All posts tagged: Martha Cooper

“MARTHA: A Picture Story” Premieres at Tribeca. A Film By Selina Miles.

“MARTHA: A Picture Story” Premieres at Tribeca. A Film By Selina Miles.


BSA Exclusive Announcement
and interview with the director and the star of


MARTHA

A Picture Story

A Documentary by Selina Miles

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA is proud to announce the world premiere of Selina Miles’ new full-length documentary on the life and career of New York photographer Martha Cooper at the Tribeca Film Festival next month.  Separated by four decades and an ocean or two, the Australian film director and the American photographer – each of whom has garnered serious respect in the myriad subcultures of art-in-the-streets with phenomenal storytelling abilities and an innate sense of timing – together land a remarkable film capturing life as a street-shooter, making the multi-chaptered story sing.

It is a fascinating visual sweep that illustrates the unusually gratifying paths that this ever-curious ethnologist charts on the streets (and below them) worldwide since receiving her first camera from her father at age three. The film is a well illustrated collage of a remarkable 70 plus year span showcasing Coopers’ 6th sense for people, urban culture, and burgeoning subculture. Viewers get to see the huge variety of interests she has investigated with amiable warmth and academic rigor – from the Peace Corps in Thailand to tattoos in Japan to graffiti train writing in New York to the daily lives of people in her native Baltimore.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

With ample interviews and vintage video footage never seen before, “MARTHA: A Picture Story” follows Ms. Cooper across continents into the streets, through tunnels and over rooftops to provide illustrative background contexts for her decisions, her driving motivations, and her pure determination to succeed as a professional photographer – despite man-made and societal adversity.

We’ve been very fortunate to see this diamond of a documentary up close, and we can say that MARTHA is legitimate crowd-pleaser.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA spoke with Ms. Cooper and Ms. Miles for this auspicious announcement day about the new movie:

BSA: Your personal and professional history has often been about overcoming challenges and pushing aside barriers. Is there one new challenge you have gone beyond to participate fully in a documentary about you?
Martha Cooper: Well like most photographers, I’m more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it especially when speaking. I can’t say I’ve gotten good about overcoming being filmed, but I tried hard to give good footage.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA: One of the challenges of being a doc filmmaker is the number of hats you have to wear – sometimes perhaps feeling like you have to do everything yourself.  What did you discover about your preferred role/s on a film?
Selina Miles: Making a documentary is certainly a dynamic job and requires a mix of technical, social and creative skills. Learning from a photojournalist with 50 years experience such as Martha has been a wonderful experience. I started my career in video making by mucking around with friends making graffiti videos and shooting street art festivals, and the DIY spirit of both of these art forms really gave me an advantage on this project.

Not all directors know how to shoot or how to edit, but thanks to these early experiences I do know a little about all of these disciplines. Being able to just grab a camera and shoot, or to edit my own little concept videos was very handy in getting the project off the ground. That being said, being able to employ an amazing editor like Simon Njoo and having the mentorship of producers like Jennifer Peedom has also been a dream come true and really helped take this film to the next level. 

BSA: With the new documentary many people will learn about a more dimensional photographer than the one they most frequently associate with the name Martha Cooper. Why is this important?
Martha Cooper: I’m often called a graffiti, street art, or hip hop photographer but I don’t put myself into those categories. I would like people to understand that the common denominator in my choice of subjects is art in everyday life. I’m always looking for examples of how people are creative in their everyday lives. Graffiti is just one of many different examples.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA: Is there a special approach or formula that one tries to follow when making a story like this for a more general audience.
Selina Miles: I think that the interesting thing about this story, in particular, is that it explores a subculture that is so misunderstood by so many people. Everybody has seen graffiti and has an idea of what it is, but I still think that few people really understand why it exists and where it came from. There’s so many tropes and ideas about graffiti and those who practice it that are just plain wrong or oversimplify a very complex idea. It’s been an enjoyable and interesting challenge for me to unpack the facts and rules of this subculture as I see them, and step them out in a way that somebody completely new to the culture can understand and appreciate Martha’s story. 

BSA: Your photos capture a time and a moment and a technique of creation, but also often the more atmospheric and cultural energy of the street. What has drawn you time and again to capture this to share? Your own curiosity?
Martha Cooper: Not exactly. As you know, I like looking for things and collecting them. Photography is a challenging quest and taking a good photo is the reward. The nature of what I’m questing for can change according to time and place but in general, the world is more interesting to me if I have a camera. The possibility of photographing something makes me look at my surroundings with a keener eye than I would without a camera.

MARTHA: A Picture Story. A film by Selina Miles. (still from the movie)

BSA: Martha stood on the shoulders of feminists before her, yet blazed some paths that were very much her own – frequently without support. What is one lesson a younger person may take from Martha Cooper when they watch this movie?
Selina Miles: Marty often says that people today don’t understand what it took to survive as a freelancer in earlier decades, especially as a woman and I completely agree. It’s a common thing that you hear but it’s very true, we are lucky these days to live in a world so connected and relatively accepting of all kinds of races, ages and sexes. That being said, there’s always going to be a frontier, and I hope that young people watching Martha’s story will be inspired to push beyond that frontier in their own way, and not be held back by anybody’s expectations of who or what they should be. And do it all the time with a smile and a sense of humor! 


MARTHA: A Picture Story.

Premiering at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place from April 24 – May 5th. Public tickets will go on sale on Tuesday March 26 at 11am ET. Tickets are extremely limited and we recommend purchasing tickets early.

https://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide/

https://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/tickets

Hashtags: #marthathemovie

Film Instagram: @marthathemovie

Martha Cooper Instagram: @marthacoopergram

Director’s Instagram: @selinamiles

For screening dates and locations and to purchase tickets click HERE

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Mural Kings Tats Cru At The Houston/Bowery Wall

Mural Kings Tats Cru At The Houston/Bowery Wall

Boogie Down bombers the Tats Cru representing New York in its classic flava, the Houston Wall is now blessed by some of the original mural kings, and all seems right with the world for a moment. 

Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With a legion of fans on the sidewalk and on social media saying that Bio, Nicer, and BG183 were finally bringing New York back to this New York wall, the trio was joined by a who’s who of peers and fans over a cold 4-day installation in a way that reminds this town of its proud roots in graffiti and the myriad styles it spawned.

Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In the end, this is a love letter to New York on many levels. It’s a memorial to Tony Goldman, who captured the zeitgeist of the early graffiti/Street Art movement and provided opportunities for artists.

There is a black and white VIP section that reinvents a Tseng Kwong Chi of Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf standing infront of the wall – a meta experience to see NY graff royalty stopping by to tag the image of the Houston Wall that showed people tagging the Houston Wall. New aerosol contributors included people like Zepher, Terror 161, Duster, and Dez and many others.

Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Among other pop imagery and classic fonts and letter styles sits a stylized heart from the famous Milton Glaser design of I (heart) NY at the very center. Additional work was contributed by Daze and Crash and a special tribute is made for local activist Liz Christy who began the First Community Garden in New York City in 1973 nearby.

“’Bout time we got some real NY graff writers to rock that wall,” said Da Kid Tac on Instagram, a possible reference to the number of Street Artists who have been invited to paint here over the last few years. Based on the responses and happy reunions of writers and fans we saw over many visits to the wall during its production, Tats Cru has again created an instant classic.

Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Original image of Haring in front of the Houston Wall reprised by Tats crew. Tseng Kwong Chi © Muna Tseng Dance Projects, Inc.
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Famed photographer Martha Cooper helps to fill in the VIP Tags section of the wall. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Graffiti writer Duster was also on hand to tag the VIP section of the wall. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tats Cru. Houston / Bowery Wall. January 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Futura 2000 In Studio and “The 5 Elements”

Futura 2000 In Studio and “The 5 Elements”

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

These are the five elements.

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

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

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

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

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

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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

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

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

Rather like Futura 2000.

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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


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

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

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

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

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

Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Top Stories Of 2018 As Picked By You

You got furious at us sometimes this year. Or rather, you were mad at artists whose work pissed you off. Thanks for the emails though bro. We still love you of course sister.

Without a doubt the polarized atmosphere in social/economic/geopolitical matters worldwide in 2018 was increasingly reflected in the graffiti and Street Art pieces and projects that we wrote stories about. Loving it or hating it, often BSA readers were motivated to share the story on social media for discussion and to write directly to us to take issue, or even to chide us for “being political”.

Let’s be clear. Art has always been and will always be “political”. We tend to think that the artwork that we agree with is not political because it is expressing our values, opinions, and worldview.

So that’s why you propelled stories about a clandestine Trump cemetery installation by InDecline onto the list this year. That’s why Winston Tseng’s inflammatory campaign against a certain kind of Trump supporter on NYC trashcans proved to be so provocative and offensive to so many people, while others crowed support.

The topic of free speech under fire also attracted high interest for Fer Acala’s story of artists and rappers who took over a Spanish former prison to protest restrictive recent federal laws aimed at protest in that country.

The timeliness of Jetsonorama’s wheat pasted photography series about Good Samaritans who leave water for people in the desert – and the US border guards who destroy them – resonated powerfully to us this week as  a 7 year old girl died in Border Patrol custody of apparent dehydration.

But BSA readers also love the spectacle, the vast animated murals, the scintillating stories behind the art and the artist; the connection that communities and festivals create with art in the public sphere – or in abandoned factories, as it were. The biggest splash this year was the over-the-top creation of and the fiery destruction of an art sculpture at the Falles de València celebration in Spain by Street Artist Okuda. You loved the tantalizing images by Martha Cooper, and somehow everyone relishes the idea of building and constructing a large, colorful, inspiring piece of art and then lighting it on fire in the public square – propelling that story to the top of the BSA list in Top Stories in 2018


No. 15

The Painted Buses of Raiatea and Bora Bora – French Polynesia

Okuda. ONO’U Tahiti 2018. Bora Bora, French Polynesia. June 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

Box trucks are a favorite canvas for many graffiti writers in big cities and have become a right of passage for new artists who want the experience of painting on a smooth rectangular surface that becomes a rolling billboard through the streets advertising your name, making you truly “All City”.

When in French Polynesia a few weeks ago with the ONO’U festival, a number of artists were given the significant gift of a large truck or school/commuter bus on which to create a mural, a message, a bubble tag.

Together on the islands of Raiatea and Bora Bora there were about 10 of these long and low autobuses that became sudden celebrities in the sparsely travelled streets, debuted as some of them were in Raitea, when painted live at an all night party for the public.

The Painted Buses of Raiatea and Bora Bora. Continue reading HERE


No. 14

Destroying Desert Water Bottles; Chip Thomas’ New Work in AJO, Arizona

Chip Thomas. AJO, Arizona. July. 2018. (photo © Chip Thomas)

From BSA:

Ajo Samaritans describe themselves and their mission on their website like this; “Samaritans are people of faith and conscience who are responding directly, practically, and passionately to the crisis at the US/ Mexico border. We are a diverse group of volunteers around Ajo that are united in our desire to relieve suffering among our brothers and sisters and to honor  human dignity. Prompted by the mounting deaths among border crossers, we came together to provide food and water, and emergency medical assistance to people crossing the Sonoran Desert.”

Destroying Desert Water Bottles; Chip Thomas New Work in AJO, Arizona. Continue reading HERE


No. 13

Copenhagen Diary: A Street Survey of the Moment

DalEast is the author of the bird. Spyo tells the world who he really is… (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

From BSA:

A current survey today from the streets in Copenhagen thanks to a couple of BSA fans and friends who share with readers their recent finds in one of the world’s happiest places, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report. Apparently it is also a good place for gay birds to come out of the closet.

With a storied history of graffiti bombing of the red trains that goes back many years, possibly generations, Copenhagen has long been a treasured destination for graffiti writers.

Now you will also find murals and installations illegally and legally by local and international Street artists – and the iconic full sides of buildings here are subtly transforming the public face of the city.

Copenhagen Diary: A Street Surevey of The Moment. Continue reading HERE


No. 12

Pop Up “Trump Cemetery” Marks Death of Ideas on 1st Anniversary of Inauguration by INDECLINE Artist Collective

“Grave New World” installation by INDECLINE artist collective (image © INDECLINE)

From BSA:

So INDECLINE picked a swell morning to debut their long-planned and complicated site-specific installation at this golf-course in New Jersey.

“INDECLINE felt is necessary to commemorate some of the victims,” they say. “The dates on the headstones correspond to some of the highlights of Trump’s first year in office.” You may remember some of these milestones on the tombstones, you may have to Google others.

The saddest death for us all year has been the civility and respect of Americans toward one another – as those hard working families who are just scraping by are being skillfully manipulated through sophisticated PR / media campaigns into thinking that they are the only real uber-patriots and to hate the wrong people. Most importantly they are fighting and voting against themselves without realizing it.

“Grave New World” Trump Cemetery. Continue reading HERE


No. 11

Borondo Finds Community on The Island Of Utsira in Norway

Borondo. Utsira. Utsira, Norway. Summer 2018. (photo courtesy of the organizers)

From BSA:

Today we revisit Utsira, the tiny island in Norway that has hosted a few Street Artists over the last couple of years, like Ella & Pitr and Icy & Sot. This year the fine artist and Street Artist Gonzalo Borondo blended into the hills and the forest and the lapping waves, making his spirit dissipate into the community and into a boat.

“There’s a strong sense of community,” he says as he reflects on the metaphor he has chosen to represent his time here on an island of only 420 people, “There is a mutual support among citizens and a common feeling of enjoying the same unique condition.”

Borondo Finds Community on The Island of Utsira in Norway. Continue reading HERE


No. 10

Nespoon Casts a Lace Net Across a Sicilian Wall

NeSpoon. Emergence Festival. Catania, Sicily. March 2018. (photo © courtesy of NeSpoon)

From BSA:

Equally gifted in the heavier handmade artisanal crafts of porcelain and ceramic as she is with aerosol, Nespoon did installations of both this month during the Emergence Festival in Sicily (Valverde + Catania. The seventh year of this international festival for public art, Nespoon shared the roster with American Gaia and Sicilian Ligama from March 10-26 creating works related to the city and its stories. In many respects these new works appear integral, interventions that belong there, may have been there a long time without you noticing; a sort of netting that holds the skin of the city together.

Nespoon Casts a Lace Net Across a Sicilian Wall. Continue reading HERE


No. 9

No Callarem: Street Artists Paint As Protest in La Modelo Prison, Barcelona

Enric Sant. La Modelo, Barcelona. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

From Fer Acala on BSA:

One of the direct actions organized by the platform for fighting against Partido Popular’s civil rights oppression was to film a video clip featuring some of the most renowned lyricists on the scene as Frank T, Elphomega, Los Chikos del Maíz, La Ira, Rapsusklei, and César Strawberry, among others, at the old La Modelo prison. The location is an accurate metaphorical scenario when you are seeing that your liberty is being cut off thanks to laws like ‘Ley Mordaza’.

The song ‘Los Borbones son unos ladrones’, which alludes directly to the Spanish monarchy, includes some excerpts from some of the songs created by rappers serving a prison sentence. The video clip for the song, which you can watch at the end of this article, has become viral and almost all media outlets in the country are speaking about this big shout-out in the name of freedom.

No Callarem. La Modelo Prision. Barcelona. Continue reading HERE


No. 8

NemO’s, Ericailcane and Andrea Casciu Ride a Tandem Resistance In Bologna, Italy.

Ericailcane. Pennelli Ribelli Festival. Bologna, Italy. October 2018. (photo © NemO’s/Andrea Casciu)

From BSA:

Highlighting collective efforts that advance events during war and the tales of heroism, butchery, resistance, intrigue, and subterfuge that are braided into historical retelling, three Italian Street Artists commemorated citizen resistance and a Nazi massacre in a lengthy mural for the Penneli Ribelli Festival this month in Bologna.

At the center of the story is the resistance by everyday Italians of various ages, genders, and social classes, a movement known as the Italian resistance and the Italian Partisans, or Partigiani. The icon of the festival is a wolf in honor of the Partisan who led the group, Mario Musolesi, whose nickname was “Lupo”, or “Wolf”.

NemO’s, Ericailcane and Andrea Casciu Ride a Tandem Resistance. Continue reading HERE


No. 7

“Martha” the Movie: Selina Miles’ Most Ambitious Project To Date

Martha Cooper (photo © Selina Miles)

From BSA:

We knew that these two talented and powerful personalities would compliment each other stunningly and that’s why we encouraged them two years ago to do a doc. A short term one was the original plan. But the two hit it off so well and when you are looking at a five decade career like Ms. Cooper’s and you have the dogged determination to do her story justice, Ms. Miles tells us that even an hour and a half film feels like its just getting started.

Now “Martha” the movie is at a unique juncture in the project and YOU may be able to participate; Selina and the team are looking for any original footage you may want to show them – and it may be used in the documentary.

“Martha” The Movie. Selina Miles Most Ambitious Project To Date. Continue reading HERE


No. 6

DavidL Paints Hitchcock, Warhol, Tim Burton, Kubrick: Through The Lens of Fer Alcala

DavidL. ET. Fraggle Rock. Spain. (photo © Fer Alcalá)

From BSA:

After 25 years writing graffiti, DavidL has found his own way of working. It’s funny because one of the inherent issues about graffiti and street art is visibility. All the trains, the bombing, the tagging…it’s all about being noticed, being every f-ing where. It has been like this since day one (Taki 183, Terror161, 1UP…you know how it works).

But for David it’s not like that anymore.

Maybe it’s a sign of the days that we are living with social media, communication 2.0, etcetera. It’s obvious that if you have certain skills managing all this and a little bit of talent, plus a pinch of good taste, you can reach a global audience and show your work to the entire world even when you are concentrating the majority of your creations in a secret location.

DavidL, Through The Lens of Fer Alcala. Continue reading HERE


No. 5

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.30.18 – UPEA Special

SMUG. UPEA 2017. Kotka, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

This week we have a selection of the UPEART festivals’ two previous editions of murals – which we were lucky to see this week after driving across the country in an old VW Bora.

We hit 8 cities and drove along the border with Russia through some of the most picturesque forests and farmlands that you’ll likely see just to collect images of the murals that this Finnish mural festival has produced with close consultation with Fins in these neighborhoods. A logistical challenge to accomplish, we marvel at how this widespread program is achieved – undoubtedly due to the passion of director Jorgos Fanaris and his insatiable curiosity for discovering talents and giving them a platform for expression.

UPEA Special. Continue reading HERE


No. 4

‘Wandelism’ Brings Wild Change for One Week in Berlin

Marina Zumi. “Wandelism”. Berlin, Germany. (photo © Harald Geil)

From BSA:

When I was asked how to name the exhibition few weeks ago, I merged the words “vandalism“ and “Wandel“ (the German word for “Change“). That’s how Wandelism (or Changeism) was born and how it started transforming itself into an exhibition, which is truly accepting, embracing and living CHANGE.

On the grounds of a former car repair shop that is soon to be demolished, one can literally feel the constant movement and transformation of the urban fabric we all live in. Everything changes. Constantly. Change is evolution. Change is progress. Change is also the DNA of the art represented in the Wandelism show.

Wandelism” Brings Wild Change For One Week in Berlin. Continue reading HERE


No. 3

Scenes from Eugene: Murals of the 20x21EUG Festival in Oregon

Alexis Diaz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

From BSA:

The city of Eugene in Oregon is preparing for the 2021 IAAF World Athletics Championships and like many cities these days it is transforming itself with murals.

With a goal of 20 new murals by ’21 (20x21EUG), the city began in 2016 to invite a slew of international Street Artists, some locally known ones, and a famous graffiti/Street Art photographer to participate in their ongoing visual festival.

A lively city that is bustling with the newly blooming marijuana industry and finding an endless array of ways to celebrate it, Eugene has been so welcoming that many artists will report that feeling quite at home painting in this permissively bohemian and chill atmosphere.

Scenes From Eugene: Continue reading HERE


No. 2

Winston Tseng: Street Provocateur Brings “Trash” Campaign to NYC

Winston Tseng (photo © Jaime Rojo)

From BSA:

“At the end of the day when one is towing the line of being provocative, you may cross that line in some people’s mind but I think if one is not trying to find that line then the work is not going to make any impact”.

Winston Tseng has probably been crossing that line, pissing off some people and making others laugh for a few years now. He appears to consider it an honor, and possibly a responsibility. Relatively new on the Street Art scene the commercial artist and art director has also created his 2-D characters on canvasses and skate decks that depict the abridged characteristics of a typecast to play with the emotions and opinions of passersby.

Winston Tseng: Street Provocatour Brings “Trash” Campaing to NYC. Continue reading HERE


No. 1

OKUDA Sculpture Engulfed in Flames for Falles Festival in València

Okuda. Fallas 2018. Valencia, Spain. (photo © Martha Cooper)

From BSA:

Yes, Street Art is ephemeral, but OKUDA San Miguel just set it on fire!

During the annual Falles de València celebration, it’s normal for artworks to be destroyed publicly in about 500 locations throughout the city and in surrounding towns. Part of a spring tradition for València, Spain monuments (falles) are burned in a celebration that includes parades, brass bands, costumes, dinners, and the traditional paella dish.

This year the first Street Artist to make a sculpture in the traditional commemoration of Saint Joseph is the un-traditional OKUDA, creating his multi-color multi-planed optic centerpiece.

Okuda Sculpture Engulfed in Flames in Valéncia. Continue reading HERE


We wish to express our most heartfelt gratitude to the writers and photographers who contributed to BSA and collaborated with us throughout the year. We are most grateful for your trust in us and for your continued support.

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“Points De Vue” Festival 2018 Spans Styles and the Basque Region in Bayonne, France.

“Points De Vue” Festival 2018 Spans Styles and the Basque Region in Bayonne, France.

“Today there are nearly 80 works – paintings and installations,” says Alban Morlot, “to discover in the inner city and its periphery.”

Mantra. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The founder and curator of Points de Vue is speaking about his city, Bayonne in the south of France, which straddles the Basque region and boasts the language throughout this region and neighboring Spain. Here on both sides of the the Adour river running through the small city, you will find new installations from this years invited 20 or so artists from the urban art scene including folks like the Portuguese Pantonio, Italian Pixel Pancho, French Mantra, French Koralie, Venezuelan Koz Dox, German 1UP Crew, and the American graffiti and Street Art documentarian Martha Cooper.

Spawned a few years ago from Morlot and his team at Spacejunk, the community/privately funded festival has produced a range of large public works throughout the city. Similarly, the storefront Spacejunk space on rue Sainte Catherine in the Saint-Esprit district of Bayonne had hosted a cultural and artistic association that spans genres and disciplines; hosting classes, talks, performances and exhibitions of modern artists drawn from the worlds of of Street Art, LowBrow, and Pop Surrealism. After a great number of group and solo shows Spacejunk is now entering their 11 year celebrating counter-culture.

Mantra. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bayonne is stitched together geographically and socially with nearby Biarritz and Anglet, so the Basque area of about 130,000 has enough fans and practioners to support this five day festival. Alban tells us that the usual staff of 3 who run Spacejunk couldn’t do the festival without the generous enthusiasm and efforts of 40 volunteers, 10 interns and 1 senior technician.

An eclectic mix of artists invited to create new works in the public space reflect the alternative environments that have been showcased at Spacejunk: influences from a number of subcultural narratives including comics, punk, tattoo, skater culture, graffiti, and of course, Street Art.

Mantra. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

With very special thanks to Ms. Cooper and Ms. Kramer we have today new images to share with BSA readers from this autumns’ edition of Points de Vue. We also had an opportunity to speak with Mr. Morlot about his approach to the festival.

BSA: How did you conceive of Points de Vue?
Alban Morlot:
I have work for Spacejunk art center for almost 15 years and have run the art center of Bayonne – Basque Country – since 2007. During this time I’ve met many artists from all over the world who have work in public space previously. At that time, French public authorities were under-informed about street art mutations so it was difficult to organize outside projects with street artists – who many people automatically associated to vandalism.

I was frustrated at not being able to take advantage of their presence and their talent to develop their aesthetics in situ. It was during that time that the idea of a festival sprouted in my mind – but it was only later that the planets were aligned!

Equipped with years of experiences, I wanted to set up an event that could represent the variety of the creative styles being used in public space and to provide an educational approach in the same time. The underlying idea is to show the multiplicity of artistic points of view, to confront them, and to offer to the wider audience the opportunity to enrich themselves with others’ eyes.

Mantra. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What’s your criteria as an organizer when inviting the artists to participate?
Alban Morlot: First, I make sure that the artistic selection is consistent with the purpose of the festival: to discover the extent of the current creations happening in public space. Then it’s the walls that guide me in my research. The context, the format, the situation… are all criteria that I integrate before launching a personalized invitation to an artist.

Most of the time, I invite artists whom I have already met because I like building relationships that go beyond the “one shot”. I know that it could be possible to pass up several editions before I can propose an invitation to such and such artist, but I prefer to wait the right moment, try to gather the best conditions and do a serious proposal so that from the artworks there emerges the pleasure of painting.

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Then I try to build a singular identity for the festival “Points of View”. The Basque Country is located between France and Spain. It is important in this context to boost cross-border artistic exchanges between the northern Basque Country (Iparralde) and the south (Hegoalde).

Last but not least, I try to encourage the presence of female artists because they remain largely underrepresented in this artistic scene.

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: Bayonne is also known for its political murals. Do you encourage the artists to be political with their work as well?
Alban Morlot: Generally, I do not allow myself to intervene in the process of artistic creation. I give my opinion if necessary but for me, once the selection is complete, I trust them. I want to allow everyone to practice his or her job with good conditions and it can happen if each part knows his appropriate place.

That said, I do not hesitate to convey the history of the region that welcomes them, because here as elsewhere, there is a story, a people and a language. It is political in a sense, but in the noble meaning!

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

BSA: Do you see Points de Vue purely as a beautification of the city or do you see it to make a social impact within the community?
Alban Morlot:
In no way should our action be seen as decoration. Otherwise, I would not give carte blanche to the artists. No, I undertake a cultural project that aims to promote the meeting between artists and the public, generates exchanges, curiosity, in order to support everyone to be emancipated as a citizen.

Of course, I am not unaware of the social, economic, touristic considerations nor the impact of the festival on urban renewal programs. Culture is transversal and this is its strength, but I do not want to be polluted by other considerations that could divert me from the basics of the festival. I want to give artists the opportunity to work on a wall as they would in their studios and give them the opportunity to meet each other.

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

BSA: How do you see the arts in public space making a difference to society? Should that be the mission or art in public space?
Alban Morlot: Art in the private space or in the public space plays the same role. The unprecedented recognition of urban art is one of all manifestations of social upheaval that we go through in modern societies. I think there’s a break with previous artistic movements because it more closely allies with the aspirations of today’s people – with think tanks who want to reinvest public spaces, etcetera. Art has always been an indicator of the evolution of society.

Anonymouse. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What sort of support do you get from the city’s government for the implementation of the festival?
Alban Morlot: Since the Spacejunk art center is already identified by public authorities, we also receive support from these partners for the festival; This is a form of financial and logistical support. In addition, the festival is also supported by private companies and, thanks to all of these contributors, we manage to present a festival that is both qualitative and open to all.

Lorcolors. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What’s the reaction of the residents of Bayonne when they see the artists at work and the completed murals?
Alban Morlot:
I must say that I was surprised by the reception that the Bayonne’s inhabitants (and vistors from nearby) have reserved for the festival. I spent almost 6 years defending this project with people who were ultimately quite afraid of the reaction of the public. But the reactions of the population were immediately enthusiastic! Martha (Cooper) even told me that it was quite unusual to see so many people on the streets coming to see the artists work. It is true that I strongly emphasized that it was a chance to see the artists in creation residencies!

Additionally, different from other events, an urban art festival leaves traces on the city which gain a certain value in time, and we are pleased that so many artists have come to the Basque country.

Lorcolors. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Lorcolors. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Remy Uno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Remy Uno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Taroe. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Pixel Pancho. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pixel Pancho. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pixel Pancho. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pantonio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pantonio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Pantonio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Pantonio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Koralie. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

 

Fermin Moreno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Fermin Moreno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Fermin Moreno. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Deuz. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Deuz. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Deuz. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Deuz. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Petite Poissone. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Petite Poissone. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Reskate Studio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Reskate Studio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Reskate Studio. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Koz Dos. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

KOZ DOS
“Punto y flecha sobre el plano”

“Dreams and the subconscious have been the genesis of my work lately. I do try not to put limits on myself or to follow a pattern when I create. The elements that are in my subconscious are the sketches to draw information from. At the same time it’s also the beginning of something that exists and that might be real and logic in our minds. It is the treatment of color, composition and form that unify all the elements and symbols, creating fantastic characters that in turn shed light to a parallel universe.

A central theme in my research for quite a while now, is the confrontation of the human versus the beast and nature. I look for harmony and coexistence through the treatment of images and the plastic arts.

In this project, titled “Punto y flecha sobre el plano” I wanted to work with the construction of the elements within the piece as something tangible, like our dreams, using lines and points on the plane or the wall in this case. Most of everything in our universe is composed of circles and lines so in this piece I wanted to give importance to the geometric form but imbued with a dreamlike quality.

When we are able to verbally communicate with each other we are able to arrive to important accords. Reaching an agreement means that we can coexist with each other. We have the tools at our disposal to do so but very often we put our focus on damaging ourselves by rejecting our origins, destroying our cultures and traditions and mowing over everything as we march on.”

Koz Dos. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Udatxo. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Landroid. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Landroid. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Landroid. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Flow . Deza. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Untay. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Untay. Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Points De Vue Festival 2018. Bayonne, France. Photo of Martha Cooper by Nika Kramer.

Vintage political mural in Bayonne, France written in the Basque language, translated as “The People Must Live”. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Vintage political mural in Bayonne. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Vintage political mural in Bayonne, France written in the Basque language. (photo © Martha Cooper)

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“Martha” the Movie: Selina Miles’ Most Ambitious Project To Date

“Martha” the Movie: Selina Miles’ Most Ambitious Project To Date

The Director Invites You to Participate in the New Documentary

The rising star film director who has captured and woven riveting narratives of artists and graffiti virtuosos like Melbourne’s Sofles and the ultimate train-jumping outlaws 1UP Crew from Berlin – verifiably raising their respective games and profiles in the process – Brisbane’s Selina Miles has been tackling a graffiti/Street Art juggernaut right before our eyes; a full scale movie-length documentary on famed New York photographer Martha Cooper.

Martha Cooper (photo © Selina Miles)

We knew that these two talented and powerful personalities would compliment each other stunningly and that’s why we encouraged them two years ago to do a doc. A short term one was the original plan. But the two hit it off so well and when you are looking at a five decade career like Ms. Cooper’s and you have the dogged determination to do her story justice, Ms. Miles tells us that even an hour and a half film feels like its just getting started.

Now “Martha” the movie is at a unique juncture in the project and YOU may be able to participate; Selina and the team are looking for any original footage you may want to show them – and it may be used in the documentary.

Martha Cooper. Subway Art (photo © Selina Miles)

We have an amazingly involved, interconnected, and brilliant audience of BSA readers across the time zones, so she’s asking you first. Please click this link and let Selina and Martha know if you might have something to show them.

Specifically right now the team  is looking for:

1.     Historical photos and video of artists interacting with “The Holy Book of Graffiti”, Subway Art, by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, and

2.     Modern day footage of Martha Cooper going to any and all lengths to get the shot.

Read more at “Martha” the Movie and please contact them ASAP.


In an exclusive interview director Selina Miles today shares with Martha Cooper fans some unseen images from making the movie. She also gives insights into what it has been like making the biggest movie ever produced about the famed photographer.

Martha Cooper. Archives. (photo © Selina Miles)

Brooklyn Street Art: What gave you the idea to do a documentary about Marty?
Selina Miles: As with most of us interested in graffiti, I knew of Marty’s book Subway Art from a young age. We first met at ONO’U Tahiti Graffiti Festival in 2014, and I was immediately taken with her approachable, passionate and vibrant character. In 2015, I had been working on a series called “Portrait of an Artist,” an anthology of 10 minute documentaries profiling artists, and a good friend asked me “Who’s next?.” Martha was an obvious choice.

We both returned to Tahiti the following year for the same festival. Seated around a dinner table with a group of artists, I casually asked “When do you think you’ll be in New York next?” she replied “I’m not sure, why?” I ended up asking her right on the spot if I could make a film about her, in front of the whole group. It felt very much like awkwardly asking out a prom date. Luckily she said yes.

Martha Cooper at work at the Houston/Bowery Wall in NYC with Pichi & Avo. (photo © Selina Miles)

BSA: Is it true that at the start of the project you were thinking of doing a short film?
Selina Miles: The following February, I had just finished directing my biggest TV commercial yet, and wanted to the use bigger-than-usual pay check to do an ambitious project. I booked myself a 2 week trip to New York, as well as a ticket for Marcus Autelli, an amazing cinematographer from London. Our mission was a 10 minute piece.

Like so many fans of Martha’s work, I discovered her through the graffiti subculture. I did my best to research before the trip. I scoured Youtube and Vimeo for videos and interviews with Marty, flicked through Subway Art, pored over Street Play, re-watched Style Wars and thought I had done a pretty good job.

Martha Cooper. Archives. (photo © Selina Miles)

When I arrived in New York, Marty met me at her train station, and together we walked to her studio. She gave me a key and pointed me in the direction of her archives. Large folders lined the shelves. I still remember the first time reading those labels, hand-drawn in Marty’s signature authoritative, all-caps handwriting. “Windsurfing.” “Korea.” “Tunisia.” “Israel.” Each one full to the brim with boxes of Kodachrome mounted slides, stamped and dated.

The first person Martha suggested I interview was her good friend Susan, who flew down from her home in Maine to speak to me. It wasn’t until a few days before the interview that I learned that “Marty’s friend Susan” was actually Susan Welchman, photo editor of the New York Post and of National Geographic Magazine for 35 years. I began to learn of Martha’s incredible, rich photographic career, too often obscured behind the monumental popular reverence for her graffiti work.

Martha Cooper with her longtime friend Susan Welchman, the former photo editor at The New York Post and Senior Picture Editor at National Geographic  (photo © Selina Miles)

I realized with a combination of terror and excitement that I was facing much more than a 10 minute graffiti video. That this was the story of a photographer who had shaped entire generations of a worldwide subculture. A woman whose camera had witnessed historical events from the 1960s until now, whose story was deeply entangled with that of New York City, whose work had touched so many lives across boundaries of time and place and culture. And most importantly, a story that was relatively unknown, absolutely begging to be told, and that Martha had put her faith in me to tell that story.

It was then that I realized that 10 minutes wasn’t going to cut it.

Martha Cooper. Graffiti Writers. (photo © Selina Miles)

BSA: Is there anything call “a typical day” when you are following Marty in her travels?
Selina Miles: There is never a boring moment when you’re with Martha. What she has can’t even be described as work ethic, because she doesn’t see photography as work. It is just who she is, and there is nothing else. She will go anywhere, any time, to any extreme to do the projects she wants to do.

That being said, there are certain consistencies in her days. Any time she is presented with a window of downtime of more than 3.5 seconds, she is playing Pokemon Go. When it comes to food, Marty frequents exactly 2 restaurants in New York, both 4 blocks or less from her apartment. In total she has about 4 dishes on rotation, supplemented on particularly busy days by Lunchables, ready-made snack packs of deli meats and Oreos.

Martha Cooper. Pokemon fun with Steven P. Harrington at Metro Diner in NYC. (photo © Selina Miles)

It is well documented that many successful entrepreneurs and geniuses keep rigid routines or wear the same clothes every day as a way to save precious cognitive resources for what they really love to do. Marty is no exception. My best tip for anyone lucky enough to share a lunch with her – you have about 30 seconds to decide on your order before her patience runs out.

Marty’s life is chaos wrapped in deeply ingrained habit, on a bed of compulsive, obsessive collecting and photo-taking. An ideal combination for a documentary subject.

Martha Cooper. SIM cards from her international travels. (photo © Selina Miles)

BSA: You have unprecedented access like no one ever before to the archives of 50 years. It must to have felt overwhelming sometimes.
Selina Miles: Most of my career has focused on making short films where the objective is creating something out of nothing. This project is the opposite. The real challenge is to distill 50 years, 17 published books, hundreds of travel destinations and more than an estimated half a million images into a singular, watchable 90 minutes. In this case, making a good film is as much about what you choose to leave out as what you include.

Martha Cooper. Archives. (photo © Selina Miles)

My team and I have collected archive from every major medium, from Super 8 film, to VHS, to DV tapes, to our own 4K video. We have searched high and low over the 19 months working on this project, and there hasn’t been a week that we don’t discover some essential snippet of the story. Friends and colleagues of Marty have sent in material from South Africa, Prague and Germany. Her ex husband’s basement held over 6000 feet of Super 8 home movies, unseen since the ‘80s.

This constant digging and discovery is anxiety inducing, chasing leads that never end, having nightmares of dusty tapes sitting in a basement somewhere that could unlock all the answers if only I could find them. On the flip side, the elation that comes when you find that perfect piece makes it all worth it.

Martha Cooper. Archives. (photo © Selina Miles)

BSA: Were you able to speak to individuals whom you considered to be close to Martha personally or professionally?
Selina Miles: Out of every subject we approached, all but one agreed, the exception being a prominent anti-graffiti policymaker from New York City during the early ‘80s.

I interviewed in 6 cities and had material translated in 4 languages. I spoke to friends and family, peers, cultural commentators, graffiti writers. Each contributor was more varied and vibrant than the last. After the interview, when I would thank each contributor for their time, they would often respond with the same phrase, jumping out at me like a mantra – “Anything for Martha.” It became quite ridiculous how often I heard this exact phrase coming from everyone from kids at the skate park in Baltimore to curators at major New York museums. Access was not an issue on this project.

BSA: Can you share a special insight that you gained one day with her?
Selina Miles: I have been inspired in so many ways by this project, but I would say the most significant lessons I took away from the Marty Cooper approach to life would be to take risks, embrace failure, never grow up, and choose your own path in life. Although it takes place in very fantastical world full of weird and wonderful characters, Marty’s story is full of extremely universal, relatable human experiences, failures and triumphs. I hope that in watching the film, each viewer can find their own insights and take home lessons within her story.

Martha Cooper with the Brazilian twins Os Gemeos. (photo © Selina Miles)

BSA: You live In Australia and Martha lives in Manhattan. How do you make a feature film documentary when you have to travel such long distances?
Selina Miles: Firstly I am very fortunate to have built a freelance career that allows me to work when and where I choose. I can definitely encourage anybody thinking of making that leap to go for it. Not having a boss that you need to ask for time off makes it much easier. Secondly, being Australian you get really used to working weird time zones and traveling long distances. Modern aviation is a wonderful thing! Get on a plane, fall asleep for 14 hours, wake up and you’re in a different country! How cool is that!

Martha Cooper. Archives. (photo © Selina Miles)

Our world is so connected now, and filmmaking has become infinitely easier than it was for previous generations. Martha Cooper traveled the world photographing for National Geographic before the days of digital photography. She would have to physically purchase, carry, store, develop and print the hundreds of thousands of exposures of film required for one story.

She constantly battled against the physical mass and cost of that medium. This made photography or filmmaking accessible only to those with a formal education and money. We don’t have any of those issues anymore, anyone can walk into a store and purchase a $500 camera and a hard drive and start a career as a photographer or a documentary filmmaker. This project has given me a greater appreciation for how easy we have it now, and for the skill that was required to shoot on film.

A Subway Art fan clutching his copy close while looking at some of Martha Cooper’s more recent Street Art photography. (photo © Selina Miles)

BSA: Martha was one of the first documentors of the graffiti scene. What will the audience learn about how Martha first found out that she wanted to document the graffiti movement?
Selina Miles: It is my firm belief that I cannot make a film that will do anything for the documentation of early graffiti that wasn’t done by Style Wars in 1983, but I hope that the graffiti community leaves this film feeling well represented, and with greater context of how Martha Cooper became the legend we regard today.

BSA: How can people help you complete your film?
Selina Miles: Right now we are wrapping up our last month of post production, and searchin over the last few weeks we have been able to dig for new archival material. If anybody out there has footage of Marty, no matter what quality or how big or small, please send it to me! It might be just the bit that I am missing.

Marty’s story is such an international one, it’s so great to receive clips showing her at work in different locations around the world. Every little bit helps really bring to life the incredible bond that is shared within the graffiti and street art communities.

Martha Cooper. Archives. (photo © Selina Miles)

The slides of early tags were a selection for a chapter in Martha’s book “Hip Hop Files”.  “Make Your Mark” was a possible chapter heading she and the publisher eventually decided not to use. It comes from a 1982 anti-graffiti poster Koch put in the subways saying “Make your mark in society not on society.” It became a joke among graff writers, still remembered and quoted today.


Please click this link and let Selina and Martha know you might have something to show them.

Specifically right now the team  is looking for:

1.     Historical photos and video of artists interacting with “The Holy Book of Graffiti”, Subway Art, by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, and

2.     Modern day footage of Martha Cooper going to any and all lengths to get the shot.

Read more at ” ‘Martha’ the Movie’ ” and please contact them ASAP.


www.marthathemovie.com

Instagram.com/marthathemovie

Facebook.com/marthathemovie

 

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BSA Images Of The Week 09.02.18 – Artmossphere Biennale 2018

BSA Images Of The Week 09.02.18 – Artmossphere Biennale 2018

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

It’s been a packed couple of weeks between traveling to Moscow for the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 and immediately hopping to Leipzig, Germany for the magnificent Monumenta opening. Our heads are full of stories and conversations and images in two distinctly different scenes that somehow are still completely connected. Can’t tell if its euphoria or relief or jetlag but this Sunday is a dizzying day of taking account and being really thankful to be involved with an astounding amount of talent and camaraderie in the Graffiti/Street Art/Urban Art community that is connecting people around the world.

Here are our images of the week this time around; some selections from the Thursday night Artmossphere Biennale 2018 in Moscow, featuring 108, 1UP, Adele Renault, Bill Posters, BLOT, Canemorto, CT, the DOMA Collective, Egs, Faith XLVII, Faust, Finsta, Hyland Mather, LOT, Lucy McLauchlan, Lyall Sprong, Martha Cooper, Pablo Harymbat, and Pink Power.

Canemorto. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faust. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faith XLVII . Lyall Sprong. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Finsta. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Finsta. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper . Adele Renault. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper . Adele Renault. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1UP Crew. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1UP Crew. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pablo Harymbat. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hyland Mather. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

108. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

CT . 108. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

DOMA Collective. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lucy McLauchlan. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

EGS. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BLOT. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pink Power. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bill Posters. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sabina Chagina. Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Film Friday 08.31.18

BSA Film Friday 08.31.18

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Martha Cooper and Adele Renault at Artmossphere Biennale 2018
2. Canemorto at Artmossphere Biennale 2018
3. Pablo Harymbat at Artmossphere Biennale 2018
4. Hyland Mather at Artmossphere Biennale 2018

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: 4 BSA Homemade Videos From This Week in Moscow for Artmossphere

There is a certain glory to all of this; 50 or so artists from around the world who started in Street Art and graffiti now making art that cannot be easily classified as such. After a handful of international curators sifted through 350 applications this represents a moment, possibly one flashpoint in the movement between the street and the contemporary art scene and academia and the public.

For a capital city in Russia to be a facilitator of this conversation is unique because the modern stories we tell each other about this public art practice have rarely centered here. But Moscow has its own towering splendor and is taking a leadership role in helping us tell the history and possibly helping to form the future of this scene. Thursday night the legion of guests trolling the arched halls of the wine cellar could not have been more engaged, more full of question, more willing to consider that the minds and craft of these artists, at least in some cases, are apt reflections of our society, provide insight and critique.

Enjoy these small videos made by photographer Jaime Rojo on his phone this week as we surveyed some of the artists preparing their work for Artmossphere 2018.

Process at Artmossphere Biennale 2018: Martha Cooper and Adele Renault

Process at Artmossphere Biennale 2018: Canemorto

Process at Artmossphere Biennale 2018: Pablo Harymbat

 

Process at Artmossphere Biennale 2018: Hyland Mather

 

MONUMENTA / LEIPZIG

Next Stop – LEIPZIG for an audacious new festival that celebrates the flattening of the hierchies and the Intelligence of Many.

 

 

 

 

 

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Martha Cooper And Adele Renault: Pigeon Fanciers In Moscow

Martha Cooper And Adele Renault: Pigeon Fanciers In Moscow

BSA is in Moscow as curators of 50+ international artists in the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 for its 3rd edition called Street Art Wave. Till the end of the month we’ll working with a stellar cross section of people involved with Urban Art/Street Art/Graffiti at curious and fascinating intersections. We’re meeting with Street Artists, academics, collectors, gallerists, museum curators, organizers, and thoughtful pontificators of all sorts in studio, on the street, behind the scenes, and on display. Come with us!


As curators we were asked to write a text about Martha Cooper and Adele Renault and their collaborative project for the Artmossphere Biennale 2018 in Moscow. We think it is equally appropriate for the work in process photos here and the interviews BSA had with both:

“A perfectly paired duo of artist and photographer who each engage with Street Art from two distinctly different perspectives, this collaborative project puts the focus on a shared interest.

Adele Renault grew up in the Belgian Ardennes and at a very early age began traveling the world; sometimes solo, quickly developing an adept eye at studying places and people. A classically trained painter with a realistic style, she focuses her camera and her brushes on smaller details that may sometimes be overlooked but which add texture and rich interest to the mundane or unrecognized. With her beautifully realized portraits she is able to capture the depths of her subjects by the expression in their eyes, the details of lines on their face, and the candid innocent smile that flashes quickly.

However her love is with pigeons. Her pigeon paintings and murals give the oft-derided birds their rightful place in our cities where they are often considered pests that are equal to rats.

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Teaming up with famed photographer Martha Cooper is a pure coup d’état. Ms. Cooper’s fame within the graffiti and Street Art community is legendary but her photographic interests are many. A documentarian and ethnographer, she grew up in Baltimore, Maryland, a US city that is famous for its once-thriving community of pigeon fanciers – and their elaborate coops. For Ms. Cooper the intersection of pigeons and their fanciers presents a fascinating and educational opportunity to capture with her lens the relationship between humans and their aviary friends in their habitats…the coops.

Ms. Cooper has been photographing pigeon coops in Baltimore and in New York where she currently lives – and in many other cities that she visits every year. For Artmossphere both Ms. Renault and Ms. Cooper have found a shared passion that drives them both even harder to create. Designing a site-specific environment and using locally found materials; both artists have trained their attention to the Russian tradition of painting pigeon coops. They hope that their installation respectfully represents the local culture and history while combining Adele’s paintings of pigeons and Martha’s photographs of the pigeon’s coops.”

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pigeons were the original Internet, email, messenger. As carriers they were the quickest and most efficient way for people across cultures to communicate. Cooper and Renault have created the ultimate exhibit that ties together the themes of OFFLINE in a very local and global way. With Martha’s photographs of pigeons from over forty years and Adele’s uncanny ability to faithfully create the plumage and character of the bird over the last decade on city walls everywhere, the original message carriers are more than getting their due in Moscow.

BSA: Yesterday at the round table discussion someone made the connection between this show being “Offline” and pigeons carrying messages. Can you talk about that a bit?
Martha: That was a brilliant connection because neither of us had thought about it. Yes there were lots of pigeons that used to carry messages, specially during wartime. The messages were secret and written in code stuffed in little capsules and attached to the pigeon’s legs. The pigeons were able to fly across enemy lines. So here we have the Internet and the name of this exhibition is “Offline” so what can be more offline than a pigeon carrying a message.

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: About this project in Moscow. What was the most surprising element?
Adele: When I travel I try not to have expectations but for this project the most surprising thing was the location. The space is so beautiful and it’s inspiring being here. And the people of course. Sabina, I knew she was going to be nice because Martha has been telling me great things about her but she and her team are wonderful. It is very nice to work with nice people. The most important thing is the people.

BSA: Where were the photos being shown here taken?
Martha: Africa, Asia, North America and Europe.

BSA: Adele, what’s your fascination with pigeons? Was it from childhood?
Adele: No, I grew up on a farm but we had more chickens than pigeons. The first time I saw a lot of pigeons was in Venice in the Piazza San Marco. My parents had a hard time pulling me away from them. I just wanted to stay with the pigeons. The fascination is mostly that they are everywhere, in every city and they look the same everywhere and I never run out of subjects. They are like a metaphor for people. In 2007 or 2008 I painted the first oil close-up painting of a pigeon and my first mural of a pigeon was in 2010.

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: You found an Icon at the flea market in Moscow.
Martha: We did! And it has a pigeon painted on it.

BSA: So was the found icon the inspiration to make the display wall in the shape of an icon?
Adele: No it was the other way around. I knew that in Russia there are a lot of religious triptychs with Madonna and other religious imagery in gold leaf and inside the churches. When we came in and saw the exhibition space with all of these arches we thought that we wanted to have an arch and actually paint the arch directly on the wall but because the building is a landmark we were not permitted to paint directly on it.

So we asked if the temporary wall could be a triptych instead of a simple long panel. So then at the flea market we found the triptych with the Madonna and two pigeons painted on it. So everything about this installation makes so much sense and the process has been entirely organic. We also wanted to have real pigeons inside the coop but we found that that wasn’t permitted. So we then thought about having a porcelain pigeon or something like that inside the coop. Today a Russian girl who I gave a book to a couple of days ago came back to visit and told me that she had a present for me; a souvenir from Russia and she proceeds to pull out this porcelain pigeon!

So we are going to hang it in the coop.

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: What was the genesis of this collaboration with Martha?
Adele: Every time we see each other we talk about our attraction to pigeons and she tells me that she has been taking photos of pigeons for a long time. We were together in Los Angeles for “Beyond The Streets” and she mentioned to me the Moscow Biennale and how in Moscow artists paint the pigeon’s coops on the outside. So she encouraged me to send an application for us to participate in this year’s biennale in collaboration and I did.

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Can you tell us about the small pigeon on the front of the pigeon coop?
Adele: The small one on the front is the last passenger pigeon who died in 1914. The original passenger pigeons are extinct. And this pigeon’s name was ironically Martha – and it resides in taxidermy in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. So we named this coop “Coop’s Coop” because Martha’s friends call her Coop. So it really is Martha Cooper’s coop. But passenger pigeons were used in the two big wars to bring messages in code and they were rewarded with medals for their service.

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: So what about the old, paint peeling off frames you are using to display the photos?
Martha: When we first thought about putting photos up we wanted rough looking frames and I had this idea, based on my previous visits to Moscow and the flea market that we would be able to find them at the flea market and we found tons of frames actually. We got them cheaply and it was a lot of fun going around collecting them.

BSA: Martha our eyes gravitated to the B & W photo of the boy holding two pigeons. What’s his name and who is he?
Martha: His name is Edwin but his writer’s name is HE3 and he introduced me to Dondi. I was working on a project on the Lower East Side and I was interested in his pigeons and he asked me why didn’t I take pictures of graffiti and proceeded to show me his notebook with his drawings in it.

He said “I can introduce you to a King”. And the King was Dondi. So I said “OK let’s go”. We drove to East New York in my car and directed me to Dondi’s house.

We knock on his door and Dondi was there. He recognized my name because when he opened his black book on the first page he had a clipping from The New York Post with a photo of a very simple throw up and I was amazed that anybody would identify it and it said CIA, Crazy Inside Artists. That was his crew and I didn’t know anything about crews. When he saw me he knew I wasn’t a cop but instead he saw me as someone that could help him get fame. Boom!

BSA: So the B & W photo above is 40 years old?
Martha: Yes

BSA: Can you talk about the large painting of the pigeon in the center of the triptych?
Martha: This is a painting of a pigeon that we actually met in Moscow in a pigeon coop. One of the pigeon fanciers showed this magnificent pigeon and Adele took a photo of it with her phone so this is the portrait of the pigeon and I took a photo of Adele taking a photo of the pigeon and that photo is included in this exhibition.

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Martha Cooper / Adele Renault work in progress at Vinzavod for Artmossphere Biennale 2018. Moscow. August 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


Click on the link below for more details about the opening of this exhibition:
OFFLINE: The 3rd Artmossphere Biennale Of Street Wave opens this Thursday August 30th at Vinzavod in Moscow.

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Scenes from Eugene: Murals of the 20x21EUG Festival in Oregon

Scenes from Eugene: Murals of the 20x21EUG Festival in Oregon

The city of Eugene in Oregon is preparing for the 2021 IAAF World Athletics Championships and like many cities these days it is transforming itself with murals.

With a goal of 20 new murals by ’21 (20x21EUG), the city began in 2016 to invite a slew of international Street Artists, some locally known ones, and a famous graffiti/Street Art photographer to participate in their ongoing visual festival.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A lively city that is bustling with the newly blooming marijuana industry and finding an endless array of ways to celebrate it, Eugene has been so welcoming that many artists will report that feeling quite at home painting in this permissively bohemian and chill atmosphere.

With a goal of global diversity a selection artists have included a variety of Street Art names from around the world including Blek le Rat, AIKO, Dan Witz, HUSH, Martha Cooper, WK Interact, Hyuro, Jaz, Alexis Diaz, Telmo Miel, Hua Tunan, Beau Stanton, Matt Small and local talents like Bayne Gardner and Ila Rose. With some luck organizers say they hope this year to also include artists H11235 from Nepal and Shamsia Hassani from Afghanistan.

Today you can see a lot of the painting action thanks to 2018 “20x21EUG” participant and famed photographer Martha Cooper, who had an opportunity to meet the artists this year and catch up on some of the work from previous years. We’re proud to be able to show these new images with BSA readers and we thank Ms. Cooper for sharing them.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)


We spoke with two important pillars of 20x21EUG, Debbie Williamson-Smith, Director of Communications and Paul Godin, Director of Artist Relations, to get a little background on the festival and to see what makes it unique.

BSA: Can you speak about the genesis of 20x21EUG? Why did you decide to start an Urban Art Festival?
Debbie Williamson-Smith: The concept of a large-scale public art project such came from Isaac Marquez, Cultural Services Director for the City of Eugene, and is rooted in Eugene’s rich history of public art, dating back to the Oregon International Sculpture Symposium in 1974.  Mr. Marquez gathered a committee of arts organizations and community members passionate about the project and street art to bring the concept to fruition.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Paul Godin: We wanted to invite the very best street artists from around the country and around the globe, to create a living outdoor art gallery in Eugene for the world to see when they came. We have curated a mix of street art legends, rising stars and local heroes, all with very different artistic styles and strong voices. Street art is a global movement, of increasingly high profile, and it was a shared passion that united our committee members.

If you want to take it way back, the origin may well have been a trip to the east end of London ten years ago, on a failed quest in search of a Banksy that led instead to the discovery of the wonders of Brick Lane.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: How is a project of such quality as this funded?
Debbie Williamson-Smith: Funding for the project comes from the City of Eugene Cultural Services transient room tax revenue, sponsorship with City of Eugene Parking Services and contributions from wall owners and local businesses through donations of goods and services. We have had over 50 businesses support this project since it started and volunteers have donated hundreds of hours of time. It takes a village to make a mural and a full list of partners can be found on our website.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: Is it difficult to get landlords’ permission to paint on their properties in Eugene?
Paul Godin: Heck no. We have found many landlords very open to the idea of putting street art murals on their walls. Civic pride in our project, and the high quality of the work here has made it very easy to sell more wall owners on involvement.  Now they are coming to us. Our biggest problem in Eugene with walls is that we do not have as many big blank walls as larger cities do. Our kingdom for a blank 12 story wall!

Eugenians are generally thrilled by the transformation that 20x21EUG has wrought. Just last week, a city police officer brought a woman to her favorite piece, a group of elderly women were seen admiring Matt Small’s piece and chatting.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Debbie Williamson-Smith: It is so electric that we have coined the phrase “mural magic”. This project has ignited the civic pride in our community and has already inspired another mural project, Urban Canvas. This initiative of the City of Eugene’s Cultural Services department matches local walls with local artists and three murals have been added to the cultural landscape since it launched in 2018. People are making mural watching a regular activity, taking children to watch artists in action and bringing visitors to see the murals.

WK Interact. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What are you personal observations regarding the experience as a whole? What would you do different for next year?
Paul Godin: One thing that became clear about our festival this year is that we have created a family, uniting our committee, our volunteers, our artists in a unique and inspiring way. We have bonded through our shared experience, the long nights, the controlled chaos days, the communal dinners, and the stains of primer on all of our clothes.

AIKO. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Debbie Williamson-Smith: This has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. As an arts advocate, I am so inspired by the changes art is making in my community and this is one of the reasons why public art and street art are so important. It gives immediate access to art for the public. We are also in a time of political upheaval and for some people, including myself, this has been a difficult time for our country. To welcome people to my part of the world is my form of resistance. We can unite each other through art and as anyone who has studied art history knows, the arts have gotten us through some dark times.

AIKO. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

If I could do anything differently, it would be to make certain all the artists travel here at the same time. When we had Dan Witz here last summer, he talked about what he called artist equity, meaning that festivals for him provide an opportunity to work with artists that he has not worked together before and that always influences his decision to attend. One of my highlights from last summer was watching him and Blek le Rat work on separate installations on the same building.

I was almost as giddy as Dan was. Almost.

Martha Cooper standing with windows full of her images at the Rising Moon makers store. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon.

Bayne Gardner. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bayne Gardner. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bayne Gardner. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Matt Small. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Alexis Diaz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Alexis Diaz. WIP. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2018 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blek Le Rat. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blek Le Rat. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blek Le Rat. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Dan Witz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Dan Witz. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Hyuro. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Ila Rose. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Telmo & Miel. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Telmo & Miel. 20x21EUG Mural Project / 2017 Edition. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Stefan Ways was in Eugene assisting Aiko with her mural this year. He wasn’t in the official line-up of artists but didn’t stop him from getting up. (photo © Martha Cooper)

And of course there are tracks and trains in Eugene, Oregon ready to painted…(photo © Martha Cooper)

There are bargains everywhere in Eugene, Oregon… (photo © Martha Cooper)

As well as consciously aware and decent residents. Eugene, Oregon. (photo © Martha Cooper)


For more information about 20x21EUG in Eugene, Oregon, please CLICK HERE.


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“Banana Kelly Double Dutch” Returns in the Bronx : John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres.

“Banana Kelly Double Dutch” Returns in the Bronx : John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres.

They’re doing Double Dutch again up in the South Bronx. Way up.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Restored to look like new, this is the third time that La Freeda, Jevette, Towana and Staice have taken their rope jumping game to this wall on Kelly Street and the spirit of their game and the culture are here as well. Based on the actual girls as models casted, the sculptors John Ahearn and Rigoberto Torres recently restored them and placed them on the same wall that they first appeared on in 1982, a moment from New York’s history.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. The original installation of “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 1982. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Their art practice in the public space has a fully engaged, activist quality – insisting as it does to herald the everyday heroes in a culture that tends to reserve public space to elevate figures from the military, the church, politics, literature and Pop Culture. Even the name of this piece refers to the community group that hosted the sculpture for many years, Banana Kelly.

With a somewhat radical art practice that claims public sphere for the public for forty years, the duo have made casts of people in the neighborhood for decades, in the process forming long relationships with the sitters and their families, and their extended families.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 1982. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A curiosity for many on the street at first, a lot of folks first became familiar with the work as it was being performed – whether in workshops like the one Torres first saw Ahearn conducting in the storefront windows of the famous art space Fashion Moda or later at numerous block parties around the neighborhood.

Owing to his family connection to a sculpture factory, Torres had knowledge that Ahearn was missing and their yin/yang temperaments created a professional partnership balance that eventually has landed their work in places as far as Brazil, Taiwan, and Orlando, where Torres moved a number of years ago with his family.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 1982. (photo © Martha Cooper)

In the intervening years the Ahearn/Torres partnership has garnered attention in significant gallery and museum shows as a sociological hybrid, a captured record of life and culture that favors the unfamous, occasionally the famous. Humble as they are about their accomplishments and refreshingly reticent to be boastful, their combined projects have been collected by heavy hitters in the Street Art, hip-hop and contemporary art world.

Their sculptural portraits of the street have also been featured in exhibitions in the New Museum of Contemporary Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Bronx Museum of the Arts , “Greater New York” at MoMA PS1, New York. In an interview with BSA Ahearn gives credit to his creative partner for some recent shows including “his two homages to his Uncle Raul’s Factory in the “Body” Show at the Met Breuer, and his magnificent funky “Ruth Fernandez” figure in Jeffrey Deitch’s “People” Show.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 1982. (photo © Martha Cooper)

What’s remarkable about this piece is not only that it has survived the constant changing of the New York City skyline but also the fact that photographer Martha Cooper was on hand to capture the bookends of the Double Dutch installation – the first one in 1982 and this new one in 2018. An anthropologist and ethnographer by heart and training, Ms. Cooper also captured many of the surrounding people and activities in the neighborhood during both of the installations and she generously shares them here with BSA readers to give a further appreciation of the time passed and the cultural relevance of the duo’s work.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 1982. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA asked Mr. Ahearn a few questions and he provided some great insights into the production and life behind these Double Dutch girls.

BSA: Do you see girls and women playing Double Dutch much in the neighborhood this summer?
John Ahearn: Double Dutch has been a classic rope jumping style for a while, the double rope keeps things moving. It sometimes seems to be always be in fashion.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 1982. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: Your personal relationships with people in the neighborhood have figured prominently in your subjects. How does time change your perception of the original works?
John Ahearn: All the sculptures are some kind of collaboration with the specific people and the neighborhood. Time tests the validity of the intention and the expression. Art can lose meaning and look silly, or it can increase in its purpose and gain poignancy.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. The original stars of “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 1982. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: Your work captures so much action! Is that a particular goal for you?
John Ahearn: When I first saw Marty’s profound image of the real four girls in front of their sculpture, taken when it was first installed in 1982, I was shocked! I had emphasized the unique quality of each separate girl but Marty captured them as one piece, engaged in a solemn ritual of play, with all heads bowed to the center. I was moved to see her vision and it took me a few decades to look at the actual sculpture with full confidence.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. The classic photo of “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 1982. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: Why is it important to you to make art accessible to the people on the street?
John Ahearn: I need to feel that my perception includes the point of view of others.

BSA: What inspired you to refurbish this installation and how did you find La Freeda, Jevette, Towana, and Staice?
John Ahearn: I believe the girls are La Freeda Mincey (whose mother still lives in the building and came out to watch us reinstall the girls) Javette Potts, whose mother created the original girl’s dance group) Tawana Brown, and Staice Seabrine (with whom we are more regularly in touch)

In 1981, we were considering our first neighborhood commission at Fox St. and Intervale Ave. We took a composite 180 degree photo of the area. On all sides were burned out buildings, but one wall popped out in perfect condition with a surrounding block that was completely together. That was “Banana Kelly”, a community group committed to survival and improving the area, with the Potts family at the center of things.

John Ahearn’s drawing of Martha’s photo. 2011. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Later there was a block party at Kelly St. that featured an “African Dance” group of girls, including Javette Potts, the granddaughter of Mr. Potts. It was at that time that we had a notion to have the four girls play Double Dutch for the image.

This is actually the second time we have repaired the sculptures. By 1986, the ravages tearing up the Bronx had reached the little park that Banana Kelly had built on the corner. All the bricks were torn up, and some kids were heaving them at the Double Dutch sculptures. Parts of the figures were breaking.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 1986. (photo © Martha Cooper)

At the same time, Rigoberto’s Uncle Raul’s Statuary Factory had burned down and all our molds related to the three murals had been stored there and were lost. So we removed the Double Dutch sculptures from the wall, and took them to our studio to restore them. We reinstalled them higher than before with a slightly different design.

Meanwhile, the devastated block which Banana Kelly faces (south) was transformed into a huge park. All the buildings had been torn down heading north to Longwood Avenue. The design of the 2nd version of the sculptures (see Marty’s photo) looks very nice to me now, but it had always annoyed me.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. A gallery version of “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” at Alexander & Bonin Gallery in Manhattan. NYC 2014. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The tiny “park” site at Kelly St. eventually was fenced off and abandoned, awaiting future use. Sometimes old sculptures in their neighborhood locations can be very satisfying and true. But it always seemed that the Double Dutch should be returned to their original design.

Recently the lot was sold to the new Catholic Nursing facility next door, to be rebuilt as their parking area. We wanted very much to keep the sculptures on the same wall and this seemed like the right moment.

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. La Freeda, Javette, Towana and Staice back at the studio waiting to be restored. NYC 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

TATS CRU homage to John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. Detail. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

John Ahearn & Rigoberto Torres. “Banana Kelly Double Dutch” The Bronx, NYC. 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)

 


Frankie Smith
“Double Dutch Bus” 1981

” ‘Double Dutch’ is a tribute to all the girls in the world, especially the girls on my block. I’ve been watching them for 25 years. They use their mothers’ clotheslines to play the game – it’s an art. It’s a tribute to them – they’re really good at it.” – Frankie Smith to Dick Clark on American Bandstand.

Malcom McLaren
“Double Dutch” 1983

All over the world high school girls
Take to the ropes and turn them slow
Starts a beat and a loop
They skip and jump through the hoop
They might break and they might fall
About the gals from New York City
They just start again
Start again

 

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One Night in NYC with 1UP, Martha Cooper, Ninja K : Book Release and Movie Screening

One Night in NYC with 1UP, Martha Cooper, Ninja K : Book Release and Movie Screening

Berlin’s notorious 1UP Crew hits Ridgewood Saturday night along with graffiti/Street Art patron saint Martha Cooper to celebrate the first city in their US tour for their new book with co-shooter Ninja K.

Martha Cooper & Ninja K. One Week With 1UP. (photo courtesy of the team)

A hot summer night pop-up is available only one night at Superchief and we’ll be there with you to eyeball the new book, get it signed, and screen the new 1UP movie. Bring your juice box kiddies!

We reported HERE on the launch of this book in Berlin at Urban Spree back in May. New York peeps have an opportunity to see a Pop-Up exhibition and book signing at Superchief Gallery in Ridgewood, NY this Saturday, July 21st. Click HERE for all the details…

Martha Cooper & Ninja K. One Week With 1UP. (photo courtesy of the team)

Martha Cooper & Ninja K. One Week With 1UP. (photo courtesy of the team)

Martha Cooper & Ninja K. One Week With 1UP. (photo courtesy of the team)

Martha Cooper & Ninja K. One Week With 1UP. (photo courtesy of the team)

Martha Cooper & Ninja K. One Week With 1UP. (photo courtesy of the team)

 

Martha Cooper & Ninja K: One Week With 1UP opens this Saturday at Superchief Gallery in Ridgewood, NYC. Click HERE for all the details.

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