All posts tagged: Ronald Reagan

“Stars and Bricks” Go Up on a Berlin Wall from Various & Gould

“Stars and Bricks” Go Up on a Berlin Wall from Various & Gould

“Men build too many walls and not enough bridges.”

― Joseph Fort Newton, Southern Baptist minister from Texas (1876–1950)


And yet, talk again turns to the building of a contiguous wall along the southern border of the US.

Even though the wall is part of an Executive Order from President Trump, some say that in reality it is unlikely to happen because we still have in effect those complicating features of democracy where citizens actually disagree with one another and we are forced to reach a consensus. Not to mention the damage to relations with our 3nd largest trading partner with which goods and services traded totaled an estimated $583.6 billion in 2015.

Various & Gould Stars and Bricks Berlin, January 2017. (photo @ Various & Gould)

It’s complete irony that the current Republican president is demanding a wall to be built when the nearly sainted architect of trickle-down small-government hands-off-the-corporations revolution, Ronald Reagan, is famous for having said to the then Russian president “Mr. Gorbachev: Tear down this wall” nearly 30 years. Likely Gorbachev has different opinions about the current president.

Berliners will tell you that their wall was incredibly damaging to the economies and more importantly, the people and the cultures who lived on both sides of it from 1961 to 1989. In fact the mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller said in a statement Friday, according to a translation by the Washington Post.

“We cannot simply accept that all our historic experiences are being thrown into disarray by the ones we have to thank most for our freedom: the Americans. I call on the U.S. President to not go down this wrong track of isolation and exclusion.”

Various & Gould Stars and Bricks Berlin, January 2017. (photo @ Various & Gould)

Which leads us to this new piece from Berlin based Street Artist duo Various & Gould, who have just wheatpasted a re-designed American flag with the red strips as bricks, partially eating into the stars.

“We made it straight from the guts after reading about Trump’s press conference on Jan. 11th. Among other things he was talking again about building the wall,” V&G tells BSA of the genesis for the new piece made in their studio and taken to the street.

“At first our design was just meant as sort of a visual web comment, but in the days following we decided to make a big poster of it and bring it to the streets,” they say.

Various & Gould Stars and Bricks Berlin, January 2017. (photo @ Various & Gould)

Anytime a nations flag is redesigned or reconfigured some may infer it is a sign of disrespect, but V&G say they are just extremely worried. “Needless to say – it’s not in any way anti-American. In the contrary we fear for the America we know and think of our friends in the US! Trump’s Twitter politics will have an impact on the whole world.”

The Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu disagrees entirely and used Twitter to say so. “President Trump is right. I built a wall along Israel’s southern border. It stopped all illegal immigration. Great success. Great idea,” he tweeted. Freelance writer, author, film maker William Parry says in his opinion piece in Al Jazeera “Israel’s separation wall as an example of a valid security measure is based on gross ignorance, at best.”

So there will likely be ongoing disagreement. Certainly the world is watching and reacting.

Various & Gould Stars and Bricks Berlin, January 2017. (photo @ Various & Gould)

Various & Gould Stars and Bricks Berlin, January 2017. (photo @ Various & Gould)

Various & Gould Stars and Bricks Berlin, January 2017. (photo @ Various & Gould)

Various & Gould Stars and Bricks Berlin, January 2017. (photo @ Various & Gould)

V&G have created a downloadable version for you of their new design below. Just click on #StarsAndBricks.


This article was also published on The Huffington Post.

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STUDIO : Shepard Fairey : Too “Street” For Corporate, Too Corporate For The Street

Shepard Fairey has grown up before the eyes of fans, peers and would be competitors. Undaunted by criticism he gets from both sides of his chosen vocation as a globally-known street artist, the man still has a great deal to say. His art has made its way into homes, museums, wardrobes and book collections in addition to all the walls–legal and illegal–and he pays the price and gains the benefit of all of it. A living conundrum, he embodies the sharp tongued anti-establishment, anti-corporate, anti-police state ethos of his formative years, while gradually beginning to resemble the middle-aged dad who so much of the punk generation rebelled against.

He raises money for individuals and organizations who advocate for those who are disempowered or victimized, yet street art and graffiti kids who feel marginalized in their lives call him a sellout for making commercial work. Without the credibility of major shows, arts institutions, and collectors he could never afford to employ people who help him. Yet keeping it clean and doing legal walls costs him “street cred.” How exactly does one become an authority on questioning authority? You try this balancing act, and see how far you get without a scrape or two.

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Actually, Shepard seems pretty down to earth and surprisingly un-embittered for a guy who has made a few mistakes and taken some hard bumps since growing up a skateboarder, going to RISD, and making all those weird “Andre the Giant” stickers.  It’s not like he’s been hiding behind the couch of course.  He likes to be celebrity DJ at openings. He likes to inveigh on panels about Street Art and graffiti and it’s impact on culture. He loves to write on his blog about all manner of social and political issues.

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Because of his professional and commercial success as a street artist, designer, and illustrator and his talkative spates as social activist and cultural influencer, he’s laid himself out there for self-appointed persons of outrage and myriad colorful verbal pugilists with rapidly batting wings who are attracted to the light. Just a few weeks ago he and his wife had a first encounter of the gossip kind when they were hi-jacked for 90 seconds by a brain-free tabloid show at an airport.  Sure, it was sufficient dish for the terminally distracted, and his fans and critics jumped to throats to settle burning questions like the current state of his credibility as a real Street Artist and to analyze the innerworkings of his marriage.

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

If you get to see the people who work with him at his studio in Encino, some for many years, you’ll get the idea that the CEO is fair and friendly as he seems. People buzz in and out of rooms and offices in this polished wood complex; each genuinely warm and welcoming to a stranger, willing to take an extra minute to talk or point the way to something interesting to oggle. They could be stoked because their daily grind is surrounded by cool and storied artwork, stacks of books, records, art supplies and ephemera, and this afternoon alone you might just run into Martha Cooper, Cope2, D*Face, or Word to Mother as they stop by to say hello or discuss a project. Obviously an achiever, he is always in motion and critical of so much in this world and you could see how he may have a choice word in pursuit of greatness, but if the regard for him and the camaraderie you see is forced, Los Angeles really must be full of actors.

The artist himself takes time to give a tour of some of his favorite items, all the while hitting whatever issues or artistic inspirations are evoked; gifts of art from friends and famous, his record cover collection from the 80s displayed on the wall, personal mementos that have meaning or stories. Here is a personally signed Clash LP cover and now let’s talk about America’s dependence on fossil fuels. He’s a new rubylith transparency of Ronald Reagan called “Mo(u)rning in America” and now lets talk about how influential Russian Constructivism has been to his work and how to simplify and exaggerate perspective.

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the meteoric rise in interest in Street Art during the last decade, it’s difficult to know if Fairey pushed the wave or learned adeptly how to ride it, but the list of cities, walls, art products, shows and professional accomplishments requires a catalog. A hotter younger head might get too swollen to fit through a door and hubris might cloud his worldview.  During a brief interview at his studio in Los Angeles while he signed multiple copies of a new print, the husband and father of two with grey flickering around his temples comes across as a pretty sincere guy who may worry a bit too much and who has a fire in the belly that burns fiercely, if a little more controlled than before.

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What is interesting to you at the moment?
Shepard Fairey:
The MOCA show is interesting. The rise of street art in general is pretty interesting. The reason I called my book “Supply and Demand” is because the forces, economic and cultural, are what’s fascinating around the evolution of an artists career, an art movement, politics, fashion, music, everything.  I think a lot of what’s fascinating to observe right now is that as Street Art and graffiti have become maybe a little bit more acceptable and marketable that certain people are very happy about that because maybe they have done it in obscurity and poverty for a number of years and other people prefer the idea of it staying underground.

To me that’s actually kind of an elitist standpoint. “Oh the institutions are elitist! We’re underground!” and they don’t want to share it.

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: And in the process they are creating their own institution which is called, “The Underground”
Shepard: Exactly! So just seeing how all these points of view are going around – I think debate is really healthy. I think that the most potent things are maybe contentious. So seeing how many people are loving this moment and how others are going out and attacking all the artists stuff that showed in the museum – calling them sellouts – these are all not always uplifting in terms of my opinion of humanity but are fascinating to see. To me it’s just an exciting moment.

But I also think a lot of it revolves around these sort of reductivist arguments that are valid based on defining things very narrowly and putting them in categories that are unhealthy. My strategy as an artist has always been, “Look at every single situation and adapt to it the way that is logical”; the “inside/outside” strategy I’ve called it. For example, trying to reach people in a democratic way by putting stuff up on the street but also if there was an opportunity, for example, to do something for a band I like, or do something in a gallery – that’s just another way to reach people. So it’s not being dictated to by the system, working around it when you need to, but also not being afraid to infiltrate and work within it.  That’s been my approach.

And I guess a lot of the friction that I’m seeing seems to based around people who cannot think that way.

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Your participation in the MOCA show; There weren’t many new elements in that show were there?

Shepard Fairey: Um, yeah there were actually. The big canvas was new, all the environmental pieces were brand new paintings. But really what they asked for in that show was a historical overview but they also wanted the work to have the spirit of the street but have it a stand-alone artwork in an institution. So there are sort of two agendas that aren’t always easy to bring together. So my solution on some of it was to make “paintings”

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: It seems like we’re swimming around in this system that we are all kind of uncomfortable with and that friction that you speak of flares up during times like this. It’s a punctuation in the flow of thoughts. We have this huge show and it’s like, “Here marks a beginning, or an ending”.  So many people feel they have to weigh in with opinions.

But you’ve certainly borne a number of strong or vehement attacks over the years just because of the way you negotiate the system and your place as an artist within it. Do you think your skin has gotten thicker as a result? Or have you always been kind of thick skinned.

Shepard Fairey: Um, I’m actually pretty thinned skinned and it always hurts my feelings when people attack my work but the real enemy is indifference. If something is ire-ing or inspiring it is motivating someone to respond.  I think that could be the starting point for a conversation and I’ve known a lot of people who, once they’ve heard me articulate my opinions about things, they’ve changed their opinions about my practice, my way of working. Other people haven’t. But it’s not my goal to win everyone over but it is my goal to make work that I think sparks a conversation. So I’ve accepted that my feelings are going to get hurt trying to do what I think is most important to do. (laughs)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: I’m not sure I could withstand the continuous attention and negativity that can be out there.

Shepard Fairey: Well the nature of street art is about people who are aggressive and rule breakers and oftentimes very opinionated about how they think things should be done or not done. So just by inserting myself into that arena I’m going to be dealing with a lot more static than almost any other area of culture (laughs). But that’s my choice.

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: It also feels like home.

Shepard Fairey: But when I look at the rewards of it, and when I say rewards I don’t mean financial at all, I mean the satisfaction of creating something from nothing and empowering myself and speaking to a lot of people in a way that’s democratic – to me all of that greatly outweighs having to deal with haters from my own community or law enforcement. I mean all of that stuff has been really stressful but when I’m out doing something and a kid comes up and says “Hey, you know I got into graphic design or I got into making art cutting stencils because of you,” – that happens frequently – and that makes it all worth it because that person might end up making art that is very powerful, that’s going to change someone else’s life. The sort of cumulative effect of that influence is hard to even quantify.

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Shepard Fairey, Craig R. Stecyk III (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Is there a sound? I know you have a musical ear – is there a sound when something like that happens in your life when a kid talks to you like that, do you hear a “ping!” or “ching!” – and think, “That was exactly what I wanted”. Or do you see something visual like a light?
Shepard Fairey:
Well, I remember a moment in my life when that happened for me and so it’s almost like when you smell the same smell as your first girlfriends perfume or something that’s very Pavlovian, I guess.

Brooklyn Street Art:
That’s what I’m thinking about.
Shepard Fairey: When I first got into skateboarding and I went over my friends ramp and the experience of riding that ramp and how it seemed like it was changing the world for me. Or the first time I listened to The Clash or The Sex Pistols and how it was like, “Okay, wow, everything just got a lot different, broader, more exciting.”

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Shepard Fairey, Invader (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Doors flew open.
Shepard Fairey: Yeah, knowing those moments in my own life, when someone talks about that for them – I’m like, “How could I not feed into that as much as possible?”

Brooklyn Street Art: I think that is very gratifying.
Shepard Fairey: Yeah it is, I mean ultimately I still enjoy this stuff. I don’t feel in any way like “Oh, I’m such a martyr, I’m doing this for the people” – The great aspect is that I enjoy doing the work and I enjoy going out and putting it up. The funny thing is I used to think about being a thorn in the side of the authorities when I was doing my thing. Now I’m actually a thorn in the side of the authorities and some of my own peers who think I’m too successful. This is really funny. I’m too “street” for the corporate, too corporate for the street.

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God save the chandelier; A signed work by Jamie Reid; anarchist, situationist and designer of the covers for Sex Pistols records. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard Fairey (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: It’s a funny place to inhabit.
Shepard Fairey:
I guess it is about understanding the world we live in and learning how to navigate in a way that you get as much good and as little bad as you can but not just being unrealistic and an isolationist because you refuse to engage something that inherently is going to be problematic. There are a lot of people who do this – they’re like, “oh I’m not part of that” – BUT you go to the store and buy stuff that’s made by evil corporations, you’re wearing Nikes, – by saying that you are not part of it you actually are just being complicit anyway.

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Blek le Rat at Shepard Fairey Studio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Faile (detail) at Shepard Fairey Studio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: You’re actually not helping in any way to bring it forward in any way at all. You’re dropping out.
Shepard Fairey:
Exactly. And…

Brooklyn Street Art: You’re an expert critic today, but your not doing anything constructive.
Shepard Fairey: And my whole thing is that if there is a really great net positive in doing something that you might have to engage with a company but they facilitate a project that ends up really benefitting the kind of culture and art that you believe in, to me it was worth having to put a logo on a wall in the corner of an art show. But there are some people who, I think in a lot of ways in an effort to justify their own complacency, say “Oh that’s not cool because of that. The whole thing is ruined”. So now they feel much more justified just sort of sitting around hating on everything. And you know, not being able to have the chip on the shoulder is something that a lot of people from the Street Art world don’t want. They want to remain persecuted and angry. It’s something that feeds them.

You know that is something that has driven me in a lot of ways – frustration, anger. And there are people who I think are very self destructive in how they deal with those emotions. But now I feel like I’ve just channeled that in much more constructive ways.

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Barry McGee at Shepard Fairey Studio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Banksy and Keith Hering at Shepard Fairey Studio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Shepard’s collection of signed album covers at the studio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This article was originally posted on The Huffington Post

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Fun Friday 04.22.11

Fun-Friday

Happy Good Friday!

It’s Good Friday today, which of course means I got a seat on the subway this morning. Apparently it’s a holiday of some sort. Anyway, we have some Street Art news, and some completely unrelated frivolity because it’s good to take a break, for Christ’s sake.

3 Kings by Remi/Rough and System

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Remi/Rough & System have just completed their super cool homage to three of graffiti and street art’s most influential artists – Dondi White, Jean Michel Basquiat & RammellZee.

Read about the wall and see more photos here http://remirough.com/blog

Vote for Your Favorite Slide at HuffPost Arts Today

Hitting Up LA: The Streets Outside the Show (SLIDESHOW)

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BP Ready To Resume Oil Spilling (Via The Onion)

BP-Logo-my-way-winnerApril 20, 2011 | The Onion

LONDON—A year after the tragic explosion and oil spill that caused petroleum giant BP to cease operations in the Gulf of Mexico, the company announced Wednesday that it was once again ready to begin oil spilling.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/bp-ready-to-resume-oil-spilling,20089/

Image here is the winner of LogoMyWay’s contest to redesign the BP Logo — Stuart Croft, an English Graphics Designer working and studying in Bangkok, Thailand.

Jean Faucher – Early Street Art Pioneer Show Tomorrow in LA

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Considered by cultural institutions and by artists as a key figure in the graffiti and urban arts, Jean Faucheur explores new prospective areas of expression that influence and drive hundreds and hundreds of emerging talents.

Jean Faucheur

OPENING RECEPTION:

SATURDAY APRIL 23, 2011 – 6PM – 9PM

Exhibition: April 23 – May 26, 2011

Every Day, 1PM – 8PM, and by appointment (Closed Mondays)

“Brother,” Spray Paint On Canvas, 36″ x 25 3/4″

www.maximilliangallery.com

“Your attitude is your altitude.”

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Lynn Dell image © Ari Cohen

New York’s grand dame fashionista Lynn Dell shows how to rock a big hat like this for your Sunday stroll on Fifth Avenue or Flatbush Avenue for Easter.  Showing you can be hot at any age, this 78 year old Gotham gal has a whole slideshow here, including this pic from Ari Cohen.

2000 Images of MOCA “Art in the Streets”

Produced by Roger L. Griffith

“A frame by frame animation of the 2011 MOCA show Art In The Streets. This is not meant to be a complete census of all the art at the MOCA, but an introduction and basic virtual tour of the exhibit. Enjoy”

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Hail to the Street : Presidents Day Street Art

Happy Presidents Day! In the US this is a holiday, officially to celebrate the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln, whose birthdays were commemorated separately until about a decade ago when they were merged.  A lot of New Yorkers think today about skiing, since it’s really the last 3 day weekend of the winter – and it’s snowing this morning so a lot of kids will be shoved outside by their parents to go play in it. Or they may take them to the Met , Guggenheim, or MOMA, which are all open today.

brooklyn-street-art-senator-jaime-rojo-02-11-3-webGeorge Washington by the Street Artist named Senator (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But back to the gallery of the street, which is always open, we can get a little history lesson too.  Everybody knows that Shepard Fairey nailed it with his Obama posters a couple of years ago, but did you realize that Street Artists have been putting up many presidential portraits over the last decade? One artist, Senator, sometimes confused people with wheat-pasted pieces in the late 2000s because his name signed to the image lead you to think it was about the subject, like the George Washington image above. His black and white coloring-book style depicted many presidents – Lincoln, Adams, Jefferson, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan. As you can see below, Senator is not the only Street Artists to find US presidents a worthy topic.

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Senator (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Abraham Lincoln by Visual Resistance (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Smoking Jack Kennedy by Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Richard Nixon by Faile (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Senator (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ronnie talk to Keith; The Gipper shaking the hand of a Photoshopped Keith Hernandez from a street art viral campaign a couple of years ago. Photo © Jaime Rojo

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Sever focuses on the the Bush Cheney duo. Primary Flight Miami 2008 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The simple placement of a dollar sign was all this Street Artist needed to complete their portrait of George W. Bush. Photo © Jaime Rojo

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President Obama’s image next to Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth is appropriated by Street Artist General Howe (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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One of the many Obama street art pieces from 2008, this one is similar to the ubiquitous Shepard Fairey images around at that time. © Jaime Rojo

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“Credit Crunch Monster” by Ronzo in London

As the scourge of financial immorality continues to sprint at top speed through the hallways of power the street artist commentaries are addressing the issue in a concrete fashion.

Here Street Artist Ronzo installs a “Credit Crunch Monster” in a film reminiscent made in the style of silent films during the Great Depression.

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Saturday Night Live Brings Back Previous Presidents to Talk to Obama

“I’ve come back from the dead to tell Mr. Reach-Across-The-Aisle here to grow a pair,” Reagan says.

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