Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring 1Up Crew, Add Fuel, Alice Pasquini, Ben Eine, Clet, Dan Witz, Dingo, Kill It, La Tabacalera, LaNe Leal, Lelo021, Nano4841, Okuda, Ruben Sanchez, and Wolf.
“Urvanity seeks to explore and thus imagine possible future scenarios for this New Contemporary Art,” they say boldly in the manifesto for this art fair/cultural platform in Madrid. A thrilling nexus is created here in this college campus of architecture where art from the streets is evolving in such ways that it is invited to come in from the street.
Whatever your perspective is on this evolution, we encourage the conversation – which usually contains elements of tribalism (various), resistance, acceptance, even euphoria. During breaks from hosting the BSA Talks this weekend we are also skipping and swerving through the crowds to look at the art that galleries have on offer.
Here we offer a very quick sample of some items that have caught our eye, looked fresh, or were indicative of larger movements in the so-called “scene”. And we use the word “scene” very loosely, because there is really not such thing as a homogeneous scene, only a constellation of them which are intersecting, coalescing, and redefining themselves. Some pieces are remarkable.
Here is the past, existing side by side with the future.
With a theme of “Theriomorphism”, curated by Okuda San Miguel with four other artists, the Pop Up exhibition just opened at Galeria Kreisler here in Madrid- and it looks like Sabek has taken the idea to the street as well.
“So it’s all about animals and
God,” say Agostino Iacurci, the Italian Street Artist, muralist, and fine
artist. “God in the shape of animals or mixing with humans.”
As you imagine human/animal hybrids your thoughts may wander to plants and sheep and bare breasted women and hooved men with erections and surrealist naturist imagery that verges on bestiality – that all seems like fair play in this cunning mix of artistic styles and fluorescent visions. Last night’s opening in a tony part of the city featured a large crowd of friends and family, including Okuda’s mom and a number of exotic and eclectically dressed hybrids as well.
But for Iacurci, it’s a domestic
matter. “My idea is more about the contemporary role of animals in our lives in
the domestic sense. I am interested in the fact that we choose some species
over others to make them into pets.”
Together with artists Bruno Pontiroli and Kristen Liu-Wong, Iacurci is listening to a gentle samba while painting in Okuda’s studio on a large canvass that will be in the show. Naturally it also has a striking multi-colored figure from Okuda as well.
The fifth artist in the show, Bordalo II created collaboratively in an aesthetic hybrid as well, a simian sculpture split in two – a parallel to the mural they completed here on the street (see Monday’s posting).
Does Agostino think that God is
involved in the selection process of our pets?
“No I think it’s human
arrogance. It’s the human being pretending to be God.”
Outside a new installation by Sabek in Plaza Callao has captured human’s imaginations – as most artworks including cats are bound to do these days. This one done in concert with Urvanity was originally scheduled to be on display until March 5th.
So successfull has the new work been that it has sparked a grassroots petition drive, gathering hundreds of community signatures to get the new sculpture to stay for much longer, even years.
How God is involved in these matters, we cannot elucidate.
Madrid Increíble! – with its venerable two hundred year old Prado Museum stuffed full of Titian, El Greco, Rubens, Velázquez and Goya – and Okuda San Miguel’s favorite, El Bosco, or Hieronymus Bosch. Little did we know yesterday when we nearly got decapitated by security for trying to snap a cell photo of Velasquez’ “Las Meninas” at the museum that we would enter an alternate universe of Okuda’s studio and his own work in progress tribute to Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights” today. May we also just say that this new painting will also belong in the Prado when it is finished?
More on that studio visit later, along with the crew of artists whom Okuda is curating for tomorrow nights’ Theriomorphism show. Today we bring you some fresh shots of his brand new mural in Lavapiés, a run-down yet exotically rendered old part of Madrid that teams with graffiti and new immigrants from the Indian subcontinent, China, a smattering of Arabs and a spectacular selection of Senegalese. This kind of cultural hybrid always produces the most scintillating and surprising results; perfect soil for this new collaboration as well.
You’ll recognize Okuda’s Street Artist partner literally just around the corner from his half of the painting, the Lisboan Bordallo II, who is still collecting discarded refuse to complete his sculptural counterpoint to Okuda’s fulsome geometrics in hallucinogenic color. The neighborhood was popping with spectators on this sunny spring-like day with hearty opinion-givers and inquisitive photographers filling the sidewalk.
Señor O. kept his headphones on to concentrate on his painting while the owners of the wall, Jorge and Jose from Xpresion Creativos, offered visitors refreshments and their hairstory told in equally vivid colors. Self-professed #Hairhackers, their team creates effects you literally have never seen before – including their October collaboration with Okuda below. Currently, they are turning hair into Tartans. Check out this shot of a hair collabo they did together.
Meanwhile, here’s a detail of the newly finished piece by Okuda and Bordalo II in Lavapiés, Madrid.
OKUDA is melting! Even in sub-zero frigid weather like this!
As the US Midwest suffers a once in a generation “polar vortex” over the last few days, it may be hard to believe but that level of freezing cold is typical January weather in Yakutsk, Russia, where the average day in this city of 300,000 is −38 degrees celsius (−37 farenheit).
Street Artist and fine artist Okuda, who deals in powerful displays of
tropicalia geometric color in his murals and sculptures, ventures far afield
here- or should we say far atundra.
Sasha Krolikova, who curated this project with Artmossphere and the Yakut Biennale of Contemporary Art, says this is the world’s northernmost sculpture created by Okuda. The area is being developed into a modern urban space for recreation and sports and cycling area (it will be warmer this summer, promise). She says the installation is with the support of the National Art Museum of the Republic of Sakha and appears on the embankment of Sajsary Lake in Yakutsk.
“We had a lot of work to do with the colors,” says Krolikova, “because they don’t look the same as in Spain when they have been exposed to this cold.” A melting skull with a spiked mohawk in technicolor, the capital city of Sakha Republic is going to have this Okuda for a long time – since it is made of steel. Not many people are likely to see it until spring here however, we are guessing.
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
Box trucks are a favorite canvas for many graffiti writers in big cities and have become a right of passage for new artists who want the experience of painting on a smooth rectangular surface that becomes a rolling billboard through the streets advertising your name, making you truly “All City”.
When in French Polynesia a few weeks ago with the ONO’U festival, a number of artists were given the significant gift of a large truck or school/commuter bus on which to create a mural, a message, a bubble tag.
Together on the islands of Raiatea and Bora Bora there were about 10 of these long and low autobuses that became sudden celebrities in the sparsely travelled streets, debuted as some of them were in Raitea, when painted live at an all night party for the public.
With a similar sized surface to paint, the comparing and contrasting between styles and techniques among the artists was suddenly on full display. In contrast to the cities that many of these artists began in, you could not have found a more appreciate audience of people for these artists and their talents. The best part is that these buses are currently rolling through the streets even though the festival is over.
Last week BSA was checking out French Polynesia to get an appreciation for the Street Art, graffiti and street scene there while the 5th Annual ONO’U was taking place. BSA readers joined in the tropical action while we took you to Tahiti, Raiatea, Bora Bora, and Moorea to see the artists and the action.
Here’s our last posting from Tahiti, now that we’re recovered from the jet lag and are back in dirty old New York. We parted ways with the artists on Bora Bora who continued to paint in a place where the word ‘paradise’ is redundant. How many times did artists here simply jump in the water to cool off after painting and installing in the tropical sun for a few hours?
The community was involved as well, with public officials and traditional representatives hosting welcoming ceremonies and receptions, artists like Pixel Pancho and Bordello II teaching students about technique in an art class, and countless interactions with clusters of interested onlookers who provided a revolving audience for the muralists while they created new works. Local artists Rival and Abuzz helped with explanations and communications also while they joined in with their international guest artists in painting new walls.
French muralist Vinie reimagined her popular female figure as an underwater explorer in a way that delighted and reassured some of the kids in the neighborhood. In an unexpected twist, Portugal’s BordalloII and Spain’s Okuda decided to collaborate on a piece, a unique collaboration of pop surrealism and spontaneous sculpture with recycled materials on the end of a seaside home.
In the end ONO’U is always far more than you expect, a unique collection of settings, interactions with people, meeting of new friends, learning of history and communing with nature that inspire the artists to dig a little deeper inside to find a response to all they are seeing and experiencing.
This week BSA is checking out French Polynesia to get an appreciation for the Street Art, graffiti and street scene here while the 5th Annual ONO’U is taking place. Join in the tropical action while we take you to Tahiti, Raiatea, Bora Bora, and Moorea to see the artists and the action.
The walls in Raiatea have been completed and the town folks came out for a block party with music and food and for the unveiling of Spanish artist OKUDA’s fiberglass sculpture of dolphins playing with the globe that he created specifically for this festival and for the the people of Raiatea.
Each of the artists created new walls while our traveling troupe was stationed here so before moving on to Bora Bora action here are some finished walls in Raiatea. We’ll report on the happenings of that beautiful island soon (when we are not cavorting in the ocean) but in the meantime we leave you here with the Raiatea Walls.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. Nychos “Wilhelmine von Bayreuth”
2. RETNA X Vhils in Echo Park
3. TRAV MSK
4. OKUDA; FALLAS VALENCIA 2018
BSA Special Feature: Spotlight on Chop’em Down Films
We continue to watch and admire the filmmaker Zane Meyer as he follows the artists in the Street Art and related scenes, bringing his own definitive perspective to the story, often transforming it into something more.
With a background in SoCal skater culture and a nomadic rolling approach to capturing the internal adventure, Meyer is bringing his full potential to this game. He’s down distinctive audio as well, adding timbre, humor, jolting alarm and soul. His company Chop’em Down Films is celebrating its first decade and he’s moving into his 4th and its exciting to think what the next ten hold for this director full of vision.
Nychos “Wilhelmine von Bayreuth”
Because Nychos is all about the soaring chopping power chords of metal in audio and the slicing apart of animals, people, and brand icons visually, this deliciously controlled mahem is almost going to make you feel guilty for the joy to take watching it. But why?
RETNA X Vhils in Echo Park
Getting it right again, this sampling of the voice of white authority praises and insults simultaneously. Laid against the swagger of Retna and Vhils triumphantly astride their wall, the happy horror of it all comes to life in one minute flat. A sports analogy via colonialism, “The Autumn Wind” is meant to talk about the lore of football as narrated by John Facenda, but in this context the battle is artists against the elements and the wall.
Mystery and stories of the city cloak this narrative of letterist Trav MSK as he interpolates the nighttime blinking of messages against the sky, and the quick movement of shadows just outside your periphery. Suddenly its a defiant act of staged vandalism across walls of photography and illustration in a gallery like setting, and a boxtruck tag of the paint sponsor’s name.
During the annual Falles de València celebration, it’s normal for artworks to be destroyed publicly in about 500 locations throughout the city and in surrounding towns. Part of a spring tradition for València, Spain monuments (falles) are burned in a celebration that includes parades, brass bands, costumes, dinners, and the traditional paella dish.
This year the first Street Artist to make a sculpture in the traditional commemoration of Saint Joseph is the un-traditional OKUDA, creating his multi-color multi-planed optic centerpiece.
“It had the most prestigious location in front of city hall,” says famed street photographer Martha Cooper, who was a special guest of OKUDA and who captured many of the events involved in preparation and the crescendo of destruction that followed days of intermittent firecrackers, marching bands, and incredible traditional costumes.
The winner of the València City Council competition for the prime location, the pop surrealist from Santander and his studio team created his ninots (puppets or dolls) in the weeks leading up to their grand display for the public before incineration.
It is normal in the few weeks before the pyrotechnics take over this part of the city that crews of artisans and artists like OKUDA work along with sculptors, painters, and craftspeople to construct elaborate ninots with wood, paper, wax, and polystyrene, sometimes as tall as five stories.
Skillfully blending years of traditions with modern fashion, trends, and politics, the riotous 5 days of successively more bombastic displays and marching bands of the dolçaina and tabalet have garnered València and the festival the honor of being a recognized UNESCO site for being an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
There are many visual feasts for visitors to appreciate, says Ms. Cooper. “For Fallas, the entire city of Valencia turns into a massive street art installation. Thousands of people are out parading in gorgeous historic costumes and every neighborhood has not only their main sculpture but also a children’s sculpture,” she tells us.
She captured the building of the Virgin with flower bouquets and a number of politically charged sculptures depicting Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, and even Kim Jong-un. She also talks with great admiration about the Fallas Queens with their full Courts of Honor followed by standard bearers and marching bands in a ceremony of beauty – the offerings to Our Lady of the Forsaken. With costumes and flower bouquets as the prime attraction, these marchers are keeping your attention in an entirely different manner than a roaring fire, but your heart may still burn.
Meanwhile the apex of the 5 nights of fireworks from March 14 to 19 is televised countrywide and this year in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento thousands of spectators stood back to watch OKUDA’s largest sculpture go up in ravaging flames.