Monday, May 31, 2010

In The Headlines

Wow, what a weekend. Between road racing, ice cream consumption, film screenings, and reading small children stories, it was definitely a good time. Fortunately, I've got another day of straight chilling ahead of me! If you're outside of the US, don't worry; you get way more days off than we do, so you'll have the last laugh in the end. As I get ready for more outdoor grilling, you can read the headlines.
1010's show at Berlin's ATM Gallery opens June 4 at 7 pm.

Anyone can get a stencil nowadays (even the Unabomber).

JR and Vhils teamed up to bring giant faces to downtown Los Angeles.

Apparently, street art rejuvenates public spaces?

Melbourne understands the importance of street art; the city's streets are currently under protective review by the heritage board.

Aram Bartholl takes CAPTCHA phrases off the computer and onto the street with his "Are You Human?" project.

Gaia knows what's up in Baltimore and in his new book, Beyond the Street.

According to ekosystem, Doel, Belgium, is the street art capital of Europe.

Michelle Rogers pasted portraits of terrified stock brokers on Broad Street in NYC.

Jesse Hazelip's buffalo-airplanes are brightening up Buffalo's streets.

Specter's currently working on a project in Siberia; you can follow his progress here.

Towers of Hope popped up on many California beaches.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday ProFile: Toasters

As humans, we often let fear limit our belief in what’s possible. The minute a person gets that knot in his stomach, it’s easy to think twice. However, fear can also serve as a great motivator. The guys of Toasters keenly understand this feeling and work it to their advantage. “We constantly feel unsafe but we are often battling ourselves,” they explain. “Nerves are positive; they keep you on your toes and talk you out of making that wrong decision. Complacency inevitably leads to trouble. We've been stopped numerous times by the authorities and always manage to sweet talk our way out of a corner.”
While other children viewed playgrounds as a play place, Toasters had more fun tagging up school buses. “In 1985, everyone at school had a tag,” they recall. “We were totally blown away by Style Wars and Subway Art. I remember leaving my mates house after watching Style Wars and thinking, ‘My life will never be the same again.'” Back in 1998, a beer and cider fueled party officially sparked the creation of the Toasters crew. The trio cut their teeth in Wolverhampton, and then roamed from Buenos Aires to Berlin plastering rooftops with toasters.
Toasters didn’t anticipate the fame that resulted from their ubiquitous stickers. They recall, “Back in 2003, we looked on in amazement as five daily national newspapers in Britain published articles about the Toaster image. They asked their readers if they knew who was responsible for it and what the image meant? We had extreme emotions of fear and pride. The project was as famous as it had ever been but we were gripped by a sense it was spiraling out of our control.” Since that moment, they’ve maintained the image but experimented with scale and position to take their simple toaster to another level.

In a sense, Toasters were almost ahead of the curve. “The phrase 'street art' makes me chuckle sometimes as that genre did not exist when we started getting the Toaster image up in 1999,” they insist. “We simply chose an image rather than a word as we realized it would be more conspicuous amongst adjacent tags on a wall. It would raise more questions than it would have answers which we found fascinating.”

Although the Toaster image is a constant, the crew never ceases to push the limits of what’s possible. “We want the Toaster to keep on gathering fame along with a versatility in how we produce it. It might appear on a wall, on a sticker, on a canvas or on a flag. It can go beyond 'street art' because as I mentioned earlier 'street art' did not exist when we conceived the project. The project is not just about 'street art'. We want to keep reinventing the image and show its durability within the oversaturated, logo heavy public spaces. There is also a need to portray the Toaster in its purest form and let it shout out that simplicity rules.”
From birdhouses to messing with city clean up crews’ buffing, the Toaster crew hit the streets relentlessly. Speaking about the future of street art, Toasters predict, “ Dirty fingers crossed, a lot of the undetermined and short term fame seekers will fall by the wayside as the highly motivated and talented will hopefully survive.”

Cheers, guys! For more toaster photos, head over to their website. Here's hoping the weather holds up over here and folks Stateside have a delightful three day weekend. See you Monday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

July 2010: Paper Monster in Philadelphia

This summer, Vincent Michael Gallery will combine two of my favorite things: PaperMonster and Philadelphia. The New Jersey based artist is back with a new collection of prints and paintings. Here are the details:

“'PaperMonster Ate That Little Boy' is the latest titled of PaperMonster’s solo exhibition opening July 2nd in Philadelphia, PA at the Vincent Michael Gallery."
"PaperMonster will show over twenty new works of stencil art collages on canvas full of powerful portraits of women exploring themes of strength, fear, passion, and mystery."
"Several portraits are woven together with combinations of women and animals; each speaking to the strength, ferocity, and power that women carry within."
"His collage work within each painting allows the audience to develop their own perception and theories as to who these people are and what they hide."

"PaperMonster will also be having an artist talk on July 24th from 2-4pm covering his thoughts on stencil art and the art world at large."

Cool, man! Here are the goods:

“PaperMonster Ate That Little Boy”
Vincent Michael Gallery
1050 N. Hancock Street Suite 63
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Opening Reception: Friday, July 2nd 6-9 PM
Artist Talk: Saturday July 24th 2-4Pm
Show available from: July 2nd- July 31st

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

May 2010: Muro in the Canary Islands

An urban metropolis is a great place to find street art, but little locations need love, too. Fortunately, people like Muro post up outside the city limits and give life to quiet alleys. Today, he talks about his past experiences as a street artist and gets pumped about upcoming travel plans.
"In 1998, I started doing some crazy characters with stolen cans. I got involved with some frineds that were into the graffiti movement in my hood...nothing serious, just kids games. In 2001, I really started seriously after a trip to Berlin. I discovered the street art movement with all the stencils, posters, characters, messages. I was studying graphic design, so I created some posters and stencils easily. That´s when my litlle invasion of my town started. The jump to mural graffiti was pushed to another level in 2004. I participated in the Urban Art festival with the best graffiti artist worldwide: Maclaims, 123 Klan, Pornostars, Dems, Dran, San, and many more. This experience made me dedicate myself to graffiti with all my energy and soul."
"I'm actually located in the Canary Islands, Spain. I was born in Bilbao and studied in Barcelona so I travel as much as possible and paint everywhere I go. Sometimes I paint with my wild style master, Este, but most times I'm by myself. The Canary Islands are actually one of the best places in Spain because there are no problems with the police and the scene is not too crowded. You can expres yourself when and where you want. "
"My style is a mixture of every thing I like. Most of my influences come from comic and graffiti artists, but I try to do it my own way. It´s dificult to explain what makes it different from other street art; I suppose everything is already invented; I just make it my way."
"I got arrested in Bilbao. One of the policemen hit my face and I had to stay a couple of hours in jail because they thought I was an ETA terrorist. Not funny at all."
"Next week I´m travelling to Senegal to meet some artists. I´ve been in Africa a number of times and it´s always a great adventure."

Awesome, Muro! For more photos from his trip, stop by his Flickr.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

May 2010: Henk Hofstra in Drachten

Sometimes, objects are more fun when they're hundreds of times their normal size. What's better than an ice cream sundae? UConn's One Ton sundae at Winterfest. What trumps a squid? Obviously, a giant squid. Dutch artist Henk Hofstra knows the merits of super-sizing. Today, he fills us in on his gigantic projects and hints at his latest endeavors. He writes:
"In 2007, The Blue Road was my first big environmental art project. In Drachten, I painted a one kilometer long road bright blue to prepare the citizens of my town for the canal they will dig there."
"I work in Drachten, a town in the north of The Netherlands. Two of the outdoor projects were in my hometown (The Blue Road and Invasion of the Ants). Art-Eggcident was in Leeuwarden (even farther up north; it's the capital of the Friesland province). Creditcrisis was in Rotterdam. My next project, Above Water, will be in Lelystad.Beside the big projects, I make paintings about the countryside or cities, the sea etc.. You can see them also on my site.""Myself, however sometimes I need to hire people for making (litterally) the project. But I don't brainstorm with other people, I just create my own ideas. I don't have a favorite place to paint; it doesn’t matter. I make my paintings in my atelier. I can do my big art projects everywhere. I like to do a big environmental project abroad once."
"When I was spraying the red ants on the road in the middle of the night, a drunken guy came toward me. He could hardly stand when he saw the big red ant. I wonder when he went home if he told his wife or girlfriend, 'I saw a giant red ant, 3 meter long, 2 wide on the road.' What would his wife say? 'Sure Peter, you're drunk again. Were there pink elephants again too?’"
"I just finished Invasion of the Ants a couple of days ago. I'm now working on my newest project, Above Water. It's a huge man's head with a creation on top; together, they measure 7 meters in length. It will be in Lelystad, a city in the middle of The Netherlands. It will be opened in the middle of June. I can't tell you every detail yet, because we want it to be a surpise. I can tell you already that it will be a reflection on today's world."

Thanks, Henk! For more fantastic sculptures, stop by his website.

Monday, May 24, 2010

In The Headlines

Great weekend for graduations and proms. Congrats, class of 2010! Thank goodness for good weather, delicious food, and long bike rides. I'm looking forward to a repeat next weekend for Memorial Day. Now, onto the headlines!
Lunar's got some new Eastern bloc shit going on.

When people find a Banksy, there's no limit to the crazy shit they'll do to get it. Sometimes, taggers get to it before others do.

Miami's graffiti tours of its Wynwood neighborhood attract tourists and locals alike.

There's a lot of street art going on in Vancouver.

Ad Hoc Gallery opened its Welling Court mural in Queens this past week.

Dirty Hands is out and I really want to go!

Apparently Kevin Spacey is a street art fan.

Berlin's streets, buildings, and walls are covered in graffiti goodness.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday ProFile: Woozy

As a 10-year-old kid growing up in Athens, Woozy was intoxicated (both literally and figuratively) with graffiti. “I remember the spray effects and the dizziness of the toxic inhalations that I felt after painting,” he laughs. Graffiti books and movies from the U.S. flooded into Greece and encouraged him to paint outdoors.
When he grew up, he attended art school and spent his spare time spray-painting everything. While balancing student life and street art can be demanding, he’s found the time to bomb France, Brazil, China, Thailand, Italy, England, Germany, Holland, Portugal, and Spain. “For me, traveling around the world is a great pleasure,” he insists. “It helps me express my views and interact with other cultural elements and people I come across.”
While urban spaces can be hostile, Woozy recognizes that they are an integral part of his work. “As you grow up, you can see that you enjoy illegally creating art,” he says, “but you can also judge things in a more mature way. The more you observe, the more you realize your creation is a product of the surrounding environment.”
One of Woozy’s favorite painting experiences took place abroad in São Paolo. “During my stay, I was influenced by society’s local structure and the intense social inequalities,” he recalls. “I attempted to add color to the big, grey surfaces. I wanted to inspire hope and change by adding a drop of paint to an endless grey reality. The potential audience is huge, too, because so many millions of people live there.”
While the action of street art is a radical statement, Woozy doesn’t believe his pieces are particularly revolutionary. “I don’t have the ambition to be the one who radically changes things with one intervention,” he insists. “I’m not someone who can successfully judge all issues. I try to be modest and make people think and analyze rather than just offering up complete conclusions.” The medium’s danger combined with a city’s unpredictable streets push Woozy to paint everywhere.
Woozy's 2010 is completely packed so far. This year, he’s planning a big exhibition in Athens and challenging new installations. In the future, he hopes to travel to Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. “I love communicating and interacting with local cultures and civilizations,” he explains. “I consider this a key part of my work; those elements are the basis of my perception and inspiration.”

Thanks, Woozy! For more photos, take a peek at his website. This weekend calls for warm weather, football get togethers, prom chaperoning, and a celebration for one of my best friends who's moving in a week. I can only imagine the exhaustion I'll feel Monday, but I've had practice so I think I can deal. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

April 2010: Marmota in Valencia

Spanish street artist Marmota will paint on pretty much anything: paper, walls, even cars. All he needs is a spray can and a stencil. Today, he gives props to his crew and thanks Brick Lane shopkeepers for supporting street art. He writes:
"In 2000, some friends and I formed the group Total Respect. It was around this time when I found stencils, which became my favorite way to express myself. Most of my stencils are painted in the Barrio del Carmen in Valencia.There are also sites like dear Mislata al Raceway; really, I'll paint anywhere."
"I have the fortune of being a member of the XLF, my crew. It is made up of eight friends: La End, Juliet On_ly, Deih, Cesp, Escif, Xelon and myself. We live together in a nice studio in the neighborhood of Carmen. We've been together for a long time and have learned to blend our different styles. It is a endless game."
"My style is still developing, since I'm never completely happy with it. I love the aesthetics of Mexican wrestling, muscle cars, guns, porn actresses, Renaissance, classic posters, boxing, and many more things. I think I have a recognizable stencil, but I still have much work ahead in order to refine and define my style. I think that's the mystery of painting: to stay one step ahead, do not settle and rediscover enjoy every day."
"I recently had the fortune of being in London' s Brick Lane. I was painting near an area where one can breathe graffiti and street art. The owner of the wall, a major Indian business with import of stuffed animals and strange things, gave me permission to paint. First, he approved my sketch and said there was already a Jef Aerosol stencil on the wall that was very good. I could not believe that everyone in the neighborhood was associated with urban art and was knowledgeable about the subject. I was delighted to paint their businesses."

"I have been a television camera operator for nine years. Four years ago, I decided to start a new workshop and started offering murals for business people.To this day, I still live for mural painting; I love designing and decorating all types of businesses. I do not earn much money, but I own my time and I spend my life doing what I love. I'm a very lucky person."

Gracias, Marmota! For more mural photos, visit his Flickr.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

April 2010: Beastman in Sydney

The other day, I was listing places that I'd like to live. While I can only speak for places I've been, I feel like one visit to Australia would instantly add Sydney or Melbourne to the list. Today, Beastman and his colorful characters check in and describe what's going on in Oz. He writes:
“I used to do a little bit of graffiti when I was a teenager skating around the streets, but I only started doing my Beastman characters on walls a couple of years ago. I developed my characters over years of drawing in sketchbooks.”
”I live and work in my house in McMahons Point (North Sydney). Unfortunately, North Sydney’s council is very much against public art and graffiti. I usually paint walls wherever I can get one.”
“I sometimes paint with Phibs, Max Berry, Numskull, Roach...and whoever else is in town and wants to go paint.”
”I like painting at my house. It’s quiet and all my stuff is here. These days, I only really do legal walls.”
“I’m currently working on paintings for a solo exhibition at Gorker Gallery in Melbourne in July. I’ve also got some artwork for some other group exhibitions.”

Thanks, Beastman! For more walls, stop by his website.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

April 2010: Useless Idea in Genoa

Spray paint isn't for everyone; sometimes, it pays to play around with other styles. Italian artist Useless Idea started out spray painting but ending up working with brushes. Today, he explains how his style developed and shares where he's going next. He writes:
”I started painting in the street in 1993 when I was 15. At first, I was influenced by the culture of writing. I tried to spray letters at first, but I didn’t like it so I started drawing with permanent markers. The subjects were strange shapes with strange perspectives, hybrid figuratives and abstract subjects. Then I started painting characters on walls with a brush. After several experiences, I went back to painting letters.”
”I am in Genoa, Italy, but I’ve painted in other places like Barcelona, Berlin, Bilbao, Tokyo, Shanghai, and Milan. Next year, I will travel to several European cities looking for a place to live that reflects my character. I do not like Italy; it’s too superficial and religious.”
”Recently, I’ve returned to painting alone. Street art has many disadvantages: it is illegal, the work is not sustainable, and trends tend to ruin the intimacy and originality of things. Many people speculate on the concept of street art because it’s something that can sell in galleries. I’m pretty demanding when people hang out, so I don’t compromise my style with that of another person until I respect his style of painting.”
“I've always drawn with the aim of evolving constantly without copying other people. I want to maintain my visual character but increase my maturity. I've always been interested in geometry but also in figurative works. I have never put too many constraints on myself, even when other people did not like what I drew. The goal was and has always been to do my style and paint for myself without compromise. Combining different disciplines and experimenting has always been one of my main goals. Because I get bored a lot, I need to grow continually. I have a hobby of exploring abandoned places almost every weekend. It’s a very solitary activity. I do not have a favorite place, but abandoned places are filled with emotion."
“Besides painting, I make IDM music. I'm working on a urban project for audio sonorization. The sound is an aspect that I’ve used for years in my work. I perceive the sound as an element of my setting; it can stimulate the imagination. Recently I made my record label. I want to do more and more, reaching technical skills on paper and spontaneity on the wall. The projects are many but I'd rather talk them in the moment.”

Grazie, Useless Idea! For more photos of his projects, check out his Flickr.

Monday, May 17, 2010

In The Headlines

Shazam. If every weekend were like the last one, I don't think I'd be able to get through the five day work week. With minimal sleep and maximum adventuring, I can't believe how packed this weekend was. I learned how hard it is to find a Twinkie in NYC (?!?), how to appropriately dress for summer weather (thanks, Mawena), and contributed to a whole line of tee shirts (people, get ready). Definitely going to be late to work today, but well worth it. Now, headlines!

Agents of Change are gearing up for a summer filled with festivals.

The new book Drainspotting chronicles street art on Japanese drain covers.

Here's a look at Venezuela's controversial street art scene.

Did Banksy end up in Boston, Toronto, Chicago, and Detroit? Toronto artist Posterchild shares his thoughts on Banksy's work.

Mark your calendars, kids: Upfest is coming to Bristol for the first weekend of June.

If you find yourself in St. Louis, here are ten street pieces you need to see up close.

In San Francisco, street art has moved way beyond the confines of the Mission.

Atlanta's Living Walls conference doesn't kick off until August, but it's already getting press.

Brooklyn Street Art caught up with ROA and compiled some video footage.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday ProFile: Hyuro

Moving is never easy, and moving internationally can be even more difficult. From visas and paperwork to apartment and job-hunting, it’s never simple to start over. However, sometimes a chance encounter can lead to completely new opportunities. Originally from Argentina, Hyuro moved to Spain ten years ago and met up with Spanish street artist Escif. This serendipitous meeting led to a friendship that changed Hyuro’s world.
“I’ve been painting for a while,” he says, “but never on walls. I always loved mural art, though. When I met Escif, I started getting out there. Most of my initial inspiration came from him. Later on, I discovered my own style and I’m still working on it, but I would say that he introduced me to street art.” Sometimes, it’s more fun working with friends. “I like to work on my own because it’s easier to do what you’re used to,” he says. “But sometimes I paint with Escif. I found that there’s much to learn from painting with someone. I enjoy that part.”
Since painting on the streets is new to Hyuro, he still harbors some concerns each time he goes out. “I am still discovering myself in this new way, so many of my initial fears still exist. I don’t think I’ve got my style down yet, but I can say I’m in the process of finding it.” Fortunately, Escif’s guidance kept Hyuro out of trouble and he’s yet to experience any serious run-ins. “I was lucky to start by the hand of someone with so much experience,” he admits. “I guess he looked after me in that way.”
The pre-painting nerves and concerns are totally worth it in the end. Hyuro confesses, “I think what seduces me the most about street art is being a part of the city, being able to express yourself on the walls and the direct communication you get with people when you’re transmitting your thoughts and ideas out there.”
Escif’s influence ultimately impacted the course of Hyuro’s life; he doesn’t see himself straying from street art any time soon. “I think in general, I am happy with myself when I look back,” he reflects. “Facing the future, I don’t have any particular plans. For the moment, I’m working on a personal project and continuing to enjoy this new world that I discovered.” No matter what he’s doing, he explains, “I cannot tell when I am or when I am not an artist. In this moment of my life, most of the things that I do involve art.”
Gracias, Hyuro! For more photos, take a look at his Flickr. That's all for now. I'm off to explore NYC for the weekend. Hopefully, the rain will hold off and many outdoor adventures will occur.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

May 2010: E-mail Catch-up

I wouldn't be able to run this blog without my friends. They don't get upset when I run off and photograph things. Even if I bore them with talk of street art, they don't show it. One of the sweetest gestures is when they send me e-mails about street art because the piece made them think of me. Amazing! Today, my friends Ben, Elif, Will, and Hannah check in from CT, Istanbul, NYC, and Paris to share notes, photos, and video clips. Much love!

"Thought you would enjoy! Here's a video of him explaining what will be in the show. Awesome!--Ben"
"Hey, I found this on the street in Istanbul yesterday. It actually is an ad (I think) but they just sprayed it on the wall! =) Thought you would enjoy! Love, Ally"
"More on the way, Duffster. Warm regards, Balls."

"Saw these in Paris. Thought they were neat. The man was from Montmartre. The girl was in the Latin Quarter near Rue Mouffetard, I believe. :) Good to see your happy San Fran trip! HN"
Thank you so much, guys! I can't express how much I appreciate your support. :)