They are not staying quiet. If you had doubted the inclination of street artists to join the socio-political fray in 2020, don’t. Among the cute and decorative pieces out there, we are steadily discovering that artists are using the public sphere to take risks, addressing issues that are thorny and puzzling. As ever, the streets are a reflection of our society and all its fabulous dysfunction – a refreshing take on free speech that often makes much more sense than the disinformation war raging hourly right now on corporate media.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fu, Blood and Soul, Clint Mario, Faust, Gazoo to the Moon, Jarus, Maia Lorian, Pure Genius, Raddington Falls, Sticker Maul, Stikman, TV Head ATX, Will Pay, and Winston Tseng.
The moment you think you understand the street is the moment you begin to lose touch. Behavior on social media is also about as reliable as your Uncle Oscar after he’s had a few too many frosted rum balls and rosy red holiday cocktails. First, he’s twirling Aunt Marge to the Beatles on the living room rug, next thing he’s headbanging with your cousin Teddy to Bon Jovi on the back porch – and later you regrettably see him getting his freak on with a Missy Elliott classic as he waits his turn at the pool table in the basement.
So we rely on the numbers to tell us what is popular with our readers, and not surprisingly, you like everything! Little tiny stickers, massive murals, 3-D sculptural elements, even Lizzo running for president. These are the top ten pieces that got retweeted, shared on Instagram, commented about on Facebook and read about on the site. It’s not scientific, and it’s skewed through the lens of BSA’s POV, but these hottest pieces are still an indicator of the sentiments and tastes of fans on social; sophisticated, insightful, critical, dark mooded, conscious and funny AF. You’re just our type!
November was “Native American Heritage Month” in the US and has been since 1990 and ironically the growing right-wing extremism of the intervening decades appears to have further erased our collective knowledge of native peoples – so it’s the perfect time to find this new campaign of local natives on the streets of New York by Street Artist LMNOPI.
9. Abe Lincoln Jr. & Maia Lorian. A Presidential Parody
The public takeover of ‘street furniture’ and advertising kiosks continues as artists demand back the mindspace and public space that is sold or given to corporate advertisers or propagandizers. This duo brings complementary skills to the old phone booths with their own brand of political satire.
8. Okuda & Bordalo II Collaboration in Madrid.
This Frankenstein duet on the streets of Madrid caught our eye this spring and you liked it too. By Spain’s Okuda and Portugal’s Bordalo II. Madrid, March 2019.
7. Oak Oak in Bayonne, France.
A small stencil in Bayonne, France from Oak Oak resonates in its cheerful satire of pompous crass man-boys with bombs.
6 Lula Goce for NRNY Artsy Murals /Street Art For Mankind
The Swan and the falcon depicted on the mural are actual residents of New Rochelle. They came and liked what they saw and decided to stay and raise their families there. A fitting real story as New Rochelle is a town where immigrants are welcomed and are an important part of the community.
5. I Heart Graffiti “Lizzo for President”
A campaign for singer/songwriter/ rapper Lizzo capitalized on the stars meteoric rise in 2019 to the top of many charts. Considering the number of Democratic challengers on the debate stages this summer and fall, it seemed plausible that she was actually running. If she promised Americans to help the poor and working-class yet assured her corporate donors to screw them once in office, she could get elected too.
4. Judith Supine’s Luxury Cowboy/girl Ad Take Over
The brilliant collage surrealist Judith Supine was back with a new lasso this year, skillfully misleading audiences on the street with his free associations equating luxury fashion brands and 20th-century cancer product advertising. It’s a match made in Hell!. Welcome!
3 Nafir at Urban Spree in Berlin
Iranian Street Arist Nafir left this Instagram alienation indictment hanging in a hidden spot at Berlin’s Urban Spree playground this year, and for some reason, it struck a chord with many.
Do you want to talk about it? We’re not joking about suicide.
2. “Outings Project” for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin
It began as a way of bringing fine art pieces from inside the museum to the Street, and “The Outings Project” has brought hundreds of artworks out into the daylight this way for a decade or so, thanks to French artist Julien de Casabianca. These particular dark angels have been cast out of heaven and are just about to hit the ground across the street from Urban Nation Museum, Berlin.
1. Sara Lynne-Leo struck a chord with her pain commentary on the streets of NYC
A relative newcomer to the streets in New York, Sara Lynne-Leo keeps her small scale pieces well-placed, if your eyes are open. A comedian and social observer, her character’s pains and insecurities are played out in magnified emotional tableaus that quickly capture the severity and make light of it at the same time. This one must have really captured the zeitgeist of a troubled time across modern societies, where one pretends a wound is made bearable with an optimistic sunny perspective, even if the situation may be life-threatening.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fujita, Alexcia Panay, Anthony Lister, Below Key, BK Foxx, Bobby Hundreds, Downer Jones, Dragon Art, Hops Art, Maia Lorian, Mastro NYC, Muebon, Pricey Alex, Shiro, Sinclair the Vandal, VKrone, and Want.
In an era where people may feel more under attack, more alienated, more disconnected from one another (despite “always on” connectivity), comes this new campaign from Dirty Bandits, “You Are Not Alone”. New York walls have been popping up recently (see above) with this message and somehow it completely resonates, hopefully just in time to remind someone struggling.
Brooklyn based lettering artist Annica Lydenberg of the design company Dirty Bandits tells us that this was an idea she came up with her best friend who had recently published a memoir about living with anxiety disorder. The he murals are intended to have broad appeal and offer support to anyone who feels misunderstood, victimized, or abandoned.
She tells us that people need to know “they are not the only ones struggling with mental health. My wish is to be seen as an ally, for not only mental health, but to the many communities who do not feel supported.” She says the campaign is not strictly commercial, although it is certainly not anonymous and some funding came from a media concern. But we agree that it is a very worthwhile message, can actually help people and if you want to learn more go HERE.
As long as we are on the topic, please call these numbers right now if you need help:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) Suicide Hotline 1-866-488-7386
Teen suicide hotline 1-800-USA-KIDS (872-5437)
National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY).
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fu, Cash4, Dirty Bandits, Elms, Icy & Sot, Jason Naylor, Mad Villain, Maia Lorian, Rude Reps, SAMO, Sinned, Smells, Soar, UFO907, Victor Ash, and Winston Tseng.
You made it! Thanksgiving is over and you did not explode from eating too much pumpkin pie. Right?
A number of subverting artists and activists took over billboards in cities around the world this Thanksgiving holiday to celebrate “NO AD DAY” – an aesthetic effort to reclaim public space from advertisers who have slowly but surely crept into everything, producing an ever-present artificial and continuous knawing in the stomach that you are not handsome or pretty enough, rich enough, or somehow incomplete in a thousand ways.
Check out folks like Brandalism to learn more about a growing grassroots movement that began perhaps in the 60s with folks like the Billboard Liberation Front but has picked up speed and technique in the last decade. Of course artists like Abe Lincoln Jr. don’t need a special day to take over a phone booth – any day is fine.
So here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Abe Lincoln Jr. Adam Fu, Bortusk Leer, Kenny Scharf, Lucky Rabbit, Maia Lorian, Mastro, Norm Magnusson, Tito Ferrara, Rawraffe, Solus, and Uncle Susan.