All posts tagged: Steve ESPO Powers

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.22.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.22.19

“Distinguish sense from nonsense.”

Easier said than done perhaps, but that was probably one of our favorite signs Friday at the Global Climate March here in New York. With a steady flood of disinformation affecting the corporately owned media the popular movements that are rising may not be getting the coverage they deserve, but they are getting to talk to each other and skillfully dismantle the Fog State. 

It was a sunny week in New York again and despite the worries that are plaguing our minds, and there are many, the streets came alive with so many positive messages that even the casual passerby had to be moved by the enthusiasm, the optimism, and determination on display from thousands of their fellow New Yorkers.

This Sunday’s collection of images have one thing in common; text. With the exception of one, the Invader piece, all the others have a message to convey in the written word.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring signs from the Global Climate March and Invader, Sara Lynne Leo, Space Invader, and Steve ESPO Powers.

Sara Lynne Leo’d appropriate piece for the Climate March in NYC. The artwork is mounted on a sign post on the streets of New York. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Global Climate Strike. New York City. September 20, 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Invader (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Wordsmith and street artist Steve ESPO Powers new take over in Brooklyn. We aren’t sure if the piece is fully completed but we wanted to share with you. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Steve ESPO Powers in Syracuse

Steve ESPO Powers in Syracuse

Graffiti writer, Street Artist, and muralist Steve Powers (aka ESPO) has created cryptic poetry in bold, nostalgia formed fonts on city walls including Brooklyn, Dublin, and his hometown Philadelphia.

Steve ESPO Powers. Syracuse, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In Syracuse, a city in mid-New York State, he has left his inside-joke humor outside on many bridges. We just happened to driving through this weekend and caught a few of his pieces from the last few years that suddenly cross your path – often as you are descending through an underpass.

Steve ESPO Powers. Syracuse, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers. Syracuse, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers. Syracuse, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers. Syracuse, NY. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 04.21.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.21.19

This week has been on fire.

Notre-Dame has been sorrowfully tested this week by fire. The Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn burned fires of bread in the streets Friday in a religious ritual for Passover known as chometz. Even the Orthodox Christians have Holy Fire celebrations on the day before Easter, which was yesterday.

Thanks to the visions of artists, the street continues to set imaginations on fire as well. Just don’t get burned.

So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Antennae, Captain Eyeliner, Caze, Franco “Jaz” Fasoli, Hiss, Hot Tea, Pyramid Oracle, Rek La Blatte, Samuffa, Sensbale, Smells, Steve ESPO Powers, and Texas.

Franco JAZ Fasoli (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pyramid Oracle in Philadelphia (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vizie (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vizie (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vizie (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vizie (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist in Philadelphia (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Rek La Blatte in Philadelphia. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hiss (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Antennae (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ephemeron in Philadelphia (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gane and friends… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Texas (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers in Philadelphia (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Captain Eyeliner (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Scamuffa in Philadelphia (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Smells . Texas . Sensbale . Surts . Caze (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hot Tea (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 04.14.19

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.14.19

Thanks for stopping by to survey with us some of the most arresting new images we found in the last days of art and artists making work in the public sphere – this weekly mainly NYC.

So here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Captain Eyeliner, CIty Kitty, De Lys, Hiss, LMNOPI, Lunge Box, ESPO, Street Beans, Vizie, and #HighLinerResist.

De Lys LA. FYI This is an actual photo printed on metal. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
LMNOPI (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Steve ESPO Powers. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hiss and misfits… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified philosopher. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
#HighLinerResist: Unidentified artist with an identified person of interest. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
City Kitty always on point… (photo © Jaime Rojo)
This is the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. Here he still shines like the sun. Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Captain Eyeliner (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vizie at work (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vizie (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vizie (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vizie (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Lunge Box (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Street Beans (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. NYC Subway. Manhattan, NYC. May 2019. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Getting “Woke” with the Word On The Street(s)

Getting “Woke” with the Word On The Street(s)

The powerful use of words and images is playing an important role in directing the events that lead us forward, or backward. It is right for us to be alerted to fake news, although the recent bashing of news sources has more to do with de-legitimizing and seizing power than any sincere interest in truth.

Visual Resistance (photo © Jaime Rojo)

If anyone uses words and images to create fake news it would be PR companies and the related industries who have been creating entire campaigns and planting them in newspapers and in electronic media and Reddit and Facebook comments for years now. Posing as everyday folk or genuinely respectable “think tanks”, they tear down people, sowing fear, confusion, and disinformation. Their persuasive words are often effective.

The Chief Strategist for the President is reportedly telling the press to stop all their words all together , and Mitch McConnell basically just told Elizabeth Warren to sit down and shut up, so powerful are words.

We can divine a lot about a person by listening to the words, as well the ones they leave out. We always say that the street is a reflection of society back to itself and today we share with you these text-based messages that give you an idea of what people are talking about.

Street Art ™ (photo © Jaime Rojo)


“Were you thinking that those were the words—
those upright lines? those curves, angles, dots?

No, those are not the words—the substantial words
are in the ground and sea,

They are in the air—they are in you.”

~The Sayer of Words, Walt Whitman

Political, social, straightforward, evasive, confrontational, poetic, strident, aspirational, inspirational, inclusive, loving, hateful, witty, simple, confusing; The average passerby regards, absorbs or dismisses the sentiment, feeling that their opinion is re-affirmed or neglected. Possibly they consider a perspective that is brand new.

Because of the anonymity and the lack of context, sometimes a well-placed missive appears as a message from the Universe, or from God, or another kindred soul.

As ever, beware the provocateur.

Chor Boogie (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Word To Mother (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Vudo Child (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fanakapan (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Indecline (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Able (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amberellaxo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Baron Von Fancy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Trek (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Queen Andrea (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Morse (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jeff Gress (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Blunt. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Megzany (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)


 


This article is also published on The Huffington Post.

 

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Artists Bring 22 New Murals to “Coney Art Walls 2016”

Artists Bring 22 New Murals to “Coney Art Walls 2016”

Just in time for this weekend’s Mermaid Parade, London’s D*Face is finishing up “Live Fast Die Young,” his beauty-and-the-zombie comic couple sipping an ice cream float at the soda counter. Austrian surrealist slicer Nychos has completed his dissection of a Ronald McDonald-ish character without a sketch; running, jumping, nearly flying through the air with aerosol in hand, flinging the spent cans over his shoulder blindly to skitter across the pavement. Baltimore-based freeform anthropologist Gaia is cavorting with passersby who want to take cellphone selfies in front of his painted wall that depicts exactly that; selfies taken in Coney Island.

This is a modern version of the multi-mirror funhouse in mural form, and Coney Art Walls is bringing it again.

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Nychos. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

22 new murals on standing slabs of concrete join a dozen or so that were retained from last summer to present an eclectic and savory selection from the old-school and the new. When it comes to art in the streets, a salty luncheonette of city-style treats is on a large public platter these days, with names like graffiti, street art, urban art, installation art, public art, fine art, even contemporary art. For some of those hapless gatekeepers of any of these respective categories, this show in this location presents degrees of discomfort and anger as many subcultural roots are now brought into the light in tandem with one another in a public display – funded by a real estate firm. For the artists and majority of fans, however, the trend is more toward delight and gratitude.

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Nychos. The London Police photo bomb. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

While you are unpacking that, consider that lead curator Jeffrey Deitch has often proved very adept at plumbing the aesthetic margins of our culture while rearranging and intermingling the parties, helping the viewer to appreciate their differences. This outdoor exhibit co-curated with Joseph Sitt provides a venue for a wide audience to contemplate the range of expression that New York streets have had over the last few decades, including a few artists who are trying this manner of expression for the first time.

As the Thunderbolt, Steeplechase, Cyclone and Wonder Wheel spin and swerve nearby and overhead, sending screams and personal projectiles into the ocean breeze, you have this paved lot full of paintings to peruse, lemonade in one hand and the cotton-candy-sticky hand of a sunscreen-slathered child in the other. Here you’ll see a large two-walled corner smashed with Coney Island themes by Bronx graffiti masters Tats Cru (Bio, BG183, and Nicer), a selection of hand-drawn wheat pasted portraits of Coney Island youth by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and 4 full-form sculptures by John Ahearn creating a modernist view of divers on the beach .

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Nychos. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tooling elsewhere through the loose labyrinth you come upon a monochromatic cryptically patterned tribute to Brooklyn-born Beastie Boys vocalist Adam “MCA” Yauch by Brooklyn tagger/train writer/artist Haze and a seemingly lighthearted abstractly collaged wall of mermaids by fine artist Nina Chanel Abney, whose work is currently on the cover of Juxtapoz. There is also a spectacular underwater-themed symmetrical fantasy topped by pylons bearing the likenesses of characters from “The Warriors” film by artist duo The London Police, and a stenciled “Last Supper” featuring heads of world currency playing the disciples and George Washington as Jesus sprayed across the face of a huge dollar bill by Iranian brothers Icy & Sot.

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Pose. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We often travel streets and neglected spaces in cities looking for signs of freewill artistic expression and often the creative spirit surprises us as it can be expressed in so many ways with emotion, agenda, and idiosyncratic point of view. It may be the plurality of voices one experiences surfing the Internet or the multi-cultural nature of living in New York with a continuous river of fresh arrivals mixing in with established and old-timers every day, but one comes to expect this variety of viewpoints and rather naturally creates accommodation for inclusion that celebrates without negating – and in many ways Coney Art Walls does that as well.

Oppositional viewpoints are present if you look: There are coded messages and obvious ones, critiques of corporate hegemony, issues of race, commentary on police relations, sexuality, religion, capitalism, community, the languages of advertising, movies, music, entertainment, local history, and examination of roles and power structures.

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John Ahearn. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

When tooling around this collection, you may wonder what, then, are the commonalities of this survey. Certainly there are the recurring references to Coney Island lore and aspects of performance and flimflam, oddity, fantasy, even the erotic. Naturally, there are elements of natural wonder as well, perhaps expected with the proximity to the beach and the ocean and the history of this place as a vacation getaway.

Aside from this, the connective tissue is what we frequently identify as what is distinctly New York – the plurality of voices. Arguing, making fun, praising, preening, bragging, lambasting, mocking, singing. Despite the continuous attempts by others to divide us, we’re strangely (very strangely), beautifully united.

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Jeffery Deitch with John Ahearn. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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John Ahearn. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“11 Instagram Posts”, by Gaia. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gaia. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Haze. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Haze. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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D*Face. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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D*Face. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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D*Face. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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D*Face. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts has multi-generational roots here and her work makes you stop and study it. She has painted many visions and views around the neighborhood, and is considered the artist-in-residence. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Marie Roberts. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The London Police. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The London Police. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The London Police. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The London Police. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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AIKO. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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AIKO. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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AIKO. Side A. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Originally from Japan, Brooklyn’s AIKO has a double sided stencil sonnet to the romance of the sea. With “Tale of the Dragon King and Mermaids in Water Castle” Aiko tells a new version of Urashima Tarō, an old Japanese legend about a fisherman who rescues a turtle and is rewarded for this with a visit to Ryūgū-jō, the palace of Ryūjin. Says Aiko, “This piece speaks to my and all women’s fantasies; chilling hard super sexy in the beautiful ocean with friendly dragon who is super powerful and a smart guy – they are about going to water castle having good time.”

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AIKO. Side B. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Daze. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nina Chanel Abney. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nina Chanel Abney. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nina Chanel Abney. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mister Cartoon. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mister Cartoon. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mister Cartoon. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve ESPO Powers. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve ESPO Powers. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve ESPO Powers. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Jessica Diamond. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tristan Eaton. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatiana Fazlalizadeh. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatiana Fazlalizadeh photographing her subjects. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tatiana Fazlalizadeh. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crash. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BIO – Tats Crew. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NICER – Tats Crew. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BG183 – Tats Crew. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tats Crew. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sam Vernon. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sam Vernon. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Timothy Curtis. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Timothy Curtis. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martha Cooper. Coney Art Walls – 2016 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Coney Art Walls
2016 New Artists: Nina Chanel Abney, John Ahearn, Timothy Curtis, D*Face, Jessica Diamond, Tristan Eaton, Gaia, Eric Haze, Icy & Sot, London Police, Nychos, Pose, Stephen Powers, Tats Cru, and Sam Vernon. Returning artists who created new works: Lady Aiko, Mister Cartoon, Crash, Daze, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and Marie Roberts. 2015 Murals on display: by Buff Monster, Eine, Ron English, How & Nosm, IRAK, Kashink, Lady Pink,  Miss Van, RETNA, eL Seed and Sheryo & Yok. There are also three community walls.

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This article is also published on The Huffington Post

 

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BSA Loves You More Every Day

BSA Loves You More Every Day

Happy Valentines Day to you from your friends at BSA.

Single?
together?
under the weather? –
we don’t mind, cause you’re just fine
and we
love
you.

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Steve ESPO Powers. From Love Letter To Philadelphia. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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American Puppet (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Damon (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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 London Kaye. (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Danielle Mastrion (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hek Tad (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

“I can’t give you anything but love, baby
That’s the only thing I’ve plenty of, baby”

 

Jimmy McHugh (music) and Dorothy Fields (lyrics)

 

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

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Philadelphia Mural Arts, A Golden Age

Philadelphia Mural Arts, A Golden Age

It is a rainy day in Philadelphia, but you can’t tell it by listening to Jane Golden.

After 30 years and countless meetings with community groups, artists, city agencies, elected officials, volunteers, and donors, the founder and Executive Director of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program has developed a perpetual advocacy style that leans decidedly toward axioms that tell you the glass is half full. No painting is happening on walls in the city of brotherly love today, but the phones are still ringing in this agency of 50, and as Golden sees it, the community is still being served by their educational programs and a remarkably wide variety of outreach efforts.

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Jetsonorama and Ursula Rucker “You Go Girl” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Street Art and graffiti have been parlaying with their cousin, the community mural, in recent years thanks to the growing popularity worldwide of the former so we thought this would be a great opportunity to learn about the largest and most successful version of the latter.  What we found was that we share an underlying philosophy toward and an awe of the creative spirit, however it is expressed.  In 2011 BSA curated a gallery show in LA with 39 artists called “Street Art Saved My Life” after hearing enough artists and graffiti writers express a similar sentiment over the previous 10 years or so. So it should not have been a revelation to find that Jane Golden is known to repeat an analogous mantra that summarizes her work here in Philadelphia: “Art Saves Lives”.

Initiated as an anti-graffiti campaign by the city in 1984, the program originally made the common mistake of equating a style of art-making with illegally made works. With time, education, and outreach to the graffiti-writing youth she met in the streets, Golden gradually helped the city to begin to make a distinction between aerosol art and vandalism. As graffiti writers and others were invited to participate in the mural program, interact with the community, and to get paid for their work, the city witnessed a slow and gradual metamorphosis to becoming a capital of public art revered by many.

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Joe Boruchow “Watchtowers” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A trained artist and political science scholar, Golden never embraced the so-called “Broken Window Theory” that typecasts people as it pertained to graffiti writers and instead she shepherded that creative instinct among artistic types whom she met into creating work that gives back.

“I think that it is almost the opposite of the “broken window” stereotype,” she says, “This is about opportunity and possibility. It is opening up a window that wasn’t previously open in a way that people hadn’t anticipated.” She talks about the impact the Mural Arts Program has with its tireless outreach to engage neighborhoods in the decision making process about what work goes where, and she guarantees you that the overall effect is greater than a pretty picture.

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Eric Okdeh “Family Interrupted”” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I have seen it in communities where there was support for the project, but maybe not universal support. Then the mural goes up and suddenly there’s this ripple effect. When people start talking about it, connecting with it, thinking about other things and then sometimes thinking about things that are totally unrelated to us but if you were to do a diagram of the various outcomes, you know that it started with us.”

One example is a mural in the late 1980s that enlivened a neighborhood and inspired a community group to form and eventually become a powerful force of advocacy for the needs of neighbors. “When we did this “peace” mural the neighborhood reclaimed the space and then they bought a house from the city for a dollar and turned it into a headquarters. Then they lobbied for more art, then they lobbied for educational programs,” she says as she describes the evolution of a community that may have once felt like prey to a vocal one that now comes to speak to her students a the University of Pennsylvania about topics like economic development.

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Christophe Hamaide-Pierson of Assume Vivid Astro Focus  “All Very Amazing Fingers” Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I’m not saying that what we do is a panacea for all that ails the city but the catalytic role that art plays can’t be discounted because it is igniting something in us; it’s transformative. Art engages people in a way that just doesn’t happen in their day-to-day life. We want to help change the city and we feel that art is part of it.”

A particular threshold sighted for Street Art into the mural arts program was when artist Keith Haring painted “We the Youth” here in 1987, and that mural became part of the city in such a strong way that Mural Arts undertook a painstaking restoration of it a few years ago, as it has with many murals.  It wasn’t unusual in those early years of the program for murals to be done without proper consideration for life of the paint or the surface it was on.

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Keith Haring “We The Youth” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the Keith Haring mural the stucco was in such a bad shape we had to almost re-do the entire surface and that was an extensive process of peeling layers off. We wanted to make sure as we were restoring it we were remaining true to the original that Keith painted and it had to be done with incredible care, love and integrity. So we took its restoration and preservation really seriously and because it was necessary to do it right, we re-routed some funding from new projects to restoration.”

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Keith Haring “We The Youth” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Procuring funding for the many Mural Arts programs is an original model that other public arts programs have looked at – a balance of public and private that has enabled it to grow and support artists as well as the city itself – a system of securing funding that Golden describes as sort of an art in itself. “We are a city agency and we have gotten to a point where our budget is 35 % city and the rest is non-city funding through foundations, corporation and individuals earned income. It is an interesting hybrid model but that city part still resonates.”

She describes the alchemy of going to private donors as well as testifying about her budget before the city periodically. “We formed a board, we got our own 501c 3, and I just went underground,” as she describes the additional funding that enables multiple programs and actually pays artists a fair price for their work – something that the majority of Street Art festivals and various real estate holders are very reluctant to do – to the tune of nearly $2.2 million a year.

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Kenny Scharf. Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Someone told me about this art festival recently and said that they are paying the artists 300-500 dollars to do a major work and I said ‘What?’” she says incredulously, and scoffs at the idea that artists would work simply for “exposure”.  “We pay our interns! We pay our middle school students in the summer. Seriously? Everybody here is getting paid.” Granted, it isn’t always as much as they would like to pay an artist, but she makes sure the artists understand the full scope of the project before asking them to commit.

Despite the negative association many still have with graffiti and Street Artists a fair number have been joining in with the Mural Arts Program in recent years. With known and respected Street Art blogger RJ Rushmore joining the enterprise as Communications Manager two months ago, you can expect to see perhaps a few more names from the Street Art scene on the walls as time goes forward.

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“The Street Artists are inspired by Mural Arts and we are inspired by them,” says Golden, who is enthusiastic about this subtle programming shift that she began a few years ago with the encouragement of people like real estate developer Tony Goldman, who was credited with transforming neighborhoods like Manhattan’s Soho and Miami’s Wynwood District, and whose company acquired 25 properties from 1998 through 2003 in Philadelphia, according to the Goldman website.

“When (graffiti and Street Artist) Steven Powers contacted me to work together and he had this great idea, I said ‘I totally want to work with you’,” she says of his multi-building text project “Love Letters” that you can view from an elevated train line.  There weren’t any rules that say I couldn’t – we just need to get funding.” Of course it was as simple as Powers may have originally thought because the neighborhood also needed to be consulted, a practice Golden will not waver from.

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“Steve couldn’t believe he had to go to community meetings and I said ‘but you have to’.” As it turned out, the neighborhood had no interest in love letters. “We don’t want to talk about love. We are actually really angry at the city because the mass transit agency has shot down one of the major thoroughfares for repair work'” she remembers.

Some also didn’t understand the idea of text-based artwork rather than representational or figurative work. “’This isn’t a Mural Arts mural’, some folks in the neighborhood remarked. And I said ‘There isn’t really such a thing as a Mural Arts mural – its about creativity and its impact on the world’ and people then interestingly enough started to open up. They started to talk to Steve about their past, about what they did love about their neighborhood, about their memories and history and stories. It was fantastic and so it was a different kind of process and it had power on its own. That was a clue to us that we had built up 20 years of goodwill and we can now take risks as long as we are respectful and that will never change. It paid off because it opened the door for us to think differently about how we work.”

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Shepard Fairey “Lotus Diamond” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

She speaks as well about some of the other Street Artists from recent years. “Then we had Shepard (Fairey), and Chris Stain and How & Nosm,” she recalls. “I think their art is terrific and when they are here I want them to be a role model for the kids. Like How & Nosm – they were role models. They couldn’t have been nicer, kinder to our kids. Here are guys who started writing graffiti on walls and now they are traveling the world with their art and that is a fantastic message. For our kids to know that Shepard started out as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, that he was doing stickers, and that now he’s got a big design firm, it was important. We do have an entrepreneurial division at Mural Arts and Shepard is a role model for them.”

Sometimes the value of the project is not simply monetary but goes far deeper, which explains the level of commitment many have shown. We asked Golden to describe a couple of projects that have been personally satisfying for her, and we share one here that illustrates the entirely holistic approach Golden and the Mural Arts program take to art in the streets.

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Cesar Viveros and Parris Stancell “Healing Walls” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

She describes what evolutionary process contributed to the creation of a series of “healing walls” that depict all the members of community who are affected by crime; the criminal, the victim, and all the people they touch. Of  the many outstanding aspects of the project, one is that the people who are involved, including the offender, are deeply involved in its creation.

“We did a project with crime victims, victim’s advocates and prisoners in our mural class. We decided to start work in the prison.  The men in the class said they wanted to do outdoor murals. I said ‘you are lifers, you are never getting out, how in the world are you going to do that?’” she says as she describes a solution that enabled the artwork of the prisoners to be mounted on the mural walls. “We work a lot on parachute cloth, so we thought we could do this, we can work inside and take it outside.”

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Cesar Viveros and Parris Stancell “Healing Walls” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

The rallying together of the participants was not always smooth as the project began, she says, as the raw emotions and torn lives at times overwhelmed the process of creating the mural and voices of discontent threatened to capsize the project. “So I went to the Pennsylvania Prison Society, and I did research and designed a project called “Healing Walls” and I said ‘We are going to bring together everyone to talk about the impact and consequences of violent crime, because when crime happens everyone loses.”

In a process emblematic of the painstaking lengths Mural Arts goes to seek common ground, Golden describes where the main obstacle to the project lay. “So we asked everyone in this group from all different walks of life to come together to create a series of murals about this.  We are going to work partially in the prison, we’ll work in a church in the neighborhood, we are going to work here at the Mural Arts offices and we are going to work in some schools. Then the project started and it was contentious,” she says.

“No one wanted to get along because everyone had their story;

‘My pain is bigger.’

‘I’m from the neighborhood and we are scarred.’

‘Our neighborhood has been victimized.’

And no one understands the pain of the victim; The victim said, ‘I lost everything.’ Then the prisoner said, ‘I have been in pain since I was young. I’m filled with remorse.’ ”

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GAIA. Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

After each party was heard and the project threatened to fall in disarray, an unexpected outcome began to emerge, says Golden.

“Then eventually, over time, we started to create together. We’re in a giant auditorium and we have tons of tables. On each table we have crime victims, victims advocates and prisoners.  Then people started to say, ‘Can you pass the glue? Can you pass the brush? What about my shape? Then what happens was kind of miraculous because people began to listen to each other as they painted together. Eventually people were like ‘You know what? We really need to come together. We all want a safer city. What can we do about it and people started brainstorming – People behind the walls and people on the outside.”

“Then the murals went up and we had a dedication at this church and tons of people showed up. People’s whose sisters and brothers were incarcerated were there, victims were there, the Department of Corrections came and there was a major conversation about redemption and rehabilitation and giving people a chance. It sort of tapped into people’s humanity that no one had articulated.”

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How & Nosm. Mural Arts Program in collaboration with Goldman Properties. Philadelphia, PA. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Thirty years and a few thousand painted walls are only some of the outcomes of a program like this, but countless more are told in the generative effects, the rippling of waves of the efforts by artists and community. Those outcomes are impossible to measure or to quantify, even though we try.

BSA: It appears that you can use the art as a vehicle and you are a bit of an anthropologist, ethnologist, sociologist –  so along with your formal education you are getting many degrees as you go in the process.
Jane Golden: I believe in what we are doing, that art making is really about access, justice and equity. That’s the real deal for us, a lot of it. But I love this merging of worlds but you are right in order to do this work it is anthropology, sociology, urban planning, urbanism its everything…

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“When people think of mural arts I want them to think: ‘They have a little budget, they do tons of work, they are relevant to my life and they are impactful,’” says Ms. Golden. “And that, I think, is important and that connects me to something else that I have seen especially over the last five, six, or seven years. That is that when it comes to solving societies’ more intractable problems – we can never discount the role of innovation and creativity to make a difference when our traditional interventions have failed us.”

And then we go out and ride the train and look at more murals in the rain.

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Steve ESPO Powers “Love Letter” Mural Arts Program. Philadelphia, PA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

To learn more about the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program click HERE

BSA would like to thank Ms. Jane Golden for her generous time with us and also Mr. Brian Campbell and RJ Rushmore for their gracious hospitality, guided tour of the murals and lunch.

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

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><><BSA

This article was also published on The Huffington Post

Screen-Shot-HuffPost-Philadelphia-Mural-Arts-Sept-25-2014-09-25-at-5.10

 

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The Power of Pun : Steve “ESPO” Powers’ Signs in Brooklyn

Philadephia born New York Street Artist Stephen Powers AKA ESPO has been covering walls in Brooklyn since last summer with puns, phrases, and messages that hide in plain sight. Borrowing from a visual vocabulary of mid 20th century commercial signage and injecting his low-brow sarcasm and a knack for wordplay, the former graffiti writer perfected this kind of lettering more than a decade ago doing non-commissioned street art work in broad daylight on storefront grates in dilapidated New York neighborhoods.

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Like his barking carney signage for famous Coney Island, the work has all the subtlety of a cannonball. But you may be bamboozled. The sharply sweet uptown fonts and punchy retro palette could look like he’s giving you the straight dope, but a second glance reveals the winking eye of a court jester.  With an advertisers  sensibility, his recent expansive public art installations  – “Love Letters” to Philadelphia, Syracuse, and now Brooklyn – have a tough-as-nails enamel gloss while the soft center swirls a sentiment more gooey, even maudlin.

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Using phrases snatched directly from Brooklyn folks conversations on the street as well as his penchant for the parlance of snake oil salesmen, Powers yells boldly these non-sequitur and illusory missives across a parking garage, regularly looking back to see if “yah heard?”.  It’s what emotional signage this size demands and gets, if only for a second.

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Images of the Week: 12.18.11

Our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Bast, ESPO, Nick Walker, Raemann, Todd James, Willow, and Wing.

Santa Claus is coming to (cough, cough, cough) Raemann “Eviair” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Specter. A night shot of the new piece from his “Manage Workflow” series (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Faile is feeling a little down and out in New York. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Bast never Failes. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

An old Nick Walker piece gets a new look with a fresh coat of paint in the negative space. His stencil shows signs of weathering and time but admirably the landlord left it untouched, creating a new framing in the process. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Talented painter Willow shows influences from two other well known Street Artists, Gaia and Swoon. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Even in grey winter, a new bright blossom springs from the cracks in the concrete as Wing uses glass tiles for this installation. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Todd “Reas” James and Stephen “ESPO” Powers joined forces again this weekend and brought to Brooklyn  a large selection of works from “The Street Market”, their installation shown this April at the “Arts in the Streets” exhibition at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

Steve “Espo” Powers and Todd “Reas” James “Street Market” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve “Espo” Powers and Todd “Reas” James “Street Market” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve “Espo” Powers and Todd “Reas” James “Street Market” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve “Espo” Powers and Todd “Reas” James “Street Market” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve “Espo” Powers and Todd “Reas” James “Street Market” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve “Espo” Powers and Todd “Reas” James “Street Market” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Steve “Espo” Powers and Todd “Reas” James “Street Market” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Fun Friday 07.08.11

Fun-Friday

OverUnder & IRGH – BRAND NEW VIDEO Directed by Dan Gingold

To start your weekend dancing, OverUnder and IRGH rocked a couple walls – that go swirling by in this quick and dancey video. More please!

AIKO “Unstoppable Waves” in Amsterdam

At Andenken Gallery, Brooklyn Street Artist Aiko will open her new show on Sunday.

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Aiko in Los Angeles with LA Freewalls (photo © Jaime Rojo)

www.andenken.com/

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“Dead Relatives” – Ernesto Yerena and Phil Lumbang at the Black Book Gallery (Denver)

brooklyn-street-art-WEB-Phil-Lumbang-Ernesto-Yerena-DEAD-RELATIVES-balck-book-gallerySecond Saturday at Black Book Gallery in July will entail a visit by two artists from Southern California, Phil Lumbang and Ernesto Yerena Montejano.Click on the link below for more information on this show:http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/?p=22640Black Book Gallery

See our piece on Ernesto from last autumn here

Ernesto Yerena: Art Without Borders

COPE2 at Maximillian Gallery , “Authentic”

brooklyn-street-art-WEB-Cope2_Authentic_Maximillian-GalClick on the link below for more information on this show:http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/?p=22636

“Grand Illusion” – Anthony Sneed at the Shooting Gallery (SF)

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Anthony Sneed mural in Brooklyn (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Click below for more information on this show:

http://www.brooklynstreetart.com/theblog/?p=22434

New PodCast with Steve ESPO by Meighan O’Toole

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Steve ESPO Powers (photo © Meighan O’Toole)

The always gracious and hot smart Meighan O’Toole founder of the popular site My Love for You is debuting her podcast series with none other than the “man of words”

“I’ve toyed with the idea over the past few years of doing a podcast series — but honestly never found the time to nail it down. But push came to shove a few weeks ago when I was given the opportunity to sit down with graffiti writer and artist Steve Powers. He had come into SF to set up for Sign Your Life Away at Guerrero Gallery and was only going to be in town for a little over two days. So I figured, no time like the present “. Hear the conversation >>>:http://myloveforyou.typepad.com/my_love_for_you/2011/07/new-podcast-series-steve-espo-powers.html

Call to Artists for Submissions – Tehran Kolah Studio

From Tehran Kolah Studio is issuing a call for artists to contribute submissions for their Call for Art # 12.

brooklyn-street-art-kolah-studioBrainStorm magazine has just shifted to issuu.com .and closed it’s individual domain… but it is still alive and continues to work as one of the very first cutting edge experimental emags shooting out some ideas from IRAN.

From their press release:
“KolahStudioTehran is Calling For Artists to make an issue describing street life and street art…. We are living in an urban enviroment so we creat an urban influenced art…. Let’s describe our culture.. Let’s build an album which defines some aspects of our generation…. paintings, drawings, graffiti, Street art, poetry and short stories…. every kind of art form which can be included in a PDF form as a magazine.”

To take part and for more info please click on the link below:

http://www.kolahstudio.com/underground/?p=979

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