The US officially remembers service members who died in wars today. War touches every aspect of our daily lives whether through loss or gain, impacting our individual and group psyche, economy, memory, liberty, history. Street Artists sometimes grapple with war and related themes in their work for everyone who passes to see. Here are a few examples.
Gilf! replaces bombs with hearts (photo © Jaime Rojo)
General Howe places bones and other sculptural installations on the street in historical locations where war was waged and life was lost in Brooklyn, particularly during the “Battle of Brooklyn”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JC2 Army of One uses this image from a Diane Arbus photograph to draw attention to the children who are victims of adults wars. (© Jaime Rojo)
Street Artist General Howe placed grave markers in historical locations a few years ago, including this one featuring President Obama and Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Street Artist Ludo creates bio-techno military machines that merge the natural world with the man-made world. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Street Artist WK Interact created a series of installations with American service personnel called “Bring Me Back” (photo © Jaime Rojo)
A piece on the street in Los Angeles (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Happy Presidents Day! In the US this is a holiday, officially to celebrate the birthdays of Washington and Lincoln, whose birthdays were commemorated separately until about a decade ago when they were merged. A lot of New Yorkers think today about skiing, since it’s really the last 3 day weekend of the winter – and it’s snowing this morning so a lot of kids will be shoved outside by their parents to go play in it. Or they may take them to the Met , Guggenheim, or MOMA, which are all open today.
George Washington by the Street Artist named Senator (photo © Jaime Rojo)
But back to the gallery of the street, which is always open, we can get a little history lesson too. Everybody knows that Shepard Fairey nailed it with his Obama posters a couple of years ago, but did you realize that Street Artists have been putting up many presidential portraits over the last decade? One artist, Senator, sometimes confused people with wheat-pasted pieces in the late 2000s because his name signed to the image lead you to think it was about the subject, like the George Washington image above. His black and white coloring-book style depicted many presidents – Lincoln, Adams, Jefferson, Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan. As you can see below, Senator is not the only Street Artists to find US presidents a worthy topic.
Senator (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Abraham Lincoln by Visual Resistance (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Smoking Jack Kennedy by Dain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Richard Nixon by Faile (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Senator (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Ronnie talk to Keith; The Gipper shaking the hand of a Photoshopped Keith Hernandez from a street art viral campaign a couple of years ago. Photo © Jaime Rojo
Sever focuses on the the Bush Cheney duo. Primary Flight Miami 2008 (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The simple placement of a dollar sign was all this Street Artist needed to complete their portrait of George W. Bush. Photo © Jaime Rojo
President Obama’s image next to Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth is appropriated by Street Artist General Howe (photo © Jaime Rojo)
One of the many Obama street art pieces from 2008, this one is similar to the ubiquitous Shepard Fairey images around at that time. © Jaime Rojo