All posts tagged: Skewville

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.08.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.08.18

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Happy Sunday ya’ll! April is the cruelest month, true. Magnolias today, snowstorm tomorrow.

Great to see the Spanish Pejac here in New York after years of writing about his work elsewhere. It has an extra special quality that plays with perception and that people respond to – especially when he paints blossoming trees at the exact time they are blossoming in our parks, back yards and front stoops. At the other end of the spectrum, the deliberately monstrous and unhinged west coast Neck Face was back for a couple cameos to add some jarring electricity to an increasingly homogenized and candy-covered NYC.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Cogitaro, Kusek, Libre, Lister, Manyoly, Neck Face, Pejac, Praxis VGZ, Skewville, and Stickman.

Top Image: Pejac. Detail. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pejac. Detail. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pejac. Detail. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pejac. The L.I.S.A. Project NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Neck Face is BETTER THAN THE BEST… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Praxis VGZ (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Libre (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Cogitaro (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Manyoly (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist…but YES can always say a prayer for pizza… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lister (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We can’t figure out the signature on this wall…we posted a different wall by the same artist, also in China Town a couple of Images Of The Week ago. Still no idea what the artist’s name. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Stickman (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Water Is Life (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Kusek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A faux store front by Smart Crew. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

NYC Subway busker. Manhattan. April 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville Comes Crawling Back to Brooklyn

Skewville Comes Crawling Back to Brooklyn

“I had to come back…there’s no other place on this planet that speaks my language,” says Ad Deville, the prodigal son of Bushwick from atop a windy late-winter rooftop, a paint brush in hand. Seems like only a year and a half ago he and twin brother Droo were announcing that Skewville were running from this industrial/residential working-class-turned-avocado-toast-class neighborhood of Brooklyn like two rats scampering off a burning ship.

For good.

Skewville at SMKjr Rooftop. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

But they aaaallllllllllll come crawling back, Blanche. You know why? Because they know they’ll never have it as good out there as Brooklyn can serve it up here, day after f*cking day.

Like the defiant backslider he is, cheeks still red and eyes still puffy from crying so hard, Ad’s only partially sorry for abandoning the Street Art scene that the Skewville brothers helped launch here since the late 90s. Now he’s even making noise about the new tattered headquarters he has in a prime location of this BK armpit.

Also he says he has plans, which is rarely a good sign.

But for some reason the neighborhood feels whole again. So kill the fatted calf, and crack open a 40 oz. ! Welcome back Skewville!

Skewville at SMKjr Rooftop. (photo © Stephen Kelley)

Skewville at SMKjr Rooftop. (photo © Jaime Rojo)


You can catch the local status Skewville this Spring at Moniker International Art Fair in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Click HERE for more info on Moniker.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 01.07.18

BSA Images Of The Week: 01.07.18

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Welcome back! This is our first Images of the Week in weeks! So much has changed since last year!

For example we had a Bomb Cyclone this week, which no one had ever heard of before. It sounded like it was made up for ratings on the Weather Channel which is still trying to give storms individual names and is still thought of as very dumb for doing so.

The winter bomb cyclone closed all the schools, chased cars and people off the streets. Jaime took the snowstorm opportunity to go to Central Park and shoot video till his battery died. Once the temperature dipped to 3 degrees farenheit (-14 celcius) with strong winds, seeing Street Art in New York was sort of something to do as you stumbled and slipped passed it in a hurry to the deli or laundromat or job if you work in medical services or drive a snow plow.

Luckily for us all, that was the only bomb we have had to deal with, but with the Very Stable Genius we have misleading the country, no one can say for sure for how long .

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Ai Wei Wei, Baron Von Fancy, Bäst, Basto, Havoc Hendricks, Jimmy C, Juce Boks, Li-Hill, Otto Schade, Tinta Crua, Tomadee, Wane, Wk Interact, and Zola.

Top Image: Zola (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tomadee (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Li-Hill for St Art Now in the LES. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Li-Hill for St Art Now in the LES. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Li-Hill for St Art Now in the LES. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Juce Boks phone booth ad takeover. This one was hand painted one of a kind…boom! (photo © Jaime Rojo)

WK Interact (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Baston (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Otto Schade for East Village Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wane (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ai Weiwei. “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”. Detail. NYC wide multimedia/multi site exhibition for Public Art Fund. Central Park, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ai Weiwei. “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors”. Detail. NYC wide multimedia/multi site exhibition for Public Art Fund. Central Park, NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Havoc Hendricks (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fanakapan for East Village Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tinta Crua in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Baron Von Fancy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artists in Lisbon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

CEBEP (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jimmy C for The Bushwick Collective. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. Bomb Cyclone of 2018. Central Park, NYC. January 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Coney Art Walls Class of 2017

Coney Art Walls Class of 2017

With ten fresh new murals, Coney Art Walls 2017 has made its official debut for summer. Starting this past weekend with the Mermaid Parade in full swing with Debbie Harry and Chris Stein as Queen and King and aquatic beauties in shimmering costumes wending their way through the pavement paradise by the sea.

The new Crash wall welcomes you to summer 2017 at Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Today we bring you the class of 2017; all ten new walls at Coney plus a re-freshed one by sculptor and Street Art pioneer John Ahearn.Mr. Ahearn re-casted fresh sculptures of his Boy in the Beach With Divers piece which he debuted at last year’s edition of Coney Art Walls. With fresh paint and fresh bodies the piece looks even more stunning this year.

Another updated blast from the past, Lee Quinones brings back a mural he first completed on a handball court back when he was hitting trains on the MTA 38 years ago. The center word “Graffiti” reminds us where this scene sprang from.

Lee Quinones in action at Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lee Quinoes. “Graffiti 20/20”. “If The Battle Chooses You. Choose What You Battle With” reads the caption on top of the mural. Lee recreates an updated version of his original “Graffiti 1979” mural painted on a handball court on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, which he updated as “1990” and climbed down it in the opening of “Wild Style”, directed by Charlie Ahearn. Bringing the graffiti explosion back for a third time, you see he’s already planned ahead three years. This is one of the new walls for Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Lee Quinones. Coney Art Walls 2017. Lee shows us a photo of the original mural that was featured in the book “Getting Up: Subway Graffiti in NYC” by Craig Castleman published in 1982 by MIT Press. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris Stain. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chris Stain’s mural for Coney Art Walls 2017 integrates a photo taken by Martha Cooper. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A side view of John Ahearn’s casted sculptures mounted on his wall at Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Ahearn. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Ahearn before his work. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ad from Skewville tightens the line. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Skewville. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ganzeer. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ganzeer. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Marie Roberts seeks shelter from the sun as she works on her mural for Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Marie Roberts. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jim Drain and his team at Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jim Drain. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alexis Diaz does fine line work on his creature for Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Alexis Diaz. Work in Progress. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shantell Martin. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mark Bode. Coney Art Walls 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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Artists Re-Fresh “Coney Art Walls” for ’17

Artists Re-Fresh “Coney Art Walls” for ’17

After all that sun and surf and sashaying up the boardwalk in espadrilles and a big hat, what smashing city girl doesn’t like to throw on a fresh coat fire-engine-red lipstick ? Smart Sallys know that fresh paint on the kisser can bring a bevy of new beaus to take those lips for a ride.

Crash is actually a returning Coney Art Walls champion, here doing a brand new 2017 welcome and giving a shout out to Tats Cru. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coney Art Walls is getting a solid touch-up for the new summer season too here in this waterside Brooklyn hotspot as a number of new artists have just joined the procession.

Unofficially the first weekend of summer tomorrow, you can be assured that there will be popcorn, cotton candy, beer, flip-flops, a bit of sleaze and a lot of freak show parading around these newly painted pieces by Crash, Alexis Diaz, Jim Drain, Ganzeer, Shantell Martin, Lee Quinones, Marie Roberts, Mark Bodé, Skewville and Chris Stain.

Chris Stain reprises a classic Martha Cooper photograph in his new mural for Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This outdoor museum of murals by Street Artists and graffiti writers is again curated by that two headed curiosity of the “Art Hypnotist” Jeffrey Deitch and “Real Estate Lion” Joseph Sitt for the third colorful year. Curious visitors to the Coney Art Walls are once again regaled with a labyrinthine tour of walls painted by artists of all backgrounds here on this gritty city beachfront that roils with raven-haired shimmery mermaids and muscled snake handlers with handle bar mustaches.

The elegant ring master Deitch tells us that many of the previous years walls are returning for another show season but that the program has added artists from as far away as equestrian England, enticing Egypt, passionate Puerto Rico, cray-cray California and good old fast-talking New York – a place so nice they had to name it twice.

Chris Stain in collaboration with Martha Cooper. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

One particular attraction for the hometown crowd will be the spectacular and splendiferous Lee Quinones, who famously painted hundreds of whole-cars on the NYC subway during graffiti’s halcyon days of the late 70s and early 80s.

Only a lucky few ladies and gentlemen will get to see this punctilious wizard of aerosol painting his wall LIVE with their own eyes. The rest of the crowd will undoubtedly be screaming on a nearby mechanized tilty-ride or looking longingly for someone to smooch under the boardwalk.

Alexis Diaz sketching his wall. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Returning champion Coney Art Walls this summer will include those by John Ahearn, Aiko, Buff Monster, D*Face, Daze, Eine, eL Seed, Haze, How & Nosm, Icy & Sot, IRAK, Kashink, Lady Pink, The London Police, Miss Van, Mister Cartoon, Nina Chanel Abney, Nychos, RETNA, Ron English, Pose, Sheryo & Yok, Tats Cru, and Tristan Eaton.

Alexis Diaz process shot. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Marie Roberts will bring the circus animals out this time. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Marie Roberts at work…nothing much is happening next to her. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jim Drain at work on his wall. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ganzeer at work on his wall. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ganzeer at work on his wall. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ganzeer at work on his wall. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Shantell Martin. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Skewville dramatically at work on his new color-blocked composition. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like Madonna said, “Strike a pose.” Skewville at work. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mark Bodé. Coney Art Walls 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Magic City” in Dresden : Exhibition of Street Artists and City as Muse

“Magic City” in Dresden : Exhibition of Street Artists and City as Muse

An unusual amalgam of the interactivity of the street combined with the formality of a gallery environment, Magic City opened this fall in a converted factory in Dresden, Germany with an eclectic selection of 40+ artists spanning the current and past practices of art in the street.

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Skewville. Children enjoying Skewville’s “tete-a-tete” shopping cart. Ernest Zacharevic’s mobile in the background. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With revered culture critic and curator Carlo McCormick at the helm alongside curator Ethel Seno, the richly marbled show runs a gamut from 70’s subway train writers and photographers like Americans Daze, Henry Chalfant, and Martha Cooper to the Egyptian activist Ganzeer, Italian interventionist Biancoshock, popagandist Ron English, and the eye-tricking anamorphic artist from the Netherlands, Leon Keer.

Veering from the hedonistic to the satiric to head-scratching illusions, the collection allows you to go as deep into your education about this multifaceted practice of intervening public space as you like, including just staying on the surface.

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Ernest Zacharevic mobile with a “listening station” on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s not an easy balance to strike – some of these artists have heavy hearts and withering critiques of human behaviors and institutional hypocrisies ranging from 1st World treatment of refugees to celebrity culture to encroaching surveillance on individual rights, government oppression, and urban blight.

Magic City doesn’t try to shield you from the difficult topics, but the exhibition also contains enough mystery, fanboy cheer, eye candy and child-like delight that the kids still have plenty of fun discoveries to take selfies with. We also saw a few kissing couples, so apparently there is room for some romance as well.

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 A visitor to Magic City enjoys a “listening station”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“We believe that even the typical city is uncommon, and that the idiosyncrasies that make each city unique are collectively something they all have in common,” says McCormick in his text describing the exhibition. “This is then a celebration of the universal character of cities as well as a love letter to their infinite diversity. The special magic that comes from our cities is germinated in the mad sum of their improbable juxtapositions and impossible contradictions.”

Of particular note is the sound design throughout the exhibition by Sebastian Purfürst and Hendrick Neumerkel of LEM Studios that frequently evokes an experiential atmosphere of incidental city sounds like sirens, rumbling trains, snatches of conversations and musical interludes. Played at varying volumes, locations, and textures throughout the exhibition, the evocative city soundscape all adds to a feeling of unexpected possibilities and an increased probability for new discovery.

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Olek’s carousel from above. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Obviously this Magic City cannot be all things to all people, and some will criticize the crisp presentation of a notably gritty series of subcultures, or perhaps the omission of one genre or technique or important artist. It’s not meant to be encyclopedic, rather a series of insights into a grassroots art and activism practice that continues to evolve in cities before our eyes.

For full disclosure, we curated the accompanying BSA Film Program for Magic City by 12 artists and collectives which runs at one end of the vast hall – and Mr. Rojo is on the artist roster with 15 photographs of his throughout the exhibition, so our view of this show is somewhat skewed.

Here we share photographs from the exhibition taken recently inside the exhibition for you to have a look for yourself.

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Olek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ron English (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A MadC installation made with thousands of spray can caps. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Belgian urban naturalist ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville . ROA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martha Cooper at the gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Henry Chalfant at the gallery. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Bordalo II (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Andy K. detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dan Witz (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anders Gjennestad AKA Strok (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot with Asbestos on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Replete (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Truly (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Leon Keer (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaime Rojo. A young visitor enjoying the Kids Trail through a peephole with Jaime’s photos inside an “electrical box”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jaime Rojo. The Kids Trail wasn’t only for kids it seems. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton on the right. Olek on the left. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Aiko at the Red Light District. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Herakut (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Full list of participating artists:

Aiko, AKRylonumérik, Andy K, Asbestos, Benus, Jens Besser, Biancoshock, Mark Bode, Bordalo II, Ori Carino & Benjamin Armas, Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, Isaac Cordal, Daze, Brad Downey, Tristan Eaton, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Fino’91, Ganzeer, Anders Gjennestad, Ben Heine, Herakut, Icy & Sot, Leon Keer, Loomit, MadC, OakOak, Odeith, Olek, Qi Xinghua, Replete, Roa, Jaime Rojo, Skewville, SpY, Truly, Juandres Vera, WENU, Dan Witz, Yok & Sheryo, Ernest Zacharevic.

 

Visit MAGIC CITY DRESDEN for more details, news, videos and the blog.

 


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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“Magic City” Premieres in Dresden : Seno and McCormick as Alchemists

“Magic City” Premieres in Dresden : Seno and McCormick as Alchemists

40 Artists Up Along Main Street, 12 More in the BSA Film Program

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Curators Ethel Seno and Carlo McCormick in front of a new mural by German duo Herakut announcing the premiere of Magic City in Dresden. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)


 

“Nature is a petrified magic city.” – Novalis

Curator Carlo McCormick quotes Novalis by way of describing this new exhibit of an eclectic blend of terrific troublemakers, pop-culture hijackers, and show-stopping crowd pleasers drawn from cities all around the Street Art/ graffiti /urban art scene today – and forty years ago. This is a welcoming walk of unexpected intersections that only McCormick and co-curator Ethel Seno could imagine – and pull together as a panoply of street wizardry that acknowledges activism, artistry, anarchy, and aesthetics with a sincere respect for all. It will be interesting to see how this show is viewed by people who follow the chaotic street scene today in the context of its evolution and how they read the street signs in this city.

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Curator Ethel Seno with Managing Director Dieter Semmelmann and exhibition Designer Tobias Kunz cutting the ribbon at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

McCormick, in his customary self-effacing humor, expects there to be some shit flying – as anyone who is involved in this scene expects from the hard-scrabble rebellious margins and subcultures that this art-making interventionist practice rises from. There also are a growing and coalescing mini-legion of scholars and academics who are currently grappling with the nature and characteristics of this self-directed art-making practice rooted often in discontent – now organized inside an exhibition that is ticketed and sold as a family friendly show.

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Street Artist and pop mashup painter Tristan Eaton in front of his new mural wall at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

In his descriptions of the public sphere, the writer, historian, author, and cultural critic McCormick often refers to graffiti and street artists messing with “contested space”. It’s an apt description whether we are talking about the public space in high-density gleaming metropolises or the bombed-out grid-less and polluted quagmires of human fallibility and urban un-planning that dot our globe; all public space its nature is contested.

Here is a place used by many artists to protest, agitate, advocate, or deliver critique – and many of the artists in this exhibition have done exactly this in their street practice, often pushing limits and defining new ones. Dig a little into many of the individual story lines at play here and you’ll see that the vibrant roots of social revolution are pushing up from the streets through the clouds of propaganda and advertising, often mocking them and revealing them in the process.

Ultimately, this Magic City experience is an elixir for contemplating the lifelong romance we have with our cities and with these artists who cavort with us within them. “Our Magic City is a place and a non-place,” McCormick says in a position statement on the exhibit. “It is not the physical city of brick and mortar but rather the urban space of internalized meanings. It is the city as subject and canvas, neither theme park nor stage set, but an exhibition showcasing some of the most original and celebrated artists working on and in the city today.”

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Mixed media Street Artist Asbestos from Dublin, graffiti master/ painter Chris “Daze” Ellis from NYC, and Tristan Eaton from Los Angeles at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Curator Carlo McCormick with New York billboard/culture jammer and artist Ron English in front of his new wall mural at premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Dutch anamorphic art master Leon Keer with Polish crochet transformer/Street Artist Olek at the premiere of Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

BSA curated the film program for Magic City with a dynamic array of some of the best Street Art related films today presented together in a relaxed environment. In this video hosted by Andreas Schanzenbach you get a taste of the works that are showing that we draw from our weekly surveys on BSA Film Friday. Over the last few years we have had the honor of presenting live in-person to students and scholars and fans an ever-evolving collection of videos that speak to the spirit experimentation, discovery and culture-jamming outrageousness of urban interventions, graffiti and Street Art.  The BSA Film Program at Magic City presents a survey of some of the very best that we have seen recently.

Magic City artists include:
Akrylonumerik, Andy K, Asbestos, Ben Heine, Benuz, Biancoshock, Bordalo II, Brad, Downey, Dan Witz, Daze, Ernest Zacharevic, Ganzeer, Henry Chalfant, HERAKUT, Icy & Sot, Isaac Cordal, Jaime Rojo, Jens Besser, Juandres Vera, Lady Aiko, Leon Keer, Loomit, MAD C, Mark Bode, Martha Cooper, Oakoak, Odeith, Olek, Ori Carin / Benjamin Armas, Qi Xinghua, Replete, ROA, Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Skewville, SpY, Tristan Eaton, Truly, WENU Crew, Yok & Sheryo

The BSA Film Program for Magic City includes the following artists:
Borondo, Brad Downey & Akay, Ella + Pitr, Faile, Farewell, Maxwell Rushton, Narcelio Grud, Plotbot Ken, Sofles, Vegan Flava, Vermibus

Some behind the scenes shots days before the Premiere

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Popagandist Ron English preparing his Temper Tot at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Popagandist Ron English preparing his Temper Tot at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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DAZE reviewing his work at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Urban naturalist ROA at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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Sheryo strikes a pose while the guys build the installation she did with The Yok at Magic City in Dresden, Germany. (photo © Rainer Christian Kurzeder)

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FAME GAME – 20 Years of Skewville, Escape from New York

FAME GAME – 20 Years of Skewville, Escape from New York

Pivotal figures on New York’s homegrown Street Art scene tell BSA that they are getting out while there is still a chance.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rough edged humorists and twin brothers Droo and Ad Deville are closing down the bong factory in Queens and the former Factory Fresh gallery space in Bushwick, Brooklyn and heading out of town.

No one is saying it is for good.

Beginning on the streets as art hoodlums named Skewville in 1996, the brothers embraced a netherworld of art-making that adroitly courted fame among peers, echoing the graffiti credo of claiming territory, commanding space, and earning respect from a fan base of informed New York urban art watchers.

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Skewville. These dogs were put up on this wall on the LES in 2003. They remained hidden under a billboard. The billboard came down in 2012. Shortly after I took this photo the wall was painted black, including the dogs. The dogs are still visible all in black. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“It was just a New York term. Don’t step on my dogs,” Ad Deville explains of his and Droo’s flat wooden sneakers; screen printed, drilled, cut and wired together to sling over street lamp wires.

A New York signature on New York streets, these archetypes of modern city life could be seen silhouetted at a distance and read in detail when you got closer. A genius tag that incorporated street and school stories of their youth in Queens – stories of gangs and drug dealers and tributes to the dead and the marking of territories.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Through the repetition of tossing their tag across the city their “flying dogs” became their unique signature on the skyline. An unheard of way to “get up” that combined the outlaw ethos of graffiti, the repetitive logo-spreading of advertising, and the D.I.Y. craft-making of what was beginning to be commonly called Street Art.

Through the 2000s they took the wooden sneakers around the world and Ad shows us a diary he made that records much of it. “This book is everywhere we tossed. I made a record of it. This is everywhere we went, the first thousand pairs. Everywhere we went – we brought this and documented it.”

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Skewville with BAST, TIKI, El Celso and EKG. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

He reads aloud what he is seeing as he flips pages. “Droo missed a bunch of times, everyone was looking… Right in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame….” They favored hitting wires near museums and high visibility spots not known for a graffiti or Street Art scene. There are even photos of Skewville sneakers hanging off wires on Utah Park City ski slopes.

5,000 plus pairs, more than they can count now, ended up in London, Seattle, New York, Mexico, Norway, Amsterdam, South Africa, – enough places for Droo to say they were global.

Now the Factory Fresh building is sold – the site of the early Bushwick gallery Ad founded with Ali Ha. They had leap-frogged Williamsburg into Bushwick from running the Orchard Street Art Gallery on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Back when they arrived the ‘Wick had two other galleries that most people knew of – Ad Hoc and English Kills.

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Skewville  and FAILE. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Meanwhile they’re leaving Queens too. Droo is putting away all the unshipped bongs that emulate Coke and Heineken bottles and school lunch boxes and they’re going through the flatfiles of artworks the guys say they stole from the streets and inherited or bought from friends.

In between the epic era of flying dogs and today they say both had a lot of adventures and laughter and fights and even a period of silence between the two of them over the direction their fine art and commercial careers were headed. Recalling stories there is a lot of joking and they talk over each others sentences, sometimes quibbling over points, or clarifying details and storylines.

Never short of creative ideas, these guys have brought a hilarious blend of street humor that has consistently mocked the over-serious bravado of graffiti/street codes and the pissing matches over territory and style. They have also lampooned consumer culture and played with the obviously manipulative sloganeering of advertising that sells us stuff we don’t need.

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Skewville, GoreB, Tiki. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With rollers and wheatpastes and sculptural installations on the street, on roofs, on walls, in empty lots, and in galleries; they have blended signage and sarcasm with the vernacular of daily life and blocky 2D figure studies that mash Picasso and dime store greeting cards from the 1970s. They’ve recycled garbage cans, milk crates, soda bottles, transister radios, air conditioner panels, suitcases, car tires, and electrical conduit. They’ve screen printed t-shirts, posters, and artworks, and jigsaw cut and constructed enormous boomboxes and merry-go-rounds and illuminated signs that say stuff like “Yo-Yo” and “Sucks Either Way”.

In their hands graffiti throwies and bubble tags suddenly got sharp corners and comically warped perspectives, blocky letters seem obvious but their smart-aleck slogans cryptically allude to conmen and street vernacular. “Brooklyn Beef”, “This Ain’t Kansas”, “Keep On Grass”, “Next Level”, “Today’s Special”, “Act Now”, “Check Yo Self”, “Step Off”, “Brooklyn Flavor”, “Fame Game.”

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Skewville, Dan Witz, EKG, ELC, BAST, El Celso and Michael DeFeo. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“For us there are a lot of layers that go over all of the realm,” Ad says and talks about how the game has changed and how the commercial and marketing aspect that new artists bring to the streets has been discouraging to him and the people he came up with.

He shows us the walls he says he actually stole from the street to create a canvas lining a basement show in 2006 with a few artists whose names became familiar to larger audiences and says that this was when the walls actually looked like a Street Art scene was in effect.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“In 2006 there was this show in a basement in Brooklyn – this guy Lou (Auguste) did a documentary called ‘Open Air.’ It was Faile, Bast, Aiko, Dan Witz, ESPO, Tiki Jay One, Michale De Feo, us. I curated the show. We lined the entire gallery with walls we stole off the streets. Nothing was for sale.” That really wasn’t the point, he says, even though already there were already people giving street art tours in Manhattan by then.

But when were the golden years exactly? In the documentary Adam was already lamenting the state of Street Art and its soul-crushing insincerity. “It’s going to die out soon. It’s going to implode,” he says. Elsewhere he says “I think the Internet is what made it so big but that is also what is killing it.”

“You kill the mystique. That’s what sucks about the Internet.”

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ten years later he has invited the Internet to see and paw through boxes of what he has packed for storage just before escaping from Brooklyn. Truthfully, it looks like the brothers are going to need a small warehouse.

Lest you think it’s been easy, the guys can tell you about being overlooked in their early days by galleries and feeling neatly dissed repeatedly by early bloggers who considered themselves Street Art gatekeepers.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On top of it, in 2003 the US Attorney General John Ashcroft launched “Operation Pipe Dreams” and cracked down on companies selling drug paraphernalia – and their bong business was nearly decimated because it seemed that their products did not appear to be for smoking tobacco.

These days their art is only occasionally on the street however they’ve found serious collectors in certain parts of Europe who snap up their canvasses and embrace their new ideas, so even though Droo’s got kids and a regular job and is moving to Long Island and Adam is talking about Berlin, you can wager that Skewville will simply continue to shapeshift and re-configure.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When we did that Orchard Street show of sneakers in 2003 nobody was interested in them. I remember I was selling a pair for $20 and some guy was trying to talk me down to $15,” Adam says with a half smile. “I have that entire show boxed up and you can all just suck it now.” Recent prices of one pair have topped $600 so apparently $20 would have been a good deal.

In an interview with BSA a few years ago Ad told us a similar tale of grit and regeneration. “Instead of feeling bad that made us work harder to come out with different ideas and make new stuff”.

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Just before they both get out of New York we want to know if this seriously means they are quitting the streets and they both say they are ready to keep pursuing other art projects, but not to worry, they’ll still be in the game.

Twenty years of Skewville and of course the scene has changed. Chasing a street rep, a fine art name, and amassing an archive of enough art to mount a mid-career retrospective never would have happened if they hadn’t done the work and made the hustle. But the brothers want to make one thing clear about their seemingly zigzagging path.

“We didn’t do things to make money, we did it for fame,” Ad says.

Check.

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Skewville. Originally on 11 Spring building. (photo © Jaime Rojo).

With the galleries and shows, Ad and Ali also helped out a lot of other artists to get opportunities and exposure.

One by one New York artists neighborhoods are rapidly gentrified, ever higher rents are chasing people out, and the art in the streets often means legal murals. They love to make fun of the new kids from the Midwest and the beards and the Street Art tours. When it comes to art and artists in NYC, leaving the city is a refrain we’ve been hearing for five years.

“Skewville is officially leaving New York, at least temporarily,” says Ad. He announces it in that dramatic way that tells you he is looking for a slogan, and examining his our existence.

“The true question is, ‘Is it even worth staying?’ ”

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Up In Smoke. Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 06.12.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.12.16

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The annual Welling Court Community Festival in L.I.C. in Queens took place yesterday. BSA was there on Friday to photograph the completed walls while a bevy of enthusiastic artists were busy at work on their walls and getting ready for yesterday’s block party. We wanted to bring you Part I of our coverage of this year’s festival on this Sunday’s edition of BSA Images Of The Week. Sit tight, Part II will come later next week as we wait for a few artists to complete their walls.

The 7th year for this eclectic homegrown collecting of graffiti and Street Artists for communal mural-making has not diverged much from its original character. You are still entirely welcomed. There are no corporate sponsors or sales of T-Shirts or silly app-designer types striking poses or stroking beards or like, privileged like, verbally challenged, like, young professionals looking for like brunch? nearby? Er whatever.

Wellington Court still feels like real people, and hard working families, with plenty of kids and community and homemade foods. At least for now. Thanks to organizers Garrison and Alison Buxton for pulling this off once again.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Billy Mode, Cern, Chris Stain, Depoe, Drsc0, FKDL, Icy & Sot, John Fekner, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Myth, OX, REPO, Skewville, Stikman, Vlady, and Voxx.

Our top image: Icy & Sot draws a direct connection between industrial pollution and the globe. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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CERN. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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DEPOE. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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John Fekner. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chris Stain . Billy Mode. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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REPO. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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REPO. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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LMNOPI. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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LMNOPI. Welling Court 2016. L.I.C. Queens. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Artist LMNOPI lends her voice to the growing calls for stores to boycott the world’s largest supplier of berries until they treat their employees fairly after being accused of abuses, among them child labor. Learn more about the worldwide boycott of Driscoll’s here.

 

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Coloquix (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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OX and Vlady do some clever circuit-jamming of public space here with advertising signage that features images of advertising signage. Also an impossible to read larger message. Biancavilla, Italy. (photo © Vlady)

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Stikman was framed. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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While gazing at the gams on this one earlier in the week, we found ourselves wondering if London Kaye will get a tan this summer. London Kaye (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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drscØ left a few new pieces around town this month, each appearing to be shocked in disbelief at something, maybe passersby. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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drscØ (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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drscØ (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Heaven knows I’m miserable now. (S)Myth takes maudlin self pity to heroic lengths. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Unidentified Artist’s take on The Donald. The HRC, referencing Hillary Clinton was added later for an additional bit of levity. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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FKDL (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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VOXX (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Los Angeles, CA. April 2011. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA Images Of The Week: 03.20.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 03.20.16

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The Street Art world was shaken this week by the announcement and group action by BLU and friends in Bologna buffing/chipping away his street pieces in reaction to the opening of a new show there Friday night that contained BLU works done on a derelict building owned by someone else.

The ironies are rampant when a city chases down vandals, sponsors graffiti/street art clean-up programs, and then heralds the exact same works in a formal museum show with good lighting, cocktails, elegant suits, a press conference, and invited guests. Aside from the various contingencies trying to hi-jack these events to put forth other agendas or establish their opinion as sacrosanct, the psychological and philosophical rifts have been self-evident long before this show and this astounding act of self-destruction.

We’re all wondering what is an amenable solution to interests that are by nature in conflict yet are so intertwined as to appear fused, and the list of questions to consider continues to grow. See our questions from a posting earlier in the week HERE.  Normally the press ignores these stories which we talk about regularly, but BLU mastered the PR game this week (and you know that serious money is involved) so it was in Le Monde, The Guardian, and ArtNet, among others. See some images from the opening and press conference are here.

Meanwhile the street can’t stop, won’t stop.

Here’s our our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Adam Fu, ATOMS, Butt Sup, El Sol 25, Fish With Braids, KEO Xmen, Knon, London Kaye, Nipper, Persue, Reed B More, Sean9Lugo, Scott Marsh, Self-Indulgence, SGNL, Skewville, Tara McPherson, The Yok & Sheryo and Zola.

Our top image: Reed B More. — Finding this handmade wire mobile hanging from electrical wires somewhere in Brooklyn made us very happy this week because; a. mobiles are cool, b. It’s hand made, one of a kind, and c. artists like Skewville and others were doing them at the turn of this century and we haven’t seen many lately. It is fashionable to bash muralism at the moment for usurping the spirit of Street Art, or some other silliness. It’s mucho mas dopetastic to just do good work and put it out there and let the hackneyed non-debate rage without you. We’re keeping our eyes open for small, often hidden, fresh, well placed, unexpected, unpredictable, original, one of a kind, non-derivative, non-hash-tagged pieces. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Speaking of Skewville…these new dogs have suddenly been flying in Brooklyn skies. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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It’s not just Pi. It’s octopi. London Kaye forever and ad infinitum. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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London Kaye. Here is our guess with this installation. The graff by Knon was already on the wall and she decided to collaborate. What do you think of the results? (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Butt Sup under a Pear. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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SGNL (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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KEO Xmen on the other side… (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tara McPherson (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sean9Lugo in collaboration with El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sean9Lugo. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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El Sol 25. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Popeye imagery pops up again. El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nipper in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © @toris64)

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Zola. An apt street visual representation of the polarity we’re dealing with today. Although there would probably need to be 98 more of the figure on the left to present a more accurate ratio, and 97 of them would be sleeping or watching reality TV and ESPN. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Zola. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Speaking of celebrity culture, Sydney based muralist Scott Marsh often depicts recognizable music personas like James Brown and Biggie Smalls in his figurative works. This week he completed this intense love scene parody on the street. But this is evidently more than romance, it’s carnal.

“No one can love Kanye quite like Kanye,” says Marsh of the new piece on Zigi’s Wine & Cheese Bar in Teggs Lane, Chippendale. Wonder what music they are listening to?

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New mural of Two Kanyes kissing in Sydney. Detail. Scott Marsh (photo © Scott Marsh)

“I’m a big Kanye fan,” says Marsh. “He’s an incredible artist and a character and I like that. I was contacted by Lush’s manager to help find him a wall in Sydney. He painted a giant Kim Kardashian at the other end. It’s probably the least effort I have put into any mural – I painted it in four hours as a bit of a laugh. The response has been hilarious.”

 

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Two Kanyes kissing in Sydney. Scott Marsh (photo © Scott Marsh)

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Two Kanyes kissing in Sydney. Scott Marsh (photo © Scott Marsh)

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Fish With Braids updates Frida Kahlo on a purple van (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Self Indulgence (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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ATOMS. Adam Fu and Persue (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok & Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. SOHO. NYC. March 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BSA “Images of the Year” for 2015 : New Video

BSA “Images of the Year” for 2015 : New Video

Was 2015 the “Year of the Mural”?

A lot of people thought so, and the rise of commercial festivals and commissioned public/private mural programs probably brought more artists to more walls than in recent history. Judging from the In Box, 2016 is going to break more records. Enormous, polished, fully realized and presented, murals can hold a special role in a community and transform a neighborhood, even a city.

But they are not the “organic” Street Art that draws us into the dark in-between places in a city, or at its margins.

We keep our eyes open for the small, one-off, idiosyncratic, uncommissioned, weirdo work as well, as it can carry clues about the culture and reveal a sage or silly solo voice.  It also just reinforces the feeling that the street is still home to an autonomous free-for-all of ideas and opinions and wandering passions. For us it is still fascinating to seek out and discover the one-of-a-kind small wheatpastes, stencils, sculptures, ad takeovers, collages, and aerosol sprayed pieces alongside the enormous and detailed paintings that take days to complete.

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The main image above is from a vinyl subway advertisement that was high-jacked and we published it in February of this year on our Images of the Week posting. It’s small, personal, and very effective as you can see someone suspiciously similar to Batman is jumping out of the mouth of someone looking awfully similar to Hedwig of “Angry Inch” fame.

Of the 10,000 or so images photographer Jaime Rojo took in 2015, here are a selection 140+ of the best images from his travels through streets looking for unpermissioned and sanctioned art.

Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo

 

Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;

365xlos43, Amanda Marie, Andreas Englund, Augustine Kofie, Bisser, Boijeot, Renauld, Bordaloli, Brittany, BunnyM, Case Maclaim, Casg, Cash4, CDRE, Clet, Cost, Curve, Dain, Dal East, Dan Budnik, Dan Witz, David Walker, DeeDee, Dennis McNett, Don Rimx, Ricardo Cabret, LNY, Alex Seel, Mata Ruda, Don’t Fret, Dot Dot Dot, ECB, El Mac, El Sol25, Ella & Pitr, Eric Simmons, Enest Zacharevic, Martha Cooper, Martin Whatson, Ever, Faile, Faith47, Findac, Futura, Gaia, Gilf!, Hanksy, Hellbent, Hot Tea, How & Nosm, Icy and Sot, Inti, Invader, Isaac Cordal, James Bullough, Janet Dickson, Jef Aerosol, Jilly Ballistic, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Le Diamantaire, Li Hill, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Low Brow, Marina Capdevilla, Miss Van, Mr. Prvrt, Mr. Toll, Myth, Nafir, Nemos, Never Crew, Nick Walker, Nina Pandolofo, Old Broads, Oldy, Ollio, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Paper Skaters, Pet Bird, Kashink, Smells, Cash4, PichiAvo, Pixel Pancho, QRST, ROA, Ron English, Rubin415, Saner, Sean 9 Lugo, Shai Dahan, Shepard Fairey, Sheryo & The Yok, Sinned, Sipros, Skewville, Slikor, Smells, Sweet Toof, Snowden, Edward Snowden, Andrew Tider, Jeff Greenspan, Specter, Stray Ones, Sweet Toof, Swil, Willow, Swoon, The Outings Project, Toney De Pew, Tristan Eaton, Various & Gould, Vermibus, Wane, Wk Interact

 

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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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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Poetry, Prose and Witty Texting: The Conversation on The Street

Poetry, Prose and Witty Texting: The Conversation on The Street

“True poetry cares nothing for poems” says Raoul Vaneigem, the Belgium Situationist who taught us that we are creating our lives twenty-four hours a day, in his book “The Revolution of Everyday Life.” The act of living is a certain poetry in itself, we have decided.

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Jef Aeorosl pays tribute to Andy Warhol on the streets of Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

When an artist is acting of his or her own industry, they will think, will consider their choice of written words on the street. Poetry or prose; full stanza, furtive phrase, stalwart screed – the message is not incidental if it has made it into the public space for a theater of many possible audiences.

Over time you will see these hand rendered, scrawled, sprayed, paint-brushed text-based missives as diary entries. Not all are profound, and many are perplexing or maddeningly cryptic or coy. Others are statements of conviction or punch lines. Lucky you on the day the sentiment hits you in the funny bone, hits closer to the heart, or reveals a truth. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to add your own entry in response to, or in spite of this conversation on the street.

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John Fekner (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Queen Andrea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dont Fret (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Homo Riot (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Skewville (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatyana Fazlaliadeh (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ben Eine (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chivalry is dead. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Forgive (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Peace (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Elbow toe (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Zimad (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled (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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