All posts tagged: Xeme

The Power Of Words on the Streets, A Recent Survey

The Power Of Words on the Streets, A Recent Survey

Much art in the streets is often for aesthetics – whether figurative, representational, or abstract. With roots in graffiti and often influenced by advertising, political protest, and pop culture, you will always find text messages as well.

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Whether small missives or massive billboards, direct or somewhat cryptic, many these days are in opposition to current political leaders or critiques of social, political, economic issues and systems. Others are just about love. Whether or not this collection is a true measure of the Vox Populi, it certainly can give you a meaningful survey of opinions on the streets.

Adam Fujita . Dirty Bandits (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified artist in Mexico City. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Rob Sharp (photo © Jaime Rojo)

John Fekner (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Fujita . Dirty Bandits (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dave The Chimp in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anida Yeou at Art Central Art Fair in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Fujita . Dirty Bandits (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

American Puppet. “Love Breeds Love”. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mind The Heart Project (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sammy (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

XEME in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

My Life In Yellow (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

WRDSMT (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sam Durant (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Sozi36 in Berlin. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Individual Activist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Fujita (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Camo Lords (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Megzany (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Adam Dare (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Laser 3.14 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 04.02.17

BSA Images Of The Week: 04.02.17

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

Good to be back in dirty old New York from dirty old Hong Kong this week. Actually on the dirty meter, we think New York still wins! Hooray!

Looking to the national stage, things couldn’t possibly be more dirty, as the rolling dumpster fire looks like it is setting records for failure to deliver on promises and a gathering cloud of accusations of straight up conspiracy, nepotism, corruption, even treason. And that’s on a good day. Art on the streets sometimes reflects directly and often indirectly on the facts on the ground. Now that spring is here, we expect to see a lot more voices again joining the fray.

Here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring: Below Key, Chzz, Crash, Danny Boy Doid, El Sol 25, Laser 3.14, Obsrvrone,Pixel Pancho, Snik, Two One, Tony Matelli, Wrong Kong, Xeme, and Zura.

Top image: Crash in collaboration with The L.I.S.A. Project. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dany Boy Doid . It’s A Living (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Sol 25 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

El Sol 25. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Two One in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Laser 3.14 in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Wrong Kong in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Chzz in Ukraine. (photo © Chzz)

Zura (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We have previously published this Pixel Pancho piece shown in detail above and below. The artist had to restore the piece after additional text was added to it without permission from the artist. We liked how the piece plays with the architecture and the trees as experienced from the High Line Park, sort of like she is lounging and specifically peering through this opening.

Pixel Pancho (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Unidentified Artist (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Xeme in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Xeme in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Xeme in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Snik in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A more common refrain these days as New York’s long-heralded creative community finds fewer neighborhoods to afford – this one on a Williamsburg musical instrument store that had an amazing collection of guitars. It started out as a small business in the basement of a storefront and grew two more times during the 2000s. A powerful engine of the economy in the city, when artists can’t afford to stay due to high rents the city stands to lose revenue – and soul. The stories keep piling up as artists now often are giving up and leaving for cheaper cities – so whoever put this up addressing the mayor knows of what they speak. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Obsrvrone in Hong Kong. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Below Key (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tony Matelli at the High Line Park. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. A client waits while a her shoes are being repaired in Hong Kong last week. March 2017. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

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HONG KONG Re-cap, HKwalls 2017 Makes New Paths for Urban Art

HONG KONG Re-cap, HKwalls 2017 Makes New Paths for Urban Art

Go East Young Woman!

That’s where you’ll discover dynamic graffiti and Street Art and murals these days thanks in part to last weeks’ HKwalls festival, now in it’s fourth year. You’ll definitely see more women involved in this outdoor exhibition than most festivals that we’ve become familiar with, not that the organizers are making a point of it.

Zoer. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

And in an incredibly diverse display it is gratifying to see a wide range of countries represented in the artist pool from Asian cities like Jakarta, Manila, Taipei, Penang, Chiang Mai and Hong Kong – along with the European and American contingent you’ve been seeing in other proper Street Art so-called ‘festivals” elsewhere.

In some ways this feels like a new frontier in an old land.

Making the path by walking, this relatively tiny group of passionate urban art fans has convened here in the blooming bohemia/ industrial neighborhood Wan Chuk Hang on Hong Kong’s South Side, with the art-generated traffic getting heavier by weeks end to see live painting, painting competitions, DJs, gallery shows, a short film program, night time projections, and panel discussions.

Jecks. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

All week we saw intense interest and scrutiny from the new generation of fans who could easily fit into major cities globally with their fashion and omnipresent phones. With one eye on the rising international interest in Street Art and the other on the lettering traditions of graffiti, the calligraphic traditions of Chinese history, modern and traditional tattoo culture, these young fans are hungry for something that seems alive and contemporary.

Despite the much discussed high rents and small apartments here, you can also see that a relatively stable economy has provided many young people a disposable income to create or purchase art and art products.

Jecks. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

HKwalls co-founders Jason Dembski and Stan Wu and managing director Maria Wong say they’re supplying a much-needed public art element to the annual Hong Kong “Art Month”, which tends to be focused on galleries and the somewhat insular spectacle of high-end international art fairs like Art Basel and Art Central. But clearly after four years of bringing graffiti and Street Art together on walls in different neighborhoods across the city it’s much more than that.

With an inclusive welcoming vibe they’re harmonizing contradictory dynamics with diplomatic aplomb; honored traditions are melding with the hip digital tribe, mildly subversive free expression is getting elbowroom in a culture that doesn’t necessarily value it, wild-style graffiti burners are created in tandem with large multi-hued murals of many disciplines.

Jecks. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Jecks. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But then, this is Hong Kong, an Eastern/Western city of 7.4 million that speaks English and Cantonese and has been acutely aware of the movements in Mainland China since HK’s transfer of sovereignty from the UK two decades ago. So, “balance” is an appropriate term to use with HKwalls, with an unusually balanced roster of talents from graffiti kings like Tuts from Jakarta and Dilk from Nottingham, stencil wizards like SNIK from UK, design/graffiti collective letterists like Alphabet Monsters, illustration/comic book artists like Hong Kong’s Messy Desk and Seoul’s SeeNaeMe, abstract geometrists like Kris Abrigo from Manila, and magic realists like Spain’s Spok, France’s Zoer, and Italy’s Pixel Pancho.

To present such a wide swath of influences and talents can run the danger of being unwieldy and fractured, but somehow there is a common thread of quality that runs through the offerings.

Kris Abrigo. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

In a way it is an irony that a subculture with roots in disadvantaged economic circumstances like graffiti appears to be garnering a certain cachet among educated artistic and professional people in their teens and twenties. Here is a marginalized, sometimes anti-establishment subculture that now welcomes many to participate either as artists or fans, and along with skater culture, hip-hop, and modern existential feelings of disconnectedness despite a hyper-connected digital world, you have an instant community to plug into.

Growing in tandem with the scene is an expanding middle class and a certain amount of free time among Hong Kong young – both rather feeding what may be described as the growth of an urban contemporary culture. “Sub” handily is removed from the descriptor and lifestyle brands swoop in for the “like”.

Dilk. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Ultimately, HKwalls is blazing new urban paths in a densely chaotic city and involving local unknown artists in their official selections along with bigger international Street Art names like Swoon, who did a Hong Kong city tram project that brought her work to city streets for about 6 weeks, as it did for Vhils a year ago. With a good sense of balance like this, we expect to see HKwalls on the streets for their 5th anniversary next year.

Not all the walls were completed before we left so here is a selection of the finished ones.

Dilk. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Snik. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pixel Pancho. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Debe. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tuts. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tuts. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Anyway. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mauy. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Mauy. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aspire. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Aspire. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Amuse126 . Merlot AKA Alphabet Monsters. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Merlot . Amuse126 AKA Alphabet Monsters. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spok. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Spok. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © courtesy of HKwalls)

Rodney Stratton. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

3 x 3 x 3. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Candy Bird. Detail. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Candy Bird. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Snub. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Untitled. HKwalls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 


HKWalls and Hong Kong stories come to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN)

#urbannationberlin #allnationsunderoneroof #unblog @urbannationberlin @bkstreetart


Artists for HKwalls 2017 include: Abudulrashade, Alphabet Monster aka Amuse126 & Merlot, Anyway, Brain Rental, Buff Diss, Candy Bird, Damt, Debe, Dilk, Jecks, Kris Abrigo, Mauy Cola, Megic, Messy Desk, Pixel Pancho, Ralph Macchio, Seename, Snik, Snub, Spok, Taka, Tuts, Wong Ting Fung, Zinan, and Zoer.

Exhibit artists include Snik, Abdulrashade, Dilk, Mauy Cola, Spok, Seenaeme, Wong Ting Fung, Jecks, Messy Deck, Mooncasket, Brain Rental, Kris Abrigo, Rodney Stratton, Cath Love, Barlo, 3x3x3, Debe, Taka, Xeme, Ralph Macchio, Candy Bird


This article is also published on Urban Nation and The Huffington Post

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Catching Up With Hong Kong – HK Walls 2017, Dispatch 1

Catching Up With Hong Kong – HK Walls 2017, Dispatch 1

This week BSA and Urban Nation (UN) are in Hong Kong for the 4th edition of HKWalls to capture a very international and local mix of artists in this East/West nexus; a world-class city for art and culture, English and Cantonese, hi-tech and traditional methods – all during the enormous Art Basel week. We’ll bring you the new walls, some previous pieces, some graffiti, stickers, and a whole lot of color from this fast moving and dynamic city on the Pearl River Delta of East Asia.


A day after heaving rains delayed the first couple of walls and a projection mapping show on  Sunday, a few walls are getting started, like the sprawling text of Amuse and Merlot, a vertically soaring robot of certain pedigree by Pixel Pancho and the trio called Anyway deconstructing a car on a roll-down gate that covers the mechanic shop.

Unidentified Artist. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As the artists arrive into HKWalls headquarters in the base of the Ovolo Southside hotel in the Wong Chuk Hang neighborhood, we decide to head up north to the more congested and commercial center of Kowloon to say hello to Pixel and Dr. Fjordor as they start to sketch out the new figure of their wall way up above the traffic on a cherry picker.

Pixel radios to a young guy who is about 22 years old in English his next directions for where he would like to move the the basket they are riding in next. The helper then translates into Chinese the directions – move to the left and a few meters upward – to a grey haired gentlemen manning the mechanical controls that are mounted to the back of the crane on the street. We ask the walkie-talkie guy to tell Pancho we say “hello” and he turns in his bucket to wave down 10 stories below.

Peeta. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We hop back on the super modern and smooth MTR system train to the Sham Shui Po neighborhood and wander through the markets and alleys and congested commercial streets to see the vendors selling fabrics, zippers, buttons, leather goods… and small groups of guys playing poker on card tables.

We also find a huge 3-D text piece by Italian Street Artist Peeta that wraps around corner of the second story façade that may remind you of a department store at a mall. Eventually we found more free-form one-color characters in some thin alleyways and a very talk Okuda multi-colored geometric patterned fox mural sandwiched between residential high-rises with freshly washed clothing and bed linens hanging outside apartment windows.

Paola Delfin. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Riding the high-tech train back to Wong Chuk Hang at rush hour and crammed closely with people who are poking and swiping at their phones playing games or texting friends, you could watch world news on the screen just above your head as you ride. The images and headlines are featuring news about FBI Director Comey talking about an investigation into Russian interference in the US elections – and an image of Donald Trump inveighing at a rally microphone with a few guys wearing red “Make America Great Again” caps smiling behind him.

It strikes you that a fourteen hour flight to literally the other side of the world has just collapsed into one second. It’s true that people around the world watch these political developments and make judgements – which is why someone tells an American at a party at the end of the night that just hearing his US accent makes the guy think he must be a racist. Real talk, bro.

Shida. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Okuda. Detail. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Okuda. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

GR1. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Zids. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Phron & Sars = Seduce. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Suiko. HK Walls. Hong Kong – March 2017 (photo © Jaime Rojo)


HKWalls and Hong Kong stories come to you courtesy BSA in Partnership with Urban Nation (UN)

#urbannationberlin #allnationsunderoneroof #unblog @urbannationberlin @bkstreetart

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BSA Film Friday: 07.26.13

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening: Bomb It 2 by Jon Reiss launches and Sampo Graffiti: Ignoto from Brazil. 

BSA Special Feature: Bomb It 2
by director Jon Reiss

About to debut in August and through the fall, the sequel to the global graffiti documentary Bomb It travels to a number of far-flung cities you are vaguely aware of, much less imagine as locations of a graffiti or Street Art scene. In fact, one of the strengths of this movie is the subtle and not-so-subtle imparting of  the realities of daily life elsewhere that are revealed while in the course of tracking graffiti and Street Art. Yes, Street Art makes a much heavier impression in this tale than one might expect from a movie called Bomb It 2, but don’t let terminology blind you from seeing the people behind the paint.

Using a tiny camera that jumps to the beat of the always-gyrating soundtrack, Reiss takes you to the Palestinian refugee camps on the West Bank and you can feel the utterly constrictive hand around your neck while people nervously paint at night under guard. A short time later you learn the details of the brutal punishment called caning as it applies to graffiti writers in Singapore. Next you are in Thailand where painting on a wall almost feels like a spiritual practice. As much as graff writers like to generalize about the “rules” of graffiti in your city, the Bomb It movies tell you that they don’t apply universally.

Painting under cover of night in Bomb It 2 (screenshot © Jon Reiss for Bomb It 2)

Of course it doesn’t pretend to interview every single writer and Street Artist in every single city on the globe (as will be a critique no doubt), but that would require a movie that is 400 hours long. However you will witness the intensity of feelings that bombing/painting/pasting evokes in people and see the fierce devotion that some writers have, learn how it can be an art practice or an act of pure defiance, and hear at least one writer say unequivocally that graffiti saved his life.

With scenes from previously unexplored areas of the Middle East, Europe, Asia, the United States and Australia – Bomb it 2 represents a wide range of cultures, styles and beliefs and includes interviews with Klone, Know Hope, Great Bates, Twoone, Darbotz, Killer Gerbil and Zero, Bon, Alex Face, Sloke, Husk Mit Navn, Ash, Phibs, Stormie Mills, Beejoir, Zero Cents, Vexta, MIC, and Xeme, and many more.

Here is a small trailer for you, but for the full show you still have a few days to wait.

SAMPA GRAFFITI / Ignoto

A new installment from a series that focuses on graffiti artists in São Paulo, here is a relaxed installation from Ignoto. The laidback style of his whole approach tells you he’s chilled and the action on the street is unusual because steps away from him are a handful of kids flying kites while he does his work. Click on the CC at the bottom to see a translation of Ignoto’s thoughts on graffiti and art in general.

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