All posts tagged: New Mexico

Jetsonorama Tells “Stories From Ground Zero”

Jetsonorama Tells “Stories From Ground Zero”

This spill and these events did not happen in San Diego, or Palm Beach. The story doesn’t affect wealthy white families and cannot be used to sell shampoo or real estate. That’s probably why we don’t see it in the press and never on the talking-head news. Street Artist Jetsonorama is not only a photographer who has been wheat-pasting his stunning images of people and nature on desert buildings for over a decade, he is also a doctor on the Navajo reservation, a human-rights activist, and an erudite scholar of American history as it pertains to the poisoning of this land and these people. Today we’re pleased to bring you this long-form examination from Jetsonorama’s perspective on a complicated and tragic US story of environmental poisoning and blight that affects generations of native peoples, miners, military personnel, and everyday people – and has no end in sight.

Most alarming is the news that current White House administration is endeavoring to mine uranium here again.

JC with her younger sister, Gracie (who is a NBCS participant).  (photo © Jetsonorama)

Stories from Ground Zero

Text by Jetsonorama

July 16, 1945 was an auspicious day in the history of humankind and the planet as the US Army’s Manhattan Project detonated Trinity, the first atomic bomb, in Jornada del Muerto, NM.  (“Jornada del Muerto” fittingly translates as “Journey of the Dead Man” or “Working Day of the Dead.”)  July 16 is also the day of one of the worst nuclear accidents in US history with the Church Rock, NM uranium tailings spill in 1979 on the Navajo nation (occurring 5 months after the nuclear reactor meltdown at Three Mile Island).

Larry King, a Church Rock resident who was an underground surveyor at the Church Rock Uranium mine at the time the dam failed in 1979, speaks to a group of anti-uranium activists on the 40th anniversary of the spill, July 16, 1979.  Activists were present from Japan and across the U.S (photo © Jetsonorama)

An earthen dam holding uranium tailings and other toxic waste ruptured releasing 1,100 tons of uranium waste and 94 million gallons of radioactive water into the Rio Puerco and through Navajo lands.  Sheep in the wash keeled over and died as did crops along the river bank.  According to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report the levels of radioactivity in the Rio Puerco near the breached dam were 7000 times that of what is allowed in drinking water.

In an effort to end WWII and to beat the Soviets in developing a hydrogen bomb, uranium mining under the Manhattan Project began on Navajo and Lakota lands in 1944.  Two years later management of the program was transferred to the US Atomic Energy Commission.  The Navajo nation provided the bulk of the country’s uranium ore for our nuclear arsenal until uranium prices dropped in the mid 80s and is largely responsible for our winning the Cold War.

Larry King. Church Rock. (photo © Jetsonorama)

However, environmental regulation for mining the ore was nonexistent in the period prior to the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970.  During this time uranium mining endangered thousands of Navajo workers in addition to producing contamination that persists in adversely affecting air and water quality and contaminating Navajo lands with over 500 abandoned, unsealed former mine sites.

Private companies hired thousands of Navajo men to work the uranium mines and disregarded recommendations to protect miners and mill workers. In 1950 the U.S. Public Health Service began a human testing experiment on Navajo miners without their informed consent during the federal government’s study of the long-term health effects from radiation poisoning.  This study followed the same violation of human rights protocol as the US Public Health Service study on the long-term effects of syphilis on humans by experimenting on non-consenting African American men in what is known as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment from 1932 – 1972.

JC and Gracie (photo © Jetsonorama)

In May 1952 the Public Health Service and the Colorado Health Department publish a paper called “An interim Report of a Health Study of the Uranium Mines and Mils.” 

The report noted that levels of radioactive radon gas and radon particles (known as “radon daughters”), were so high in reservation mines that they recommended wetting down rocks while drilling to reduce dust which the miners breathed; giving respirators to the workers; mandating daily showers after a work shift, frequent changes of clothing, loading rocks into wagons immediately after being chipped from the wall to decrease time for radon to escape and for miners to receive pre-employment physicals.  Sadly, the recommendations were ignored.

Activist + community organizer, Leona Morgan, of Nuclear Issues Study Group, Diné No Nukes and the Radiation Monitoring Project spoke at the Church Rock 40th Anniversary commemoration.  She noted “The Church Rock Chapter of the Navajo Nation passed a resolution in July 2018 opposing the storage and transport of high-level nuclear waste from nuclear power reactors across the country through the local community along the railroad track. There are two proposals for nuclear waste storage of irradiated fuel from power reactors, which are going through the neighborhood process as part of the application for a license from the United States nuclear regulatory commission. The Navajo nation currently has a ban on transportation of radioactive materials unless it’s for cleanup of legacy waste from uranium mining or milling for medical purposes.  However, the Navajo nation‘s jurisdiction does not extend to state and federal roads and railways. Still there is a need for protection from further contamination of radioactive materials within the homeland of Diné peoples.” (photo © Jetsonorama)

By 1960 the Public Health Service definitely declared that uranium miners faced an elevated risk of pulmonary cancer.  However, it wasn’t until June 10, 1967 that the Secretary of Labor issued a regulation declaring that “…no uranium miner could be exposed to radon levels that would induce a higher risk of cancer than that faced by the general population.”  By this time, it was too late.  In the 15 years after the uranium boom the cancer death rate among the Diné doubled from the early 1970s to the late 1990s while the overall U.S. cancer death rate declined during this same interval.

As high rates of illness began to occur workers were frequently unsuccessful in court cases seeking compensation.  In 1990 Congress passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act which seeks to make compensation available to persons exposed to fallout from nuclear weapons testing and for living uranium miners, mill workers or their survivors who had worked in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona between January 1, 1947 and December 31, 1971.  An amendment to this bill is awaiting Congress after its recess that will expand years of coverage from 1971 to the mid 1990s as well as expanding the regions of the US covered.

Harvey Speck (photo © Jetsonorama)

At the other end of the life spectrum the Navajo Birth Cohort Study is the first prospective epidemiologic study of pregnancy and neonatal outcomes in a uranium-exposed population.  The goal of the Navajo Birth Cohort Study (NBCS) is to better understand the relationship between uranium exposures and birth outcomes and early developmental delays on the Navajo Nation.  It started in 2014 and has funding through 2024.

The text around JC + Gracie reads “The Navajo Nation encompasses more than 27,000 square miles across three states – New Mexico, Utah + Arizona – and is the largest home for indigenous people in the U.S.  From 1944 to 1986 hundreds of uranium and milling operations extracted an estimated 400 million tons of uranium ore from Diné (Navajo) lands.  These mining + processing operations have left a legacy of potential exposures to uranium waste from abandoned mines/mills, homes and other structures built with mining waste which impacts the drinking water, livestock + humans.”
“As a heavy metal, uranium primarily damages the kidneys + urinary system.  While there have been many studies of environmental + occupational exposure to uranium and associated renal effects in adults, there have been very few studies of other adverse health effects.  In 2010 the University of New Mexico partnered with the Navajo Area Indian Health Service and Navajo Division of Health to evaluate the association between environmental contaminants + reproductive birth outcomes.”
“This investigation is called the Navajo Birth Cohort Study and will follow children for 7 years from birth to early childhood.  Chemical exposure, stress, sleep, diet + their effects on the children’s physical, cognitive + emotional development will be studied.” (photo © Jetsonorama)

Efforts to mine uranium adjacent to the Grand Canyon have accelerated during the Trump administration.  The most pressing threat comes from Canyon Mine located closely to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Because of the plethora of abandoned mines on the reservation the Navajo Nation banned uranium mining on the reservation in 2005. 

However, it’s possible still to transport ore from off the reservation across the reservation.  Approximately 180 miles of the Canyon Mine haul route would cross the Navajo Nation where trucks hauling ore had 2 separate accidents in 1987.

“Everybody is afraid of nuclear war.  Are they not waging nuclear war when the miners die from cancer from mining the uranium?”  John Trudell (Cyndy Begay holding a photo of her dad.) (photo © Jetsonorama)
T Shirt for Uranium Survivors (photo © Jetsonorama)
DOE Map from 2014
South Canyon mine. (photo courtesy of Jetsonorama)

For more information on these and other uranium related issues at Ground Zero, check:

  1. www.facebook.com/nuclearissuesstudygroup/
  2. www.radmonitoring.org
  3. www.facebook.com/NIRSnet
  4. www.facebook.com/NukeWatch.NM
  5. www.indigenousaction.org
  6. www.grandcanyontrust.org
  7. www.stopcanyonmine.org

Additional links that further the story:

https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/ne8w4x/church-rock-americas-forgotten-nuclear-disaster-is-still-poisoning-navajo-lands-40-years-later

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BSA Top Stories 2017 – As Picked by You

BSA Top Stories 2017 – As Picked by You

Berlin, Kathmandu, Santa Fe, Brooklyn, Sweden, London, New York, the country of Georgia, Raleigh, North Carolina. The favorite stories of BSA readers spanned all of these places this year as we documented this global people’s art movement variously described as Street Art/ graffiti/ urban art. We put it out there daily and you react to it – sharing it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – starting conversations and creating connections.

The topics of these 15 favorite stories run the gamut as well; From Banksy and Brexit, Marxism and Urvanity to a bodega completely made of felt, your voracious appetite was wide ranging. From a well crafted graffiti writing exhibition at a white suburban Pennsylvania college where the tuition is 50K to an attempt to bring reassuring cultural heritage art to the streets of Kathmandu where the museum was destroyed by an earthquake – the extremes and ironies only peaked your interest.

You loved seeing and hearing Martha Cooper getting her first solo exhibition in New York and the mania that queued thousands to see the transformation of a 5 floor bank in Berlin by graffiti writers, Street Artists, installation artists and performers. You care about the earth and its people, like the story of ICY an SOT in the country of Georgia making human sculptures of trash as a critique of globalized waste, and the story of Chip Thomas using his Street Art to draw attention to a traditional Hopi farming technique called “dry farming”.

And in 2017 the resonance of ‘Resistance is Female’ catapulted our story of the illegal campaign of phone booth takeovers to the top 15, showing that a uniquely impactful high-jacking of the advertising streetscape is always going to win fans.

No matter where we went in 2017, BSA readers were always invited to go along with us and discover people and art on the street and in the gallery or the museum whether it was in Scotland, Hong Kong, Berlin, Sweden, Mexico or Tahiti. We captured what we could and interpreted it – and you told us what you liked by re-Tweeting and re-Gramming and re-Facebooking.

From 365 postings over the last year, here are the 15 you liked the most.


No. 15

Marx and Engels Statues Re-Skinned & Re-Located : Various & Gould

Various & Gould. Berlin, June 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Why do you glorify and duplicate these two criminals?! They shouldn’t have a monument at all. Next you’re doing Hitler?”

Various and Gould try to paraphrase some of the comments they received from passersby in a park near the town-hall in centrally located Berlin-Mitte while working on their latest project with a statue of the creators of Marxist theory. Some imagined they were glorifying, others alleged defamation.

“It’s a shame how you treat Marx and Engels!”

Truthfully, this new project in public space that literally copies a monument and then transfers it to another location didn’t have much to do with the capitalist system that creates/allows very rich and very poor people, but it certainly adds stories to the overall experience of Various and Gould.

Various & Gould: Marx & Engels. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 14

“MADRID ME MATA”: Another Look at “Urvanity”

Roc Blackblock Milicians Madrid, Spain. February 2017 (photo © Fer Alcalá FujifilmXT10)

MADRID ME MATA…in a good sense,”

says Fernando Alcalá Losa, the avid Barcelona based photographer of street culture. He doesn’t literally mean that the Spanish capital is deadly, but rather speaks of his devotion to Madrids’ energy, its possibility, its history, its people, and to its art. The torrid affairs of the heart are invariably complicated, as is the evolution of graffiti and Street Art from their outlaw illegal roots to their flirtations and trysts with other forms and venues; murals, in-studio practice, gallery representation, institutional recognition, or commercial viability.

We are pleased that Mr. Alcalá Losa comes to talk to BSA readers today and takes us to Madrid for the new art fair called “Urvanity” to see what he discovers with you, courtesy his words and his lovers’ view behind the camera.

Madrid Me Mata…in a good sense. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 13

Lucy Sparrow Opens an All-Felt Bodega in NYC : “8 ‘Till Late”

Lucy Sparrow 8 ‘Till Late (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s 8 ‘Till Late, artist Lucy Sparrows first all-felt store in New York, and it’s literally just under the Standard Hotel in the Meat Packing district. She’s made 9,000 items over roughly 9 months out of this soft fabric-like craft material – and at first impression it sincerely looks like everything you would have found in a New York bodega in the 1990s aside from the hard liquor, which is actually illegal to sell outside a liquor store in NYC, but relax, its all heartfelt.

“We sell quite a lot of self-help books as well,” chimes in Clare Croome, a cashier.

“Yes! Self-help books! Have you seen them?” says Brooks “They’ve got nothing in them on the pages, they’re just blank.”

Lucy Sparrow 8 ‘Till Late. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 12

“All Big Letters” Opens, Curated by RJ Rushmore

Faust. All Big Letters curated by RJ Rushmore at Haverford College’s Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Philadephia, PA (photo © Lisa Boughter)

“I wanted to exhibit the mind of a graffiti writer in a gallery, and make that mindset understandable to your average gallery-goer,” he tells us. “To me, that means appreciating not just the finished piece, but how and why it came to be.”

By showing artists, works, photography, and tools that judiciously span the 50 or so years that mark the era of modern mark-making in the public sphere, Rushmore threads a story line that he hopes a visitor can gain an appreciation for in this art, sport, and quest for fame.

All Big Letters. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 11

Anonymouse: Miniature Vignettes on the Street for “No Limit” Festival in Boras, Sweden

Anonymouse. No Limit Boras 2017. Boras, Sweden. September 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Miniaturization on the street or in the museum (or in the street museum) causes you to focus on detail, draw closely, to recall your childhood ability to freely invoke a sense of fantasy.

“Since our visitors are mostly nocturnal, our opening hours are quite generous,” the artists known as Anonymous say in reference to their nighttime installations, sometimes glowing with electric light in the lee of a bridge column, or the shadow of a door. They reference the famous Swedish children’s book author Astrid Lindren in their work, and you can easily visualize a small mouse family or a business mouse or a house mouse or church mouse astutely moving through these vignettes, living their important lives.

Possibly one is currently occupied in a back room of one of these installations at the moment but they will be returning presently to greet their new visitor – you, with your big face. Don’t worry, they like you to get up close. They may even provide a magnifying glass for you to get a closer look.

Anonymouse. Minuature Vignettes. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 1o

Bunnies, Birds, Sexuality and VINZ Feel Free’s “Innocence” in Brooklyn

Vinz Feel Free. “Innocence” The Marcy Project. Williamsburg, Brooklyn. November 4th. 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Birds are associated with freedom, fish remind him of mindless consumerism, and frogs convey authority. He reserves reptiles for soulless soldiers of capital and authoritarian types. And the sudden preponderance of rabbits? Why sexuality and innocence of course.

“Innocence” is the name of the exhibition here curated by BSA and DK Johnston, and Vinz Feel Free has been preparing these works for many months. A project that has included his study of innocence, the show is meant to demarcate such shadings of the concept as to appear only subtly different from one another. To wit:

1. The quality or state of being innocent; freedom from sin or moral wrong.
2. Freedom from legal or specific wrong; guiltlessness.

Vinz Feel Free. “Innocence”.  Continue reading HERE

 


No. 09

Julien De Casabianca, Angry Gods, and Hacking Disaster in Kathmandu

Julien De Casabianca. Outings Project. Kathmandu, Nepal. January, 2017 (photo © Karma Tshering Gurung & Sanam Tamang/ Artudio)

If you are not going into the museum to see art, Julien De Casabianca is happy to bring it out to the street for you. Additionally, if the museum has been closed by an earthquake, he’ll make sure the art gets a public viewing nonetheless.

In Kathmandu recently Street Artist Julien de Casabianca continued his Outings Project by bringing a centuries-old painting outside to the side of the Artudio building in Swoyambhu on Chhauni Hospital Road with the help of Matt Rockwell of the humanitarian hackers group called DisasterHack.

He tells us that the obstacles to getting this piece up seemed insurmountable at times due to the broken social and infrastructural systems in Nepal that still plague people even today, nearly two years since the catastrophic earthquake that killed nearly 9,000 and injured 22,000 more.

Julien De Casabianca/Outings Projects in Kathmandu. Continue reading HERE


No. 08

Rocking “THE HAUS” : A 5-Floor Berlin Bank is Transformed by Artists

Kaleido. The Haus. Berlin. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Normally we paint advertising – hand-painted advertising, mostly with cans. So we work all over Germany, with a lot of crews, “ says Kimo, a bearded, bald energetic and sharp witted guy who is lighting up a cigarette in this tattered, beige ex-conference room.  That explanation doesn’t prepare you for what you will see in the rooms upstairs.

The floors are piled with unopened paint buckets and brushes and cans and the walls in this organizing office are covered with scotch-taped project timelines, to-do lists, and floor plans of the old bank. Each former office space is plainly labled with names of German Street Artists or graffiti  crews, some you recognize, others you don’t. More recent Street Art names are next to classic Graff heads, installation  artists mix freely with Optic Artists, photographers, sculptors, even a live moss installation.

Case Maclaim is right next door to Turbokultur with Stohead out in the hall on floor 1.  El Bocho and Emess are in small rooms to either side of 1UP on the 3rd. Herakut in a corner room numbered 506 is right next to Nick Platt and Paul Punk in 505.

Rocking The Haus. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 07

Working the Cornfields on a Santa Fe Facade with Jetsonorama

Chip Thomas. Santa Fe, New Mexico, Earth Day 2017. (photo © John Donalds)

18 year old Hawthorne Hill has learned the traditional Hopi farming technique called “dry farming” from his mom, according to Jetsonorama, and he places seeds in shallow holes, while his sister Metzli creates rows of wind blocks using nearby brush.

The photos are taken on Second Mesa on the Hopi nation, but the artist brings them here to Santa Fe as part of a project he’s doing with Biocultura Santa Fe.

A project originally conceived of as part of Earth Day, with a focus on where our food comes from and traditional farming methods, its good to think of who works to bring food to your table.

Working The Cornfields. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 06

“A Real Turning Point” : Sculptures on the Art Mile at Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art

Seth Globepainter. Art Mile. Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I think it’s a real turning point as far as seeing three dimensional things,” says Street Artist and fine artist Ben Frost while hand painting text on the side of the large facsimiles of pharmaceutical boxes that he’s creating for the UN Art Mile. “I think sculptures and installations have been paving a way forward for Street Art.”

In fact sculpture and all manner of three dimensional installations as Street Art have been a part of the current century for sure, from the variety of lego and yarn artists to the soldiered steel tags of REVS and eco-bird houses of XAM and small little men made of wood by Stikman – among many others.

For the opening of UN this weekend, the Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art in Berlin this week, a curated selection of artists working in such dimensions were invited to create substantial pieces – including video installation, mobile, interactive, the purely static. Enjoy the variety of works by Street Artists who are working today.

Urban Nation Berlin. Art Mile. Continue reading HERE


No. 05

“Resistance is Female” Takes Over Phone Booths in New York

Gigi Chen for #resistanceisfemale (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The decentralized Resistance, as it turns out, is a majority of Americans.

And leading the charge are women and girls.

So it makes perfect sense that a new grassroots takeover of telephone booth advertising in New York is a campaign called, “Resistance is Female”. Organizers and artists say that the ad takeover project is putting out a message that corporate controlled media seems to be quelling: keep fighting, keep speaking up, persevere.

The artists have put up a couple of dozen or so new art pieces in places where typecast women typically sell shampoo or fashions: a high-jacking of the advertising streetscape which the French and the Situationists would have called détournement in earlier decades.

Resistance Is Female. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 04

Street Artist OLEK and Volunteers Create NINA SIMONE Tribute in Raleigh, NC

Olek. Nina Simone “Here Comes The Sun” Love Across The USA. Raleigh, North Carolina. October 2017. (photo © courtesy Olek)

Susan B. Anthony, Harriet Tubman, Nina Simone; Three of the women whom Street Artist Olek would like us to remember from U.S. history, and who have been recently featured in public crochet portraits. Her most recent portrait done with help from the community brings art made by the public to the public in a country-wide project called “Love Across the USA”.

Sparked a year ago leading up to the US national election where a woman was on the ballot, Olek says that despite the negativity that followed, “it inspired me to create a project that would celebrate the accomplishments of women, many of whom had been forgotten throughout U.S. history.”

Today we go to Raleigh, NC to see the most recent banner of Nina Simone crocheted by Olek and a small army of volunteers. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nina_Simone, the American singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and activist in the Civil Rights Movement.

Olek. Here Comes The Sun. Continue reading HERE

 


No. 03

Icy & Sot and a Man of Trash in Tbilisi, Georgia

Icy & Sot.  “Human reflection on nature”. Tbilisi, Georgia. May 2017. (photo © Icy & Sot)

15 centuries old, Tbilisi may not last as long as this garbage man sculpture by Street Artists Icy & Sot.

“It took us only 10 minutes to collect all this trash because there was so much of it – including American brands – in the river by this village,” says Icy as he tells us about the trip he and his brother Sot made last month. A gorgeous and historically diverse city of 1.5 million people, Tbilisi reflects art, architecture, trade and culture that have given the Georgian capital a reputation as a crossroads for Europe and Asia.

During their stay with the Art Villa Garikula, a self organized community contemporary art center begun Tbilisi born painter and educator, Karaman Kutateladze in 2000, Icy and Sot did two pieces and an ad takeover that reflect the global problems posed by a consumer culture sold by corporations with little concern for its impact long term.

Icy & Sot. Human reflections on nature. Continue reading HERE

 

No. 02

“Martha Cooper” Solo Exhibition Reveals Many Unseen “Action Shots”

Martha Cooper signing the print of Futura 2000 whole car “Break”,  Steven Kasher Gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

An intrepid photographer who has launched a million dreams (and perhaps a few thousand careers) in graffiti and Street Art with her photography that captured crucial and seminal aspects of our culture that others overlooked.

That is just one way of seeing this brand new collection of images by Martha Cooper that is spread across one wall featuring artists at work, sometimes intimately. Here is where you see 102 individual shots of artists at work, a stunning testament to the range of art-making techniques that are practiced in the public realm, as well as a testament to the passion and curiosity of the woman behind the lens.

For Ms. Cooper’s first solo photography show in New York, Steven Kasher Gallery is featuring 30 new editions of her legendary street art photographs, the ones that have burned themselves into the collective memory of New York and of our streets in the 1970s and 1980s. While her photographs in the 1984 seminal “Subway Art” and her early Hip Hop street shots may be what she is most known for by artists and collectors and fans in cities around the world to which she travels, the new exhibit also contains more than a foreshadowing into the vast collection of important images she has not shown to us.

Martha Cooper Solo Show. Continue reading HERE

 

No. 01

Banksy Hits Brexit With New Piece, MaisMenos & BLU Used EU Flag Earlier

Banksy. Dover, England. Photo @banksy Instagram

The appearance of a new mural by Banksy in Dover, England caught the attention of many followers on his Instagram account and the mass media folks quickly reported on the new piece that comments on the current state of the EU.

10 months since the Brexit vote, the anonymous artist has created a thoughtful piece marking the crack in the European Union, depicting a white male worker on a ladder chipping away one of the stars on the EU flag, a fissure produced by the action reaching upwards and outwards toward the others.

Banksy Brexit. Continue reading HERE

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BSA Film Friday 04.28.17

BSA Film Friday 04.28.17

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

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

Now screening :
1. Colouring The World. A Film By Okuda San Miguel
2. Borondo “Golden Gate”
3. Elbi Elem in Barcelona for 12+1 P
4. Chip Thomas in Santa Fe, New Mexico at Biocultura

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: Colouring The World. A Film By Okuda San Miguel

The pleasing and bright geometry of Okuda has wide appeal to many audiences and he maximizes the effect with his choice of amiable animals and friendly themes. It’s a worldwide dance party for this artist and last year he took his public and commercial murals to many cities in places like Australia, Tahiti, and Thailand. And Miami, naturally.

Borondo “Golden Gate”

Dude, I told you – turn your phone so it’s landscape when you are doing video!

Just kidding. Here’s a video installation from a group show in March 2017 called COLERA in Rome’s Galleria Varsi.

Made as a stop action animation of a house on fire by Matteo Beradone with music by Enzo Pietropaoli. The multiple monotype prints by the Street Artist/Fine Artist Borondo are moving and crackling, inflected with gold leaf shadings, each different and evocative of the rapid flickering of fire, drowning in a reflective sea.

The group show also included Run, Canemorto and Michele Servadio during a two week residency at the gallery. You can see how the images were displayed in the photo from Borondo below the video

 

Elbi Elem in Barcelona for 12+1 Project

Here’s a process video of artist Elbi Elem at work on her mural for the 12+1 Project in Barcelona this spring.

To quote ourselves: ” ‘Break with the rectangle as the space to intervened,’ says artist Elbi Elem, the March painter for this wall curated monthly in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain. The abstract muralist says she began making kinetic sculpture in 2002 and has an interest in movement, composition and form.”

 

Chip Thomas in Santa Fe, New Mexico at Biocultura

Chip Thomas is a master at wheatpasting his large scale photographs, and has been doing this kind of art for many years now, usually with a genuine social mission and without great fanfare. This project is with Social Media Workgroup on the side of the Biocultura event space in Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Jetsonorama’s New Piece in Telluride and “Wastewater Snow”

Jetsonorama’s New Piece in Telluride and “Wastewater Snow”

“What we do to the mountains we do to ourselves,” says the blocky hand written text across the Native American activists Klee and Princess Benally, and on the face of it you’re bound to agree with this gently oblique environmental sentiment. However, at the base of this black, white and crimson red portrait is a far stronger critique of the commercial practice of using wastewater to make snow for ski bunnies.

 brooklyn-street-art-chip-thomas-jim-hurst-telluride-05-16-web-1

Jetsonorama (photo © Jim Hurst)

Street Artist Jetsonorama (real name Chip Thomas) is on a ladder in Telluride just in time for the famed and prestigious Mountain Film Festival and he says he only has a two week permit for this mural during the Memorial Day-centered event that kicks off Wednesday downtown at Sheridan Bar. He seems like he has doubts about locals’ ability to stomach a broadside like this piece of art in public space, but he’s got a long history of bringing people’s history to the people.

It’s sort of an irony that a film festival named after mountains in a picturesque Colorado town that is lauded for its views of said mountains may not be addressing this issue more directly.

brooklyn-street-art-chip-thomas-telluride-05-16-web-3

Jetsonorama (photo © Chip Thomas)

The website for the festival says that it “showcases nonfiction stories about environmental, cultural, climbing, political and social justice issues that matter” and yet it may takes a couple of tenderly posed Native Americans wheat-pasted on a prominent wall in a 96% white town to really get the conversation going. The festival is giving the new mural full support however and program director Kate Klingsporn even assisted in the installation and wrote about it on the festival blog.

“Chip’s work has made a huge impression in our small town this week and it’s been amazing to talk to people about it,” says David Holbrooke, the Festival Director. “One woman told me she was spending a lot of time with it and a friend told me that it sets the tone for Telluride,” he says and remarks about a spirit in the town that he thinks can countenance difficult issues where others might ignore them.

“Despite it’s size,” Holbrooke say, “Telluride has an unusual history of bold innovation and I think the mural reflects that very much.”

brooklyn-street-art-chip-thomas-telluride-05-16-web-2

Jetsonorama (photo © Chip Thomas)

And the issue, as explained by native activist Klee Benally in the short video “Waste Water” below, directed by Mari Cleven, is that 13 indigenous nations consider a local mountain range to be sacred and that putting treated sewage effluent upon it is tantamount to desecration. Religious liberty aside, it also appears during public hearings in the video that standards of testing the water used to make this snow may be overlooking some pretty gross ingredients that will later turn local people and animals into science experiments.

“I wanted to help opponents of waste water snow so I interviewed several friends about the issue,” says Jetsonorama, “Whatever they said was written onto their faces and then photographed.” In addition to this large piece he also pasted a handful of other faces in Flagstaff with related opinions written across their faces.

brooklyn-street-art-chip-thomas-telluride-05-16-web-1

Jetsonorama (photo © Chip Thomas)

This old mining town may like to talk about being home to the first bank robbed by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, but will it want to talk about yellow snow or pharmaceutical residues seeping into soil, washing into rivers, eaten by toddlers in snowsuits?

Interestingly, Jetsonorama tells us that the town of Telluride has a ban on public art but an exception was made for the film festival.  The temporary permit is expiring right after Memorial Day and the future of this mural is uncertain. He says that the town council will meet May 31st to determine the mural’s fate.  “My fingers are crossed,” says the artist.

 

 

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Jetsonorama’s The Painted Desert Project at The Navajo Nation will resume this year with in situ works by Icy & Sot, Sten & Lex among others. We’ll bring you their new works as they appear across the desert.

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A version of this article was also published on The Huffington Post

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Chris Stain: Spreading His Wings in Albuquerque

Brooklyn Street Artist Chris Stain just returned from Albuquerque, New Mexico where he participated in a program called STREET ARTS: A Celebration of Hip Hop Culture & Free Expression and he put up a huge version of his “Conductor” piece on this big brick wall.Chris Stain "Conductor"

Chris Stain “Conductor”

Stain was participating in a new arts collaboration event organized by Fran at 516 Arts and a number of other organizations dedicated to social justice and equal rights. He attended the event as a participating artist but he also took numerous photographs of the art on the street and in the gallery.

Guest artists performers and speakers from across the country and the world included Chaz Bojórquez, Henry Chalfant, Chris Stain, SWOON, Shepard Fairey, Slinkachu, Gaia, Gajin Fujita, Amiri Baraka, Cecil Taylor, Kevin Coval, Amalia Ortiz, Dafnis Prieto, Dave Hickey, Molodi, Jonathan Khumbulani Nkala and more.

 "Long Mayi Walk 2", by Chris Stain at 516.
“Long Mayi Walk 2”, by Chris Stain at 516 Arts.

Mr. Stain reports, “I was very fortunate to spend five days in New Mexico compliments of 516 Arts and their supporters. It was certainly amazing to meet some of the people whose work I have admired for a very long time, namely Chaz Bojorquez and Henry Chalfant.”

Chris Stain. "Long Mayi Walk"
Chris Stain. “Long Mayi Walk”

Chris Stain and Jaque Fragua
Chris Stain worked side by side on this wall with Jaque Fragua

“It seems like Jaque and I have known each other for many lifetimes. There was a feeling of mutual respect for the work and the meanings behind it. Jaque brings his Native American culture off the res(ervation) and out of his heart and onto the street,” observes Chris.

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A piece by Swoon © Chris Stain

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Dude, I am so beat I’m just going to take a little cat nap if you don’t mind.  A piece by Mark Jenkins shot by Chris Stain

Chaz
Chaz Bojórquez

Says Chris, “It was quite a shock to be there watching a master letterer working his craft. I had just got his new book, The Art and Life of Chaz Bojorquez, in the mail a few days before leaving for my trip. I knew he was in the show but I didn’t know he would be installing as well.”

Chaz Bojórquez. Detail

Chaz Bojórquez. Detail

Chip Thomas © Chris Stain

Chip Thomas
Chip Thomas

Chip Thomas took some of the photos that he uses for his street art on the Navajo Reservation where he lives and works. According to Chris, “he mixes his wheatpaste from the same Blue Bird flour that most residents use in baking.”

Steven Gutierrez
Steven Gutierrez poses with his assistant in front of his piece.

Special thanks to Chris Stain for sharing this with BSA readers. Learn more about Chris  and read his blog on http://www.chrisstain.com/

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516 ARTS offers adventurous programs that address current issues in world culture, presenting innovative and interdisciplinary exhibitions, events and educational activities in a variety of art forms, including visual and literary arts, film, video and music.

STREET ARTS: A Celebration of Hip Hop Culture & Free Expression, a new arts collaboration in October and November, organized in partnership with the ACLU-NM and involving 25 local organizations. It centers around a two-part exhibition at 516 ARTS titled Street Text: Art From the Coasts & The Populist Phenomenon, which examines Street Art and its evolution into an international cultural movement. The project celebrates art in the urban environment and explores issues of freedom of expression. It includes an exciting line-up of related exhibitions, new Downtown murals, spoken word, music, dance, talks, Street Art tours, a Hip Hop Film Festival and a Spoken Word Festival titled SHOUT-OUT: A Festival of Rhythm & Rhyme at multiple venues (November 4-7).

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