Portraits, characters, surrealistic scenes and a range of illustration styles all reigned at the Nau Bostik festival in the La Sagrera neighborhood of Barcelona this summer. Organizing the painted component of the festival were folks from the Open Walls Conference and Difusor in a collaborative program to bring a new cultural infusion of life to this former industrial center.
These walls are what stand long after the film festival, craft beer festival, conference discussions, food trucks, children’s dance program, photography exhibition and musical performances leave. Contrary to the image of Street Art and graffiti in the margins of society, in the case of these twenty or so muralists from a variety of backgrounds, painting in the public sphere is an integral part of the programming of a communities future, rather than a sign of its degradation.
We’re pleased that photographer Lluis Olive Bulbena shares some of the images he captured at Bostik Murals this summer with BSA readers.
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.
These are the markings of at least some of the increasingly serious Street Art / Urban Art festivals that have emerged in the last few years thanks to calls for genuine scholarship and the creation of academic frameworks to help us understand something that began as a grassroots form of expression in the mid and late 20th Century.
Open Walls Conference in Barcelona this year featured new public artworks by Dumar NovYork, Fasim, Muretz, Roc Blackblock, Sam3, Sheone, Sixe Paredes, and Syrup; a relatively small roster of artists compared to larger commercial festivals – and one that is heavily weighted toward local talents.
But as an artist, researcher and educator in the fields of graffiti and street art, Javier Abarca will tell you that this fourth edition of Open Walls Conference holds the “conference” aspect on center stage, with heated debates about the politics of art in public space – and private space for that matter.
This years’ debate had as its central argument the propriety of bringing Street Art into the exhibition space, how, and under what circumstances. Among the questions posed were whether it is ethical to bring urban art into the museum or whether the arts true nature is to live out its natural life wherever it has been painted illegally.
For fans, collectors, curators and artists in the Street Art world, this will sound like a familiar debate in light of an exhibition this spring in Bologna, Italy that was controversial to some because it contained illegal works taken from an abandoned factory.
On panel were one of the exhibition’s curators Christian Omodeo, along with artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada, and Elena Gayo, whom Albarca calls, “a prominent Spanish restorer and head of a think tank that for the last two years has developed a set of ethical parameters for the conservation of street art pieces.”
We all benefit from examinations and cogitations such as these, and it is good to see a level of popular support to attend discussions, panels, and lectures that help shape and codify our understanding of such a widespread art movement/practice.
In addition the conference featured a publishing fair called “Unlock“, which was dedicated to graffiti and street art and gathered close to sixty publishers from Europe and America, a first for the field, say the organizers. Another first, they say, is the academic study of the British artist Banksy launched here in book form as Banksy: urban art in a material world, by Ulrich Blanché.
Finally the fair featured a lecture by British journalist Marcus Barnes, “who nearly went to jail last year for publishing a graffiti magazine,” says Abarca, as well as “a breathtaking reading of What Do One Million Ja Tags Signify? by Brooklyn artist and author Dumar NovYork.”
The Berlin adventure entitled Urban Nation is readying for substantial renovation over the next year and meanwhile has embarked on rotating external exhibition of artists from many disciplines called ProjectM. Today we bring you images of the most recent in the series called M/5, curated by Roland Henry in conjunction with VNA Magazine and give an idea of the range of contemporary works and artists influencing the street art scene today through his eyes.
The works are completed inside the future museum and displayed on the street along with a huge façade painting by Ben Eine. Here are images from the new headquarters as the artists prepared their works for Project M/5 and the list of artists includes Mark Lyken, Pam Glew, Will Barras, Eine, Steff Plaetz, Nick Walker, O.Two, Sickboy, Zenx and Ben Frost.
Miami is basically “South Brooklyn” starting right about now, minus the bagels, the B62 bus, and the compulsive habit of cutting you off mid-sentence. Artists, galleries, fans, party girls and boys, djs, – they all head south the first few days of December for the big fair and all the little ones.
It already seems a little quieter here because Fountain took the weirdos, Wynwood Walls took the Soho softshoes, and The Underbelly collected the hardcore characters just long enough to sign a book and scarf some pizza before looking for a tunnel somewhere. Art Basel is a feast and the draw of Street Art and graffiti continues apace this year, with entrants from all the strata looking for a wall, and maybe a party, and a honey to go skinny dip with.
We picked a few Street Art related gems here that you might want to hit, but even if you show up in Miami this week with no plans, you’ll easily find some trouble to get into, we trust. Do your best.
After a full year underground, The Underbelly Project is coming to Miami during Art Basel. A pop up gallery, the show will feature original artwork from many of the 103 international artists who participated in the hidden subway project in New York. The exhibition will feature a video piece of multiple installations happening simultaneously, as well as new pieces by many of the artists. Additionally a book signing of the first volume to come out about the project, published by Rizzoli, will take place on December 2nd. Artists participating in the signing include: Dabs & Myla, Rone, Gaia, Lister, Eric Haze, Joe Iurato, Adam Feibleman, Know Hope, Jeff Stark, Jason Eppink, Jim and Tina Darling, The London Police, Dan Witz, Specter, Surge and other surprise artists.
Included in the show are street, graffiti and fine artists alike. The full line-up includes: Faile, Dabs & Myla, TrustoCorp, Aiko, Rone, Revok, Ron English, Jeff Soto, Mark Jenkins, Anthony Lister, Logan Hicks, Lucy McLauchlan, M-City, Kid Zoom, Eric Haze, Saber, Meggs, Jim & Tina Darling, The London Police, Sheone, Skewville, Jeff Stark, Jordan Seiler, Jason Eppink and I AM, Dan Witz, Specter, Ripo, MoMo, Remi/Rough, Stormie Mills, Swoon, Know Hope, Skullphone, L’Atlas, Roa, Surge, Gaia, Michael De Feo, Joe Iurato, Love Me, Adam 5100, and Chris Stain.
THE UNDERBELLY SHOW 29 November – Press Preview 5pm/ Private View 7pm 30 November – Collector’s Preview 7pm 1 December – Secret Wars US vs. UK 6pm 2 December – General Opening 5pm and Artist Book Signing 6pm
The show will take place in the heart of Wynwood at 78NW 25th Street
“Placing a focus on public art for this program, the gallery will present a series of works that highlight a diverse range of distinct styles, cultural perspectives and unconventional mediums. Each of the four artists selected represent fresh directions in creating work in public space through their innovative vision and inventive use of materials. Photography documenting their interventional imagery, sculpture, and performances convey the transformative effect their work has on its surrounding
White Walls will be hosting four booths at SCOPE, situated in the center of Miami’s Wynwood Gallery Arts District, featuring a MTN Colors Group show with APEX, Neon, Estria, Vogue, Blek le Rat, HUSH, Kofie and Chor Boogie, a White Walls Group show with Casey Gray, Ben Eine and Greg Gossel, and solo shows for both ABOVE and ROA. APEX, Eine, Kofie, ABOVE, ROA and Chor Boogie will also be painting at the Kohn compound on 24th street.
For a full listing of exhibitors and events click here SCOPE
Wynwood Walls is premiering 7 new Street Art murals and 16 new pieces at Wynwood Doors and walls outside.
Debuting in tandem with the new murals and installations during Art Basel this year on Tuesday, November 29, 2011, the “Shop at the Walls” the first Wynwood Walls Pop Up gallery space that will offer artworks and the new Wynwood Walls book.The book has interview with Street Artists and photography by Martha Cooper.
Artists include Retna, The Date Farmers, How and Nosm, Gaia (USA), Saner and Sego (Mexico), Liqen (Spain), Neuzz (Mexico), Nunca (Brazil), Vhils (Portugal), Interesni Kazki (Ukraine), Faile (USA) and b. (Greece). Kenny Scharf is expected to augment his existing wall, and remaining work from the last two years from Nunca, Shepard Fairey, Aiko, Ryan McGinness, Stelios Faitakis and avaf will be on display.
Walls Outside the Wynwood Walls, encompassing key locations outside of the actual art park itself and in the surrounding neighborhood, will be created by Friends With You (USA), avaf (Brazil and France), Nunca, and Interesni Kazki (Ukraine); joining works previously completed by Swoon and Barry McGee.
Wynwood Walls and the Pop Up Shop are located at NW Second Avenue – between Joey’s Italian Café on 25th Street and the art-filled Wynwood Kitchen & Bar on 26th Street – and are open to the public free of charge.
HERE COMES THE NEIGHBORHOOD: WYNWOOD (Video)
Fountain Art Fair
“Our preferred punk rock lopsided Anti-Fair.” —Brooklyn Street Art
This year Fountain Miami’s signature on-site street art installation is curated by Samson Contompasis, director of Albany’s The Marketplace, and will feature over 150 feet of work Street Artists including Sharktoof, Chris Stain, Olek, Hugh Leeman, Chor Boogie, OverUnder, White Cocoa, Army of One, Clown Soldier, Joe Iurato, CAKE, Tip-Toe, Elle, Ian Ross, Know Hope, Depoe, and Zero Cents.
Brooklyn’s own Mighty Tanaka Gallery is showing at Fountain Participating artists include: Adam Void, Alexandra Pacula, Alice Mizrachi, ChrisRWK, Ellen Stagg, Gigi Chen, Hellbent, Hiroshi Kumagai, JMR, John Breiner, Max Greis, Mike Schreiber, Robbie Busch, Skewville, TooFly, URnewyork, VengRWK & Miguel Ovalle
December 1–4, 2011 2505 North Miami Avenue (at the corner of 25th St) | Miami, FL 33137 General Hours: 12pm–7pm daily Tickets: $10 daily / $15 weekend pass. All tickets sold at door.
A new exhibit debuting during Art Basel Miami Beach 2011
Thursday, December 1
7:00 to 10:00 p.m.
RETNA, Jessy NITE, Stormie MILLS, Evan ROBARTS, Lena SCHMIDT, Luis PINTO, Andrew SCHOULTZ, Karen STAROSTA-GILINSKI, Kenton PARKER, TM SISTERS, Samantha SALZINGER, Emmette MOORE, Anthony LISTER, Charles KRAFFT, Tatiana SUAREZ, Edouard NARDON, Andrew NIGON, Johnny ROBLES and Lawrence GIPE.
Opening under cover of night somewhere in Paris, four stories beneath la rue, a secret subterranean gallery in a sealed tunnel appears suddenly. While activity on the street overhead is hectic and dense with cars, trucks and pedestrians, the dry dust is ankle-high here in this darkened silent morgue, its cool dank air now permeated with fresh aerosol. The Underbelly has been here, and if you discover this curated collection of Street Art and graffiti in the chilled dim light, you are officially lost. And lucky.
“You start climbing down and it seems like it never ends,” says Workhorse, the project leader who, along with a partner named PAC, has lead wandering artists down a similar path with pounds of spray paint in their backpacks once before, “You feel like your descending into this black pit.” The last time Underbelly appeared, it was in Brooklyn with 100 artists mounting an unsanctioned show in abandoned tunnels during a one-year period. Now these organizers stood in an underground location deep beneath Paris with a tense troupe sworn to secrecy; ten artists, three organizers, two photographers and one writer, converging here from five countries for one goal; to paint walls unencumbered, if quietly, for half a day.
“The mood was a little tense until we were all safely in the tunnel,’ says Martha Cooper, the graffiti and Street Art photographer who has been doggedly pursuing these kind of painting parties in challenging locations for about 40 years. After decades of urban exploration, the world renowned photog with a journalists tenacity recounts stories like this with a glint in her eye and a sort of seasoned glee. “The process of climbing down steep ladders in narrow spaces in the middle of the night felt like a grand adventure.”
For Workhorse, the fear factor felt much more tangible, “If you get seen and stopped, there really is no good way to explain why you’re entering an illegal location with a dozen cameras and spray paint. I think we were all aware of the fact that it wasn’t a time to joke around or fuck up.”
If you’ve ever tried to organize artists, you know it’s almost impossible, and it always takes longer than you expect, especially when flights are delayed, luggage gets lost, and traffic is thick. “It took us 36 hours to finalize the supply list, get everyone in at the same time and same place and go over the itinerary of how things would work. We met up before sunrise, and made our way into the tunnel,” says Workhorse when describing the corralling of the crew.
The crew for Underbelly this time was a mixture of heavyweights and relative newcomers on the graffiti/Street Art continuum, each with a solid presence in an ever morphing scene; C215, Tristan Eaton, Futura, Conor Harrington, How and Nosm, Alice Pasquini, Saber, SheOne, and Will Barras. If there was street beef, nobody was showing it. In fact some of the biggest fans of these artists are their peers and many of them were just happy to be in each other’s company for the first time. “I felt very privileged to be a part of such an amazing secretive project in one of my favorite cities. It was an honor to paint with these artists and be photographed by Martha Cooper,” says Los Angeles graffiti artist Saber, whose recent health issues caused the team to craft a contingency plan for one of the intermittent paroxysms he’s had in the last year.
“As real dangers go, these guys had worked out the logistics of how to get me out of the deep hole if I happened to have a seizure. Lifting my unconscious big rear-end up many feet is no easy task. I felt safe with these guys knowing they had looked at all sides of the logistics,” he says, now happily at home.
But what about his piece on the wall? How did his painting go? “I was next to Futura, so no pressure there! How and Nosm’s piece along with SheOne`s wall was amazing. My piece wasn’t so fancy,” he explains while relating how delayed flights and jetlag contributed to a painting performance he feels was less than his best, “I got crushed by the friendly competition.”
Similarly, the New York Street Artist Tristan Eaton says the poor lighting leaves him wondering what his final piece even looks like today. “My area was only lit on one side, so half of my piece was in darkness while I painted. I planned a figurative piece with mostly dark reds, so how it came out is still a mystery to me. I haven’t seen any pictures, so I’m crossing my fingers that it’s not a total disgrace,” he says only half joking. The guy usually exhibits a technical mastery of the can, so it’s not unusual to hear him talk about taking on a new challenge with gusto. “I was trying to paint the Ferry man from Michelangelo’s Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel for God’s sake. I’ve been trying to do more figurative spray paint work lately, so I thought I’d push myself. Bad idea. I can normally trust myself to make anything work but given the challenges of the situation, I should have done a classic piece in a comfortable style and called it a day.”
For the ever sanguine quipster Futura, a graffiti legend whose savoir faire was primed by experience from the moment he arrived underground, his active imagination seemed enlivened by possibility and fantasy. With an elegant red cape and a can in hand, the graffiti and abstract artist clearly let his mind wander while the groups’ other amazing photographer, Ian Cox, looked for opportunities to capture the action and the attitude of the moment.
Four years in the US military will make a man look at this art project as a mission, and Futura was thinking of video games, regarding Underbelly as a real life multi-player call of graffiti duty. “You know it’s one thing to play Modern Warfare 3 Spec Ops: Parisian Metro,” he intoned semi-seriously while talking about the planning that brought him to this sweet spot to paint, “but the precision and logistical coordination was, without question, a highlight in danger and daring.”
Setting aside heroic associations with the mission, the paintings themselves are imbued with a mysterious quality that is aided by their clandestine location and the conditions in which they were created; There is Connor Harrington’s epic and faceless horseman astride a stately galloping steed, Alice Pasquini’s Pipi Longstocking girl shrouding her frightened face in the corner, and How and Nosm’s sharp swooping symbols, lines and patterns waiting to be decoded.
Imagine walking with a flashlight through this tunnel of darkness and discovering the 12 foot high stencil portrait by hometown Street Art star C215 as it hovers slightly above you. The large grizzled face looms as a memory, perhaps a miner or a railroad worker, with one eye closed, or missing. Maybe he is wincing at you because of the thick dust in this airless tunnel.
He could be also reacting to the aerosol spewing from many cans spraying all at once. Advance planning aside, one detail escaped the group; ventilation. While none of the participants we spoke with regrets for a minute the opportunity to bury paintings far below the surface of a historical city that celebrates it’s artistic culture, everyone mentions the fumes.
“The tunnel was pretty much sealed with no ventilation,” Cooper remembers, “Had I not been loaned a respirator, I would not have been able to breathe. The paint fumes accumulated so that there was a visible haze in the space.”
“Inside the tunnel, it became 60% visibility with the spray paint fog with an instant headache wall when you walked in,” says Eaton, “We all felt bad for Saber who showed up last and had to bear the worst of it all.”
Saber agrees, “If you stayed too long you could possibly get inhalation poisoning. Seriously, in my 21 years of painting I have never experienced a wall of fumes like that.”
Curiously, no one bolted from the space and six hours stretched to nine, nine to twelve. After fourteen hours, everyone in the party was exhausted by the stress, the fumes, and the new paintings they had labored over. With completed pieces installed and documented, the crew re-packed their bags and collapsed their equipment to begin their ascent back up the steel ladders to emerge into the streets one small group at a time.
Brooklyn Street Art:Did you see many rats? Martha Cooper: I don’t remember seeing any rats. Workhorse: Nope, usually rodents are in active areas because they are looking for food. We were in a section that hadn’t been used in decades so there was no sign of life there. Saber: No, but I was searching for as many Space Invaders and Horfe pieces I could find.
“After being in the drafty tunnel we were all a bit dried out and hungry,” says Workhorse when describing the scattering of the team once they hit the street. Above ground they were much more relaxed, and sleepy. But not everyone hit the couch.
Says Eaton, “We were all doing what we love doing more than anything in the world. We got three blocks from the tunnel and ended up sitting down for five cold beers, covered in black dirt from head to toe. The buzz from the experience was strong. Most artists covet the moment when the work is done and you sit back to reflect on what you did with the weight off your shoulders. This was that moment times infinity.”
As for Futura, he’s just a romantic, “Merci beaucoup Paris . . . Je T’aime.”
ModArt – A Celebration of 20 Issues & All That Lay Ahead
August 14th – September 4th
Opening Reception: Fri, August 14th, 7-11PM
(Los Angeles, CA)Thinkspace is proud to present a very special group show which is being curated by the good folks from ModArt magazine out of Europe. The show helps to celebrate the release of ModArt’s 20th issue and a switch to a new quarterly book-based format. This is going to be one visually arresting show featuring a vast array of artists from around the globe.
UK based Mr. Jago will be the featured artist alongside a group show featuring works from an international lineup consisting of Ado Jahic, Bo130, Brooke Reidt, Chris Bourke, Christopher Lambert, Dave The Chimp, El Gato Chimney,Faith 47, Galo, Guillaume Desmarets, Jon Bugerman, KuKula, Laundry and Limbo, Microbo, Morcky, SheOne, Stefan Strumbel,Stephen Smith (aka Neasden Control Centre), Tim Biskup, Vincent Skoglund, Will Barras, & more
The folks from ModArt will be in town, so please plan to come through and help us properly welcome them to Los Angeles and offer them congratulations on fighting the good fight for the new contemporary movement over in Europe and beyond.
Mr. Jago (featured artist):
Bristol Based Mr. Jago, pioneer of the doodle, is a founding member of the Scrawl Collective and a veteran in the street art movement and much respected among his peers.
Growing up in a small town, Jago’s interests lie in art and design with influences ranging from classic Marvel comics to graffiti and hip-hop culture. These influences have helped to forge his unique freehand style and distinct color palette.
His work has shown the world over, including such established galleries as Stolen Space (UK), The Don Gallery (Italy), Gallery 1988 (Los Angeles), Space Junk (France), Opus Underground (UK), Compound Gallery (Portland), Scion Installation LA (Los Angeles), Nelly Duff (UK), Lazy Dog (France), and has taken part in such high profile events as Brave Art (Canada) and Artists 11 @ Bonhams (UK) plus numerous live painting events and exhibitions the world over as part of the Scrawl Collective.