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2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

2010-2020 : 10 Impactful Street Art & Graffiti Interventions & Events of the Decade

BSA has been here with you for this entire decade – an honor and a privilege. Reviewing the many interventions and events we witnessed and shared with our readers, we realize that this grassroots people’s art movement is reflecting our society in fundamental ways and reaching deep as well as wide. Here in roughly chronological order we recount for you a Top 10 for BSA that have impacted our way of seeing art on the streets.


1.

The “Girl In The Blue Bra” – December 2011

Oppressive regimes worldwide have a few commonalities. One of them is patriarchy. Over the last decade we have seen many female artists rise powerfully to smash it, harnessing their rage and power and taking their voice to the street.

There were countless images that encapsulated the ferocity and the tenacity of the protesters during the Arab Spring uprisings in Cairo, Egypt in December of 2011. One image, in particular, captured the attention of the media and the public. The image is commonly referred to as the “Girl In The Blue Bra”. The image depicts a young woman, whose identity remains anonymous, being beaten and dragged by soldiers as she was taking part in the protests in Tahrir Square in Cairo, against Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Her face is veiled and her jeans are still on but as she was being dragged by the soldiers her abaya came undone exposing her bare torso and revealing her blue bra as a soldier was about to kick her in her abdomen.

A young woman is being dragged and kicked, exposing her bare torso in the act by the military in Tahiri Square. Cairo, Egypt. December 17, 2011. (Stringer/Reuters/Landov)

While the image exposed the abusive practices and of power of the military in Egypt – it also swiftly sparked ferocious reactions around the globe, particularly with women who subsequently staged their own march in Tahrir Square in Cairo to demand the end of military rule.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)

Among the artists who carried the Blue Bra theme to the streets was one artist, Bahia Shehab, whom BSA and its readers helped to get a movie made about Street Artists in the Arab Spring, called Nefertiti’s Daughters, directed by Mark Nicolas. Later we were the first to debut a scene from it at the Nuart Festival in Norway (“#Activism on the Street Now”), and years after that Nuart actually hosted professor Shehab. This is a small world, this Street Art community.

The actions of the young woman, the violent response of the military, and the overwhelming support of the public, in general, sparked a new wave of feminism in Egypt and inspired artists to create and display their artworks on the streets in protest.

Stencil work by Bahia Shebab “No to stripping/Long live a peaceful revolution” (image courtesy of the artist)
An unidentified artist in Cairo. (photo from Pinterest)

2.

“Art In The Streets” Opens at LA MOCA – April 2011

Art in the Streets was the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art, curated by MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch and Associate Curators Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose, an exhibition tracing the development of graffiti and street art from the 1970s to the global movement it had evolved to. BSA was there to capture and share some of what was happening.

Red Hot and Street: “Art in the Streets” Brings Fire to MOCA

From BSA

“Yes, Banksy is here. The giant ‘Art in the Streets’ show opening this weekend at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles gives a patch of real estate to the international man of mystery who has contributed greatly to the worldwide profile of what is soon to be, maybe already is, a mainstream phenomenon known as street art. A smattering of his pranksterism is an absolute must for any show staking claim to the mantle of comprehensive survey and an excellent way to garner attention. But “Streets” gets its momentum by presenting a multi-torch colorful and explosive people’s history that began way before Banksy was born and likely will continue for a while after.

The show is an audacious multi-platform, colorful endeavor; part history lesson and part theme park bringing about 50 years of graffiti and street art history, it’s influences and influencers, under one roof. Then there is the stuff outside. Engaging and educational, “Art in the Streets” makes sure visitors have the opportunity to learn how certain tributaries lead to this one river of swirling urban goo, mapping connections between cultural movements, communities, and relationships within it. When it does this, the museum system effectively differentiates its value apart from a mere gallery show. “

“Art In The Streets” Blade . Os Gemeos. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
“Art In The Streets” Invader’s invasion of Martha Cooper’s installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3.

Banksy’s NYC Residency – “Better Out Than In” – October 2013

An unprecedented city-wide near daily installation of works in New York established a new high-water mark in the flood of Street Art that took many cities in the 2010s. The British Street Artist played to a media capital in such an effective campaign that even the least interested residents became familiar with the elusive prankster.

Banksy’s Final Trick

From BSA

A Genuine October Surprise for New York Street Art Friends and Foes Alike.

“In a series of communiqués beamed from his website, the global Street Artist Banksy gave graffiti and Street Art followers a near-daily jolt of mystery and mouse clicking that had people looking at every street scene as a possible Banksy by the time it ended. While few can confirm the exact level of involvement the actual artist had in the five boroughs, if any, none will deny that the Banksy brand underwent a major “refresh” this month that again put his name on the lips of those who had begun to forget him and many who had never heard of him.

Thanks to this masterful marketing campaign billed as a month-long ‘residency’ on New York’s streets, many thousands were talking about him daily on the street, on television, radio, social media, in galleries, studios, office cubicles, art parties, and the mayors’ office. By effectively combining the sport of treasure hunting with humor and populism, each new cryptic appearance of something-anything gradually conditioned some grand art doyennes and the plainer mongrels amongst us to drool on command and lift a leg in salute to the curiously still anonymous artist and the team who helped him pull it off.”

BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BANKSY “Better Out Than In” NYC Month Long Residency. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

4.

The Brooklyn Museum’s Exhibitions with Swoon, Faile, BÄST, Haring, Basquiat, ESPO, JR Expand Knowledge, Appreciation

One cultural institution in New York City and indeed in the United States has been notable throughout the decade for its commitment to organizing exhibitions where graffiti, street art, and the artists whom have shaped it are given recognition for their contribution to the arts. The Brooklyn Museum’s leadership, including former director Arnold L. Lehman, current director Anne Pasternak, and Sharon Matt Atkins, Director of Exhibitions and Strategic Initiatives have been channeling resources and focus to the study, promotion, and exhibition of the works of important figures in the contemporary graffiti and Street Art movement. It notable that the museum has in its permanent collection the works of distinguished graffiti and Street Artists dating back to the dawn of the modern scene; something that other important cultural institutions in New York City that are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of modern, contemporary, and American art lack in their collections.

It’s for this reason that we have selected the Brooklyn Museum as one of the top ten graffiti and street art movers of the decade. Predated by 2006’s “Graffiti” exhibition the museum has mounted several important presentations during this decade that have not only been blockbusters but they have contributed to the cultural enrichment of all New Yorkers and the expanded discussion of the relevance of these art forms to established canons. Here are some highlights:

Keith Haring – March 2012

From BSA

Keith Haring 1978-1982 : Early Keith at The Brooklyn Museum

Keith Haring: 1978-1982, a traveling exhibition first shown in Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna and The Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, introduces a period of his work not often examined, taking you up to the edge of the seemingly sudden international fame he experienced as artist, activist and public figure through the rest of the 1980s.

… At a time when the small-town boy was developing his visual vocabulary as an artist, Haring was also discovering himself as a man in the world and in a city that he found endlessly fascinating and worthy of exploration. Capturing his spirit of hands-on experimentation, the show is almost entirely comprised of works on paper with one collaborative piece on plywood with his contemporary Jean Michel Basquiat, paper collage, video, and documentary photos.”

Keith Haring. Matrix, 1983. Courtesy of and © Keith Haring Foundation, The Brooklyn Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Swoon – April 2014

From BSA

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands”, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Museum

“Sharon brought me in here and said, ‘What is interesting to you in the building?’ and I really love that because the thing about working on the street is that you are always thinking site-specifically. And so that thinking has to translate into your work in all places. For me, if I make something in a museum I want it to be very site-specific and this is probably one of the most site-specific pieces I’ve ever done,” explains Swoon.

Under the advice and guidance of an engineer, the artist also modified her design process to allow for foundational considerations like truss sections and lift points. “I showed him an initial model and he showed me an engineered system and then I built another model based on the system that he engineered.”

It is probably unusual for a grand museum to be so amenable to the requests of an artist for a site-specific piece that literally inhabits the furthest reaches of space, and Swoon says she recognizes the leeway she received. “You know, they have been really adventurous in letting us create this. We’ve been sort of pushing a lot with the creation of this piece.”

For Matt Atkins, the opportunity to bring an internationally known street artist and neighbor into the museum has been the result of just over two years of planning. ‘It’s been so wonderful working with Swoon to realize her vision for this project. This is the first time we’ve really used the full height of the 72-foot dome, so it’s quite spectacular. I am thrilled to see her boats back in New York and for them to have this new life. The underlying ideas about climate change in the installation also make this project an appropriate tie into the Museum’s focus on activism with our other exhibitions and collections,’ she says.”

“Swoon: Submerged Motherlands” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks – April 2015

From BSA

Basquiat’s Notebooks Open at The Brooklyn Museum

“In Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks, now running at The Brooklyn Museum until August 23rd, the genius of his fragmenting logic is revealed as a direct relationship between his private journals and his prolific and personally published aerosol missives on the streets of Manhattan’s Soho and Lower East Side neighborhoods in the late 1970s and 1980s.

These notebooks were for capturing ideas and concepts, preparing them, transmuting them, revising them, pounding them into refrains. In the same way his text (and glyphic) pieces on the street were not necessarily finished products each time; imparted on the run and often in haste, these unpolished missives didn’t require such preciousness.”

Famous. 1982. Basquiat:The Unknown Notebooks. Brooklyn Museum. April 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faile & BÄST – July 2015

From BSA

Holy Faile ! “Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at Brooklyn Museum

“FAILE may be a religious experience this summer at the Brooklyn Museum, but only one of the hallowed installations is called Temple. The seedier, more dimly lit venue will surely have the larger number of congregants by far, bless their sacred hearts.

Celebrating the duality and appropriation of words, slogans, and images have been the bailiwick of the duo since they first began hitting Brooklyn streets at the turn of the century with their stencils and wheat-pastes on illegal spots and neglected spaces. In FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds, their new attention-commanding/refracting exhibit organized by Sharon Matt Atkins at the Brooklyn Museum, these guys pour it on, compelling you into a complex panoply of possible re-imaginings of meaning that reference pop, pulp, myth, art history, 50s sci-fi, 60s advertising, comics, punk zines, consumer culture and their own pure artistic and branded fiction.”

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stephen ESPO Powers – November 2015

From BSA

Coney Island Dreaming: Following the Signs to Stephen Powers

Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull) is one of 3 new exhibits inspired by the historic attractions of Brooklyn’s seaside.

“Graffiti artist-turned-sign painter Stephen Powers is dreaming of Coney Island and he is bringing a colorful collection of found and freshly produced signage that evokes a forgotten era to climb the columns of a Brooklyn Museum gallery.

Given the boisterous parade of brands and logos into museums that is happening as part of the institutional funding and programming mix, it’s fun to see the ninth episodic installation of this traveling ICY SIGNS shop here; its simplicity and guile recalling amusing persuasive techniques from the mid-century American advertising lexicon. Simultaneously, for those who have been lucky enough to sicken themselves on cotton candy and The Wonder Wheel, the new show imparts a rather reassuring and seedy nostalgia for Coney Island, complete with an inexplicable hankering for a thick beef hot dog.”

Steve Powers “Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To A Seagull)” Brooklyn Museum. November 2015 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR – October 2019

From BSA

“JR: Chronicles” Revels in His Explorations at Brooklyn Museum

“A retrospective at Brooklyn Museum currently showcases the photographic works and public projects envisioned and created by French Street Artist JR. Covering roughly two decades of work, JR: Chronicles dedicates an in-depth examination into his practices and personal philosophies when creating – as evidenced by this collection of his murals, photographs, videos, films, dioramas, and archival materials.

Brooklyn Street Art: JR created a new digital collage for this exhibition featuring a thousand or so people individually interviewed and photographed. Can you tell us about what criterion he used for selecting his subjects?
Sharon Matt Atkins: JR’s main focus was on capturing the rich diversity of New York City. As such, he photographed people in all five boroughs of the city, including many neighborhoods that were new to him. While he did invite some guests to participate, most of the people were passersby or business owners and workers of local stores. “

JR. 28 Millimètres, Portrait d’une génération, Braquage (Holdup), Ladj Ly, 2004
JR: Chronicles. Brooklyn Museum. Brooklyn, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

5

Blu and Street Art – Banksy & Co.

Curated by Christian Omodeo, Luca Cinacabilla, and Sean Corcoran. March 2016

BLU buffing his own works in Bologna took the news cycle, his legion of compatriots armed with rollers and bucket paint. But it was the show that he was reacting to that brought thousands to the museum space to discuss the rightful place of Street Art, graffiti, and the relevance of preserving it for posterity.

From BSA

BLU Allies : A Counter Exhibition to “Banksy & Co.” Launched in Bologna

“The contested Banksy and Co. exhibition contains, among many other works, walls removed from a privately owned abandoned building in Bologna that were painted by BLU. Displaying the walls and his artwork without his consent so angered the painter that he rallied artists and activists to help him snuff out all his remaining murals and paintings in this Northern Italian city last week. (See A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna)

The heavily attended Friday night opening of Street Art – Banksy & Co. at Palazzo Pepoli – Museo della Storia di Bologna was curated by Luca Ciancabilla, Christian Omodeo, and Sean Corcoran and features roughly 250 historical and contemporary works spanning about fifty years and highlighting a number of movements within the so-called Urban Art genre. On balance it appears that 90 percent of the works are studio works, paintings, sculpture, videos, original sketches, and ephermera and were probably collected in a more conventional way and the tagged posters, stickers, metal doors, and wall fragments are viewed in the context of the whole scene.”

About Ponny (photo © @around730)

A BLU Buffer Talks About the Grey Action in Bologna

From BSA

“Reality TV is usually completely devoid of reality. That isn’t the exact comparison Andreco said on his Facebook page but we thought it was a fitting analogy. Street Art in a museum or gallery can sometimes feel like taxidermy.

Andreco actually said ‘Deciding which wall to paint or not to paint has always been one of our free choices. This operation, to uncork the walls and move them elsewhere, oversteps this freedom.’ Fair enough.

Of course, that is not the primary reason why activists and Street Artists joined in to help BLU paint over the many murals that he completed on Bologna city walls over the last two decades or so. In an English titled press release on the Italian website Wumingfoundation the artist lays out a multi-layered justification for destroying his own murals, many of which have become beloved landmarks around the city and which have helped make him an art star in some circles.”

BLU action in Bologna. (photo © Andreco)

American conceptual, activist and street artist John Fekner, whose art and his art partner Don Leicht were represented in the exhibition Street Art: Bansky & Co weighs in the controversy by saying:

  • The bottom line is: what’s done in public-doesn’t remain in public. There’s no protection for artists who trespass. It’s the chance one takes outdoors.
  • If you create illegal art murals, street rules are always in effect:
  1. You can’t stop a drunk in the middle of the night from pissing on your wall.
  2. You can’t stop a bulldozer from razing your work.
  3. You can’t stop a neighborhood anti-graffiti squad from painting over your work.
  4. You can’t stop a well-dressed thief in a suit, or their hired slug with a chisel from removing your wall work and hauling it off to their laird, garage, museum or art market.

“Under any circumstances, don’t immediately and irrationally react. If your original aspirations were to be an artist- then just do what you were meant to do: be an artist. Don’t double shift and be a night watchman patrolling the streets to try and thwart thieves of your work. Unique temporary outdoor creations engender a public conversation that includes everyone: art lovers and art haters, lowbrow and highbrow, and everyone who interacts with your public work.”

John Fekner (© John Fekner)

6.

Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art Opens in Berlin – September 2017

We had the unique perspective of being two of the foundational curators who made this exhibition happen and made the doors fly open to thousands of visitors, so it only made sense that we covered the opening that brought much promise to the institutional recognition of Street Art, graffiti, and its move into Urban Contemporary.

From BSA

“Inundated!” Scenes from the Opening: UN – Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin

“This week is Art Week in Berlin, and you just stole Art Week,” said a handsome and intensely opinionated German to us as we leaned on the arm rail of the M.C. Escher-inspired walkway before a Carlos Mare139 sculpture and above the capacity crowd on Saturday night at the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN).

Not sure if that was the exact goal, but we get his larger point; the UN has just made a massive entry into a number of societally and culturally influential minds when it comes to the relevancy of Street Art and graffiti to visual culture and art history. This movement into so-called Contemporary began as early as the 1970s and has overcome and weathered cultural and market ebbs and flows – persisted, if you will – yet somehow institutions have been wary of this work and these artists and unable to fully embrace their importance, you decide why.”

Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hot Tea’s installation. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

7.

Five Pointz: A Legal Case For Urban Artists Shifts the Focus – February 2018

From BSA

Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case

“In a ruling that many graffiti and Street Artists interpret as a validation of their artwork and which may spawn further legal claims by artists in the future, Brooklyn Judge Frederic Block, a United States Federal Judge for the Eastern District of New York, awarded $6.7 million in damages to a group of 21 artists in the high profile case of the former graffiti holy place in Queens called 5 Pointz.

Under the leadership of artist and organizer Jonathan “Meres One” Cohen, also a plaintiff, the award is in response to a suit that cried foul on the overnight destruction of multiple artworks on building walls without consultation or notification of the artists.

Citing provisions of the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act that grants artists certain “moral” rights, the artists claimed that their artworks on the 5 Pointz compound that was owned by real estate developer Jerry Wykoff were protected and should be afforded certain rights and considerations.

Arts and intellectual property lawyers and judges will now be examining the implications of the ruling and citing it as an example in arguments about art created on walls legally and possibly those created illegally as well. In a city that prides itself as being a birthplace of graffiti and Street Art, many artists and wall owners must ask themselves if there will need to be an additional layer of the agreement before an aerosol can is held aloft.”

5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
5Pointz. LIC Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

8.

The New York Times Publishes DONDI’S Obituary – February 2019

In an unprecedented posthumous publication of an obituary, this year The Times acknowledged something that it had so far failed to do; the contribution of graffiti writers to the cultural and art canons deserves serious recognition. By publishing the iconic image of DONDI taken by Martha Cooper that burned “Subway Art” into the mind’s eye of many generations of graffiti writers, the “paper of record” caught up with one the the scene’s leaders and heroes.

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)

The NYT obituary of Dondi begins like this:

Donald Joseph White, considered a legend before “street art” became popular, turned New York City’s subways into rolling canvases of color, humor and social commentary.”

Dondi White by Martha Cooper. (photo courtesy of NYT / Martha Cooper)


9.

Martha Cooper: A Picture Story Premieres at TriBeCa. A film by Selina Miles. April 2019

From BSA

MARTHA: A Picture Story. Shots from the Premiere and Movie Review

“First things first – Full disclosure; we are featured in the movie and we are close friends with both the subject of the doc and the director and we first suggested to the director that she was the perfect candidate to make a film about Martha Cooper. Now that we have that out of the way here are a number of shots from the premiere and our review of the movie:

Martha: A Picture Story had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this Thursday to an enthusiastic crowd that included big graffiti, Street Art, international press and film industry names, to see the highly anticipated documentary about the venerable photographer Martha Cooper by the Sydney director Selina Miles.

The electricity was in the air as Director Miles and producer Daniel Joyce along with the just-arrived Australian members of the “Martha” crew looked for their seats in the Village East Cinema. After a brief introduction by Miles, who told the audience that the film had been a great pleasure to make, the curtain went up to reveal the mother of the superstar art twins Os Gemeos on the big screen. She is sitting at her kitchen table in São Paulo remarking how her boys used to draw on everything, including fruit, and how Cooper and Chalfant’s 1984 book “Subway Art” changed their lives forever. With their story as a backbone for the film, the theme of personal transformation is repeated in a hundred large and small ways for the next hour and twenty minutes. “

Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Director Selina Miles with Martha Cooper. Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Martha Cooper “A Picture Story” TriBeCa Film Festival. April 2019. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

10.

Street Art and Activism Takes Larger Share of the Cultural Stage

This decade that is coming to an end has seen its share of natural disasters, human rights violations, atrocities of large scale against humanity, corruption at the highest levels, the reversal of hard-fought policies to protect the planet and keep our air and water clean. We have witnessed with despair the renaissance of hatred based on people’s nationalities, their skin color, their religion, their choice of attire, their level of material affluence and their sexual preferences.

We have seen progress as well. Women around the world have been freer to speak their mind against oppression and abuse of power thanks to social movements that have flourished around the world in big cities and small towns. Our LGBT brothers and sisters have scored numerous legal battles in their favor thanks to enlightened lawmakers and judges who have searched deep inside their intellect to find the right answer to make sure everybody is treated equally. Likewise, our peers whom we need to advance our cause have taken seriously the responsibility at the ballot box to make the correct choice with policies that will bring relief to those who have less than we do.

Art and artists have often reflected back to us the world we live in, it is for this reason that we have chosen Street Art and Activism as an important action in this decade. We have always championed the work of artists who imbued their art with a strong sense of social urgency. It is with their art that they talk to us in the hopes to change one mind, one action, one concept, one attitude towards the goal creating a common good. There are many of them currently active on the streets. This wouldn’t be the appropriate space to list all of them but we would like to give you some highlights:

No Borders: Murs Contra el Murs (Walls Against Walls)

Barcelona, February 2019.

From BSA:

“This past Sunday, February 17 at La Plaza de las Tres Chimeneas (Three Smokestacks Square) in Barcelona an international group of artists participated in the first ‘No Borders Festival.’

NO BORDERS is a grassroots organization that was created to raise awareness about the refugees, to demand their acceptance, and to raise funds through debates, art, and documentaries.

They say they want to raise the uncomfortable questions – which will undoubtedly lead to uncomfortable answers as well. To paraphrase the text on their website:

‘Do we settle for a society that violates its moral and legal obligations to refugees? A refugee is a person who flees – Flees because he is on the losing side. Because he thinks, feels or prays differently than those who point him with their weapons.’

As usual, artists are bringing these matters to the street for the vox populi to debate.”

Enric Sant. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)

Andreco: Reclaiming Air and Water for Delhi, India “Climate 05”

New Delhi, March 2019.

From BSA:

An Art, Science and Climate Action project by Andreco

“And the statement isn’t hyperbole, according to AIR-Ink, the company that made his ink, which is “the first ink made entirely out of air pollution,” they explain on their website.

The unique art-making material is part of the Italian Street Artist / Activist’s most recent installment of his Climate Art Project, which he orchestrated on the streets here in New Delhi for the St+Art Festival this year. Part of a global, multi-city installation and demonstration, ‘Climate 05 – Reclaiming Air and Water’.”

Andreco. Climate Art Project. In collaboration with St+ART India Foundation. Delhi, India. March 2019. (photo Akshat Nauriyal)

“Post-Posters” Puncture Public Discourse in Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg, May 2019.

From BSA:

” ‘Actions Speak Louder Than Ass Ads,’ says a new stencil-style printed poster by New York’s epic, if sometimes cryptic, street commentator of four decades, John Fekner. Anyway, who will argue with that?

Post-posters is a cooperative proposition about public billposting,” says French conceptual street anarchist Matthew Tremblin about his new project with hit-and-run situationist street posterer Antonio Gallego. Together they reclaim space with individually produced posters and they invite artists from around the world to do the same.

Over a two month period the creative place-makers are facilitating an international crew of artists to post posters on the occasion of the double exhibition by Banlieue-Banlieue group* (°1982, Poissy) taking place in Strasbourg, at both AEDAEN and the Syndicat Potentiel. “

John Fekner . Carole Douillard. Post-Posters Project. Strasbourg, France. April 2019. (photo courtesy of Syndicat Potentiel)

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh: When the Lion Roars Back, a small overview

Brooklyn, NY. July 2019.

From BSA:

“By putting these images of people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks on the street with their blunt-force sentiments addressed to would-be harassers, she not only stands with them, but Tatyana has also used her work and vision to give them the courage to stand proud, assert their voice and to take public space.

After all, it belongs to the public.

“Women are not outside for your entertainment”, a startling truth for some guys that pointedly highlights abusive behavior toward women on the streets of Brooklyn and many cities around the world. Brooklyn Street Artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh has been targeting daily oppressive experiences of marginalized people with her campaigns of art on the streets – and in the gallery.

Addressing themes of social justice, racism, LGBTQ+ rights, and sexist street harassment, her beautifully drawn campaigns on wheat-pasted posters and painted murals across the globe have brought attention to issues sorely in need of addressing during hostile rhetoric from some men in the highest offices.”

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jetsonorama Tells “Stories From Ground Zero”

Church Rock, New Mexico. August 2019.

From BSA:

“This spill and these events did not happen in San Diego or Palm Beach. The story doesn’t affect wealthy white families and cannot be used to sell shampoo or real estate. That’s probably why we don’t see it in the press and never on the talking-head news. Street Artist Jetsonorama is not only a photographer who has been wheat-pasting his stunning images of people and nature on desert buildings for over a decade, he is also a doctor on the Navajo reservation, a human-rights activist, and an erudite scholar of American history as it pertains to the poisoning of this land and these people. Today we’re pleased to bring you this long-form examination from Jetsonorama’s perspective on a complicated and tragic US story of environmental poisoning and blight that affects generations of native peoples, miners, military personnel, and everyday people – and has no end in sight.

Most alarming is the news the current White House administration is endeavoring to mine uranium here again.

‘Private companies hired thousands of Navajo men to work the uranium mines and disregarded recommendations to protect miners and mill workers. In 1950 the U.S. Public Health Service began a human testing experiment on Navajo miners without their informed consent during the federal government’s study of the long-term health effects from radiation poisoning.  This study followed the same violation of human rights protocol as the US Public Health Service study on the long-term effects of syphilis on humans by experimenting on non-consenting African American men in what is known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment from 1932 – 1972.’ ~ Jetsonorama”

JC with her younger sister, Gracie (who is a NBCS participant).  (photo © Jetsonorama)

BSA Special Feature: “REWILD” from Escif

Sumatra, Indonesia. September 2019.

From BSA:

“As part of our core commitment as a non-commercial platform that has helped hundreds of artists over the last decade+, BSA significantly helped Escif to raise money for his Indiegogo fundraiser in Spring 2017 when we promoted his “Breath-Time” horticultural project heavily as he planted trees to reforest Mount Olivella in Southern Italy.

Today BSA debuts REWILD, a new tree-related project by the Spanish Street Artists – just as the Global Climate March is spreading to cities around the world, including New York.

The concept of the short film is simple: can’t we just push the “Rewind” button?

‘The narrative runs in reverse, rewinding the clock on deforestation to undo the damage caused by the unsustainable production of one of the world’s most versatile commodities. Beyond the industrialisation of the land, we end at the beginning, a thriving ecosystem alive with wildlife. The concept mirrors the real world action of the Sumatran Orangutan Society and their partners in reclaiming land on the borders of the Leuser rainforests to rewild them with indigenous trees, expanding the boundaries of one of the most biodiverse places on earth.’  

Finally, a stunning custom soundtrack by Indonesian composer Nursalim Yadi Anugerah captures and carries this into another world, which is possible.

Shout out to the folks behind the project Splash and Burn: a cultural initiative curated by Ernest Zacharevic and coordinated by Charlotte Pyatt run in association with the Sumatran Orangutan Society and the Orangutan Information Centre.

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No Borders: Murs Contra el Murs (Walls Against Walls)

No Borders: Murs Contra el Murs (Walls Against Walls)

This past Sunday, February 17 at La Plaza de las Tres Chimeneas ( Three Smokestacks Square) in Barcelona an international group of artists participated in the first “No Borders Festival.”

Carles G.O’D. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)

Called “Murs Contra el Murs”, which is Catalan for “Walls Against Walls”, the multi-mural festival intends to highlight the ongoing humanitarian crises of refugees and immigrants at international borders around the world.

Graffiti artists, Street Artists, painters, and illustrators came together to create new murals to speak to the issue and encourage debate and conversation. Artists included Btoy, Carles G.O’D, Dixon, Eledu, Enric Sant, Javier Arribas, Juanjo Surace, Julieta XLF, Kenor, Kram, Pincho, Roc Blackblock, Ruina, Saturno, Simón Vázquez, Tutzo, and Wati Bacán, among others.

Julieta XLF. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)

NO BORDERS is a grassroots organization that was created to raise awareness about the refugees, to demand their acceptance, and to raise funds through debates, art and documentaries.

They say they want to raise the uncomfortable questions – which will undoubtedly lead to uncomfortable answers as well. To paraphrase the text on their website:

“Do we settle for a society that violates its moral and legal obligations to refugees? A refugee is a person who flees – Flees because he is on the losing side. Because he thinks, feels or prays differently than those who point him with their weapons.”

As usual, artists are bringing these matters to the street for the vox populi to debate.

Our sincere thanks to photographer Lluís Olive for sharing his shots of the walls with BSA readers.

Enric Sant. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)
Enric Sant. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)
El Rey de la Ruina. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)
Juanjo Surace. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)
Royal. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)
Saturno Art . Eledu Works. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)
Pincho. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)
Kenor. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)
Roc Black Block . Rubicon. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)
TVTZO. No Borders Festival. Barcelona, Spain. February 2019. (photo © Lluís Olive)

For more information on the festival running through March 3rd that includes documentaries, panel discussions, workshops, and prints, please go to https://noborders.es/ and follow @nobordersrefugees on Instagram

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BSA Top Stories Of 2018 As Picked By You

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.

The timeliness of Jetsonorama’s wheat pasted photography series about Good Samaritans who leave water for people in the desert – and the US border guards who destroy them – resonated powerfully to us this week as  a 7 year old girl died in Border Patrol custody of apparent dehydration.

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


No. 15

The Painted Buses of Raiatea and Bora Bora – French Polynesia

Okuda. ONO’U Tahiti 2018. Bora Bora, French Polynesia. June 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

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


No. 14

Destroying Desert Water Bottles; Chip Thomas’ New Work in AJO, Arizona

Chip Thomas. AJO, Arizona. July. 2018. (photo © Chip Thomas)

From BSA:

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


No. 13

Copenhagen Diary: A Street Survey of the Moment

DalEast is the author of the bird. Spyo tells the world who he really is… (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

From BSA:

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


No. 12

Pop Up “Trump Cemetery” Marks Death of Ideas on 1st Anniversary of Inauguration by INDECLINE Artist Collective

“Grave New World” installation by INDECLINE artist collective (image © INDECLINE)

From BSA:

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


No. 11

Borondo Finds Community on The Island Of Utsira in Norway

Borondo. Utsira. Utsira, Norway. Summer 2018. (photo courtesy of the organizers)

From BSA:

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


No. 10

Nespoon Casts a Lace Net Across a Sicilian Wall

NeSpoon. Emergence Festival. Catania, Sicily. March 2018. (photo © courtesy of NeSpoon)

From BSA:

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


No. 9

No Callarem: Street Artists Paint As Protest in La Modelo Prison, Barcelona

Enric Sant. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

From Fer Acala on BSA:

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


No. 8

NemO’s, Ericailcane and Andrea Casciu Ride a Tandem Resistance In Bologna, Italy.

Ericailcane. Pennelli Ribelli Festival. Bologna, Italy. October 2018. (photo © NemO’s/Andrea Casciu)

From BSA:

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


No. 7

“Martha” the Movie: Selina Miles’ Most Ambitious Project To Date

Martha Cooper (photo © Selina Miles)

From BSA:

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


No. 6

DavidL Paints Hitchcock, Warhol, Tim Burton, Kubrick: Through The Lens of Fer Alcala

DavidL. ET. Fraggle Rock. Spain. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

From BSA:

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


No. 5

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.30.18 – UPEA Special

SMUG. UPEA 2017. Kotka, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

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.

UPEA Special. Continue reading HERE


No. 4

‘Wandelism’ Brings Wild Change for One Week in Berlin

Marina Zumi. “Wandelism”. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Harald Geil)

From BSA:

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


No. 3

Scenes from Eugene: Murals of the 20x21EUG Festival in Oregon

Alexis Diaz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

From BSA:

The city of Eugene in Oregon is preparing for the 2021 IAAF World Athletics Championships and like many cities these days it is transforming itself with murals.

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.

Scenes From Eugene: Continue reading HERE


No. 2

Winston Tseng: Street Provocateur Brings “Trash” Campaign to NYC

Winston Tseng (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

“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


No. 1

OKUDA Sculpture Engulfed in Flames for Falles Festival in València

Okuda. Fallas 2018. Valencia, Spain. (photo © Martha Cooper)

From BSA:

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.

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No Callarem: Street Artists Paint As Protest in La Modelo Prison, Barcelona

No Callarem: Street Artists Paint As Protest in La Modelo Prison, Barcelona

A new sharply political campaign championing the freedom of expression has caught fire in Spain in the last few weeks under the hashtag #NoCallaremos, and Street Artists are now adding their talents to the protest. Rather shockingly for a modern European nation, a rapper’s prison sentence for offensive lyrics was upheld in Spanish Supreme Court in February (Billboard) and that decision along with other recent events has sparked a number of creative protests across the art world in cities across the country. Today BSA contributing Street Art photographer Fer Alcalá shares his opinions and new images of the murals in progress with BSA readers.


THE NO CALLAREM PLATFORM

~ by Fer Alcalá

…or how some of Spanish top artists react against censorship and repression of the freedom of speech from the central government…

Enric Sant at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

It’s now known worldwide: the Spanish government is imprisoning hip hop artists like Valtonyc and Pablo Hasel because of their sharp and truthful lyrics as well as sentencing people like you and me because of their critical posts on social media.

As a reaction to these acts against the freedom of speech that are more in tune with a well established dictatorship than with 40 years of democracy, some projects like the No Callarem (we won’t shut up) platform have raised their voices.

Reskate . Enric Sant . Txemy. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

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.

The patio with Enric Sant in the background at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

I was invited to witness the filming  and painting session by local artist Javier de Riba, from Reskate Studio, who invited some fellow artists to paint at La Modelo walls as a part of the whole process. Franco Fasoli JAZ, Twee Muizen, Txemy, Joan Tarragò, Enric Sant, Milvietnams, Werens and Fullet gave a new voice to the walls surrounding that backyard, providing 2D images that perfectly matched the spirit behind the beats and the rhymes.

Javier De Riba at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

This is what Javi has to say about his collaboration with the project:

“Our involvement with No Callarem happened thanks to the Catalan rap artist Pau Llonch. He lit the spark for recording a clip against the Valtonyc and Hasel sentences. They wanted to do it at La Modelo no matter what and the No Callarem platform supported the action. We helped to spread the word for putting together a team with different languages together to visually enhance the video clip.

At the beginning, was what meant to be an ‘atrezzo action’ turned into a bunch of pieces that can be visited in the backyard of Gallery 4. In fact that backyard is not open to the public, but you can see it from the watch guard pit. We think that, from a conceptual point of view, it’s very powerful to keep those pieces locked – especially when thinking about how things are going in Spain regarding freedom of speech.”

Javier De Riba at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Additionally it’s worth mentioning Reskate’s initiative about shouting against the suffocating atmosphere that we are experiencing here for some time: ‘Our idea is that every artist post one piece / illustration / painting / picture (old or new) supporting our initiative promoting freedom of speech in order to criticize the lack of democracy within the Spanish government.

Some of the hashtags that we will use are #NoCallarem #EzGaraIsilduko #NonCalaremos #NunVamosCallar #NonCararam,#NoCallaremos being the main one.

Visual artists from Madrid, Zaragoza, Almería, Oviedo, Valencia, Vila-real, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valladolid, Tenerife…are supporting this initiative. Some of them are: Malakkai, Escif, Paula Bonet, Aryz, Ricardo Cavolo, Enric Sant, Twee Muizen, Franco Fasoli, Hyuro, Javier Jaén, Boa Mistura, Conrad Roset, Jordi Borràs, Danjer, Cinta Vidal, David de las Heras, Juan Díaz-Faes, Chamo San, and Marina Capdevila, among others.

Fullet at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

La Semana por la Libertad de Expresión (Freedom of Speech Week) is happening now, with different activities taking place all over the country. The funds raised from these activities will go to a resistance fund for the platform in order to defend all those people chased and brought to justice because of censorship and repression. You can check the whole program of the week HERE.

So, yes: we have a fight going on. Comedians, actors and actresses, musicians, journalists, visual artists, the guy / girl next door who is active in social media… It’s kind of a Russian Roulette game where, if you are critical with the established system and you are using 3rd grade humor as a weapon, you can end in jail. And all of it is happening in a country whose government is accused of being the most corrupt on the whole continent.

Werens at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

I have a very well informed friend who has been kind of disappointed with the absence of critical vision and combative behaviors from most of the big names in the local street art / graffiti scene. Thanks to initiatives such as No Callarem and the impulse of people like Javi de Riba, she is reconciling herself with this small, but powerful little world whose images have the strength for making important things happen.

Finally, I’d like to recommend that you check the publications under the hashtag #nocallaremos that are out, as there will be some fine and unique art being produced for the occasion in the upcoming days.

As it’s being said in Los Borbones son unos Ladrones:

– rap music is not a crime
– we need scratches, we need paintings
– I don’t dream about Versace, I dream about barricades
– …because of the poetry that still sleeps in the ditches…

Big props to Javi de Riba, Xavier Urbano and all the artists behind the No Callarem movement.

#nocallarem

Fullet, Werens and Javier De Riba at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Milvietnams at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Franco Fasoli AKA JAZ at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Franco Fasoli AKA JAZ at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Twee Muizen at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Enric Sant. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Reskate . Enric Sant . Txemy. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Reskate. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Txemy . Joan Tarragó . Twee Muizen . Franco Fasoli AKA Jaz. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Joan Tarragó. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Twee Muizen. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Franco Fasoli AKA JAZ. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Fullet . Werens . Javier De Riba . Milvietnams . Reskate. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Fullet . Werens. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Javier De Riba. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Overview. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Los Borbones Son Unos Ladrones. feat, FrankT, Sara Hebe, Elphomega, Rapsusklei…


The guys behind Delabrave @delabrave have filmed a parallel clip about the creative process of these pieces.

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A “Cathedral” of Characters in Northern Spain

A “Cathedral” of Characters in Northern Spain

It’s a cathedral of characters, this abandoned furniture factory forty kilometers outside of Barcelona. Cartoons, illustrations, portraits are everywhere; a curious collection of aerosol spray pieces that highlights the popularity of the animated and exaggerated personalities among graffiti and Street Artists in this region of the world.

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Aryz . Rostro Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

The character may be a salty with a haggard stare, or reference a topic with a bit of satire. The scene may be serious, comical, ridiculous or purely sci-fi and horror. You discover the stories and allegories as you walk through the empty manufacturing rooms now flooded with natural light and dust. Expressions and situations here are full of drama that may trigger your empathy, startle your attention, elicit a shiver, or creepily fondle your funny bone.

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Aryz. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Traveling Spanish urban photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena tells us that the economic crash of 2008 killed many factories like this in Spain and high youth unemployment drove many artists to adorn them with paintings like these. Because of the calm, serene environment of this particular ex-factory where artists roam freely and take long hours to complete these figures in the open air, the colorful forms may call to mind stained glass windows you see in more hallowed houses. Perhaps that is why Bulbena feels so moved that he’s christened this place “La Catedral” (The Cathedral).

We thank him for sharing these images from his latest pilgrimage with BSA readers.

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Aryz. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Simon Vazquez. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Aryz . Vino .GR170. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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GR170. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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GR170. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Enric Sant. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Enric Sant. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Julien. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Anja Mila. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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S. Waknine. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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RIM. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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RIM. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Manu Manu. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Lons Dops. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Kram. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Baldick. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Cisco. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Enric Font. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Sawe. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Iagazzo. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Iagazzo. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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La Catedral. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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La Catedral. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

 

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Barcelona Dispatch : A Street Art Survey From a Fan

Barcelona Dispatch : A Street Art Survey From a Fan

By his own account Lluís Olivé has been shooting images in the city of Barcelona for about 50 years; street scenes, demonstrations, parades, architectural details, tiles, iron work, doors, doorknobs, windows, and of course, graffiti and Street Art. Calling himself an amateur, Señor Olivé nonetheless has captured a lot of Barcelona’s changing Street Art scene in the last decade and shares a handful of his favorites from the 2,500 or so street art images he has shot in the city.

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MAMM. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

“My experience shooting graffiti began in 2005 when I discovered an aerosol painting of the face of a girl and I was so impressed by it that I began to look for more,” he says, describing how he was first bitten by the bug. “I started to tour around different neighborhoods and even though I lived 150 kilometers from Barcelona at the time, I took trips there as often as I could to take pictures of the graffiti and Street Art.”

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ManuTwice. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

Since 2010 he has moved much closer to the city and thanks to the friendships he has formed  he says that artists have reached out to him to come and shoot their new work. He favors murals, portraits and faces, illustrations, photorealism and fantasy. Since he now lives closer to the art he has adopted an approach that is methodical. “I research on the internet, search certain hashtags, and check my email – I usually follow more or less known weekly ‘routes ‘,” he explains.

Unfortunately for Street Art fans like Olivé, the city has taken serious steps to limit organic street art in recent years. Areas of the city that once burst with thousands of murals, pieces, stencils, and wheatpastes had begun to attract tourists to an art scene that outshone many major cities but according to many artists the city and real estate industry saw new development opportunities and smothered a scene that had inspired books, websites, videos, galleries, and related cultural events.

 

 

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Penao. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

While the city’s clean-up efforts have spawned a criticism in certain quarters that the organic nature of the street art scene has been cynically expunged in favor of commercial retail stores and corporate dullness, municipal advocates respond that the city has also created “zones” for individual creativity to be expressed with little restriction.

Señor Olivé believes that both parties have a point. “Since I began taking photos in Barcelona I have seen a huge change from when I started – the amount of Street Art has decreased due to new municipal policies high penalties. But the city has also created 8 or 10 ‘approved’ zones for graffiti and the quality is often very good.”

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MAMM. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

One of his favorite sanctioned spots to shoot is in a park inaugurated in the 1990s where a light and power station once operated and where three tall chimneys from the previous century still tower as a reminder of the history of the city. “Jardines de las Tres Chimeneas” (Three Chimney Park) provides a number of paved skateboarding spots and walls specifically reserved for an ongoing graffiti exposition that is renewed weekly. The park has events including skateboard competions, electronic music performances and exhibitions of hip-hop and break dance.

He is retiring from his regular job this July and plans to take a trip to a number of cities in the US to celebrate with his wife, and to take photos.  He has a post-retirement photography plan already. “Starting this October I am planning a new project for myself to do a one-year weekly documentation of the ‘Tres Chimeneas’,” – perhaps to present in a gallery or some other formal venue.

And of course, there is still plenty of the unsanctioned stuff to shoot, it just may be a little harder to find…

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Millo. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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P.Nitas. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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Reuunit. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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Roc BlacBlock. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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Feo Flip . Roc BlacBlock. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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Marino. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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M2. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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Enric Sant. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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El Pez. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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Cranio . El Pez. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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PAM SR. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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Aryz. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

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Chanoir . Xupet. Barcelona, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbuena)

 

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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