All posts tagged: Roa

Shout (and love) To The Pangolin and ROA

Shout (and love) To The Pangolin and ROA

Pangolin Smuggling!

A recent article in The New York Times caught our attention this week and it made us think about Street Artist ROA, and his many paintings in the street depicting them.

ROA. Pangolin. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

The article reported that 9 tons of pangolins scales had been seized in Hong Kong, the scales were hidden under slabs of frozen meat on a cargo ship en route to Vietnam. The most frequently trafficked mammal in the world, the Pangolin suffers when it’s killed for its scales – believed to be a cure for cancer or asthma, among other things.

Pangolins, or scaly anteaters, are not as well known to audiences worldwide but we thought we’d give this darling of a mammal a shout out today and in the process bring attention to the plight of our planet.

When are we going to stop destroying ourselves by destroying our natural resources? Everything we do creates an impact.

ROA. Pangolin. The Gambia. (photo © Roa)

Back in 2014 we published an article with a photo diary by Belgian artist ROA. He had traveled for several months from Brazil to The Gambia with stops in Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Rome. Here is what he had to say about his experience in The Gambia with the pangolin:

“I’ve painted a pangolin before in The Gambia but being back there and having read so much during the past year about the illegal trafficking of pangolins – to be served as exotic food or mostly as a ‘medicine’, I needed to paint them again.

Indian pangolin defending itself against Asiatic lions (from Wikipedia)

“Firstly, the so-called medical qualities of the ground-up scales are disputed and “the animals are currently on the list of endangered species because of the trafficking and the loss of habitat by deforestation in Africa,” explains ROA.

He notes that one of their unique attempts to protect themselves is to reconfigure their appearance.  “They can roll up into a ball to defend themselves,” he says.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 06.10.18  X ONO’U Tahiti Festival Special

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.10.18 X ONO’U Tahiti Festival Special

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015


Hello from French Polynesia! All week we have been hopping around the islands from Papeete to Raiatea and now in Bora Bora. Celebrating its 5th anniversary/birthday last night at the huge community street party with founders Sarah Roopina and Jean Ozonder and with this years ONO’U festival artists slamming walls like crazy here  – you can see that hard work pays off sometimes.

Grassroots, not overly commercial, inclusive, responsive to the neighbors, high quality artworks – its a solid, even golden mix. Also Sarah’s parents are always happy to pitch in, whether it is pushing a broom or making lunch for everyone at home in their kitchen and bringing it to the work site to make sure that everyone eats. It is touches of warmth like this which reminds you that in many ways this scene that started in the street is as much about community as it is self expression.

For BSA readers who are just catching up with ONO’U we thought we’d use Images of the Week as an ONO’U Greatest Hits collection today. Most of these have never before published on BSA from the four previous editions. We took winding streets, back alleys, roundabouts, promenades, rooftops, abandoned lots and just about any place we could enter alongside Martha Cooper and had a blast for three days finding these walls again. Enjoy and Māuruuru roa!

DalEast. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Seth . HJT. ONO’U Tahiti 2015. Papeete. In 2016 this particular wall was chosen by the French Polynesia Postal Service as a stamp. We wrote about it HERE. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Suiko. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. Roosters, hens and chicks run wild on the streets of many towns in French Polynesia. We haven’t figured out who feeds them, or how they survive, but they seem to roam free of owners and masters. One can hear the roosters making their distinctive call (here is what they sound like) every morning – sometimes before you are fully aware that the new day has begun. It is also not unusual to see a mother hen with her chicks crossing the roads at their leisure, sometimes stopping traffic. We of course stop for them. Always. Lore has it that there are big mean centipedes in the archipelagos and that the chickens eat them. See they earn their keep balancing the natural population of insects, besides being very effective alarms clocks. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Leon Keer’s anamorphic Street Art, literally on the street, creates a mind-bending illusion with perspective. ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

DalEast. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mast’s tribute to the NYC Subway creates a new faux subway stop that is roughly 6,300 miles (10,103 km) from New York. ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

INTI. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

MadC. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

FinDac. ONO’U Tahiti 2017 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

KOBRA. ONO’U Tahiti 2017 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

PEETA. ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Marko93. ONO’U Tahiti 2017 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Besok. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Charles & Janine Williams. The Ōma’o is a bird from the island of Hawaii is placed at the highest risk of extinction thus the “Critically Endangerd” or CR designation.  ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Abuz . HTJ . JUPS. ONO’U Tahiti 2016 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Askew . Sofles. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Inspired by the Polynesian legend of “The Coconut Tree” the mural has to do with an eel’s head, a forgetful young girl and the birth of the coconut tree:  

“The coconut tree is one of the most common trees in The Islands Of Tahiti. The Polynesians always tell a legend about its creation… The coconut tree legend…

A long time ago, a young girl called Hina was of real beauty due to her sun kissed skin and silky hair. She was meant to marry the prince of eels. Frightened by the physique of her suitor, who had a gigantic body and an enormous head, Hina ran away and took refuge in the house of the fishing God – Hiro.

The latter was dazzled by the beauty of Hina and touched by her history, so he took one of the young woman’s hairs and with it fished the approaching eel. Hiro cut up the prince of eels and wrapped his head in leaves. Before dying, the eel said to Hina: “of all the Men who hate me, including you Hina, you will one day kiss me to thank me. I will die, but my prediction is eternal.”.

Hiro entrusted the head of the eel to Hina and then advised her:

Hina, girl of beauty, you can return to your family and there, you will destroy this head. But throughout your journey do not put it on the ground because then the curse of the eel will come true.’

On her way back, the beautiful young woman and her followers who accompanied her, became tired and decided to take a bath in the river, forgetting the warning of the God Hiro. The eel’s head which had been put on the ground penetrated the earth, and from it a large tree was born, with a long trunk just like an immense eel, and with foliage similar to hair; the coconut tree had just been born.

Hina was then condemned by the Gods to remain close to this river because the tree had become taboo… Life went on until the day when a terrible dryness struck the lands and during which only the coconut resisted the sun. Thus, in spite of the God’s prohibition to touch this tree, men picked its fruit full of clear and nutritive water. Each fruit was marked with 3 dark spots laid out like two eyes and a mouth on which the men put their lips in order to drink the coconut water…. Hina did the same thing ….. And the prophecy of the prince of eels had just come true.”

Askew . Sofles. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faith XLVII. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dabs & Myla . Kems. ONO’U Tahiti 2014 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dabs & Myla . Pose. ONO’U Tahiti 2015 / Papeete. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Copenhagen Diary: A Street Survey of the Moment

Copenhagen Diary: A Street Survey of the Moment

A current survey today from the streets in Copenhagen thanks to a couple of BSA fans and friends who share with readers their recent finds in one of the world’s happiest places, according to the 2018 World Happiness Report. Apparently it is also a good place for gay birds to come out of the closet.

DalEast is the author of the bird. Spyo tells the world who he really is… (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

With a storied history of graffiti bombing of the red trains that goes back many years, possibly generations, Copenhagen has long been a treasured destination for graffiti writers.

Now you will also find murals and installations illegally and legally by local and international Street artists – and the iconic full sides of buildings here are subtly transforming the public face of the city.

Edward von Lõngus (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

Interestingly, a number of these pieces are rather monochromatic, shunning the exuberant colors that are associated today with the hyper realists and fantastical forays that are common throughout Street Art/mural festivals around the world.

Joining artists like the Danish Street Artists like HuskMitNavn, the sculptor Tejn, and well-known bomber Soten are now international names like Ireland’s Conor Harrington, Spain’s Isaac Cordal, and Estonian stencil artist Edward von Lõngus have added their voices.

Our very special thanks to Borghild Marie Kvale and Tor Staale Moen for their support and for sharing here with BSA readers.

Edward von Lõngus (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

ROA (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

Conor Harrington (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

Borondo (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

Don John (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

Don John (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

1UP Crew (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

Old, old Banksy from 1993…the last survivor in Copenhagen. (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

ABYS (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

Bill Savarese from 1995. (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

Swet71 (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

Enlighten people know… (photo © Tor Staale Moen)

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Mexico City: Aerosol Artists, Aztecs and Magic on the Street

Mexico City: Aerosol Artists, Aztecs and Magic on the Street

Every city has its own particular energy; it’s own articulated rhythm, its own unique chaos.

Mexico City’s is full of flourish and aspiration and fascination for the international new, while firmly rooted in respect for the past. When it comes to Street Art, murals, graffiti and discordant sub-cultural art movements that can disrupt the norm, this city shows the capacity to absorb and adapt and to continue moving forward, providing meaningful insights into the true nature of its people.

Curiot. Detail. For Lienzo Capital Project with Street Art MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This magic city of more than 20 million is often referred to as a gateway to Latin America: economically, socially, and politically. With high tech industry, banks, multi-national companies, a university system that serves 300,000 students, 150 museums, three UNESCO World Heritage sites… you can see why. With heavy traffic despite a subway system and many forms of public transportation, it can take hours for you to cross Mexico City (Distrito Federal (D.F)) and you can be assured that you’ll probably never see all 16 boroughs.

El Mac. Detail. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As Street Art and its associated movements move through Central and South America, invariably D.F. appears as an important tierra cultural to traverse. From an active graffiti scene and occasional mural festivals to a growing gallery representation and increasing museum interest, urban artists are capturing the attention of the Americas, making heads spin in public space. With Mexico City capturing nearly all the aspects at once, today we take a look at the city and give you only a few examples of the art in the streets here.

El Mac. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The September 19th earthquake of 2017 shook Mexico City exactly 32 years after 10,000 lost their lives in a larger one, the largest. With broken sidewalks and taped off buildings still as physical evidence, you can hear in the voices the trauma that rocked tall buildings back and forth like huge ships on the sea. In addition to these more physical shocks, the city has been rocked in recent years by a rising evidence of frightening power shifts relating to drug traffickers, accusations of institutional corruption, and a sharply rising economic inequality that is transforming developing/developed societies across the globe.

Built upon the ruins of the Aztec city called Tenochtitlán, which was one of the worlds largest in the 15th century, Mexico City appears persistently ebullient when banding together against adversity. Determined to excel beyond the horrors of conquest by the Spanish that decimated an entire indigenous culture, still the ruins rise above the ground and this multi-hued global city rumbles forward with determination.

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sleek high rises and brightly patterned folkloric art and aerosol sprayed graffiti tags next to massive murals all blend and swirl like the jarabe Tapatío hat dance from block to block – a decisive commixture of the “brand new” with a heritage of indigenous/invader cultures that ruled here hundreds of years before. Today it’s a hybrid of purposeful optimism and wizened survival instincts that pushes the city forward, despite the shocks endured.

SEGO. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The magic and realism so famously combined by authors like Garcia Márquez and Esquivel along with the brutal honesty of Mexican filmmakers like Inarritu, del Toro and Cuaron is fused onto the bricks of colonial mansions and cinderblock industrial neighborhoods like Roma-Condesa and Centro Histórico. These colonias and others like Xochimilco and Coyoacán are historic, commercial, somehow always in transition.

Buster (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As you walk and weave over the chunks of disrupted sidewalks, the local mechanic’s car-repair taking place on the curb is complimented by the smell of stacks of fresh tortillas from the tiny tortilleria. The booming tented markets of witty pop-culture t-shirts, knock-off sneakers, and decorative phone cases are sharing your memory space with the eye-popping magenta, sea foam green, and lemon sherbert yellow hues of huge layered toile netting as quinceañera skirts plumped full of Dior and displayed regally behind full glass windows, shop after shop.

The narrow street in old Centro Historico surges with the sound of a live heavy metal band demonstrating the equipment at a music store at lunch time, and three Argentinian Street Artists (Ever, Elian, and Jaz) are creating plumes of aerosol paint from the opened second floor veranda doors across the street while home-made Judas Priest reverberates over and around the slowly moving bumper-to-bumper traffic.

Arty & Chikle. “Only Love”. Street Art MUJAM in collaboration with the Mexico City National Youth Institute for Young Adults. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Of Mexico, “it’s always high noon and what glows is fuchsia and what’s dead is dead,” said author Henry Miller in his book Black Spring, and some spirit of that rings true here where so many objects and situations you encounter can be amazing and revelatory and yet locals simply roll them in a tortilla and toss it on a hot oiled comal for dinner.

The music options alone can be illustrative of the variety here: Las Madrigalistas are performing holiday classics in the Palacio Bellas Artes, Ricky Martin just played free for 100,000 in the Zocalo, there is an active punk scene that rivals many, a hiphop scene that draws fans from nearby cities, and a reverence for 1980s artists like Depeche Mode and The Misfits, and an almost religious devotion to Morrisey.

D*Face (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The scale of the murals can be as vast as the city, equally eclectically handmade and warm. Thanks to a rich heritage of mural-making and artists like Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros in the last century, the new generation of Mexicanos are interpolating the currents that ripple and wave through a society wedded to fierce independence and tradition. Today it is again rocked by our instant access to information and a global sense of modernity.

JET (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interezni Kazki. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This means that an international Street Art scene in D.F. features not only Mexican alchemists like Saner, Curiot, Farid Rueda, Lesuperdemon, Dhear and Sego (among others) but also invites the English D*Face, Italians Ericailcane and BLU, Belgian ROA, Los Angelianos Retna and El Mac, Polish M-City, Argentian JAZ and German duo Herakut to influence the voice of the street. With a visual wealth of inspiration and disruptive or unusual imagery in play on the street, this still  jittery city smiles and confronts you as the year turns, a response that is in flux and fiesta, sorrow and memory, outrage and magic.

ROA. All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

While traveling through the city with Roberto Shimizu, a central figure in the modern Street Art/mural scene here, and by visiting Street Artists and critical curators and organizers in studios and alternative spaces inside and outside the city, we garnered a greater appreciation for the complexity of the story here. It is distinctly different from the model we’ve seen elsewhere and explains the less showy trajectory that this still organic ecosystem has taken.

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As in most cities today you’ll find the organic and autonomous quality of works is best represented by one-off, handmade individual pieces of art and stickers throughout neighborhoods, many anonymous. These are not the large scale legal murals that unfamiliar observers sometimes refer to as Street Art. These are still the lifeblood of any real Street Art scene and are often indicators of its truer eclectic nature.

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Maybe because there isn’t a large collector base for this work, or because some brands/marketers have already cheapened its image a bit, but Street Art hasn’t blossomed in the gallery world here to a great extent. Instead, true cultural curators like Shimizu have consistently led it directly to his festival programs or his family’s Mexico City’s Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM), and professors at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) are teaching about it to students .

Milamores and El Flaco. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We usually find the true nature of Street Art here is still in the streets – and in the artists community. In the Chulula area of nearby Puebla outside Mexico City, the mysterious renaissance seer named Milamores has quietly curated walls of many local and international artists over the last half decade, offering his compound and dogs for rest and companionship in a supportive artists space. Together with video animation artist Flaco he is presenting Street Art via Virtual Reality experiences that are in tandem with his organically grown mural program. Built on the site of a collapsed building from the 1985 earthquake, the artist/activist collective and community garden Huerto Roma Verde provides classes and workshops on art, sustainable architecture, gardening, and theater and has helped many artists to with mural opportunities as well.

Diana Bama . Martin Ferreira. Huerto Roma Verde. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Diana Bama . Martin Ferreira. Huerto Roma Verde. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As an emblem of the conflicting and harmonious forces at play, we cite the relatively recent mural painted by the Spanish Street Artist Escif on the wall of the Chihuahua housing complex on the Plaza of Three Cultures just north of the city center. Illustrating the privately funded public projects that Street Artists are doing now throughout cities, this one plumbs the unhealed wounds and still unanswered questions of a shocking event of political repression almost 50 years ago here in the plaza designed by Mario Pani.

Not only does the plaza physically join together a Spanish colonial church and the remains of a pre-Columbian Aztec temple with the 13 story housing complex, the square is most known today for the October 1968 suppression of a student movement where troops ran directly over the ruins and fired on a peaceful rally and secret police captured and tortured student leaders who were speaking from the balcony. Protest art and public installations about the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping of 43 disappeared students recall the stories from 1968 today, and many make connections between the events.

Unidentified Artist. Installation in El Centro Historico for the 43 Desaparecidos. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Some academics have said the crushing of the student movement was part of a secret “dirty war” by the government to quiet dissent and present a unified Mexico image to the world ahead of the upcoming Olympics, but Shimizu tells us that visiting politicians to Escif’s new wall are pleased with the mural and made a tour by bus with guests to admire it. A monument to the Tlatelolco massacre stands in the plaza memorializing the events, and Escif made a few statements about his interpretation of his mural.

“As in my previous works, there is not a limited meaning in the ‘Chihuahua Mural’, but as many meanings as people try to approach it with,” said Escif to us recently about the two suited figures. He discusses his research into the events that took place, but ultimately he leaves the painting more open to interpretation. “Those two guys painted on the wall can be secretive executives, military officers, corporate people or anybody. That will depend on who sees the wall and his previous experiences.”

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For visitors to Mexico City looking for the local Street Art or graffiti scene it is helpful to recognize that this moment for a near-global fascination for art in the streets is here also intertwined with a national and local history, cultural pride, and the treasured heritage of indigenous peoples.

While so-called “western” countries may see a rebellious disaffected rage or critique as an overarching narrative for the graffiti and Street Art scene in New York, London, or Berlin, it may be that Mexico City, and Latin America by extension, is also very cognizant of its roots, in love with them even, always infusing new work with a certain respect for their progenitors. For an art practice that is characterized in part for its ephemerality the context of this particular urban environment reminds you of its often remarkable resilience.

Dueke . Miss1 Guette for MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

RETNA. The Beauty Project, 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot. Detial. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

SINKO (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interezni Kazki. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interezni Kazki. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kill Joy . Mazatl. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fusca .  Blast. La Linea Street Art. Cholula, Puebla. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Ilcane. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


This is the first of two articles with BSA in Mexico City in collaboration with UN Berlin, it was originally published on the Urban Nation website, and the project is funded in part with the support of Urban Nation Museum for Urban Contemporary Art (UN) in Berlin.

Read Part II here:

A Street View From Inside the Doors of Mexico City ; Galleries, Studios, Museums, and the Metro


Additional coverage by BSA in Mexico City:

An Unlikely Museum for Street Art? MUJAM is in the MX MIX : BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 1

Saner, Mexican Muralist and Painter, Studio Visit. BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 2

Panteón and Watchavato “No Esto No Es Lo Que Fue” Opens In Mexico City

Exploring New Techniques and Processes with Elian, Jaz and Ever in Mexico City

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.26.17 Mexico City Special


This article is also published on the Urban Nation museum website:

 

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BSA “Images Of The Year” for 2017 (VIDEO)

BSA “Images Of The Year” for 2017 (VIDEO)

Of the thousands of images he took this year in places like New York, Berlin, Scotland, Hong Kong, Sweden, French Polynesia, Barcelona, and Mexico City, photographer Jaime Rojo found that Street Art and graffiti are more alive than every before. From aerosol to brush to wheat-paste to sculpture and installations, the individual acts of art on the street can be uniquely powerful – even if you don’t personally know where or who it is coming from. As you look at the faces and expressions it is significant to see a sense of unrest, anger, fear. We also see hope and determination.

Every Sunday on BrooklynStreetArt.com, we present “Images Of The Week”, our weekly interview with the street. Primarily New York based, BSA interviewed, shot, and displayed images from Street Artists from more than 100 cities over the last year, making the site a truly global resource for artists, fans, collectors, gallerists, museums, curators, academics, and others in the creative ecosystem. We are proud of the help we have given and thankful to the community for what you give back to us and we hope you enjoy this collection – some of the best from 2017.

Brooklyn Street Art 2017 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;

Artists included in the video are: Suitswon, Curiot, Okuda, Astro, Sixe Paredes, Felipe Pantone, Hot Tea, Add Fuel, Hosh, Miss Van, Paola Delfin, Pantonio, Base23, R1, Jaune, Revok, Nick Walker, 1UP Crew, SotenOne, Phat1, Rime MSK, Martin Whatson, Alanis, Smells, UFO907, Kai, Tuts, Rambo, Martha Cooper, Lee Quinoes, Buster, Adam Fujita, Dirty Bandits, American Puppet, Disordered, Watchavato, Shepard Fairey, David Kramer, Yoko Ono, Dave The Chimp, Icy & Sot, Damien Mitchell, Molly Crabapple, Jerkface, Isaac Cordal, SacSix, Raf Urban, ATM Street Art, Stray Ones, Sony Sundancer, ROA, Telmo & Miel, Alexis Diaz, Space Invader, Nasca, BK Foxx, BordaloII, The Yok & Sheryo, Arty & Chikle, Daniel Buchsbaum, RIS Crew, Pichi & Avo, Lonac, Size Two, Cleon Peterson, Miquel Wert, Pyramid Oracle, Axe Colours, Swoon, Outings Project, Various & Gould, Alina Kiliwa, Tatiana Fazalalizadeh, Herakut, Jamal Shabaz, Seth, Vhils, KWets1, FinDac, Vinz Feel Free, Milamores & El Flaco, Alice Pasquini, Os Gemeos, Pixel Pancho, Kano Kid, Gutti Barrios, 3 x 3 x 3, Anonymouse, NeSpoon, Trashbird, M-city, ZoerOne, James Bullowgh, and 2501.

 

Cover image of Suits Won piece with Manhattan in the background, photo by Jaime Rojo.

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BSA Film Friday: 12.01.17

BSA Film Friday: 12.01.17

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

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

Now screening :
1. Rough Cut of Haring on Train in Mexico City (DF)
2. Niels Shoe Meulman in Magic City
3. Carlo McCormick talks about ROA at Magic City
4. Miquel Wert / 12 + 1 Contorno Urbano
5. “Awareness, Optimism, Commitment” by GEC Art

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: Rough Cut of Haring on Train in Mexico City (DF)

It all took us by surprise last week in Mexico City when suddenly a whole train covered on both sides with Keith Haring’s work approached while we were waiting at the platform to catch the Linea 2 of the Metro. He made his name in part by illegally doing drawings like these in NYC subways and here now they are crushing a whole train. The name of the project is “Ser Humano. Ser Urbano” or “Being Human. Being Urban” and it aims to promote human values and human rights. The pattern you see is from “Sin Titulo (Tokyo Fabric Design)” – now stretched across these whole cars, if you will.

The train itself is inexplicably having brake troubles, so we get some jerky spur-of-the-moment footage but all week on Instagram and Facebook we’ve received tons of comments from people reacting to this little bit of Keith video by Jaime Rojo on BSA.

 

 

Niels Shoe Meulman in Magic City – The Art Of The Street :

Niels Shoe Meulman spent some nights in a Munich jail thirty years ago for mucking about on the walls. This year he was paid to do it in Munich for Magic City, the travelling morphing exhibition (now in Stockholm) where Street Art is celebrated along with all its tributaries – including a film program and a number of photographs by your friends here at BSA.

Born, raised and based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Shoe shares here his new improvisational piece and some of his reflections on his process and his evolution from being in advertising as an art/creative director and reclaiming his soul as a graffiti/Street Art/fine artist. As ever, Martha is in the frame, putting him in the frame.

 

Carlo McCormick talks about ROA at Magic City – The Art Of The Street / Dresden-Munich-Stockholm

The urban naturalist ROA gets the Carlo McCormick treatment here as the chief curator of Magic City does the talking for the anonymous Ghent-based artist who has globe-trotted for almost a decade with his marginalized animal parade in monochrome. Here you get to see the inside/outside of his practice, a genuine master as work – with the delicious insight of Carlo to guide your appreciation.

 

Miquel Wert / 12 + 1 Contorno Urbano

In studio with Miguel Wert we get to see him sifting through a pile of black and white photos, assessing the scene, the sitters, the psychological-emotional dynamics of families, lovers, haters.

“In most family photos the interpersonal dynamics are more subtle,” we wrote when the wall was first unveiled in Barcelona, “but a close reading of posture, body language, and facial expressions all give unconsciously a lot of information about the true nature of the relationships officially on display.”

See more in “Miquel Wert Brings Awkward Family Dynamics From the Shadows in Barcelona”

“Awareness, Optimism, Commitment” by GEC Art

Young gymnast takes the opportunity to practice and perform for a moment atop this traffic barrier in Torino.

And why not?

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 11.26.17 Mexico City Special

BSA Images Of The Week: 11.26.17 Mexico City Special

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Mexico City this week was full of graffiti tags, large murals oozing with character, astral techno hippie dudes, strong women, slick talkers, traffic jams, street protests, stories about the 43, couples kissing on park benches, rooftop tours, men in suits, professional ladies in really high heels, smoothly running buses, sustainable community gardens, pick-pockets, indigenous people selling crafts, police with high pitched whistles, wannabe hipsters, live rock bands, tacos, craft beer, poinsettias, quesadillas, chille rellenos, pulled pork, nopales, avocados, tortas, Frida Kahlo, babies, Bohemia, marijuana smoke, and ultimately, Ricky Martin singing for hundreds of thousands of people free in the Zócalo.

We’ll catch you up on on the details soon.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Arty & Chickle, Blu, Curiot, DFace, El Mac, Erica Ilcane, Escif, Herakut, Interesni Kazki, Maria Guardado, Retna, ROA, Saner, and Sego.

Our top image : Erica Ilcane. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Ilcane. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Erica Ilcane. Deatail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blu. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot. Detail. For Lienzo Capital Project with Street Art MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curated by Roberto Shimizu with the collaboration of the Mexico City Goverment on the Metro and the official building of The Nation Youth Institute

Curiot. Detail. For Lienzo Capital Project with Street Art MUJAM. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Curiot in Roma neighborhood for Capital Mural. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

D*Face (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Escif. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Retna. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interesni Kazki. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interesni Kazki. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Interesni Kazki. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Saner. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sego. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Herakut. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Mac. Detail. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Portrait of Maria Guardado, a social activist and poet from Guatemala. Ms. Guardado was tortured and killed by the Guatemalan army during the bloody civil war in 1980.

El Mac. For All City Canvas 2012. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Arty & Chikle. “Only Love”. Street Art MUJAM in collaboration with the Mexico City National Youth Institute for Young Adults. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Torre Latino Americana. Mexico City. November 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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An Unlikely Museum for Street Art? MUJAM is in the MX MIX : BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 1

An Unlikely Museum for Street Art? MUJAM is in the MX MIX : BSA X UN X Mexico City: Day 1

This week BSA is in Mexico City in collaboration with Urban Nation Museum of Urban Contemporary Art (UN) to see what is steering the scene on the street, meet artists, visit artist compounds, museums, galleries, and studios – and of course to capture the wild and dynamic Street Art and graffiti scene here. Where Mexico City goes in art and culture makes big waves elsewhere in Latin America, and its Street Art scene has been quickly evolving in the last decade. Join us as we investigate the character and players in this modern/traditional city of more than 21 million people.


Not much happens in Mexico City’s modern Street Art scene that Roberto Shimizu Jr. doesn’t know about.

El Mac is in good company. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With his namesake father at the helm of the Mexican Antique Toy Museum (MUJAM) since it opened in 2006, the younger Shimizu has organized 30 or so Street Art events, founded the All City Canvas program, worked with city and federal public art programs. He has also been a personal clearing house for some of the most recognized talents and new practitioners on the scene, inviting them to paint inside and outside this eclectic and curiously expansive, overwhelming museum of toys that span a century or so.

ROA. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We spent hours with Roberto walking the floors of this imagination-provoking museum today – oggling an ocean of hand-made and mass produced items here that his father has collected for almost 60 years in every state of Mexico, only 5% of an estimated 5 million individual pieces in their collection. As the son of a voracious lifelong collector with a razor sharp eye and appreciation for positive energy Roberto Jr. has an omnivore’s appetite for Street Art, public art, graffiti.

So naturally since the museum first opened he’s been bringing in an eclectic array of aerosol/brush painters, wheatpasters, stencils, sticker slappers to hit up walls in the courtyard outside, on the roof, inside the museum, and on walls around the industrialized/residential neighborhood of Colonia Doctores.

Curiot. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We’ll be telling you more about this ingenious genius and his heartfelt amor for toys and Street Art later, but we thought we’d just show you some excerpts of a large rolled canvas signed by the important artists, curators, sincere fans and occasional rock stars that he’s been amassing for the last few years.

Here you’ll find a number of the big names from today’s Street Art scene from before anyone really knew them – people to whom he personally gave opportunities and encouragement and materials and who later have landed in the collections of museums and collectors thanks to him giving them an opportunity, or two, or three. Also it was good for us to see names of the new kids on the block and a number of Latin American talents we all will be getting to know in the future.

Herakut. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

JAZ. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Neuzz. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Liqen. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

M – City. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Luca Dalto. MUJAM, Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

For more information about MUJAM click HERE

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ROA Paints a Memorial Tribute in BK : “Pet Bird RIP”

ROA Paints a Memorial Tribute in BK : “Pet Bird RIP”

“I could paint a regular parakeet – something pretty – but that’s not me and anyway Peter would f*cking like this!” says Belgian Street Artist ROA as he talks about his newest gift from the natural world to Brooklyn. A tribute to his friend who lived not far from this spot and who hit the streets with his “Pet Bird” stickers, this new large wall near a subway entrance reminds us of the sudden discoveries we come in contact with when our eyes are open.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This is a city that is in constant movement, undergoing evolutions and revolutions we can’t control and others that we can. As is the nature of Street Art, the entire city can have this temporary, ethereal quality of a moment captured. Coming two years since his friends passing, this important work reverberates through the chests and heads of a community of friends, some as close as family, who appreciate it as a gift of kindness.

The lady who stops by? Not so much. “I don’t really want to see a dead bird on the building,” she says with a long face as she slouches away with shoulders rounded forward in a perpetual state of doom.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It just so happens that the world-traveling ROA is in New York again as part of a new artist residency in the Brooklyn neighborhood that gives it its name – Bed Stuy Artist Residency. While he’s slept on couches and spare rooms and on floors in previous visits over the last decade when here to paint walls or prepare for shows at Factory Fresh and Jonathan Levine Gallery, this quiet brownstone apartment provides a bedroom, kitchenette and a separate studio space with plenty of light, an old decorative fireplace mantel and a small rusty chandelier with tiny skeletons dangling from it.

It’s an unassuming and welcoming environment for an eclectic array of artists who so far have included folks like Judith Supine, Yarrow Slaps, SS Powell, and Lucien Shapiro. Upcoming artists confirmed include SWAMPY, Amanda Marie, Monica Canilao, and Revok.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Established last year by two down-to-earth and ardent Street Art fans, Kathy Kupka and Erwin Bakx, word has spread quickly about this opportunity and they have already completed the planned calendar for all of next year. A warm and spare environment to contemplate some new ideas without the stresses that this city brings to artists, ROA has been planning here for his next big show in 6 weeks – and of course making new work in studio and on walls. The vibe is relaxed and open, yet artists are expected to create new work as well, which ROA compulsively does anyway.

 

We asked Ms. Kupka about the new residency and how it has been with one of Street Art’s best known and regarded urban naturalists.

BSA: How has the experience with ROA been? How long has he been with you?
Kathy Kupka: Its been big fun hanging out w ROA. A lot of beer drinking, rolling smokes, talking & doing art and finding the perfect croissant.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Did you have the opportunity to see his creative process in studio? What aspect of his work or process did you find interesting?
Kathy Kupka: We were so lucky to have seen ROA work! He is a thinker and wise way beyond his years…  he definitely makes it all look effortless and easy but in watching him work it is clear how amazingly talented he is.

BSA: Is it a challenge to find walls for an artist to paint in New York? The availability of walls to paint seems to vary quite a lot from city to city.
Kathy Kupka: We were lucky that Judith Supine knows everyone and everything and through him we got ROA a fabulous wall on Metropolitan and Lorimer. Thanks to Dr. Phil, for his great love of art and excellent idea of curating his doctors office wall! Dr. Phil not only has excellent taste but is an excellent doctor. You should hit him up if you’re sick!

A Pet Bird sticker from the early 2010s (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: We saw a number of people stopping by to comment on the work or ask questions while ROA was painting. Do you enjoy interacting with passersby?
Kathy Kupka: Oh yeah!  Especially if one of your favorite artists just happens by and you get to meet her – like Maya Hayuk!  It is really nice to see people interested in the wall and being inquisitive but so sad that many were unaware of all that was happening around them because they were so wrapped up in their cell phones.  I mean a 20 foot long bird didn’t even register!

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: This new residency has been a learning experience for the first few months. Why do you think it is important to offer artists opportunities like this?
Kathy Kupka: Because who doesn’t want to come to Brooklyn?  There are so many amazing artists who don’t have a connection here in NYC and NYC is, let’s be honest, a place you have to see, a place you have to experience as an artist – and we can make that happen! For us it is an honor to be part of their growth, their NYC experience. We also are super happy to provide a homey space in a beautiful brownstone allowing them a place to stop, work their asses off or just be without worry or stress.

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA for Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA with Kathy and Erwin founders of Bed Stuy Art Residency. Brooklyn, NY August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


Kathy Kupka and Erwin Bakx shown above with ROA in the middle are the co-founders of the Bed Stuy Art Residency. Please follow them on IG @bedstuyartresidency


Peter Carroll AKA Pet Bird ( 7/1/77 — 9/28/15 )

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BSA Images Of The Week: 08.27.17

BSA Images Of The Week: 08.27.17

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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.

Top image: Shepard Fairey for The L.I.S.A. Project NYC and a bit of nostalgia with Blondie. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Invader. Yo he’s got the key…let him in! (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. Studio visit at the Bed Stuy Art Residence. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. Studio visit at the Bed Stuy Art Residence. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. Studio visit at the Bed Stuy Art Residence. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

ROA. Studio visit at the Bed Stuy Art Residence. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jason Naylor (photo © Jaime Rojo)

VOXX (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dr. Scott/drsc0 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rx Skulls (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Robert Jenz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Robert Jenz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hank Williams Thomas / For Freedoms. Phone booth ad takeover for Art In Ad Places Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. L Train. New York City Subway. August 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Magic City” in Dresden : Exhibition of Street Artists and City as Muse

“Magic City” in Dresden : Exhibition of Street Artists and City as Muse

An unusual amalgam of the interactivity of the street combined with the formality of a gallery environment, Magic City opened this fall in a converted factory in Dresden, Germany with an eclectic selection of 40+ artists spanning the current and past practices of art in the street.

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Skewville. Children enjoying Skewville’s “tete-a-tete” shopping cart. Ernest Zacharevic’s mobile in the background. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With revered culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick at the helm alongside curator Ethel Seno, the richly marbled show runs a gamut from 70’s subway train writers and photographers like Americans Daze, Henry Chalfant, and Martha Cooper to the Egyptian activist Ganzeer, Italian interventionist Biancoshock, popagandist Ron English, and the eye-tricking anamorphic artist from the Netherlands, Leon Keer.

Veering from the hedonistic to the satiric to head-scratching illusions, the collection allows you to go as deep into your education about this multifaceted practice of intervening public space as you like, including just staying on the surface.

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Ernest Zacharevic mobile with a “listening station” on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s not an easy balance to strike – some of these artists have heavy hearts and withering critiques of human behaviors and institutional hypocrisies ranging from 1st World treatment of refugees to celebrity culture to encroaching surveillance on individual rights, government oppression, and urban blight.

Magic City doesn’t try to shield you from the difficult topics, but the exhibition also contains enough mystery, fanboy cheer, eye candy and child-like delight that the kids still have plenty of fun discoveries to take selfies with. We also saw a few kissing couples, so apparently there is room for some romance as well.

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 A visitor to Magic City enjoys a “listening station”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We believe that even the typical city is uncommon, and that the idiosyncrasies that make each city unique are collectively something they all have in common,” says McCormick in his text describing the exhibition. “This is then a celebration of the universal character of cities as well as a love letter to their infinite diversity. The special magic that comes from our cities is germinated in the mad sum of their improbable juxtapositions and impossible contradictions.”

Of particular note is the sound design throughout the exhibition by Sebastian Purfürst and Hendrick Neumerkel of LEM Studios that frequently evokes an experiential atmosphere of incidental city sounds like sirens, rumbling trains, snatches of conversations and musical interludes. Played at varying volumes, locations, and textures throughout the exhibition, the evocative city soundscape all adds to a feeling of unexpected possibilities and an increased probability for new discovery.

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Olek’s carousel from above. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Obviously this Magic City cannot be all things to all people, and some will criticize the crisp presentation of a notably gritty series of subcultures, or perhaps the omission of one genre or technique or important artist. It’s not meant to be encyclopedic, rather a series of insights into a grassroots art and activism practice that continues to evolve in cities before our eyes.

For full disclosure, we curated the accompanying BSA Film Program for Magic City by 12 artists and collectives which runs at one end of the vast hall – and Mr. Rojo is on the artist roster with 15 photographs of his throughout the exhibition, so our view of this show is somewhat skewed.

Here we share photographs from the exhibition taken recently inside the exhibition for you to have a look for yourself.

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Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A MadC installation made with thousands of spray can caps. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Belgian urban naturalist ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville . ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martha Cooper at the gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Henry Chalfant at the gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bordalo II (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Andy K. detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anders Gjennestad AKA Strok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot with Asbestos on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Replete (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Truly (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Leon Keer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaime Rojo. A young visitor enjoying the Kids Trail through a peephole with Jaime’s photos inside an “electrical box”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaime Rojo. The Kids Trail wasn’t only for kids it seems. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton on the right. Olek on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Aiko at the Red Light District. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Full list of participating artists:

Aiko, AKRylonumérik, Andy K, Asbestos, Benus, Jens Besser, Biancoshock, Mark Bode, Bordalo II, Ori Carino & Benjamin Armas, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, Isaac Cordal, Daze, Brad Downey, Tristan Eaton, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Fino’91, Ganzeer, Anders Gjennestad, Ben Heine, Herakut, Icy & Sot, Leon Keer, Loomit, MadC, OakOak, Odeith, Olek, Qi Xinghua, Replete, Roa, Jaime Rojo, Skewville, SpY, Truly, Juandres Vera, WENU, Dan Witz, Yok & Sheryo, Ernest Zacharevic.

 

Visit MAGIC CITY DRESDEN for more details, news, videos and the blog.

 


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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“Magic City” Premieres in Dresden : Seno and McCormick as Alchemists

“Magic City” Premieres in Dresden : Seno and McCormick as Alchemists

40 Artists Up Along Main Street, 12 More in the BSA Film Program

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Curators Ethel Seno and Carlo McCormick in front of a new mural by German duo Herakut announcing the premiere of Magic City in Dresden. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)


 

“Nature is a petrified magic city.” – Novalis

Curator Carlo McCormick quotes Novalis by way of describing this new exhibit of an eclectic blend of terrific troublemakers, pop-culture hijackers, and show-stopping crowd pleasers drawn from cities all around the Street Art/ graffiti /urban art scene today – and forty years ago. This is a welcoming walk of unexpected intersections that only McCormick and co-curator Ethel Seno could imagine – and pull together as a panoply of street wizardry that acknowledges activism, artistry, anarchy, and aesthetics with a sincere respect for all. It will be interesting to see how this show is viewed by people who follow the chaotic street scene today in the context of its evolution and how they read the street signs in this city.

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Curator Ethel Seno with Managing Director Dieter Semmelmann and exhibition Designer Tobias Kunz cutting the ribbon at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

McCormick, in his customary self-effacing humor, expects there to be some shit flying – as anyone who is involved in this scene expects from the hard-scrabble rebellious margins and subcultures that this art-making interventionist practice rises from. There also are a growing and coalescing mini-legion of scholars and academics who are currently grappling with the nature and characteristics of this self-directed art-making practice rooted often in discontent – now organized inside an exhibition that is ticketed and sold as a family friendly show.

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Street Artist and pop mashup painter Tristan Eaton in front of his new mural wall at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

In his descriptions of the public sphere, the writer, historian, author, and cultural critic McCormick often refers to graffiti and street artists messing with “contested space”. It’s an apt description whether we are talking about the public space in high-density gleaming metropolises or the bombed-out grid-less and polluted quagmires of human fallibility and urban un-planning that dot our globe; all public space its nature is contested.

Here is a place used by many artists to protest, agitate, advocate, or deliver critique – and many of the artists in this exhibition have done exactly this in their street practice, often pushing limits and defining new ones. Dig a little into many of the individual story lines at play here and you’ll see that the vibrant roots of social revolution are pushing up from the streets through the clouds of propaganda and advertising, often mocking them and revealing them in the process.

Ultimately, this Magic City experience is an elixir for contemplating the lifelong romance we have with our cities and with these artists who cavort with us within them. “Our Magic City is a place and a non-place,” McCormick says in a position statement on the exhibit. “It is not the physical city of brick and mortar but rather the urban space of internalized meanings. It is the city as subject and canvas, neither theme park nor stage set, but an exhibition showcasing some of the most original and celebrated artists working on and in the city today.”

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Mixed media Street Artist Asbestos from Dublin, graffiti master/ painter Chris “Daze” Ellis from NYC, and Tristan Eaton from Los Angeles at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Curator Carlo McCormick with New York billboard/culture jammer and artist Ron English in front of his new wall mural at premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Dutch anamorphic art master Leon Keer with Polish crochet transformer/Street Artist Olek at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

BSA curated the film program for Magic City with a dynamic array of some of the best Street Art related films today presented together in a relaxed environment. In this video hosted by Andreas Schanzenbach you get a taste of the works that are showing that we draw from our weekly surveys on BSA Film Friday. Over the last few years we have had the honor of presenting live in-person to students and scholars and fans an ever-evolving collection of videos that speak to the spirit experimentation, discovery and culture-jamming outrageousness of urban interventions, graffiti and Street Art.  The BSA Film Program at Magic City presents a survey of some of the very best that we have seen recently.

Magic City artists include:
Akrylonumerik, Andy K, Asbestos, Ben Heine, Benuz, Biancoshock, Bordalo II, Brad, Downey, Dan Witz, Daze, Ernest Zacharevic, Ganzeer, Henry Chalfant, HERAKUT, Icy & Sot, Isaac Cordal, Jaime Rojo, Jens Besser, Juandres Vera, Lady Aiko, Leon Keer, Loomit, MAD C, Mark Bode, Martha Cooper, Oakoak, Odeith, Olek, Ori Carin / Benjamin Armas, Qi Xinghua, Replete, ROA, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Skewville, SpY, Tristan Eaton, Truly, WENU Crew, Yok & Sheryo

The BSA Film Program for Magic City includes the following artists:
Borondo, Brad Downey & Akay, Ella + Pitr, Faile, Farewell, Maxwell Rushton, Narcelio Grud, Plotbot Ken, Sofles, Vegan Flava, Vermibus

Some behind the scenes shots days before the Premiere

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Popagandist Ron English preparing his Temper Tot at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Popagandist Ron English preparing his Temper Tot at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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DAZE reviewing his work at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Urban naturalist ROA at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Sheryo strikes a pose while the guys build the installation she did with The Yok at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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