In Xi’an, a modern metropolis of 7 million and home to the
massive installations of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang (the first
Emperor of China), the weight of history often meets with the shallow vanities
of today. Street Artist 0907 continues to examine the riddles of development
and the implied values of a consumer culture here by looking at the banal lawn.
Consider the green grass lawn, that earthen
symbol of suburban wealth and mastery of the elements as it is beamed across
the decades and cultures. A lush and tightly trimmed lawn contains ironies of
development and progress; defined
geometries of fulsome
mono-plantings, it status symbol measured by the centimeter or meter, sprayed
with chemicals, cut and trimmed into patterns and reliefs. In cities on printed
on fences it is also a visual metaphor to block the disruptive chaos of a lot that
is under construction.
“With the acceleration of gentrification, people print out
such a symbol of happy life on the construction fence,” says 0907, “which
serves as a fig leaf of the on-going city construction – presented in a rather
stark and crude manner.”
As is his style, in a subtle act of culture jamming, he here converts the lawn into a sport field –with a subtle addition of an athlete – hoping to further disturb the cognitive dissonance.
“The imagery of neatly mowed lawns is always a symbol for
highly organized urban civilization,” he tells us.
“With my painting I present the picture of a goalkeeper in a
soccer game on the imagery of the fake lawn, creating a dual visual
misplacement. Thus a brand new absurd urban spectacle emerges. … the message
that this image sends is more than firm: to catch the ball that the city kicks
We’re up to our necks in deep frosty wind-whipping winter, and yet the Street Art right now is verbose, detailed, bright eyed, distinct, political, critical, stylish, dense, richly colorful.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week from Miami, and this time featuring Armyan, Captain Eyeline, Cash4, China, City Kitty, COMBO, CP Won, Food Baby Soul, Glare, Jaroe, Jaye Moon, Jazi, Marameo Universe, Plasma Slug, Rodak, Sara Lynne Leo, Smells, UK WC, and Winston Tseng.
The resonance of Brooklyn/New York Street Arist Jean Michel Basquiat continues to amaze us, in his reach, in his relevance to people who he may have never imagined that he would inspire. Today we bring you 0907 in Beijing, who is telling us that he went on many spots throughout the city with his new cardboard composite work – a stencil that captures his feeling about an artist on the other side of the world who lived and died, perhaps before he was born. As an additional cultural mashup, he employs the vocabulary of a secondary Street Art, Shepard Fairey.
And Mickey Mouse for good measure.
“One day I watched a movie called “Basquiat,” he tells us, “and another called is ‘Ridiculous Years’ I had some insight into the age of his life. So I made a poster which borrowed Obey’s style.and I posted these on my city. At that moment I felt I am the radiant child in my city.”
The streets can be a mirror, a diary, a stage to rant, prophesy, profess love.
Today we have Chinese Street Artist 0907 pouring his heart out for all to see. This Saturday will be the 100th day since he met someone very special he tells us. “This is a story about love at first sight,” he says, adding, “She is a student at an art college.”
And what else does a Street Artist do when he’s in love? He makes art to tell the world, like this 50cm square stencil portrait. “I am sure I have fallen in love with her,” he says with stars in his eyes.
Wandering along a footpath under the elevated street in Beijing these days you are likely to find the same sort of graffiti tags, wildstyle burners and stenciled celebrities that you discover in so-called Western city graffiti/Street Art scenes.
Of course the language and tags are likely in Chinese and the honored pop culture figures are more likely to be Chinese film stars, like this new digitized stencil by Street Artist 0907 of Hongshen Jia (贾宏声).
“He is my favorite Chinese film actor and he is a legendary actor in China,” the artist tells us. On the Wikipedia page about the actor it says, “His performances were praised by critics and he developed a rebellious image that made him popular among artistic youth and the “Sixth Generation” of Chinese directors.” Struggling with addiction many times, he took his own life in 2010 and he is also slowly transforming into a kind of folk hero for some.
Chinese Street Artist Elephant 0907 has sent us his latest work that he says addresses child labor in the 1880s. In fact many children were working at factories across the Western World during the Industrial Revolution, resulting in many injuries and death of children, aside from the hazardous and sometimes cruel conditions that they worked under.
It’s an odd piece of history that is remembered in the US because, depending on where you hear it, you might have thought that it was the only cruelty to children taking place at the time. For indentured servants brought to the US and forced to repay their trip through years of labor, the hardships were recorded as well. For slaves and children of slaves whose labor was forced, the story was an ongoing horror.
If only slavery had been abolished and we could speak about it comfortably in the past. There have been documented factories throughout the world that are basically labor camps. Today in 2018, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) more than 40 million people worldwide are victims of modern slavery.
Although modern slavery is not defined in law, it is used as an umbrella term covering practices such as forced labor, debt bondage, forced marriage, and human trafficking. The United Nations says that there are 5.4 victims of modern slavery for every 1,000 people in the world.
Street Artist 0907 is somewhere in China today with this new multiples stencil of Jean Michel Basquiat as shot by Andy Warhol. If you had a doubt about the global appreciation of these artists on the street, here’s at least one answer.
A few new painted wheat-pastes in the urban rubble from Street Artist ROBBBB in Beijing, China today, including this thoughtful, reflective and paunchy Spiderman who may not be able to scale walls quite as readily as he has in the past.
It almost looks like these superheroes are having various existential dillemas, ready to fly into a rage of frustration or simply break into hot firey tears. The whole infallibility thing is overrated anyway Spidey, we get what you are saying.
I’m trying to discuss the contradiction between the ideal and the reality from the point of view of human nature,” says ROBBBB, and that is a worthwhile pursuit. It may make you wonder why we need heroes in the first place and examine what need they are filling.
New images today of a red panda painted by artist Louis Masai in Shanghai. The quilt piece covered animal rises from street level with an endangered bee nearby ready to stitch him together. The image is familiar to anyone familiar with Masai’s work of publicizing species who are endangered around the world.
His first time in Asia, the Londoner says he was impressed with the trucks washing and cleaning the streets twice a day in Shanghai while he was painting. He also says air quality was quite challenging. When he wasn’t painting he did a bit of sightseeing as well.
“There are pockets of city life protected for the tourists and they have great historical value,” says Masai. “They are stunning with the Yu Garden in particular showcasing a fine example of indoor and outdoor living working in perfect harmony.” But much of Masai’s work is about animals threatened by our disharmonious ways.
He says he chose the red panda as a focal point because of its endangered status in China due primarily to deforestation and destruction of its natural habitat. “There are many reasons for their decline; from overpopulating humans, to canine disease. Perhaps the worst impacting factor is deforestation,” he says.
“Pandas mostly eat bamboo and the lack of growth after the flowering season, due to increased deforestation, leaves the pandas with a severe lack of food.”
Beijing based Street Artist ROBBBB continues to bring people to the streets in his city by way of self portraits and art models. The immediacy of the selfie and photo apps has rather eclipsed the traditional methods of figurative presentation and the inclusion of cartoon characters tells you that ROBBBB is fully immersed in youth pop culture where it digital and virtual are easily intertwined with real life.
“I try to show the pain, conflict, struggle, loneliness and anxiety of Chinese young people in a absurd way,” he tells us, but many of these new images look like they depict a Millennial generation that is confident, bold, humorous, adventurous, unreserved. But that’s just on this side of the screen.
Here are three recent wheat-paste campaigns he made for abandoned Beijing buildings called “Narrow Selfie,” “Three Sisters”, and “Mr. Lee”. He gets extra points for placement, often in direct relationship to the man-made elements that are adjacent to his figures and by doing so, incorporating them into the overall composition.
His two-story headless figure drew plenty of stares as he hand painted for two days in a rapidly developing neighborhood full of new construction.
“For me it was a chance to continue my recent exploration regarding Chinese patterns and traditional objects but most importantly to try to paint completely freestyle using only an extension pole,” he tells us. “Surely the influence of some Taoist readings I have been doing lately is quite evident – both in the subject and in the choice of going freestyle with a technique that doesn’t allow a high level of detail.”