Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. “AfroGrafiteiras” featuring Andrea Bak 2. Magda Cwik / Hotel 128 / Street Art City in France. Via After Hours Project 3. INDECLINE Presents: The Bird Box 4. INDECLINE Presents: Trumpster Fire 5. Mura Masa – Deal Wiv It with slowthai
BSA Special Feature: “AfroGrafiteiras” featuring Andrea Bak
AfroGrafiteiras is an urban art training project focused on the expression and promotion of the leading role of Afro-Brazilian women in activity since 2015.
Here in Episode 6 we get to see the bright mind of Andrea Bak as she talks about this Rio-based program that examines identity, society, tradition, and empowerment through the aerosol can.
Magda Cwik / Hotel 128 / Street Art City in France. Via After Hours Project
Check into the abandoned Hotel
128 in Lurcy-Lévis, France and you’ll find a stunning array of portals to
worlds customized by Street Artists. Here’s the latest one, Room 108, painted
by Magda Cwik.
INDECLINE Presents: The Bird Box
A quick commercial or not? Hacking the consumer system by re-cycling a new scooter craze into something useful for the homeless, who are now legion in LA? Either way it’s INDECLINE, who will literally tell you anything as long as you keep watching.
INDECLINE Presents: Trumpster Fire
You see the dumpster with Trump’s face on it, and you know what’s next. Thank you for completing the visual allegory that many have imagined.
Mura Masa – Deal Wiv It with slowthai
And now something new from the “No-Hope” generation. Back with his friend Slowthai, it’s a pop-locky-pock-marked-futility-fueled screed leading us into the weekend. Also, there is hope here.
You got furious at us sometimes this year. Or rather, you were mad at artists whose work pissed you off. Thanks for the emails though bro. We still love you of course sister.
Without a doubt the polarized atmosphere in social/economic/geopolitical matters worldwide in 2018 was increasingly reflected in the graffiti and Street Art pieces and projects that we wrote stories about. Loving it or hating it, often BSA readers were motivated to share the story on social media for discussion and to write directly to us to take issue, or even to chide us for “being political”.
Let’s be clear. Art has always been and will always be “political”. We tend to think that the artwork that we agree with is not political because it is expressing our values, opinions, and worldview.
So that’s why you propelled stories about a clandestine Trump cemetery installation by InDecline onto the list this year. That’s why Winston Tseng’s inflammatory campaign against a certain kind of Trump supporter on NYC trashcans proved to be so provocative and offensive to so many people, while others crowed support.
The topic of free speech under fire also attracted high interest for Fer Acala’s story of artists and rappers who took over a Spanish former prison to protest restrictive recent federal laws aimed at protest in that country.
But BSA readers also love the spectacle, the vast animated murals, the scintillating stories behind the art and the artist; the connection that communities and festivals create with art in the public sphere – or in abandoned factories, as it were. The biggest splash this year was the over-the-top creation of and the fiery destruction of an art sculpture at the Falles de València celebration in Spain by Street Artist Okuda. You loved the tantalizing images by Martha Cooper, and somehow everyone relishes the idea of building and constructing a large, colorful, inspiring piece of art and then lighting it on fire in the public square – propelling that story to the top of the BSA list in Top Stories in 2018
Box trucks are a favorite canvas for many graffiti writers in big cities and have become a right of passage for new artists who want the experience of painting on a smooth rectangular surface that becomes a rolling billboard through the streets advertising your name, making you truly “All City”.
When in French Polynesia a few weeks ago with the ONO’U festival, a number of artists were given the significant gift of a large truck or school/commuter bus on which to create a mural, a message, a bubble tag.
Together on the islands of Raiatea and Bora Bora there were about 10 of these long and low autobuses that became sudden celebrities in the sparsely travelled streets, debuted as some of them were in Raitea, when painted live at an all night party for the public.
The Painted Buses of Raiatea and Bora Bora. Continue reading HERE
Ajo Samaritans describe themselves and their mission on their website like this; “Samaritans are people of faith and conscience who are responding directly, practically, and passionately to the crisis at the US/ Mexico border. We are a diverse group of volunteers around Ajo that are united in our desire to relieve suffering among our brothers and sisters and to honor human dignity. Prompted by the mounting deaths among border crossers, we came together to provide food and water, and emergency medical assistance to people crossing the Sonoran Desert.”
Destroying Desert Water Bottles; Chip Thomas New Work in AJO, Arizona. Continue reading HERE
A current survey today from the streets in Copenhagen thanks to a couple of BSA fans and friends who share with readers their recent finds in one of the world’s happiest places, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report. Apparently it is also a good place for gay birds to come out of the closet.
With a storied history of graffiti bombing of the red trains that goes back many years, possibly generations, Copenhagen has long been a treasured destination for graffiti writers.
Now you will also find murals and installations illegally and legally by local and international Street artists – and the iconic full sides of buildings here are subtly transforming the public face of the city.
Copenhagen Diary: A Street Surevey of The Moment. Continue reading HERE
So INDECLINE picked a swell morning to debut their long-planned and complicated site-specific installation at this golf-course in New Jersey.
“INDECLINE felt is necessary to commemorate some of the victims,” they say. “The dates on the headstones correspond to some of the highlights of Trump’s first year in office.” You may remember some of these milestones on the tombstones, you may have to Google others.
The saddest death for us all year has been the civility and respect of Americans toward one another – as those hard working families who are just scraping by are being skillfully manipulated through sophisticated PR / media campaigns into thinking that they are the only real uber-patriots and to hate the wrong people. Most importantly they are fighting and voting against themselves without realizing it.
“Grave New World” Trump Cemetery. Continue reading HERE
Borondo. Utsira. Utsira, Norway. Summer 2018. (photo courtesy of the organizers)
Today we revisit Utsira, the tiny island in Norway that has hosted a few Street Artists over the last couple of years, like Ella & Pitr and Icy & Sot. This year the fine artist and Street Artist Gonzalo Borondo blended into the hills and the forest and the lapping waves, making his spirit dissipate into the community and into a boat.
“There’s a strong sense of community,” he says as he reflects on the metaphor he has chosen to represent his time here on an island of only 420 people, “There is a mutual support among citizens and a common feeling of enjoying the same unique condition.”
Borondo Finds Community on The Island of Utsira in Norway. Continue reading HERE
Equally gifted in the heavier handmade artisanal crafts of porcelain and ceramic as she is with aerosol, Nespoon did installations of both this month during the Emergence Festival in Sicily (Valverde + Catania. The seventh year of this international festival for public art, Nespoon shared the roster with American Gaia and Sicilian Ligama from March 10-26 creating works related to the city and its stories. In many respects these new works appear integral, interventions that belong there, may have been there a long time without you noticing; a sort of netting that holds the skin of the city together.
Nespoon Casts a Lace Net Across a Sicilian Wall. Continue reading HERE
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.
No Callarem. La Modelo Prision. Barcelona. Continue reading HERE
Highlighting collective efforts that advance events during war and the tales of heroism, butchery, resistance, intrigue, and subterfuge that are braided into historical retelling, three Italian Street Artists commemorated citizen resistance and a Nazi massacre in a lengthy mural for the Penneli Ribelli Festival this month in Bologna.
At the center of the story is the resistance by everyday Italians of various ages, genders, and social classes, a movement known as the Italian resistance and the Italian Partisans, or Partigiani. The icon of the festival is a wolf in honor of the Partisan who led the group, Mario Musolesi, whose nickname was “Lupo”, or “Wolf”.
NemO’s, Ericailcane and Andrea Casciu Ride a Tandem Resistance. Continue reading HERE
We knew that these two talented and powerful personalities would compliment each other stunningly and that’s why we encouraged them two years ago to do a doc. A short term one was the original plan. But the two hit it off so well and when you are looking at a five decade career like Ms. Cooper’s and you have the dogged determination to do her story justice, Ms. Miles tells us that even an hour and a half film feels like its just getting started.
Now “Martha” the movie is at a unique juncture in the project and YOU may be able to participate; Selina and the team are looking for any original footage you may want to show them – and it may be used in the documentary.
“Martha” The Movie. Selina Miles Most Ambitious Project To Date. Continue reading HERE
After 25 years writing graffiti, DavidL has found his own way of working. It’s funny because one of the inherent issues about graffiti and street art is visibility. All the trains, the bombing, the tagging…it’s all about being noticed, being every f-ing where. It has been like this since day one (Taki 183, Terror161, 1UP…you know how it works).
But for David it’s not like that anymore.
Maybe it’s a sign of the days that we are living with social media, communication 2.0, etcetera. It’s obvious that if you have certain skills managing all this and a little bit of talent, plus a pinch of good taste, you can reach a global audience and show your work to the entire world even when you are concentrating the majority of your creations in a secret location.
DavidL, Through The Lens of Fer Alcala. Continue reading HERE
This week we have a selection of the UPEART festivals’ two previous editions of murals – which we were lucky to see this week after driving across the country in an old VW Bora.
We hit 8 cities and drove along the border with Russia through some of the most picturesque forests and farmlands that you’ll likely see just to collect images of the murals that this Finnish mural festival has produced with close consultation with Fins in these neighborhoods. A logistical challenge to accomplish, we marvel at how this widespread program is achieved – undoubtedly due to the passion of director Jorgos Fanaris and his insatiable curiosity for discovering talents and giving them a platform for expression.
When I was asked how to name the exhibition few weeks ago, I merged the words “vandalism“ and “Wandel“ (the German word for “Change“). That’s how Wandelism (or Changeism) was born and how it started transforming itself into an exhibition, which is truly accepting, embracing and living CHANGE.
On the grounds of a former car repair shop that is soon to be demolished, one can literally feel the constant movement and transformation of the urban fabric we all live in. Everything changes. Constantly. Change is evolution. Change is progress. Change is also the DNA of the art represented in the Wandelism show.
“Wandelism” Brings Wild Change For One Week in Berlin. Continue reading HERE
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.
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.
“At the end of the day when one is towing the line of being provocative, you may cross that line in some people’s mind but I think if one is not trying to find that line then the work is not going to make any impact”.
Winston Tseng has probably been crossing that line, pissing off some people and making others laugh for a few years now. He appears to consider it an honor, and possibly a responsibility. Relatively new on the Street Art scene the commercial artist and art director has also created his 2-D characters on canvasses and skate decks that depict the abridged characteristics of a typecast to play with the emotions and opinions of passersby.
Winston Tseng: Street Provocatour Brings “Trash” Campaing to NYC. Continue reading HERE
Yes, Street Art is ephemeral, but OKUDA San Miguel just set it on fire!
During the annual Falles de València celebration, it’s normal for artworks to be destroyed publicly in about 500 locations throughout the city and in surrounding towns. Part of a spring tradition for València, Spain monuments (falles) are burned in a celebration that includes parades, brass bands, costumes, dinners, and the traditional paella dish.
This year the first Street Artist to make a sculpture in the traditional commemoration of Saint Joseph is the un-traditional OKUDA, creating his multi-color multi-planed optic centerpiece.
Okuda Sculpture Engulfed in Flames in Valéncia. Continue reading HERE
We wish to express our most heartfelt gratitude to the writers and photographers who contributed to BSA and collaborated with us throughout the year. We are most grateful for your trust in us and for your continued support.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. INDECLINE Billboard “Clown” Takeover
2. FACTORY OF KAOZ
3. Vegan Flava: A million years lost in a moment. Trollhättan, Sweden
4. “ARTinfect IV – The PFAFF Project” in Kaiserslautern, Germany
BSA Special Feature: INDECLINE Billboard “Clown” Takeover
In Los Angeles the activist Street Art posse named INDECLINE overtook a billboard recently to grab attention of those whom they are afraid are being slowly lulled by the circus of distraction and Tweets that make America Hate Again.
FACTORY OF KAOZ
We had the opportunity to experience some Liepzig Kaoz this week inside a factory that lays abandoned, yet full of opportunity for graffiti and Street Artists who explore its many rooms and stairs and broken windows. For Kaoz it is nearly a portfolio of his works, as well as a stage for fashion shoots, a set for photo projects. Join him as he shows you around the place, and watch your step.
Vegan Flava: A Million Years Lost in a Moment. Trollhättan, Sweden.
The briefest video here from a familiar Stockholm face as we see this piece from Vegan Flava in Trollhättan that he says is meant to address the norms of what to eat and consume in our culture; norms that are quickly destroying in a relative moment the Earth that took a million years to get to this point. He tells us that he believes we need to shift our thoughts and practices to value nature and animals.
“Ecocide is the crime of all time. It is destabilizing the world as people will have to flee from environmental disasters or conflicts concerning natural resources. The dominant culture is lethal to every aspect of this planet. Giving rights to nature and animals similar to human rights would enable to juridically protect ecosystems from collapse, freshwater from pollution, forests from destruction and animals from extinction.”
“ARTinfect IV – The PFAFF Project”
A roll-call video of participants from the Pfaff Project featuring fantasy, gothic, illustration-based, graffiti and Street Art inside an ex-urban spot now converted for a rolling display of fresh works in Kaiserslautern, a city in southwest Germany located in the Bundesland of Rhineland-Palentinate.
Here you can catch shots of artists like Zeso, Bustart, Serge, Pollo7, Meret, Snare79, DRÜ Egg, Chromeo, and ENDO.
An ingenious pop-up installation of politically charged art and performance arrived at a Trump hotel in Manhattan yesterday and departed just as fast, with the anonymous Street Art troupe INDECLINE declaring the exhibition “The People’s Prison”.
The clandestine and complex staging inside the belly of the commercial beast was completely legal and very temporary, leaving behind a pristine suite for the next guests to enjoy, but the interim concrete prison was darkly lit and gave off a cool, dank aura.
Open for invited guests for only a short window of time, the full-scale mise en scene gave a sordid and dark view of present and past politics and power, featuring the leader of the free world in a chandeliered prison with McDonald’s fast food wrappers and live rats at his feet.
The seated central performer stares out between the bars at the vertical red and white bars of American flags hung as canvasses with new paintings by invited artists like Street Artists Ann Lewis aka GILF!, LMNOPI, and Jesse Hazlip, and studio artists like dark pop queen Molly Crabapple and the multi-disciplinary Panik Collective.
While you take in the completely temporary scene, helpful but quiet INDECLINE members in black ski masks shuffle furtively in your periphery, ready to answer questions or preemptively admonish you not to touch anything. In a time of repeated accusations of “fake news”, demagoguery and disinformation, this real-life fabrication of a dire prison reality is jarring when mounted as it is inside another garishly shiny hotel fabrication of reality.
Each painting is a portrait of an outspoken historian, linguist, political scientist, academic, activist, or philosopher of some renown – a group of current and past thinkers and speakers who collectively would blow the roof off a building with their common sense and de/constructively radical ideas.
But these ideas from people like Noam Chompsky, Betty Friedan, Howard Zinn, Erica Garner, and Edward Snowden rarely make it into the White House or are given voice by the infotainment screen media or newspapers. “History is bigger than any given season, and historically, the greatest heroes have stood for something deeper than politics,” say the artists of INDECLINE in a statement.
“Our biggest concerns is that we, as American citizens – but also on an even deeper level, as Global Citizens – not forget that we are all stranded here on this rock together, and that the greatest crime committed by President Trump is his attempt to profit from and exacerbate the kind of divisiveness that safeguards a true and natural democracy, one that attempts to protect all of its members equally, not draw lines that become margins where those least-represented financially can be quietly swept away.”
As you have come to expect from this inventive and risk-taking troupe, the execution and attention to detail here is as impressive as the sentiments are powerful. This time the location of their intervention is integral to the message.
We interviewed INDECLINE to understand more about “The People’s Prison”
BSA:You chose a number of influential thinkers and philosophers to highlight in a place where they probably wouldn’t even be recognized. Have the wheels completely come off the cart?
INDECLINE: Some of these celebrated figures will most certainly be recognizable here in America and abroad. We did specifically choose a handful of lesser known activists and freedom fighter, but that was simply to shine the light on their efforts and educate the masses to their existence and fighting spirit.
BSA:Some say that Trump the man is a Trojan Horse to get these insidious ideas inside the halls of power. Is this project a trojan horse of a different color?
INDECLINE: We would agree with that wholeheartedly. Trump is certainly a Trojan Horse. However, he has waged a war with millions of creative and fearless soldiers who risk everything to practice radical thinking, provocative protest techniques, poetic dissidence and subterfuge. The war started a longtime ago and INDECLINE believe it will be the people, not the powerful who will stand victorious.
The second half of this two-part exhibition will replicate “The People’s Prison” in a Pasadena art gallery next month with the sales benefiting a range of organizations from the Native American Rights Fund to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Organizers say part two of this coast to coast show will open April 11.
More details after the video at the end of this posting.
Every Friday we invite you to stop by and take a look at new videos that have been submitted or recommended or that we tripped over walking by the railroad tracks. This year we showed you about 250 of them.
We call it BSA Film Friday and it travels with us to cities around the world now when we do it LIVE with you and other audience members in theaters and lecture halls and museums. The beauty of the video/film form is you can get a full story quickly, and you are often surprised by how transformative it can be. You can also see how many people are affected by urban and street culture through these films – we see people’s eyes light up when they realize that they too can create in public space, that the world is not simply a product but is a piece of art that many of their peers are now jumping in to co-create.
As a collection, these 15 are illuminating, elevating, riveting, strange, soaring, and achingly beautifully normal. From looking at the Separation Wall and Banksy to a travelling crew of graffiti writers on farms in Polish pig country to the amazing dance troupe who interpreted the 5 floors of art installations in a downtown Berlin former bank, you have before you a massive buffet of a visual feast.
The final desert is hand-held phone video caught in the moment last month in Mexico City. We didn’t know Keith Haring was coming down the tracks to surprise us, and we didn’t know that this unpolished jewel would garner thousands of viewers and commenters – effectively placing this little piece of video at number 1 for its popularity. Maybe the fact that it is so raw is what people relate to – along with an ongoing adulation for Haring.
We hope you can take some time to enjoy some of the best Street Art videos from around the world and on BSA this year.
“Distant universes delicately tangled,” says the near-whispering narration as you are gazing upon scenes from Hong Kong – those interstitial moments that carry you between the more remarkable ones. Faith XLVII gives us a quiet look at these inside a the dencse cacophony called “Aqua Regalia”, looking at the parts of a culture that a visitor is sensitive to because they are not taken for granted. With this ability to see, one takes a quick course of a city, a society. Invariably you end up with more questions.
“We speak of death and birth in terms of celebration and mourning.” Faith XLVII is in search of more universal truths, the timeless ones, since we understand them so poorly. Herein are glimpses, romantic and unvarnished.
“This is one of the first videos I’ve co-directed, alongside filmmaker Dane Dodds,” Faith tells us. “Its a project that is close to my heart.”
Borondo keeps it open for you. He provides the stage, the staging area, the proscenium, the altar, the emanating light, the associations and memories you have with your belief system, or lack of one. During his artist residency with Pubblica, curated by Carlo Vignapiano and Elena Nicolini in May, the Street Artist (among other things) creates a journey as much as a destination in this intimate chapel. The video by Gerdi Petanaj captures this and perhaps a little more.
By inviting Creative Director/dancer Serdar Bogatin and the film crew “Shuto Crew” into the space with members of the Lunatix Dance Production troupe, these spaces and art environments come completely alive, invoking stories and dramas – clearly making the spaces into elaborate set-design pieces.
The French duo Ella + Pitr here revel in the simplicity of the gestural act of a full-body full-bucket splash of black paint.
Carnal, visceral, overlaid with psychographical information, the motion of splashing inky pigment across a white quadrilateral is an act of defiance and a release of the inner chaos – instantly recognizable as chaos elsewhere in the world.
The uncontrollable quality, especially when purveyed within an atmosphere of prim control, provokes amplified emotions in some. Fear, liberation, rage, release. Which ones will you experience?
“This reminds why I hate vandals! All this does is create more unnecessary work for the guys at the paint shop,” says a commenter on the Vimeo page where INDECLINE has posted this locomotive takeover.
You see kids, this is why we can’t have nice things. I just mopped this floor and you come running in here with your muddy boots! For Pete’s sake.
Truthfully, this decidedly unpolitical piece is a surprise coming from INDECLINE. Guess they were taking the day off from railing against hypocrisy and injustice with this animated train that recalls Saturday morning cartoons like Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner.
“It is one thing to read about the events in those parts of the world, but it is something totally different to actually look in the eyes of the women who lost everything while running from the war,” says artist Olek about how her world view changed when crocheting the project featured this week.
While gathering and producing materials for her installation with Verket Museum in Avesta, Sweden, the Brooklyn based Street Artist was holding informal crochet workshops with volunteers who would be producing the decorative yarn skin that covered every single item inside and outside of the house with their handmade crochet stitches.
Some invited guests were refugees who had escaped war in Syria and Ukraine and the artist and local folks shared stories and crocheted, sewed, and prepared the art materials together over the course of a number of days. It was during these exchanges of personal stories that, “a conversation started that has changed me forever,” she says – and she immediately needed to reflect it in her project with the museum.
No. 09 Sebastian Purfürst – Soniconoclasm / Broken Motor
In Berlin recently we met a photographer/media artist/musician who showed us a music video he just made of regular people whom you might meet on the city streets at night. This spring he asked more than 25 of them to recite phrases and “cut-up of army radio slang phrases” and by splicing them together with his band mate’s recitation of the lyrics synched to their lips, the rawness and rage and disconnected connectedness of people whom you can meet on the street rang true. “
This unvarnished quality bypasses the styled self-awareness of a lot of commercial media, and the anger actually comes across as fear. Perhaps you’ll think its too dark in demeanor – but then suddenly the melding together of the faces into one common entity makes it magic, even transcendent – revealing a simple sameness of everyone.
“This suspenseful individuality of the people is almost completely dissolved in the chorus,” says Sebastian Purfürst of his video with bandmate Markus F.C.Buhl.
Pixel’s original installation was nixed by the city at the last moment but that didn’t prevent the Italian Street Artist from rallying to find another solution!
This new installation in the back courtyard was conceived of, designed, and constructed over a period of 4 days last week and became the secret surprise behind the museum for those who wandered there. Using landscaping techniques and botanical knowledge that come naturally from his farm in Italy, the artist create a mise en scène of epic impact with his robotic folk-futurist sculptures. Night time lighting took it to another world, but you can see the details better here in this short video Jaime Rojo shot on site.
No. 07 FifthWall TV / Occupied in Bethlehem – A visit to BANKSY’s “Walled Off Hotel”
“It’s almost become a playground for people to come to,” says your host Doug Gille as he looks at the section of the Separation Wall that the Banksy “Walled Off” Hotel is installed upon. “I think it is so crucial for people not to just come to see the wall or to paint on the wall,” he says.
“50 years under military control makes it the longest occupation in history,” is a quote that Gillen brandishes across the screen from the United Nations. The fact that Banksy is using his art star power to keep this on the front burner says a lot about the man.
“I think a lot of these people feel like we are forgetting about them and we have to remind them that we’re not,” says Gillen as he soul searches next to the Dead Sea.
No. 06 Various & Gould / City Skins – Marx und Engels
Conceptual Street Artists often perform interventions without explanation, satisfied with their own observations of the outcome. For Berlians Various & Gould the process has more often included the participation of the public – a way for more to take ownership and inspire dialogue. Sometimes many dialogues.
Now to the Polish pig farms! Another Street Art/Mural road trip movie, this time across Poland with JAYPOP, Seikon, Krik KONG and filmmaker Cuba Goździewicz. See the discoveries, the relationships, the reactions to the work from a warm and considered human perspective.
The beauty of randomness and the randomness of beauty. These guys are fully engaged with their surroundings, the opportunity, the myriad people they befriend or portend to make allies. It’s an uncharted trip where permissions are sought and often refused, but they never stop painting somehow.
Using existing and new footage of Street Artist Swoon and selected interviews with people in her orbit, director Fredric King presents and hour long documentary that looks over two decades of art making. The stories told and the insights that Calendonia Curry aka Swoon presents while en route to her next adventure illustrate the fluidity with which she pursues the creative spirit, whether on the street, on a vessel down a river, or installing in a museum. An integrated explorer, Swoon brings you into the fold to go on this journey that always feels like its just begun.
On an expansive rooftop in rainy/sunny/rainy San Francisco, Street Artist Fin Dac brings to life ‘Shukumei’, an ebullient and mysterious muse. The film is largely a stop motion record of the work set to music, but did you notice how much dexterity and effort goes into this precision play when you are working at this angle, basically painting the floor? The remarkable integration of the glowing skylight orb, dramatically revealed, imparts the figure a mystical dimension as well.
Video editing by Tonic Media, Soundtrack by Mombassa/Lovechild, and shout out to Ian and Danielle at Rocha Art and Missy Marisa, model.
No. 02 Niels Shoe Meulman In Magic City / The Art Of The Street
Niels Shoe Meulman spent some nights in a Munich jail thirty years ago for mucking about on the walls. This year he was paid to do it in Munich for Magic City, the travelling morphing exhibition (now in Stockholm) where Street Art is celebrated along with all its tributaries – including a film program and a number of photographs by your friends here at BSA.
Born, raised and based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Shoe shares here his new improvisational piece and some of his reflections on his process and his evolution from being in advertising as an art/creative director and reclaiming his soul as a graffiti/Street Art/fine artist. As ever, Martha is in the frame, putting him in the frame.
No. 01 Keith Haring- Rough Cut / Mexico City Metro
This rough cut lil’ video reached more than 300K individuals and had 100K views with thousands of shares on FB and on Instagram with dozens of comments and high engagement was easily propelled to the #1 spot.
It all took us by surprise last week in Mexico City when suddenly a whole train covered on both sides with Keith Haring’s work approached while we were waiting at the platform to catch the Linea 2 of the Metro. He made his name in part by illegally doing drawings like these in NYC subways and here now they are crushing a whole train. The name of the project is “Ser Humano. Ser Urbano” or “Being Human. Being Urban” and it aims to promote human values and human rights. The pattern you see is from “Sin Titulo (Tokyo Fabric Design)” – now stretched across these whole cars, if you will.
The train itself is inexplicably having brake troubles, so we get some jerky spur-of-the-moment footage but all week on Instagram and Facebook we’ve received tons of comments from people reacting to this little bit of Keith video by Jaime Rojo on BSA.
The powerful use of words and images is playing an important role in directing the events that lead us forward, or backward. It is right for us to be alerted to fake news, although the recent bashing of news sources has more to do with de-legitimizing and seizing power than any sincere interest in truth.
If anyone uses words and images to create fake news it would be PR companies and the related industries who have been creating entire campaigns and planting them in newspapers and in electronic media and Reddit and Facebook comments for years now. Posing as everyday folk or genuinely respectable “think tanks”, they tear down people, sowing fear, confusion, and disinformation. Their persuasive words are often effective.
We can divine a lot about a person by listening to the words, as well the ones they leave out. We always say that the street is a reflection of society back to itself and today we share with you these text-based messages that give you an idea of what people are talking about.
Political, social, straightforward, evasive, confrontational, poetic, strident, aspirational, inspirational, inclusive, loving, hateful, witty, simple, confusing; The average passerby regards, absorbs or dismisses the sentiment, feeling that their opinion is re-affirmed or neglected. Possibly they consider a perspective that is brand new.
Because of the anonymity and the lack of context, sometimes a well-placed missive appears as a message from the Universe, or from God, or another kindred soul.
Of the thousands of images he took this year in places like New York, Berlin, Dresden, Moscow, Marrakesh, Detroit and Miami, photographer Jaime Rojo found that the figurative image still stands prominently in the Street Art scene – along with text-based, abstract and animal world themes.
Surprisingly the scene does not appear to be addressing the troubled and contentious matters of the political and social realms in a large way, but the D.I.Y. scene keeps alive and defies the forces of homogeneity with one-of-a-kind small wheat-pastes, stencils, sculptures, and aerosol sprayed pieces alongside the enormous and detailed paintings that take days to complete.
Every Sunday on BrooklynStreetArt.com, we present “Images Of The Week”, our regular interview with the street. Primarily New York based, BSA interviewed, shot, and displayed images from Street Artists from more than 100 cities over the last year, making the site a truly global resource for artists, fans, collectors, gallerists, museums, curators, academics, and others in the creative ecosystem. We are proud of the help we have given and thankful to the community for what you give back to us and we hope you enjoy this collection – some of the best from 2016.
Brooklyn Street Art 2016 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;
1Up, Above, Adele Renault, Alaniz, Amy Smalls, George Vidas, GEN2, Apexer, BordaloII, Buff Monster, C215, Collin Van Der Sluijs, Super A, David Choe, D*Face, Duke Riley, El Sol 25, Sean 9 Lugo, EQC, Faile, Faith47, Faust, Shantell Martin, Felipe Pantone, Hueman, Droid907, Icy & Sot, InDecline, Invader, JJ Veronis, Jilly Ballistic, John Ahearn, JR, London Kaye, Louis Masai, MadC, Marshal Arts, Mongolz, MSK, Rime, Myth, Nina Chanel, Optic Ninja, Otto Osch Schade, Panmela Castro, Plastic Jesus, QRST, Reed b More, Remi Rough, REVS, Self Made, Sharon Dela Cruz, Maripussy, Specter, Stikman, Strok, Swoon, Ted Pim, Thievin’ Stephen, Farin Purth, Thomas Allen, Tobo, Uriginal, Vermibus, Vhils, Wing, Yes Two, Zola.
The artist featured on the main graphic is D*Face as shot by Jaime Rojo in New York.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. Louis Masai: The Art Of Beeing. New York City
2. “BILLS” from InDecline 3. The All-Seeing Trump in an NYC Park from The Dusty Rebel 4. Erik Vestman & Nils Petter: Up On The Roofs
BSA Special Feature: Louis Masai: The Art Of Beeing. New York City
He’s doing it! The cross country trip/tour of painting murals that draws attention to the entire species that we are killing off. Louis Masai calls it “The Art of Beeing,” and here’s the first city of the tour, NYC.
“BILLS” from InDecline
Modern anti-hero artists named InDecline have produced this new rage-filled art film full of action, violence, politics, and even comedy.
The All-Seeing Trump in an NYC Park from The Dusty Rebel
A new video this week features Trump as a fortune teller – until the city evicts him.
Here’s how The Dusty Rebel describes it:
“A mysterious Donald Trump fortune-telling machine has been popping up all over New York City. In Tribeca Park, dozens gathered around to hear the automatic Trump list off his various visions for America’s future. One of the dozens of misfortunes was: ‘Not every woman is a dog – only the fat, disgusting ones. And don’t worry: in the future, when I am president, I’ll do something about it. We are gonna make America SEXY again!’ After the Zoltar-like Trump finished, the machine dispenses a paper fortune, which states things like, ‘The future is not to be feared, unless you are Black, Mexican, or Muslim.’
The Tribeca Park installation lasted a short time before a man, who never identifies himself, demanded the All-Seeing Trump machine be removed. Quickly the press ask him who he is and what authority he has to ask for the machine to be removed. While he never answers, the people with him are from the NYC Park Department. At one point, things getting a bit tense between the press and the Parks Department workers.”
Swedish duo Erik and Nils want to be higher than the birds, up on the rooftops. It is a simple spark for your imagination, delivering you back to storybooks and children’s stories with a silhouette on the roof against the sky. With the right inspiration, you can add your own story.
It’s been a spectacular amber and golden and green autumn week when you’re able to ride your bike around and see a lot of great new and old Street Art and not break a sweat because the air is fresh and cool and the sun is spectacular.
And the streets are alive!
We found a new REVS, a new JJ Veronis and a big full-poster Clint Mario. Given the fact that two of the pieces are beautifully crafted metal sculptures and one is an ad take over in the subway, that gives you an indication that artists are active right now – and public space is being engaged. Get on your boots and take a hike, take your imagination and a sweatshirt in case you’re in the shade, and Street Art is out there waiting for you.
So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Bies, City Kitty, Clint Mario, Downtown DaVinci, Elle, Gaia, Hooker, InDecline, JJ Veronis, REVS, RWK, Sable Elise Smith, and Sean 9 Lugo.
We debated whether or not to open today’s edition of BSA Images Of The Week on a political note with new Donald Trump related art or with an uplifting image of an almost universally recognized sweet little bird: The Sparrow.
The Sparrow won.
Who hasn’t seen them enjoying a good old dust bath or just happily munching on whatever crumbs fall from the public while eating al fresco. They have natural predators in the city and country and have been featured in songs, poems, books for centuries. More recently Chairman Mao Zedong ordered them to be killed The Kill a Sparrow Campaign in 1958 – where millions of them were killed by citizens, unleashing an environmental disaster of locusts destroying food crops, and people starving.
We prefer to think of these little birds in terms of the gospel hymn “His Eye Is On the Sparrow”
“I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches over me.”
This week two street pieces we discovered feature this finely feathered friend by LMNOPI and Elbow-Toe aka Brian Adam Douglas.
So, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Brian Adam Douglas, Dirty Bandits, Indecline, Joe Caslin, Leon Keer, LMNOPI, MSK, SacSix, Swoon, The Flying Dutchman, Vexta, and WK Interact.
In New Jersey on a rooftop the passing car traffic is now able to catch a glimpse of a nude statue of Donald Trump. The anonymous artists collective Indecline has done of number of recent installations addressing political topics in the New York area. This one has garnered national coverage in the media. There’s not much that we can say that hasn’t already been addressed elsewhere.
Title: ‘Niets aan te geven / Nothing to declare’. The 3D painting depicts the story on the crisis of critical shortages of food and medicine in Venezuela and the effect it has on the nearby island of Aruba. The location were the painting was made is behind the former customs office in San Nicolas. -LK
A new mural in Waterford, Ireland by artist Joe Caslin speaks to the topic of mental health and our awareness of it. On the façade of an abandoned hotel that overlooks the city, Caslin created this figure, quiet and troubled, as part of a mural festival there. The wheatpasted drawing by Caslin is entitled ‘Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine’, which translates as ‘we live protected under each other’s shadow’.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. “Rubble Kings” : Gangs, Graffiti, Hip-Hop in 1970s NYC
2. INDECLINE: “This Land Was Our Land” (Largest Illegal Graffiti Piece In The World) 3. Al Karama: Boa Mistura Reverse Paints the Message in Casbah
4. Mutiny Of Colours: (Trailer) “Peace A Message From Iran”
BSA Special Feature: Rubble Kings
“Rubble Kings” Opens Today: Gangs, Graffiti, Hip-Hop in 1970s NYC
An outstanding recounting of the fierce gang culture born of despair and “white flight” that blighted New York City, Rubble Kings helps put in perspective the evolution of a people being pushed out of the American Dream grabbing it by the balls and reclaiming it as their own, remaking it in their image.
That may be the overly romantic view of an unjust and needlessly brutal time full of violence and murder, with innocent everyday people caught in the middle as victims. And certainly as oppressed as these former gang members were, the thought may cross your mind that the heroic roles depicted in this story are reserved for one gender almost exclusively. That said, props to the director Shan Nicholson that Rubble Kings presents a meaningful and compelling context for the unwinding of the social, political, institutional constructs that shook folks to the bone; an economic violence that decimated neighborhoods and communities.
Well edited storytelling with actual footage, pertinent interviews, and invented animated scenarios, the story traces the evolution of the Black and Latino experience following the killing of the Kennedy brothers, Dr. King, and Malcolm X, and the death of hope for a people who were just starting to see a chance at sitting at the table of equality, an opportunity at a middle class existence – even as the Vietnam War started claiming many young lives. Defenseless against unresponsive politicians, obtuse bull-headed urban planning, corrupt real estate owners who burned their buildings and contemptible landlords ignoring their responsibilities, high unemployment, a booming drug economy, and a general perception that the police were working against them, these street gangs became a new force of order and disorder; the kings of the rubble.
Aside from the lawlessness in the face of abandonment, the John Leguziamo narrated documentary features a well arched story that presents some crucial insight into origins of the birth of the Hip Hop movement: a grassroots-based all-city community reconciliation that enabled new coalitions and drew directly upon what became Hip Hop’s central tenets including Emceeing (MCing), DJing, Breaking, and Graffiti. With emotional and riveting accounts from gang members like leaders of the 2,500-strong Bronx based gang Ghetto Brothers, Benjamin Melendez and Carlos Suarez, you are able to see the dynamic tension between neighborhoods and philosophies, the depth of turmoil on the streets, and the weight of responsibility leaders assumed.
Musically a direct connection is drawn to the Afro-Cuban and Latin funk of the late 60s/early 70s blending with rock, eventually incorporating disco and electronic influences; a true melting pot worthy of a New York cultural movement. Also interviewed are musical pioneers like DJ Kool Herc, credited with originating hip hop music in the early 1970s in The Bronx, and Afrika Bambaataa, whose ZULU Nation is credited for integrating the needs of the community with inspiration and positive aspirations, weaving it with the creative spirit and a desire for an inclusive common culture celebrating style, strength, and power.
Rubble Kings opens today in New York at AMC Empire 25, in Los Angeles at AMC Burbank 8, and Chicago at AMC Country Club Hills 16. A wider national release will follow. It is also available on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, GooglePlay, Sony Entertainment Network and VHX.
INDECLINE: “This Land Was Our Land” (Largest Illegal Graffiti Piece In The World)
Saying they have just completed the largest illegal graffiti in the world, the anonymous INDECLINE took six days in April to complete this half mile wide statement on a disused military site in the California’s Mojave Desert.
Impressive as hell of course, and Woody Guthrie is an American hero and yes this land belonged to other people before it was claimed by the US and it has been severely damaged by the war machine. But outstanding questions here are: which eight graffiti heads can afford 6 days, 250 gallons of paint, sprayers, power leaf blowers, range rovers, and a $20K budget to pull this off? Also is the name related to the Adobe Creative Suite at all?
Al Karama: Boa Mistura Reverse Paints the Message in Casbah
This old town in Algiers called Casbah has been a World Heritage Site, as declared by UNESCO in 1992 but it has fallen into disrepair. The Mediterranean port is known for its white painted facades and features, something Boa Mistura says they found quite poetic. In their customary fashion the collective finds a way to write inspiring messages while preserving the history and character of the town.
Mutiny Of Colours: (Trailer) “Peace A Message From Iran”
Coming next week the Kickstarter for the filmmakers who are creating Mutiny of Colours. They have run out of money to finish their documentary and are reaching out to ask for support. The film follows Iranian street artists who are targeted for attention by the authorities for “promoting Satanism” among other accusations. Their fundraising starts June 28th, and we’ll tell you about it again when we get closer. In the mean time here is a teaser for the unfinished project from the directors, Zeinab & Paliz.