Community murals today from two artists last month in Barcelona working with the Contorno Urbano program that brings artists of many disciplines to a series of walls in the public space.
Today we have Claudio Drë and Minuskila, who each take different approaches to themes, his abstractly wildstyle, hers simply symbolic, graphic and possibly painful.
Chilean born, Barcelona-based former graffiti writer Dr. Drë began on the streets in 1996 with aerosol and eventually experimented with oil, acrylic, and canvas. His murals and fine art have been exhibited in Chile, Latin American and Europe. He has an affinity for the technical, the fine line, volume, and perspective. His new mural draws upon his original fascination for graffiti, geometry, psychedelia and the letterform, bringing each to a more futuristic dimension.
A member of the artistic collective Reskate Arts & Crafts , graphic artist Minuskula (María López) is original from the Basque Country in Donostia-San Sebastián and has dedicated much of her work to illustration and letter-styling, with some experience in muralism as well. Here she translates an illustrated metaphor large scale, calling the piece “Limits”.
As illegal Street Art morphed into legal murals we began to witness the entry of formally trained artists and professionals who not only abandoned the politically charged or socially challenging themes in favor of pleasant topics and commercial aesthetics but accidentally launched an arms race for the biggest, tallest, widest walls possible.
Soon the descriptions we received about new artist works shifted from discussions on themes and messages to statistics about square meters covered, the number of stories high the building was, and how many cans or gallons of paint were required to finish it.
artist, designer, and photographer Octavi Serra would like a larger wall
please. The one that Contorno Urbano gave him for their 11th mural
this year in Barcelona seems dreadfully small, and he has really big ideas. He
calls this mural “Insufficient”.
says his work often “focuses on capturing the irony, truisms and frustrations
of modern life,” and while this piece is evidently meant to be tongue in cheek,
he is tapping into a general sense of dissatisfaction that is part of a
materialistic culture, and part of the human condition.
letting the typography bleed off the edges, you also sense the claustrophobic
feelings that are playing with the artists mind. “There is this feeling of
never being completely satisfied even though reason argues that we should be,”
he says. “There is this desire to always have more, which make the road
impossible to enjoy.”
mural is part of the 12 + 1 public mural project of Barcelona – at the Civic
Center Cotxeres Borrell. Before the end of the year they are planning a
collective exhibition where works by all the artists who have participated in
the edition of the 12 + 1 2019 Barcelona project will be on display. The show
will feature artists Jay Visual, Ivan Floro, Margalef, Anna Taratiel, Nuria
Toll, Flavita Banana, Cristina Lina, Degon, Mr. Sis, Cristina Daura, Laia and
“You must have rocks in your head if you think that you are going out with your friends dressed like that!” says your mom as you add more gel to your hair while pouring over every detail of your magnificence in the mirror. Honestly, your parents are so square.
“Rocks in your head” is an idiom meant to infer that someone
is thoroughly stupid, crazy, absurd — and with world news combined
with a firehose of entertainment and disinformation flooding you from every
direction today, sometimes you wonder about the thoughts, emotions, and
memories that you have to process inside your head just to remain “balanced”
That’s what artist Cristina Daura was thinking about when she created her new public art mural for the Contorno Urbano community mural program called 12+1 in Barcelona. She went to MICA in Baltimore for illustration, and spent a few years working in dead-end, unfulfilling jobs until she struck out on her own drawing comics and illustrating about things that interest her most for music and publishing clients.
“Her artwork plays
with the mind, using primary colors in harsh, punk and somehow macabre
illustrations, where decapitated or faceless people are often protagonists,”
says Contorno Urbano in a recent email.
“As if it were
an x-ray, the artist has represented a head full of things, thoughts, and emotions.
On the one hand, the flowers symbolize the illusion and the deepest dreams of
human beings. On the other, the rocks are destructive and cause a
The community based Contorno Urbano
continues to provide opportunities to local and visiting artists to access
public space for their explorations on walls in a suburb of Barcelona. Not
necessarily from the graffiti or Street Art world, they none the less are
examining the practice of putting your stuff up to a general audience of
passersby. Today we bring you some shots of their textile-influenced midsomer
walls with Allessia Innocenti from Chile and Mariadela Araujo who is originally
Innocenti studied fine arts and painting and spent much of her early career
teaching children and adults. Here she’s still working collaboratively to
install a grouping of geometric shapes of yarns that take their influence from
fractals and studies of symmetry.
Ms. Araujo presents a study for a new textile pattern she has created- a
repeating pattern of subtle shading that has similarities to sixties optic art.
Having completed projects of embroidery on a large scale in Caracas, Rome and
Helsinki, here she presents a piece of embroidery in large format as a mural, in
all of its chromatic variations.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. VHILS “Debris” Sets Macau in Golden Nostalgia 2. OKUDA: The International Church Of Cannabis 3. Mr. Sis. and #SoloUnBeso 4. Parees International Mural Festival. Oviedo, Spain. Edition 2018.
BSA Special Feature: VHILS “Debris” Sets Macau in Golden Nostalgia
Last year Vhils published this film about communication – personal, intimate, and global. We waited a year to see if it felt equally timeless as the first time we viewed it and indeed it is. Some stories like these have an additional element that secures their status. Surrounding the portraits created by the Portuguese Street Artist in Macau, this collage of images, interactions, flashes of expression and sequences of behavior is accompanied by a linear/circular narration that attempts to reconnect to a personal history while chiding the narrators own behavior.
It’s a winsome recounting of memories that are shared globally; a communal and personal experience at once told with clarity and emotional nostalgia, written and directed by José Pando Lucas.
OKUDA: The International Church Of Cannabis
One would hope that the International Church of Cannibis would look like this! Owing perhaps to psychedelic art of 1960s counterculture, liquid light art, concert posters, murals, underground newspapers, and of course kaleidoscoping the world with new eyes, the Spanish Street Artists Okuda San Miguel transformed this internal architecture into a truly holy space. Denver is one of those American cities that still has a good economy thanks to Colorado’s low taxes, growing marijuana industry and soaring real estate market. It seems like the whole city has invited many Street Artists to transform street space over the last decade and with a good collector’s base, the art galleries are busy and special projects are popping up everywhere to show off the skillz.
With a new church that uses pot as a sacrament, this project is spearheaded by Steve Berke, who’s Wikipedia posting lists him as “two-time candidate for mayor of Miami Beach, cannabis activist, rapper, YouTuber, entrepreneur, and former All-American tennis player.” Dude, just gaze at the ceilings here and you realize that the possibilities are awesome.
“Artist Mr. Sis is in Barcelona painting this pair of full figured females going in for the kiss on this billboard for Contorno Urbano,” we wrote a few weeks ago in a posting about this wall. Today we have the finished video.
Parees International Mural Festival. Oviedo, Spain. Edition 2018.
A new mini-doc from the
Parees Festival in Oviedo, Spain has just been released about the 2018 edition.
It features on-screen interviews with many of the artists who were involved,
including Colectivo Licuado, Roc BlackBlock, Taquen, Xav, Andrea Ravo Mattoni,
Kruella d’Enfer, Alfalfa y Twee Muizen.
They don’t call it World Pride for nothing, and many artists are creating new public artworks this month to commemorate the 5oth anniversary of the modern rights movement for LBGTQ+ people in many cities.
Artist Mr. Sis is in Barcelona painting this pair of full figured females
going in for the kiss on this billboard for Contorno Urbano. The community
powered initiative invites all manner of artists to participate and this
illustrator who also is formally trained in dance and theater is gratified to
have the opportunity to create a public painting. He calls this “Sol Un Beso”
or “Just a Kiss”.
As we recognize that not everyone around the world has the freedom to love who they want, in fact face violence and threats from state and civil entities, Mr. Sis says he would really love it if people use his new hashtag #SoloUnBeso.
Post a kiss and tag it! Your image may go a long way.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Non-Trivial – Jesse Hazelip 2. Banksy Overlooked in Venice 3. DEGON 12+1 Project / Contorno Urbano Foundation. Barcelona 4. Christian Rex van Minnen ponders aloud about the creative process and how words can’t really explain a painting. 5. Gonzalo Borondo MERCI. Teaser #2
BSA Special Feature: Non-Trivial – Jesse Hazelip
“People think ‘Oh, prison is for people that are bad.’ That’s
not the case. It’s a racist system. We need to raise the awareness on that.,”
says graffiti writer, street artist and fine artist Jesse Hazelip in this new
In addition to speaking about his technique of engraving
animal skulls, he speaks about the US justice system of incarceration that he
compares to a “mass epidemic that is affecting marginalized people, mainly people
of color who are black and brown.”
Banksy Overlooked in Venice
The Street Artist Banksy posted this video to cry crocodile tears on his Instagram during the Venice Biennale. “Despite being the largest and most prestigious art event in the world, for some reason I’ve never been invited.” Is the large seafaring vessel spread over multiple canvasses a self portrait, perhaps? It’s simply massive.
Christian Rex van Minnen ponders aloud about the creative process and how words can’t really explain a painting.
It begins with the heaviest of sighs.
“There’s never really a blank canvass moment in my process.
There is a constant cycle of paintings that are at very stages of completion”
“ I guess I see these as just one long continuous painting”
And so we end our excepts from the dramatic reading.
Thumbs up to visual effects editor Mike Gaynor.
Gonzalo Borondo MERCI. Teaser #2
Spanish Street Artist and installation artist Borondo is taking over a church, bringing the cathedral qualities of the dark forest with him. His teasers for this project (culminating as “Merci” on June 21) are as illuminating as they are elusive.
“The church has been closed for 30 years,” we wrote this week. “If you wait long enough the natural world will overtake this temple, covering it with moss, wrapping it with ivy, filling it with trees. “
The artistic duo just brought two new pop culture inspired billboards last week to this small town in Catalonia to entertain you with their hybrid brand of graffiti, video games, and sports references. Like many today they’re using the free association split-attention style of memes and the Internet that is now our lingua franca – or should we say linqua españa
intersection of graffiti, the Internet, and cute things, Imon Boy has developed
a fun-centric database of pop-cultre references merged and interplayed in
scenarios from many a ‘00s teen memories surfing YouTube and catching tags –
and showing his work in a gallery setting in Munich, Hamburg, Phillipines,
Miami, Sydney, and New York. He says this game is typical of writers and cops –
but it looks a lot more fun from this perspective.
native of Badalona (Barcelona), Dagoe is similarly well travelled
geographically as well, taking his illustration, design, and animation powers
to France, Tunisia, Italy, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Here he namedrops Cope
and references Tupac and Drake – with the sensitive Canadian rapper wearing a FC
Barcelona team shirt and crying into a phone – that’s a mashup, bro.
out to the 12+1 and the Contorno Urbano
Foundation for hosting this duo.
The 1990s lo-tech graphics of glitches and gifs and simplistic digitized objects continue to find their way into Street Art and murals, including this new app-activated chromo-keyed mural by Vic-born Degon.
A part-time post-rapper and a co-founder of his own graphics studio for creating beautiful-ugly logos, Degon says he began his first forays into graffiti in ’99, eventually becoming a bonafide crew member of the NGFX.
Now his interventions are straddling the physical and the digital and to enjoy fully this new “Green Screen Art” for the 12+1 project in Barcelona you’ll need a phone to see the motion graphics that are triggered. Or you can just look at the animation posted here at the end.
Official kick-of for release of the book “Get up again: Forty years later” by Craig Castleman
Nearly Forty years after his seminal book “Getting Up: Subway Graffiti In New York” was released, Craig Castleman is touring Spain to talk about a huge update to the story. Originally published by MIT press, it became a cult book for the graffiti/street art subculture and a bibliographic reference in the academic field.
”When the city designed the subway system they made some bad choices on colors. … If the subways were painted nice, it would make a lot of people very happy,” graffiti writer LEE is quoted from this book in the New York Times review of this 1982 release by the teacher, who had been at the High School of Art and Design, presumably with many of the young artists he researches.
An early academic record of the lively and controversial New York graffiti scene that thrilled and flummoxed the city during the previous decade, Castleman featured interviews and observations by important foundational names like Bama, Tracy 168, Phase 2, Futura 2000, and Iz the Wiz at a time when few valued their opinions.
This month, as a result of a joint initiative by INDAGE, the Spanish Association of researchers and disseminators of graffiti and urban art, and Contorno Urbano Foundation, Castleman’s visionary study is going on tour for a series of lectures and round tables in cities including Hospitalet, Barcelona, Valencia, Malaga, Granada and Madrid.
The events focus on the important contributions of the author and academic to the canon of early graffiti history. In addition he’ll be promoting an expanded volume that builds on that highly valued original book entitled “Get up again: Forty years later”. It features 160 previously unpublished photographs from the golden age of New York graffiti, a phenomenon many say Castleman first helped define and globalize.
tour is now underway, and if you would like to support it (maybe it can travel
further through Europe or the US), please check out the Kickstarter HERE
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Subvertisers in London 2019 2. Cristina Lina / Contorno Urbano Foundation / 12+1 Project / Barcelona 3. Keith Haring: 4 Minute Mini Documentary.
BSA Special Feature: “Subvertisers in London 2019”
nothing to sell here. Not what it’s about.
have demonstrated or practiced subvertising/culture jamming with such endurance
as the folks profiled in this new mini-doc. The ever more popular street art
activist practice of reclaiming public space from commercial interests is built
on the premise that a consumer mindset is blind to the necessary fundamentals
of civic life, or life. When you hear
these nuanced discussions of legal and moral aspects of hi-jacking commercial
signage you admit that it sadly reductivist to turn everything, including art,
into merely a product for buying and selling.
always felt it as an aggression, as a violence. The fact that it is a visual
violence does not make it less of a violence, because it imposes a certain idea
of reality which I don’t feel is my own. When I realized that we could make
something of our own, it gave me an idea of liberation” says a commentator as
the video presents a blinking series of billboards, signs, and bus stops all
around the city in constant succession.
Advertising itself is not the issue – everyone agrees that it has its place. The issue is when it wants to be in every place, public and private. At all times. More threatening, and more contemporary, is the consolidation of media/news companies, the re-writing of regulations, and the blunt force of capital that now uses these commandeered public spaces to “educate” the populace about policy – a thoroughly different form of “selling”. Do we all see where we are going with this?
Subvertisers in London 2019
Cristina Lina / Contorno Urbano Foundation / 12+1 Project / Barcelona
“This Spanish cat named Tommy looks like he could have belonged to Matisse, due to the overlapping abstract collage method, but British artist Christina Lina says he was her grandmother’s cat – so we guessed wrong,” we said the day we featured this new public mural she did with Contorno Urbano in Barcelona.
Giving a concise history that nonetheless mispronounces the name of the town the subject was born in, the narration has an affected sage tone that shoots for earnest profundity but settles for deadpan vocal fry. Delivery aside, it’s a quick primer of the career climb and cultural significance of the Street Artist Keith Haring that firmly addresses the significance of his role as an openly gay man and AIDS activist – especially at time when even most graffiti/Street Art peers and would-be fans were still homophobic and AIDS hysteria was at its peak .
Yes, it is Saturday. It’s also#Caturdayif you are a fan of the felines and you want to contribute to or simply scroll through the roughly 7.5 million photos with that hashtag onInstagram.
This Spanish cat named Tommy looks like he could have belonged to Matisse, due to the overlapping abstract collage method, but British artist Christina Lina says he was her grandmother’s cat – so we guessed wrong. The artist and educator often creates props, temporary sculpture, and installations for kids and places they frequent, and finds her work easily moves from public to private space and back again.
work as artist and my work as educator are not easily or tidily separated,” she
says of her work. “Mostly I work within a sort of collapse between the two.”
This mural part of a public art program done in concert with local Ferran Sunyer school (so-named after the mathematician) in a neighborhood of Barcelona and students had the opportunity to create puppets during the final phase of the program.