As you make your resolutions for the new year, you may find yourself trimming the bushes of your life, pruning away the unproductive branches, as it were. Polish poet Tadeausz Nowak (1930-1991) may have been thinking of clearing away the dead brush when he wrote about “ludzikowie” (petty people) in his “Frolic Psalm”.
Polish street artist Michał ‘Sepe’ Wręga was born in Warsaw and tells us about this new mural he painted in his hometown as a tribute to the poet. Always in touch with his graffiti roots, Sepe now plays with a sophisticated palette like an illustrator and painter, giving these figures a maudlin cheer, mired as they are in trifling fixations.
To better describe his intentions with these pink and blue painterly depictions, Sepe quotes Nowak for us: “Heaven, oh heaven, pricked with spears, pierced through with a cow’s horn, poor petty people standing beneath with their God swamped in plaster”.
When you hear the name of Street Artist Don’t Fret you can be assured that he means exactly the opposite. Exposing random and selected people’s faults, foibles, and fraternizing habits is just a way to quickly capture the free-wheeling imaginings and inner conversations that Don’t Fret has running through his head almost continuously. On his big 2015 European Tour through Berlin, London, Warsaw, and Viavai, the Chicago-based Street Artist brings his customary wit and observation skills and attacks it all with gusto.
“In Warsaw I was invited by V9 Gallery to come work as artist in residence,” he says of the gradual climb into the gallery world that he is taking. The weather was cold and wet and not great for wheat-pasting so he painted a lot of stuff to stockpile for later. “I created a body of work of busts of influential Polish American artists and writers, including Chicago’s own Ed Paschke,” he says.
In Italy Don’t Fret participated in the Viavai Projeect and did a piece on one of the last textile companies that has not been purchased by a Chinese company.
“I painted a mural of the employees and created two screen prints, one dealing with the issue of Italy’s future as they sell more and more of their infrastructure to China.” The fragments of a classical sculpture are scattered across a wall for the mural, perhaps reflecting the feelings of a once unified, proud and powerful textile industry.
The remainder of his European tour was spent painting a mural in London, followed by hitting the streets there and a brief stop in Berlin. The variety of images attests to the artists habit of observing and reacting to his environment. Depicting everyday people and signposts of history and modern life, you may see yourself and your silliness in them; but you don’t mind the gentle mockery because there is a certain respect or pathos present as well.
If you were worried that you are not cool, Don’t Fret assures you that really, no one is. Yes, the most closely held rules of your societal relevance are subjected to his theories of relativity and sharp pointed social dissections, and don’t be surprised if his plaintive text and protruding faces call out some heavy truth – but they’ll leave you smiling as well. Like most good comedians, he keeps the sharpest barbs for himself and only infers utter hypocrisy in the lives and behaviors of others while giving them a tribute for hanging in there; humoring the passersby, as it were.
Tragedy is grabbing world headlines again and we can’t help but be swayed by it as the downed passenger aircraft in Ukraine smells of a lawless future and the international community seems rather helpless to address it meaningfully. Simultaneously the Israeli / Palestinian crises flares for the seemingly millionth time along with international opinion, a fire now fed with large helpings of social media oxygen, buffeted by various marches in the actual streets around the world and here in NYC.
Our banner today is a relatively new collage/painting currently on view in the Italian Cultural Institute of New York by the Street Artist BR1, who depicts the strife in somewhat cartoonish exaggerated simplicity, flattening the complexity of history with two dimensional caricature. Comments some made when we ran it a couple of weeks ago for the opening of the show (before the current events had begun) made it clear that even art about the conflict seems radioactive.
Our top image this week is an actual street piece from Icy & Sot and it brought more comments on Instagram than most other photos, so strong are people’s reactions to it. As far as the Ukraine/Russia news, we haven’t seen any Street Art about that – except maybe for that Billi Kid caricature of Putin as a cowboyearlier in the year but you couldn’t really say it is directly related.
With this pall of strife filling screens and streets right now its no wonder the one image below of Ewok’s wall full of discontented people was shared so many times on our FB Fan Page this week. “Hey these grumpy faces make me happy,” said one commenter.
So anyway, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Art is Trash, Atom, BustArt, Cold World, E.L.K., Ewok, False, GG, Gualicho, Icy & Sot, Kuma, Myth, Osch, Otto Schade, Post No Selfie, QRST, Sean9Lugo, Sebs, Sexer, Topaz, UFO907, Unvale, Wing, and Zaria.
1. Learn How to Count to 20
2. HUSH new show “Twin” Saturday at New Image Art Gallery in West Hollywood, CA.
3. Oh, Word? Word To Mother at FAME 2010 (Video)
4. BOXI, Dust the Furniture, Draw the Curtains (VIDEO)
5. APEX Rocking Jeans at White Walls Tonight
6. Supakitch y Koralie in Mexico City (VIDEO)
7.M-City in Warsaw, Poland (VIDEO)
Today is May 20th! Can you count to 20?
Shout out to all the kids who grew up with Sesame Street and learned some serious counting skillzzzzzz. Happy Friday.
HUSH new show “Twin” Saturday at New Image Art Gallery in West Hollywood, CA.
Quietly exuberant Hush opens a brand new collection of his pieces at New Image tomorrow night, and he’s been spraying the bejezus out of the walls of the gallery before hanging the new pieces.
Gallery owner Marsea Goldberg, brings Hush to her space after a number of years of watching his work evolve. “The interesting thing about Hush’s art is the combination of influences. His artwork posses a distinct link to traditional figurative painting specific to the UK while also possessing an elegant combination of the abstract and decorative,” she says.
Filmaciones de la Ciudad presents these two Street Artists while they were in Mexico City recently.
“Over 6 days of intense work, the couple made a huge piece on wood, using different techniques such as spray, airbrush, paintbrush, marker, crayon,wallpaper and stencil, also painting their trademark characters who in this occasion, were influenced by Mexican culture, SupalCapone of Supakitch is a mexican revolutionary and Koralie´s Geishka is using a luchador mask. People where invited to enjoy this for free and meet the artists. In addition, the artists got to know part of the city and the lives of those who live in it.