All posts tagged: John Fekner

Futura 2000 In Studio and “The 5 Elements”

Futura 2000 In Studio and “The 5 Elements”

EARTH, AIR, FIRE, and WATER. And FUTURA 2000.

These are the five elements.

“Hey Guys!” he bellows from the doorway and invites us in.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A non-stop full-voiced welcome fills the air of this factory loft space with stories and smoke and sports talk radio as you ascend steps from the truck-traffic cacophony of cold and rain on this Bushwick thoroughfare. For the next hour and a half, you are warmly surrounded by clothes racks and boxes and spray cans and multi-faceted anecdotes and impressions and fragments of memories that get shaken and sprayed and circled back to.

Here is a fond remembrance of something his mom or dad said from his childhood, an adroitly drawn quip about a curious gallerist, an excited discovery of new Super 8 footage of a mission with famed NYC graffiti writer Dondi in Japan to promote Wild Style. Elsewhere he recounts a meeting with Joe Strummer in a New York studio to share and record his own penned rap lyrics with The Clash, a trip to Berlin in ’85 with Keith Haring, a recent conversation with MODE2 who lives there now, a description of his personal misgivings about wearing his US military uniform into town while stationed at Yakuska Naval Base as a 20 year old.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

An omnivore of ideas and initiatives and world cities, his march as a creative force of nature only gathers speed as he nears 40 years since first emerging from graffiti writing as a studio artist.

“1980 was the breakout year for us because we were all beginning to surface,” he says of the number of events that occurred that year and brought graffiti and street culture to a larger, more mainstream audience, and hopefully, a collector base. That was the year of the “Times Square Show” by Colab that introduced art and performance from the “Downtown” and “Uptown” scenes. It was also the year that Stefan Eins’ Fashion Moda gallery in the South Bronx had its first exhibition of graffiti art – Graffiti Art Success for America (GAS) – curated by artist John Matos (aka Crash), the show included work by graffiti culture artists such as Futura, Lady Pink, John Fekner, Disco 107, Fab Five Freddie, Futura, Kel 139th, Lee, Mitch 77, Nac 143, Noc 167, Stan 153, Tom McCutcheon, and Zephyr.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We were all willing to come above ground and investigate what was happening,” he says. “That was also the year I did the ‘Break Car’,” he says of the uniquely abstract whole graffiti car he painted that set him apart stylistically from the NYC graffiti writing pack and was captured famously by photographer Martha Cooper. That car and that style would proved to be the Cold War inspired rocketship that launched Futura 2000 into a forty year exploration of the Cosmos.

Fast forward to April 2018 in Lille, France, and Futura toils and emerges with a new body of work incorporating his long-held love for the interconnectedness of the galaxy, the stars, and the planet.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’ve been a child of the planet since I was a kid,” he says as he recalls the impact of the 1964 World’s Fair in Queens and how it tapped into his innate desire for exploration. “Every nation had a pavilion,” he says, and suddenly you see his collection of miniature architectural wonders from around the world, all grouped together for an idealized cityscape.

“I’ve got Berlin, Kuala Lumpur’s Petronas Towers, Roma, Peru (Easter Island), the Blue Mosque in Turkey, Sheik Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi,” he says. “I don’t have Taj Mahal, but I’ve been to it. I need that.”

“The 5 Elements” is the exhibition that opens this week at Urban Spree in Berlin and of course refers as well to the so-called “Five Elements of Hip-Hop”, of which graffiti is one. But he reserves this reference to a greater sweep, expressed in about an expansive show. “There’s a whole series on water, air, on fire,” he says, “It’s all at some point color coated for each element.” He also creates a series of circular canvasses hung in relation to each other to evoke the planetary system.

“I think they’re like 70 pieces, in terms of that I don’t think I’ve ever done anything this extensive,” he says.

But “The 5 Elements” is not a retrospective show, says Urban Spree founder and curator Pascal Feucher, who has been preparing the show with co-host Art Together. “On the contrary,” he writes, “Futura worked specifically on a large museum-style conceptual exhibition, tackling the ambitious theme of the Creation of the Universe, confronting himself to the cosmos, the planets, the infinitely small, the Big Bang and the fundamental elements, producing a corpus of works that becomes a path to the exploration of the universe as well as providing a backdoor into Futura’s internal galaxy.”

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coinciding with the show will be the release of a 128-page companion book titled “Futura, les 5 éléments” – certain to be sought after.

For the ever expansive graphic designer, clothing designer, wordsmith, musician, sneaker head, graffiti writer, abstract painter, photographer, the dots are all connected – and it always also connects to his roots.

“I like it when it’s a degree removed, yet connected – when you realize that the whole school – at least the whole New York City school, is vast,” he says. “It has touched a lot of people.”

Rather like Futura 2000.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura sharing a picture of Lee Quinones on a moped in Roma (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Below are images of the 4 screen prints that will be released at the opening of “The 5 Elements”, based on the painting series “Pure”. Each 8-color screen print is hand-pulled by Dolly Demoratti (Mother Drucker/Urban Spree Studio), signed and numbered by Futura. The 50 x 50 cm prints are only sold as a limited edition of 100 sets.

Futura. Pure Earth. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura. Pure Air. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura. Pure Water. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura. Pure Fire. (photo courtesy of Urban Spree Gallery)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read more
BSA Images Of The Week: 07.08.18 Selections From Welling Court 2018

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.08.18 Selections From Welling Court 2018

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

“Anxiety is normal in an unjust society” says the new piece by Disordered in Welling Court, Queens, a working class neighborhood of New York where the latest Ad Hoc mural party was held a couple of weekends ago under the direction of Garrison Buxton. He started this festival with his former partner Alison Buxton nine years ago to create community here with a number of artists from across the graffiti/Street Art spectrum, and it has always been a great day to see families and kids interacting with artists on the street.

Anxiety rings true when the giveaways to business interests for nearly four decades under both dominant parties have gradually placed folks like these in this neighborhood constantly in fear of missing the rent, the grocery bill, the car payment, the cost of providing for their kids.

Some companies adore this dynamic exactly the way it is because when you are always feeling anxiety about losing your job and worried about paying the bills you won’t speak up to notify anyone when your boss is dumping poison in the river or placing his hand upon your seat. Imagine working so hard and getting paid so little that you are still relying on public assistance, as Walmart is known for now. Anxiety is normal for many today, and it is reflected in the art on the streets as well.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Cern, Caleb Neelon, Col Wallnuts, Damien Mitchell, Daze, Disordered, FKDL, Hellbent, JCBK, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Lena McCarthy, LMNOPI, Maria Wore, Michel Velt, Never, NYC Hooker, Praxis, Queen Andrea, Robots Will Kill, Rubin415, Seeone, and Toofly.

Top image: Joe Iurato . Rubin 415. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Fekner. Don Leicht.  Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Disordered. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Michel Velt. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Queen Andrea. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lena McCarthy . Caleb Neelon. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LMNOPI. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Daze . Crash. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JCBK. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Praxis. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Never. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hellbent. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Col Wallnuts . WaneOne . EpicUno. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hooker. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

SeeOne. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Toofly. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Robots Will Kill. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cern. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

FKDL. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Damien Mitchell. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Maria Wore. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read more
The Power Of Words on the Streets, A Recent Survey

The Power Of Words on the Streets, A Recent Survey

Much art in the streets is often for aesthetics – whether figurative, representational, or abstract. With roots in graffiti and often influenced by advertising, political protest, and pop culture, you will always find text messages as well.

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Whether small missives or massive billboards, direct or somewhat cryptic, many these days are in opposition to current political leaders or critiques of social, political, economic issues and systems. Others are just about love. Whether or not this collection is a true measure of the Vox Populi, it certainly can give you a meaningful survey of opinions on the streets.

Adam Fujita . Dirty Bandits (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist in Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rob Sharp (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Fekner (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Fujita . Dirty Bandits (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dave The Chimp in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anida Yeou at Art Central Art Fair in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Fujita . Dirty Bandits (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

American Puppet. “Love Breeds Love”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mind The Heart Project (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sammy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

XEME in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

My Life In Yellow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

WRDSMT (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sam Durant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sozi36 in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Individual Activist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Fujita (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Camo Lords (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Megzany (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Dare (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Laser 3.14 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

Read more
BSA Images Of The Week: 09.03.17 NUART 2017 Special

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.03.17 NUART 2017 Special

 

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Welcome to Sunday! This week we have a special edition of BSA Images of the Week; Dedicated to Nuart 2017.

Each year Nuart challenges itself as much as it challenges you, unwilling to fall into the beckoning arms of the ever more bodacious and titilating Street Art Festival siren that increasingly works the thoroughfare in cities globally, looking so enticing in your Saturday night drunken reverie but unable to string together complete sentences over pancakes and coffee in the morning. Not that these stencils, these tiles, these installations and projections will necessarily lead to a more thorough examination and evaluation of neoliberal economics, corporate hegemony, or the caveats of a generation of identity politics, but they might. At the very least the practice of weighing in on these and other topics in a public way, in an ardent or passive voice, means that the conversation can be sparked, possibly brought to its fullness. And you may be encouraged.

John Fekner, stalwart public artist since at least the Reagan Revolution, has finally personally had his say here on the streets and on the subconscious . We asked him to share his wisdom with us, to take the measure of the scene and the new voices and perspectives. Not surprisingly, Mr. Fekner shows why an active engaged mind and spirit is paramount to evolving your art practice, your participation in the public conversation.

“The potent vitality of the artists in this year’s ‘Rise Up’ Exhibition in Stavanger, Norway is striking, in its exploration, selection, and development of the ‘visual voice’ of street art and mural making in 2017. NuArt exists as a ‘community commune of communication’ for artists, writers, musicians and guest speakers with an enthusiastic and participatory audience,” John tells us.

“Personally, I see a little bit of myself mirrored in some of the works- in the process, but not in the unexpected end results. Heralding from various  countries, this younger generation represent new beginnings for outdoor art that combine social concern, expressive beauty and hope, urgency and manifesto, for a new future that includes and engages everyone to experience.”

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring ± Maismenos ±, Ampparito, Bahia Shebab, Carrie Reichardt, Ian Strange, Igor Posonov, John Fekner, Ricky Lee Gordon, Slava Ptrk, and Vermibus.

See our conversation with Vermibus about his work here at Nuart below.

Top image:  Ampparito. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 John Fekner. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 John Fekner. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 John Fekner. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 John Fekner. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 Bahia Shehab. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017.(photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Translation of the text:

“How wide is the revolution

How  narrow is the journey

How BIG is the Idea

How small is the state”

Slava Ptrk. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 Vermibus. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 Vermibus. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 Vermibus. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

BSA: Can you tell us about your new piece and what it is about and how you are feeling about the progress?
Vermibus:
I brought two original pieces for the festival, both are part of one artwork that is the installation itself, and even if each artwork has its own personality they need from the rest of the room to express what I want to say with the installation.

The tunnels from Nuart Festival are huge and very interesting, so I thought I could use all this space to create an atmosphere instead of trying to fill the whole space with artworks or with a massive piece.

With this installation I want to bring to the viewer to its more hidden part of its personality, there where you don’t usually allow others to go in, where all the fears and traumas survive.

I want the viewer to have some intimacy with it’s inner self through my work.

The way the viewer will see my work is completely different from other occasions.

BSA: Can you give us your impressions of Nuart and Stavanger and the environment you are working in?
Vermibus:
It’s the first time that I participate in a festival, so for me everything is new, but I have the strong sensation that this place is special.

The whole team is friendly, incredibly talented, surprisingly humble and completely ready to help the artists to express themselves without limitations, it’s kind of a paradise.

The lineup is so well curated that I cannot be happier to participate around all this amazing artists.

 Vermibus. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 Ian Strange. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 Ian Strange. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Carrie Reichardt. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

± Maismenos ± Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

± Maismenos ± Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 Ricky Lee Gordon. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Ricky Lee Gordon is painting a mural of Finnish transgender activist Sakris Kupila for the launch of the BRAVE campaign with Amnesty International, raising awareness of human rights defenders and their work all over the world.

 Ricky Lee Gordon. Detail. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 Ricky Lee Gordon. Detail. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 Igor Ponosov. Nuart 2017. Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

For a complete program of this year’s edition of NUART click HERE


We wish to thank our friend, BSA collaborator, and tireless Nuart volunteer Tor Ståle Moen for sharing his photographs and enthusiasm with us and with BSA readers.


Read more
NUART 2017 Works In Progress and Nordic Gems By the Sea

NUART 2017 Works In Progress and Nordic Gems By the Sea

In Stavanger, Norway the Nuart Festival, in all its firey activist rebellious street-smart community-powered glory, is well underway; a chain-reaction of events and actions that ignite throughout the streets, in the gallery halls, and in neglected margins of this seaside town. In our 10th year bringing you the art and ideas from Nuart, BSA is ecstatic to show you works in process right now, courtesy of photographer Tor Ståle Moen.

Nuart 2017 artists include:

Ampparito (ES), Bahia Shehab (EG), Carrie Reichardt (UK), flyingleaps presents Derek Mawudoku (UK), Ian Strange (AU), John Fekner (US), Know Hope (IL), ±maismenos± (PT), Igor Ponosov (RU), Ricky Lee Gordon (ZA), Slava Ptrk (RU), Vermibus (DE)

Bahia Shehab “No To Borders” Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Bahia Shehab “No To War” Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Bahia Shehab. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Bahia Shehab plays with an exciting Escif piece from Nuart 2011. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Bahia Shehab at work on her large wall for Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Bahia Shehab at work on her large wall for Nuart 2017 with members of the Nuart team assisting, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Carrie Reichardt experiments with a configuration of her trademark tiles for Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Carrie Reichardt at work. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Carrie Reichardt tries a configuration of her trademark tiles for Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Carrie Reichardt for Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

John Fekner  contemplates the progress of his mural for Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

John Fekner. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

John Fekner. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Ampparito. Work in progress. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Moen Tor Staale)

Vermibus at work. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Vermibus at work. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Vermibus. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Ricky Lee Gordon work in progress. Nuart 2017, Stavanger, Norway. September 2017. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 

NUART 2017. For a complete listing of events click HERE

 

Read more
Martyn Reed Calls Us to “Rise Up” for Nuart Festival 2017

Martyn Reed Calls Us to “Rise Up” for Nuart Festival 2017

The news out of Nuart 2017 is splendiforous and we are feeling celebratorious. These irregularly formed adjectives are in good company with the mismatched yet harmoniously woven characters who together have again selected and summoned artists, academics, kooks and cultural workers to Stavanger for a September synergy of Street Art, public art, and myriad interventionist ideas. It is a highly particular hybrid germinated, conjured, emancipated perhaps, by the free-form and analytical mind of its Founder and Director Martyn Reed. While sowing Nuart seeds spectacularly on the shores of Aberdeen earlier this spring, it is here in Stavanger where the new ideas germinate, are nurtured and given latitude. It is also where the tortoises of conventional thinking are happily rolled onto their backs, little webbed feet waving. We’re pleased today on BSA to publish Martyn’s new manifesto in preparation for Nuart’s festival this autumn in Norway so one might better appreciate the ruminations behind and development of this year’s theme.


RISE UP!

Nuart produces both temporary and long-term public artworks as well as facilitates dialogue and action between a global network of artists, academics, journalists and policy makers surrounding street art practice. Our core goal is to help redefine how we experience both contemporary and public art practice: to bring art out of museums, galleries and public institutions onto the city streets and to use emerging technologies, to activate a sense of public agency in the shaping of our cities.

Outside of Nuart Festival, our growing portfolio of projects represents an on-going art and education program that seeks to improve the conditions for, and skills to produce, new forms of public art both in Stavanger and further afield. For us, public spaces outside conventional arts venues offer one of the richest, most diverse and rewarding contexts in which this can happen.

Vermibus (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Our work is guided by our belief in the capacity for the arts to positively change, enhance and inform the way we think about and interact with each other and the City.

The Real Power of Street Art

Nuart festival presents an annual paradigm of hybridity in global sanctioned and unsanctioned street art practice. Through a series of large and human scale public artworks, murals, performances, art tours, workshops, academic debates, education programs, film screenings and urban interventions, supported by a month long exhibition of installations, Nuart explores the convergence points between art, public space and the emergent technologies that are giving voice and agency to a new and more creative civilian identity, an identity that exists somewhere between citizen, artist and activist.

The real power of “street art” is being played out daily on walls, buildings, ad shelters and city squares the world over, and it’s now obvious that state institutions can neither contain nor adequately represent the fluidity of this transgressive new movement. As the rest of the world begins to accept the multiplicity of new public art genres, it is becoming more apparent, that street art resists both classification and containment. The question is, not how can this inherently public art movement be modified or replicated to fit within the confines of a civic institutional or gallery model, but how can the current model for contemporary art museums, galleries and formulaic public art programs, be re-examined to conform with the energy of this revolutionary new movement in visual art practice.

John Fekner in Stavanger (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In the 1990’s, Situationist concepts developed by philosopher Guy Debord, surrounding the nature of “The City”, “Play” and the “Spectacle”, alongside sociologist Henri Lefebvre’s theories exploring the rights to shape our own public and mental space, came together to form an emergent adbusting “artivism”, which now forms the foundation of street art practice. Radical cultural geographer David Harvey has stated, “The right to the city is far more than the individual liberty to access urban resources, it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city”.

It is here, at the intersection between philosophy, geography, architecture, sociology, politics and urbanism, that Nuart situates itself, it exists as a critique of the colonization of everyday life by commodity and consumerism, whilst recognizing that one of the only radical responses left, is to jettison the hegemonic, discursive and gated institutional response to capitalism, and engage it directly where it breeds and infects the most, in our urban centers.

Know Hope (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The challenge for a new and relevant public art isn’t to attempt to negate capitalisms neoliberal market logics with an ever more dominant liberal discourse, both are ultimately mired in a conflict that on the surface simply serves to feed the polarization and spectacle that we’re attempting to transcend. What we need is the active participation of citizens in the creation of their own holistically imagined environments, both physical and mental, a direct and collective response to space that leads to the shaping of place. A place in which the disengaged and passive citizens desired and ever more manipulated by market forces, are inspired to re-make themselves. Nuart proposes that the production of art in public spaces outside conventional arts venues offers the community, not only the most practical, but also the richest, most relevant and rewarding contexts in which this can happen.

It is in this “remaking” of self, this deep desire to engage with the world, to develop civic agency and purpose, that transcends identity, gender and class, and enables those locked out of the arts by a post-Adorno obscurant lexicon (eh?), that street art delivers. It offers an opportunity to reconnect, not only with art, but also with each other. Hundreds of people covering a vast swathe of demographics, from toddlers and single moms to refugees and property barons, on a street art tour conversing with each other, are testament to this.

 

±maismenos± (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

We believe that when you want to challenge the powerful, you must change the story, it’s this DIY narrative embedded within street art practice, that forms the bonding agent for stronger social cohesion between citizens from a multiplicity of cultures, as our lead artist for 2017, Bahia Shehab will attest. It is this narrative, that is acting as the catalytic agent towards street art becoming a vehicle capable of generating changes in politics as well as urban consciousness.

The question of what kind of city we want cannot be divorced from what kind of person we want to be. The transformation of urban space creates changes in urban life, the transformation of one, being bound to the transformation of the other. What social ties, relationship to nature, lifestyles, technologies, art and aesthetic values we desire, are closely linked to the spaces we inhabit. The “banalization” of current city space, combined with the numbing effect of digital devices that guide us from A to B, have rendered us passive. Consumer cows sucking at the teat of capital trapped in a dichotomy between left and right, instead of right and wrong. And for the most, the hegemonic islands of sanitised cultural dissent we call Art Institutions, are either unable or uninterested, in engaging with the general public in any meaningful way.

 

Ricky Lee Gordon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In the early 2000’s, the evocative power of certain already existing and often crumbling industrial interzones, including that of Tou Scene, our main exhibition space, one that we were instrumental in establishing, gave rise to a new form of engagement with art in urban spaces that is only now being fully recognized and exploited. Street Art is at times of course co-opted and complicit with the “creative destruction” that the gentrification process engenders, but Capitalism’s continuous attempt to “instrumentalize” everything, including our relationship to art should be vigorously resisted. It is these “Stalker-esque” zones of poetic resistance, that initially gave shelter to one of the first truly democratic , non-hierarchical and anti-capitalist art forms, and unlike most cultural institutions, it is still, for the most, unafraid to voice this opinion, important in a time when even our art institutions are beginning to resemble houses of frenzied consumption. Street art exists to contest rather than bolster the prevailing status quo. As such, it is picking up as many enemies as friends within the field of public art.

By attempting to transform the city, street art attempts to transform life, and though by no means is all street art overtly political, it does, in it’s unsanctioned form at least, challenge norms and conventions regulating what is acceptable use of public space. In particular, it opposes commercial advertising’s dominion over urban surfaces, an area that Nuart are active in “taking over” throughout the year and in particular during the festival period. Our curating initiatives not only aim to encourage a re-evaluation of how we relate to our urban surroundings, but to also question our habitual modes of thinking and acting in those spaces. Street art is not just art using the streets as an artistic resource, but also an art that is questioning our habitual use of public space. Street art doesn’t simply take art out of the context of the museum, it does so whilst hacking spaces for art within our daily lives that encourage agency and direct participation from the public, “Everyone an artist” as Joseph Beuys would have it, and if it is accussed of being produced without academic rigour, we are reminded that he also asked, “Do we want a revolution without laughter?”.

Nuart’s programs are designed specifically to explore and silently challenge the mechanisms of power and politics in public space. Increasingly, we see the rights to the city falling into the hands of private and special interest groups, and yet, we have no real coherent opposition to the worst of it. The 20th Century was replete with radical Utopic manifestos calling for change, from Marinetti’s Futurist manifesto of 1909 to Murakami’s “Superflat” of 2000. Nuart’s annual academic symposium, Nuart Plus, acts as a platform for a resurgency in utopic thinking around both city development and public art practice, and whilst recognizing that street art is often co-opted and discredited by capital, it also recognises that even the most amateur work, is indispensable in stimulating debate and change in a Modern society that has developed bureaucracies resistant to seeing art, once more, as part of our everyday life.

As the Situationst graffiti scrawled on Parisian walls in 1968 stated, Beauty is in the streets, so Rise Up! and support those dedicated to unleashing one of the most powerful communicative practices known to mankind, there’s work for art to be done in the world amongst the living.

Martyn Reed, July 2017



Artists scheduled to participate in Nuart Festival 2017:
Ampparito (ES), Bahia Shehab (EG), Carrie Reichardt (UK), flyingleaps presents Derek Mawudoku (UK), Ian Strange (AU), John Fekner (US), Know Hope (IL), ±maismenos± (PT), Igor Ponosov (RU), Ricky Lee Gordon (ZA), Slava Ptrk (RU) and Vermibus (DE).

 

Read more
BSA Images Of The Week: 06.18.17 / Selections From Welling Court 2017

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.18.17 / Selections From Welling Court 2017


BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

“All’s Well That Ends in Impeachment #ShakespeareInTheTrump

“The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.”

“Twelfth Bankruptcy #ShakespeareintheTrump

New York’s jewel of free theater in Central Park is actually trending on Twitter, believe it or not. The production of Julius Ceasar features a Trumpian-looking lead character and it has inflamed people who haven’t heard of Shakespeare – which means a large swath of pretty/handsome bobble heads on US TV. The cautionary story actually has referenced modern leaders in productions historically in theaters in recent years and as a rule. There is even a story about Orsen Wells directing a version with actors in Nazi uniforms in the 20s or 30s.

More recent productions have included an Obama lookalike (“Caesar is cast as a tall, lanky black man” ) and a Hillaryesque woman in a white pantsuit, so why people are scandalized we don’t know. Two protesters actually stormed the stage Friday night during the performance, and lily-livered brands like Delta Airlines and Bank of Russia have pulled their financial support of the production. This is what happens when the Arts are cut out of a generation of schools, sisters and brothers.

And in other polarized news, the planned protest (and performance piece) in front of the Houston-Bowery wall is still scheduled for this afternoon. Artists and organizers have been reaching out to tell us about the protest along with possible other demonstrations which have been kick-started by the controversial choice of artist David Choe by Goldman Arts to paint the wall. Rape, Rape Culture, the normalization of sexual abuse, predatory behavior and attitudes toward women, and related issues will be in the discussion due to Choe’s own involvement in a possible rape scenario by his own account and his subsequent muddy explanations about it. Choe’s public apology yesterday via Instagram may have altered the calculus slightly but the bigger issues still prevail and many opinions on social media still question Goldman’s silence on the topic. Meanwhile, the wall has pretty much been dissed completely.

Finally, the drama of the Welling Court mural festival, which we actually do not know any drama about and which brought all sorts of community murals to this Queens working class neighborhood for the 8th year last weekend. We got out there to shoot a number of the walls without the crowds for you this week, and here’s a selection below.

So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring A Visual Bliss, ASVP, Below Key, Cey Adams, Crash, Daze, Dek 2 DX, Dennis McNett, Dirt Cobain, Eelco Virus, Eyez, EZO, Ghost Beard, I am Eelco, John Fekner, Jonny Bluze, LMNOPI, NYC Hooker, Patch Whisky, Queen Andrea, Ramiro Davaro-Comas, Rob Sharp, Sean 9 Lugo, and Toofly.

Top image: Dennis McNett. Detail. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dennis McNett. Detail. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rob Sharp. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LMNOPI. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Fekner. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Visual Bliss collab with Sean9Lugo. Detail. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Visual Bliss . Sean9Lugo. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

I Am Eelco. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Queen Andrea. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cey Adams. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Fekner. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

#dek2dx. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

EZO. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NYC Hooker. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Daze . Crash. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

TooFly. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dan Witz. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ASVP. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ramiro Davaro-Comas. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Below Key. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Patch Whisky . Ghost Beard. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Johnny Bluze. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

EYEZ. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dirt Cobain. Welling Court Art Project 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Astoria, Queens. June 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read more
BSA Images Of The Week: 06.12.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.12.16

brooklyn-street-art-icy-sot-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

The annual Welling Court Community Festival in L.I.C. in Queens took place yesterday. BSA was there on Friday to photograph the completed walls while a bevy of enthusiastic artists were busy at work on their walls and getting ready for yesterday’s block party. We wanted to bring you Part I of our coverage of this year’s festival on this Sunday’s edition of BSA Images Of The Week. Sit tight, Part II will come later next week as we wait for a few artists to complete their walls.

The 7th year for this eclectic homegrown collecting of graffiti and Street Artists for communal mural-making has not diverged much from its original character. You are still entirely welcomed. There are no corporate sponsors or sales of T-Shirts or silly app-designer types striking poses or stroking beards or like, privileged like, verbally challenged, like, young professionals looking for like brunch? nearby? Er whatever.

Wellington Court still feels like real people, and hard working families, with plenty of kids and community and homemade foods. At least for now. Thanks to organizers Garrison and Alison Buxton for pulling this off once again.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Billy Mode, Cern, Chris Stain, Depoe, Drsc0, FKDL, Icy & Sot, John Fekner, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Myth, OX, REPO, Skewville, Stikman, Vlady, and Voxx.

Our top image: Icy & Sot draws a direct connection between industrial pollution and the globe. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-skewville-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

Skewville. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-cern-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

CERN. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-depoe-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

DEPOE. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-john-fekner-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

John Fekner. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-billy-mode-chris-stain-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

Chris Stain . Billy Mode. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-repo-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web-1

REPO. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-repo-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

REPO. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-lmnop-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web-1

LMNOPI. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-lmnop-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

LMNOPI. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist LMNOPI lends her voice to the growing calls for stores to boycott the world’s largest supplier of berries until they treat their employees fairly after being accused of abuses, among them child labor. Learn more about the worldwide boycott of Driscoll’s here.

 

brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web-1

Coloquix (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-ox-vlady-biancavilla-italy-06-12-16-web

OX and Vlady do some clever circuit-jamming of public space here with advertising signage that features images of advertising signage. Also an impossible to read larger message. Biancavilla, Italy. (photo © Vlady)

brooklyn-street-art-stikman-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

Stikman was framed. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-london-kaye-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

While gazing at the gams on this one earlier in the week, we found ourselves wondering if London Kaye will get a tan this summer. London Kaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-drsc0-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web-1

drscØ left a few new pieces around town this month, each appearing to be shocked in disbelief at something, maybe passersby. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-drsc0-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web-3

drscØ (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-drsc0-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web-2

drscØ (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-myth-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

Heaven knows I’m miserable now. (S)Myth takes maudlin self pity to heroic lengths. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

Unidentified Artist’s take on The Donald. The HRC, referencing Hillary Clinton was added later for an additional bit of levity. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-fkdl-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

FKDL (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-voxx-jaime-rojo-06-12-16-web

VOXX (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-jaime-rojo-Los-Angeles-2011-web

Untitled. Los Angeles, CA. April 2011. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read more
BSA “Images of the Year” for 2015 : New Video

BSA “Images of the Year” for 2015 : New Video

Was 2015 the “Year of the Mural”?

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.

Brooklyn-Street-Art-2015-Images-Of-The-Year-Eric-Simmons_copyright-Jaime_Rojo-740

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

 

 <<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><<>>><>

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!

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><<>>><>

This article is also published on The Huffington Post

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Images-of-Year-2015-Huffpost-740-Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 11.23.53 AM

Read more
Technology, Festivals, and Murals: 15 Years on the Street Art Scene

Technology, Festivals, and Murals: 15 Years on the Street Art Scene

It’s good to be asked to write an essay once in a while as it makes us take a step back and more fully examine a topic and appreciate it. On the occasion of Nuart’s 15th anniversary and it’s accompanying print publication last week Martyn Reed asked us to look at the street art / urban art / graffiti scene and to give an analysis about how it has changed in the time that the festival has been running. The essay is a long one, so grab a cup of joe and we hope you enjoy. Included are a number of images in and around Stavanger from Jaime Rojo, not all of them part of the festival, including legal and illegal work.

Technology, Festivals, and Murals as Nuart Turns 15

Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo

Nuart is turning 15 this year and like most brilliant teenagers it is alternately asking you challenging questions, finding you somewhat uncool, or is on your tablet ordering a new skateboard with your credit card. Nuart started with mainly music and is now mainly murals; an internationally well-regarded venue for thoughtfully curated urban art programs and erudite academic examination – with an undercurrent of troublemaking at all times. Today Nuart can be relied upon to initiate new conversations that you weren’t expecting and set a standard for thoughtful analysis of Street Art and its discontents.

brooklyn-street-art-dface-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Pøbel (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We are in the thick of it, as it were, this great expansion of a first global grassroots people’s art movement. Give it any title you like, the flood of art in the streets that knocks on BSA’s door daily is unabated. We admit that we often get caught up in the moment and forget to study our forebears, Street Art’s progenitors and contributors – and that we sometimes are unable to appreciate the significance of this incredible time. So we are happy when the Nuart team asked us to take a long view of the last fifteen years and to tell them what we see.

As we mark Nuart’s milestone, we see three important developments on the Street Art scene while it evolves: Technology, Festivals, and Murals.

And just before we discuss these three developments in Street Art we emphasize what has stayed the same; our own sense of wonder and thrill at the creative spirit, however it is expressed; we marvel to see how it can seize someone and flow amidst their innermost, take hold of them, convulse through them, rip them apart and occasionally make them whole.

What has changed is that the practice and acceptance of Street Art, the collecting of the work, it’s move into contemporary art, have each evolved our perceptions of this free-range autonomous descendant of the graffiti practice that took hold of imaginations in the 2000s. At the least it hasn’t stopped gaining converts. At this arbitrary precipice on the timeline we look back and forward to identify three impactful themes that drive what we are seeing today and that will continue to evolve our experience with this shape-shifting public art practice.

 

brooklyn-street-art-ben-eine-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Technology

Hands down, a primary genesis for the far flung modern embrace of Street Art/Urban Art/Graffiti/public art lies in the booster rocket that propelled it into nearly everyone’s hands; digital communication and all its sundry technologies. From the early Internet websites and chat rooms accessed from your desktop to digital cameras and photo sharing platforms like Flickr in the early-mid 2000s to ever more sophisticated search technology and its accompanying algorithms, to blogs, micro blogs, and social media platforms, to the first generations of laptops and tablets, iPhones and Android devices; the amazing and democratizing advance of these communicative technologies have allowed more of us to access and share images, videos, experiences and opinion on a scale never before imagined – entirely altering the practice of art in the streets.

Where once there had been insular localized clans of aerosol graffiti writers who followed arcane codes of behavior and physical territoriality known primarily to only them in cities around the world, now new tribes coalesced around hubs of digital image sharing, enabling new shared experiences, sets of rules, and hierarchies of influence – while completely dissolving others.

 

brooklyn-street-art-tilt-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Tilt (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As old guards re-invented a place for themselves or disappeared altogether, a new order was being remixed in front our eyes. There were a lot of strangers in the room – but somehow we got used to it. Rather than making street art pieces for your local peers, artists began making new compositions for somebody’s phone screen in London or Honolulu or Shanghai.

Cut free from soil and social station, now garden variety hoodlums and brilliant aesthetes were commingling with opportuning art collectors, curious gallerists, unctuous opinionators, punctilious photographers and fans… along with product makers, promoters, art-school students, trend watchers, brand managers, lifestyle marketers, criminologists, sociologists, journalists, muckrakers, academics, philosophers, housewives, and makers of public policy. By virtue of climbing onto the Net everyone was caught in it, now experiencing the great leveling forces of early era digital communications that decimated old systems of privilege and gate keeping or demarcations of geography.

Looking forward we are about to be shaken again by technology that makes life even weirder in the Internet of Everything. Drone cams capture art and create art, body cams will surveil our activity and interactions, and augmented reality is merging with GPS location mapping. You may expect new forms of anonymous art bombing done from your basement, guerilla image projecting, electronic sign jamming, and perhaps you’ll be attending virtual reality tours of street art with 30 other people who are also sitting on their couches with Oculus Rifts on. Just watch.

brooklyn-street-art-swoon-david-choe-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Swoon and David Choe (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Festivals

Thanks to the success of festivals like Nuart, myriad imitators and approximaters have mushroomed in cities everywhere. Conceived of philosophically as a series of stages for the exhibition of artistic chops with the proviso that a cultural dialogue is enriched and moved forward, not all festivals reach those goals.

In fact, we have no reason to expect that there is one set of goals whatsoever and the results are predictably variable; ranging from focused, coherent and resonant contributions to a city to dispersed, unmanageable parades of muddy mediocrity slammed with corporate logos and problematic patronage.

brooklyn-street-art-mcity-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

MCity (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Some festivals are truly grassroots and managed by volunteers like Living Walls in Atlanta or MAUI in Fanzara, Spain. Others are privately funded by real estate interests like Miami’s Wynwood Walls or business improvement district initiatives like the L.I.S.A. Project and LoMan Festival in Manhattan, or are the vision of one man who has an interest in Street Artists, like the now-discontinued FAME festival in the small town of Grottaglie, Italy and the 140 artist takeover of a town in Tunisia called Djerbahood that is organized by an art dealer.

In some ways these examples are supplanting the work of public art committees and city planners who historically determined what kind of art would be beneficial to community and a public space. Detractors advance an opinion that festivals and personal initiatives like this are clever ways of circumventing the vox populi or that they are the deliberate/ accidental tools of gentrification.

We’ve written previously about the charges of cultural imperialism that these festivals sometimes bring as well where a presumed gratitude for new works by international painting superstars actually devolves into charges of hubris and disconnection with the local population who will live with the artwork for months and years after the artist catches a plane home.

brooklyn-street-art-dot-masters-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Dotmasters (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nonetheless, far from Street Arts transgressive and vandalous roots, the sheer number of Street Art/Urban Art/Mural Art festivals that have popped up – either freestanding or as adjuncts to multi-discipline “arts” festivals – is having the effect of creating a wider dialogue for art in the public sphere.

As artists are invited and hosted and scissor lifts are rented and art-making materials are purchased, one quickly realizes that there are real costs associated with these big shows and the need for funding is equally genuine. Depending on the festival this funding may be private, public, institutional, corporate, or an equation that includes them all.

brooklyn-street-art-faith47-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Faith47 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As you may expect, the encroachment of commercial interests is nearly exhaustive in some of these newer festivals, so eager are the merchants to harvest a scene they had little or no hand in planting. Conceived of as vehicles for corporate messaging, they custom-build responsive websites, interactive Apps, clouds of clever #hashtags, company logos, Instagram handles, branded events and viral lifestyle videos with logos sprinkled throughout the “content”.

You may recognize these to be the leeching from an organic subculture, but in the case of this amorphous and still growing “Street Art Scene” no one yet knows what lasting scars this lifestyle packaging will leave on the Body Artistic, let alone civic life.

 

brooklyn-street-art-icy-sot-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stylistically these festivals can be a grab bag as well with curatorial rigor often taking a back seat to availability, accessibility, and the number of interested parties making nominations. While some festivals are clearly leaning toward more traditional graffiti schools, others are a hodgepodge of every discernable style from the past fifty years, sometimes producing an unpleasant sense of nausea or even tears over regrettable missed opportunity.

Clearly the quality is often uneven but, at the danger of sounding flip or callous, it’s nothing that is not easily remedied by a few coats of paint in the months afterward, and you’ll see plenty of that. Most art critics understand that the metrics used for measuring festival art are not meant to be the same as for a gallery or museum show. Perhaps because of the entirely un-curated nature of the organic Street Art scene from which these festivals evolved in some part, where no one asks for permission (and none is actually granted), we are at ease with a sense of happenstance and an uneven or lackluster presentation but are thrilled when concept, composition, and execution are seated firmly in a brilliant context.

 

brooklyn-street-art-tuk-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

TUK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Murals

Finally, murals have become big not just in size but popularity. Every week a street artist is exclaiming that this mural is the biggest they have every made. It is a newfound love, a heady honeymoon, a true resurgence of muralism. Even though you can’t rightly call this legal and sanctioned work true Street Art, many former and current Street Artists are making murals.

Un-civically minded urban art rebels have inferred that Street Art has softened, perhaps capitulated to more mainstream tastes. As Dan Witz recently observed, “Murals are not a schism with Street Art as much as a natural outgrowth from it.” We agree and add that these cheek-by-jowl displays of one mural after another are emulating the graffiti jams that have been taking place for years in large cities both organic and organized.

brooklyn-street-art-jps-mizo-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

JPS . Mizo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From illustration to abstraction to figurative to surreal and even letter-based, this eclectic injection of styles won’t bring to mind what one may typically associate with the homegrown community mural. Aside from the aforementioned festivals that are festooning neighborhoods, the growth in mural-making may be attributable to a trend of appreciation for Do It Yourself ( D.I.Y.) approaches and the ‘makers’ movements, or a desire to add a personal aspect to an urban environment that feels unresponsive and disconnected.

Philadelphia has dedicated 30 years to their Mural Arts Program and relies on a time-tested method of community involvement for finalization of designs and most municipal murals have a certain tameness that pleases so many constituencies that no one particularly cares for them.

brooklyn-street-art-herakut-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Herakut (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The New Muralism, as we have been calling it, that is popping up is often more autonomous and spirited in nature than community mural initiatives of the past with their ties to the socio-political or to historical figures and events. Here there are few middlemen and fewer debates. Artists and their advocates approach building owners directly, a conversation happens, and a mural goes up.

In the case of upstart community programs like the Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn, one trusted local person is ambassador to a neighborhood, insuring that community norms about nudity or politics are respected but otherwise acts purely as facilitator and remains hands-off about the content.

brooklyn-street-art-jps-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web-1

JPS (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On that topic, effectively a form of censoring often takes place with murals – another distinguishing characteristic from Street Art. Given the opportunity to fully realize an elaborate composition, normally wild-eyed and ornery aerosol rebels bend their vision to not offend. Sometimes an artist can have more latitude and you may find a mural may clearly advocate a political or social point of view, as in recent murals addressing police brutality, racism, and inequality in many US cities, anti-corruption sentiments in Mexico, and pro-marriage equality in France and Ireland.

This new romance with the mural is undoubtedly helping artists who would like to further explore their abilities in more labor-intensive, time absorbing works without having to look over their shoulder for an approaching officer of the law. It is a given that what they gain in polished presentation they may sacrifice as confrontational, radical, contraventional, even experimental. The resulting images are at times stunning and even revelatory, consistent with the work of highly skilled visionaries, as if a new generation of painters is maturing before our eyes in public space where we are all witness.

brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Moving Forward

Despite the rise in festivals and mural programs and the growing volume and sophistication of technology for sharing of the images, Street Art is still found in unexpected places and the decay of neglected spaces. As before and well into the future these self ordained ministers of mayhem will be showing their stuff in the margins, sometimes identified, sometimes anonymous, communicating with the individual who just happens to walk by and witness the work. The works will impart political or social messages, other times a simple declaration that says, “I’m here.”

Whatever its form, we will be looking for it.

brooklyn-street-art-isaac-cordal-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-Niels-Shoe-Meulman-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Niels Show Meulman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-nafir-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Nafir (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-john-fekner-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

John Fekner (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-blek-le-rat-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Blek le Rat (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-dan-witz-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-blu-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Site of an old piece by BLU (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-dieche-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Dieche (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-hush-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

HUSH (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-dolk-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Dolk (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-strok-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

Strok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-roa-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-pleghm-jaime-rojo-nuart-stavanger-norway-09-15-web

The remnants of a Phlegm piece from a previous edition of Nuart. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA
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!
<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

 

 

 

Read more
Poetry, Prose and Witty Texting: The Conversation on The Street

Poetry, Prose and Witty Texting: The Conversation on The Street

“True poetry cares nothing for poems” says Raoul Vaneigem, the Belgium Situationist who taught us that we are creating our lives twenty-four hours a day, in his book “The Revolution of Everyday Life.” The act of living is a certain poetry in itself, we have decided.

brooklyn-street-art-andy-warhol-jef-aerosol-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Jef Aeorosl pays tribute to Andy Warhol on the streets of Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

When an artist is acting of his or her own industry, they will think, will consider their choice of written words on the street. Poetry or prose; full stanza, furtive phrase, stalwart screed – the message is not incidental if it has made it into the public space for a theater of many possible audiences.

Over time you will see these hand rendered, scrawled, sprayed, paint-brushed text-based missives as diary entries. Not all are profound, and many are perplexing or maddeningly cryptic or coy. Others are statements of conviction or punch lines. Lucky you on the day the sentiment hits you in the funny bone, hits closer to the heart, or reveals a truth. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to add your own entry in response to, or in spite of this conversation on the street.

brooklyn-street-art-john-fekner-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

John Fekner (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-08-15-web-2

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-queen-andrea-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Queen Andrea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-dont-fret-jaime-rojo-03-14-web-8

Dont Fret (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-homo-riot-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Homo Riot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-rambo-jaime-rojo-08-15-web-2

Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-rambo-jaime-rojo-08-15-web-1

Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-08-15-web-1

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-skewville-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-Tatyana-Fazlalizadeh-jaime-rojo-09-22-13-web

Tatyana Fazlaliadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-08-15-web-4

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-ben-eine-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-banksy-jaime-rojo-web-10

Chivalry is dead. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-forgive-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Forgive (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-peace-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Peace (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-elbow-toe-jaime-rojo-09-11-web-13

Elbow toe (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-zimad-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Zimad (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-08-15-web-3

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-jaime-rojo-08-15-web

Untitled (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA
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!
<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

Read more
A Community Mural Festival in NYC, Highlights From Welling Court 2015

A Community Mural Festival in NYC, Highlights From Welling Court 2015

An annual mural tradition of non-pretense, New York hosted the 6th Annual Welling Court mural festival this weekend in a working class neighborhood in Queens, thanks to a grassroots couple who hustle to match artists with walls and opportunity. More than a hundred artists, whose styles span the graffiti-urban art-street art spectrum, participate every year in this community event that eschews the creeping fingers of commercial interests and the pontificating tongues of the art critics.

That is not the point here. That’s not why you fell in love with Street Art and the unvarnished expression of the creative spirit.

brooklyn-street-art-lmnopi-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-2

LMNOPI. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thanks to hearty and big-hearted organizers Alison and Garrison Buxton, the selection is as varied as the participants and the neighbors who come out to share home made dishes, music, and personal stories. Invariably the kids are racing around on their bikes and skates, people are meeting artists and posing for selfies, and some of the kids get to try their hand at painting.

So if you want to see what some of the organic art work is on the scene at the moment, walk through this unassuming Queens neighborhood with us and enjoy the real beat of New York. It’s a small selection, but you can get the flavor.

brooklyn-street-art-lmnopi-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-3

LMNOPI. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-lmnopi-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-4

LMNOPI (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-john-fekner-don-leicht-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web

John Fekner (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-amanda-marie-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web

Amanda Marie (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-icy-sot-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-8

Icy & Sot. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-icy-sot-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-7

Icy & Sot. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-icy-sot-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-4

Icy & Sot. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-icy-sot-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-5

Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-XO-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-1

XO. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-joe-iurato-rubin415-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web

Rubin415 . Joe Iurato (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-artist-jaime-rojo-too-fly-welling-court-2015-web-1

Too Fly. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-too-fly-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-2

Too Fly (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-peace-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web

Peace (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-wane-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web

WANE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-c-cardinale-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-1

C. Cardinale. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-c-cardinale-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-2

C. Cardinale (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-damien-mitchell-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web

Damien Mitchell (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-queen-andrea-micr-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-1

Queen Andrea . Mick La Rock. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-queen-andrea-micr-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-2

Queen Andrea . Mick La Rock (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-shiro-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web

SHIRO (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-andy-golub-leif-grojo-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-6

Andy Golub . Leif G. Process shot. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-andy-golub-leif-grojo-jaime-rojo-welling-court-2015-web-2

Andy Golub . Leif G. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA
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!
<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

Read more