All posts tagged: Steven P. Harrington

Balancing ‘Land Art’ and ‘Mural Art’ in the Swiss Alps. Saype: “Vers l’equilibre”

Balancing ‘Land Art’ and ‘Mural Art’ in the Swiss Alps. Saype: “Vers l’equilibre”

“I just unveiled a new artwork in the Swiss Alps, in Villars-sur-Ollon,” Saype tells us when talking about the new 2500 m2 painting on a high grassy elevation. “’Vers l’équilibre’” (Towards balance) depicts a little girl forming a cairn on a pile of books.”

Saype. “Vers l’equilibre”. Grand Chamossaire mountain. Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. (photo © Valentin Flauraud for Saype)

Massive pieces like this by Saype merge muralism and land art, a hybrid that is not common even now. It may be shocking for some people to see until they learn that the materials used are not harmful to the environment, and are biodegradable. Here the final image is still best seen from a drone perhaps, but if you are hiking near the summit of the Grand Chamossaire mountain, above the alpine resort of Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, you too may find the right angle for a view.

Saype. “Vers l’equilibre”. Grand Chamossaire mountain. Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. (photo © Valentin Flauraud for Saype)
Saype. “Vers l’equilibre”. Grand Chamossaire mountain. Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. (photo © Valentin Flauraud for Saype)
Saype. “Vers l’equilibre”. Grand Chamossaire mountain. Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. (photo © Valentin Flauraud for Saype)
Saype. “Vers l’equilibre”. Grand Chamossaire mountain. Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. (photo © Valentin Flauraud for Saype)
Saype. “Vers l’equilibre”. Grand Chamossaire mountain. Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland. (photo © Valentin Flauraud for Saype)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 07.24.22

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.24.22

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Welcome to BSA Images of the Week!

Jesus it’s rough out there! Throwing a frisbee could cause a heart attack in this heat wave. This situation is like the polar opposite of a winter snowstorm that forces everyone to stay inside their apartments. Believe it or not, in this city we have such extremes. We gave you Trump and we also gave you Bernie Sanders, for example.

Trying to think happy thoughts on the street despite the crushing debilitating heat and we are greeted by a mopey Gen Z guy carrying a sign that says “this is the coolest summer of the rest of your life”. Thanks, Senor Killjoy.

The good thing, and we insist on concentrating on these good things, is that New York is positively swimming with gorgeous young things who are traipsing through the streets in barely there gear and you don’t even need to buy pot to get high now because the streets are swirling with it. Also, you can buy pot anywhere; in a curbside truck, on a brownstone stoop, from a Nigerian guy out of a suitcase on the sidewalk on Canal street, even at your grandma’s Saturday canasta match.

$100 two years ago is worth only $85, but our parks are still free and full of leafy trees and concerts and theater and city pools are staying open extra hours to cool off. Burning Spear, UB40, Animal Collective, Sharon Van Etten, The Decemberists, Khruangbin, Erykah Badu, Shakespeare in the Park, anybody? We always sit on a blanket outside the gate and enjoy the music nonetheless – you can too. Also, as a reminder, we are not at war with each other – all us different races and religions. That’s all a huge lie on the TV machine. New Yorkers actually like each other.

Our street art as usual is off the hook. This week it seems a little bit cuddly, to tell the truth.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Rambo,Hiss, Dirty Bandits, Modomatic, Neon Savage, Muckrock, You Are Not Alone, Third Rail Art, Rari Grafix, OH!, Drama, and Banksy Hates Me.

Prolly not. Banksy Hates Me (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Been seeing these at your summer picnic? Modomatic. Bug 015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Is this a three layer strawberry cat cake? Hiss (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dirty Bandits in collaboration with You Are Not Alone Murals and East Village Walls. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Oh, what DRAMA! (photo © Jaime Rojo)
MuckRock (photo © Jaime Rojo)
MuckRock (photo © Jaime Rojo)
OH! (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Neon Savage (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Third Rail Art and Rari Frafix (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Summer 2022, NY (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Polish Pener Takes a “Vacation From Reality” in Christschurch, NZ

Polish Pener Takes a “Vacation From Reality” in Christschurch, NZ

Christschurch in New Zealand has seen a boom in street art for the last decade, which many say was sparked by the devastating earthquake that killed nearly 200 people in 2011. Rising like a creative phoenix on painted walls, street artists’ created an organic artful response – healing hearts and summoning community pride in the beauty here in Ōtautahi, the name given to this city first by the Māori.

Pener. Vacation From Reality exhibition at the Fiksate Galley in Christchurch, New Zealand. (photo courtesy of the artist)

A boom in the gallery scene quickly followed, and Jenna and Nathan Ingram opened Fiksate in 2015. The white box gallery is known primarily as a respected hub for the street art/urban contemporary art genres. They have a steadily growing roster of local and international artists, some of whom you may recognize.

Currently, they are hosting a show by the Polish artist Pener, whose saturated abstractions have evolved from his deconstructing of graffiti letterforms and his fascination with the mechanized world. Today he confesses that his forms are softening somewhat due to his maturing process and gentle way of looking at life. Part of a growing school of Polish artists creating abstract works, Pener (Bartek Swiqtecki) has become quite passionate about this non-figurative form that allows for individual interpretation.

Pener. Step Into the Light, 2022. Vacation From Reality exhibition at the Fiksate Galley in Christchurch, New Zealand. (photo courtesy of the artist)

He arrived in NZ after a 30-hour trip from Poland and worked quickly for a week to mount the exhibition “Vacation From Reality.” The show features eight large original canvasses, three limited-edition prints, and some abstractly grey shadowed walls on which to hang them.

Pener spoke of his process and headspace with local street art expert Reuben Woods, an art historian, writer, and curator. He writes a column for the website “Watch This Space” about the lively street art scene.

Pener. Brainstorm, 2022. Vacation From Reality exhibition at the Fiksate Galley in Christchurch, New Zealand. (photo courtesy of the artist)

From the interview, we share with you just one Q&A from their discussion that marks this exhibition to provide BSA readers with greater context and insight.

Reuben Woods: As an abstract artist, you have stated you start with an emotion and the process, and when I look at your work, I can’t help but feel it captures the anxiety and emotional fracture of contemporary society. Is that intentional or a result of our ability to read abstraction as we need to?
Pener: I often get the impression that the paintings are a bit like mirrors in which we can look at our emotions. My paintings calm me down and give me peace. Often, in the process of painting, I freeze in front of a painting. I look at it for so long that I stop thinking. It’s the same feeling as if you swim for a long time in the swimming pool or climb in the mountains and stop thinking about everyday problems. It takes you somewhere inside or outside.

Probably everyone has a slightly different interpretation of works of art – which is very interesting. Some people see specific shapes in them, others only feel emotions. I am very happy when someone interprets my paintings in a way that I did not know and did not notice.

Pener. Jungle of doom, 2022. Vacation From Reality exhibition at the Fiksate Galley in Christchurch, New Zealand. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Pener. Frozen Paths, 2022. Vacation From Reality exhibition at the Fiksate Galley in Christchurch, New Zealand. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Pener. Vacation From Reality exhibition at the Fiksate Galley in Christchurch, New Zealand. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Pener. Vacation From Reality exhibition at the Fiksate Galley in Christchurch, New Zealand. (photo courtesy of the artist)
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BSA Film Friday 07.22.22

BSA Film Friday 07.22.22

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

Now screening:
1. URBAN NATION 2022 – “Talking… & Other Banana Skins” – on FWTV
2. Flower Punk”- Azuma Makoto
3. JR: Can Art Change the World?

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BSA Special Feature: URBAN NATION 2022 – “Talking… & Other Banana Skins” – on FWTV

In his first official visit back to Urban Nation since its opening in 2017, Fifth Wall host Doug Gillen finds a more democratic collection of artists from various points in the street art/urban art constellation. That impression is understandable due to the heavy presence of commercial interests involved in the selection of bankable street art stars and OGs chosen to represent five decades of graffiti/street art at the opening of a new institution dedicated to the scene. Curators were careful to program several relative unknowns and lesser-recognized artists into that initial grab-bag collection, but we take the point.

It’s refreshing to hear the current show’s curator Michelle Houston speak about her personal and professional philosophy toward street art and our collective relationship to it. A hybrid of the existing UN permanent collection and new works, it comes off as a rather wholistic approach that respects more players and their contribution to what has proven to be a very democratic grassroots art movement on streets around the world.

With decidedly less focus on the ever-more codified, commodified, and blue-chip-ivy-league-endorsed criterion of exclusivity that plagues the ‘art world’, this varied collection may represent a retaining wall against trends we witness that threaten to erect the same sort of structures of exclusivity that unbridled art-in-the-streets set out to destroy. Of course, every modern counterculture eventually gets transformed on its way to accepted culture, and we’re somewhat resigned to that reality. However rather than zapping the life out of the free-wheeling nature of graffiti and street art, Urban Nation may be staking a claim of departure from peers to defend some of those original tenets – in this insistently self-defining scene.

URBAN NATION 2022 – “Talking… & Other Banana Skins” – Exhibition Review | FWTV



“Flower Punk”- Azuma Makoto

And speaking of every modern counterculture that eventually gets transformed on its way to accepted culture, we present the Punk Florist, artist Azuma Makoto, who uses plants in a sculptural manner. It is a practice that he hopes can connect humanity and nature. It may help if you are listening to Dead Kennedys or Black Flag – or perhaps something more industrial, or no-wave. But when he and his team send a ragged bundle of beauty literally into space, all bets are off. It’s a new game.



JR: Can Art Change the World?

In yet another TED talk, JR speaks for himself.

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Said Dokins Creates Illuminated Sculpture in Querétaro : “Refraktur”

Said Dokins Creates Illuminated Sculpture in Querétaro : “Refraktur”

Mexican street artist Said Dokins clearly loves towers to create his work upon. And he adores covering them with all sorts of cryptic symbols and stylized letter forms. Now we find him doing a decidedly high-gloss version as inscrutable mirrored kinetic sculpture in the streets for people to study, peer into, contemplate, and pose in front of.

 

Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

Part of the Querétaro Experimental international public art festival this summer, the artist says his new mirrored pole is called presents Refraktur. As one of the 200 artists across a wide range of disciplines, including music, theatre, dance, performance and sculpture, the muralist is taking on glass, metal, mirrored glass and LEDs to entertain and perhaps puzzle passersby.

Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)

“This piece seeks to create an atmosphere that invites the public to reflect on its presence and the environment,” says Dokins “through a scriptural space in the form of a tower that during the day appears as a mirror and during the night is illuminated through the screen hidden within the structure, where a series of words, signs and symbols are in constant movement.”

“This piece seeks to create an atmosphere that invites the public to reflect on its presence and the environment, through a scriptural space in the form of a tower that during the day appears as a mirror and during the night is illuminated through the screen hidden within the structure, where a series of words, signs and symbols are in constant movement,” explains Dokins.

Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico.
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
Said Dokins. Refraktur. Querétaro Experimental International Public Art Festival. Querétaro. Mexico. (photo © Leonardo Luna)
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Italian Fires from Matteo Capobianco: “Border light: istruzioni per abitare il margine”

Italian Fires from Matteo Capobianco: “Border light: istruzioni per abitare il margine”

“U marauasce” – “Border Light”

The original fires of historical St. Joseph celebrations in Italy neatly coincided with pagan rituals of burning bonfires at the Spring equinox. It was a perfect act of marketing from both that caused both Catholics and heathen to join the dances and songs honoring the heat and the flames reaching high into night skies. In another hybrid activity of sorts, we find a former graffiti writer crossing into a new field to pay homage to his graffiti and Italian roots; employing professional graphic display skills to re-activate a public space.

Matteo Capobianco aka Ufocinque. Creative Living Lab – 3rd Edition. Associazione Culturale Antonio Giordano. Santa Croce di Magliano, Italy. (photo courtesy of ACAG)

Designer and scenographer Matteo Capobianco (aka UfoCinque) lights the municipality of Santa Croce di Magliano with this new flaming installation called “U marauasce” to recall the majestic fires lit over centuries at the feast of St. Joseph, the original caretaker of Jesus.

Foregoing the traditional olive trees and vines from the countryside typically used in fire-making, Capobianco conjures the tall licking flames by cutting plastic sheets and playing with light shining through the negative space.

Matteo Capobianco aka Ufocinque. Creative Living Lab – 3rd Edition. Associazione Culturale Antonio Giordano. Santa Croce di Magliano, Italy. (photo courtesy of ACAG)

The organizers say that as the winning submission for the “Creative Living Lab – 3rd edition” public notice, this fire is part of a more considerable effort to revitalize the municipality. As you can see from the photos, this is a legal installation done with the community’s involvement in the courtyard of the former elementary school. It is yet another way that artists can use urban interventions to alter public space and provoke/evoke discussion, memories, emotions, and historical events.

Matteo Capobianco aka Ufocinque. Creative Living Lab – 3rd Edition. Associazione Culturale Antonio Giordano. Santa Croce di Magliano, Italy. (photo courtesy of ACAG)
Matteo Capobianco aka Ufocinque. Creative Living Lab – 3rd Edition. Associazione Culturale Antonio Giordano. Santa Croce di Magliano, Italy. (photo courtesy of ACAG)
Matteo Capobianco aka Ufocinque. Creative Living Lab – 3rd Edition. Associazione Culturale Antonio Giordano. Santa Croce di Magliano, Italy. (photo courtesy of ACAG)
Matteo Capobianco aka Ufocinque. Creative Living Lab – 3rd Edition. Associazione Culturale Antonio Giordano. Santa Croce di Magliano, Italy. (photo courtesy of ACAG)
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Bifido in Lozzi, Emotions on Display in Corsica

Bifido in Lozzi, Emotions on Display in Corsica

Sometimes it just hits you, a joke. You bend back and lift your chin and belt out a joyful laugh.In the pantheon of positive health behaviors, this unbridled outburst must be one of those actions recommended regularly – sure to keep your life lighter and longer.

“The fact is always obvious much too late, but the most singular difference between happiness and joy is that happiness is a solid and joy a liquid.”

J.D. Salinger
Bifido. Popularte Festival. Lozzi, Corsica. France. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Italian street artist, photographer, sociologist, and philosopher Bifido shows us this newest diptych of two girls expressing simple emotions in the smallest town we can imagine. Not far from the laughing girl is the shy one, hiding behind her hands, unsure if that will be enough to comfort herself.

“Lozzi is in the Niolu region, about 80 people live there, there is no commercial activity, no bar, no market, no school, nothing,” Bifido says, which makes you consider the impact of these powerful large-scale images before an audience not accustomed to the visual litter of the big city.

We are always intrigued by such small towns across Europe inhabited by a handful of individuals. We asked Bifido about the town and he told us that “I believe that such a village can make you fall in love. Totally surrounded by nature, a precious silence and all noises are children of nature.
The gentleman who organizes the festival is a math teacher at the university, when he has to go to work he takes 1 hour by car which I imagine is nothing for you, but for a European, especially one who lives in such a place it is a long way.

He organizes the festival himself and does it for the local children. In fact, he has a beautiful spirit. He likes to invite artists who involve local children, and even sometimes with the artists themselves, the children destroy the works after a few days as an act of participation”.

Bifido. Popularte Festival. Lozzi, Corsica. France. (photo courtesy of the artist)

Even in these photographs, disconnected from logos or brands or campaign messages, an observer is pushed to calculate the scale of a photorealistic image in relation to these settings. It is unclear if the images respond directly to the town, or if they presents new spirits in their midst.

For a town that is barely so, one considers the life here, where “there are only scattered huts, mountains, rivers, lakes, cows and other animals that roam undisturbed through the alleys.” Bifido adds to the public space with these images. Each is in a way similarly isolated – as are the residents of this place that was once full of the everday hallmarks of a healthy society.

In both portraits Bifido creates a poignant distillation of a moment – for anyone to discover and interpret on their way through Lozzi.

Bifido. Popularte Festival. Lozzi, Corsica. France. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Bifido. Popularte Festival. Lozzi, Corsica. France. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Bifido. Popularte Festival. Lozzi, Corsica. France. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Bifido. Popularte Festival. Lozzi, Corsica. France. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Bifido. Popularte Festival. Lozzi, Corsica. France. (photo courtesy of the artist)
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Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2022  – Outdoor Murals

Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2022 – Outdoor Murals

The Ljubljana Street Art Festival 2022 edition has come to an end, with great flourish. We’ve been reporting on it here on BSA, and now we bid adieu to the uniquely creative organizers. They planned some unusual events and installations – painted with fire extinguishers and activated by fire, for example, or an extended definition of street art via phone assisted augmented reality. We particularly are gratified to see the conscious effort organizers and educators make to engage with the community and to open the experience of art on the street to adults and children.

Danilo Milovanović “Head through the wall”. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Danilo Milovanović “Head through the wall”. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)

With an informed balance of mind and heart, the festival presented an extensive program of talks, panels, and related social and performative events remain relevant and educational while entertaining. Screening the documentary Street Heroines – a documentary exploring courage and creativity in the female graffiti/street art scene – was undoubtedly a pinnacle, as was interviewing the intrepid director Alexandra Henry.

Mathieu Tremblin. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Mathieu Tremblin. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)

The fulsome academic program brought several speakers to examine the role of new technologies in the field of street art, the cross pollination of politics and sociological movements, the response “the street” has to war and propaganda, the intersections with sport culture, and the built environment as memoryscape. As ever, speakers and audience together contemplated our ongoing struggles to define the vagaries of a vast street art practice worldwide presents.

In addition to the presenters and participants in the program, we extend our congratulations to the excellent team of organizers and curators, to the talented artists and photographers, to the team of volunteers, and of course, to the host city of Ljubljana and their welcoming residents. Or special gratitude to photographer Crt Piksi, who shares his documentation here with BSA readers. Until next year…

Mathieu Tremblin. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Mathieu Tremblin. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Mathieu Tremblin. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Marko Gavez x Neza Knez. This is an interdisciplinary project with Mr. Gavez painting the mural and Mr. Knez working on an AR visualization. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Veli & Amos. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Veli & Amos. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Nejc Ketis)
Veli & Amos. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Nejc Ketis)
Veli & Amos. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Nejc Ketis)
Veli & Amos. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Nejc Ketis)
Veli & Amos. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Nejc Ketis)
Zebu. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Zebu. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Children’s Wall Project. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Children’s Wall Project. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Children’s Wall Project. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti and VJ graffiti jam. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti and VJ graffiti jam. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti and VJ graffiti jam. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti and VJ graffiti jam. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti and VJ graffiti jam. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti jam and VJ graffiti. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti jam and VJ graffiti. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti jam and VJ graffiti. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti jam and VJ graffiti. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
Graffiti jam and VJ graffiti. LJSAF 2022. (photo © Crt Piksi)
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BSA Images Of The Week: 07.17.22

BSA Images Of The Week: 07.17.22

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Welcome to BSA Images of the Week!

From throw-ups to tags, banal to topical, paste-ups to high-gloss murals, the New York pays you back in grit and passion when you keep your eyes open. This summer the heat is on – and you really only need shorts, a tee-shirt, and comfy footwear to get lost in this city that is speaking to you at all hours and pouring poetic discourse into your head and heart. As hard as it may be sometimes, we are always thankful to be in a city full of people and artists that inspire daily.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring: Invader, Elle, Goog, Urban Russian Doll NYC, Homesick, King Baby, Miss 17, Cramcept, You Are Not Alone, Rambo, Dense, Beep Beep, Red Eye Mob, Crypto Compadres, and Dominator.

You Are Not Alone (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vanilla Cool Dance (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Urban Russian Doll (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Homesick (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Invader (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dominator (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Elle (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Elle (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Crypto Compadres (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Red Eye Mob! (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cramcept (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Beep Beep (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dense (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Goog (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Rambo (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Miss 17 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
King Baby (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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“Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure”

“Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure”

Ah, summer in the city! New York offers a myriad of choices for your entertainment and to perhaps enhance your appreciation of art and its crucial role in society. Aside from simply cruising the streets to see new works directly on city walls, one exhibition firmly rooted in the New York street art story that we highly recommend this summer is entitled “Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure” currently on view in Chelsea. The exhibition is organized by his family with his sisters Lisane Basquiat and Jeanine Heriveaux directing a narrative that is personal and revelatory. The exhibition opened in the Spring and we wrote about it HERE

Christopher Makos. Jean-Michel Basquiat: King Pleasure”

Click HERE for more details, tickets and schedules.

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BSA Film Friday: 07.15.22

BSA Film Friday: 07.15.22

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

Now screening:
1. Turnout – Michael Van Swearingen
2. ENTER via Graffiti TV
3. Carlos Mare – 12 Levels of Graffiti: Easy to Complex

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BSA Special Feature: Turnout – Michael Van Swearingen

Motion Designer Michael Van Swearingen somehow converts graffiti culture into a loveable squishy clean place to break the law, and breaks your heart gently doing so. “Tobin and Sven are street artists involved in a shady lifestyle as middle-men. After Tobin announces leaving his criminal past behind, along with the city, they proceed to finish one last drop off of an unmarked bag. Upon entering a graffiti soaked alley way, they’re confronted by a police officer and make a run for it. Ducking and diving through the glowing alley, they make their way towards a trainyard. With the cops following close behind, a split second decision decides their future.”

Turnout – Michael Van Swearingen



ENTER via Graffiti TV

Mexican graffiti futurist is a cyber punk influenced by Japanese style. Part of the 217 crew, Enter here shows you some of his tricks on this new flick from Graffiti TV.



Carlos Mare – 12 Levels of Graffiti: Easy to Complex via WIRED

NYC Old Skool graffiti originalist Mare 139 schools us all on the 12 Levels of graffiti. Everybody listen up.

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Kinshasa Shines Brightly at Kin Graff 4: Part II

Kinshasa Shines Brightly at Kin Graff 4: Part II

Join the party today in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where the street art festival Kin Graff 4 brought many to celebrate the murals, the artists, and the festival itself with music, food, and dancing.

Today we see images of the artists and celebrants here in the municipality of Kinshasa called Bandal, which is short for Bandalungwa. It’s the hometown of many of this year’s artists and the site of many works from last year’s edition of Kin Graff. The musical event was called “Live Experience,” and photographer Martha Cooper tells us that there were “performers appearing on an outdoor stage which had been set up for the night.”

Crew Moyindo Tag Nation. Jonatemps, Enua Mata, Tata Nizzo, Mohamed Lisongo, and Ema Rangers. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)

It’s great to see so many people celebrating the arts and the positive role that they bring to a community. “White wooden boxes were placed near the stage for graffiti writers to paint live,” Martha tells us. “Many of the musicians were rappers. We heard that there were going to be BBoys dancing, but we didn’t stay late and don’t know whether that happened. There was an enthusiastic reception from the crowd who cheered and danced to the performers.”

Martha Cooper. Kin Graff 4. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Sally Levin)

Also, we show you some celebrants in fancy dress and creative costumery, some of the older murals, some of the new AIDS-themed artworks, and learn a little about Bonobos – which are found only here and are a celebrated part of the culture. We also speak here with Kin Graff director Yann Kwete, who tells us how he became interested in such a challenging project, and how difficult it is to mount such an event here. We ask him what his aspirations are for the festival and the people concerning graffiti, muralism, and the spirit of creativity that runs through the streets in Kinshasa.

Mro Mra. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Brooklyn Street Art: How did you come out with the idea of organizing Kin Graff in Congo and how many editions have you organized so far?
Yann Kwete: My passion is art and urban culture. In 2013 I met Sitou, a graffiti artist from Togo and we had the idea to create this graffiti festival in DR Congo 2013. This was the 1st edition. From there I continued the project by myself through my organization Culture Plus. I have done 4 editions so far including this one.

Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: How did you get to know the artists’ work and how did you find them to extend an invitation to participate?
YK: I traveled through Europe and Africa and went to an art fair and other graffiti festivals. That’s where I met some of the artists. Some were referred by the artists I knew, and some contacted me directly to participate in the festival.

Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: What are the biggest obstacles you need to conquer to organize the festival?
YK: The main obstacle, or challenge, I would say, is the financial aspect – as the government doesn’t really grant funds for the culture and arts in DR. Congo.  We need to be concerned with everything – from the traveling of the artists to the food, hotel, and visa application as well. One of the challenges encountered was also sponsorship and administration. This is completely different from the Occident or Canada and the US.

Martha Cooper at the Artist Workshop. French Institue. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Sally Levin)

BSA: Do you get support from the city? Logistical? Financial? If so does it comes from private business or from the government?
YK: This was the 2nd time I got the support of the city. That support is administrative, not financial – to be able to have access to murals throughout the city. Most of the financial support we receive comes from private businesses. This year we had the chance to get a big sponsor, Bracongo, who was able to support us financially. Logistically, we had support from Loop Colors who was able to provide materials for the artists. We got also received support from media through TV5, RFI, and France 24 for the marketing.

Aristote Meuble. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BSA: Are you a graffiti writer yourself?
YK: I’m not a graffiti writer but I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts here and have been an art lover ever since.

BSA: What are the aspirations of the graffiti writers when they come to the festival?
YK: It is based on their creativity, the theme of the festival, and their engagement through it.

BSA: Do you invite writers from many different cities and/or parts of the country?
YK: Mostly, I get local graffiti artists from Kinshasa and others are international. In the future, I will be able to have other artists coming from other cities to be part of the festival.

BSA: What’s the biggest satisfaction you get from organizing this festival?
YK: To show the world the beauty of arts and graffiti in our country, to develop the arts and culture in DR Congo. To teach and help young Congolese to become cultural administrators in DR Congo through their arts. My main goal is to promote art in DR. Congo and Africa.

Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Tata Nizzo. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Tata Nizzo. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Tata Nizzo. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Tata Nizzo. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bonobos. Lola ya Bonobo (“Paradise for Bonobos”). The only Bonobo sanctuary
in the world. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)

BONOBOS
Bonobos aren’t directly related to Kin-Graff but Martha says they deserve a mention because they are only found in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “Bonobos share 98.7 percent of DNA with humans making them our closest animal relative,” she says. “Adult bonobos are killed for their meat. Orphaned baby bonobos are adopted, raised and returned to the wild.”

They also show up in street art murals and elsewhere throughout Congolese society and The African Wildlife foundation says they are a critically endangered animal, with only 15,000 to 20,000 remaining. Author Jacqueline Conciatore, writing for the AWF website, also reports that they have non-procreative sex, just like humans. “They live in matriarchal groups and famously use sex as a social tool — to manage conflict and tension or even just say ‘hello.'”

Bonobos. Lola ya Bonobo (“Paradise for Bonobos”). The only Bonobo sanctuary
in the world. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Unidentified artist. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Breaking the chains! Unidentified artist. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Gaultier Mayemba. Kin Graff “Live Experience”. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Edenho Ntoya. Kin Graff “Live Experience”. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bam’s. Kin Graff “Live Experience”. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bam’s. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Unidentified artist. Kin Graff “Live Experience”. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Kin Graff “Live Experience”. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Kin Graff “Live Experience”. Kinshasa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Carlitos. Kinshasa, Bandalungwa, Congo. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Kinshasa Shines Brightly at Kin Graff 4: Part I

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