. Since most of the real estate developers are trying to hatch their stalled projects in Billyburg and lure in more “consumers”, maybe the recession has bought some time and the multi-feathered flock of “creatives” will continue to fly here for a while. That way the nests will stay affordable, and the space aplenty.
The art on the street, naturally, has plenty to say on these and other matters…
Oh, it’s all good fun! Piles of tires on fire, people running in the streets, acts of desperation, pestilence, unending video surveillance; This is one vision of 2012 we hear these days.
Avoid, Bloke, and Faro have been holed up inside Factory Fresh building a destroyed urban scene in the front room for about three weeks to warn us of the impending cavalcade of calamity headed our way in only 3 short years.
And they haven’t been doing it alone. Ask the Factory Fresh interns, the woodworking engineer Garrett, or the curator and producer of the show Alex Emmert, “We are all working together on this. We are all learning from each other at all times.” In short, to create an end-of-times societal and environmental meltdown, you need everyone to collaborate.
Start placing your bets, neighbors, because you know it is definitely coming – the end of civilization as we know it. The end of civilization has been of course predicted for most of human civilization – Everyone from the Montanists to Nostradamus, Hippolytus to Pope Innocent III, to Jim and Tammy Baker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jerry Falwell; they have all claimed to have the inside special knowledge revealed only to a select few.
The year 2012 is being gazed upon by prophets and prognosticators as the next possible sunset to civilization and/or spiritual awakening. At your fingertips on the WWW is a swirling bubbling caldron of relevant indicators and evidence of this ominous date where a few of the worlds major religious belief systems and the Mayan Calendar neatly dovetail.
It’s not really clear whether Avoid, Bloke and Faro really believe that there will be a calamity that marks the end of civilization in 2012, or if they are just reacting to the ever-increasing pressures of economic insecurity, loss of personal liberties, and the threats of war and strife that exist in the modern world. If you are in the right audience and living under the right conditions, you may be convinced that it is very near the end of the world, and who could blame you?
“On the Eve of Armageddon : an Account of the Scriptural Teaching Relating to the War Among the Nations Which Will Engulf Civilization, and Immediately Precede the Universal and Eternal Kingdom of Peace.”, Haynes, Carlyle Boynton. Washington: Review and Herald Pub. Association, 1946.
Yo, What’s Good?
I clearly remember sitting on a hardwood church pew while a tall bearded Charismatic Pentacostal dude stood in front of an audience of 300 and revealed to the hushed and horrified crowd that the seven year “Tribulation” would begin in 1981 (as per messages from God that had been revealed to him and other elders of the church). Across the congregation, people’s knees weakened and stomachs grew nauseous with fear and hands jolted into the air, and voices raised in exultation and praise. At that moment, you could have convinced that crowd to impale live babies with spears or eat at Olive Garden or even vote for a B-list Hollywood actor to dismantle the middle class, so strong was the power of prophecy and fear. Thankfully, those days are safely behind us and people don’t use fear to manipulate crowds anymore.
Oh sure, NOW you tell us!! New Hampshire Street Art! (Mark at Nozell.com)
But here we are and “2012” is nearly upon us. As you walk into the main gallery space you will be greeted by a burning city of plywood. Although it may be hard to be too frightened when the ominous clouds are in fact fluffy, and the licking fire that engulfs the cityscape reminds you of PeeWee Herman playtimes. Even the surveillance cameras are swervy and playful. “Yeah, we wanted it to be kind of ‘Adult Swim’, kind of absurd”, explains Faro.
Alex holds the clouds, that’s how powerful he is. (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Signs are painted brightly with a loose hand, and are covered with mixed symbols from scientific, religious, and graff influence. Avoid springs avidly over to the corner booth where a video will be visible through a rectangular viewer, and describes that visitors will see scenes of, “chaos, car crashes, people jumping off bridges”. As they happily describe the scene of urban apocalypse you could get the idea that “evil” might actually sport a tail and some pointy horns.
Letter and Symbols for the future (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Alex Emmert explains the concept of the room, “My background is in exhibition design, I have a Masters degree in Museum Studies and I focus on exhibition design. So I’ve been wanting to have the freedom to put together an art show that uses some of the things I’ve learned as well as the ideas of the artists so that we can all kind of work together. It’s better than just having me be the curator.”
Avoid agrees that Alex is a real teammate, “You can do some things a lot better than we can. Otherwise, this show would just be some cardboard!”
“I think if Alex wasn’t willing to do this then none of this would have turned out,” says Faro
The scene in the gallery last weekend. A lot of building yet to do. (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Beyond the opening stage-setting scene room is a gallery where the three artists, variously from graffiti and street art backgrounds, display a series of smallish (9” square) wooden canvasses that spell out their tentative entry into the hallowed halls of fine art.
Hovercrafting into the future (Bloke) (photo by Steven P. Harrington)
Bloke presents a series of variations on his submarine-dirigibles in whimsical line-drawn variations. Each one is afloat, and looks like it could crash were it not for powerful propulsion mechanisms at work.
Avoid being recorded in front of his wall (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Stopping mid-circle to show his stuff, Avoid quickly shuffles through hand-painted Superman 3-D text-based gold leaf slogans; ringing ironic bells of recognition or standing quizzically on your tongue. Faro, with an illustrator’s hand, renders symbols and patterns with precision and lyric.
Each artist takes a crack at a larger scale canvas (40”x 60”), and that’s when their differences break out and the personal voice gets stronger. The backyard cinder block walls make their individual focuses even clearer. Collectively, it’s a multi-headed monster with many messages and developing storylines.
A pile of tentacles waiting to be installed (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Brooklyn Street Art: Has Alex been directing you guys?
Faro: Yeah, I mean, he just got it.
Alex: Then we also brought in this guy named Garrett Wohnrade who is one of my business partner Caleb’s old friends, who is a wood worker and he just has been knocking sh*t out. Garrett has really embraced this project and it has given him the opportunity to show what he’s up to.
Avoid: His knowledge structurally of how things work is great … I mean this is a large structure we are building.
Faro: Yeah, actually I learned that some people can do certain things like sawing wood, that I cannot do. I’ve learned to stick to what I do, do what I do good. I paint and I draw.
Studio inspiration; Hawthorn & Black Angels on vinyl, Egyptian Art History for symbols and history of Alexandria for architecture (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Alex: This show gives us a chance to provide something that is real, something that is authentic. It’s not “street art”. It’s not grafitti. It’s fine art from artists otherwise known as a grafitti artist or street artist. That’s what makes it so special, you know, it’s like this is the fine art aspect of that rebellious side.
Brooklyn Street Art: So you are presenting both graff and street art in the show as part of a continuum…
Avoid: In some ways we are presenting neither as well, because it’s not on the street, it’s not grafitti. It’s the fine arts presentation of artists that also do graffiti and if you want to call it street art you can. “Street Art” is a label, I think, that was made to sell a product. And that is fine, if you want to do that.
Brooklyn Street Art: It’s probably worthwhile to try to differentiate between one type of expression so that people can understand what you are speaking about in a conversation. If you say “graff” then something specific pops into your mind. You say “street art” and you think “that could be a number of different things”.
Faro: That’s true.
Alex: I don’t know, I just feel like New York City has been in some ways years behind the rest of the world in terms of “Street Art” and graffiti. Because it seems like everybody else has just been meshing the two cultures. – You’ve got that in Barcelona, Tokyo, in Brazil. But New York City has this traditional graffiti culture and we can pay respect where respect is due, and that’s awesome. But something needs to happen to bring NYC on par with the whole resurgence and renaissance that is going on in the rest of the world. And that is what this show represents, it’s the culmination of street art and graffiti, regardless of what they mean externally to many people. We want to expand together.
Vision of Avoid (detail) (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Avoid: You approach each letter separately and you also approach the way that they relate to the next letter, and the balance of the overall piece, like in traditional graffiti. But also, each day I wake up and I feel different so I come up and take a different approach.
Brooklyn Street Art: Faro, do you feel different every day when you wake up to make stuff?
Detail of Faro’s big piece (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Faro: It’s phases for me. The way I look at my stuff is that it should somehow all make sense. And that’s how I draw and how I do everything. Somehow it has to all make sense, for me at least.
I do not care what you think of my artwork. You can call it graffiti, street art, call it whatever the hell you want. I’m just doing for myself and I just love it, I enjoy it, I like it, it’s just like my hobby, it’s what I do. What else am I going to do? Go steal something? Rob people, be a gangsta? No. I don’t want to be a gangster. I’d rather just sit and draw and stuff. And ride my bike. And I also meet a lot of people through it.
Wizardry with Symbols, shy Faro (photo Steven P. Harrington)
Brooklyn Street Art: What about the collaborative process you’ve experienced with these guys?
Faro: Beautiful. It opens my eyes to a lot more things, you know what I mean? I wasn’t really into abstract until I started seeing Avoid’s artwork, more and more. And I just understood it now for the first time.
Thanks to the “2012” team for taking a minute out of the preparations for this show, an undertaking they are taking quite seriously. These may be the “end days” and that is one of the themes expressed in this show. But from the excitement and industry, the volley of ideas and the spirit of collaboration surrounding this beehive at Factory Fresh, you may also see that these are the beginning days, days of promise and discovery when you can witness these artists finding new ways to express the creative spirit, even as they build a scene of destruction.
AVOID, BLOKE and FARO converge at Factory Fresh, bringing with them an assorted collection of unique styles that exemplify the next generation of NYC street art and graffiti. On June 5th they will present their artwork as a group in a gallery for the first time. Through blending their ideals and styles, they create a symbolized view of the streets that transcends one world and ushers in another.
The show is based on the year 2012, which represents a notion of change and transition throughout the world, marking the end of the Mayan calendar. Many view this year with apprehension, prophesying apocalypse, climate meltdown or a spiritual awakening. Currently, through economic crisis and constant warfare, an artistic shift is taking place on the streets of New York City.
As we approach this time of great change, the 2012 show places the viewer in the middle of the transformation, an adventure through shifting paradigms of the world.
Opening June 5, 7-10
June 5 – June 21 at Factory Fresh, Bushwick, Brooklyn.
An unprecedented show of Brooklyn street art starts off 2009 at ThinkSpace gallery.
Bam! The year has barely started and the momentum from the previous giant year for street art blows clear into January with a new show of 50 artists from the streets of Brooklyn.
ThinkSpace Gallery, a warm-hearted community space and home of rockin’ shows in L.A. since 2005, plays host to it’s brothers and sisters across the continent with a salon-style show of street artists, graff writers, a hot photographer, and live on-the-street work by the chalk artist from BK.
In the middle of the installation craziness, the curator of the show, Andrew Michael Ford (gallery director at Ad Hoc), and Andrew Hosner (co-founder of ThinkSpace), talked with Brooklyn Street Art about the show:
BSA: So how did AdHoc and ThinkSpace hook up to do this show?
Andrew Hosner: Andrew and I have been friends for a while, and met while he was still doing some curating before hooking up with the Ad Hoc crew. One day we were just shooting the s**t about some show ideas and I tossed out the idea of bringing Brooklyn to Los Angeles…
Andrew Michael Ford: I’ve followed what ThinkSpace shows for quite some time and I was always very impressed with the work. I also have always felt that the folks who run ThinkSpace and myself have very similar tastes as far as curating art goes. Something like this has been talked about or at least thought about for quite some time and when Thinkspace approached us about doing it I felt like it was the right place and right time.
BSA: Is it a kind of East-West cultural exchange?
Andrew Michael Ford: The show is about bringing a large group of Brooklyn street artists and graf writers to Los Angeles. We haven’t discussed bringing LA artists to Brooklyn but I would be open to talking about something like that for the future.
Thundercut (courtesy ThinkSpace and AdHoc)
BSA: Brooklyn’s streetscape is pretty dense and is largely accessible by foot. Do you think the L.A. scene is more spread out? How do the two differ, in broad strokes.
Andrew Michael Ford: I have never been to LA but I heard you need a car to get anywhere out there so I assume it’s gotta be pretty spread out.
Andrew Hosner: I think you nailed it on the head, Brooklyn is much more condensed and has more of a community vibe to it I feel, whereas LA is the true meaning of urban sprawl, being one of the most spread out and varied big cities out there. There’s no real community vibe, save for lil’ pockets here and there, but the breadth of the city kind of goes against the notion of all that.
Dan Witz "Scott" from show "From the Streets of Brooklyn" (courtesy ThinkSpace and AdHoc)
BSA: Maybe this is impossible to put your finger on, but what would be a couple of characteristics that distinguish Brooklyn street art from other cities in the world?
Andrew Michael Ford: For me it started in NYC. I mean, graf started in Philly but really came into it’s own in NYC. I just don’t see that kind of history anywhere else. I see the lineage of graf into street art and that is why so many graf writers have been invited to this show. It’s not just about who is doing a lot of street art. It’s about who is getting up and staying in the streets of Brooklyn regardless of tools being used. I don’t like it when street artists from other cities look at graf here in NYC as some kind of background for their work. It’s a massive slap in the face to all graf writers. Brooklyn street artists have a lot more respect for graf than street artists I have met from other cities, especially from Europe. Maybe that’s the thing that distinguishes what’s going on in the streets of Brooklyn from other places.
Imminent Disaster (earlier work) (courtesy ThinkSpace and Ad Hoc)
BSA: You are showing a LOT of artists…did you have enough (Think) Space?
Andrew Hosner: Hahaha… it will be a very packed show hung salon style, going off of color palette and style. Should look amazing, but it is going to be a visual overload for sure. Patrons will be overwhelmed by Gaia and Rachel Lowing’s thought provoking install immediately upon entering the gallery, then passing through the entry area will be met by a tidal wave of artwork, coming at them from all directions, floor to ceiling… before turning the corner into our project room in the back where Disaster’s massive undertaking will greet them.
BSA: A bit like herding cats?
Andrew Michael Ford: Not really. Honestly, everyone involved believes in this show so much and have been very supportive and helpful in putting it all together.
Matt Siren (courtesy ThinkSpace and AdHoc)
BSA: Will you have time to give Mr. Ford a tour of the sickest sites while he’s there?
Andrew Hosner: It’s hard to say since the focus will be our show, but hopefully on Saturday after the show has passed we will get out to see some of the hotter spots about LA to enjoy works outside. With so many coming to town for the opening, there’s a good chance we’ll be able to watch some of Brooklyn’s finest… cool thing is, all will be able to watch Ellis G. on opening night doing his thing on our block, and I can’t wait for that.
Andrew Michael Ford: I would love to see some stuff by Saber if possible. But really anything good being done would be great to check out.
Ellis G. (courtesy Ad Hoc and ThinkSpace)
BSA: The Brooklyn scene keeps evolving rapidly; what is one trend that you are seeing that is telling you about the future?
I see more and more people throwing up wheatpastes in the streets that I don’t feel are well executed or well placed. I mean, there is room for everything and I love to see what people feel they need to put up but it does worry me sometimes when I see tons of poorly crafted wheatpastes thrown all over the place with no thought to where it is being placed or the quality of the imagery they are producing. I would just like to see people take a little more time in the creation of their art and in the selection of the spots they decide to hit.
Elbow-Toe (courtesy ThinkSpace and AdHoc)
BSA: Whose work is exciting to you right now, and what does it say to you?
Andrew Hosner: I love the work of Elbow-Toe, whose work is really a statement on the state of things in our society right now. His every man piece is by far one of the most powerful and extremely well executed works of this past year. You can look at that work 20 years from now and know that it was referencing the economic struggles were going through currently, while also hinting at the 1st great depression. Powerful work.
Also very inspired by the works of Imminent Disaster, due to her strength in so many different creative outlets… Chris Stain also is someone who should be looked up to. Thought provoking work and just a great overall cat.
Stikman (courtesy ThinkSpace and AdHoc)
Andrew Michael Ford: I think that street art needs to interact with the space where it is placed (good placement is key) and it needs to engage the viewer. Working big can sometimes do this but sometimes it can be a big massive nothing. It’s tough to point to a specific artist but if I had to pick one I can say I’m really intrigued by what the artist Stikman does, as he uses a wide variety of mediums and techniques and always catches you off guard with the placement of his work. Very smart work.
Anera (image by Luna Park) (courtesy Luna Park, ThinkSpace and AdHoc)
BSA: What impression do you think the gallery-goer in L.A. is going to come away with about the Brooklyn street art scene?
Andrew Michael Ford: That’s a great question but sadly one that I have no answer to. I haven’t got a clue what kind of reception we will get when we arrive. I am hoping this can be a positive experience for everyone involved.
Andrew Hosner: I hope they come away feeling inspired and filled with the desire to visit the streets of Brooklyn in person, so they can experience these works as they were originally meant to be, and also feel compelled to explore the works of each in the show further, hopefully coming away with a new favorite that they will watch in the years that lay ahead.
I think many will also be surprised at the sheer breadth and quality of work on view – it is definitely an eye opener type of exhibit. Hopefully this will help to open their eyes to the beauty that is all around them in Los Angeles and abroad. So many walk through their city with blinders on, and it really is a revelation when you start to take in and appreciate the work of urban artists.