Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 2009: OFFK Around the World

Thanks to the wonders of the internet, crews aren't confined to one set space. OFFK represents what's possible when a crew goes global. Comprised of many artists from around the world, these guys (and maybe ladies, too?) stick by the motto "It's not about what you can do for you, it's about what you can do for your crew. Crew member Efrain gives us a taste of what OFFK is all about. He writes:
"OFFK is a graffiti krew with the mission to have a piece in every part of the world. Here are some pics. This guy is named Rolas. He lives in Mexico and has been an OFFK member since 2009."
"This guy's name is Fungi. He lives in Puerto Rico and has been the leader of OFFK Puerto Rico since 2009."

"This guy is named Kazer. He lives in England and has been an OFFK member since 2009."

"This guy's name is Fly. He lives in Puerto Rico and has been a member of OFFK since 2009."
"This guy's name is Seemstar. He lives in Los Angeles and has been a member of OFFK since 2008."

Thanks, Efrain! For more info, check out their MySpace page. We whitewashed some walls in New Britain last night. Stuff is looking good for the mural slam!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 2009: Mr. Dheo in Portugal

Part-cartoonist and part realist, Portuguese artist Mr. Dheo's work covers more than just walls. You can find his work on bags, kicks, and even KidRobot toys. However, his first love is graffiti and he always returns to the streets. He writes:
"Mr. Dheo always related to art. When he was three years old, he began to copy sentences from newspapers and magazines and drawing on his own. He had no pencil or notebook, just pens and loose sheets of paper. From childhood to his teens, the compulsive need to express himself became a habit."
"Always rejecting any kind of connection to a school or art course, he developed without direct influences. As an autodidact, Mr. Dheo sees art in a very personal way, were there is no room for rules and limits."
"His first contact with graffiti was when he was 15 years old. Without knowing anyone connected to that area or that even shared the same interest, he began drawing sketches exploring innumerous ways of simply writing names. Months later he did his first street painting and started to meet other artists to whom he related and that motivated him to carry on."
"Today, after eight years of continuous work, Mr. Dheo is more focused on doing street walls and interior exterior decorations in all kinds of places and he also collaborates with brands for the personalizaton of various accessories. Versatile, he is the only street artist in Portugal at the moment who dedicates himself to photorealistic productions, which, together with the graphic component of his work, give him a very personal and particular style in constant development and improvement."
"Mr. Dheo also extends his work field to graphic design, mostly as an illustrator, in the creation of corporate identities and advertising images and even in these graphic works, you can always feel his urban influences."

Thanks, Dheo! For more photos, check out his website or MySpace. Awesome! Tonight, I'm off to prime walls for Saturday's Mural Slam. Found out that I'll have to be at work for most of it, but I'm hoping to get there for set-up and kick-off festivities.

Monday, September 28, 2009

In The Headlines

These weekends keep getting crazier. My lightning-fast trip to NYC involved an impromptu limo ride (a closed mouth doesn't get fed, so never be afraid to commandeer one if it's not yours), delicious French toast, and an amazing performance by my friend Lynnese. Now it's back to work. I'm counting down until Saturday's Mural Slam. Anyone else going? I'll definitely be there even though I have to work in the morning. While I make breakfast, you can check out these headlines.
Me Camuntaterio and Chirrete stopped by Memoria Canella last night. Would love to hear the details, guys!

I already bought a copy on iTunes, but now you can watch Bombit! for free online here. Amazing! If you haven't seen it already, this is a "must-watch" event.

Iranian street art finally made it to Los Angeles this week.

Mark your calendars: "Graffiti Gone Global" hits Miami this December. Participants include Sofia Maldonado, Lady Pink, Vitché, Billi Kid, and more.

Is the do-it-yourself street art kit like a paint by number with spray cans?

Aakash Nihalani's show, "Tape and Mirrors," runs through October 25 at Brooklyn's Eastern District.

Omino71 chats with Spaghetti Collective on his blog.

Sweden's zero tolerance policy on graffiti forced artists to get creative. Out of these limitations, knitting collective Stickkontakt was born.

In Adelaide, artist Peter Drew's work contains environmentally friendly messages.

Friday, September 25, 2009

R.I.P Lignes Rouges, 1982-2009

Whenever I read the local paper, I always check the obituaries. I don't think it's morbid fascination as much as an old habit. I just want to make sure I know what's going on. Relatively speaking, every day I don't know someone in the obituaries is a good day. Monday wasn't so great. Through Wooster Collective, the last place I'd think to look for death notices, I learned that Lignes Rouges died of a heart attack at the absurdly young age of 27. I interviewed him merely two weeks before his death. He'll never get to see the final product, but I couldn't toss his answers in the trash.
Near the end of his life, Lignes Rouges worked in Brazil, but his started painting on his native Reunion Island. He began experimenting with graffiti at 14 and continued to mess with the medium when he attended Les Beaux Arts in Paris. "The professors and art historians told me that graffiti was not art and would never be art, like cartoons," he explained. However, Lignes Rouges did not grow discouraged. Transitioning from tags and pieces, he developed a new street style around 2002.
Lignes Rouges honed his style, using taped lines of red and white that would later become his trademark. "They're the colors that make the most sense in the street," he said. "They're used a lot on street signs, so they have an intimate relationship with the forbidden. The forbidden is the essence of graffiti." Galleries never appealed to Lignes Rouges; he felt they were too confined and not conducive to dreaming. Instead of compromising his ideas, he chose to work in the street alone. "My work doesn't fit well with the styles of others," he admitted.
While he traveled extensively, Lignes Rouges placed more emphasis on the piece than the location. "I love working in public spaces where people can see my work without having to jump a wall, walk through mud, or get hassled by bums," he laughed. He cited a rare collaboration on Reunion Island with close friend Kid Kréol as one of his favorite experiences.
Painting in the streets led to some interesting encounters. He recalled, "I was on the Champs-Élysées when I was arrested by local policemen who didn't understand anything. They threw me in jail. A brigade of national policemen arrived and told the local policemen that it was not their territory so they didn't have the right to arrest me. The local police unlocked the handcuffs and sent me on my way. Long live the police wars!"
At the time of his death, Lignes Rouges was living and painting in Brazil. He loved traveling to see how cities functioned in harmony with their surroundings. Brazilian culture in particular captured his heart. "I love tropical countries," he gushed, "because their people put their private lives in public places. They set up a canopy and put their televisions in the street like it's their living room. They're not shocked to see an artist work in the street because the street belongs to everyone, not just the building across the street."

You can still view Lignes Rouges's work on his website. I wish I could go to Brazil myself and see his pieces before they're washed away.

Adieu, L.R., et merci pour toute la beauté que vous avez partagé avec le monde.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 2009: Cope2 and Chor Boogie in L.A.

Back in the days of Biggie and Tupac, West Coast and East Coast never mixed. Today, it's totally acceptable to traverse time zones and share ideas. The latest show at L.A.'s Mid-City Arts exemplifies cross-coastal collaboration. This Saturday, the gallery presents "Beauty and the Beast," a collection of works by Cope2 and Chor Boogie. The opening reception runs from 7-11 p.m. Here's the goods:

"Cope2 is a graffiti legend from the Bronx whose reputation for bombing has earned him the title “God of Destruction”. He was recently tapped to customize a vinyl toy for the Bic Buddy Artist Series 1, and was hired by TIME Magazine to create a unique billboard for them."
"Chor Boogie hails from San Diego, CA, and his work is purely legal, spiritual and therapeutic. A deep spiritual healing and recovery from addiction nearly a decade ago transformed his life and has had a major impact in his style of color therapy and techniques of creative innovation."
"These two diverse artists come together for the "Beauty & The Beast" exhibit at Mid-City Arts, curated by Pose2 to challenge and expand our notions of art."
"Both artists have been featured in the media several times. Cope2 has been featured in a Converse/MTV Artist spotlight. Chor Boogie and Pose2 created an MTV ad."
Thanks, guys! For more photos, check the show's Flickr page. Tomorrow, we'll have one of the most somber posts ever on Illicit Exhibitions. Get ready.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 2009: SpY in Madrid

For SpY, street art is all about how you look at things. Why stop at tags when you can warp the ordinary into something extraordinary? A football pitch with curved edges becomes a novel half-pipe for skateboarders. Who says graffiti should only be enjoyed by the sighted? Clever braille messages stuck all over the city leave unexpected messages for the blind. Even the little man on the traffic lights deserves a break sometimes; in SpY's world, it looks like the guy is hailing a cab. No matter the medium, SpY can find a way to transform everyday spaces into something unique. Urbanist and art professor Javier Abarca writes:
“Subtlety is not something that we're used to finding in the current street art scene. On some occasions, it comes off as intrusive as outdoor publicity, that inescapable machine whose existence is usually wielded as an argument to justify the presence of independent art in the street. But this isn’t the case with SpY. The participation of this man from Madrid doesn’t jump out at you. Rather, it waits until you run into it. It isn’t a monologue but a dialogue, between the artist and the environment, between the passer-by and the piece.”

"SpY began to act in the street while he was still an adolescent in Madrid during the mid-eighties. By the beginning of the early nineties, he had established himself as the leading figure of the still young state graffiti scene, offering works with an impeccable style and a solidity that even today are still not very common. Although this chapter closed a while back, SpY has not forgotten his roots. He is conscious that graffiti is a priceless, vital and artistic school and above all, an intensive and prolonged training in the exercise of observation and creative development of the urban environment."

"Around the mid-nineties SpY felt that he was outgrowing traditional graffiti as a means of expression. He soon began to play with the infinite possibilities that the surroundings offered his senses, recently freed from this narrow methodology. A maturation process began that has born his best fruit throughout the current decade."

"His work involves taking over urban elements through transformation or replica, commentary on urban reality and the interference in their communicative codes. The bulk of his production comes from observing the city and an appreciation of its components, not as inert elements but as a palette of materials overflowing with possibilities. The will of the game, the careful attention to the context of each piece and a constructive, not invasive, attitude characterize, without a doubt, his performance."

"Like the best examples of public art, the participation of SpY forms a whole with its context. It is in the fusion of these two elements, as well as in the chance encounter between the spectator and work, where the core of his proposal is found. For this reason, this man from Madrid does not produce work for exhibition in galleries and limits himself to exposing graphic documentation, which takes the form of very cared-for, large-sized photographs."

"SpY’s pieces want to be a parenthesis in the automated inertia of the urbanite. They are pinches of intention that are hidden in a corner for those who want to let themselves be surprised. Filled with equal parts of irony and positive humor, they appear to make the passer-by smile, incite reflexion, and to favor an enlightened conscience."

Gracias, SpY y Javier! For more photos and info, check out SpY's website.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 2009: New Britain Mural Slam

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of catching up with Mike Alewitz and his mural-painting class down in New Britain. We wandered the New Britain Museum of American Art and critiqued the work. Then, we sat down to chat about the Mural Slam. I couldn't be more excited, since I'm always looking for CT events that rock my socks. Here's the deal, courtesy of the event's Wordpress:

"The First Annual Mural Slam was held April 2008. It hosted dozens of artists, from experienced crews to young undergrads. Highlights included performance art, free food, awards, and watching CCSU Professor Mike Alewitz get a bucket of garbage dumped on him."
"The Mural Slam is part of a growing international movement which recognizes public art in every form–graffiti, tags, murals, etc.–deserves to be celebrated. In 2008, the Slam started with a mass of artists throwing their tags, stencils, and murals onto the walls of CCSU’s Welte Garage in an all day event. Artists of every type were given eight hours to paint in their section of wall without fear of prosecution or arrest–just friends, food, music, and art."
"This year, the tradition will continue–and everyone is invited. Ten bucks gets you a 4′x12′ slice of wall and 9hrs to do what you want. Any imagery is allowed, but use your judgment–we want to keep this going every year, so don’t paint something that will get us kicked off of campus. And remember: BYOP–bring your own paint."

"To register, e-mail the following to marissablaszko@gmail.com

. name of artist (tag okay)

. working with a crew?

. phone number where we can contact you

. best e-mail to use for contacting you

. age of artist (16+ only!)

. medium you’ll be working with (ie: spray paint, acrylic, etc.)

. whether or not you participated last year (and, if you did, what you painted)

A $10 sign-up fee per space is required to cover basic expenses of the Mural Slam."
Thanks a million, guys! I know I'm definitely going to snap some shots in the afternoon. Word has it that another guy I know might participate (go get it, Ben!). For more shots from last year, check the group's blog (and disregard the September 26 date).

Monday, September 21, 2009

In The Headlines

Great weekend: cheered on my fierce XC ladies, saw a concert, doodled in the grocery story (where I created a new sticker character), and made a fabulous apple pie. At this rate, I'm going to have to dedicate a weekend strictly to sleep soon; that sleep bank is getting mighty low. Recharge from your wild weekend with these headlines.
Jef Aerosol's Dublin show opens this Friday at Gallery Zozimus. The show runs through October 11.

Omino 71 caught up with Marco About on his blog this week.

The Fridge Gallery opened in Washington, D.C., last week. Decoy kicks things off with "Memento Mori," a collection of her latest work.

In California, Palm Springs wants to spice up its downtown with some storefront art installations.

Tel Aviv has a phenomenal street art scene that I'd love to check out.

Robots Will Kill hit Brooklyn with their "Where the Wild Robots Are" mural, a piece inspired by Maurice Sendak and his creepy characters.

DEAL CIA (Eric Felisbret) chatted with Gothamist about his old school graffiti days and how the game changed.

Artistic duo Telephone and Soup shared stencil photos from their six month stay in Morocco.

If you're driving on the Pacific Coast Highway, don't rubberneck to see this stencil. Please park your car and then proceed to gawk.

Bristol chooses to change the law and leave street art removal up to public referendum.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday ProFile: Flee + MURAL SLAM!

Vero Beach, Florida, is a haven for the conservative elderly population of America. Known for its bridge clubs and early bird specials, it’s not the type of place you’d expect to find street art. However, Flee saw his town less as a setback and more as an untapped opportunity. Figuring “when the majority of people saw my stuff, they’d flee for their lives, fearing some kind of whippersnapper criminal activity,” Flee came up with a name and a plan to spread his art around.
While he’s painted a few pieces in Miami, Flee says he likes working in a small town setting because no one else is doing it. “It exposes people to street art who might have never seen any before,” he explains, “and maybe it changes some negative opinions on art in public spaces. In a big city, painting a spot is like adding to one big canvas someone’s already been painting. The loneliness of a small city disappears and seeing other works by other artists makes me a happier person.”
As a “write-on-preschool-walls” kind of toddler, Flee cut his artistic teeth at an early age. But it wasn’t until a hospital visit and recovery time forced him off his feet that he really explored stenciling in-depth. “I was trapped at home and started painting out of boredom,” he recalls. “That’s when I discovered Banksy and stencils online. I eventually started experimenting with cutting stencils and I never stopped.”
Sounds like a fortuitous hospital visit. At first, his stencils were a bit rough around the edges. Through practice, he’s improved his cutting techniques for a crisper style. Painting with a friend as a lookout makes the job easier and more fun; so far, he’s yet to be nabbed by the cops. No matter the piece, Flee says his mission is all about beauty. “It’s about adding life to a boring public surface,” he insists. “I think everyone, old school or new school, does it because they think it adds to the community or because it gives them a voice. I think the motivations are similar.”
In the future, Flee hopes to stray from his tiny Floridian town and see what’s happening on other streets. “I want to travel around to faraway cities,” he says, “I’d love to paint there and just see what everyone else has done.” Feeding off the rush of the experience, Flee hopes that his pieces provoke viewers no matter where he paints. “I like the visual punch line,” he explains. “That’s one of the things that originally drew me to Banksy’s work. I want people to see something original, like an interaction with an object, or a stencil with meaning. I want it to make them think, or cringe, or laugh, or report it to the police. I want a reaction.”
Thanks, Flee! Keep holding it down. For more Flee photos, visit his Flickr.

ALSO: Last night rocked my socks, because I met the folks putting together the CCSU Mural Slam. If you're anywhere close to New Britain, CT, on October 3, definitely get on this between 9-5. If you want to participate, You have to contact Marissa by Monday, September 28. You BYOP ('p' for paint, kids) and get a big ol' chunk of wall all to yourself. I'll post more in-depth info next week, but GET ON THIS!

That's all for now. Let the weekend commence.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 2009: PaperMonster on DirtyPilot.com

This week features a slew of updates. Back in June, PaperMonster took over the Friday ProFile with his lovely paper ladies. Today, he checks in with details of his new show. He writes:
"DirtyPilot.com and PaperMonster have teamed up to present some of today's most talented stencil artists in a group show titled "Friends With Knives" opening on September 18th."
"The show will feature works from artists such as LECKOmio, E.L.K., SOULE, Peat Wollaeger, PaperMonster, L.E.T. , Nathan Phaneuf , A1One , Billy Mode, Ben Slow, Koleszar, Dave Lowell, Mefee, Roy Schreuder, and HAHA."
"The aim of 'Friends With Knives' is to highlight the beauty behind stencil graffiti styles/techniques such as photo-realism, pop, and political stencils at global level with artists hailing from Iran, Germany, USA, Australia, France and the United Kingdom. Be sure to check out more over at DirtyPilot or visit PaperMonster for more info."

Thanks, PM! I appreciate the update and hope the show is a great success. I know I'll be checking in!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 2009: "Hope and Resurrection" in Rome

Omino71 and his crew rock my socks. From their Stick My World events (where you can find some Illicit Exhibitions stickers) to their awesome blog interviews, those Italians know what's up. Their latest project let them collaborate with artists in different mediums to create a quasi-social experiment. Omino writes:


"What is the power of an image? How does it effect/move/transform a place or a person? And what happens when people of different backgrounds come together to push an image out into the world? The photography project 'Hope and Resurrection' was brought about through the collaboration of American photographer and art historian Jessica Stewart and Roman street artists Mr. Klevra and Omino71. A singular image of the Madonna and Child, something so icon yet often overlooked in our modern times, carries forward the sentence 'Only After Disaster Can We Resurrect.'Plastered across Rome as stickers and posters, whether placed on electrical boxes and decaying walls or hung from clotheslines, this undeniable image was diffused through the city. How would people react? Would they break from their daily urban routine to stop, slow down, and observe the power of this image? Would people be able to recognize the artistry of the pieces instead of dismissing them as vandalism? How would each artist bring their style to this collaborative effort? By juxtaposing their collaborative pieces with their own individual works, Omino71 and Mr. Klevra allow the pubic to judge this for themselves."

"The images exhibited have developed over the span over several months. First, we captured the small-scale stickers that dotted Rome, with the iconic image of a child reaching out to touch the artwork as a focal point, and then moved toward an installation of posters on the public clotheslines of the Roman neighborhood Garbatella. Jessica shot the majority of the photography in a one-day whirlwind of activity across the city the evening after a pasting session by Mr. Klevra and Omino71. She set out to tell the story not only of each individual location, with its specific characteristics and contexts, but to also capture details which force the viewer to 'observe' the pieces in a specific way, thus recalling the details one finds in art historical texts. The idea being to take the imagery put into the world by these artists and not simply report it, but also transform it into a powerful message of hope as seen through the eyes of the photographer."
"Jessica Stewart is a Rome-based photographer and art historian. She relocated to Italy in 2005 to be surrounded by the Renaissance and Baroque art for which she is passionate. Her love of photography was developed during coursework at Boston University and honed through her blog—RomePhotoBlog, where she regularly posts images exploring contemporary living in Rome. Her keen sense of observation, honed through years of studying the compositions of the Old Masters, is also informed by her time living as a foreigner in Italy. Through lighting and angles she seeks to find the beauty in everyday urban life and to breath new life into already iconic spaces."
"Omino71 is an anonymous Italian artist… or maybe he’s just a poscapen fan. He works with poscapens, mosaics, acrylic paintings, photography, spraycans, posters, stickers, stencils, and flyers. He plays with Rubik's cubes, postpunk, arcade games, scooters, skateboards, comics, sneakers, b-movies, and pop art."
"The pseudonym Mr. Klevra is derived from the Hebrew translation for rabid dog, is fitting considering that a bull terrier, with its oblong shaped head, is one ofthe recurring figures in his detailed artistic repertoire, which takes inspiration from both fantasy and street art. From the time he first remembers drawing, all self-taught, his style has ranged from futuristic illustrations to strict Byzantine iconography. Any surface will become a canvas in his hands, populated with strange figures, full of grace and yet with meticulous detail."

Thanks, guys! Check out their respective websites to see more of the project.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

September 2009: Team Macho at Giant Robot

Over the summer, I made at least five trips to Giant Robot. I was on a mission to meet KRSNA at his workplace. Unfortunately, our schedules never coincided, but I did get to see a lot of great art. In addition to their shows, they carry books, tees, and other assorted goodies. This month, they're featuring drawings by Toronto-based collective Team Macho. Here are the goods:
"Giant Robot is proud to host 'Long Time Listener, First Time Caller', an art show featuring new work by Team Macho. A reception for Team Macho will be held from 6:30 to 10:00 on Saturday, September 19."
"Team Macho is a collaborative illustration and fine art effort composed of Lauchie Reid, Chris Buchan, Nicholas Aoki, Jacob Whibley, and Stephen Appleby-Barr."
"The Toronto-based group uses all media (excepting digital), and its work crosses a multitude of boundaries in terms of conception and application. Pieces are rarely pre-planned, and only take form through the artists seeing each other at work."
"The end results are always surprising, witty, and pleasing in unexpected ways. Lately, Team Macho has been working toward a more finished look, with effort being put toward older modes of painting such as oils and airbrushing."
"'Long Time Listener, First Time Caller' will feature new work with the focus, as always, being to explore the collaborative process, as well as a number of classic prints."

Thanks, guys! All photos are property of Team Macho and you can find heaps more at their website. Jump on the Giant Robot mailing list and stay connected through their blog. If you go to the show, tell KRSNA that I'm sorry we never connected over the summer, but I'm doing everything I can to get back to NYC for good.

Monday, September 14, 2009

In The Headlines

Excellent weekend. I met up with old friends for coffee, made some new pals while listening to great music (thanks, John and Jason!), and ran a decent 5k. Now it's back to work on this fine Monday morning. I'm still clinging to the last vestiges of the weekend, but you should start your week with the headlines.

The Krah just got back from a trip to Athens and sent us this great shot. Merci!

Make your vote count for Bomit Sticker Artist of the Year.

Steve Powers declares his love for West Philly through his “Love Letter” project.

Also in Philly, Photophilanthropy aim to decorate South 27th Street with black and white wheatpastes.

In Scotland, Inverness Old Town Art asked Annie Mars and Jennifer Cantwell to make the town cozier. The result? A massive knitwear initiative.

Curbs and Stoops chats with Luna Park about her amazing street art photographs.

Don’t be surprised if you see Tyler Durden out in the streets: it’s only an ad campaign for the Fight Club DVD rerelease.

Crate Man’s critters are climbing up the walls in Melbourne.

Re-imagine, western Canada’s first street art festival, runs from September 25-26 in Penticton, British Columbia.

The Independent muses about the street art voting proposal in Bristol, England. The rest of the Commonwealth watches and waits.

Some people worry that allowing street art could lead to an increase in unwanted graffiti.

Apparently, the big question is: will Bristol be the site of the inaugural “Britain’s Got Talent in the Streets?” (I wish I were joking.)

The citizens of Norwich, England, like the makeover their city received from graffiti artists during the latest jam.

At the Crewest Gallery, curator Shervin Shahbazi brings stencils from the streets of Tehran to L.A.

This week on the blogs, Omino71 interviews Bol23.