Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. INTI “Soleil”. Blinded by the Light. 2. Martha Cooper: Queen der Street Art 3. Elisa Capdevila x Anna Repullo. Contorno Urbano Foundation. 12+1 Project 4. Mare 139 : L’ avenir” Graffuturism. Group Exhibition. 5. FAUST: L’ avenir” Graffuturism. Group Exhibition.
BSA Special Feature: INTI “Soleil”. Blinded by the Light.
OMG WHERE does Chop ’em Down get their music from? Finally we said it out loud.
Yes, the monstrous archive of top-notch video that they are amassing of Street Artists and others creating work in the world is scintillating, the gut-punch editing is riveting, the pickings are lush. But time and again Zane nails it into next week with the music choices. Bless you brother.
INTI “Soleil”. Blinded by the Light. Video by Chop ’em Down Films for Peinture Fraiche Festival. Lyon, France.
Martha Cooper: Queen der Street Art via ZDF German TV (in German no subtitles)
Our sincere thanks to Susanne Lingemann and ZDF German TV for this great piece on Martha Cooper during the premiere of Selina Miles’ movie “Martha: A Picture Story” at Tribeca Film Festival. Next stop Sydney!
Elisa Capdevila x Anna Repullo. Contorno Urbano Foundation. 12+1 Project
Easily the winner of wackiest choice of concept and music for the year so far is this wiccan themed duo in Spain painting walls across from each other on an underpass. Something to do with sensuality and competitiveness and … witchcraft? Good painting tho.
L’avenir Graffuturism Group Exhibition
A special collection of works opened on April 26th under the banner “Graffuturism”, guided by its creator and advocate, the artist Poesia. The lineup includes a number of artists along the street art/graffiti /contemporary continuum such as Augustine Kofie, Tobias Kroeger, Carlos Mare, Doze Green, Jaybo Monk, Faust, Kenor, and Matt W. Moore – each with distinct graphic voices of their own. Below are a couple of brief profiles from the show follow here.
“L’ avenir” Graffuturism. Group Exhibition. Mare139.
“L’ avenir” Graffuturism. Group Exhibition. Faust.
2018 has been a good year for Street Art books, and your interest in the ones we have highlighted continues to assure us that “Print” is not dead. There is no better way to document a moment in this evolving scene for posterity than with the bound volume, and sometimes there is no better way to appreciate an artists work than to sit by a lamp or window with a book on your lap.
We know that you appreciate our daily analysis and efforts to elucidate and illustrate a fluid global Street Art/ graffiti / urban art scene here in digital, but we’re thrilled to give you solid options in book form as well. If you’re looking for a good quality art book to give this year, consider one of these hits from 2018. Enjoy!
“Certainties, simple explanations, last hopes, magic thoughts and fears. All of them confronted by what is evident.”
Thus describes the figure slung with bullets, holding a necklace with a cross and delicately balancing a small green apple on his index finger on a larger than life mural in Santiago, Chili. The visual language of this graffiti/Street Artist and muralist named Inti is his to wield, a cosmic folk expression that glows with celestial waves surrounding an other-worldly race of characters.
INTI. Éditions Albin Michel, 2017. Paris, France. Click HERE for more about this book.
Such is the splendid stuff of dreams and discovery for Bordalo II, the Lisbon-based Street Artist and maker of garbage relief animal portraits in cities across the world.
These are the things that when arranged on shelves and placed in relation to a floor plan, within parameters and boundaries of our mundanity, will comprise a perfect environment of domesticity; full of memory, associative emotion, symmetry. Objects, materials melted and poured, carved and plain, screwed and snapped, polished and sprayed, emulsified, inset, extruded, coiled, soldiered, plated, woven. These dimensional collections of matter matter to us. Metal alloy. Plastic polymer. Blown glass. Rubber, copper, steel, bakelite, particle board, glue.
Disarrange. You create chaos, disruption, disunity, discontent. Arrange again and create a muskrat, a buck deer, a petulant parakeet, an undulant octopus.
Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal. Click HERE for more about this book.
“The constant imposition of advertising in front of our eyes is an oppressive, dictatorial and violent act,” posits the artist, activist, and author Hogre in this new collection of works and words called Subvertising : The Piracy of Outdoor Advertising.
It sounds rather extreme when put this way, but perhaps that is the dulling power of advertising’s omnipresence in public space year after year. Each of us can certainly recall a time when there seemed like there was more open public space and fewer images and graphics and text telling us what to do, what to buy, who to hate, how to behave. Artists like Hogre are sounding the warning on our ability to recognize its power over our perceptions.
HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017. Click HERE for more about this book.
Via his own pop-culture interpretation of the interlocking curvilinear, geometric and graphic motifs, the Portuguese artist is firing new pieces daily in the kiln of his studio in Cascais. For a decade or so his interpretations of the tin-glazed ceramic tilework have been appearing on inordinate secondary city skins in the paths of pedestrians: visual illusions meant to appear as layers of urban bark peeling back from surfaces you take for granted to reveal heritage, history, artisanship.
While the interiors and exteriors of churches, palaces, schools and subway stations are covered with azulejos in Lisbon, thanks to Add Fuel (Diogo Machado) they have travelled to other cities and cultures as well. Each time he is attracted to the tile-making traditions locally, and he often incorporates his study of these new histories as well.
Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.
A serendipitous meeting somewhere in Berlin set this project in motion, and the results unveil an adrenaline fueled ride that always pushes, often exceeds the boundaries of physical safety and social acceptance while simultaneously thrilling graffiti fans and pissing off some public officials and property owners.
A new book captures the nature of the actions and adds to our conversations about art, vandalism, branding, public/personal space and its radical visual disruption. It’s a story made all the more remarkable during an increasing level of surveillance in a city that has basically embraced the bohemian and rebellious types who have transformed large parts of its cityscape, making Berlin a de facto capital of subculture, especially among the young.
Martha Cooper & Ninja K. One Week With 1UP. (photo courtesy of the team) Click HERE for more about this book.
A steel-wheeled graffiti train with Roger Gastman at the controls roars into LA’s Chinatown for a two-month stay at this station, a 40,000 square foot warehouse that houses “Beyond the Streets.” Originating at the streets and train yards of the 1960s and 70s, this express survey carries with it 100 or so artists and writers from across the last five decades as practitioners of graffiti, Street Art, and mural painting. Somehow, everyone gets represented.
It sounds the same on the street as it does in the gallery space, and for Norwegian Street Artist Anders Gjennestad the two appear nearly identical, aside from context.
Whether he is discovering the neglected urban factory door long after the spirit of industry has roared its last turbine and reaching toward his backpack for a spray can, or he is hoisting a piece out from the pile of collected iron-bound wooded slabs in his Berlin studio, functionally each of these doors is a canvas.
Every urban explorer sees the potential of walls that are long abandoned and spoiled with rot and piss and pushed open by weeds, worn away by rain. The world is a temporary place anyway. I am only here temporarily.
Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.
As you look through this new slim volume about the Street Artist/fine artist FKDL it may strike you how much autobiography is the determinant of an artist’s path as well. It’s the tale of a teenager finding himself, finding his vocation, and eventually finding his voice on the street. When you reach the end you see that it takes a number of years and a lot of experimentation, this journey.
FKDL. Galiote Prenant. Choisy-le-Roi, France. 2017. Click HERE for more about this book.
“These are artists who are thus not slavishly reproducing their exterior practice within an interior realm but who are, rather, taking the essence of graffiti – its visual principles, its spatial structures, its technical methods, its entrenched ethics – and reinterpreting them with the studio domain,” says author Rafael Schacter in his introductory exposition for his book Street to Studio where he offers a unique assessment derived from his 10 years of researching the foundational, conceptual, methodological, and ethical considerations that impact the original graffiti/Street Art scene as well as where it is going.
Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.
Street Artist/fine artist Adele Renault understands our interdependence with the birds and with each other perhaps better than many, and “Feathers and Faces” carries the message powerfully by delivering these works she has done on city streets and galleries in New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, Burkina Faso, Helsinki, Moscow…
We share this city with pigeons. We look to the same environment to supply us with what we need, including food, water, shelter – depending on physical factors like as soil, air, a temperate climate, other organisms. Adele studies our feathered friends and brings them full force to the streets, and we know that here only the scrappiest survive and get to display their colors.
Feathers And Faces by Adele Renault was published in 2018 and is distributed in the United States and Canada by SCB Distributors. Click HERE for more about this book.
Prayers of supplication and longing, racing teams of stallions and master felines of fury, the exhausted figure of a dream barely still illuminated, a wistful stage in the plundered urban landscape, or a plundered life.
This is what she does to you. As Faith IXVII leaves her stolen stanza, her massive mural in washed hues, her tributes to a moment lost in a city that would leave you to die if it had its way, she makes you make poetry.
Faith XLVII. “EX ANIMO’ THE WORK OF FAITH FORTY SEVEN/ 2010-2018. Drago Publishing. Rome, Italy, 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.
And el Seed is the first to tell you that in this deeply personal account of his art project across fifty buildings in Mashiyat Naser, a neighborhood of Cairo over two years ago. Born of his personal need to challenge himself and to add more to his career as a respected muralist, his original concept of working in this neighborhood of 70,000 recyclers was informed by his own assumptions, perhaps of helping a community known in the city as Zabbaleen, or “garbage people”.
Over the course of the project he and his team describe through interviews and with his own diary style how their own eyes were opened. It is an incremental revelatory experience that paralleled the quote that he stylized throughout the pattern of his piece, “Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eyes first,” from the writings of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, a fourth century Coptic Bishop.
El Seed PERCEPTION Published by Point à la Ligne. Milan, Italy. 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.
One thing that some Street Artists do when their work enters the white cube is drop the “street” from their official moniker, instead preferring to be known simply as an “artist”. The decision is possibly to rid themselves of any subtle class distinctions or otherwise negative connotations that a potential collector or curator may have with the “street artist” label.
Other artists formerly known as “Street Artists” feel limited by the title because it doesn’t include all of their new interests and their complete practice – or because the term itself has evolved in their mind and the mind of the public to mean something unfavorable that they do not like to be associated with.
When it comes to the internationally renowned Street Artist Invader, its not a consideration – the street is in his DNA. His cryptic tile-made street practice is so proliferate across the world and so much a part of the metropolis like in his hometown of Paris that his art is literally and psychically fused with the city.
Invasion Los Angeles 2.1 / Updated Edition 1999 – 2018. A Book By Invader. Published by Control P. Editions. France 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.
“Russian Urban Art: History and Conflicts”, Igor Ponosov.
An academically sourced opinion-based essay in book form that looks to art, social, economic, and geopolitical movements during the start of the 20th century to better understand the evolution of Urban Art in post-Soviet Russia, Igor Ponosov delivers a welcome reconstruction of the timeline and movements that bring urban art to this day.
With the renewed interest in public art and muralism that has erupted over the last decade in many so-called Western cities it is good to learn how the public space in Russia has been catalyzed not-only by Hip Hop and new graffiti forms from Europe but also the history of Avant-garde art movements and Soviet Muralism in Russian Urban Art: History and Conflicts.
Igor Ponosov. Russian Urban Art: History And Conflicts. Moscow 2018. Published in collaboration with Street Art Museum, St Petersburg, Russia. Click HERE for more about this book.
Hello from French Polynesia! All week we have been hopping around the islands from Papeete to Raiatea and now in Bora Bora. Celebrating its 5th anniversary/birthday last night at the huge community street party with founders Sarah Roopina and Jean Ozonder and with this years ONO’U festival artists slamming walls like crazy here – you can see that hard work pays off sometimes.
Grassroots, not overly commercial, inclusive, responsive to the neighbors, high quality artworks – its a solid, even golden mix. Also Sarah’s parents are always happy to pitch in, whether it is pushing a broom or making lunch for everyone at home in their kitchen and bringing it to the work site to make sure that everyone eats. It is touches of warmth like this which reminds you that in many ways this scene that started in the street is as much about community as it is self expression.
For BSA readers who are just catching up with ONO’U we thought we’d use Images of the Week as an ONO’U Greatest Hits collection today. Most of these have never before published on BSA from the four previous editions. We took winding streets, back alleys, roundabouts, promenades, rooftops, abandoned lots and just about any place we could enter alongside Martha Cooper and had a blast for three days finding these walls again. Enjoy and Māuruuru roa!
“The coconut tree is one of the most common trees in The Islands Of Tahiti. The Polynesians always tell a legend about its creation… The coconut tree legend…
A long time ago, a young girl called Hina was of real beauty due to her sun kissed skin and silky hair. She was meant to marry the prince of eels. Frightened by the physique of her suitor, who had a gigantic body and an enormous head, Hina ran away and took refuge in the house of the fishing God – Hiro.
The latter was dazzled by the beauty of Hina and touched by her history, so he took one of the young woman’s hairs and with it fished the approaching eel. Hiro cut up the prince of eels and wrapped his head in leaves. Before dying, the eel said to Hina: “of all the Men who hate me, including you Hina, you will one day kiss me to thank me. I will die, but my prediction is eternal.”.
Hiro entrusted the head of the eel to Hina and then advised her:
‘Hina, girl of beauty, you can return to your family and there, you will destroy this head. But throughout your journey do not put it on the ground because then the curse of the eel will come true.’
On her way back, the beautiful young woman and her followers who accompanied her, became tired and decided to take a bath in the river, forgetting the warning of the God Hiro. The eel’s head which had been put on the ground penetrated the earth, and from it a large tree was born, with a long trunk just like an immense eel, and with foliage similar to hair; the coconut tree had just been born.
Hina was then condemned by the Gods to remain close to this river because the tree had become taboo… Life went on until the day when a terrible dryness struck the lands and during which only the coconut resisted the sun. Thus, in spite of the God’s prohibition to touch this tree, men picked its fruit full of clear and nutritive water. Each fruit was marked with 3 dark spots laid out like two eyes and a mouth on which the men put their lips in order to drink the coconut water…. Hina did the same thing ….. And the prophecy of the prince of eels had just come true.”
“Certainties, simple explanations, last hopes, magic thoughts and fears. All of them confronted by what is evident.”
Thus describes the figure slung with bullets, holding a necklace with a cross and delicately balancing a small green apple on his index finger on a larger than life mural in Santiago, Chili. The visual language of this graffiti/Street Artist and muralist name Inti is his to wield, a cosmic folk that glows with celestial waves surrounding an other-worldly race of characters.
INTI. Éditions Albin Michel, 2017. Paris, France.
The messages these massive murals carry may be layered, their determination and commitment is not to be doubted. His new grandly gilded monograph certainly earns your attention, and keeps it with quality materials, photography, and accessible crisp writing by Pablo Aravena that dares to be esoteric when describing the artists work.
Born from a post dictatorship community muralism that blossomed in the 80s and 90s as the country forged a new identity, the explosive graffiti scene that first captured the imagination and street practice of the teenage Inti was eventually channeled into a fine art education and formal study of the tenets and techniques of the painters. Paired with a fascination with religious dogma, the traditions of carnival and the symbols of power, hope, ornament and sustenance, Inti is forging a language known to him and his characters in a way that still can foster an empathetic response from the viewer of his massive murals in places as farflung as Honolulu, Boras, Beirut, Belgium.
INTI. Éditions Albin Michel, 2017. Paris, France.
The Valparaíso-born artist whose name translates in Incan to ‘Sun’ is a master of light as well, shining it in gentle cadences across singular figures who could be multi-natural, sans-national, or inter-stellar.
Gathered in folds of robes, adorned in floating baubles and brightly glowing with reflecting patterns and gentle animals in arms, they may be evocative of carnival figures, fortune tellers, and of religious seers from around the world and throughout history, as is his universal searching for meaning, ultimately sharing some truths too no doubt.
INTI. Éditions Albin Michel, 2017. Paris, France.
INTI. Éditions Albin Michel, 2017. Paris, France.
INTI. Éditions Albin Michel, 2017. Paris, France.
INTI. Éditions Albin Michel, 2017. Paris, France.
INTI: Color, Carnaval y Resistencia by Inti Castro (Author), Pablo Aravena (Author)
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Able, Alexis Diaz, Bruno Smoky, Case Ma’Claim, Crash, Dan Flavin, Ernest Zacharevic, Inti, Jose Mertz, Kryptick, Logan Hicks, Maya Hayuk, Miro, Pichi & Avo, Santiago Rubino, Shalakattak, and Sipros.
Murals hold their own place onstage in public space today for a variety of reasons that we discuss regularly on BSA. From grassroots and public, to private and corporate, we have watched the genre professionalize as Street Art festivals and other initiatives are often coupling artists with brands and are selling canvasses through the organizers galleries. Today we have the first of a promised four-part book series by Art Whino gallerist and organizer of the Richmond Mural Project in Virginia, Shane Pomajambo, that features many artists he has worked with in the brand new “The Art of the Mural”.
Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Featuring more than fifty current graffiti/Street Artists, the survey pays special attention to the show-stopping eye candy that commands attention for these nomadic painters who are developing their craft before an ever larger and more appreciative international audience.
Culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick, who writes the introduction to the Schiffer published hardcover, notes that this mural renaissance is quite unlike the US government funded New Deal era mural programs that produced “hundreds of thousands of murals for schools, hospitals, post offices, housing projects, and various government facilities”. And he’s right, these are emanating from a different place entirely.
Antony Lister. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
The world-traveling media-soaked artists, of which this collection is subset, have had vastly more exposure to corporations and branding perhaps than, say, arts institutions, and a sophisticated self-handling is often on display with artists ever more savvy in their choices of style and content.
A greater percentage are now entering into private collections, galleries, and museums thanks to unprecedented platforms for huge exposure on the Internet, and their public works are adding rich character and dialogue to our neighborhoods and public spaces.
Curiot. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
With academia, art critics, and auction houses all grappling with the rightful place of these artists in contemporary art and society at large it will be instructive to know the history and their lineage, content, context, and patronage. One has to agree when McCormick says that all of these “are helpful for us to consider in looking at and understanding the artists’ walls of today.”
This collection of talent is strong, with many of the mid-large names that are at play in this generation of painters whom are primarily born in the 1970s and 80s. In their work is a cultural appreciation for modern graffiti history as they now channel it along with formal training, art history, advertising, and a multitude of media. With few exceptions, it’s a tight list of artists, the images are riveting (though uncredited to their photographers), and the brief introductions by Pomajambo contain just enough biographical information and artist’ quotes to ground the story and give it context.
“As with everything I do,” says the Queens, New York native Pomajambo, “I always question and observe, and as we reach critical mass with murals I felt compelled to create this project and capture a moment in time.”
Evoca 1. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Fintan Magee. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Miss Van. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
MOMO. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Onur & Wes 21. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Telmo & Miel. Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
Tone (Robert Proch). Shane Pomajambo The Art of The Mural Volume 01 Foreword by Carlo McCormick. Schiffer Publishing. 2016
All photos of the spreads by Jaime Rojo
The Art of The Mural: Contemporary International Urban Art. Volume 01 by Shaen Pomajambo. Schiffer Publishing. Atglen, PA. USA.
A lot of people thought so, and the rise of commercial festivals and commissioned public/private mural programs probably brought more artists to more walls than in recent history. Judging from the In Box, 2016 is going to break more records. Enormous, polished, fully realized and presented, murals can hold a special role in a community and transform a neighborhood, even a city.
But they are not the “organic” Street Art that draws us into the dark in-between places in a city, or at its margins.
We keep our eyes open for the small, one-off, idiosyncratic, uncommissioned, weirdo work as well, as it can carry clues about the culture and reveal a sage or silly solo voice. It also just reinforces the feeling that the street is still home to an autonomous free-for-all of ideas and opinions and wandering passions. For us it is still fascinating to seek out and discover the one-of-a-kind small wheatpastes, stencils, sculptures, ad takeovers, collages, and aerosol sprayed pieces alongside the enormous and detailed paintings that take days to complete.
The main image above is from a vinyl subway advertisement that was high-jacked and we published it in February of this year on our Images of the Week posting. It’s small, personal, and very effective as you can see someone suspiciously similar to Batman is jumping out of the mouth of someone looking awfully similar to Hedwig of “Angry Inch” fame.
Of the 10,000 or so images photographer Jaime Rojo took in 2015, here are a selection 140+ of the best images from his travels through streets looking for unpermissioned and sanctioned art.
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;
365xlos43, Amanda Marie, Andreas Englund, Augustine Kofie, Bisser, Boijeot, Renauld, Bordaloli, Brittany, BunnyM, Case Maclaim, Casg, Cash4, CDRE, Clet, Cost, Curve, Dain, Dal East, Dan Budnik, Dan Witz, David Walker, DeeDee, Dennis McNett, Don Rimx, Ricardo Cabret, LNY, Alex Seel, Mata Ruda, Don’t Fret, Dot Dot Dot, ECB, El Mac, El Sol25, Ella & Pitr, Eric Simmons, Enest Zacharevic, Martha Cooper, Martin Whatson, Ever, Faile, Faith47, Findac, Futura, Gaia, Gilf!, Hanksy, Hellbent, Hot Tea, How & Nosm, Icy and Sot, Inti, Invader, Isaac Cordal, James Bullough, Janet Dickson, Jef Aerosol, Jilly Ballistic, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Le Diamantaire, Li Hill, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Low Brow, Marina Capdevilla, Miss Van, Mr. Prvrt, Mr. Toll, Myth, Nafir, Nemos, Never Crew, Nick Walker, Nina Pandolofo, Old Broads, Oldy, Ollio, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Paper Skaters, Pet Bird, Kashink, Smells, Cash4, PichiAvo, Pixel Pancho, QRST, ROA, Ron English, Rubin415, Saner, Sean 9 Lugo, Shai Dahan, Shepard Fairey, Sheryo & The Yok, Sinned, Sipros, Skewville, Slikor, Smells, Sweet Toof, Snowden, Edward Snowden, Andrew Tider, Jeff Greenspan, Specter, Stray Ones, Sweet Toof, Swil, Willow, Swoon, The Outings Project, Toney De Pew, Tristan Eaton, Various & Gould, Vermibus, Wane, Wk Interact
The Spanish Street Art duo Pichiavo brought the antiquities and modern day graffiti together last week on a soaring multi-story wall in Borås, Sweden. Ironically both are under attack at any given time these days – one by terrorists eager to erase and loot symbols of unholy civilization and the other by the municipal buffing of unsanctioned aerosol tags. In one mural the Valencia-based duo are encompassing many battles and, as it rises amidst a building complex that was once a textile mill here by the Viskan River, the duality of the piece is awash with color and movement like so many fabric dyes being dumped into a stream.
For Pichi and Avo, who merge their names as one on artworks, the creation process of their murals includes first laying down a blanket of aerosol tags and then precisely rendering the figures of Greek and Roman mythology and sculpture over top as a semi-transparent screen. In this case the fierce Greek goddess Latona guards her son Apollo and his sister Artemis, commanding the bricked space and raising questions.
As a passerby looks at this mashing of imagery one may be reminded of the fiery and perplexing tensions that exist in discussions in academic and public-policy circles about the worthiness of graffiti, street art, and urban art alongside traditionally more revered art forms and styles. Another audience will see the battles between the various practices on the streets themselves, of which Pichiavo are well acquainted. Witness the faded “Toy” bubble branded on the infants hip – a term used to disparaged new unskilled graffiti writers.
Pichiavo tell us that the supportive relationship depicted extends between the mother and her children and that the figures are deliberately chosen to portray their own experiences. “Our aim was to represent graffiti and Street Art and the overall movement through Leto’s figure. Here her children are the writers, or artists. According to Greek mythology Apollo and his sister Artemis were the most important protectors of Leto, defending her from attackers of all kinds. This allegory can be applied in the Street Art world, where many people try to take advantage of something that it is growing and we, the writers ourselves, need to defend and protect that which we care about.”
This is No Limit, the second installation of murals done primarily by Street Artists in Borås, a pristine and pleasant city about 45 minutes east of Gothenberg. With the leadership of artist Shai Dahan and organizers Stina Hallhagen and Anders Khil the local tourism office works year round to promote this festival and the quality of the pieces are top notch due to the careful choices of international big names and up-and-comers.
In addition to this diversity, the scale is varied with massive walls like those by the Chilean Inti and Poland’s Robert Proch, and more personal-sized installations in surprise locations around town by American illustration artist David Zinn and New Jersey’s sculptural stencillist Joe Iurato.
With maps, food trucks, tours, and near daily coverage from local media, including the largest outlet “Borås Tidning”, whose façade was painted this year by Los Angeles native Tristan Eaton, this city of about 65,000 turns out small crowds to watch the progress from the sidewalk and interact with the artists.
“The people here are enthusiastic about the artists and their works and really engage with the art,” says Dahan, who serves as director of the “No Limit” festival and who also organized a pop-up gallery show of work by international and local artists in the heart of the city.
Across the street from the university is a “first” for a mural by the Chinese-born artist DALeast, who has not previously worked in the industrial cerulean hue that dyes the fibre-like threads weaving an enormous flying bird’s wingspan across a graduated modern façade. Dahan tells us that it is meant to be seen from the ground level for students and faculty at The Swedish School of Textiles.
“When he arrived in town he sat with his black book right here,” he says, motioning to the contiguous wooden seating platform running along steps leading up to the august bird. “He sketched the entire mural from this vantage point, and this is the best perspective to see it from.”
Next year the city is planning a sculpture festival and the murals will return in 2017. In the mean time, have a look at new work from Curiot, DalEast, David Zinn, Dulk, Inti, Joe Iurato, Logan Hicks, Robert Proch, and Tristan Eaton.
The process of getting one of these huge murals up in Borås entails many hours, days, paint, a scissor lift, compressors, brushes, buckets, sandwiches, sunscreen, ponchos, lunches, bathroom breaks, discussions, last minute runs to the hardware store, drizzling and pouring rain, warming sun, and entertaining questions from the inquisitive passersby.
That last item on the list is particularly true here in Borås for the No Limit festival because director Shai Dahan and the tourism board here have done such a thorough job of publicizing the festival that literally crowds of spectators have greeted the artists at certain times during the past week, while the normal flow includes at least a handful of new people arriving at all times to take in the action first hand. Families, singles, old folks, boomers, skater kids – the interest level is rather unusual actually.
We only added to that number of spectators this week, but we also get to ride in the scissor lift so that is even more distracting to the artists. But what the heck.
Yes there will be finished pieces all presented together here for our No Limit round-up next Wednesday. In the mean time you can take a look here at some of the artists working on their walls in process high above the street in their buckets aloft in the sky, enjoying their final moments before they soon leave this town.
With a new multi-storey mural in Khirki, INTI again brings the mystery and metaphor to a neighborhood. Part of the 2015 edition of St+Art India, this piece is entitled “Balance”. Yet another astounding piece by the prolific painter from Chile, this one defies gravity regarding a solemn topic of the heart.
Montreal has shown up again on our radar this summer because of the second annual MURAL festival, a large gathering of art fans, performances and live painting. The quality of the work is high and appropriately placed center stage, and the caliber of the event draws a good cross section of modern public art fans who are there to see the art and meet the artists rather than rush past it on the way to the next music performance, beer tent, or drug deal.
A majority of the 20+ artists made their mark initially by doing graffiti/street art, about a third of them are Canadian, and all of them were stunted by heavy rains the first two days of the four-day event. By the weekend the sun had cleared the way for block parties, DJs, live painting, tours, and commercial vending along the Saint-Laurent and the golden age of murals was in full effect once again.
Impossible to place into one stylistic category, many of the massive pieces this year are singular portraits, or at least figurative, appealing on the whole, and with a handful of abstract and surreal tableaus. Transgressive themes, as in many street festivals around the world, are almost disappeared or nearly imperceptible — an irony of sorts considering the rebellious street culture that many of these artists evolved from. Ultimately, it is the quality of the endowment that gives it staying power and many of these new pieces will endure into the future in Montreal.
123 Klan, Bezt from the Etam Cru, Zilon, Alex Scaner, Inti, Vilx, Cyrcle, Zema, Alex Diaz, Seth, Fred Caron, 2501, Zoltan, Kashink, Kevin Ledo, Bryan Beyung, Miss Me, Stikki Peaches, Mathieu Connery, Alex Produkt, and Le Diamantaire.
Our final posting from Montreal’s MURAL festival gives you a sense of the the size, variety, and quality of the expanse of works on display over four days. With any luck, most of these will be up much longer.
If you are ever planning one of these ginormous parties of painting here’s a little advice: don’t plan to shoot photos of all of them during the actual festival because little things like rainstorms, supply shortages, surprising technical challenges, and artists fatigue will undoubtedly slow the progress.
Also raging parties and sudden love interests pull many a wayward heart away from the work to be done, and sometimes a parade of looky-loo new fans will ask 1,001 questions while craning their eyes up to you on the scissor lift. One or more of these eventualities always happens, nothing to be done about it.
“Some walls aren’t finished so I’ll try and get them tomorrow,” says photographer Daniel Esteban Rojas, who has been sharing these great images with BSA readers. Don’t sweat it Daniel, we understand, and these images are worth the wait!