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.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

February 2010: New Orleans

I take way too many pictures, so sometimes things pile up in desktop file folders. Occasionally, I'll gloss over a trip altogether. While I talked about New Orleans, I didn't share nearly enough street art. Let's change that. Today, I'm keeping the text brief to make room for more pics.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

June 2010: Thiago Hattnher in São Paulo

While my South African World Cup dreams never materialized this year, I'm dreaming big and I've got good feelings about 2014. If on the off-chance I do make it to Brazil, I'll have a whole lot of street art hunting to do in between the matches. Perhaps Thiago Hattnher will be kind enough to show me around. He's currently studying fine art in the classroom, but he still makes time to paint in the street. He writes:
"I first started doing street art when I was very young. My first contact with graffiti was when I was about ten years old. I was with a friend of my family called Juny KP who was a graffiti writer at the time. He used to take me to some graffiti events to see him painting and he began my contact with that culture."
"Although my first contact was when I was very young, of course I didn't start painting in the streets at that age. I remember when, in my first experiences with spray cans, I didn't have enough strength to press the cap for a long time. After a few years, when I was about 13 years old, I began painting in the streets with a group of friends."
"Nowadays, I'm 19 years old and I'm living in São Paulo studying fine arts. I'm not in the streets anymore very much anymore. I'm more focused on drawings and painting canvases. When I'm painting in the streets of São Paulo, I'm rarely by myself; I'm always with a few friends. For me, the best place to paint is in São José do Rio Preto, my hometown. Unfortunately, I don't go there too often to paint, but it is always good for me and for my production to be there. So far, apart from the usual encounters with the police, nothing really crazy has happened to me while painting in the streets."
"I developed my style studying a lot of artists and different works. I was also practicing, painting and experimenting a lot. Although I'm happy with my style now, I think my work is always changing and in development, and that is the way I think it has to be. You can't let things get automatic in your production."
Thanks, Thiago! For more photos of his ladies, check out his Flickr.

Monday, June 7, 2010

In The Headlines

Where were the tornadoes that were supposed to roll through this weekend? The raging thunderstorms? I'm okay with the lack of stormage, but I'm still waiting for a front to come through.

Uno put up some new stencils recently.

Here's a collection of street art in Toronto.

Diamondback Online reviews Beyond the Street: The 100 Leading Figures in Urban Art.

Tonic analyzes some of street art's heavy hitters and their impact on the art world.

Upfest rocked Bristol this past weekend. You can still see the results of the festival through July 17.

If you weren't in Atlanta to catch Artlantis this past Saturday, you can still meet up with the guys from Beep Beep Gallery all summer long.

Ken Foster a.k.a. SKOR tags the hell out of Vancouver.

Remi and Jaybo invite you to ProjectRoom London on June 10th.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Friday ProFile: Seacreative

Back in the day, Italian artist Seacreative tagged up Milan like it was his job. “Sea was my tag when I was just a writer,” he says. “A name of three letters only that sounds and looks nice together. I’ve just kept on using them ever since.” Traveling across Italy and Europe, Seacreative isn’t afraid to pick favorites. “I’ve painted in Italy and Europe,” he says. “Valencia is the one I prefer, especially for people and atmosphere. In Valencia, people are allowed to paint everywhere, even in the city centre. I think that is great!”
Trips to the beach inspired Seacreative to start painting.“When I was a kid, we used to go to the seaside in a place full of graffiti,” he says. “In that place, there was a fantastic hall of fame and you know, all those vibrant colors and tags aroused my enthusiasm. At first, I started copying other writers lettering just like everyone but then I found my own way to graffiti. I preferred brushes and stencils instead of lettering.”
Over time, Seacreative moved from tags to characters. “In 2001, I found my way,” he explains. “I evolved my painting and gave more emphasis to my characters and the use of brushes. I prefer brushes because they help me express myself much better.”
While he may dabble in canvas works, Seacreative believes working outdoors is the best. “The streets are the best gallery you can find,” he insists. “You don’t have to be invited. No one makes you explain the works. There’s no selection, you know. Out there, you can make art for everyone and everyone can judge you. I think it’s a big challenge.”
Sometimes, stuff gets crazy in the street. “On a Sunday afternoon, my friends and I arrived in an abandoned factory,” he recalls. “We chose a wall and started painting. After 20 minutes, we heard some noises, but you know those kind of factories always have a lot of strange noises, so we didn’t care about it. We were painting when suddenly, a bunch of people surrounded us with guns and rifles, everything a soldier could handle. They were watching us just saying nothing. I tell you, we were scared to death! Later on, we found out they were air-soft players.”
On occasion, Seacreative works with friends. He enjoys painting with pals like Vine, Refreshink, and Borse. They work under the name Spruzzer and mix their individual styles into cohesive pieces. “Sometimes, we use sprays, some paint, and some 3D works. Other times, we pass from realistic to graphic. We have fun mixing everything together. Sometimes, we have four different ideas, but the result is always worth the effort.”

Thanks, Seacreative! For more photos, stop by his website. That's all for now. After a killer week of training, I'm looking forward to not moving all weekend. See you Monday!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

May 2010: Baltimore Love Project

Jess, Lindsay, and Hui-Chen are already in Baltimore and more folks are moving this summer (yes, Crockett, that's you). Therefore, I'm already working on a trip down this fall. When I'm there, I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Michael Owen's Baltimore Love Project. He writes:
"Street art and I met in Baltimore, in 2003, while I was attending MICA. The first date was a two-story wall on the front of a community center. We courted through my senior year, as my thesis focused on murals throughout the city and have been in a committed relationship over those last 7 years, though I am married. I just finished a 6 month adventure down in Miami, but am now back in Baltimore. While in Miami, I did a 6 story mural on a hotel, among other things. Baltimore has been the focal city of my portfolio with about 40 murals, interior and exterior, throughout the area. There have been some great pieces, but for me, The Baltimore Love Project is the crowning jewel."
"My work can be hammered out pretty fast, so I usually work alone. That said, I did a quarter-mile project last year, one of the longest murals in the country. I had an assistant with me most of the time on that one, due to the sheer volume of paint that needed to be thrown up. I have also worked with kids in the community on a few projects. My artistic style is, in part, a product of my understanding of and connection with minimalism. I want my art to engage and relate with the most people as possible, especially the pieces on the street. I strip down the imagery to this point where you know what's going on, but the details are questionable. Over the last year, I have experimented with some of the more loose and gestural brushstrokes found more in my studio/gallery work, while maintaining a very straight-forward and graphic approach."
"I often like to paint in very public places, during busy times. I have my audience in mind throughout my concept and design stages, so I enjoy hearing what people think (usually). My studio work is my break from the chaos and a nice quiet balance to the more communal process of street art. Oh and being on a sunny wall is great too. "
"My 'experiences' are more humorous than crazy. For example:A shady car pulls up while I'm painting a mural. The man cracks the window and asks 'Do you paint murals?' As I look around at the quarter-mile project I am about to complete, I reply, 'Uh, yes'. 'My boss wants a mural,' he states in his thick Eastern European accent. A card is passed through the window opening and drives off. The card is shiny and gold in color, much classier than the car. Then again, it was for a Larry Flint Hustler Club. I just laughed.""I am currently knee deep in the Baltimore Love Project, a self initiated, city-wide project consisting of 20 identical, love-themed murals. I am also about to show with Dirty Pilot, put a mural up in Seattle this summer, working on a cloab in NYC later in the fall, and showing at various fairs during Art Basel Miami in the winter. I'm also futilely working on maintaining my tan, now that I'm back in Baltimore."

Thanks, Michael! I'm excited to see these murals in person sometime soon. To get involved with the project, visit his website.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May 2010: Phlegm in Sheffield

Phlegm doesn't limit himself to exclusively urban areas. Sometimes, a wooded area seems like a great place to paint, too. Today, he shows us some of his characters from the city and beyond. He writes:
"I did a few things in the street when I was in my late teens using rollers but I didn't use cans until 2005. I'm a cartoonist foremost; I write self published comics and zines. It was when I first started toying around with the comic work on walls that I really started to get busy."
"I'm from Sheffield in the UK. I tend to do most of my work here because I'm constantly broke due to my paint costs. I travel about sometimes when I get a chance but I'm more focused on doing lots of work at the moment, rather than getting involved more. I want a few nice quiet years of working really hard."
"Drawing and painting every day tends to develop my style. I switched to black and white last year so I have to paint more like I draw comics. I find if I keep the two close, then they both help improve the other.""I'm pretty tame to be fair. I painted a big boarded up window without asking once and the neighbor came out and gave me a tray of tea and biscuits. That's about as rock and roll as I get."
"I've been drawing a whole comic on walls for about a year and a half. Each wall I paint is a frame in a story. I'm about half way through painting it. It's been a way to keep involved in the work rather than getting stuck in a rut or getting absorbed into the art scenes. I want to look back at a huge body of work and ideas when I'm older. What I don't want is to look back at a string of dull work, a load of bad art shows and a custom shoe."

Thanks, Phlegm! For more outdoor comics, check out his website.