All posts tagged: Praxis

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.08.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.08.19

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring BRCEDU, Captain Eyeliner, Damon, Dark Clouds,Fhake, Ghake, Jerk Face, Mad Villian, Mattew Hyte, MurOne, Praxis, R Burns Wilder, Shepard Fairey, Sinned, Stikman, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, Thomas Allen, and Vy.

Thomas Allen in collaboration with Ethan. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh. This piece has been vandalized. The original artwork included a bouquet of flowers and text that read: “LET BLACK MEN BE SOFT”. They both have been buffed by an unknown person. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tatyana Fazlalizadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Captain Eyeliner (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BRCEDU…damn right! (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mad Vaillian (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Stikman (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Fhake (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Damon (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Damon (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dark Clouds (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mattew Hyte (photo © Jaime Rojo)
This piece by an unidentified artist has been restored. The tag and posters have been removed. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Chapeter 23 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Chapeter 23 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
R Burns Wilder x Sinned (photo © Jaime Rojo)
MurOne (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jerke Face (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 07.21.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.21.19

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 July.

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!

Sara Lynne Leo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Choose Love (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mattew Hyte (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Obey (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sunflower Soulz (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hysterical Men…fighting for women’s rights…the wrong way… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hysterical Men (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Matt Starr (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Matt Starr (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Domingo Zapata (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Matt Siren (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dr. Nothing (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bones (photo © Jaime Rojo)
CammixVx (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Invisible Essence . The Postman Art. Captain Eyeliner (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Symbol…FYI (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Benjamin’s Brother (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Diva Dolga . Raddington Falls . Little Ricky (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sinclair (photo © Jaime Rojo)
You Go Girl! (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mr. Djoul (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Rammellzee looking dapper at Beyond the Streets exhibition in Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Palimpsest in Manhattan. July 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 07.14.19 / Selections From Welling Court 2019

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.14.19 / Selections From Welling Court 2019

It’s an annual event in Street Art and mural programs in New York for the last decade, The Welling Court Festival – now poised to be a victim of its own success. The original concept by a couple who ran Ad Hoc gallery in Bushwick, Brooklyn, the neighborhood was full of working class and economically struggling families in a part of the city that had fallen into the margins. Suddenly it was full of color and imagination thanks to Garrison and Alison Buxton and their eclectic and widely dispersed cadre of local and international graffiti and Street Artists who spent one weekend out of the summer smashing walls side by side with community members in a cacophonous untamed way.

This year was no different, with families and children getting into the action, and relationships renewed between artists and admirers on a gorgeous New York summer weekend in June. But what is also evident is the invasion of developers and higher-rent homes and businesses being built. You’ve seen this movie before, and you know how it ends. Owners cash in, renters are priced out, and these walls will be commercial shortly – used to sell shampoo.

The connection between murals and gentrification? That debate continues, but for some, it’s a settled causational relationship. The question about what to do about it, if anything, is unsettled – and unsettling.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street (or boardwalk), this time featuring Caleb Neelon, Cey Adams, Depoe, Rene Gagnon, JCorp, Kimyon333, NYC Hooker, Peat Wolleager, Pinky Weber, Sara Erenthal, Caryn Cast, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Never, Praxis, Queen Andrea, Hellbent, Bella Pharma, Color Eyes, and Hiss.

This is summer y’all. Caryn Cast knows better. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Joe Iurato: Art Is For Everybody. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Peat Wollaeger added his portrait of Keith Haring on the asphalt to complete Joe’s tribute to the artist. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
John Fekner & Don Leicht with a tribute to Elaine de Kooning (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Never (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Queen Andrea (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Imagine876 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hellbent (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Bella Phame (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Color Eyes (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Rene Gagnon (photo © Jaime Rojo) (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cey Adams (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hiss (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JCorp (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Caleb Neelon . Lena McCarthy (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sara Erenthal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pinky Weber . NYC Hooker (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Depoe (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Kimyon333 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A call out from #keepinitstreet (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 07.08.18 Selections From Welling Court 2018

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.08.18 Selections From Welling Court 2018

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“Anxiety is normal in an unjust society” says the new piece by Disordered in Welling Court, Queens, a working class neighborhood of New York where the latest Ad Hoc mural party was held a couple of weekends ago under the direction of Garrison Buxton. He started this festival with his former partner Alison Buxton nine years ago to create community here with a number of artists from across the graffiti/Street Art spectrum, and it has always been a great day to see families and kids interacting with artists on the street.

Anxiety rings true when the giveaways to business interests for nearly four decades under both dominant parties have gradually placed folks like these in this neighborhood constantly in fear of missing the rent, the grocery bill, the car payment, the cost of providing for their kids.

Some companies adore this dynamic exactly the way it is because when you are always feeling anxiety about losing your job and worried about paying the bills you won’t speak up to notify anyone when your boss is dumping poison in the river or placing his hand upon your seat. Imagine working so hard and getting paid so little that you are still relying on public assistance, as Walmart is known for now. Anxiety is normal for many today, and it is reflected in the art on the streets as well.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Cern, Caleb Neelon, Col Wallnuts, Damien Mitchell, Daze, Disordered, FKDL, Hellbent, JCBK, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Lena McCarthy, LMNOPI, Maria Wore, Michel Velt, Never, NYC Hooker, Praxis, Queen Andrea, Robots Will Kill, Rubin415, Seeone, and Toofly.

Top image: Joe Iurato . Rubin 415. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Fekner. Don Leicht.  Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Disordered. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Michel Velt. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Queen Andrea. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lena McCarthy . Caleb Neelon. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LMNOPI. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Daze . Crash. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JCBK. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Praxis. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Never. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hellbent. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Col Wallnuts . WaneOne . EpicUno. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hooker. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

SeeOne. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Toofly. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Robots Will Kill. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cern. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

FKDL. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Damien Mitchell. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Maria Wore. Welling Court 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Images Of The Week: 07.01.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.01.18

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This week’s edition of BSA Images Of The Week is heavy with messages, especially on the subject of refugee children and our responsibility to keep them safe. Family Values, as we once heard on a near daily basis here, are apparently not to be mentioned when applied to certain families according to the people pulling children away from immigrants – certain immigrants anyway.

New York streets had people marching yesterday about these families, and our top Street Art image by Ernest Zacharavic features little kids set afloat figuratively. As Mexico elects a new president today, the US Supreme Court looks rightward with Kennedy’s resignation last week. Meanwhile the country will celebrate “liberty and justice for all” this week – and the streets are thick with politics like we haven’t had in a while.

On a practical, art-making level, we have also noticed the prevalence of wheat-pasted posters on the streets this spring/summer. Whether mass-printed or labor-intensive one-off paintings, wheatpasting is a practice that has been a staple since we began documenting the arts on the streets worldwide. We are glad to see that the ‘paster, like the humble one-color stencil, hasn’t lost its appeal in the face of the current fascination with big murals.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adage, AJ LaVilla, Baron Von Fancy, Boutros Buotros Bootleg, C3, Damon NYC, Drsc0, Ernest Zacharevic, Indie184, Jason Naylor, Jeff Henriquez, LMNOPI, Praxis, Simon (Xi An), REVOK, Tristan Eaton, Unapologetically Brown Series, and Voxx.

Top image: Ernest Zacharevic sets these kids afloat in Manhattan (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ernest Zacharevic (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ernest Zacharevic (photo © Jaime Rojo)

AJ Lavilla (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Unapologetically Brown Series (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jason Naylor (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Indie184 for 212Arts. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LMNOPI (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adage (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Damon NYC for 212Arts. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jeff Henriquez (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Baron Von Fancy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

VOXX (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Boutros Buotros Bootleg (photo © Jaime Rojo)

REVOK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Adage (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Simon (Xi An) somewhere in China. (photo © Simon)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The wheat pastes above and below remind us of the early works of Faile and Bast…on the streets of Williamsburg. It’s fun to see their influence on the streets today.

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

drsc0 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)

C3 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. An spectator taking in Tristan Eaton’s crafty work at the Houston/Bowery Wall. NYC. June 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 12.03.17

BSA Images Of The Week: 12.03.17


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While You Were Sleeping is a Korean TV series about a woman who can see the future in her dreams, and a prosecutor who fights to stop these future events from happening. The title also makes us think about the scam of a Tax bill passed while you were sleeping in the middle of the night between Friday and Saturday.

The servants of the rich, these wolves, are facilitating the largest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class up to their masters for well into the future, and it appears that few are awake to see it. It also pulls health insurance out from underneath 13 million sleeping people. The majority of the country was against this but the servants pushed it through anyway when you weren’t stirring. Good night!

When the US had its largest growing middle class and economic expansion in the 1950s the top tax rate was more than 90%. Did you know that? Reagan lowered it to 39%. This bill lowers the top rate to 20%. Since as a group, hundreds of corporations paid an effective federal income tax rate of just 21.2 percent over a recent eight-year period because they’re working the system, that means many won’t pay any taxes soon, joining GE, Priceline.com, PG&E – who already pay absolutely nothing. Just you will pay the taxes. Congratulations!

Street Art better be dope ya’ll, because that’s where many of us will be living soon – the street.

But we are wide awake for sex scandals, by golly. Powerful men are being accused by past alleged victims from every sector in society right now. We are keeping our fingers crossed that Santa Claus can stay above the fray!

Meanwhile, the tree got lit this week in Rockefeller Center, a lot of people are going to get lit this month at their office holiday party, many NYC art denizens are heading to the Miami Basel Circus this week, and apparently there is supposed to be some Street Art thing happening there too.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring BD White, Daek, Elbi Elem, Elisa Capdevila, Faile, Jason Woodside, Jerkface, Kai, Killjoy, Magda Love, Mazatl, Mr. Toll, Ola Kalnins, Praxis, Timothy Goodman, and Sonni.

Our top image : Timothy Goodman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

B.D. White for The L.I.S.A. Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

B.D. White for The L.I.S.A. Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mr. Toll. Vanity Project. This piece is visible from the street level in front of Crest Hardware in Williamsburg. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Elisa Capdevila for Contorno Urbano in Sant Feliu de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Elbi Elem for Contorno Urbano in Sant Feliu de Llobregat. Barcelona. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jerkface (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Magda Love and Sonni (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Praxis. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Praxis. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kai (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist in the NYC Subway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ola Kalnins (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jason Woodside (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faile (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faile (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Killjoy collabo with Mazatl in Cholula Puebla for La Linea Street Art. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Daek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Lower East Side of Manhattan, NYC. December 02, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Images Of The Week: 11.05.17

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.05.17

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Welcome!

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring BK Foxx, City Kitty, Dain, Jucer, Nick Walker, Praxis REVOK, Sam Himer, Sheryo, Skount, Smells, The Yok, Turtle Caps, UFO 907, WRDSMTH.

Top image: Praxis (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BK Foxx creates this new mural on gun violence in our country, which glamorizes guns and violence in its movies, TV programs, games, and music videos. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Nick Walker (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Revok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO907 . Smells (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The Yok . Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dain. This one is an ad…but it makes for a nice picture…so we made an exception. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Graffiti…RULES!! (photo © Jaime Rojo)

WRDSMT (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Turtle Caps . City Kitty (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jucer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sam Heimer phone booth at takeover for Art In Ad Places. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Skount in Amsterdam for Urban Art Festival. (photo © Skount)

Entitled “Home of the emotional flow”
~from the artist

“This mural depicts the search for a state of emotional flow. The background of our emotional life runs in a way, even to the flow of our thoughts. At the bottom of our consciousness there is always some state of mind although, generally, we do not realize the subtle moods that flow and reflux as we carry out our daily routine.

To achieve the Emotional Flow State, the development of qualities and abilities of emotional intelligence is required. These are; self-knowledge, empathy in order to understand the reactions of others, sympathy, balance, optimism and self-control. The state of flow, is a state in which alone, the person manages to surpass himself in situations that generate internal conflict, and this allows him to develop more activity, thus boosting enthusiasm.

In short, to find a state of emotional flow it is necessary first to delve into the deepest of our inner self, strive to understand the situations and states that generate internal conflicts, in order to achieve a state of harmony with ourselves and our environment.”

Untitled. Sunset over the East River. NYC. November 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Images Of The Week: 06.28.15

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.28.15

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Yo sis the joint was rockin this week in the USA with public healthcare snatched from the jaws of defeat, Same Sex Marriage approved by the Supreme Court coast to coast, and Obama singing Amazing Grace at a heart-breaking memorial after the racist shootings in Charleston. Locally we were happy to work with Chip Thomas (Jetsonorama) to get into Brooklyn and put up his new powerful piece on Black empowerment commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the Selma marches, the huge 30 piece Coney Art Walls project officially opened Wednesday night, and Brooklyn’s Maya Hayuk is suing Starbucks for stealing her art to sell coffee.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Andreco, Barlo, Ben Eine, Biella, BR, Brolga, Crisp, Denton Burrows, Eva Mueller, Gaia, Kaws, Oji, Old Broads, Lungebox, Praxis, Pyramid Oracle, and UFO907.

Top image above >>> Denton Burrows, Crisp and Praxis collaboration. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Denton Burrows, Crisp and Praxis collaboration. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia in Kingston, NY from 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BR (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Barlo in Hong Kong. June 2015 (photo © Barlo)

Barlo made this mural on the island in Lamma, Hong Kong. It is meant to recall a simpler way of living that is now eclipsed by rapid modernization. “It talks about a traditional practice (using long sticks to propel your fishing boat) that the main city of Hong Kong seems to have lost. It is in these small islands and villages where you can still find elements of this lifestyle, ” says Barlo.

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Barlo in Hong Kong. June 2015 (photo © Barlo)

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Two wolves at the dentist. Pyramid Oracle (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Lungebox (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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This new KAWS sculpture was just gifted to the collection at The Brooklyn Museum and is on display in the lobby of the museum until December. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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UFO 907. This sculpure was originally made by the 907 Crew for an exhibition at BAM in Brooklyn. HERE is the coverage of that exhibit. We were pleasantly surprised to have seen it on this field someplace in the country side of this vast state. The UFO has landed indeed. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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UFO907 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Oji (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Oji (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Eva Mueller. Be Free – Be You (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Brolga (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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These posters advertising a downtown party bring some nostalgia of years past when things were simpler but hidden. Today’s world might be more complicated but many things are more open and accepted in public. This is the spirit in which this weekend celebrations are based on. Inclusion and acceptance.  (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Old Broads. Speaking of acceptance. Artist Old Broads has been painting and pasting her drawings of women of a certain age embracing life and their bodies as a thing of beauty…the way it should be. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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We have been spotting this character on the streets of NYC for some weeks now. At first glance it looks like a molar with a life on its own. We don’t know who is behind them UPDATE: It is LUNGEBOX – but this one caught our eye for its well rendered simplicity. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Andreco. Pistoletto Foundation. Biella, Italy. (photo © Andreco)

Andreco is back on BSA with this “Living Mural” a project he has had in his mind since 2010, he says. when “I was doing my PhD in environmental engineering on the environmental behavior of green technologies, green roofs and green walls in particular. At that time I decided to combine the Artistic with the Scientific research when doing a mural with an integrated vertical garden. The wall painting is ephemeral and it will change over the time with the plant growth,” Andreco tells us.

Part of the “Hydra Project” at the Cittadellarte-Pistoletto Foundation in Biella, Italy, Andreco used Natural paint, aluminum strings, climbers plants, soil, dry rocks wall, and an irrigation system for this piece.

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Andreco. Pistoletto Foundation. Biella, Italy. (photo © Andreco)

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Untitled. Study in red, green and white. Brooklyn, NYC. June 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Bogotá : A Liberal Approach To Art Creates Exceptional Street Culture

Bogotá : A Liberal Approach To Art Creates Exceptional Street Culture

Thanks to a globalism of culture, many cities around the world have sprouted vibrant Street Art scenes – including today’s focus, Bogotá, Columbia. Far more open to expression than many cities, Bogotá has become a tolerant and welcoming place for artists on public walls, with the mayor actually agreeing and decreeing that graffiti and street art are a form of valued artistic expression, as long as you lay off the statues and City Hall. The government even gives grants for some painting, and political and social protest on walls goes a little further than you might expect. As part of a personal tour of Columbia in the last couple of months, occasional BSA contributor Yoav Litvin travelled to Bogotá and met a couple of artists who told him about the scene there.
 
 
by Yoav Litvin

We arrived at the Bogotá airport in the evening. For convenience sake, we took a cab from the airport to our accommodation in the heart of La Candelaria, an area of town known for its museums, beautiful architecture and street art. I knew Bogotá was going to be as special as far as its street art scene. I just did not know yet how incredible it was going to be.

My introduction to Bogotá street art and graffiti was the highway from the airport into town, aka Calle 26—it was completely BOMBED. When I say bombed I mean there was not a single space free of art on the walls or tunnels of the highway for miles on end. The beautiful graffiti and street art along with countless tags adorning the walls made me feel like a kid in a candy store. Immediately I knew Bogotá was going to be special, a heaven for street art and graffiti.

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Stink Fish. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

During my visit I was fortunate to meet two very active local artists: DJ LU (aka Juegasiempre), otherwise known as the “Bogotá Banksy” and CRISP, an Aussie transplant that has made the city his home. They were courteous and answered some of my questions.

Yoav Litvin: What makes the street art and graffiti scene so unique in Bogotá? Please discuss the political background in Bogotá in particular and Colombia in general and some policies (legality etc.) that influence the great diversity of work on the streets. What’s special here?
DJ LU: Bogotá’s treasure is its diversity, in every sense. It has very eclectic architecture, interesting places, and is extremely multiracial. Urban expressions are not the exception; here you can find murals, tagging, hip hop graffiti, paste ups, stickers, characters, lettering and stencil work among others. Bogotá is an ideal playground for public expression. First of all, its urban structure is patchy making it ideally suited as far as context; there are many residual spaces, remnants of highway constructions, parking lots and abandoned structures.

Second, the legislation is tolerant, so unless you are engaged in a very clear act of vandalism you won’t have a problem with the law. Residents are also becoming familiar with the practice so there is tolerance from the local population.

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Toxicomano . Unknown .  DJ LU .  Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

CRISP: Bogotá is one of the most exciting, underrated and prolific urban art scenes on the planet. This is due to a combination of several factors, which have created a melting pot of creativity and expression. Firstly, there is a long history of civil unrest, inequality and injustices in Colombia that make street art and graffiti a potent form of expression and protest for the people.

It actually has the longest running civil war in the world, over half a century of bloodshed!

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Toxicomano . DJ LU . Lesivo . Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Secondly, it has a very tolerant legal approach to urban art compared to most other cities in the world. It’s not technically illegal but “prohibited”, which provides a unique situation where grafiteros can take their time and paint in broad daylight. That said, an artist still needs to be cautious of police depending on the type of street art you are doing and due to police history of brutality.

Thirdly, Colombia has a rich resource of inspiration: its people, music, food, indigenous cultures, animals and plants from the Pacific, Andes, Amazon and Caribbean! This complex mix of factors makes Bogotá’s urban art scene truly unique.

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DJ LU Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Yoav Litvin: What motivates you in your work? Please discuss how your work is an expression of your development within the scene in Bogota.
DJ LU: My work is motivated by reality. I’m interested in making people aware–through art–of lots of situations that affect us as a society. The first project I started with on the street is the Pictogram project. It is based on semiotics and sign language. As it proposes very simple designs it is intended to relay a message immediately. In this project I have designed more than 60 pictograms that I have put up all over Bogotá and many other cities around the world in stencil form, stickers and paste ups.

Afterwards came the Street Pride project in which I took photographs of anonymous people whose appearance I found aesthetically interesting and who were interacting with the public space and I used them as models for my work. I believe that advertisements and the media in general are fabricating idols for the people to follow and to speed up consumerism. I want to make the invisible visible, to bring attention to anonymous people who construct our street culture.

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 Crisp. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

CRISP: I’ve always expressed myself through art from a very young age. In terms of street art I was a late bloomer. Despite an interest and curiosity in urban art, It was only when I came to Bogota that I truly became a street artist! I met grafitero friends here who encouraged me to put my artwork up in the street. Street art has shown me that it’s important that our public spaces aren’t controlled and dictated solely by councils, corporations, marketing companies, and formal art institutes.

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Toxicomano. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

Yoav Litvin:  How do you see the future of street art and graffiti in Bogota?
DJ LU: I believe that the progress of street art and graffiti is determined by a lot of factors: legal issues, trends, politics and economics. Graffiti and street art are trendy now in Bogotá, and this will most likely decrease. At that point only the ones that are doing it for real will keep working outside.

CRISP: The huge changes I’ve witnessed since 2001 through 2008 until the present are phenomenal. Bogota’s urban art has exploded in terms of quality and quantity. Everywhere you look, walk and drive, you see some form of creativity and expression on nearly every block in the city!

Mostly it is grass roots, passion-driven and totally devoid of the more corporate, council and gallery-organized and funded “street art” you see in many other cities in the world. In the near future I see many talented Colombian artists finally getting the recognition, support and ability to share their work with a wider international audience they deserve. Ironically this point isn’t important to many grafiteros here.

It’s the way of life, the friends, the culture, pure expression, fun, connecting with the public and the happiness this connection with the street brings that’s most important! In the future Bogota will be known as an urban art mecca but for all the right reasons!

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Lesivo. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Guache. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Stinkfish. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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APC . Stinkfish . FCO . Temor. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Praxis. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Frank Salvador . Sur Beat. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Bastardilla wheatpaste afloat beneath a handful of dripping tags. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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Bastardilla. Detail. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

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El Pez. Bogota, Colombia. (photo © Yoav Litvin)

 

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