There are a few walls you remember over the years, and this one in Borås, Sweden stays fresh in our minds from our trip there in 2015 for the NoLimit Festival (@nolimitboras), originated by the fantastic Shai Dahan, an artist who brought street artists from around the world to this beautiful city and established it as a destination for art. That year we were blown away by the multipaneled wingspan of a wildly rendered “sky dancer” as described by artist DALeast – poetic, stunning, and fearsome all at once, its ferocity was made nearly kinetic by the chopping of panels that separated the canvas into separate slices of sky.
Today we have images of a newly revisited image painted by DALeast on the very same slotted visage. “As far as I can remember, this could be the first time I painted the same wall twice,” he says about the new rendition on the city’s university library. So loved was his original, the city asked for him to come back and as part of the currently running Artscape Festival, the artist created a brand new version. He says that the new version of the mythic bird in flight has changed, perhaps reflecting his own personal changes.
“I decided to create a continuing version of the same sky dancer that’s soaring up and transforming through two stills,” he says. “The image changes through time as well as the artist. Although it appears that I haven’t done as much external work in recent years, I sense that by not doing much, I am actually doing a lot for change. At least the old habit is peeling off. While this new piece continues to call for the openness that sparked a decade ago, the gap between subject and object is becoming softer and blurrier; edges are merging into one another. The elements keep transforming and dancing through the space, becoming the space.”
A uniquely dark atomized aesthetic
and vocabulary that references computer modeling and Rorschach tests, the
subjects of DALeast’s focus are
energetic skins, or simply skin-like armor that moves to contain the energy
within the form as it flies, races, pounds upon the wild gravel planes.
A self-driven creator, this Street Artist’s voice has stood confidently within the boisterous murmur of the last decade’s international urban art feast, quietly sticking to his story while the more brash braggarts at the table don new scarves to affect a commercial style or simply contort into something more appealing to merchants and queen-makers who have cunningly appeared at the table.
In fact, he’s even taken time off
from the so-called festival circuit to examine his painting practice, arguably
with solid results. Or liquid.
For Rippling Stone, his solo exhibition with Hashimoto Contemporary on Manhattans’ Lower East Side, the Chinese Berlinian is displaying a strong collection that moves and stands at the same time. According to the press release, he uses “his signature fluid, organic lines to form sinuous creatures that leap and swirl across the plane.”
“I had a vision of a stream in the mountains that travels through different regions,” says DALeast.
“Sometimes it crashes and merges with rocks, and sometimes it rests in the stillness, moving very slowly. A falling stone causes a rippling pattern, that pattern reflects, then it becomes indistinct whether the stream or the stone is rippling. The show represents a moment, so all the work echoes with this idea.”
DALeast Rippling Stone will be on view through Saturday, November 23rd.
You got furious at us sometimes this year. Or rather, you were mad at artists whose work pissed you off. Thanks for the emails though bro. We still love you of course sister.
Without a doubt the polarized atmosphere in social/economic/geopolitical matters worldwide in 2018 was increasingly reflected in the graffiti and Street Art pieces and projects that we wrote stories about. Loving it or hating it, often BSA readers were motivated to share the story on social media for discussion and to write directly to us to take issue, or even to chide us for “being political”.
Let’s be clear. Art has always been and will always be “political”. We tend to think that the artwork that we agree with is not political because it is expressing our values, opinions, and worldview.
So that’s why you propelled stories about a clandestine Trump cemetery installation by InDecline onto the list this year. That’s why Winston Tseng’s inflammatory campaign against a certain kind of Trump supporter on NYC trashcans proved to be so provocative and offensive to so many people, while others crowed support.
The topic of free speech under fire also attracted high interest for Fer Acala’s story of artists and rappers who took over a Spanish former prison to protest restrictive recent federal laws aimed at protest in that country.
But BSA readers also love the spectacle, the vast animated murals, the scintillating stories behind the art and the artist; the connection that communities and festivals create with art in the public sphere – or in abandoned factories, as it were. The biggest splash this year was the over-the-top creation of and the fiery destruction of an art sculpture at the Falles de València celebration in Spain by Street Artist Okuda. You loved the tantalizing images by Martha Cooper, and somehow everyone relishes the idea of building and constructing a large, colorful, inspiring piece of art and then lighting it on fire in the public square – propelling that story to the top of the BSA list in Top Stories in 2018
Box trucks are a favorite canvas for many graffiti writers in big cities and have become a right of passage for new artists who want the experience of painting on a smooth rectangular surface that becomes a rolling billboard through the streets advertising your name, making you truly “All City”.
When in French Polynesia a few weeks ago with the ONO’U festival, a number of artists were given the significant gift of a large truck or school/commuter bus on which to create a mural, a message, a bubble tag.
Together on the islands of Raiatea and Bora Bora there were about 10 of these long and low autobuses that became sudden celebrities in the sparsely travelled streets, debuted as some of them were in Raitea, when painted live at an all night party for the public.
The Painted Buses of Raiatea and Bora Bora. Continue reading HERE
Ajo Samaritans describe themselves and their mission on their website like this; “Samaritans are people of faith and conscience who are responding directly, practically, and passionately to the crisis at the US/ Mexico border. We are a diverse group of volunteers around Ajo that are united in our desire to relieve suffering among our brothers and sisters and to honor human dignity. Prompted by the mounting deaths among border crossers, we came together to provide food and water, and emergency medical assistance to people crossing the Sonoran Desert.”
Destroying Desert Water Bottles; Chip Thomas New Work in AJO, Arizona. Continue reading HERE
A current survey today from the streets in Copenhagen thanks to a couple of BSA fans and friends who share with readers their recent finds in one of the world’s happiest places, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report. Apparently it is also a good place for gay birds to come out of the closet.
With a storied history of graffiti bombing of the red trains that goes back many years, possibly generations, Copenhagen has long been a treasured destination for graffiti writers.
Now you will also find murals and installations illegally and legally by local and international Street artists – and the iconic full sides of buildings here are subtly transforming the public face of the city.
Copenhagen Diary: A Street Surevey of The Moment. Continue reading HERE
So INDECLINE picked a swell morning to debut their long-planned and complicated site-specific installation at this golf-course in New Jersey.
“INDECLINE felt is necessary to commemorate some of the victims,” they say. “The dates on the headstones correspond to some of the highlights of Trump’s first year in office.” You may remember some of these milestones on the tombstones, you may have to Google others.
The saddest death for us all year has been the civility and respect of Americans toward one another – as those hard working families who are just scraping by are being skillfully manipulated through sophisticated PR / media campaigns into thinking that they are the only real uber-patriots and to hate the wrong people. Most importantly they are fighting and voting against themselves without realizing it.
“Grave New World” Trump Cemetery. Continue reading HERE
Borondo. Utsira. Utsira, Norway. Summer 2018. (photo courtesy of the organizers)
Today we revisit Utsira, the tiny island in Norway that has hosted a few Street Artists over the last couple of years, like Ella & Pitr and Icy & Sot. This year the fine artist and Street Artist Gonzalo Borondo blended into the hills and the forest and the lapping waves, making his spirit dissipate into the community and into a boat.
“There’s a strong sense of community,” he says as he reflects on the metaphor he has chosen to represent his time here on an island of only 420 people, “There is a mutual support among citizens and a common feeling of enjoying the same unique condition.”
Borondo Finds Community on The Island of Utsira in Norway. Continue reading HERE
Equally gifted in the heavier handmade artisanal crafts of porcelain and ceramic as she is with aerosol, Nespoon did installations of both this month during the Emergence Festival in Sicily (Valverde + Catania. The seventh year of this international festival for public art, Nespoon shared the roster with American Gaia and Sicilian Ligama from March 10-26 creating works related to the city and its stories. In many respects these new works appear integral, interventions that belong there, may have been there a long time without you noticing; a sort of netting that holds the skin of the city together.
Nespoon Casts a Lace Net Across a Sicilian Wall. Continue reading HERE
One of the direct actions organized by the platform for fighting against Partido Popular’s civil rights oppression was to film a video clip featuring some of the most renowned lyricists on the scene as Frank T, Elphomega, Los Chikos del Maíz, La Ira, Rapsusklei, and César Strawberry, among others, at the old La Modelo prison. The location is an accurate metaphorical scenario when you are seeing that your liberty is being cut off thanks to laws like ‘Ley Mordaza’.
The song ‘Los Borbones son unos ladrones’, which alludes directly to the Spanish monarchy, includes some excerpts from some of the songs created by rappers serving a prison sentence. The video clip for the song, which you can watch at the end of this article, has become viral and almost all media outlets in the country are speaking about this big shout-out in the name of freedom.
No Callarem. La Modelo Prision. Barcelona. Continue reading HERE
Highlighting collective efforts that advance events during war and the tales of heroism, butchery, resistance, intrigue, and subterfuge that are braided into historical retelling, three Italian Street Artists commemorated citizen resistance and a Nazi massacre in a lengthy mural for the Penneli Ribelli Festival this month in Bologna.
At the center of the story is the resistance by everyday Italians of various ages, genders, and social classes, a movement known as the Italian resistance and the Italian Partisans, or Partigiani. The icon of the festival is a wolf in honor of the Partisan who led the group, Mario Musolesi, whose nickname was “Lupo”, or “Wolf”.
NemO’s, Ericailcane and Andrea Casciu Ride a Tandem Resistance. Continue reading HERE
We knew that these two talented and powerful personalities would compliment each other stunningly and that’s why we encouraged them two years ago to do a doc. A short term one was the original plan. But the two hit it off so well and when you are looking at a five decade career like Ms. Cooper’s and you have the dogged determination to do her story justice, Ms. Miles tells us that even an hour and a half film feels like its just getting started.
Now “Martha” the movie is at a unique juncture in the project and YOU may be able to participate; Selina and the team are looking for any original footage you may want to show them – and it may be used in the documentary.
“Martha” The Movie. Selina Miles Most Ambitious Project To Date. Continue reading HERE
After 25 years writing graffiti, DavidL has found his own way of working. It’s funny because one of the inherent issues about graffiti and street art is visibility. All the trains, the bombing, the tagging…it’s all about being noticed, being every f-ing where. It has been like this since day one (Taki 183, Terror161, 1UP…you know how it works).
But for David it’s not like that anymore.
Maybe it’s a sign of the days that we are living with social media, communication 2.0, etcetera. It’s obvious that if you have certain skills managing all this and a little bit of talent, plus a pinch of good taste, you can reach a global audience and show your work to the entire world even when you are concentrating the majority of your creations in a secret location.
DavidL, Through The Lens of Fer Alcala. Continue reading HERE
This week we have a selection of the UPEART festivals’ two previous editions of murals – which we were lucky to see this week after driving across the country in an old VW Bora.
We hit 8 cities and drove along the border with Russia through some of the most picturesque forests and farmlands that you’ll likely see just to collect images of the murals that this Finnish mural festival has produced with close consultation with Fins in these neighborhoods. A logistical challenge to accomplish, we marvel at how this widespread program is achieved – undoubtedly due to the passion of director Jorgos Fanaris and his insatiable curiosity for discovering talents and giving them a platform for expression.
When I was asked how to name the exhibition few weeks ago, I merged the words “vandalism“ and “Wandel“ (the German word for “Change“). That’s how Wandelism (or Changeism) was born and how it started transforming itself into an exhibition, which is truly accepting, embracing and living CHANGE.
On the grounds of a former car repair shop that is soon to be demolished, one can literally feel the constant movement and transformation of the urban fabric we all live in. Everything changes. Constantly. Change is evolution. Change is progress. Change is also the DNA of the art represented in the Wandelism show.
“Wandelism” Brings Wild Change For One Week in Berlin. Continue reading HERE
With a goal of 20 new murals by ’21 (20x21EUG), the city began in 2016 to invite a slew of international Street Artists, some locally known ones, and a famous graffiti/Street Art photographer to participate in their ongoing visual festival.
A lively city that is bustling with the newly blooming marijuana industry and finding an endless array of ways to celebrate it, Eugene has been so welcoming that many artists will report that feeling quite at home painting in this permissively bohemian and chill atmosphere.
“At the end of the day when one is towing the line of being provocative, you may cross that line in some people’s mind but I think if one is not trying to find that line then the work is not going to make any impact”.
Winston Tseng has probably been crossing that line, pissing off some people and making others laugh for a few years now. He appears to consider it an honor, and possibly a responsibility. Relatively new on the Street Art scene the commercial artist and art director has also created his 2-D characters on canvasses and skate decks that depict the abridged characteristics of a typecast to play with the emotions and opinions of passersby.
Winston Tseng: Street Provocatour Brings “Trash” Campaing to NYC. Continue reading HERE
Yes, Street Art is ephemeral, but OKUDA San Miguel just set it on fire!
During the annual Falles de València celebration, it’s normal for artworks to be destroyed publicly in about 500 locations throughout the city and in surrounding towns. Part of a spring tradition for València, Spain monuments (falles) are burned in a celebration that includes parades, brass bands, costumes, dinners, and the traditional paella dish.
This year the first Street Artist to make a sculpture in the traditional commemoration of Saint Joseph is the un-traditional OKUDA, creating his multi-color multi-planed optic centerpiece.
Okuda Sculpture Engulfed in Flames in Valéncia. Continue reading HERE
We wish to express our most heartfelt gratitude to the writers and photographers who contributed to BSA and collaborated with us throughout the year. We are most grateful for your trust in us and for your continued support.
From cave carvings in Angoulême in western France 27,000 years ago to your daily, perhaps hourly selfie on a cell phone today, our desire to depict the figure is as much a reflection of the artist and their times as it’s sitter.
A new show at MUCA Munich (Museum of Urban Contemporary Art) opening today invites 30 primarily Street Artists to choose a significant reference portrait of any historical time, country of origin, or artistic movement and interpret their inspirations into a portrait.
Whether drawing influences from Vermeer, Courbet, or Lucien Freud, each artist ultimately represents their own life experiences in their choice of subject and the technique of portrayal. Perhaps that is why curator Elisabetta Pajer has asked each of the artists to give us a statement with their work to help put it into context. Pajer tells us that she looks at the collection of works and the statements create a ‘harmonic mosaic’ of these figurative and written testimonies.
“These artists have sought out inspiration from many mediums that portraiture finds itself interpreted within,” says Pajer. “Taking their themes and inspiration from classical paintings, sculpture, film, theater, photographer, interactions, culture, religion, and science. Exhibiting a great understanding of the complexity of self-reflection with art as the catalyst.”
We’re pleased to be able to present some of the artists and their own words here.
Andreas Englund. Tripping. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Oil on canvas
Size: 116 x 90 cm
“I chose to tribute my artwork to the ‘‘Portrait of a smoking man’’ by Anders Zorn 1860-1920 – Swedens most internationally acclaimed artist. Born in my home region and very inspirational when it comes to his sketchy technique. By doing my own version of this masterpiece with my superhero, I have learned more about ‘‘the great Zorn’’ and his technique.”
Martha Cooper. Futura 1983. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Archival pigment print
Size: 50,8 x 76,20 cm
“This is a 1983 photo of Futura, a legendary New York City graffiti writer, with a classic can of Krylon spray paint. Thirty-five years later, Futura is still spray painting and I am still taking photos of graffiti writers.”
Icy + Sot
Icy & Sot. Under The Water Light. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artists)
UNDER THE WATER LIGHT
Media: Stencil spray paint on canvas
Size: 91,5 x 123 cm
“This portrait is part a series we created reflecting on the relationship between human and nature. Nature plays a big role in human lifespan, but nowadays people have distanced from nature. With this work, we want to show humans closer to nature and pay a tribute to it.”
Swoon. Thalassa. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Screenprint on paper with coffee stain and hand painting with collage mounted on board
Size: 123 × 138 cm
“The name Thalassa is Greek word for ‘‘ocean’’, a primordial incarnation of the sea that is not often personified. Thalassa is said to have given birth to all tribes of fish in the sea. She is the pull of the sea that comes from inside the salt water in our blood. ‘Thalassa was originally created for New Orleans. It was the months after the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf in 2010, and this body of water that I’d loved since I was a child was in peril. As I drew Thalassa surging up from the water I felt her rising like a wake up call, one reminds us of our inseparability from the sea. When I stand in front of the ocean, the word that always appears first in my mind is “mother”. For me there is no mistaking the sense that the sea is our first mother.’ ”
GONZALO BORONDO & DIEGO LOPEZ BUENO
SELFIE ELVIS II
Media: Acrylic and plaster on wood – Plasma TV 50’’- Video on loop – 16:9 Digital – Color
Size: 7 panels each – 120 x 70 x 1 cm + 1 TV
“Inspired by several passport photos found within the Marseilles “Marché aux Puches” (FR), Borondo and Lopez Bueno have designed an installation project with the title “Selfie Elvis II”. Imagination is the basis of the multimedia work with self-portraits of a man recalling the contemporary “selfie”. There are dozens of frames describing human aspects and obsessions. They have been digitally elaborated and assembled in a video by López Bueno. Borondo portrayed Elvis with acrylic on wood and applying gypsum, then scratched with sharp instruments. Faces appeared by subtraction, the absence tells about an ancestral and intangible dimension, wondering about its existence. Is Elvis looking at himself or us in that picture? And what about our images, do they look like us or they are just our dreams? Elvis is not there, Elvis is still there.”
Addison Karl. Kamassa. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Bronze, edition 1 of 10
Size: 30,48 x 20,32 x 15,24 cm
“Portraiture in context to sculpture and form – referencing the masterpieces from both European Classical and Neoclassical time periods. From a culture l mirror of taking inspiration from Gods and Goddess of the ancient world, my sculpture’s subject is focused on a contemporary Chickasaw Elder. Using portraiture as a means of Cultural Preservation but equally re-appropriating classic sensibilities of art history to a Native Cultural narrative. “
Various & Gould
Various & Gould. Trigger (Rokhaya Diallo). IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artists)
TRIGGER (ROKHAYA DIALLO)
Media: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 200 x 140 cm
“Our portrait of Rokhaya Diallo refers to an iconic work by Nikide Saint Phalle: The artistically revised film still “Daddy” shows the artist pointing a gun directly at the viewer. Even almost 50 years later, her eye and the muzzle of her rifle leave no doubt that she is serious about it. Anyone who sees the work feels immediately like coming into the firing line.
In our painting, the French journalist and film maker Rokhaya Diallo takes the place and – freely recreated – also the pose of Niki de Saint Phalle. Thus, an early feministic, vigorous artist of the twentieth century is followed by a modern, committed internet feminist with no less strong verve than her predecessor. Both women are even the same age at the time of the illustration. Only instead of the rifle, Rokhaya Diallo relies on her very own “weapon”, the hashtag. At first glance, it may seem more harmless than a rifle, but in times of #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo it can be an even more powerful tool.”
Fintan Magee The Removalist. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Canvas and acrylic on wall installation
“The portrait has been ripped off the canvas and dragged across the ground and projected onto the wall. The artist has destroyed the canvas and made the portrait ephemeral, rendering it worthless and unsellable. The work comments on the commodification of artwork and the uneasy and paradoxical relationship between artist and the financier of his artworks. With street art becoming increasingly commoditized and contributing to gentrification this work doesn’t aim to make any grand statements on how art should or shouldn’t be produced, only highlight the illusionary, absurdist and contradictory image the art industry presents of itself.”
VHILS. Matta. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Bas-relief carving on plasterboard mounted on metal structure
Size: 181 x 120,5 x 34 cm
“Resorting to a bas-relief carving technique, applied here to a free-standing structure of plasterboard, this piece is a homage to the work of Gordon Matta-Clark, which became a major influence on me after I first saw it at an exhibition in Portugal, in 2002. Matta-Clark was one of the first artists to look at the urban space as a space of creation and reflection on the human condition in the contemporary times we live in. Those are the considerations I try to translate in my own work too, reflecting about the human condition in the contemporary times we live in.”
Andrea Wan. Being Of Light. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
BEING OF LIGHT
Media: Ink on paper
Size: 50 x 70 cm
“Fascinated by the lively and dynamic landscape in the paintings of native Canadian Artist Emily Carr, I chose one of her most renown works, Indian Church (1929) as the subject of reinterpretation. Seemingly more accurate than a realistic approach, Carr’s abstraction of nature elements not only communicated to me that nature is vast and subliminal but also ever-changing in form and expression. The white church which stands calmly in the midst of the mystical environment inspired me to personify the subject as a being who is in tune with all that’s around her.”
DALeast. FIII. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 100 x 80 cm
“A still moment of Fiii standing in the windy land, which is existing inside the transitory gathering of the particles of the magical net.”
IMAGO: A History of Portraits opens today at MUCA Museum of Urban And Contemporary Art. Munich. Curated by Elisabetta Pajer the show runs until November 2018.
IMAGO is a show dedicated to the history of portrait: over 30 artists from five different continents are invited to pay homage and interpret a portrait in their medium of their choice. IMAGO aims to lead visitors through different artistic eras, helping discover the international history and evolution of the portrait.
Anna Piera Di Silvestre
Ricky Lee Gordon
Hello from French Polynesia! All week we have been hopping around the islands from Papeete to Raiatea and now in Bora Bora. Celebrating its 5th anniversary/birthday last night at the huge community street party with founders Sarah Roopina and Jean Ozonder and with this years ONO’U festival artists slamming walls like crazy here – you can see that hard work pays off sometimes.
Grassroots, not overly commercial, inclusive, responsive to the neighbors, high quality artworks – its a solid, even golden mix. Also Sarah’s parents are always happy to pitch in, whether it is pushing a broom or making lunch for everyone at home in their kitchen and bringing it to the work site to make sure that everyone eats. It is touches of warmth like this which reminds you that in many ways this scene that started in the street is as much about community as it is self expression.
For BSA readers who are just catching up with ONO’U we thought we’d use Images of the Week as an ONO’U Greatest Hits collection today. Most of these have never before published on BSA from the four previous editions. We took winding streets, back alleys, roundabouts, promenades, rooftops, abandoned lots and just about any place we could enter alongside Martha Cooper and had a blast for three days finding these walls again. Enjoy and Māuruuru roa!
“The coconut tree is one of the most common trees in The Islands Of Tahiti. The Polynesians always tell a legend about its creation… The coconut tree legend…
A long time ago, a young girl called Hina was of real beauty due to her sun kissed skin and silky hair. She was meant to marry the prince of eels. Frightened by the physique of her suitor, who had a gigantic body and an enormous head, Hina ran away and took refuge in the house of the fishing God – Hiro.
The latter was dazzled by the beauty of Hina and touched by her history, so he took one of the young woman’s hairs and with it fished the approaching eel. Hiro cut up the prince of eels and wrapped his head in leaves. Before dying, the eel said to Hina: “of all the Men who hate me, including you Hina, you will one day kiss me to thank me. I will die, but my prediction is eternal.”.
Hiro entrusted the head of the eel to Hina and then advised her:
‘Hina, girl of beauty, you can return to your family and there, you will destroy this head. But throughout your journey do not put it on the ground because then the curse of the eel will come true.’
On her way back, the beautiful young woman and her followers who accompanied her, became tired and decided to take a bath in the river, forgetting the warning of the God Hiro. The eel’s head which had been put on the ground penetrated the earth, and from it a large tree was born, with a long trunk just like an immense eel, and with foliage similar to hair; the coconut tree had just been born.
Hina was then condemned by the Gods to remain close to this river because the tree had become taboo… Life went on until the day when a terrible dryness struck the lands and during which only the coconut resisted the sun. Thus, in spite of the God’s prohibition to touch this tree, men picked its fruit full of clear and nutritive water. Each fruit was marked with 3 dark spots laid out like two eyes and a mouth on which the men put their lips in order to drink the coconut water…. Hina did the same thing ….. And the prophecy of the prince of eels had just come true.”
Since its explosion of pigment and hue on subway cars and in the streets of New York and Philadelphia a half century ago to its spread to the hundreds of cities worldwide, the truly grassroots movement of Urban Art refuses to be owned by any one city or one people, insisting upon making its own rules and traveling wherever the creative spirit leads.
As if to underscore that global nature of the Graffiti/Street Art/ Urban Art movements, Urban Nation (UN) Director Yasha Young named the origins of the guests who were attending last weeks “Secret Dinner” at the under-construction site of the museum that opens this fall.
“You came from Spain, England, Los Angeles, New York City, China, France, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Iceland, Italy, Mexico, every neighborhood in Berlin, from Leipzig, Munich, all across Germany, France, Switzerland, the UK, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and last but not least, Russia,” she said as she stood before a large canvas by the London-based artist Word To Mother and next to Hendrik Jellema, the Chairman of Berliner Leben.
After recounting the three years of accomplishments and aspirations of the new museum to date, Young showed an animated video tour, a somewhat flying birds-eye view of the new museum projected on the wall.
In two dimly lit street-level raw and cavernous rooms were mounted a number of selected canvasses from the 10 Project M shows that have been curated in the last 3 years announcing the coming museum, each directed and refined by gallerists and cultural experts of various stripes and featuring the work of over 200 artists.
Across the street and Bülowstraße here in the Schöneberg district at the temporary UN headquarters was the grand opening of PM/11. Featuring 16 German artists curated by 3 experts in their respective scenes from Berlin, Munich, and Hamburg, “Radius” points to the vast and diverse urban art community here in a this famous street scene and artists and fans overflowed onto the sidewalk swelling even further when post-dinner guests arrived.
With graffiti artists and street artists spread among the 4 long dinner tables a colorful mix of politicians, cultural ministers, academics, collectors, press, curators, ambassadors, philosophers, photographers, and friends shared dinner, drinks, opinions, and their respective knowledge about the scene and the aspirations of the nascent institution.
We don’t know what everybody said to each other, but we did talk about cooking for a family of five with one guest and the trade routes between South Africa and Cairo during the last century and the importance of fish in the Icelandic diet with another.
Young burst in the room mid-dinner, as she’s wont to do, with a microphone to show a video series of 4 street art projects showcasing artists engaged with community projects, rather dispersing the often-indulged perception that all graffiti and Street Art is transgressive and illegal. Of course a lot of the good stuff is, but most artists possess additional dimensions outside these stereotypical descriptors, including an interest in helping others.
Artists featured included Norwegian Martin Watson, the German duo Herakut, the Polish crochet artist OLEK, and the German born Brooklyn-based twins HowNosm. The projects highlighted were not necessarily UN sponsored but instead drew attention to overall goals of the museum to be engaged with communities outside the typical art-going crowd.
And so now the UN buzz has begun in earnest, with a steady run toward the opening doors of the Museum and significant involvement of international and local contingents of participants in the new institution. If anyone pretends to know how it will all look inside and outside on opening day or the months that follow, they are brave and fantastic in their willingness to prophesy. We say that because despite the much-heralded organizational skills of this land, and they are amazing, you can be sure that a vibrant and alive contemporary scene like this will continue to surprise us.
Murals hold their own place onstage in public space today for a variety of reasons that we discuss regularly on BSA. From grassroots and public, to private and corporate, we have watched the genre professionalize as Street Art festivals and other initiatives are often coupling artists with brands and are selling canvasses through the organizers galleries. Today we have the first of a promised four-part book series by Art Whino gallerist and organizer of the Richmond Mural Project in Virginia, Shane Pomajambo, that features many artists he has worked with in the brand new “The Art of the Mural”.
Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Featuring more than fifty current graffiti/Street Artists, the survey pays special attention to the show-stopping eye candy that commands attention for these nomadic painters who are developing their craft before an ever larger and more appreciative international audience.
Culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick, who writes the introduction to the Schiffer published hardcover, notes that this mural renaissance is quite unlike the US government funded New Deal era mural programs that produced “hundreds of thousands of murals for schools, hospitals, post offices, housing projects, and various government facilities”. And he’s right, these are emanating from a different place entirely.
Antony Lister. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
The world-traveling media-soaked artists, of which this collection is subset, have had vastly more exposure to corporations and branding perhaps than, say, arts institutions, and a sophisticated self-handling is often on display with artists ever more savvy in their choices of style and content.
A greater percentage are now entering into private collections, galleries, and museums thanks to unprecedented platforms for huge exposure on the Internet, and their public works are adding rich character and dialogue to our neighborhoods and public spaces.
Curiot. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
With academia, art critics, and auction houses all grappling with the rightful place of these artists in contemporary art and society at large it will be instructive to know the history and their lineage, content, context, and patronage. One has to agree when McCormick says that all of these “are helpful for us to consider in looking at and understanding the artists’ walls of today.”
This collection of talent is strong, with many of the mid-large names that are at play in this generation of painters whom are primarily born in the 1970s and 80s. In their work is a cultural appreciation for modern graffiti history as they now channel it along with formal training, art history, advertising, and a multitude of media. With few exceptions, it’s a tight list of artists, the images are riveting (though uncredited to their photographers), and the brief introductions by Pomajambo contain just enough biographical information and artist’ quotes to ground the story and give it context.
“As with everything I do,” says the Queens, New York native Pomajambo, “I always question and observe, and as we reach critical mass with murals I felt compelled to create this project and capture a moment in time.”
Evoca 1. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Fintan Magee. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Miss Van. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
MOMO. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Onur & Wes 21. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Telmo & Miel. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Tone (Robert Proch). Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
All photos of the spreads by Jaime Rojo
The Art of The Mural: Contemporary International Urban Art. Volume 01 by Shaen Pomajambo. Schiffer Publishing. Atglen, PA. USA.
It’s a convivial if embarrassing juxtaposition when you witness a bird in flight in this brutish man-made city environment, so unrefined are all of our efforts next to his. He rewards us with a song or a soaring performance in air, and despite our heavy slow selves anchored to this pavement, we shield the sun with our hand and follow him with our eyes, paying some respect for his gift and his splendor.
Another crosses his path mid-air. Her wings are so tempered and fine, allowing her to glide with grace, cutting across the chorus of perpendicular and parallel lines, shapes, and epochs that rise and fall and crash clumsily into one another in this hard-edged city.
How do they do it, these birds – especially when it seems like we do very little to help them? Why do they persist in this city that seems often to be unconscious of nature? Is it just our nature to be so unconscious? They should have abandoned us long ago. Yet they persist, and Street Artists here pay them tribute for all that they give us.
Axel Void and DalEast are somehow brethren here in New Delhi at the 2015 edition of St+Art India, if not because of a shared style then because of a shared appreciation for things you cannot see – alchemists with an uncanny ability to reveal.
Today we have excellent shots of the new murals by both of these artists taken by photographers Pravan Mehta and Akshat Nauriyal, sure to make you step back a little and appreciate some people’s ability to re-cast a public space into something much more.
Axel helps us out here with a description for his mural in Azadpur Market entitled “जिं द गी” (life), part of his “Mediocre” series. It is a simple depiction of a still life, he says, ” One of the most frequently recurring themes in the history of classical painting.”
He says he was inspired by the Azadpur fruit and vegetable market, one of the (or possibly the) largest in Asia, where he was surrounded by people, cars, sounds of the metro, buyers, sellers, a family of monkeys, and goats, chickens, pigs, and cows. “The wall is painted over the Delhi Cold Storage and next to the Azadpur Mosque,” he says.
After the Axel Void piece you’ll see DalEast, who tends toward the philosophical and spiritual in his compositions of forms taking shape before you. DalEast takes a somewhat typical piece of architecture and transforms it with a flooding rush of birds flowing through an open arched doorway. It is a constellation of energy and life that flying at you when the curtain goes up, instantly metamorphosing a public space into a possibly sacred place.
Thinking of going out hiking this weekend to see the fern and the flora and the fauna? Face it, you have to go out of the city to see these things – or at least to Central Park. When was the last time you saw a deer prancing up Flushing Avenue or sifting through vinyl platters at Brooklyn Flea market?
Actually if you were in Łódź right now you would catch dalEAST completing his new deer for Urban Forms 2014, the mural program that has given the city a place of distinction for its quality work installed over a multi-year period. dalEast has again distilled a moment in the imagination where atoms and elements in the ether coalesce and take formation, as these flora actually become fauna before your eyes.
We’re pleased to partner with Urban Forms and photographer Michał Bieżyński to bring BSA readers these exclusive new images of dalEast.
New York Clobbers Fall again and one of the finest examples of art in the public sphere has again returned to swing the aesthetic bat straight at your head with the DUMBO ARTS FESTIVAL.
With it comes the electrifying Brooklyn energy that transforms the street into a place you actually want to be in, linger in, discover in. Smack between two iconic Bridges (Brooklyn and Manhattan) DUMBO boasts a world class art festival that has grown both organically and with great purpose, often commanding your attention.
You can make a plan to hit a few installations, performances, galleries… — or you can just show up and grab a map.
Above image is of artist CHIKA’s large scale interactive LED sculpture in the archway under the Manhattan Bridge. More on her SEI: Stella Octangula HERE.
Following are some BSA picks that we think are worth highlighting:
1. FOLIOLEAF GALLERY. “Bad Vibes” Rubin415 and David Head.
A solid mix of new contemporary work that leans toward popular tastes, Folioleaf is making a strong showing with a growing stable that includes a number of current Street Artist like DAIN, Gilf! (image above), Hellbent, and others that are tangentially related. Street Art culture is a wide world and gallery owner Todd Masters is stretching his arms to embrace it.
Mainenti draws your attention to the actual street in this installation highlighting those rail tracks cutting through the neighborhood that were used by Brooklyn industries and trades like coffee, soap bubbles, sugar, shoes and Brillo steel wool pads.
Two Trees and Lisa Kim have humanized the experience year long for people working/living/passing through DUMBO by curating some large mural installations by some great Street Artists over the past couple of years. Below are a few to keep your eyes open for on the streets.
“LA2, aka LA ROC, collaborated with Keith Haring to create iconic NYC street art in the ’80s. LA2 is part of the original street art movement, and a godfather of the scene. His work is highly sought after for its iconic nature and history. This exhibit will showcase some of the classic styles that LA2 is known for, along with his new work that pushes the style into a more contemporary realm. On display will be works on canvas, wood, and an assortment of objects.”
16. MASTERS PROJECTS: “Lost Corcosa” . Various Artists
The largerer and higher ender version of FolioLeaf , this the MASTERS PROJECTS. oof!
Peter Buechler, DAIN, Dee Dee, ELLE, Amze Emmons, Dima Gavrysh, gilf!, Nicolas Holiber, Steven Katzman, Karl Klingbiel, Amanda Marie, Timothy Paul Myers, QRST, RAE, Jon Rappley, Joram Roukes, Shin-Shin, Cris Uphues, Nathan Vincent, Charles Wilkin, X-O.
17. REFLECTION / KOLONIHAVEHUS . Tom Fruin and CoreAct
“The colorful glass house is inhabited by two performers, who portray everyday dilemmas and lifestyle paradoxes in a subtle manner. They have lost the ability to meaningfully discriminate, and are trapped in a long chain of procrastination, mirroring our current social patterns. As an audience you can wonder in and out of the performance as you like. “
MPH-BENCH is an indoor and/or outdoor furniture piece created using the idea of adaptive reuse. We like the fact that this hydroponic bentch can be whe bench can be wheeled around to fit into various aesthetic environments – Mobile agriculture!
Truffula Loraxia is a hydroponic sculpture project created by Lee Mandell and XAM. It combines growing technologies with design. Truffula Loraxia’s basic structure is a tree, which extends from a dodecahedron shaped base.
A powerful group of images this week as we do a drive by on Labor Day Weekend in New York. We know it’s the last weekend of Summer but hell no! I’m gonna have another strawberry ice cream out on the stoop.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Alma’s, Anthony Lemer, Arnaud Montagard, Alice Pasquini, Bast, BLY, Cesar Mieses DALeast, Dek, Jerk Face, Paul Insect, Pete Kirill, Ryan McGinness, Sean9Lugo, Seymour Chwast, Solus, Swil, Tripel, Willow, Wing, and You Go Girl!
“This is my latest wall, painted in Syracuse, Sicily with the support of the Istinto Naturale cultural association,” says Alice Pasquini of this new tableau.
“Titled ‘The myth of Arethusa and Alpheus’ it was inspired by the spring of Arethusa in Ortygia (Syracuse), a body of fresh water close to the seashore. The legend says that the nereid Arethusa, trying to escape the advances of the river god Alpheus, fled by turning into a stream, eventually breaking ground in Ortygia where Alpheus found her and was able to mingle in her waters.” ~ AP
Let the mingling begin! Although you have to admit that she doesn’t look like she’s quite committed to the idea.