All posts tagged: Samson Contompasis

Happy New Year 2015 – BSA Readers Choice Top 10

Happy New Year 2015 – BSA Readers Choice Top 10

Happy New Year to All! Thank you for inspiring us to do our best and to those of you who continue to support our personal art project / cultural examination, we extend our gratitude more than ever.

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Begun as an enthusiastic discovery of what was happening in a few neighborhoods in New York, we continued to expand our view into more cities around the world last year and into the history and future of the scene. We also aimed to provide you with a critical platform for examination of the street art/ graffiti / public art/ contemporary art continuum with interviews with artists, curators, collectors, organizers, observers and thinkers in the street, studio, gallery, and museum – trouble makers and taste makers alike.

In the end, it’s your observations and the conversations on the street that are most important. As we begin the year with over 300K fans, friends, and followers on social media platforms and 225 articles on the Huffington Post (thanks HuffPost team!), we feel like we get a valuable good survey of current opinions heading our way daily.

With in-depth interviews, investigative articles, opinion infused examinations, plain celebratory reverie, occasionally silly non-sequitors, and public appearances where we get to meet you, we get a good analytical look at an ever-evolving movement, glittery polish and warts and all.

As the new year begins we take a look back at the top stories chosen by BSA Readers in the last 12 months. Among them are two takeover pop-up shows in soon-to-be demolished buildings, a story about commercial abuse of artist copyrights and the effort to fight back, a street art community’s response to the sudden death of an activist street artist, a Street Art tourist trip, and a few inspirational women, men, and Mexican muralists.  Even though we published at least once a day for the last 365 days, these are the most popular pieces, as chosen by you, Dear BSA Reader.

10. Exploring Lisbon as a Street Art Tourist

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Os Gemeos / Blu (photo © Stephen Kelley)

9. Kara Walker and Her Sugar Sphinx at the Old Domino Factory

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Kara Walker. The artist portrait in profile with her sugary sphinx in the background. (photo via iPhone © Jaime Rojo)

8. Women Rock Wynwood Walls at Miami Art Basel 2013

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Fafi (photo © Martha Cooper for Wynwood Walls)

7. A Sudden Secret Street Art House Party in Manhattan

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Icy & Sot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

6. Niels Shoe Meulman Balancing “Unearthly” Paintings

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Niels “Shoe” Meulman. Process shot. (photo © Adele Renault)

5. It’s All the Rage, Street Artists Filing Lawsuits Left and Right

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4. Shok-1 Street Art X-Rays Reveal a Unique Hand at the Can

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Shok-1 (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

3. 12 Mexican Street Artists Stray Far from Muralism Tradition In NYC

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Sego (photo © Jaime Rojo)

2. Army Of One, Inspiration To Many : Jef Campion

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Army Of One AKA JC2 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

1. Graffiti and Street Art Lock Up “21st Precinct” in New York

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Pixote in action. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!
 
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Army Of One, Inspiration To Many : Jef Campion

Army Of One, Inspiration To Many : Jef Campion

New York’s Street Art and graffiti scene learned this weekend of the passing of one of its artists, Jef Campion, who went by the name of Army of One/ JC2. Jef died at his home in  Yonkers Friday night at the age of 52 and for those who knew him for his physically and personally powerful presence, the news came as a complete surprise.

A New Yorker through and through, Jef was known as a firefighter and first responder to Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks who spent more than a month in that recovery effort, as a volunteer who gave a great deal of time and energy to working with charity organizations for children who were very ill, and for being a fine artist, a street artist, and an anti-war activist.

Speaking with many who knew him closely over the last few days, we learned that his days were not always light and he sometimes suffered from PTSD and related issues, but that he considered himself an overcomer and gave support and encouragement to his peers in the art world. We always saw him as a person who was determined to use his art and his creativity as a force for good in the world.  He also knew how to walk the talk.

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Army Of One AKA JC2 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As a Street Artist he was perhaps best known for adapting a photograph by Diane Arbus entitled Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, New York City (1962), and converting it into a sharply graphic anti-war message that he reproduced numerous times in many sizes and mediums to put onto the street. “Army of One” was usually scrawled like a shouting slogan alongside the wheatpaste of the silhouetted image. Sometimes the text was in black and other times it was in a red that matched the dripping red grenade in the boys hand. A startling sight to encounter in a doorway or on a signpost, it was at once a protest and a warning that war is not child’s play.

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On the left, the original Child with Toy Hand Grenade in Central Park, New York City (1962), by Diane Arbus. One right, its adaptation by Street Artist Jef Campion aka Army of One/ JC2 pasted over a collage by Street Artist ShinShin (photo © Jaime Rojo)

For Jef it was an effective way to remind us that war invariably damages those who have nothing to do with the fight, some of our most vulnerable and treasured people who suffer from our unspeakable callousness and disregard for life.

When Jef put this work out on the street it wasn’t to get personal fame as much as it was to change minds and hearts. Jef hoped his art could give voice to the voiceless. In recent years his own red-painted hand became as important a symbol of the insanity and brutality of war as any of his work created for the street.

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Army Of One AKA JC2 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Our condolences and thoughts and prayers go out to Jef’s family and friends today on Martin Luther King day and in the difficult days ahead. We also send our hopes that they can take comfort in knowing how much of a positive influence he was on many artists and peers, as well as complete strangers and passersby. Following we share with BSA readers remembrances from five people, but we easily could have presented many more.

GILF!
Street Artist and social, political, cultural advocate.

I met Jef during Art Basel Miami in 2011 at Fountain Art Fair. I had been familiar with his street work but was ultimately introduced to him by Samson Contompasis. He immediately went out of his way to include and befriend me, and with a megawatt smile on his face.

Jef reached out to me for a project about a year ago via email. We met up in person and had a lengthy discussion about war, the children at risk, and our ability to facilitate change for these young lives. He was always so focused on how he could help others. You could tell how passionate he was about the destruction of war with his work through his words and through his actions.

He never gave up, was always trying to do more to help, and feared no one. He did all of that while constantly supporting his friends and lending a hand whenever needed. His smiles and laughs were infectious and you couldn’t help but be happy around him. I will be forever grateful to have known such a righteous and honorable soul. His rebel spirit will continue to inspire me as I find ways of coping with this loss.

Of many we are all an Army of One.

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“This image was taken a day after we met. He was so welcoming and kind. We were instant friends.” (photo © Gilf)

 

Sinxero (SX)
Fine Grafstract artist, designer and gallery/mural curator based in The Bronx

I first met Jef, aka: “Army of One” at the “Street Artists Unite” exhibit at Dorian Grey Gallery where Jef was showing his art, a body of work and presence that commanded your attention. Jef and I shared a vision where artists could make a difference as “Comrades In Art”. Combining our artistic and business related goals, Jef and I formed “The Army Grows,” (TAG), with him as a resident activist. We expanded our mission to encourage both street & graffiti artists to work together and now TAG is also known as “The Art of Grafstract”.

Jef’s plethora of knowledge was priceless. His street & fine art grind was hard and direct, undiluted.

Why was Jef important to me and the Street Art / Graffiti scene? One day I remember showing up early to one of his many exhibits. Upon arriving Jef said, “let’s take a walk, its still early.” As we walked down Orchard Street, Jef took notice of a pair of gentlemen’s boots in a window display and walked in to ask the salesperson for his size. As we sat and waited for the gentleman to come back Jef and I discussed curating murals, owning your moniker and how to reach out to sponsors in order to build your name up. He told me that sometimes it is better to slow down and take notice of all that’s around you and address things one at a time – a better approach than it’s complete opposite.

I am grateful for having met Jef and having been given the opportunity to see life through his eyes. If anyone could walk a mile in Jef’s boots in the way he gave, embraced and loved as a friend, artist and compassionate human being they would be king for a day.

Jef, you were truly an “Army of One.” In your name, “The Army Grows.”

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Jef Campion (Army of One/ JC2) and Sinxero (photo © Sinxero)

Fumero
Street artist and fine artist.

I first noticed Army of One back in 2009 with his use of the Diane Arbus’ photo, ‘Grenade Boy’ and another graphic that followed, ‘The Bride of War’. As I walked the city streets after midnight, I always ‘ran into’ Jef (AoO) everywhere I went. I appreciated the image. It caught my attention because it had a gritty, NYC quality about it.

As a street artist, you usually meet others through their work first and later you actually wind up meeting the artist in person. I met Jef during the summer of 2010 at an upstate New York street art event. The moment we exchanged stickers, we already had a good sense of what the person was about. His message emphasized ‘peace’ and mine was about ‘family’.

Soon after that we met again to put some art after dark up in lower Manhattan and from that point on we became friends. In the years that followed we both participated in the same events here in NY and at Art Basel, Miami. Our greatest collaboration was for the XCIA’s Street Art Project book.

Army of One’s social commentary about needless wars that produce needless bloodshed was the central idea behind his message. I respected that notion and also that this message was everywhere. I admired his passion to spread his art and the enjoyment he received from it. Jef was a serious artist and if you knew him you understood why he was compelled to promote his idea to the public. His left a profound statement for us to never forget that each and every one of us has the freedom to be who and what we want to be and to live life accordingly and although we have different colors of our skin we are all ‘red’ inside and that makes us all the same; human.

I’m thankful to express my words about my friend. He will be missed. He was a force to be reckoned with, he was truly an army of one.

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Fumero and Jef Campion, Army of One/ JC2 (photo © Fumero)

OCMC (Oh Captain My Captain)
Street artist and fine artist.

Jef was an important figure to me personally in the scene, as he was the first street artist I ever met. I had been doing it a while and saw his work everywhere. By a fluke the first art show I appeared in was a benefit show he was also in and we met there. It was exciting to meet someone who did what I did, and even more so because Jef was incredibly gracious and encouraging. It wound up we were from the same neighborhood so we shared a bond over that. From then on we were friends.

For the scene itself, I feel Jef was a very important voice. There is naturally a lot of ego in street art and graffiti. Jef’s art was about the meaning, not the advertising. He felt deeply for his cause and it was loud and clear in his artwork. Loud like that grenade of his.

Many of the posts I have seen since his passing describe him as a “great guy”, and how kind he was… And it’s very much the truth. Jef was a truly great man. His job involved saving peoples lives, his spare time involved helping kids with cancer, and his art involved his deep belief that war is never the answer. He wasn’t just a great voice out in the streets, his was a great voice for the world.

There’s a show coming we were both going to be in, and I am going to miss the way he would light up when he’d see me with an “OCMC!” and the hug that would follow… It always felt great to stand in the light Jef shined on you. But I am hardly unique there, because he made everyone feel like that light. That’s what I’ll remember most.

 

Samson Contompasis
Former gallery owner and artist

I worked with Jef at a few different points to help his studio work reach more people. I found Jef the same way many other people did, by his relentless coverage of the streets. When I met him for the first time the scope of this man expanded exponentially. Upon inviting me to his studio it was apparent that this street artist was much more then that; he was a fine artist of extraordinary measure. Whether it was his handwritten accounts of his life scrawled on vellum, his giant assemblages of nails, raw wood, and pieces of the city strewn about them, or his neon accompanied statements of original sin on charred wood that he tore out of a fire with his bare hands, I felt that his studio was a doorway into his soul and everything was brimming with emotion from the life he led.

One of the most important parts of Jef’s street work was that he had a message. He wasn’t just writing his name on a wall for himself or a crew…he was writing it for a greater purpose. To spread a message of peace. His intention was for that of a better world . There was a moment during a show where a woman was offended by a piece of his…. and I remember that at one point he simply stated, “Walk a mile in my shoes” We can never pretend to know the weight of someone’s soul….but if I was a betting man he would be giving the sun a run for its money.

He spoke to us with full lungs and a determined spirit in everything he did. He did not have the easiest life, having dealt with hard addictions growing up and PTSD later in life but it never kept this man from smiling. He was one of the only people that could effectively hug me back.

Jef, my sorrow is deep, but I know you’ve already been through hell and you will be shaking Gods hand with red paint. You will be always there and forever missed.

 

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“It is my tribute letting him know he is in our hearts and minds, says Samson of this new self portrait.” (photo © Samson Contompasis)

Samson also shares with us a poem that Jef wrote, from an installation named “Sanctuary”.

Atrophy

I’m awake now

I believe in fate
I believe suicide would not have been the answer.
I believe the drugs were not a deterrent but a lesson
a task
a journey

I believe Central Park in late May
Sitting on the bench in East Hampton and watching the ocean

Solitude

Chet Baker on a rainy Sunday afternoon
Beat cultures
Bohemian lifestyles

I believe Miles Davis
And Coltrane
Tom Waits will never die

The human form Vine charcoal and a large canvas
Jose Guadalupe Posada Francis Bacon
Brie

The Hudson River right outside Irvington NY
Baja Mexico Ice cold beer, In the shade of a palm tree
Laguna Beach at 11am Venice beach at 6pm New York City 24/7

Rene’s trust
Mimma’s eyes
Joanne’s soul
My grandparents who without I never survive this mess

I believe in a partner who can love you with every cell in their body.

Self inflicted pain is not the answer my friend

You’re going to suffer You’re going to bleed You’re going to fall

You’re going to die

I’m awake

Now.

~ Jef Campion

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Army Of One AKA JC2 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Correction: An earlier posting listed Campion’s home as the Bronx. It was changed to Yonkers.

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

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BSA Film Friday 01.11.13

BSA Film Friday 01.11.13

 

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

Now screening: A debut from UR New York, Cola de Farinha, Pigeon in the Venice of the North, En Masse in Miami MMXII, and a promo for “Working Class”.

UR New York Spends 10 Days in Miami

In this video debuting today on BSA, 2Esae and Ski Mst of UR New York spray, stencil, wheatpaste, play with kids from the Children’s Bereavement Center, flirt and give the finger at openings, cavort in front of the camera, and otherwise act a fool in pursuit of the one thing that made these trouble makers who they are, art.

Cola de Farinha – Brazilian Wheat-pasting

A small documentary interviewing some wheat-pasters in São Paulo, that gives an idea of how the scene takes on the personality and style of the culture. A unique opportunity to learn what it means to artists and how it is perceived as a means of communication.

Pigeon Wheat-pasting in the Venice of the North

Follow Street Artist Pigeon on an icy river in a canoe.

En Masse: Miami MMXII

The great collaborative feeling of working together on the streets is epitomized here with En Masse in Miami last month. Featured artists in their two week roll-through were;

Mke Maxwell, OverUnder, NDA, Omen514, ASquidCalledSebastian, Jason Botkin, Fred Caron, Melissa DelPinto, LezaOne, Alan Ganev, Dustin Spagnolia, Mas Paz, Optimo, Pat Lazzo, Marc PaperScissor, Carmelo Blandino, Five Eight, Pixel Pancho, Never 2501, Sam Parker, Samson Contompasis, Linsey Carron, Anne Preece, Victor Cox

“Working Class”

A brief taste of the new film about the work of artists Mike Giant and Mike Maxwell.

 

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Fountain 2012 Lands in a Grand Old Location

Armory Week is back in town and Fountain Art Fair is nailing it. At the moment – literally. Walls are going up as you are reading this. 200 feet of walls are dedicated to Street Artists – Enough said. Fountain has moved inland this year from the floating, sometimes harrowing, gallery and submarine Murder Lounge on the Hudson waterfront, and in many ways the new Fountain also feels more grounded. Don’t worry, not too much.

Joe Iurato (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Apart from being in an actual Armory building, a 106 year old institution that lends a certain New York Beau-Arts grandness to it all, Fountain is still anybody’s guess in terms of content and execution; which in our minds is precisely the point of going. The chaotic nature of the creative spirit as wielded by many of these youngish artists means that they are better thought of as corralled, rather than curated, into this grand sweeping space that has plenty of headroom.  Part punk D.I.Y. art party and part Occupy Art Fair, the promise of Fountain lies in the work and your own sense of exploration, rather than the prepackaged pomp of slick-talking retailers.

Naturally there are a slew of Street Artists in Fountain this year, including Chris Stain, Know Hope, GILF, Imminent Disaster, Joe Iurato, LMNOP, Elle, ShinShin, LNY, Cake, En Masse, Sophia Maldonado, Hellbent, Radical! and Wing.  BSA caught some of them working in the last couple of weeks as they completed pieces and we give you some sneak peeks here.

Joe Iurato (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Joe Iurato (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris Stain (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LNY working on his piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LNY, one of the newer Street Artists of New York at the moment, talked to us as he prepared his Fountain piece deep in Bushwick. His careful illustrative style has an unassuming quality, a sort of hand rendered fantasy he is channeling, and discovering, mixing and remixing symbols and imagination.

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you arrive at your current hybrid style of human/animals? Your depictions keep the humans remaining wholly human and the animals remaining wholly animals. They just seem to be attached to each other?
LNY: Animals are very interesting on their own but at the same time they have been used symbolically so much everywhere. For instance I noticed that many countries use the eagle as a national symbol: Egypt, USA and Mexico all have eagles in their national symbols. When I have an inclination to draw I often find myself drawing animals.

Brooklyn Street Art: On this piece you are working on for Fountain you have NYPD Mounted Police with wings on them?
LNY: Usually my ideas just sort of pile up and then they get to something else. For instance the wings are going to be fire actually. I will add a couple more riders and they could be an apocalyptic kind of scene. The fun thing about symbols is that you can read whatever you want into them. I like the ambiguity of symbols a lot.

Brooklyn Street Art: How do you find the process of painting?
LNY: I really don’t paint anymore. I used to paint. What I used to do with painting doesn’t work anymore because I lost faith in the idea of painting – so I have to find something else.

LNY working on his piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

LNY working on his piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Know Hope (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Know Hope. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hellbent working on his piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hellbent working on his piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mockup for Hellbent’s piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Finished! A semi-blurry cellphone pic of it from last night. (photo © Hellbent)

I lo-lo-lala-lo-love you. Radical! (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Click here to learn more about Fountain Art Fair 2012

 

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Doodles for Living Walls : Albany

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Finished Piece Frees Itself From Fear

That dude Doodles completed his piece at “Living Walls : Albany” in this hidden alley of the state capitol after all the camera-packing explorers and six-packing parties ran out of town.  Out behind of storehouse Doodles had a lot of time to himself and he created this ode to shaking off the burdens of life with a progressive story across a cinder-blocked wall.  The Street Artist explained to us that in one interpretation the figure represents an average modern person accumulating possessions in a materialistic world. But the metaphor he likes best is about shaking off the mounting burden of fear. The final frame, inspired by the artist’s recent trip to the wilds of the Adirondacks in upstate New York, shows the figure freeing himself from those fear and making a break for the woods.  Off the grid! Here we go!

Thanks to Samson Contompasis for photos of the finished piece.

brooklyn-street-art-doodles-jaime-rojo-living-walls-albany-web-6Doodles (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles (photo © Samson Contompasis)

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Doodles (photo © Samson Contompasis)

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Doodles (photo © Samson Contompasis)

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Living Walls : Albany Roundup

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RECAP – BSA and Living Walls : Albany

This weekend in Albany very important Street Art presentations were made at the New York State Museum during “Living Walls: Albany”, including one from Street Art duo Broken Crow, pictured here in custom made aluminum foil head gear that reflected light rays all around the Clark Auditorium.

brooklyn-street-art-broken-crow-jaime-rojo-albany-living-walls-09-11-web-4Mike has the remote for the Powerpoint show in his right antenna. Broken Crow at the New York State Museum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

There were so many moving parts in this large and easy going cultural festival this weekend, and we were really happy to meet so many people in the street, at the Marketplace encampment, in St. Joseph’s Church, at the tile factory, and during our keynote lecture at the New York State Museum Saturday. Thanks to Samson Contompasis for asking BSA to partner with him for LWAlbany and a quick shout out to other local partners James Shultis at Grand Street Community Arts, Sivan Shimoni, the staff at NYS Museum, and local blogger KC Orcutt at KeepAlbanyBoring.com along with photographers Andrew Franciosa, Bob Anderson, MC3, Frank Whitney, and Ken Jacobie.  Also big ups to Monica Compana, who c0-spearheaded Living Walls Atlanta, which we covered a lot when it began last year.  For all the locals mentioned, they are just the tip of the iceberg of a large committed creative and professional community in the Upstate New York region who helped to pull this thing off with almost zero dollars and tons of planning and hustling. For the first year, it is/was a major achievement.

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Broken Crow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Of course our main focus is always the Street Artists and the creative spirit that is alive and well on the streets so it was a total honor to see the artists and see brand new stuff going up, like the last one before catching a train last night – Broken Crow’s ram under a bridge.  There are still some pieces being finished by NohJColey, Clown Soldier, Doodles, and one we missed from Michael DeFeo. Also coming up should be Hellbent and possibly some other artists this fall, so we’ll get back to you on that. Not all these pics are from Living Walls : Albany by the way — when you are combing the streets you find all kinds of stuff you didn’t expect.

Check out all BSA coverage on the archive page here.

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Broken Crow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Broken Crow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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White Cocoa (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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White Cocoa (photo © Jaime Rojo)brooklyn-street-art-artist-unknown-jaime-rojo-albany-living-walls-09-11-web

Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles at work on his wall. He explained to BSA that it will eventually contain 5 frames of a figure gradually being crushed under a backpack, which he will shake himself from and run into the wild. It’s meant to symbolize the fears and problems that can accumulate in life and our need to shake the “baggage” if possible.  — and some more esoteric descriptors that we can tell you about if you want to know.  Stay tuned for the finished piece. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles at work on his wall (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Doodles wall in progress (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey at work on his wall (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey at work on his wall (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NohJColey at work on his wall (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Cake, Infinity (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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(photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder next to an old Radical! (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Veng RWK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Clown Soldier (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Michael DeFeo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Radical (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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N’DA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Take your own tour this fall with the Living Walls : Albany MAP

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Work in Progress :How and Nosm and Overunder at “Living Walls: Albany”

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Industry! The city of Albany is percolating with painters and wheat-pasters on walls all over the place as “Living Walls : Albany” is in full effect, causing people in neighborhoods to stop and talk and discuss the works that are happening before their eyes. Here are a couple in-progress scenes with German twins How & Nosm on a lift beginning their new mural Friday afternoon after arriving from Miami, where they completed new work for Wynwood Walls. Also we were excited to have spent some time seeing OverUnder working with a local tile maker and two new assistants from the neighborhood mixing up mortar and slapping those newly cut tiles to the wall. So much industry, so much excitement, and so many one way streets – including the one which earned us an interview with the police and a fancy new traffic ticket! It’s never a dull moment with the Street Art scene, but you can always be assured of a good show.

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How and Nosm (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder with his assistants Roberto and Messiah (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Overunder with his assistants Roberto and Messiah (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Joe Iurato Transending at “Living Walls : Albany”

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Street Artist Joe Iurato went to church yesterday at St. Joseph’s in Albany, where a number of street artists have been putting together some great work this week. These pieces are floated in front of the walls, rather than painted directly on them out of respect for the original building, an the effect immediately makes the hallowed spaces of organized religion feel more relevant than seeing the Pope on a skateboard.

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Explains Joe,  “Man, wait til you guys see this place. The architecture is magnificent and in a perfect state of decay. I’m not a very religious person, but I take a great interest in faith and trying to understand where it comes from. Every now and then there’s a moment where I truly get it – and I swear I catch a glimpse of something I’d otherwise tell you isn’t really there. That’s what this felt like to me,  and I felt completely privileged to put these pieces up. “

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images © Joe Iurato
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Cell Phone Snap : Broken Crow + Wolves Feasting on a Carcass

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Is this a metaphor for the rich feasting on the US economy? Or just the Macy’s One Day Sale? Here’s a quick cell phone snap of the new piece by Broken Crow at Living Walls : Albany, complete with blood slopping across the field of yellow flowers. More to come soon.

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Broken Crow photo ©  Samson Contompasis

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Cake at Living Walls: Albany

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Street Artist Cake brought her hand painted people to Albany yesterday, with these portraits of a “wondrous traveler”named Saige. A fine artist who makes one of a kind wheate-pasted pieces as a means of therapy and tribute, Cake has a unique style that is at once melodic and medical, enabling the viewer to have x-ray vision. Recently Cake has been introducing metallic, as in these two new pieces using silver leaf.

Learn more about Cake and see Jaime Rojo’s photos of her work in our recent interview with her on Juxtapoz.

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Knock knock, Cake is at the door. (photo © Cake)

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Cake (photo © Cake)

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Cake (photo © Cake)

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Street Seen : Overunder in Albany

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This piece is still wet because Overunder finished it as the sun set tonight as part of Living Walls : Albany. Samson Contompasis caught this quick phone pic with the subject of the portrait posing with his painted self.  More Overunder coming soon!

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Chris Stain in Church, Museum : 9/11 Mural With “Living Walls: Albany”

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The Street Artist Creates 40 Foot Mural Marking 10th Anniversary

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Living Walls with Chris Stain

Words by KC Orcutt
with photos from Andrew Franciosa, Frank Whitney, and Ken Jacobie

Working in the monumental landmark of St. Joseph’s church, the focal point marking Albany’s Ten Broeck Historical District, everything echoed. The shake of the spray paint can, Chris Stain’s soft but direct voice, friends casually eating out of take-out containers and the sliding of a huge ladder against the wooden floor echoed against the high, detailed ceilings of the church, breaking the silence in what felt like both a privileged and private setting to be working in.

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Samson prepares the wall at St Joseph’s church for Chris Stain (photo © Ken Jacobie)

This portion of the “Living Walls: Albany” project directly faced the challenge all artists face: make something out of nothing. For the organizer, Samson Contompasis, that challenge was making a 40 by 16 foot wall out of 20 wooden pieces for Chris Stain to create his contribution to the project. Challenge met. Next.

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

As Chris Stain humored me in talking about Albany, the culture of zines and independent art books, doing his art homework on the train up here and how the quietness of the church was peaceful, he worked very swiftly. With one can of spray paint on deck in his back pocket and one in his hand, he got to work on his installation piece, depicting a scene of firefighters, an American flag and slanted city buildings, working with the ‘perfect’ red and an assortment of spray paint cans aligned like soldiers ready to go.

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

The finished piece alongside the ornate details of the church allowed for a natural moment of silence, soaking in what Stain sprayed before us, ready to be taken apart and installed in the setting of the New York State Museum the next day as a part of the new exhibit, “Reflecting on September 11, 2001.”

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain (photo © Andrew Franciosa)

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Chris Stain’s mural being installed at the New York State Museum (photo © Frank Whitney)

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Chris Stain’s mural being installed at the New York State Museum (photo © Frank Whitney)

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“Reflecting on September 11, 2001” opens at the New York State Museum Friday 10.9.11. Please click here for more information.

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