All posts tagged: HYURO

Leisurely Street Art in El Cabanyal in Valencia

Leisurely Street Art in El Cabanyal in Valencia

A man of leisure these days, BSA contributor Lluis Olive-Bulbena took a three day trip to Valencia, Spain to participate in the festivities of El dia del Cabanyal.

Exit-Enter. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)

El Cabanyal is a 333 acre (134 hectares) neighborhood in the old part of the city by the Mediterranean Sea, backed by a series of sandy beaches and a palm treed promenade. Its name is derived by the complex of barracks along the shore where the fishermen used to live when the town was purely a fishing village.

Exit-Enter. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)

With the passage of time and change of the Spanish economy, El Cabanyal caught the eye of the leisure class who fill the streets with souvenir shops, cafes, and late-night clubs. The fishermen went someplace else. Not surprisingly perhaps, this tourist attraction is also a hot spot for Street Art – along with the greater city of Valencia for that matter.

Exit-Enter. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)

We are told that many Street Artists have actually set-up studio here as well. Why not? The quality of life is nice, and the cost of living is much lower than in Barcelona and Madrid.

Also, bikinis.

The Photographer. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Mesa. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Erica Ilcane. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Erica Ilcane. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Erica Ilcane. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lula Goce. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lula Goce. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lula Goce. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Suso33. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lolo. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Lolo. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Emmeu. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Emmeu. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Hyuro. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Bosoletti. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Bosoletti. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
Bosoletti. Valencia., Spain. (photo Lluis Olive-Bulbena)
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Scenes from Eugene: Murals of the 20x21EUG Festival in Oregon

Scenes from Eugene: Murals of the 20x21EUG Festival in Oregon

The city of Eugene in Oregon is preparing for the 2021 IAAF World Athletics Championships and like many cities these days it is transforming itself with murals.

With a goal of 20 new murals by ’21 (20x21EUG), the city began in 2016 to invite a slew of international Street Artists, some locally known ones, and a famous graffiti/Street Art photographer to participate in their ongoing visual festival.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A lively city that is bustling with the newly blooming marijuana industry and finding an endless array of ways to celebrate it, Eugene has been so welcoming that many artists will report that feeling quite at home painting in this permissively bohemian and chill atmosphere.

With a goal of global diversity a selection artists have included a variety of Street Art names from around the world including Blek le Rat, AIKO, Dan Witz, HUSH, Martha Cooper, WK Interact, Hyuro, Jaz, Alexis Diaz, Telmo Miel, Hua Tunan, Beau Stanton, Matt Small and local talents like Bayne Gardner and Ila Rose. With some luck organizers say they hope this year to also include artists H11235 from Nepal and Shamsia Hassani from Afghanistan.

Today you can see a lot of the painting action thanks to 2018 “20x21EUG” participant and famed photographer Martha Cooper, who had an opportunity to meet the artists this year and catch up on some of the work from previous years. We’re proud to be able to show these new images with BSA readers and we thank Ms. Cooper for sharing them.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)


We spoke with two important pillars of 20x21EUG, Debbie Williamson-Smith, Director of Communications and Paul Godin, Director of Artist Relations, to get a little background on the festival and to see what makes it unique.

BSA: Can you speak about the genesis of 20x21EUG? Why did you decide to start an Urban Art Festival?
Debbie Williamson-Smith: The concept of a large-scale public art project such came from Isaac Marquez, Cultural Services Director for the City of Eugene, and is rooted in Eugene’s rich history of public art, dating back to the Oregon International Sculpture Symposium in 1974.  Mr. Marquez gathered a committee of arts organizations and community members passionate about the project and street art to bring the concept to fruition.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Paul Godin: We wanted to invite the very best street artists from around the country and around the globe, to create a living outdoor art gallery in Eugene for the world to see when they came. We have curated a mix of street art legends, rising stars and local heroes, all with very different artistic styles and strong voices. Street art is a global movement, of increasingly high profile, and it was a shared passion that united our committee members.

If you want to take it way back, the origin may well have been a trip to the east end of London ten years ago, on a failed quest in search of a Banksy that led instead to the discovery of the wonders of Brick Lane.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: How is a project of such quality as this funded?
Debbie Williamson-Smith: Funding for the project comes from the City of Eugene Cultural Services transient room tax revenue, sponsorship with City of Eugene Parking Services and contributions from wall owners and local businesses through donations of goods and services. We have had over 50 businesses support this project since it started and volunteers have donated hundreds of hours of time. It takes a village to make a mural and a full list of partners can be found on our website.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: Is it difficult to get landlords’ permission to paint on their properties in Eugene?
Paul Godin: Heck no. We have found many landlords very open to the idea of putting street art murals on their walls. Civic pride in our project, and the high quality of the work here has made it very easy to sell more wall owners on involvement.  Now they are coming to us. Our biggest problem in Eugene with walls is that we do not have as many big blank walls as larger cities do. Our kingdom for a blank 12 story wall!

Eugenians are generally thrilled by the transformation that 20x21EUG has wrought. Just last week, a city police officer brought a woman to her favorite piece, a group of elderly women were seen admiring Matt Small’s piece and chatting.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Debbie Williamson-Smith: It is so electric that we have coined the phrase “mural magic”. This project has ignited the civic pride in our community and has already inspired another mural project, Urban Canvas. This initiative of the City of Eugene’s Cultural Services department matches local walls with local artists and three murals have been added to the cultural landscape since it launched in 2018. People are making mural watching a regular activity, taking children to watch artists in action and bringing visitors to see the murals.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What are you personal observations regarding the experience as a whole? What would you do different for next year?
Paul Godin: One thing that became clear about our festival this year is that we have created a family, uniting our committee, our volunteers, our artists in a unique and inspiring way. We have bonded through our shared experience, the long nights, the controlled chaos days, the communal dinners, and the stains of primer on all of our clothes.

AIKO. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Debbie Williamson-Smith: This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. As an arts advocate, I am so inspired by the changes art is making in my community and this is one of the reasons why public art and street art are so important. It gives immediate access to art for the public. We are also in a time of political upheaval and for some people, including myself, this has been a difficult time for our country. To welcome people to my part of the world is my form of resistance. We can unite each other through art and as anyone who has studied art history knows, the arts have gotten us through some dark times.

AIKO. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

If I could do anything differently, it would be to make certain all the artists travel here at the same time. When we had Dan Witz here last summer, he talked about what he called artist equity, meaning that festivals for him provide an opportunity to work with artists that he has not worked together before and that always influences his decision to attend. One of my highlights from last summer was watching him and Blek le Rat work on separate installations on the same building.

I was almost as giddy as Dan was. Almost.

Martha Cooper standing with windows full of her images at the Rising Moon makers store. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon.

Bayne Gardner. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bayne Gardner. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bayne Gardner. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Matt Small. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Alexis Diaz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Alexis Diaz. WIP. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blek Le Rat. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blek Le Rat. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blek Le Rat. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Dan Witz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Dan Witz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Hyuro. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Ila Rose. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Telmo & Miel. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Telmo & Miel. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Stefan Ways was in Eugene assisting Aiko with her mural this year. He wasn’t in the official line-up of artists but didn’t stop him from getting up. (photo © Martha Cooper)

And of course there are tracks and trains in Eugene, Oregon ready to painted…(photo © Martha Cooper)

There are bargains everywhere in Eugene, Oregon… (photo © Martha Cooper)

As well as consciously aware and decent residents. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)


For more information about 20x21EUG in Eugene, Oregon, please CLICK HERE.


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No Callarem: Street Artists Paint As Protest in La Modelo Prison, Barcelona

No Callarem: Street Artists Paint As Protest in La Modelo Prison, Barcelona

A new sharply political campaign championing the freedom of expression has caught fire in Spain in the last few weeks under the hashtag #NoCallaremos, and Street Artists are now adding their talents to the protest. Rather shockingly for a modern European nation, a rapper’s prison sentence for offensive lyrics was upheld in Spanish Supreme Court in February (Billboard) and that decision along with other recent events has sparked a number of creative protests across the art world in cities across the country. Today BSA contributing Street Art photographer Fer Alcalá shares his opinions and new images of the murals in progress with BSA readers.


THE NO CALLAREM PLATFORM

~ by Fer Alcalá

…or how some of Spanish top artists react against censorship and repression of the freedom of speech from the central government…

Enric Sant at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

It’s now known worldwide: the Spanish government is imprisoning hip hop artists like Valtonyc and Pablo Hasel because of their sharp and truthful lyrics as well as sentencing people like you and me because of their critical posts on social media.

As a reaction to these acts against the freedom of speech that are more in tune with a well established dictatorship than with 40 years of democracy, some projects like the No Callarem (we won’t shut up) platform have raised their voices.

Reskate . Enric Sant . Txemy. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

One of the direct actions organized by the platform for fighting against Partido Popular’s civil rights oppression was to film a video clip featuring some of the most renowned lyricists on the scene as Frank T, Elphomega, Los Chikos del Maíz, La Ira, Rapsusklei, and César Strawberry, among others, at the old La Modelo prison. The location is an accurate metaphorical scenario when you are seeing that your liberty is being cut off thanks to laws like ‘Ley Mordaza’.

The song ‘Los Borbones son unos ladrones’, which alludes directly to the Spanish monarchy, includes some excerpts from some of the songs created by rappers serving a prison sentence. The video clip for the song, which you can watch at the end of this article, has become viral and almost all media outlets in the country are speaking about this big shout-out in the name of freedom.

The patio with Enric Sant in the background at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

I was invited to witness the filming  and painting session by local artist Javier de Riba, from Reskate Studio, who invited some fellow artists to paint at La Modelo walls as a part of the whole process. Franco Fasoli JAZ, Twee Muizen, Txemy, Joan Tarragò, Enric Sant, Milvietnams, Werens and Fullet gave a new voice to the walls surrounding that backyard, providing 2D images that perfectly matched the spirit behind the beats and the rhymes.

Javier De Riba at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

This is what Javi has to say about his collaboration with the project:

“Our involvement with No Callarem happened thanks to the Catalan rap artist Pau Llonch. He lit the spark for recording a clip against the Valtonyc and Hasel sentences. They wanted to do it at La Modelo no matter what and the No Callarem platform supported the action. We helped to spread the word for putting together a team with different languages together to visually enhance the video clip.

At the beginning, was what meant to be an ‘atrezzo action’ turned into a bunch of pieces that can be visited in the backyard of Gallery 4. In fact that backyard is not open to the public, but you can see it from the watch guard pit. We think that, from a conceptual point of view, it’s very powerful to keep those pieces locked – especially when thinking about how things are going in Spain regarding freedom of speech.”

Javier De Riba at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Additionally it’s worth mentioning Reskate’s initiative about shouting against the suffocating atmosphere that we are experiencing here for some time: ‘Our idea is that every artist post one piece / illustration / painting / picture (old or new) supporting our initiative promoting freedom of speech in order to criticize the lack of democracy within the Spanish government.

Some of the hashtags that we will use are #NoCallarem #EzGaraIsilduko #NonCalaremos #NunVamosCallar #NonCararam,#NoCallaremos being the main one.

Visual artists from Madrid, Zaragoza, Almería, Oviedo, Valencia, Vila-real, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valladolid, Tenerife…are supporting this initiative. Some of them are: Malakkai, Escif, Paula Bonet, Aryz, Ricardo Cavolo, Enric Sant, Twee Muizen, Franco Fasoli, Hyuro, Javier Jaén, Boa Mistura, Conrad Roset, Jordi Borràs, Danjer, Cinta Vidal, David de las Heras, Juan Díaz-Faes, Chamo San, and Marina Capdevila, among others.

Fullet at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

La Semana por la Libertad de Expresión (Freedom of Speech Week) is happening now, with different activities taking place all over the country. The funds raised from these activities will go to a resistance fund for the platform in order to defend all those people chased and brought to justice because of censorship and repression. You can check the whole program of the week HERE.

So, yes: we have a fight going on. Comedians, actors and actresses, musicians, journalists, visual artists, the guy / girl next door who is active in social media… It’s kind of a Russian Roulette game where, if you are critical with the established system and you are using 3rd grade humor as a weapon, you can end in jail. And all of it is happening in a country whose government is accused of being the most corrupt on the whole continent.

Werens at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

I have a very well informed friend who has been kind of disappointed with the absence of critical vision and combative behaviors from most of the big names in the local street art / graffiti scene. Thanks to initiatives such as No Callarem and the impulse of people like Javi de Riba, she is reconciling herself with this small, but powerful little world whose images have the strength for making important things happen.

Finally, I’d like to recommend that you check the publications under the hashtag #nocallaremos that are out, as there will be some fine and unique art being produced for the occasion in the upcoming days.

As it’s being said in Los Borbones son unos Ladrones:

– rap music is not a crime
– we need scratches, we need paintings
– I don’t dream about Versace, I dream about barricades
– …because of the poetry that still sleeps in the ditches…

Big props to Javi de Riba, Xavier Urbano and all the artists behind the No Callarem movement.

#nocallarem

Fullet, Werens and Javier De Riba at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Milvietnams at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Franco Fasoli AKA JAZ at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Franco Fasoli AKA JAZ at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Twee Muizen at work. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Enric Sant. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Reskate . Enric Sant . Txemy. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Reskate. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Txemy . Joan Tarragó . Twee Muizen . Franco Fasoli AKA Jaz. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Joan Tarragó. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Twee Muizen. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Franco Fasoli AKA JAZ. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Fullet . Werens . Javier De Riba . Milvietnams . Reskate. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Fullet . Werens. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Javier De Riba. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Overview. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Los Borbones Son Unos Ladrones. feat, FrankT, Sara Hebe, Elphomega, Rapsusklei…


The guys behind Delabrave @delabrave have filmed a parallel clip about the creative process of these pieces.

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ESCIF, BLU, SAM3, More Join “SenseMurs” as Activists Protecting “La Punta”

ESCIF, BLU, SAM3, More Join “SenseMurs” as Activists Protecting “La Punta”

AYÚDANOS A DEFENDER LA HUERTA Y PARAR LA ZAL – Help Us to Defend the Garden and Stop the ZAL.


Street Artists in Valencia, Spain are using their work to reclaim land for a people’s agenda.

BLU. Detail. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Street Artist Escif organized with other artists to fight the commercial development of seaside land in Valencia last month. With the help of other socially responsible artists including Aryz, BLU, Borondo, Escif, Anaïs Florin, Hyuro, Luzinterruptus, Daniel Muñoz “SAN”, Sam3 and Elías Taño, Escif and local organizers are publicly pushing a message that shows the local council what it means when citizens are engaged.

According to the organizers La Punta is a hamlet of orchards and gardens located in the south of the city of Valencia where more than 15 years ago the “Logistics Activities Zone” (ZAL) project of the Port of Valencia decided to chase hundreds of people out of this land to give to developers as a new port initiative.

BLU. Detail. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Well, that failed spectacularly, probably because funding fell through due to the global financial crisis, and 15 years later development has not happened. The land has begun to evolve and return to its more natural state and a local farm economy has sprouted up. Meanwhile city planners are hoping they can conjure up another way to use these public lands for private profit.

But grassroots organizers say they want the public/private predatory folks to step back and let citizens decide what to do with this area. Thanks to this new “SenseMurs” public art initiative that is drawing a lot of critical eyes to the matter, more citizens may actually get a seat at the table. Well organized and great communicators, on March 10 and 11 the artists and activists gave tours of the murals of SenseMurs, called a press conference, threw a concert, and opened the doors to other citizens for their participation in the process.

BLU. Detail. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

“Within this context, neighbors and associations are trying to bring attention to this reality in order to negotiate with the Administration and start a public participation process,” says the art collective Luzinterruptus in an email, “where it will be decided how these lands will be used and to mend the injustices committed against the neighbors so another chance is given to the deported families to return and work the lands of l’Horta de la Punta.”

Enjoy these shots of the installations from Martha Cooper and two from Juanmi Ponce, starting off with the one and only BLU.

BLU. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Escif. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Escif. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Because there are lettuces!

From Escif’s Instagram:

A: ¿ Porqué HAY LECHUGAS ?
B: Pues porqué alguien plantó semillas en esta tierra fértil, les puso agua y dejó que el sol hiciese su trabajo. Imágino que es un ciclo natural. La tierra es generosa y muy prospera. A poco que la cuides, te regala lechugas como estas.
A: No me refiero a eso. Mi pregunta es porque escribes la frase HAY LECHUGAS.
B: Ah! …pues porque hay lechugas!

Hyuro. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Borondo. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Borondo. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Aryz. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Aryz. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Sam3. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

SAN. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

SAN. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Luzinterruptus. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Juanmi Ponce)

Luzinterruptus. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Juanmi Ponce)

Elías Taño. SenseMurs. La Punta, Valencia, Spain, March 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

 


SenseMurs participating artists: Blu, Luzinterruptus, Aryz, Hyuro, SAN, LIQEN, Anaisflorin, Eliastano, Sam3, Escif


To learn more about the project please go to RECUPEREM LA PUNTA / Valencia, Spain
Recuperem La Punta, aturem la ZAL and La Punta.

 


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URVANITY 2018: 3 Days in Madrid

URVANITY 2018: 3 Days in Madrid

Today we go to the Urvanity New Contemporary Art Fair in Madrid to see some art inside and outside the fair and to hear about some of the programming happening there, courtesy of Fernando Alcalá Losa.


URVANITY New Contemporary Art Fair 2018

Or, “How we spent the whole weekend in Madrid enjoying art, friends and talks while censorship from the central Spanish government is choking the liberty of expression.”

The 2nd edition of Urvanity New Contemporary International Art Fair was our main focus of interest. With an exciting program including some of the most interesting galleries and artists from all over the world, 4 walls being produced in different areas of the Spanish capital and a more than attractive set of talks and lectures, we knew that we were going to make our weekend. But, of course, there was going to be more, much more…

Cranio. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

DAY ONE: Galleries

After sleeping a few hours, I started my little marathon outside the new Urvanity headquarters in the beautiful ME Madrid María Victoria Hotel for attending a round table about ‘Women in the cultural industry beyond feminist clichés’. With Alberto Aguilar from Urvanity moderating, I was excited to see what journalist Belén Palanco, gallerist Consuelo Durán and artist and friend Anna Taratiel had to say about all this arty world ‘dominated’ by men in these times when initiatives like La Caja de Pandora are rebelling against sexual abuse and the heteropatriarchy hegemony in the art world and fighting for visibility, justice and equality in working conditions and salaries.

Jan Kaláb. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Artists like Nuria Mora and Animalitoland, Sergio Bang, from Swinton & Grant Gallery, and Diana Prieto from MadridStreetArtProject were in the audience. Issues like education, quotes, discrimination, the toughness of being a female street artist, being out or inside the system, some critics to the female clichés and personal experiences were brought into the table. Being a heterosexual cis male, I don’t know if I’m the right person to say this, but I missed a more radical speech about the whole scenario and the role of women about making the necessary changes for reaching the place and conditions that they deserve.

Apart from this, Juncal Roig, Urvanity’s communication manager, had prepared a little gift with fellow artist Antonyo Marest. Last year, Marest had painted 4 walls in a nice courtyard inside the Hotel, so we did a small private shooting with the artist. It was fun, because we had to access the place through a window in one of the rooms. As Antonio said, imagine how ‘easy’ it was to move 6-floor wall scaffolding through that small ‘hole’. Watch out for Marest USA tour coming soon in the next months.

 

Jana & JS. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

‘The Impact of Urban Creativity in Cities’, a talk, as I said before, by Contorno Urbano founders, was next. Ninoska’s and Esteban’s explanations about some of their most important projects and about how to work with students, neighbors, the local authorities and the artists themselves really got my attention, although I was already aware about the details of their work. The never ending growing 12+1 project and, of course, the soon to come ‘Mural Salut Wall’ by Escif were some of the top hits of the lecture, including the announce of the International Tortilla Competition held this last weekend at Sant Feliu de Llobregat’s La Salut square as a part of Escif art residence in the city. Hyper fun 3rd grade by the artist that caused lots of laughs between the audience. Looking forward to see what Escif will create in the next months here.

 

Long but full of experiences day. Beer time and back to our place where a bunch of young adults were waiting for us celebrating Miriam’s (our host) birthday, singing songs with ukuleles at 2am and drinking bourbon. Fuck me: I’m getting old…

Jana & JS. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

DAY TWO: The day of Walls.

Good morning Vietnam! Slept 4 hours, dizzy head (if you can’t fight the enemy, join him) and García in groundhog mode on. I was starting to feel kind of nervous, as I hadn’t seen a wall yet, so I had a mission going on. Being lucky enough to know one of the best hosts that you can find in Madrid, I met Guillermo, from Madridstreetartproject ‘MSAP’, had some quick breakfast and began walking by. Guille was one of the people taking care of the production duties of the Urvanity walls. A veteran actor in the local scene, his way of seeing and understanding the urban landscape is outstanding.

Cranio. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Guillermo de la Madrid)

I had to leave Cranio’s wall for Sunday due to ‘logistic’ reasons. But, I was so glad to have the chance to shoot with Alexey Luka, as I had seen some photos about the WIP of his mural and I was loving it. After a small talk with the artist and the ‘formal’ presentations, I began shooting from the ground while Guille was struggling with drivers trying to not have them parking besides the crane.

Alexey Luka. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Then a little magical episode took place when Javier, a neighbor living in the building opposite to Luka’s wall, offered himself to give us access to the rooftop. Nicest human being ever, Javier told me that he was a military pilot and a great photography aficionado. It’s always surprising to me how people that don’t know you at all trust in you and open their houses to strangers like us, offering all the possible help because they are liking the project and/or the artists’ work.

Alexey’s wall was being a tough one to deal with. Guille, Rocío and the rest of the production team had to treat the wall twice with some special products because dust and sand were getting out from it. They lost 2 days because of this, but when I arrived there, everything had been solved and the artist was working hard. After dealing with a couple of issues, we head to the next wall… Before, I would love to say some words about Rocío here. We have just met maybe twice during all these years.

Alexey Luka. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Working and collaborating with MSAP, Mula Fest and Asalto among others, it’s always interesting to listen to her clever thoughts and knowledge about the whole scene, how she approaches the tours that she guides in Madrid and get to know a little bit more about the kind of person that everyone would love to have in their teams. You can check Rocio’s blog here.

Maybe Jan Kaláb’s wall was the most popular one during the whole weekend. Pedestrians were loving the mix of nice colors and soft shapes – so selfies, stories and boomerangs were spreading as flu. I just tried to include some human traffic in the photo. Maybe I have a thing with old ladies… Just maybe…

Alexey Luka. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Guillermo de la Madrid)

Xavier Eltono’s talk was one of my top moments of the whole trip. Although I follow his career since years ago, I hadn’t got any deep thoughts about his work. After I heard what he had to say about his art and about how he connect his studio work with the skin of the cities where he had intervened, I understood a lot of things regarding his philosophy and the way he interacts with the city.

Another thing that got my attention during his lecture was the fact of how many respected artists were attending the talk. Names like Zosen, Mina Hamada, Aryz, Rocblackblock, Daniel Muñoz SAN, Kenor, Anna Taratiel, Suso33, Aleix Gordo, Vermibus…were there showing respect for Eltono’s art and explanations. The academic world was also represented nicely with awesome Fernando Figueroa and Elena Gayo.

Xavier Eltono. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Xavier told me by email that this talk had been very important for him, so I asked him why: ‘I’m used to give talks, I do a couple every year and I actually really enjoy it. Doing it in Madrid though was a very different exercise. Even if I’m not Spanish, I became an artist in Madrid, this is the city where everything started for me. Talking about my work in this city was very challenging to me because I knew a lot of friends and a lot of artists I admire would be listening to me. It’s very easy to talk about your work in front of an anonymous crowd but in front of people you know and you care about is totally different! I was very nervous, but, according to the feedback I received after the talk, it looks like no one noticed it!!!

Tina Ziegler of Moniker Art. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Then, the main dish of the menu took place. ‘The Art Conference, by Urvanity’, hosted by Doug Gillen, from Fifth Wall TV and featuring some of the most important managers/curators/creative directors/promoters in the biz was meant to be the grand finale of Urvanity’s Saturday program. Tina Ziegler, Director of Moniker Art fair, Yasha Young, Creative Director of Urban Nation Museum, and Anna Dimitrova, Director of Montana Gallery, were adding some more girl power to the place.

Yasha Young of Urban Nation Berlin. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

FER: One of the most interesting things about the fair this year was the Talks Program. I couldn’t go to all of them because I would need to clone myself for attending everything, but was it intentional for you to enhance this side of the event? Do you think that these talks and lectures are useful for attracting a potential audience or are they more focused on an indoor point of view for people inside the art world? Why the 2 talks were the role and presence of women was more significant were moderated by a guy with a penis?

Sergio Sancho: For us the talk program it is a fundamental base within the fair. It is something that we want to keep on and give more importance and visibility. We think that the best way to understand this movement it’s from inside, giving voice and visibility to the main characters. About the moderator you are talking we think the gender its irrelevant. This year we wanted to give more visibility to women in a world where there is such an inequality and it has been casual that in the case of The Art Conference the moderator that Tina used it’s always a man and in the case of the talks opening program it has been Alberto the leader and we think it was the suitable person to do so.

 

Esteban Marin and Ninoska of Contorno Urbano Foundation. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

An impressive example of power, clear minds, commitment and, above all, tough work during several years in a penis based industry, these 3 forces of nature explained to us the main points of their careers, their way of working, their ethics, spoke about good practices and loyalty, some episodes about dealing with male chauvinism attitudes and how to get through all this without stepping forward.

Antonyo Marest. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

After personally meeting Ampparito and chatting a little bit with Octavi Serra and some other guys from Cúmul we ended the day talking and drinking beer in a relaxed atmosphere at some ‘Manolo’ bar in Madrid. Time to breathe, smile and relax.

DAY THREE: The art fair day.

And Sunday arrived. Keeping the military discipline of the whole weekend, woke up early, had some bad coffee while planning the morning and started my 3kms walk to check Cranio´s wall out. Sunday is ‘rastro’ day in Madrid, so some streets and squares of the area were flood with people that you had to avoid while trying not to kill yourself watching the screen of your mobile phone as it was compulsory for me to check the map and my old time friend Kini González was helping me out getting some invitations for colleagues.

Once of the few times that I was moving my head up, I almost crashed with some familiar guy. Rafa appeared suddenly in front of me with his eternal smile in the face. A friend from Barcelona, it had been years since we had seen each other, so it was a funny and nice coincidence to meet by chance 624kms away from our hometown. We continue our walk together speaking about life, anarchy, music and veganism and, at the same time, Guille was telling me the last news about Cranio´s work as we were all pendant of the keys of the crane for the final shot.

Jan Kaláb. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

As I was seeing that this wasn’t happening in the next few hours, I changed my plans and went to Luka’s wall as I wanted to take some photos from the crane. There it goes… Say bye to Rafa, put my stuff together and we went up for capturing some details.

As we were saying in Madrid, there’s a poker of photos that you should take while capturing, if possible, the whole process of painting a big mural: shots from the ground, shots from other buildings and rooftops, shots from the crane and the final shot. If you get decent photos from all these angles, you will come back home with a smile on your face… I missed Luka’s final photo, by the way, as he finished his work on Monday.

Alexey Luka. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Once we had arrived to Urvanity’s headquarters I started to check all the artwork that galleries like Montana, SC, Ink and Movement, Stolen Space, Fousion, Plastic Murs, Swinton & Grant, Station 16, Ruarts or Pretty Portal were exhibiting. I liked to see some personal faves like Enric Sant, Isaac Cordal, Sixe, SAN, Herakut, Deih, Hyuro, She One, Dilka Bear, Kofie, Jaune, L’Atlas, Stikki Peaches, Anna Taratiel or Guy Denning, having in mind that you don’t always have the chance to admire all these people’s work in one place at the same time. I also enjoyed to discover other great artists that were kind of new for me like Gregory Watin, Marc C. Woehr, Solomostry, Spazuk, Jaime Molina or Morik Marat.

I also spoke with some of the gallerists who were quite happy about the sales and the whole experience in general. Okuda almost did a sold out, Taratiel sold her bigger piece for Durán gallery, veteran Henry Chalfant and Enric Sant were also selling for Adda & Taxie. Vicente, from Plastic Murs, was much happier with the sales this year than he was in 2017 after seeing how Deih and, above all, Vinz had been successful during the fair. Dilka Bear for Fousion gallery also saw how some of her works were going to some collector’s homes.

Jana & JS. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

It was also interesting for me to know that Kofie ‘papers’ in Swinton & Grant had been sold even before than the fair officially started. Classic names of the scene like Gripface, Stikki Peaches, GR170 or Belin also sold in this year edition. On the opposite hand, Olivier, from Vroom & Varossieau, which exhibited one of the most powerful group of artists in the fair, told me that his sales had been better last year, maybe because of his high prices. As we say in Spain: ‘nunca llueve a gusto de todos’ (something like: not everyone likes when it rains).

I spent my last minutes at COAM trying to find Sergio, Juncal and Victoria from Urvanity’s team without success, as I wanted to say bye and thank them for the treat that they gave to us during the whole weekend. I really like when you get the chance of meeting personally people that you have spoken with by email and that you have interacted with on the social media, as it happened this time with Sergio and Victoria.

Okuda. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

So, this was it. We couldn’t leave Madrid without having a couple (a couple…yeah, right…) of vermouths with some old time friends and colleagues, feeling sad because of the ones that we missed and thinking about all the great moments and experiences that we had lived during the weekend.

Thanks A LOT to all of you who we spent some time with during those 3 crazy days, specially to Sergio, Juncal and Victoria, Miriam for sharing her home with us, Guille, Diana & Rocío for being there as always, Lara, Soledad and Rebekah, at Espacio SOLO, for being such great hosts and, of course, Audrey García for breathing and existing. ‘til next time Madrid…

Laurence Valliéres. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Laurence Valliéres. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Jaune. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Daniel Muñoz AKA SAN. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Guy Denning. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Augustin Kofie. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Herakut. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Hyuro. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Spok. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Henry Chalfant. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Isaac Cordal. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

JAZ. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Stikki Peaches. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

Deih. Urvanity Art 2018. Madrid, Spain. February 2018. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

URVANITY ART MADRID 2018

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12 Finalist Artists Announced for Contorno Urbano Mural in Barcelona

12 Finalist Artists Announced for Contorno Urbano Mural in Barcelona

Almost 300 artists and collectives from around the world (42 countries) have entered the 2018 Contorno Urbano competition for this wall/residency/7000€ prize in Barcelona! It is astounding how many high caliber artists are at work today in cities everywhere, bringing innovative new techniques and unique perspectives to public space like never before.

After reviewing all applications and submitted materials during a process begun this summer, today we are excited to announce that this list has been narrowed to just 12 finalists. Next month their names will go to the final stage of selection in Barcelona with esteemed co-jurors from organizers and creators in the areas of art academia, mural art, public art, and Street Art to narrow the list to one.

The 12 premiere finalists for the Mural de la Salut in Sant Feliu de Llobregat (Barcelona, Spain) are:

Axel Void
Borondo
Colectivo Licuado
David de la Mano
Escif
Guido Van Helten
Hyuro
Innerfields
Millo
Otecki
Sabotaje al Montaje
San

Congratulations to each artist! It wasn’t an easy task for the pre-selection committee to decide the best from 300, but your work rose to the top 4% of the applications according to the selection criteria.

#MuralSalut: Finalistas – Finalists from Contorno Urbano on Vimeo.

Among the considerations for selection were academic studies, experience and history creating murals in public space, previous internships or residencies, and suitability of artwork style to the central purpose of this 400 square meter mural.

Each of the 12 finalists will be asked to submit a sketch and a written proposal.

The final stage of the selection will be on November 15th and 16th, with the following professionals travelling to Sant Feliu de Llobregat:

Monica Campana (Cofounder of Living Walls and project manager for the urban art exhibition Open Source),
Fernando Figueroa (PHD in History of Art and independent researcher specialized in graffiti and urban art),
Esteban Marin (President of Contorno Urbano and mural artist),
Jaime Rojo (co-founder of Brooklyn Street Art and curator), and
Veronica Werckmeister (painter and muralist, curator).

The mural will commemorate the neighborhood’s fight 30 years ago to have this public square created for the neighbors instead of building a gas station. After meeting with the Association La Salut and the neighbors who live in the area, members of the jury will review previous artworks and experience of the 12 finalists to help them to select the artist who is best suited for painting the mural.

The winner will receive an artistic residence beginning in Spring 2018 and will receive a 7000€ prize. The wall will be painted after an artistic residency in order for the artist to become acquainted with the historic context of the project and the city itself.

The project is a collaboration between the municipality (Ajuntament) of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Fundacion Contorno Urbano and Kaligrafics.

Kaligrafics: Founded in 1999, it’s the oldest non-profit organization dedicated to graffiti and street art in Cataluña, and a significant record of experience in Spain.

Contorno Urbano: The first Foundation in Spain to be fully dedicated to street art and graffiti. The team has over 10 years’ experience organizing murals and urban art dissemination locally and internationally.


Following in no particular order are the 12 finalists:

Guido Van Helten / United Kingdom

Guido Van Helten for Nashville Walls Project. Nashville, TN. June 2017. (photo © Eric E Johnson)

Borondo / Spain

Borondo for Urban Nation this spring (UN) in the Tegel section of Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Escif / Spain

Escif. Living Walls Atlanta. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Daniel “SAN” Muñoz / Spain

Daniel Muñoz. The curtain ( 983 followers). The Highlands, Scotland. (photo © courtesy of the artist)

Axel Void / USA

Axel Void. Los Muros Hablan. El Barrio/Spanish Harlem. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hyuro / Spain

Hyuro. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Colectivo Licuado / Uruguay

Colectivo Licuado. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © courtesy of Colectivo Licuado)

Millo / Italy

Millo in Kiev for Mural Social Club Festival/NGO Sky Art Foundation. (photo © Maksim Belousov)

Innerfields / Germany

Innerfields for ArtUnitedUs in Kiev, Ukraine. (photo © @dronarium)

David De La Mano / Spain

David De La Mano. Urban Nation Musuem For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sabotaje Al Montaje / Spain

Sabotaje Al Montaje. Los Alcazares. Murcia, Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Otecki / Poland

Otecki. Urban Forms. Lodz, Poland. (photo © Courtesy Urban Forms)

 

 

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Evan Pricco Curates “What In The World” at Urban Nation in Berlin

Evan Pricco Curates “What In The World” at Urban Nation in Berlin

“The graffiti and Street Art movements – they have all these tentacles and they can be non-linear.”


A new exhibition in Berlin’s neighborhood of Schöneberg epitomizes one of the central schisms that has vibrated through Street Art and graffiti for years: the question of where to draw boundaries between these two scenes. Each may have been born in the margins of society but are now evermore commingled. Debates aside, everyone agrees that once in the gallery space, street become fine art after all.

Erosie on the left with Grotesk’s Juxtapoz News Stand on the right. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As Editor-in-Chief of the San Francisco based art magazine Juxtapoz and curator of this “What in the World” show at Urban Nation’s project space, Evan Pricco is well aware of the landmines that can explode when one is negotiating the terminologies and practices of sundry sub-cultural art manifestations that have bubbled to the surface in the last decades and which now often melt with one another inextricably.

“The graffiti and Street Art movements – they have all these tentacles and they can be non-linear,” Evan says as we walk down a subterranean parking ramp to see a low, long outdoor mural by Sweden’s EKTA; an abstract series of roughly square patches that closely emulate the sewn panels he has suspended from the ceiling inside the gallery.

Speaking of the tentacles, he continues, “It can be starting points to end points – it can be end points to starting points. There are all of these different cultures that grew out of that 1970s-80s set of counter-culture art movements.”

Hyuro. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think the people that I really wanted in this show are kind of on the periphery of that. They clearly dip their toe into those movements, are clearly influenced by them. Their practice doesn’t necessarily fit in with what is going on in Street Art and graffiti but also its informed by it.”

To introduce a new crop of artists to Urban Nation that haven’t been shown here yet, Pricco choses some of Europes street/mural/conceptual artists who emphasize color and mood, an expansionist approach that he welcomes at the magazine as well. Not surprisingly, the range reflects some of the same interests you’ll find flipping through the influential art publication; old school graffiti, commercial illustration, comic book history, abstract fine art, political art, some lowbrow, some conceptual. There is even Grotesk’s newsstand, the actual one that he designed and constructed with Juxtapoz that sat in Times Square in October 2015.

Erosie on the left with Grotesk’s Juxtapoz News Stand on the right. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Primarily from Europe and raised in the hothouse of the 1990s epic graffiti scenes that enthralled youth in many EU big cities, this group of 7 artists each has moved their practice forward – which may lose them some street cred and gather new audiences.

Included are Berlin’s Daan Botlek, Sweden’s EKTA, Ermsy from France, Erosie from the Netherlands, Hyuro from Spain, Serge Lowrider from Switzerland and Zio Ziegler from the US. If you speak to any of them, you may find the commonality is the freedom they actively give themselves to pursue an autonomous artistic route not easily categorized.

Erosie at work on his piece. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lowrider is clearly in love with the letter-form, as is the graffiti tradition, but he steers sharply toward the calligraphic practices of crisp sign-painting and inverting the pleasantly banal messaging of advertising from an earlier era. Perhaps the tight line work overlaps with tattoo and skater culture, two creative brethren frequently in the mix in graffiti and Street Art scenes.

Hyuro uses a figurative symbolism heavy with metaphor and a color palette that is too understated for the flashy graphics that many associate with today’s mural festivals, yet she’s built a dedicated following among Street Art fans who admire her poke-you-in-the-eye activist streak. Daan Botleks’ figures wander and cavort amidst an abstractedly shaped world calling to mind the shading of early graffiti and the volumizing pointillism of Seurat after some wine.

 

Daan Botlek at work on his piece. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Painter Jeroen Erosie emphatically will tell you that he was in love with graffiti when he first did it on the streets as a teenager – and for many years afterwards. But he says he ultimately bristled at a scene that had once symbolized freedom to him but had become too rigid and even oppressive in its rules about how aesthetics should be practiced by people – if they were to earn respect within the clan.

At Saturday nights opening along Bülowstrasse with the front doors open to the busy street and with the sound of the elevated train swooshing by overhead, Erosie explained with a gleeful certainty his process of deconstruction that led him to this point. “I removed one of the pillars of graffiti from my work and I liked the result, the change. So I started to remove more pillars, one by one,” he says, describing the evolution that transformed his letter forms and colors into these simplified and bold bi-color icons that may call to mind Matisse’s cut outs more than graffiti bubble-tags, but you’ll easily draw the correlation if you try.

Daan Botlek. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Project M series of exhibitions over the past three years with Urban Nation, of which this is the 12th, have featured curators and artists from many backgrounds, disciplines, and geographies as well. The myriad styles shown have included sculpture, stencil, wheat paste, collage, calligraphy, illustration, screen-printing, decoupage, aerosol, oil painting, and even acrylic brush. It has been a carefully guided selection of graffiti/Street Art/urban art/fine art across the 12 shows; all presented respectfully cheek to jowl, side by side – happily for some, uncomfortably for others.

The ultimate success of the Project M series, initiated by UN Artistic Director Yasha Young, is evident in just how far open it has flung the doors of expectation to the museum itself. When the house opens in four months it will be a reflection to some extent 140 or so artists who pushed open those doors with variety of styles emblematic of this moment – converging into something called Urban Contemporary.

Daan Botlek and Ekta. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“What in the World” indeed: this show is in perfect alignment with the others in its wanton plumbing of the genres.

“I was trying to find people that are not part of the regular circuit – and I don’t mean that in a negative way but I mean there is kind of a regular circuit of muralism and Street Art right now – but I was looking for people who are really sort of on that periphery,” Pricco says. “Also because they are coming from these different parts of Europe, which to me sort of represents Juxtpoz’ reach, and they all kind of know each other but they’ve never really met – they all kind of bounce off of each other.”

Ekta. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: This grouping sounds anathema to the loyalty that is often demanded by these scenes – particularly the various graffiti scenes in cities around the world. You are describing an artistic practice that has a sort of casual relationship to that scene.

Evan Pricco: Right. And I think all of these artists have these graffiti histories but they weren’t completely satisfied with that kind of moniker or label. So it is slightly expanding out now. And then there’s something about them that makes me think of crafts, especially with Serge who is more of a sign-painter. I felt that all of these people approached their work in a way that felt very craft-oriented to me, and I really appreciated that. That’s kind of what I wanted to show too.

Ekta. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Each of these artists appears to have a certain familiarity with the art world that is outside a more strict definition of street culture – graffiti and Street Art and their tributaries. Would you say that you could see a certain development of personal style in this collection of primarily European artists that might be due to exposure to formal art history or other cultural influences?

Evan Pricco: Good question, and that could be the case for a few of the artists in the show, but I think the characteristics of each artist in the show is more of a result of the world getting smaller and influences and boundaries just blurring. You can see it Ermsy’s pop-culture mash-ups, or Erosie’s exploration of lettering and color; it’s not really about one place anymore but a larger dialogue of how far the work reaches now than ever before.

Erosie and I were having this conversation this morning about this, this idea of access and influences being so widespread. And that is exactly what I wanted to do. “What In the World” is sort of a nod to not really having to have boundaries, or a proper definition, but a feeling that something is happening. Its not Street Art, its not graffiti, but its this new wave that is looking out, looking in, and finding new avenues to share and make work.

Ermsie. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: From comic books to politics to activism to abstract to sign painting, this show spans the Hi-Low terrain that Juxtapoz often seeks to embrace in many ways.  Is it difficult to find common threads or narratives when countenancing such variety?

Evan Pricco: We have been so fortunate with the magazine that we have been able to expand the content in the last few years, and the threads are starting to connect solely based on the idea that the creative life is what you make of it. There may not be a direct connection between Serge Lowrider and Mark Ryden, but there is a connection in the idea of craftsmanship and skill and how one goes about applying that skill in the art world. That is always wanted I wanted to help bring to Juxtapoz – this idea that variety in the art world is healthy and finds its own connections just in the fact that it exists and is being made.

Ermsie at work on his indoor piece. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Many of these names are not household names, though some have ardent fans within more narrow channels of influence. What role does a curator play by introducing these artworks/artists to a new audience and what connections would you like a viewer to make?

Evan Pricco: First and foremost, these are some of my absolute favorite artists making work right now. I do have the advantage of traveling a lot and meeting different people and seeing their process, but I really wanted to bring together a group that I hadn’t personally met but admired and communicated with from afar.

Ermsie. Detail. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

I was thinking about this when I walked by Hyuro’s wall this morning. Her work is incredibly strong, and it has this really fascinating way of being a story and narrative from wall to wall while remaining fresh and really site-specific. Her work here just blew me away; its so subtle, has this really unique almost anonymous quality to it, but has a ton of thought and heart in it.

Really it would be great if the audience sees this and finds her other work, and starts seeing this really beautiful story emerging, these powerful political, social and economic commentaries. So really, I want that. I want this to be a gateway of looking at work and artists and then jumping into their really fantastically complex careers.

Serge Lowrider at work on his indoor piece. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Urban Nation has invited curators from around the world and Berlin during these 12 “Project M” shows, each with a take on what “art in the streets” is, how it has evolved, and how it is affecting contemporary art. What makes this show stand out?
Evan Pricco: I really do think what makes it stand out is that it represents all the things Juxtapoz stands for; Opening up an audience to something new and different. I think there is an aesthetic that the Project M shows have had, which I like, but I didn’t want to repeat what everyone had done before.

This is most definitely a Juxtapoz show; I mean our damned Newsstand that Grotesk designed is right in the middle of the space. But that is like this “representation” of the print mag, and all the walls around it are the avenues the magazine can take you; sign painting, textiles, graffiti, abstraction, conceptual art, murals, comics, politics. … So maybe in that way, the fact that the magazine is 23 years old and has covered such a big history of Lowbrow, Graffiti and other forms of art, this is a nice encapsulation of the next wave and generation.

Serge Lowrider at work on his indoor piece. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Serge Lowrider at work on his indoor piece. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zio Ziegler. What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Evan Pricco. Curator of What In The World PM/12. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. Berlin, May 19, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


“What In the World: The Juxtapoz Edition” presented by Urban Nation will be on display through June, 2017. 


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Hyuro’s BreastFeeding Mural is Not Provocative in Barcelona

Hyuro’s BreastFeeding Mural is Not Provocative in Barcelona

The Spanish Street Artist Hyuro again features the uncovered breast of a female form in her public mural.

The news here in Barcelona is that it is not news.

brooklyn-street-art-hyuro-lluis-olive-bulbena-transit-walls-barcelona-09-2016-web-2

Hyuro. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Four years ago at a mural festival in Atlanta, Georgia the Argentinian artist was embroiled in a local “controversy” for painting a mural that depicted the nude female form. The monochromatic film-frame presentation across a long wall showed the incremental metaphorical shedding of wolves clothing to that of a human, then back to a wolf – or something like that. It’s open to your interpretation and not painstakingly explained by the artist, as is often the case.

Most viewers didn’t find it to be an eroticized presentation and some thought it had religious undertones actually. Alexandra Parrish, a principal organizer of the mural explained to the Huffington Post at that time that it was “a portrait of transformation, the mural reflects the teachings of the church.

brooklyn-street-art-hyuro-lluis-olive-bulbena-transit-walls-barcelona-09-2016-web-3

Hyuro. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Regardless, the high-minded Atlantans who rallied to have that painting destroyed could only see that the mural presented naked lady parts parading in public, which could potentially light loins afire. Presumably none of those people were in attendance with more than 50,000 Beyonce fans this September at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome, since it was essentially two hours of women strutting in high heels and highly revealing, even erotically inspired, costumes across enormous screens for everyone in attendance, including children, to ogle.

Here in Barcelona Hyuro doesn’t report any negative commentary coming her way for this mural painted with BCN Transit Walls in conjunction with La Mercè, Barcelona’s largest cultural, musical arts and communities festival. Named after the Virgin of Grace (Mare de Déu de la Mercè), the patron saint of the Archdiocese of Barcelona, you may think that the vision of a bared breast may cause a firestorm here.

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Hyuro. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Like many of her public pieces the Hyuro’s mural is a series of frames that collectively can create a sense of motion when viewed in quick succession. This series depicts a woman opening her garments to expose her breast and give it to her nursing infant.

These are not erotic images but in a society that again is increasingly equating women’s worth with their their physical appearance and sexual availability, devaluing their intellects, and otherwise objectifying and sexualizing them in media and advertising imagery, a simple loving and nurturing act like this can be perversely, stunningly, misinterpreted.

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Hyuro. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

We often say that Street Art and Public Art are a mirror; a reflection of a society back to itself. Our extensive experience observing art in the streets has taught us that certain images are allowed by the greater culture to stay up while others are destroyed quickly. It is a fair measuring device for the opinions, mores, political leanings, and popular tastes of a locality.

Spanish passersby at this transit hub do not appear to find objection with this mural, but Hyuro might have to think twice about a mural like this in many American cities, where reports of shaming and bullying of breastfeeding mothers are still common.

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Hyuro. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Not surprisingly perhaps, the candidate for the highest office in the US this year whom has not been a mother reportedly told an attorney that she was “disgusting” for requesting a break to breast-pump milk for her baby. She also may have been “nasty“.

Whether the female form is entirely sexualized in your mind or not, for the record, US federal law permits breastfeeding in any public area where you happen to be when your baby gets hungry and laws in cities like New York actually permit women to be topless in public at any time. It may take a while for popular tastes in art to reflect this in certain areas, and when it comes to legal mural festivals visiting artists are always wise to consider the audience.

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Hyuro. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

 


 

Our sincere thanks to photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena for sharing his images with BSA readers.

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“ALIVE” at Nuart 2016: Spy, Robert Montgomery, Hyuro, Add Fuel and EVOL

“ALIVE” at Nuart 2016: Spy, Robert Montgomery, Hyuro, Add Fuel and EVOL

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For the ninth straight year, BSA brings Nuart to our readers – artists, academics, collectors, instructors, curators, fanboys /girls, photographers, organizers, all. Not sure who else has been covering this international Street-Art themed indoor/outdoor festival and forum as early and continuously as we have, but we’re happy to say that this Norwegian pocket of public art continues to hold its own among a suddenly bloated field of new festivals and events globally.

Many of the new murals and installations are complete or nearing completion, the panels and presentations at NUART PLUS are just ending, the new Nuart Gallery has opened with sales of Jeff Gillette’s new print and other fine art works, and the barbs and laughs of Fight Night has already begun to recede in the blurry haze.

Tonight the opening of Tou Scene unveils the new works by invited artists and participants of Nuart 2016 to celebrate their work and contributions to the conversations on the street and chart many of their routes into the fields of contemporary art and academia – or at least getting them more hits on social media.

Here are a few of the artists at work whom we haven’t gotten to in previous posts this week.

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SPY “ALIVE” at work on his mural for NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

The Spanish artist SPY returns for a second facade this year at Nuart, this one playing off of its particular physical proximity to a reflective surface. Without saying so, it says that the ongoing examination and experimentation of public dialog with art and artists is very much in play today.

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Robert Montgomery ad takeover in Stavanger. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

London based conceptual wordsmith Robert Montgomery brings a poetic tenor to the Street Art conversation at Nuart with a couple of bus stop takeovers and the façade of new construction. Cryptically chosen passages resonate gently according to your interpretation: “The purpose of art is to touch the hearts of strangers without the trouble of having to meet them,” he has been quoted as saying. Wish we could have been there to hear Carlo McCormick speaking about Montgomery’s work and its relationship to the Situationists.

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Robert Montgomery ad takeover in Stavanger. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Robert Montgomery at work on his mural for NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Robert Montgomery. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Add Fuel sorting out his stencil for his mural at NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Add Fuel rips off the dull beige exterior of this building to reveal a stunningly decorative tiled pattern beneath. Actually, here he is at work on his mural for NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Add Fuel. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Hyuro at work on her mural for NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Hyuro steps back to assess her progress. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Hyuro at work on his mural for NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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Hyuro at work on his mural for NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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EVOL returns to Nuart a second time to inspect buildings he left around town previously and to do some new construction. Very exciting to see what he has in store for the Tou Scene exhibition opening this evening after the final NUART Plus panels are completed. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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EVOL. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

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EVOL. NUART 2016. Stavanger, Norway. September 2016. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 

We wish to extend our most heartfelt thank you to our friend Tor for sharing his photos with us in exclusive for this year’s coverage of NUART 2016.

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Never Crew: “Inhuman Barriers” and Cities Of Hope

Never Crew: “Inhuman Barriers” and Cities Of Hope

Manchester in UK hosted a street art convention in May called “Cities of Hope” and 10 international artists worked on pieces that often addressed issues of social justice. Swiss duo Christian Rebecchi and Pablo Togni, who comprise Nevercrew, addressed the theme of immigration and there piece gives a sense of the seemingly impossible odds that many people face when attempting to escape war and persecution in search of a refuge.

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Never Crew. Inhuman Barriers. Manchester Cities Of Hope. Manchester, UK. June 2016. (photo © courtesy of Never Crew)

“We are extremely glad to have been part of this project based on social justice issues and so strongly connected to the city and to its people,” the guys say in reference to the experience painting “Inhuman Barriers.” The two worked in support of the local solidarity group WASP (Women Asylum Seekers Together).

Additional participants in Cities of Hope include Axel Void, C215, Case Maclaim, Faith47, Phlegm, Martin Whatson, Pichi&Avo, Hyuro, and Dale Grimshaw.

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Never Crew. Inhuman Barriers. Manchester Cities Of Hope. Manchester, UK. June 2016. (photo © courtesy of Never Crew)

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Never Crew. Inhuman Barriers. Manchester Cities Of Hope. Manchester, UK. June 2016. (photo © courtesy of Never Crew)

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Valencia Dispatch: Illustrators, Thinkers, and Riddles

Valencia Dispatch: Illustrators, Thinkers, and Riddles

Thought provoking, curious, underplayed. There is a certain circumspect quality to the Street Art scene in this seaside city in Spain that ranks third in population but which may be vying for the Street Art title that once was held securely by Barcelona.

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Julia Lool (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Admittedly it is an unthankable task to try to characterize the urban art of any city, but the eclectic street works like those found in Valencia’s neighborhoods like El Carmen, with its peculiar configurations of streets and plazas and little in-between places, are often a trifle more cerebral in their culmination. With challenging riddles and allegories you’ll find yourself studiously unpacking meanings and subtext with these often small and midsize works that call to you, rather than scream.

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Julia Lool (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Yes, Valencia inherited the grafiteros romance and hip-hop aerosol aesthetic in the late 20th century, as many cities around the globe did, and you can see ample evidence of those fame and style influences here as well. However there is an almost Lo-fi illustrator vibe in Valencia and many figurative pieces are singular, influenced by cartoons and modernly ironic illustration styles, from deadpan dry in black, grey, and white to fully realistic and photorealist aerosol portraits.

It is not unusual for works to have a message or point of view, where symbols stand in for sentiments and metaphors abound. The “cute” quotient may also be lower than many cities, as is the need to fill in a background to occupy space. In a genre that can get very cluttered, with pieces chock-a-block and smashing into one another with no discernable through-thread, Valencia looks like it can give artists the space, and artists are using that space effectively.

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Julia Lool (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Escif and Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Hyuro (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Deih (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Deih (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Blu (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Xelon (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Nebbia . Ion (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Julieta XLF (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Julieta XLF (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Julieta . Lolo (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Sarench (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Sarench (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Sair (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Erica Il Cane (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Erica Il Cane (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Erica Il Cane (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Disneylexya (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Cere (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Flug (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

 

Our sincere thanks to BSA Contributor Lluis Olive Bulbena for sharing his photos exclusively with BSA readers.

See also ESCIF Reflects Us Back With a Dry Humor in Valencia

 

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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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Atlanta Struggles With Legacy of Two Destroyed Murals and New Regulation

Atlanta Struggles With Legacy of Two Destroyed Murals and New Regulation

Last week on our BSA Film Friday feature we brought you the story of two murals in Atlanta that were destroyed by the community because certain elements of each offended them. The documentary “A Tale of Two Murals” by Public Broadcasting Atlanta and PBS, directed by Trevor Keller, faithfully followed the story that began in 2012 during the Atlanta Living Walls festival. This week we bring you a new essay on the occasion of a new ordinance proposed by the City of Atlanta to regulate the process of reviewing and approving these murals going forward. A former intern and Communications Director of Living Walls, Alexandra Parrish submitted this essay to BSA to give her opinion and perspective on the events during the last two years and what she believes will be the impact of new pending legislation. 

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A brigade of supporters washing the buff off of Roti’s mural in Atlanta (image courtesy and © of Trevor Keller and PBA from “A Tale of Two Murals”)

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By Alexandra Parrish

In the past five years, Atlanta has shaped up to be a veritable hub of the arts. Within this period, the city has witnessed a cultural renaissance thanks to a myriad of impassioned arts organizations and creative individuals. It should be mentioned that the largess of these initiatives came not from city officials, but rather propelled from the ground-up. Of those that have garnered international acclaim is Living Walls, the non-profit arts organization responsible for the installation of over one hundred murals across city limits.

As it stands today, Living Walls, among several other arts organizations and practicing artists are under attack.

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A brigade of supporters washing the buff off of Roti’s mural in Atlanta (image courtesy and © of Trevor Keller and PBA from “A Tale of Two Murals”)

Let’s back track for a minute. Five years ago, Living Walls hosted the first street art conference in Atlanta, inviting over twenty artists from around the globe and their own backyard to complete a series of murals. The impetus behind the event was to garner discussion about public space in Atlanta that seemed overpowered by the freeways that divided neighborhoods, overwhelmed by billboards and generally ignored by the city. Although street art could not solve these problems, it got people talking. Due to the success of the first event, the once deemed “scrappy” organization continued, and murals began to display across the city as the annual conference came and went.

Along the way, Living Walls made a few mistakes. First, the organization was into the third year of operation when the city noted that despite approval by private property owners, every mural that Living Walls was responsible for were done so illegally. The city had in place an ordinance that required the approval of public art from three different city agencies in order to determine if the work was signage. By that time, Living Walls began to seek non-profit status, and in an effort to follow to the law at hand, they obliged to the arduous process of approval. From then on, Living Walls staff made the effort so that every mural was subjected to this procedure.

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A detail of Roti’s mural in Atlanta (image © Google  from “A Tale of Two Murals”)

Second, one mural completed during the 2012 edition sparked controversy. Hyuro, a renowned Spanish artist, completed a mural of a woman in a series of undress in the neighborhood of Chosewood Park. The nudity offended some people; some even deemed the work ‘pornographic.’ When the city was notified, the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA) remarked that the work that they approved had, in fact, not made it on the wall: the original sketch by the artist depicted a number of folding chairs. The controversial work was ultimately buffed since it did not appropriately follow procedure.

The third mistake wasn’t exactly a mistake on paper. In 2012, on the tail end of the Hyuro controversy, the French artist Roti painted another expansive mural in the corridor of the Pittsburgh neighborhood. Living Walls, and the artist, followed procedure: the sketch (which made it on the wall, this time) was presented to three departments and approved. About a month after the mural was finished, controversy stirred again. Unfortunately, this is where the story begins.

I believe it’s important that I offer full disclosure: I am the former Communications Director of Living Walls. I started working with the organization back in 2011 as an intern, and continued until I eventually moved from Atlanta in 2013. I am also the partner of Roti, whom I met during his stay in Atlanta two years ago. I’ve witnessed these events unravel before me, and I’ve felt powerless as to how to react. Today I feel the inclination to respond to these events, because with many miles between me and Atlanta and everything that is about to happen, I finally understand.

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Walking past Roti’s mural in Atlanta (image courtesy and © of Trevor Keller and PBA from “A Tale of Two Murals”)

We were in New York City when Roti and I heard the news: Camille Love, Executive Director of the OCA notified Monica Campana, Living Wall’s own Executive Director, that Roti’s mural had to be buffed. No explanation was given initially, but it would only take a matter of hours until we learned that several community members had objected to what they perceived as the murals “demonic” imagery. While Campana rightly justified that the city had approved the content and refused to buff the wall, about six men (including a former congressmen who I still can’t believe held office after watching this video) decided to do it for her – illegally. Despite their attempts, the water-based paint that haphazardly covered Roti’s mural stood no chance. In a matter of hours, over 100 people gathered with soap, water and sponges. Along with the help Department of Transportation, they managed to salvage the mural.

Roti and I were completely floored by the chain of events. I think for any street artist who travels the world painting murals understands that once they’ve done their work, it no longer belongs to them. It belongs to the people who have to see it every day, the communities of which it is in. I urged Roti to issue a statement about his work, but he refused to make any concessions. It didn’t belong to him anymore. We were just witnesses to the theater underway.

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Hyuro’s mural in Atlanta (image courtesy and © of Trevor Keller and PBA from “A Tale of Two Murals”)

When I returned to Atlanta, the saga of Roti’s mural continued. Two council members from the area hosted a press conference to “discuss a resolution” with concerned parties. Conspicuously, Living Walls was not invited, nor anyone else who was in favor of the work. Word travelled fast and as soon as the cameras turned on, a crowd had gathered just opposite Roti’s mural. Those in front of the camera stood in their opposition to the mural, while those standing behind the camera maintained their support. The pundits spoke their grievances and the cameras were turned off. The hostility simmered to a boil once many from the community who believed in the work felt slighted, and seeking the opportunity to discuss their differences, were immediately shot down. I saw fingers pointed, voices raised and accusations slung. It was the most unfortunate event I have ever witnessed, and I will never forget.

Roti’s mural was buffed grey soon thereafter. Those council members who so vigorously opposed Roti’s mural assembled a committee that was determined to draft legislation so that an event like this would never happen again. In the spring of this year, they finally presented the legislation. Once the arts community caught wind of the initial proposal, valid issues were raised. Of the most paramount concern was that this ordinance would give city officials the right to make aesthetic decisions about private property, and anyone with knowledge of American civics can understand that this is a clear encroachment on first amendment rights. The ordinance, which was quickly ostracized by many Atlantans (not only in the arts), was shelved up until last week when the city council decided to take it up again to vote for approval.

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A neighborhood meeting about the fate of Hyuro’s mural in Atlanta (image courtesy and © of Trevor Keller and PBA from “A Tale of Two Murals”)

This brings us where we are today, and where my long-winded explanation of this series of events will come to a close, but only after I offer my consideration of this entire situation. I understand the sentiment shared by those community members who did not approve of Hyuro’s and Roti’s murals is exacted because of just that: they were not notified, so therefore they weren’t given the chance to say yay or nay until the work was already up. I could get into specifics and blame the council members for this point (they represent these communities, and had approved of the work), but I’ll leave that aside. The point is, these people felt disenfranchised by the artwork. But can a hefty bureaucratic measure resolve this issue? Simple answer: no.

That brings me to another concern. The legislation requires a lot of work on behalf of the artist and private property owner. I’ll give the city some credit where it’s due that they are trying to “streamline” the process by funneling all the paperwork through one office, but the paperwork in itself still requires too much red tape over the freedom of expression. I would even dare to suggest that it would deter individuals (or smaller organizations than Living Walls) from making so much as an attempt to follow this draconian procedure. In other words: this legislation stifles creativity.

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Hyuro’s mural in Atlanta (image courtesy and © of Trevor Keller and PBA from “A Tale of Two Murals”)

This civic creativity is what has put Atlanta on the map in terms of the arts and culture. It came from the porches, bars and backyards. These informal networks, which are made on a daily basis, built the cultural capital of Atlanta. And it is precisely because they had the freedom to do so. That is why I will go so far to claim that this legislation is an attack on the arts in Atlanta, because if it is passed, it will eventually alter this practice. If murals are accountable to time-consuming subjugation, so is the imagination of these artists.

I may no longer live in Atlanta, but the city is still part of my identity. I’ve traveled to different places around the world and have had the pleasure of meeting many people who knew of Atlanta, not only because it hosted the Olympics back in 1996, but also because of it’s flourishing arts scene. If the city takes this step to restrict artwork, they will undoubtedly place a constraint on the creative industry that has followed. Those “scrappy” organizations like Living Walls may fall short to the city’s demands, and others may never even surface.

For the sake of creativity, let it be.

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Hyuro’s mural in Atlanta (image courtesy and © of Trevor Keller and PBA from “A Tale of Two Murals”)

An addendum:

*After a public meeting this week with the committee spearheading the legislation, councilmember Joyce Shepard has decided to take more time to review the proposed ordinance. Additionally, she suggested that perhaps arts and legal experts could offer further consultation. While I would like to dictate some optimism on behalf of this news, I find it politics at best. When initial proposal faced criticism from arts organizations and artists alike, city council attempted to thwart constructive input by rescheduling a public meeting nearly five times. This news echoes the habitual avoidance demonstrated by city council since the onset of the proposed legislature.

However, let us hope that the ostracism of the arts community by the city council in drafting this public art ordinance is subject for reversal. Perhaps, this time around city council will review these points made above, which sound loudly among all artists in Atlanta.

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To see the documentary “A Tale of Two Murals” in its entirety, please go to http://www.pba.org/programming/tale-two-murals/

Our thanks to Trevor Keller for the screenshots from the film used to illustrate Ms. Parrish’s essay.

 

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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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