In honor of the 50th
Anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising in the West Village in Manhattan, we
are giving the spotlight this Sunday to the many artworks that have been
created by dozens of artists from all over the world in the city over the past
weeks. Some of them are commissioned works and others are illegally placed on
the streets, regardless of who made them or under whose sponsorship they were
created or if they were placed illegally the important thing is to realize that
the struggle for recognition, acceptance, and justice didn’t just happen
because somebody was willing to give that to us.
It happened because a lot of people before us dared to challenged the establishment and fought to change the cultural norms, the laws in the books and ultimately the perception from the society at large. People suffered unspeakable evil and pain at the hands of unmoved gatekeepers and power brokers. People died rather than living a lie. People took to the streets to point fingers at those who stood silent when many others were dying and were deemed untouchable.
People marched to vociferate and yelled the truth and were arrested and marked undesirable. Many brothers and sisters who were much more courageous than we’ll ever be, defied a system that was designed to fail them and condemn them. Restless souls confronted our political, business, media and religious leaders right in their front yards with the truth and never backed down.
So we must pay homage to
them. We have what we have because of them. We owe it to them and we need to
understand that it was because of their vision, intelligence and fearless
actions that the majority began to understand that without them and their help
we would never get equal treatment. Equal rights. Equal opportunities.
So yes let’s celebrate,
dance and sing together but let’s feel the pain of those who can’t join in on
the celebrations because today still they are on the margins, hiding in the
shadows, being cast out from their families and communities and even killed and
tortured. Let’s remember that the job isn’t done, indeed far from it. Many
countries still have in their laws harsh punishment for those that don’t
conform to their established norms. Let’s keep the fight on, the light on, the
courage on, the voices loud and the minds open. Happy Pride.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Aloha, Buff Monster, David Puck, Divine, Fox Fisher, Homo Riot, IronClad, Jason Naylor, Joe Caslin, JPO, Meres One, Nomad Clan, Ori Carino, Royce Bannon, Sam Kirk, SAMO, SeeTf, and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.
From Tatyana about this piece: “Some of Us Did Not Die. We’re Still Here. – June Jordan, Black, bi-sexual, activist, poet and writer. .
Last fall I met with members of @griotcircle, a community of LGBTQ+ Black and brown elders for my residency with @nycchr. I got to speak with them about their lives and some things that came up were the challenges of being Black and gay in New York years ago, like having to travel in groups because queer folks would be attacked for walking alone. Or not being served at restaurants because they were also black. “
Queer artists and writers in the graffiti and Street Art scene have always been present but like everywhere else in the culture they were more or less bullied by peers to deny it or keep it hidden. It might strike you as ironic or even hypocritical that a subculture of people who feel largely marginalized would propagate another layer of rejection onto their own peers, but humans and clans can be mysterious. And we don’t forget that it was the fags and drag queens who fought against the police in 1969, and who ultimately won through sacrifice, persistence, and collaboration – despite the odds.
As attitudes slowly change in mainstream society, LGBTQ+ peeps with aerosol cans, stickers, stencils and wheat-pastse are also using graff and Street Art to bring their issues to walls around the city. Today we talk to two artists – Homo Riot and Suriani, along with photographer, film maker, and social activist The Dusty Rebel, who organized their own wall this week to collaborate in saluting one of those Stonewall queens who fought back, Marsha P. Johnson. Even after this new piece was vandalized, the crew simply went back to work to put it up again. The accompanying text and probable title of the piece is “Pay It No Mind”
BSA: Dusty, you’ve been thinking about this wall for Pride for a long time now. The Dusty Rebel (Daniel Albanese): For over a year and a half, I have been traveling around the world filming my documentary about the global Queer Street Art movement. Very little attention has been paid to the topic, which I find curious since so many street art pioneers were queer. In my exploration, I have found that many queer-identifying street artists primarily install their work without permission and it’s often more subversive- which stands in contrast to the growing dominance of muralism.
This wall is actually the kick off to a series of Queer Street Art that will be coming to NYC for Pride Month. I have partnered with Art In Ad Places, Keep Fighting NYC, and other community based projects to create a queer alternative to the overwhelming flood of corporate pride events. While not part of Reclaim Pride Coalition’s inaugural Queer Liberation March on June 30th, I was inspired by the activists who have organized to bring the “Spirit of Stonewall” directly to the street, and who are keeping the focus on the continuing needs of the LGBTQ+ community
BSA:What’s the genesis of your idea for this installation? Getting walls in NYC for artists to paint free of charge is almost impossible. How did you manage to get this sweet spot? The Dusty Rebel: Because it’s seems rare that queer artists get to paint overtly queer legal murals, I wanted to find a way to bring one to New York City. Several months ago, I contacted my good friend Steve Stoppart, and asked him if I could have his wall on Houston — just one block over from where Keith Haring painted the legendary Bowery mural in 1982. Immediately, he said yes and told me I had permission to do anything I wanted. We have no corporate sponsor, so the wall is totally funded by all of us chipping in as a community.
Once I had the wall, I immediately
reached out to Suriani and Home Riot — two artists I have known for years, and
who’s work had inspired me to start my film.
BSA:Almost as soon as the piece was completed someone defaced it. What was the message they tried to send by disrespecting the art and the artists? And how did you respond? The Dusty Rebel: I know street art is ephemeral, and I also know that work that is unapologetically queer is especially targeted. So I knew it was coming, I just didn’t expect something that big and that fast in less than 30 hours. We made this piece as a community, for our community. We really wanted to start conversation about the issues that LGBTQ+ people face, and to honor the memory of Marsha P. Johnson and the Stonewall Riot. To have that important conversation cut short felt like a punch in the gut
In terms of how we dealt with it – we
knew who it was, so we reached out to him and explained why the mural was
important. He said he wasn’t motivated by homophobia and apologized. And I get
it. I’ve known enough vandals to understand that sometimes when your bombing
you’re not necessarily thinking about what you’re hitting. But we had planned
for something like that, so we were ready to “pay it no mind” and to restore
BSA:How did Homo Riot and Suriani approach the collaborative aspect of the installation. The Dusty Rebel: We began planning this wall over seven months ago. I told them I wanted it to be a celebration of queer liberation and make reference to New York’s history. While they are familiar with each other’s work, neither had met in person. Both artists have very different aesthetics. Homo Riot’s work being more homoerotic and aggressive, while Suriani’s is a colorful exploration of gender. So I knew it would be a challenge, but I also knew they would take the collaboration seriously. This wasn’t just two artists who were slapping their work next to each other. They listened to each other and compromised, without compromising their artistic voices. So, I’m very proud of them and the wall they created.
BSA: Why do you think it’s important to have queer perspectives in Street Art? Homo Riot: Street art is egalitarian. It’s open to all and its consumption is not restricted to a particular class, creed or level of education. And because it’s ubiquitous in our current environment, it provides opportunities for queer and marginalized people to be visible. In urban environments, queer art becomes part of the landscape and our presence hopefully becomes part of the collective consciousness making way for acceptance and inclusion. In small towns and long stretches of interstate, representations of LGBTQ+ art are important for those members of our community who are isolated and may feel alone.
BSA: Why do you think it’s important to have queer perspectives in Street Art? Suriani: I think it is important to have queer perspectives in all kinds of art or environments. Street Art is a space of free self-expression. It happens in public space, so it is accessible to everyone. Queer culture traditionally occurs in closed spaces due to the repression and violence LGBTQ+ people have suffered throughout history. Expressing our values and points of view to a larger public might spread awareness of our existence and help our communities in our fights for equality in terms of acceptance and rights
The official art world is already aware of these issues as we can see with the Brooklyn Museum’s current exhibition “Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall“. The problem is that only a very limited percentage of the population has access to museums. Urban Art is part of the city, it comes to people instead of waiting for people to come to it. Our message is directly visible to everyone who’s out there in public space: Inside of that resides its main power.
BSA readers know that we’ve always been democratic about the work we show here- because that’s really how to best understand the evolution of the scene.
The illegal small stuff you find actually tells you a great deal – the selection is a barometer of sorts. These works aren’t permitted, commissioned, sold, traded or co-opted ususally, untouched by the voracious appetites of advertising and consumerism
We love murals, don’t get us wrong. But we are always making certain to return to where things began for us; the small, eclectic mix of blink-and-you-miss-it pieces on the streets.
They come in all forms; stencils, stickers, wheat pastes, sculptures, crafts and small drawings. In some cases, we know the artist who created the piece and often we do not. But everyone gets a chance to address the public in the lively Street Art scene, and we bring to you a small selection of pieces we’ve found recently.
So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adline, City Kitty, D7606, Drsco, El Sol 25, Hek Tad, Homo Riot, Jerk Face, Jose Feliz Perez, Lunge Box, Meguru Yamaguchi, Michael Vasquez, Nimai Keston, Not Art, Shepard Fairey, Sheryo & the Yok, and Vicki Da Silva.
Yeah, we didn’t know what it meant either so we looked it up. Here’s what Wikipedia says: Kompromat (Russian: компромат; IPA: [kəmprɐˈmat], short for компрометирующий материал, literally “compromising material”) is the Russian term for compromising materials about a politician or other public figure. Such materials can be used to create negative publicity, for blackmail, or for ensuring loyalty.
In other words, light artist Vicki Da Silva is referencing the apparent influence of the Russian government over the presidential election by smearing Clinton publicly with information they had found. Luckily they didn’t find any information to influence Trump in any way.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring ABOVE, City Kitty, Corn79, Crisp, D7606, Damien Mitchell, Dee Dee, EC13, Gregos, Hiss, Homo Riot, Imamaker, Invader, Mark Jenkins, MOMO, Olek, OneArt, Savior El Mundo, Stik, Wing, and Zimad.
We first called her the Christo of Street Art a number of years ago, and this latest project seems to finally confirm it. Olek created a two part installation for the Verket Museum in Avesta – in short it is about destruction and rebuilding. Above is the latest picture of the house she mounted the installation within – wrapped in meters and meters of pink crochet.
“Our pink house is about the journey, not just about the artwork itself. It’s about us coming together as a community. It’s about helping each other. In the small Swedish community of Avesta we proved that we are stronger together, that we can make anything happen together. People from all walks of life came together to make this project possible. Someone donated the house, another one fixed the electricity and Red Heart Yarns donated the materials. The of course, most importantly, many women joined us in the effort to make my dream a reality.
After I exploded the house I wanted to create a positive ending for them as a symbol of a brighter future for all people, especially the ones who have been displaced against their own wills. Women have the ability to recreate themselves. No matter how low life might bring us, we can get back on our feet and start anew.
We can show everybody that women can build houses, women can make homes. “
This week David Bowie died. There isn’t much more for us to say.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Axe Colours, Faile, Homo Riot, J Morello, Jorge Rodriguez Gerarda, Jules Muck, KAS, London Kaye, Marina Capdivila, Nueks, SacSix, and Verb Five.
“True poetry cares nothing for poems” says Raoul Vaneigem, the Belgium Situationist who taught us that we are creating our lives twenty-four hours a day, in his book “The Revolution of Everyday Life.” The act of living is a certain poetry in itself, we have decided.
When an artist is acting of his or her own industry, they will think, will consider their choice of written words on the street. Poetry or prose; full stanza, furtive phrase, stalwart screed – the message is not incidental if it has made it into the public space for a theater of many possible audiences.
Over time you will see these hand rendered, scrawled, sprayed, paint-brushed text-based missives as diary entries. Not all are profound, and many are perplexing or maddeningly cryptic or coy. Others are statements of conviction or punch lines. Lucky you on the day the sentiment hits you in the funny bone, hits closer to the heart, or reveals a truth. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to add your own entry in response to, or in spite of this conversation on the street.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring ASVP, Dain, D. Hollier, Dee Dee, Free Humanity, Homo Riot, Hunt, Jorit Agoch, Myth, Old Broads, Philippe Herard, Solus, The Electric Tattoo, Oji and Wing.
A History of Queer Street Art opens for its month long engagement at Physical Goods
Gallery in the heart of Hollywood, CA on February 9th and will run through February 29th 2012. Originally curated and exhibited in San Francisco by SF based street artist Jeremy Novy, the exhibit is re-imagined and brought to Los Angeles by LA’s own Homo Riot.
A History of Queer Street Art, first presented in 2011 at the SOMArts Center in San Francisco, documents the work of queer and pro-queer street artists from around the world. Spanning more than two decades of work, the collection includes pieces by notable queer street artists as well as showcasing present day street activists.
At the heart of the History of Queer Street Art is a timeline of works collected by Novy which incorporates prints, stencils, stickers, photos, street pasters and even the gallery’s walls — creating a “street art experience” from a queer perspective. The Los Angeles version of the exhibition, produced by Homo Riot, will also feature new works by well-known European street artists like Paul Le Chien, Adrian & Shane, as well as American mainstays like Prvtdncr and Jilly Ballistic, and many other young and emerging queer street artists. Homo Riot has curated video presentations as well as art installations throughout the Hollywood gallery to further enhance the experience.
“It was important for me to bring this show to Los Angeles. Not only is LA one of the most
influential cities in the world when it comes to street art but historically, the city has been the site of many central movements in the struggle for LGBTQ equality. I hope this show will be seen as an important milestone in the queer artistic history of LA.”…Homo Riot
“It’s important to celebrate our history and to know the outstanding LGBT artists past and
present who are bold enough to express themselves in public. I hope this show inspires future artists to create art for the world to see,” Brian Meiler of Physical Goods Gallery.
“The Homo Riot opening was a great success,” says JB Jones of The Site Unseen, who threw this solo show for one of the rare gay Street Artists who are out of the closet and on the corrugated metal walls. Part social activism and eroticism, this stencil heavy work on the streets of LA can range from inflammatory to banal, depending on the perspective. For some the content is about liberation, for others it’s a depiction of adult themes. Whatever the impression, it’s mere presence is a mirror to us, a reflection about how attitudes are evolving in the culture and it’s various subcultures. Not to mention that even 20 years ago images like this on the street would have had the longevity of a stick of juicy fruit.
When Homo Riot’s work was taken into the gallery, it was anyone’s guess. “I think many of the attendees had no idea what to expect since most people are only familiar with his street work.” In the end, cocktails were served, pictures were taken, numbers were exchanged and of course it all devolved into a big homosexual orgy, as one might expect.
1. RADICAL! at Munch Gallery Tonight
2. Ryan Ford at Factory Fresh Tonight
3. Get Your Smashing Pumpkins on At Crest Arts Saturday
4. Rob Andrews at English Kills Saturday
5. Skullphone Curates “Pure Logo” at New Image Art Saturday (LA)
6. Homo Riot at Hold Up Gallery (LA) (NSFW)
7. Loving You Was Crazy Shit (VIDEO) by Swedish Street Artist Nils Petter Löfstedt
8. SEGO in Mexico City (VIDEO)
RADICAL! at Munch Gallery Tonight
Albany based Street Artist Radical! has his first solo show, “Upside Down Frowns” opening today at the Munch Gallery in Manhattan.
Keith Schweitzer of MANY filmed and edited this time lapse of Radical! getting up in Coney Island:
Ryan Ford at Factory Fresh Tonight
Ryan Ford’s solo show “Don’t Try To Play Me Like An Indoor Sport” opens today at Factory Fresh in Bushwick, Brooklyn. We are very happy to see this esteemed gallery back after a long Summer hiatus.
From the gallery’s press release: “An artist known for comic symbolic abstraction, Ford delves a bit deeper into his psyche while titillating the mind with streaks of quiet violence and provocative tranquility”
For more information regarding this show click on the link below:
Get Your Smashing Pumpkins on At Crest Arts Saturday
This Saturday is for carving pumpkins and the right place to do this venerable Autumn tradition is in the garden patio at Crest Hardware in Williamsburg. Franklin the Pig will be hosting and probably eating pumpkin guts that spill out of your jack-o-lantern. There’s a carving contest too and you’ll have some pre-Halloween fun before going out to get smashed.
Says Joe the Impresario: “Come on by, have a glass of cider (with rum, if you want) check out the creativity and enjoy what fall should be all about”
For more information regarding this event click on the link below:
From the the gallery press release: “Homo Riot’s message started out as a “fuck you” to the supporters of Prop 8, but has morphed into something larger and more profound; seen now as an emblem of pride and strength to the gay community”
Photographer and BSA collaborator Carlos Gonzales visited the artist’s studio while he was prepping for his show and he shares these behind the scenes images with BSA readers: Possibly NSFW.
What: Hold Up Art and Work Magazine present Fist Pump, a exhibition of new work from internationally recognized, Los Angeles-based activist and street artist Homo Riot, whose highly charged, and sometimes sexually explicit imagery have became part of the city’s socio-political and physical landscape. Homo Riot’s message started out as a “fuck you” to the supporters of Prop 8, but has morphed into something larger and more profound; seen now as an emblem of pride and strength to the gay community. With drag queens, performance artists, and more eye-candy than a Weho Wednesday, this is the art event of the month and should not be missed.
When: Saturday, October 22, 2011
Arrivals 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Reception ends at 11:00 PM
Where: Hold Up Art
Little Tokyo District of Downtown
358 E. 2nd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Convenient Parking Structure Next Door
Who: Music by club favorite DJ Chris Bowen.
Live Performance Art Installations by Rafa Esparza and Trenton Szewczyk. Special appearance by Lady Bear (wearing a Homo Riot-designed ensemble).