From Italy we find that stencil street artist John J. Mahyo paid tribute last month on the anniversary of John Lennon’s murder to his anti-war past. Lennon’s song with Yoko Ono “Happy Xmas (War is Over) is re-interpreted here with a stencil called “After Xmas (War Will Be Over)”.
We contacted the stencil artist to get an understanding of the piece and it’s placement on the wall of a military zone. He discussed how the original song was a protest against the war in Vietnam and now 40 years later it looks like history has repeated itself as we are told that the 9 year war in Afghanistan must continue 2,3,4,5 more years. And he worries about other potential conflicts brewing on the world stage. He says he intended this piece as “a call to prevent the imminent threat of a hypothetical nuclear war, if the tests carried out by North Korea (the 9th country in the world to have the atomic bomb and the 3rd most militarized) go wrong, it could potentially have disastrous consequences.”
Today, with a multitude of electronic images flying at people from every screen, a simple hand made stencil seems “retro” and tied to that earlier age – and a reminder that every person reading this was born into an age of war that never seems to end. Says Mahyo, it’s “The same old story… Men who hate other men, who face each other in a game of dominoes with weapons of mass destruction instead of the common cards. The wars of any size only bring destruction, sadness and anger. So to avoid this, I wish you all a happy New Year of peace and love, and hope that others will come.”
John Lennon listens to the streets in this photo attributed to Yoko Ono on beatlesbible.com.
“All I want is the truth. Just give me some truth” – John Lennon
John Lennon, a guy who lived in the eye of a hurricane of hype for a major portion of his adult life once screamed at the top of his lungs for something called truth. At a time when we are condescendingly shouted at to give up our previous conceptions of personal privacy for security and cookies, naked air travelers and torture victims and spillcams and spreadsheets and state secrets are now streaming live via the world wide buffet and everybody is seeing more truth than they were ready for.
Amidst the data storm, something about the simple, uncluttered straight-forward real deal is straight-up appealing. Maybe that is why the one layer stencil, however ornate it can be sometimes, is an enduring favorite of street art fans and artists. Effective visual communication doesn’t have to be fussy, filigreed, or high-falutin’, and some would argue that it takes real courage to let one stencil do the simple truth-telling.
New Mural in Williamsburg Pays Tribute to Beatles Just In Time for John’s 70th
The Spanish twins really could have used a Yellow Submarine as the rain was sloshing around their small band during the installation of this one. For four days they set out to paint their new mural, titled “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”, an updated psychedelic bouquet sprading across a corner building in Williamsburg housing the infamous Rock Star Bar, where many a hair raising band has fought to break the sound barrier.
This year the Autumn weather in New York city has ranged from constant deluge to glorious days of sparkling gold sunlight and the smell of wood burning from the neighbor’s chimney. How and Nosm climbed ladder after ladder with R Robots as soon as the rain would stop. Unfortunately, they had to spend a lot of time standing in the doorway waiting for it to clear. As they told me “As long as the wall is dry we paint, and it’s OK if we get wet”.
Every time I went by to see how they were doing they were scurrying up and down ladders and balancing on scaffoldings. Once in a while each guy had to walk across the street to look back and check on the progress. Everpresent in the shadow of the Williamburg bridge was the roaring of traffic above, the screeching of trains, and the raucous noise of heavy trucks on Kent Ave. Occasional pedestrians stopped to say hello and ask questions, but mostly this part of town is unfettered by interruption. Unless you count the rain.
From photographer Vincent Cornelli comes this fun collection of images from last nights opening of “All Shook Up”, Jef Aerosol’s opening at Ad Hoc/Eastern District in Bushwick, Brooklyn, curated by Brooklyn Street Art. A steady crowd carried through the evening to check out the new pieces and to meet the artist in person.
For ten days we’re presenting ten artists and their wishes for the new year, 2010, in no particular order. Together, they are a tiny snapshot of the people who are part of the giant explosion of street art in New York. Individually, each has added their expression of the creative spirit to the decade now ending.
Today’s wish comes from Jef Aerosol, who painted his first stencil in 1982 and is widely credited as being one of the original street artists in Paris, along with artists like Blek Le Rat and Miss Tic. January 2010 brings him to New York for “All Shook Up”, a powerful new solo show of cultural icons at Ad Hoc in Brooklyn.
“I wish one very simple thing : let’s all open our eyes and realize once and for good that all human beings on earth are brothers and sisters…
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one !”