Italian street artist Etnik has created a new “Botanica Resistente” in Rome to commemorate “Liberation Day” in Italy, which marks April 25th as the end of the Nazi’s occupation and the liberation from Fascism.
He calls the colorful and abstractly organic 4-story work “Botanica Resistente”, which he says may have multiple readings. Mostly, it is “A direct reference to the toponymy that characterizes the whole district of Centocelle – with its streets named after plants, trees, and flowers.”
As a story of overcoming great obstacles and thriving in adversity, he also posits that “in the mural concrete blocks, asphalt and artificial works succumb to natural elements, giving life to a slow but gradual reconquest of spaces taken from nature.”
Completed in conjunction with the help and guidance of Mirko Pierri, curator of urban art for the a.DNA association, Etnik took about 5 days to transform this facade of the Liceo Scientifico Statale Francesco D’Assisi, between via Castore Durante e Viale Palmiro Togliatti.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. The Yok & Sheryo in Sri Lanka
2. “Perpetual Flow” by Jorge Gerada in Morocco
3. Etnik in Barcelona with Contorno Urbano Foundation
4. Haroshi at his studio in Tokyo
BSA Special Feature: The Yok & Sheryo in Sri Lanka
Always a feeling of non-linear tropical adventure awaiting when you pop open a new spraycation video from the Street Art duo Yok & Sheryo, who would be just as happy to learn a local craft in your town as to paint a wall. Here they are painting and riding tuk tuks and running with a pack of wild dogs, as you do.
“Perpetual Flow” by Jorge Gerada in Morocco
Land artist Jorge Gerada mounts a large project in Ouarzazate, Morocco that extends over 37,500 meters in this commissioned job for a coffee brand calendar. Using rakes, stones, dark gravel, and vegetable oil, a scene of two hands under running water is created.
Etnik in Barcelona with Contorno Urbano Foundation
“Born in Stockholm and living in Torino, Etnik feels right at home on the street of many cities and the dense, designed, deliberate defining of the man-made environment,” we write in yesterdays posting on BSA. “What is new here is the inclusion of a leaf motif, imperfectly biomorphic, a visual paean to the natural world that precedes us and will outlast every cityscape we devise.”
Haroshi at his studio in Tokyo
“Calling Haroshi a sculptor seems too simple, because he is a collector, architect, painter and industrial designer, as well,” says Evan Pricco in the intro and interview he does on Juxtapoz with the Tokyo based artist. “What he has done throughout his career is take recycled skateboard decks, transforming and crafting them into sculptures that range from classic graphics, pop iconography, installations, and the present, where he currently recreates Japanese toys, including those from childhood.” See the new video by Chop Em Down and read the full piece here.
Etnik continues his deconstructivist investigations, drawing upon his history as a graffiti writer and a student of architecture, on this new wall in Barcelona. An illustrator and toy designer in addition to graffiti writer and muralist, you can see his appreciation for letter writing and the dimensional forms of geometry in almost all his work. He says that he is always searching for new ways to push the limits of classical graffiti to a higher level.
Born in Stockholm and living in Torino, Etnik feels right at home on the street of many cities and the dense, designed, deliberate defining of the man-made environment. What is new here is the inclusion of a leaf motif, imperfectly biomorphic, a visual paean to the natural world that precedes us and will outlast every cityscape we devise.
‘The wall is a colored series of Acanto leaves combined with some geometric architectonic elements in white,” he says. “The composition is a dualism between natural energies. The acanto leaf represents nature and its also a symbol you’ll frequently see in painting and classical architecture throughout the history of art.”
“If you look on the map, Florida is like Italy, all surrounded by water,” says Etnik as he finishes this new spatial composition of geometrical forms. “Ocean, river, fishes and everything that is in the water represented in the elements. Nature in opposition with geometric shapes.”
In fact he accounts for all five Platonic elements combined with a geometric shape for a series of walls he’s planning; the cube and the Earth, Air with the Octahedron, Fire with the Tetrahedron, and the Dodecadedron with the Universe.
Here in Jacksonville he’s not far from the Atlantic, St. John’s River, Nepture Beach – and the building itself houses a seafood market. With this environment lapping at his ankles wherever he turns, one can easily imagine his influences when conjuring and painting this 38 foot x 150 foot “Eikosi”, his largest mural ever, here organized by Iryna Kanishcheva.
The twenty-sided icosahedron overlooking a stream of cars on the highway is full of rippling, swirling, splashing aqua – something the Turin, Italy based Etnik finds refreshing and in alignment with his urban art practice.
“The icosahedron of Plato is a metaphor to represent the ocean sections created in my style,” he says. “Urban agglomerations and natural elements (that float in an indefinite space and represent the contradictions of the urban spaces we live in) is the line that always mark my evolving style in recent years, on the revenge of the nature on urbanization.”
As upbeat as celebrations like today’s LGBTQ Pride events are here in NYC, they are rooted in defiance of the suffocating unjust norms that entrapped people in this city and across the country for generations – newly emancipating broad groups of people over the last 50 years or so. As New York City led the way with the Stonewall riots for sexual minorities, it sends this message today to people across the globe that you will be free too, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now in your country.
But LGBTQ folks needed straight allies to get their rights over five decades. Today we have to speak up loud and proud for immigrants. If you need to punch, figuratively, don’t punch downward. These people have done nothing to hurt you and are bringing a the identical aspirations your parents, grandparents, great grandparents did. Don’t believe the hype of the traumatizer who blames the traumatized.
Punch UP at the folks who shifted all the jobs away, just lowered their own taxes to their lowest rate in your entire lifetime, who are shredding the social safety net, who are creating jobs that pay so little you still have to get food stamps, who are trying to convince poor people that poor people are their enemy. It’s an old old trick and it appears to still work marvelously.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Anthony Lister, Bordalo II, Charles Williams, City Kitty, Danny Minnick, Etnik, FKDL, Lapiz, LMNOPI, Individual Activist, Niko, Nick Walker, Olivia Laita, Revaf, Sofles, Soten, and Strayones.
“The soccer world cup has begun and I took the opportunity to paint a mural about Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. It was painted during the FARBFLUT festival which took place last weekend where 200 artist painted a 1000 m wall. The mural itself measures 6 x 3.50 m.
The motive shows the Russian president Vladimir Putin kissing Vladimir Putin. The colours are those of the rainbow flag and it has the words ‘One Love’ written above it. The picture addresses Putin’s narcissism and even more the homophobic tendencies supported by the Russian government.”
The tenacious and hard working Esteban Marin and the whole team at Contorno Urbano in Barcelona have announced their line up for the third edition of their project 12 + 1.
With artists drawn from a variety of public practices like graffiti (Zurik), abstract (Joan Cabrer), design (Etnik), realism (Lily Brik), and representative (Sepe), the collection is a broad swath of current and time-honored techniques for expression.
BSA continues to support projects like these which engage community, foster artists growth, and recognize quality work – and we again will be bringing you these new murals as they are completed. Our congratulations to the winners!
The 90s graffiti writer who now often participates in mural festivals says he chose this geometric abstraction to represent the poplar tree because of its historical connection to this host city and because of the undeniable intertwined associations he also has with the architecture that these trees often frame.
Part of the “Without Frontiers’ project that ran June 19-24 and was curated by Simona Gavioli and Giulia Giliberti of Caravan Setup Gallery in Bologna, the mural project includes work by artists Elbi Elem, Panem et Circenses, Zedz, and Corn79.
Murals hold their own place onstage in public space today for a variety of reasons that we discuss regularly on BSA. From grassroots and public, to private and corporate, we have watched the genre professionalize as Street Art festivals and other initiatives are often coupling artists with brands and are selling canvasses through the organizers galleries. Today we have the first of a promised four-part book series by Art Whino gallerist and organizer of the Richmond Mural Project in Virginia, Shane Pomajambo, that features many artists he has worked with in the brand new “The Art of the Mural”.
Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Featuring more than fifty current graffiti/Street Artists, the survey pays special attention to the show-stopping eye candy that commands attention for these nomadic painters who are developing their craft before an ever larger and more appreciative international audience.
Culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick, who writes the introduction to the Schiffer published hardcover, notes that this mural renaissance is quite unlike the US government funded New Deal era mural programs that produced “hundreds of thousands of murals for schools, hospitals, post offices, housing projects, and various government facilities”. And he’s right, these are emanating from a different place entirely.
Antony Lister. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
The world-traveling media-soaked artists, of which this collection is subset, have had vastly more exposure to corporations and branding perhaps than, say, arts institutions, and a sophisticated self-handling is often on display with artists ever more savvy in their choices of style and content.
A greater percentage are now entering into private collections, galleries, and museums thanks to unprecedented platforms for huge exposure on the Internet, and their public works are adding rich character and dialogue to our neighborhoods and public spaces.
Curiot. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
With academia, art critics, and auction houses all grappling with the rightful place of these artists in contemporary art and society at large it will be instructive to know the history and their lineage, content, context, and patronage. One has to agree when McCormick says that all of these “are helpful for us to consider in looking at and understanding the artists’ walls of today.”
This collection of talent is strong, with many of the mid-large names that are at play in this generation of painters whom are primarily born in the 1970s and 80s. In their work is a cultural appreciation for modern graffiti history as they now channel it along with formal training, art history, advertising, and a multitude of media. With few exceptions, it’s a tight list of artists, the images are riveting (though uncredited to their photographers), and the brief introductions by Pomajambo contain just enough biographical information and artist’ quotes to ground the story and give it context.
“As with everything I do,” says the Queens, New York native Pomajambo, “I always question and observe, and as we reach critical mass with murals I felt compelled to create this project and capture a moment in time.”
Evoca 1. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Fintan Magee. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Miss Van. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
MOMO. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Onur & Wes 21. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Telmo & Miel. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Tone (Robert Proch). Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
All photos of the spreads by Jaime Rojo
The Art of The Mural: Contemporary International Urban Art. Volume 01 by Shaen Pomajambo. Schiffer Publishing. Atglen, PA. USA.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. Roma Street Art Tribes as Captured by Dioniso Punk
BSA Special Feature: Roma Street Art Tribes as Captured by Dioniso Punk
Gwen Stacy Parts I and II
Disorderly, discordant, and richly chaotic, these two videos are centered around the Italian street art paintings and artists whom you will recognize from our earlier postings on community/gallery organized urban art programming – but within the context of historical art publicly displayed, peoples movements, patronage, fascism, the classics.
Dioniso Punk allows everyone to talk – neighbors, artists, organizers, curators, public philosophers, elected officials, psychologists, sociologists, entrepreneurs, posers, professors, historians, students, an opera singer, the petite bourgeoisie, international visitors and hapless puzzled opinionated locals.
Discussions at panels cut into impassioned discussions by senior women in the courtyard or didactic examinations in the street – some for illustration, others for whimsy, none to be ignored. More of a fact finding mission than cogent analysis, you may find it difficult to follow the narrative and so it is better to let go and allow yourself be battered by the insights and observations delivered with the jumpy cuts and uncompleted thoughts and discussions, preferring instead to sink into the tribe of the humans, here selectively displayed for your pleasure and hopefully, edification.
(turn on the CC (closed captioning) if you do not speak Italian)
Featuring interviews with Solo, Gaia, Diamond 0707, Maupal, Best Ever, Bol23, Jerico, Guerrilla Spam Sen One, Sabrina, Dan, Stefano Antonelli (999 Contemporary,) Marta Ugolini (Galleria Ca’ D’Oro), Agathe Jaubourg (Pasolini Pigneto), Alìn Costache (YUT!), Edoardo Martino (Villaggio Globale), and Eleonora Zaccagnino (Acid Drop).
Special Guests: Mp5, Alice Pasquini, Mr. Thoms, Jessica Stewart, Sandro Fiorentini (La Bottega del Marmoraro).
Murals by Blu, Roa, Borondo, Etam Cru, Space Invaders, C215, Hogre, Herbert Baglione, Sten & Lex, JB Rock, Ernest, Pignon-Ernest, Etnik, Axel, Avoid, Sbagliato, Jim Avignon, Fin DAC, Jef Aerosol, Seth, Zed1, Ericailcane, Clemens Behr, Caratoes, Momo, Derek, Bruno, Kid Acne, Mto, Alexey Luka, Tellas, Moby Dick, Philippe Baudelocque, Mr. Klevra, Lucamaleonte, Diavù Kocore, Agostino Iacurci, Danilo Bucchi, Jaz, Desx, Reka, Lek & Sowat, Hopnn, Matteo, Basilé Alberonero, Ex Voto, Andreco, Moneyless, Nicola, Verlato, Ludo, L’Atlas, Escif, and Pepsy Zerocalcare.
Furthering his examination of geometric forms interacting in a multi-dimensional field, Etnik creates this new mural in a Roman neighborhood in full view from your terrace. The cube forms emanate forward from a central gravity mass toward the viewer, popping off the enormous sky-blue canvas.
The wall is part of a project sponsored by the 5th Municipality of Rome Capital, on a building at Via Bartolomeo Perestrello. Initiated by a gallery in Tor Pignattara, be sure to check out the video of Etni in action at the end of the post.The “Street Heart” project is curated by Marta Gargiulo and Varsi gallery along with Massimo Scrocca and Marco Gallotta.
Published last month this towering book with the page edges sprayed neon orange was released by Mehdi Ben Cheikh in French and English to commemorate the event, and seeing the installations this way is going to make you wish the place wasn’t destroyed. 500 new photos previously unpublished allows you to see the show as you travel from the cellar to the top floors.
You may wish you had more background on the artists and the context and clearly not all of the artistry is of similar quality but you will be satiated by the images and thankful that they were recorded during their brief duration. Published by Editions Albin Michel, in partnership with the Itinerrance Gallery, this show will continue to soar long after the dust has settled.