All posts tagged: The Thousands

Interview: Inside the “The Thousands” and Swoon’s lock box with Michael “RJ” Rushmore

Interview: Inside the “The Thousands” and Swoon’s lock box with Michael “RJ” Rushmore

After spending most of 2009 in preparation, Michael “RJ” Rushmore is one week from the opening of “The Thousands”, a retrospective survey covering artists of the last few decades that led to what we’re calling “Street Art” today.

Nick Walker for The Thousands (courtesy Michael "RJ" Rushmore)

Nick Walker for The Thousands (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

As editor and author of the popular blog Vandalog, RJ has been taking readers on a tour of the Street Art scene from his unique perspective.  Encouraged by his father, an avid and prodigious collector of street art, the recent high school graduate has labored for much of the last 5 months to pull together this show – reaching out to artists, collectors, authors, publishers, you name it.

When RJ first told us about his idea for a “pop-up” show in London, we thought it would be a small affair with perhaps one or three of the larger names and examples of work in an inflatable shop on cobblestone streets. But like so many young people energized by the excitement garnered in an exploding new movement, RJ has worked feverishly to grow this show into what he hopes will set a standard.

Swoon Box Contents

More inside looks at this Swoon Box below (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

A tribute to his dedication and sincere regard for the work and the artists, “The Thousands” will feature many of the antecedent contributors (or pioneers) to the scene (Jenny Holzer, Blek le Rat, Futura 2000) as well as the better known artists that have come to symbolize the current explosion that began in the first half of this decade (Swoon, Banksy, Shepard Fairey) and many others of equal interest.

As if throwing a show of this scope was not enough RJ also created a book to accompany the show, published by Drago, one of the few small presses that have seriously and knowledgeably  documented the growth of the graffiti-to-street art scene.  With dedication, focus, and maturity, RJ navigates the back alleys and side-streets to bring this show in the heart of London to fruition.

Skewville from "The Thousands" (courtesy Drago press)

Skewville from “The Thousands” (courtesy Drago press)

Brooklyn Street Art: What sparked your interest in curating this show of Street Art? How did the whole process start?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I think it was an idea that I’d had brewing in the back of my mind for a while, but I wasn’t taking it seriously until last January when I met with another street art blogger who proposed a similar idea about a having a street art retrospective. Eventually, we went our separate ways and I continued to develop the exhibition further. This is the show that a major museum should put on, but so far nobody has, and I hope that The Thousands helps to change that.

Brooklyn Street Art: “The Thousands” – is this a reference to the rise in this new wave of street art since 2000?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: While probably 95% of the show is work from the last ten years, that isn’t where I got the name. It’s probably a more succinct explanation though.

The show’s title comes from a short story by Daniel Alarcón called “The Thousands”. The story is about this community that is built by society’s outcasts and dreamers and they build their city out of the discarded and disused materials of the city they used to live in. So that reminded me of street art and the street art community.

 

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Veng from Robots Will Kill featured in “The Thousands” from his piece at the Mark Batty Urban Arts Fest in Brooklyn last month (courtesy Drago)

Brooklyn Street Art: Are most of the pieces in the show privately owned?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: Yes. More than 2/3rds of the artwork comes from private collections. I wanted this to be as much like a museum show as possible, almost a pop-up museum, and the way to do that is fill the show with amazing pieces from private collections.

The process of finding work has at some times been a challenge because I don’t know every street art collector in England, but it’s also been a unique opportunity to view some truly spectacular collections.

 

Chris Stain (photo Jaime Rojo)

Chris Stain will be represented in “The Thousands” (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What piece surprised the hell out of you?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I’m saving pictures of this particular piece until after opening night, because I want people to come into the gallery not knowing exactly what to expect, but Roa’s piece is very cool and different. When Roa was in London recently, we spoke about his piece for The Thousands. He told me to wait and to trust him, that it was something special, so I did. Then he sent me the jpegs and I was definitely surprised. All I will say for now is that the piece is on venetian blinds.

 

Brooklyn street artists Faile will be in "The Thousands" (courtesy Drago)

Brooklyn street artists Faile will be in “The Thousands” (courtesy Drago)

Brooklyn Street Art: The show also has a handsome book to accompany it. What was the experience of putting it together?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: Everybody at Drago, my publisher, has been extremely supportive of the show and the book. I would even say that Paulo, Drago’s founder and head guy, was the first person to actually believe that The Thousands was going to happen and not be a complete train wreck. So working with them has been good fun. But the process of putting together a book in such a short amount of time was very stressful and even led to a few days of working 12 hours straight on the layout and design.

The best part about the reading book was also my favorite thing about putting it together. The book is split into sections, and most sections cover one artist. Since everything was already organized by artist, I was able to get a number of other artists and art world personalities to write about their friends and favorite artists. For example, Know Hope has written about Chris Stain and Elbow-toe has written a piece on Veng.

 

Swoon Box

A hand-made box by Brooklyn street artist Swoon that will be in “The Thousands” (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

Brooklyn Street Art: The Swoon Box for “The Thousands”; Did she construct the box herself or was it a found box that she then later decorated?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I’ve never asked Swoon, but I would guess that she constructed the chest. It looks like the wood is salvaged from a bunch of different sources, and the hinges are so mismatched that the lid can’t sit parallel to the walls of the box.

 

Swoon lock box (top detail)

Swoon lock box (top detail)

Brooklyn Street Art: It could be a time capsule, or a lock box of mementos and inspiring objects. What do you think?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: Right now, I think of it more like a lock box, but 15, 20, 30 years from now… the meaning will probably change with time as street art and Swoon become more or less important. Maybe one day Swoon will be written about in art history books and the box will be seen in an entirely different light. But at its core, and for my family, it will always see it box as a lock box.

There is this old deerskin chest in my house that my family calls The Treasure Box. It’s been in my dad’s family for generations and dates back to some time in the 1800’s. It’s full of old letters and locks of hair and things like that going all back though more than 100 years of Rushmore family history. My family and I see The Swoon Box as very similar to our Treasure Box, so we will always see The Swoon Box as full of mementos and not just a piece of art history.

 

Inside the Swoon lock box. (courtesy Michael "RJ" Reynolds)

Inside the Swoon lock box. (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

Brooklyn Street Art: What’s your favorite object in the box and can you describe it for us?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: I usually like to get a behind the scenes view of things, so my favorite pieces in the box are the sketches for pieces that eventually became familiar Swoon images. In particular, I think the drawing for Zahra is a favorite. The sketch is beautiful, the end result is one of my all time favorite images by Swoon and I happened to meet Zahra earlier this year as well as her child.

 

Swoon's "Zahara" (courtesy of Black Rat Press)

Swoon’s “Zahara” (courtesy of Black Rat Press)

The Zahra sketch is pretty abstract, you can tell that there is a woman, but it’s really rough and seems to be more about the colors than any details about Zahra’s features. Without the image of a rising sun that is in both the sketch and the end result, you wouldn’t even connect the two pieces.

Swoon Box Contents

Swoon box has an original sketch for “Bethlehem Boys” (courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

Swoon's Bethlehem Boys as seen on the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Swoon’s “Bethlehem Boys” as seen on the streets of Bushwick, Brooklyn. (photo Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: If you have a show in ten years called “The Teens”, what do you think we might see in it?

Michael “RJ” Rushmore: What really interests me right now and what I’ve been noticing lately is the continuing fusion of graffiti and street art. In most cities that have graffiti and street art, somebody is trying to merge the two cultures. In London some of those artists are Part2ism, Sickboy, the Burning Candy crew, Kid Acne, ATG crew, Elate and Word To Mother. Maybe that’s just my particular interest, but I’ve heard Pure Evil say that he is seeing something similar.

So if my taste is anything to go by, a decade from now I would like to see a show with classically trained painters showing off their lettering style and hard-core train bombing kings painting with a brush and telling everybody why Lee Quinones is their hero, except we won’t even notice the supposed role reversal I’ve just described.

And of course, since I’ll be nearing 30 years old, I’d want to include some artwork by actual teenagers to help support the next generation of street art/graffiti/whatever we’ll be calling this in ten years time.

Swoon box's contents

What are you looking at? (Swoon courtesy Michael “RJ” Rushmore)

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“The Thousands” features artists Adam Neate,  Aiko,  Anthony Lister,  Armsrock, Banksy, Barry McGee, Bast, Blek le Rat, Burning Candy, Chris Stain, David Ellis, Elbow-toe, Faile, Futura 2000, Gaia, Herakut, Jenny Holzer, José Parlá, Judith Supine, Kaws, Know Hope, Nick Walker, Os Gêmeos, Roa, Sam3, Shepard Fairey, Skewville, Swoon, WK Interact

November 18 "The Thousands" opens

November 18 “The Thousands” opens

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Street Signals 10.10.09

Brooklyn-Street-Art-STREET-SIGNALS_1009

New Train Company Hires Well-Known Street Artists/ Graffiti Artists to Paint Trains

Vandalog Blog Writer Publishes New Book About Upcoming Street Art Show in London: “The Thousands”

Veng from Robots Will Kill painted this image one week ago in Bushwick. Now it is going to be in the book "The Thousands", by RJ Rushmore
Veng from Robots Will Kill painted this image one week ago in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Now it is going to be in the book “The Thousands”, by RJ Rushmore

Michael “RJ” Rushmore, founder of Vandalog, and bloggy friend of BSA, is still toiling in the fields of street art, turning out an impressive exhibition of street art next month called “The Thousands”, featuring work by some better-known street art names as Faile, Skewville, Banksy, Chris Stain, KAWS, Robots Will Kill, Shepard Fairey, Swoon, Herakut, and Barry McGee.  To accompany the show RJ has written a cool book called “The Thousands: Painting Outside, Breaking In.”  It is so up to date it features an image of Veng’s mural from last weeks MBP Urban Arts Fest! Damn son, those pics travel fast!

Says RJ on his blog “I am ecstatic. This is a street art book with all the artists I’ve always wanted to see in a book together. Plus, it’s not just me writing standard bios for the artists (though there is a bit of that), a lot of the book was written by other contributors. Mike Snelle from Black Rat Press wrote the forward (did you know he is an amazing writer?), Panik ATG wrote about Burning Candy, Know Hope wrote about Chris Stain, Gaia wrote about Know Hope… the list goes on.”

The book is only available on publisher DRAGO’s website right now.

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Street Signals 08.29.09

Skewville Unveils New Website

After being in development for 13 years, Droo says the new Skewville site is ready to roll!

Actually, that’s not how long it took to build the site – just it’s content.  This roll-through left-right scroller is a quick primer for the uninitiated on the history and accomplishments of Skewville and the multiple projects they have embarked on over the last decade plus.

Or, as Ad and Droo say, “If you don’t know – now you know.”

All the round the whirl
All the round the whirl with Skewville irony

From launching galleries to launching thousands of pairs of their wooden dogs over wires around the globe, to offering shows to their peers and participating in shows internationally, and always adding their smart-aleck commentary about the street art “scene” to the discussion, these brothers have piled a sizeable stack of HYPE.

Complexity and mastery comes with practice. Blah Blah Blah
Complexity and mastery comes with practice. Blah Blah Blah

This must be the place.  Skewville actually was a physical location and a lifestyle for the middle class and unfamous.
This must be the place. Skewville actually was a physical location and a lifestyle for the middle class and unfamous.

No strangers to sarcasm, the brothers have conceived and built a number of contraptions to get their message out.
No strangers to sarcasm, the brothers have conceived and built a number of contraptions to get their message out.

Currently the Skewville Corporation is participating in Nuart, a festival in Stavanger, Norway that celebrates the contributions of Brooklyn Street Artists.

See the New Site HERE
See the Gallery Factory Fresh HERE
Check the Tubeness below to see a piece that MTV Brasil did – After the first minute in Portuguese, Ad DeVille pretty much takes the show!


Vandalog’s RJ Hard at Work on “The Thousands”

His first “Pop-Up” is taking shape this November in London

The Thousands

An open and sincere voice in the street art blog world, RJ Rushmore is a stone cold street art lover.  Albeit still in his teens, this guy posesses a maturity and modesty that many of his peers may not develop for another 10 years. More significant; his industry is matching the size of his dreams.

This time the dream is a “Pop-Up” show featuring the big names in street art today, exposing a larger audience to the genre that has captured the imagination of the youth culture.

RJ has been planning the show for many months methodically and feels secure about it’s ultimate success but he is very aware that he is taking a big leap to undertake this labor of love, where most of the work won’t even be for sale.

So far the 40 pieces in the show are from most of the big names in street art – Adam Neate, Banksy, Barry McGee, Jenny Holzer, Bast, Swoon, Kaws, Os Gemeos, Shepard Fairey, Herakut, Blek le Rat and others.

People are jumping into “The Thousands” every day as word spreads, and RJ’s been sorting out the details that come along with this kind of show – Artists, Collectors, Permissions, Love.  In addition he’s working on a companion coffee table book to be published by Drago in November with photos and bios and a few guest contributors like Gaia and Panik.

His first exhibition includes some of the better known names and he’s looking forward to doing a future show with more emerging artists, but he’s smart to limit the scope the first time out. “The purpose of my efforts is to bring street art to the attention of a wider art community, and the best way to do that is to take the very best street artists’ artwork instead of all the emerging artists that I might love and think are promising”, says Mr. Rushmore.

The Thousands will be open from November 18th through the 22nd of November at Village Underground in London. Keep up on the details at the blog for “The Thousands” HERE

Vandalog is his street art blog

AD HOC Forms Alliance with Eastern District

Curating a Quick Show that Opens Today!

Eastern District, a 400sf gallery opened for about a year in Bushwick is looking to extend it’s reach by asking street art veteran gallerists Allison and Garrison Buxton to curate a new show in the ED space next door.  Most people know that Ad Hoc Art recently announced it’s downsizing it’s square footage due in their 49 Bogart space and stories of ED’s impending closure have been swirling around also.

Well, this is how neighbors do it in Brooklyn: by reaching out and working together. If either one of these parties had been the snooty white-box types, it never would have worked. But this is an arts community that knows that the resulting strength is greater with two.  When asked by ED to partner on shows, Ad Hoc Art happily and quickly accepted the invitation to curate and bring their peeps too.  Now they are looking at ways to bring more great shows to ED. That’s very good news for the nascent Bushwick gallery scene, not to mention the artists who get to show there.

And that brings us to today.  Garrison says, “AHA & ED have a Bushwick-focused show opening specifically highlighting very local talent from the hood where it all started.” Included are AHA/Bushwick favorites like like Destroy and Rebuild, LogikOne, Michael Allen, Molly Crabapple, Pagan, and Robert Steel

Ad Hoc Art’s is now planning a fall exhibition featuring the work of Joe Vaux and Gilbert Oh to open in November at Eastern District and more shows planned into the winter, such as veteren British/French street artist Jef Aerosol in January.  For now, it sounds like the Ad Hoc extravganza and shenanigans will continue!

Prepare for exciting art extravaganzas and shenanigans in the present and continuing into the near future, for Bushwick and beyond.

And of course the current show at Ad Hoc:

Chris Stain, Armsrock, and Ezra Li on Display till September 6th.

SuperDraw Keeps Developing – Now it’s an Iphone App

Remember BSA’s Projekt Projektor last year at the Dumbo Festival, full of new projectionists stretching the definition of Street Art?  Remember the projectionists at the end of our Street Crush Show in February?

Then you’ll remember Josh Ott, or SuperDraw.  Dude developed an interactive interface for people to project their own art through a project with their iPhones, and at our shows he eagerly transferred it to your phone for free so you could slap your work all over the Manhattan Bridge.

True, GRL keeps setting some of the standards, but we firmly believe that the future of street art may be vibrating in your front pocket right now.  There is a whole crop of projectionists and video and multimedia artists that are sharpening their skillz for that Brave New Street Art World as we chase the wheat-pasters.

SuperDraw

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