Wednesday, December 23, 2009

END OF THE YEAR PARTY!

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "to take a break from blogging." That's all for 2009, my friends. Thanks for coming out in droves and really reading! I'll leave you with a yearlong round-up of all the folks we profiled this year (a format slightly easier than digging through the archives). Have a great start to the new year and I'll see you back here bright and early on January 3!

JANUARY
FEBRUARY
MARCH
APRIL
MAY
JUNE
JULY
AUGUST
SEPTEMBER
OCTOBER
NOVEMBER
DECEMBER
Yarn Corps

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

November 2009: Nekotwo in Toulouse

Toulouse-based artist Nekotwo experienced a lot of change in the past year. Between moving from Paris to the south of France and getting married (congrats!), the guy has a lot going on. Fortunately, he always makes time for art. He loves experimenting with mediums (see his "light painting" down below) and taking those works to the streets. Today, he tells us a bit about what drives him to create. He writes:

"I first started to doing graffiti when I was 11 years old with a bunch of friends from Trappes in the suburbs of Paris. As the years passed, we became the 190 crew (aka OGI). At this time, we had only one thing in mind: graffiti. People who knew me at this time surely just remember a kid with ink and paint all over his clothes. In 2000/2001, I started to notice new forms of graffiti in Paris (Zevs's clouds, Space Invader's mosaics, stickers everywhere on the gutters...) and it blew me away as I started to became tired by traditionnal graffiti. I started to do some stickers and wheatpaste and I found a freedom in it: the freedom to express myself in the streets without being harrassed by the cops and the freedom to express my own style without being restricted to the same old graffiti gimmicks."

"I like to go out and paint with other artists but most of the time time I prefer to paint alone. Last year, I moved from Paris to Toulouse, in the south of France, and unfortunatley I don't know any street artists in the area. Since then I've pasted alone but I'm not complaining; street art is my secret garden. Most of the people I know here will be surprised to know that I'm a street artist and I have to admit I enjoy this privacy. I'm feelin' like a superhero with a secret identity only known by my closest friends."

"I've never been in any art school. I learned to draw all by myself. To be honest, I don't know if I have a style of my own. I just draw and let things happen. Most of the time I paint my posters in the comfort of my flat, but I can paint anywhere really. I'm used to working with few tools and space. Just give me a wall, a brush and some paper and I can paint. My favorites spots to paste my posters are the abandonned walls or shops in the city, places nobody cares about."


"Every time you go out to do art in the city is a new story. When you work with wheatpaste you can paste during daylight and you always meet new people, from the old angry lady waiting until you've finished to ripped your work apart to the youngters asking you thousands of questions. As I'm a positive person, I will not tell stories about angry shopkeepers wanting to punch me or sadistic cops. One day as I was pasting a big poster, an old Arab woman saw me from her balcony and came down with a plate full of delicious Moroccan pastries and a cup of mint tea. She stayed there the whole time I was working on the wall and she showed me drawings her granddaughter had made. I stayed and talked with her for about two hours. This type of encounter is a strong motivation to keep working outside."

"Right now, I'm not working on anything in particular, just a bunch of canvases wainting to be finished and a new series of printed stickers. Winter is coming and I will try to paint as many posters as I can to be ready to hit the streets as soon the spring comes! I also have few ideas to make new short stop-motion animations."

Brilliant, Nekotwo! I love the story of the woman who brought you mint tea. That's what it's all about! Tomorrow's my last posting day of the year. Thanks so much for making 2010 a great one!

Monday, December 21, 2009

In The Headlines


With the year winding down, the last headlines of the year are a bit sparse. That's okay, though, because Wednesday will bring a recap of 2009's posts. Pretty hefty stuff! Yesterday, we got snowed in but it's back to work for Monday morning. While I dig myself out of a foot of powder, you can read the last headlines of 2009.



Tom Blackford's website features some new goodies.

Creative Boom London interviewed The Krah.

Untitled II: The Beautiful Renaissance is out now. If you didn't catch the first volume, have a look here.

Sydney's cracking down on street art. Between six months of jail time for kids carrying cans and a full year for those caught in the act, local artists feel the draconian measures don't differentiate between gang graff and street art.

While we're on Australia, Mini Graff shot me a note to say hi and give me an update. From sustainable design to street photos, they've enjoyed a wonderful 2009 and are looking forward to an even more creative 2010. Cheers, guys!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday ProFile: Yarn Corps

Without the brave intervention of Knit The City's Yarn Corps, the city of London would be buried in skeins. According to the collective, they protected the South Bank from a fearsome wooly foe. "We were victorious," the collective reports. "We managed to push him off Waterloo Bridge into the River Thames with our yarnly powers." Thus, Yarn Corps was born and London was safe once again. Hailing from London's shadowy corners, members Deadly Knitshade, Bluestocking Stitcher, Purple Purler, The Fastener, Shorn-a the Dead, Knitting Nina, and Lady Loop create quite the yarnstorm.
While they love to travel, the group freely admits that their home base is their first love. Parliament Square phone boxes, barriers in Convent Garden, and tunnels in Waterloo Station all received snuggly accessories from the crew. Many view their activities as graffiti with yarn, but don't call it "bombing." "We live in a city where 'bomb' is possible not the best word to bandy about," they explain, "even if it is wooly. But everyone likes a yarnstorm!"
The members of Yarn Corps didn't always express themselves through knitting one and purling two. Bluestocking Stitcher scribbled on the walls at home and Deadly Knitshade "illustrated" Mum's books. Eventually, Knitshade decided to use the power of knitting for good, not evil, and recruited like-minded souls for the task. With a heady mix of yarn and pear cider, the group bonded and hit the streets together.
What sets the group apart is the stories behind their projects. "In the Leake Street tunnel, we created a 13-foot long spider web with 44 horrified handmade creatures being eaten by a spider," Deadly Knitshade reports. "Not many people would have seen it buried down there in the graffiti darkness. Perfect spider location, though." Sometimes, yarnstorms lead to rather sticky situations. "We got caught yarnstorming a phone box in Parliament Square," Deady Knitshade says. "I was so proud, I nearly wept." Shorn-a the Dead adds, "We explained sweetly to the police that it was a 'craft' project. Ah craft. It's so snuggly and innocent sounding!"
Once the knitters started yarnstorming, they quickly realized they couldn't stop. Deadly Knitshade admits, "I am subject to unexpected 'knitblasts' at random moments. Terribly embarrassing at parties. The Fastners agrees, "Yarnstorming can be scarily contagious. It would be futile to resist; there is no choice."
With their one-year anniversary quickly approaching, the members of Yarn Corps show no sign of stopping. "I think our work will just develop in the way it wants to develop," Bluestocking Stitcher says. "It has a mind of its own." Creating a wooly wonderland shows that the whole city is a canvas. Staying true to their mission, Yarn Corps wants people to "really take the time to stop and look at what is around them once in a while. And look up! Nobody ever looks up."

Brilliant, guys! Thanks so much for a lovely post. For more cuddly photos, visit their website. I'm off to work, but have a great weekend and get ready for the last three posts of 2009!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

November 2009: Keramik in Vienna

The term "one-liner" doesn't always refer to jokes. In Keramik's case, he creates some of his trademark characters with one single swipe of the pen. From tee shirts and sketches to outdoor pieces and commercial walls, this Vienna-based artist doesn't worry about the medium. For him, it's all about the style. He writes:
"I never started doing street art. People came to me and told me that I do street art."
"I work alone. For commission jobs, i will work with other people, too."
"I developed my style by skipping one to get on to the next one. I don't have a favorite place to paint."
"I avoid crazy things going on while I do my stuff."
"Right now, I'm working on canvases for exhibitions and commission jobs for money. Greets from here."

Thanks, Keramik! For more photos of sketches, jobs, and other pieces, check out his website.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

November 2009: Loomit in Munich

When he was 14, Loomit experimented with his first piece. Since then, he's never stopped. His art took him to Saravejo, parts of Australia, and all around Germany. Today, he checks in with some background and a little news of what's to come. He writes:
"I started in 1983 with graffiti and have done it ever since.""Generally, I like to work with colleagues, especially on large walls. For medium-sized pictures, I also like to be alone to paint.""My style is characterized by much travel and painting with colleagues. My favorite place to paint is South America."
"The craziest places I ever painted was on the North Brazil Tour in 2006 with Os Gêmeos, Isi, Nunca and Coyo. We hung out on the platform from morning til night; there was lots of music and you could see the whole city."
"Right now, I am working on a tour of China."

Wow, Europe, South America, and Asia! You're hitting all the majors, my friend! Thanks for checking in. For more photos and info, take a look at his website.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

November 2009: Scheme in Moscow

I'm too much of a wimp for Russia in the winter. Three hours of sunlight a day and subzero temperatures would throw me into a deep depression. However, I'd love to explore the country in the summer; there's so much street art to see! Perhaps if I make it there this summer, I'll give Scheme a call. The Moscow-based artist toys with mediums and shapes to create fresh new pieces. He writes:
"Hello, I'm Scheme, a graffiti-artist from Moscow. I have never really made normal street-art so much. I'm more of a graffiti-artist trying not to limit my art. I did my first piece in 2004 and have been painting graffiti for about five years."
"Lately, I prefer to keep my style separate from others. Sometimes it's a good experience to collaborate with different artists, but not permanently. Painting together demands a lot of organization and the result often doesn't justify costs. When you are alone, you feel freedom; it's important in art. As for pieces with common colors and background, it's hard to call that 'collaboration.'"
"My style is develops on paper. Sometimes I need more sketch time for realisation. In my way, I try not to copy forms which already exists. I'm like piggy bank which needs something new every time. To be honest, the best place for work is canvas. When you paint on it, you control everything and don't worry about any external factors like weather. Of course, good painting environment makes it better, but in my way it's important to concentrate on style. Also, sometimes after painting on walls, you find some marks on photos and already can't correct it. As for canvas, it's free for finishing anytime you want. Sometimes I also use digitals, but it looks not as fresh as handicraft."
"As for being caught by the police - I can't say that in Russia you can have big problems. Lately, I stopped painting illegally. It's better to concentrate on style than on the place where it can be realised. The craziest adventures were meeting and painting with or just spending time together with artists from my Top 10 list."

"One of the last events I took part in was in Nantes, France. It was called '20 Years Since the Fall of the Berlin Wall in Nantes'. Artists built the wall from cardboard boxes in city-center and made pieces on it. Afterwards, audiences destroyed it just like Berlin 20 years ago. The topic of my piece was 'Freedom'. You can see video and photos of my project. Ciao!"

Thanks, Scheme! For more photos and information, visit his website.

Monday, December 14, 2009

In The Headlines

The weekends fly by so quickly that I didn't even notice it was Saturday yesterday. Oi! Hopefully, I'll get a breather at the end of this week. Only a few more posting days left in this year! I'll be off from Christmas through the new year, but I promise a post that will keep you busy. While I sort it out, check out the headlines.

Someone modified this San Fran street sign with one cheeky Sharpie.

Is street art a reformed version of Andy Warhol's Pop Art vision?

Fresh off the plane from Miami, Michael De Feo opened a new group show in Beacon, NY, this past weekend. "Limited Run 3" runs through January 31.

Doodlez and other artists kicked off "Heady Mugs," an exhibition of portraits at Baltimore's Nudashank Gallery. The show runs through January 1.

On December 19, Osservatorionmade-Marseille presents a show featuring Marseille artists Joos, Pom, and Love.

Adam McLevey doesn't need a wall to paint on; just give him a piece of driftwood and he'll be okay.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday ProFile: Random Formation

Street artists view the world in terms of canvases. Where others see only buildings, they see walls for hanging work. The ability to break out of function fixedness patterns and view the world in a different way reached Random Formation at an early age. “I would ‘repair’ my toys with a big hammer and then assemble them in new ways,” he remembers. At the time, graffiti was everywhere and the art form slowly seeped into his consciousness. “Then there was a big wave of street art in Denmark around 2005,” he says. “I didn’t think much about it as something with a ‘start.’ It just happened.”
"Random Formation was actually a project name from a website I was making," he says. "I ended up liking the name so much I adapted it as a name for myself also. It comes from a very fascinating aspect of the universe: the perfect formations you see all around which aren't man-made (clouds, stars, paint splatters, etc.)." For the past four years, he's covered the streets of Aarhus and other Danish cities with giant spray painted works. "I want to share my creativity with others," he explains, "and not doing things for money has a special reward in itself. Maybe it's something about sharing and defining oneself. At least to me, it feels good!"
For Random, spending time with friends and meeting new people is the best part of painting in the street. "Back when I started, I was in a small two-man crew called '40'," he recalls. "Then the crew grew to three people. Now I'm part of a different crew...it's more like a family. We combine everything from architecture and electricity to gardening, graffiti, and bonfires. Everything's conducted with the same very special approach. It's hard to explain; you should just check it out."
Another crucial element of street art is the challenge. "I don't feel unsafe much," he admits, "but I do feel that usual tension or excitement. I've had run ins with the cops, but fortunately I had luck with the Jedi Mind Trick!" While he paints on canvases as well, he feels as though his work "sounds" better in the street. "It's more open for everybody to join in," he argues. "It's less entangled in the 'broken windows/crime' theory than graffiti, but both mediums are basically about getting your things out there."
In the future, Random is unsure how street art will develop. "Maybe it'll collapse on itself," he muses, "but most likely it'll evolve into something new. We are already witnessing people reaching superstar status in this field. I'm sure it'll live on, though. Just like graffiti, it can't be killed."
Thanks, Random! For more indoor and outdoor pics, check out his website. That's all for now! I'm off to nurse a cold and brace myself for a weekend of working.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

November 2009: Peru Ana Ana Peru in NYC

You can't walk three feet in New York without seeing a Peru Ana Ana Peru piece. Their stickers cover the better part of Manhattan and Brooklyn. However, they're not just a black and white slap. In addition to their stick-ups, they dabble in a variety of colorful 2 and 3-D creations. Today, they check in with a little background and what's happening now. They write:
"We first started pretty much haphazardly about three years ago."
"We work primarily with seventeen various peoples that frequent our living quarters. There is Maude, who is responsible for stockpiling and for finding loose change in pocketbooks, nooks and crannies, floorboard slits, 'neath hockey sticks, and 'round this or that. Davis, who folds neatly things. Conrad and the twins, Harris and Flodormorph, or 'Floddy' as the kinckies call him, who collectively tend to the sheep, when we do have sheep, and to the hogs when there are hogs. Then there is Carlos-Monton, Carlos-Cristobal, and Carlos-Schopenhauer, who mainly spit the grapes and teach coilo to the women. Spelly who uses her long and golden locks to strain things when things need straining, and who drives old volvina around. Parzinni the mechanic and the apple eater. Bigsley and Bellington who grow the green and who taste it too. Melferly who cuts and pastes and grinds and bastes. Simeon of the North and Simeon of the East, who guard the royal tomb of SIr Stanley Bannum. Neder Gratesmith who minds the gap. And Feredey, who flames the goose, among other things."
"How'd we develop our style? Purely trial and error."
"Sadly, our outings are pretty uneventful minus the occasional run in with this or that, sometimes serious, most times not."
"Recently, we participated in group show at Brooklynite Gallery featuring over 100 artists who all made their own versions of shoeshine boxes as per the requirements of the gallery. It should be a really fun and original show. All the info is here. Those who can should definitely come out."

Thanks, guys! For more cryptic info and pictures, check their Flickr.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

November 2009: Martin Sobey in NYC

When you think of street art, what comes to mind: spray paint? Wheatpaste? Stickers? What about origami? NoHo-based artist Martin Sobey expands the definition of street art with his awe-inspiring collages. Whether he's covering a wall, a pole, or the side of a bridge, his intricate collages capture the eye and the imagination. He writes:
"I started doing street art about 2 1/2 years ago, but I've been interested in graffiti and public art for years. I work by myself- it just happens that way because of the nature of my stuff- but I have no problems working with friends and assistants on large scale projects. I'm also open to collaborations and I love interactive stuff."
"My style developed, like most people's, over time. Before I started making the art I'm doing now, I was on a path towards commercial photography. As that career path started to feel insurmountable (considering the film to digital change-over that most photographers have gone through), I started making abstract photographs with my first point-and-shoot 5.3 MP digital camera, a gift. I really clung to the notion that I could make this non-objective art for free- no film or processing fees, etc. As my aesthetic grew stronger, so did my ideas about art and photography. Eventually I started working using multiple photographs and then to the outdoors. I also take the works down after they have deteriorated for a while. Photographing the works is just another aspect of the art."
"I make everything in my studio in NoHo, in Manhattan, NY - which is like my second home. From there it goes into the public realm, usually in my neighborhood. I like to be present in the area- an actual artist who is not necessarily anonymous. I enjoy the dialogue with strangers that starts when I'm installing or photographing the art. The kind of work I do can be done anywhere, though. I love working in nature too and I've done a few installations in Northern California, Connecticut and Utah."
"I recently took part in an event called 'Public Ad Campaign' in New York- an illegal takeover of more than 100 street level billboards by over 100 artists, that are currently being used for advertising posters, but also illegally- supposedly- because the owners haven't got the permits from the city. Anyway, when all was said and done, I got busted by 2 cop cars 6 blocks away from the site! Hell yes, it was worth it!"
"I've always got something cooking, but my direction is more towards larger scale works, and implementing more of the ideas I haven't had a chance to get to yet!"

Thanks, Martin! If you've got any Connecticut installations planned, let a sister know! For more information, visit his blog.