All posts tagged: How & Nosm

Coney Art Walls : 30 Reasons To Go To Coney Island This Summer

Coney Art Walls : 30 Reasons To Go To Coney Island This Summer

The gates are open to the new public/private art project called Coney Art Walls and today you can have a look at all 30 or so of the new pieces by a respectable range of artists spanning four decades and a helluva lot of New York street culture history. We’ve been lucky to see a lot of the action as it happened over the last five weeks and the range is impressive. These are not casual, incidental choices of players lacking serious resumes or street/gallery cred, but the average observer or unknowing critic may not recognize it.

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

By way of defining terms, none of this is street art. These are murals completed by artists who are street artists, graffiti writers, fine artists, and contemporary artists. In the middle of an amusement park, these are commissioned works that respond in some way to their environment by thirty or so local and international heavy hitters and a few new kids on the block comprising a 40+ year span of expertise.

Open to many strata of the public and fun-seekers who dig Brooklyn’s rich cultural landscape, this outdoor show will surely end up as backgrounds for selfies — while perhaps simultaneously elevating a discourse about the rightful place of graffiti/street art/urban art within the context of contemporary art. Okay, maybe not such loftiness will result, but let’s not rule it out entirely.

 

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It should come as no surprise that it is the dealer, curator, perennially risk-taking showman Jeffrey Deitch who is the ringmaster of this circus, or that the genesis of this cultural adventure is perplexing to some who have greeted his newest vision with perplexity and derision. His Deitch Projects and related activities in the 2000s regularly presented and promoted the street-inspired D.I.Y. cultural landscape, having done his due diligence and recognizing that new life springs from the various youth movements always afoot. The Jeffrey-conceived “Art Parade” itself was a street-based all-inclusive annual panoply of eye candy and absurdity; inflicting humor, sex, gore, fire, glitter and possibility into the minds of Manhattan sidewalk observers.

As MOCA Los Angeles director Deitch also flipped the script with his “Art In The Streets,” organizing a vast survey of a half-century of the modern grassroots genres including graffiti/street art/urban art/tattoo/punk/hip-hop/skater culture that far surpassed anyone’s predictions for audience attendance and public engagement. Aside from tripping wires and a public misstep here and there, the show earned critical praise, pinched art-school noses, and pushed skeptical institutions and patrons to question their prejudices. It also gave voice to a lot of people.

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Notably, that MOCA exhibit drew a little over 200,000 attendees in four months. Coney Island beach and boardwalk gets about 14 million annually. Even if the Smorgasbord pop-up village food trucks feed a fraction of that number, there will be more folks viewing art and interacting with it here than, say, the Four Seasons dining rooms, which also display street artists and contemporary artists in the restaurants’ artistic programming. Side by side comparisons of Smorgasbord/Four Seasons diners ethnic diversity, income, age, education level, museum board membership or real estate investments were not available at press time. But neither can be fairly described as exploitative to artists or audience without sounding patronizing.

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

These multicolored and monochromatic murals illustrate a wide and balanced smorgasborg of their own; examples of myriad styles are at play with some engaging in activism and local politics and Coney Island history. From original train writer Lady Pink to aerosol drone sprayer Katsu, from eL Seed’s lyrical Arabic calligraffiti to Retna’s secret text language to graffitist-now-collagist Greg Lamarche, from Shepard Fairey’s elegant Brooklyn salute to polluters and blasé consumerism to Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s spotlight on current Coney Island neighbors, from urban naturalist ROA’s monochrome marginalized city animals to How & Nosm’s eye-punching and precise graphic metaphors, you are getting a dizzying example of the deep command Deitch has of this multi-headed contemporary category that is yet to settle on a moniker to call itself.

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coney Art Walls assembles world travelers from NYC and LA and Miami and internationally; Belgium, Barcelona, Brazil, Paris, Tunisia, London. Some are 80s Downtown NYC alumni, others were train writers in the 70s or big crew graff heads and taggers from the decades after. Some are considered historical originators of a form and cross-genre risk takers pushing beyond their comfort zone. Take a close look and you’ll find names that are in major collections (private, institutional, corporate) and that go to auction.

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Some are regularly showing in galleries and are invited to street art festivals, exhibited in museums and discussed in academia and print. Others have studio practices spanning three decades, are lecturers, panelists, authors, teachers, community advocates, art stars, reality TV personalities, film actors, product endorsers and art product makers working with global brands. One or two may be considered global brands themselves. A handful have been painting on the streets for 40 years. Monolithic they are not.

One more notable aspect occurred to us as we watched this parade making its peregrination to these summer walls – either because of Deitch or the romance or history of Coney or both; When you are looking at the range of ages and ethnicities and family configurations and listening to the variety of accents and opinions expressed and seeing the friendly but tough-stuff attitudes on display — you might guess you were in Brooklyn. You are.

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Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jesse Edwards (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jesse Edwards (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Irak (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Pink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Pink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Maya Hayuk (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Maya Hayuk (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Aiko (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Aiko  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Miss Van (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Miss Van (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jason Woodside (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jason Woodside (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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AVAF  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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eL Seed (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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eL Seed with Martha Cooper (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kenny Scharf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mister Cartoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Greg Lamarche (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregg Lamarche (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Katsu (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Retna (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kashink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kashink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kashink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lauren Halsey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Our previous weekly updates track the installation period of Coney Art Walls:

Coney Art Walls: First 3 Completed and Summer Begins

DEITCH Masters, Coney Art Walls Part 2 : Coney With a Twist

Eine, Hayuk: A Riot of Color at Coney (Update III)

Coney Art Walls: Gypsies, Stallions, Mermaids, and Pop Optics! Update IV

Coney Art Walls Opens for the Mermaids! Update V

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Coney Art Walls: First 3 Completed and Summer Begins

Coney Art Walls: First 3 Completed and Summer Begins

Summer Just Got More Fun in NYC as Coney Reinvents Itself Again

You know the scene: Cotton candy, blasting music, bold fonted signs, city beach, sticky fingers, tattoos, carnival barkers, rollercoaster barfing, stolen kisses under the boardwalk, big bellied men with their shirts off, giggling girls in flipflops smelling like coconut sunscreen, garbage on the sand, mermaids, porta potties, stuffed animals, concrete, cigars, hot dogs, butts, boobs, lipstick, screaming, flashing old-timey light bulbs, kids passed out in strollers, boozy Romeos, sketchy snake oil salesmen, aerosol painted walls by New York’s old skool graff writers. That last part is now in effect, actually.

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Instead of being hunted down for catching a tag or bubble lettered throw up, a couple dozen graffiti/street art painters are invited to hit up Coney Island this summer and since today is the inaugural Saturday of the first unofficial weekend of summer in New York, we’re bringing you the first three freshly completed pieces. Part of “Coney Art Walls”, the muralists began taking the train out to this seaside paved paradise that is re-inventing itself once again, this time courtesy of art curator Jeffrey Deitch.

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This week while the sun was still struggling to get a handle on Summer, we captured the early crew hitting up the temporary two sided walls outside and inside the compound that will share space with food vendors, picnic tables and a stage for music performances. Some brought family while they worked and a few even took a ride on the Cyclone with Martha Cooper just to scream their heads off. The artist lineup is looking stellar, with golden names predominantly associated with New York’s 70s-80s graff heyday sprinkled with a few of the current street art contenders, but you never know what is popping up next, or who. It’s Coney Island after all.

Here are the first three completed murals with the Tats Cru twins How & Nosm leading the pace, followed by Crash and Daze.

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The one and only Martha Cooper shooting How & Nosm at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crash. The inspiration. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crash. The sketch. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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External Combustion: How & Nosm with Tristan Eaton in BK

External Combustion: How & Nosm with Tristan Eaton in BK

Murals sometimes need to be refreshed, and springtime is good time to do it before the weather in NYC gets too punishingly hot. We last showed you this wall in Williamsburg in 2011 when Tristan Eaton finished his piece next to How and Nosm. (Street Artist Tristan Eaton Goes Biblical)

For this “refresh” the guys decided to integrate their work entirely with one another rather than confine neighbor pieces to a color palette for continuity. The collaborative serpentine outcome is a densely patterned panoply of imagery and symbolisms that provide a multitude of departure points for your imagination. Here is an example of a meeting of styles that resulted in combustion!

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab on their previous spot in Williamsburg. The beginnings. Outline by Tristan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab on their previous spot in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab on their previous spot in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab on their previous spot in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab on their previous spot in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab on their previous spot in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan posing behind his stencil in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton and How & Nosm collab on their previous spot in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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Happy New Year 2015 – BSA Readers Choice Top 10

Happy New Year 2015 – BSA Readers Choice Top 10

Happy New Year to All! Thank you for inspiring us to do our best and to those of you who continue to support our personal art project / cultural examination, we extend our gratitude more than ever.

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Begun as an enthusiastic discovery of what was happening in a few neighborhoods in New York, we continued to expand our view into more cities around the world last year and into the history and future of the scene. We also aimed to provide you with a critical platform for examination of the street art/ graffiti / public art/ contemporary art continuum with interviews with artists, curators, collectors, organizers, observers and thinkers in the street, studio, gallery, and museum – trouble makers and taste makers alike.

In the end, it’s your observations and the conversations on the street that are most important. As we begin the year with over 300K fans, friends, and followers on social media platforms and 225 articles on the Huffington Post (thanks HuffPost team!), we feel like we get a valuable good survey of current opinions heading our way daily.

With in-depth interviews, investigative articles, opinion infused examinations, plain celebratory reverie, occasionally silly non-sequitors, and public appearances where we get to meet you, we get a good analytical look at an ever-evolving movement, glittery polish and warts and all.

As the new year begins we take a look back at the top stories chosen by BSA Readers in the last 12 months. Among them are two takeover pop-up shows in soon-to-be demolished buildings, a story about commercial abuse of artist copyrights and the effort to fight back, a street art community’s response to the sudden death of an activist street artist, a Street Art tourist trip, and a few inspirational women, men, and Mexican muralists.  Even though we published at least once a day for the last 365 days, these are the most popular pieces, as chosen by you, Dear BSA Reader.

10. Exploring Lisbon as a Street Art Tourist

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Os Gemeos / Blu (photo © Stephen Kelley)

9. Kara Walker and Her Sugar Sphinx at the Old Domino Factory

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Kara Walker. The artist portrait in profile with her sugary sphinx in the background. (photo via iPhone © Jaime Rojo)

8. Women Rock Wynwood Walls at Miami Art Basel 2013

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Fafi (photo © Martha Cooper for Wynwood Walls)

7. A Sudden Secret Street Art House Party in Manhattan

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Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

6. Niels Shoe Meulman Balancing “Unearthly” Paintings

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Niels “Shoe” Meulman. Process shot. (photo © Adele Renault)

5. It’s All the Rage, Street Artists Filing Lawsuits Left and Right

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4. Shok-1 Street Art X-Rays Reveal a Unique Hand at the Can

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Shok-1 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

3. 12 Mexican Street Artists Stray Far from Muralism Tradition In NYC

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Sego (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2. Army Of One, Inspiration To Many : Jef Campion

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Army Of One AKA JC2 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1. Graffiti and Street Art Lock Up “21st Precinct” in New York

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Pixote in action. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
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Philadelphia Mural Arts, A Golden Age

Philadelphia Mural Arts, A Golden Age

It is a rainy day in Philadelphia, but you can’t tell it by listening to Jane Golden.

After 30 years and countless meetings with community groups, artists, city agencies, elected officials, volunteers, and donors, the founder and Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program has developed a perpetual advocacy style that leans decidedly toward axioms that tell you the glass is half full. No painting is happening on walls in the city of brotherly love today, but the phones are still ringing in this agency of 50, and as Golden sees it, the community is still being served by their educational programs and a remarkably wide variety of outreach efforts.

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Jetsonorama and Ursula Rucker “You Go Girl” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Art and graffiti have been parlaying with their cousin, the community mural, in recent years thanks to the growing popularity worldwide of the former so we thought this would be a great opportunity to learn about the largest and most successful version of the latter.  What we found was that we share an underlying philosophy toward and an awe of the creative spirit, however it is expressed.  In 2011 BSA curated a gallery show in LA with 39 artists called “Street Art Saved My Life” after hearing enough artists and graffiti writers express a similar sentiment over the previous 10 years or so. So it should not have been a revelation to find that Jane Golden is known to repeat an analogous mantra that summarizes her work here in Philadelphia: “Art Saves Lives”.

Initiated as an anti-graffiti campaign by the city in 1984, the program originally made the common mistake of equating a style of art-making with illegally made works. With time, education, and outreach to the graffiti-writing youth she met in the streets, Golden gradually helped the city to begin to make a distinction between aerosol art and vandalism. As graffiti writers and others were invited to participate in the mural program, interact with the community, and to get paid for their work, the city witnessed a slow and gradual metamorphosis to becoming a capital of public art revered by many.

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Joe Boruchow “Watchtowers” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A trained artist and political science scholar, Golden never embraced the so-called “Broken Window Theory” that typecasts people as it pertained to graffiti writers and instead she shepherded that creative instinct among artistic types whom she met into creating work that gives back.

“I think that it is almost the opposite of the “broken window” stereotype,” she says, “This is about opportunity and possibility. It is opening up a window that wasn’t previously open in a way that people hadn’t anticipated.” She talks about the impact the Mural Arts Program has with its tireless outreach to engage neighborhoods in the decision making process about what work goes where, and she guarantees you that the overall effect is greater than a pretty picture.

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Eric Okdeh “Family Interrupted”” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I have seen it in communities where there was support for the project, but maybe not universal support. Then the mural goes up and suddenly there’s this ripple effect. When people start talking about it, connecting with it, thinking about other things and then sometimes thinking about things that are totally unrelated to us but if you were to do a diagram of the various outcomes, you know that it started with us.”

One example is a mural in the late 1980s that enlivened a neighborhood and inspired a community group to form and eventually become a powerful force of advocacy for the needs of neighbors. “When we did this “peace” mural the neighborhood reclaimed the space and then they bought a house from the city for a dollar and turned it into a headquarters. Then they lobbied for more art, then they lobbied for educational programs,” she says as she describes the evolution of a community that may have once felt like prey to a vocal one that now comes to speak to her students a the University of Pennsylvania about topics like economic development.

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Christophe Hamaide-Pierson of Assume Vivid Astro Focus  “All Very Amazing Fingers” Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’m not saying that what we do is a panacea for all that ails the city but the catalytic role that art plays can’t be discounted because it is igniting something in us; it’s transformative. Art engages people in a way that just doesn’t happen in their day-to-day life. We want to help change the city and we feel that art is part of it.”

A particular threshold sighted for Street Art into the mural arts program was when artist Keith Haring painted “We the Youth” here in 1987, and that mural became part of the city in such a strong way that Mural Arts undertook a painstaking restoration of it a few years ago, as it has with many murals.  It wasn’t unusual in those early years of the program for murals to be done without proper consideration for life of the paint or the surface it was on.

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Keith Haring “We The Youth” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the Keith Haring mural the stucco was in such a bad shape we had to almost re-do the entire surface and that was an extensive process of peeling layers off. We wanted to make sure as we were restoring it we were remaining true to the original that Keith painted and it had to be done with incredible care, love and integrity. So we took its restoration and preservation really seriously and because it was necessary to do it right, we re-routed some funding from new projects to restoration.”

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Keith Haring “We The Youth” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Procuring funding for the many Mural Arts programs is an original model that other public arts programs have looked at – a balance of public and private that has enabled it to grow and support artists as well as the city itself – a system of securing funding that Golden describes as sort of an art in itself. “We are a city agency and we have gotten to a point where our budget is 35 % city and the rest is non-city funding through foundations, corporation and individuals earned income. It is an interesting hybrid model but that city part still resonates.”

She describes the alchemy of going to private donors as well as testifying about her budget before the city periodically. “We formed a board, we got our own 501c 3, and I just went underground,” as she describes the additional funding that enables multiple programs and actually pays artists a fair price for their work – something that the majority of Street Art festivals and various real estate holders are very reluctant to do – to the tune of nearly $2.2 million a year.

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Kenny Scharf. Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Someone told me about this art festival recently and said that they are paying the artists 300-500 dollars to do a major work and I said ‘What?’” she says incredulously, and scoffs at the idea that artists would work simply for “exposure”.  “We pay our interns! We pay our middle school students in the summer. Seriously? Everybody here is getting paid.” Granted, it isn’t always as much as they would like to pay an artist, but she makes sure the artists understand the full scope of the project before asking them to commit.

Despite the negative association many still have with graffiti and Street Artists a fair number have been joining in with the Mural Arts Program in recent years. With known and respected Street Art blogger RJ Rushmore joining the enterprise as Communications Manager two months ago, you can expect to see perhaps a few more names from the Street Art scene on the walls as time goes forward.

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“The Street Artists are inspired by Mural Arts and we are inspired by them,” says Golden, who is enthusiastic about this subtle programming shift that she began a few years ago with the encouragement of people like real estate developer Tony Goldman, who was credited with transforming neighborhoods like Manhattan’s Soho and Miami’s Wynwood District, and whose company acquired 25 properties from 1998 through 2003 in Philadelphia, according to the Goldman website.

“When (graffiti and Street Artist) Steven Powers contacted me to work together and he had this great idea, I said ‘I totally want to work with you’,” she says of his multi-building text project “Love Letters” that you can view from an elevated train line.  There weren’t any rules that say I couldn’t – we just need to get funding.” Of course it was as simple as Powers may have originally thought because the neighborhood also needed to be consulted, a practice Golden will not waver from.

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Steve couldn’t believe he had to go to community meetings and I said ‘but you have to’.” As it turned out, the neighborhood had no interest in love letters. “We don’t want to talk about love. We are actually really angry at the city because the mass transit agency has shot down one of the major thoroughfares for repair work'” she remembers.

Some also didn’t understand the idea of text-based artwork rather than representational or figurative work. “’This isn’t a Mural Arts mural’, some folks in the neighborhood remarked. And I said ‘There isn’t really such a thing as a Mural Arts mural – its about creativity and its impact on the world’ and people then interestingly enough started to open up. They started to talk to Steve about their past, about what they did love about their neighborhood, about their memories and history and stories. It was fantastic and so it was a different kind of process and it had power on its own. That was a clue to us that we had built up 20 years of goodwill and we can now take risks as long as we are respectful and that will never change. It paid off because it opened the door for us to think differently about how we work.”

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Shepard Fairey “Lotus Diamond” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

She speaks as well about some of the other Street Artists from recent years. “Then we had Shepard (Fairey), and Chris Stain and How & Nosm,” she recalls. “I think their art is terrific and when they are here I want them to be a role model for the kids. Like How & Nosm – they were role models. They couldn’t have been nicer, kinder to our kids. Here are guys who started writing graffiti on walls and now they are traveling the world with their art and that is a fantastic message. For our kids to know that Shepard started out as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, that he was doing stickers, and that now he’s got a big design firm, it was important. We do have an entrepreneurial division at Mural Arts and Shepard is a role model for them.”

Sometimes the value of the project is not simply monetary but goes far deeper, which explains the level of commitment many have shown. We asked Golden to describe a couple of projects that have been personally satisfying for her, and we share one here that illustrates the entirely holistic approach Golden and the Mural Arts program take to art in the streets.

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Cesar Viveros and Parris Stancell “Healing Walls” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

She describes what evolutionary process contributed to the creation of a series of “healing walls” that depict all the members of community who are affected by crime; the criminal, the victim, and all the people they touch. Of  the many outstanding aspects of the project, one is that the people who are involved, including the offender, are deeply involved in its creation.

“We did a project with crime victims, victim’s advocates and prisoners in our mural class. We decided to start work in the prison.  The men in the class said they wanted to do outdoor murals. I said ‘you are lifers, you are never getting out, how in the world are you going to do that?’” she says as she describes a solution that enabled the artwork of the prisoners to be mounted on the mural walls. “We work a lot on parachute cloth, so we thought we could do this, we can work inside and take it outside.”

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Cesar Viveros and Parris Stancell “Healing Walls” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The rallying together of the participants was not always smooth as the project began, she says, as the raw emotions and torn lives at times overwhelmed the process of creating the mural and voices of discontent threatened to capsize the project. “So I went to the Pennsylvania Prison Society, and I did research and designed a project called “Healing Walls” and I said ‘We are going to bring together everyone to talk about the impact and consequences of violent crime, because when crime happens everyone loses.”

In a process emblematic of the painstaking lengths Mural Arts goes to seek common ground, Golden describes where the main obstacle to the project lay. “So we asked everyone in this group from all different walks of life to come together to create a series of murals about this.  We are going to work partially in the prison, we’ll work in a church in the neighborhood, we are going to work here at the Mural Arts offices and we are going to work in some schools. Then the project started and it was contentious,” she says.

“No one wanted to get along because everyone had their story;

‘My pain is bigger.’

‘I’m from the neighborhood and we are scarred.’

‘Our neighborhood has been victimized.’

And no one understands the pain of the victim; The victim said, ‘I lost everything.’ Then the prisoner said, ‘I have been in pain since I was young. I’m filled with remorse.’ ”

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GAIA. Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

After each party was heard and the project threatened to fall in disarray, an unexpected outcome began to emerge, says Golden.

“Then eventually, over time, we started to create together. We’re in a giant auditorium and we have tons of tables. On each table we have crime victims, victims advocates and prisoners.  Then people started to say, ‘Can you pass the glue? Can you pass the brush? What about my shape? Then what happens was kind of miraculous because people began to listen to each other as they painted together. Eventually people were like ‘You know what? We really need to come together. We all want a safer city. What can we do about it and people started brainstorming – People behind the walls and people on the outside.”

“Then the murals went up and we had a dedication at this church and tons of people showed up. People’s whose sisters and brothers were incarcerated were there, victims were there, the Department of Corrections came and there was a major conversation about redemption and rehabilitation and giving people a chance. It sort of tapped into people’s humanity that no one had articulated.”

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How & Nosm. Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thirty years and a few thousand painted walls are only some of the outcomes of a program like this, but countless more are told in the generative effects, the rippling of waves of the efforts by artists and community. Those outcomes are impossible to measure or to quantify, even though we try.

BSA: It appears that you can use the art as a vehicle and you are a bit of an anthropologist, ethnologist, sociologist –  so along with your formal education you are getting many degrees as you go in the process.
Jane Golden: I believe in what we are doing, that art making is really about access, justice and equity. That’s the real deal for us, a lot of it. But I love this merging of worlds but you are right in order to do this work it is anthropology, sociology, urban planning, urbanism its everything…

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When people think of mural arts I want them to think: ‘They have a little budget, they do tons of work, they are relevant to my life and they are impactful,’” says Ms. Golden. “And that, I think, is important and that connects me to something else that I have seen especially over the last five, six, or seven years. That is that when it comes to solving societies’ more intractable problems – we can never discount the role of innovation and creativity to make a difference when our traditional interventions have failed us.”

And then we go out and ride the train and look at more murals in the rain.

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

To learn more about the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program click HERE

BSA would like to thank Ms. Jane Golden for her generous time with us and also Mr. Brian Campbell and RJ Rushmore for their gracious hospitality, guided tour of the murals and lunch.

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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This article was also published on The Huffington Post

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Exploring Lisbon as a Street Art Tourist

Exploring Lisbon as a Street Art Tourist

“Street Art Tourism” Is Capturing More Attention

Eco-tourism is so popular for vacation travelers right now. You know, treading light and your carbon footprint and all that. Then there is Plastic Surgery Tourism for those whose nose is slightly twisted or who otherwise feel your personal epidermal brand could use a “refresh”. For half the price of back home why not travel to a fashionable cosmetic surgery destination and you won’t have to worry about someone seeing you buying brie at Balducci’s with a bandaged beak.

Liposucation anyone?

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Erica Il Cane (photo © Stephen Kelley)

In the wake of the global growth of interest in art in the streets, one form of tourism that may soon be blowing up could be graffiti excursions, street art sightseeing, or even mural journeying. New York has been a magnet for years for aerosol artists calling us to help them hit up walls while they are on “spraycation”, but this is just the opposite.

You may wish to plan your trip abroad hunting the elusive wheat-pastes, stencils, fill-ins, hoping to capture an exotic local throwie. And why not take a few selfies with your favorite works by Street Artists that you only previously saw on Instagram?

Street Art photographer Stephen Kelley went on his own art safari last month in Lisbon, Portugal with his fiancé and he checked out a lot of the work that has been organized during the past couple of years by the internationally known local VHILS and some of his friends in a project entitled Underdogs.

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Os Gemeos . Blu (photo © Stephen Kelley)

Underdogs is an international working platform based in Lisbon, Portugal that aims at creating space within the contemporary art scene for artists connected with the new languages of urban visual culture,” say the organizers, and they have curated a program of some large-scale pieces around the city in an intelligently grand and contextual manner that makes them seem like the installations have been there for decades, not a handful of years. Urban or contemporary, it has serious fans.

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Os Gemeos . Blu. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

Today Mr. Kelley shares with BSA some of the shots he got during a relatively short trip to Lisbon, along with some of his experiences and observations.

“In preparing for the trip we used the Underdogs project as one of the references for the map,” he says. “I was able to convince my travelling partner and fiancé to rent an apartment in the Bairro Alto area. This was a good central point for the spots I wanted to hit. We were only in town for 3 days so I had to balance your standard tourist locations with my off-the-beaten-path art spots.  She appreciates the work and is incredibly patient but I can only get away with dragging her into so many back alleys and train tracks.”

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Os Gemeos . Blu (photo © Stephen Kelley)

“Immediately after leaving the airport the taxi unintentionally drove us by a block-long Os Gemeos, Blu, Sam3, Ericailane, and Lucy Mclauchlan mural.  We told the taxi driver that I was in town to shoot art in the streets and in buildings.  He mentioned I should check out this street where a group of artists painted a series of murals about the local government administration.  I put that on the list,” says Kelley.

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Lucy McLauchlan . M-Chat (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Sam3 (photo © Stephen Kelley)

“We decided to take a taxi to the area where I had located some C215 work.  The taxi driver asked why we were going to that location/area,” says Kelley. “Once we arrived at the location I brought him with us to show him the art.  He was incredibly impressed with the C215 mural I showed him and said he’d bring driving in town for 25 years and had never been on that street or never seen the artwork.”

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C215 (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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C215 (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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C215 (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Skran01 . Tape (photo © Stephen Kelley)

“One evening in town we took a ferry over to Almada with a great view of the 25 de Abril Bridge (the same architect who designed the Golden Gate Bridge),” says Stephen. ” You can walk up the coast toward the bridge and there are two quaint eateries that make for a perfect sunset meal or drink.  The waterfront is covered with graffiti and is a good representation of the art in the area.”

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PISD (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Yesh (photo © Stephen Kelley)

As with any vacation, planning your means of transportation is key – and Kelley and his girl realized Lisbon is not quite as pedestrian friendly as other cities, mainly because of the topography. “One of the first spots we hit was the harbor area for the Pixel Pancho and Vhils collaborations. After that, with intentions to continue to explore, we had our first encounter with the hills of Portugal,” he says. “The taxi driver had reminded us that Portugal is the city of seven hills. He was not kidding, walking the streets of Lisbon is no joke and a workout and a half.  We quickly realized public transit or taxi was the best way to see Lisbon.”

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Vhils and Pixel Pancho masterful collaboration. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Vhils and Pixel Pancho (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Vhils and Pixel Pancho. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Vhils and Pixel Pancho (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Pixel Pancho (photo © Stephen Kelley)

Like most tourists on vacation, the events that make the most impact may be the unplanned surprises, like actually seeing work in progress. Stephen explains, “One day we started to head toward the Belem Tower and a How Nosm mural. On the way we ran into Vhil’s in progress working on a water tower outside the World Photo Press exhibition at the Museu da Electricidade.  I tried to wait for more action shots but he was taking a break and I couldn’t wait.”

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Vhils work in progress. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Vhils work in progress. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Vhils and Crono collaboration. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Vhils and Crono. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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How & Nosm (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Gregos (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Copy Art © (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Stephen Kelley)

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Artist Uknown (photo © Stephen Kelley)

“I also recommend taking a trip up to the castles in Sintra.  It’s a 30-minute train ride from the center of Lisbon.  The castles are breathtaking and shouldn’t be missed.  Sintra was one of the highlights of the entire stay.  The train ride also gave me an opportunity to see all the trackside graffiti that is quite common in Europe.  The highway and train graffiti are very common, which was much different than what I am accustomed to in the US,” says Kelley.

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Dope (photo © Stephen Kelley)

 

 

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

 

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How & Nosm’s Red, Hot, Scorching Monoprints Unveiled

How & Nosm’s Red, Hot, Scorching Monoprints Unveiled

Intermezzo: the midst of a roiling mass of interrelated actions, staccato storylines, rotating currents, complicating drama, and banal daily existence. At any moment your life can be this, or seventy-five variations of it.

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How & Nosm “Drought Portal” Detail. 40 x 30 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm regulated their daily existence for nearly seven months to create what may be the most challenging campaign of layered, collaborative, organized hot chaos that they ever have produced. Under the guidance of master print maker Jo Watanabe and his team at Pace Prints in Brooklyn, the graffiti writers turned their mural marksmen skills and their precise methods of art making inside out to create multiple, fluidly sharp monoprints that are each a painting of its own.

“I went to school myself!” exclaims Raoul of the rhythmic and rigorous schedule that required he and his twin brother Davide to show up to work on multiple pieces of multiple prints simultaneously five days a week from 9:30 to 5:30.

Davide describes the method, “You have a whole sheet of 75 different works, multiplied by however many different combinations and screens you can have – you have a black outline on this small section of an artwork, then magenta here, then we decide to spray a stencil on this portion, or fill this one – and in between you have to clean all these different screens. So in the end…”

We interject, “In the end, your head almost explodes.”

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How & Nosm “Drought Portal” close up. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Well, at some point. Jo is very good at working systematically, because that’s how the Japanese work,” explains the rigidly methodical and razor sharp German who is never late to a meeting with us. He catches himself and laughs in baritone that reverberates, “Actually we work very well together, the Germans and the Japanese! It was awesome.”

Walking through the Pace print facility in Manhattan’s mid 20s it strikes you just how much of a step this is for the brothers to collaborate side by side and fully immersed with such a prestigious fine art print publisher that has been in business since 1968. Names like Chuck Close, Julian Schnabel, Ryan McGuinness, and Qin Feng randomly jump out at you from rack labels while you stroll past acres of contemporary art history in the grand and airy facility.

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How & Nosm “Every All” Detail. 40 x 30 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We only took seven months to do ours,” says Raoul, “some of these prints, like one from Chuck Close I think, took two and a half years to complete,” he marvels.  Only.  This from one half of a mural team that knocks out mammoth 20’ x 30’ walls in their signature red, white and black palette with exacting detail in the same time that other artists take to sketch their outlines and block in the preliminary color.

As with their walls, the symbolic imagery calls to mind sequences in history, allusions to memories, sharp pangs of emotion; all layered and nested and swimming with one another without beginning or end.  If it feels chaotic, it is by design, to drive away the dullness of the repetition that a typical print run and a typical life can produce.

“You have 25 to 30 screens and you gotta create something new every day,” says Raoul of the challenge to make each one unique. “But you get into a routine. It’s like everyday life. You wake up and have your routine, but you have to make it interesting to yourself every day. “

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How & Nosm “Every All” close up. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So the education of this experience has produced a riveting and color drenched array of polarities pulling and pushing across paper like few of their previous projects, and you can see that the results have enlivened their minds, sharpened their eyes. Additionally, How Nosm are proud that no computers were used in the project whatsoever.

“So that’s how we started,” says Raoul, “we painted on mylar, – it’s like a plastic,” he holds up the transparent sheet to show.  “We used that to shoot the screens.  We didn’t paint anything on the computer. Everything is hand painted; the layers – and they had so many machines and different ways of achieving effects, I didn’t know. “

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How & Nosm “Under my Thumb” Detail. 40 x 40 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Did Mr. Watanabe and his team learn any new tricks from the grown up graffiti kids? “I mean we are like underdogs compared to who has done prints with them before,” says Davide. “We are the first ones with a hard core graff background. But they admitted that they really actually liked the work and they learned something from us too I think.”

We ask in what way – how the guys think about their work, their process? “Basically how spontaneous you can be with a spray can,” he says as he offers to let us feel the built up aerosol portion of one print that the brothers created with a simple stencil. “All this could have meant extra screens, but we saved them time, and they liked the effect.”

When the opening reception takes place this week at Pace and other new works from the series are unveiled simultaneously at the Armory show, How and Nosm are thinking that in the middle of it all will be some sort of graduation ceremony, at least figuratively. Suddenly everything they have done up until now has been redefined, refined even. In some way, they’ve done this before and in others it is all new.

What can follow this brief chapter in their storied creative career? Leave that for tomorrow. For now, behold. “They are all so unique, they all look so different,” says Raoul as he carefully pulls out one hand-embellished print after another from their elaborate archival wrappings.

“They are basically painting prints, you know?”

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How & Nosm “Under my Thumb” close up. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How & Nosm “Red Hot Summer” Detail. 40 x 40 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How & Nosm “Red Hot Summer” Detail. 40 x 40 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How & Nosm “Lost Fragments” Detail. 52 x 40 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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How & Nosm “Lost Fragments” Close Up (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm “Way Things Are” Solo Exhibition at Pace Prints Opens this Thursday, March 6. Click HERE for details.

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
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This article is also published on The Huffington Post
 
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Street Artists At The Fairs For Armory Week NYC 2014

Street Artists At The Fairs For Armory Week NYC 2014

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Not quite spring, the Art Fairs are arriving in New York ahead of the tulips. We strolled the impossibly long aisles and peered into the booths to find the folks who have at other times been called “Street Artists”. This weekend they’ll be fine artists, and the list is quite a bit longer than years past as the professionalization of the street continues.

Shows like the Armory, Scope, Volta, and Fountain are good testing venues to see the commercial viability for many of these artists and some have foregone representation – preferring to foot the bill on their own. Since walking the streets to see their work requires multiple layers and hats and gloves – traipsing through the fairs can be far preferable than dirty old Brooklyn streets. It’s also nice to see how some of these folks look in a tie or a blouse – or even just hit a comb. Here below we include some possible gems for you to hunt down.

THE ARMORY SHOW

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Pace Prints

How & Nosm at Pier 92

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How Nosm at Pace Prints (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For The Armory Show Art Fair location, dates, times, booth numbers, etc… click HERE

SCOPE ART FAIR

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Andenken Gallery

Amanda Marie, VINZ

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Vinz at Andenken Gallery (image courtesy the gallery)

Black Book Gallery

Judith Supine, WK Interact, Ben Eine, Cycle, James Reka, Cope2, Indie184, Shepard Fairey

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Judith Supine at Black Book Gallery (image courtesy the gallery)

C.A.V.E. Gallery

PEETA, Pure Evil

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Pure Evil at C.A.V.E. Gallery (image courtesy the artist)

Fabien Castanier Gallery

Speedy Graphito, Mark Kenkins, RERO

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Speedy Graphito at Fabien Castanier Gallery (image courtesy the gallery)

Fuchs Projects

Rafael Fuchs, Aakash Nihalini, Skewville

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Skewville at Fuchs Projects (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Krause Gallery

Ben Frost, Hanksy

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Ben Frost at Krause Gallery (image courtesy the gallery)

Moniker Projects

Beau Stanton, Ben Eine, David Shillinglaw, Greg Lamarche, Jon Burgerman, Pam Glew, Ron English,  Muffinhead, Keira Rathbone.

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David Shillinglaw at Moniker Projects (image courtesy the artist)

Natalie Kates Projects

Skullphone, Swoon

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Skullphone at Natalie Kates Projects (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

ThinkSpace Gallery

Know Hope

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Know Hope at ThinkSpace (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vertical Gallery

Stormie Mills, My Dog Sighs

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Stormie Mills at Vertical Galler (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For SCOPE Art Fair location, dates, times, booth numbers, etc… click HERE

VOLTA NY

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Jonathan LeVine Gallery

POSE

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Pose at Jonathan LeVine Gallery (image courtesy the artist)

For VOLTA NY Art Fair location, dates, times and booth numbers, etc… click HERE

FOUNTAIN ART FAIR

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Fumeroism, Jay Shells, Leon Reid IV, Vicki DaSilva are all showing at Fountain this year

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Vicki DaSilva at Fountain (image courtesy the artist)

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Fumero at Fountain (image © Jaime Rojo)

Urban Folk Art

Adam Suerte

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Adam Suerte (courtesy Urban Folk Art)

Street Art Installation curated by Mighty Tanaka

Alex Emmert will be curating the Street Art Installation and he has invited Chris Stain, Alice Mizrachi, Skewville, Cake, Chris RWK, Joe Iurato, Rubin, EKG, Gilf!, Omen and LNY.

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Rubin will be part of the installation of Street Artists at Fountain Art Fair (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For Fountain Art Fair location, dates, times, etc…click HERE

 

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BSA Film Friday: 01.10.14

BSA Film Friday: 01.10.14

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

Now screening :

1. Vhils x Pixel Pancho in Lisbon
2. How Nosm in Lisbon
3. NEKST FOREVER from Pose & Revok in Detroit
4. Knarf, Mafia and Fresh Max “3500” in Vienna
5. Bisser in London “Last Breath I” at Blackfriars Cafe

BSA Special Feature: Lisbon Double Feature from Underdogs
Pixel Pancho x Vhils
and How Nosm

Two beautiful videos in a row this week from the platform called Underdogs. “Underdogs is an international working platform based in Lisbon, Portugal that aims at creating space within the contemporary art scene for artists connected with the new languages of urban visual culture.” Since one of the original organizers is Street Artist Vhils, it makes sense that these two videos capture that additional essence of the experience of art making, the discipline, the dedication, the drive.  The camera work, editing, and story telling are fresh and above par here.

Pixel Pancho and Vhils for Underdogs. Lisbon 2013

How & Nosm for Underdogs. Lisbon 2013

NEKST FOREVER from The Seventh Letter: Pose & Revok

With baritone narration from Pose about the impact of one guy on many, this video relates the level of respect the late graffiti artist Nekst had among his peers. Together with Revok and other members of the MSK crew you’ll see them knock out one of the biggest tributes yet in Detroit.

 

Knarf, Mafia and Fresh Max “3500” in Vienna

KNARF, MAFIA and FRESH MAX spent the last 3 months working on a 3500 square meter wall complex near Vienna. Here is a brief overview of their process. They will also be releasing a book on the 24th documenting the project, sketches, and images of the entire painted building.

 

Bisser in London “Last Breath I” at Blackfriars Cafe

A local cafe of 35 years is going to be torn down with the entire building it has been housed in Southwark (South-London). Artist Bisser did an installation,  a “one-off beautification” last month to say goodbye to the place. As it turns out, an entire project has been spawned to create more work by more artists in the building before it is slated for demolition. This video is the first of the series for “The Last Breath Project”

More about the project here: lastbreathproject.co.uk

 

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HOW & NOSM on the Israeli-Palestinian Separation Wall

HOW & NOSM on the Israeli-Palestinian Separation Wall

After a half hour, soldiers yelled down, asking what they were doing.

“We’re from New York, we paint,” they shouted back, and continued spraying. Moments later the gate rolled up to the side and four soldiers came out, with the lead officer shouting, “What are you doing here?”

“We’re painting,” they replied.

“It’s illegal,” he shouted back. “I’ll have to arrest you.”

How and Nosm are at the Israeli-Palestinian Separation Wall, or they were until a few days ago, and no arrests were made. Invited by William Parry from the London based charity called Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), the internationally known Street Art/graffiti/muralist twins have traveled to about 60 countries with spray cans over the last decade or so, but they say they were not prepared for this experience.

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How & Nosm. Mural on a metal gate on the Separation Wall by Rachel’s Tomb. Palestinian side. Bethlehem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

As graffiti writers in their youth, How and Nosm weren’t very surprised when their aerosol works were painted over or “buffed” for being in illegal locations. They were, after all, kids being vandals with spray cans and challenging authority and trying to get away with it – but it still was a bummer.

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How & Nosm. Detail. The text is translated as “Freedom for the Honorable” – a stencil made by women in an art workshop led by How and Nosm. Bethlehem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

Getting their painting sprayed-over by Israeli guards was a new experience entirely.  Their image of a key, a symbol for Palestinians that is tied to homes they were evicted from, was painted onto a gate by Rachel’s Tomb. Loaded with such associations, obviously it was not a benign gesture and it was one so off-putting to the guards that shortly after H&N finished it, according to Parry, soldiers opened the gate and one picked up a spray can “and scribbled over it: ‘The occupation will prevail’ and made Stars of David symbols.”  By that time, How & Nosm were walking coolly up the street.

A typical graffiti writer back home in New York might have taken that as a serious “dis” of their canwork. Instead How says he was happy, “We painted a key and the gate opened!”

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How & Nosm. The defaced mural on a metal gate on the Separation Wall by Rachel’s Tomb. Palestinian side. Bethlehem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

“I first interviewed How & Nosm a year ago in Prague at an exhibition that they were participating in,” says the British photojournalist Parry, who published a book called “Against the Wall” in 2010 about a number of Street Artists who have created work there. “We got talking about street artists and Palestine and Israel. How & Nosm were clearly aware that what they read and saw on mainstream media was only one part of the story and when I asked if they would consider doing a trip out to Palestine and Israel with MAP, they said ‘sure’.

“One year on,” he recalls “after scores of emails to follow up their commitment and logistics, my sigh of relief was audible as I saw them pass through the “Arrivals” sliding doors at the airport. First it was Nosm and about 10 minutes later, How, after he was questioned by the immigration staff about why they’d come to Israel. With their tattoos, curious NYC/German accents and a bag of spray caps and stencils, we were off.”

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How & Nosm. Main mural in the Palestinian Side of the Separation Wall. Bethlehem, Palestine. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

Not merely on “spraycation” to hit up some walls with their signature style, which they did, the two also made time to work with two populations specifically traumatized by war within the community and to teach them some of the techniques of art-making that the brothers have used in cities like LA, Lisbon, Prague, Paris, Quito, Mexico City, and Brooklyn. “Initially about five Bedouin women came to the workshop,” says Parry.

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How & Nosm.  Mural on the Separation Wall, Palestinian side en route to Manger Sq., Bethlehem, Palestine. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

“By the following day,” he reports, “as word went round the encampment of the fun they’d had, there was twice the number of people, with several kids joining in too. The women have never had any art classes. One woman, Ameera, said it was the first time she’d been given a pencil to draw with. Despite this, most showed real skill in designing and cutting out stencils to reflect life around them, creating desert-scapes and floral collages with the adept help of the twins. The workshops had a constant air of fun, creativity, chatter and laughter.” The brothers worked with the moms and the kids to create stencils, some of which were gathered together to create a collage of the works on the metal walls of one woman’s home.

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How & Nosm. Mural on the Separation Wall, Palestinian Side. Bethlehem, Palestine. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

An odd scene perhaps for some to contemplate the brash talking streetwise How and Nosm carefully and gently leading art workshops with small kids when you consider your typical image of the nihilistic rebel graffiti writer, right?

Maybe it is our own perception, or the perception that has been created for us that graffiti writers and Street Artists are rather one dimensional vandals. Things are not always the way they appear.

 

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How & Nosm. Bedouin Women Workshops. West Bank. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

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How & Nosm. Children take interest at the Bedouin Women Workshops. West Bank. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

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How & Nosm. Bedouin Women Workshops. West Bank. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

Another surprise was the easy flow of information one can get sometimes these days, even here in the these contested, war-torn lands where reliable information itself can be at a premium to get in and out. The brothers were sort of surprised one day when they went to buy a number of cans of paint in their typical red, black, and white – and they were instantly recognized by the proprietors.

“The young guys running the shop seemed excited to have How & Nosm in town and were asking where they were going, what they were planning, and said they would be very happy to show them round and get them some great walls,” says Parry. “How & Nosm remained tight-lipped and said ‘We’ll call you,’ taking the contact information of the guys,” he remembers, still marveling at the reach of the art world. “About two hours later, we were in Bethlehem, in the West Bank, looking for the ideal locations for murals and smaller art pieces.”

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How & Nosm. Beit Sahour, Bethlehem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

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How & Nosm. Beit Sahour, Bethlehem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

In the Street Art scene we always like to say that context is everything, and clearly here the artists and their hosts feel strongly about the conditions in the occupied areas they witnessed in Palestine and they place sincere blame for the dire situation that envelopes even the smallest children in an atmosphere of fear and trauma. Using art as a vehicle for expression, therapy, and perhaps furtherance of understanding, they say their workshops were instrumental is giving something valuable to the community.

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How & Nosm. Saraya Centre workshop for children. Old City, Bethlehem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

“It was just four days of workshops but the impression that How & Nosm left on the Bedouin women and children who participated in the workshops was enormous,” says Parry, as he speaks of the collaborative mural using the stencils the women produced on a structure in the Jordan Valley. He says he “asked what they liked most about the workshops and the women said that it gave them a rare opportunity to express themselves creatively, to discover talents, and to produce beautiful things. ‘We also rarely laugh so much,’ added Hanan, the joker in the group.”

Parry also asked the brothers about their experience. “We agreed to participate because we agree with what MAP is doing and we thought it was going to be a nice collaboration between an organization helping people in need in Palestine and for us to bring attention to the it and for us to see what’s going on in Palestine,” says Raoul.

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How & Nosm. Saraya Centre workshop for children. Old City, Bethlehem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

For Davide, his days there produced more of a critique of the Western media that he depends on back home. “It was important for us to see firsthand what is going on in the conflict rather than just reading about it. Even in the independent media you don’t get the full picture, it’s just not the same experience as coming and seeing the illegal outposts and settlements and other things that exist, and I think we have a better understanding of that thanks to MAP.”

For the kids, it was hard to let go, says Parry, and some even cried at the end. “They completed their artwork and mounted them on foam board to create a mural of color and symbolism,” Parry says. “As they said goodbye, one child broke down in tears, then like dominoes, several others followed.” Many people on the street came to tell the guys how much they liked the work they were putting up on different walls.

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How & Nosm. Saraya Centre workshop for children. Old City, Bethlehem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

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How & Nosm. Separation Wall, Palestinian Side. Zeitoun Checkpoint. East Jerusalem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

But the brothers say they will think twice as artists if they would recommend others to go paint there. Instead of just hitting a wall, they say they would want people to be sensitive to the impact it may have on the populations who live there. “It’s such a difficult situation here politically. We believe that just coming here and tagging, doing pieces, would be inappropriate and selfish,” says How. Nosm continues, “We felt an obligation to bring more than just our names so we brought some messages. If you’re an artist you should take that into consideration.”

Truthfully, in a continually tense war-like environment like this, almost any act, including kindness, can be interpreted as being a political act of some sort. Not all art is necessarily political however and most people understand that it is a form of expression that we can grant latitude to because of its proximity to our own creativity. Who doesn’t long to return to the world of discovery we each inhabited at least once or twice in our childhoods?

But it isn’t every day that you hear tough-talking graffiti writers speak about considering the affect of your street work on the people in the neighborhood. But this isn’t just any wall. And these aren’t just any artists.

 

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How & Nosm. Separation Wall, Palestinian Side. Zeitoun Checkpoint. East Jerusalem. September, 2013. (photo © William Parry/MAP)

For more information about MAP please click HERE.

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post. HOW-Nosm-Huffpost-BSA-Screen-Shot-2013-10-02-at-10.18

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“Hecho En Oaxaca” Indoors and On The Street

“Made in Oaxaca” Shifts Street Art Eyes to Historic Mexican City

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Oaxaca (MACO) Show Features Pedro Alonzo and Friends

Already a cultural capital of a quarter million, the city of Oaxaca itself is a World Heritage Site and sits six miles east of Monte Albán, the Zapotecs city that is traced back to 500 BC. For MACO to invite curator Pedro Alonzo to create a show inside and outside on the streets is a stroke of inspiration and the quality of the selection of artists for the exhibition only confirms the inspiration.

Swoon. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Today on BSA Roberto Shimizu, who owns and oparates MUJAM (Antique Toy Museum of Mexico), shares with us the images he took while checking out the installations last month on the street and in the museum. Roberto has invited a number of Street Artists to Mexico City in the past to create works and to participate in community-building projects so he was very excited to learn about this pretty remarkable event happening so near to him.

“We heard that great Street Artists from around the world were having an exhibition only two days before the opening so I made the six hour trip from Mexico City with my girlfriend and two other friends the following day. Some of the best artists in the world from México, Brazil, Germany, Italy, USA and the magical Oaxaca itself gathered in the streets of this beautiful colonial town to leave striking pieces of public art,” he says.

The list includes Date Farmers, Dr. Lakra, How & Nosm, Lapiztola, MOMO, Nunca, Retna, Saner, StenLex, Swoon, Vhils, and Yescka and represents a nice blend of local and international.  “To see the How & Nosm twins painting those perfect lines and then turn your head and look into Santo Domingo´s Cathedral is something that made this adventure worth it,” Roberto tells us. “Seeing Swoon posting over top some RETNA calligraphy was also an “historic” moment.”

Swoon. Installation in Progress. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Installation in progress. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Installation in progress in collaboration with RETNA. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

RETNA at work on his wall. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

How & Nosm. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Saner at work on his wall. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Dr. Lakra at work on his wall. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

MUSEUM INSTALLATIONS

La Piztola. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

La Piztola. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Date Farmers. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Dr. Lakra. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

RETNA. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

NUNCA. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

How & Nosm. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Sten & Lex. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Yescka. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

Swoon. Detail. Hecho En Oaxaca. Oaxaca, Mexico. July 2013. (photo @ Roberto Shimizu)

For further information regarding this exhibition click HERE.

With much gratitude with Roberto Shimizu, Director of Museo Del Juguete Antiguo De Mexico, MUJAM for his photos.

 

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Images of The Week: 06.23.13

Here’s our weekly interview of the street, this week featuring Creepy, Chris RWK, David Smith, Enzo & Nio, How & Nosm, JR, Pennygaff, Shai Dahan, This is Awkward, Veng RWK, and Werds.

Top image > Enzo & Nio are now property managers? This is confusing. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JR (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pennygaff did this tribute as gravestone on the last remaining chunk of Monster Island, a very lively and engaging artists performance space/ gallery / hangout in Williamsburg, Brooklyn –  now demolished to make way for glass and steel highrises. Median rental cost of a 1 bedroom apartment in Williamsburg is $3,150, compared to about $1,500 10 years ago. That’s progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

David Smith hit up Williamsburg and Greenpoint with about 100 of these animals this week. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

David Smith (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Veng and Chris from RWK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Werds (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm did a gig with a clothing brand and it debuted in Times Square this week. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This Is Awkward (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shai Dahan in Blackpool, England. (photo © Rakin Rahman)

Shai Dahan in Blackpool, England. (photo © Shai Dahan)

Shai Dahan in London, Engalnd. (photo © Shai Dahan)

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Creepy at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Creepy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Riverside Park, NYC. 2013 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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