All posts tagged: Cyop & Kaf

“From Street To Art” (Italy to New York) & Hitnes on a BKLN Roof

“From Street To Art” (Italy to New York) & Hitnes on a BKLN Roof

New Gallery Show Opens at Italian Cultural Institute of New York

Ever the melting pot, New Yorkers take it almost for granted that we are going to hear 10 different accents just in the course of our day walking through streets, getting a cab, shopping in a store, going to the theater, attending an art opening. We’re always in a midst of a cultural exchange. We often may not realize that the art on our street walls, legal and otherwise, may be the work of a cultural emissary as well, created by artists who hail from almost every country in the world. Such is the magnetic power of this international cultural center that even our graffiti tour guides sometimes need to be interpreters.

One of the countries where BSA has a large and loyal following is Italy and we’re excited to be a part of a cultural exchange that opens this evening with Italian graffiti and Street Artists exhibiting for the first time together in a formal gallery show. “From Street to Art”, opening today at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York, is a survey of this moment in the twenty-teens from the streets of Italy that adds to the voices of cultural exchange in this city that sparked so much of the worldwide graffiti and street art movements over the last fifty years or so.

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Using flat color and simplistic stereotypes demarked by clothing styles and associated characteristics of social types, the work of BR1 can evoke emotions and strong opinions on the street and in the gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Organized by Public and Urban Art curator Simone Pallotta, “From Street to Art” continues the thread of sanctioned/unsanctioned artwork and continues his personal and professional route of drawing connections between contemporary art and the dozens of interventions he has overseen in his native country.

“From Street to Art” presents a good caliber of this “contemporary” scene, a collection of artists that reflects the variety one will experience on the street as well. Agostino Iacurci, Aris, BR1, Cyop&Kaf, Dem, Eron, Hitnes, Sten&Lex, Ufo5, and 2501 have each established a voice of their own during this first wave of the new global Street Art explosion.

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DEM (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA is honored to partner with the organizers and curator to get the word out about the nascent Italian street scene not only for its energy and talent today, but for the historical roots of a painting tradition from the middle ages to the Renaissance to contemporary times; revered for stunning and expansive installations of art upon walls inside and al fresco, private and per il pubblico.

One of the original organizers of the Festival “Memorie Urbane” in Gaeta, curator Pallotta has worked with names you are familiar with from his home country: Blu, Sten & Lex, Escif, Aryz, Agostino Iucurci. While a few of those names are represented in this show, Pallotta hopes to go a  step beyond the sizzling “Street Art” zeitgeist of this moment to re-consider the urban context of public work as interpreted by a new generation of artists whose practice is likely to develop into the future, authoring the evolving definition of public art.

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DEM (photo © Jaime Rojo)

By choosing a selection of conceptualists, muralists, illustrators, even social commentators, he presents a good cross section of experimentation and execution in a quiet gallery setting that may indicate where this art form is headed.

As you would expect, the gallery show (shown being unpacked here) is complimented by work out of doors as well and we had the opportunity to see HITNES on a roof in Brooklyn this week.

We also spoke with curator Simone Pallotta, artist BR1, and artist HITNES while he knocked out a wall on a roof in Bushwick .

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Agostino Iacursi (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA speaks with curator of “From Street To Art”, Simone Pallotta:

Brooklyn Street Art: What initially drew your attention to Street Art?
Simone Pallotta: In the 90s I was a graffiti artist and later on I went to university for 8 years to study Art History. I began to pay more attention to what was going on the streets and one day in 2004 I discovered the art of Italian Street Artist BLU. It made such an impression on me that at that moment I made the decision to focus my time and energies in supporting Street Artists and helping them get more exposure.

In the university I had learned about institutional Contemporary Art – and my experience seeing Street Art in situ helped me understand that the real Contemporary Art was happening before my eyes on the streets. This was a Contemporary Art that was not being taught in the classroom at the university.

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ERON (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What is the attitude of the City of Rome towards Street Art?
Simone Pallotta:If by the City of Rome we mean the city as an institution, dealing with it in all matters of Street Art has become very hard to work with. Because the government changes so often there isn’t a state policy in place regarding Street Art so then we are left to work with single individuals in governmental departments that are receptive to Street Art. During the 90s many graffiti artists from all over the world came to Rome to write due to the lack of law enforcement.

From the late 90s to the early 2000s Rome didn’t have much Street Art so the laws remained as they were and weren’t enforced. In Rome it is relatively easy for Street Artists to put illegal work up but ironically, due to the intense bureaucracy, it is very hard to convince the people in power to authorize legal walls for Street Artists to put art on. Recently however the government has been more open to working with independent cultural organizations and foundations to promote art on legal walls.

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Cyop & Kaf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What would you like to communicate to viewers with this exhibition?
Simone Pallotta:I have been involved with Street Art for ten years now and when the opportunity to curate this exhibition was presented to me I wanted to select 10 artists with a strong urban background and attitude. With this exhibition I want to re-direct the focus solely on the merits of the art; the content, the style and the techniques employed to create it, without focusing too much on the street provenance.

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2501 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

BSA speaks with Street Artist BR1:

brooklyn-street-art-br1-jaime-rojo-06-2014-webBrooklyn Street Art: You address a number of religious themes on your work.  Can you talk about the importance of your perspective on religion in your pieces?
BR1: I’m drawn to religious themes mainly by the people who practice religion. It always interest me the lifestyle of people as a direct link with religious dogma. Institutional religions impose many demands on people – from the way they should dress to how they should behave in private and in public. The more that people associate themselves with a specific religion and become a part of that community, they may have little desire to explore life outside their religious bubble.

First I observe the people to be able to understand what are the things in their culture and life that have become religious symbols. In this case the burka is a dress but it is also a symbol. If the practice of an artist is purely social, more than political, it is important to show ideas in one’s work. With my work I would like  to question the viewer. I don’t want to create problems but I’d want to further the discussion to see if people are able to go outside their drawn lines and to engage positively and constructively with the other side.

Brooklyn Street Art: Would you call yourself a feminist?
BR1: Yes. In fact I have been invited by some feminists groups to come and talk about my work.

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BR1 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Why is it important to you to create work with issues that affect women in our society?
BR1: It is a hard question because when I began drawing I often drew women. In Italy and in many other countries women are not treated equally as men. They are discriminated against in the workplace and in society at large and I want to draw attention to this with my work. Also my work is about helping people understand that they have choices in life.

Brooklyn Street Art: Why are you attracted to put your work on the streets without permission?
BR1: The experience of Street Art is free and that’s what I liked about it. When I began doing Street Art I wanted to preserve the free spirit of it. When I first visited NYC I saw a lot of wheat pastes and some stencil work on the streets that were not legally installed. Now the trend is to go big on legal walls. For me placement is very important; art on the streets has to be in context with the surroundings.

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

During a hot day this week, BSA also got to speak with participating Street Artist HITNES as he completed a wall on a roof in Brooklyn in conjunction with the show “From Street to Art”:

Brooklyn Street Art: How do animals inspire your work?
HITNES: Animals are known forms of nature and like the alphabet you can work with them in any which way you want. I come from a family of biologists (and artists) and since an early age I was inspired by the books that were around me when I was growing up.

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: You started as a graffiti artist. Why did you switch to Street Art?
HITNES: I switched from letters to animals because it was quicker for me to do them.

Brooklyn Street Art: You obviously love color – where does your palette derive from?
HITNES: I was exposed to color with comics and cartoons and I liked them. For me the use of color is very important, it is as important as the form. But at the same time you need to be prepared to work with what you have and to be flexible.

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hitnes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This wall was made possible with the assistance of NYstGallery

“From Street To Art” is a group exhibition of contemporary Italian Street Artists including Agostino Iacursi, Aris, BR1, Cyop & Kaf, Dem, Eron, Hitnes, Sten & Lex, UFO5 and 2501. Curated by Simone Pallotta opening today at the Italian Cultural Institute. Click HERE for further details.

 

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