All posts tagged: Sebas Velasco

Bayonne Diary, From Alban Morlot’s Point of View

Bayonne Diary, From Alban Morlot’s Point of View

Here in Basque country you can casually drive between Bilbao (Spain) and Bayonne (France) as if you were just heading out to the shopping mall to buy new kicks. The signs of course are in multiple languages (Spanish, French, Basque) and there is much more political street art in these towns- addressing topics like fracking, racism, women’s rights and amnesty for political prisoners.

With an atmosphere that is more politically charged than other parts of the world, you can quickly forget it when you see so many rolling green hills dotted with puffy round sheep and old white farm houses along the highway.

1UP Crew (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Arriving in Bayonne we were happy to see many of the medieval small streets still boast Gothic-style cathedrals, a cloister here, the occasional castle there. It’s a walkable city with centuries of history, conservative cultural values, and a cool Street Art festival from the last few years called Points de Vue. Co-Founder Alban Morlot obliged us with a tour of the city and a multitude of murals produced over the past few years (You can read here our article of the recent 2018 edition of the festival with exclusive images from Martha Cooper and Nika Kramer).

Pantonio (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Headquartered in the public/privately run community center/gallery called SpaceJunk since the early 2000’s Alban and director Jérome Catz have been organizing shows here and in Lyons and Grenoble as their interests and network of artists has expanded. The two met when Catz was better known as a celebrity snowboarder organizing an art show for a sponsoring brand, and Marlot attended the show as a self-described “groupie”.

With a common interest is providing artists a platform and complementary abilities with funding and collecting, the two have gone on to mount shows and festivals in their organic path through the lenses of “board culture”, graffiti, Street Art, Lowbrow and Pop Surrealism.

Shows and exhibitions over the last decade and a half have included artists such as Lucy McLauchlan, Adam Neate, Will Barras, Jeff Soto, Laurence Vallières, Robert Williams, Robert Crumb, Isaac Cordal, Vhils, C215, Slinkachu, Ron English, Zevs, Shepard Fairey, JR, Lister, Augustine Kofie, Beast, NeverCrew, Monkey Bird, Daleast, and Seth.

A topic close to our heart for a decade, they also began a new film festival for there 2017 edition of the Grenoble Street Art Fest.

RNST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Headquartered in the public/privately run community center/gallery called SpaceJunk since the early 2000’s Alban and director Jérome Catz have been organizing shows here, Lyons, and Grenoble as their interests and network of artists has expanded. The two met when Catz was better known as a celebrity snowboarder organizing an art show for a sponsoring brand, and Marlot attended the show as a self-described “groupie”.

With a common interest is providing artists a platform and complementary abilities with funding and collecting, the two have gone on to mount shows and festivals in their organic path through the lenses of “board culture”, graffiti, Street Art, Lowbrow and Pop Surrealism. Shows and exhibitions over the last decade and a half have included artists such as Lucy McLauchlan, Adam Neate, Will Barras, Jeff Soto, Laurence Vallières, Robert Williams, Robert Crumb, Isaac Cordal, Vhils, C215, Slinkachu, Ron English, Zevs, Shepard Fairey, JR, Lister, Augustine Kofie, Beast, NeverCrew, Monkey Bird, Daleast, and Seth. A topic close to our heart for a decade, they have also began a film festival for there 2017 edition of the Grenoble Street Art Fest.

RNST (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As we walk through a very windy afternoon that kicks up the new construction dust that coats this neighborhood by the river, Alban talks to us about the suspicious embrace of locals and politicians of his work, the various working personalities of artists for the festival, the creation of a new currency by the Basque community, the tradition of socialist bars and political activists in the neighborhood, and his own connection to graffiti that began when he was hanging out in his hometown of Pau as a teenager with other skaters.

“We would listen to music, smoke a blunt, and skate all day. At some point graffiti became my culture,” he says of those times that formed his character and informed his aesthetic eye. “I don’t think I realized it at the time when I was a teenager but by the time I was 25 I said to myself ‘this is my culture’. I know I’m not the only one to feel this way but I knew that I wanted to share this experience and make it visible for other people in my generation.”

Jaune (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Walking and riding in a car to see murals, small installations, illegal graffiti, and formally approved artworks, you may wonder how this organizer and curator looks at his position in an evolving urban art scene that has witnessed the arrival and departure of many over the last 15 years. He says that his work has always centered on the artists, and that despite the chaos and change, this may be why he perseveres.

“My job is to know the artist and learn where they want to go and what their context is,” says Alban. “Afterwards I let them express their hearts without any conditions because I want them to have the maximum pleasure to produce their art. This way you receive the best from them.”

Jaune (photo © Jaime Rojo)

You may wonder where this philosophy comes from, and ask if he always felt this way.

“I think I just love artists so much,” he says. “People at Space Junk often ask me if I am an artist and I am not. I just consider artists to be very important in our lives and in society and I think we have to put artists in the middle of the system and not like they are just observers. I think artists belong in the center of society and I think people have to learn again how to listen to what they have to say. The way they present society is a very different point of view that helps us to understand who we are, who our neighbors are and help us to drive together.”

Our sincere thanks to Alban and Jérome for their work and hospitality and we hope you enjoy some of these pics from Bayonne.

Jaune (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Oak Oak (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pixel Pancho (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Deuz (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Arepo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Veksavan Hillik (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Veksavan Hillik (photo © Jaime Rojo)
C215 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
C215 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dourone (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Mantra (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Xabier Anunsibai & Sebas Velasco (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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“Urban Skills” in Alcoy, Spain brings Nuria Mora, Sebas Velasco, Demsky, Smithe and Dulk

“Urban Skills” in Alcoy, Spain brings Nuria Mora, Sebas Velasco, Demsky, Smithe and Dulk

A multiplicity of patterns and colors and fills and histories on intersecting planes that gore, cleave, hack through art and popular culture – this appears as a harbinger for the generation after Y. Fueled perhaps by the exuberance of youth and the desire to see and consume all things, to be all things simultaneously, the new kids are insisting that some manner of collage in three dimensions will accurately represent the upheaval we are experiencing in many regions. These are the effects of a raging globalism, at least on the surface – and possibly our efforts to rationalize what appears as chaotically irrational.

Fasim (photo © Jordi Arques)

How appropriate that Fasim is incorporating his own version of automatic drawing here on the large scale of the public mural while an invited guest of ‘Urban Skills, Urban Culture Exhibition 2018’ in Alcoy, Spain. His inspirations for this September work came his trip to the Louvre in August, he says, where he poured over Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, their individual histories and motifs swarming his mind.

“This psychological game has always attracted me because it changes all concepts, poses new meanings and I like to alter things,” he says in the group’s press release, “since I was a child I always try to see things from other points of view, even the impossible or delirious that are my favorite. It is an act of poetic rebellion.”

Fasim (photo © Jordi Arques)

As if carefully curated chaos, this first edition ‘urban art’ festival selects only a handful of artists from backgrounds of graffiti and Street Art from as close as Barcelona and as far as Mexico City, each carrying within them a virtual environment and ecosystem of aesthetic histories, each ready to spill.

Importing influences from urban culture with new murals by Nuria Mora, Sebas Velasco, Demsky, Smithe and Dulk spread across the city of 60,000 in del Centro, el Partidor, Santa Rosa, Batoy and la Zona Norte.

Far from the active urban cultures that gave birth to this music and art, these artists articulating the journey, reflecting influences from western art history, hip hop culture, and some of the global Internet vernacular of searching, and appropriating. A participatory project funded by a number of civic organizations, it looks like URBAN SKILLS chose some of the best voices to address this moment and to give a view into the future.

Fasim (photo © Jordi Arques)

Fasim (photo © Juani Ruz)

Fasim (photo © Jordi Arques)

Nuria Mora (photo © Jordi Arques)

Nuria Mora (photo © Jordi Arques)

DULK (photo © Jordi Arques)

Sebas Velasco (photo © Jordi Arques)

Manolo Solbes Arjona poses in front of this portrait of him at the piano in his “cave” by Sabas Velasco. Below he writes a text to accompany the work;

La espiral del consentimiento
roza su límite cuando los ojos trashumantes,
perciben como se alborota su mimesis
en el horizonte de la Osadía.

Mientras escribo
y Vincent se columpia en sus dibujos,
recuerdo una perfección en tu diáspora;
a los colores acariciando la Imagen,
y a los aborígenes del Territorio Serpis
atónitos, al ver aparecer sobre su estar
una sensación que, por azar, inercia
y armonía de los creativos
que invocaron al espejismo,
pudimos ver otra vez, a la belleza bailar
alrededor de una hoguera donde
la Pitecantra Madre aún nos llama.

Demsky . Smithe (photo © Jordi Arques)

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