All posts tagged: City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

Ben Eine A to Z (and then some) in Philadelphia

Ben Eine A to Z (and then some) in Philadelphia

We are texting every day and everywhere these days. Ben Eine appears to be doing it across the entirety of South Philadelphia.

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

The prolific London artist who is known for his distinctive lettering style sits right at the border of graffiti and Street Art with a nod to both. Now he is firmly also a muralist after knocking out nearly forty letters in his circus font on metallic pull-down shutters for neighbors and businesses here.

“Honestly, we started with me finding Ben about 7 shutters to paint,” says RJ Rushmore of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, “and he just went from there and wound up getting permission for literally dozens more.” The program has a way of uniting artists with community in a holistic way.

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There’s no place like it. Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

“It’s a great experience getting positive feedback from the people who live in the neighborhoods I paint,” says the former graffiti writer who might not have asked for permission when he began a couple of decades ago. “When I did graffiti no one enjoyed what I painted aside from a few writer friends. Now days it’s the total opposite. What I paint is pretty happy. It’s hard not to like it.”

The idea to ask Eine to come to the city began when Rushmore and local muralist Shira Walinsky were looking for good ways for the mural program to engage with the neighborhood of settlers from Bhutan, Burma, and Nepal. Many of these folks are refugees and meet at a community arts and resource center here named Southeast-by-Southeast.

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

While Street Art has been accused alternately of being a tool for vandalism and for gentrification, this mural program had a Street Artist in mind to bring the neighborhood something positive, slowly transforming the feelings of connectedness and even pride.

“We both love seeing shutters painted, and we thought that more painted shutters would be a positive contribution to South 7th Street. As for bringing Ben specifically, we both love his work, and we wanted to see some of it in Philly,” says Rushmore, “We also hoped that having an internationally recognized artist paint near Southeast-by-Southeast would bring wider attention to the community center and the neighborhood’s under-served refugee population.”

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

What the organizers and the artist may not have anticipated was the enthusiastic support that came from the community once they saw how Eine’s pleasantly poppish letters perked up the place – nor how many excited neighbors would begin requesting them.

“I think it was 39 shutters,” says a newly exhausted Eine with some satisfaction. “That’s the most I’ve painted over the course of four days. Random shutters scattered around a city are cool – but when you paint every shutter on a block you totally change the dynamic of that area.”

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

“Ben hadn’t planned to paint 39 shutters, but once he got to about 15, it became about painting an entire alphabet, and then he just kept going,” RJ tells us. “It was a marathon. Luckily, the interest from building owners just snowballed. People would come by while he was painting, love what they saw, and offer up their own shutters down the street or around the corner. Ben’s work sold itself.”

Did he find the uneven and rolling surface of the metal grating especially difficult to paint? “It really depends on what I’m painting. Big walls are great for big words. The shutters are perfect for one letter. They are super quick to paint. It almost feels like graffiti,” he says, perhaps thinking of his earlier years of “hitting” and running, can in hand.

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

They say the project gathered steam after the first people said yes to Ben’s work. Savannah and Julio are a husband and wife team who co-own and run a bodega right in the heart of the neighborhood and they requested that Ben paint their initials on their two shutters.

Rushmore points to their openness and generosity as contributing to the positive buzz. “Once Ben arrived, Julio and Savannah loaned us a stepladder.” Other neighbors got excited and RJ said their excitement fueled him as he kept knocking on more doors.

“There were even a few locations that had initially turned me down, but changed their minds once they met Ben and saw exactly what he was doing. I didn’t hear a single negative reaction from anyone living or working nearby.”

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

Eine says he feels good that he is leaving behind something that the neighborhood can relate to and feel proud of and he appreciates the restorative nature of programs like Philadelphia Mural Arts.

“It’s important to involve the community in these art projects,” he says, “These are the people who live there. I get on a plane, fly somewhere else, and most of the time I never see my painting again. I always consider who is going to walk past my painting everyday and how it’s going to change their day.”

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

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Ben Eine. Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia. July 2015. (photo © Steve Weinik/Mural Arts Program)

 

To learn more about The City Of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program and to Volunteer click HERE

 

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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As Street Art Turns to Public Art in Barcelona

As Street Art Turns to Public Art in Barcelona

Spain’s Second Largest City Hosts “Open Walls”

A popular city for Street Art in the early-2000s that attracted artists from across Europe and elsewhere to its intimate doorways and darkened small streets, Barcelona has become less inviting to illegal painting in recent years due to an organized campaign to contain the freewheeling art and convert it into a respectable city to shop in. Like many cities now engaging the talent if not the transgression of this generation of renegade artists, there are other ways now appearing to help artists get up on walls. 

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Madsteez. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

In October Difusor, a non-profit cultural association that works with the city, businesses, and the artists mounted Open Walls, a conference and mural program for four days that included installations/interventions, workshops and lectures from an international roster.

Included among the speakers were Todd W. Bressi from City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, mural conservator Will Shank and Leon Cullinane from Nuart. Artist represented were people like Escif, Alexis Diaz, Pastel, Joao Lelo, 310 / Stepan Krasnov, M-City and Madsteez.

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Madsteez. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

The resulting mix is wide reaching and good quality, and just when the palette is becoming too subdued and the geometry possibly municipal the wild acid royal canine court by Madsteez parries forth in a line kicking formation. Not everything is rainbows and butterflies; of note are the swarming drones by the Polish M-City, their insect-like bodies clustered madly together in a cloud of all-seeing killers in the sky.

For an “approved” roster of works the variety of styles represents what is happening as modern and contemporary art movements gain currency in the public art eye. Also, you can still check out plenty of illegal spots nearby and Barcelona still is popping with possibility if you know where to look for one of Miss Van’s ladies, or maybe even an old C215 or Faile one-color stencil.

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Madsteez. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Escif. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Escif. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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SPOGO. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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SPOGO. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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SPOGO. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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M-City. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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M-City. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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M-City. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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M-City. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Alexis Diaz . Pastel. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Alexis Diaz . Pastel. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Alexis Diaz . Pastel. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Alexis Diaz . Pastel. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Joao Lelo. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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Joao Lelo.,Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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310/Stepan Krasnov. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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310/Stepan Krasnov. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

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310/Stepan Krasnov. Open Walls Conference 2014. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Fernando Alcalá)

For more information on Open Walls in Barcelona, please click HERE.

Our special thanks to Nerea Rubio from Difusor for her expert help.

 

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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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