“Man, what’s with this cough that never goes away?” you ask your boy Tre, who’s laying on the moss green living room rug by the radiator drawing in his black book with an extra fine tip paint pen, listening to Wu Tang. “Could be January,” he offers. “Or maybe its asbestos from that work they’re doing in the elevator shaft.”
Right. “Never mind, lets watch some Beer Bowl!”
Meanwhile on the streets the ideas never stop. We were pretty excited to get up to 167th Street station to see the new mosaics by Brooklyn artist Rico Gatson, who does painting, video, sculpture and installation. These portraits of important contributors to the culture make us all proud. Here are just a handful but there are more and you should go and see them yourself.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Atomik, Captain Eyeliner, Deih XLF, finDAC, Go Vegan, Hoxxoh, Kai, Kevin Ledo, Lefty Out There, Mastrocola, My Dog Sighs, Pez, Rico Gaston, The Revolution Artists, Uninhibited, and What is Adam.
Brexit deadlock is like a thorn in the side of the UK people this week, Trump is shutting down the US government partially here for almost a month (to celebrate 2 years in the White House?), the ‘Yellow Vests’ are striking through France for the 10th weekend, its going to get very cold tonight in New York, and your cousin Marlene is back from the local Women’s March with fire in her eyes and hope in her heart. As usual, the streets are alive with Street Art and graffiti, and we’re bringing it to you.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring 2501, Add Fuel, BirdCap, BustArt, C3, City Kitty, Cranio, Duster, Edu Danesi, Fafi, Frances Forever, Jaeryaime, Kram, LMNOPI, Mark Jenkins, Neon Savage, Os Boys, Pez, Rx Skulls, Sickid, Tatiana Fazlalizadeh, UFO 907, and Zaira Noir .
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this time featuring Abe Lincoln Jr., Alexis Diaz, Brian Alfred, Celso, City Kitty, Cranio, Deih XLF, Diva Dogla, Dog Byste, Fales, Gane, Jenna Morello, MTO, Pleks, Raf Urban, Slomo29, Spaint, Uriginal.
Words in papers, words in books
Words on TV, words for crooks
Words of comfort, words of peace
Words to make the fighting cease
Words to tell you what to do
Words are working hard for you
Eat your words but don’t go hungry
Words have always nearly hung me.
Tomokazu Matsuyama and Deih killed it this year in Wynwood, no doubt and curator Alan Ket slayed with the solo show by Vhils at the primary gallery on the compound. Art Basel brings the crowds to Miami traditionally but there is no doubt that the magnet of Wynwood’s kid-friendly murals and Street Art as selfie backgrounds wins the day. Everywhere you look you see the families, influencers-in-training, tour guides and gobsmacked gaggles of teens creating pedestrian traffic jams inside Wynwood Walls. These artists and this art may have risen from an outsider marginalised and criminalised culture of illegal vandalism but these crowds are simply enjoying the art and each other.
That foot traffic inside replicates the car and heavy truck traffic jams throughout the neighborhood as new multi-story construction continues apace and the gentrification cycle rapidly courses through the real estate / street culture corpus. Right now this romance between development and art-in-the-streets is still in the heavy petting stage, and there is a lot of star gazing. How long can this tryst continue, you ask? It’s impossible to say what benchmark to measure, but watch for the moment when the sales of mezcal slushies and Moscow Mules are eclipsed by Acai bowls and kale smoothies.
So here’s our first weekly interview with the street, this time directly from Miami, featuring AShop Crew, Audrey Kawasaki, Bordallo II, Deih, Joe Iurato, JonOne, Martin Watson, Tavar Zawacki, Tomokazu Matsuyama, and Vhils.
Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Able, Alexis Diaz, Bruno Smoky, Case Ma’Claim, Crash, Dan Flavin, Ernest Zacharevic, Inti, Jose Mertz, Kryptick, Logan Hicks, Maya Hayuk, Miro, Pichi & Avo, Santiago Rubino, Shalakattak, and Sipros.
Arts and artists get very little or no financial or institutional support from the federal, state, or local government in the United States, which is always a shock for Europeans to learn – and many won’t believe it when you tell them. This website, for example, receives no funding or grants from any organization despite publishing daily for almost nine years, and it has remained non-commercial during that entire time.
The Raw Project in Wynwood, Miami is the initiative of Robert De Los Rios, who partnered with private contributors, did fundraising, and asked a coalition of artists to paint the walls of the schools for the kids.
Part of its success of course is due to the status of the Wynwood neighborhood as a magnet for graffiti and Street Artists over the last decade or so. Already coming to Wynwood for Art Basel or to partake in a related art event, these artists have given of themselves and their talents to create a completely unique and dynamic environment for students to learn and grow up around.
So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Adline, City Kitty, D7606, Drsco, El Sol 25, Hek Tad, Homo Riot, Jerk Face, Jose Feliz Perez, Lunge Box, Meguru Yamaguchi, Michael Vasquez, Nimai Keston, Not Art, Shepard Fairey, Sheryo & the Yok, and Vicki Da Silva.
Yeah, we didn’t know what it meant either so we looked it up. Here’s what Wikipedia says: Kompromat (Russian: компромат; IPA: [kəmprɐˈmat], short for компрометирующий материал, literally “compromising material”) is the Russian term for compromising materials about a politician or other public figure. Such materials can be used to create negative publicity, for blackmail, or for ensuring loyalty.
In other words, light artist Vicki Da Silva is referencing the apparent influence of the Russian government over the presidential election by smearing Clinton publicly with information they had found. Luckily they didn’t find any information to influence Trump in any way.
Clara Vanessa Avalo and her Uninhibited Urban Art Magazine mounted their own celebratory event full of artists and fans this year in Allapattah, a gritty neighborhood adjacent to the glaring spotlights of Wynwood during Art Basel Miami.
Celebrating the magazine’s first anniversary Ms. Vanessa Avalo’s project brought a number of artists to paint live at “The Collective” during Basel week and to meet new folks and art fans at their big party out back at the compound and gallery. A self-described Luxury Real Estate Broker, Ms. Vanessa Avalo has managed to parlay international travel and art-world relationships with her affection for urban artists and is growing a scene of her own with some well-known and newer names on the scene. Ms. Avalo is the curator, organizer and creator of Uninhibited Urban Art Magazine and Uninhibited Mural Festival Allaphatta.
Loosely referred to by some as “The Collective Art Miami” this noisy front/quiet back block encompasses all the organic bohemian stuff that fuels a grassroots artists community and draws interest – a radio station (Jolt Radio), record store, live performances, small gallery shows, in-gallery yoga, design startups, production teams, dance, fashion.
With the exception of The London Police pieces all the murals featured here were created this year from November 21st. through December 2nd. These photos can give you a taste of the new grassroots scene growing out of, or perhaps in response to, the madness that is Wynwood.
It’s over a year old, but this mural by UK’s Phlegm along rail tracks in Miami has a certain timeless quality.
Maybe it is the illustrator’s monochromatic fanta-realism or the placement of this industrial-age freight running on the side of an old factory building , but these characters and potentially nested stories give Phlegms work a longevity that exceeds many. Extra points awarded for context.
As we begin a new year we are reminded that a goal of many artists as they mature is to craft something that has a timeless quality, remaining evergreen. In the case of a muralist or street artist, that goal may also extend to creating work that ages well in the punishing sun and rain and snow over time. It will be good to see this one in ten years, right?
Of course it was not all about spectacle this week in Miami, but about tribes and community as well. Many conversations with artists on the street and at openings revolved around this chaotic/fearful time we are living in – and it seemed like if you weren’t discussing the incoming president and offering predictions about what fresh hell this time will bring, you were trying hard to avoid the topic altogether.
There were talks this week about activism or the lack of it on the street, relevance of the work of artists in the body politik, paint supplies, ladders, Tindr, licensing, how Pete Rock and CL Smooth blew everybody away late Friday night with the Bushwick Collective, how murals are not to be confused with Street Art and Street Art is not to be confused with graffiti and of course the evergreen “Is Street Art Dead?” – which has popped up as a topic about every 3 months since it was coined. Answer: no sight of it yet, but we’ll let you know if it stops mutating and shapshifting and re-defining itself. Promise
Without repeating some of the images from our previous postings this week, here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring 2Alas, Bordalo II, Caratoes, Cleon Peterson, CRASH, Dan Witz, D*Face, Don Rimx, Evoca, Fluke, Hoxxoh, Jules Muck, L’Atlas, Okuda, Pez, Shepard Fairey, Shida, Shok1, and Sipros.
We will be hitting SCOPE shortly but in the interim we’ve been scoping for action or trouble; trolling around the streets of Wynwood and other selected odd locations to find Street Artists actively brush-painting, aerosol painting, markering, stenciling, wheat-pasting, even tying some wires and ribbons around fences. The walls and murals and the scene are all transforming in front of your eyes here, with photographers, videographers, and drones all flying around to capture the action as it progresses.
This neighborhood is an art fair, without the attitude. Well, maybe there is attitude occasionally on display as well.
Also, political speech was pushing through the carousing beer swilling, late-sipping, burrito chomping streets yesterday with a 50 person troop of protesters with home made signs addressing the massive oil pipeline that is routed through sacred land of Native Americans in North Dakota and a pipeline planned to go through Florida.
We followed them for a few blocks, listening to chants about water and hegemony and found that for many art/party fans it was a curiosity to see citizens demonstrating, and a few bystanders took the fluorescent green flyers offered and said thanks, while others took photos and naturally, selfies with the marchers.
Just one more element to add to your sense of cognitive dissonance.
Night time in the Wynwood District is a chaotic grimy glittery mix of high and low and middle in the neighborhood as well – where you are as likely to catch a whiff of a models’ perfume as she sashays past you in a backless silver mini dress with her 3 leggy friends flipping their long hair over their shoulders as you are to catch a whiff of sweet ganga smoke from the joint of an open-shirted, low-waisted Romeo in dreadlocks or one the acrid whiff of the rumpled grayish clothing worn by the guy who is sitting on a chair against a mural and is ready to spend another night laying on the sidewalk after you stumble back to your hotel.
An ongoing slothful and bloated and thumping network of car-minivan-limo-Escalade-motorcycle traffic is rolling into a mechanical Ambian lethargy, at times looking more like a parking lot or tailgating party, grid-locking and popping and actively cruising the options parading down the sidewalks, with windows open and music pumping.
With no police at intersections to ease the flow of this jamtastic scene, low-bubbling rage mixes with cologne and produces slick insults hurled at the guy whose car is blocking the traffic flow, or more importantly, your flow. The song of the night wafting through the air on one corner, perhaps because a bicycle would be a perfect solution here, is called Bicycleta.
Luckily for us, we are usually on foot and not afraid to walk to find the good stuff. That is the best way to experience the street and the various events and to catch artists at work. Enjoy a few scenes from the day and one from the evening in Wynwood in Miami.