Welcome to BSA Images of the Week! Ramadan Kareem to Muslim brothers and sisters in New York and around the world. May you have an easy fast.
We’re bowled over by the beauty in the streets and parks and rooftops right now, with performances and painting and the blossoming of flowers underfoot and on branches overhead. Fires are alit in hearts everywhere.
“All the roofs are wet and underneath smoke that piles softly in streets, tongues are on top of each other mulling over the night.”
from Gamin ~ Frank O’Hara
Yes, there is a sort of battered nervousness in conversations on the streets and as we go about our quotidian duties; a discerned increase in agitation due to economic instability, surges of new Covid strains in our hospitals, and ongoing examples of police brutality toward black and brown people is met with resistance and sometimes violence as well.
Still, consider the robin. In your heart, may hope spring eternal. Also, we learn today that summer may be returning at least one exceedingly creative and participatory public art event as the Gothamist reports that “Coney Island’s Mermaid Parade May Return In The Flesh This Summer.”
And yo! Don’t sleep on the street artists who are putting up new work right now. They are addressing our ills, regaling us with visual puns, poking at our foibles, recontextualizing and performing feats of wonder under cover of night, or while heads are turned in broad daylight. Entertaining, bragging, dreaming… onward they go.
So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring: Absconded Project, Atakbf, Bastard Bot, City Kitty, Clown Soldier, Degrupo, George Collagi, Lexi Bella, Manik, Marka27, Matt Siren, Peachee Blue, Royce Bannon, Sonni, Teens for Press Freedom, Vexta, and Zaver.
“I love transforming a raw space for everyone to discover. It’s the best feeling to see people enjoying themselves in front of my art,” says artist Cey Adams in Boston as he finishes his “LOVE” mural in a letter style recalling the funky late 70s.
At the start of September Adams and 10 other artists joined the Underground Mural Project to transform 150,000 square feet of walls and pavement in a park here, curated by Street Theory Gallery, a creative studio founded by Liza and Victor ‘Marka27’ Quiñonez. The 8-acre public underpass located between Boston’s South End and South Boston neighborhoods has been leased to a privately owned company that has turned it into “an active urban park, cultural attraction and parking amenity”, now named Underground Ink Block.
Our thanks to photographer Todd Mazer who shares some of his images with BSA readers today from the event. Todd also conducted an interview with painter, muralist and graffiti artist Rob “Problak” Gibbs, a native of Roxbury, a neighborhood in the southern part of Boston. As participant in the project, community arts advocate, and a lifetime Boston citizen who believes strongly in the power of public art, graffiti, and HipHop culture, Poblak offers a unique perspective to the Underground Mural Project.
Todd Mazer: In your origins as a writer you have spoken about the importance of outdoor classrooms like Peters Park what are your hopes that a place like the Underground at Ink Block can be a catalyst for? Problak: I hope that the Underground at Ink Block can be a catalyst for the next generation of graffiti writers, muralist and landscape artist to be inspired to take what we contributed to the space and add on to the practice. If our times are documented the stories can be told better through a variety of disciplines artist come to the table with.
When a place like the Underground exists, up and coming artist can work on creative ways to contribute towards a venue that exhibits community art for the people of greater Boston at a world wide scale. The Underground can be a bridge that takes anyone (young or old) on an adventure through the creative process of an artist that may have work in that space.
Todd Mazer: As an artist, activist and architect/educator how have you discovered the importance to expand your skill set in order to create opportunity for your own and others artistic endeavors? Problak: I discovered how important it is have to have a variety of ways to tell your story. Pose2 always told us “your only as good as your last piece” and Kem5 added “ and the people you place yourself around” When that whole phrase is combined positioned my mind in a place to have my skill set be in a good position to always grow.
“Walking the talk” confidently comes from paying dues. Dues that range from humble beginnings to bad experiences that I learned the greatest lessons from. Expanding my skill set opened up new doors to meet and build a variety of relationships with other artist who too are skilled and tackle tasks through creative problem solving. The more skill you have the less you’ll find yourself saying NO to a majority of the challenges you’ll get approached with.
Todd Mazer: As a follow up more specifically could you offer some insight from 91 til infinity… in other words how has your involvement in AFH (Artists For Humanities) shaped your actions and given you perspective on the importance of this new space? Problak: LOL from 91 til………..
My involvement with AFH is very instrumental to what I do because the creed we practice in our studio has become the DNA to my life’s work. I grew up around a small nit of artist who are gifted and who challenged me along our journey. That small crew grew into the organizations leadership. The ethos has evolved and revolved off of our actions. We took responsibility for our own learning and shared that practice with a large amount of youth for the past 25 years.
The importance of this new space is that concept of giving space and opportunity for a genre that is powered by energy in this city that is untapped. An energy that has the interest of the youth and the ability to challenge them to think, digest, seek their own truth and hopefully contribute. Sometimes you have to be exposed to or shown the examples to develop your voice. This space could serve as a megaphone to help project it. The examples are the trailblazers who show everyone in the space what’s possible.
Todd Mazer: Why is it so important to artistically reclaim overlooked spaces? Problak: It’s important to “Add to” vs. reclaim because with all due respect to the city’s architecture, I view these spaces as a series of blank canvases embedded inside of what I would compare to the city’s respiratory system. The work we do would breathe life into these spaces so that the city would not have to hold its breath and encourage others to do the same. These spaces can be landmarks and spark the next mind to be great or be that picture worth a 1000 words that would speak to the generations to come.
The participating artists include: Vyal One, Imagine, Cey Adams, Don Rimx, Marka 27, Problak, Ewok MSK, Thy Doan, Upendo, Percy Fortini-Wright and Hoxxoh. Our thanks to Todd Mazer for sharing his photos and interview with BSA readers.
This week BSA is in Detroit with our hosts 1XRun for the Murals in the Market festival they are hosting with 50+ artists from various countries and disciplines and creative trajectories. In a city trying to rise from the economic and post-industrial ashes it is often the dynamic grassroots energy and vision of artists that sets the tone for how the community evolves.
“I have been painting a lot of moths lately because as I am a gypsy myself ,” says Lauren YS as she contemplates the wingspan of the enormous insect she’s creating for Murals in the Market. She says that she has learned alot about the Eastern Market since she has been here and the importance of the organic foods that it brings to the community – which naturally reminds her of moths. The underrated winged creatures actually protect crops, she says, and she feels more akin to them than butterflies.
Originally from Oakland, California, she talks about the importance of the market and the local foods and the fact that moths protect crops and they eat other pests.
“I am so obsessed with them right now both ideal logically and aesthetically because there are so many that are so gorgeous and they’re really beautiful in a way that is much more badass in a way than butterflies are.” Badass and perhaps better suited for the dark pop fantasy surrealism in many of her characters and complex compositions. Also, they are “a little more my style – they are transitory creatures just like that always moving and they are awake at night like I am.”
Taylor white and Dalek are working along a busy high trafficked noisy sidestreet but they have their trays of bucket paint carefully laid out on the sidewalk in a dazzling pattern that is as interesting as any mural. Two distinct different styles – his geometric and optically beguiling in the choices of pattern and colorplay – her’s organically figurative and fluid – are coming together at least with their shared pallette thus far.
Driving up from Alabama with a friend, White says that she likes the contrasts in styles because it helps her understand both better. “I think it’s kind of a fun challenge to work collaboratively with someone whose work is different. We have to figure out the best way to marry the two styles.” Typically interested in the figurative and the natural world, White is working now with two hands and two forearms working in concert.
“Most of my work right now is figurative and I’m really interested in how forms move through space and connect with one another,” she says. “I really like how the flatness of his work really and enhances the organic qualities of my work and vice versa.”
As part of the Murals in the Market fest there was a barbershop talk with top designers who have made names for themselves in the hip hop and advertising business – Cey Adams and Kevin Lyons. The one hour talk in Innerstate Gallery featured barbers actually cutting their hair while they free associated about their careers and gave advice to artists and the next generation.
“Somehow the young people today are strangely more talented than even the generation before,” said Mr. Adams at one point when reflecting on the current Street Art scene that has far diverged from the graffiti roots that he laid. “I don’t understand how they do some of the things that they do they are absolutely brilliant.”
When giving advice he reiterated many times the importance of doing your research, asking, questions, and working and hustling. I think the future is really great if they can sort of understand it in time all things are possible they just have to be patient.”
On Saturday, December 17, 2011, the LADIES LOVE PROJECT presents its third POP-UP SHOP at the West Village Brecht Forum, 451 West Street from 12pm – 8pm. The PROJECT, a brainchild of renowned street artist TOOFLY and sound sensation PattyDukes of the Circa95 duo, highlights some of NYC’s most creative underground artists and designers. The one-day-only holiday event boasts an intimate, yet extraordinarily colorful market experience designed to familiarize consumers, media and tastemakers with established artists.
The large group of talented designers will be exhibiting one of a kind, limited edition, handcrafted goods just in time for the holidays! Featured market designers and artists Toofly, Good Wood NYC, Junkprints, Vanilla Medallions, Marka27, Antonio Kel 5MH, while several other brands will be in attendance. Music across all genres will be provided by iPod DJ’s Rephstar (of Circa95), Ben Ferrari, Jacina Love, and Slik Nik The Ruler. A live broadcasting of the event will be streamed at www.Circa95.com, while complimentary holiday treats by Jenny Kinns Cupcakes and Mi Isla Coquito by Millie will help promote the holiday cheer! Exclusive event photography will be taken by Samantha Morales with video by Barrio Media.
This weekend is a perfect storm of shows that are opening on the East, West and points in between.
Up Close And Personal: RJ Curates Street Artists Into an Upper West Side Apartment (NYC)
In the intimacy of a private residence in the Manhattan suburbs of UWS, RJ Rushmore of Vandalog fame along with Keith Schweitzer and Mike Glatzer of newly minted M.A.N.Y. have mounted a fresh new open house show just off Broadway. An exquisitely curated show with marquee names and a few newbies the selection is solid in quality and unusual in it’s scale.
Troy Lovegates aka Other (image courtesy of the curators)
Participating artists include:
Aiko, Chris Stain, Clown Soldier, Don Leicht, Edible Genius, Elbowtoe, Gaia, How & Nosm, Jessica Angel, John Fekner, Know Hope, Logan Hicks, Mike Ballard, OverUnder, R. Robot, Radical, Retna, Skewville, Tristan Eaton, Troy Lovegates aka Other and White Cocoa.
Aiko’s cans are on proudly on display at the bachelor pad, and that’s not all (image courtesy of the curators)
Dates: May 12th– 15th, 2011
May 12th, 7 – 9pm
May 13th, 7 – 9pm
May 14th, noon – 9pm
May 15th, noon – 7pm
Note: Due to the limited exhibition space, people may be admitted in block times every half-hour.
Location: Apartment on the Upper West Side (217 West 106th Street, Apartment 1A, New York, NY 10025) – Between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues.
Cost for entrance: Free
Go to Hellbent and John Breiner Tonight in Brooklyn (NYC)
Mighty Tanka is presenting a show with two Brooklyn based artists: Hellbent and John Breiner.
Mr. Hellbent says of the show: “The best part of making a show like this is to finally see it up on the wall and the way that everything interacts. I have been thinking of these pieces as parts of a quilt, different fabrics being stitched together. The different colors, floral stencils, animals, and jaw bones melding together and playing off one another, even down to the different depths and sizes of panels, but until it was hung they were just pieces, not yet a whole. Its given me an opportunity to show the different elements that i am working with and how they have grown out of one another and to display all the different carvings and stencils patterns together, where on the street they are separated in different locations.”
To learn more about “Smiled Distress” at Mighty Tanaka tonight please click on the link below:
Matt Siren and My Plastic Heart present “Ghost in the Machine” (NYC)
25 spirits in the material world have made tributes to Street Artist Matt Siren’s Ghost Girl character for this show on the Lower East Side tonight. The custom toy show transforms the character that appears in doorways around New York, each putting its own unique spin on his character.
The show includes work from 64Colors, Royce Bannon, Steve Chanks, Chauskoskis, DarkCloud, Deeker, Gril One, J*RYU, Jester, Keely, Abe Lincoln Jr., Map-Map, Marka27, Brent Nolasco, Lou Pimentel, Reactorss, Marc Reusser, Todd Robertson, Robots Will Kill, Chris Ryniak, Matt Siren, Scott Tolleson, Julie West, Wheelbarrow, Wrona
Click on the link below to learn more about this show:
Brooklyn’s AD HOC has a New Puppy in Los Angeles (LA)
On the West Coast the dynamic duo and husband and wife Garrison and Allison Buxton have curated a group show “I have a dream, I have a nightmare: Friday the 13th” at The New Puppy Gallery opening this Friaday from 7:00 to 11:00 pm
Artists include: Alison Buxton, Beau Stanton, Bill Fick, Broken Crow, Bunnie Reiss, Chor Boogie, Chris Stain, CRASH, Dabs & Myla, Daryll Peirce, David Loewenstein, Don Leicht, Ezra Li Eismont, Garrison Buxton, Hellbent, Joe Iurato, John Breiner, John Carr, John Fekner, Jordan Seiler, Know Hope, Lady Pink, Michael De Feo, Mikal Hameed, Paul Booth, Peat Wollaeger, Ray Cross, Rex Dingler, ROA, Robert Steel, Sean Starwars, TheDirtyFabulous, & Thundercut.
WHERE:2808 Elm Street, Los Angeles, California 90065
English Kills Group Show Saturday, “The Mother Ship” (NYC)
Chris Harding, owner and ringmaster of the Bushwick Brooklyn-based space station English Kills brings out his strong stable of artists for this group show aptly titled “The Mother Ship” opening this Saturday at 7:00 pm. It’s not necessarily Street Art – but this is a hotbed of new ideas so it is always worth your trip.
Participating artists include:
Brent Owens, Andy Piedilato, Vilaykorn Sayaphet, Jim Herbert, David Pacheco, Hiroshi Shafer, Gyles Thompson, Sarah H. Paulson, Holly Faurot, Tescia Seufferlein, Peter Dobill, Steve Harding, Judith Supine, Lenny Reibstein, Andrew Ohanesian, Jason Peters, Don Pablo Pedro, Steven Thompson, Andrew Hurst and Rob Andrews.
English Kills is located at:
114 Forrest St. Ground Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11206
Specter is a “Repeat Offender” 5/14 at Pawn Works in Chicago (CHI)
Brooklyn based artist Gabriel Specter’s solo show “Repeat Offender” opens this Saturday at the Pawn Works Gallery.
Opening Reception Saturday, May 14, 2011/ 6-10pm
1050 N. Damen Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60622
London Police in Denver, “Amsterydynasty”
In Denver Colorado Black Book Gallery brings back the glamour of the 80’s with The London Police and Handiedan in a show titled “Amsterydynasty”
Looking though our BSA records, we haven’t had a Fun Friday since way back before Obamacare was approved and the Communists took over and the Death Panels were installed. Now that it is just all of us degenerates left running the place, let’s look at some of the important cultural signifiers (as Gaia would say) that are shaping our world….
The VADER PROJECT
100 Artists Pimped the Dark Side for “The Vader Project”
Through four tour stops (LA, London, Tokyo and the Warhol Museum), The Vader Project has thrilled Star Wars fans, collectors and art enthusiasts with a staggering display of 100 artist customized Darth Vader replica 1:1 helmets. Now with news of the Vader Project auction at Freeman’s (7.10), collectors can bid on the amazing one of a kind helmets.
To celebrate both the completed tour and the auction, the Vader Project has prepared a full-color catalog featuring all one hundred helmets (2 page spreads for each, 200 pages total). It’s available for pre-order now for $40.
If you live in or around LA, don’t miss the Auction Preview presented by Freemans opening on June 11th (6- 10 PM) through the 20th, with a special catalog signing on Saturday the 12th @ 2 PM. Full details on thevaderproject.com.
Middle School Kid Blows Roof Off Auditorium with Lady Gaga Cover
“Don’t Ask Don’t blah blah blah”
You say Tomato
2 things about this trailer for an upcoming movie about graffiti in New York… 1. We cover street art, which is similar but I’m not expert on graff – so don’t ask me for some great opinion on the matter 2. I love the dramatic tension created in the fast cutting of opinions here, and then the sudden swelling of heroic Viking choruses of fat ladies in strapless gowns and pointy Viking Helmets comes out of nowhere from the dark ages, creating visions of brutish butchering armies in armor with V-shaped shields in one hand and cans of spray paint in the other. Onward, Upward! !!