They are not staying quiet. If you had doubted the inclination of street artists to join the socio-political fray in 2020, don’t. Among the cute and decorative pieces out there, we are steadily discovering that artists are using the public sphere to take risks, addressing issues that are thorny and puzzling. As ever, the streets are a reflection of our society and all its fabulous dysfunction – a refreshing take on free speech that often makes much more sense than the disinformation war raging hourly right now on corporate media.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adam Fu, Blood and Soul, Clint Mario, Faust, Gazoo to the Moon, Jarus, Maia Lorian, Pure Genius, Raddington Falls, Sticker Maul, Stikman, TV Head ATX, Will Pay, and Winston Tseng.
The moment you think you understand the street is the moment you begin to lose touch. Behavior on social media is also about as reliable as your Uncle Oscar after he’s had a few too many frosted rum balls and rosy red holiday cocktails. First, he’s twirling Aunt Marge to the Beatles on the living room rug, next thing he’s headbanging with your cousin Teddy to Bon Jovi on the back porch – and later you regrettably see him getting his freak on with a Missy Elliott classic as he waits his turn at the pool table in the basement.
So we rely on the numbers to tell us what is popular with our readers, and not surprisingly, you like everything! Little tiny stickers, massive murals, 3-D sculptural elements, even Lizzo running for president. These are the top ten pieces that got retweeted, shared on Instagram, commented about on Facebook and read about on the site. It’s not scientific, and it’s skewed through the lens of BSA’s POV, but these hottest pieces are still an indicator of the sentiments and tastes of fans on social; sophisticated, insightful, critical, dark mooded, conscious and funny AF. You’re just our type!
November was “Native American Heritage Month” in the US and has been since 1990 and ironically the growing right-wing extremism of the intervening decades appears to have further erased our collective knowledge of native peoples – so it’s the perfect time to find this new campaign of local natives on the streets of New York by Street Artist LMNOPI.
9. Abe Lincoln Jr. & Maia Lorian. A Presidential Parody
The public takeover of ‘street furniture’ and advertising kiosks continues as artists demand back the mindspace and public space that is sold or given to corporate advertisers or propagandizers. This duo brings complementary skills to the old phone booths with their own brand of political satire.
8. Okuda & Bordalo II Collaboration in Madrid.
This Frankenstein duet on the streets of Madrid caught our eye this spring and you liked it too. By Spain’s Okuda and Portugal’s Bordalo II. Madrid, March 2019.
7. Oak Oak in Bayonne, France.
A small stencil in Bayonne, France from Oak Oak resonates in its cheerful satire of pompous crass man-boys with bombs.
6 Lula Goce for NRNY Artsy Murals /Street Art For Mankind
The Swan and the falcon depicted on the mural are actual residents of New Rochelle. They came and liked what they saw and decided to stay and raise their families there. A fitting real story as New Rochelle is a town where immigrants are welcomed and are an important part of the community.
5. I Heart Graffiti “Lizzo for President”
A campaign for singer/songwriter/ rapper Lizzo capitalized on the stars meteoric rise in 2019 to the top of many charts. Considering the number of Democratic challengers on the debate stages this summer and fall, it seemed plausible that she was actually running. If she promised Americans to help the poor and working-class yet assured her corporate donors to screw them once in office, she could get elected too.
4. Judith Supine’s Luxury Cowboy/girl Ad Take Over
The brilliant collage surrealist Judith Supine was back with a new lasso this year, skillfully misleading audiences on the street with his free associations equating luxury fashion brands and 20th-century cancer product advertising. It’s a match made in Hell!. Welcome!
3 Nafir at Urban Spree in Berlin
Iranian Street Arist Nafir left this Instagram alienation indictment hanging in a hidden spot at Berlin’s Urban Spree playground this year, and for some reason, it struck a chord with many.
Do you want to talk about it? We’re not joking about suicide.
2. “Outings Project” for Urban Nation Museum in Berlin
It began as a way of bringing fine art pieces from inside the museum to the Street, and “The Outings Project” has brought hundreds of artworks out into the daylight this way for a decade or so, thanks to French artist Julien de Casabianca. These particular dark angels have been cast out of heaven and are just about to hit the ground across the street from Urban Nation Museum, Berlin.
1. Sara Lynne-Leo struck a chord with her pain commentary on the streets of NYC
A relative newcomer to the streets in New York, Sara Lynne-Leo keeps her small scale pieces well-placed, if your eyes are open. A comedian and social observer, her character’s pains and insecurities are played out in magnified emotional tableaus that quickly capture the severity and make light of it at the same time. This one must have really captured the zeitgeist of a troubled time across modern societies, where one pretends a wound is made bearable with an optimistic sunny perspective, even if the situation may be life-threatening.
An hour north of New York City in the wealthiest
county of the state, a new mural program extends the reach of organizers Audrey
and Thibault Decker of Street Art for Mankind. They say that they have
produced murals and exhibitions in Larchmont, Mamaroneck, and Midtown with the support
of more than 50 international Street Artists in the last few years – all with
the goal of raising awareness and funds to stop child trafficking worldwide.
The New Rochelle murals that went up this fall and were
debuted in November through and organized art walk and other events appear to
be more loosely correlated with local pride and history, such as the one by
artist Loic Ercolessi featuring local-born musician Don Mclean (“American Pie) and
Manhattan-born musician Alicia Keyes (“Empire State of Mind”).
An inspiring walk through the city’s downtown neighborhood on a grey and brisk fall day to discover these new murals was warmed by sharing the experience with photographer Martha Cooper, who took the train up from the city with BSA co-founder Jaime Rojo to catch the new works. The program here is called “NRNY Artsy Murals” and a highlight from this day was taking a cherry lift with Ukrainian Street Artist AEC to get a closer look at him while he worked on his new mural of allegorical surrealism.
quality is obviously high and the program eclectic, including artists such as DanK
(GBR), Elle (USA & AUS), JDL (NLD), Loic Ercolessi (USA & FRA), Lula
Goce (SPA), Mr Cenz (GBR) and Victor Ash (DEN, FRAand POR). Ash left the city
with a new floating astronaut high above the Earth, which may describe some of
the uplifting feelings passersby may experience here in New Rochelle.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening : 1. “Nuart Aberdeen 3” by Fifth Wall TV 2. “The Green and Pleasant Land” by Max Colson 3. Jorge Rodriguez-Gerarda in NYC for Street Art For Mankind 4. 0h10m1ke live drawing at the opening of Wastedland 2 in Manhattan.
BSA Special Feature: “Nuart Aberdeen 3” by Fifth Wall TV
Mural art as a cultural catalyst and promotional campaign for the reinvigoration of cities has proved successful in recent years for tourism and business development initiatives eager to re-engage people in the public square – luring peoples’ attention away from their phones, or perhaps inviting them to bring with.
The Nuart brand from Norway continues to build on and amplify its success for templating a skillful mix of community events, street tours, painting, talks, and screenings for enthusiastic local folks to the walk the streets of Aberdeen. It also helps that the Scottish city happens to be blessed with a growing economy, soaring granite gothic architecture, sweeping vistas by the sea, and a rich history. This year’s installations by a diverse group of artists reach a variety of demographics (including graffiti grannies), making the story appear quite rich, especially as told by Fifth Wall TV.
“The Green and Pleasant Land” by Max Colson
As a tearful Theresa May resigns today, we reflect upon the fact that everything is an invention, including the concept of nationality. We turn to the animation of Max Colson, who allows us to pretend that creating a new world from scratch is realistic. It is a series of experiments at the computer using 3D software, attempt to reimagine the tangible UK as digital, its complexity reduced, its natural open spaces expanded. No hurry, just play.
Jorge Rodriguez-Gerarda in NYC for Street Art For Mankind
Silently he paints. Some up close footage from Jaime Rojo of Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada in NYC painting his mural for Street Art for Mankind. More about the project here: Fighting Child Labor With NYC Murals
0h10m1ke live drawing at the opening of Wastedland 2 in Manhattan.
Ohio Mike makes your portrait in a minute or two, despite the milling crowd and excitement that surrounds. Last week at a group show hosted by Russel Murphy and Lou August on Broome street that pulled together a true New York graff/street art crowd of fans, this artist wowed attendees with his on-point talent.
With giant murals at the forefront of the message, a recent Manhattan campaign of select walls is intended to make us talk and keep our eyes on an ugly social justice issue that organizers hope we can collectively address: child labor and forced labor.
Even in downtown NYC on Wall Street people will admit
that capitalism isn’t cool if we are doing it on the backs of children
somewhere. Nobody celebrates that. Do they?
With murals that advocate for “decent work”, asking us to create a better “future of work”, a small inspired group of international artists created impressive new works on Midtown’s East Side – roughly in the area of the United Nations.
Included in the group are Clandestinos (Shalak Attack and Bruno Smoky), Faith 47, Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, Mr Cenz and Victor Ash. The collection is quite striking on city streets, as are the individual pieces. In fact each artist did their own interpretation of the overall theme by concentrating on direct and ancillary topics: green jobs, youth employment, gender equality at work, child labor and forced labor and the future of work.
Perhaps with some irony, the professionally rendered and emotionally stirring mural by Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada (at end of posting) was completed in the face of multiple obstacles that plague Street Artists sometimes, just not usually all at once. Regardless, the piece has an overwhelming impact.
A former culture-jamming urban installation artist who garners serious respect on the street as well as in professional art-world circles, he soldiered on for an installation that included lift equipment failures and a series of uncommon logistical challenges that come with mounting one of New largest mural works on the side of a soaring building that has a relatively narrow city alley. Only Rodriguez-Gerada’s determined vision allowed him to endure through a seemingly relentless torrent of bitter cold rainy spring weather for weeks.
Nonetheless, the results of his work, and of all of these artists, are as remarkable as they are sweet. In the service of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and a philanthropic group called Street Art for Mankind (SAM) these works can hopefully help raise our consciousness and protect children from enslavement and harsh work globally. Remarkably, SAM is going to directly to the heart of the matter, funding efforts to “help fund raid & rescue programs to free children from slavery,” says their press release.
Victor Ash – Green Jobs
Clandestinos – Future of Work
Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada – Child & Forced Labor
To learn more about Street Art For Mankind click HERE