All posts tagged: Erica Il Cane

Leisurely Street Art in El Cabanyal in Valencia

Leisurely Street Art in El Cabanyal in Valencia

A man of leisure these days, BSA contributor Lluis Olive-Bulbena took a three day trip to Valencia, Spain to participate in the festivities of El dia del Cabanyal.

Exit-Enter. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)

El Cabanyal is a 333 acre (134 hectares) neighborhood in the old part of the city by the Mediterranean Sea, backed by a series of sandy beaches and a palm treed promenade. Its name is derived by the complex of barracks along the shore where the fishermen used to live when the town was purely a fishing village.

Exit-Enter. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)

With the passage of time and change of the Spanish economy, El Cabanyal caught the eye of the leisure class who fill the streets with souvenir shops, cafes, and late-night clubs. The fishermen went someplace else. Not surprisingly perhaps, this tourist attraction is also a hot spot for Street Art – along with the greater city of Valencia for that matter.

Exit-Enter. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)

We are told that many Street Artists have actually set-up studio here as well. Why not? The quality of life is nice, and the cost of living is much lower than in Barcelona and Madrid.

Also, bikinis.

The Photographer. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Mesa. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Erica Ilcane. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Erica Ilcane. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Erica Ilcane. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lula Goce. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lula Goce. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lula Goce. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Suso33. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lolo. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lolo. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Emmeu. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Emmeu. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Hyuro. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Bosoletti. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Bosoletti. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Bosoletti. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
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The Many Faces of Lisbon on the Street

The Many Faces of Lisbon on the Street

A Scholarly Eye On Artistic Interventions in Public Space

The excitement that pours from city walls in Lisbon is palpable, an animated mix of graffiti, Street Art, murals, sculpture, and the traditional artisan tiles. Like the famous Bacalhau dish of Portuguese cuisine, it all can be mixed together almost a thousand different ways and each surprising recombination can be loved for its unique character.

To appreciate the varied elements playing into the Street Art scene here, you won’t find greater insight than by touring with Pedro Soares-Neves, and he’ll make sure you won’t leave without understanding the forty years that have contributed to the scene up to this point.

Park. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Most visitors are overtaken by the sweeping views, the heart of the old city in the valley, the winding Bairro Alto streets full of colorful illegal artworks, the ancient bricks, traditional azulejos tiled buildings, tiny streets, sloping topography, endless staircases and retro-style cable cars that are climbing impossible inclines – each slaughtered with colorful graffiti tags.

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Now an international destination for many Street Artists, the growing number of murals here is remarkable, if not outstanding. Soares-Neves can look at the huge variety of expressions on the street and explain why the art is here now and how it fits into a greater context of a historical city that has gradually embraced nearly all expressions of modern art-in-the-streets.

A self-described fan of urban history Pedro is one of the few scholars in the global urban art scene who calls graffiti writers “authors”, quite possibly because he was one himself in his early teens here during the city’s first stage of graffiti proliferation in the early 1990s.

“I am kind of an architectural urban history fanatic,” he says proudly but in a confessional tone. Completing his doctorate in Design and Urbanism this year he is also co-organizer of the Lisbon Street Art & Urban Creativity Conference and the Street Art & Urban Creativity Scientific Journal.

Lister. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A lifelong Lisboan born at the same time the revolution from the dictatorship was born here in the mid 1970s, Soares-Neves tells the story of urban art as a progression of social movement, individual engagement, immigration, urban planning, importation of culture, commercial incursion and coalescing of local artists as a quasi-professional network.

As you ride in his 4-door family SUV-hybrid with kids toys and storybooks scattered across the back seat, you gaze along the historic spice trade waterfront and the Jerónimos monastery and museum row, swerving through the central “filet mignon” of the ornamented city to the outskirts, which he calls “the back-office”.

He gestures at the trains and wooded walls and areas where he once painted graffiti , to some of the current crop of throwups along the highway and to wall murals that have been commissioned by municipal, professional, and commercial interests. As the trip unfolds the story is not quite linear of course, and city history intertwines with personal history.

Telmo & Miel. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As is its personality, art-in-the-streets shape-shifts and redefines itself, creating new alliances, reconfiguring the balance. For example, currently Lisbon city leaders are working with former vandals and art school professionals to create programs of large colorful murals on soaring public housing towers.

The adjacent neighborhood of older single family houses laid out like suburbs features Soare-Neves’ own curated walls done by more conceptual artists who play with ideas about public space as well as aesthetics. The Portuguese +MaisMenos– directly intervenes with stenciled words here, creating quizzical conundrums for passersby and the French experimenter Matthew Tremblin who brings an online poll results via bar charts posing an existential question about Street Art.

Matthew Tremblin. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A truly unique insight into the rather omnibus experience of this urban academic, we actually get to look at two eras of Pedro’s own personal history as an artist are here as well, only blocks away from one another.

This IS a tour!

Pedro Soares-Neves. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One Soares painting is on a low wall encircling a park. Part of a graffiti wall of fame (which he helped organize), it shows his 1990s affinity for character illustration and experimentation with letter styles. His more recent installation is a mixed media paint/land art derivation that converts disused construction materials and a habit-formed footpath leading up a grassy knoll to a numerical wall.

Again, the spirit of experimentation here is what is core to his art practice. Perhaps this is why his personal philosophies toward public space lean toward the organically Situationist act of creation, a practice that can be extended to all of the public and to the moment of inspiration.

Following are many images captured in Lisbon during our tour interspersed with this history of the last few decades courtesy Soares-Neves and our own research.

Corleone. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1980s-90s and Lisbon’s Dawn of Graffiti

Speaking with Pedro about the early graffiti of the 90s you capture a perspective on two important cultural factors that steered its direction.

The first is that through the lense of the liberators of the Carnation Revolution in the 1970s the style of aerosol bubble tags and characters recalled the earlier people-powered community murals and represented “freedom” in their minds, whereas cities elsewhere in Europe would have thought this painting indicated vandalism or a breakdown of the social fabric.

Suker. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Secondly, the fascination with graffiti was spurred by the children of African immigrants from former Portuguese territories of Angola, Mozambique and Capo Verde who moved to Lisbon after wars with them ended during the revolution. Now second generation teen immigrants from two cultures, they were looking for self-identity, according to Soares-Neves.

“They found resonance in this Afro-American and Latin American thing that was going on during the 80s so they connected with it and used it for language.”

Aire. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Quite possibly they were reacting to class and race prejudice and they identified with brothers and sisters in the music videos of American commercial hip hop culture. Seeing the exciting growth and the implied power of graffiti writers, musicians, and bboy movies like “Wild Style” in the 1980s, the expression of graffiti was alluring – a welcome visual art and anti-establishment practice that created identity, community, and newfound respect among a select peer group of cool kids.

“Actually it started with bboying culture in the mid 80s and then in the early 90s it started with a visual language of it,” he says, explaining the progression.

Unidentified Artist…speaking the truth. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Personal Introduction to Graff

His own teenage aestheticism extended to characters, and a fascination for punk or “rough” magazines and the illustration stylings of artists in the classic Chiclete com Banana magazines. “I had this relationship with drawing and cartoons and this kind of stuff – this popular culture sort of thing,” he says.

His talents as an artist were well prized among his peers until he was nearly outshone by a graffiti writer from Capo Verde, a classmate who threatened Pedro’s status as the school artist; a funny story he explains this way:

“At that time in my high school I was ‘The’ guy who was doing the best cartoons and all this kind of stuff,” he says, reflecting on his celebrity. “Suddenly he did a big piece on the wall! So I was the king of the ‘drawing thing’ and this motherf***er came here and did a big and colorful piece!”

Edis1. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: ..and everyone knew about it of course.
Pedro: Yeah of course it was much more visible than what I did. So I started to interact with the guy.

Pedro’s personal history with graffiti began there and never stopped. After starting on walls and greatly enlarging his own illustrations and experimenting with letter styles, he and his peers grew to about 10 or 12 writers and the graffiti scene appeared to blow up from there.

A community of writers from many backgrounds spread across the city practicing one-upsmanship in technical skill and logistical daring, operating singularly, in small groups, or the occasional Wall of Fame project. Because there wasn’t a strict evolutionary lineage of style, many young artists developed their own in the laboratory of the street, not necessarily related to the hip hop culture but adapting from their own culture.

Cola. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2000s and the Turn Toward Street Art

By the late 90s and early 00s he feels that the scene suffered a sort of malaise when purely commercial murals began to take parts of the wall inventory and change the character of some areas. It was a development he deeply disliked for its perversion of a freer art practice yet he appreciated it for the employment it provided to professional artists. The city also borrowed the vernacular of graffiti for public service announcements painted as murals.

The mid 2000s began to reflect the influences of artists like Banksy and a new sort of community comprised of artists from old school graffiti writers and new generation Street Artist began to coalesce in Lisbon he says. Additionally the later 2000s began an increasing flow of international Street Artists and graffiti writers who began avoiding Barcelona after that city started cracking down on their famed urban art scene.

RAM. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“They (artists) started to add a few other languages to try to surpass this previous period and also began dialoguing with the new things that were happening in Street Art,” he says of the witty skewering of pop culture iconography, introduction of fine art illustration styles and the use of newer art-making methods.

“It was starting to really have lots of people doing stencils and paste ups and this kind of stuff all around. It started to influence the younger generation and that put some pressure on the older generations, who started to do that themselves.”


Visual Street Performance and the Crono Project

A collective guild comprised of artists from both graffiti and Street Art like HBSR81, Hium, Klit, Mar, Ram, Time and Vhils joined together in the mid 2000s and called themselves Visual Street Performance (VSP). A professional/DIY effort, they began to organize large events and an annual exhibition through 2010 that expanded the vernacular to hybrids of fine art and elements of pop, character illustration, photo realism, surrealist fantasy, found object art, abstract expressionist, more traditional graffiti and graphic design.

Pang. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pedro had been studying abroad in the Czech Republic and Rome for a few years, “And when I came back I noticed a different panorama. There were lots of younger kids with totally different skills and with that approach of making money out of it,” he says with a mixture of admiration and possibly concern at the professionalism entering the equation.

“They managed to invent themselves,” he says, “and also within the exhibitions the kids like Vhils were born from these,” he says as he talks about the commercial aspects of the cultural scene with connections to an aerosol art brand, print makers, and related clothing projects.

Kam Laurene. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A notable commercial and marketing milestone that married Street Art and urban culture with the image of Lisbon itself took place in 2010-11 when the year long Crono project, curated by Soares-Neves, Angelo Milano (of Fame Festival), and local Street Artist Vhils (Alexandre Farto), brought rising stars of the moment to a high profile block-long series of ornate Art Nouveau and shuttered buildings along a heavily traveled strip in the city, Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo.

Os Gemeos . Blu . Sam3 . Erica Il Cane. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Internet’s volleying of fresh images of pieces by the Italian anti-corporate BLU, the hallucinatory dream illustration style of Brazilian graffiti twins Os Gemeos, and the lyrical storytelling of Spanish 2-D SAM3 alerted the Street Art worlds’ knowledge of Lisbon, and the project quickly became a destination for travellers.

Os Gemeos . Blu. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Soares-Neves sometimes speaks about the commercial appropriation of the street art vernacular in his academic work and in some ways it appears that the unexpected success of the Crono Project unsettled him as well. The curators had worked with the city to finance the project with an intention of giving opportunities to artists and fostering new aspects of the public art conversation, but according to Soares-Neves the high profile of the project undermined their own anti-establishment sentiments when city leaders recognized that a comparatively modest investment had ballooned into a successful city “branding” campaign.

Os Gemeos. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Possibly this is a cautionary tale that underscores the incremental dangers present when subculture crosses the rubicon into simply “culture”. There is always the fear that the original philosophies encoded in a subculture will be irreparably transformed, candy-coated, cheapened, or worse, excised.

Recently closed London-based Street Art print pioneers “Pictures On Walls” lamented in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way on their website in January when describing the evolution of their 15 year old business this way, “…inevitably disaster struck – and many of our artists became successful. Street Art was welcomed into mainstream culture with a benign shrug and the art we produced became another tradeable commodity.”

Borondo. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The City We See Today

The city seems like it is absorbing all of these changes well, and the variety of faces and styles of public artistic intervention that you see scattered throughout it feel vibrant and necessary. The city continues its 25 year heritage of organic graffiti and entertains international writers and has the occasional Walls of Fame. Elements of unsanctioned Street Art exists as well and neighborhoods are accented by the new generation of muralists with mad skillz.

Then there are those who are a little harder to categorize, like the subtle reworkings of traditional Portugues tiles with modern icons and patterns by Add Fuel and the prized sculptural pieces across the city by the trash-recycling animal naturalist Bordalo II, who just had a massive solo exhibition in November.

Bordalo II. In conjunction with his solo exhibition  ATTERO Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The contemporary urban artist and international Street Art star Vhils is a company at this point: operating a studio in a few cities, here running a gallery, a studio laboratory program for young artists, a street art tour business, and partnering with city art programming initiatives as well as brands. Somehow he still finds time to create artworks in the streets, including a recent portrait collaboration with Shepard Fairey in Lisbon and LA.

Shepard Fairey . VHILS. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

At the end of our tour marathon Pedro Soares-Neves takes us to the Centro de Informação Urbana de Lisboa (Lisbon Urban Information Center) where we climb the stairs through the airy modernist foyer full of scholarly readers to discover a small scale maquette of the entire city that we have just been traversing.

Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fanned out for you before the shiny blue Tagus River, perhaps 15 meters at its full expanse, the topographic features of the city are much less daunting when viewed from this perspective. As Pedro walks around the perimeter of the mini-city and points to neighborhoods, regions, the forest, the airport, the old city and the newly gentrifying areas of Lisboa he recounted stories of expansion, retrenchment, privatization, skullduggery and deliverance.

Thanks to him we appreciate graffiti/ Street Art/ urban art truly in its context of this city, its history, its people and the built environment like never before.

Lisbon. Pedro makes a point. December 2017. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Bordalo II. In conjunction with his solo exhibition  ATTERO Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Borondo. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vhils. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vhils. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey . VHILS. Detail. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lister. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Crayon. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Andre Nada. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Unidentified Artist. Amoreiras Wall Of Fame. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Slap. Amoreiras Wall Of Fame. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

RariOne. Amoreiras Wall Of Fame. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

±MAISMENOS± Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Corleone. Bairro Padre Cruz. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Utopia. Galeria De Arte Urbana. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tags. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu. Lisbon. Crono Project. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu . Sam3 . Erica Il Cane. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Il Cane . Lucy McLauchlan . M-Chat. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With gratitude to Pedro Soares Neves and to Raul Carvalho, General Manager of Underdogs Gallery for taking the time to talk to us, for sharing their knowledge and insights with us and for showing us around Lisbon.

BSA in Lisbon comes to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN).

This is the first of two articles with BSA in Lisbon in collaboration with UN Berlin, it was originally published on the Urban Nation website, and the project is funded in part with the support of Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) in Berlin.




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“Desordes Creativas” and Creative Desserts in the North of Spain

“Desordes Creativas” and Creative Desserts in the North of Spain

What’s for dessert? You may think of public mural festivals as the final dish that is pleasing to the eye and sweet beyond belief.

DESORDES CREATIVAS (Creative Desserts) is a festival of urban art in a city called Ordenes, about 40 kilometers north of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain’s Galicia region, and it has specialized in art of the finished mural for about a decade.

Erica Ilcane. Detail. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Organizers of the urban/suburban/almost rural festival in this city of 160,00 are proud to tell you that nearly 80% of the original murals since the beginning are still running, a testament to the regard the community has for the formal works. Today we have excellent images by photographer Lluís Olivé Bulbena to give you an idea of the quality of the works.

Erica Ilcane. Detail. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

We appreciate the delicious and colorful murals of course, but for this years collection we also dig the installation of a nonsensical labyrinth in the middle of a public square by Madrid’s SpY – which isn’t as obvious when you are on the ground.

SpY. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Desorders Creativas)

Instead the installation recalls endless lines at sundrenched summer music festivals or the Lisbon airport passport control that seem to actually get longer as time goes by. These photos from Desorders Creativas show that the SpY piece is also a happy diversion for many.

SpY. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Desorders Creativas)

The 2017 edition of Desorders Creativas featured Xoana Almar (Galiza), SpY urbanart (Madrid), Ericailcane (Italia), Bastardilla (Colombia), Saturnoart (Cataluña), and Carlos Goma (Almería)

Xoana Almar. Detail. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Xoana Almar. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Bastardilla. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Bastardilla. Detail. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Bastardilla. Detail. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Saturno. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Saturno. Detail. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Saturno. Detail. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Carlos Góma. Detail. Desordes Creativas Festival 2017. Ordenes, Spain. (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

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Valencia Dispatch: Illustrators, Thinkers, and Riddles

Valencia Dispatch: Illustrators, Thinkers, and Riddles

Thought provoking, curious, underplayed. There is a certain circumspect quality to the Street Art scene in this seaside city in Spain that ranks third in population but which may be vying for the Street Art title that once was held securely by Barcelona.


Julia Lool (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Admittedly it is an unthankable task to try to characterize the urban art of any city, but the eclectic street works like those found in Valencia’s neighborhoods like El Carmen, with its peculiar configurations of streets and plazas and little in-between places, are often a trifle more cerebral in their culmination. With challenging riddles and allegories you’ll find yourself studiously unpacking meanings and subtext with these often small and midsize works that call to you, rather than scream.


Julia Lool (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Yes, Valencia inherited the grafiteros romance and hip-hop aerosol aesthetic in the late 20th century, as many cities around the globe did, and you can see ample evidence of those fame and style influences here as well. However there is an almost Lo-fi illustrator vibe in Valencia and many figurative pieces are singular, influenced by cartoons and modernly ironic illustration styles, from deadpan dry in black, grey, and white to fully realistic and photorealist aerosol portraits.

It is not unusual for works to have a message or point of view, where symbols stand in for sentiments and metaphors abound. The “cute” quotient may also be lower than many cities, as is the need to fill in a background to occupy space. In a genre that can get very cluttered, with pieces chock-a-block and smashing into one another with no discernable through-thread, Valencia looks like it can give artists the space, and artists are using that space effectively.


Julia Lool (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Escif and Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Deih (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Deih (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Blu (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Xelon (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Nebbia . Ion (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Julieta XLF (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Julieta XLF (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Julieta . Lolo (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Sarench (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Sarench (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Sair (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Erica Il Cane (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Erica Il Cane (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Erica Il Cane (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Disneylexya (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Cere (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Flug (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)


Our sincere thanks to BSA Contributor Lluis Olive Bulbena for sharing his photos exclusively with BSA readers.

See also ESCIF Reflects Us Back With a Dry Humor in Valencia



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!


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A Mexican Mural “Manifesto”, Blackened Flag Colors, and Censorship

A Mexican Mural “Manifesto”, Blackened Flag Colors, and Censorship

Striking and massive murals have been populating walls in Mexico City by international Street Artists in the last five years thanks to the emergence of a global Street Art scene, a rise in mural festivals, and the country’s heritage and tradition of institutional support for murals that further a socio-political mission. There hasn’t been much of the latter lately, however, and it is doubtful that a new politically charged mural campaign underway in certain central neighborhoods is likely to receive tax dollars for the paint and ladders.


Erica Il Cane. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

Without sighting a specific ill to address, the new mural initiative named “Manifesto” is challenging a select group of local and international Street Artists to express their opinions on weighty and topical matters through murals, “using art as a social tool to propose, reflect and inform.” Among possible topics that might be addressed, the manifesto for “Manifesto” says, are increasing poverty, glorified materialism, the exhausting of natural resources, a fraying social web, and a dysfunctional justice system.

At the heart of the matter of course is the still turbulent national discussion surrounding the series of violent events last September that resulted in the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero, igniting a public spectacle of accusations, arrests, outrage and fear with each new gut-wrenching revelation searing the senses of Mexicans at all levels of society six months later.


Erica Il Cane. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

“This situation exposed a deep crisis in the power structures that has shaken opinions worldwide and has created a movement within our society where people are speaking out,” says Emilio Ocampo from FIFTY24MX, a gallery that shows the work of the artists and is securing walls in neighborhoods of Roma, Juárez, San Miguel Chapultepec, Centro Histórico, and Peralvillo.

Based on the response to the mural by Italian Street Artist EricaIlcane, however, “Manifesto” may be running into resistance against certain artistic speech, and censorship has suddenly appeared . The ribbon around the neck of a cymbal-banging monkey originally contained the colors of the Mexican flag but has now been painted black. The monkey was overlooking a street in a part of town central to political marches, and Ocampo says it “is always a very ‘sensitive’ part of the city.”


Erica Il Cane. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

So, he says, “The owners were a little bit scared about the ribbon around the monkey.” For those living outside of Mexico, no particular association may be made from the green, white, and red bands hanging around the monkey’s neck, but here it has meaning.

“It seemed to him (the wall owner) as a direct reference to the presidential ribbon,” says Liliana Carpinteyro, Co-Director of the gallery with Arturo Mizrahi about the significance of the “banda presidencial”. Many discussions took place between all parties and “In the end the artist agreed to change it,” she says.


Erica Il Cane. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

“You have to consider that this piece is located in the main downtown avenue where all the protesters pass through in their way to the Zócalo, where the “Palacio Nacional”, the national government headquarters, is located,” explains Carpinteyro.

Because many people were watching the creation of the wall and sharing images of it across their devices, the blackout sparked a lively reaction that included condemnation for cowardice. “This situation created a social media reaction, people were irritated and a freedom of speech dialogue happened,” says Carpinteyro, commenting on the outcry.

brooklyn-street-art-erica-il-cane-Nasser Malek-Hernández-manifesto-fifty24mx-mexico-city-02-15-web-5

Erica Il Cane. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

Unable to sway the building owner, the organizers were glad they could keep the monkey none-the-less. Ocampo sees the conversations and “the haters” as a positive development because the art and its censorship sparked just the kind of reaction people should be having right now.

“They wanted us to change the colors to black. But you know what? We like that censorship, and the reactions it produced. That also means that the message bothered someone. We love both images: with the tricolored ribbon and now with black.”

brooklyn-street-art-erica-il-cane-Nasser Malek-Hernández-manifesto-fifty24mx-mexico-city-02-15-web-6

Erica Il Cane painting it black. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

No stranger to controversy, the largely anonymous Italian BLU has similarly featured the banded colors of the Mexican flag in his mural but with bluntly acidic criticism – with the green appearing as dollars, the white as lines of cocaine, and the red a dripping liquid similar to blood. Framing the flag are military figures standing guard.

You may recall the coffins draped with dollars in the BLU mural that was censored at LA MoCA in 2011 during the “Art in the Streets” exhibition  – but so far this new one has not merited the same response.

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Blu. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)


Blu. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

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Blu. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

Just finishing her wall for “Manifesto” is the Colombian Street Artist Bastardilla, who uses a more subdued palette to depict cherubic writers with pencils for arrows afloat on an open text signed “Vivos Los Queremos”, circled by alligators in choppy waters.

Meanwhile Erica Il Cane has just completed his second mural yesterday; much less invective, but terrorizing none-the-less in its metaphorical circumstance. A snaggle-toothed and spotted member of the leopard family lowers his snapping smile upon five rabbits standing on hind legs as if to great him. One bunny even appears to offer a carrot. Another of los conejos is wearing an arm-band with the number “43”.

Ocampo says it is a little difficult to get new walls right now, but the organizers are not giving up. “Obviously the project will not be cancelled but we are still trying to get those permissions.”

“We think this incident is a reflection of the self-censorship that we decide to live in,” says Carpinteyro, “perhaps a result of living in a political system that for years has oppressed the weakest. But its also evidence that art has the capability to move people.”

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Bastardilla. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

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Bastardilla.  Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

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Bastardilla.  Detail. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)


Bastardilla. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)


Erica Il Cane. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

“Manifesto” will include new works from BLU (Italy), Saner (Mexico), Swoon (US), Ericailcane (Italy), Franco JAZ Fasoli (Argentina), Curiot (Mexico), Bastardilla (Colombia), Ciler (Mexico), and Vena2 (Mexico).

Our very special thanks to Emilio Ocampo of FIFTY24MX Gallery @fifty24mx for his assistance with this article and to Nasser Malek Hernández @nssr21 for sharing his photos exclusively with BSA readers.



Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!



This article is also published on The Huffington Post.


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Happy New Year 2015 – BSA Readers Choice Top 10

Happy New Year 2015 – BSA Readers Choice Top 10

Happy New Year to All! Thank you for inspiring us to do our best and to those of you who continue to support our personal art project / cultural examination, we extend our gratitude more than ever.


Begun as an enthusiastic discovery of what was happening in a few neighborhoods in New York, we continued to expand our view into more cities around the world last year and into the history and future of the scene. We also aimed to provide you with a critical platform for examination of the street art/ graffiti / public art/ contemporary art continuum with interviews with artists, curators, collectors, organizers, observers and thinkers in the street, studio, gallery, and museum – trouble makers and taste makers alike.

In the end, it’s your observations and the conversations on the street that are most important. As we begin the year with over 300K fans, friends, and followers on social media platforms and 225 articles on the Huffington Post (thanks HuffPost team!), we feel like we get a valuable good survey of current opinions heading our way daily.

With in-depth interviews, investigative articles, opinion infused examinations, plain celebratory reverie, occasionally silly non-sequitors, and public appearances where we get to meet you, we get a good analytical look at an ever-evolving movement, glittery polish and warts and all.

As the new year begins we take a look back at the top stories chosen by BSA Readers in the last 12 months. Among them are two takeover pop-up shows in soon-to-be demolished buildings, a story about commercial abuse of artist copyrights and the effort to fight back, a street art community’s response to the sudden death of an activist street artist, a Street Art tourist trip, and a few inspirational women, men, and Mexican muralists.  Even though we published at least once a day for the last 365 days, these are the most popular pieces, as chosen by you, Dear BSA Reader.

10. Exploring Lisbon as a Street Art Tourist


Os Gemeos / Blu (photo © Stephen Kelley)

9. Kara Walker and Her Sugar Sphinx at the Old Domino Factory


Kara Walker. The artist portrait in profile with her sugary sphinx in the background. (photo via iPhone © Jaime Rojo)

8. Women Rock Wynwood Walls at Miami Art Basel 2013


Fafi (photo © Martha Cooper for Wynwood Walls)

7. A Sudden Secret Street Art House Party in Manhattan


Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

6. Niels Shoe Meulman Balancing “Unearthly” Paintings


Niels “Shoe” Meulman. Process shot. (photo © Adele Renault)

5. It’s All the Rage, Street Artists Filing Lawsuits Left and Right


4. Shok-1 Street Art X-Rays Reveal a Unique Hand at the Can


Shok-1 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

3. 12 Mexican Street Artists Stray Far from Muralism Tradition In NYC


Sego (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2. Army Of One, Inspiration To Many : Jef Campion


Army Of One AKA JC2 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1. Graffiti and Street Art Lock Up “21st Precinct” in New York


Pixote in action. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
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Exploring Lisbon as a Street Art Tourist

Exploring Lisbon as a Street Art Tourist

“Street Art Tourism” Is Capturing More Attention

Eco-tourism is so popular for vacation travelers right now. You know, treading light and your carbon footprint and all that. Then there is Plastic Surgery Tourism for those whose nose is slightly twisted or who otherwise feel your personal epidermal brand could use a “refresh”. For half the price of back home why not travel to a fashionable cosmetic surgery destination and you won’t have to worry about someone seeing you buying brie at Balducci’s with a bandaged beak.

Liposucation anyone?


Erica Il Cane (photo © Stephen Kelley)

In the wake of the global growth of interest in art in the streets, one form of tourism that may soon be blowing up could be graffiti excursions, street art sightseeing, or even mural journeying. New York has been a magnet for years for aerosol artists calling us to help them hit up walls while they are on “spraycation”, but this is just the opposite.

You may wish to plan your trip abroad hunting the elusive wheat-pastes, stencils, fill-ins, hoping to capture an exotic local throwie. And why not take a few selfies with your favorite works by Street Artists that you only previously saw on Instagram?

Street Art photographer Stephen Kelley went on his own art safari last month in Lisbon, Portugal with his fiancé and he checked out a lot of the work that has been organized during the past couple of years by the internationally known local VHILS and some of his friends in a project entitled Underdogs.


Os Gemeos . Blu (photo © Stephen Kelley)

Underdogs is an international working platform based in Lisbon, Portugal that aims at creating space within the contemporary art scene for artists connected with the new languages of urban visual culture,” say the organizers, and they have curated a program of some large-scale pieces around the city in an intelligently grand and contextual manner that makes them seem like the installations have been there for decades, not a handful of years. Urban or contemporary, it has serious fans.


Os Gemeos . Blu. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

Today Mr. Kelley shares with BSA some of the shots he got during a relatively short trip to Lisbon, along with some of his experiences and observations.

“In preparing for the trip we used the Underdogs project as one of the references for the map,” he says. “I was able to convince my travelling partner and fiancé to rent an apartment in the Bairro Alto area. This was a good central point for the spots I wanted to hit. We were only in town for 3 days so I had to balance your standard tourist locations with my off-the-beaten-path art spots.  She appreciates the work and is incredibly patient but I can only get away with dragging her into so many back alleys and train tracks.”


Os Gemeos . Blu (photo © Stephen Kelley)

“Immediately after leaving the airport the taxi unintentionally drove us by a block-long Os Gemeos, Blu, Sam3, Ericailane, and Lucy Mclauchlan mural.  We told the taxi driver that I was in town to shoot art in the streets and in buildings.  He mentioned I should check out this street where a group of artists painted a series of murals about the local government administration.  I put that on the list,” says Kelley.


Lucy McLauchlan . M-Chat (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Sam3 (photo © Stephen Kelley)

“We decided to take a taxi to the area where I had located some C215 work.  The taxi driver asked why we were going to that location/area,” says Kelley. “Once we arrived at the location I brought him with us to show him the art.  He was incredibly impressed with the C215 mural I showed him and said he’d bring driving in town for 25 years and had never been on that street or never seen the artwork.”


C215 (photo © Stephen Kelley)


C215 (photo © Stephen Kelley)


C215 (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Skran01 . Tape (photo © Stephen Kelley)

“One evening in town we took a ferry over to Almada with a great view of the 25 de Abril Bridge (the same architect who designed the Golden Gate Bridge),” says Stephen. ” You can walk up the coast toward the bridge and there are two quaint eateries that make for a perfect sunset meal or drink.  The waterfront is covered with graffiti and is a good representation of the art in the area.”


PISD (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Artist Unknown (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Yesh (photo © Stephen Kelley)

As with any vacation, planning your means of transportation is key – and Kelley and his girl realized Lisbon is not quite as pedestrian friendly as other cities, mainly because of the topography. “One of the first spots we hit was the harbor area for the Pixel Pancho and Vhils collaborations. After that, with intentions to continue to explore, we had our first encounter with the hills of Portugal,” he says. “The taxi driver had reminded us that Portugal is the city of seven hills. He was not kidding, walking the streets of Lisbon is no joke and a workout and a half.  We quickly realized public transit or taxi was the best way to see Lisbon.”


Vhils and Pixel Pancho masterful collaboration. (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Vhils and Pixel Pancho (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Vhils and Pixel Pancho. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Vhils and Pixel Pancho (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Pixel Pancho (photo © Stephen Kelley)

Like most tourists on vacation, the events that make the most impact may be the unplanned surprises, like actually seeing work in progress. Stephen explains, “One day we started to head toward the Belem Tower and a How Nosm mural. On the way we ran into Vhil’s in progress working on a water tower outside the World Photo Press exhibition at the Museu da Electricidade.  I tried to wait for more action shots but he was taking a break and I couldn’t wait.”


Vhils work in progress. (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Vhils work in progress. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Vhils and Crono collaboration. (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Vhils and Crono. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)


How & Nosm (photo © Stephen Kelley)


How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Gregos (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Copy Art © (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Artist Unknown (photo © Stephen Kelley)


Artist Uknown (photo © Stephen Kelley)

“I also recommend taking a trip up to the castles in Sintra.  It’s a 30-minute train ride from the center of Lisbon.  The castles are breathtaking and shouldn’t be missed.  Sintra was one of the highlights of the entire stay.  The train ride also gave me an opportunity to see all the trackside graffiti that is quite common in Europe.  The highway and train graffiti are very common, which was much different than what I am accustomed to in the US,” says Kelley.


Dope (photo © Stephen Kelley)





Please note: All content including images and text are ©, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!



This article is also published on The Huffington Post




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FAME Festival Is Cinematically Human in Grottaglie, Italy

The Fame Festival doesn’t take itself too seriously, but you should. Now in its fifth year, the festival is run by one fella and his friends, offering interesting walls and an opportunity to work with local artisans in the “aesthetically depressed” areas of this beautiful town named Grottaglie. A dozen or so international artists descended here again this year as summer turned to fall to eat amazing food, paint huge walls, and to create pottery works and limited edition prints with their host, Angelo Milano, in his print shop called Studiocromie.

Erica Il Cane (photo © Henrik Haven)

Free from corporate sponsors or too many meddlesome civic interests, which can muddy the creative waters and contort presentation, FAME has reliably produced singularly striking work on the Streets: the kind of free-form ingenuity that could only result from a being in a positive environment. Artists who return from the experience report that Studiocromie and their peeps know how to make you feel right at home, complete with the dysfunctional human frailties we’re all prone to. Again this year some of the pieces that have come out of FAME have been remarkable for one reason or another – it also helps when the talent pool is so strong.

Erica Il Cane. Detail. (photo © Henrik Haven)

The lineup this year officially included;

ERICA IL CANE – Italy, INTERESNI KAZKI – Ukraine, BORIS HOPPEK – Germany, CONOR HARRINGTON – Ireland, 108 – Italy, LUCY MCLAUCHLAN – UK,  MONEYLESS – Italy, NUG – Sweden, Giorgio di Palma – Italy, AKAY – Sweden, CYOP E KAF – Italy, VHILS – Portugal, PAPER RESISTANCE – Italy,  JR– France, BRAD DOWNEY – US, and MOMO – US

Photographer and BSA contributor Henrik Haven was on hand the to cover FAME and he shares these exclusive images with BSA readers of works in progress by Erica Il Cane and completed walls by Vhils, Interesni Kazki and Conor Harrington. The videos are produced by FAME and they give an additional cinematic appreciation and humor to the entire experience.

Stay hungry, FAME.

Erica Il Cane. Detail. (photo © Henrik Haven)

Angelo remarks on the FAME website what his take on the festival has been as he sets up the video below, “It’s been an intense couple of weeks here at FAME, three artists at the same time and it was a hell of a mess. This is what happened with KING Erica il Cane. Here’s my advice to all artists around, both new and old, watch him doing what he does, and how he does it. You won’t get as good as he is, you won’t end up painting such a huge wall in just two days, but at least you can take notes: have fun and don’t think about the whole art world bullshit.”

Erica il Cane “Gipsy Disagio” @ Fame 2012

Erica Il Cane (photo © Henrik Haven)

Erica Il Cane (photo © Henrik Haven)

Erica Il Cane (photo © Henrik Haven)

Vhils (photo © Henrik Haven)

Is Vhils ticklish? Climb into the back of a crowded car and find out.

Conor Harrington (photo © Henrik Haven)

Conor Harrington (photo © Henrik Haven)

Conor Harrington. Detail (photo © Henrik Haven)

You ever notice that Conor eats a lot? Dang!

Interesni Kazki (photo © Henrik Haven)

 Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © Henrik Haven)

The harrowing and hilarious video helps explain why Interesni Kazki needed 12 days to complete the piece. Angelo describes it as “an extreme amount of bad luck”.

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Fun Friday 04.20.12

1. ROA at StolenSpace “Hypnagogia” (London)
2. Katowice Street Art Festival 4/20-29 (Poland)
3. LALA Gallery Inauguration Saturday (Los Angeles)
4. Herakut “Loving the Exiled” at 941 Geary (San Francisco)
5. Marsea Gives You the “High Five!” at New Image Art Saturday (LA)
6. Erica Il Cane  “Una Vita Violenta” at Fifty24MX Gallery (Mexico City)
7. Brett Amory “Waiting 101” at Outsiders Gallery (Newcastle, UK)
8. OLEK in Barcelona with Botero (VIDEO)
9. C215 “About Copyrights” (VIDEO)
10. The Bushwick Trailer (VIDEO)

ROA at StolenSpace “Hypnagogia” (London)

With his current show, now on view at the StolenSpace Gallery in London, ROA will demonstrate how you can be asleep and awake at the same time. His solo show “Hypnagogia” opens today to the general public and offers a dissected view of ROA’s fantastic world of animals and beasts. ROA’s hand crafted book “An Introduction To Animal Representation” by Mammal Press is on sale at The Old Truman Brewery on 91 Brick Lane. Hurry there are only only 125 tomes being offered.

Roa (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Katowice Street Art Festival 4/20-29 (Poland)

Katowice, a Silesian city in Southern Poland celebrates Street Art with their own Street Art Festival, now on its second year, from April 20 through April 29. The gray, concrete architecture that dominates this town will be imbued with color, shapes and fantasy with the help of this city most prominent daughter, OLEK aided by an illustrious list of first rate of fine and Street Artists including Mark Kenkins, Escif, Boogie, Moneyless, Ganzeer, Ludo, Mona Tusz, Swanski, 0700 Team, Tellas, Dan Witz, Hyuro, M City, ROA, Goro, Kilo, Nespoon, Aryz, 108, Wers, Ciah-Ciah, Etam Crew, Otecki, Razpajzan, Sepe, Chazme, CFNTX Crew, Onte, Jezmirski, Terry Grand, Dast, Impact, Malik, Turbos and Mentalgassi.

Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this festival click here.

LALA Gallery Inauguration Saturday (Los Angeles)

The West Coast continues to assert itself as a power house in the art world and as a Street Art mecca with the inaugural show of LALA Gallery. A brand new gallery conceived by Daniel Lahoda, the mind and soul and legs of LA Freewalls Project.

LALA’s line up of artists for this first show augurs an auspicious beginning and a successful life which we hope last for a long, long time. “LA Freewalls Inside” is the title of this show and artists included are: Anthony Lister, Askew One, Becca, Cern, Chris Brand, Cryptik, Cyrcle, Dale VN Marshall, Dan Witz, Daze, Dee Dee Cheriel, Evan Skrederstu, How & Nosm, Insa, Jaybo, Kim West, Kofie, Lady Aiko, Ludo, Mear, The Perv Brothers, Poesia, Push, Pyro, Ripo, Risk, Ron English, Saber, Shepard Fairey, Swoon and Zes.

Dan Witz. Detail of his installation “The Prisoners” on the walls of LALA. (photo © Dan Witz)

Askew One for LA Freewalls Project. (photo © Todd Mazer)

For further details regarding this show click here.

Herakut “Loving the Exiled” at 941 Geary (San Francisco)

Herakut, the indefatigable German collective are a busy duo with an impressive craft and a mastery of the can and paint brushes. Never compromising their artistic output regardless of their environment or medium they set their collaborative standards high with an output rich in earthy colors. Their palette of ores, reds, grays, oranges, blues, browns and yellows give birth to a universe of characters that are  fantastic and mysterious and in pursuit of you, the spectator. In San Francisco at 941 Geary Gallery Saturday the reception will be open for the artists and you at “Loving the Exiled”.

Hera at work in preparation for the show. (photo courtesy © Jennifer Goff)

Akut at work in preparation for the show. (photo courtesy © Jennifer Goff)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Group Show “High Five!” at New Image Art Saturday (LA)

HIGH FIVE! the new group show at New Image Art Gallery in Los Angeles opens tomorrow and the artists include Alia Penner, Ashely Macomber, Curtis Kulig, Deanna Templeton, Maya Hayuk and Vanessa Prager.

Curtis Kulig AKA Love Me (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For further information regarding this show click here.

Also happening this weekend:

Tomorrow, Saturday April 22 will be the last day to see Erica Il Cane show “Una Vita Violenta” at the Fifty24MX Gallery in Mexico City.  The gallery will also participate with Erica Il Cane at the Zona Maco Mexico Arte Contemporaneo Art Fair in Mexico City. April 18 – April 22. For further details about “Una Vita Violenta” click here. For more details about Zona Maco, Mexico Arte Contemporaneo Art Fair click here.

Brett Amory solo show “Waiting 101” At the Outsiders Gallery in Newcastle, UK opens today to the general public. Click here for more details about this show.

OLEK in Barcelona with Botero (VIDEO)

Still working on that scarf you’ve been knitting for OLEK’s birthday? You missed it.

C215 “About Copyrights” (VIDEO)

The Bushwick Trailer (VIDEO)

Starring: Bishop 203, Veng and Never

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Fifty24SF Gallery Presents: Erica-il-Cane Solo Show “We Were Living In The Woods” (San Francisco, CA)


Erica-Il-Cane (Photo courtesy of the gallery)

Erica-il-Cane (Photo courtesy of the gallery)

FIFTY24SF Gallery presents We Were Living in the Woods
New Work by Erica il Cane

FIFTY24SF Gallery, in association with Upper Playground, is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Italian street muralist and fine artist, Erica il Cane, entitled, We Were Living in the Woods. The exhibition will be the second solo show that Erica has held in the United States.

As a major contributor to an increasingly progressive and elaborate street art and mural movement occurring in Europe over the past 5 years, Erica il Cane (translating to “Eric the Dog”) gained international recognition for his anthropomorphic building-sized animal murals throughout Italy and the continent. With fellow contemporaries Blu, Sam3, Escif, and San, Erica’s large-scale murals have been viewed as fine art done within the public’s view. We Were Living in the Woods will feature works on paper and on-site installations.

Born and studied in Bologna, Italy, Erica’s evolution to gallery work has seen depictions of animals in unique, human situations rendered in Victorian-like style illustrations, etchings, and short animated films. The art is often described as imagery from a dark fairy tale, in which animals are shown within the darkness of human nature, focusing on themes of alienation, satire, existentialism. Both gallery and mural work has also been hailed as influential works advocating vegetarianism and animal rights.

Erica il Cane has shown throughout Europe, including Lazarides Gallery, Banksy’s Santa’s Ghetto, the Fame Festival, and gallery shows in Milan, Rome, London, and Barcelona. He has also shown in Los Angeles and Chicago. 

 “We Were Living in the Woods” will run from November 11th – December 30th, with an opening reception on Thursday, November 11th, from 7:30PM – 10:00PM.

Relevant Links:
FIFTY24SF Gallery:
Erica Il Cane:


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Martyn Reed: Art Saves Lives

Martyn Reed: Art Saves Lives

The Founder of Nuart, Nordic Jewel of Street Art

Erica Il Cane and Blu (Photo © Ian Cox)

Erica Il Cane and Blu (Photo © Ian Cox)

The small but very expensive (if you are not a resident) and oil rich Coastal town of Stavenger in Norway must be feeling a bit blue right now. Nuart 2010 artists cleaned up, packed up their tools and left after two weeks of painting monumental murals for the town’s folk to enjoy during the long, dark winter months ahead. This years’ Street Artists included Dotmasters, Dolk, EVOL, Sten & Lex, Vhils, and ROA, among others. As in the past 5 years under this curator, the ’10 group is a stellar selection of talent that is helping define what direction Street Art is heading.

Vhils (Photo © Ian Cox)

Vhils (Photo © Ian Cox)

The offerings this year were super sized and in many cases bold in color. All of the participants this year were painters, masters at their craft and supremely independent. Martyn Reed, curator and visionary engine behind this elaborate but accessible street art festival doesn’t limit himself to one large festival – instead he marries it with a prestigious electronic-based music festival he created as a result of his years as a DJ. This years’ NuMusic festival featured performances by luminaries like Krautrock grandaddies Neu! and American hip-hop cornerstone Grandmaster Flash.

The affable bad boy Reed took a moment this week to look at his route to success so far and tell BSA about what the Nuart festival is and why it is important to him.

Brooklyn Street Art: Putting on a festival of this magnitude must be a big task. How do you do it?

Martyn Reed: Actually, this year, though the largest in scale, was a much easier production than we’ve been used to. We’ve learned so much from previous events that this year things ran incredibly smoothly. The biggest challenge was the weather in the second week. A good 90% of the walls required cherry pickers, these are obviously booked well in advance, set up, artists arrives and yeah.. we’re on. The walls that required scaffold are rigged by professionals and we made sure that all of this years artists were painters. So once set up, people were pretty autonomous. It helped that we spread out the production period to cover two weeks and also that we had Marte, a Nuart regular, on an internship for a month during the planning phase.

Dotmaster (Photo © Ian Cox)

Dotmaster (Photo © Ian Cox)

Brooklyn Street Art: What has been the town folks’ main reaction when they see all the big creatures on the walls of their city?

Martyn Reed: It’s incredible, there’s nothing but love for Nuart in this city, and it’s spread across a really broad demographic, from toddlers to grandparents, and from bakers to the city mayor.

It’s interesting because in a city this size anything new, any new developments in culture for example, are judged on their intrinsic merits and not due to media hype or “trends”. The city has a population of 120,000 and though a few will be aware of Banksy, Dolk etc..that will it. The art isn’t really tied to a “culture”, to Juxtapoz or hipsters or the gallery set or limited edition sneakers and vinyl toys and all the other commercial detritus that’s blossomed around the scene. It’s simply art on the street, big bold beautiful artworks that noticeably improve the surroundings. It’s astonishing to me that more city councils around the world haven’t yet embraced and recognized the value of Street Art.

Evol (Photo © Ian Cox)

Evol (Photo © Ian Cox)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have combined music with the plastic arts. Is there a cross-over between the two? Does one influence the other when curating the festival?

Martyn Reed: Interesting question, but the short answer is no, not anymore. Interesting in that Nuart was established to explore the questions you raise.

The Numusic festival, like many other European electronic music festivals, was born from an involvement in early rave and club culture. Arts graduates social life’s began to merge with their studies and aspects of academic pursuits began to influence club culture, especially with Vj’s, the early web, digital arts and new media. This proved an especially fertile and creative arena for subversives and artistic outsiders who naturally gravitate to these still lawless new frontiers. Nuart was initially set up as a sister festival to Numusic back in 2001 to provide a platform for “cutting edge” digital arts and new media, which of course had parallels with Numusic which at the time was billed as “Scandinavia’s leading festival of Electronic music”. New Media quickly became the baby of Arts Councils and funding bodies around the globe with new departments established to support and fund the medium. Art and New Technology grants were everywhere and as a Techno Dj and promoter with a degree in fine art, I was ideally placed to take advantage of the situation. I wrote the applications and we hired in various freelance curators between 2001 and 2005 and opened up the galleries during the club nights mixing up the art and the music.

ROA (Photo © Ian Cox)

ROA (Photo © Ian Cox)

I’d had an interest in Street Art through Banksy having Dj’d at Cargo in London where he had his first UK show, 2001 I think. It hadn’t occurred to me until 2005 when I took over curating Nuart, that Street Art was occupying the same ground as these early digital pioneers had previously, with a similar message, greater coverage, mass appeal and for the price of a craft knife and Internet connection. Suddenly new media looked like the bloated expensive state sanctioned art-form it was, obsessed with the technology of production when the real technological revolution was in its ability to distribute. I’d already worked with C6/Dotmasters on a new media show which led to Graffiti Research Lab etc so in 2005 I made an application to the arts council with a view to pushing things into a more street art orientated direction. And of course it was rejected outright..We thought ‘fuck it’, took out a private bank loan and did it anyway.. that was the start of Nuart in it’s current form. I guess the only similarities with movements in music is how the form is distributed, though it’s interesting to note a few artists, Faile in particular, messing with “remix” culture.

Dolk (Photo © Ian Cox)

Dolk (Photo © Ian Cox)

Dolk (Photo © Ian Cox)

Dolk (Photo © Ian Cox)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have to deal with painters and musicians. How do you see their differences as artists and do you approach them differently?

Martyn Reed: We treat people as people, no heirs and graces and pretty plain talking. We’re an easy going bunch and I think most artists and musicians feel comfortable around the crew, obviously we have to adapt to certain peoples quirks of character, but for the most, peoples social antenna’s are tuned to the same channel. Our main goal is to ensure that the production and service we provide ensures that the artists have nothing to worry about other than their own performance or piece.

Alexandros (Photo © Alexandros)

Alexandros (Photo © Alexandros)

Brooklyn Street Art: Did you grow up in a family where the arts and music were a big part of growing up? If not when did you realize that music and art were your calling?

Martyn Reed: Ha Ha, no no, quite the opposite, lower working class council estate upbringing, trailer trash in your parlance, didn’t know universities existed until I was maybe 17 or so, left home and school at 16 and just tried to get on..

During all these centuries of the celebration of high art, of its life-affirming philosophies, the glorification, elevation and idolization, it’s monuments to human artistic achievement and even more monumental museums celebrating its history, you’d think, somewhere down the attempt would have been made to bring this to my council estate. To our lives. Because I know for a fact, art is not only capable of “improving” lives, but of saving them also. Literally.

But for all the grandstanding, the “high” arts don’t run that deep, which is why I’m a massive supporter and promoter of street art.

As for realizing, not sure, to be honest, from a very early age I always felt like I was on the outside looking in, and the “in” seemed to be missing a few things. I guess Nuart is my attempt to provide the community and the artists (and my 4 year old kid), with the thing that I missed.

M-City (Photo © GT)

M-City (Photo © GT)

Sten & Lex (Photo © Sten & Lex)

Sten & Lex (Photo © Sten & Lex)

All Images are Courtesy of Nuart and © Ian Cox, © GT and © Alexandros © Sten & Lex

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