Friday, June 18, 2010

June 2010: Breathe and Stop

If you showed up today, you probably expected a Friday ProFile. I'm sorry to disappoint. Over the past year and a half, I've consistently banged out posts five days a week. However, I think I've reached a point where I need to take a pause. A lot's about to change on my end, and I'm trying to process it all at once. Until then, Illicit Exhibitions will be on a brief hiatus.

This post isn't so much of a "goodbye" as it is a "see you later." My obsession with street art certainly hasn't abated; I just need a break from posting. I'm so honored to have such a loyal fan base and it's been a pleasure getting to know so many artists. Thank you for the stickers, tee shirts, and other fun gifts. I can't believe how quickly this tiny project snowballed into its current form. To close, I'll leave you will a concise list of the artists I posted on in 2010. Don't worry, kids, I shall return. Until then, keep it real and don't stop hunting.






Thursday, June 17, 2010

May 2010: Brooklyn

Congrats to the class of 2010! I'm impressed, guys; you succeeded in making me cry. Today's the first day of summer vacation and I don't really know what to do with myself. No exams to give, papers to edit, or grammar to explain? I admit that I feel a bit lost. Well, at least I actually have time to post my own photos now. Here's a collection of shots that I snapped last month in BK.
This piece was around the corner from the Brooklyn Brewery. Nearby, two visibly hammered guys were draped over railings trying to sober up. We saw them at 6 pm. If they were having a good day beforehand, I doubt they felt that way once the booze wore off.
A little ways away, we found this creepy wheat paste/stencil combo. We stopped at a vintage store and met two hilarious Italian children "standing guard" at the front door. They had their routine down (even demanding passwords for exiting the building).
Then we ran into a giant Pussy Ham.
Later on, Daffy and Bugs tried to outdo the other with this wheat paste series. I appreciate the patience of my company for letting me dart across streets and sidewalks to take these photos. I think I kept my obsession in check, but it's got to be annoying when I disappear for a minute and people can't find me.
Perhaps this shot is my favorite. My friend Mawena (in that gorgeous rainbow dress) poses in front of some Faile wheatpastes. After we took this picture, the lot of us went for drinks and snacks. I feel like this was one of those perfect day situations: delicious food, wonderful company, and ideal weather for roaming around. I'm thrilled to relocate to Brooklyn this August. Can't wait!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

June 2010: Superpastel in Buenos Aires

Today's a big day around here: in addition to three World Cup games, the class of 2010 graduates tonight. Since I've spent two years at this school, I'm really going to miss some of these guys. Congratulations, everyone! Today, we travel to the southern hemisphere to hear from Superpastel and his mission to document Buenos Aires. He writes:
"I started painting 10 years ago in the city of Buenos Aires. I like painting in areas like Saavedra, Palermo and Villa Crespo."
"My style was generated by several parallel transformations. I'm finishing up my architecture degree at the University of Buenos Aires, where I was working over time to achieve a connection between graffiti, urban planning and architecture."
"I like working on group walls as well as individual paintings."
"Any spot is good if there's friends and sun. I love seeing other parts of Argentina as I paint."
"I'm working on documenting the street, not just in drawings or photos. I love Argentina's architecture from the '20s-'50s."

Gracias, Superpastel! For more photo documentation, take a look at his Flickr.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 2010: Don Xid in Bogotá

Quick post today: gotta give exams and secretly watch New Zealand play Slovakia. Today, Don Xid checks in from Colombia to share thoughts on this past year. He writes:
"I started doing street art one year ago. I never really thought that it would work in the street, but I soon realized that it was a great place to share what I make. These environments are only found in the street. I paint in different neighborhoods of Bogotá, but I hope to bring my work to other parts of the world."
"Lately, I'e been painting with friends but sometimes I paint alone. For me, it doesn't matter."
"I like drawing a lot, and I always try to take my time. I look at the techniques that I'm using and stop to think about what I've done on paper. I can say that I have a definite style, but I'm still working on it."
"I love painting on abandoned areas or ruined land. I like environments filled with silence. I also like the center of my city because there is a variety of people and cultures. There's a lot of traffic and many graffiti artists paint down there, so it's a colorful part of town."
"I have met many wonderful and talented people through street art. Every day, I learn more and I am infinitely happy being able to know these people. They're like icons of the street!"

Gracias, Don Xid! For more photos, pop by his Flickr.

Monday, June 14, 2010

In The Headlines

With World Cup soccer in full swing, I break my days into three chunks: 7:30, 10, and 2:30. Over the past two days, I've consumed heaps of food and watched a ridiculous number of games. Fortunately, I took a quick break to compile some headlines. Now it's back to Netherlands vs. Denmark!

Inkfetish played around in an abandoned warehouse recently. Here are the results.

Other countries may appreciate street art, but Singapore is definitely NOT down.

Amose's show, "Me, Myself and I" is on at Nice Nice Gallery in Hannover, Germany.

Here's a photo of Grems's new album/book cover.

In Atlanta, BORN's pieces are getting the buff, making way for a new park.

The removal of Banksy's mural from Detroit's 555 Gallery sparked a controversial debate about intellectual property.
Send your stickers to Omino71 for his fourth "Stick My World" campaign.

YZ grabbed a camera and took household rooms outside.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday ProFile: Olivia

Due to some technological difficulties, today's ProFile will be in a weekday kind of format. Fortunately, Olivia has a lot to say about her work and the future of street art. She writes:
"I was born in Bilbao, north of Spain and I've been living in Barcelona for the last 15 years. I always liked that name, I used it as a nickname on Internet, so that was a name I felt comfortable with and using olive-oil character. Olivia as a subject came easily. I also look a little bit like her."

"Everywhere I go I try to take posters with me. Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Granada, Valencia, Paris, London, Berlin, Istanbul, Lisbon. In Spain I really like Valencia, because you can find very good spots and it last forever, at least by now. In Europe I loved Berlin, amazing city and full of really good stuff; also Paris is not easy but they really like stencils and I feel they appreciate my work. Paris is like the capital of stencils and for some reason my work always has a little French touch. When I'm not pasting, I work as a textile designer for fashion companies and also as a teacher of plastic arts to High school students."
"I remember myself always drawing and painting with colour pencils when I was a child, when I grew up I use to do it at school instead of doing maths. I started painting on the street when I was already 35, so at that time I had already studied Fine Arts and I had my own style of drawing. What I took from the street was the technique of stencil that I had never used before, Barcelona 5 years ago was very inspiring because there was murals and works of people of all types, colours, techniques and sizes, that was amazing.

"I was introduced to street art by Mr Case four and a half years ago. He told me everything about it, even how to make a stencil. I can't forget how excited I was when I painted my first stencil on the street, them I realised that was a bit more dangerous than I thought, police, fines. I think my olivias are more elaborate now. I started doing simple 2 or 3 layer stencils. Now I put more elements in them and I use different techniques apart from stencils, like fabric, feathers, etc. "
"Street art is very exciting, not because you can get caught by the police, but because being out on the streets everybody can see your stuff and other artists can interact with you. Also because street art makes a city feel alive, public space is a common place where everyone should have the opportunity of express themselves as citizens, not just the big companies with ads always trying to sell something, democratisation of public space."

"Once I got caught by the police on a bombing night in the city. I was taken to court and my punishment was to spend some hours as a social worker doing something for the community. I ended up teaching kids how to paint graffiti in a small organization, they had to paint the shutters of the neighbourhood shops with graffiti related to the products that were sold in each shop. The project was really interesting, teaching the kids how to make a sketch before starting and how to paint together was very nice. It was strange to teach kids how to paint graffiti as a punishment for painting graffiti... But it was a beautiful projects and the kids were really happy with the final piece, and that's the important thing for me."
"Painting with friends makes you feel safer and more self-confident. Street art is not an easy thing to do, many people hate it, you have to be careful with the police, and you must get used to see your work destroyed, covered, ripped and trashed (good for educating your ego), so doing it with friends makes it less hard and more fun."

"I think the main difference between old-school graffiti and street art, apart from the technique itself (spray vs brush/sticker/poster/whatever), is that graffiti is done by writers for writers, while street art is more open to all kind of people. Tags and throw-ups are a close code of communication for people who are inside the scene. Actually, tags are very hard to read for people not familiar with graffiti-style letters, they are intended for other graffiti artist to see and appreciate. While anybody can understand and appreciate street art. That's why graffiti and tagging are more stigmatised and not so accepted by society, while street art is more generally accepted, because graffiti is a close code of communication, while street art is more open o anyone and easily understandable."
"I never tried to express any special meaning behind my work, but I think there's always something, a way of seeing life that goes within. My girls are very feminine, but strong and even pioneer in their times. Each of my Olivias represent a quality I consider important, a tribute not only to the person or character but also an attitude. Frilivia Khalo, for instance, represents courage and self-improvement; Oliphine Baker to be ahead of your time. Now I'm working for an exhibition in Menorca, it's opening soon so I must hurry and finish the last pieces!"

"When graffiti started your ego was very important, a graffiti writer looked for fame and recognition in the graffiti scene. I guess this is a kind of attitude that fits more with men than with girls... Men tend to be tougher and more self-confident, while women can be more insecure, in general. But there are more and more girls doing street art now, and there were also girls in the old-school days. I think that's very important, hip hop and street art needs some girls! I don't think much about it, my fellow boys never made me feel different for being a woman; but there's a different sensitivity and normally you see the difference in the art, but not always.It's true that being a girl generates curiosity from people, because there aren't so many girls in the street art scene. I don't feel I have to lead any cause, but I am a woman and express my feelings and maybe those of any other women as well. Powerful, sensitive, intelligent, tough, but feminine. I prefer a strong woman to the image of a fragile conventional girl, and that's what I try to represent with Olivia. You can be strong and very feminine at the same time."

Thanks so much, Olivia! For more photos, catch up with Mr. Case on his website. Right now, I'm gearing up for a World Cup-filled weekend. Nobody call me (unless it's to discuss the matches)!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

May 2010: El Mato in Santiago

It's summertime here in the northern hemisphere, but in the southern hemisphere they're feeling the chill. When it's time to go indoors, El Mato continues to work in his black book. Today, he shares past pieces and gets psyched about the season to come. He writes:
"I started in 2003 with my vandal friend. We sprayed without caps! With time, I incorporated all the elements I've been drawing in notebooks all my life."
"Usually, I paint in neighborhoods where I live or where I study in Santiago. They're secluded and independent. I like to paint in neighborhoods where there is not much access to art. I almost never paint uptown unless I'm getting paid."
"Most of the time, I paint alone. Sometimes, I paint with friends, but I prefer to paint with only one or two at the most. I don't like mass production. Mixing forms and painting styles is a nice way to produce a common work."
"Eventually, my style came out. I've drawn for as long I can remember. I find it easy to draw and to copy things from reality. I developed a fascination with artists who have their own style. I admire Hockney, Liberatore, and Manara."
"Many things have happened since I started doing street art: fighting, police. You never know when it will end. The best thing is when people who don't normally go to museums or read an art catalog see my work."

Gracias, Mato! For more characters, stop by his Flickr.