All posts tagged: Strok

Strøk in Studio: Isometric Figures, Stencils, and Old Doors in Berlin

Strøk in Studio: Isometric Figures, Stencils, and Old Doors in Berlin

Strøk! If you can say it you should shout it!

And you’ll have to shout it if you want Street Artist Anders Gjennestad to hear you from his perch 60 meters high above you upon the The Victory Column. Berliners call the bronze woman at the center of this six lane traffic circle Victoria, and Strøk has climbed the 282 steps up a spiral staircase to sit at her feet many times to shoot his models down below.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I like to shoot there because it’s very open and you can move around and there are shadows going in many directions throughout the day,” he says as he shows you images of his subject on the ground on his computer back in the studio. “ He moved and then the shadows are going the other direction- the sun stays there quite late so it’s nice. You pay like three Euros to get in there but its usually not that busy.”

Sequestered in a high ceilinged room of a former school on a sleepy street in the city, the Norwegian transplant has found his home in Berlin for the last few years and he gladly shows you around recent stencils, his custom tilted cutting desk, a crushed car hood now readymade sculpture/wall hanging, and stacks of old heavy doors that he’ll be painting on sooner than later.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“All of these doors are taken from abandoned houses,” he says amidst stories of urban and ex-urban adventures with friends on the margins of the city spray painting and salvaging.

“We rent a van and I go with my neighbor and bring all the power tools and batteries,” he says of the work that sounds a little like the harvesting he must have done back home on the farm in Norway. It occurs to you that the recycling of materials is also very ‘green’.

“Yeah we put on a fluorescent jacket and a little helmet,” he says as he shows you weathered and deteriorated slabs of wood with occasional metal moldings or hinges, patterns and markings. Like this one he found in a dumpster.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I also just find things on the street like this one that a carpenter has used as a cutting board under his work. It has all these handwritten measurements on it – these are good canvasses as well. It wouldn’t be so interesting for me to paint it out of fresh canvas,” he pauses. “That’s why I am a fresh garbage collector.”

The deep baritone and thick shaggy mop add to the story as he narrates his way around the studio and a fall breeze wafts in through the casement windows that remind him of his early days shooting models out of them to the sidewalk a few floors below. His unique technique of capturing movement from above and transforming it isometrically onto other planes has distinguished his street works in countries like Lebanon, Portugal, Taiwan, Iceland, France, Denmark, Italy, and others.

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It has also brought his figures that are barely tethered to the ground except by their shadows to private collections and gallery shows like his most recent solo exhibition “Gravity” at Galerie Friedmann-Hahn here this summer.

A single image may result from 1,000 photos, he says, all shot overhead with an eye for unusual bending and foreshortening and a surprise. He used to shoot friends or strangers but now more often hires a model and gives them scenarios over the phone from above.

“I have an idea and I ask him to do things,” he says, “but it’s more of the stuff that they do in between when they’re not thinking about it that I find most interesting.” He walks over to a new piece with a figure in a striped shirt, his head obscured and his limbs hanging off the edge of the board that he is using as canvas. “Like this guy putting on his sweater. That was something I didn’t think about before I saw the photos. And I think that’s interesting. So I like stuff that just happens.”

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: So it’s the unscripted moment that you are looking for?
Strøk: I try not to give too much direction anyway. I’m always kind of up in the tower and then I called him and I told him to do some things. But it’s the in between things when he is doing things that I didn’t think about or plan I always shoot and then when I come back and look at all the pictures I pick the one that I want.

It is a cyclical pattern he describes as his life in between special sculptural projects or commissioned installations; Salvaging garbage, shooting models, cutting stencils, spraying new canvasses.

“If I had a normal job I would find it hard to justify spending all this time digging in bins and finding garbage, dressing up like a construction worker-and cutting stuff off the walls,” he says with a satisfied expression.

“I love doing all of that and I like to paint so it’s good to have those two interests tied together.”

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anders Gjennstad STRØK. Studio Visit. Berlin. September 2018. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Anders Gjennestad: A Door as “Canvas”

Anders Gjennestad: A Door as “Canvas”

A door as canvas. A door as canvas.

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

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

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

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

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

This cavorting, twisting, athletic dance with long shadows by men in hooded sweatshirts is a flicker across the canvas that you catch from the corner of your eye as your life dances by. His stenciled figures are expressive, interactive, fully alive, kinetic in spirit – singular and plural.

The symmetry and rythmic action is sport and performance and energetic expression across this patinaed, warped wood; this oxidized and oddly puckered and heavy iron and brick.

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

Step many paces back from the aged factory wall and your perspective has been altered and the burr bushes and Bishop’s weed and crumbled concrete rubble you are standing in are strangely moved, even moving. Staring at his figures as they run diagonally up and across the entire expanse of a massive wall you realize he has tilted them along an axis in such a way and at such a scale that your own feet may be on a plane that is perpendicular to their ground, and you may fall.

You too have begun to dance to Anders’ optics, a figure in his urban choreography, and you too can take flight before gravity pulls you downward, as it will.

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

Anders Gjennestad. “Canvas”. Published by Galerie Friedmann – Hahn. Berlin 2018

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Street Artist StrØk in Indonesia Ready to Catch Orangutans

Street Artist StrØk in Indonesia Ready to Catch Orangutans

Activism in the practice of Street Art and murals continues to inject itself into different situations, adding to its own definition, and perhaps challenging ours.

Part of a larger campaign called “Splash and Burn,” today we have Norwegian stencil artist Strøk, aka Anders Gjnnestad, with a brand new piece he did in Bukit Lawang, North Sumatra, Indonesia.

The image of a huge net is not remarkable except for Strøk’s characteristic play on perspective and planes, and the fact that the subject is Orangutans, or rather, an increasing lack of them.

Strøk for Splash & Burn Project. Sumatra 2016. (photo © Strøk)

EcoTourism has become such a huge industry in the last decade and a half thanks to Westerners longing to do something meaningful and engaging on their vacations aside from going to an amusement park or lying by the beach. Unfortunately, irresponsible development, untrained “guides” and uncaring tourists have trampled over the natural areas, changed the natural behavior of wild animals and endangered their future – with Orangutans in Bukit Lawang as a prime example. The lure of tour money and the behaviors of visitors ignoring even basic rules like “don’t feed the wild orangutans” has created a lot of aggressive animals who are now dependent on you for food and the uncontrolled hordes of visitors have damaged the living environment.

“I just found that what I wanted to create was a mural about Orangutans and one of the main problems they are facing – destruction of habitat,” says Strøk of his new piece.

Reference photo. Rescuers working for  Sumatra Orangutan Society or SOS for its initials in English prepare a net to catch an Orangutan about to fall down from a tall tree. (photo © Andrew Walmsley)

With a desire to educate himself about what orangutans are like and how some of them need rescuing and relocating, the artist went to the Orangutan Information Centre headquarters in Medan and met with the people working there. “While being given a presentation of their work, I got the idea of what I wanted to paint. They showed us photos of how they work with the SOS (Sumatran Orangutan Society) to rescue and relocate orangutans in trouble,” he explains. “Orangutans travel great distances almost daily, in search for food. If the jungle is cut down around them and they get stuck in a small pocket of trees, that’s bad news for them.”

“Basically, OIC/SOS have a hotline that people can call if they see a distressed orangutan. Then the OIC/SOS gets together their team that is on standby, go to the location and they shoot the Orangutan with a sedation dart. When it sleeps and falls down from its tree, they are standing below it, breaking the fall with a net – much like the old school fireman rescue method. Then the orangutan gets checked by a vet, and depending on its condition it is either relocated into the wild, or taken to a rehabilitation facility.

Strøk for Splash & Burn Project. Sumatra 2016. (photo © Strøk)

The new stenciled and sprayed wall piece was created to evoke the image of the animal falling to safety and as a larger metaphor about our collective responsibility to care for nature and its other inhabitants. Strøk says he really liked the location he worked with, and after taking photos while standing on a roof of local guys holding the net, he created the stencils and started painting.

“I was free to do whatever I wanted, on whatever wall or surface I preferred and that we could get permission to paint. On top of my list was a rusty old tourist agency billboard with a barely visible map of Sumatra that was along the main road as you enter the village. I integrated the oil palm tree that was already directly behind and leaning over the billboard into the composition of my painting,” he says

Strøk for Splash & Burn Project. Sumatra 2016. (photo © Strøk)

This might be a bit of a sidenote, but I wanted to include this photo of the construction I was standing on to paint. “I´ve always had massive respect to people who can put together something good and solid, in an effective way. This construction was put up for me by two local men in about an hour, and proved to fit me and the work I needed to do, like a glove. I am glad they got a look at me before they started, though, as I am about 1,5 times the height and at least double the weight of an average Indonesian. They tailored it so I could stand up straight on the middle level and climb up and down with confidence.”- Strøk

Strøk for Splash & Burn Project. Sumatra 2016. (photo © Strøk)

The palm oil tree that reaches over the front of the new piece is significant because this installation is part of a larger campaign about the palm oil industry begun by Lithuanian artist Ernest Zacharevic, who raised money for Strøk and six other artists this January by selling a special lithograph print called “Splash and Burn

Other artists like Mark Jenkins, Isaac Cordal, Pixel Pancho, Gabriel Pitcher, Bibichun, and Axel Void all participated in the first series of installations, and Zacharevic intends to develop the project further to raise awareness about the negative impact that our often unregulated industrial world is having on the natural one, and the people, animals and ecosystems that depend on it. For more information on “Splash and Burn” check out the new article just published in The Guardian.

“For this project I knew I wanted my work to connected on more levels, to tell a more specific story in a way,” StrØk tells us. “I wanted to create a work about Orangutans without painting one. It was a challenge, but a very welcome one.”

To read about an unregulated industry of ecotourism that is not eco-friendly and is very possibly ruining the habitat for orangutans, go here.


Our sincere thanks to Charlotte Pyatt for her help in the project and with this article.

 

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BSA “Images Of The Year” for 2016 (VIDEO)

BSA “Images Of The Year” for 2016 (VIDEO)

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Of the thousands of images he took this year in places like New York, Berlin, Dresden, Moscow, Marrakesh, Detroit and Miami, photographer Jaime Rojo found that the figurative image still stands prominently in the Street Art scene – along with text-based, abstract and animal world themes.

Surprisingly the scene does not appear to be addressing the troubled and contentious matters of the political and social realms in a large way, but the D.I.Y. scene keeps alive and defies the forces of homogeneity with one-of-a-kind small wheat-pastes, stencils, sculptures, and aerosol sprayed pieces alongside the enormous and detailed paintings that take days to complete.

Every Sunday on BrooklynStreetArt.com, we present “Images Of The Week”, our regular interview with the street. Primarily New York based, BSA interviewed, shot, and displayed images from Street Artists from more than 100 cities over the last year, making the site a truly global resource for artists, fans, collectors, gallerists, museums, curators, academics, and others in the creative ecosystem. We are proud of the help we have given and thankful to the community for what you give back to us and we hope you enjoy this collection – some of the best from 2016.

Brooklyn Street Art 2016 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;

1Up, Above, Adele Renault, Alaniz, Amy Smalls, George Vidas, GEN2, Apexer, BordaloII, Buff Monster, C215, Collin Van Der Sluijs, Super A, David Choe, D*Face, Duke Riley, El Sol 25, Sean 9 Lugo, EQC, Faile, Faith47, Faust, Shantell Martin, Felipe Pantone, Hueman, Droid907, Icy & Sot, InDecline, Invader, JJ Veronis, Jilly Ballistic, John Ahearn, JR, London Kaye, Louis Masai, MadC, Marshal Arts, Mongolz, MSK, Rime, Myth, Nina Chanel, Optic Ninja, Otto Osch Schade, Panmela Castro, Plastic Jesus, QRST, Reed b More, Remi Rough, REVS, Self Made, Sharon Dela Cruz, Maripussy, Specter, Stikman, Strok, Swoon, Ted Pim, Thievin’ Stephen, Farin Purth, Thomas Allen, Tobo, Uriginal, Vermibus, Vhils, Wing, Yes Two, Zola.

The artist featured on the main graphic is D*Face as shot by Jaime Rojo in New York.

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Icelandic Murals, Northern Lights, “Wall Poetry 2016” in Reykjavik

Icelandic Murals, Northern Lights, “Wall Poetry 2016” in Reykjavik

The concept album was born in the Stoned Age when TV was black and white, back when disaffected teens had to trudge for blocks and blocks outside on the sidewalk to the record store and carry their rock and roll home on large heavy vinyl platters called albums, sometimes double albums.

In the snow. Barefoot.

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Heather Mclean collaborated on her wall with Minor Victories and the song “A Hundred Ropes”. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Rewarded for their hard work and sacrifice, these pioneering music fans opened those two record concept albums and used the big flat surface to pick the seeds out from their marijuana stash and roll a reefer.

Then they dropped the needle, turned up the dial, and lied on their back on their single beds surrounded by the two speaker stereophonic sound that gently vibrated their black-light posters on the wall, reading the song lyrics and metaphorically taking a wild and magical trip inside the cover art of the album.

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Heather Mclean. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

“We paint the music you love to hear,” says Yasha Young in Reykavik, Iceland, as she imagines the thousands of music fans who will inundate this city in a few weeks for “Iceland Airwaves”.

For the second year Urban Nation, the Berlin-based arts organization working primarily within the Urban Contemporary Art scene, brings the musicians a powerful visual partner called “Wall Poetry”.

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Heather Mclean. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

By pairing one musician/group with one visual artist/group, Young, the director of UN, wants to re-create the concept album where the eyes have a newly created entryway into the music. Of course its only one interpretation but countless stories can be evoked from this intercultural exchange.

It’s the second year for the program, and we are very lucky to have these exclusive shots from Nikka Kramer of some of the first walls going up in advance of the festival, which this year features over 200 bands. Check out the stunning atmospheric images featuring northern lights; a poetry of their own.

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Heather Mclean. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Strøk collaborated on his wall with MAMMÚT and the song “I Pray For Air In The Water”. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Strøk. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Phlegm collaborated on his wall with MÚM The Band. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Phlegm. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Phlegm. Detail. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Lora Zombie. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Lora Zombie was inspired by the songs of L.A. based band War Paint for her wall. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Lora Zombie. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Lora Zombie. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Herakut collaborated on their wall with Kronos Quartet. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Herakut. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Herakut. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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INO. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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INO. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Don John. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Don John collaborated on his wall with Swedish musician Silvana Imam’s “Naturkraft”. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Don John. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Wes21 and Onur. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Wes21 and Onur. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Wes21 and Onur collaborated on their wall with the Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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DotDotDot publicly collaborated on his wall with all the volunteers, locals, strangers and passers by using the word “perfection” as officially described on Google/dictionary. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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DotDotDot. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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DotDotDot. Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

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Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves 2016 artists in no particular order: Don John, Onur, Wes21, Ino, Heather Mclean, Herakut, Lora Zombie,Phlegm and Strok. Reykjavik, Iceland. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Wall Poetry/Iceland Airwaves is presented in partnership between Urban Nation Museum For Urban Contemporary Art (UN Berlin) and Iceland Airwaves. For for about Wall Poetry read here.

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BSA Images Of The Week: 10.02.16 : Spotlight on Climate Change

BSA Images Of The Week: 10.02.16 : Spotlight on Climate Change

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Faile. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he tells me I’m an idiot because I trust scientists about climate change and that actually it is a hoax created by the Chinese.

Sorry, everything reminds us of Donald J. Trump and his outlandish claim for the presidency. Even when we are looking at the new Faile mural in Greenpoint, Brooklyn called Love Me, Love Me Not.

The Greenest Point is an initiative that wants to raise awareness of Climate Change and three Street Artists have just completed two murals here in Brooklyn to support it. The organization says that they hope to gather “together people from different backgrounds, professions and skill-sets who are bonded by aligned values and a common vision.” By integrating Street Art with technology, film, sound and voice, they hope that we’ll be more capable of piecing together the climate change puzzle as a collective.

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Faile. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We don’t pretend to be scientists, but we trust the ones we have and we decided that this week we would dedicate BSA Images of the Week  just to this new project and this topic. We also know that it is now well-documented that tobacco companies fought us citizens with disinformation and legislative trickery for decades before they finally admitted that smoking was killing us and our families, so there is reason to believe that oil companies and related industries who flood our media and politicians with money are possibly buying time while we’re all heating up the atmosphere.

Here are new images of the two new murals in Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Brooklyn and an interview with the three artists who participated; Vexta, Askew, and long time Greenpoint studio residents, Faile.

BSA: Why do you think art is an important vehicle to highlight climate issues?
Faile: We feel it’s important to create work that can resonate with people on an emotional level. Something that we can live with everyday and that has a place in our lives that brings meaning to our experience. This is how we think people must learn to connect to climate change. It’s not something you can just think about, it’s something that you have to do everyday. It has to become part of you. We hope art has the power to be that wink and nod that you are on the right track. That the little things you do are meaningful and that change starts with you in the most simple of ways.

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Vexta and Askew. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Greenpoint has a history of blue collar communities who worked in factories producing goods for the both the merchant marine and the USA Navy. Those factories are all gone and only a few of the original settlers remain in the neighborhood such as the Polish community. How do you think the murals painted for the festival relate to them?
Vexta: Our collaborative mural hopefully offers a voice to people directly to people who will become a part of the history of Greenpoint and its legacy. We will have QR codes installed that link to video pieces that physically give Askew’s subjects a voice as well as linking to the birds calls and information about their situation.
Faile: We tried to be aware of the history of Greenpoint. The communities that make this neighborhood what it is. We tried to incorporate some nods to them through the work, specifically with the traditional Polish pattern in the socks. Unfortunately, Greenpoint is also home to some of the worst ecological disasters this country has ever experienced, the effects of which are still present. We wanted to bring something positive and something beautiful to the neighborhood that spoke to everyone. There are other historical murals in the neighborhood so it didn’t feel like it required another.

The neighborhood is also quickly changing. It’s home to many young families and has a vibrant creative class, not to mention our studio for the last 12 years. When creating an artwork in a public space, especially a park, there’s always that balance of trying to make something that people can connect with on a visceral, then psychological level in an immediate way–once that connection is made you hope they can dig a little deeper into the more subversive side of the meaning.

BSA: Do you think art and in particular the murals painted for this festival have the power to change the conversation on climate change and positively move and engage the people who either are indifferent to the issue or just refuse to believe that climate change is a real issue caused by humans? 
Faile:Whether you believe it or not there are basic things that people can do in their everyday lives to create a more beautiful environment around them. Picking up trash, recycling, being mindful that our resources are precious – none of these really imply that you have to have an opinion about climate change. Just the fact that we have a green space now in Transmitter Park is progress towards an environment that we can fall in love with.

We think that’s ultimately what the idea of Love Me, Love Me Not is asking. What kind of environment do you want? Do you want renewable green spaces that offer future generations beauty and room to reflect within nature? Or do you want to pave over the toxic soil and oil spills with the risk of repeating the past? If people can even ask themselves that question then we are at least engaging them into the dialogue where the seeds of action can be planted.

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Vexta and Askew. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: Why do you think art is an important vehicle to highlight climate issues?
Vexta: For me as an artist it is the means that I have to talk about what I know to be important. Art also stands as this symbolic, most often visual, gesture that can bring people together, ignite debate and shine a light towards a new way of thinking that is perhaps still in the shadows of the mainstream. There is no more pressing issue right now than Climate Change.

There was a famous piece of graffiti up for a long time in my home city of Melbourne that read “No Jobs on a Dead Planet” in a beautiful font running down a power plant chimney. This work spurred my thinking back before I had begun making art professionally. That simple creative action out in public space was powerful and it spoke a simple truth and showed me that you can do a lot with a little. Art and art out in the streets is a great vehicle for talking about issues like climate change, because its a gesture in a shared space, it provides something to meditate on or think about that ultimately is a shared reality, this makes sense to me as climate change is a problem we need to work together to address.

Askew: I think that in particular art in the public space can be a very powerful way to put messaging on issues that matter right out in front of people who may not otherwise engage with it. Also an artist has the freedom to make the image captivating in a way that perhaps other platforms for speaking about serious issues don’t. People get bombarded with so much conflicting information every day especially via the mainstream media, art can put people in the contemplative space to engage differently.

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Vexta and Askew. Detail. The Greenest Point Project. Greenpoint, Brooklyn. NYC. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

BSA: You have participated in at least one other art festival whose principal mission is to highlight the well being of our ecology and our planet. What would you say is unique characteristic of The Greenest Point that differentiates it from other festivals with equal goals?
Askew: Well I think this is different because it’s so focused on a specific place whereas the scope of other events I’ve painted look more generally at global issues. I think it’s great for communities to narrow their focus to directly around them to tackle very tangible local change. If every neighborhood did that globally, imagine the impact.
Vexta: I agree with Askew, What is special about The Greenest Point is that it’s very locally based yet has a global focus. The Greenest Point has brought so many different parts of our local community together, from creatives to government to business. It has shown us that people in our neighborhood really care about Climate Change.

BSA: Your collaborative mural with Askew represents the current and future generations of children. What do you think is the principal message to send to the children so they are more aware of the problems facing our planet?
Vexta: My mural with Askew represents a coming together of numerous ideas. The future belongs to the youth and the world’s children will be the ones most impacted by Climate Change. I think they are really aware of this problem and it’s a very scary prospect. Our mural brought together not only representations of young people but also birds found in the NY state area that are currently climate threatened & endangered (according to Audubon’s Birds and Climate Change Report) as well as icebergs made of my shapes that represent the particles that make up all matter.

I would hope that we can inspire them to feel empowered to make small changes that they see as being possible whilst also acknowledging that all the other parts of our world – the birds, animals, water, air and land are just as important as they are. We are all in this together.

Askew: For me personally, celebrating young local people who are giving their time to make change in Greenpoint around sustainability and community-building issues is immediately inspiring to other young people.

BSA: Do you think art and in particular the murals painted for this festival have the power to change the conversation on climate change and positively move and engage the people who either are indifferent to the issue or just refuse to believe that climate change is a real issue caused by humans? 
Askew: Everything we do has impact, positive and negative – that’s the duality we deal with inhabiting this space. It’s a closed system, resources are finite and so we must respect them and do our best to live in harmony with this earth that supports us and live peacefully amongst each other and the various other creatures we share this planet with. No one thing is going to make pivotal change but everyone being mindful and keeping the conversation and action going is what will make a difference.

Our special thanks to the team at The Greenest Point and to the artists for sharing their time and talent with BSA readers.

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One image from this week by Street Artist Sipros depicts Climate-Change-denying Donald Trump as the character The Joker, from the Batman movies. A frightening piece of political satire, or perhaps propaganda, depending on who you talk to. Mana Urban Art Projects. Jersey City, NJ. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Lincoln Street Art Park. Detroit, Michigan. Septiembre 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Strøk Windmilling in the Windy City of Hsinchu 新竹市 (Taiwan)

Strøk Windmilling in the Windy City of Hsinchu 新竹市 (Taiwan)

You know how to do windmills right?

Here Norway’s Strok brings them to a wall at Hsinchu International Land Art Festival in this Taiwanese city known for being very windy. He’s been experimenting with perspectives and angles on the figure and here he brings the classic bboy move to the wall to defy gravity and fly through the air.

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Strøk. Hsinchu International Land Art Festival. Taiwan. July 2016. (photo © Strøk)

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Strøk. Hsinchu International Land Art Festival. Taiwan. July 2016. (photo © Strøk)

Strøk had some help from a lift operator while painting who had to take a break periodically to check on a very fine feathered friend. “He rescued a small baby sparrow that had fallen out of its nest during the recent typhoon,”  Strøk says of his new friend. “He kept it in a nest in a basket inside his operator hut and was feeding it at regular intervals.”

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Strøk. Hsinchu International Land Art Festival. Taiwan. July 2016. (photo © Strøk)

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BSA Images Of The Week: 06.26.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 06.26.16

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Berliners called it the “großes Ohr”. The Big Ear.

Run by the American NSA and the British in their sector, this “listening station” stands atop a man made mountain of rubble, at the bottom of which is said to lie the unfinished Nazi military-technical college (Wehrtechnische Fakultät) designed by Albert Speer. These structures with round orbs could be seen above the city from many angles rising from deep in the Grunewald Forest and yes, we can confirm that the one complete geodesic orb at the very top has such astounding acoustics even now that the sound of a camera clicking or clearing your throat or stepping on a piece of broken glass is instantly amplified anywhere within it, then re-echoed multiple times.

Our top image: Plotbot at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Plotbot at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“In its day,” says security expert and former employee Bill Scannell in a video online, “Teufelsberg (‘Devil’s Mountain’) was one of the most secretive intelligence facilities in the entire world.” Now it is a relic of the NSA behind three rows of barbed wire fences and a sort of freewill painting destination but the hulking grey and ivy clad compoung is a strong reminder of the extensive spy apparatus that the general public continues to get glimpses of in leaks and reports today.

Today this is a graffiti haven and hippie/punk love-in where people go to experiment with cans and rollers and brushes, drink beer, listen to scratchy voiced acoustic versions of Amy Winehouse, and pad around barefoot wearing nothing but a towel. The “guard” at the entrance, also shirtless and barefoot with a somewhat serious gaze requires from you a toll of 7 euro per head to get in, then smiles benignly as continue your trudging up the hill.

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Strok at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

On the sunny hot sticky day that our guide took us, we saw enough good international and local artwork to offset the mediocre, boxes of old electronic doodads laying around on the ground and sticking out of boxes, blackbirds singing in trees, and strips of open asbestos fluttering in the breeze. Art themes ranged from standard graffiti name-making to the apocalyptic, the darkly sarcastic, pop culture parody, and a frequent critique of the surveillance stories we find in the news today.

It’s almost breathtaking with the Berlin views of the valley below – including another man-made mountain nearby that is often used for kite-flying, the Olympic Stadium from 1936, and the The Fernsehturm television tower close to Alexanderplatz in the central neighborhood of Mitte;  this devilish mountain definitely had us entranced. Then we hiked back down the mountain through the deep wood and fields looking for air conditioning and cold beer.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Alaniz, Biko, Crisp, Deuce7, Fanakapan, JBAK, Jule, Icy & Sot, Jule, Low Bros, Moe79, Mundano, Nasca, Never, Plotbot, Self Made Crew, Strøk, Tony Bones, and Wing.

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Alaniz at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Mundano built a three step platform for you to climb and look directly into the eyes of his figure, who pleads with us to “Damn the Dam on the Tapajos River” at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JBAK at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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MOE79 did this stencil of Edward Snowden at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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MOE79 at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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A tongue-in-cheek public service message from MOE79 at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Nasca at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Self Made Crew reinterprets Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” eating a Döner kebab at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Self Made Crew reinterprets Gustav Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer” eating a Döner kebab at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Self Made Crew paints a big ear at “The Big Ear” (großes Ohr), abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NEVER is always getting the short end of the stick at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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BIKO & MACK at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Icy & Sot at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Low Bros at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hulk Hogan victory lap at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Something awfully Jeremy Fishy about this Jule piece at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Some old stuff Tony Bones and Deuce7 that we’ll guess is 8 years old at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Fanakapan at the abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Crisp . Wing (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Girl Power (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Abandoned NSA spy compound in Teufelsberg Hill in Berlin. Berlin, 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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Strøk Strikes a New Angle on His Stencil Figures In Paris

Strøk Strikes a New Angle on His Stencil Figures In Paris

A newly transformed wall in Rue de la Glacière in the 13th Arr. of Paris today from the Norwegian STRØK represents a genuinely new angle for the artist to approach the figure in space. Using his personal photographs taken from the midst of human activity, the stencil artist commands the open space of a wall with figures caught so realistically that you stop for a moment to register what you are seeing on this huge expanse.

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Anders Gjennestad AKA Strøk. Detail. In collaboration with Galerie MathGoth. Paris. May 2016. (photo © Strøk)

He told us in Brooklyn a few weeks ago about this new piece he was developing for Paris and how it represents a slightly new direction for him, in a matter of degrees. “It looks like the figures are falling but if you tilt your head then it looks like they standing.”

Currently in the capital to prepare for his new solo show opening June 3rd at Galerie MathGoth, STRØK will undoubtedly be presenting new approaches to his distinct craft as his mind is alive with clever ideas constantly and he’s not afraid of taking chances. Here are some exclusive shots for BSA readers to enjoy.

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Anders Gjennestad AKA Strøk. In collaboration with Galerie MathGoth. Paris. May 2016. (photo © Strøk)

See our interview with him a few weeks ago:

STRØK Stencils Ernest Zacharevic Playing in a Brooklyn Doorway

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

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BSA Images Of The Week: 05.08.16

BSA Images Of The Week: 05.08.16

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Cities are urgently playing the deliberate gentrification/beautification card by bringing in the murals to give the place a facelift: Richmond just finished their third, Chicago is gearing up for a new mural program this week, and we are getting emails every few days from city planners around the world who would like to explore how to juice their flagging de-industrialized economy. And why not? New studies report that it raises your property values and advertisers are happy to join in to sponsor the events.

Is it Street Art? Most experts would say not- they lack the freewill autonomous nature and illegal aspects of the original Street Art scene – especially when their content is so sternly steered away from political or challenging themes and have corporate and state sponsorship. These are public/commercial mural programs – with work done by people who often are Street Artists.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Audio Surveillance Zone, Balu, Chamberlin Newsome, Claw Money, Clock, D*Face, De Grupo, FR, Gold Dust, Gregos, Selfable City, Sheryo, Smart Crew, Specter, Strok, The Yok, TMO Plater, and Vexta.

Our top image: Balu for Centrefuge Project. Balu based this piece on a photo from 1975 as a tagger was getting up in the NYC Subway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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VEXTA (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Antennae (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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TMO Plater and Claw Money for Centrefuge Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Chamberlin Newsome (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Clock in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unidentifed (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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The Yok and Sheryo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gregos in Berlin (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter AD Takeover. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Specter AD Takeover. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Smart Crew in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Now that is planning ahead! Artist Unidentifed in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STROK painted this miniature stencil on a roll down gate while visiting Brooklyn recently. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Sellfable City in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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FR in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Gold Dust (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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D*Face and Shepard Fairey for Urban Nation ONE Wall. Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Audio Surveillance Zone in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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DE Grupo (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. Peonies. Brooklyn, NYC. April 2016.(photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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STRØK Stencils Ernest Zacharevic Playing in a Brooklyn Doorway

STRØK Stencils Ernest Zacharevic Playing in a Brooklyn Doorway

Strøk is in Brooklyn briefly and he had time to spray out a brand new 8 layer stencil on a doorway here before traveling a bit to see more of the Eastern Seaboard with his girlfriend. We found him this perfect fire engine red metal door in Williamsburg this week with the always gracious and at-the-ready “Mayor of Williamsburg” Mr. Joe Franquinha of Crest Arts-Hardware fame.

The figure appears to be mid-action, fully engaged in an activity and unaware of you. It is a relationship with the subject that the Norwegian-now-Berlinian likes for you to have. When you see one of his figures, or many of them spread across an expansive wall, he likes you to imagine your own storyline about what a figure is doing, what they may be engaged in.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In this case, he is experimenting with a more formal collaboration, shooting photos of fellow Street Artist, the Lithuania artist Ernest Zacharevic while he was playing a game dexterously with rudimentary tools of sticks and a rubber ball during a time when they were both in Hawaii for a mural festival.

Ernest’s in-motion action seems as if he is dancing – a combination of gusty winds that day and him trying to manipulate whatever he was holding from his hands. They set up the session and shot it from a little distance.  “I asked him if he wanted to do it on the roof that was opposite of my hotel balcony,” he says of the session of play and photo shoot.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“It’s the second time that I asked someone specifically to do something. Otherwise it’s just snapshots of strangers in the street. I like it kind of better that way. I like hunting for the perfect shot or the perfect moment to take a picture. If you have model and you are telling them what to do it kind of turns into a different thing. “

When describing the formal versus the documentary style of capture, you can see that it’s a process choice that he is ambivalent about – whether to capture images purely by chance or to have a more direct relationship with the model and the creation of the image.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

By removing the background context – a flying ball for example – and placing his figures that cavort with perspective, attaching them to a walls’ surface with a distinct shadow, Strøk has developed a recognizable style that makes viewers contemplate if they are the ones on the wall and Strøk’s people are the ones on the ground.

“I like the way they are connected to the surface,” he tells us and he discusses the shadows, how they are formed by the light and the figure touching the ground, and the resulting perspective that can be created.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“I like it when they are almost standing on their toes, or caught mid-air. I like it a lot when they are running after a ball or chasing something.” In the artistic tradition of experimentation, he says that he is beginning to turn the figures ninety degrees to see what the effect is. “I’m doing a wall in Paris where it looks like the figures are falling but if you tilt your head then it looks like they standing.”

He explains that the idea came from someone else’s mistake. He shipped paintings to be displayed and the installer hung them at the incorrect orientation, turning the canvas 90 or 180 degrees – without realizing that Strøks’ signature on the back was meant to guide the proper angle to hang. When Strøk arrived to see the canvasses he was surprised. “In one of the paintings it looked more interesting. I didn’t intend it to be like that – obviously the composition changes a lot. It was just fun to see.”

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

When looking for a surface to paint, he doesn’t want it to be perfect and prefers to let its characteristics become part of the painting, filling in additional details that contribute to the emerging storyline. “I like the wall, and these textures. If there is a crack in the wall it becomes like it is a crack in the ground. I like all of these things. It kind of messes with you.”

In developing his style as a young stencilist in the early-mid 2000s, Strøk was inspired by the work of artists like Banksy and Blek le Rat. “I heard of Banksy before I heard of Blek actually,” he says, which is a common recollection of artists and Street Art followers. Without playing favorites, he says that he has also followed the work of another Norwegian named Dolk, the Germans EVOL and Pisa 73, and the American Chris Stain among many others he mentions with admiration.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As realistic and full of kinetic life as his static stencils can be, it’s not photo realism. “No it’s like a level between painting and realism,” he says. “If you wanted realism you could just paste photographs and then it would be a photo exhibit.”

A true hands-on artist, Strøk personally cuts his stencils – and here you can see a frame-by-frame story of how a multi layer stencil gets on a door.

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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STRØK (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Our very special thanks to Joe from Crest Hardware for offering this excellent spot.

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

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BSA Images Of The Week: 09.13.15

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.13.15

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This Sunday’s Images Of The Week seems to have an overriding theme which wasn’t really planned. It just happened.

A preponderance of stencils, many of them miniature and most placed without permission are here for your consideration. Some of the pieces have been on the walls for years while others are fairly new. After a few days admiring large murals in Norway and Sweden, these little missives are sweet.

Futura also came back to New York from Norway just in time to hit the hallowed Houston Wall yesterday and Martha Cooper is hanging there as well, so you will want to check that out! Martha and John Ahearn just opened  their new dual show Thursday called “Kids” at Dorian Gray on the LES, which we thought was dope.

Also in town are Ernest Zacharevic, who will be working on a special project, David Walker has been seen poking his head into things, and Vermibus is popping up here and there on bus shelters with his dissolved portraits. A number of artists and fans are in NYC for the Brotherhood show at Jonathan Levine curated by Yasha Young, and of course Shepard Fairey has his first New York show in five years coming up this week with all new work on exhibition at Jacob Lewis Gallery called “On Our Hands”. As in blood, yo.

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring APosse, Dolk, DotDotDot, Dotmasters, Ella & Pitr, Hama Woods, Isaac Cordal, JPS, MIR, Nafir, the Outings Project, Strok, Martin Whatson and TREF.

Top image above >>> Strok in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dotmasters in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Outings Project in Stavanger, Norway for NUART 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JPS in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JPS in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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JPS in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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TREF in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal in Stavanger, Norway for NUART 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Isaac Cordal in Stavanger, Norway for NUART 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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APOSSE in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Artist Unknown in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Looks like a rather explosive romance. DOLK in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ella & Pitr in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Ella & Pitr in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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MIR* in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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NAFIR in Stavanger, Norway for NUART 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Hama Woods welcomes all the rats to the big show in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Martin Whatson in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dotdotdot in Stavanger, Norway. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Untitled. L Train, NYC. August 2015. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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