All posts tagged: Lisbon

Trash Talk: Bordalo II in His Hometown

Trash Talk: Bordalo II in His Hometown

Just as we started 2018 we had the fortune to spend one week in the enchanting city of Lisbon, Portugal as ambassadors for Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art (UN). Lisbon is home to some great Street Art and graffiti and some striking figures on the international scene like Vhils and Bordalo II and we spent some hair raising and fun rides with the latter in his small car as he flew around corners and trash flew around in the back seat.

Of course there was trash in the back seat! Bordalo II has created a spectacular practice of creating street works from it that shock passersby with his ingenuity – while raising our collective consciousness about our responsibility to the earth.

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

So we thought you may like to see a collection of them together today. While combing the narrow, winding and steep streets of Lisbon we made many artistic discoveries, large and small, of the prolific and magnificent urban art expressions throughout the port town.

A number of deliciously trashy sculptures of Bordallo II had just appeared all over the city in the previous months to highlight his solo exhibition that took place in November. Others have been installed on the streets for a while and one in particular was specifically made the eve of Christmas…not so much as a celebration but as a commentary on the inordinate waste that follows, once the food is eaten, the libations had and the presents opened.

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Now BSA is heading to Tahiti to participate on the 5th anniversary of ONO’U Tahiti and we’ll have the pleasure of spending a few days with Bordalo II  again! Stay tuned to see what trouble he and Pixel can get into.

We published two in-depth Lisbon accounts from that visit trip HERE and HERE.

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Lisbon Part II: Where Street Art is Becoming “Urban Contemporary”

Lisbon Part II: Where Street Art is Becoming “Urban Contemporary”

Street Art, graffiti, and murals are adding to the cultural character of Lisbon streets, this is undisputed. A quick tour of a museum show, a gallery exhibition, a hybrid art supply store/residency, and an artist’s studio give you an idea of the spirited and inventive contributors who are affecting the cityscape from behind closed doors as well.  Just ask artists and organizers here in the Portuguese capital a few questions and you’ll hear (and see) how the Street Art and graffiti scene graffiti scenes are also evolving to fine art and “urban contemporary”.

An Escher Show Reminds Us of His Influential Eye


Our look inside Lisbon begins with a visit to the M.C. Escher exhibition at the Museu de Arte Popular, which lays on a tract of land between Avenida de Brasília and the lapping waves of the waterfront. For some reason you always start or end near the water here, perhaps because this is where the city’s complex history brings you with nearly three centuries of international trade, culture and maritime lore forms the the foundation of this rich culture.

What brings us here today is the eclectic Dutch graphic artists work that is in our minds directly related to Street Art for a couple of reasons. A serendipitous intersection of visiting while the traveling exhibition stopped here, we had no idea that Escher’s original drawings of architecture and impossible spaces would be so handily on display for us to visually interrogate – and the artists’ wit and guile locked us into his gaze for an afternoon.

M.C. Escher. Museu De Arte Popular. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Known perhaps best for his works popularized during the surrealist and op art youth culture of 1960s and 70s, his mathematically-inspired illusions on famous rock album covers, posters, and advertisements are often reflected in the works of Street Artists today who also play with photorealism, hyperrealism, and flights of rhythmic visual fancy.

M.C. Escher. Museu De Arte Popular. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Secondly, as we had previously learned from architect Dennis Leo Hegic in Berlin, who was deeply involved in the design of the Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) interiors, Escher’s famous drawings had inspired the museums walkway that wends its way overhead throughout the space. We were eager to examine many of the drawings which effectively play on bending perspective.

At any given point along the path of that walkway you are granted views near and far but you are unsure exactly how, and as you tour the artworks on walls you feel yourself inperceptibly rising and lowering your own angle. It may give the impression that you are in some way inside an Escher riddle yourself.

M.C. Escher. Museu De Arte Popular. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As museum curators at the UN, we were interested to see the original works of visual play that inspired the Graft Architects team to create the stunning interior of the haus in Berlin. We also better understood why Hegic refers to Graft as “the Rock´n´Rollers within the German architecture.”

M.C. Escher. Museu De Arte Popular. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The darkened corridors of the exhibit itself seemed to play tricks on our bearings as we looked upon Eschers “subjects and patterns of mathematical precision, impossible objects, explorations of infinity, reflection, symmetry and perspective.”

Into the Gallery with Underdogs


Gallery Manager Raul Carvahlo leads us through the Mário Belém exhibition on display in the former industrial low-rise building that houses the Underdogs Gallery down by the river in an area of the city many remember for old factories and which is now becoming better known for its vast warehouses accommodating the city’s startup and coworking scene.

Mário Belém. Detail. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“He always has this surreal quality,” says Raul about the 50 or so paintings, reliefs, lazer wood-cut sculptures, and suspended mobile installations by Belém that surround three sides of the pitched ceilinged space. “He uses his work to express his fantasy world and he is quite gifted with a number of techniques.”

Owned and guided by one of Lisbon’s best known Street Artist’s Vhils (Alexandre Farto), Carvahlo says that the 400 sm space is meant to act as a platform that provides support and encouragement to local and younger artists as well as the bigger names.

Mário Belém. Detail. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As an internationally recognized portraitist known for an unusual technique of blasting away the façade of a building to reveal the personality hidden within it, Vhils and the gallery also partner with and feature the occasional international Street Artist sensation like last year’s Shepard Fairey show, where the two collaborated on a street wall. This spring a full-scale exhibition blow-out by Downtown New York 1990s Street Art icon WK Interact is happening in the gallery with a large scale work also on the street.

Since the Underdogs space opened in 2013 and the initiative began in 2010, Vhils and company have invited a powerhouse parade of former or current Street Artists like Nunca, Sainer, Finok, Okuda San Miguel, How Nosm, Pixel Pancho, Remed, Cyrcle, Anthony Lister, and Felipe Pantone to mount shows and murals here – effectively putting the city on the map for high-quality international urban contemporary art.

Mário Belém. Detail. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Notably Underdogs has also provided their platform to more conceptual artists in the Street Art/public art scene like Pedro Matos, Wasted Rita and ±MaisMenos±, perhaps indicating a healthy respect for cerebral engagement and interventions that are not primarily aesthetic.

Among the local talents, the gallery also gives support to artists like André da Loba the illustrator and sculptor known for his 2-D emblematic works in publications like the New York Times and Washington Post as well as the illustrator AkaCarleone, a 33 year-old Portuguese former graffiti writer now commercial illustration/graphic artist who has worked commercially with a number of international brands. He has also created a municipal wall mural in the city and elsewhere.

Mário Belém. Detail. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We’ve been working with him for quite a few years now and in 2018 we will be doing a big show with him,” says Raul of the poppy bright politics-free collages of typography, characters, and geometric forms. Later when touring with Carvalho through Lisbon streets we see on a rising hillside in the more historic part of town a large mural by AKACarleone overlooking the valley below, visible from many vantage points.

Mário Belém. Underdogs Gallery. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Propaganda Posters, Art Supplies, and Street Art Tours


As a more accessible and commercial extension to the brand The Underdogs Gallery works collaboratively with their storefront space on Rua da Cintura in Porto de Lisboa only a 15 minute drive along the waterfront from here.

20th Century Propaganda Posters culled from the personal collection of Alexandre Farto AKA VHILS exhibited at the Underdogs Store. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Shaped like a red brick channel that opens on one end into the Tagus River estuary that flows past into the Atlantic, the Underdogs store is part art supplies, print store, exhibition space, café, and mural tour company. In addition it just happens to have two small artist residencies above looking over (and on display for) art fans and tourists who make the small spot into a bustling and vibrant hub.

20th Century Propaganda Posters culled from the personal collection of Alexandre Farto AKA VHILS exhibited at the Underdogs Store. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Raul tells us it is a family affair for Farto, with a father in business who acts as integral advisor and guide as Vhils continues to expand an international presence and nutures the business on many aspects of Street Art-graffiti-contemporary art here.

A member of an early 2000s loosely formed artist collective called Visual Street Performance that held annual exhibitions, a co-organizer of the seminal Crono Project in 2010/11 with Pedro Soares Neves and Angelo Milano, and more recently co-curator of the MURO Urban Art Festival, his is a formidable creative force that influences the flow of this multi-player and quickly professionalizing scene.

Prints for sale at the Underdogs Store. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Beginning as a graffiti vandal writing his name in Seixal on the outskirts of Lisbon, Vhils now works with the government on occasion to facilitate public art projects and uses his own high profile art practice to spread socio-political goodwill internationally while proudly promoting his own heritage and city.

Underdogs Store on the foreground with the Montana store on the background sharing the same space. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Underdogs Store. Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In Studio with Add Fuel


Another local talent that Underdogs works with is Diogo Machado, otherwise known as Add Fuel. A trained graphic designer and illustrator well versed in the language of skating and his own youth as a graffiti writer, he’s become known internationally for his characters and his large-scale stencil-painted murals that incorporate the classic and traditional visual patterning of Portuguese tile work, or Azulejo.

On an overcast day his buddy and slightly younger peer, the sculptural Street Artist who works with recycled trash, Bordallo II, offers to take us to Cascais, a coastal town 30 kilometers west of Lisbon, where Add Fuel lives and has his studio.

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The brightly lit and spotless split level studio has a public viewing room in the front and his office/studio in the back, where a firing kiln that Bordallo II likes to experiment with sits in the corner. The two of them assemble a number of materials together and load them into the kiln while we gaze at the primarily blue and white artworks of symmetrical repetitions interspersed with Pop and cartoon elements that he is better known for in galleries.

While we visit the two of them break off into rapid-fire Portuguese conversations about some collaborative projects they are working on – and we learn that Add Fuel often gives his rejected tiles and discards to the recycling Bordallo II. “For me there are no mistakes,” says Bordallo II, “I love mistakes.”

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Add Fuel shows us screen prints, giclee high definition prints, lithographs, and multi-tile mounted works that he has for sale or is shipping to galleries and art fairs throughout Europe and the US. He even has created textiles – covering a chair using a technique called sublimation on fabric to reproduce the patterning of his tile creations.

“I think I have a lot of inspiration from cartoons and from 80s skate culture,” he says. “I also like Jim Phillips’ work. He made so many great skate graphics at that time. I sort of mix and match and create my own cartoon style. There are always some elements that people will recognize like some Disney character’s hands or some old cartoon characters’ eye but they are all sort of mixed together.”

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Working with the DNA strands of Portuguese design that go back centuries may scare some artists, but Add Fuel considers it an inheritance that he respects and has the latitude to mess with to make it accessible to modern audiences.

“I also use similar elements of the original tiles,” he says showing you the tiles that Lisbon buildings are skinned in. “Like this geometric one is a very traditional Portuguese or Mediterranean pattern and I just added some small details, why not?”

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bordalo II interjects, “You just f**ked it up.” The chide is answered rapidly.

“Yeah I just steal stuff, you know?,” Add Fuel retorts playfully. “Its not all from my imagination, I just stole it.”

Add Fuel. Studio Visit. Cascais, Portugal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Then he turns to another tile work. “This one here is actually a two model pattern – is based on 13th century Portuguese leather work- small details that were in leather belts. But once tile making began the tile makers often took patterns from leather making and iron making as well. So many of the ornamental aspects that you see in tiles come from other artisans as well. I also grabbed them and then made them into something new.”

This moment is ripe for art in the streets for Lisbon, and based on the conversations we had and the artists and curators we met in galleries, museums, and studios, the collaborative action inside the door is as lively as the stuff out in public.

 


With most gratitude to Raul Carvalho, General Manager of Underdogs Gallery and to Pedro Soares Neves for taking the time to talk to us, for sharing their knowledge and insights with us and for showing us around Lisbon. Sincere thanks as well to Diogo Machado AKA Add Fuel for letting us visit his studio and for Bordallo II for taking us there.

 

 

This is the second of two articles with BSA in Lisbon in collaboration with UN Berlin, it was originally published on the Urban Nation website, and the project is funded in part with the support of Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) in Berlin.

Please follow and like us:
Read more
The Many Faces of Lisbon on the Street

The Many Faces of Lisbon on the Street

A Scholarly Eye On Artistic Interventions in Public Space


The excitement that pours from city walls in Lisbon is palpable, an animated mix of graffiti, Street Art, murals, sculpture, and the traditional artisan tiles. Like the famous Bacalhau dish of Portuguese cuisine, it all can be mixed together almost a thousand different ways and each surprising recombination can be loved for its unique character.

To appreciate the varied elements playing into the Street Art scene here, you won’t find greater insight than by touring with Pedro Soares-Neves, and he’ll make sure you won’t leave without understanding the forty years that have contributed to the scene up to this point.

Park. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Most visitors are overtaken by the sweeping views, the heart of the old city in the valley, the winding Bairro Alto streets full of colorful illegal artworks, the ancient bricks, traditional azulejos tiled buildings, tiny streets, sloping topography, endless staircases and retro-style cable cars that are climbing impossible inclines – each slaughtered with colorful graffiti tags.

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Now an international destination for many Street Artists, the growing number of murals here is remarkable, if not outstanding. Soares-Neves can look at the huge variety of expressions on the street and explain why the art is here now and how it fits into a greater context of a historical city that has gradually embraced nearly all expressions of modern art-in-the-streets.

A self-described fan of urban history Pedro is one of the few scholars in the global urban art scene who calls graffiti writers “authors”, quite possibly because he was one himself in his early teens here during the city’s first stage of graffiti proliferation in the early 1990s.

“I am kind of an architectural urban history fanatic,” he says proudly but in a confessional tone. Completing his doctorate in Design and Urbanism this year he is also co-organizer of the Lisbon Street Art & Urban Creativity Conference and the Street Art & Urban Creativity Scientific Journal.


Lister. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A lifelong Lisboan born at the same time the revolution from the dictatorship was born here in the mid 1970s, Soares-Neves tells the story of urban art as a progression of social movement, individual engagement, immigration, urban planning, importation of culture, commercial incursion and coalescing of local artists as a quasi-professional network.

As you ride in his 4-door family SUV-hybrid with kids toys and storybooks scattered across the back seat, you gaze along the historic spice trade waterfront and the Jerónimos monastery and museum row, swerving through the central “filet mignon” of the ornamented city to the outskirts, which he calls “the back-office”.

He gestures at the trains and wooded walls and areas where he once painted graffiti , to some of the current crop of throwups along the highway and to wall murals that have been commissioned by municipal, professional, and commercial interests. As the trip unfolds the story is not quite linear of course, and city history intertwines with personal history.

Telmo & Miel. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As is its personality, art-in-the-streets shape-shifts and redefines itself, creating new alliances, reconfiguring the balance. For example, currently Lisbon city leaders are working with former vandals and art school professionals to create programs of large colorful murals on soaring public housing towers.

The adjacent neighborhood of older single family houses laid out like suburbs features Soare-Neves’ own curated walls done by more conceptual artists who play with ideas about public space as well as aesthetics. The Portuguese +MaisMenos– directly intervenes with stenciled words here, creating quizzical conundrums for passersby and the French experimenter Matthew Tremblin who brings an online poll results via bar charts posing an existential question about Street Art.

Matthew Tremblin. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A truly unique insight into the rather omnibus experience of this urban academic, we actually get to look at two eras of Pedro’s own personal history as an artist are here as well, only blocks away from one another.

This IS a tour!

Pedro Soares-Neves. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One Soares painting is on a low wall encircling a park. Part of a graffiti wall of fame (which he helped organize), it shows his 1990s affinity for character illustration and experimentation with letter styles. His more recent installation is a mixed media paint/land art derivation that converts disused construction materials and a habit-formed footpath leading up a grassy knoll to a numerical wall.

Again, the spirit of experimentation here is what is core to his art practice. Perhaps this is why his personal philosophies toward public space lean toward the organically Situationist act of creation, a practice that can be extended to all of the public and to the moment of inspiration.

Following are many images captured in Lisbon during our tour interspersed with this history of the last few decades courtesy Soares-Neves and our own research.

Corleone. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1980s-90s and Lisbon’s Dawn of Graffiti


Speaking with Pedro about the early graffiti of the 90s you capture a perspective on two important cultural factors that steered its direction.

The first is that through the lense of the liberators of the Carnation Revolution in the 1970s the style of aerosol bubble tags and characters recalled the earlier people-powered community murals and represented “freedom” in their minds, whereas cities elsewhere in Europe would have thought this painting indicated vandalism or a breakdown of the social fabric.

Suker. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Secondly, the fascination with graffiti was spurred by the children of African immigrants from former Portuguese territories of Angola, Mozambique and Capo Verde who moved to Lisbon after wars with them ended during the revolution. Now second generation teen immigrants from two cultures, they were looking for self-identity, according to Soares-Neves.

“They found resonance in this Afro-American and Latin American thing that was going on during the 80s so they connected with it and used it for language.”

Aire. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Quite possibly they were reacting to class and race prejudice and they identified with brothers and sisters in the music videos of American commercial hip hop culture. Seeing the exciting growth and the implied power of graffiti writers, musicians, and bboy movies like “Wild Style” in the 1980s, the expression of graffiti was alluring – a welcome visual art and anti-establishment practice that created identity, community, and newfound respect among a select peer group of cool kids.

“Actually it started with bboying culture in the mid 80s and then in the early 90s it started with a visual language of it,” he says, explaining the progression.

Unidentified Artist…speaking the truth. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A Personal Introduction to Graff


His own teenage aestheticism extended to characters, and a fascination for punk or “rough” magazines and the illustration stylings of artists in the classic Chiclete com Banana magazines. “I had this relationship with drawing and cartoons and this kind of stuff – this popular culture sort of thing,” he says.

His talents as an artist were well prized among his peers until he was nearly outshone by a graffiti writer from Capo Verde, a classmate who threatened Pedro’s status as the school artist; a funny story he explains this way:

“At that time in my high school I was ‘The’ guy who was doing the best cartoons and all this kind of stuff,” he says, reflecting on his celebrity. “Suddenly he did a big piece on the wall! So I was the king of the ‘drawing thing’ and this motherf***er came here and did a big and colorful piece!”

Edis1. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: ..and everyone knew about it of course.
Pedro: Yeah of course it was much more visible than what I did. So I started to interact with the guy.

Pedro’s personal history with graffiti began there and never stopped. After starting on walls and greatly enlarging his own illustrations and experimenting with letter styles, he and his peers grew to about 10 or 12 writers and the graffiti scene appeared to blow up from there.

A community of writers from many backgrounds spread across the city practicing one-upsmanship in technical skill and logistical daring, operating singularly, in small groups, or the occasional Wall of Fame project. Because there wasn’t a strict evolutionary lineage of style, many young artists developed their own in the laboratory of the street, not necessarily related to the hip hop culture but adapting from their own culture.

Cola. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2000s and the Turn Toward Street Art


By the late 90s and early 00s he feels that the scene suffered a sort of malaise when purely commercial murals began to take parts of the wall inventory and change the character of some areas. It was a development he deeply disliked for its perversion of a freer art practice yet he appreciated it for the employment it provided to professional artists. The city also borrowed the vernacular of graffiti for public service announcements painted as murals.

The mid 2000s began to reflect the influences of artists like Banksy and a new sort of community comprised of artists from old school graffiti writers and new generation Street Artist began to coalesce in Lisbon he says. Additionally the later 2000s began an increasing flow of international Street Artists and graffiti writers who began avoiding Barcelona after that city started cracking down on their famed urban art scene.

RAM. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“They (artists) started to add a few other languages to try to surpass this previous period and also began dialoguing with the new things that were happening in Street Art,” he says of the witty skewering of pop culture iconography, introduction of fine art illustration styles and the use of newer art-making methods.

“It was starting to really have lots of people doing stencils and paste ups and this kind of stuff all around. It started to influence the younger generation and that put some pressure on the older generations, who started to do that themselves.”

 

Visual Street Performance and the Crono Project


A collective guild comprised of artists from both graffiti and Street Art like HBSR81, Hium, Klit, Mar, Ram, Time and Vhils joined together in the mid 2000s and called themselves Visual Street Performance (VSP). A professional/DIY effort, they began to organize large events and an annual exhibition through 2010 that expanded the vernacular to hybrids of fine art and elements of pop, character illustration, photo realism, surrealist fantasy, found object art, abstract expressionist, more traditional graffiti and graphic design.

Pang. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pedro had been studying abroad in the Czech Republic and Rome for a few years, “And when I came back I noticed a different panorama. There were lots of younger kids with totally different skills and with that approach of making money out of it,” he says with a mixture of admiration and possibly concern at the professionalism entering the equation.

“They managed to invent themselves,” he says, “and also within the exhibitions the kids like Vhils were born from these,” he says as he talks about the commercial aspects of the cultural scene with connections to an aerosol art brand, print makers, and related clothing projects.

Kam Laurene. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A notable commercial and marketing milestone that married Street Art and urban culture with the image of Lisbon itself took place in 2010-11 when the year long Crono project, curated by Soares-Neves, Angelo Milano (of Fame Festival), and local Street Artist Vhils (Alexandre Farto), brought rising stars of the moment to a high profile block-long series of ornate Art Nouveau and shuttered buildings along a heavily traveled strip in the city, Avenida Fontes Pereira de Melo.

Os Gemeos . Blu . Sam3 . Erica Il Cane. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Internet’s volleying of fresh images of pieces by the Italian anti-corporate BLU, the hallucinatory dream illustration style of Brazilian graffiti twins Os Gemeos, and the lyrical storytelling of Spanish 2-D SAM3 alerted the Street Art worlds’ knowledge of Lisbon, and the project quickly became a destination for travellers.

Os Gemeos . Blu. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Soares-Neves sometimes speaks about the commercial appropriation of the street art vernacular in his academic work and in some ways it appears that the unexpected success of the Crono Project unsettled him as well. The curators had worked with the city to finance the project with an intention of giving opportunities to artists and fostering new aspects of the public art conversation, but according to Soares-Neves the high profile of the project undermined their own anti-establishment sentiments when city leaders recognized that a comparatively modest investment had ballooned into a successful city “branding” campaign.

Os Gemeos. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Possibly this is a cautionary tale that underscores the incremental dangers present when subculture crosses the rubicon into simply “culture”. There is always the fear that the original philosophies encoded in a subculture will be irreparably transformed, candy-coated, cheapened, or worse, excised.

Recently closed London-based Street Art print pioneers “Pictures On Walls” lamented in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek way on their website in January when describing the evolution of their 15 year old business this way, “…inevitably disaster struck – and many of our artists became successful. Street Art was welcomed into mainstream culture with a benign shrug and the art we produced became another tradeable commodity.”

Borondo. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The City We See Today


The city seems like it is absorbing all of these changes well, and the variety of faces and styles of public artistic intervention that you see scattered throughout it feel vibrant and necessary. The city continues its 25 year heritage of organic graffiti and entertains international writers and has the occasional Walls of Fame. Elements of unsanctioned Street Art exists as well and neighborhoods are accented by the new generation of muralists with mad skillz.

Then there are those who are a little harder to categorize, like the subtle reworkings of traditional Portugues tiles with modern icons and patterns by Add Fuel and the prized sculptural pieces across the city by the trash-recycling animal naturalist Bordalo II, who just had a massive solo exhibition in November.

Bordalo II. In conjunction with his solo exhibition  ATTERO Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The contemporary urban artist and international Street Art star Vhils is a company at this point: operating a studio in a few cities, here running a gallery, a studio laboratory program for young artists, a street art tour business, and partnering with city art programming initiatives as well as brands. Somehow he still finds time to create artworks in the streets, including a recent portrait collaboration with Shepard Fairey in Lisbon and LA.

Shepard Fairey . VHILS. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

At the end of our tour marathon Pedro Soares-Neves takes us to the Centro de Informação Urbana de Lisboa (Lisbon Urban Information Center) where we climb the stairs through the airy modernist foyer full of scholarly readers to discover a small scale maquette of the entire city that we have just been traversing.

Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fanned out for you before the shiny blue Tagus River, perhaps 15 meters at its full expanse, the topographic features of the city are much less daunting when viewed from this perspective. As Pedro walks around the perimeter of the mini-city and points to neighborhoods, regions, the forest, the airport, the old city and the newly gentrifying areas of Lisboa he recounted stories of expansion, retrenchment, privatization, skullduggery and deliverance.

Thanks to him we appreciate graffiti/ Street Art/ urban art truly in its context of this city, its history, its people and the built environment like never before.

Lisbon. Pedro makes a point. December 2017. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

Bordalo II. In conjunction with his solo exhibition  ATTERO Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Borondo. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vhils. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vhils. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shepard Fairey . VHILS. Detail. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lister. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Crayon. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Andre Nada. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Unidentified Artist. Amoreiras Wall Of Fame. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Slap. Amoreiras Wall Of Fame. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

RariOne. Amoreiras Wall Of Fame. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

±MAISMENOS± Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Corleone. Bairro Padre Cruz. Underdogs Gallery/Public Arts Program . Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Utopia. Galeria De Arte Urbana. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tags. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu. Lisbon. Crono Project. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu . Sam3 . Erica Il Cane. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Il Cane . Lucy McLauchlan . M-Chat. Crono Project. Lisbon. December 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


With gratitude to Pedro Soares Neves and to Raul Carvalho, General Manager of Underdogs Gallery for taking the time to talk to us, for sharing their knowledge and insights with us and for showing us around Lisbon.

BSA in Lisbon comes to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN).

This is the first of two articles with BSA in Lisbon in collaboration with UN Berlin, it was originally published on the Urban Nation website, and the project is funded in part with the support of Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) in Berlin.

 

 

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more
BSA Images Of The Week:02.18.18

BSA Images Of The Week:02.18.18

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Welcome to Images of the Week! Great stuff this week from Portugal, Spain and good old NYC to flip your Aunt Betty’s wig.

The big news this week of course was that the 5 Points graffiti compound case was awarded to the 21 plaintiffs. But its not just local: it may have national implications when building owners will be insisting on contracts with anyone who paints their property. It may also confuse and scare off many opportunities for artists, where building owners will simply say no to the proposal.

The settlement, which we covered in Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case, has infuriated many and thrilled others expressing their opinion on social media. One of our 5 Ptz postings on Facebook this week garnered 1,300 comments, a nest of misunderstanding mediated by the occasional level head, offset by congratulations and victory laps. Naturally, folks from other parts of the country insulted us New Yorkers. Welcome to the world of graffiti and Street Art!

The Black Panther movie has many New Yorkers enthralled as it premiered on Tuesday night at the Museum of Modern Art. Theaters drew entire families and school groups many standing in line in costume as they waited to see powerful and positive black super-heroes and heroines. #HR620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, limiting the power of the Americans with Disabilities Act and turning back the clock on disability rights, and Trump’s new budget proposes actually steals from the mouths of the poor, taking away food assistance from millions of low-income Americans, on the heels of a tax cut that favored the wealthy and corporations. Do you know how much an average SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipient receives per month for food? $126 dollars. And you want to cut that somehow? https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/senior-hunger-facts/”>The Times Magazine says it is a defining moment for black America .

Nationally we are all still trying to grapple with another school shooting, producing more Thoughts and Prayers, and another round of Mueller indictments that continue to encircle the White House.

Finally, Brooklyn’s Kehinde Wiley pulled the curtain down with Barack Obama at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery to reveal his official portrait  – HERE.  Just kidding, here are Barack and Michelle’s official portraits.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Atomik,  Bigod, City Kitty, Daniel Eime, Desla, Exit.Enter.K, Fatal Fake, Free the Nipple, Gane, Gebraël, Kram, Little Ricky, Obey, Texas, We’kup, and Zest B.

Top Image: Daniel Eime in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Going out on a limb here to say you may see MOMO, Vhils, and James Bullough similarities merged here. Nonetheless, its a solid mural by Daniel Eime here in Bairro Padre Cruz, Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bigod. Bairro Padre Cruz. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (we couldn’t decipher the signature) Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

City Kitty (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Atomik. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gane . Texas (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Free Boobies. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Triple Nipple. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Free The Nipple. Yeah! Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Little Ricky (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We’kup . Exit. Enter. K. Obey. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Desla (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zest B. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gebraël. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Smile. Bairro Padre Cruz, Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fatal Fake . Kram. Barcelona, Spain.  (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Fatal Fake . Kram. Barcelona, Spain.  (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

Fatal Fake . Kram. Barcelona, Spain.  (photo © Lluís Olivé Bulbena)

Bill S. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Yawn. Brooklyn, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Converting Gold From Our Waste: “Bordalo II / 2011 – 2017”

Converting Gold From Our Waste: “Bordalo II / 2011 – 2017”

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Are those Ai Weiwei bicycles clustered and suspended in the air overhead? Rather they are stored here like a 3 layer spoke, wheel, and frame cake, pressed to the side of this bricked wall tin-roof warehouse along with rolling office chairs waving their legs in the air like little lady bugs stuck on their backs.

Everything here has been pressed into position by the small mountains of white garbage bags filled with something soft, like dollops of whipped cream. The entire confection is sprinkled across the top with lanterns and light fixtures plucked from decades of the last half-century.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Such is the splendid stuff of dreams and discovery for Bordalo II, the Lisbon-based Street Artist and maker of garbage relief animal portraits in cities across the world.

These are the things that when arranged on shelves and in placed relation to a floor plan, within parameters and boundaries of our mundanity, will comprise a perfect environment of domesticity; full of memory, associative emotion, symmetry. Objects, materials melted and poured, carved and plain, screwed and snapped, polished and sprayed, emulsified, inset, extruded, coiled, soldiered, plated, woven. These dimensional collections of matter matter to us. Metal alloy. Plastic polymer. Blown glass. Rubber, copper, steel, bakelite, particle board, glue.

Disarrange. You create chaos, disruption, disunity, discontent. Arrange again and create a muskrat, a buck deer, a petulant parakeet, an undulant octopus.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Bordalo II, so-named after his watercolor master grandfather Real Bordalo who passed last year at 91, has in six or seven short years made a name for himself with your garbage, refusing to allow it to go to the junkyard or to float in the ocean just yet.

“After surveying the variety of offerings that included industrial, commercial, and consumer detritus, he speedily chose what appear to me to be a random bunch of junk,” writes five-decade photographer of urban art and artists, Martha Cooper about how he captured her interest.

“It was a genuine pleasure to watch an animal evolve before everyone’s eyes. As I watched him create the sculptural mural I was amazed to see how he utilized the shapes, textures, and aesthetic qualities of the found items to recreate the octopus in such a true-to-life manner.”

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Hers and others’ observations and essays are collected in “Bordalo II, 2011-2017” released in concert with his massive solo show “Attero” this November in Lisbon. A graffiti writer as a youth with his crew R315 Dream Team, the artist credits the three years at the Fine Arts Faculty in his city for allowing him to discover sculpture and to experiment with different materials, seducing him away from strictly painting. With it he is creating critique of our love of “things” and the excesses of consumerism, especially those excesses that are endangering wildlife.

“Bordalo is a master of our refuse,” says writer and critic Carlo McCormick, “what we throw way in our endless glut of consumption, the ideas, sensibilities and dreams we discard in the name of progress and all that accumulates unwanted, ignored, and even reviled by society’s voracious appetite for something disposable.” McCormick looks carefully at the implications of such an art practice and praises Bordalo II for the sharp tongue he brings to a sometimes superficial conversation occurring in the Street Art scene.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

No hero is he, nor does he pretend to be. Rather Bordalo II uses his work to remind us of our integral part of a cycle that includes everyone and everything. João Pedro Matos Fernandes, the Portuguese Minister of Environment adds his voice to those in this unassuming but powerful tome after laying out the treacherous story of our trash.

Speaking of Bordalo’s work, Mr. Fernandes writes,” It calls to our attention the choices we make in our everyday life, and to the consequences of our actions. And he does so in a scathing fashion, which I thoroughly enjoy, by using trash to represent some of the more emblematic species which our behavior puts at risk.”

It’s a brief snapshot of the artist in motion, with surely more evolutions to come. Ever the delicious quipster with the poetic tongue, McCormick lauds the street trash wizard.

“And in this world where we choke the planet with out incessant rubbish, let us celebrate those alchemical artists like Bordalo II who have that rare gift of being able to turn shit into gold.”

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal.

Please follow and like us:
Read more
BSA Images Of The Week: 01.28.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.28.18

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Stumbling and slipping and dancing through January here in New York requires dexterity and a tolerance for dry skin and flattened hat-hair and the occasional sore throat.  Thankfully there are great indoor activities sometimes like the huge trippy balloon installations by suave art dynamo Jihan Zencirli at her opening exhibition inside the NYC Ballet atrium Friday night. Hundreds of thousands of balloons, free bourbon, and a DJ after a surprisingly post-post-modern program of envelope pushing dancing on the mainstage by amazing pros! Gurl, that ballet is ballin’.

Elsewhere in art news the Guggenheim’s Nancy Specter offered a gold-plated toilet to the White House after turning down their request to borrow a VanGogh, people lined up to see “One Basquiat” at the Brooklyn Museum this week while they streamed by many Basquiats on New York Streets without looking in the 80s, and New York magazine announced a “public art” campaign with 50 artists (Yoko Ono, Barbara Krueger, Marilyn Minter) this year that sounds a lot like it is borrowing heavily from Street Art techniques “throughout the five boroughs and in a variety of formats, such as on street lamps or “wild postings” on walls around the city.” Wild postings?

One more indoor exhibit totally worth your time is Ann Lewis’s installations at a no-name popup in Manhattatan.  The conceptual Street/gallery activist artist continues to push her own boundaries, and many of ours, with her work addressing difficult social and political issues like police brutality, institutional bias against women, racism, the Resistance. At a time when we need women’s voices to rise, she collaborates with StudioSpaceNYC at a pop-up at 149 West 14th Street (shots from the installation below).

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Ann Lewis, Atomik, Jihan Zencirli, Obey, Pet-de-None, Shepard Fairey, Studio Space NYC and Tona.

Top Image: TONA in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

OBEY in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ann Lewis and Studio Space NYC  exhibition/collaboration “Unspoken”. Stay tuned for more on this exhibition. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ann Lewis and Studio Space NYC  exhibition/collaboration “Unspoken”. Stay tuned for more on this exhibition. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pet-de-None in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cinza in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Atomik in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hasta la vista B2B in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

DON’T EAT ME in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We couldn’t read this tag…help anyone? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jihan Zencirli AKA Geronimo at the NYC Ballet installation. Detail. More to come shortly… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jihan Zencirli AKA Geronimo at the NYC Ballet installation. Detail. More to come shortly… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Manhattan and the East River from the Williamsburg Bridge. January 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:
Read more
BSA Images Of The Week: 01.14.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.14.18

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

A celebrated American, the New York poet Langston Hughes, leads off this edition of BSA Images of the Week, with a firebox posting of a portion of his work “Oh Let America Be America Again.” A part of the Harlem Jazz Age that gave birth to a freedom of expression and heralded fame for many black and brown artists across artistic disciplines, it was Hughes that spoke to the depths and sorrows and aspirations of the human experience here with such poetry. We don’t know who brought his words to the street here, but the timing could not be better.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Abe Lincoln Jr., Anthony Lister, Apexer, Borondo, Katsu, Langston Hughes, Paul Kostabi, SacSix, and Willow.

Top Image: A poem by Langston Hughes (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Apexer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anthony Lister in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Borondo. Padre Cruz Neighborhood. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist. Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Abe Lincoln Jr. Phone booth ad takeover. LES, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Abe Lincoln Jr. Phone booth ad takeover. LES, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Abe Lincoln Jr. Phone booth ad takeover. LES, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Willow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

SacSix and FAME. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Paul Kostabi (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Katsu (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Katsu (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. East Rive, NYC. January 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:
Read more
BSA Images Of The Week: 01.07.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.07.18

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Welcome back! This is our first Images of the Week in weeks! So much has changed since last year!

For example we had a Bomb Cyclone this week, which no one had ever heard of before. It sounded like it was made up for ratings on the Weather Channel which is still trying to give storms individual names and is still thought of as very dumb for doing so.

The winter bomb cyclone closed all the schools, chased cars and people off the streets. Jaime took the snowstorm opportunity to go to Central Park and shoot video till his battery died. Once the temperature dipped to 3 degrees farenheit (-14 celcius) with strong winds, seeing Street Art in New York was sort of something to do as you stumbled and slipped passed it in a hurry to the deli or laundromat or job if you work in medical services or drive a snow plow.

Luckily for us all, that was the only bomb we have had to deal with, but with the Very Stable Genius we have misleading the country, no one can say for sure for how long .

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Ai Wei Wei, Baron Von Fancy, Bäst, Basto, Havoc Hendricks, Jimmy C, Juce Boks, Li-Hill, Otto Schade, Tinta Crua, Tomadee, Wane, Wk Interact, and Zola.

Top Image: Zola (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tomadee (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Li-Hill for St Art Now in the LES. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Li-Hill for St Art Now in the LES. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Li-Hill for St Art Now in the LES. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Juce Boks phone booth ad takeover. This one was hand painted one of a kind…boom! (photo © Jaime Rojo)

WK Interact (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Baston (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Otto Schade for East Village Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wane (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ai Weiwei. “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”. Detail. NYC wide multimedia/multi site exhibition for Public Art Fund. Central Park, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ai Weiwei. “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”. Detail. NYC wide multimedia/multi site exhibition for Public Art Fund. Central Park, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Havoc Hendricks (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fanakapan for East Village Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tinta Crua in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Baron Von Fancy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artists in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

CEBEP (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jimmy C for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Bomb Cyclone of 2018. Central Park, NYC. January 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Labrona and DB on the Road, Dispatch From Portugal

Labrona and DB on the Road, Dispatch From Portugal

“I didn’t get invited to paint anywhere this winter so I made my own street art trip,” says Labrona of his new wheat-pastes in Portugal. “It’s sort of a throw back to before mural festivals, when we just did stuff on the streets.”

Is that Buster Keaton? Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

A clear distinction is made thusly, between the multitude of public-private-commercial mural initiatives that artists are participating in these days and the practice of creating Street Art, which is necessarily self initiated, without permission, an autonomous performance or intervention in public space. To merge these terms and practices is to disregard the significance of the distinction between.

Furthermore, this is not new. There just happen to be a lot of mural festivals right now and organizers sometimes misappropriate the term “street art” when in describing events. We can help.

DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

But we’ve digressed a little from Labrona and DB, who took a trip to Lisbon and set up shop. “We rented a place and turned it into a studio for 10 days and made a bunch of wheatpastes,” Labrona says. The figurative, character-driven painted pieces began to appear in this city that is known today as much for its Street Art as it is for its hills.

A painter with a studio practice, DB hadn’t done Street Art previously, says Labrona, so it is interesting to see what choices DB makes for his work here in the public realm where it suffers the indignities of abuse and neglect. As ever, we are also interested whether the placement has a particular contextual component or whether he uses the existing architecture as a framing device.

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

It is also significant to some observers how choices are made for the new wheatpastes to interact with pre-existing graffiti – sometimes in tandem, to the side of or sometimes directly pasted upon it, possibly angering the graff writer, maybe not. Because of the temporary quality of wheatpasted paper, the aerosol work will probably outlive it anyway. Sometimes a big bubble tag seems like an intentional background or co-actor. Other times a quickly dashed tag looks like it is not considered at all.

These are all metrics and filtering devices, and subjective ones at that. How an aesthetic expression hits an individual in that moment of discovery is as real as it gets.

Their dual experiments ended after 10 days and Labrona says he carried on solo for the rest of his trip, with some pieces appearing to have been drawn directly on the walls or doors – which rather lessens the distance between studio practice and street practice.

DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

This may be Picasso staring angrily from the corner at Labrona’s amorous couple, we aren’t sure. Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona and DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

DB. Lisbon, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

Labrona Porto, Portugal. Spring 2017 (photo © Labrona)

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Holy Faile ! “Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at Brooklyn Museum

Holy Faile ! “Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at Brooklyn Museum

FAILE may be a religious experience this summer at the Brooklyn Museum, but only one of the hallowed installations is called Temple. The seedier, more dimly lit venue will surely have the larger number of congregants by far, bless their sacred hearts.

Celebrating the duality and appropriation of words, slogans, and images has been the baliwick of the duo since they first began hitting Brooklyn streets at the turn of the century with their stencils and wheat-pastes on illegal spots and neglected spaces. In FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds, their new attention commanding/refracting exhibit organized by Sharon Matt Atkins at the Brooklyn Museum, these guys pour it on, compelling you into a complex panoply of possible re-imaginings of meaning that reference pop, pulp, myth, art history, 50s sci-fi, 60s advertising, comics, punk zines, consumer culture and their own pure artistic and branded fiction.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-web-9

FAILE. The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For fans of this collaboration between artists Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller, Savage/Sacred is a joyride swerving through the visual vocabulary and terminology they’ve been emblazoning across walls, doorways, canvasses, stickers, sculptures, prayer wheels, wood blocks, paintings, prints, toys, and a museum façade in their steady ascendance from anonymous art school students and Street Artists to a highly collected top tier name in contemporary art.

Offering you a full immersion and opportunity for titillating interaction, this show provides an unambiguous sense of the industry that is backing the Faile fantasy. Throughout their work and your imagination and assumed role, you may be villain, distressed damsel, wolfman, fairey, vandal, wrestler, hot-rodder, madonna, whore, supplicant, avenger, surfing horse or simply an arcade hero who is whiling away windowless hours punching buttons, popping flippers and pumping Faile tokens into tantalizing art machines.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-web-5

FAILE. FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Central to the formative Faile story is an image of the teenage Patricks piecing together clues about the world in these dark dens of possibility and teenage angst, awash in fantasy, aggression, testosterone and communal alienation.

Miller talks about the arcade atmosphere with a certain reverence, “All through Middle School, especially on the weekends, you’d just get dropped off at the mall and be there all day. There is something about the idea of this being a somewhat sacred space as a teenager in arcades. They are sort of a “Candyland” – a magical space mixed with a little seediness. You had kind of a large age range in there. You could get in trouble if you wanted but through the video games you could live out these crazy fantasy experiences. Historically arcades have been like that – very much with the Times Square notion. They’ve always had that connection to an underbelly of things.”

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-web-20

FAILE. The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Do you think New York is still seedy?
Patrick Miller: It seems like it is getting harder to find, in a way.
BSA: So really you might say that this is a public service, this installation.
Patrick Miller: There are so many young people who have never had this experience today. Not only are we trying to share what that was like, it is something that shaped the way we are inspired as artists and the way we make imagery, the way we make icons. The roots of video-game culture are there and now that has sort of bled out today – but also we’re interested in the shared experience because so much of the video game experience is now mobile or is just had on your couch, I think people have forgotten that there used to be these places were you congregated to do this.

For the 5th public offering of FAILE BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade and the first in a museum setting, Faile extends the scope and adds a handful of new NYC-centric scenarios to the mix and again partners with fellow Brooklyn street artist and spin-cycle collage mutator-in-chief BÄST, whose stylistic counterplay alerts undercurrents of tension with a punk-naïve primal hand painting and humoristic Dada collaging.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-web-12

FAILE. The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Can you describe the working dynamic with Faile and BÄST?
Patrick Miller: We’ve always been really inspired by BÄSTs work because we start from a similar place but we end up totally differently.
BSA: Yeah the end result is very different
Patrick Miller: Ours are probably more structured and narrative.
Patrick McNeil: I think over time we have tried not to step on each others’ toes. He generally controls the half-tone territory and we control the line-drawing territory.
BSA: So his are more photography-based and yours tend more toward the illustration.
Patrick McNeil: Yep
Patrick Miller: I think the work comes from the same place but his is just turned up to “11”.
Patrick McNeil: Yeah his is more put into a blender.
Patrick Miller: But that has always been what makes us work well together, the styles mix and marry really well and they kind of bring the best out of both.
BSA: And he has become even more abstract recently – more lo-fi outsider artish…., although you guys have delved into children’s coloring books for inspiration as well
McNeil: I think BÄST would like to call it more “outsider art”.
BSA: Why has it been important to keep Deluxx Fluxx a Faile-BÄST collaboration over the last five years thoughout its various iterations?
McNeil: We started this project as a collaboration and we’ve been collaborating with BÄST for fifteen years. We’ve always enjoyed working with him because we just love the friendship and we love the product of our collaborations. I think having the opportunity to be at the Brooklyn Museum and to do it together with him is really special.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-web-11

FAILE. The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Twenty-two in all, the custom designed variations on arcade video and pinball games from the 1970s and 80s alert competitive urges and quests for domination alongside more mundane tasks like alternate side of the street parking and completing atypical digital art-making sessions where “winning” is defined entirely differently.

Social, sexual, comical, criminal, and environmental concerns all pop and parry while you nearly mindlessly and repetitively punch buttons and fire guns at herky-jerky 2-D motion graphics that transport you to the hi-charged arcade experience rumbling in malls and sketchier parts of town before the Internet. Get a taste for those darkened caves where you racked up points while quarters were sucked from your pockets; you are the favored hero at home in this seductive lair, surrounded by an ear pounding audio-musical triumphalist barrage of hypnotic hormonal victory and id-shattering explosions.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-16

FAILE. The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The adjoining cavernous black-light illuminated fluorescent foosball room is papered with mind-popping illustrations derived and sutured from comics, pulp and smarmy back-pages advertising that once stirred secret desires. Walking in on this teen temple you may feel like looking for dirty magazines sandwiched between mattresses; surely a hyped up juvenile would choose these alternating graphic “floor tiles” in radiation yellow, sugar coated pink and neon orange, giving your footsteps a spongey depth perception test on your way to a round of table football.

The floor-to-ceiling hand painted posters took four people six months to complete, both Patricks tell us, and they all compete for your attention, each a narrative re-configured and augmenting secret storylines, myths, and plenty of white lies.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-web-18

FAILE’s Patrick Miller demonstrates an art experience where you rip posters off the wall to reveal yet more Faile posters underneath, which you can rip further. FAILE. The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Somehow it is here in the day-glo madness that we see the closest approximation to the original Street Art experience passersby had in the early 2000s with Faile’s work when they were still a trio that included artist AIKO and in those years just after her departure. These are the bold, familiar graphic punches thrown in a direction you weren’t expecting and can make you laugh.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-web-19

FAILE’s Patrick McNeil demonstrates how to tag subway walls before the “Bast Ghosts” come after you. FAILE. The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In a media- and advertising-saturated society our tools of discernment and reason are compromised, deliberately so. Faile is recognizing some symptoms of this compromise and is examining the stories and the narratives that are told, crafting their own dramatic nomenclature from the pile. You might say that their stories are melding with an idealized simplification of North American white dude history, a heroic paranoid absolutism that lays bare the prejudices behind it.

A simple survey of words illustrates the perspective: prayer, bitch, horse, rainbow, sinful, Jesus, warriors, forbidden, Indian, hero, poison, brave, strong, boy, guilty, pleasure, bedtime, cowboys, hotrods, savage, gun, trust, stiletto, tender, hotel, confessions, fight, wolf, saved, girls, lies, vanity, inexperience, restless virgin, innocent, willing, heartbreak, torment, stories.

These are Faile stories, reconfigured with a slicing knife down the middle of the belly, an idiosyncratic collaged pop/pulp style that owes as much to the Dadaist Hannah Höch and pop collage originator Richard Hamilton as it does to Lichtenstein’s sense of storybook romance and Warhol’s repetitive emotional distance.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-17

FAILE. The FAILE & BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In the book accompanying the exhibit, Sharon Matt Atkins, Vice Director for Exhibitions and Collections Management, who organized the exhibition, says the presentation of the arcade in a museum setting “highlights how the present work relates to the art of the past and expands our expectations of the use of public spaces dedicated to art.” Here, she says, “Deluxx Fluxx’s arcade machines, which are simultaneously sculptures and functioning games, may call to mind Surrealism, Dada, and Fluxus, as well as the enigmatic boxed assemblages of Joseph Cornell.”

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-22

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Similarly, the signature Temple project has not been presented in its entirety in museum settings previously, and it feels like it is a bit of inspired genius when you are standing in its shadow beneath the soaring sky light at the Brooklyn Museum. The full scale church in ruins was presented out of doors in Praça dos Restauradores Square in Lisbon in conjunction with Portugal Arte in 2010. Echoing its surroundings in Lisbon, the Temple here is also a willful remix of the epic and the rather lesser so.

Culture-jamming at its height, it’s a punk subversion in ceramic, marble and iron that simultaneously genuflects and gives the finger to antiquity and to our soulless consumer culture. By casting reliefs of stylized font-work, romance novelette themes, and ads for call girls in puzzling non-sequitors, the Temple ridicules vapidity while honoring connections to age-old themes, sort of humbling all involved. Here again Faile is questioning the received wisdom of art history, religious customs, and tales of great societies we’ve learned to be reverent of, or maybe just questioning our true knowledge of history altogether.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-3

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

During the last months while it was being unpacked and assembled we heard the Temple also called a tomb, a mausoleum, a chapel – the differences shared by their ties to the architecture and sculpture and tiled mosaics and ceramic under one roof. The roof in this case is destroyed – possibly because it caved in or because it was ripped off by an angry god who said, “You have missed my point entirely!”

In any case it is a formidable structure allowing meditation, reflection, confusion. In an act of ultimate bait and switch, Faile has deliberately played with what you are supposed to be paying attention to, substituting the associated original intended and inferred meanings of a religious institution and its power. You approach with reverence, looking perhaps for an allegorical means to access the transcendental, but expected symbols have been supplanted by the shallow relics of a culture you may have intended to escape.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-5

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ultimately Faile is not unlike a lot of the world’s great religions; Comforting, reassuring, challenging, mysterious, inpenetrable. Sometimes you have the feeling that there are other people who understand it much better than you. Oh, ye of little Faile. Lean not upon your own understanding. Failes ways are not necessarily our ways. Whether these words and narratives are written by man or handed down from a higher power, why sweat it? It’s a holy good show.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-8

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds the Brooklyn museum is once again meaningfully invested in the present and jumped ahead in the examination of what clearly is the first global grassroots art movement, giving the stage to the current century’s voices of the street – perhaps because it has engaged with the city’s artists and communities.

With an enormous new Kaws sculpture in the lobby, Basquiat’s notebooks and Kehinde Wiley’s exhibition in the same year, Faile adds an important voice to the local/global narrative and to the dialogue about the appropriate role of art in the public sphere and major institutions in the cultural life of the community they a part of.

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-26

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-25

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-6

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-19

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-20

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-15

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-21

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-7

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-24

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-18

FAILE. Temple. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-10

FAILE. Fantasy Island.  “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-11

FAILE. Wolf Within. Detail. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-13

FAILE. Ripped canvases. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

brooklyn-street-art-faile-jaime-rojo-bk-museum-07-15-final-web-12

FAILE. Ripped canvases. “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” Brooklyn Museum, July 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” at the Brooklyn Museum will open Friday, July 10th. Click HERE for further information.

<<>>><><<>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

 

This article is also published on The Huffington Post

Brooklyn-Street-Art-Faile-Deluxx-BK-Museum-Huffpost-740-Screen Shot 2015-07-08 at 9.39.52 AM

Please follow and like us:
Read more
Satirizing the Corporate State with “Hygenic Dress League” in Madrid

Satirizing the Corporate State with “Hygenic Dress League” in Madrid

Sorry, didn’t mean to drop a caterpillar in your Chablis darling, just wanted to make art that has meaning.

In an era of rapid change, three-card monte, and staged misinformation, satire is one useful art form that can assist you to keep the facts in focus – blowing the PR fog from the room.

It has been a little while since we checked in with Detroit-based conceptual satirists Hygenic Dress League (HDL) and we found that they have landed with a thud in Spain. The public art may appear simple, but the concepts are heavy.

brooklyn-street-art-hdl-coporation-madrid-05-15-web--Eagle

You’ll recall perhaps that this street art duo is actually a corporation and their love for blurring lines between
truth/lies,
corporate personhood/personhood,
art project/social commentary, and
humorous/deadly serious
may make for dissonance in the cranial region.

Even their murals are not called such – they are “advertisements”. That is especially rich now that major brands are hi-jacking organic street art culture and wiggling around local ordinances by calling their advertisements “murals”.

HDL Corp. concepts are so developed that founders Steve and Dorota Coy cannot speak normally any more, preferring to communicate only in the non-personal “we” speak of press releases and “communications” departments. He/She/They can explain the work better than we/you can adequately comprehend so here the HDL Corporation takes the floor for the remainder of today’s Powerpoint presentation.

But first, who are all these eagle-headed figures in the work? “The animal men are basically anthropomorphic versions of our employees – the three represented here are all representing the executive employees from the corporation,” Coy tells us.

brooklyn-street-art-hdl-coporation-madrid-05-15-web-1

“Pulling Strings”, HDL Corporation in Camp de Cebada. Madrid. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

“‘Pulling Strings’ represents the idea of seeming like we are free when we are really tied down – attached – under the control of oligarchy. This piece can also be interpreted as the masses doing the work to benefit the few – the wealthy. We appreciate the double read of this piece.”

brooklyn-street-art-hdl-coporation-madrid-05-15-web-2

“Pulling Strings”, HDL Corporation in Camp de Cebada. Madrid. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

brooklyn-street-art-hdl-coporation-lisbon-05-15-web-4

HDL Corporation. “The Eagle has Landed Part II”, Lisbon. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

“‘The Eagle has Landed Part II’ at the LX Factory portrays American capitalism/corporatism and its global impact on cities.”

brooklyn-street-art-hdl-coporation-lisbon-05-15-web-1

HDL Corporation. “Village Underground Lisboa”, Lisbon. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

“This piece presents a new character for our corporation,” says spokesperson Coy. “Just as any corporation would hire models to build their brand, the ‘Gold Face’ characters are just that. They are part of a marketing campaign to represent the elite and make people feel inadequate in their current status,” says Coy.

“‘Gold Faces’ will appear in more advertisements in the future. The seeing eye is also present on the hands and the carnations represent the carnation revolution of 1975 in Portugal which freed them from dictatorship.”

brooklyn-street-art-hdl-coporation-lisbon-05-15-web-detail

HDL Corporation. “Village Underground Lisboa”, Lisbon. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

brooklyn-street-art-hdl-coporation-madrid-05-15-web-3

HDL Corporation. “Madrid Tabacalera”, Madrid. May 2015. (photo © HDL Corporation)

“This piece in our classic gold and black is just an homage to our executives. It is painted on metal and has a really nice aesthetic – a gleam.”

 

<<>>><><<>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

Please follow and like us:
Read more
“Slaves ‘R’ Us” : Advertising, Propaganda, and SEBS in Lisbon

“Slaves ‘R’ Us” : Advertising, Propaganda, and SEBS in Lisbon

The power of advertising and propaganda is undisputed, whether it is for toothpaste or war. We are being acted upon daily by people who would like us to do (or not do) something.  Usually it is to give money for a product or service, but more than ever it is to stand by and allow bombs to fall or laws to be eroded.

Artists have been parodying the methods of advertisement and our willingness to be swayed by it almost since it began, perhaps as a way of alerting us of the deleterious effects of unthinking consumerism in general, or to give us the tools to comprehend and analyze the methods that are effectively driving our behavior.  Invariably, our actions as individuals, citizens, and consumers are all folded into the critique.

 
brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-4

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

But whether it is the illustrated stickers of Wacky Packages  or the cereal killers and billboard takeovers of Ron English, many artists have found that humor and irony are effective ways to sweeten the lampoon of advertisers and our complicity – a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, as Mary Poppins sang.

Street Artist Mauro Carmelino, who writes SEBS as his moniker, recently completed an entire campaign of his own that questions many things we do and wonders if we are even aware of the lines between citizenry and consumerism we traverse these days.

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-2

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

Entitled “Slaves ‘R’ Us”, this series of handmade works are on the walls of Ajuda, a civil parish in the municipality of Lisbon, Portugal. Bright and simple designs that are cheerful enough, even if they belie a less pleasant series of questions for pondering.

“Democracy, the environment, freedom, security, employment and corporatism are all portrayed as products of a ‘Progress’ that seems to reach the expiration date,” he says as he describes the various elements in the campaign. In Carmelino’s view, our free will is seriously in question today.  “We look back to past societies and feel we came a long way. Did we? Are we free when all our lives can be crunched into zeros and ones, somewhere on a server in California?”

The work looks welcoming and cartoonish on these aged walls and buildings, and if the artists intentions are realized, his greater messages will have an affect on the mind of the viewer. It helps that some of the locations of the walls provides a bit of context, like the silo-shaped building that has a warning about cow milk, “Some of these are inspired by the personal stories of people or are somehow related to the intervened walls,” says the artist.

Special thanks to the artist for providing these exclusive photos for BSA readers.

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-3

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-5

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-9

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-7

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-10

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-8

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15--web-11

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-6

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

brooklyn-street-art-mauro-miguel-carmelino-lisbon-portugal-01-15-web-1

SEBS, or Mauro Carmelino in Lisbon, Portugal. (photo © Mauro Carmelino)

 

 

<<>>><><<>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

 

 

Please follow and like us:
Read more