Sometimes it is a talisman who is having adventures on the behalf of an artist, a part of him/herself who stays behind and watches the area.
At other times it is a character seen through a mirror, an alter-ego who represents a fictional part of their inner world who has been set free onto the street to interact. It may be a branding element, a logo, or signature that lays claim to the artwork it is attached to. By itself it is often a form of marking territory; a practice begun by graffiti writers decades ago.
Whether it is a symbol or a figure, it is undoubtedly a personification of some part of the artists id, one that is so individual that you can spot it from a distance and if you are a fan, you’ll smile in recognition.
Many street artists have a discernable style, that is true; a hand-style, a recurrent motif, color palette, a topic that reappears, a technique of application, even a likely location in the urban landscape where they are most likely to appear.
Of that number, fewer have developed a character or a motif so well defined in our minds that it can stand alone, but we have found a few over the decades. Each is imbued with memory, with place, with personality, with character.
Starting the year with “Strategies for a Revolution”, Shepard Fairey exhibits in Italy at Wunderkammern.
Contemporary society is so subsumed into the corporate model that street artist/fine artist Shepard Fairey still appears revolutionary in his basic demands for equity, dignity, and justice.
Thirty plus years have evolved his language of propaganda into a signature amalgam of Russian constructivist, punk rage, the so-called underground, and an evermore refined eye for high-note linework and ornate graphic patterning. Here in Milan, the Wunderhammern similarly have an eye for the finer sensibilities, after curating many primary and secondary street artists in the last 10+ years on community murals and in gallery exhibits; and have been financially successful enough at it to open this new second location in Via Giulia, auspiciously welcoming Fairey into this not-so-brave new Covid-bashed world.
Embracing his visual language and socially political wit, “Strategies” includes a series of unpublished works selected by Shepard, a review of the themes that resonate most now in this context personally and generally. It’s a good time to gaze at the messages, the art of delivery, the tenor of these works – all while assessing this time that feels like a turning. A re-set. A time no doubt that will include revolution.
The culmination of a decade-long photography and painting project by artist AKUT (one half of Herakut) brings many of your street art heroes a new level of super-hero status in Heidelberg, Germany, right now until February 25th.
Asking friends and colleagues to sit for a photograph, AKUT (Falk Lehman) projected images of their own artworks across their closed eyes, leaving them gleaming under the imprint of their own distinctive motifs, their skin soaking in the patterns, colors, wildstyles of their own works.
Now that the Insight project has gathered more than 70 photographs of his cherished circle, AKUT brings the unique program, curated by Metropolink, to the old commissary at Patrick-Henry-Village. Some faces you’ll recognize, others are rarely on public display. All of them keep their eyes closed and their secrets to themselves, preferring introspection to opening their windows to the soul.
“The projection of an artwork onto the face creates a mask-like, archaic expression,” he says, and one wonders if these masks are more obscuring or revealing.
In addition to the photography show, AKUT invited four artists to collaborate on canvasses with him, including KKADE, MADC, STOHEAD, and JULIA BENZ. Additionally he collaborated with the artist KKADE on “the street” for an inaugural mural to celebrate the project in the giant hall of the commissary. The images are stunning, even stirring, in their mystery.
Only AKUT’s uncontested mastery of the photorealist technique can enhance the poignancy of these photos; his hyper sensitive application of texture and volume enables another spirit to free itself from the handpainted works in a way that may supercede the original shot.
Considering the Insight theme, it is evident that on display here as well is the potential network of social and personal connections that one may accrue over time in this street art/contemporary art milieu. If you possess additional talent for listening to the stories of others, not to mention the art of documentation, there can be rich friendships forged too.
The “INSIGHT” exhibition will be on view until February 25th, 2022 at Metropolink’s Commissary in the Patrick-Henry-Village in Heidelberg. (in compliance with the current hygiene restrictions)
Today we celebrate American worker’s contributions to our society. The workforce is the engine moving our country to the realization of our dreams and goals. The men and women who get up every day to seek a decent living in this country are increasingly under assault by the corporation’s manipulation of people and profits. Our labor unions have been decimated and the workers’ rights chipped away little by little, or a lot by a lot. All of it began with Reagan and it hasn’t stopped since. Congress is beholden to special interests with most of our elected officials’ ears more attuned to the lobbyists’ demands roaming the halls of Congress than to the ordinary people’s plight for help for better wages, better work conditions, better parental leave, better health insurance.
The Pandemic has only exacerbated the already perilous conditions among the middle class and poor Americans. Most working-class individuals were already living paycheck to paycheck with little if any savings to confront personal, family crises. The poor have always counted on the safety net that the government has put in place to help alleviate their financial and health burdens but those services have been either privatized for-profit or totally eradicated. When Covid-19 took hold of the whole world and Trump made the situation in the USA worse, the majority of Americans have found themselves steps removed from the economic precipice, or pushed into it. Strangely, Democrats also are not coming to the rescue.
There are many lessons to be learned from this Pandemic, one of them will undoubtedly be the abysmal difference between those with money and those without it to confront this crisis. The rich are getting incredibly richer and the poor are getting poorer. Lockdown has been difficult for all of us but certainly easier for those without financial difficulties.
Almost 30 million Americans have lost their jobs, and their hopes of getting them back are slimmer by the week. If there is to be an economic recovery in this country the divisions of who’ll benefit from said recovery will be sharply divided. While the stock market has hit record levels of wealth, ordinary Americans have seen greater inequality. So you might wonder, what are we celebrating today? Our workforce is in tatters and our service economy has been decimated.
Shepard Fairey made the works shown above in LA almost a decade ago, and his message resonates even stronger today.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street featuring Add Fuel, Almost Over Keep Smiling, BR163, Crash, Degrupo, Disordered, Early Riser, finDAC, Fours, Jason Naylor, Leleus, JL, Maya Hayuk, Obey, Sara Lynne Leo, Surface of Beauty, Telmo & Miel.
Robert Muller testified before Congress this week and no one seems happy. The spin-masters distort his words and his findings to accommodate their own personal narrative…and to continue to distract us from the thieve’s hands in our cupboards across the country.
Corporate Democrats and Corporate Republicans won’t get rid of this guy, but at least it will distract us from the lowest tax rates on the rich in our lifetimes, global warming, gun violence, increased poverty, racist immigrant-bashing policies, increased homeless populations, and a corrupted medical insurance system. So far, these distractions are working splendidly.
Sorry, that’s an unhappy way of welcoming you to BSA Images of the Week! You deserve better!
The news is that summer is in full swing and people are on the streets cooling off in public fountains, dancing, watching outdoor movies on roofs and in parks, seeing theater and music performances, and hopefully hitting Coney Island for a beach splash or a thrill ride.
The streets are being plastered with art. Some with political and social messages, some with a sense of humor, others with an acute sense of popular culture. A few are just plain pretty to look at. Whatever the style, the intention or the placement, what’s important is the fact that it’s happening again with gusto. Artists are out as well, sharing their ideas and their experiments with us, all for free and with permission to touch and photograph.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Almost Over Keep Smiling, Frederic Edwin Church, Judith Supine, Mattew Hyte, Shepard Fairey, The Postman Art, and Winston Tseng.
Dog days of summer
be damned, the Street Art in all of its fabulous illegal varieties, the true Vox
Populi (and self-advertisment) persists and insists through the streets this
On the topic of illegal, we’ll state it again for the many persons who have an incorrect impression – Street Art, by definition, is illegal. If it is not illegal, please do not call it Street Art. That work you are looking at is probably a mural. Unfortunately we’ve seen some recent flagrant misuses of the term by some folks who probably should know better.
Good to see “Hysterical Men” here in New York, after
admiring the campaign from Philly. The artwork reminds us of Robbie Conal as
well, who is reliably skewering public officials with his wilting depictions of
them on posters on the street. This week we also were reminded of Chicago’s Dont
Fret when we saw the work of Matt Starr, with his textual witticisms. Don’t get
us wrong, its not a criticism to have similar work – it’s just an observation.
Finally, considering the treatment of immigrants, the mounting
fascism, racism, misogyny, and rageful ignorance being modelled and engendered
from the highest offices in the land, we’re shocked that, with a few notable
exceptions, Street Artists are not taking those messages to the streets. So
much for its reputation for being activist. Not so much.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Benjamin’s Brother, Bones, Cammix Vx, Captain Eyeliner, Diva Dolga, Domingo Zapata, Dr. Nothing, Hysterical Men, Invisible Essence, Little Ricky, Matt Siren, Matt Starr, Mattew Wythe, Mr. Djoul, Obey, Praxis, Raddington Falls, Rammellzee, Sara Lynne Leo, Sinclair, Sunflower Soulz, The Postman Art, and You Go Girl!
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. ENCHENTE (FLOOD) Eduardo Srur and Tché Ruggi 2. “LA PARED ES NUESTRA” por ESCIF (spanish) 3. Shepard Fairey. Facing the Giant: Three Decades of Dissent. Part 1 4. Hot Tea. New installation in Asbury Park, NJ for Wooden Walls Project.
BSA Special Feature: ENCHENTE (FLOOD) Eduardo Srur and Tché Ruggi
News from Brazil this month reminds us that annual flooding in São Paulo kills people and destroys homes, thanks to the city being built on one of the largest river basins in the country. Public artists Eduardo Srur and Tché Ruggi combine mural painting and sculpture to address the struggles that people here face – including the displacement of people and homes and destruction of their lives.
The artists say, “With its exponential urban growth, the conflict of space
between the water and the city is getting more violent each year. The public
art portrayed is an answer to this sad reality of São Paulo. The film put light
on this conflict and approaches the relation of the
public art with the city and its inhabitants.”
“LA PARED ES NUESTRA” por ESCIF (spanish)
A new retrospective video on the community
wall created in response to a people’s history. Inspired by the neighborhood
movements of 1970s Spain, specifically the city of Sant Feliu de Llobregat, an
open call to paint a central wall was responded to by 300 applicants in 42
countries. The jury selected 12 finalists and in council with local city
council, local artists, and local historians and community leaders, an
international jury selected Street Artist and ‘artivist” Escif as winner of the
With thanks to the artist, the
community, and to Kaligrafics urban art organization and Contorno Urbano
Foundation and jury members Jaime Rojo (Brooklyn Street Art, NY), Mónica
Campana (Living Walls, ATL), Veronica Werkmeister (IMVG, Vitoria), Fernando
Figueroa (Doctor of Art History) and Esteban Marín (President, Fundación
Contour Urbano), here is the story.
Shepard Fairey. Facing the Giant: Three Decades of Dissent. Part 1 by Chop ’em Down Films.
Welcome to Images of the Week! Great stuff this week from Portugal, Spain and good old NYC to flip your Aunt Betty’s wig.
The big news this week of course was that the 5 Points graffiti compound case was awarded to the 21 plaintiffs. But its not just local: it may have national implications when building owners will be insisting on contracts with anyone who paints their property. It may also confuse and scare off many opportunities for artists, where building owners will simply say no to the proposal.
The settlement, which we covered in Tell It to The Judge ; Graffiti Artists Win in 5 Pointz Case, has infuriated many and thrilled others expressing their opinion on social media. One of our 5 Ptz postings on Facebook this week garnered 1,300 comments, a nest of misunderstanding mediated by the occasional level head, offset by congratulations and victory laps. Naturally, folks from other parts of the country insulted us New Yorkers. Welcome to the world of graffiti and Street Art!
The Black Panther movie has many New Yorkers enthralled as it premiered on Tuesday night at the Museum of Modern Art. Theaters drew entire families and school groups many standing in line in costume as they waited to see powerful and positive black super-heroes and heroines. The Times Magazine says it is a defining moment for black America.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Atomik, Bigod, City Kitty, Daniel Eime, Desla, Exit.Enter.K, Fatal Fake, Free the Nipple, Gane, Gebraël, Kram, Little Ricky, Obey, Texas, We’kup, and Zest B.
Stumbling and slipping and dancing through January here in New York requires dexterity and a tolerance for dry skin and flattened hat-hair and the occasional sore throat. Thankfully there are great indoor activities sometimes like the huge trippy balloon installations by suave art dynamo Jihan Zencirli at her opening exhibition inside the NYC Ballet atrium Friday night. Hundreds of thousands of balloons, free bourbon, and a DJ after a surprisingly post-post-modern program of envelope pushing dancing on the mainstage by amazing pros! Gurl, that ballet is ballin’.
One more indoor exhibit totally worth your time is Ann Lewis’s installations at a no-name popup in Manhattatan. The conceptual Street/gallery activist artist continues to push her own boundaries, and many of ours, with her work addressing difficult social and political issues like police brutality, institutional bias against women, racism, the Resistance. At a time when we need women’s voices to rise, she collaborates with StudioSpaceNYC at a pop-up at 149 West 14th Street (shots from the installation below).
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Ann Lewis, Atomik, Jihan Zencirli, Obey, Pet-de-None, Shepard Fairey, Studio Space NYC and Tona.
Welcome to Sunday and the last free weekend of summer in New York before Labor Day. We had a fun tour yesterday with the two winners of the Magic City – Munich competition who won the opportunity to see the streets through our half cracked and mostly sunny perspective. The foot tour with Munich-based students David and Nesli zig-zagged through the Lower East Side and Little Italy before we ended with a fresh summer aerosoled view of ROA painting a brand new mural live in Brooklyn. Here as a visiting artist at a new residency in Bed Stuy, we had seen him earlier in the week in studio preparing new works of natures creature – a few shots here for you to enjoy.
Earlier in the week Shepard Fairey was here to create a new mural celebrating musician Debbie Harry and her band Blondie directly across the street from the former site of CBGB, The Village Voice announced it would not be a print paper after 60 years of culture and politics pumping from its downtown offices, and Brooklyn proudly hosts the Afropunk Festival – full of music, ‘tude, and dope street fashion by some of our BK’s finest style denizens. Already in Paris and London, next stops for Afropunk are Atlanta and Joburg. Hot!
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Daze, Dr. Scott, drsc0, Hank Williams Thomas, Invader, Shepard Fairey, Jason Naylor, Rx Skulls, ROA, Rober Janz, and Voxx.
This week in Berlin we had the chance to meet so many great folks as a result of the final Urban Nation events before September’s opening of the museum. All the curators were in attendance, including your BSA friends here, for the “We Broke Night” show along with the artistic director, managing director, architect, and about 40 artists in the 225 person party that featured breakers on pedestals dancing with flourescent tape, Shepard Fairey as DJ, and plenty of new artworks created just for this event.
Along with the main museum space show, across the street was another exhibition, the Project M/12 show called “What in the World” with mainly European former graff writers/now-fine-artists curated by Evan Pricco from Juxtapoz. Overflowing from the main space, the sidewalks were a parade of aesthetes, fans, business people, graff writers, archivists, politicians, and sex workers… It’s a wild mix and it gets very rowdy and everyone is reacting to the dynamics at play and wondering aloud how a museum like this will pull this off.
We’re not wondering, however. The sheer volume and variety of interested artists and related art lovers and community supporters tells us that this museum is a success before it has even opened. Here are a few images from the last few days for you to take a look at from outside and inside.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring: Besonders, BustArt, Cranio, Daniel Van Nes, Fin DAC, Herakut, Lora Zombie, Millo, Nasca, Nuno Vegas, Sebastian Wandl, Shepard Fairey, Stikki Peaches, Snik, Tank Patrol.