All posts tagged: Said Dokins

Said Dokins Creates Illuminated Sculpture in Querétaro : “Refraktur”

Said Dokins Creates Illuminated Sculpture in Querétaro : “Refraktur”

Mexican street artist Said Dokins clearly loves towers to create his work upon. And he adores covering them with all sorts of cryptic symbols and stylized letter forms. Now we find him doing a decidedly high-gloss version as inscrutable mirrored kinetic sculpture in the streets for people to study, peer into, contemplate, and pose in front of.

 

Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

Part of the Querétaro Experimental international public art festival this summer, the artist says his new mirrored pole is called presents Refraktur. As one of the 200 artists across a wide range of disciplines, including music, theatre, dance, performance and sculpture, the muralist is taking on glass, metal, mirrored glass and LEDs to entertain and perhaps puzzle passersby.

Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

“This piece seeks to create an atmosphere that invites the public to reflect on its presence and the environment,” says Dokins “through a scriptural space in the form of a tower that during the day appears as a mirror and during the night is illuminated through the screen hidden within the structure, where a series of words, signs and symbols are in constant movement.”

“This piece seeks to create an atmosphere that invites the public to reflect on its presence and the environment, through a scriptural space in the form of a tower that during the day appears as a mirror and during the night is illuminated through the screen hidden within the structure, where a series of words, signs and symbols are in constant movement,” explains Dokins.

Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico.
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
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BSA Film Friday: 03.18.22

BSA Film Friday: 03.18.22

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

Now screening:
1. Royyal Dog: “Prettier Than Flowers”
2. Shuko & Friends via I Love Graffiti
3. Said Dokins: Resilience, Love, and Subversion


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BSA Special Feature: Royyal Dog: “Prettier Than Flowers”

Royyal Dog (Chris Chanyang Shim, 심찬양) is a Korean graffiti writer and street artist from Seoul, Korea. In this video his photorealistic skills are on display in this video from a few years ago, the sunny day reminding us of spring and the promise of warm breezes, sunshine, and new love. The portrait radiates while balancing floral details, traditional dress and messages written in Korean caligraphy

Shuko & Friends via I Love Graffiti

“Spray-painting trains in 2022 still is a very important part of the Graffiti movement,” say the folks at ILoveGraffiti.de, who produced this video on  Berlin based graffiti writer SHUKO. Within a minute you can see that SHUKO is active on subway trains and s-trains, a thunderous rush of adrenaline powering the circumspect movements of aerosol-wielding people for a half century. For the last couple of years, Berlin’s trains have been showcasing the work of many artists in heavy numbers and quick succession.

Said Dokins: Resilience, Love, and Subversion

“BLOOP EXPERIENCE is the urban side of BLOOP FESTIVAL Milano.
A series of collaboration murals by Said Dokins, Biokip Labs Atelier and the residents of the neighbourhood, Via del Turchino. Hosted by MM.

The word AMA (imperative verb for the word amare: to love) was written of the memories, words and sentences that described the area
by the residents.”

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Memory in a Mexican Supermax: Said Dokins Pours Humanity into a Mural

Memory in a Mexican Supermax: Said Dokins Pours Humanity into a Mural

No matter the person’s path to get here, few people inside or outside are convinced that the system is just or constructive for the greater good. Here in Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico, artist Said Dokins shares the words and nicknames of people who live in a so-called “supermax” prison in this calligraphic art mural, an ornamented emblem to preserve memories and restore a sense of connectedness.

The muralist says that his work here was only possible with the participation of residents. Listening to people gave him the inspiration and the necessary elements, a painted alloy of memories that acknowledges the many routes that lead here.

Said Dokins. “Memoria Canera”. Michoacan, Mexico. (photo © Homebox)

Dokins says that dignity is one of the qualities his art seeks to preserve, or build, with the mural he calls Memoria Canera (a space for memory). He says he “gathered phrases, experiences, words used frequently in the prison’s daily life, but also poems, long writings, tales, feelings,” – painted into the composition, retained and preserved on the wall.

Here the sentence fragments, words, letters, all are poured together, forming a new human metal, a combined product that reveals the typical qualities of people and life in a place that can be absent of humanity but which nonetheless is a place where people are living.

Said Dokins. “Memoria Canera”. Michoacan, Mexico. (photo © Homebox)

Memoria Canera reflects identity, memory, and life in jail. It’s about the underground culture that emerges in there, from the language, that includes the slang used inside, the nicknames of the people, to the deepest thoughts about confinement and freedom,” he says.

A creative gift to the institution, Said also creates perhaps with the knowledge that many people will rejoin greater society. Our incarceration systems need to take that into account, and ultimately we all are connected no matter the separation.

Said Dokins. “Memoria Canera”. Michoacan, Mexico. (photo © Homebox)
Said Dokins. “Memoria Canera”. Michoacan, Mexico. (photo © Homebox)
Said Dokins. “Memoria Canera”. Michoacan, Mexico. (photo © Homebox)
Said Dokins. “Memoria Canera”. Michoacan, Mexico. (photo © Homebox)
Said Dokins. “Memoria Canera”. Michoacan, Mexico. (photo © Homebox)
Said Dokins. “Memoria Canera”. Michoacan, Mexico. (photo © Homebox)
Said Dokins. “Memoria Canera”. Michoacan, Mexico. (photo © Homebox)
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BSA Film Friday: 02.18.22

BSA Film Friday: 02.18.22

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

Now screening:
1. BSA Special Feature: ‘Gold Mine’ by Pejac
2. Graffiti & Jail: Doug Gillen and FWTV
3. Said Dokins, Cix, and Spaik: Memoria Canera

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BSA Special Feature: ‘Gold Mine’ by Pejac

Pejac recently completed a series of interventions within the oldest prison in Spain, the Penitentiary Center of El Dueso. Located at the entrance of artist’s hometown of Santander, overlooking the Cantabrian sea and surrounded by marshes, the prison built at the beginning of the 20th century on the remains of an old Napoleon’s fort was another challenging setting to carry out his poetic interventions.

For 11 days, its walls, courtyards, and corridors became the artist’s workplace, giving life to the Gold Mine project in that sense. The project integrates three singular pieces, which as a whole represent the value of the human condition, its resistance to adversity, the need to create, and its desire, above all, to leave a mark.

“A prison itself is a place wrapped in harsh reality and at the same time, I feel that it has a great surrealist charge. It is as if you only need to scratch a little on its walls to discover the poetry hidden inside.” PEJAC


Graffiti & Jail: Doug Gillen and FWTV

And on another side of the coin, Doug Gillen of FifthWall TV talks about graffiti and street artists who go to prison as punishment for doing illegal graffiti on the streets.


Memoria Canera

Said Dokins, Cix, and Spaik: Memoria Canera was part of a three mural series made by the outstanding Mexican Street Artists Said Dokins, Cix, and Spaik at the Maximum Security Penitentiary in Morelia, Michoacán.

The project intended to shed light on a discussion about Cultural Rights and how artistic and cultural practices can be a valuable tool to mediate against exclusion and marginalization. By disrupting the space with color and text, symbols and patterns, the environment is transformed. The new murals are “Puedes Volver a Volar” (You can Fly Again) by Spaik, “Estado Mental” (Mental State) by Cix, and “Memoria Canera” (Memories from Jail) by Said Dokins.

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Regaling the ‘Incompiuto Siciliano’; Said Dokins Mounts Brutal Towers

Regaling the ‘Incompiuto Siciliano’; Said Dokins Mounts Brutal Towers

The patrimonial value given to ruins: the unusual, vaguely explained, and hardly registered constellation of architectural behemoths that are sprinkled through Sicily may be hardly prized, yet a new art project seeks to bring them into the fold. “Incompiuto Siciliano”, a rather tongue-in-cheek title in the naming convention of architecture and its pantheon, is the name given to these incomplete buildings, nearly 350 of them.

Said Dokins. Babel. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)

Financial boondoggles of official and unofficial corruption during the last half-century or so, 160 of them are in Sicily, these incomplete water towers, hospitals, sports centers, and recreational building projects that rewarded those who conceived of them and washed money with them.

Quizzically they dot the countryside, giving communities colorful and incomplete stories to tell, and they may not contribute to history in the same manner as more famous structures that the country is known internationally for.

Said Dokins. Babel: The Prisoner. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)

Now a public art project seeking to adopt these orphaned buildings, the organizers of the “Incompiuto Siciliano” (Incomplete Sicilian) project say they are locating, registering, studying, and preserving them. Now they seek to regale these empty shells, these brutalist towers in the rolling green, and welcome them into communities.

Calling upon the calligraphic prowess and the talent for the written word of the Mexican painter Said Dokins, organizers say he was asked to intervene, conclude, or redefine one of these incomplete buildings. Today we bring you his exhausting works that cover the outward-facing visages of this confrontational arrangement of modern century fragmentation.

“It is made up of four Kubrickian monoliths that form a cross, but that represents a trick, a whirlwind of power, money, and politics,” says the press release. Never functional, they are nonetheless structural. By delving into the area’s history and that of Trapani, a small city on this Italian island of Sicily, Said creates his own complex tribute.

Below the images are descriptions of the project provided by the artist.

Said Dokins. Babel: The Prisoner. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)

Part – 1 The Prisoner

The “X”, conformed by gold and silver letters on a deep greenback, is presented as a symbol of cancellation, a way to cross out the logic of Incompiuto, through the re-writing of two ancient texts where the political language expands across time. The first one is the heartfelt call of a trapanese prisoner in Tunisia. It’s the last letter from Alberto Gaetani to his sister, dated in 1776, asking her to intercede for his life so he could go back home. The second text is a Trapanese Facio Communist manifesto, in which they described the rights workers should have access to. Their revolutionary demand, without a doubt, resists all that the Incompiuto stands for.


Said Dokins. Babel: The Dialectal Poet of Trapani. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)

Part – 2 The Dialectal Poet Of Trapani

Dokins takes the words from the Trapanese poet, Giuseppe Marco Calvino, bringing to our time his poem “U seculu decimu nonu“, a sharp critic on power abuse released more than 200 years ago. The artist plays with the contrast between the monumentality of his calligraphy in white and gold, which attributes to the text a sense of dignity and a voice of authority denied to the popular language used to write this poem, originally in Trapanese dialect.

Said Dokins. Babel: The Dialectal Poet of Trapani. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)

Said Dokins. Babel: The Slaves. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)

Part – 3 The Slaves

The artist takes a series of writings from the 18th century that contains a list of names, along with their physical characteristics and the work they did. It was a slave inventory. Dokins rewrites those names, making them appear in some sort of binnacle, a huge reticular design that resembles the motherboard of a computer, refer to the new cataloging and control systems, new ways to perpetuate the slavery logic in contemporary social relations.

Said Dokins. Babel: The Slaves. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)

Said Dokins. Babel: The Rose Window. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)

Part – 4 The Rose Window

Through the stylization of the iconic rose window of the church of Sant Agostino in Trapani, where symbolic elements of the three principal monotheist religions – Catholicism, Judaism, and Islam- can be found coexisting in the same sanctuary, Said Dokins turns the profane, an abandoned concrete wall, in a sacred place. The juxtaposition of traditions and cults reflected in the rose window, it’s an example of the cultural diversity that converges in the Sicilian territory, with its tensions and clash. The composition is constructed by the repetition of the sentence: “Everywhere I write is a sacred place”. Writing becomes a ritual act that serves the artist to dislocate the separation between the sacred and the earthly.

Said Dokins. Babel: The Rose Window. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)
Said Dokins. Babel: The Rose Window. Trapani Public Art. Sicily, Italy. (photo © Vincenzo Cascone)
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BSA Greatest Hits of 2021

BSA Greatest Hits of 2021

When it comes to street art, murals, graffiti, and related events around the world last year, we were running to keep up.

You may have missed some of the people, thinkers, artists, projects, and community resources that we shared with BSA readers last year. We’re pleased to share with you some of those stories you may overlooked. Here are some of the greatest hits of 2021.

Barcelona Small Scale Street Works Popping Up in the Face of Development

Graffiti and street art are cyclical in many ways – reflective of society, urban planning, politics, current events, demographics… Currently the city of Barcelona is pushing hard on cleansing itself of the wild graffiti and street art that brought it so many tourists 15 years ago.


Capitol Trump Trials Through the Eyes of Political Cartoonists

Okay okay everybody settle down. We’ve got a lot of excited people yelling things and making huge pronouncements about things – most full of hysteria tinged with paranoiac visions. When it all gets to be too much for us, we like to see how cartoonists are capturing the current zeitgeist, and making something funny. It’s a talented group of artists who can condense complexity and extract the humorous essence of a situation. Also, so far our move toward the right, the far-right, and the fascist has not led us to have leaders that outlaw cartoons. Fingers crossed.


Swoon Gives Us All a Tour of “Seven Contemplations” at Albright Knox

It’s a pity that the pandemic has kept so many people away from seeing great exhibitions in museums and galleries, among other things. At the Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo, street artist Swoon’s “Seven Contemplations” ran its course without nearly as many visitors as you would expect.

So we decided to show you the exhibition in a mini-tour. Who else could be your host today but the artist herself, Swoon.


Street Art Says “Happy Inauguration” to Biden and Harris

The streets have been anticipating the arrival of the new president and vice president for a few months now. Today it took place and the U.S. has a 46th President – Joe Biden and 49th Vice President – Kamala Harris.

Pure poetry.


Chip Thomas: “Pandemic Chronicles” in Phoenix, AZ

Sometimes art in the streets can be like that – a reflection of your intellectual musings and your heart’s leanings. Because he has often taken a path less traveled, photographer / doctor / activist / organizer / producer / teacher Chip Thomas (aka Jetsonorama) seamlessly slips into and out of all of his roles. In this way, he may also appear as poet.


Street Art Recorded Protest and Pandemic in Real Time.

No More Normal is a semi-regular newsletter written by Jeff Stone on his substack. He recently interviewed us on the topic of activist street art and we’d like to share his article here.

In May 2020, Todd Lawrence and Heather Shirey were taking pictures of graffiti focused on the coronavirus in Minneapolis when a police officer killed George Floyd just a few blocks away.

The two cultural historians from the University of St. Thomas had recently started taking pictures of the murals, graffiti, stickers and tags throughout the Twin Cities in an effort to preserve that work during a once-in-a-century pandemic. Their archiving, though, took on a new level of urgency when a police officer murdered Floyd and footage of the killing went viral, sparking anti-racist demonstrations in Minneapolis and throughout the world. 


Said Dokins Says “This is Not the End of the World” in Mexico City

Checking in with Panteón Cultural Center in Mexico City, where we first took you when it was inaugurated in 2017, we find street artist/ fine artist Said Dokins participating in a large exhibition and a new mural for the storied interior. It’s reassuring to see “This is not the end of the world,” the title of the collective show featuring many Mexican artists in this venue that is refined and raw and at least in some ways community based – Not such a typical scene these days.


A Mural Jam and Censorship: Fighting for Freedom Of Expression In Barcelona – Part I

Freedom of expression is foundational in a democracy. Without it, it is not difficult for a culture to descend into authoritarianism, fascism, and dictatorship. By many standards, Spain’s democracy is still young, with a Parliamentary Monarchy since 1978. So it is curious and alarming to hear that this EU country has been silencing free speech in the last few years.


HotTea Faces Critics With Magnets in Minnesota

External critics may never be as brutal as your internal one – but graffiti and street art sometimes reveals a specifically vicious world of criticism that greets artists and writers. Imagine making friends with those critics and validating their position, and then moving on unscathed or even healed.

“Overall, the project is meant to inspire those who may take criticism to heart,” says street artist HOTTEA, and he means it as a form of sweet liberation, not a bitter one.


Ceramic Faile: A New Collection With StudioCromie in Grottaglie, Italy

Angelo Milano, the founder of Studiocromie and FAME Festival, has been courting Brooklyn artist duo Faile for more than a decade, and they finally created a series of ceramics together for his studio art business in Grottaglie under the tutelage and traditional expertise of the centuries-old Ceramiche Nicola Fasano’s workshop.

“Closed (In) for Inventory”: FKDL Makes the Most of His Confinement, 10 Items at a Time

The world is slowly making movements toward the door as if to go outside and begin living again in a manner to which we had been accustomed before COVID made many of us become shut-ins. Parisian street artist FKDL was no exception, afraid for his health. However, he does have a very attractively feathered nest, so he made the best of his time creating.

Women’s Murals Vandalized in Madrid, Newly Created in Barcelona

International Women’s Day is only controversial for those who feel threatened by the idea of equality and freedom.

Perhaps that’s why, according to current statistics, women continue to fight and protest against the gender wage gap in Spain, as well as against violence against women. The national female unemployment rate is 17.4%, compared to 13.8% for men.

BSA Writer’s Bench : “Graffiti Documenting and Divinity” by Jim Prigoff

Graffiti Documenting and Divinity

A writer once shared with me the following observation concerning the early documentation of modern graffiti, if stated in religious terms.

He said:

Henry Chalfant would be God. Martha Cooper would be the Virgin Mary. Jim Prigoff would be Jesus Christ, Jack Stewart the Holy Ghost.

Subway Art would be the Bible. Spraycan Art the New Testament.

I’m no savior, but I’m proud to have saved some incredible and iconic images of this culture while they were painted and to have met so many talented artists.

The Big Tiny World According To Sara Lynne-Leo

Sara Lynn-Leo. Well-placed, well-rendered, witty, insightful, incisive.

These are hallmarks of the miniature pieces of street art that New Yorker Sara Lynn-Leo has been putting up in many neighborhoods in alleyways, doors, dirty corners, magnet walls, street furniture, and lamp posts. Finding these offerings can be difficult. They may be tiny in size and often placed out of eye view.

“Aliens, That’s What They Called Them”- Molly Crabapple on the Streets

“I left all my memories in Syria, so there’s nothing left to take”.

“Husband works in construction. Husband salary depends on luck, waits on side of the street to get picked”.

“Prefer by land, but by sea if there’s no choice”.

“I have no dreams in Europe. I just want my husband to get a proper job, a proper life for my children”.

“I will bring nothing with me”.

“For sure, I’m nervous”.

INDECLINE Creates QAnon Easter Egg Hunts in DC Parks for a Surreal Holiday Prank

The era of fractured attention spans, heightened emotions, and ravaged hierarchical systems for ordering institutions, beliefs, and the truth is ripe for examination and dissection – even if it takes a looking glass to see it.

The anonymous art-activist thinkers at INDECLINE have spawned many interventions in the last decade in public space – intricate and smartly storied at times, obvious and deliberately provocative at others.

BSA Writer’s Bench : “Why Monuments?” by Carlo McCormick

Why Monuments?


Perhaps, caught up in the energy of street art and graffiti, we do not pay quite so much attention as we should to it being something we might otherwise call public art. Consider that public art as a form goes back through centuries of municipal planning and myriad private and public interests that are concerned with how community identity may be constructed and represented. It is shortsighted not to acknowledge how much of public art has long been about monuments.

Monumental Ransom: Curious Case Of “The Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair” in Selma, AL

This Friday, the anonymous artivists said they were set to return their ransomed confederate chair monument, “The Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair.” It was first reported missing from Live Oak Cemetery in Selma last month – an ornately carved stone chair dedicated in 1893 to the Confederate president’s memory and estimated to be worth $500,000.

California’s Augustine Kofie is in a New York “State of Mind” at Hashimoto

It really is primarily about your State of Mind, says LA-based painter Augustine Kofie about his battle with art and quarantine during this last year.

“The pandemic was a stop, an interruption, a loss of control,” he says – and points to the incomplete cycle symbols that appear throughout his new collection of paintings. Normal life, in its circular wending, was interrupted time and again, along with all our typical expectations.

Andreco: “Aula Verde” For Earth Day 2021 in Rome

Together with citizens, environmentalists and researchers, he’s created a work of Land Art here in Rome, and he calls the project Aula Verde.

“The work is alive, and over the years it will take shape and as it grows it will return innumerable benefits to the territory,” Andreco says, “currently it is studied by the researchers who are involved in the project, both for the purification of the water and the redevelopment of the surrounding greenery.”

Shepard Fairey in Dubai: A Mosaic Future and a Solo Show at Opera

Shots today from last month’s Shepard Fairey “Future Mosaic” at Dubai’s Opera Gallery. With works on canvas, paper, wood, and metal, as well as examples of iconic images and repeated motifs from the breadth of his art and design history, Fairey was very much present for his first solo show here. In a grueling schedule of just 9 days he also managed to install two huge murals facing a skate park in a commercial district of the city, the d3 (Dubai Design District).

“White people can’t be trusted with power,” from Dread Scott on the Street in Manhattan

Trust artist Dread Scott to perfect the provocative phrase that can raise the prickly ire of certain street passersby, simply and succinctly. And trust the self-elected censorious social media platforms like Instagram to actually ban it.

Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based Scott says, “White people can’t be trusted with power” in this new public artwork at 42nd near 10th Avenue in Manhattan. It may remind you of a Jenny Holzer “Truism” that she may have wheat-pasted on the street in the past, a pertinent pique that strikes at the heart of the matter, minus the sense of irony. But in the current context of white people’s reluctant awakening, Mr. Scott writes, “When this was originally posted, Instagram banned it as ‘hate speech.’ ”

“KAWS: What Party”. Need a Companion?

Highbrow art institutions have coalesced behind a small recurring collection of well-known graffiti/street artists in recent years, granting them a lot of space and a powerful entrée to blue-check media parties, blue-chip platforms, and blue blood collectors. The bigger (and frequently well-funded) names are often the easiest to explain to an unfamiliar general audience of art viewers and, of course, will appeal to that younger demographic everyone is after. It shouldn’t surprise anyone when even the New York City Ballet spawned a series of collaborations with street artists in the last five years to bolster flagging attendance due to aging and, well, dying fans.

BSA Writer’s Bench : “Street Art and Graffiti: The Role of Copyright” by Enrico Bonadio

Street Art and Graffiti:
The Role of Copyright


Artists are getting robbed. It is time to give them the legal tools they need. With this spirit, a few years ago, I started researching copyright aspects of street art and graffiti.

These artistic movements have been intriguing me for a while. Living for several years in the East London area of Shoreditch, where creativity has exploded and developed after the new millennium’s arrival, has certainly nurtured my curiosity towards these forms of art.

VERMIBUS: A Full “IMMERSION” into his Berlin UBahn NFTs, Complete with Glossary of Blockchain Terms

This project represents an innovative attempt to solve one of the biggest problems when exhibiting street art,” says Berlin-based street artist Vermibus, “- the lack of its original context.”

True, something about our previous curated exhibitions of street art – even our current show of Martha Cooper’s photography work at Urban Nation Museum here – loses the feeling of the street once it enters the museum doors.

“I truly believe this way of experiencing and conserving Street Art will be the inevitable future.”

Vermibus

Concreate Festival 2021 Launches in Finland

Concreate Urban Art Festival, held now for the second time, has clearly taken over Keran Hallit in Espoo, Finland. Keran Hallit is a huge former logistics center currently operating as a space for art, culture, sport, and other free-time activities. During the next few years, the halls will be demolished to make space for a new neighborhood.

Portraiture by Case Maclaim and Helen Bur in Madrid for Urvanity 2021

Frankfurt-based ultra-talent Case Maclaim is with the Urvanity Art Fair this week, and he has created a new mural in Madrid’s old, historical city center. His work is being shown by Brussells Ruby Gallery, along with that of street artists EverSiempre and Wasted Rita. Still, he just wanted to go big with a tribute to children’s imagination.

BSA Writer’s Bench: Igor Ponosov with Poetry, Philosophy, & Manifestos in Russian Streets

Russian Urban Art: Poetry, Philosophy, and Manifestos in the Streets


In the interest of defining specific areas of the study of Russian Urban Art, I’ll highlight here three main periods that I think are important in the development of these forms of urban art: the 1910s–20s, the 1990s, and the current era. From my perspective, each period was usually born during crisis and revolution, went dead after a few years, and then came to life slowly again. It was this circular pattern that I am trying to define in my recent book Russian Urban Art: History and Conflicts, but here I want the focus to be more specific.

Urvanity 2021: Highlights. A Selection Of Works From The Galleries

Madrid’s Art Week – who would believe that it could actually happen? And to prove it, we have the 5th Anniversary of Urvanity defiantly strutting from one end of the COAM headquarter to the other. Taking its original inspiration from graffiti, post-graffiti, surrealism, pop, and that broadly applied “Urban Contemporary” tag, Sergio and the Urvanity team have persevered this year again.

Josh Katz is “Mighty Real” in San Francisco with Glamorous Sylvester Portrait

A Superstar of the disco era long before people even heard of telling you their pronouns, this queen crossed over and back and even had bonafide dancefloor hits. How fitting that queer muralist Josh Katz painted this glamorous portrait to lift spirits in this city where day socializing and nightlife has been hamstrung by the pandemic, even shuttering some gold-plated legends in LGBTQ+ club history.

Katz says he is happy to bring Sylvester out into the street-life, a response to “what I see as a lack of LGBTQ representation in street art.” He promises that he’ll continue painting portraits to honor legacies and increase visibility.

My Dog Sighs “Inside”: A Hidden, Staged Exhibition in Portsmouth, UK

According to his descriptions of the artist’s new “Inside” installation in the UK’s only island city of Portsmouth (pronounced PORT-smith), there will be tours in this secret location – ever so because the atmospheric and theatrical work is not officially sanctioned and is staged in an abandoned building.

A Land of Mirrors for Pener: Bartek Świątecki Paints Hometown in Poland

25 years in the game, Pener routinely lets his mind travel to encompass possibilities, then channels them abstractly through a series of echoing geometric forms with aerosol and brush. Here in his hometown of Olsztyn, Poland, he says he imagined the possibilities that young minds inside an elementary school could contemplate.

Winston Tseng: Money Fixes Everything

On a recent sunny May day, we followed street artist Winston Tseng to document his new series of posters installed on three locations in Manhattan. The series is titled “Money Fixes Everything.”

The flat and colorful 2-D illustration style of street artist/graphic artist Winston Tseng doesn’t scream social inequity and cultural insanity the way other graphic styles may. The graphic language is the 2-D, flat, icon-based vernacular familiar to phones and applications, a neutral and familiar reduction to precisely convey the visual elements necessary to infer more is there. Brilliantly pared and exacting in composition, a close look allows the viewer to unpack Tseng’s specific brand of critique – perhaps causing you to crack a smile, or roll your eyes, shake your head.

Leon Keer Triggers Childhood Nostalgia with “Kit de Secours” in Plougasnou, France

Leon Keers is subversive, if that is the way your mind works. His mind-bending plays on real and surreal perspectives may lead you down a path of suspicion, for it appears that he is adept and agile when playing with perspective.

Vanguard | Bristol Street Art: The Evolution of a Global Movement. Installation Shots

You saw our announcement for the new exhibit At the Vanguard: Bristol Opens Exhibition On Evolution of Global Movement of Street Art and now you get a chance to see the actual shoe newly installed. Dense and rich with original artwork, photography, and ephemera, Vanguard is a studious presentation that confidently lays claim to Bristols place in the history of graffiti and street art.

Biancoshock’s Smashed Google “Street View” Car Sculpture in Corsica

For five years conceptual artists Biancoshock and Harmen de Hoop have been giving each other assignments as part of a common project that can range from titillating to amusing to incomprehensible.

As with so many works in public space by either of these two interpreters of societal nomenclature, these works field-test theories of the visual prank as much as they level observations or critiques of human behavior. With each installation, you are welcomed to examine one more of myriad modern idiosyncrasies – now placed in a new context. Your interpretation may vary.

Gola Hundun, Anthropic Space, Natural Space, and His Newest Installation in Milan

Italian land artist/street muralist Gola Hundun has divided his creative projects in the last few years into two distinct but related practices.

The first is to investigate buildings that are being reclaimed by nature and develop site-specific installations that work in harmony with the history of the relationship between architecture and nature. The second, of which we have an example for you today, is a mural installation on active buildings within cities, perhaps invoking a more integrated ecology of symbols and natural systems around it. These two lines of inquiry comprise his project “HABITAT”, a sincere stream of research that lies on the border between anthropic space and natural space

Motorefisico Bring Op, Kinetic, and Tape Art Stencilling to Santa Croce di Magliano

It’s impossible to imagine the contemporary built environment without considering the impact of street art and graffiti has had on not only city dwellers but our city’s designers and architects. While previous generations may have dismissed incorporating painting techniques beyond traditional frescoes or murals, the new generation considers it their birthright to bring modern art movement influences, including Optical Art, Kinetic Art, and straight-up tape art often used on the street.

Monkey Bird: “L’ouvreur de Chemins” Celebrates a Cathedral’s 800th in Spain

It’s not every day that you have an 800th anniversary.

Bringing monumental aesthetics, theologic references, and the language of classical architecture to this massive wall at Calle Fernán González, 52, the French duo MonkeyBird celebrates the Burgos Cathedral in grand style. Louis Boidron and Edouard Egea say they worked painstakingly to prepare their tribute to the original workers and artisans who first built the Gothic and Baroque-styled Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1984.

Escif: “The Fences Must Fall”; A Provocative Ljubljana Street Art Festival

We’ve had the privilege to travel to many cities and cultures over the last decade and a half, from Russian to Chinese to North African to Tahitian and Norwegian, to witness the affecting power of street art on cities, communities, and everyday people. Regardless of the street author’s intent, however earnest or carefully considered, we’re often surprised by the variety of interpretations that can arise from a singular work of art or intervention.

MARUM Presents “MEXPANIA” and Miscegenation in Querétaro

Édgar Sánchez and Arcadi Poch may not simply be curators of the new initiative called Mexpania that merges the cultures of Mexico and Spain. They are social scientists, anthropologists, historians, and some may say, alchemists. With the inaugural installations of this auspicious project primarily created inside the entrance and with only 4 national/international artists, you may be curious how these foundational works will influence future curatorial choices for this ever-growing museum dedicated to urban art, or arte urbano.

Elfo’s Neo-Dada Butchering Diagram in Turin

Elfo’s furtive and artful wanderings can veer off into the neo-Dadaist fields at times, sometimes wittily so, and textually. The Italian graffiti writer and street artist uses the simplest of devices to capture attention, a reductive and deliberate strategy born of careful consideration girded by impulses to broadcast his view, to be seen and heard.

Bifido Quotes Keats for ArtAeroRap “Vaccine Edition 2021” in León, Spain

Italian street artist Bifido finishes this rough wall with the sweetest of sentiments here as summer draws ever nearer to its end. Quoting Keats, as romantics are wont to do, Bifido tells us his latest staged photo wheatpaste is transparent in its sentiment, opaque in his specific meaning.

“It is a hug, so it is something that can be shared,” he offers. “For this time I have nothing to say about this piece.”  Enough said.

Edoardo Tresoldi: A Reprise of “Sacral” for Ravenna

“An archetypal image”, Edoardo Tresoldi says, “is capable of creating a dialogue between past and present, using a language comprised of meanings that recur over time.”

M-City is Airborne with Szczecin Wars in Poland

“Szczecin before the Second World War was a German city,” says the street artist named M-City. Now it’s flying as a spaceship in his latest stencil mural here – in Poland.

NemO’s x Nicola Alessandrini Build a Grotesque, Stunning “Nest” in Italy

Ah, the feckless, sebaceous, inward-turned man; Bumbling through the world unaware and uncaring how his actions may impact the lives of others. Little does he know that the fire he starts will burn him as well.

Bifido: “Love Will Tear Us Apart” in Mostar, Bosnia Herzogovina

I am inhabited by a cry.
Nightly it flaps out
Looking, with its hooks, for something to love.

Sylvia Plath

Street poet and street artist Bifido doesn’t mean to be morose, but here in Mostar he can’t help himself as he creates mirrored expressions of a sullen, ill-tempered youth on city streets. Part of the Bosnian /Herzegovinian street art festival named after this city of 113,000 Croats (48.4%), Bosniaks (44.1%), and Serbs (4.1%), the annual meeting of international and local artists produces a broad variety of artworks for the city.

Graffiti, Stencils, and Quickie Weddings: Dispatch From Asheville N.C.

“Are you the minister?”

“I am not that, sir,” he answered, “I’m the vacuumer.” Our short tour ends abruptly as the loud whir of the cleaning machine rises to meet the southern-fried rock classic on the sound system here at Fleetwood’s in Asheville, North Carolina. Ours, and his, is a quick sweep through this small city of 90,000 in the Blue Ridge Mountains known for its progressive ideas, punk squats, Thomas Wolfe, and a harmonious alliance between sanctioned murals, organic street art, and graffiti.

Losing BLU in Ljubljana, Slovenia

The brilliant illustrator of fantasy and firey allegory, BLU, championed the cause of the Rog Factory squat in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2016 with a centrally framed handgun in pink and red. In that heated moment the community of artists and activists had fended off developers, construction thugs, and even some kind of fascists attacking them or trying to chase them from the property.

LADY AIKO Does Her “Martha Cooper Remix” on the Façade of Urban Nation (UN)

We have some special events taking place this month to celebrate one complete year of the career-spanning exhibition “Martha Cooper: TAKING PICTURES”, which we created with the team at Urban Nation Museum in Berlin.

Today graffiti/street artist AIKO talks about her striking new graphic mural for the façade of the museum that highlights and interprets a suite of recognizable elements from Martha’s iconic photographs – a perfect answer to the Martha Remix section of the exhibition inside featuring 70 or so artists “remixing” her photos in their individual styles.

Mantra in Miami to Open “Metamorphōsis” at GGA

Half biologist, half street artist, all gentleman. The French painter Youri Cansell AKA Mantra opens his very first US solo show tonight at Goldman Global Arts (GGA) in Miami. In preparation for “Metamorphōsis,” the artist has been painting non-stop all summer at a temporary studio in Cancun.

“Peoples Discontent” Debuts with Video Greeting from Shepard / Martha Cooper Signed New Print at UN

BSA X UN X MARTHA COOPER X SHEPARD FAIREY

When we asked Shepard Fairey if he would be up for a new remix of a Martha Cooper photo for our exhibition celebrating her career, he quickly said yes. Not only did he create a new original piece of art based on one of her classic “Street Play” images to hang in the gallery of our “Marth Remix” section, but he and his excellent team have also produced a new print – 250 of which sold out in 20 minutes on the Urban Nation website last night.

Whitewashed: Gonzalo Borondo Buffs His Painting Inside an Exhibition in Turin

Borondo buffed his own work. It happens occasionally, not often.

Rarely inside an exhibition.

SpY: “Earth / Tierra” at Plaza de Colón in Madrid

SpY describes his new public art project “Earth,” as “a luminous red sphere caged inside a structure.” You may wonder what this structure made from building-site scaffolding represents, especially when he says “the sphere is caged within it”. Gaseous fumes? Global Oligarchs? Free-trade agreements? K-Pop fans? We asked him:

BSA: Is the earth the color red because it is on fire, in pain, in a state of emergency, or perhaps in love?

SpY: The red earth in a cage has different meanings. 

Faile at GGA with BSA – Miami Art Week Marches On

Get in, get out, no one gets hurt. Our few days in Miami were full of adventure on the street and at parties and receptions for artists. The party rages on tonight and this weekend at the fairs and in the galleries and bars and streets of course, but our last events were interviewing Faile onstage at Wynwood Walls last night, going to the Museum of Graffiti 2nd Anniversary party/opening for FUZI, and, well there was this thing with Shepard Fairey and Major Lazer and a guy proposing marriage to his girl before the crowd…

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Said Dokins Says “This is Not the End of the World” in Mexico City

Said Dokins Says “This is Not the End of the World” in Mexico City

Checking in with Panteón Cultural Center in Mexico City, where we first took you when it was inaugurated in 2017, we find street artist/ fine artist Said Dokins participating in a large exhibition and a new mural for the storied interior. It’s reassuring to see “This is not the end of the world,” the title of the collective show featuring many Mexican artists in this venue that is refined and raw and at least in some ways community based – Not such a typical scene these days.

Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

Here in this grizzled colonial complex that deliberately preserves its unfinished character, you can now see the expansive use of Dokins poetry within the stylized calligraffiti, sacred circular wreaths, and dynamic diagonals racing across fresh canvasses and battered walls of this historic property lying in the middle of the oldest, crusty colonial part of CDMX.

Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

In collaboration with Gama Gallery, the artist also creates his mural Winter Language (video at bottom), into which he “decided to place some writings, ideas, and poems that came into my mind about the difficult times we’re living in, where uncertainty lurks, and the hope of a new cycle still permeates some of us.”

Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

It’s been a rough winter in Mexico City. The pandemic pushes people apart, and a fractured national response to it lead to many illnesses, with many family members left behind, many futures newly uncertain. When the travails are so harsh, is there any wonder that many of us are now turning to poetry, philosophy, and the comfort of religious traditions?

“This winter in Mexico, between the sounds of ambulances, desperate messages looking for oxygen,” Said says, only compounded the dystopia, along with the “psychological numbness before the tragedy and the fiction of individual good sense; while criticizing our neighbors, getting angry with different groups, society, or the government. We are leaving behind family, friends, and people that we love.” The words march and fall in lines through our heads and crosswise on these walls.

Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “This Is Not The End Of The World”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “This Is Not The End Of The World”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “This Is Not The End Of The World”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. “Winter Language”. Panteón Cultural Center. Mexico City. (video by Guli)


THIS IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD
Panteón Cultural Center
Donceles 64, Centro Histórico, Mexico City.
Book an appointment at: infopanteonmx@gmail.com

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BSA Film Friday: 03.06.20

BSA Film Friday: 03.06.20

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

Now screening :
1. “Offset” by Nevercrew at Urvanity in Madrid
2. Icy & Sot: “Our house is on fire” By COlabs / Marco Figueroa
3. Said Dokins on Cultura Colectiva

BSA Special Feature: “Offset” by Nevercrew at Urvanity in Madrid

Welcome to BSA Film Friday with a new mural from the Urvanity commercial art fair in Madrid that culls together 30 or so galleries and mounts a public art campaign during the same week. “Offset” by the Swiss muralists called Nevercrew presents a massive pile of bears, one stacked upon the other.

The manner of arrangement of the bears presents creatures of the wild as no more than commodities, in the same way that corporations and countries think they can “purchase” offsets through a surreal trading market where one purchases the right to pollute and kill our atmosphere. In a positive light, the title “Offset” may refer to the practice of biodiversity offsetting, where previous wrongs are righted following a mitigation hierarchy to produce “no net loss” of biodiversity.

Also, bears are really cute.

“Offset” NEVERCREW in Madrid for Urvanity Art Fair 2020

Icy & Sot: “Our house is on fire” By COlabs / Marco Figueroa

The pacing is quick, the reversal of the timeline adds a sense of mystery and mastery to the brothers’ fox-witted ability to communicate horror in a rather elegant way.

See more in yesterdays’ posting Icy & Sot say “Our House Is On Fire!”

Said Dokins on Cultura Colectiva

Mexican muralist Said Dokins talks about his practice and his underlying social practice through coded calligraphy

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BSA Film Friday: 07.12.19

BSA Film Friday: 07.12.19

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

Now screening :
1. “Melania”, Directed by Brad Downey
2. Said Dokins. “Runaway Writings” Solo Show
3. “Who’s the Daddy?” A film by Wong Ping

BSA Special Feature: “Melania”, Directed by Brad Downey

Street Artist/Interventionist Brad Downey widens his oeuvre with a documentary, and his exquisite critiques of hypocrisy – and his appreciation of life’s beautiful ironies are still fully intact.

Here in a grassy area between a dirt service road and the Sava River Mr. Maxi Z creates his ode to Melania, a girl born in the same hospital and year as he. Using his chainsaw to coax the immigrant/model/First Lady Melania from this tree whose roots go deep into her Slovenian homeland, the sculptor creates a painted tribute and a direct connection between art and life for all to see publicly. Hearing him describe his work is important, as is appreciating the struggle and sacrifice he speaks of. Hearing a traditional song and reading its lyrics, well crafted with nostalgia and heartache, buttresses the storytelling with context.

For us Mr. Downey’s brilliance is his examination of the assumed, his breakdown of folly, his ability to see. Here he shares his view with us, with warmth and satire. Among his targets, implied at least, may be the art world, the Street Art world, social anachronisms, international power structures, craven corruption. Among his tributes are the creative spirit, individual ingenuity, and the will to overcome. Long live Melania.

“Melania” 2019, Sevenica, Slovenia
A film by Brad Downey Featuring Maxi Z. Production Miha Erjavec Camera Aljaž Celarc Editing Eva Pavlič Seifert Song pevski zbor Bunkarji Sound Editing Simon Kavsek Translation Ana Bohte Assitance Jaka Erjavec Thanks to Son of Maxi Z, wife Jožica, Graveks d.o.o


Said Dokins. “Runaway Writings” Solo Show

Graffiti artist, contemporary artist, calligrapher and curator Said Dokins organizes images, objects and personal questions in his new exhibition at Centro Nacional de las Artes in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. 

With works on paper, on canvas, video, light, and photograph, the show speaks of conflict, community, the empire to the north, and his expansive practice with calligraphy. With each letter, each word, Said Dokins’ strokes free the steps of those who lived between these walls.

“Who’s the Daddy?” A film by Wong Ping

Hong Kong film director/animator/artist Wong Ping creates with the excesses and superficiality of non-stop consumer culture – humorously mixed and mingled with a young man’s insecurities, search for identity, and desire to get laid. His social, racial, cultural, political observations resonate beneath the eye candy. His sense of humor makes the formerly difficult easier to contemplate, the questions now tempered with the colorful absurdity of the world. Consider here, his ruminations on the length and curvature of the penis, among other things one might write in an online public diary.

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BSA Film Friday: 06.01.18

BSA Film Friday: 06.01.18

bsa-film-friday-JAN-2015

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

Now screening :
1. “The US Tapes” with Fatheat and TransOne
2. Said Dokins: Stories of a Word
3. INO: Lost in Greece
4. Low Bros x Viva Con Agua

bsa-film-friday-special-feature

BSA Special Feature: The US Tapes with Fatheat and TransOne

“Listen, my only request…. When you’re done doing your thing, do an Italian flag with my daughter’s name on it,” says a guy who is shouting up from the street to the roof where two Hungarian graff writers are preparing to hit a wall with a giant rat in Jersey. That rat looks fantastic as it basks in the blinking glow of the marquee for Vinny Italian Gourmet on the streets in the Newark night below.

That scene alone can stand as their American iconic moment for the US Tapes, but Fatheat and TransOne documented a number of golden moments on their trip this winter to New York, Wynwood, LA, and Las Vegas. Travel with them as they try to square the television mythology of modern America with the one they are encountering in all its ridiculous free-wheeling self satisfied unreflective emotional consumerist funkified freedom*.  Standby for sonic blasts from the cultural pulp soundbook and prepare for a celebrity visit.

Slyly they observe and sample and taste and catalogue the insights by traversing the main stage and the margins, smartly not taking it too seriously, finding plenty of places for wide-eyed wonder and wiseguy sarcasm. Steeped in graffiti history with mad skillz themselves, this is all an adventure. Generous of heart, they also share it with you.

Ready for your Friday road trip?

 

 

Said Dokins: Stories of a Word

You saw great shots and heard the story this week on BSA :

Said Dokins in Queensland: Ghosts, Memories & Language.

Now you can see the video. Oh, word?

 

INO: Lost in Greece

A perfect wistful interlude that turns this massive mural into an interlude.  See more earlier on BSA with “INO and ‘LOST’ in the Port of Piraeus, Greece”.

 

Low Bros x Viva Con Agua

A brief shot with Berlin’s Low Bros as they create a wall “in our own visual language” in Los Angeles.

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Said Dokins in Queensland: Ghosts, Memories & Language

Said Dokins in Queensland: Ghosts, Memories & Language

“This history represents the aboriginal ghostly inscription that circulates between the past and the present, says Mexican Street Artist and muralist Said Dokins as he describes his two new murals in Queensland, Australia.

Said Dokins. “Stories Of A Word” Queensland University of Technology. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Toks Ojo Photography)

As we slowly wake to the idea of decolonizing our institutions, Dokins says he is including the names and stories of people he met in Brisbane to create a collective history, “where the words that describe nature and cultural diversity are intertwined with colonial and globalization references.”

Said Dokins says he asked people to share with him a story of Queensland with a single word. “Stories Of A Word” Queensland University of Technology. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (graphic courtesy of the artist).

The new Dokins murals are compositions comprise of his unique calligraphic lettering style, sparkling and ornately street savvy as their curvilinear movement and medallion shapes catch your attention in metal and black. Part of the ‘Brisbane Street Art Festival’ (BSAF) taking place in April and May, Dokins joined other international artists such as Kenji Chai y Cloakwork from Malaysia, Tuyuloveme from Indonesia, Bao Ho from Hong Kong, Rosie Wood from England, and Gris One from Colombia as well as local artists like Sofles, Gus Eagleton, Fuzeillear to create 50+ public facing murals across neighboring towns with a variety of themes and styles.

Said Dokins. “Stories Of A Word” Queensland University of Technology. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Toks Ojo Photography)

Supported by real estate and civic/business interests along with art organizations – Said tells us that the festival of music and arts also worked very close to Alethea Beetson, director of Digi Youth Arts, an organization dedicated to protect aboriginal cultures.

In his research many with the goal of recognizing the decimated, destroyed, and marginalized aboriginal cultures of Australia, Dokins says he used an exercise of participatory art. By speaking with and interviewing local people he found key words and specific phrases. Eventually he asked participants to share with him a story of Queensland with a single word.

With these words he created art.

Said Dokins. “Stories Of A Word” Queensland University of Technology. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Aimee Catt)

Said Dokins. “Stories Of A Word” Queensland University of Technology. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Toks Ojo Photography)

Said Dokins. “The Lost River” Bowen Hills. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Toks Ojo Photography)

Said Dokins. “The Lost River” Bowen Hills. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Toks Ojo Photography)

Said Dokins. “The Lost River” Bowen Hills. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Toks Ojo Photography)

Said Dokins. “The Lost River” Bowen Hills. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Toks Ojo Photography)

Said Dokins. “The Lost River” Bowen Hills. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Toks Ojo Photography)

Said Dokins. “The Lost River” Bowen Hills. Brisbane, Australia. May 2018. (photo © Toks Ojo Photography)

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“The Art Of Writing Your Name” Expands Potential for Both Art & Writing

“The Art Of Writing Your Name” Expands Potential for Both Art & Writing

Niels Shoe Meulman on the cover of The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

“Writing”, as in the graffiti sense of the word, has become quite tastefully adventurous of late, as calligraffiti pushes and pulls it in height, dimension, finesse. Evolved from our first recorded history, the modern stylizing of the letter form is as fascinating and wild as it is domesticated, the mundanity of your particular tag now veritably swimming in many depths and swirling currents, weaving complex melodies, hitting notes previously unheard.

JonOne The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

This was inevitable, now that you think of it, this organic and ornate practice of making your mark, and the freedom to explore it came from the street. Mark-making indeed. You can call it “The Art of Writing Your Name,” as have the authors/artists Christian Hundertmark and Patrick Hartl.

Born of many late night talks and collaborative painting sessions together, merging Christian’s abstract graphics and collage with Patrick’s calligraphy and tagging, the two slowly discovered a mutual collection of writers and artists whose work they both admired, a book slowly taking form in their minds. “Our late night sessions also implied long conversations about the evolution of Graffiti to Street Art to urban calligraphy,” the authors say in their preface.

Poesia The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Graff writers in the mid 90s Munich scene, both had developed their individual styles beyond the classic street vocabulary, now evermore interested in discovering new materials, forms, processes, influences. Just released this summer, this new collection confidently illustrates what until now may have been evident to only a few; the aesthetics of writing have expanded and permutated far beyond their own roots in graffiti, tattoo, traditional calligraphy.

“Every artist brings a different approach with their calligraphy artwork,” says perhaps the most prominent of the genre today, Niels Shoe Meulman, who blazed into the publishing world with his tome “Calligraffiti” in 2010 after bringing his practice to the street and gallery. “We all come from different experiences and have different things to say.”

SheOne The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Indeed the list here includes the literal interpretations to those so far dissembled as to appear purely abstract, the aerosoled, the inked, the drippy, the purely light, the monstrously brushed acrossed floors and rooftops, the molded and bent and aroused into sculpture. Here the letter form is stretched to its limits, far beyond its relevance as part of codified language, more so the malleable warm putty in the hands of the artist, molded and mounted and even mystifying in the service of energy, kineticism, emotion.

“I start with quite randomly placed fat cap tags on the white surface,” says German author/artist Hartl to describe his particular technique, “then I overpaint it like 80% with slightly transparent paint, tag the wall with markers, overpaint that layer again, then I do stickers and posters, rip parts off again, repeat all these steps again and again until I’m happy with the result.”

Said Dokins The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Without doubt many will find inspiration in these nearly 300 pages, these insightful interviews with artists like Stohead, Usugrow, Saber, Kryptic, Faust, Carlos Mare, L’Atlas, Lek & Sowat, Poesia, Tilt; the forward by Chaz Bojorquez, the singular, at times stunning, photos and supportive texts.

Made for “graffiti fanatics, hand lettering fans, street art junkies, calligraphy lovers, and type enthusiasts”, co-author Christian Hundertmark edited the respected “Art of Rebellion” series and he knows his audience and this slice of his culture. The 36 artists are not the only ones representing this evolution in calligraphy, but they are certainly some of the finest.

Lek & Sowat The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

L’Atlas The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Tilt The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Carlos Mare The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Faust The Art Of Writing Your Name by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.


The Art Of Writing Your Name: Contemporary Urban Calligraphy and Beyond by Patrick Hartl & Christian Hundertmark. Publikat Verlags – und Handels GmbH & Co. KG. Mainaschaff, Germany, 2017.

Artists included are Chaz Bojorquez, JonOne, Niels Shoe Meulman, Poesia, Cryptik, SheOne, Said Dokins, Stohead, Usugrow, Patrick Hartl, Lek & Sowat, L’Atlas, Tanc, Mayonaize, Soklak, Mami, Tilt, Blaqk, Soemone, Jan Koke, Jun Inoue, Vincent Abdie Hafez / Zepha, Carlos Mare, Egs, Simon Silaidis, Faust, Luca Barcellona, Bisco Smith, Creepy Mouse, Defer, eL Seed, Rafael Sliks, Saber, Pokras Lampas.

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