All posts tagged: Mr. CArtoon

Sneak Peek of “Beyond The Streets” Now Mounting in Brooklyn

Sneak Peek of “Beyond The Streets” Now Mounting in Brooklyn

Hammering the display walls, sanding off the plaster bumps, the whirring and popping of construction drills: Two assistants are helping 1970s NYC subway writer Lee Quinones lay out a #2 train-car-length canvas on the floor while you are distracted by the Empire State building puncturing the Manhattan cityscape across the East River, a sweeping vista through the glass walls of this new high-rise in Williamsburg.

“Hello?” Martha Cooper takes a phone call at Bill Barminski’s fantasy installation in progress where each object has been crafted from paper and cardboard. Beyond The Streets, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nearby Cornbread’s notebook hangs next to his signature, a potent visual reverberation across five decades from graffiti’s Philly roots.

Elsewhere there are the sounds of woodsaws and metal clanging accompany the one-line drawings of freight-writer buZ blurr as historian Bill Daniel is completing his comprehensive mini-exhibition within this massive exhibition. With trains and photos and modern relics of American rail lore on display, this crucial antecedent of modern-day aerosol “writing” emerges and blows its chimes as well. This is a particular slice of the graffiti story that Mr. Daniel may describe, as he does in The Secret History of Hobo Graffiti, as “the dogged pursuit of the impossibly convoluted story of the heretofore untold history of the century-old folkloric practice of hobo and railworker graffiti.”

Vintage anti-graffiti posters from a private collection. Beyond The Streets Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s an apt descriptor for Beyond The Streets as well. This multi-artist graffiti/Street Art-influenced exhibition directed by the discerning shepherd and seer Roger Gastman that is now mounting over two floors and 100,000 square feet in North Brooklyn tackles an endlessly convoluted evolutionary path. He says the size and composition of the exhibition has slightly changed since its first mounting last year in Los Angeles, and he is acutely aware that its location is in the city that claims a huge part of the graffiti genesis story, carrying perhaps a steep level of expectations.

Not that he has reason to worry: there are more hits here than a blowout at Yankee Stadium.

Lady Pink. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like the blast of colors and pieces at a sunny Saturday afternoon Meeting of Styles jam, this show of many writers, photographers, documenters, collectors, painters, vandals, and attitudes won’t disappoint. You can see and construct your own version of a celebratory story that illustrates and reveals surprising ways that the street subculture has left its mark indelibly on the mainstream, yet often stayed separate.

From the Beastie Boys wigs worn in the “Sabotage” music video to the camera Joe Conzo used to shoot the Cold Crush Brothers, to the MDF and cardboard pay phone by pop sculptor Bill Barminski, and Dash Snow’s hi-low societal slumming photographs depicting sex, drugs, rhyming and stealing, visitors easily will have a flood of images and histories to author their own convoluted version of the graffiti and Street Art tale.

John Ahearn with a detail of Swoon’s wallpaper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Swoon. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Al Diaz (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dabs of DabsMyla at work on their installation in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Martha Cooper discussing the options to hang her photos with a production assistant. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lady Aiko. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mr. Cartoon installation in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Beastie Boys…there’s more here…much more… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Detail of Shepard Fairey’s 30th Anniversary retrospective installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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“Beyond The Streets” Exhibition : Gastman’s Train Pulls In to LA

“Beyond The Streets” Exhibition : Gastman’s Train Pulls In to LA

A steel-wheeled graffiti train with Roger Gastman at the controls roars into LA’s Chinatown for a two-month stay at this station, a 40,000 square foot warehouse that houses “Beyond the Streets.” Originating at the streets and train yards of the 1960s and 70s, this express survey carries with it 100 or so artists and writers from across the last five decades as practitioners of graffiti, Street Art, and mural painting. Somehow, everyone gets represented.

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Opening night featured many of the names associated with its earliest beginnings of the New York /Philadelphia graffiti scene like Cornbread, Taki183, Futura, Lady Pink, filmmaker Charlie Ahearn, among many others, including photographer Martha Cooper, who in addition to being an artist in the show, shares these photos with BSA readers. She also extensively shares her photos for the accompanying show catalog,  providing documentation from the scene that exist nowhere else.

Retna. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

A diverse and almost overwhelming series of displays present the works in a way that can only hint at the thousands of artists who built this story, necessarily viewed through a wide lens: sculpture, photography, installations, and multi-media all join the canvasses and ephemera and Gastman’s collection of vintage paint cans. Smartly planned for the selfie generation, large pieces are presented almost as backdrop ready to be Instagrammed; a direction coming from the “Photos Encouraged” sign that is next to the wall covered with Retna’s original alphabet near the entrance.

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Somewhat of a rejoinder to Art in the Streets, the eponymous graffiti and Street Art exhibition in 2011 at LA MoCA, Beyond the Streets takes a focused look at the multitudinous peoples’ art movement from the perspective of one of that first shows’ original curators, Roger Gastman. When arranging the two month exhibition that closes July 6th, Gastman says that his focus was to celebrate those with street cred, in terms of individual practice, and to combine that requirement with a respectable semblance of a studio practice.

Ultimately he looked for artists who have used their particular approach to expand the definition of art in the streets in some way. That definition by now has become quite wide and it’s also a tall order for any curator to find the common themes here and present them in a cohesive manner.

Beyond The Streets, compiled by Roger Gastman.

Both the accompanying catalog and exhibition take a welcome stance toward educating the audience in many ways, helping the viewer to decode this freewheeling graffiti and mark-making history with basic vocabulary terms, historical events, pop culture inflexion points and examination of tools of the trade all adding context. Catalog essays and interviews are incisive and enlightening, including wit, sarcasm and even the occasional admonishment – notably in the essay by author, filmmaker, and curator Sacha Jenkins, who has been documenting the graffiti scene for a least a couple of decades.

Studying the move of some artists from street practice to commercial gallery that began in earnest with early NYC train writers transitioning to canvasses in the early 1980s, Jenkins upbraids a disgruntled faction among old-school graffiti writers who he characterizes as perhaps intransigent in their stylistic evolution and unwilling to adapt with the game. Later in his essay he lambasts the overtly pleasant and narcissistic cultural newcomers who he sees as milk-toasting the scene with their adoration of pretty murals and shallow sentiments, obtusely ushering in gentrification and “leading up to hearing about how my mother’s building is going to get bulldozed for a hip residential building that has a hot tub in every apartment.” He also may be the only writer here so openly addressing race and class distinctions present during the evolution of the scene and now.

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

The selection of artists and writers in the book and exhibition, many of them friends and colleagues with whom Gastman has worked with in the past, offers a rewarding and accessible panoply of styles and views. With some study the visitor understands connections in a widely dispersed multi-player subculture that coalesced and continuously changed its shape and character. But even if they don’t, they still get an amazing amount of eye candy.

The catalog offers extensive sections like those devoted to The History of Spraypaint and Graffiti in Galleries, and offers petite exegesis on influencing factors and benchmarks that shaped the art form’s route like Mobile DJs, The ’77 NYC Blackout, the European graffiti scene and graffiti’s role in gang culture, hip-hop and hardcore music. The compilation aids and supports the fullness of a story that frankly requires many voices to tell it. Gastman even gives forum and exhibition space to activist and defiant guerilla gardener Ron Finley and the holistic urban horticultural oases that he creates in South Central LA, calling it his form of graffiti in empty lots of the city.

Martha Cooper with Taki 183. Beyond The Streets. (photo courtesy of Martha Cooper)

With insightful interviews of artists in the exhibition from talented writers like Caleb Neelon, Caroline Ryder, John Lewis, Alec Banks, Evan Pricco, John Albert, Shelly Leopold, and Gastman himself, there are enough colorful anecdotes and decisive signposts en route to help tell the stories of the artists and their individual approaches to the street.

“The artists do not share a singular style, since they are primarily united by a common element of their personal biographies – the fact that they once made their art in the streets,” says self-described novice to the Street Art / graffiti world, Adam Lerner, the Director and Chief Animator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. “There are, however some threads that run through the works.”

Beyond the Streets will help visitors find some of those threads for themselves and undoubtedly they will forge their own interpretation of art in the streets.

Faile. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Invader. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Slick. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Takashi Murakami with Madsaki, Snipel, Tenga One and Onesker. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Lady Pink. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Charlie Ahearn . Futura . Lady Pink. Crash. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Mr. Cartoon. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Futura. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Futura takes a photo of Haze’s art work. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Niels Shoe Meulman. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Ron Finley’s Gansta Gardener installation. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Corn Bread. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Corn Bread. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

 

Crash . Daze. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Katsu. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bill Barminski. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Faith XLVII. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Shepard Fairey. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Jenny Holzer, Flashlight (In Collaboration With A-One). Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blade. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Aiko. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Al Diaz. Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Barry Magee. Beyond The Streets. (photo and video below © Martha Cooper)

 

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper)


For more information please visit https://www.beyondthestreets.com/

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Coney Art Walls : 30 Reasons To Go To Coney Island This Summer

Coney Art Walls : 30 Reasons To Go To Coney Island This Summer

The gates are open to the new public/private art project called Coney Art Walls and today you can have a look at all 30 or so of the new pieces by a respectable range of artists spanning four decades and a helluva lot of New York street culture history. We’ve been lucky to see a lot of the action as it happened over the last five weeks and the range is impressive. These are not casual, incidental choices of players lacking serious resumes or street/gallery cred, but the average observer or unknowing critic may not recognize it.

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

By way of defining terms, none of this is street art. These are murals completed by artists who are street artists, graffiti writers, fine artists, and contemporary artists. In the middle of an amusement park, these are commissioned works that respond in some way to their environment by thirty or so local and international heavy hitters and a few new kids on the block comprising a 40+ year span of expertise.

Open to many strata of the public and fun-seekers who dig Brooklyn’s rich cultural landscape, this outdoor show will surely end up as backgrounds for selfies — while perhaps simultaneously elevating a discourse about the rightful place of graffiti/street art/urban art within the context of contemporary art. Okay, maybe not such loftiness will result, but let’s not rule it out entirely.

 

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How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It should come as no surprise that it is the dealer, curator, perennially risk-taking showman Jeffrey Deitch who is the ringmaster of this circus, or that the genesis of this cultural adventure is perplexing to some who have greeted his newest vision with perplexity and derision. His Deitch Projects and related activities in the 2000s regularly presented and promoted the street-inspired D.I.Y. cultural landscape, having done his due diligence and recognizing that new life springs from the various youth movements always afoot. The Jeffrey-conceived “Art Parade” itself was a street-based all-inclusive annual panoply of eye candy and absurdity; inflicting humor, sex, gore, fire, glitter and possibility into the minds of Manhattan sidewalk observers.

As MOCA Los Angeles director Deitch also flipped the script with his “Art In The Streets,” organizing a vast survey of a half-century of the modern grassroots genres including graffiti/street art/urban art/tattoo/punk/hip-hop/skater culture that far surpassed anyone’s predictions for audience attendance and public engagement. Aside from tripping wires and a public misstep here and there, the show earned critical praise, pinched art-school noses, and pushed skeptical institutions and patrons to question their prejudices. It also gave voice to a lot of people.

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Notably, that MOCA exhibit drew a little over 200,000 attendees in four months. Coney Island beach and boardwalk gets about 14 million annually. Even if the Smorgasbord pop-up village food trucks feed a fraction of that number, there will be more folks viewing art and interacting with it here than, say, the Four Seasons dining rooms, which also display street artists and contemporary artists in the restaurants’ artistic programming. Side by side comparisons of Smorgasbord/Four Seasons diners ethnic diversity, income, age, education level, museum board membership or real estate investments were not available at press time. But neither can be fairly described as exploitative to artists or audience without sounding patronizing.

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

These multicolored and monochromatic murals illustrate a wide and balanced smorgasborg of their own; examples of myriad styles are at play with some engaging in activism and local politics and Coney Island history. From original train writer Lady Pink to aerosol drone sprayer Katsu, from eL Seed’s lyrical Arabic calligraffiti to Retna’s secret text language to graffitist-now-collagist Greg Lamarche, from Shepard Fairey’s elegant Brooklyn salute to polluters and blasé consumerism to Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s spotlight on current Coney Island neighbors, from urban naturalist ROA’s monochrome marginalized city animals to How & Nosm’s eye-punching and precise graphic metaphors, you are getting a dizzying example of the deep command Deitch has of this multi-headed contemporary category that is yet to settle on a moniker to call itself.

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coney Art Walls assembles world travelers from NYC and LA and Miami and internationally; Belgium, Barcelona, Brazil, Paris, Tunisia, London. Some are 80s Downtown NYC alumni, others were train writers in the 70s or big crew graff heads and taggers from the decades after. Some are considered historical originators of a form and cross-genre risk takers pushing beyond their comfort zone. Take a close look and you’ll find names that are in major collections (private, institutional, corporate) and that go to auction.

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Crash (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Some are regularly showing in galleries and are invited to street art festivals, exhibited in museums and discussed in academia and print. Others have studio practices spanning three decades, are lecturers, panelists, authors, teachers, community advocates, art stars, reality TV personalities, film actors, product endorsers and art product makers working with global brands. One or two may be considered global brands themselves. A handful have been painting on the streets for 40 years. Monolithic they are not.

One more notable aspect occurred to us as we watched this parade making its peregrination to these summer walls – either because of Deitch or the romance or history of Coney or both; When you are looking at the range of ages and ethnicities and family configurations and listening to the variety of accents and opinions expressed and seeing the friendly but tough-stuff attitudes on display — you might guess you were in Brooklyn. You are.

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Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Futura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jesse Edwards (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jesse Edwards (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Irak (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Pink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Pink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Maya Hayuk (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Maya Hayuk (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Aiko (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lady Aiko  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Buff Monster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Miss Van (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Miss Van (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jason Woodside (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jason Woodside (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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AVAF  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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eL Seed (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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eL Seed with Martha Cooper (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kenny Scharf (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mister Cartoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Greg Lamarche (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregg Lamarche (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Katsu (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Retna (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kashink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kashink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kashink (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Kaves (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lauren Halsey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Our previous weekly updates track the installation period of Coney Art Walls:

Coney Art Walls: First 3 Completed and Summer Begins

DEITCH Masters, Coney Art Walls Part 2 : Coney With a Twist

Eine, Hayuk: A Riot of Color at Coney (Update III)

Coney Art Walls: Gypsies, Stallions, Mermaids, and Pop Optics! Update IV

Coney Art Walls Opens for the Mermaids! Update V

 

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Coney Art Walls Opens for the Mermaids! Update V

Coney Art Walls Opens for the Mermaids! Update V

Dude/Dudette, it’s Mermaid Parade Day – part of Coney’s modern pop-carney cultural heritage. Rolling up Surf Avenue, turning right and coming back down the boardwalk, the three decade old event is both a well organized and entirely rag-tag D.I.Y. affair simultaneously. It’s the enthusiasm of the participants and their street performances and costumery that pull in the equally enthusiastic fans, but it is the bedazzled breasts and free-flowing beer that make them seek that illusive and effervescent feeling of abandon.

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Skewville at work on their piece…while some folks go against gravity above…(photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meanwhile more walls were being painted at Coney Art Walls this week by another impressive cross section of talents from points local and international. The Skewville twins completed their free-standing monster boom box, El Seed brought his lyrical Arabic inspired calligraffiti, fine artist Jane Dickson applies her eye to the symbols of the carnival footprint and turns amusements into colorful cakes, Katsu spreads wider with his investigations into drone painting that are looking impressionistic, Mr. Cartoon enlivens a Vandal/Copper chase with a grim reaper and a selfie-snapping angel, former graffiti outlaw Gregg LaMarche slams his collaged font explosion with color, Coney-Island artist icon Marie Roberts invokes ghosts and her own family’s deep roots in this place’s history, Miami’s Rage Johnson of Inkheads Crew brings crisp psychadeliac forms with AVAF (Assume Vivid Astro Focus), Sheryo and The Yok use a new palette to depict a beach inspired hotdog caper, and Tatiana Fazlalizadeh creates warm black and white portraits of local current neighbors who live in these environs here year round.

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The Twins Skewville at work on their piece…yes the other one showed up for photo op… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Briefly, a snafu in the proceedings popped up when Cope2 suddenly did one of his eponymous bubble tags smack on the center of a freshly finished Retna wall Friday. Shortly thereafter Retna’s assistant was seen buffing the tag. Sources tell us that Cope’s participation in the project wasn’t originally scheduled and while some permissions had been secured, not all parties were in agreement before work commenced. The affair spurred speculation about who gave permission and who denied it in a flurry of social media postings, but the matter has been resolved. No doubt rumors on the street and online will be profligate – it is the nature of these aerosol Olympic games. Let’s see how the buffed section of Retna’s wall is addressed now that fin-fested visitors are schooling through the concrete complex chomping on cotton candy and sausages.

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Skewville at work with the help of an assistant. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But don’t let this petit drama overshadow the talent and effort and storied history of the two dozen other artists whose work is on display. A more diverse collection of artists from the past four decades from across this spectrum is rarely assembled in one location – a mini reprise of Mr. Deitch’s Art in the Streets, minus the ceiling. It’s not street art, urban art, or graffiti so none of those labels rightly apply to this amusement park exhibit. To the visiting crowds this is primarily background for selfies but fans of these artists will attach a much greater significance to some of these brand new works, as they should. Stay tuned for our final roundup of all the walls next Wednesday on a screen near you.

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Skewville… for a dollar we’ll show you the rest… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville practicing an abundance of caution while at work …  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Seed (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Seed with Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Seed (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson’s work in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson work in progress. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jane Dickson  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Katsu tried his hand at Impressionism with a drone. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mr. Cartoon (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregg Lamarche at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregg Lamarche at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregg Lamarche (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rage Johnson of Inkheads Crew working on the piece designed by Brazilian AVAF (Assume Vivid Astro Focus). (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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AVAF executed by Rage Johnson of Inkheads Crew. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sheryo and The Yok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatiana Fazlalizadeh at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatiana Fazlalizadeh at work. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatiana Fazlalizadeh…”The Day Before Easter And The Day After Labor Day – People Still Live Here. People Die Here. People Love Here” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Mike Giant Inks a Wall in Chinatown

New York has seen its share of giants. For most people, Mike is just another one.

But for fans of cholo-style graffiti and tattoo inspired art, he is a giant among men. That’s why it was cause for a celebration to see this skate boarding, fixie tricking, graffiti painting, grandpa hipster in suspenders hitting up a fresh white wall with some juicy markers last week under the Manhattan Bridge.

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thermometer-wise, it was one of our worst July days. For a fleeting moment the bespectacled grey buzzcut artist looked like he wasn’t going to take the New York heat while working outside in crushing hot humidity that felt like the inside of a rice cooker here in Chinatown. But the visitor from San Francisco’s Tenderloin rallied, calmed himself, found his personal zen, and focused on his wall with a positive mindset. While a cluster of hosts and fans stood by Giant methodically laid out the kind of precise, sharp lined calligraphic illustration that has distinguished his work and indelibly marked his reputation among the skater-punk-tattooed-graffiti-lowbro West Coast heroes of the last two-plus decades.

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Very covered in full color ink himself, except for black and grey sleeves, the sometimes tattooist routinely updates his personal skin art collection with work by the likes of Greg Rojas and Chris Conn, like the recent additions of the Apple logo and the bars from Black Flag among the skulls and snakes and sassy vixens. Also routinely, his exacting and precise drawings sell out at shops and packed gallery shows across the world as his work is compared to that of such Mexican/cholo art pioneers like Mr. Cartoon, Chaz Bojorquez, and Jack Rudy. The symbols and metaphors popping boldly, they frame each other even as their meanings and origins conflict; reptiles, tigers, garden roses and The Grim Reaper sit comfortably alongside ornately carved crosses, the Virgin of Guadalupe and hot tattooed girls in fishnets giving you the finger.

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For this street installation, Giant’s act of inking the wall affected the assembled fans and observers like the chanting of Spanish monks in those remote and silent monasteries: a slowly creeping utter peace. He approached the task with serenity, at a pace that seemed to conserve time rather than spend it. In complete control of his craft, he can aptly break away when approached for a chat or to sign a deck or black book.

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This gig at Klughaus Gallery was to help promote a group show and launch the 8th issue of Kingbrown magazine and Giant said he was happy to visit the town he once lived in for a year before seeking the quieter pace of San Francisco. Right across from the spot is one of the city’s busiest skateparks and for most of the afternoon his work was accompanied by the unmistakeable sound of some exhibition boards hitting the concrete for friendly competitive trickery. He probably felt at home like this since he’s known to hang at the occasional skatepark or empty swimming pool back on the west coast. And for one day in this unbearable NYC heat, a number of fans were happy to see him knocking out this black and white wall, meditating on the good things that a fine line brings.

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The L.E.S. Coleman Skate Park  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A custom designed and painted ramp by Kevin Lyons was used in the competition. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mike Giant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For details to visit the gallery to see Mike Giant’s completed panels in person and to see the rest of the exhibition now open to the general public click here.

Klughaus and Kingbrown produced this event in partnership with Fountain Art fair.

Artists included in the show are Morning Breath, Andy Jenkins, Chris Cycle, Dave Kinsey, “Grotesk” aka Kimou Meyer, Stefan Marx, Kevin Lyons, Mike Giant, Raza Uno aka MAx Vogel, Greg Lamarche, Zach Malfa-Kowalski, Steve Gourlay, Jay Howell, and Ben Horton, Beastman, Phibs, Hiro, Reka, Kyle “Creepy” Hughes-Odgers, Meggs, Sean Morris, Yok, Sheryo, Ross Clugston, Daek, Lister, Numskull, Ian Mutch, Rone/ aka Tyrone Wright.

 

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TT Underground Gallery Presents: “Artefacts”

“Artefacts”

"Artefacts"

"Artefacts"

If you’re in New York this week, check out the ARTEFACTS group show opening Thursday night, July 15th 7-11pm at Toy Tokyo’s new underground gallery space. I’ll have a couple brand new works on display alongside street luminaries Swoon, Shepard Fairey, Cope 2, Mr Cartoon, and Clayton Patterson to name a few. Should be a great show.

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