All posts tagged: CA

Faith XLVII Flies Her Flags “Unbound” in San Francisco

Faith XLVII Flies Her Flags “Unbound” in San Francisco

As an artist you can sometimes address, even resolve, emotional and intellectual conflicts with your creative practice, at least that it how it appears in this new “Unbound” campaign begun by Faith XLVII in San Francisco. A lifelong observer and analyst of socio-politico events and their greater implications, the South African graffiti/Street Artist tells us that today the state of many things cause her feelings of frustration.

Faith XLVII . Unbound. San Francisco, CA. July 2018. (photo courtesy of 2:32 AM Projects)


“Watching the disharmony, the dismantling of human rights and the continuous struggle for equality is exhausting,” she says.
“The only way I can keep going is if I can transform some of this into my work.”


Each flag here at the corner of Golden Gate Ave and Hyde Street in downtown San Francisco speaks to the root of many societal ills, a coded reference to a poem/manifest by Dion Fortune named “The Cosmic Doctrine.”

Faith XLVII . Unbound. San Francisco, CA. July 2018. (photo courtesy of 2:32 AM Projects)

Here in the heart of the Tenderloin district where the fallout of emotional and physical pain and abuse is played out on the streets openly by those seeking to dull the torment with drugs, the winsome and lithe artist talks about the power of the manifesto for her.

“It is not that I believe in an idealistic future, on the contrary I am at times overwhelmed with cynicism. But despite this, I do think that we have to push for the betterment of the future, for the sheer love of the planet and for each other.”

Faith XLVII . Unbound. San Francisco, CA. July 2018. (photo courtesy of 2:32 AM Projects)

And the flowing golden umber fabric at the tips of these poles? I spent time researching the symbolism of the white flag as well as the history of the Peace Manifesto,” she says, and talks about them taking many forms, “with voices spanning from the scientist who is protesting the use of the atom bomb, to Greenpeace and worker parties to Woman’s Rights associations.”

“The words speak of an existential search, for essentially, this is the root of our suffering and confusion.”

Avalon of the Heart
The Building of The Atom
The Beginnings of Consciousness
The Beginnings of Mind
The Creation of a Universe
Evolution Upon the Cosmic Planes
Influences Upon Humanity
The Natural Laws
The Law of Polarity
Influences Acting on Human Evolution
The Law of Action and Reaction
The Evolution of Form and Mind
The Evolution of Consciousness
The Evolution of a Solar System
Developing the Power to Communicate Thoughts
The Manifested Universe

Faith XLVII . Unbound. San Francisco, CA. July 2018. (photo courtesy of 2:32 AM Projects)

Faith XLVII . Unbound. San Francisco, CA. July 2018. (photo courtesy of 2:32 AM Projects)

Faith XLVII . Unbound. San Francisco, CA. July 2018. (photo courtesy of 2:32 AM Projects)

 


The “Unbound” Mural Project is for UC Hastings College of Law in San Francisco, California.

 

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Eating Plastic with Louis Masai, Whales, Sharks in Cape Cod and L.A.

Eating Plastic with Louis Masai, Whales, Sharks in Cape Cod and L.A.

These Animals Are Eating All the Plastic You are Throwing Away. Yuck.


London Street Artist Louis Masai has just returned to the US to do three murals – one in alliance with the Right Whale Research Association (R.W.R.A) in Cape Cod Massachusetts, and two in Los Angeles where he is currently having a solo show at C.A.V.E. gallery entitled “The Sixth Extinction”.

Louis Masai. Right Whale. Cape Cod, MA. (photo © Lisa Sette)

With his work intrinsically tied to environmentalism and disappearing species, Masai told us at great length about a few people and organizations he worked with when making these new pieces. He also educated us about the DIRECT relationship that you and we have with killing off species and causing their suffering by using plastics. Here are a few excerpts from our conversation to better appreciate the work that Louis is doing right now.

“Cape Cod attracts a continuous flow of summertime tourists to its quaint villages of seafood shacks, lighthouses, beaches and whale watching excursions,” Louis says. “Its economy however, is steeped in a controversial whale hunting history of blood.” He worked with Lisa Sette from R.W.R.A. to create this new mural in the town. He also shared some of Lisa’s statements about the project here:

Louis Masai. Right Whale. Cape Cod, MA. (photo © Lisa Sette)

“I feel like a lot of us in the US are feeling isolated due to the current political climate. What better way to bring the community together than through a mural that highlights the most critically endangered large whale in the Northwest Atlantic that happens to spend winter and spring in our waters.  The mural is bringing people together and allowing for conversations to begin – unexpected conversations.”

Lisa Sette continues, “Of course when in company of biologists, advocates and real life eco-warriors, it’s impossible to not become even more inspired by the impacts that a species like the right whale faces. The North Atlantic right whale is a baleen whale, they are listed as a rapidly decreasing, critically endangered species, with only a few over 500 left. Baleen whales feed on zooplankton and krill; they take large gulps of water and then filter out their tiny prey using baleen plates. During feeding season, usually from spring to fall, right whales may eat more than 2,600 pounds of zooplankton per day, and of course today that also includes a huge amount of plastics.”

Louis Masai. Right Whale. Cape Cod, MA. (photo © Louis Masai)

Laura Ludwig, of the Center for Coastal Studies, often gives presentations about plastics in the environment.

“Once you’ve seen the images of whales’ stomachs packed solid with plastic bags; or of albatrosses who’ve died after ingesting a diet of nothing but bottle caps; or of an osprey chick who entangled itself in a balloon string used as nesting material — once you’ve seen familiar plastic items as the instrument of death for innocent animals, the path reveals itself.”

100% of the ocean is now infected with plastic, says Laura. What can WE do to try and help rectify this issue? These are Laura’s top three tips.

  • Over 300,000,000 straws are used every day in the US alone: swear off plastic straws and bring your own metal, glass or rubber straw if you like to use them.

  • BYORB: there are over 5 trillion plastic bags used every year around the world — 160,000 per second, if you break it down per capita. Bring Your Own Reusable Bag and refuse thin film plastic bags.

  • Bottle water is a scam: over 50 billion bottles of water are sold in the US alone annually, and only 20% of them are “recycled”. Stop buying water in plastic bottles — BYOB, again!

Louis Masai. Right Whale. Cape Cod, MA. (photo © Louis Masai)

Louis tells us that when in Cape Cod he took one of those famous whale-watching trips. To say he was excited is an understatement. He also may be exagerating a little.

“It literally blew my eyes out of their sockets – I saw Right Whales, Fin Back Whales, Sei Whales, Humpback Whales, and Dolphins too. Naturally, he made like-minded friends there and caught up with Charles Mayo better known as Stormy, the director of the Right Whale Ecology Program, who told him how big whales also get caught up in plastic nets and other crap we throw away – trapped!

We don’t have space here to recount a rescue mission he did with a whale named Ibis, we can will tell you this part of the story. “After several hours Ibis tired from dragging floats and stopped swimming. It was only then that we were able to cut the nets and ropes from around her. We had freed her,” says Charles. “This rescue mission evolved to us creating specialized tools and a system for freeing entangled whales and we still use floats, buoys and boats to slow the whales to this day.”

Louis Masai. Right Whale. Cape Cod, MA. (photo © Lisa Sette)

It may seem obvious, but the real solution is for you and us to stop throwing this crap away to begin with. It doesn’t magically disappear.

Louis says that he learned that rescuers “are only able to save about 50% of entangled right whales, and 80% of humpbacks, the majority of them are struggling out at sea and never reported to the rescue team. Rescuing them is only a stopgap measure and the real work needs to be done in stopping them getting entangled in the first place.”

Louis Masai. Right Whale. Cape Cod, MA. (photo © Louis Masai)

“I hope that my mural will raise some thoughts amongst the thousands of tourists visiting Cape Cod. Perhaps they might even think twice about using the straws, plastic bags and water bottles still available in Cape Cod.”

When he got to L.A. for his show ‘Sixth Extinction’ with C.A.V.E Gallery he painted a finback whale, which is a visitor to the waters of L.A, “Another baleen whale suffering the same punishment of plastics in the ocean. I read that a ridiculous 10 metric tones of plastic enter the L.A Ocean per day, which is comparative to more than the weight of a London bus. The result of this painting was a challenge to the owner of the wall, “The Lyric Hyperion’. They are now on a route towards eliminating the use of plastics in their service.”

Louis Masai. Finback Whale. Silver Lake, CA. (photo © Ari Sturm)

Louis’ last painting for this trip was of a big-eyed Thresher shark, another ocean species that is suffering an apparent decline in population in Californian waters. In addition to a vulnerable life-history characteristic, these sharks are suffering from a continued fishing pressure from pelagic fleets which has the species listed as vulnerable.

“Most of the species I highlight, if not all, are in danger of their lives due to evidential climate change, I’m back in London now and realizing that my trips to and from the states have many, many more endangered species to lift a light for.”

This means we still have a lot to learn from the art of Louis Masai.

Louis Masai. Finback Whale. Silver Lake, CA. (photo © Louis Masai)

Louis Masai. Finback Whale. Silver Lake, CA. (photo © Louis Masai)

Louis Masai. Thresher Shark. Venice, CA. (photo © Lmnotree)

Louis Masai. Thresher Shark. Venice, CA. (photo © Lmnotree)

Louis Masai. Thresher Shark. Venice, CA. (photo © Louis Masai)

Louis Masai. Thresher Shark. Venice, CA. (photo © Lmnotree)


For more information on Louis Masai’s show “The Sixth Extinction” at C.A.V.E. Gallery, please click HERE:


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Buff Monster says “Stay Melty”

Buff Monster says “Stay Melty”

Paint drips and ice cream drips: What flavor would you like? We have strawberry, cherry, coconut…

Buff Monster Stay Melty Gingko Press. Berkeley, CA. 2015

If you haven’t seen Buff Monster and his melty crew on walls in the mid-twenty-teens then you have been looking at the sidewalk for loose change and lost earrings too much. Look up (!) on multiple walls all across the city and your find his friendly quirky sweet creamy characters cavorting and playing and melting together.

He and his fantastic army of ice cream scoops with surreal imaginations and likeable character anomalies have traveled worldwide of course; in multiple languages and on a variety of toys, posters, statues, garments, stickers and collectibles and even a select edition of Garbage Pail Kids cards called The Melty Misfits.

Buff Monster Stay Melty Gingko Press. Berkeley, CA. 2015

Pink dominates the palette and fantasy denotes the worldview for this brightly quirky hard driving globe-trotting Hawaiian native, with Buff himself tirelessly promulgating his little friends into your life and perhaps helping to take things a little less seriously for a moment, and reminding you of your childhood fun times.

Stay Melty is his hard-bound pictorial collection of three years of all action, creation, discipline, collaboration, and production, with Buff giving you an inside view of  the pure glamour that goes into becoming a successful and recognized street/fine/commercial artist today. Hint: It’s about the time-honored practice of hustling, people. Also, ice cream.

Meet the man and see his show “Melt With Me” right now in Manhattan.

Buff Monster Stay Melty Gingko Press. Berkeley, CA. 2015

Buff Monster Stay Melty Gingko Press. Berkeley, CA. 2015

Buff Monster Stay Melty Gingko Press. Berkeley, CA. 2015

Buff Monster Stay Melty Gingko Press. Berkeley, CA. 2015

Buff Monster Stay Melty Gingko Press. Berkeley, CA. 2015

 

Buff Monster Stay Melty Published by Gingko Press. Berkeley, CA. 2015

New Yorkers can see the pop up show Buff Monster has today in Manhattan at 168 Bowery.

 


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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Jet Martinez says “Beauty” is the End Game in Oakland

Jet Martinez says “Beauty” is the End Game in Oakland

Athen B. Gallery in Oakland just produced a field of flowers with decorative muralist Jet Martinez in Oakland, California and if you were looking for something floral to look at, it will interrupt your view on this Downtown landmark.  He says that beauty is necessary for this area that was ravaged by crack and high crime in the 80s and 90s.

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Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)

“The I Magnin building for me has always been one of the most beautiful buildings in Oakland.  A green tiled, art deco beauty, this building is a symbol of golden era from yesteryear. After the devastating effects of the Reagan drug wars and the crack epidemic, downtown Oakland became a shadow of the vibrant space it once was. Now, as downtown Oakland is experiencing a rebirth of sorts, I really felt a real responsibility to add to rather than subtract from this beautiful building and the downtown skyline. ”

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Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)

Motifs come from the artists Mexican heritage, folk art, Amante paintings, textiles, and of course mural painters like Diego Rivera, who frequently featured the calla lily in his socialist commentaries. Now of course these murals are privately financed and are part of a business improvement district initiative and the presentation is strictly one of beautification.

But sometimes beautification is also cool, though to say that in the Street Art world today might get you chased out the room for encouraging gentrification or not being “real” street.

A. This is not Street Art, it is a commissioned mural.

B. Martinez is an accomplished painter AND a family man who talks about his kids and feels strongly that men can make a positive contribution to community by doing just that, creating beauty. “It is a way for me, as a man in society, to be able to contribute beauty and not just destruction. I think it’s really important in our time for men to embrace the making of beautiful spaces and I hope this achieves that goal.”

C. Be happy, people, life is really short.

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Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)

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Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)

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Jet Martinez in Oakland, CA for Athen B. Gallery. (photo © courtesy of Athen B. Gallery)

The mural is located on 20th and Broadway in Downtown Oakland.
Mural Title:  “There’s More to Green than Money

 

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Swoon: “Pearly’s Beauty Shop” in LA Helps You Be a Glamorous Philanthropist

Swoon: “Pearly’s Beauty Shop” in LA Helps You Be a Glamorous Philanthropist

SWOON and “Pearly’s Beauty Shop” are back!
Heliotrope Benefit!
Buy your TIX for Saturday 5/21 in Los Angeles HERE!

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BSA was an early and fervent supporter of the very first Pearly’s Beauty Shop nearly four years ago in Long Island City, New York: Swoon herself was there painting nails and the brand-new Braddock Tile architectural model was on display amongst all the lace-paper cut constructions, hair dressers, stylists, costumers, swirling lights and DJs.

This Saturday in downtown Los Angeles the 2016 Artist-Run Soiree named “Pearly’s” will dwarf that first one in star power, sponsors, co-hosts, DJs, guest curators, performance artists, hair dioramas, costumes, glitter, and rouge.brooklyn-street-art-swoon-pearlys-beauty-shop-superchief-gallery-web-1

Hosted by Superchief Gallery and benefitting Swoon’s Heliotrope Foundation, you are invited to re-imagine fantastically your personal aesthetics with a bevy of talented professionals at the ready to help make dreams come true – and to fund Heliotrope so it can help communities to heal after natural disasters, economic blight, and other urgent social crisis.

Juxtapoz’s Evan Pricco has curated a list of cool artists for an exclusive Pearly’s 2016 print release, Shepard Fairey will be at the wheels of steel, and Brooklyn babe now Hollywood bombshell Marsea Goldberg is curating a special exhibition called “Vanity”. Also, an auction curated by Raina Mehler and Andrew Lockhart.

Also, surprises. That’s all we can say.

West Coast Represent!!

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SWOON invites you to Pearly’s Beauty Shop
Saturday, May 21, 2016
7 pm to 1 am
Superchief Gallery
739 Kohler St, Los Angeles, California 90021

TICKETS: Tickets start at $50 and can be purchased at bit.ly/pearlys2016
DRESS CODE: Come as you are

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PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS BY CLICKING ON THIS LINK: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pearlys-beauty-shop-tickets-24667609484

  • HOST COMMITTEE: Swizz Beatz • Jane Golden • Sallyann Kluz • Andrew Lockhart • Karmimadeebora McMillan • Sandra Powell • Zahra Sherzad • Anthony Spiegel • Ryan Nuckel • KT Tierney • Natalie Kates • Bill Dunleavy • Edward Zipco • Marsea Goldberg • Als Kenny • Ryland Behrens • Tamara Goldstein • Lisa Shimamura • Andrew Edward Brown • Liat Cohen • JL Sirisuk • Raina Mehler • Alex Fanning • Afrodet Zuri • Andrea Fiona Pagliai Londoño • Siovan Hope Ross • Adam Lehrer • Kristin Sancken • Charlotte Reed • Kurt McVey

Pearly’s Beauty Shop 2016 thanks Jefferson Projects; Juxtapoz Magazine; Lagunitas Brewing Company; Stolen Rum; Gary Lichtenstein Editions at Mana; Art Report; ArtLeadHER; and Red Flower for their generous support. Pearly’s is pleased to partner with LAMP Community, a Skid Row-based organization seeking to end homelessness and foster self-sufficiency among those living with severe mental illness.

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One Street Portrait a Day: Artist Mel Waters Celebrates Black History in San Francisco

One Street Portrait a Day: Artist Mel Waters Celebrates Black History in San Francisco

“There are some beautiful people out there that have left the world better off.  I’m glad I could share some of them over Black History Month, one portrait at a time,” says Mel Waters when talking about his piece-a-day project in San Francisco’s Mission District in February. Funded from his own pocket, the 34 year old artist devised the project for himself and executed it on city walls (and one delivery truck) to pay tribute to famous African Americans during Black History Month.

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Rosa Parks by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

“It struck me as a very interesting concept, particularly in an art culture that mostly lacks social content,” says graffiti and Street Art expert, photographer and famed historian Jim Prigoff, who first shared the story with us after he began spotting black and white aerosol portraits of folks like Rosa Parks, Amiri Baraka, and Gil Scott Heron popping up around town.

“Piquing my curiosity I found they were part of a series of 29 portraits painted one a day throughout the month, principally in the Mission District, but running from Chinatown on the north to the south. Given that Mel either walks or takes public transportation it became logistically challenging,” says Prigoff.

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Muhammad Ali by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

As he painted the portraits, Mr. Waters says his interest in these historical figures grew stronger and the project affected him in positive ways. “During the project, I did research nightly on who I was going to paint the next day. There are so many amazing stories and choosing who to paint was another challenge for me,” he says. “During my research I stumbled upon people I never heard of.  That was an amazing experience in itself for me.”

It is an unusual story, as Prigoff observes, because so much of graffiti has been traditionally about getting one’s name up and marking territory and a large number of the new Street Artists appear to avoid political or socially themed work today. “In the beginning of modern Graffiti it was tags, then letters and characters,” Prigoff explains. “As ‘pieces’ were developed, few raised social concerns as the focus was principally on the writer’s names with various embellishments.”

 

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Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

Waters says the act of painting daily, and painting quickly, has tightened his game and he also learned how to be more efficient with his time. “It was a real challenge from the start, not only to pay for it, but also to find the time to paint daily while keeping up with my other obligations and to find locations where I could paint,” he says.

“I learned how to paint faster and I developed some new techniques. For example, I would roll out the face with bucket paint so I didn’t have to spend much time filling the face in with spray cans.  Then I would just come in with the spray paint for shading… There was no time to create masterpieces, so I learned to let go of that need for perfection, too.”

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Josephine Baker by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

With figures as varied as statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass to singer Josephine Baker, poet Langston Hughes, and Major League Baseball player Larry Doby, Waters gives San Franciscans a taste of the vastness of African American contributions to history. Additionally he says he felt encouraged on his self-elected one man sojourn from people on the street who stopped by to talk with him while he was working.

“There were nice reactions from the communities I painted in and good feedback on social media.  I love celebrating my culture, which is African American and Filipino, through my art. I think it’s good to know about our past so we can use it to help us for the future.”

Mr. Prigoff tells us that he was elated to meet the artist in person and to get a tour of the paintings and to find a hopeful and positive project like this – especially in a Street Art scene that he has been documenting since its inception. “The use of public space to raise political awareness is meaningful to me and I hope it will be to others,” he says. “In this era of celebrated artists with major funding, Mel’s “street story” in creating a dynamic project is heartening and in the spirit of how this street art movement came to be.”

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W. E. B. Dubois by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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A collection of four important female figures: Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Septima Poinsette Clark by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Frederick Douglass by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Marvin Gaye by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Nikki Giovanni by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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A partially buffed portrait of the 2nd Negro player in Major League Baseball, Larry Doby. Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Langston Hughes by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Emory Douglas by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Coretta Scott King by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Kendrick Lamar and Charles Mingus by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Art Shell by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Mario Woods by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Gil Scott Heron by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

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Dr. James E. West by Mel Waters. Black History Month 2016. San Francisco, CA. (photo © Jim Prigoff)

 

Our very special thanks to James Prigoff for sharing his observations, insights, and photographs here for BSA readers.

 

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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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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Icy & Sot Stencil An Enormous Blue Whale in LA

Icy & Sot Stencil An Enormous Blue Whale in LA

Street Artists Icy & Sot are thinking about the ocean. More specifically they’re thinking about its largest resident, the blue whale.

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

Up to 110 feet long and 330,000 pounds, the blue whale literally can go 1,600 feet deep below the surface and hold its breath for 10 to 20 minutes.

This brand new mural is the brothers’ first stencil to address endangered species and it took a lot of blade wielding in their Brooklyn studio this month to cut the maritime scene before flying to Los Angeles to spray it out. Their work often speaks of social and political ills such as homelessness, war, arms proliferation, immigration. This is their very first that gives voice to those whose habitats are regularly contaminated and polluted by industry and individuals.

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

“We wanted to use a species that lives in water,” says Sot as they discuss the special project with the Justseeds Cooperative for the Center for Biological Diversity.

“California has suffered a lot recently with their lack of clean water and now the oceans are often polluted as well,” says Sot.

“There is so much plastic pollution in the ocean too,” Icy continues. “What it does to the animals is really bad. I was reading this article and turtles eat jellyfish for their diet. But then people throw plastic bags in the ocean and the turtle thinks they are jellyfish and they eat the plastic. A lot of sea creatures have plastic bags inside of their bodies – they find them when the animals are caught.”

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

The brothers spent two solid days hand cutting the multi-layer stencil here on Melrose Avenue. How many pieces? “19 pieces,” says Icy. “Its not that big but it has a lot of details” The composite image features an enormous whale emerging from the sea in full view of a coastline packed with industrial forms which presumably are dumping contaminants directly into the waters.

As ever, the brothers crash into each others sentences while talking to us. “Whatever happens in the ocean… it comes back to us,” says Sot. “Whether is trash or plastics or oil..”

Icy jumps in, “The fish eat them and then we eat the animals and we have the plastics inside of us.”

“Yeah, It’s a cycle. We are all making a lot of trash – we are affecting the world. Then it all comes back to us,” says Sot.

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

In coordination with scientist Noah Greenwald and Roger Peet, an artist who has been painting murals for this endangered species initiative, Icy & Sot are contributing their skill to help raise awareness about our direct impact on the ocean and animal life.

“The goal is to paint murals about endangered species in communities around the country, near to where those species are found, trying to increase awareness of and connection between communities and their ecologies. We’ve done four so far,” says Peet, and he sights locations in Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, and Alabama.

From the mission statement of the project:
“Everywhere on the earth is special, and has qualities that distinguish it from other places both nearby and far away. One of those qualities is the biodiversity of a place, the plants and animals that call that place home and that maybe aren’t found anywhere else. Those plants and animals embody the history of a place and its future, and contribute to what makes a place special. Many of them are, unfortunately, endangered.”

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

 

Recent news headlines:

21,000 Gallons of Oil Leak Into Ocean Off California …

Fracking Waste is Being Dumped Into the Ocean Off California’s Coast 

Legal Petition Urges EPA to Ban Dumping of Offshore Fracking Chemicals Into California’s Ocean

3 Billion Gallons of Highly-Toxic Fracking Waste Dumped

Millions of Tons of Trash Dumped Into World’s Oceans

 

Our special thanks to photographer and artist Jess X. Chen for sharing these images with BSA readers.

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

 

Here is the link of the project’s site for more information and to find out how you can help or/and get involved: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/about/creative_media/endangered_species_mural_project/index.html

Thank you to artist Roger Peet for his assistance with this article. More on Roger’s work here: toosphexy.com.

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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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Esteban Del Valle is “Displacing Waves” in Los Angeles

Esteban Del Valle is “Displacing Waves” in Los Angeles

Consider for a moment the irony of attending a gallery for an art show that confronts gentrification. Currently some critical philosophies born of urban studies and a fascination with the impact of a “creative class” will point to the art gallery as a central lever for converting a neighborhood from industrial/lower/working class to an attractive target for real estate development. Compound the irony with canvasses by an artist who also paints on the street, and you have a potential magnet for outraged anti-gentrificationists. Let’s discuss this over a slow-drip latte at the corner café.

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(click to enlarge)

Chicago born, Brooklyn-based street artist/fine artist Esteban del Valle is in LA for his first west coast solo show, “Displacing Waves,” and he tells us he is referring to the swelling, cresting, and breaking forces of gentrification that displace communities across the country – and he’s conflicted about it. Most of us think it’s a local story, confined to our own city, but as the middle class is hollowed out and collapsed in the US, del Valle tells us its national and his study of the topic has fueled these “painterly vignettes of contemporary colonialism”.

A student of history, sociology, and anthropology, it is his politically sharpened sense that slices beautifully, an exacting sarcasm that leaves hypocrisy freshly fanned out among the filleted meat selections displayed on canvas.

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Esteban del Valle. Process shot working on a large piece for his show “Displacing Waves” (photo © courtesy of Esteban Del Valle)

He says the show’s theme evolved after “a culmination of seven months of traveling throughout the United States, from rural Alaska to New York, Miami, and Los Angeles”. The figures are rich, the dynamic styling and tensions ready to be read into.

His techniques of drawing, painting, ink, and wash are amply intermingled, giving layers of emotion and verve to the compositions, pushing personalities to sharp definition. The wet-into-wet wash watercolors and inks reveal layers of character and circumstance, the pladdling and blotting brushes of oil trigger associations, building volume and movement. This is multi-discipline, with a fair margin for rumination and discovery.

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Esteban del Valle. Process shot working on a large piece for his show “Displacing Waves” (photo © courtesy of Esteban Del Valle)

Will these waves of del Valle creates displace the apathy of your average gentrifier? We spoke to him as he prepares for the opening of “Displacing Waves.”

Brooklyn Street Art: “Creative Class” has evolved into a loaded term of late; can you talk about how you are seeing it through a critical lens?

Esteban del Valle: I have been looking at the “creative class” as a group of creatively fluent individuals actively and willingly participating in a post industrial economy with the same capitalistic motivations connected to colonialist notions of “progress”. As much as I hate to admit it, I am a part of this problem; I am a formally educated artist with an advanced degree and I have consistently worked creative jobs using my skills to service the capitalist ambition of upward mobility. However, I am driven by the idea that creativity is at the core of consciousness and the impulse to acknowledge and question the presence of another. I feel like one of the consequences of contemporary “progress” is a tendency to strip creativity of its mystical powers and to view it as a space for material and technological innovation.

Through educational institutions and  America’s career-centric culture, we have reserved creative energy for advancements in organizing and storage of measurable information. This has distanced us from the possibility of being open to something different, an expansion of the soul. The cruel twist is that while funding from the arts are being cut in schools, businesses are desperately looking for creative thinkers to help them enter the next phase of the economy. The desire for measurable outcomes is so strong that it bullies any form of thought into a predetermined container, a vessel labeled “progress”.

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Esteban del Valle. Process shot working on a large piece for his show “Displacing Waves” (photo © courtesy of Esteban Del Valle)

This whole body of work really grew organically out of my travels. But the funny thing is, as much as I was seeing these issues of displacement everywhere I went from Alaska to Miami, the main thing that kept repeating was my anxiety about returning home to Brooklyn. I found myself looking to more affordable areas of Queens and I felt the conversation happening all over again. The conversation that was happening in Bed-Stuy when I first moved to New York and into a live/work art space near the Marcy Houses. I started to think about how my arrival in a neighborhood could be a reflection of the same gentrification that I found so upsetting. This went hand in hand with my feelings about certain practices in the Street Art movement that were not sitting right with me, such as being used by developers to set the groundwork for displacement.

I began to think about how murals function over time, like how a WPA mural changes in its function and meaning as we move into and increasingly technological economy with out-sourced labor. It occurred to me that I could create my own paintings with a sense of historical distance. So an image of a young man drinking coffee could become a loaded subject when placed in a larger context. This correlation interested me because it reflects my relationship to the seemingly innocent acts of the creative class itself when it is engaged in “progress”. David Foster Wallace once described it as us viewing ourselves as emperors of our own skull sized kingdom. We begin to view the world as an extension of ourselves, while seeing our objective of personal fulfillment and entertainment as seemingly innocent and unrelated to larger injustices.

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Esteban del Valle. Process shot working on a large piece for his show “Displacing Waves” (photo © courtesy of Esteban Del Valle)

Brooklyn Street Art: Can you talk about the variety of personalities that you capture with your line-work? Are you rendering an opinion of the individuals or are you capturing them dispassionately?

Esteban del Valle: This show is the first stage of my reaction to the issues. I think it’s a mixture of anger and a sense of futility as a self-assigned voyeur. There are only a few pieces that outright attack the issues violently, most can be glossed over as attractive with a tinge of irony. I recently heard the saying, “irony is the song of a bird that has come to love its cage.” I think that’s what I felt implicated in. I wanted to show how an image can seem innocent and even glamorous. The beautiful renovations, improvements in the neighborhood, the bustling shops, all seem to be an image of “progress”. So my goal was to couple that surface interaction with hints of conflict and place them next to blatant conflict. This tension between the “attractive” and the “difficult” is the main interest behind my color choice as well. I cannot separate myself from the accountability, which is one reason why several of the pieces are portraits of friends or direct criticism of my self as an artist.

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Esteban del Valle. Process shot working on a large piece for his show “Displacing Waves” (photo © courtesy of Esteban Del Valle)

Brooklyn Street Art: For your selections of techniques – staining, masking, washes, dry-brush, granulation – how do you decide what comes next? Does the composition tell you? Do you discover it? Are you using a cognitive process or an emotional one?

Esteban del Valle: I begin with an abstract base and I draw on top of it, but I have always viewed my process as a sort of call and response, an exchange between painting and drawing. Illustration is historically a communicative medium while painting has evolved to abstract communication. But the evolution of both seems to be the rooted in the same intention. Abstraction seems to aim at abandoning spoken language to create a mood and maximize its audience.

That being said, we have found ways to categorize and contextualize arbitrary marks, record them in a historical perspective, and create an information-based language, which is the foundation of many institutions. Illustration has often served the purpose of conveying literal information as it priority with the same goal of maximizing its audience. My personal project has been to dance between these two spaces.  At the moment, I don’t feel like I am discovering as much as learning from the problems each painting creates, both in regards to form and content.  In that way I think it is both cognitive and emotional.

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Esteban del Valle. Process shot working on a large piece for his show “Displacing Waves” (photo © courtesy of Esteban Del Valle)

 

Brooklyn Street Art: These people are often in groupings. How important are the relationships between them?

Esteban del Valle: Very important. The figures provide tension between each other and different elements of their respective narrative. They are used to depict a moment of a story which hopefully leads to questions from the viewer as to what, how, and why they ended up in this space.

Brooklyn Street Art: Would you give us a little background on the theme of “Displacing Waves” – are these political waves, energetic waves, historical/cyclical ebbs and flows?

Esteban del Valle: All of the above. It began as a thought regarding the pushing and pulling of gestures between the backgrounds and foregrounds of my paintings, allowing the abstraction to impose itself back on top of the illustration. I found that when this happened, I couldn’t help but read the arbitrary gestures as having a narrative function. They became clouds, fire, waves, etc. This reflected my feelings regarding the content as I tried to understand my role in it all. What did it mean to be displaced and/or being an agent of displacement, which sometimes occurs simultaneously. I began to think about oppression as a byproduct of power grabs, like ripples from a splash. It struck me as a terrifyingly poetic image, something like a person trying to use force to posses a single wave in an ocean.

Brooklyn Street Art: You’ve painted outside and in studio a number of times over the last year. How is your work affected by the presence of an audience as contrasted with the solitude of the studio?

Esteban del Valle: I think I carry the “public” audience with me even in the studio, almost like a phantom limb left over from painting outdoors. But I will say that when I am alone in the studio, I try to push myself to find something new and uncomfortable. I take risks and see where they lead me, but I often do so with the idea that I am preparing the next stage of my work for public space. I think it’s important for artists to find time away from an audience to try to find the closest thing to their intuition, a voice less bothered by the suggestions and opinion of others. Then you reveal it to the world as a way of destroying it, leaving you to start all over and rediscover your differences.

********************************************************

 

Esteban del Valle Displacing Waves will open this Saturday, January 9th at Superchief Gallery in Los Angeles. Click HERE for more details.

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OverUnder: “My Sentiments Abstractly” Opens in Oakland

OverUnder: “My Sentiments Abstractly” Opens in Oakland

A mark.

That is all most of us can hope to make on the world, or even to get through it. The Celebrity Industrial Complex that is busily distracting us also routinely overlooks masses of beautiful people who are daily just trying to pay the rent, tend to their ill, worship their deity, grow their garden, pen their poem, make their mark.

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

“My Sentiments Abstractly” says the title of OverUnder’s solo show opening tonight in Oakland, California, continues the fine/Street Art/graffiti artists’ examination of his mark making, and . Feeling mortal, OverUnder is taking a wider view of the path with this collection of recent wheatpastes, painting, photography, mixed media and site-specific installation.

As he constructed the visitors experience this week to prepare for tonights’ show, OverUnder says he is bringing the grit, the weeds, the marginal stories of people he has met and places he has visited – like weeds growing through the cracks; insistent, imperfect, perfectly full of life.  Only a romantic can find beauty in places like these, and he does.

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

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Overunder. Process shot. (photo © Brock Brake)

 

Overunder solo exhibition “My Sentiments Abstractly” opens today at the Athen B. Gallery in Oakland, CA. Click HERE for details.

 

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Owen Dippie is Dangerous in LA

Owen Dippie is Dangerous in LA

Finishing up his bi-coastal tour of the US, Owen Dippie gave Los Angeles a dangerous mural before heading back to New Zealand. Complete with an official unveiling, the draping of US, Mexican, and New Zealand flags, and a re-enactment of the zombie scene from Thriller, Dippie needed only to show Michael Jackson’s eyes to evoke the memory of the larger-than-life superstar performer. It may be the detail or it may be the scale of the mural he is calling “Dangerous” in Downtown LA but anyone who passes by gets caught in Michael’s gaze for a moment.

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Owen Dippie (photo © Courtesy of the artist)

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Owen Dippie (photo © Courtesy of the artist)

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Owen Dippie (photo © Courtesy of the artist)

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Owen Dippie. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE. (photo © Courtesy of the artist)

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Owen Dippie. Thriller. (photo © Courtesy of the artist)

 

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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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Oakland Murals from Zio Ziegler, Meggs, Ryan Montana and Ernest Doty

Oakland Murals from Zio Ziegler, Meggs, Ryan Montana and Ernest Doty

Athens seems like its on the brink of disaster but Athen B is having amazing success. With apologies for the lame name comparison today we bring you shots of new grand scale murals in Oakland done as part of the grand opening of Athen B Gallery with Zio Ziegler, Meggs, Ryan Montana and Ernest Doty.

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Zio Ziegler (photo © Brock Brake)

Ziegler’s 13 story mural actually was part of ceremonies marking the UN’s 70th Anniversary and a ribbon cutting with Mayor Libby Schaaff the President and CEO of the United Nations Foundation Kathy Calvin. This mural and the others are part of an initiative with VSCO Artist Initiative that Athen B. Gallery is curating in Oakland and upcoming artists will include Cannon Dill and Brett Flanigan.

Conratulations to Athen B’s three co-owners Brock Brake, Sorell Raino-Tsui, and Kriselle.

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Zio Ziegler (photo © Brock Brake)

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Zio Ziegler (photo © Brock Brake)

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Zio Ziegler (photo © Brock Brake)

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Meggs (photo © Brock Brake)

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Meggs (photo © Brock Brake)

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Meggs (photo © Brock Brake)

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Meggs (photo © Brock Brake)

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Meggs (photo © Brock Brake)

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Ryan Montoya . Ernest Doty (photo © Brock Brake)

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Ryan Montoya . Ernest Doty (photo © Brock Brake)

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Ryan Montoya . Ernest Doty (photo © Brock Brake)

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Ryan Montoya . Ernest Doty (photo © Brock Brake)

 

Click HERE for more details, hours of operations and exhibitions regarding Athen B Gallery

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BSA Images Of The Week: 02.15.15

BSA Images Of The Week: 02.15.15

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Winter has been beating New York with a stick this week, but there’s still new Street Art going up – you just might miss it because you are rushing home to get warm. Also we have a smattering of shots from other cities this week to give you an idea of what’s up.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Bifido, Bradley Theodore, BustArt, Claudio Ethos, Clet, Gore-B, GumShoe, Jilly Ballistic, Li-Hill, Mark Samsonovich, Mr. One Teas, Paul Insect and SeeTf.

Top Image >> Mark Samsonovich with an acute observation on this Valentine’s weekend. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mark Samsonovich (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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This GoreB may be 10 years old, but we just saw it for the first time. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Li-Hill has a new mural in Los Angeles, CA. Detail. (photo © Li-Hill)

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Li-Hill. Los Angeles. CA. (photo © Li-Hill)

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Paul Insect (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bust Art at work on his new installation in Paris. (photo © BustArt)

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BustArt completed installation in Paris. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“This time Winnie the Pooh is taking his crew to the streets and claim a new graffiti area” says the artist.

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BustArt. Detail. Paris. (photo © BustArt)

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Mr. One Teas and Mickey are painting McDonalds with a wide brush (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Oops, my hat! Dang this wind! Claudio Ethos new piece in Rio De Janeiro, Brasil. (photo © ETHOS)

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CLET (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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CLET (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jilly Ballistic got the guillotine treatment. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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What do you want to be when you grow up. There are number of options. Bifido’s new installation in Rome, Italy. (photo © Bifido)

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Bradley Theodore (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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This hot busty blond aerosol piece by SeeTf is melting the snow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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GumShoe (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“My Calvins” Manhattan, NYC. February 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

 

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