All posts tagged: murals

BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

BSA “Images Of The Year” For 2018 Video

Here it is! Photographer Jaime Rojo of BSA selects a handful of his favorite images from his travels through 9 countries and around New York this year to present our 2018 BSA Images of the Year.

Seeing the vast expressions of aesthetics and anti-aesthetic behavior has been a unique experience for us. We’re thankful to all of the artists and co-conspirators for their boundless ideas and energy, perspectives and personas.

Once you accept that much of the world is in a semi-permanent chaos you can embrace it, find order in the disorder, love inside the anger, a rhythm to every street.

And yes, beauty. Hope you enjoy BSA Images of the Year 2018.


Here’s a list of the artists featured in the video. Help us out if we missed someone, or if we misspelled someones nom de plume.

1Up Crew, Abe Lincoln Jr., Adam Fujita, Adele Renault, Adrian Wilson, Alex Sena, Arkane, Banksy, Ben Eine, BKFoxx, Bond Truluv, Bordalo II, Bravin Lee, C215, Cane Morto, Charles Williams, Cranio, Crash, Dee Dee, D*Face, Disordered, Egle Zvirblyte, Ernest Zacharevic, Erre, Faith LXVII, Faust, Geronimo, Gloss Black, Guillermo S. Quintana, Ichibantei, InDecline, Indie 184, Invader, Isaac Cordal, Jayson Naylor JR, Kaos, KNS, Lena McCarthy, Caleb Neelon, LET, Anthony Lister, Naomi Rag, Okuda, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Pejac, Pixel Pancho, Pork, Raf Urban, Resistance is Female, Sainer, Senor Schnu, Skewville, Slinkachu, Solus, Squid Licker, Stinkfish, Strayones, Subway Doodle, The Rus Crew, Tristan Eaton, Vegan Flava, Vhils, Viktor Freso, Vinie, Waone, Winston Tseng, Zola

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Black Panthers and Political Street Art from the 60s to Today

Black Panthers and Political Street Art from the 60s to Today

Amidst the hype surrounding the new Black Panther movie breaking records in theaters, we’re reminded by New York-based writer, photographer and documentarian Camilo José Vergara on City Lab that the people-powered revolutionary socialist organization Black Panther Party were superheroes on the streets of US cities who used art in the Streets to advance social and political goals.

Wheat-pasting political posters in the 90s “There is a Black Panther born in the ghetto every 20 minutes,” Former Brooks Bakery, 113 East 125th St., Harlem, 1995. (photo ©Camilo José Vergara)

“I was able to survey Black Panthers’ street graphics from the high point of the early 1970s, when they stood for black beauty, a respect for their African roots, anger at the police, self defense, and public service, all while exhibiting a unique style,” says the award winning Vergara  in this new photo essay of works on the streets about the Panthers. “They had moral authority as they risked their lives resisting arrest, taking over buildings, feeding children, and marching. Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Black Panther Party opposed the Vietnam War. But unlike him, the Panthers advocated self defense and demanded reparations for centuries of slave labor. ”

Read more in “The Black Panther Party’s History of Urban Street Art” here.

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Civic Dialogue & “Fake Walls” : A New Interview With Gaia

Civic Dialogue & “Fake Walls” : A New Interview With Gaia

He calls them “fake walls”; these mockups of murals in Baltimore that feature adorable pets. With these clever photoshopped pieces of mural fiction the Street Artist Gaia is perhaps skewering the coy shallowness of mural festivals that encourage a content-free decorative approach, rather than a substantive historically/socially/politically rooted one.

If Street Art has been hi-jacked by mural festivals from some of it’s higher minded origins, the New York born, Baltimore based Gaia has raced quickly on hot feet in the opposite direction during the last five years – preferring to immerse himself in local history, sociopolitical developments, and the implied cultural ramifications of his work.

Partially as critique to one increasingly commercial trend in Urban Art “festivals” that contorts murals as vehicles for brand and lifestyle messaging or aims only to prettify and sanitize public space, Gaia keeps assigning himself homework when he’s asked to paint in a new city, and he wishes he had more time to study.

Today we would like to share with BSA readers a recent interview he did with Shelly Clay-Robison, an adjunct faculty at York College of Pennsylvania and at the University of Baltimore who teaches peace and conflict studies and anthropology – with the hope of furthering the discussion on some of the points he raises and which we similarly have been discussing over the last few years with you.

In the interview Gaia speaks to the trivialization of the mural as meaningful expression in public space, a frequent lack of community engagement in Urban Art festivals, and his own sensitivity to what he may describe as the overwhelming whiteness and educated privilege in a scene that in many ways evolved from lower income communities of color. We’re pleased that Gaia and Ms. Clay-Robison have allowed us to share the interview with you.


From STREET ART AND CIVIC DIALOGUE: AN INTERVIEW WITH GAIA

Shelly Clay-Robison: Should we call the work you have made outside and on architecture street art, mural art, or graffiti and why would terminology matter?
Gaia: I would like to make a distinction that may seem insignificant, but is very important. Street Art, as I personally define it, is an umbrella term that seeks to explain any intervention understood as an artistic gesture, in a shared space, and must necessarily be illegal. The purview of Street Art entails anything under the rubric of contemplation or performance; tactical urbanism, painting, sculpture, etc. Murals on the other hand, are legal, sanctioned and are much more stringently understood as painting. Finally graffiti, as a tradition where the scrawling of a name becomes stylized, is a more pure action that is self-identified by its various participants as “writing” and not in fact “art.” Hence the continued relevance of the Street Art distinction.

SCR: So is it just an issue of legality then? Or are their social implications behind which type of work or medium is chosen?
Gaia: I stress these distinctions so firmly because we are at an extremely problematic crossroads within this rhizomatic movement, where the mural in the Americas, traditionally understood as within the realm of celebration, especially of colonized and oppressed peoples, has been wrested from the control of community art, by the spirit of Street Art. What I mean to say is that the production of a mural in the United States has traditionally been a multilateral, consensus-based process, but now control is being wrested from civic groups and representatives.

Instead, the procedure of creating a mural is increasingly being determined by property owners with the power and means to circumvent community, and thus, facilitate work that speaks to an imagined, future audience. I call this a liberalization of the mural: international, highly skilled individuals, who have transitioned from illegal, singular authorship to unilateral, sanctioned mural production have created a race to the bottom that defies the old Works Progress Administration model of full employment and is instead more aligned with the 10-99 subcontractor economy.


Click the link below and automatically download a PDF of the full interview here:

Clay-Robison, Shelly and Gaia. “Street art and Civic Dialogue: an interview with Gaia.” Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory vol 16 no 1 (2016): 89-93.

 

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BCN Transit Walls Festival during La Mercè in Barcelona

BCN Transit Walls Festival during La Mercè in Barcelona

Cultural organizations and lifestyle brands often pool together their resources and coordinate events to capitalize on foot traffic. It’s like punk kids organizing a skate event – with bands, djs, graffiti jams, tattooing… You can catch some air, catch a great show, catch a tag, and hopefully catch secret kisses behind some old rusty freight train all on one perfect Saturday.

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Cayn Sanchez. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

During the La Mercè Festival in Barcelona in September the organizers for “BCN Transit Walls” brought to life a former ‘hall of fame’ stretch of wall and captured the attention of a lot of folks who were in town for the concerts, fireworks, drummer parades, wine festivals, projections, human acrobat towers – and many other events marking the end of the summer. Organizers brought many artists together to paint live on the wall at Passeig de Circumval·lació; the incredibly long wall that surrounds the Barcelona Zoo at the edge of the Estació de França train tracks.

Lluis Olive Bulbena was there with his camera and he shares some of the walls here with BSA readers.

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Cayn Sanchez. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Kenor1 . Uriginal . Cintal Vidal . Lucas Milart. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Kenor1 . Uriginal . Cintal Vidal. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Kenor1 . Cintal Vidal. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Kenor1 . Uriginal . Cintal Vidal. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Lucas Milart . Cintal Vidal . Kenor1. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Uriginal . Cintal Vidal . Kenor1. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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SPOGO. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Aleix Gordo. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Roc Black Block . Cintal Vidal. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Roc Black Block . Cintal Vidal. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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BToy. BCN Transit Walls Festival. Barcelona, Spain. September 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

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Esteban Del Valle and George Grosz – “Persons of Interest”

Esteban Del Valle and George Grosz – “Persons of Interest”

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BSA is in Berlin this month to present a new show of 12 important Brooklyn Street Artists at the Urban Nation haus as part of Project M/7. PERSONS OF INTEREST brings to our sister city a diverse collection of artists who use many mediums and styles in the street art scene of Brooklyn. By way of tribute to the special relationship that artist communities in both cities have shared for decades, each artist has chosen to create a portrait of a Germany-based cultural influencer from the past or present, highlighting someone who has played a role in inspiring the artist in a meaningful way.
 
Today we talk to Esteban Del Valle and ask him why he chose his person of interest, George Grosz.

An interdisciplinary artist living in Brooklyn, Del Valle has been rendering figures and scenarios on walls here and in his native Chicago, San Antonio, Kansas City, Spartanburg – even at 5 Pointz, the graffiti holy place in Queens that was recently buffed and destroyed. A performance artist in the public sphere as well as painter, his complex stories run deep with his contemplations on an imbalanced world. His is an activist approach to tearing apart and rebuilding to reveal influences, emotions, and motivations. In these ways and others he is not unlike his selected subject, George Grosz, a pivotal figure in Berlin’s Dada movement.

A German artist known especially for his drawings of people as caricature during the roaring days and nights of Berlin’s 1920s, Grosz was acerbic, crude and corrosive in his depiction of corruption and abuse of power. Eventually moving to New York and settling down in Bayside, Queens, the artist continued his work as a painter and cultural critic. For his portrait of Grosz, Del Valle inserts the artist into Grosz’ own 1926 painting, Eclipse of the Sun, along with ex Chicago mayor Richard J. Daley and some headless businessmen. Too much to describe here, Grosz can speak for himself:

My drawings expressed my despair, hate and disillusionment, I drew drunkards; puking men; men with clenched fists cursing at the moon. … I drew a man, face filled with fright, washing blood from his hands … I drew lonely little men fleeing madly through empty streets. I drew a cross-section of tenement house: through one window could be seen a man attacking his wife; through another, two people making love; from a third hung a suicide with body covered by swarming flies. I drew soldiers without noses; war cripples with crustacean-like steel arms; two medical soldiers putting a violent infantryman into a strait-jacket made of a horse blanket … I drew a skeleton dressed as a recruit being examined for military duty. I also wrote poetry. —Grosz  Friedrich, Otto (1986). [note] Before the Deluge. USA: Fromm International Publishing Corporation. pp. 37. [/note]

“I believe art is inherently powerful,” says Del Valle, “and that power can be used to reflect and reshape reality. Much like I aspire to do, George Grosz used satirical imagery to call attention to social inequalities while blurring the line between illustration and painting. His poignant content and aesthetic seems just as relevant today as it did in post 1920’s Berlin.”

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Esteban Del Valle in Brooklyn (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Esteban Del Valle in New York (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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See Full Press Release HERE

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A Mexican Mural “Manifesto”, Blackened Flag Colors, and Censorship

A Mexican Mural “Manifesto”, Blackened Flag Colors, and Censorship

Striking and massive murals have been populating walls in Mexico City by international Street Artists in the last five years thanks to the emergence of a global Street Art scene, a rise in mural festivals, and the country’s heritage and tradition of institutional support for murals that further a socio-political mission. There hasn’t been much of the latter lately, however, and it is doubtful that a new politically charged mural campaign underway in certain central neighborhoods is likely to receive tax dollars for the paint and ladders.

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Erica Il Cane. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

Without sighting a specific ill to address, the new mural initiative named “Manifesto” is challenging a select group of local and international Street Artists to express their opinions on weighty and topical matters through murals, “using art as a social tool to propose, reflect and inform.” Among possible topics that might be addressed, the manifesto for “Manifesto” says, are increasing poverty, glorified materialism, the exhausting of natural resources, a fraying social web, and a dysfunctional justice system.

At the heart of the matter of course is the still turbulent national discussion surrounding the series of violent events last September that resulted in the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero, igniting a public spectacle of accusations, arrests, outrage and fear with each new gut-wrenching revelation searing the senses of Mexicans at all levels of society six months later.

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Erica Il Cane. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

“This situation exposed a deep crisis in the power structures that has shaken opinions worldwide and has created a movement within our society where people are speaking out,” says Emilio Ocampo from FIFTY24MX, a gallery that shows the work of the artists and is securing walls in neighborhoods of Roma, Juárez, San Miguel Chapultepec, Centro Histórico, and Peralvillo.

Based on the response to the mural by Italian Street Artist EricaIlcane, however, “Manifesto” may be running into resistance against certain artistic speech, and censorship has suddenly appeared . The ribbon around the neck of a cymbal-banging monkey originally contained the colors of the Mexican flag but has now been painted black. The monkey was overlooking a street in a part of town central to political marches, and Ocampo says it “is always a very ‘sensitive’ part of the city.”

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Erica Il Cane. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

So, he says, “The owners were a little bit scared about the ribbon around the monkey.” For those living outside of Mexico, no particular association may be made from the green, white, and red bands hanging around the monkey’s neck, but here it has meaning.

“It seemed to him (the wall owner) as a direct reference to the presidential ribbon,” says Liliana Carpinteyro, Co-Director of the gallery with Arturo Mizrahi about the significance of the “banda presidencial”. Many discussions took place between all parties and “In the end the artist agreed to change it,” she says.

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Erica Il Cane. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

“You have to consider that this piece is located in the main downtown avenue where all the protesters pass through in their way to the Zócalo, where the “Palacio Nacional”, the national government headquarters, is located,” explains Carpinteyro.

Because many people were watching the creation of the wall and sharing images of it across their devices, the blackout sparked a lively reaction that included condemnation for cowardice. “This situation created a social media reaction, people were irritated and a freedom of speech dialogue happened,” says Carpinteyro, commenting on the outcry.

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Erica Il Cane. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

Unable to sway the building owner, the organizers were glad they could keep the monkey none-the-less. Ocampo sees the conversations and “the haters” as a positive development because the art and its censorship sparked just the kind of reaction people should be having right now.

“They wanted us to change the colors to black. But you know what? We like that censorship, and the reactions it produced. That also means that the message bothered someone. We love both images: with the tricolored ribbon and now with black.”

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Erica Il Cane painting it black. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

No stranger to controversy, the largely anonymous Italian BLU has similarly featured the banded colors of the Mexican flag in his mural but with bluntly acidic criticism – with the green appearing as dollars, the white as lines of cocaine, and the red a dripping liquid similar to blood. Framing the flag are military figures standing guard.

You may recall the coffins draped with dollars in the BLU mural that was censored at LA MoCA in 2011 during the “Art in the Streets” exhibition  – but so far this new one has not merited the same response.

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Blu. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

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Blu. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo courtesy © Fifty24MX )

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Blu. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

Just finishing her wall for “Manifesto” is the Colombian Street Artist Bastardilla, who uses a more subdued palette to depict cherubic writers with pencils for arrows afloat on an open text signed “Vivos Los Queremos”, circled by alligators in choppy waters.

Meanwhile Erica Il Cane has just completed his second mural yesterday; much less invective, but terrorizing none-the-less in its metaphorical circumstance. A snaggle-toothed and spotted member of the leopard family lowers his snapping smile upon five rabbits standing on hind legs as if to great him. One bunny even appears to offer a carrot. Another of los conejos is wearing an arm-band with the number “43”.

Ocampo says it is a little difficult to get new walls right now, but the organizers are not giving up. “Obviously the project will not be cancelled but we are still trying to get those permissions.”

“We think this incident is a reflection of the self-censorship that we decide to live in,” says Carpinteyro, “perhaps a result of living in a political system that for years has oppressed the weakest. But its also evidence that art has the capability to move people.”

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Bastardilla. Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

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Bastardilla.  Process shot. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

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Bastardilla.  Detail. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

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Bastardilla. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

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Erica Il Cane. MANIFESTO. Mexico City. February 2015. (photo © Nasser Malek Hernández)

“Manifesto” will include new works from BLU (Italy), Saner (Mexico), Swoon (US), Ericailcane (Italy), Franco JAZ Fasoli (Argentina), Curiot (Mexico), Bastardilla (Colombia), Ciler (Mexico), and Vena2 (Mexico).

Our very special thanks to Emilio Ocampo of FIFTY24MX Gallery @fifty24mx for his assistance with this article and to Nasser Malek Hernández @nssr21 for sharing his photos exclusively with BSA readers.

 

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post.

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Chris Stain and Charles Bukowski  – “Persons of Interest”

Chris Stain and Charles Bukowski – “Persons of Interest”

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BSA is in Berlin this month to present a new show of 12 important Brooklyn Street Artists at the Urban Nation haus as part of Project M/7. PERSONS OF INTEREST brings to our sister city a diverse collection of artists who use many mediums and styles in the street art scene of Brooklyn. By way of tribute to the special relationship that artist communities in both cities have shared for decades, each artist has chosen to create a portrait of a Germany-based cultural influencer from the past or present, highlighting someone who has played a role in inspiring the artist in a meaningful way.
 
Today we talk to Chris Stain and ask him why he chose his person of interest, Charles Bukowski.

Street Artist Chris Stain picks German-born American poet, novelist, and short story writer Charles Bukowki as his Person of Interest and it’s not hard to tell why. In his stencils and projection paintings Stain has recalled the struggles of the working class in the US, a background similar to his own youth in Baltimore, Maryland. “I want to convey an authentic contemporary document that illustrates the triumph of the human spirit as experienced by those in underrepresented urban and rural environments,” he has said when describing his work.

Bukowski championed a grizzled hardscrabble unromantic depiction of everyday life that was informed by his own family dynamics upon moving to Los Angeles as a child with a funny accent and an abusive father. His stories gave an up-close view of ordinary lives of many of America’s poor, richly bleak with beauty in the ugliness, dread and drudgery – along with observations about coping mechanisms that could be self-destructive. In 1986 Time called Bukowski a “laureate of American lowlife”,[note]Wikipedia, Charles Bukowski[/note]  a typically dismissive and classist review of his work by mainstream press, but his multiple novels, short stories, and other writings were highly valued for giving voice to many fans who saw their own lives reflected in his art. He also showed that he had of a sense of tough humor.

“I guess the only time most people think about injustice is when it happens to them.” – from Ham on Rye

“If I bet on humanity, I’d never cash a ticket.”

“The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts while the stupid one are full of confidence”.

“I do think that poetry is important though, if you don’t strive at it, if you don’t fill it full of stars and falseness.”

“I started reading the works of Charles Bukowski about 20 years ago,” says Chris Stain. “I can’t say I agree with all of his opinions but what keeps me returning to his books is his sheer honesty as he relates to the common people. Throughout his literary embellishments he maintains a certain amount of hope that I believe everyone can relate to as they traverse life’s pain and wonder. I feel honored to be able to create a portrait of this German born American poet in his homeland. “

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Chris Stain in Brooklyn (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain in Brooklyn (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Check out the Facebook page for PERSONS OF INTEREST

See Full Press Release HERE

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BSA Film Friday: 02.27.15

BSA Film Friday: 02.27.15

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

Now screening :

1. Banksy in Gaza: Vacation Promo
2. SOFLES Projection Mapping of His Mural in Melbourne
3.OLEK takes a Victory Lap Through 2014
4. Ben Eine Tags A Museum

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Banksy in Gaza: Vacation Promo

This new video from Banksy takes you on a grim tour of Gaza that is laced with sarcasm bordering on total cynicism. Released on his website Wednesday with a few photos from his trip, Banksy appears to have stenciled the last standing door in the ruins of a building. The anonymous UK Street Artist uses his art and satirical way with the language to make his point. “Gaza is often described as ‘the world’s largest open air prison’ because no-one is allowed to enter or leave. But that seems a bit unfair to prisons – they don’t have their electricity and drinking water cut off randomly almost every day,” he says on his page. His video says he climbed through tunnels to get there but maybe Banksy was in Tony Blair’s suitcase – the UN website says the former Prime Minister of the UK was there mid-month. “Gaza is a metaphor for all that is wrong,” wrote Mr. Tony Blair in an article after visiting Gaza on 14 February.

SOFLES Projection Mapping of His Mural in Melbourne

Selina Miles again directs and produces a film of Sofles at work that transcends the experience and gives you a sense of awe at his work, which truthfully is already often awesome. We’ve been a fan of and producer of events with projection mapping so we are glad to see a talented street artist use the technology in an effective way. The video begins innocently enough with some inking out an illustration on a canvas, then buffing of a wall in Melbourne. Later the sun goes down, and BAM!

OLEK takes a Victory Lap Through 2014

Expect to see Olek everywhere, we do!

 

Ben Eine Tags A Museum

London based street and graffiti artist Ben Eine knocked out a wall inside the Middlebury College Museum of Art as part of the upcoming exhibition OUTSIDE IN: ART OF THE STREET.

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“MURAL” Roundup, Montreal Arts Festival Keeps The Quality for Year 2

“MURAL” Roundup, Montreal Arts Festival Keeps The Quality for Year 2

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Montreal has shown up again on our radar this summer because of the second annual MURAL festival, a large gathering of art fans, performances and live painting. The quality of the work is high and appropriately placed center stage, and the caliber of the event draws a good cross section of modern public art fans who are there to see the art and meet the artists rather than rush past it on the way to the next music performance, beer tent, or drug deal.

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Kashink. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

A majority of the 20+ artists made their mark initially by doing graffiti/street art, about a third of them are Canadian, and all of them were stunted by heavy rains the first two days of the four-day event. By the weekend the sun had cleared the way for block parties, DJs, live painting, tours, and commercial vending along the Saint-Laurent and the golden age of murals was in full effect once again.

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Bryan Beyung. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

Impossible to place into one stylistic category, many of the massive pieces this year are singular portraits, or at least figurative, appealing on the whole, and with a handful of abstract and surreal tableaus. Transgressive themes, as in many street festivals around the world, are almost disappeared or nearly imperceptible — an irony of sorts considering the rebellious street culture that many of these artists evolved from. Ultimately, it is the quality of the endowment that gives it staying power and many of these new pieces will endure into the future in Montreal.

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Seth. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

Artists for the MURAL festival include:

123 Klan, Bezt from the Etam Cru, Zilon, Alex Scaner, Inti, Vilx, Cyrcle, Zema, Alex Diaz, Seth, Fred Caron, 2501, Zoltan, Kashink, Kevin Ledo, Bryan Beyung, Miss Me, Stikki Peaches, Mathieu Connery, Alex Produkt, and Le Diamantaire.

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Rone. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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RR & DB. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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INTI. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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Cyrcle. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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Zoltan. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

 

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Bizt/Etam Cru. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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Vilx. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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Fred Caron. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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Zilon. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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Zema. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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Kevin Ledo. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

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2501. Mural Festival 2014. Montreal, Canada. (photo © Daniel Esteban Rojas)

 

MURAL Montreal Festival: Day 1 and 2

Mural Montreal Festival: Day 3

 

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“Coachella Walls”: Date Farmers Raise Profile of “Anonymous Worker”

“Coachella Walls”: Date Farmers Raise Profile of “Anonymous Worker”

Seriously, like Coachella is NOT even like in Coachella. It’s like in Indio. True story.

The annual concert festival that brings legions of middle class to somewhat affluent feathered fringed bikini babes and awesome face-painted dudes dropping acid while texting and buying merch? – and which apparently features big-name indie music at some point over two weekends in April? That’s not here. That town is called Indio.

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Coachella Walls Poster at a local farm. (photo © Medvin Sobio)

Here in Coachella, the “City of Eternal Sunshine,” no one shoots YouTube videos about “How to Survive Coachella” with hints about SPF 55 sunscreen sticks and personal sized hand sanitizer. Here you will find a mostly rural, agricultural, family oriented community which struggles with poverty regularly. They also pick a lot of your food.

That’s why Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez, artistically joined as The Date Farmers, began an “arts-driven community revitalization project” on March 31st, recognized in California as Cesar Chavez Day.

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Armando Lerma of The Date Farmers keeps and eye on the rambunctious fans. (photo © Medvin Sobio)

Inviting solidly remarkable street art and mural-painting talents to show some camaraderie with the working men and women in this community, the first annual Coachella Walls has now made its mark in the Historic Pueblo Viejo District of downtown. Here also is the recently opened Date Farmers Art Studios, which they hope will serve as the city’s first art gallery and artist residency.

Thematically joined to honor Chavez and the Anonymous Farm Worker, the festival invited a group of muralists and contemporary artists with Latin American cultural influences in their work, including artists like El Mac (Arizona), Nunca (Brazil), Saner (Mexico), Andrew Hem (Cambodia), Liqen (Spain), Albert Reyes (Los Angeles), Vyal Reyes (Los Angeles), Sego (Mexico), The Phantom (Los Angeles), Jim Darling (Texas), and more.

According to the organizers, “Despite supplying the region with close to half a million dollars a year in vegetable crops, many of the farm workers in the Eastern Coachella Valley continue to live in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.” With murals, luck and a whole burlap sack of talent like this, Coachella Walls aims to bring awareness to these issues and others related to the life of the worker here.

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The Date Farmers (photo © Medvin Sobio)

Medvin Sobio was contacted by the Date Farmers to help produce and curate the public art project, and he shows us some of the images that came out of this very first annual event. Coachella Walls is funded by the city of Coachella’s public arts fund and is curated by Sobio, the director of The Academy of Street Art  in Los Angeles. Our thanks to Medvin and the Date Farmers for sharing these images with us.

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The Date Farmers at work on “Casa de Trabajador”(photo © Medvin Sobio)

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The Date Farmers (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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The Date Farmers (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Armando and Carlos assessing the progress. The Date Farmers (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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The Date Farmers (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Albert Reyes (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Albert Reyes (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Andrew Hem (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Andrew Hem with Carlos Ramirez of The Date Farmers (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Andrew Hem (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Andrew Hem (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Andrew Hem (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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El Mac (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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El Mac (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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El Mac chats with Andrew Hem. (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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El Mac. Carlos Ramirez of The Date Farmers snaps a shot. (photo © Medvin Sobio)

Says El Mac about this painting on his blog, “It’s not intended to represent any one specific person, but rather many people, especially the “anonymous farm worker”. Farm workers in this country have been marginalized despite producing the very food we all need for survival. The Coachella valley is an important region for farming, and has been the setting for many of the struggles by the UFW to to improve workers’ rights since the 60s..and you can feel this history there.”

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El Mac (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Nunca (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Nunca “The Band” (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Nunca “The Band” (photo © Medvin Sobio)

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Nunca “The Band” (photo © Medvin Sobio)

 

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Bushwick Is Hot Now. Hurry!

Bushwick Open Studios is Paved With Street Art

Brooklyn’s already percolating artists neighborhood called Bushwick continues to thrive despite the circling of real estate agents, lifestyle brands and celebrity chefs. Born in the mid-late 2000s as it’s older sister Williamsburg to the West began to professionalize, this noisily industrial and dirty artists haven got a reprieve from gentrifying forces when the deep recession slowed the rise of rents for artist spaces, which remained still relatively cheap by Manhattan’s standards. Today the area boasts a diverse influx of artists, students, cultural workers, and entrepreneurs who are experimenting and collaborating on projects and shows.

Spagnola (photo © Jaime Rojo)

That radical economic downturn probably also nurtured the nascent Street Art scene here, which was one of the early outliers of a cultural influx as artists and explorers began to skateboard to the local delis and stare at laptops for hours in the one or two cafes that offered  Wi-Fi. Outcroppings of this new art movement combined with old-school graffiti to pop up on selected concrete and corrugated walls, signposts, and deteriorated blocks where the authorities were disinterested and the neighbors only partially curious in their activities.

It’s an age-old New York story by now; a neglected or winding down post industrial neighborhood reacts to the incoming and odd-looking artists with a sort of bemused affection, happy that at least the block is getting some attention for a change. Puzzlement eventually leads to familiarity and then buying you a sandwich – and then asking you to paint a mural inside his foyer. While national and international Street Artists were already making Bushwick a stopping point thanks to some of the earliest galleries like Ad Hoc and Factory Fresh, the scene recently got newly shot in the arm by a local resident who is facilitating much desired legal wall space to a crowd of artists who otherwise would be hunting and hitting up less-than-legal spots.  Not to worry, there are plenty of aerosol renegades and ruffians scaling walls at night too; this is New York after all, yo.

Zimad (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But for now the Bushwick Collective, as it is newly christened by wall-man Joe Ficalora, has infused an adrenaline rush of creativity inside and outside the area that is roughly bordered by Flushing Avenue, Starr Street, Knickerbocker Avenue and Cypress Avenue.  The Collective has guidelines on content (nudity, politics, profanity) so the works are not completely unfettered in the true spirit of Street Art/graffiti, but most artists are happy for the luxury of time to complete their work and not look over their shoulder. With a selection of murals that are densely gathered and easy to walk through, the new collection has attracted attention from media folks (and tour guides) on the main island brave enough to venture into the gritty wilds of Brooklyn for a Street Art safari.

As Bushwick hosts its 7th annual open studios cultural event this weekend, intrepid pedestrians who march through opening parties, rooftop DJ jams, dance performances, live bands, transcendent costumery, sidewalk barbecues, open fire hydrants and more than 600 open artist studios will also be buffeted by a visual feast on the streets themselves. As long as the L Train is running (fingers crossed) you can just get off at the Morgan stop. From there it should be pretty easy for any curious art-in-the-street fan to be regaled with big and small works of graffiti, Street Art, tags, wheat-pastes, stencils, rollers, murals, and ad hoc installations all day and night.

Trek Matthews (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A shout out to Arts In Bushwick, an all volunteer organization that has steadily grown and fostered an open sense of community inclusiveness each year for Bushwick Open Studios and to the many volunteers who have contributed greatly to the success of many of the cultural workers here.  Without an open studios event many of these shy and quirky artists and performers would simply have stayed unknown and unknowable.

So far Bushwick still has the unbridled imperfect D.I.Y. enthusiasm of an experiment where anything can happen, but grey ladies with kooky bright colored spectacles have already begun to flip it over to inspect it with one hand while pinching their nose with the other, so savor this authentic moment.  Ethereal by nature, you know the Street Art scene is never guaranteed to you tomorrow – neither is the mythical artists bohemian hamlet of New York’s yesteryear.  For now we’re hopping on our bikes to catch a golden age of Bushwick before it’s repackaged and sold back to us at a price we can’t afford.

The first series of images are walls from the Bushwick Collective, followed by a series of walls that you may also see in the neighborhood.

MOMO (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Solus (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alice Pasquini (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Toofly and Col Wallnuts (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stik (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Billy Mode and Chris Stain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nard (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Overunder and LNY (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brett Flanigan and Cannon Dill (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Gats (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sheryo and The Yok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Here are a series of walls not related to Bushwick Collective.

ECB (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A portion of a wall by the 907 Crew, Sadue. Don Pablo Pedro, Smells, Cash4, and Keely (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Phetus (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rubin (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Peeta (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BR1 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Apolo Torres (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris, Veng, RWK and ECB (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cruz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KUMA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Free Humanity (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Keely and Deeker (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kremen (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For a full list of activities, studios, schedules and directions for Bushwick Open Studios 2013 click HERE.

 

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How & Nosm Studio Confessions

How & Nosm Studio Confessions

It is an age of self-discovery, and the twins continue to be surprised by what they find as they attack huge walls with zeal and precision in New York, LA, Miami, Stavanger, Prague, Las Vegas, Rochester, Philadelphia, Rio – all in the last 12 months. Now while they prepare for their new pop-up show, “Late Confessions”, to open in Manhattan in a couple of weeks, the combined subconscious of How & Nosm is at work, and on display are the personal storylines they will reveal if you are paying close attention.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s a crisp sunny Saturday in Queens and we’re in the studio of a secured elevator building with cameras and clean floors and air thick with aerosol. Davide (or is it Raoul?) is on his knees with a tub of pink plastering goo, applying and smoothing and sanding this large oddly-shaped structure. When it is painted it will debut in the newly renovated Chelsea space whose walls were destroyed during the flooding of falls’ super storm “Sandy”. The gallery space of Jonathan Levine wasn’t large enough for the scale the brothers have grown accustomed to working with, so this more cavernous temporary location will take on a feeling of being part exhibition, part theme park.

How & Nosm. At work on a sculpture. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The impermanent sculpture of pressed cardboard is rocking between his knees as he straddles the beast and chides his dog Niko for jumping up on it. Rather than a sculpture, you may think it’s a prop for a high school play at this phase, but soon it will become a shiny black beacon of psychological/historical symbolism culled from the collection of objects they gather in travel. Born from the imagination of the brothers and affixed with bird decoys, clock faces, large plastic blossoms, and a rotary dial telephone, these rolling clean lines and saw-toothed edges of these sculptures will glisten under a heavy coating of midnight lacquer soon.

How & Nosm. Detail from a sculpture. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like so much of the work HowNosm choose for their sweeping street murals, these new pieces may be read as undercover confessions of artists on display, but you’ll need to figure that out on your own.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As you walk through the high-ceilinged studio, the excited twins talk continuously in their deep baritones at the same time at you around you and in German to each other. The barrage of stories are spilling out and trampling and crashing like cars off rails; An energetic parlay of authoritative statements and direct questions about work, walls, gallerists, graffers, cops, trains, toys, techniques. All topics are welcomed and examined, sometimes intensely. Sincere spikes of laughter and sharp swoops of fury act in concert: clarifying, praising, and dissing as they swirl in a rolling volley of goodness, pleasantly spliced with a caustic grit.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Looking at the precise lines and vibrant patterns at play in their work today, there is a certain cheerfulness and high regard for design in the compositions and sense of balance. Both of them site influences as wide as early graffiti, later wild style, cubism, and the abstractionists in their work. Fans are attracted to the confident and attractive illustrative depictions of scenes and characters, appreciating the ever strengthening free-hand command of the aerosol can and stencil techniques that HowNosm have demonstrated in their machine-like march through the streets of world over the last decade plus.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Though they estimate they have visited over 70 countries, they still love New York and both call Brooklyn their home right now.  And while the work they do hits a pleasure center for many viewers, time with both reveals that the stories within can be anything but cheerful. Raoul characterizes their work as dark and negative, born from their shared past, the adversity of their childhood.

“Negative sounds… I don’t know if that’s the right word for it,” says Davide, “but it’s not the bright side of life.”

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And so goes the duality you’ll find everywhere – a study of opposites intertwined. One paints a skull in the half circle, the other paints it’s reflection alive with flesh. You’ll see this split throughout, unified.

“We came from one sperm. We split in half,” says Raoul. “Life, death, good, bad. We’re one, you know. We used to do pieces by ourselves with graff – you know I would do “How” and he would do “Nosm” – then with the background we would connect.  Now we would just do pieces with our name “HowNosm” together as one word. I never do a How anymore, really.”

Their early roots in graffiti are always there, even as they became labeled as Street Artists, and more recently, contemporary artists. But it’s a continuum and the line may undulate but it never leaves the surface.  Davide describes their auto-reflexive manner of moving from one icon or scenario to another seamlessly across a wall and he likens it to a graffiti technique of painting one continuous stream of aerosol to form a letter or word.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“It’s like a ‘one-liner’,” he says, referring to the graffiti writer parlance for completing a piece with one long line of spray. “That’s kind of far from what we are doing right now but it is all kind of one piece. The line stops but it kind of continues somewhere. We are refining and refining, and it takes time to develop.”

Blurring your eyes and following the visual stories, it may appear that a spiral motion reoccurs throughout the red, black, and white paintings of HowNosm. Frequently the pattern draws the viewers eye into the center and then swirls it back out to connect to another small tightening of action. While we talk about it Raoul traces in the air with his index finger a series of interconnected spiral systems, little tornadoes of interrelated activity.

How & Nosm. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This technique of creating inter-connected storylines is a way of intentional communication and storytelling, and how they describe events and relationships. It is an approach that feels sort of automatic to the brothers. “Our pieces make you think. You look and look and you find more images and you try to understand the whole concept,” says Davide. “I think you can spend quite some time just looking at one piece. You start somewhere and you can develop a story around it but you go somewhere else in the piece and you may do the opposite.”

Would you care to make a comparison to those other well known Street Art twins, Os Gemeos? They are used to it, but aside from being brothers of roughly the same age who began in graffiti and work on the streets with cans, they don’t find many similarities.

“Our stuff is more depressing,” says Raoul, “and way more critical. We talk about the negative aspects and experiences in life.” How much is autobiographical? As it turns out, it is so autobiographical that both brothers refer to their painting historically as a therapy, a cathartic savior that kept them out of jail and even away from drugs growing up.

“We kind of had a very disturbed childhood,” explains Raoul, “Welfare too, so…. I smile a lot and shit but in my paintings I think it is more important to express myself with what most people want to suppress and not show, you know? There’s a lot of love stuff, too. Like heartbroken stuff, financial situations – about myself or other people.”

How & Nosm. The sun goes through a hand cut stencil. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Davide agrees and expands the critical thinking they display in these open diaries to include larger themes they address; deceptively rotten people, corporate capitalism, familial dissension, hypocrisy in society, corruption in government.  It’s all related, and it is all right here in black and white. And red.

“Ours are continuing lines,” Davide says as he traces the canvas with his fingers, “Like this knife here is going to turn into a diamond.”

Niko provides security and inspiration at the studio. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm. Detail of a completed sculpture. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm. Detail of a completed sculpture. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

How & Nosm’s pop-up exhibition “Late Confessions” with the Jonathan Levine Gallery opens on February 1st.  at 557 West 23rd Street, New York, NY 10011. Click here for more details.

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