All posts tagged: FAUST

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.07.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.07.19

We’re in the thick sticky summer of it now -with Street Artists flooding the walls with many new unpermissioned illegal works. From small scale and new kids on the block to large legal/commercial murals by more established names- the public space in New York is teeming again with new ideas.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Adreian Wilson, Bert MTA, Bia Ferrer, Blaze, Captain Eyeliner, El Sol 25, Faust, Gatos a Gatas, H Lucatelli, Homoriot, Jason Naylor, Jilly Ballistic, Libranos, Movimiento Petrushaus, My 2 Cents, Nomad Clan, Novy, Pork, Shin Shin, Subdude, and Tatyana Fazlilazadeh.

Bert_MTA for East Village Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
My 2 Cents (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jilly Ballistic joins the Abbey Road procession (photo © Jaime Rojo)
America is Black… and it’s not going anywhere. Tatyna Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Homoriot (photo © Jaime Rojo)
One of the 20th century’s greatest writers, James Baldwin, wearing a Homoriot logo on his shirt. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Homoriot (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jason Naylor (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Is this THAT Blaze? (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Adrian Wilson in collaboration with Pork. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Nomad Clan (photo © Jaime Rojo)
H Lucatelly. Hand painted directly on the wall without permission. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Libranos (photo © Jaime Rojo)
El Sol 25 entering an Aqua period for the summer (photo © Jaime Rojo)
It’s never too early to start that layaway plan. El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bia Ferrer (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bia Ferrer (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Subdude (photo © Jaime Rojo)
At the very least…. Captain Eyeliner must be talking to Orange Monster above… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Movimiento Petrushaus (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Novy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Shin Shin (photo © Jaime Rojo) (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mowcka with Shin Shin (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gatos a Gatas (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sticky wall…(photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Film Friday 05.17.19

BSA Film Friday 05.17.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Evan Roth “Since You Were Born”
2. “Island” Hamburg Max Mortal and Robert Lobel
3. Isaac Cordal In-Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain.
4. ARTRIUM in Moscow

BSA Special Feature: Evan Roth “Since You Were Born”

Graffiti Research Lab co-founder Evan Roth has been hacking his way through life and art practice for the mid-2000s when he was a student at Brooklyn’s Parsons, where he was valedictorian. Now an older wiser daddy of two, he turns his attention to the saturated everyday data pileup generated from Internet browsing. The accumulated images, logos, maps, banner ads in the cache is like so much DNA of the person behind the mouse, and when it is printed to display, one becomes engulfed.

Our favorite term from his new exhibit? “An alternate form of art-making, memory-making, and storytelling”.

Project Atrium: Evan Roth

“Island” Hamburg Max Mortal and Robert Lobel

From Hamburg an animated short video by Max Mörtl & Robert Löbel explores the irresistible desire to communicate with this stop motion & 2D animation piece. Adorable exotic creatures come alive during the day to explore and seek kindred spirits.

Isaac Cordal In-Studio Visit. Bilbao, Spain.

From our visit to his studio comes this silent overview of how to turn a pig into a pig-man. “Here is where you see the craftsman at work; carefully attentive, problem-solving industry in play, possibly more at peace while he is creating than when he is left to think too much. He picks up a pink pig figurine and begins the plastic surgery, the fine reconstruction; a gentle whirring, a whittling away of snout and a defining of chin-line.”

See our full interview HERE:

ARTRIUM in Moscow

When we were in Moscow last summer as curators at Artmossphere, we had the opportunity to meet the director of the new program to bring international Street Artists to paint a shopping mall.  The magnetizing force that drew artists to hit these walls is pretty strong; just ask Shepard Fairey, Felipe Pantone, Tristan Eaton, Ben Eine, PichiAvo, Okuda San Miguel, Pokras Lampas, Faith47, WK Interact, Faust, and Haculla.


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BSA Film Friday: 05.10.19

BSA Film Friday: 05.10.19

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. INTI “Soleil”. Blinded by the Light.
2. Martha Cooper: Queen der Street Art
3. Elisa Capdevila x Anna Repullo. Contorno Urbano Foundation. 12+1 Project
4. Mare 139 : L’ avenir” Graffuturism. Group Exhibition.
5. FAUST: L’ avenir” Graffuturism. Group Exhibition.

BSA Special Feature: INTI “Soleil”. Blinded by the Light.

OMG WHERE does Chop ’em Down get their music from? Finally we said it out loud.

Yes, the monstrous archive of top-notch video that they are amassing of Street Artists and others creating work in the world is scintillating, the gut-punch editing is riveting, the pickings are lush. But time and again Zane nails it into next week with the music choices. Bless you brother.

INTI “Soleil”. Blinded by the Light. Video by Chop ’em Down Films for Peinture Fraiche Festival. Lyon, France.

Martha Cooper: Queen der Street Art via ZDF German TV (in German no subtitles)

Our sincere thanks to Susanne Lingemann and ZDF German TV for this great piece on Martha Cooper during the premiere of Selina Miles’ movie “Martha: A Picture Story” at Tribeca Film Festival. Next stop Sydney!

Elisa Capdevila x Anna Repullo. Contorno Urbano Foundation. 12+1 Project

Easily the winner of wackiest choice of concept and music for the year so far is this wiccan themed duo in Spain painting walls across from each other on an underpass. Something to do with sensuality and competitiveness and … witchcraft? Good painting tho.

L’avenir

L’avenir Graffuturism Group Exhibition

A special collection of works opened on April 26th under the banner “Graffuturism”, guided by its creator and advocate, the artist Poesia. The lineup includes a number of artists along the street art/graffiti /contemporary continuum such as Augustine Kofie, Tobias Kroeger, Carlos Mare, Doze Green, Jaybo Monk, Faust, Kenor, and Matt W. Moore – each with distinct graphic voices of their own. Below are a couple of brief profiles from the show follow here.

“L’ avenir” Graffuturism. Group Exhibition. Mare139.

“L’ avenir” Graffuturism. Group Exhibition. Faust.

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BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

Here it is! Photographer Jaime Rojo of BSA selects a handful of his favorite images from his travels through 9 countries and around New York this year to present our 2018 BSA Images of the Year.

Seeing the vast expressions of aesthetics and anti-aesthetic behavior has been a unique experience for us. We’re thankful to all of the artists and co-conspirators for their boundless ideas and energy, perspectives and personas.

Once you accept that much of the world is in a semi-permanent chaos you can embrace it, find order in the disorder, love inside the anger, a rhythm to every street.

And yes, beauty. Hope you enjoy BSA Images of the Year 2018.


Here’s a list of the artists featured in the video. Help us out if we missed someone, or if we misspelled someones nom de plume.

1Up Crew, Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fujita, Adele Renault, Adrian Wilson, Alex Sena, Arkane, Banksy, Ben Eine, BKFoxx, Bond Truluv, Bordalo II, Bravin Lee, C215, Cane Morto, Charles Williams, Cranio, Crash, Dee Dee, D*Face, Disordered, Egle Zvirblyte, Ernest Zacharevic, Erre, Faith LXVII, Faust, Geronimo, Gloss Black, Guillermo S. Quintana, Ichibantei, InDecline, Indie 184, Invader, Isaac Cordal, Jayson Naylor JR, Kaos, KNS, Lena McCarthy, Caleb Neelon, LET, Anthony Lister, Naomi Rag, Okuda, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Pejac, Pixel Pancho, Pork, Raf Urban, Resistance is Female, Sainer, Senor Schnu, Skewville, Slinkachu, Solus, Squid Licker, Stinkfish, Strayones, Subway Doodle, The Rus Crew, Tristan Eaton, Vegan Flava, Vhils, Viktor Freso, Vinie, Waone, Winston Tseng, Zola

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BSA Images Of The Week 09.02.18 – Artmossphere Biennale 2018

BSA Images Of The Week 09.02.18 – Artmossphere Biennale 2018

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

It’s been a packed couple of weeks between traveling to Moscow for the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 and immediately hopping to Leipzig, Germany for the magnificent Monumenta opening. Our heads are full of stories and conversations and images in two distinctly different scenes that somehow are still completely connected. Can’t tell if its euphoria or relief or jetlag but this Sunday is a dizzying day of taking account and being really thankful to be involved with an astounding amount of talent and camaraderie in the Graffiti/Street Art/Urban Art community that is connecting people around the world.

Here are our images of the week this time around; some selections from the Thursday night Artmossphere Biennale 2018 in Moscow, featuring 108, 1UP, Adele Renault, Bill Posters, BLOT, Canemorto, CT, the DOMA Collective, Egs, Faith XLVII, Faust, Finsta, Hyland Mather, LOT, Lucy McLauchlan, Lyall Sprong, Martha Cooper, Pablo Harymbat, and Pink Power.

Canemorto. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faust. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faith XLVII . Lyall Sprong. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Finsta. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Finsta. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper . Adele Renault. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper . Adele Renault. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1UP Crew. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1UP Crew. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pablo Harymbat. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hyland Mather. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

108. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

CT . 108. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

DOMA Collective. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lucy McLauchlan. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

EGS. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BLOT. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pink Power. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bill Posters. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sabina Chagina. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sunshine Cinema Now Showing: FAUST’S “Sunset”

Sunshine Cinema Now Showing: FAUST’S “Sunset”

The Sun Sets on Sunshine: FAUST Writes Paean to NYC Streetscape

The five projectors at the Sunshine Cinema have gone dark as of January, and this month the 150+ year old building is scheduled to be razed for a 9 story office building. Because, you know, we need one. Graffiti writer FAUST just secured permission to say his own goodbye to the theater in a poetic way with his ornately scripted street style calligraphic hand, marking a sunset on Sunshine.

BSA is proud to debut FAUST’s own penned thoughts on this New York story of love and loss, of continuous building and destruction, of cultural touchstones that disappear seemingly overnight – usually so someone can make a buck. Herewith we present the words of FAUST for BSA readers with our thanks to him and to you.


 

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Every time I approach a new work, I try to find a word or phrase that would be clever, poignant, and site-specific. Oftentimes, that could take weeks of research and brainstorming, but on Houston Street that wasn’t the case. With so many memories inside of those walls, this mural on the shuttered facade of the Sunshine Cinema felt much more personal than most of my previous projects.

The first time I saw the gate down and learned of the theater’s demise, I instantly knew I wanted to paint it in homage to the historic site. And the following day it came to me, a poetic sendoff to both celebrate and mourn the final days of the Sunshine Cinema. Sunset. 

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

I confess, as a teenager I became well-acquainted with the back door to the Sunshine Cinema which granted me free access to other worlds on the big screen. Growing up in New York City, a significant part of my adolescence was spent at that Lower East Side movie theater which focused on independent and foreign films. I snuck into the critically-acclaimed 2002 Brazilian feature City of God so many times that I started to believe I knew Portuguese because I had memorized the subtitles.

But my favorite time to go to the Sunshine was for their midnight movie. Each weekend they screened a different cult classic on Friday and Saturday nights. I spent my 19th birthday catching a sold out screening of The Warriors, my first time seeing the 1979 film that depicts a New York that no longer exists – gritty, overrun by street gangs, and covered in graffiti.

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

My career as an artist is deeply rooted in my upbringing as a graffiti writer. The style of my work derives from a contemporary history of writing on walls and subways that spans nearly 50-years. Anytime I paint abroad, I feel like a cultural ambassador bringing my distinctly “New York” aesthetic across the globe. But New York is always home–and always will be. At home the work takes on a different meaning; carrying on the tradition of a wide-spread (albeit illicit) art movement that has risen up from the streets and making a statement that hopefully resonates with my friends and neighbors who see it.

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The 30,000 square-foot building on Houston Street has a long history of entertainment in the Lower East Side. Sections of the building date back to 1844, when it first opened as a church, before being converted into the Houston Athletic Club, a prize fight club, in the early 1900’s. Shortly after, the building was purchased and converted into the Houston Hippodrome, which offered moving picture shows and Yiddish vaudeville acts to the growing Jewish immigrant community in the neighborhood.

In 1917 the theater was converted into a nickelodeon and renamed the Sunshine Theater. The theater closed in 1945 and was used as storage up until the 1990s. For a brief period, from 1994 to 1998 the space was rented out for concerts and events before being leased to Landmark Theaters. After undergoing a $12 million renovation, the Sunshine Cinema as I know it opened on December 21, 2001. 

Faust. Sunset (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Sunshine Cinema isn’t even the latest in a string of closures of historic NYC theaters including the Ziegfeld Theater in 2016 and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas which just closed it’s doors on January 31st. When these cultural institutions have no chance of keeping their heads above water in the current real estate market is it officially time to say New York is dead? As early as 1927 author H. P. Lovecraft had declared “New York is dead, & the brilliancy which so impresses one from outside is the phosphorescence of a maggoty corpse.” But we all know that couldn’t be further from the truth. Each successive generation inevitably breathes new life into the city and finds inspiration in the hallowed concrete jungle.

I discussed my idea for the mural with filmmaker Charlie Ahearn and described my dismay when I found out about the closure. I was surprised that he didn’t share my sentiment. Rather, he said he always thought of the Sunshine as a new theater. I suppose if I had lived though the New York art world of the 70s, 80s, and 90s as he had, I’d likely feel the same way. “Have you been to the Metrograph? Now that’s a great theater!” he told me about the new cinema that opened in the Lower East Side in 2016 and recently hosted a sold out screening of his cult classic film Wild Style. 

It’s ingrained in us all as New Yorkers to gripe every time a local landmark shutters, be it a cultural institution in a historic building or a corner bodega that can no longer compete with the new Whole Foods that opened down the block. It’s part of our DNA to wax poetic about the New York City we grew up in, whichever era that was. But it’s safe to say that more prescient than the idea that New York is dead is another old adage; the only constant is change.

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BSA Top Stories 2017 – As Picked by You

BSA Top Stories 2017 – As Picked by You

Berlin, Kathmandu, Santa Fe, Brooklyn, Sweden, London, New York, the country of Georgia, Raleigh, North Carolina. The favorite stories of BSA readers spanned all of these places this year as we documented this global people’s art movement variously described as Street Art/ graffiti/ urban art. We put it out there daily and you react to it – sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – starting conversations and creating connections.

The topics of these 15 favorite stories run the gamut as well; From Banksy and Brexit, Marxism and Urvanity to a bodega completely made of felt, your voracious appetite was wide ranging. From a well crafted graffiti writing exhibition at a white suburban Pennsylvania college where the tuition is 50K to an attempt to bring reassuring cultural heritage art to the streets of Kathmandu where the museum was destroyed by an earthquake – the extremes and ironies only peaked your interest.

You loved seeing and hearing Martha Cooper getting her first solo exhibition in New York and the mania that queued thousands to see the transformation of a 5 floor bank in Berlin by graffiti writers, Street Artists, installation artists and performers. You care about the earth and its people, like the story of ICY an SOT in the country of Georgia making human sculptures of trash as a critique of globalized waste, and the story of Chip Thomas using his Street Art to draw attention to a traditional Hopi farming technique called “dry farming”.

And in 2017 the resonance of ‘Resistance is Female’ catapulted our story of the illegal campaign of phone booth takeovers to the top 15, showing that a uniquely impactful high-jacking of the advertising streetscape is always going to win fans.

No matter where we went in 2017, BSA readers were always invited to go along with us and discover people and art on the street and in the gallery or the museum whether it was in Scotland, Hong Kong, Berlin, Sweden, Mexico or Tahiti. We captured what we could and interpreted it – and you told us what you liked by re-Tweeting and re-Gramming and re-Facebooking.

From 365 postings over the last year, here are the 15 you liked the most.


No. 15

Marx and Engels Statues Re-Skinned & Re-Located : Various & Gould

Various & Gould. Berlin, June 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Why do you glorify and duplicate these two criminals?! They shouldn’t have a monument at all. Next you’re doing Hitler?”

Various and Gould try to paraphrase some of the comments they received from passersby in a park near the town-hall in centrally located Berlin-Mitte while working on their latest project with a statue of the creators of Marxist theory. Some imagined they were glorifying, others alleged defamation.

“It’s a shame how you treat Marx and Engels!”

Truthfully, this new project in public space that literally copies a monument and then transfers it to another location didn’t have much to do with the capitalist system that creates/allows very rich and very poor people, but it certainly adds stories to the overall experience of Various and Gould.

Various & Gould: Marx & Engels. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 14

“MADRID ME MATA”: Another Look at “Urvanity”

Roc Blackblock Milicians Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

MADRID ME MATA…in a good sense,”

says Fernando Alcalá Losa, the avid Barcelona based photographer of street culture. He doesn’t literally mean that the Spanish capital is deadly, but rather speaks of his devotion to Madrids’ energy, its possibility, its history, its people, and to its art. The torrid affairs of the heart are invariably complicated, as is the evolution of graffiti and Street Art from their outlaw illegal roots to their flirtations and trysts with other forms and venues; murals, in-studio practice, gallery representation, institutional recognition, or commercial viability.

We are pleased that Mr. Alcalá Losa comes to talk to BSA readers today and takes us to Madrid for the new art fair called “Urvanity” to see what he discovers with you, courtesy his words and his lovers’ view behind the camera.

Madrid Me Mata…in a good sense. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 13

Lucy Sparrow Opens an All-Felt Bodega in NYC : “8 ‘Till Late”

Lucy Sparrow 8 ‘Till Late (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s 8 ‘Till Late, artist Lucy Sparrows first all-felt store in New York, and it’s literally just under the Standard Hotel in the Meat Packing district. She’s made 9,000 items over roughly 9 months out of this soft fabric-like craft material – and at first impression it sincerely looks like everything you would have found in a New York bodega in the 1990s aside from the hard liquor, which is actually illegal to sell outside a liquor store in NYC, but relax, its all heartfelt.

“We sell quite a lot of self-help books as well,” chimes in Clare Croome, a cashier.

“Yes! Self-help books! Have you seen them?” says Brooks “They’ve got nothing in them on the pages, they’re just blank.”

Lucy Sparrow 8 ‘Till Late. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 12

“All Big Letters” Opens, Curated by RJ Rushmore

Faust. All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

“I wanted to exhibit the mind of a graffiti writer in a gallery, and make that mindset understandable to your average gallery-goer,” he tells us. “To me, that means appreciating not just the finished piece, but how and why it came to be.”

By showing artists, works, photography, and tools that judiciously span the 50 or so years that mark the era of modern mark-making in the public sphere, Rushmore threads a story line that he hopes a visitor can gain an appreciation for in this art, sport, and quest for fame.

All Big Letters. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 11

Anonymouse: Miniature Vignettes on the Street for “No Limit” Festival in Boras, Sweden

Anonymouse. No Limit Boras 2017. Boras, Sweden. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Miniaturization on the street or in the museum (or in the street museum) causes you to focus on detail, draw closely, to recall your childhood ability to freely invoke a sense of fantasy.

“Since our visitors are mostly nocturnal, our opening hours are quite generous,” the artists known as Anonymous say in reference to their nighttime installations, sometimes glowing with electric light in the lee of a bridge column, or the shadow of a door. They reference the famous Swedish children’s book author Astrid Lindren in their work, and you can easily visualize a small mouse family or a business mouse or a house mouse or church mouse astutely moving through these vignettes, living their important lives.

Possibly one is currently occupied in a back room of one of these installations at the moment but they will be returning presently to greet their new visitor – you, with your big face. Don’t worry, they like you to get up close. They may even provide a magnifying glass for you to get a closer look.

Anonymouse. Minuature Vignettes. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 1o

Bunnies, Birds, Sexuality and VINZ Feel Free’s “Innocence” in Brooklyn

Vinz Feel Free. “Innocence” The Marcy Project. Williamsburg, Brooklyn. November 4th. 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Birds are associated with freedom, fish remind him of mindless consumerism, and frogs convey authority. He reserves reptiles for soulless soldiers of capital and authoritarian types. And the sudden preponderance of rabbits? Why sexuality and innocence of course.

“Innocence” is the name of the exhibition here curated by BSA and DK Johnston, and Vinz Feel Free has been preparing these works for many months. A project that has included his study of innocence, the show is meant to demarcate such shadings of the concept as to appear only subtly different from one another. To wit:

1. The quality or state of being innocent; freedom from sin or moral wrong.
2. Freedom from legal or specific wrong; guiltlessness.

Vinz Feel Free. “Innocence”.  Continue reading HERE

 


No. 09

Julien De Casabianca, Angry Gods, and Hacking Disaster in Kathmandu

Julien De Casabianca. Outings Project. Kathmandu, Nepal. January, 2017 (photo © Karma Tshering Gurung & Sanam Tamang/ Artudio)

If you are not going into the museum to see art, Julien De Casabianca is happy to bring it out to the street for you. Additionally, if the museum has been closed by an earthquake, he’ll make sure the art gets a public viewing nonetheless.

In Kathmandu recently Street Artist Julien de Casabianca continued his Outings Project by bringing a centuries-old painting outside to the side of the Artudio building in Swoyambhu on Chhauni Hospital Road with the help of Matt Rockwell of the humanitarian hackers group called DisasterHack.

He tells us that the obstacles to getting this piece up seemed insurmountable at times due to the broken social and infrastructural systems in Nepal that still plague people even today, nearly two years since the catastrophic earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 and injured 22,000 more.

Julien De Casabianca/Outings Projects in Kathmandu. Continue reading HERE


No. 08

Rocking “THE HAUS” : A 5-Floor Berlin Bank is Transformed by Artists

Kaleido. The Haus. Berlin. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Normally we paint advertising – hand-painted advertising, mostly with cans. So we work all over Germany, with a lot of crews, “ says Kimo, a bearded, bald energetic and sharp witted guy who is lighting up a cigarette in this tattered, beige ex-conference room.  That explanation doesn’t prepare you for what you will see in the rooms upstairs.

The floors are piled with unopened paint buckets and brushes and cans and the walls in this organizing office are covered with scotch-taped project timelines, to-do lists, and floor plans of the old bank. Each former office space is plainly labled with names of German Street Artists or graffiti  crews, some you recognize, others you don’t. More recent Street Art names are next to classic Graff heads, installation  artists mix freely with Optic Artists, photographers, sculptors, even a live moss installation.

Case Maclaim is right next door to Turbokultur with Stohead out in the hall on floor 1.  El Bocho and Emess are in small rooms to either side of 1UP on the 3rd. Herakut in a corner room numbered 506 is right next to Nick Platt and Paul Punk in 505.

Rocking The Haus. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 07

Working the Cornfields on a Santa Fe Facade with Jetsonorama

Chip Thomas. Santa Fe, New Mexico, Earth Day 2017. (photo © John Donalds)

18 year old Hawthorne Hill has learned the traditional Hopi farming technique called “dry farming” from his mom, according to Jetsonorama, and he places seeds in shallow holes, while his sister Metzli creates rows of wind blocks using nearby brush.

The photos are taken on Second Mesa on the Hopi nation, but the artist brings them here to Santa Fe as part of a project he’s doing with Biocultura Santa Fe.

A project originally conceived of as part of Earth Day, with a focus on where our food comes from and traditional farming methods, its good to think of who works to bring food to your table.

Working The Cornfields. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 06

“A Real Turning Point” : Sculptures on the Art Mile at Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art

Seth Globepainter. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think it’s a real turning point as far as seeing three dimensional things,” says Street Artist and fine artist Ben Frost while hand painting text on the side of the large facsimiles of pharmaceutical boxes that he’s creating for the UN Art Mile. “I think sculptures and installations have been paving a way forward for Street Art.”

In fact sculpture and all manner of three dimensional installations as Street Art have been a part of the current century for sure, from the variety of lego and yarn artists to the soldiered steel tags of REVS and eco-bird houses of XAM and small little men made of wood by Stikman – among many others.

For the opening of UN this weekend, the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin this week, a curated selection of artists working in such dimensions were invited to create substantial pieces – including video installation, mobile, interactive, the purely static. Enjoy the variety of works by Street Artists who are working today.

Urban Nation Berlin. Art Mile. Continue reading HERE


No. 05

“Resistance is Female” Takes Over Phone Booths in New York

Gigi Chen for #resistanceisfemale (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The decentralized Resistance, as it turns out, is a majority of Americans.

And leading the charge are women and girls.

So it makes perfect sense that a new grassroots takeover of telephone booth advertising in New York is a campaign called, “Resistance is Female”. Organizers and artists say that the ad takeover project is putting out a message that corporate controlled media seems to be quelling: keep fighting, keep speaking up, persevere.

The artists have put up a couple of dozen or so new art pieces in places where typecast women typically sell shampoo or fashions: a high-jacking of the advertising streetscape which the French and the Situationists would have called détournement in earlier decades.

Resistance Is Female. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 04

Street Artist OLEK and Volunteers Create NINA SIMONE Tribute in Raleigh, NC

Olek. Nina Simone “Here Comes The Sun” Love Across The USA. Raleigh, North Carolina. October 2017. (photo © courtesy Olek)

Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Nina Simone; Three of the women whom Street Artist Olek would like us to remember from U.S. history, and who have been recently featured in public crochet portraits. Her most recent portrait done with help from the community brings art made by the public to the public in a country-wide project called “Love Across the USA”.

Sparked a year ago leading up to the US national election where a woman was on the ballot, Olek says that despite the negativity that followed, “it inspired me to create a project that would celebrate the accomplishments of women, many of whom had been forgotten throughout U.S. history.”

Today we go to Raleigh, NC to see the most recent banner of Nina Simone crocheted by Olek and a small army of volunteers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Simone, the American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the Civil Rights Movement.

Olek. Here Comes The Sun. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 03

Icy & Sot and a Man of Trash in Tbilisi, Georgia

Icy & Sot.  “Human reflection on nature”. Tbilisi, Georgia. May 2017. (photo © Icy & Sot)

15 centuries old, Tbilisi may not last as long as this garbage man sculpture by Street Artists Icy & Sot.

“It took us only 10 minutes to collect all this trash because there was so much of it – including American brands – in the river by this village,” says Icy as he tells us about the trip he and his brother Sot made last month. A gorgeous and historically diverse city of 1.5 million people, Tbilisi reflects art, architecture, trade and culture that have given the Georgian capital a reputation as a crossroads for Europe and Asia.

During their stay with the Art Villa Garikula, a self organized community contemporary art center begun Tbilisi born painter and educator, Karaman Kutateladze in 2000, Icy and Sot did two pieces and an ad takeover that reflect the global problems posed by a consumer culture sold by corporations with little concern for its impact long term.

Icy & Sot. Human reflections on nature. Continue reading HERE

 

No. 02

“Martha Cooper” Solo Exhibition Reveals Many Unseen “Action Shots”

Martha Cooper signing the print of Futura 2000 whole car “Break”,  Steven Kasher Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

An intrepid photographer who has launched a million dreams (and perhaps a few thousand careers) in graffiti and Street Art with her photography that captured crucial and seminal aspects of our culture that others overlooked.

That is just one way of seeing this brand new collection of images by Martha Cooper that is spread across one wall featuring artists at work, sometimes intimately. Here is where you see 102 individual shots of artists at work, a stunning testament to the range of art-making techniques that are practiced in the public realm, as well as a testament to the passion and curiosity of the woman behind the lens.

For Ms. Cooper’s first solo photography show in New York, Steven Kasher Gallery is featuring 30 new editions of her legendary street art photographs, the ones that have burned themselves into the collective memory of New York and of our streets in the 1970s and 1980s. While her photographs in the 1984 seminal “Subway Art” and her early Hip Hop street shots may be what she is most known for by artists and collectors and fans in cities around the world to which she travels, the new exhibit also contains more than a foreshadowing into the vast collection of important images she has not shown to us.

Martha Cooper Solo Show. Continue reading HERE

 

No. 01

Banksy Hits Brexit With New Piece, MaisMenos & BLU Used EU Flag Earlier

Banksy. Dover, England. Photo @banksy Instagram

The appearance of a new mural by Banksy in Dover, England caught the attention of many followers on his Instagram account and the mass media folks quickly reported on the new piece that comments on the current state of the EU.

10 months since the Brexit vote, the anonymous artist has created a thoughtful piece marking the crack in the European Union, depicting a white male worker on a ladder chipping away one of the stars on the EU flag, a fissure produced by the action reaching upwards and outwards toward the others.

Banksy Brexit. Continue reading HERE

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“The Art Of Writing Your Name” Expands Potential for Both Art & Writing

“The Art Of Writing Your Name” Expands Potential for Both Art & Writing

Niels Shoe Meulman on the cover of The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

“Writing”, as in the graffiti sense of the word, has become quite tastefully adventurous of late, as calligraffiti pushes and pulls it in height, dimension, finesse. Evolved from our first recorded history, the modern stylizing of the letter form is as fascinating and wild as it is domesticated, the mundanity of your particular tag now veritably swimming in many depths and swirling currents, weaving complex melodies, hitting notes previously unheard.

JonOne The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

This was inevitable, now that you think of it, this organic and ornate practice of making your mark, and the freedom to explore it came from the street. Mark-making indeed. You can call it “The Art of Writing Your Name,” as have the authors/artists Christian Hundertmark and Patrick Hartl.

Born of many late night talks and collaborative painting sessions together, merging Christian’s abstract graphics and collage with Patrick’s calligraphy and tagging, the two slowly discovered a mutual collection of writers and artists whose work they both admired, a book slowly taking form in their minds. “Our late night sessions also implied long conversations about the evolution of Graffiti to Street Art to urban calligraphy,” the authors say in their preface.

Poesia The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Graff writers in the mid 90s Munich scene, both had developed their individual styles beyond the classic street vocabulary, now evermore interested in discovering new materials, forms, processes, influences. Just released this summer, this new collection confidently illustrates what until now may have been evident to only a few; the aesthetics of writing have expanded and permutated far beyond their own roots in graffiti, tattoo, traditional calligraphy.

“Every artist brings a different approach with their calligraphy artwork,” says perhaps the most prominent of the genre today, Niels Shoe Meulman, who blazed into the publishing world with his tome “Calligraffiti” in 2010 after bringing his practice to the street and gallery. “We all come from different experiences and have different things to say.”

SheOne The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Indeed the list here includes the literal interpretations to those so far dissembled as to appear purely abstract, the aerosoled, the inked, the drippy, the purely light, the monstrously brushed acrossed floors and rooftops, the molded and bent and aroused into sculpture. Here the letter form is stretched to its limits, far beyond its relevance as part of codified language, more so the malleable warm putty in the hands of the artist, molded and mounted and even mystifying in the service of energy, kineticism, emotion.

“I start with quite randomly placed fat cap tags on the white surface,” says German author/artist Hartl to describe his particular technique, “then I overpaint it like 80% with slightly transparent paint, tag the wall with markers, overpaint that layer again, then I do stickers and posters, rip parts off again, repeat all these steps again and again until I’m happy with the result.”

Said Dokins The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Without doubt many will find inspiration in these nearly 300 pages, these insightful interviews with artists like Stohead, Usugrow, Saber, Kryptic, Faust, Carlos Mare, L’Atlas, Lek & Sowat, Poesia, Tilt; the forward by Chaz Bojorquez, the singular, at times stunning, photos and supportive texts.

Made for “graffiti fanatics, hand lettering fans, street art junkies, calligraphy lovers, and type enthusiasts”, co-author Christian Hundertmark edited the respected “Art of Rebellion” series and he knows his audience and this slice of his culture. The 36 artists are not the only ones representing this evolution in calligraphy, but they are certainly some of the finest.

Lek & Sowat The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

L’Atlas The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Tilt The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Carlos Mare The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Faust The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.


The Art Of Writing Your Name: Contemporary Urban Calligraphy and Beyond by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags – und Handels GmbH & Co. KG. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Artists included are Chaz Bojorquez, JonOne, Niels Shoe Meulman, Poesia, Cryptik, SheOne, Said Dokins, Stohead, Usugrow, Patrick Hartl, Lek & Sowat, L’Atlas, Tanc, Mayonaize, Soklak, Mami, Tilt, Blaqk, Soemone, Jan Koke, Jun Inoue, Vincent Abdie Hafez / Zepha, Carlos Mare, Egs, Simon Silaidis, Faust, Luca Barcellona, Bisco Smith, Creepy Mouse, Defer, eL Seed, Rafael Sliks, Saber, Pokras Lampas.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 04.09.17

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.09.17


BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Hooray! Spring is here in New York again. That means daffodils and crocuses are sprouting up among the soda cans and candybar wrappers and cigarette butts in the park’s gardens, and new proud or furtive aerosol missives are being sprayed on crumbling walls and phone booths are getting hi-jacked with posters by artists and galleries are again overflowing onto sidewalks for openings.

Our thanks to everyone who came out for the Heliotrope fundraiser this Thursday, to Swoon for being Swoon, and to her for asking us to curate the new line of prints, and to the six artists who gave their best to us all and to the Heliotrope projects in Haiti specifically:  Case Maclaim, Faith XLVII, Icy And Sot, Li-Hill, Miss Van, and Tavar Zawacki (Above). Thank you also to all of Swoon’s team for helping us mount the show.

Also saw the press preview of the new documentary about NYC Street Artist Richard Hambleton called “Shadowman” this week, which was thrilling, frightening, sickening, and beautiful. People in the room were all feeling a bit nauseous when the lights came up – but for various reasons; the commercial art world seems to suck the beauty out of things, artists can be finicky like cats, and the worship of drug culture is dreadfully overglamorized and it killed off lots of cool people and cancer (from smoking) is actively killing the artist right in front of your eyes, which he freely admits to. Also, his work is amazing.

Accurately capturing the ragged, wooly, wildly creative downtown scene in which Hambleton first came up, Director Oren Jacoby premieres “Shadowman” at The Tribeca Film Festival in NYC on April 21, 2017.

On a totally related note, we were sad to learn Friday afternoon of the death of Glenn O’Brien, influential part of the NYC “Downtown” art and cultural scene in the 1970s, 80s and much much more. We had last seen him doing an interview with Lee Quinones in Chinatown for Lee’s show two years ago.

This week we’ll be seeing you at Nuart Aberdeen! It’s Nuarts’ first foray into another city and really it’s just a stone’s throw across The North Sea to Stavanger, the original home of Nuart in Norway. The kids are on spring vacation in Aberdeen all week so we know we’ll see a lot of swag youth traipsing around to see new artworks going up by artists and thoughtful academic types attending conference lectures. Drunken types will be attending the Friday night fight at a local bar. BSA will be at Belmont theater presenting BSA Film Friday LIVE and introducing “Saving Banksy” and “Beautiful Losers” over the weekend. Come on over; can’t wait to meet you!

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring: Bifido, Chip Thomas, Chzz, Faust, Hydeon, Janz, Mdom, Nick McManus, Pyramid Oracle, Rubin 415, SacSix, Sheryo, Sonni, Swoon, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and The Yok.

Top image: Pyramid Oracle (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rubin415 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hydeon at The Centrifuge Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Janz. Ransom notes and collage. The main collaged figure in the center reminds us of the work of Richard Hambleton and the Studio 54 fixture Grace Jones. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Janz. Ransom notes and collage. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Janz. Ransom notes and collage. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tatyana Fazlalizadeh for Art in Ad Places. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chip Thomas’ portraits of Rose and Paul at The Reservation. “Rose and Paul who have been together living, loving and experiencing lives challenges + joys together for the past 65 years” -CT (photo © Chip Thomas)

Chip Thomas portraits of Rose and Paul at Antilope Hills. “Rose and Paul who have been together living, loving and experiencing lives challenges + joys together for the past 65 years” -CT (photo © Chip Thomas)

Faust (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Indeed. And shameful. MDOM (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bifido. Mommy. “This is in a squat place. Some people occupied this space and they use it to give  Italian language courses for new migrants, to present concerts, mount exhibitions, build a study room and generally create others things for people in the district. I made this work here to support activity and the guys who every day spend their time helping other people.” Bifido (photo © Bifido)

Sonni (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Woody is riding the wrecking ball by SacSix (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A bejeweled storm trooper from SacSix (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chzz experiments with robots in Ukraine. (photo © Chzz)

The prints of the six artists for Helitrope Prints that BSA had the honor to curate for Swoon. Form left to right: Tavar Zawacki (Above), Icy & Sot, Miss Van, Fiath XLVII, Swoon, Case Maclaim and Li-Hill. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The photographer and, in our humble opinion, performance artist Nick McManus perilously stands atop a foot stool to snap the perfect Polaroid group shot at The Heliotrope Foundation’s Pop-Up on Thursday with Swoon’s new hand drawn sketches to his right. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. SOHO, NYC. April 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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BSA Images of the Week 03.26.17 : Hong Kong Edition

BSA Images of the Week 03.26.17 : Hong Kong Edition

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

This week BSA and Urban Nation (UN) are in Hong Kong for the 4th edition of HKwalls to capture a very international and local mix of artists in this East/West nexus; a world-class city for art and culture, English and Cantonese, hi-tech and traditional methods – all during the enormous Art Basel week. We’ll bring you the new walls, some previous pieces, some graffiti, stickers, and a whole lot of color from this fast moving and dynamic city on the Pearl River Delta of East Asia.



Certainly Hong Kong got a little richer this week – not that it needed it. Of course we mean richer in the sense that more artworks and appreciators have been coursing through the streets, the art fairs, galleries, the back alleys, roof top gardens and even a terrace or two. The most satisfying aspect of being a part of a worldwide grassroots people’s art movement like Street Art/Urban Art/graffiti is that you will always find someone you know along this continuum of practices.

Anyway, a particular thrill this week was seeing it on the street – and on the art-fair wall. Some times the same exact image. We didn’t actually hit any museums but we did see Swoon in the alleyway and represented by a gallery. Same with Cleon Patterson. We saw Vhils work in his studio and in Art Central fair – and you can also catch it on the side of the International Hong Kong School – and once in a while it is on a wall of plastered posters in the city. Os Gemeos at Art Basel is a great find, but we didn’t see any of their yellow fellows on the streets.

Thorny questions arise for some – by way of pointing out that when you catch an un-permissioned tiled Street Art piece by Invader on the wall in public here it is no more than an advertisement for the one at his gallery in the art fair, a sign of the final deleterious stages of a free-spirited untarnished proletariat art practice now corrupted by capitalists, sold out.

Yes, got it. Also, remember that since it’s earliest days, graffiti and Street Art have often been about fame and burning one’s name into the minds of many – why else would you sign your piece? You may even use your name as the art itself.

Additionally you can see a fresh Swoon for no money at all in the street. At the art fairs or museums, not so much.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring: Barlo, Caratoes, Cleon Paterson, Crafty Cow, Faust, Invader, Jimmy Paint, MSK, Rukkit, Shepard Fairey, and Swoon.

Top image: Swoon. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cleon Paterson. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Barlo. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MSK. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Invader. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Invader. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jimmy Paint. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faust. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rukkit. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KristopherH. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KristopherH. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cat Time with Caratoes. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong. March 2017. HKwalls/Art Basel 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Art Central Art Fair. Hong Kong. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“ALL BIG LETTERS” : Exhibition of Style, Tools, and Technique of Graffiti

“ALL BIG LETTERS” : Exhibition of Style, Tools, and Technique of Graffiti

It’s called ALL BIG LETTERS but it could easily be called ALL BIG DREAMS because the outward techniques, the history, and the tools of the trade of graffiti on display at Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery all lead to more internal aspirational matters.

All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Lisa Boughter)

Yes, the earliest New York and Philly graffiti writers of the 1960s took special pains and circumvented norms to get their message out, even if the message was simply their name or a street alias. But the drive to repeat it as often as possible in as many locations as possible spoke to grander dreams of recognition among peers and the addictively elusive effervescence of capturing “fame” on a public stage. Add competition, complexity, and clever innovation to the mix, and wall writers devised ever larger strategies to pursue and acquire those dreams.

RJ Rushmore, Editor-in-Chief of Vandalog, curates ALL BIG LETTERS at his alma mater Haverford College with this as one of his principal goals; helping viewers better understand the motivation behind the tag as well as the style and techniques used.

Faust. All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

“I wanted to exhibit the mind of a graffiti writer in a gallery, and make that mindset understandable to your average gallery-goer,” he tells us. “To me, that means appreciating not just the finished piece, but how and why it came to be.”

By showing artists, works, photography, and tools that judiciously span the 50 or so years that mark the era of modern mark-making in the public sphere, Rushmore threads a story line that he hopes a visitor can gain an appreciation for in this art, sport, and quest for fame.

Faust . Curve. All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

We spoke with RJ about the show to help BSA readers get a better appreciation for ALL BIG LETTERS and Rushmore’s own use of technique for communication.

Brooklyn Street Art (BSA): How have you tried to demystify graffiti for a more general audience?
RJ Rushmore: In a gallery full of “graffiti on canvas,” you’ll see some beautiful art, but you won’t actually learn that much about graffiti. All you’ll see are things that resemble the end result of writing. That can be stunning, but it’s not the right approach for a gallery with an educational mission. Just seeing the finished product does not give you a sense of how it was made. That’s still a mystery.

ALL BIG LETTERS takes writers’ tools and strategies as its starting point, which gives a more holistic vision of graffiti. The exhibition covers style, but also the tools writers use and the importance of strategies like repetition and innovation, or the ways that writers respond to architecture. Someone should be able to enter the exhibition with zero knowledge of graffiti and leave with the ability to see a piece on the street and understand roughly how that got there, why it’s there, and why it looks the way it does.

Curve. All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

BSA: What role does innovation play in the pushing of the evolution of writers’ techniques? Your text accompanying the exhibition describes the drive of competition that influenced Blade in developing his style in the 70s, for example.
RJ: Reading Blade’s book, it struck me that almost every change in his style was in response to what people were doing around him. When all it took to stand out was a simple two-color piece, that’s what he painted. When other writers were using four or five colors, he used seven. When the trains were crowded with graffiti and he was forced to paint over other writers’ partially-buffed or dissed pieces, he hid that old work with cloud backgrounds or his trademark blockbuster pieces. Blade was innovating, constantly staying one step ahead of the curve, and that’s why he stood out.

Graffiti is largely a game of one-upmanship, and innovation can happen in other ways too. The first writers to discover destructible vinyl stickers stood out because their stickers were so difficult to remove. Today, anybody can order destructible vinyl from Egg Shell Stickers. Destructible vinyl is still useful, and arguably makes stickers a more appealing medium, but it’s no longer novel. Or take COST and REVS. One of their greatest innovations was using wheatpaste and sticking their work on the backs of street signs and traffic lights. They dominated a physical space that most writers ignored.

Lee Quinones. Lee George Quinones/Museum of the City of New York. Gift of Martin Wong, 1994. 94.114.1  All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

BSA: What is it like to watch the act of writing? How does “performance” enter into the equation? Katsu’s fire extinguisher tag seems like a polar opposite performance from one by Faust.
RJ: Writing is a performance, and graffiti is a kind of documentation of the performance. Writers have to climb fences, repel down buildings, and break the law in highly-visible places without being seen. I’m terrible at deciphering wildstyle graffiti or dense tags, but I love reading graffiti as a remnant of a performance, looking at a piece or a tag and trying to figure out how it happened.

KATSU and FAUST may be stylistically quite different, but whether you’re looking at a FAUST sticker or a KATSU extinguisher tag, you can appreciate that acts necessary to make them. KATSU’s extinguishers are a moment of epic lawbreaking. FAUST’s stickers are subtler. There’s the moment of putting up the sticker, but there’s also the intense focus and perfectionism that goes into making it, something that FAUST’s installation in ALL BIG LETTERS touches on. KATSU innovated mostly with tools, and FAUST innovated mostly with style. Their respective methods of getting up, their performances, reflect that.

Tools of the trade under plexi: All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

BSA: When you compare graffiti writing to hacking, in this case, a city, – wouldn’t it be smart for the government to hire these hackers to better understand their city in the way that the FBI and NSA are said to hire hackers to develop spy programs and national security measures?
RJ: I suppose most cities would think to hire former graffiti writers to learn how to combat graffiti. What I would love to see, as you suggest, is a city planner hiring graffiti writers to learn how to make cities more fun.

The people who have figured this out are advertising executives. Ever wonder why so many graffiti writers go into marketing and graphic design? It’s because that’s essentially what graffiti is. Writers were developing their own “personal brands” decades before social media made the concept mainstream. Writing is a competition for fame, which is basically what advertising and marketing is.

EKG on the left. All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

BSA: When you talk about hacks, are you really describing how graffiti writers have often used ingenuity and adaptation?
RJ: I have to give Evan Roth credit for this whole idea of graffiti as a series of hacks. It’s the idea that writers often use things for unintended purposes. They use subway cars as canvases, because the cars travel all over the city. They use easy-to-carry spray paint for vandalism, when their intended use is modest arts and crafts. They use fire extinguishers, because they can create massive tags. So yes, it’s ingenuity, but particularly ingenuity around using existing things for new and unintended purposes. Montana Gold is not a hack. KRINK is not a hack. Egg Shell Stickers are not a hack. But all of those commercial products developed from, and improved upon, hacks.

EKG. All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

BSA: What was one of your challenges in communicating a concept or idea with this exhibition?
RJ: If you’re walking in with zero knowledge, seeing a display case full of different spray cans or 140 different S’s on a wall might require some context to make sense of it all. We solved with wall text, and there’s a lot of wall text. So that’s a big ask that we make of visitors: look at the work, but also read the text we’ve put next to it.

CURVE’s piece is a great example of that challenge and how we solved it. Without context, it’s beautiful and engaging as artwork. If you come in with pre-existing knowledge of graffiti, you can probably guess at what he’s trying to do. Without that knowledge, and without reading the wall text, you might miss that the piece is as much an artwork as a teaching device, a demonstration of all the different sorts of tools and styles that a writer might use to adapt to the surface they are writing on.

I’m not sure that lots of wall text is the perfect solution, but I think it means that ALL BIG LETTERS rewards the curious. We’re asking people to spend a few minutes in the gallery, because there is an argument being made, not just a bunch of cool stuff to Instagram.

Different artists. All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

Different artists. All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

 

All Big Letters is currently on view at Haveford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Click HERE for more details.


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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“All Big Letters” Opens, Curated by RJ Rushmore

“All Big Letters” Opens, Curated by RJ Rushmore

ALL BOLD CAPS.

Early graffiti train writers knew they could gain their widest audience on elevated train tracks the same way cigarette manufacturers broadcast from billboards looming above streets. BLADE emblazoned entire train sides with his five letters, as did LEE with his three. Audacious, confident, commanding: the ultimate tag.

Faust at work on his installation. All Big Letters. Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery At Haveford College. Philadelphia. (photo © Courtesy of RJ Rushmore)

In 2017 the bold technique helps to cut through the information clutter as well, even when your billboard is reduced to a canvas the size of a smart phone icon. Keep it simple, brash, attention grabbing. RAMBO of course does slaughter actual billboards regularly across NYC, and on the street level the technique works as well, as Brooklyn’s graffiti writer FAUST can attest with his ever enlarging scripted tag recently emblazoned in metallic gold across a long wall in Berlin with Urban Nation. Here Faust is preparing his tag with ALL BIG LETTERS for ALL BIG LETTERS, a new exhibition opening Friday at Haverford College in Pennsylvania.

The new show is “is less about the art of graffiti and more about the craft of writing it,” says curator RJ Rushmore, editor in chief of Vandalog and alumnus of Haverford, in his description of the show. Rushmore enjoys the and studies the lore as much as the technique and here he brings a balanced cross-section of photographers, mark makers, painters, and ingenious tool crafters together to examine the methods of creating illicit missives meant to broadcast publicly. With thoughtful position paper at hand, the somewhat recent grad returns to the campus’ Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery with an exhibit that “acknowledges and investigates the surprising variety of tools that artists use,” to make hopefully a BIG impression. In the end, after all it’s how you use the tools and ALL BIG LETTERS examines strategies and techniques of hard driving urban artists working in the public sphere to capture your attention.

Faust. All Big Letters. Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery At Haveford College. Philadelphia. (photo © Courtesy of RJ Rushmore)

 

All Big Letters opens Friday January 20th at Haveford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Click HERE for more details.

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