All posts tagged: Good Guy Boris

A Monochromatic “Hall of Fame” In Slovenia for Ljubljana Fest 2021

A Monochromatic “Hall of Fame” In Slovenia for Ljubljana Fest 2021

The Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021 took place as a cultural festival this year in the capital of Slovenia with painting, lectures, panels, special events, and guests like street artists Escif, public installation artist Epos 257, cultural instigator/commentator Good Guy Boris, and global graffiti/street art documentarian and photographer since the 1970s, Martha Cooper.

Dome. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A unique event during this year’s festival included graffiti and street artists of various hand styles and influences crushing walls in monochrome. “The Left Over Graffiti Jam will give a chance to empty the leftover spray cans and hand the walls over to new generations to add to the layers of paint and subculture,” said the program’s description.

Based on the format of a graffiti jam, artists were invited to a series of walls to create while friends and fans set up impromptu picnics, parties, and took photos. The primary link between them all was their limited paint palette of whites, greys, and black paint that was allegedly “left over”. A historic place for many, this time the Hall of Fame was largely given over to new artists, aspiring writers, the new kids on the block. Whether it is still appropriately called a subculture or just “culture”, there is no doubt that the scene thrives on fresh blood and fresh paint.

MOE (PFG). Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The result brought more direct comparisons between styles and mastery – enabled by forcing artists to basically use the same materials for public expression. As an audience, you get a true sense of the writer’s personal style and poles of gravitational pull.

Moe (PFG), Good Guy Boris, Aswan, Orbit (CWR, 180) and Bad Guy Boriz 1107 Klan. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Luckily for us, Ms. Cooper shares her exclusive photos of the event here with BSA readers, while we speak with Sandi Abram, a co-founder of the festival with Anja Zver and Miha Erjavec.

A scholar and historian, Mr. Abram also gives us some context of graffiti here in the Balkans and helps us to position the significance of this festival.

BSA: Is there a history of the practice of graffiti and street art in Slovenia and specifically in Ljubljana? Or is it relatively new?

Sandi Abram: In Ljubljana, graffiti have a long history, beginning with World War II. During World War II, the territory of present-day Slovenia was occupied by German, Italian and Hungarian troops. The occupation of Ljubljana dates back to April 1941. The city was divided between Germany and Italy with barbed wire, roadblocks, military bunkers, machine gun nests and minefields.

Moe (PFG), Aswan. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

In response to these events, the Liberation Front was formed. From 1942 to 1945, graffiti was used by individuals, various organizations and authorities as means of expression and as a reflection of socio-political events.

Soon after the occupation of Ljubljana, the so-called resistance graffiti by activists of the Liberation Front appeared on the walls. The first mass graffiti appeared in the shape of the letter V, short for “victory”, as a message to the occupiers that they would be defeated. Other symbols included the acronym for the Liberation Front (“OF”) or the stylized Triglav mountain (Slovenia’s highest mountain). The activists used numerous techniques to leave their mark on the occupied city, such as paste-ups, sgraffito, acid on shop windows, stencils, etc. I refer to these forms of expression as street art before street art; the techniques and strategies were a creative way to confront hegemony, a weapon of the weak, if I use the expression of anthropologist James C. Scott.

Good Guy Boris. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Good Guy Boris, Orbit (CWR, 180). Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

From this period, we also know of the so-called collaborator’s graffiti in the form of posters of Mussolini and the Italian king, leaflets also appeared on the streets occasionally. A particularly famous symbol of collaboration was the black hand with which the secret military units confronted the Liberation Army activists.

After the liberation of Ljubljana, post-war graffiti glorified leaders (e.g. Tito, Kardelj, Stalin) and the army (e.g., “Long live the Liberation Army!”). The symbols of communism (sickle and hammer) and praise for the Soviet Union (USSR) as representatives of the revolution and military allies were very common.

Bad Guy Boriz 1107 Klan. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bad Guy Boriz 1107 Klan. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Graffiti as a predominantly leftist medium reappeared in socialist Ljubljana in the early 1980s as part of the punk movement, alternative subcultures, and sub political groups. This was also the time of coexistence between political graffiti and more sophisticated subcultural graffiti. On the one hand, punks sprayed “Johnny Rotten Square” to reappropriate space. On the other hand, fine arts students used graffiti as an alternative medium to paint canvases and the interior walls of underground cultural venues.

Finally, after a group of activists and independent artists occupied the former barracks of the Yugoslav People’s Army, today known as Metelkova, in the early 1990s, the first public and legal wall slowly emerged as a field of experimentation for new generations of budding writers. Today, the Metelkova City Autonomous Cultural Zone represents a cultural, artistic, social and intellectual hub where one also finds the Hall of Fame.

Artank. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Artank. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

In the early 1990s, local artists incorporating the medium of graffiti started to emerge, an example being Strip Core. In more recent history, graffiti crews have left an important mark in the local public space, including ZEK Crew, Egotrip, 1107 Klan, Animals, and writers such as Vixen, Whem, Lo Milo, Rone84, and Planet Rick. Contemporary street artists who emerged from this scene include names like Danilo Milovanović, The Miha Artnak, Nataša Berk, Veli & Amos, Evgen Čopi Gorišek, Sad1.

Cakeula. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: We have talked previously about how your festival focuses on content, not on bringing in a dozen big-name artists just for the sake of having big names on your line-up. Why is this important to you?

Sandi Abram: Through LJSAF, we bring together international and local artists and scholars. The Programme Committee, which included me, Anja Zver, and Miha Erjavec, designed the festival events to encourage visitors to read the streets and participate in various activities.

Cakeula. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

For instance, the mission of the alternative tours and the street art conference is to interpret heterogeneous urban spaces, to explain the actors in the public space, the artistic and creative inspirations, the social struggles, to recognize and decipher ideologies of intolerance. So it is not only about producing the “text” (a mural as a thing-in-itself) but also sensitizing the public about the “context” of street art, i.e. the micro-location in the urban space. It is hard to understand a city if you do not “read” the screams on the walls – already the philosopher and sociologist Henri Lefebvre said that graffiti best illustrates the contradictions of contemporary society. They point out what is tolerated, what disappears.

Content co-creation is another important dimension of LJSAF. The festival events not only showcase young, emerging generations of street artists and scholars, they also provide a space, a productive crossroads for them to meet and collaborate. And for us, that is exactly the purpose of the festival’s art residencies, exhibitions, and graffiti jams. In short, street art is not only about big names, but a broad stream of unknown and underground creative minds joining forces.

Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Kapitan Kolačkov. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Kapitan Kolačkov. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Amor and Kapitan Kolačkov. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Amor and Kapitan Kolačkov. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Amor. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Dome. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

“The festival events not only showcase young, emerging generations of street artists and scholars, they also provide a space, a productive crossroads for them to meet and collaborate.”

Mitja Velikonja
Stick Prick. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Slave Lunar, Smack184 and Zetsology. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Slave Lunar, Smack184 and Zetsology. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Slopie. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Slopie. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
RibaOne. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Hero Zero. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Tumor (HUR KRU). Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Tumor (HUR KRU). Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Knom. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Waker (HUR CREW). Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Planet Rick. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Planet Rick. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Rex (ZEK CREW). Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Retro. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Retro. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Nataša Berk, Knof. Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2021. Ljubljana, Slovenia. (photo © Martha Cooper)

To learn more about Ljubljana Street Art Festival click HERE

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BSA Film Friday: 05.28.21

BSA Film Friday: 05.28.21

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

Now screening:
1. Good Guy Boris – Remote Sensing
2. ZEKY via Art Azoï. Video by Justine Bigot
3. DETOKS & GENOM, “Not Bigger, Not Better, But…More!” Via Montana Colors TV
4. HONET via Art Azoï. Video by Justine Bigot

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BSA Special Feature: Good Guy Boris – Remote Sensing

The misadventures continue on the 1 Line in Athens.

“Athens now has that feeling of being wild and unpredictable – a little exciting or dangerous in some parts.”

And the voice…. it sounds so familiar.

ZEKY via Art Azoï. Video by Justine Bigot

DETOKS & GENOM, “Not Bigger, Not Better, But…More!” Via Montana Colors TV

Silvers! Rollers! Color Pieces! Oh my! Barcelona’s Detoks and Genom are on the loose around big highway spots and metro stops. They say they are not bragging, but they get around.

HONET via Art Azoï. Video by Justine Bigot

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BSA Film Friday 04.26.19

BSA Film Friday 04.26.19

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

Now screening :
1. “A Message From the Future” Narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Illustrated by Molly Crabapple
2. Good Guy Boris – Viral Vandals Music Video
3. TITANES: Six Silos. Eight international artists in La Mancha, Spain.
4. The Story of Us and Them – Conor Harrington

BSA Special Feature: “A Message From the Future” Narrated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Illustrated by Molly Crabapple

What if we actually pulled off a Green New Deal? – Of course the corporate Democrats like Pelosi and Schumer are as likely to let that happen as Medicare for All – But its fun to imagine with the help of this seven-minute film narrated by congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Not to mention that the whole video is illustrated by public/street/studio artist Molly Crabapple – who really takes the stage here.

A project from The Intercept and Naomi Kleinit imagines that somehow the oligarchy is going to let go of its addiction to fossil fuels and the aspirations of the citizens will prevail. Enjoy!


A Message From the Future

Good Guy Boris – Viral Vandals Music Video

Good Guy (bad guy?) Boris is back with his own version of Gypsy trap to entice and thrill you to do a big ass tag. A graffiti renaissance man who continues to plow his own path forward, the hijinx are hilarious and the song isn’t so bad either. Maybe it is a little better than those graffiti vandal road trip movies he was doing, but maybe we just have a short attention span these days.

TITANES: Six Silos. Eight international artists in La Mancha, Spain.

“People who normally lived in a very specific way and nobody had bothered to see whether they had talent or not,” explains Alfonso Gutierrez about the genesis of this project encouraging 450 students from around Spain to participate in a public mural campaign.

An inspirational message, and a welcome sign in this march of humans.

The Story of Us and Them – Conor Harrington

A short film that looks at the creative process on by the sincerely absorbed Irish Street Artist/fine artist Conor Harrington as he talks about his work and promotes his new show ‘The Story of Us and Them’ at Heni Gallery in London.

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BSA Film Friday: 08.03.18

BSA Film Friday: 08.03.18

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

Now screening :
1. Cheryl Dunn Walk The Streets Of NYC
2. Studio Visit With Bordalo II in Lisbon
3. Good Guy Boris “TOYS ARE BETTER PEOPLE” / Part I and II

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BSA Special Feature: Cheryl Dunn Walk The Streets Of NYC

“Go there and go deep,” says street photographer and filmmaker Cheryl Dunn in this new brand sponsored content video that takes you through mainly Chinatown/Wall Street area and allows you to hear her story and perspectives briefly.

Director of a highly-praised documentary called “Everybody Street” and many others of high quality, Dunn is more than familiar with the ethos of observing life in the chaos-metropolis and hoping to capture a moment that sticks out as a clarion yell. It’s about an approach that is only yours, and only possible through your vision, and luck.

Studio Visit With Bordalo II in Lisbon

Literally garbage. But you knew that.

But did you know the level of detail and minute mechanical manipulation that goes into a piece by Street Artist/fine artist Bordallo II ? Straight from Lisbon, where he propagates grandly forward from a curiously ornate studio spot.

Good Guy Boris “TOYS ARE BETTER PEOPLE” / Part I

Bad Boy Boris is not good at math or certain mechanical/technical matters but he’s good at persistence. Which is why he’ll succeed.

The graffiti writer is an authority on sniffing out opportunity and his hand-made and witty vlog allows you to tag along as he looks for the perfect spot by the beach outside of Athens to put up his piece.

“Toys are humble people, cool people, chill people,” coos the suddenly philosophical Boris as he strides victoriously from his freshly painted pat on the back for that much maligned population. Ah, but everyone is a rookie as some point right?

“Just another obsessed vlogger risking his life for the sake of YouTube because YouTube is more important than life,” he says in one more pearl of wisdom that will surely entice viewers to follow this guy until he works out all the kinks.

 

Good Guy Boris TOYS ARE BETTER PEOPLE / Part II

 

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BSA Film Friday: 02.16.18

BSA Film Friday: 02.16.18

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

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

Now screening :
1. “The Clown” Harmen De Hoop
2. Artist’s Artist: The Process of Gary Lichtenstein
3. FinDAC: “The Wild Rose”
4. Ultra Wide by Good Guy Boris

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BSA Special Feature: “The Clown” Harmen De Hoop

Harmen De Hoop is always playing with you. Ignoring the established almost calcified “rules” that have become encoded in the Street Art and graffiti game, his public interventions abide by a certain set of guidelines known mainly to him. By questioning nearly every assumption in the planning of public space he typically selects an unassuming, unflashy route of interaction to tweak your perceptions.

In this new direct street action he freshens the visage of a clown with some new hand paint. If he had an aerosol can or fat drippy marker in his hands this would produce a different reaction from an observer. Street Art, anyone?

Artist’s Artist: The Process of Gary Lichtenstein

“I’m an artists’ artist because I can think as an artist with the techniques I can use in printmaking,” says master printmaker Gary Lichtenstein as he narrates a brief visit to his Jersey City studio where he collaborates with photographer Janette Beckman and visual artist/graphic designer Cey Adams.

By showing us a process of evaluation and hearing the deliberations that go into final selection of materials and techniques, we are allowed to grasp the basics here and appreciate that there is artistry in bringing the image forward in a new way.

FinDAC: “The Wild Rose”

The English street muralist and portraitist FinDAC somewhat secretively painted a roof in Miami at the most recent Basel in December with the organizers of Wynwood Walls. Just now he has released “The Wild Rose” to fly free upon the wings of the Internet.

Ultra Wide by Good Guy Boris

Would this be good guy Boris or bad guy Boris? You decide.

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