All posts tagged: St. Petersburg

BSA HOT LIST: Books For Your Gift Giving 2018

2018 has been a good year for Street Art books, and your interest in the ones we have highlighted continues to assure us that “Print” is not dead. There is no better way to document a moment in this evolving scene for posterity than with the bound volume, and sometimes there is no better way to appreciate an artists work than to sit by a lamp or window with a book on your lap.

We know that you appreciate our daily analysis and efforts to elucidate and illustrate a fluid global Street Art/ graffiti / urban art scene here in digital, but we’re thrilled to give you solid options in book form as well. If you’re looking for a good quality art book to give this year, consider one of these hits from 2018. Enjoy!


“Inti, Color, Carnaval y Resistencia”, INTI.

INTI Commands First Monograph : Color, Carnaval y Resistencia

From BSA:

“Certainties, simple explanations, last hopes, magic thoughts and fears. All of them confronted by what is evident.”

Thus describes the figure slung with bullets, holding a necklace with a cross and delicately balancing a small green apple on his index finger on a larger than life mural in Santiago, Chili. The visual language of this graffiti/Street Artist and muralist named Inti is his to wield, a cosmic folk expression that glows with celestial waves surrounding an other-worldly race of characters.

INTI. Éditions Albin Michel, 2017. Paris, France. Click HERE for more about this book.


Bordallo II: Bordallo II / 2011 –  2011

From BSA:

Such is the splendid stuff of dreams and discovery for Bordalo II, the Lisbon-based Street Artist and maker of garbage relief animal portraits in cities across the world.

These are the things that when arranged on shelves and placed in relation to a floor plan, within parameters and boundaries of our mundanity, will comprise a perfect environment of domesticity; full of memory, associative emotion, symmetry. Objects, materials melted and poured, carved and plain, screwed and snapped, polished and sprayed, emulsified, inset, extruded, coiled, soldiered, plated, woven. These dimensional collections of matter matter to us. Metal alloy. Plastic polymer. Blown glass. Rubber, copper, steel, bakelite, particle board, glue.

Disarrange. You create chaos, disruption, disunity, discontent. Arrange again and create a muskrat, a buck deer, a petulant parakeet, an undulant octopus.

Bordalo II 2011 – 2017. Editor & Publisher Bordalo II. In conjunction with ATTERO and exhibition by Bordalo II held in Lisbon. November, 2017. Lisbon, Portugal. Click HERE for more about this book.


Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising

From BSA:

“The constant imposition of advertising in front of our eyes is an oppressive, dictatorial and violent act,” posits the artist, activist, and author Hogre in this new collection of works and words called Subvertising : The Piracy of Outdoor Advertising.

It sounds rather extreme when put this way, but perhaps that is the dulling power of advertising’s omnipresence in public space year after year. Each of us can certainly recall a time when there seemed like there was more open public space and fewer images and graphics and text telling us what to do, what to buy, who to hate, how to behave. Artists like Hogre are sounding the warning on our ability to recognize its power over our perceptions.

HOGRE. Subvertising: The Piracy Of Outdoor Advertising. Dog Section Press. London, 2017. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Add/Fuel -1- Monograph”, Diogo Machado AKA Add Fuel.

From BSA:

Add Fuel Reimagines Azulejo in His First Monograph

Via his own pop-culture interpretation of the interlocking curvilinear, geometric and graphic motifs, the Portuguese artist is firing new pieces daily in the kiln of his studio in Cascais. For a decade or so his interpretations of the tin-glazed ceramic tilework have been appearing on inordinate secondary city skins in the paths of pedestrians: visual illusions meant to appear as layers of urban bark peeling back from surfaces you take for granted to reveal heritage, history, artisanship.

While the interiors and exteriors of churches, palaces, schools and subway stations are covered with azulejos in Lisbon, thanks to Add Fuel (Diogo Machado) they have travelled to other cities and cultures as well. Each time he is attracted to the tile-making traditions locally, and he often incorporates his study of these new histories as well.

Add / Fuel – 1 – Monograph. Published by Diogo Machado. Portugal 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


One Week With 1UP : Martha Cooper & Ninja K

From BSA:

A serendipitous meeting somewhere in Berlin set this project in motion, and the results unveil an adrenaline fueled ride that always pushes, often exceeds the boundaries of physical safety and social acceptance while simultaneously thrilling graffiti fans and pissing off some public officials and property owners.

A new book captures the nature of the actions and adds to our conversations about art, vandalism, branding, public/personal space and its radical visual disruption. It’s a story made all the more remarkable during an increasing level of surveillance in a city that has basically embraced the bohemian and rebellious types who have transformed large parts of its cityscape, making Berlin a de facto capital of subculture, especially among the young.

Martha Cooper & Ninja K. One Week With 1UP. (photo courtesy of the team) Click HERE for more about this book.


“Beyond The Streets” Exhibition : Gastman’s Train Pulls In to LA

From BSA:

A steel-wheeled graffiti train with Roger Gastman at the controls roars into LA’s Chinatown for a two-month stay at this station, a 40,000 square foot warehouse that houses “Beyond the Streets.” Originating at the streets and train yards of the 1960s and 70s, this express survey carries with it 100 or so artists and writers from across the last five decades as practitioners of graffiti, Street Art, and mural painting. Somehow, everyone gets represented.

Beyond The Streets. (photo © Martha Cooper) Click HERE for more about this book.


“Canvas” Anders Gjennestad.

From BSA:

Anders Gjennestad: A Door as “Canvas”

A door as canvas. A door as canvas.

It sounds the same on the street as it does in the gallery space, and for Norwegian Street Artist Anders Gjennestad the two appear nearly identical, aside from context.

Whether he is discovering the neglected urban factory door long after the spirit of industry has roared its last turbine and reaching toward his backpack for a spray can, or he is hoisting a piece out from the pile of collected iron-bound wooded slabs in his Berlin studio, functionally each of these doors is a canvas.

Every urban explorer sees the potential of walls that are long abandoned and spoiled with rot and piss and pushed open by weeds, worn away by rain. The world is a temporary place anyway. I am only here temporarily.

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.

“FKDL” Frank Duval.

From BSA:

FKDL and the Collage of a Street Artists’ Life in a Book

As you look through this new slim volume about the Street Artist/fine artist FKDL it may strike you how much autobiography is the determinant of an artist’s path as well. It’s the tale of a teenager finding himself, finding his vocation, and eventually finding his voice on the street. When you reach the end you see that it takes a number of years and a lot of experimentation, this journey.

FKDL. Galiote Prenant. Choisy-le-Roi, France. 2017. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Street To Studio”, Rafael Schacter.

From BSA:

Rafael Schacter Investigates “Street To Studio”

“These are artists who are thus not slavishly reproducing their exterior practice within an interior realm but who are, rather, taking the essence of graffiti – its visual principles, its spatial structures, its technical methods, its entrenched ethics – and reinterpreting them with the studio domain,” says author Rafael Schacter in his introductory exposition for his book Street to Studio where he offers a unique assessment derived from his 10 years of researching the foundational, conceptual, methodological, and ethical considerations that impact the original graffiti/Street Art scene as well as where it is going.

Rafael Schacter. Street To Studio. Lund Humphries Publishers. London, 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Feather and Faces”, Adele Renault.

From BSA:

Adele Renault Takes Flight With a Message of “Feathers and Faces”

Street Artist/fine artist Adele Renault understands our interdependence with the birds and with each other perhaps better than many, and “Feathers and Faces” carries the message powerfully by delivering these works she has done on city streets and galleries in New York, Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Singapore, Burkina Faso, Helsinki, Moscow…

We share this city with pigeons. We look to the same environment to supply us with what we need, including food, water, shelter – depending on physical factors like as soil, air, a temperate climate, other organisms. Adele studies our feathered friends and brings them full force to the streets, and we know that here only the scrappiest survive and get to display their colors.

Feathers And Faces by Adele Renault was published in 2018 and is distributed in the United States and Canada by SCB Distributors. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Ex Animo”, Faith XLVII.

From BSA:

“Ex Animo”, Eight Years of Poetry by Faith Forty Seven

Worn workers, wild beasts, a bloom in the rubble.

Prayers of supplication and longing, racing teams of stallions and master felines of fury, the exhausted figure of a dream barely still illuminated, a wistful stage in the plundered urban landscape, or a plundered life.

This is what she does to you. As Faith IXVII leaves her stolen stanza, her massive mural in washed hues, her tributes to a moment lost in a city that would leave you to die if it had its way, she makes you make poetry.

Faith XLVII. “EX ANIMO’ THE WORK OF FAITH FORTY SEVEN/ 2010-2018. Drago Publishing. Rome, Italy, 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Perception”, eL Seed.

From BSA:

El Seed Illuminates Ways to See Others with “Perception”

And el Seed is the first to tell you that in this deeply personal account of his art project across fifty buildings in Mashiyat Naser, a neighborhood of Cairo over two years ago. Born of his personal need to challenge himself and to add more to his career as a respected muralist, his original concept of working in this neighborhood of 70,000 recyclers was informed by his own assumptions, perhaps of helping a community known in the city as Zabbaleen, or “garbage people”.

Over the course of the project he and his team describe through interviews and with his own diary style how their own eyes were opened. It is an incremental revelatory experience that paralleled the quote that he stylized throughout the pattern of his piece, “Anyone who wants to see the sunlight clearly needs to wipe his eyes first,” from the writings of Saint Athanasius of Alexandria, a fourth century Coptic Bishop.

El Seed PERCEPTION Published by Point à la Ligne. Milan, Italy. 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Invasion: Los Angeles”, Invader.

From BSA:

Invader: “Invasion Los Angeles” Book and “Into the White Cube” Exhibition

One thing that some Street Artists do when their work enters the white cube is drop the “street” from their official moniker, instead preferring to be known simply as an “artist”. The decision is possibly to rid themselves of any subtle class distinctions or otherwise negative connotations that a potential collector or curator may have with the “street artist” label.

Other artists formerly known as “Street Artists” feel limited by the title because it doesn’t include all of their new interests and their complete practice – or because the term itself has evolved in their mind and the mind of the public to mean something unfavorable that they do not like to be associated with.

When it comes to the internationally renowned Street Artist Invader, its not a consideration – the street is in his DNA. His cryptic tile-made street practice is so proliferate across the world and so much a part of the metropolis like in his hometown of Paris that his art is literally and psychically fused with the city.

Invasion Los Angeles 2.1 / Updated Edition 1999 – 2018. A Book By Invader. Published by Control P. Editions. France 2018. Click HERE for more about this book.


“Russian Urban Art: History and Conflicts”, Igor Ponosov.

From BSA:

Igor Ponosov Enlightens with “Russian Urban Art: History and Conflicts”

An academically sourced opinion-based essay in book form that looks to art, social, economic, and geopolitical movements during the start of the 20th century to better understand the evolution of Urban Art in post-Soviet Russia, Igor Ponosov delivers a welcome reconstruction of the timeline and movements that bring urban art to this day.

With the renewed interest in public art and muralism that has erupted over the last decade in many so-called Western cities it is good to learn how the public space in Russia has been catalyzed not-only by Hip Hop and new graffiti forms from Europe but also the history of Avant-garde art movements and Soviet Muralism in Russian Urban Art: History and Conflicts.

Igor Ponosov. Russian Urban Art: History And Conflicts. Moscow 2018. Published in collaboration with Street Art Museum, St Petersburg, Russia. Click HERE for more about this book.

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Selections From “SHINE” Mural Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Selections From “SHINE” Mural Festival in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Here are new images from St Petersburg, Florida, where The SHINE mural festival was thrown in September for the 3rd year in a row.

Kryptk. Shine Mural Festival. St. Petersburg, Florida. October 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

“Shine is a good example of a mural project when the community is involved,” says an organizer Iryna Kanishcheva, who has had a great deal of experience working with Street Artists in the last few years, including a very successful program in Kiev.

Regarding this Floridian community she says, “They started in 2015 with many local artists and family-friendly public activities. The event received good support from the community, so much so in fact that produced more murals next year.”

Mikael B. Shine Mural Festival. St. Petersburg, Florida. October 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Included this year are names you’ll find familiar like Cryptic, Hueman, Joram Roukes, Lauren YS and Yok & Sheryo. You’ll also find a fair share of local talents at SHINE because the festival makes a point to keep the mix local and international.

“They try to keep the ratio 5:10 local artists versus traveling artists, thanks to curator Chris Parks,” says Kanishcheva.

Axel Void . L. E. O. Shine Mural Festival. St. Petersburg, Florida. October 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

So what stood out in 2017?

The difference in this year’s edition is an exhibition, a group show called “Outside In” with large-scale installations by The Yok and SheryoJames OlesonThe Artwork of Ricky WattsVitale Bros.Sentrock and artwork by many more,” says Kanishcheva. “I’d like to acknowledge Axel Void’s piece, which is based on a series called ‘Nobody.’”

“A few years ago Axel painted a mural in Atlanta and he used a portrait of a boy – a random image from the Internet. Months later he received an email from a man in the original photo – his sister had alerted him to it after spotting it in a magazine. Axel Void kept in touch with him and even developed an idea for the film, show and canvas series. One of them is here in the ‘Inside In’ collection.”

See the original Axel Void wall shot by Jaime Rojo at “Living Walls” in Atlanta that year here; Living Walls 2013 ALIVE in Atlanta

Hueman. Shine Mural Festival. St. Petersburg, Florida. October 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Jose Mertz. Shine Mural Festival. St. Petersburg, Florida. October 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Jujmo. Shine Mural Festival. St. Petersburg, Florida. October 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)

Joram Roukes. Shine Mural Festival. St. Petersburg, Florida. October 2017. (photo © Iryna Kanishcheva)


2017 SHINE artists:

Axel Void & L.E.O.,Cryptic, Daniel “R5” Barojas, Herbert Scott Davis, Hueman, James Oleson, Joram Roukes, Jose Mertz, Jujmo, Lauren YS, Mikael B, Ricky Watts, Sentrock, Sam Young, Stephen Palladino, Suarezart, Thirst & Zulu Painter, Vitale Bros., Yok & Sheryo.


We wish to thank Iryna Kanishcheva for sharing her observations and photos with our BSA readers. Please visit http://kanishcheva.com/ to learn more about Ms. Kanishcheva projects.

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BSA Top Stories 2016 – As Picked by You

BSA Top Stories 2016 – As Picked by You

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Museums, Festivals, and Activism – three of the themes that garnered the most traffic on our published stories on BSA and The Huffington Post this year.

From a scholarly Street Art related exhibition in St. Petersburg to the opening of the Mima Museum in Belgium to the Anti-Banksy exhibition with the Blu controversy in Bologna and the “Magic City” exhibition in Dresden, BSA readers were astutely studying the slow but steady move of Street Art from the street to the museum and the academic canons.

But you also liked the huge multi-player outside exhibitions as well – with stories from Sicily and Northern Spain to Northern Mexico, BSA readers were interested this year in seeing how eclectic locally-organized Street Art festivals and projects are done, and who is doing them.

Finally activism played a big role in what you were re-Tweeting and “liking” and sending to your friends – From Icy & Sot installing anti-radiation work in the Native American desert and then talking about oceans polluted with plastic, to a United Nations food program with kids and artists in El Salvador, to highlighting Indigenous peoples rights with Jetsonorama, to a US cross-country tour to save endangered species by one artist and a Greenpeace show in Barcelona addressing the same issue with 35 artists, it looks like BSA readers are engaged and concerned about socio-politico-environmental issues left and right.

On a side note, we were honored that our El Salvador article was picked up and published in spanish on the UN World Food program website – HERE.

Of course it was good to see that you liked the feature on the notorious graffiti crew 1UP and seeing Nychos slay New York as well. Tasty!

These are the TOP 15 articles on BSA for 2016 from the more than 365 postings we did this year – meaning they all beat at least 350 articles to get here. Congratulations to us all.


No. 15
Borders and Boundaries : A Multi-Disciplinary Exhibit at St. Petersburg’s Street Art Museum

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Rafael Schacter Takes a More Nuanced Approach to the Migration Crisis

Commerce and technology have been eroding traditional constructs of the borders and boundaries, especially in the age of the Internet, satellites, transnational banking and trade agreements that create governing bodies that openly dismiss national sovereignty, integrity, identity, aspirations. Borders and boundaries are contested, guarded, or disregarded at will; open to international capital, porous to immigration, hardened by armies.

Daily they are in the headlines: Trump’s plans to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, Syrian war refugees immigrating across European borders, Israel and Palestine’s ongoing land and settlement disputes, even maritime territorial claims of China and the Phillipines in the South China Sea that were ruled upon yesterday  – all reveal clues to our historically complicated relationships and geo-political perspectives.

Art to the rescue! continue reading here


No. 14
Icy & Sot Stencil An Enormous Blue Whale in LA

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Icy & Sot. Endangered Species Mural Project. Los Angeles, CA. January 2016 (photo © Jess X. Chen)

“The brothers spent two solid days hand cutting the multi-layer stencil here on Melrose Avenue. How many pieces? “19 pieces,” says Icy. “Its not that big but it has a lot of details” The composite image features an enormous whale emerging from the sea in full view of a coastline packed with industrial forms which presumably are dumping contaminants directly into the waters.

As ever, the brothers crash into each others sentences while talking to us. “Whatever happens in the ocean… it comes back to us,” says Sot. “Whether is trash or plastics or oil..”

Icy jumps in, “The fish eat them and then we eat the animals and we have the plastics inside of us.”

“Yeah, It’s a cycle. We are all making a lot of trash – we are affecting the world. Then it all comes back to us,” says Sot… Continue reading here


No. 13
MIMA Museum: City Lights with Swoon, MOMO, Hayuk, Faile

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Maya Hayuk. MIMA Museum. Brussels, Belgium. April 2016. (photo © The Pickles – MIMA Museum)

What is it about Brooklyn Street Art that is so appealing that one would curate the opening exhibition of a museum with it?

Four pillars of the New York Street Art scene are welcoming the first guests of the new Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (MIMA), which opened days ago in Brussels. Attacking the cherished institutions that relegate grassroots people’s art movements into the margins, MIMA intends to elevate them all and let them play together. Graphic design, illustration, comic design, tattoo design, graffiti, street art, plastic arts, wheat pasting, sculpture, text, advertising, pop, story-telling, aerosol, brushwork, and naturally, dripping paint.

Obviously street culture has been mixing these influences together in a never-ending lust for experimentation; punk with hip-hop, skateboarding with tattoo, performance art with graffiti – for the past four decades at least. The folk tradition of cutting and pasting predates all our  modern shape-shifting by centuries, but institutional/organizational curating often often has a preference for sorting street culture disciplines into separate piles.

With the inaugural exhibition “City Lights” MOMO, Swoon, Faile, and Maya Hayuk each bring what made their street practice unique, but with an added dimension of maturity and development. Without exception each of these artists have benefitted from the Internet and its ability to find audiences who respond strongly to the work with physical location a secondary consideration. Now as world travelers these four have evolved and refined their practice and MIMA gives them room to expand comfortably…Continue reading here


No. 12
San Salvador, Street Artists, Food Insecurity and “Conect-Arte”

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Vexta.Workshop. Conect-Arte. San Salvador. April 2016. (photo © Yvette Vexta)

“Six street artists took their social engagement a step further in El Salvador last month and taught youth some serious skillz from the street.

Coming from Brazil, Australia, Ecuador, Mexico, New York, and New Jersey, this international crew took the time to share and teach about painting, art, and how community can be built. The program Conect-Arte is a newly launched initiative by the United Nations World Food Programme, which as the name suggests, also is in the city to address a more core need to battle food insecurity. With Conect-Arte the goal is to also meet youth in some communities and help with positive role models an options with an eye on transforming lives through developing art and related creative skills that can provide income and channel energy in ways productive to community.

Together the artists worked on projects with 45 teens and younger kids over the course of the a week-long workshop in San Salvador, teaching street art techniques like stencil, lettering, mural painting, sculpture, even hot air balloon making. The goals are huge, like reducing violence, food insecurity, increasing access to economic opportunity. The tools here are art, the creative spirit, and strengthening relationships.

We bring you some images of the works that were made by the visiting artists and some of their observations and experiences during the Conect-Arte program…Continue reading here


No. 11
Discovering a “Magic City” in Dresden, Germany

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Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“A couple of weeks ago BSA was in Dresden, Germany to help lay plans for a new Street Art show opening there this fall called “Magic City” and naturally we hit the streets with bicycles three days in a row to see the city’s graffiti, Street Art, and murals whenever time would permit. The first day we had the honor of getting a tour from Jens Besser, an artist, author, lecturer, and producer of mural festivals in the city who sped ahead of us through a labyrinth of streets to show us a number of the impressive murals he and partners have brought to the city in the last decade or so…Continue reading here


No. 10

Louis Masai: “The Art Of Beeing” Tour Kicks Off in NYC to Save Endangered Species

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Louis Masai: The Art of Beeing USA Tour. Bog Turtle. Endangered. The Bushwick Collective, Brooklyn. NYC. October  2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Activism and Street Art go hand in hand and some artists are skilled at activating public space for hearts and brains to spark and cogitate. During the last 15 years we’ve documented a number of seriously affecting artworks on the street that use text and/or imagery to address political, social, environmental, and economic issues and opinions by artists as varied as Shepard Fairey, Banksy, John Fekner, Ganzeer, LMNOPI, Myth, Gilf!, Gaia, LNY, Jetsonorama, and any number of one-shot authors. In this election year there are too many Trumps to count, and a few Hillary pieces as well.

Undaunted by commercial interests and able to deliver directly to the passerby, Street Artists know that their visual message isn’t guaranteed acceptance but they take a chance anyway. The ones that reflect the sentiments on the street tend to last longer, aesthetics count, and so does spelling, at least that is our inductive observation.

One London artist who seriously raises awareness about the Earths’ endangered species is Louis Masai, a painter, sculptor, illustrator and Street Artist. Starting this week in New York Masai is beginning a 20 mural tour across the United States to talk about the hard working, honey-making, pretty pollinating bee – and a number of our animals that are in danger of dying off completely…Continue reading here


No. 9
1UP in Berlin : “ ‘All City’ Doesn’t Even Begin to Cover It ”

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1UP. Berlin 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“An amorphous shape-shifting consortium of Berlin-based aerosol hooligans named 1UP is one of those graffiti crews who eventually make the entry into graffiti street lore because of the scope and daring of their travails.

Primarily Berlin based, you’ll find their almost-commercial sounding name on roofs, walls, abandoned factories, and in tunnels in many cities around the globe. Without a clear idea of the exact number in their association nor precise membership these daredevils are most often described as white men in their twenties and early thirties reveling in the athleticism and sport of graffiti, in addition to style. The tag itself appears to be rather “open source” at times, with only insiders able to keep track of the distinct hand styles forming the ubiquitous name on thousands of surfaces…continue reading here


No. 8
A “Cathedral” of Characters in Northern Spain

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RIM. Spain. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

“It’s a cathedral of characters, this abandoned furniture factory forty kilometers outside of Barcelona. Cartoons, illustrations, portraits are everywhere; a curious collection of aerosol spray pieces that highlights the popularity of the animated and exaggerated personalities among graffiti and Street Artists in this region of the world.

The character may be a salty with a haggard stare, or reference a topic with a bit of satire. The scene may be serious, comical, ridiculous or purely sci-fi and horror. You discover the stories and allegories as you walk through the empty manufacturing rooms now flooded with natural light and dust. Expressions and situations here are full of drama that may trigger your empathy, startle your attention, elicit a shiver, or creepily fondle your funny bone…Continue reading here


No. 7
“Art Silos” Rise in the Harbor of Catania, Sicily

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Interesni Kazki. Detail. (photo © VladyArt)

“They’ve been here since the 1950s, these silos for wheat and corn on the harbor of Catania on the east coast of the island of Sicily at the foot of Mount Etna. 28 meters tall and facing the Ionian Sea, they are now some of the largest canvasses in Italy by a small group of international and local Street Artists.

The “Art Silos” project includes works completed during an eight month installation begun in June 2015 as part of Festival “I-ART” organized by “Emergence”, thanks to Angelo Bacchelli, curated by Giuseppe Stagnitta. The artists taking part in the project were Okuda (Spain), ROSH333 (Spain), Microbo (Italy), BO130 (Italy), VladyArt (Italy), Danilo Bucchi (Italy) and the duo Interesni Kaxki (Ukraine), mostly all from the graffiti/Street Art world. A separately organized but related project on the harbor-facing row of eight silos was completed by one artist alone, the Lisbon-based Vhils…continue reading here


No. 6
BLU Allies : A Counter Exhibition to “Banksy & Co.” Launched in Bologna

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Tadlock (photo © @around730)

“An anti-Banksy & Co. Street Art show opened in Bologna Italy the same night as its controversial bank-backed cousin with brand new works by 50 or so Italian and international Street Artists and open admission to their outdoor ‘museum’.

 “It is free and spontaneous, as Street Art should be,” says an organizer and participant named About Ponny as he describes the exuberant and sometimes saucy toned exhibition on the grounds of the sprawling former headquarters of Zincaturificio Bolognese which is destined for future demolition.

“The message we want to convey is that true street art is found where it was born, in the street and not in the paid exhibits,” says Bibbito, who along with two other out-of-town street artists named Jamesboy and Enter/Exit found food and couches during their installations thanks to an association of artists called L’Associazione Serendippo. Together, these artists say, they and other organizers want to send a “strong signal” by creating “one of the largest museums of ephemeral street art ever made”. The new coalition named this project “R.U.S.Co” (Recupero Urbano Spazi Comuni) or (Urban Renewal Common spaces).

The new 16,000 m2 open-air art show may appear as a rather curious development because its method of protest runs completely counter to that of the shows’ most vocal and high-profile critic, BLU, who last week protested the same show by defiantly destroying 20 years of his own public paintings, rather than making new ones…Continue reading here


No. 5
Raising Yellowcake in Grand Canyon: Icy & Sot, Jetsonorama in Arizona

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Icy & Sot. “Nuclear Plant” Navajo Nation. Arizona. June 2017. (photo © Icy & Sot)

“Yellow Cake: A simple sweet dessert confection that gets its signature color from 8 egg yolks and a cup of butter, and is great with either vanilla or chocolate icing.

Yellowcake: A type of uranium concentrate powder obtained from leach solutions, in an intermediate step in the processing of uranium ores. Also, its radioactive. Also, Colin Powell showed off a vial of it at the United Nations to sell the Iraq invasion in 2003 to that body and the world.

Being more knowledgeable about the dessert variety of yellow cake than the desert variety of uranium contamination, we turn to Street Artists Jetsonorama and Icy & Sot to educate us about the active uranium mines that are at the North Rim of The Grand Canyon. The three worked jointly in June to create new public works addressing the topic and we have each of them here for you to see.

“The issue of uranium contamination and nuclear waste is timely as there is an active uranium mine at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon presently and a proposal to start mining at the South Rim,” explains Jetsonorama (Chip Thomas), who is a local artist, a practicing doctor, and a social activist advocating for the people who live on the reservation and the natural environment in general…Continue reading here


No. 4
Nychos Slays in New York : IKONS Revealed as Never Before

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Nychos. “Dissection of Sigmund Freud”. Vienna Therapy. Manhattan, NY. June 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Scientists, psychologists, surgeons…in the end we’re all driven by a similar curiosity.”

This month has been a whirlwind in New York for Austrian Street Artist /fine artist /illustrator named Nychos and he’s made quite the iconic impression. Anchored by a show that opened last weekend of canvasses and illustrations at Jonathan Levine Gallery in Chelsea named “IKON” and assisted by a co-branded sculptural event with the Vienna Tourist Board, the surreal dissectionist didn’t rest there.

In the weeks leading up to and after these events he also managed to hit a number of walls in Coney Island, Bushwick, and Jersey City…oh and he knocked out a box truck as well.

In addition to pulling out an astounding sculpture of Sigmund Freud looming over a couch that drew a crowd to the foot of the (also iconic) Flatiron Building at 23rd and 6th, the afterparty and reception featured Dominic Freud, the great grandson of the founder of psychoanalysis, who surmised that if he were alive today he would definitely have wanted to put Nychos on his couch…Continue reading here


No 3
35 Artists in Barcelona Trying To Save The Arctic with Greenpeace

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La Castillo. Save The Arctic. Barcelona, Spain. April 2016. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)

“Yesterday our posting was about artists in London creating works about endangered species and today we go to Barcelona where 35 artists joined with Greenpeace and a local group named RebobinArt on April 9th to create works centered on environmental issues, especially the quickly disappearing polar ice cap.

Only three days later scientists announced that the Greenland “Melt” has happened one month earlier than usual this year, smashing records and causing scientists to reexamine their measuring instruments to make sure they were working correctly.

The art-platform model of RebobinArt is interesting because they are a community organization that manages spaces and issues permits for painting for competitions, festivals, exhibitions, educational programs, and cause-based events like this one.

Under the guidance of Director Marc Garcia, RobobinArt promotes and facilitates a different sort of public painting that is not strictly commercial and yet it is clearly not the freewheeling graffiti/street art based stuff that made Barcelona such a magnet for artists in the early-mid 2000s…Continue reading here


No. 2
Chip Thomas’ New Mural, Indigenous People, and #NoDAPL

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Chip Thomas. The original photograph of JC Morningstar holding her dog on a swing. Indigenous People’s Day at Fort Lewis College. Durango, CO. (photo © Chip Thomas)

“Street Artist and activist Jetsonorama (Chip Thomas) saw his work pull together a number of people in Durango, Colorado on October 10th as the city and the college celebrated their first ever “Indigenous People’s Day”. His photograph of an indigenous youth named JC Morningstar swinging and kissing her dog was chosen by a group of students from Fort Lewis College, where 24% of the population is indigenous.

The unveiling ceremony for the mural began with a traditional pow wow prayer by a drum circle and Chip says “the highlight of the day for me was having JC, her dog and her family travel 4 hours to Durango to attend the unveiling before going to the Tribe Called Red show that evening.”…Continue reading here


No 1
Chihuahua, a Mexican Desert City with a Few “Street Art” Blooms

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Paola Delfin. Chihuahua, Mexico. Centropolis Art Festival 2014. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Chihuahua is like one big ranch,” says a local reporter who guides you around this desert city known for beef, cheese, sotol, cowboy boots… and a growing middle class – thanks to the hundred plus multinational maquiladoras operating here with a focus on aerospace, medical equipment, and automobile manufacturing.

The “ranch” metaphor is meant to be welcoming, but it also lets you know that this city of nearly a million can still feel like a small town. This is the capital of Mexico’s largest state, which goes by the same name. And yes, the diminutive and scrappy dog originated here – as did Pancho Villa, and you can visit his homestead if you like.

It’s not the typical city where you might expect to find Street Art, yet only a few blocks from the government palace downtown that holds two stories of wall paintings by Mexican muralist Aarón Piña Mora, you will find new paintings in the dusty side streets that indicate a more international flavor is present…Continue reading here

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Borders and Boundaries : A Multi-Disciplinary Exhibit at St. Petersburg’s Street Art Museum

Borders and Boundaries : A Multi-Disciplinary Exhibit at St. Petersburg’s Street Art Museum

Rafael Schacter Takes a More Nuanced Approach to the Migration Crisis

Commerce and technology have been eroding traditional constructs of the borders and boundaries, especially in the age of the Internet, satellites, transnational banking and trade agreements that create governing bodies that openly dismiss national sovereignty, integrity, identity, aspirations. Borders and boundaries are contested, guarded, or disregarded at will; open to international capital, porous to immigration, hardened by armies.

Daily they are in the headlines: Trump’s plans to build a wall along the US-Mexican border, Syrian war refugees immigrating across European borders, Israel and Palestine’s ongoing land and settlement disputes, even maritime territorial claims of China and the Phillipines in the South China Sea that were ruled upon yesterday  – all reveal clues to our historically complicated relationships and geo-political perspectives.

Art to the rescue!

A current show mounted by primarily urban artists under the direction and curatorial vision of Rafael Schacter in Saint Petersburg, Russia takes on a thin, rich slice of this story; a conceptual examination of borders and boundaries from the perspective of migration. With global forced displacement breaking all records in 2015 at 60 million people according to the UN we clearly need to re-examine these constructs and decide what purpose/ which people borders are serving.

Sorry, we’re using terms interchangeably, which Schacter will correct us on. Toward that end, we are pleased today to present Mr. Schacter, an anthropologist, researcher of street art, author, and lecturer, here on BSA to share observations and experiences from his most recent project, a fascinating show at the Street Art Museum (SAM) called Crossing Borders /Crossing Boundaries. Our thanks to the artists, only a small number of whom we are able to present here, as well as to the museum for sharing their talent and resources. A full list of the participating artists is at the end of the article.

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~ from Rafael Schacter

In May of this year, I spent nearly four weeks in Saint Petersburg curating a large scale exhibition at the Street Art Museum (SAM). The Museum, set in a functioning factory on the edge of the city, is a mammoth site. The first plastics factory in the Soviet Union, the site became partially abandoned in the 1990s after the collapse of communism, and has since been taken over and partly given over to this new museum. Containing huge outdoor and indoor spaces, the museum is truly a dream location to work.

For the summer exhibition this year, we decided to focus on what has been termed the Migration Crisis. Rather than tackling this head on, however, something that I feel can often be crass and exploitative, something that I feel can often be seen to be utilizing peoples’ hardships for artistic ‘gain’, I sought to provide a concept that could explore the theme from a more nuanced angle.

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The title of the exhibition, Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, thus attempted to explore the differences between these two terms; words which are often used interchangeably, but are in fact quite distinct.

Utilizing the work of renowned sociologist Richard Sennett, borders were hence posited as zones of high organic interactivity and development, engaged, permeable spaces such as the zones between the land and the sea in which different species thrive, intermix and exchange. In contrast however, boundaries were understood as guarded, impenetrable locations, locations, for example, like the territorial perimeters of creatures such as lions or wolves.

Focusing on these differences, on the fertility and vibrancy of the border compared to the sterility and aridity of the boundary, we then commissioned 20 artists from around the world to produce works on this theme.

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Working with artists from a background of street art as well as contemporary art, with video artists and photographers, muralists and artivists, the exhibition is thus truly multi-media and multidisciplinary. I was beyond impressed with the results, all the artists bringing an amazing set of ideas to the table and delivering them in the most fantastic of ways.

We had over 5,000 people come to our launch on May 14th, as well as a huge international conference on the topic of migration taking place in the museum on the same day. Living, working, eating and sleeping in the factory with all of the artists over the entire period of production was tough, to say the least. However the energy was unrelenting, with the artists and the whole team at SAM working without rest to deliver this incredible project.Brooklyn-Street-Art-5-Rafael-Schacter-740-VideoStill-Copyright-Street-Art-Museum-Crossing-Borders

I’m super proud of what we achieved, to both sensitively and critically explore this theme, to not just provide the traditional liberal consensus positionality but rather to challenge people’s thoughts and ideas on this topic. Who knows what effect it will have, if any. But I hope that the project can push people to think about the topic in a more nuanced rather than binary way.

Following the video are a few of the artists and their work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

SpY

Go Home / Crisis / Basket

  1. Printed banner on chimney / Acrylic paint on oil barrels / Basketball hoop and backboard on containers, acrylic paint on asphalt

SpY’s deceptively simple yet conceptually ingenious interventions focus on the upturning of spatial and societal norms. Using irony and humour to create a dialogue with the viewer, SpY attempts to impress multiple readings onto a space, re-presenting it as a “frame of endless possibilities”.

His set of works here follow this method precisely. In particular, his giant work Go Home, at first an apparently aggressive, deeply antagonistic phrase (to put it mildly), plays with the variety of meanings that this expression can contain: the very ability to go home, for example, to return back to the place of one’s family, one’s birth, one’s life, is the very thing that most immigrants desire but simply cannot undertake (whether due to war or famine, economic or ecological pressures). To be able to go home is thus a privilege that not all of us have.

As with his famous method of renegotiating the set rules of sporting activities, provoking, as he says “disorder and chaos through context and content”, SpY’s works do not simply invert or subvert their spaces but playfully distort them. They “misuse” their environments to show the latent possibilities that lie within.

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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SpY. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

FILIPPO MINELLI

Untitled / A Revolution Nobody Cares About

  1. Scaffold, laminate photographic prints, flags, and spray paint and acrylic on containers / Acrylic paint on wall

Fillipo’s installation for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries explores different border zones throughout the globe. From the sea border of North and South Korea to that of Mexico and California; from Morocco and Mauritania to Cambodia and Vietnam; from the invisible border between Northern Mali and the disputed territories of the Azawad; to abandoned NATO bunkers at the Belgian Dutch border, these images present us with some of the most politically fraught locations on the planet which, somehow, contain a strangely alluring beauty. Alongside this, Filippo presents a series of Whatsapp conversations documenting his personal struggle to gain entry into Russia for this exhibition: a series of Kafkaesque scenarios in which he was sent from location to location in a seeming test of his resistance. The installation as a whole can be seen to bring together Filippo’s joint obsession with political, industrial and internet aesthetics.

His mural, A Revolution Nobody Cares About / Nobody Cares About a Revolution speaks, quite loudly, for itself.

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Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Filippo Minelli. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo Evgeniy Belikov)

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Kirill KTO. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

KIRILL KTO

Incomprehensible

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Kirill’s work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries arose through his correspondence with curator Rafael Schacter. Focusing on the barrier of language and the complexity of translation, the work is about the impossibility of understanding and the unwillingness to understand. As KIRILL says “I understood only a small percentage of what we discussed and so decided to make this the heart of the work”. It is thus the borders and boundaries of language that KIRILL takes aim. As he continues “there are two borders of misunderstanding: you see unfamiliar letters and you do not understand everything completely. Signifier and signified become equally incomprehensible. Or even it’s a familiar language, but still it is not clear”. Kirill’s work, although colourful and bright, is in fact the image of alienation. The image of the migratory and the incomprehensible.

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Gaia . Mata Ruda. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

GAIA & MATA RUDA

If Capital Can Move So Freely Why Can’t Bodies?

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Gaia and Mata Ruda have produced a monumental work for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, a work which functions in the classical tradition of political muralism. Using imagery from the filmmaker Marc Silver and photographers Jonathan Hollingsworth and Alex Kurunis (both of whom show other work within the exhibition itself), Gaia and Ruda present us with an assemblage of figures and artefacts which together convey a dense narrative about contemporary migration. Including individuals and stories from the borders of the USA and Latin America as well as Africa and Europe, the artists also produced a group portrait of three Uzbekistani employees at the factory who work and live in the very site where the mural exists.

The story Gaia and Mata tell is one of inequality and injustice, a story of the imbalance of our contemporary global system. Yet within this it contains hope and strength, the strength of the individuals who strive to fight these inequities on a daily basis.

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Gaia . Mata Ruda. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Nano4814. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Nano4814

Untitled

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Nano4814’s half-abstract, half-figurative mural for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries demonstrates the strangely discomforting yet visually arresting style which we can now instantly recognize as his own. Frequently focusing upon the apprehension he has with his own work, Nano’s characters can often be seen to be in states of tension or strain (both literally and metaphorically), an angst reinforced by their compressed captivity within their sites. Moreover, his use of brick-walls, barriers, and wooden shards, symbols that act as leitmotifs throughout his work, play with the idea of boundaries as objects that encourage intrusion and trespass: Like masks, these borders both suggest and occlude a veiled truth, hinting whilst hiding, implying yet escaping. It is thus the very limitation that enables us to venture beyond.

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Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

BRAD DOWNEY & IGOR PONOSOV

Double Yippie Hollow Super Power

  1. Slides, DIA projector, flags, photographs, socks, coins, drawings in collaboration with Clemens Behr, SPY, Paco, and Fillipo Minelli, computer guts, digital prints, plastic, wood, plexi-glass, mounting hardware, sound installation, radio, headphones, cables, paint, chess set, soviet fabric, and industrial  spools.

Double Yippie Hollow Super Power is a joint project between artists Brad Downey from the USA and Igor Ponosov from Russia. Taking inspiration from the parlor game “cadavre exquis” or “exquisite corpse” (a method by which a collection of words or images is collaboratively assembled), the pair have sought to combine the varying national symbols of their home nations into a new, exquisite set of iconic forms. The “unity of the opposites” that they have created – utilizing objects such as flags, coins, and anthems – plays with the sacrality of these national symbols, the almost divine status that they contain. Moreover, it alludes to the strangely intimate relationship that the two countries are entwined in. Whilst apparent opposites, common enemies, both locations create their identity through their connection with the other: the objects Downey and Ponosov have thus created contain both a critical and playful edge. They ridicule the stereotypes of both themselves and each other in the same moment.

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Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Brad Downey . Igor Posonov. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

 

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Jazoo Yang. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

JAZOO YANG

Dots / Painting Blocks

2016, Korean ink on wall / Found objects, cement, and acrylic paint on wooden palletes

Jazoo Yang’s Dots series originates from her work in her native Korea, in particular within areas of the city going through the process of redevelopment. Using traditional Korean ink, and solely using her thumbprint (a marking used as a signature on important documents), Yang’s work sought to bring focus on the increasing amount of “redevelopment refugees” in the city

For Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, Yang has expanded her Dots Series to incorporate the issue of refugees and migrants in Europe and further beyond. Working mainly on her own but also with immigrant workers from the factory itself, Yang discusses their stories, their histories, their existence with these individuals as they mark the wall together. These imprints act as a record of this moment whilst remaining entirely silent.

In Yang’s Painting Block Works, this theme of memory and regeneration continues. Exploring the violent so central to the contemporary city, Yang wants to ask how much we perceive our lives and make independent decisions within these oppressive environments. She aims to bring these problems to the surface through rebuilding them with the materials we so readily abandon, in Korea using objects from deserted houses and buildings, here in Russia using the detritus and ephemera of the factory itself.

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Jazoo Yang. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Jazoo Yang. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Clemens Behr. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

CLEMENS BEHR

The Final Frontier (Space) / Our House (In the Middle of the Street)

  1. Laminate doors, wooden pallets, wooden battons, hinges, and acrylic paint / Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Mimicking and playing with their settings through a process of transformative deconstruction, Clemens Behr’s geometric shapes and abstract forms come to distort the viewers’ perspective, merging two and three dimensional spaces in a single plane.

His installation for Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries acts as what he terms a “social maze”. Utilising one of the most classic example of borders/boundaries, the common doorway, the work explores the potentially empowering or inhibiting abilities of these structures: as one door opens, another closes, enabling some and disabling others in the same moment. As a participatory sculpture, its visual possibilities become endless. However conceptually it demonstrates how every decision we take effects those around us. Like many of Behr’s installations, this work was produced with what was at hand, in this case the products and detritus of the factory site itself.

Behr’s mural tackles another question however. Playing with the shadows and design of the adjacent fence, with the actuality of space (and time) versus the potentiality of painting, he questions the boundaries of art itself: Can it go beyond reflection to truly generate the new?

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Clemens Behr. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Clemens Behr. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Eltono. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Eltono

Random Geopolitical Map / Upside-down Fence

  1. Acrylic paint on wall / Barbed wire, steel poles, metal fence, laminate warning signs

Eltono’s mural is a reaction to the absurd rationality of national boundaries. As opposed to the natural flow of borders (as can be seen in perhaps the world’s only natural country, Chile), the carving up of the planet’s boundaries happens at right angles: diagonal, horizontal, and vertical lines cutting up the planet into a perfectly linear patchwork.

As such, Eltono has created his own world map using a generative art technique; using a basic randomizer to choose a digit between 1 and 7, the numbers which emerge then come to define both the color of the country and its borders, indicating the direction that each color, and each boundary will thus take.

Unlike his mural, for his fence installation, Eltono presents us with the opposite of the rationality as seen within maps. Rather, he displays a perfectly irrational object, an upside-down fence. For Eltono, however, the inversion of the fence makes it something lighter, not an object that prevents our movement, but a compact object that can be upended “as if the wind had blown it upside down”. As he continues, “it’s not a massive obstacle anymore. A fence that can be flipped is a territory that can be freed.”

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Eltono. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

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Merijn Hos. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Merijn Hos

Lost in a Dream

  1. Acrylic and spray paint on wall

Merijn’s mural has a simple, yet vitally important message. His five globes show us the development from a basic binary of black and white to a densely colored, intricate, heterogeneous space. The final image thus shows us a planet in which, as Merijn says, “everything harmonizes. All the colors are there together and they all work and flow seamlessly with each other. Of course borders exist in many ways, but if we take it a step further and forget about the rules and just go with our feeling this is what I think can be understood as the ideal. That we should not be limited by the rationality of borders. Probably a bit of a cliché. But that’s how I see it and feel it”.

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Superproject. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

SUPERPROJECT (JASPER NIENS AND THIJS EWALTS)

Four Zero

2016, High Pressure Laminate installation

SUPERPROJECT, a two-man design operation spearheaded by visual artist Jasper Niens and industrial designer Thijs Ewalts, focus on computational design and digital fabrication, embracing art, architecture, engineering and technology. For Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries, they have created Four Zero, a space within a space, a location only accessible through four, tunnel-like entrances. Due to the curvature of the entrances, the visitor is not immediately sure where they will end up. As such, the work is about revealing and concealing, possibility and difficulty; once people enter the space they can either feel locked up and exposed or protected and safe within its embrace.

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Tita Salina. Street Art Museum (SAM). St. Petersburg, Russia. May 2016. (photo © Evgeniy Belikov)

Tita Salina

1001th Island: The Most Sustainable Island in Archipelago

2015/2016. Video, trash, fishing net and wood

Tita Salina’s 1001st Island is a work exploring the changing borders and boundaries of Jakarta. A city which is currently sinking between 2.9 and 6.7 inches per year, and which exists mainly below sea level, Jakarta is currently undertaking a huge land reclamation and producing a 32 kilometer sea wall to try and protect its boundaries, a project that will construct 17 new islands and take an estimated 30 years to complete. The installation presented here, a reproduction of an artificial island built by Salina and local fisherman using marine debris and litter, aims to highlight the negative impacts of the project, in particular the fact that the city refuses to fix the causes of its problems — namely, excessive groundwater extraction and inefficient waste management. Salina thus connects the reclamation and land issue with the human waste that plagues the ocean and the future of the traditional fishermen who live and work within this now perilous space.

 

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ARTISTS Crossing Borders / Crossing Boundaries.

Alex Kurunis, Brad Downey, Igor Posonov, Clemens Behr, El Tono, Filippo Minelli, Gaia, Mata Ruda, James Bridle, Superproject ( Jasper Niens & Thijs Ewalts, Jazoo Yang, Jonathan Hollingworth, Kirill KTO, Martha Atienza, Merijn Hos, Nano4814, Rob Pinney, SpY, Tita Salina

For more information please go to The Street Art Museum (SAM)

Additional images at beginning of article are stills from video and are ©The Street Art Museum

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OLEK Interview and Exclusive Photos “From Russia With Pride”

OLEK Interview and Exclusive Photos “From Russia With Pride”

Shortly before she left New York for Russia a couple of weeks ago to do an installation across the entrance of a shopping center with her signature camouflage crochet treatment, Street Artist Olek was feeling a bit nervous. Because of her Polish background and her regard for the Russian arts historically, she was excited to have an opportunity to create her handmade and storied personal art for the public sphere there. But due to Russia’s harshly homophobic atmosphere in recent years and the recent high profile anti-LGBT laws that reportedly have sparked a wave of new violence against gays and any of their supporters, the street artist questioned what her own role was and whether to show support through silence or with her creative voice.

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OLEK (photo © courtesy Olek)

Compounding those fears were the very ambiguous terms in the newly passed laws against “propaganda” that equates or encourages “nontraditional sexual relations” or “nontraditional sexual attitudes”.

Understandably, as an artist you may not want to address the topic at all – considering the jail time and fines threatened against foreigners. Not typically a wallflower, the fluorescent hued crochet queen eventually decided to go, and in the process addressed her opinions through a rainbow of camo, hoping to give a sense of hope, show some solidarity with the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer folks in Russia who are currently oppressed in a somewhat muted, if deliberate, way.

Many who work in the arts prefer to keep them separate from politics, especially when the original piece was conceived in a different time in unrelated conditions and contexts. But pretending the resonance of a piece stands apart from its environment may be impossible. Just last night at Lincoln Center protesters disrupted a Russian themed opera to protest the new laws thousands of miles away and while some thought it appropriate, others, including the manager of the Metropolitan Opera, think political struggles should only be enacted on stage when the curtain goes up.

Street Art in recent years has veered toward the aesthetic and less overtly political according to some, but artists like Shepard Fairey have always considered it part of their remit to actively critique the society they live in and to advocate for change with their work on the street. In Olek’s case, this was more public art than street art, and commissioned work at that. Nonetheless, her description of her intent begs the question whether art can or should ever be considered without politics given its personal nature and our individual histories and cultural conditioning. Ultimately it will depend on the reaction of the audience, who Olek considers to be part of the art as well.

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OLEK (photo © courtesy Olek)

Along with some exclusive images for BSA readers of the new installation and Olek at work, we had a chance to ask her a few questions about her perspective and her experience on this trip to Russia. Not surprisingly, she has plenty to say.

Brooklyn Street Art: How does this installation speak to a greater story about tolerance?
OLEK: The answer stems from how thoughts and ideas form themselves. I left Poland because of intolerance. People in Poland always pointed fingers and laughed at me merely because I wore colorful, hand-made, and vibrant clothes, because my expression of myself defied expectations. This is the main reason that in New York City I created the camouflage pattern. I transformed the human form into a new species. Once encapsulated in the hand-crocheted suit, you are a citizen of my world that doesn’t pay attention to skin, race, color, ethnicity or sexuality.

Inspiration also comes from life’s small details. Starting from 2002, I have crocheted everything from trees, to bicycles to a stepladder because my ex-girlfriend had one. Everything comes from real feelings, experiences and intuition. The public may not always know the background story, but they accept it or love my work because it is honest. I hope.

My installations are and have always been expressions of my responses to immediate surroundings, international climate, information, images, events in the news, emotions, words, lovers. These responses are what start the conversations that flow through my, and every individual’s, unconsciousness. Ideas are collaborations between environment and time. It is when these collaborations come to the surface that others decide to either accept and tolerate or to discriminate.

My recent work does not only focus on Russia’s suppression of the LGBT community. As I said in my statement to the Russian press, I support all people’s rights, our freedom to be whoever we want to be, who we truly are, to love whomever we choose and marry whomever we love.

I hope this installation encourages Russians and others who see my work elsewhere, to be more tolerant of others’ expressions of themselves. We still have a long way to go.

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OLEK (photo © courtesy Olek)

Brooklyn Street Art: Did you feel conflicted about creating work as an artist in Russia?
OLEK: I really had a hard time making this journey. First of all because of personal experience and family history. Two years ago I was jailed in London for defending myself against the sexual aggression of a drunk Russian man. Also, my grandmother has recounted to me many stories about family members who were oppressed and jailed by the Soviet Union. Both of these experiences made a lasting impression on me.

Secondly, in response to Russia’s anti-gay law, many people around the world protested by dumping Russian vodka in the streets and by boycotting visits to Russia. Admirable, but I had already stopped drinking Russian vodka years ago. I also believed that it would be quite easy for me to boycott from afar. But what would it do for the LGBT community still in Russia? It would be much harder to actually cross the border and make my art in public to support those oppressed. Perhaps it would be a more powerful statement to stand within Russia and share my work in solidarity with those thousands who are stifled by this law. I wanted to bring colors. To inspire. To participate in the national culture by sparking dialogue with my art. I also decided, when asked by the press, to explain my personal philosophy, which sometimes is camouflaged by my colors and patterns. And although I was very afraid about being arrested or deported, I followed my intuition.

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OLEK (photo © courtesy Olek)

Brooklyn Street Art: Would you consider this work a matter of exercising free speech? Art activism perhaps?
OLEK: I prefer making my art pieces and allowing others to judge, label, interpret, love or hate them. If you are saying that my work exercises free speech, I’ll give you a kiss.

Art can be subtler than a verbal or written statement, but it is still speech. So the ability to make a work of art uninhibited by fear, outdated laws, money or social pressure is absolutely an expression of free speech. We have seen over centuries of history art being censured for displaying accurate depictions of nudity, for incorporating subtle criticisms of religion and for displaying abstract concepts because of what they stood for.

Also when asked about my work I freely offer my own honest interpretation of and the inspirations, events and emotions that drove me to create my art in the particular way that I did. My “Injustice Everywhere is a Threat to Justice Anywhere” piece in London was my personal reflection on the justice system while I was awaiting sentencing.  But more importantly, it spoke to something much bigger social reality.

Similarly, in this case, I did not hide my thoughts or beliefs in fear. So in a sense, my work and statement in St. Petersburg are both exercises of free speech because both are personal expressions of my convictions.

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OLEK (photo © courtesy Olek)

Brooklyn Street Art: This was a commissioned work for commercial purposes originally, right?
OLEK: Yes. Around the time I was crocheting the camouflage rainbow train in Poland, Galeria, a large shopping center in St. Petersburg asked me to transform their incredibly complex façade. They chose my work based upon my previous installations and work. While I install much of my work “guerilla” style, I, like most artists, also work with galleries and private clients who sponsor installations and exhibitions.

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OLEK (photo © courtesy Olek)

Brooklyn Street Art: There is a misconception among some that if artwork is paid, it should be apolitical. Is that even possible?
OLEK: I really don’t know how artists (or authors or musicians for that matter) can separate themselves completely from expressing personal emotions, beliefs and convictions in their work. I believe that there are two main influences that should not dictate the way an artist makes art: money and public opinion. I believe in developing new ways of creating a dialogue with the viewer on both visual and aural levels.  The audience’s senses heighten as they develop new means of interacting with the piece, realizing that their response greatly impacts the art and the ways these forms and colors are moving in time. Their response is also the art, and my work is a mirror. This reflection is very often political and cultural, regardless of whether I am paid or not.

I think there is often a misconception about my work because it is so bright and colorful. Often I think some believe that there is no underlying conceptual aspect to it. However, each of my works has a concept that it embodies. The colors, the shapes, the patterns – all have distinct, albeit at times discreet, theories and statements supporting my choices.

Brooklyn Street Art: Was there a reaction to your intended messages, or were they too camouflaged for most viewers to discern?
OLEK: With my actions I always intend to create a feedback to the economic and social reality in the community. In this case, I was very afraid that the authorities would not allow me to finish it because I was incorporating rainbows into the work. I experienced a very similar feeling to the one I had during my Wall Street Bull intervention – a sense of urgency pushing me to work at breakneck speed to complete my statement before being stopped. I just wanted to be able to finish the work regardless of public opinion or potential backlash or disfavor.

I experienced certain blindness while creating this piece. The first day, while working in the studio, I got many compliments about the colors. Then during the three long nights of installation, I observed odd expressions from bystanders. It was if they knew what the work stood for, as if they smelled it, but no one wanted to say it. Russia’s anti-gay law was enacted to prevent “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors”. But as usual, it was the small children in the street who first noticed and openly reacted to my work. Many of them ran to the performers in the crochet suits and embraced them without any inhibition or fear.

I should note that many open criticisms of my work came out of fear after the installation had been finished and I had interpreted the inspirations for my work in my own words. I think many times a percentage of the audience prefers to take the most palatable message from art without considering it more closely because it’s most comfortable and safe. When an artist then verbally contributes to that experience, it can upset that comfort.

To be honest though, any reaction is important. If at the end of the day, the audience just smiles and laughs, or turns on it in hate or chooses not to see it, they have contributed something to the work. It is the beauty of the public art. You might feel hidden in the crowd. But then, one person notices you.

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OLEK (photo © courtesy Olek)

Read more of Olek’s personal account on her blog at The Huffington Post.

 

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BSA Film Friday: 07.19.13

 

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

Now screening: MOMO in Jamaica and Cuba with Angelino, POSE and REVOK in NYC, Ian Strange AKA Kid Zoom and “Suburban” project, and “The Story of The Fisherman”.

BSA Special Feature: MOMO in Jamaica and Cuba
with traveling companion Angelo Milano

FAME Festival impresario Mr. Milano just released the completed video diary of his trip to Cuba and Jamaica this spring with Street Artist/Fine Artist/Abstract Painter/None of the Above MOMO. The color, patterns, and expressive people are rich, as are his observatory reveries – all strung together as a culmination of many creative interludes recorded in his personal style and edited together as a road-trippy and happy paintcation. Don’t let the 20 minute length deter you, this is as good as going on a vacation, but you can’t go because you are stuck at your desk aren’t you. Well, this will help you pretend. Guarantee.

POSE + REVOK in NYC

The Seventh Letter crew gives you a nice recap of some of the street and gallery action a month ago for Revok and Pose’s New York visit. Most illuminating are the two soliloquies of the artists during the opening as they deliriously ruminate on their method of art making and the philosophy behind the name of the show.

See the BSA full coverage of the Houston Street Wall going up  HERE

REVOK AND POSE and the Transformation of The Houston Wall

 

Ian Strange AKA Kid Zoom: Suburban

Repositioning himself as cultural critic behind the lense and in front of it, Kid Zoom targets the pleasant mythology that served as iconic foundation for the middle class that blossomed in first world countries after the second world war, the aspirational quarter acre tract in a grid full of nearly identical homes. Part examination of the fiction perpetuated, part target practice at perhaps his own youth, the “Suburban” project is ready to demolish what’s left of that neighborhood feeling.

 

“The Story of The Fisherman”

Street Artist and illustrator Vladimir Chernyshev discovered a low cost D.I.Y. way to make a story slowly animate and shares it here in “The Story of The Fisherman”. Don’t expect explosions, or even one quick edit – this slowly advancing diorama peaks your imagination as remembered in a childrens storybook – almost brooding, yet incandescent.

The St. Petersburg based Chernyshev explains how his short story about one man’s disappearance was hand-drawn, hand illuminated, and very gentle advanced.

“At the time of the film’s production I used a self-built wooden box with a glass screen atop and candles at the bottom – that caused the light to fill the carbon-paper. The image was made by erasure of the paper’s upper layer with a metal stick. A simple mechanism slowly rolls the tape of 12 meters through the glass screen showing the lighted erased parts of carbon-paper.”

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Tes One and Bask create “Drastic Park” in St. Petersburg, FL

How often do you walk by one of those community murals and feel like you are being “schooled” by obvious representational symbols purveyed by a well meaning but slightly overbearing school marm or your local Marxist? Oh, I get it; these big toothy gears that are catching the shirt of this man and pulling him in between the wheels and grinding him into mincemeat represent the capitalist system and the working man, right?

Other times you look at an artists wall and say to yourself, “Um, what?”

Tes One at work on “Drastic Park” (photo © Joey Clay)

It’s all good, of course, and community standards usually determine what is acceptable, offensive, beneficial, benign. The intention of the artist to articulate a message and their ability to effectively communicate is purely individual. So, consider for a moment the new piece by Florida-based Street Artists Tes One and Bask in St. Petersburg. Two markedly different artistic styles converge and some sort of cleaning machines are scrubbing away a firey palette of prehistoric animals.

Bask at work on “Drastic Park” (photo © Joey Clay)

The artists are calling it “Drastic Park”, are happy with the results and interested with your take on what it might mean. Tes One says that many people inquired about it’s meaning while the guys were putting it up and since they finished it. “We want the work to speak for itself,” he says, “Some of the local reactions already have provided interesting perspectives thematically ranging from corporate greed to oppression and gentrification. It’s been great to hear what others see in it.”

The guys say that St Petersburg has begun an initiative to have more public art in the city. Whatever the interpretation of the individual pieces, it’s good to see that the public has an opportunity to see new stuff, and naturally, to offer opinions.

Tes One and Bask “Drastic Park” (photo © Joey Clay)

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Exclusive New Pics from Russia: Specter Plus New Friend

New images you haven’t seen of Specters’ pieces in Russia.  He also has a new friend in St. Petersburg – Incubus Project (on the left), who seems to be making a play for Specter’s lady on the right, who is less than enthused.

It’s all about love, people.  Even when it’s not.

So, uh, come here often? Specter.

Dobry den. So, uh, come to here often?” Incubus Project and Specter.

Incubus Project in St. Petersburg.

Incubus Project in St. Petersburg.

Incubus Project, who recently had a show in Berlin, favors 3-d renderings and cross-sectional views of machinery, robots, and imaginary living spaces – sometimes with dotted lines and explicative labels, as if from an instruction manual.

New view of a Specter piece.
Waiting for my real love, far far away. New view of a Specter piece.

Who me?  Specter on the street in St. Petersburg.
Who me? Specter on the street in St. Petersburg.

I didn't see anything! Specter in Russia
I didn’t see anything! Specter in Russia

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