All posts tagged: Interesni Kazki

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.26.17 Mexico City Special

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.26.17 Mexico City Special

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This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Mexico City this week was full of graffiti tags, large murals oozing with character, astral techno hippie dudes, strong women, slick talkers, traffic jams, street protests, stories about the 43, couples kissing on park benches, rooftop tours, men in suits, professional ladies in really high heels, smoothly running buses, sustainable community gardens, pick-pockets, indigenous people selling crafts, police with high pitched whistles, wannabe hipsters, live rock bands, tacos, craft beer, poinsettias, quesadillas, chille rellenos, pulled pork, nopales, avocados, tortas, Frida Kahlo, babies, Bohemia, marijuana smoke, and ultimately, Ricky Martin singing for hundreds of thousands of people free in the Zócalo.

We’ll catch you up on on the details soon.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Arty & Chickle, Blu, Curiot, DFace, El Mac, Erica Ilcane, Escif, Herakut, Interesni Kazki, Maria Guardado, Retna, ROA, Saner, and Sego.

Our top image : Erica Ilcane. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Ilcane. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Ilcane. Deatail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot. Detail. For Lienzo Capital Project with Street Art MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curated by Roberto Shimizu with the collaboration of the Mexico City Goverment on the Metro and the official building of The Nation Youth Institute

Curiot. Detail. For Lienzo Capital Project with Street Art MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot in Roma neighborhood for Capital Mural. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

D*Face (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Escif. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Retna. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interesni Kazki. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interesni Kazki. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interesni Kazki. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Saner. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sego. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Mac. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Portrait of Maria Guardado, a social activist and poet from Guatemala. Ms. Guardado was tortured and killed by the Guatemalan army during the bloody civil war in 1980.

El Mac. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Arty & Chikle. “Only Love”. Street Art MUJAM in collaboration with the Mexico City National Youth Institute for Young Adults. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Torre Latino Americana. Mexico City. November 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Top Stories 2016 – As Picked by You

BSA Top Stories 2016 – As Picked by You

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Museums, Festivals, and Activism – three of the themes that garnered the most traffic on our published stories on BSA and The Huffington Post this year.

From a scholarly Street Art related exhibition in St. Petersburg to the opening of the Mima Museum in Belgium to the Anti-Banksy exhibition with the Blu controversy in Bologna and the “Magic City” exhibition in Dresden, BSA readers were astutely studying the slow but steady move of Street Art from the street to the museum and the academic canons.

But you also liked the huge multi-player outside exhibitions as well – with stories from Sicily and Northern Spain to Northern Mexico, BSA readers were interested this year in seeing how eclectic locally-organized Street Art festivals and projects are done, and who is doing them.

Finally activism played a big role in what you were re-Tweeting and “liking” and sending to your friends – From Icy & Sot installing anti-radiation work in the Native American desert and then talking about oceans polluted with plastic, to a United Nations food program with kids and artists in El Salvador, to highlighting Indigenous peoples rights with Jetsonorama, to a US cross-country tour to save endangered species by one artist and a Greenpeace show in Barcelona addressing the same issue with 35 artists, it looks like BSA readers are engaged and concerned about socio-politico-environmental issues left and right.

On a side note, we were honored that our El Salvador article was picked up and published in spanish on the UN World Food program website – HERE.

Of course it was good to see that you liked the feature on the notorious graffiti crew 1UP and seeing Nychos slay New York as well. Tasty!

These are the TOP 15 articles on BSA for 2016 from the more than 365 postings we did this year – meaning they all beat at least 350 articles to get here. Congratulations to us all.


No. 15
Borders and Boundaries : A Multi-Disciplinary Exhibit at St. Petersburg’s Street Art Museum

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Rafael Schacter Takes a More Nuanced Approach to the Migration Crisis

Commerce and technology have been eroding traditional constructs of the borders and boundaries, especially in the age of the Internet, satellites, transnational banking and trade agreements that create governing bodies that openly dismiss national sovereignty, integrity, identity, aspirations. Borders and boundaries are contested, guarded, or disregarded at will; open to international capital, porous to immigration, hardened by armies.

Daily they are in the headlines: Trump’s plans to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, Syrian war refugees immigrating across European borders, Israel and Palestine’s ongoing land and settlement disputes, even maritime territorial claims of China and the Phillipines in the South China Sea that were ruled upon yesterday  – all reveal clues to our historically complicated relationships and geo-political perspectives.

Art to the rescue! continue reading here


No. 14
Icy & Sot Stencil An Enormous Blue Whale in LA

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

“The brothers spent two solid days hand cutting the multi-layer stencil here on Melrose Avenue. How many pieces? “19 pieces,” says Icy. “Its not that big but it has a lot of details” The composite image features an enormous whale emerging from the sea in full view of a coastline packed with industrial forms which presumably are dumping contaminants directly into the waters.

As ever, the brothers crash into each others sentences while talking to us. “Whatever happens in the ocean… it comes back to us,” says Sot. “Whether is trash or plastics or oil..”

Icy jumps in, “The fish eat them and then we eat the animals and we have the plastics inside of us.”

“Yeah, It’s a cycle. We are all making a lot of trash – we are affecting the world. Then it all comes back to us,” says Sot… Continue reading here


No. 13
MIMA Museum: City Lights with Swoon, MOMO, Hayuk, Faile

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Maya Hayuk. MIMA Museum. Brussels, Belgium. April 2016. (photo © The Pickles – MIMA Museum)

What is it about Brooklyn Street Art that is so appealing that one would curate the opening exhibition of a museum with it?

Four pillars of the New York Street Art scene are welcoming the first guests of the new Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (MIMA), which opened days ago in Brussels. Attacking the cherished institutions that relegate grassroots people’s art movements into the margins, MIMA intends to elevate them all and let them play together. Graphic design, illustration, comic design, tattoo design, graffiti, street art, plastic arts, wheat pasting, sculpture, text, advertising, pop, story-telling, aerosol, brushwork, and naturally, dripping paint.

Obviously street culture has been mixing these influences together in a never-ending lust for experimentation; punk with hip-hop, skateboarding with tattoo, performance art with graffiti – for the past four decades at least. The folk tradition of cutting and pasting predates all our  modern shape-shifting by centuries, but institutional/organizational curating often often has a preference for sorting street culture disciplines into separate piles.

With the inaugural exhibition “City Lights” MOMO, Swoon, Faile, and Maya Hayuk each bring what made their street practice unique, but with an added dimension of maturity and development. Without exception each of these artists have benefitted from the Internet and its ability to find audiences who respond strongly to the work with physical location a secondary consideration. Now as world travelers these four have evolved and refined their practice and MIMA gives them room to expand comfortably…Continue reading here


No. 12
San Salvador, Street Artists, Food Insecurity and “Conect-Arte”

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Vexta.Workshop. Conect-Arte. San Salvador. April 2016. (photo © Yvette Vexta)

“Six street artists took their social engagement a step further in El Salvador last month and taught youth some serious skillz from the street.

Coming from Brazil, Australia, Ecuador, Mexico, New York, and New Jersey, this international crew took the time to share and teach about painting, art, and how community can be built. The program Conect-Arte is a newly launched initiative by the United Nations World Food Programme, which as the name suggests, also is in the city to address a more core need to battle food insecurity. With Conect-Arte the goal is to also meet youth in some communities and help with positive role models an options with an eye on transforming lives through developing art and related creative skills that can provide income and channel energy in ways productive to community.

Together the artists worked on projects with 45 teens and younger kids over the course of the a week-long workshop in San Salvador, teaching street art techniques like stencil, lettering, mural painting, sculpture, even hot air balloon making. The goals are huge, like reducing violence, food insecurity, increasing access to economic opportunity. The tools here are art, the creative spirit, and strengthening relationships.

We bring you some images of the works that were made by the visiting artists and some of their observations and experiences during the Conect-Arte program…Continue reading here


No. 11
Discovering a “Magic City” in Dresden, Germany

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Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“A couple of weeks ago BSA was in Dresden, Germany to help lay plans for a new Street Art show opening there this fall called “Magic City” and naturally we hit the streets with bicycles three days in a row to see the city’s graffiti, Street Art, and murals whenever time would permit. The first day we had the honor of getting a tour from Jens Besser, an artist, author, lecturer, and producer of mural festivals in the city who sped ahead of us through a labyrinth of streets to show us a number of the impressive murals he and partners have brought to the city in the last decade or so…Continue reading here


No. 10

Louis Masai: “The Art Of Beeing” Tour Kicks Off in NYC to Save Endangered Species

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Louis Masai: The Art of Beeing USA Tour. Bog Turtle. Endangered. The Bushwick Collective, Brooklyn. NYC. October  2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Activism and Street Art go hand in hand and some artists are skilled at activating public space for hearts and brains to spark and cogitate. During the last 15 years we’ve documented a number of seriously affecting artworks on the street that use text and/or imagery to address political, social, environmental, and economic issues and opinions by artists as varied as Shepard Fairey, Banksy, John Fekner, Ganzeer, LMNOPI, Myth, Gilf!, Gaia, LNY, Jetsonorama, and any number of one-shot authors. In this election year there are too many Trumps to count, and a few Hillary pieces as well.

Undaunted by commercial interests and able to deliver directly to the passerby, Street Artists know that their visual message isn’t guaranteed acceptance but they take a chance anyway. The ones that reflect the sentiments on the street tend to last longer, aesthetics count, and so does spelling, at least that is our inductive observation.

One London artist who seriously raises awareness about the Earths’ endangered species is Louis Masai, a painter, sculptor, illustrator and Street Artist. Starting this week in New York Masai is beginning a 20 mural tour across the United States to talk about the hard working, honey-making, pretty pollinating bee – and a number of our animals that are in danger of dying off completely…Continue reading here


No. 9
1UP in Berlin : “ ‘All City’ Doesn’t Even Begin to Cover It ”

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1UP. Berlin 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“An amorphous shape-shifting consortium of Berlin-based aerosol hooligans named 1UP is one of those graffiti crews who eventually make the entry into graffiti street lore because of the scope and daring of their travails.

Primarily Berlin based, you’ll find their almost-commercial sounding name on roofs, walls, abandoned factories, and in tunnels in many cities around the globe. Without a clear idea of the exact number in their association nor precise membership these daredevils are most often described as white men in their twenties and early thirties reveling in the athleticism and sport of graffiti, in addition to style. The tag itself appears to be rather “open source” at times, with only insiders able to keep track of the distinct hand styles forming the ubiquitous name on thousands of surfaces…continue reading here


No. 8
A “Cathedral” of Characters in Northern Spain

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RIM. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

“It’s a cathedral of characters, this abandoned furniture factory forty kilometers outside of Barcelona. Cartoons, illustrations, portraits are everywhere; a curious collection of aerosol spray pieces that highlights the popularity of the animated and exaggerated personalities among graffiti and Street Artists in this region of the world.

The character may be a salty with a haggard stare, or reference a topic with a bit of satire. The scene may be serious, comical, ridiculous or purely sci-fi and horror. You discover the stories and allegories as you walk through the empty manufacturing rooms now flooded with natural light and dust. Expressions and situations here are full of drama that may trigger your empathy, startle your attention, elicit a shiver, or creepily fondle your funny bone…Continue reading here


No. 7
“Art Silos” Rise in the Harbor of Catania, Sicily

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Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

“They’ve been here since the 1950s, these silos for wheat and corn on the harbor of Catania on the east coast of the island of Sicily at the foot of Mount Etna. 28 meters tall and facing the Ionian Sea, they are now some of the largest canvasses in Italy by a small group of international and local Street Artists.

The “Art Silos” project includes works completed during an eight month installation begun in June 2015 as part of Festival “I-ART” organized by “Emergence”, thanks to Angelo Bacchelli, curated by Giuseppe Stagnitta. The artists taking part in the project were Okuda (Spain), ROSH333 (Spain), Microbo (Italy), BO130 (Italy), VladyArt (Italy), Danilo Bucchi (Italy) and the duo Interesni Kaxki (Ukraine), mostly all from the graffiti/Street Art world. A separately organized but related project on the harbor-facing row of eight silos was completed by one artist alone, the Lisbon-based Vhils…continue reading here


No. 6
BLU Allies : A Counter Exhibition to “Banksy & Co.” Launched in Bologna

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Tadlock (photo © @around730)

“An anti-Banksy & Co. Street Art show opened in Bologna Italy the same night as its controversial bank-backed cousin with brand new works by 50 or so Italian and international Street Artists and open admission to their outdoor ‘museum’.

 “It is free and spontaneous, as Street Art should be,” says an organizer and participant named About Ponny as he describes the exuberant and sometimes saucy toned exhibition on the grounds of the sprawling former headquarters of Zincaturificio Bolognese which is destined for future demolition.

“The message we want to convey is that true street art is found where it was born, in the street and not in the paid exhibits,” says Bibbito, who along with two other out-of-town street artists named Jamesboy and Enter/Exit found food and couches during their installations thanks to an association of artists called L’Associazione Serendippo. Together, these artists say, they and other organizers want to send a “strong signal” by creating “one of the largest museums of ephemeral street art ever made”. The new coalition named this project “R.U.S.Co” (Recupero Urbano Spazi Comuni) or (Urban Renewal Common spaces).

The new 16,000 m2 open-air art show may appear as a rather curious development because its method of protest runs completely counter to that of the shows’ most vocal and high-profile critic, BLU, who last week protested the same show by defiantly destroying 20 years of his own public paintings, rather than making new ones…Continue reading here


No. 5
Raising Yellowcake in Grand Canyon: Icy & Sot, Jetsonorama in Arizona

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Icy & Sot. “Nuclear Plant” Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2017. (photo © Icy & Sot)

“Yellow Cake: A simple sweet dessert confection that gets its signature color from 8 egg yolks and a cup of butter, and is great with either vanilla or chocolate icing.

Yellowcake: A type of uranium concentrate powder obtained from leach solutions, in an intermediate step in the processing of uranium ores. Also, its radioactive. Also, Colin Powell showed off a vial of it at the United Nations to sell the Iraq invasion in 2003 to that body and the world.

Being more knowledgeable about the dessert variety of yellow cake than the desert variety of uranium contamination, we turn to Street Artists Jetsonorama and Icy & Sot to educate us about the active uranium mines that are at the North Rim of The Grand Canyon. The three worked jointly in June to create new public works addressing the topic and we have each of them here for you to see.

“The issue of uranium contamination and nuclear waste is timely as there is an active uranium mine at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon presently and a proposal to start mining at the South Rim,” explains Jetsonorama (Chip Thomas), who is a local artist, a practicing doctor, and a social activist advocating for the people who live on the reservation and the natural environment in general…Continue reading here


No. 4
Nychos Slays in New York : IKONS Revealed as Never Before

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Nychos. “Dissection of Sigmund Freud”. Vienna Therapy. Manhattan, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Scientists, psychologists, surgeons…in the end we’re all driven by a similar curiosity.”

This month has been a whirlwind in New York for Austrian Street Artist /fine artist /illustrator named Nychos and he’s made quite the iconic impression. Anchored by a show that opened last weekend of canvasses and illustrations at Jonathan Levine Gallery in Chelsea named “IKON” and assisted by a co-branded sculptural event with the Vienna Tourist Board, the surreal dissectionist didn’t rest there.

In the weeks leading up to and after these events he also managed to hit a number of walls in Coney Island, Bushwick, and Jersey City…oh and he knocked out a box truck as well.

In addition to pulling out an astounding sculpture of Sigmund Freud looming over a couch that drew a crowd to the foot of the (also iconic) Flatiron Building at 23rd and 6th, the afterparty and reception featured Dominic Freud, the great grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, who surmised that if he were alive today he would definitely have wanted to put Nychos on his couch…Continue reading here


No 3
35 Artists in Barcelona Trying To Save The Arctic with Greenpeace

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La Castillo. Save The Arctic. Barcelona, Spain. April 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

“Yesterday our posting was about artists in London creating works about endangered species and today we go to Barcelona where 35 artists joined with Greenpeace and a local group named RebobinArt on April 9th to create works centered on environmental issues, especially the quickly disappearing polar ice cap.

Only three days later scientists announced that the Greenland “Melt” has happened one month earlier than usual this year, smashing records and causing scientists to reexamine their measuring instruments to make sure they were working correctly.

The art-platform model of RebobinArt is interesting because they are a community organization that manages spaces and issues permits for painting for competitions, festivals, exhibitions, educational programs, and cause-based events like this one.

Under the guidance of Director Marc Garcia, RobobinArt promotes and facilitates a different sort of public painting that is not strictly commercial and yet it is clearly not the freewheeling graffiti/street art based stuff that made Barcelona such a magnet for artists in the early-mid 2000s…Continue reading here


No. 2
Chip Thomas’ New Mural, Indigenous People, and #NoDAPL

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Chip Thomas. The original photograph of JC Morningstar holding her dog on a swing. Indigenous People’s Day at Fort Lewis College. Durango, CO. (photo © Chip Thomas)

“Street Artist and activist Jetsonorama (Chip Thomas) saw his work pull together a number of people in Durango, Colorado on October 10th as the city and the college celebrated their first ever “Indigenous People’s Day”. His photograph of an indigenous youth named JC Morningstar swinging and kissing her dog was chosen by a group of students from Fort Lewis College, where 24% of the population is indigenous.

The unveiling ceremony for the mural began with a traditional pow wow prayer by a drum circle and Chip says “the highlight of the day for me was having JC, her dog and her family travel 4 hours to Durango to attend the unveiling before going to the Tribe Called Red show that evening.”…Continue reading here


No 1
Chihuahua, a Mexican Desert City with a Few “Street Art” Blooms

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Paola Delfin. Chihuahua, Mexico. Centropolis Art Festival 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Chihuahua is like one big ranch,” says a local reporter who guides you around this desert city known for beef, cheese, sotol, cowboy boots… and a growing middle class – thanks to the hundred plus multinational maquiladoras operating here with a focus on aerospace, medical equipment, and automobile manufacturing.

The “ranch” metaphor is meant to be welcoming, but it also lets you know that this city of nearly a million can still feel like a small town. This is the capital of Mexico’s largest state, which goes by the same name. And yes, the diminutive and scrappy dog originated here – as did Pancho Villa, and you can visit his homestead if you like.

It’s not the typical city where you might expect to find Street Art, yet only a few blocks from the government palace downtown that holds two stories of wall paintings by Mexican muralist Aarón Piña Mora, you will find new paintings in the dusty side streets that indicate a more international flavor is present…Continue reading here

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“Art Silos” Rise in the Harbor of Catania, Sicily

“Art Silos” Rise in the Harbor of Catania, Sicily

They’ve been here since the 1950s, these silos for wheat and corn on the harbor of Catania on the east coast of the island of Sicily at the foot of Mount Etna. 28 meters tall and facing the Ionian Sea, they are now some of the largest canvasses in Italy by a small group of international and local Street Artists.

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Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

The “Art Silos” project includes works completed during an eight month installation begun in June 2015 as part of Festival “I-ART” organized by “Emergence”, thanks to Angelo Bacchelli, curated by Giuseppe Stagnitta. The artists taking part in the project were Okuda (Spain), ROSH333 (Spain), Microbo (Italy), BO130 (Italy), VladyArt (Italy), Danilo Bucchi (Italy) and the duo Interesni Kaxki (Ukraine), mostly all from the graffiti/Street Art world. A separately organized but related project on the harbor-facing row of eight silos was completed by one artist alone, the Lisbon-based Vhils.

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Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

The project’s completion at the turn of the year culminated in one of the largest Street Art/Graffiti artists’ collective shows in Italy held in the city’s main public gallery Palazzo Platamone, entitled “Codici Sorgenti” (Source Code), which was curated by Stefano S. Antonelli and Francesca Mezzano from Rome’s 999 Contemporary Gallery.

There is talk about the possibility that this exhibition of about 60 artists work will tour throughout Europe with its message of the historic roots of modern graffiti and Street Art along with many of its most impactful practitioners pushing into the contemporary art world.

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Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

According to Arianna Ascione in Artsblog.it, the gallery exhibition was “divided into three sections that tell the birth, interactive development and consecration of the (graffiti/street art) phenomenon” Indeed, the list contains works by 108, A One, Augustine Iacurci, Alexis Diaz, Alexone, Bo 130, Boris Tellegen (aka Delta), Brad Downey, C215, Clemens Behr, Conor Harrington, Crash, Delta 2, Dondi White, Doze Green, El Seed, Ericailcane, Eron, Escif, Evol, Faile, Feitakis, Gaia, Herbert Baglione, Horfee, Interesni Kazki, Invader, Jaz, Jeff Aerosol, Mark Jenkins, Jonone, JR, Judith Supine, Kool Poor, The Atlas, Lek & Sowat, Lucy McLauchlan, Matt Small, Maya Hayuk, Mensanger, Miss Van, Momo, Moneyless, Peeta, Rammellzee, Retna, Roa, Seth, Philippe Baudelocque, Sharp, Shepard Fairey, StenLex, Swoon, The London Police, Todd James,Toxic, and the aforementioned Vhils.

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Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

Ironically the genre-melting inclination of so-called “urban art” has eroded the silo mentality of many who follow these art forms as they become known, followed, collected, and exhibited; As a metaphor “Art Silos” may more accurately refer to the past and the dogmatic separation of genres such as graffiti, tattoo, illustration, ad jamming, and Street Art for example.

Although not strictly what you might call public art either, the scale of “Art Silos”, with its major artworks that typically may take years to be approved in large cities elsewhere, is an occurrence routinely happening in cities around the world.

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Vlady Art and BO130. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

For us this is one more example of the “New Muralism” that is enabling Street Artists to do major works in public spaces via non-traditional routes. On par with a public art works of other committee-approved sorts, this silo project was a private/public collaboration that made selections, secured funding and permissions from the harbor authorities, city figures, politicians and the manager of the silos themselves, according to VladyArt, who along with Microbo is one of the artists and a resident of Catania.

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Vlady Art (photo © VladyArt)

He says the size of the project and the power of the imagery combined with the process of watching them go up has drawn a lot of attention to the area lately. “The people here were amazed by our speed and the large scale operation. Catania had no large murals like this… this was the very first time for Sicily. They can be seen from far away and even from taking off from and landing at the airport – or coming by cruise line on the sea. It seems that nobody really paid that much attention to this spot before, and everyone is talking about it now.”

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BO130 and Vlady Art. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

To understand why a project of this nature can happen so quickly these days, look no further than the location. As we have recounted numerous times, often these efforts are deliberately programmed to draw attention to economically challenged areas as a way of encouraging tourism and investment.

In fact VladyArt says that this historic region and city that dates back many centuries before Christ is having a very challenging time economically and socially and could use positive attention from a crowd that appreciates art. “Catania is somehow the most dynamic city of Sicily, because of its industrial and commercial features,” he says.

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Lucamaleonte. Work in progress. (photo © VladyArt)

“Having said that, please be aware that the south of Italy is no way wealthy or an easy place, despite its beauty and lucky location in the sun. Almost the whole city is rough, I can name a many neighborhoods where this is the case.”

So it is all the more remarkable that a multi-artist iconic installation can happen here in Catania and people are exposed to a grassroots-fueled art scene that is currently galloping across the globe.

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Lucamaleonte. Work in progress. (photo © VladyArt)

“Regular people around here don’t know much about the whole thing, street art and stuff,” says Vlady Art. “So, quite frankly they wouldn’t care much about Okuda, Vhils or Interesni. They never heard of them before and probably people will find hard to spell their names. They cannot catch the meaning or the purpose of this. They simply like what they see – they like this energy. They do get the ‘message’, the power of art.”

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Danilo Bucchi (photo © VladyArt)

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Okuda (photo © VladyArt)

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Microbo (photo © VladyArt)

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ROSH333 (photo © VladyArt)

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The Silos facing the city. (photo © VladyArt)

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Vhils on the side of the silos facing the water. (photo © VladyArt)

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

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This article is also published in The Huffington Post.

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Interesni Kazki Pull You in With “Sacred Gravitation”

Interesni Kazki Pull You in With “Sacred Gravitation”

Ukrainian duo Interesni Kazki are as understated in person as they are fantastic in their illustrative paintings. Aleksei Bordusov and Vladimir Manzhos may offer insight into their process and thematic development when prodded, but they prefer that you travel within the stories they have created unencumbered by their perceptions.

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Interesni Kazki “The Last Day of Babylon” (AEC) Jonathan LeVine Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Their new show, “Sacred Gravitation” at Manhattan’s Jonathan Levine Gallery plunges viewers into an open window of gods and monsters using a pungent and crisp graphic neo-psychedelia style that recalls rock double album covers of the 1970s and fully rendered computer animation worlds in the early 2000s. On the other side of these large looking glasses are tales told with allegory and metaphor, of blindness and revelation, politics and corruption, eternity and memory, suffering and transformation, conflict and guile, the natural world and the spiritual one.

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Interesni Kazki “Spark Of Life” (WAONE) Jonathan LeVine Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Not fully mythic nor folkloric, theirs is a unique contemporary style that welcomes and escorts the viewer instantly to enter, much like their large scale murals on city walls in Eastern Europe, the US, Australia, South Africa, and elsewhere over the last decade and a half. Showing a genuine evolution and mastery of technique, this paintings in person create such a sense of dimension that you may long for your arms to be transformed into wings to more fully explore.

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Interesni Kazki “The Great Colonizer” Jonathan LeVine Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Interesni Kazki. Jonathan LeVine Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Interesni Kazki “The Genesis” Detail. (AEC) Jonathan LeVine Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Interesni Kazki “Temple of Time” Detail. (AEC) Jonathan LeVine Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Interesni Kazki. Jonathan LeVine Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Interesni Kazki “Sacred Gravitations” is currently on view at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in Manhattan. Click HERE for further information.

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The Power of Color via Street Art, Graffiti, and Murals

The Power of Color via Street Art, Graffiti, and Murals

No doubt it is the grey days of late winter that is making us think about this as we brace for the next snowstorm, but today we’re considering the impact that Street Art color has on architecture that never asked for it.

We’re not the first to think of hues, shades, tones, and palettes when it comes to the man made environment of course, but it does strike us that most of the buildings that are hit up by street art and murals today were designed by architects who never imagined art on their facade.

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Os Gemeos in Boston. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Modern architecture for some reason is still primarily grey, washed out greens, beige, eggshell, snore.

“Color is something that architects are usually afraid of,” said internationally known and awarded architect Benedetta Tagliabue in an interview last May about the topic of color.  A generalization probably, and you can always find exceptions of colorfully painted neighborhoods globally like the Haight in San Francisco, La Boca in Buenos Aires, Portafino in Italy, Guanajuato in Mexico, Bo-Kaap in Capetown, the favelas of Rio de Janeiro and the Blue City of India, but many of those examples speak to color blocking and pattern.

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Interesni Kazki in Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We’ve been looking at the power of Street Art to reface, re-contextualize, re-energize, and re-imagine a building and its place in the neighborhood. Some times it is successful, other times it may produce a light vertigo. The impact of work on buildings by today’s Street Artists and muralists depends not only on content and composition but largely on the palette they have chosen. It sounds trite, and self-evident perhaps, but much of Street Art is about color, and primarily on the warm scale first described by Faber Birren with his OSHA colors and color circle in the 1930s .

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Faile in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Birren developed his color system with the observation that artists favor the warm colors more than the cold, from the violet side of red and extending beyond yellow because “, their effect is more dynamic and intense and because the eye can, in fact, distinguish more warm colors than cold.

It’s common now to think of 21st century Street Art as the graffiti-influenced practice that primarily activates the detritus of the abandoned industrial sector blighting western cities in the wake of trade agreements that sent all the jobs to lands without protections and regulations. While that is definitely the sort of neglected factory architecture preferred for “activation” by many graffiti artists and Street Artists alike, we also see more curious couplings of color with the delicately ornate, the regal, or even modernist structures today thanks to artists being invited, rather than chased.

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Shepard Fairey in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The results? Abstractionist, cubist, geometric, letter-based, illustrative, figurative, text-based, outsider, folk, dadaist, pop.  One common denominator: color.

“The environment and its colors are perceived, and the brain processes and judges what it perceives on an objective and subjective basis. Psychological influence, communication, information, and effects on the psyche are aspects of our perceptual judgment processes,” writes Frank H. Mahnke in his recent piece for Archinect. The author of Color, Environment, & Human Response has made it his mission to explore psychological, biological effects of color and light and to help creators of the man-made environment make good choices.

Whether all of these choices are good, we leave up to you. But it is worth considering that Street Artists have been part of the conversation on the street for decades now, making powerful suggestions to architects and city planners , so maybe it’s worth taking another look at what they’ve been up to lately.

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Ever in Baltimore. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Escif in Atlanta. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kenton Parker and Roa in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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LUDO in Chicago. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anthony Lister in Los Angeles. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kobra in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Smells, Cash4 and Spiro in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Don Rimx in El Barrio. Harlem, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Agostino Iacurci in Atlanta. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Barry McGee in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaz and Cern in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pose and Revok in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rime, Dceve and Toper in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Pixel Pancho in Miami. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Deeker and David Pappaceno in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Reka in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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RRobots in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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MOMO in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville in Brooklyn, NYC with an old NEKST tag on top. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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3ttman and Elias in Atlanta. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain and Billy Mode tribute to Martha Cooper in Brooklyn with ROA on the water tank. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rubin in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Os Gemeos in Manhattan, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JMR in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Greg LaMarche in Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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

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Hitnes at Boombarstick: Street Art in Croatia

50 points awarded for the name: Boombarstick !

Also, baby goats in your promo video melts even the meanest graff writers heart, so another 25 points for that. (see adorable video below)

In fact, if you look through all the walls and materials and listen to the voices of the organizers, you find a serious consideration of humor as a force for creativity, so we’re pretty close to a perfect score of 100 with this original and inviting concept for a city Street Art festival.

Mercifully, the art is also good.

Hitnes. Boombarstick. Vodnjan, Croatia. (photo © Swen Serbic)

All things considered, this ZERO edition (not 1st) of the Croatian festival that features a solid selection of international (mostly European) Street Artists along with local and regional musicians was very successful. The city is called Vodnjan/Dignano situated in the peninsula and county of Istria. It prides itself on its multicultural patrimony and the festival was meant to convey the artistic and cultural point of view that it has. Says Marco Contardi, one of the volunteer organizers, “The festival stands as a link between Istria and Europe, encouraging a reciprocal fruitful connection.”

Hitnes. Detail. Boombarstick. Vodnjan, Croatia. (photo © Swen Serbic)

So we’ll be bringing you some exclusive images of the pieces that Street Artists completed during Boombarstick. The first here is by Rome’s Hitnes, who completed this flight of imagination among the strong and well worn roots of the old city. He uses aerosol, brush, pencils, and whatever else brings out the detail in his alternate reality, which often meditates on the animal kingdom and a sense of magic.

Look forward in coming days to new exclusive photos of the completed pieces on BSA from some of the participants in this unique festival who include Franco Manzin, Phlegm, OKO, Sam3, Giorgio Bartocci, Hitnes, Eme, Ufocinque, Interesni Kazki, NeSpoon, Miron Milic, and Liqen.

Hitnes. Boombarstick. Vodnjan, Croatia. (photo © Swen Serbic)

 

Click HERE for more information about Boombarstick.

 

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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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BC Gallery Presents: Inaugural Group Exhibition (Berlin, Germany)

Grand Opening

Bumblebee
Interesni Kazki
Inti
Jaz
M-City
Moneyless
Sixeart
Sowat
Stinkfish

Grand Opening 26/Apr/13, 18H

Located in the center of Berlin’s culture magnet Friedrichshain, BC Gallery has its headquarters in a brand new top-of-the-line gallery space at Libauer Strasse and a breathtaking off-location on the famed RAW strip .
The grand inaugural gallery show will feature works by Bumblebee, Interesni Kazki, Inti, Jaz, M-City, Moneyless, Sixeart, Stinkfish and the calligraphy French master Sowat, who just finished an impressive work on the gallery floor.
BC Gallery: Libauer Str. 14, 10245 Berlin . Friday April 26th at 6pm

http://bcgallery.de/?cat=3

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(VIDEO) 2012 Street Art Images of the Year from BSA

Of the 10,000 images he snapped of Street Art this year, photographer Jaime Rojo gives us 110 that represent some of the most compelling, interesting, perplexing, thrilling in 2012.

Slideshow cover image of Vinz on the streets of Brooklyn (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Together the collection gives you an idea of the range of mediums, techniques, styles, and sentiments that appear on the street today as the scene continues to evolve worldwide. Every seven days on BrooklynStreetArt.com, we present “Images Of The Week”, our weekly interview with the street.

We hope you enjoy this collection – some of our best Images of The Year from 2012.

Artists include 2501, 4Burners, 907, Above, Aiko, AM7, Anarkia, Anthony Lister, Anthony Sneed, Bare, Barry McGee, Bast, Billi Kid, Cake, Cash For Your Warhol, Con, Curtis, D*Face, Dabs & Myla, Daek One, DAL East, Dan Witz, Dark Clouds, Dasic, David Ellis, David Pappaceno, Dceve, Deth Kult, ECB, Eine, El Sol 25, Elle, Entes y Pesimo, Enzo & Nio, Esma, Ever, Faile, Faith47, Fila, FKDL, Gable, Gaia, Gilf!, Graffiti Iconz, Hef, HellbentHert, Hot Tea, How & Nosm, Icy & Sot, Interesni Kazki, Jason Woodside, Javs, Jaye Moon, Jaz, Jean Seestadt, Jetsonorama, Jim Avignon, Joe Iurato, JR, Judith Supine, Ka, Kem5, Know Hope, Kuma, Labrona, Liqen, LNY, Love Me, Lush, Matt Siren, Mike Giant, Miyok, MOMO, Mr. Sauce, Mr. Toll, ND’A, Nick Walker, Nosego, Nychos, Occupy Wall Street, Okuda, OLEK, OverUnder, Phlegm, Pixel Pancho, Rambo, Read Books!, Reka, Retna, Reyes, Rime, Risk, ROA, Robots Will Kill, Rone, Sacer, Saner, See One, Sego, sevens errline, Sheyro, Skewville, Sonni, Stick, Stikman, Stormie Mills, Square, Swoon, Tati, The Yok, Toper, TVEE, UFO, VHILS, Willow, Wing, XAM, Yes One, and Zed1 .

Images © Jaime Rojo and Brooklyn Street Art 2012

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FAME Festival Is Cinematically Human in Grottaglie, Italy

The Fame Festival doesn’t take itself too seriously, but you should. Now in its fifth year, the festival is run by one fella and his friends, offering interesting walls and an opportunity to work with local artisans in the “aesthetically depressed” areas of this beautiful town named Grottaglie. A dozen or so international artists descended here again this year as summer turned to fall to eat amazing food, paint huge walls, and to create pottery works and limited edition prints with their host, Angelo Milano, in his print shop called Studiocromie.

Erica Il Cane (photo © Henrik Haven)

Free from corporate sponsors or too many meddlesome civic interests, which can muddy the creative waters and contort presentation, FAME has reliably produced singularly striking work on the Streets: the kind of free-form ingenuity that could only result from a being in a positive environment. Artists who return from the experience report that Studiocromie and their peeps know how to make you feel right at home, complete with the dysfunctional human frailties we’re all prone to. Again this year some of the pieces that have come out of FAME have been remarkable for one reason or another – it also helps when the talent pool is so strong.

Erica Il Cane. Detail. (photo © Henrik Haven)

The lineup this year officially included;

ERICA IL CANE – Italy, INTERESNI KAZKI – Ukraine, BORIS HOPPEK – Germany, CONOR HARRINGTON – Ireland, 108 – Italy, LUCY MCLAUCHLAN – UK,  MONEYLESS – Italy, NUG – Sweden, Giorgio di Palma – Italy, AKAY – Sweden, CYOP E KAF – Italy, VHILS – Portugal, PAPER RESISTANCE – Italy,  JR– France, BRAD DOWNEY – US, and MOMO – US

Photographer and BSA contributor Henrik Haven was on hand the to cover FAME and he shares these exclusive images with BSA readers of works in progress by Erica Il Cane and completed walls by Vhils, Interesni Kazki and Conor Harrington. The videos are produced by FAME and they give an additional cinematic appreciation and humor to the entire experience.

Stay hungry, FAME.

Erica Il Cane. Detail. (photo © Henrik Haven)

Angelo remarks on the FAME website what his take on the festival has been as he sets up the video below, “It’s been an intense couple of weeks here at FAME, three artists at the same time and it was a hell of a mess. This is what happened with KING Erica il Cane. Here’s my advice to all artists around, both new and old, watch him doing what he does, and how he does it. You won’t get as good as he is, you won’t end up painting such a huge wall in just two days, but at least you can take notes: have fun and don’t think about the whole art world bullshit.”

Erica il Cane “Gipsy Disagio” @ Fame 2012

Erica Il Cane (photo © Henrik Haven)

Erica Il Cane (photo © Henrik Haven)

Erica Il Cane (photo © Henrik Haven)

Vhils (photo © Henrik Haven)

Is Vhils ticklish? Climb into the back of a crowded car and find out.

Conor Harrington (photo © Henrik Haven)

Conor Harrington (photo © Henrik Haven)

Conor Harrington. Detail (photo © Henrik Haven)

You ever notice that Conor eats a lot? Dang!

Interesni Kazki (photo © Henrik Haven)

 Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © Henrik Haven)

The harrowing and hilarious video helps explain why Interesni Kazki needed 12 days to complete the piece. Angelo describes it as “an extreme amount of bad luck”.

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Living Walls Atlanta 2012 Begins, 26 Artists Converge!

 It’s Time for the Women to Represent as LW ATL Breaks New Ground Again

Sarah Emerson at work (photo © Dustin Chambers)

For the last two years at Living Walls Atlanta it’s been like graffiti summer camp; bodies and pillows and aerosol cans intermingled and stacked indiscriminately across the living room floors of friends apartments.  Sketchbooks. Pizza boxes. Condoms. Campfire songs.

The third installment of the conference for Living Walls, The City Speaks, starting today and running through the 19th, will build on the comaraderie established since then and on the lessons learned by those organizers who dared to mount this huge Street Art event on a shoe string budget and a dream. The number one change this year is that there is a bit of funding. Thanks to diligent fundraising and the donations of generous people like BSA readers who clicked a banner and gave, the Street Artists and other participants this year are actually staying in hotel rooms and everyone has a bed.

“All of the out of town artists are here, Hyuro just got in last night,” excitedly reports Living Walls organizer and BSA contributor Alexandra Parrish. So everybody is rested and ready to go.

The second important change this year is that it is all about the women.

In a completely unheard of and shocking move, the organizers/curators have invited only female Street Artists to participate this time, making this the World’s First All Female Paint Fest!  It’s a remarkable achievement in a scene that has been dominated by the male of the species, almost by definition, since the graffiti scene began in US cities about a half century ago. In most people’s opinion, it’s about time too. Speculation abounds about how the atmosphere and the output will be affected. For one thing, there will probably be fewer toilet seats thoughtlessly left up.  Also, better hair care products (no offense Gaia).

Sheryo at work (photo © Dustin Chambers)

“Over the past two years, 50 artists have participated – only two were female, and neither of them had a chance to paint a wall,” remarks Parrish as she illustrates the imbalance.

Of course there are already new pieces up to greet the participants that were done since March leading up to today’s opening that were not done expressly by females. Readers of BSA have seen an array of international artists from all over the world that came to paint big murals every month since including Gaia, Nanook, La Pandilla, Trek Matthews, Interesni Kazki, Evereman and Neuzz.

BSA has brought you full detail coverage of all those walls going up and now we’re gonna shout it from the roof tops as all this female power is loosed on the streets of Atlanta. And what an amazing lineup it is! The list includes: Indigo (Canada), Fefe (Brazil), TIKA (Switzerland), EME (Spain), Hyuro (Argentina), Martina Merlini (Italy), Miso (Australia), Cake (New York), Swoon (New York), Martha Cooper (New York), Sheryo (New York), White Cocoa (New York), Jessie Unterhalter and Katie Truhn (Baltimore), Molly Rose Freeman (Memphis), Teen Witch (San Francisco), olive47 (Atlanta), Paper Twins (Atlanta), Sarah Emerson (Atlanta), Sheila Pree Bright (Atlanta), Marcy Starz (Atlanta), Sten and Lex (Italy), Karen Tauches (Atlanta), Knitterati (Atlanta), Plastic Aztecs (Atlanta), Nikita Gale (Atlanta), Patricia Lacrete (Atlanta), Mon Ellis (Atlanta), and Andrzej Blazej Urbanski (Poland).

Here’s a Teaser for DAY 1

 

For a full list of events, schedules maps and other details click here:

TONIGHT:

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15TH
Vandalog Movie Night
Wren’s Nest in West End
9:00pm-11:00pm
RJ Rushmore from Vandalog will present a series of street art and graffiti short movies.

See the BSA posts this year for all of the installations leading up to this day:

“The Sunrise of Edgewood”, GAIA & Nanook open Living Walls Atlanta 2012

La Pandilla and Trek Matthews in Cabbagetown for Living Walls Atlanta

Interesni Kazki at Living Walls Atlanta

Priceless Culture: Mexican Artist Neuzz in Atlanta For Living Walls 2012

 

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Baltimore Opens Its Walls To Street Art

Abstract geometrist and Street Artist MOMO is still sweeping across a massive brick wall in his cherry picker as he leads Open Walls Baltimore across the finish line with more than twenty artists and murals spread across these blocks straight off “The Wire” TV series.

 

 

MOMO. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. Stay tuned for process shots of MOMO’s wall on BSA tomorrow. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Oh, man, he’s really getting it down over there,” says local pigeon trainer Tony Divers, who is looking out his back door past the bird’s coop at the new 5-story MOMO piece coming alive in the empty lot next door. Mr. Tony, whose pigeons have also had a starring role in the series, himself became the subject of a massive building-sized portrait by Jetsonorama two blocks up the street.

 

VHILS. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Welcome to Open Walls Baltimore.

New York Street Artist Gaia had been racing his fixie around this town since he started studying at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) a few years ago. In between trips back home he began hitting walls with his large scale paste-ups on sides of some of the abandoned buildings that comprise entire blocks in this city. Somewhere along the way he gradually fell in love with the neighborhood and it’s lively conversations on the stoop, secret speakeasies on the weekend, and eclectic shows with Dan Deacon and the Wham City Arts Collective.

Freshly graduated, the talkative 23 year old artist with a natural knack for organizing decided to stay in B’more and plot a Street Art revitalization of sorts. With Ben Stone and Rebecca Chan of Station North Arts & Entertainment as partners, the trio secured monetary backing and city support for 20 artists to come and paint murals this spring.  When asked if the grand outlay of almost a hundred thousand dollars is a civic/private program, Gaia is quick to answer, “Totally private. I guess you could call it civic because they’re non-profit.”

Gaia. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Armed with a budget and Gaia’s knowledge of Street Artists on the scene, the team was able to garner a wide collection of artists to create murals. When Baltimore native and famous graffiti/hip-hop photographer Martha Cooper agreed to shoot it all, Gaia knew OWB was going to be a hit. Large walls were pretty easily secured with help from the City of Baltimore and sponsors helped with paint and services. From March to May the neighborhoods of Station North and Greenmount West have played host to internationally known Street Art names of the moment like Vhils, Sten and Lex, Swoon, Jaz, MOMO, and Interesni Kazki getting up on walls alongside a list of local and regional talents.

 

Chris Stain and Billy Mode. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The reviews and interactions between the organizers, artists and local residents have generally been positive in this part of town where the drug trade has filled the vacuum since all the factories died and communities were destroyed. With “art as a gentrifying force” being a huge discussion, these hippy kids have formed community in bombed out factory buildings here over the last decade and a burgeoning artists community has somehow sustained itself tenuously through the rigors of a ruthless recession. Programmatically OWB is not entirely new as a cultural stimulus but this sort of “jump-start” approach to engendering a creative renaissance by public/private development may be watched carefully by other cities as a possible formula to imitate.

Sten & Lex. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For the upbeat organizer/curator of the project, it’s been extremely gratifying and an eye opener to be accountable to such a range of interests, “I learned that murals can be a little threatening to people and bring out their latent fears and that the parties you think who are going to be most afraid generally might not be,” Gaia explains, “and the ones you think might be the most into it – provide the most criticism.”

“For example the artists community turned out to be the one that was most afraid of being a gentrifying force and was most critical of the project. And all the legacy residents were generally not bringing that up, even if I asked them,” he says.

 

Sculptor John Ahearn performs a live casting of a couple. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Two young art fans watch in wonderment as Mr. Ahearn applies the liquid rubber to cast the mold. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mr. Ahearn’s street installation of previous casts. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist Nanook, also a student at nearby MICA and a logistical lynchpin for OWB, created his own mural that strikes at the historic manufacturing base that once provided a livelihood for the people who lived in many of these abandoned buildings. For him, the artist’s role is to connect the lines between past and present, “And so it’s just about bringing back these signifiers to the neighborhood. Especially for this housing area that was built to house the people who were working at these factories. It has been interesting to meet the people who are old enough to have worked at these factories – they actually worked at the coat factory and the rudder factory and the bottling factory down the street.”

As he smokes and points to the gears and the large hand on his mural, Nanook also talks about the former coat factory two blocks away that is now being renovated to be a magnet art school, and the possibility that work by creatives can create help neighborhoods re-imagine a future, “I think most artists are intermediaries for the communities they reside in.”

 

Swoon. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As we tour around the streets with Ms. Cooper, we make sure to hit the hot graffiti spot in town, an alley she’s known for more than 50 years and one that has provided uninterrupted opportunity for exploration with an aerosol can for many artists who start out here. “Usually there are people painting back here and there’s often somebody doing a fashion shoot back here,” she remarks while snapping images of tags and colorful pieces. “There was a “Wild Style” reunion here a few years ago with Charlie (Ahearn), and they painted all kinds of stuff. It’s fun and they all come to this – because there really aren’t too many locations to do this”

While we watch a handful of 20-year-olds pulling cans from backpacks and arranging them on the cracked concrete in front of a wall, we talk to Jeremy, a local Baltimore artist who also makes puppetry and masks. He says he likes the effect that OWB has been having on the neighborhood. “It’s an interesting project. It’s nice to see a kind of subtle but effective change. Baltimore is kind of rough. But because (OWB) is there it invokes something different and the space actually is transformed.”

On a Friday evening at a block party celebrating the completion of the final wall, Gaia is happy with how it has turned out, and pleased with the multiple conversations he’s been able to have with people in the community about murals, walls, pigeons, paint, and wheat-paste. “My only curatorial process was matching the artists with walls and sites that I thought would be pertinent and I thought would really work with the artists’ process – that was my biggest goal and it succeeded.”

Interesni Kazki. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ever. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JAZ. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JAZ. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Freddy Sam. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Specter. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Maya Hayuk. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Josh Van Horn. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Overunder created a new facade within the facade of this building and a tribute to a local resident, Dennis Livingston. Says Gaia, “OverUnder is remarkably improvisational and really works well with children and people and is super engaging.” Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Overunder.Dennis Livinston. Detail. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mata Ruda. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Doodles. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jetsonorama’s portrait of Mr. Tony as he watches his pigeons in the sky. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Jetsonorama and Nanook collaboration from a Martha Cooper photograph. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Jetsonorama and Nanook collaboration from a Martha Cooper photograph. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Jetsonorama and Nanook collaboration from a Martha Cooper photograph. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nanook’s wall in progress. Open Walls Baltimore 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Open Walls Baltimore includes the following artists: Gaia (Baltimore), Momo (New Orleans), Doodles (Port Townsend, WA), Maya Hayuk (New York City), Ever (Buenos Aires, Argentina,  Overunder (Reno, NV), John Ahearn (New York City)
Specter (Montreal), Mata Ruda (Baltimore), Josh Van Horn (Baltimore) , Caitlin Cunningham (Baltimore) , Jessie Unterhalter & Katey Truhn (Baltimore), Freddy Sam (Capetown, South Africa), Intersni Kazki (Kiev, Ukraine),
Gary Kachadourian (Baltimore), Chris Stain (New York City, Baltimore), Billy Mode (Baltimore),  Jetsonorama (Arizona), Swoon (New York City), Sten and Lex (Italy), Nanook (Baltimore), Jaz (Buenos Aires, Argentina), and Vhils (Portugal)

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