Looks like Biancoshock is feeling a little nostalgic for his wall-hopping days with this simple ladder made of aerosol paint cans. When talking about the graffiti and Street Art scene it is often an overlooked fact that usually a career of hopping walls and roofs and trains is limited – sort of like a pro-basketball player or dancer.
But those train yards, those will still haunt your dreams for years to come…
“I position this ladder outside the wall that surrounds a historic train yard,” the Italian conceptual Street Artist tells us of this ladder in Milan. Even though his work has changed since those early graffiti days, he looks back to it and re-examines it, as well as himself.
“After 14 years I returned to the place where all began. Looking at this wall I visualized what allowed me to climb over that wall without fear of the consequences, without wondering whether it was right or wrong, if it was art or just adrenaline.”
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Fra Biancoshock: “Digital Vandalism vs Vandalism on Digital”
2. CANEMORTO: TOYS
3. Dont Fret and Edwin – London/Chicago Wall Texts
4. Know Hope: “Parallels”
Fra Biancoshock: “Digital Vandalism vs Vandalism on Digital”
Real, Digital, Virtual. These three ways of experiencing the world remain distinct, for now.
With his small experiment captured here on video, Street Artist Fra Biancoshock is examining the ‘looking glass’ – that thin gossamer veil that separates our experience of the world and is trying to puncture it.
“Digital tools allow you to change reality; today an act of protest, vandalism or art can be done sitting comfortably in front of your PC,” he tells BSA.
It’s a conundrum – how much of what you see digitally is real. And if you are pre-disposed to expect never to witness the graffiti or Street Art in person, does it even matter whether it actually existed to begin with?
Fra. is not going to give you that answer directly. “The value of an action (be it a protest, an artwork or a provocation) is in the act, whether it is actually done, and how it is introduced to a virtual audience.”
Canemorto are back with tales of their exploits as hard running graffiti kings with blunt instruments, namely their heads. With the wink-wink of a comedy troupe, the three are airing their disgust with the various hypocrisies and poseurs that surround them in the street and in the wider Street Art world that would seek to commodify and capitalize on an organic grass-roots culture. And then there are the conservators…
Aside from the entertainment and the dope rhymes, somehow the brutalist long-pole roller characters that Canemorto create supercede the storyline, rising above and frankly mocking the world with a dead-dog stare. Imposters are many – and very possibly there is a scenario where we’re all a bunch of TOYS.
Dont Fret and Edwin – London/Chicago Wall Texts
Graffiti pen pals Don’t Fret and Edwin have been telecommunicating their thoughts and passages and humorous non-sequitors to one another from Chicago and London via TEXTING. Text-based graffiti writing seems like a natural analogue to this digital transmission and this video bears witness to the experience of sharing – with your buddy as a live aerosol printer of your ideas on a wall thousands of miles away.
“It has been an interesting sort of “graffiti pen pals” project,” Dont Fret tells us, “and with the Brexit vote and our Presidential election madness, our project kind of transformed into 2 artists trying to relate and understand what is happening across each others Atlantic.”
Know Hope: “Parallels”
There are certain parallels between geopolitical situations in different regions, and the Israeli Street Artist/fine artist KNOW HOPE likes to lead you up to that dividing line and leave you there.
“This is an abbreviated version of video diptychs from the installation ‘Parallels’ presented as part of ‘Wall Drawings – Icônes Urbaines’ commissioned by and currently showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Lyon.
For this installation, a series of outdoor interventions were created during the artists stay in Lyon.
The documentation of these interventions in-situ were later juxtaposed with other representations of borders or the meeting point of two separate realities, allowing a correspondence and reflection on the notions of territory, identity and our emotional structures.”
Murals and Street Art do not mix well with rain unfortunately so most artists at Nuart headed toward the former beer halls called Tou Scene (or the tunnels) to work on their indoor installations for Saturday’s opening and party here in Stavanger for Nuart 2015. Bortusk Leer had drawn large monsters on plywood to carve out with a handsaw and blasted the completed ones with clouds of fluorescence and primary colors, Icy and Sot were high atop a ladder hanging hundreds of plastic bags from their constructed tree, and Bodalo and Art Ruble rumbled around in a truck with Vegar looking for discarded large pieces of garbage for their deer sculpture.
Of great interest was to see NYC icon Futura at work on his new abstract piece within the tunnel, clearly his mind “in the zone”, his hands and body motions following an internal rhythm that held him in a zen semi-trance; reaching for the small roller with acrylic and aerosol can alternately to map out gestural and constructivist aspects of his new monochromatic piece. Isaac Cordal was inside as well, installing his small sculptures lonely and aloft upon terraces, later mixing large batches of cement in plastic garbage buckets to dump in piles around the perimeter of the tunnel he is sharing with Ella & Pitr.
Undaunted by inclemency, the expansive French duo braved the rain to work on their new large character wrapped around two sides of a small building, taking a break to eat hot Thai soup from large plastic containers while standing in their raincoats on a scissor lift during a light downpour from the sky.
If their spirits were dampened you would not know it from the lively discussions on logistics between them and from Pitr’s enthusiastic descriptions of a new technique they hoped to try soon which will feature their characters upside down, feet resting on the sky.
In preparation for her single-wall Aftenblad project on Thursday, fine artist Sandra Chevrier began her collage/painting during the hour or so when rain paused, and Harmen de Koop strolled around town looking for an acceptable location for the live performance he is planning with a renowned economist that involves simple economic theory and a lot of chalk.
In short, the rain is stopping no one at Stavanger and guests and participants keep arriving!
Tor (@toris64) picked us up at the airport using his hand-made faux-Banksy Nuart sign, wearing his fresh Dismaland t-shirt, and we immediately knew we were home here in Stavanger. Born and raised in this town Tor knows it’s every turn and twist and because he travels extensively for his regular profession, he also gets to explore other cities and take photos of Street Art and share them on Instagram. Luckily there is a pretty notable festival right here and his enthusiasm grows with the opportunity to meet so many of his favorite artists each year.
This small Norwegian town is again hosting a kick-ass mural/street art/graffiti festival again this year and its sort of rainy today but Icy & Sot are painting anyway, as are Ella & Pitr. Ernest Zacharevic has arrived and Martin Whatson has finished his piece, as have Pejac and Dot Dot Dot. Harmen de Koop is devising a live performance with an economist giving a lecture on a wall Thursday (not kidding), Bordalo is gathering garbage and throwing it into the back of a truck for his trash installation, and Martha Cooper just arrived this morning and Tor took her to find a hidden conceptual piece in a doorway by Fra. Biancoshock that says “Martha Please Take a Picture of Me”.
Once settled in yesterday we immediately began tooling around town with Isaac Cordal, the Northern Spanish activist with a big heart in these small sculptures of desperate/guilty/soulless little corporate men who he positions in precarious locations wherever he travels. We carried a bag full of these fellows yesterday while he shouldered an expandable ladder and marched though the hilly streets looking upward, scanning battered Noregian industrial architecture for opportune ledges for his little men to teeter off the edge of.
As we have featured his work numerous times over the years on BSA, it was finally great to meet Cordal and accompany him on his interventions – which sort of magically transform a mundane spot into a stage for his “figurativos” to contemplate their lives. Cordal says they are meant to symbolize many things – one of them being the corrupt wolves in business suits who are running much of the world today, and you immediately know of whom he speaks. Comedic in placement, dastardly in deed, you want them to fall, or jump, but somehow it is better that they are frozen in the midst of their drama, frozen with fright and fear.
Cordal also talks about the current romance that many public art fans are having with the mural as a means of public expression (which we can verify) and how he feels like his very small concrete (now resin) men can be just as powerful as a large mural. And in a way we can entirely agree – the placing of these figures transforms the space by engaging your imagination, and you KNOW where that can take you; the key unlocks a part of the viewer that he or she once accessed regularly as a child when wild stallions and robots and Jesus and pop stars and Darth Vader all seemed like plausible characters in the same play. Seeing Isaac and his enthusiasm will assure you that art in the streets can have a formidable impact on a passerby, no matter its diminutive scale.
Summertiiiiiiiiiiimmme, and the living is eaaaaassssssyyyyy. Yessir, today is the first day of Summer here in New York and the longest day of the year – which means you can take a nap under a tree in the park or on your towel at the beach and still have plenty of time to play when you wake up. There are abandoned buildings to explore, murals to paint, wheat-pastes to stick, interventions to engineer, stencils to cut, selfies to snapchat, potato chips to eat, beer to swig. That couch by the window is calling me even now, the big temptress, as she does so often on these languorous days, induced by the heat. But I will not heed her siren song.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Bezt, Buff Monster, Dain, Dee Dee, Faile, Fra. Biancoshock, Free Humanity, Gold Loxe, Li-Hill, Natalia Rak, Okuda, Old Broads, Phoebe, Sophia Hirsch and Johannes Mundinger, and Simon Vazquez and Sebastien Waknine.
Maybe it’s just us, but Milan-based Fra. Biancoshock appears to deliberately flummox and beguile with his public interventions and performances: messing with security cameras, staging public funerals for countries with actors and a coffin, installing “flying garbage” bags near sidewalk cafes, providing sheets of bubble wrap for you to pop while waiting for the bus, installing a closed loop red carpet in a public square, and of course painting a large swastika made of Facebook logos.
Today we find him openly dissing a graffiti writer’s work with a stencil, violating at least a few street “rules” that would seem to cross most national boundaries as they pertain to the Street Art and graffiti continuum.
he goes directly on top of someone else’s work
he calls them a name that means they have no style and do subpar work, among many additional interpretations
he exacerbates the much discussed beef on the street in many cities between some graffiti writers and Street Artists – by putting a stencil directly on top of an aerosol piece.
Does Fra. Biancoshock have an explanation aside from wanting to get himself into a fight? He presents his action as a sociology experiment whereby he puts a spotlight on subcultural conventions that are being caught in a seachange of definitions, roles, and meaning thanks to a flooding of new participants onto the street – and that dang Internet that continues to rock and re-form so many scenes.
“I know that this work can be misunderstood and that many people/artists may get angry about this work and its direct message,” he says. “For me this is just a provocative action which emphasizes that we are currently in a period of confusion between graffiti, stencil, muralism, street art and more. People entering the conversation are making false equations between these disciplines, and there are a lot of uniformed and competitive attitudes coming into play. In my opinion graffiti is graffiti, stencils are stencils and there is not war between methods because they are two different worlds, and graffiti does not belong to the same world as street art so there is no need to equate the two.”
“And now people are loving murals because they are pretty, because they decorate buildings. But most of these people don’t realize that much of today’s mural scene is a consequence of a previous period of graffiti – in fact every stencil or muralist is born thanks to the graffiti world. Ironically, graffiti is not a vogue right now; it’s vandalism, it’s for toys.”
While you may agree with many of his points, it is hard to explain how this direct cross-out of another guys work is acceptable. We think he means to capture an attitude that he sees and to critique it – namely he wants to illustrate a false battle that denigrates graffiti writing and elevates Street Art.
And for the record, he says that doesn’t know Falt, the writer he has just gone over.
“So, I want to emphasize my personal apology to Falt for creating this piece without permission…I don’t know Falt. I simply found his piece in an abandoned area and I decided to make my intervention on it. I don’t consider Falt a toy and I don’t consider anyone a toy actually because I think that is not important what the style of letters or the location of the graffiti. I appreciate them all because I think that every graffiti piece is a moment of communication. Excuse me Falt!”
Yes you do have a subconscious. It travels with you throughout your adventures in the city.
Often it is evolving and devolving on the path to sexual aspirations, and somehow the shapes and the curves of our built environment all seem to know this, evoking more of those stirrings. Hungry? Thirsty? Perhaps you are thinking of food and drink and suddenly everything reminds you of it. Cities and these inanimate objects are downright carnal, if you think of it. The city itself could alternately bring you to orgasm or help you squeeze fresh oranges. Or both.
Fra. Biancoshock, an experimenting public artist from Italy, discovered recently in Krakow that the decorative crown on those steel bollards that poke straight up from the pavement can also be employed for more pleasurable purposes than directing traffic.
It’s one of those things that makes you say,”why didn’t I think of that?”. Perhaps you did.
And we cannot believe the stunning amount of new stuff on the street: here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Blanco, Bradley Theodore, Damien Mitchell, Damon, Dan Witz, Dennis McNett, Dr. NO, Flood, Fra Biancoshock, Icy & Sot, JR, Myth, Olek, Sean 9 Lugo, Simek, Snow White, Sonni, TV with Cheese, and Winston the Whale.
Street Artist Blanco shares his new piece this week in Albany and in his description of it below you may draw a connection between recreation of old stories and myths and the recreation of our cities through gentrification as well – although he doesn’t specifically address the latter.
” This work was kind of inspired by my interest in the common roots of divergent cultures. An example is the eytemology of Dyaus Pitra (Sky Father, Hindu) = Zeus Pater(Father of Gods, Greek) = Ju Piter (God of the Sky, Roman). I am interested in the way that cultures evolve, split off and borrow from one another and how its all mixed back together. The way some Mongolian friends of mine revere Buddhist monasteries, consult shamans and consider themselves Christians or The way the Aztec mother goddess Tonantzin was transformed into the Catholic ‘Our Lady Of Guadalupe’. We are sometimes led to believe its all black and white but its not usually so simple. Cross cultural heritage and mixing have always interested me but Joseph Campbell wrote about this aspect of religion and story telling in a very interesting way.
In some ways modern cities bear some resemblance to this cross pollination as neighborhoods and buildings are transformed, converted and reclaimed.
Specifically for this piece I was interested in the Proto-Indo-European Mother Goddess and the way she was changed, destroyed, recycled and recreated as the Hindu goddess Kali. She is associated with the ability and powers for both creation and destruction.” ~ Blanco