All posts tagged: Jaime Rojo

Phlegm’s Visual Corona Diary Accompanies You/ Dispatch From Isolation # 15

Phlegm’s Visual Corona Diary Accompanies You/ Dispatch From Isolation # 15

Your opportunity to put your creativity to the test is a daily undertaking these days thanks to unprecedented social and economic change – and a global health threat. London-based Street Artist and fine artist Phlegm says that he has been finding his balance while staying inside with his pregnant partner and two-year-old son – or at least trying to.

Phlegm. Don’t Panic. (photo © Phlegm)

Balancing internal worries and turmoil with quotidian home responsibilities and family care, he says that finding a creative way to process his thoughts and feelings has been imperative in this period of self-isolation. The first step he realized is one that many of us have been learning – the value of implementing a routine.

“I tried to take time out to do an hour of work a day but every time I tried to engrave or do the very detailed work I realised my hands were shaking too much,” he says. “So instead I thought maybe I can just paint and draw something small and loose that’s kind of cathartic. I can use it to process my thoughts like meditating.”

Phlegm. Planting Seed. (photo © Phlegm)

Luckily for fans of his darkly whimsical illustrations, Phlegm’s agile pace and his knack for spot-on allegory have kept up with the quickly changing news these last few weeks, addressing everything from fears of isolation to the comedy of social distancing and irrational hoarding — and the appreciation we all feel for those in the medical profession who are caring for our neighbors, friends, family, and each other.

“We isolated fairly early because we saw things escalated pretty fast and with knowing little about how this could affect pregnancy we started about a week before the official lock-down in London,” he says in-between his sketching.  “I think the first week I was entirely in fight or flight mode. Securing online weekly deliveries, clearing out the garden to make it toddler-friendly and just grafting every waking hour. By the second-week official lockdown was being talked about and people were just queuing for miles to get a year’s supply of toilet roll,” he says with only a little exaggeration.

Phlegm. Home Improvements. (photo © Phlegm)

Using his social media postings as daily communication with the greater world, one by one his monochromatic machinations of whimsy and everyday dilemmas assure you that your strange little thoughts and dramatic fears are, at the very least, normal.

“Maybe because it’s less isolating to feel the same feelings as a group and realise you’re not alone trapped in a personal hell. It now feels like a diary which is a bizarre mixture of banality and terror,” he says.

Phlegm. All The Mothers. (photo © Phlegm)

“I try to keep the work honest and working every day helps. Emotions and actual events are so fast-moving its best to just work day-to-day. Sometimes it’s the very ordinary things that can carry a lot of emotional weight. The only thing I’m trying to be aware of is that people are upset and vulnerable so I tend to sketch out two or three a day and then choose one to ink up. This way I can try and balance the humour with the fear.”

He says that he’ll continue this daily diary for the foreseeable future, giving you a peek into his state of being. His new practice is a genuine “live blogging” with illustrations that describe many powerful and banal aspects of our daily living that is turning long-term – a reflection of the inside life as well as the outside life.

Phlegm. Stay In. (photo © Phlegm)

“I want to be realistic and honest, which at times has to include some very dark days but I don’t want to fuel fears and negatively influence people. I think humour is always helpful in times like these, to laugh and cry at the same time. I think also something that happens in huge emotional events like this is that our thoughts become so overwhelmed it’s impossible to express or sort through any of it.”

“I think art can sometimes just give you a place to put it all.”

Phlegm. Should Shave. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. Postman Gets Further Away. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. Social Distance. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. Clearing The Attic. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. Nightmare. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. Dry Hands. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. National Health Service. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. Comfort Eating. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. New Day, New Me. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. Comfort Eating Again. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. I’m Going Shopping. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. Home. (photo © Phlegm)
Phlegm. Socializing. (photo © Phlegm)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 04.05.20/Dispatch From Isolation #14

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.05.20/Dispatch From Isolation #14

The numbers of sick and dying continue to climb this week in New York, and so does our determination.

And our appreciation. Stuck inside a building full of artists and weirdos, we hang our heads and hands out the window to clap loudly at 7 o’clock, our Hasidic neighbors across the street gathered on their tiny verandas to do the same. United in our illness, fears, and pain, we are reminded of our common heroes; doctors, nurses, healthcare workers, grocery store workers, restaurant workers, truck drivers, sanitation workers, friends, neighbors and colleagues

“I keep a saucepan and spoon at my window to join in the 7 pm clapping every night,” says photographer Martha Cooper as she describes her solo venture out the window while her cat Melia most likely hides under the bed. “People have even started beating drums. Of course, I never cook in the saucepan but it was my dear mom’s and I remember her cooking in it so I think of her when I’m beating it.”

“The healthcare workers deserve more than applause,” she adds. Amen.

Also, applause can go to at least one landlord in the Williamsburg-Greenpoint neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Mario Salerno reportedly has waived the rent for April, relieving hundreds of people from fear and stress during this economic crash.

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, tenants allege their “Landlord Wants To “Take Advantage” Of Coronavirus To Deregulate Loft Law Units. ” Egad.

Bottom line is, we need BIG thinkers, BIG proposals, and BIG solutions for the hundreds of thousands of people who cannot pay the rent in this expensive city – and around the world. We need a Rent Forgiveness Jubilee, a Universal Basic Income and an actual Infrastructure building mass jobs program. The idea is not going to come from all the millionaires in the White House, the Congress, or the Senate. If people get desperate enough, these changes will be born from the street.

Let’s keep positive, safe, and strong as we weather what comes next.

So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Berlin Kidz, Chris RWK, City Kitty, Darla Kitty, David Saenz, Food Baby Soul, Surface of Beauty, The Postman Art, TiHumph, Martha Cooper and TV Boy.

Darla Kitty – HOME OFFICE – (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Rent Freeze – Chris RWK (photo © Jaime Rojo)
TV Boy in Barcelona (photo © eiwob62)
The Postman Art (photo © Jaime Rojo)
City Kitty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Surface Of Beauty (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Graff pieces in Berlin (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist in Berlin (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Berlin Kidz in Berlin (photo © Jaime Rojo)
David Saenz en Madrid (photo © Ricardo Hernandez)
Trihumph (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Food Baby Soul (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Food Baby Soul (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Williamsburg, Brooklyn. NY In The Time of Corona. April 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Brazil’s Mundano: “Operários de Brumadinho’’, Workers, and Loose Regulatory Environments / Dispatch From Isolation #13

Brazil’s Mundano: “Operários de Brumadinho’’, Workers, and Loose Regulatory Environments / Dispatch From Isolation #13

As reported this week “The Environmental Protection Agency announced a sweeping relaxation of environmental rules in response to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution.

This is called disaster capitalism. It’s an actual thing – first gaining notoriety perhaps in Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine”.

It involves taking advantage of a monstrous shock to our social and economic system while we are too preoccupied to stop them. People behind corporations actually “game” the future like this – methodically planning to force through changes to society that they always wanted but couldn’t find an acceptable justification for while you were looking. A crime committed right under your nose – while you are worrying about losing your job or paying your rent or your grandma getting sick from Covid-19.

Mundano. Brumadinho. Vale do Rio Doce/Paraopeba River, Brazil (photo © André D’elia)

In the case of today’s story of a Brazillian Street Artist named Mundano, the earth, and soil that he used to paint his new mural comes from the region destroyed by a dam break of toxic sludge last January. With hundreds of townspeople and workers swept away by tens of millions of tons of toxic sludge and earth, the people of the area held searches for weeks after and had public meetings full of accusations and fury.  They also had funerals.

A similar dam owned by the same company had failed only three years earlier, and many more dams like this are holding immense reservoirs, or poison underground lakes, across Brazil – each potentially breaking apart and poisoning land, water, wildlife, and communities for decades after.  

Mundano. Brumadinho. Vale do Rio Doce/Paraopeba River, Brazil (photo © André D’elia)

Mundano’s mural honors the workers killed in this man-made environmental disaster and he tells us that the 800 square meter piece references another painting Brazillian modernist called Tarsila do Amaral. Painted in 1933, her work titled “The Factory Workers,” depicts a sea of stern faces with gray clouds rising from factory smokestacks in the background. Mundano says he’s proud of his mural, of the mini-documentary here, and of his neighbors and country people who have raised attention to a situation that appears corrupt, and well, toxic to life.

Mundano. Brumadinho. Vale do Rio Doce/Paraopeba River, Brazil (photo © André D’elia)

“In January 2019, Brazil has suffered one of the worse environmental crimes of its history,” says Mundano, “when Vale do Rio Doce’s mining dam broke, contaminating the Paraopeba River with a sea of toxic mud, and killing everything that was in the way, including almost 300 people who lost their lives that day,” he tells us. We talk to him about artists using their work to educate and raise awareness to advocate for political or social change, a term often today called ‘artivism’.

Brooklyn Street Art: With reason, there’s a lot of anger against the government and the owners of the mine about this fatal catastrophe. How did you get involved?
Mundano: The environmental and social causes are a big part of my activism or artivism, and I’ve always been a critic of the exploitation of lands for mining purposes. We have over 200 mining dams operating today in Brazil under the risk of breaking. In the last four years we had two of the biggest catastrophes of our country, both in the state of Minas Gerais; Mariana in 2017 and most recently in  2019 in the city of Brumadinho, where a “tsunami” of toxic mud contaminated the Paraopeba river with 12.7 million cubic meters of sludge, dragging everything that was on the way, including almost 300 people who lost their lives.

Mundano. Brumadinho. Vale do Rio Doce/Paraopeba River, Brazil (photo © André D’elia)

As an artivist it is really important for me to be present and see what happened with my own eyes, feel the pain of the victim’s families, follow closely to the inquiry and use the platform and reach that I have as an artist to help these people find justice, and most importantly to put pressure on governments and big companies so that they’re held accountable, preventing this from happening again. 

Brooklyn Street Art: What is the role of an artist should be in his/her community? Should art respond to social needs? 
Mundano: For over 13 years now, I’ve been practicing artivism in several cities across the globe. My actions and the art I create need to have a bigger purpose. For me, art has the power of bringing reflection into society and impact people’s lives, make them think and reflect on their part in society. That’s how I see my art and how I believe I can contribute to bigger causes. I wouldn’t say it’s every artist obligation, but with these huge global challenges naturally we’re gonna need to become more artivists. 

Mundano. Brumadinho. Vale do Rio Doce/Paraopeba River, Brazil (photo © André D’elia)

Brooklyn Street Art: The community felt betrayed and abandoned by those who were supposed to protect them. How did they get the strength to rise up and fight in the middle of their pain?
Mundano: I can’t speak for them but I feel that they don’t have other options than to fight for their rights. Brazilians are quite resistant to adversities by nature. One of the main subjects of my work is the cactus, a plant that, like a big portion of our population, survives with little and still manages to share beauty with flowers to the world. It is hard to see a whole city and it’s people destroyed by such a horrible crime, yet, it was such a strong image to watch mothers, wives, sons, daughters, and friends united, marching a year later, screaming for justice, not giving up on the memories of their loved ones. That gave me strength and inspired me to create my biggest and most important work up until today to honor them. 

Mundano. Brumadinho. Vale do Rio Doce/Paraopeba River, Brazil (photo © André D’elia)

Brooklyn Street Art: Your mural honors and remember those whose lives were lost. Yet there’s some poetic beauty in it with the pigments you used to paint it. You made the paint from the sediment in the river and the earth around it. What were your feelings as you were painting these people faces these materials?
Mundano: The whole process of collecting the mud from the lakebed of Paraopeba River was delicate. I felt the need to talk to residents, local activists, and the families. It was important that I had their consent and that they understood my intentions. The mural was a way of keeping the subject alive, and to honor them in one of the biggest cities in the world, Sao Paulo. I believe that the respect I’ve shown was recognized as I started to receive messages from Brumadinho’s residents about the video, thanking me for the painting, and for me, that’s the biggest recognition of all, it made it all worth it.

Mundano. Brumadinho. Vale do Rio Doce/Paraopeba River, Brazil (photo © @offlimitsbrasil)
Mundano. Brumadinho. Vale do Rio Doce/Paraopeba River, Brazil (photo © André D’elia)

Film by André D’elia

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Dispatch From Isolation # 11 : I Love You Always

Dispatch From Isolation # 11 : I Love You Always

Our hearts break when we think of the families and loved ones who remain as many of our neighbors are now dying of Covid-19. May you find comfort in the fact that you are not alone and that your city is here with you. It’s going to be hard but New York is going to pull through this one. We always do.

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Dispatch From Isolation # 10 : Keep It Positive, Let Go of Fear

Dispatch From Isolation # 10 : Keep It Positive, Let Go of Fear

Welcome to Wednesday, March 32nd.


Just kidding! April Fools!

Truthfully, when you are stuck inside quarantined every day is Blursday. Also all of the leaders at the top seem like fools every day, not just today.

But let’s have a glass half full shall we? We know that optimism is the only thing that can help you in times when it feels like you are full of dread.

You don’t want to spread the virus. But you can still Spread Love. It’s the Brooklyn way.

<3 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Spread love, it's the Brooklyn way
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#Tag Street Art in Tel Aviv / Dispatch From Isolation # 9

#Tag Street Art in Tel Aviv / Dispatch From Isolation # 9

Here are new pieces on street walls from the Street Artist named #Tag in Israel, who is interpreting art-world and TV icons through the lense of the current Covid-19 crises. With new pieces on the street in Tel Aviv, Bat Yam, and Jaffa, these three are as international as they are local.

@tagstreetart “After Breaking Bad” Tel-Aviv. March 2020 (Photo © TagStreetArt)

We asked him about these new pieces and his experience in the last few days as a Street Artist in Isreal, where new coronavirus guidelines are edging the country closer to total shut down .

@tagstreetart “After Magritte”. Detail. Tel-Aviv. March 2020 (Photo © TagStreetArt)


Brooklyn Street Art: Has it been difficult to do work on the street, or has it been easier?  
#Tag: I will describe it more like weird. I pasted all the three works at the beginning of the Coronavirus in Israel. I think after the Breaking Bad work, a few days after, the quarantine started. In general, it was kind of the same, but a weird feeling in general, like literally the virus was in the air.

@tagstreetart “After Magritte” Tel-Aviv. March 2020 (Photo © TagStreetArt)

Brooklyn Street Art: What do you hope people will experience when they discover your work?
#Tag
: In general all my messages are meant with a sense of humor. I believe that art should deliver positive messages but not necessarily in an obvious way. I saw that that’s exactly what happened with my works, from things people have said on social media, and I am very happy about that. 
During these days we need to stay positive, and after almost a full quarantine I started to create digital works and use Facebook / Instagram as my digital wall 🙂

@tagstreetart “After Frida” Tel-Aviv. March 2020 (Photo © TagStreetArt)
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Lapiz “Life In Time Of Corona” Hamburg/Dispatch From Isolation #8

Lapiz “Life In Time Of Corona” Hamburg/Dispatch From Isolation #8

The intervention “Life in Time of Corona” is Lapiz’s attempt to fight the feeling of isolation and loneliness.

“I created and glued it up a day before the first phase of lockdown happened here in Hamburg, just in front of one of the biggest supermarkets in town,” he tells us.

Lapiz. “Life In Time Of Corona”. Hamburg, Germany. (photo © Lapiz)

The young woman exists with a margin of danger following her – a buffer band of gold that prevents any other person from getting to close. Of course, the hermit-like among the human family have been practicing social distancing for years, but for most people it’s new and unusual.

For most of us the time of self-isolation, quarantine, and illness is ahead of us and we have no idea how long this might take. We can stay in contact with loved-ones, family, friends, and almost forgotten acquaintances on the other side of the planet via email, skype or video link.

This might also be a great moment of solidarity and an opportunity for empathy, but the minimum safety distance of 6 feet also excludes affection, warmth and closeness.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 03.29.20 / Dispatch From Isolation #7

BSA Images Of The Week: 03.29.20 / Dispatch From Isolation #7

Highest claims for unemployment in our history. The best day on the Stock Market since 1933. People won’t get relief from the government for weeks and many live paycheck to paycheck. Typically one might predict these are conditions for a domino effect that sets in motion a revolution, if you’ve read history books. Already there are talks about mass rent strikes for April.

Meanwhile, our neighborhood in Brooklyn is in the code red zone on the maps for Covid-19 outbreak in New York; so you’ll forgive us if we don’t go outside to capture fresh new Street Art for a while. We did have to leave once this week for a friend’s medical emergency (not the virus, thankfully) but we’re back on self-quarantine. Much respect to all medical personnel all across the world.

So, as long as we’re able, we’re going to publish work from the street. But please do send us what you see, what you capture – maybe out the window. But don’t put yourself at risk, or others.

We have to flatten this curve and it will take us all to do it.

So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring DeGrupo, 1UP Crew, Gris, Hellon Wheels, Jeff Kowalsky, Laszlo, LOOK, Joan Aguilo, Seco, The Brujo, and Yiannis Bellis.

Joan Aguilo in Madrid, Spain. (photo © Ricardo Hernandez)
Vidom + Look in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vidom + Look in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hellon Wheels (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The Brujo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
1UP Crew in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist at the marquee at the Magic Bag theater in Ferndale, MI.(photo © Jeff Kowalsky/AFP via Getty Images)
DeGrupo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gris in Berlin. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Yiannis Bellis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SECO (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Laszlo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Shabat prayers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. March 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Dispatch From Isolation #6 : Rich Go to Head of Line for Testing of Covid-19

Dispatch From Isolation #6 : Rich Go to Head of Line for Testing of Covid-19

Why does it seem the rich and famous get tested for coronavirus while others don’t?

That is an excellent question from The Boston Globe. Others are beginning to ask this question, including The New York Post , The Guardian, and The LA Times,

Even the New York Times says “Need a Coronavirus Test? Being Rich and Famous May Help.”

Street Artist Trustocorp shows us how art reflects life in these messages on new signposts in the street. If only the corporate cable news were so clear.

Trusto Corp (photo courtesy of the artist)

How does this situation happen so seamlessly and without your involvement? Quick answer: Privatization of Health Care. 

That’s why Medicare for All is sounding better every day. It’s so much more obvious as we watch the unfolding disaster in a country that has allowed every aspect of its social net to be sold off to private companies in the last 40 years, turned into for-profit ventures, not service to citizens. Certainly not poor citizens, working poor citizens, non-citizens, middle class citizens.

Here we see art reflecting life. And death.



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Dispatch From Isolation #4 : A New Mask to Save Thousands

Dispatch From Isolation #4 : A New Mask to Save Thousands

There’s professional disinformation, and then there is simply disingenuous.

This native New Yorker told us Covid-19 was a hoax, and now New York is on its way to being the epicenter for the greatest outbreak, with officials harrowingly planning for 140,000 hospital beds for our neighbors, friends, coworkers, family, with 40,000 of them needing to be in intensive care.

“Probably more than half of all New Yorkers will be infected with this disease,” said Mayor Bill DiBlasio yesterday.

Graffiti writer Terror 161 favors the digital expression of political critique these days, and he shared this simple image with us yesterday. Since we’re not going outside to capture new Street Art for you, we thought we’d share this visual commentary with you.

Unidentified artist

How’s the nations’ supply of duct tape, we wonder. Because we know we don’t have enough ventilators for sick people. Or masks for that matter.

Medicare for All sounds better every day, doesn’t it?

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Dispatch From Isolation # 3 : A Kid in a Mask from Jilly Ballistic

Dispatch From Isolation # 3 : A Kid in a Mask from Jilly Ballistic

Street Artist Jilly Ballistic has long favored face-masks on her black and white photo figures of yesteryear, so it interesting to see this vintage kid incognito in the current context of Coronavirus on the streets of New York. At the very least the mask prevents transmission to some degree, but no one seems to know how much. And what about children?

Jilly Ballistic (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Children don’t need to wear facemasks

“If your child is healthy, there is no need for them to wear a facemask,” says the website Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “Only people who have symptoms of illness or who are providing care to those who are ill should wear masks.”

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