Wednesday, March 31, 2010

February 2010: Aris in Toscana

Street art may seem anonymous from afar, but it's actually an interactive process. Artists collaborate with others, roll with crews, and run into a colorful cast of characters when they paint high traffic locations. Aris loves the social aspect of street art, so today he's sharing his experience with the rest of us. He writes:
"I started writing on trains in 1993. Toscana is my area. I came from a small city. At the beginning, I worked there and I've also traveled in Italy and in other nations."
"I've worked with different crews. Now that I' m living abroad, I' m painting alone a lot more, but I never forget my crew."
"I'm a lucky man, so nothing bad has happened so far. People always say something to you; sometimes it's nice, sometimes it's not so nice."
"There's something new to make, new color, new letter, new place, and so I discovered new possibilities to paint and to write. From the beginning, I never liked spray, so I did a lot of experimentation."
"When I pick a place to work, I have to see if the landscape says something to me that I must answer. Anonymous places are particularly fascinating. Discovering a place is amazing; in that moment, you understand you have to change that place."

Thanks, Aris! For more photos, check out his Flickr.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

August 2010: Living Walls Conference in Atlanta

The internet is a fabulous tool, but sometimes facetime speaks louder than pixels. In order to really collaborate and share ideas, people have to interact in the real world. Thank goodness for Living Walls, a conference scheduled for August 13-25 in Atlanta, Georgia. The lineup includes speakers, presentations, walls full of art, and three days of really good times. Here are the goods:
"We are piecing together a conference on street art and urbanism entitled: Living Walls, The City Speaks. The
idea is to put the work of a very small subset of the population (street artists, graffiti writers, etc), people who actually interact with space, under the same roof with people who spend their time in a discourse about public space. Our intentions are simply to broadcast to the attendees a wide spectrum of ideas about public space. We hope
that everyone leaves the event looking at the city, its walls, and how we interact with space differently."

"The conference will be split into a few components: a gallery show, a poster show, and a lecture series. For both the gallery and poster show we plan to bring in the works of an international selection of artists. These artists typically make use of the street as an outlet to showcase their work. For the gallery show each artist will be asked to submit some form of documentation of their other works and individual process, along with their submission of artwork. We ask for this type of documentation in order to illustrate via pictures, video, sketches, written form, etc the scale and context in which the artist typically works in public space. The lecture series will not be composed solely of academics. We are seeking out anyone who makes use of space in an interesting way. The last component is documentation of the entire event. The entire show will be heavily documented in the hopes of one day publishing the work."
"We have been seeking artists that re-appropriate the public realm, attempting to take charge of their media space. Thus far, we will be featuring artists such as Miso, know-hope, and Gaia. It will also features lectures by Jordan Seiler (public ad campaign), Jeff Ferrell, as well as several other local critics of public space."
"The event will take place the weekend of August 13 at the Eyedrum in Atlanta. Ironically, this event takes place in the same city, and is scheduled shortly after the largest annual conference on urbanism to happen nationally, the CNU18. We only point this out because such a conference is a testament to the values of development of space, and not the common use of space. Unlike CNU, whose audience is primarily composed of developers and academics who can afford the $200/day entry, Living Walls is addressed to the public, is completely free of charge, is open to participation, and is much more thought provoking. In the truest sense, Living Walls is a grassroots colloquium."

Amazing, guys! For more information, visit

Monday, March 29, 2010

In The Headlines

We're two for two for awesome weekends. This time, I went to Providence to visit Conor. I saw his puppets, wandered the East side, ate amazing mac and cheese, and generally enjoyed spending time with my boys. Now, on to the headlines!
Luz fills walls with glowing green gardens, contrasting the lack of green in urban spaces.

Ever wanted to be a street artist in Hong Kong? Here's how.

The Inspiration Art Festival is calling for entries. Hit up the website for forms and information; the deadline closes July 31.

This Saturday, Villas painted with a whole crew of friends at ArtBrut in Barcelona.
"Friends With Benefits" opens on April 2 at Rarebreed in Philadelphia. The show features stickers from El Toro, Ticky, Bobwillreign, Josh?, and UWP.

Snaki befuddles reports in Chicago and at the New York Times.

Black Rat Projects never fails to impress me. Combining works from the best artists of the past four decades, "Now's The Time" opens April 22 at the London gallery.

Street Art New York's silent auction takes place on April 24. The proceeds benefit Free Arts NYC.

If you missed Sundance, you can still catch Exit Through the Gift Shop in a city near you.

I've officially never seen anything quite like Ben Wilson. This guy paints pictures on discarded wads of gum.

SpY's show, "Urbano," opened on March 26 at Bilbao's SC Gallery. The show runs through May 28.

Researchers at Notre Dame believe street art provokes positive discussions about public space.

Philadelphia knitters enjoy covering their city with yarn.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday ProFile: Digital Love

Imagining the vastness of the internet is like trying to wrap your mind around the universe: once you try to picture infinity, you start to get a headache. Each day, the amount of information sailing through ethernet cables increases, making it even easier to get caught up in the virtual abyss. Palm and Yes know how to harness the power of the internet while interacting with the real world. With their powers combined, they are Digital Lovers. The pair live, work, and study art in Athens, but they send their pixilated hearts to Glasgow, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, and everywhere in between.
While Palm and Yes joined forces as Digital Love in 2009, the pair have been painting for about five years. Initially, graffiti books and street pieces at home inspired them to make their own. "We ended up doing posters since we find it the most accurate way of putting up your work," they explain. "It's nice and quick, and people don't seem to have any problem with posters or stickers compared to spray painting."
Both Palm and Yes used to dabble in old school graffiti, but they recognize a difference between that scene and modern work. "Contemporary street art definitely evolved out of this old school culture mixed with other artistic ideas and thoughts," they insist. "What we do is in the exact same vein as 'old school' graffiti. Instead of tagging, we put up a symbol and we get to use more means to make this symbol as known as possible." Through international communication, Digital Love's stickers travel to obscure locations. "I think the craziest shit with Digital Love wasn't done by us," they laugh. "We recieved a picture of a PLANE with a sticker on it last night... can't take it outta our heads!"
Don't read too much into the symbol; Palm and Yes just want pedestrians to have a good time. "We're just saying, 'we are here!'" they say. "Everyone can understand it however he or she likes. We just hope it gives people a smile at least."
While Digital Love enjoys its pasty icons, they don't expect to stay stuck on stickers forever. In their opinion, just the process of creating street art creates change. "We'd say that living in the world of street art is an adventure by itself," they explain. "We get to travel a lot and meet many different kinds of people. Meeting crazy-ass artists is always an adventure! Our dream is to be able to communicate with people through our work on the streets. Digital Love is just the beginning."
Thanks, guys! Keep up with their blog for new updates. That's all for now! Hopefully, weekend weather will hold out and I'll be able to roam Providence, grope a big puppet, and find a tacky yet creative gift for my almost 20 year-old sister. Gasp.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 2009: Kef in Aachen

Berlin gets a lot of press for its burgeoning street art community, but don't forget about other parts of Germany. Located near the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands, Aachen boasts cathedrals, tree-lined boulevards, and German artist Kef's wheatpastes. He writes:
"I began doing street art in 2005 after I read a book about street art. Prior to this, I didn't know much about this form of art because I was 16 years old. I created two characters that I've brought to many cities like Cologne, Berlin, Paris, and Dusseldorf."
"While I know many artists, I mostly work alone. I just do my own thing and that is good!"
"At first I liked the typical street art stuff; then, I developed my characters. In the long run, it would've been boring but I transformed my two characters. My works are full of momentary energy and visual harmony."
"My favorite places to paint are very old and isolated locations. There, I enjoy painting with the sense of absolute freedom."
"I am currently working on a print which will be issued this summer in Berlin. I'm also working a project in Switzerland."

Thanks, Kef! View more of his wheatpastes on his Flickr.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

March 2010: Geso in Berlin

Berlin's got so much going on. From music festivals and outdoor concerts and Papergirl project, Germans love their art. The city's vibe attracts artists from all over the continent. Street artist Geso migrated from Madrid and now decorates his adoptive city. He writes:
"First, I should say that I consider myself a street artist as a video-artist, as a performer, as an illustrator, as a designer, etc...I would resume it all like just 'artist'. I only use the street as a 'frame' where an idea fits in it. I prefer to think in a different environment. So, my first actions in the street were stencils and stickers. That was around 2001, even before I started using the moniker 'Geso'."
"I'm located in Berlin (Germany), but I am from Madrid (Spain), so most of my actions are located in those two cities. Usually the inspiration for a new piece come from the streets that surround me."
"Usually I work alone, but I never refuse to do collaborations. In the past years, I've made some drawings with Btoy, San, Saner, Besdo Garsía, Kenor, etc... but not really often."
"I don't think about a 'style'; I just do what i feel. The most important thing is the ideas behind it. So in this sense the 'style' is based in the things I like to talk about or the kind of aesthetics that I enjoy (this could be from breakcore and noise music, to black metal aesthetic, terror movies, psychedely, RGB colors, 80's stuff, etc.). I think my 'style' develops from my ideas."

"I remember I was with Zosen, Kenor, Ovni, Uri and more people in Barcelona. We were painting and cooking a paella in the same place. The police came, but they were only worried about the fire we used to cook, but not about the painting... that was weird... haha!"

"I am especially interested in developing some ideas for new video art pieces and special installations for galleries. I'm seriously thinking about doing something with all the old TVs that everybody is leaving on the streets of Berlin. My mind is working!"

Thanks, Geso! To view his complete body of work, check out his Flickr.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

November 2009: Cahil Muraghu in NYC

The advent of Flickr, blogs, and the internet in general opened the floodgates for collaboration and inspiration within the street art community. For the first time, people in New York City could connect and share images in Tokyo, Doha, or Capetown. However awesome this synthetic technology may be, it's easy to forget that sometimes, the best material is completely organic. Thanks to Cahil's friendship with Erik Burke, the two pass ideas and opportunities back and forth. Today, we check in with Cahil for a taste of projects in progress. He writes:
"My first 'street art' attempt was probably around 2004-5. But I had been writing graffiti since 7th grade."
"In the 'street' I mainly collaborate with other artists. In the studio, I divide my time between my own work and collaborations."
"I grew up writing graffiti and ended up going to school for architecture. My painting style developed along with my graffiti and design ideas."
"I was recently working on a two man show with Erik Burke. So that means more murals in the Bay Area and New York, and an exhibition."
Thanks, Cahil! For more photos, take a look at his Flickr.

Monday, March 22, 2010

In The Headlines

I'm trying to think of ways this weekend could've been more perfect. Eating and cooking with visitors? Check. Venturing out for long runs? Check. Glorious warm weather, Maple-Festing, roaming cities, downing coffee in large quantities, watching high school students put on a theatrical basketball game, drinking beer in a converted post office, and reading books on my front lawn? Definitely a good time. After a ball-busting finish to the week, I'm grateful for a glorious break. Now that I'm rested, on to the (tiny batch of) headlines!

In Lyons, All Over Gallery hosts Polish artists FRM, OTECKI and ZBIOK for their show, "Boring." It runs through April 13.

My friend's dad sent me a link to Mapping Main Street, a project that I actually want to look into more. Thanks, Dave!

Kill Pixie's show, "Observatory", opens at Brisbane's Edwina Corlette Gallery today. The show runs through April 10.

Specter's show, "Make It Fit", runs through April 17 at the Brooklynite Gallery.

In Oakland, Yung Grasshopper documents the city's street art.

In Manila, Filipino college students use street art to beautify their city.

Take a guess: is this street art or an ad?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday ProFile: XPOME

From the beginning, Bulgarian artist XPOME was destined to create in urban areas. Some children casually dabble in building with Legos, but he took his creations seriously. At the age of five or six, he says, he graduated to big kid building materials. “I made my own house,” he elaborates. “It was made out of concrete and glass stones. All rest of the materials came from our family villa house. I used handmade ‘cement’ made from ash, water, and some sand.”
Later on, a casual viewing of Graffiti Art #8 inspired him to switch from building to painting. “It was funny, because I started trying to do whole murals, not tags,” he adds. “Later, I got into more basics and developed my simple letter style.” Simpler lettering called for a simpler name; XPOME is “chrome” in Cyrillic letters; the moniker is short for “chromosome.” Since 2001, he’s covered his hometown of Sofia as well as parts of Germany, Italy, France, and other Eastern European countries with his work.
At first, other writers like Loomit, Daim, and Esher inspired him. Later on, Erosie, Roger, and Relax impressed him. Today, he pulls from all sorts of disciplines, from old graphic design and typography to geometry and architecture. “When I started, I wanted to do complicated murals,” he explains. “At the time, I was doing both characters and letters. Later, I realized that I’m better at graphics than figurative stuff. The Bulgarian writer RAKE indirectly led me to roller and Latex paintings in 2004/2005. After that, I continued my journey into the world of letters.”

In addition to changing up his style, XPOME loves traveling to new places and collaborating with others. “For me it was always about friendship and having a good time,” Together with his crew, he smiles, “I am still looking for the ultimate place.” By keeping the scene fresh, he’s able to experiment and learn. “Sometimes, I do related-to-the-place pieces that have some special message. Otherwise, I am just trying to re-invent my name every time I go out, experimenting with forms, letters and colors or optical effects.”

Pushing the boundaries of his medium means casting off any labels and their limitations. “Classical graffiti is a bit conservative,” he argues. “But I also don’t want to be labeled as a street artist. I just do what I do, no matter what other people call it. I use different techniques, from posters, cans, and rollers to foam and rope." Perhaps XPOME derives joy from his work because he doesn't expect anything in return. “I am doing my work mostly for pleasure,” he insists. “I don't want to get rich out of it. I just want to travel, keep myself young, and live!”

Best of luck, XPOME! For more projects, visit his Flickr.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

January 2010: Rub Kandy in Rome

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with ancient Egypt. I built pyramids in my backyard, dressed up as Cleopatra for Halloween, and pored over books on hieroglyphics. Perhaps it's this last point of interest that makes me like Rub Kandy's works. His unusual paintings and sculptures punctuate the city with enigmatic messages. Fortunately, he wrote in to decode them. He writes:
"When I started, the word 'street art' wasn't used. In the the 90's in Italy, we used to talk about 'lettering' or about 'aerosol art'. When you were making a line with a spray-can, you had to take care that color didn't drip. Even the word
'graffiti' was 'out'. Like everybody, I used to do 'pieces' with letters and puppets. I moved away from pure writing because I preferred to watch the art world. Now that I'm doing some art expos and I'm seeing a lot of good street artists doing art expos, I envy the young bombers who ravage the city, who break open metro manholes, who recharge the markers with acid. I'd really like to have that rage now."

"I can rely on an hell-bent-krew who inexplicably still trust and help me. I think that, when you deeply wish for a thing, there is a glow which lights up your face; your energy spreads and the others follow you. I don't work much with others street artists, but there isn't a certain reason. Maybe I personally don't know many street artists."
"I always try to move widthwise. I mean when I learn a new technique, I mix it with the old technics. I move continuously, trying not to do what I already did. I wanna be a beginner forever; I hate the professionals.I wanna learn and change. When someone tell me I'm doing great works, I start to do others. When you arrive, you die. A lot of great artist try to be recognizable. They look at the fashion world as a model of diffusion, so they fill the world with faces, stars,hearts, skulls, arrows, each one like the others. They wanna be recognizable: they do branding, great branding. I don't want this, I don't want to do branding. I just try to do good works, just the works attesting for themselves. As my friend Ester always tells me, 'The good mum wants hers sons to grow up healthy and strong, the good artist wants his works to grow up healthy and strong'. So I try to make healthy and strong pieces,'cause I'll turn from them. I hope my works will outlive fashion."
"I don't have a favorite place. I do this: if I walk and I see a good location, I try to accurately plan everything. I'm not able to work with other people watching me if I don't have a plan. When I did RATZINGER, for example, I worked for a week in my lab, but the installation took five minutes. If I want to try new techniques and styles, I go work in abandoned buildigngs to play freely."
"I'm working on a series of anamorphosis work. I'm mixing two of my passions, photograpy and painting. I'm sending you a pic for your great blog!"

You are too kind, Rub! For photos of this new series, stop by his blog.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

February 2010: Pum Pum in Buenos Aires

I know it's St. Patrick's Day, but we're taking a trip away from the Emerald Isle down south to Argentina. Down in the Southern Hemisphere, Pum Pum's whimsical characters grace the streets of Buenos Aires. Today, she stops by to share a little bit of her story. She writes:
"I started painting on the street about six or seven years ago...just experimenting. It was more like a game, not a decision."
"I love popular sites like Saavedra, a wall of Palermo, but any place is good. I enjoy working alone, but I love sharing a wall with friends!"
"I love drawing a lot, visually feeding on things that I like. I like drawing in my house, listening to music."
"Right now, I'm painting many canvases at my house. I have many things planned for this Year of the Tiger!"
Gracias, Pum Pum! For more fantastic photos, visit her Flickr.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

February 2010: ( E ) about Brazil

If I had to pick one country to visit for photographing street art, it would be Brazil. In the past two decades, there's been an explosion of artists, ideas, and styles all over the country. ( E ) is a great example of how a single artist can dabble in so many mediums while managing to spread his work all over the place. He writes:
"I first started doing street art with some friends not so long ago.I live in a complex city called São Paulo in Brazil.
Most of my works are around here, but I like to reach any other place I can."
"I like to work by myself. but, sometimes, I meet up with friends to paint together. That process is more about each one doing his or her own work on the same wall or any other place."
"I don´t think I have one style. Of course, everything I do is about myself and they have things in common. I love to find out my own new ways to express my thoughts and see things from different angles. I think it's about knowing myself better each time.I keep doing the same stuff as long as I think there is something else to explore. After that, there's a period of artistic crisis and the cycle restarts.""I'm so fascinated with doing my paintings on stained walls or ruined places. It's like they are already telling city histories. It's crazy to find a very clean, white painted wall. It's like a lie, as if something is being hidden."
"I'm painting at my studio, searching some new ways to get these new ideas out of my head. It's killing me. Hugs!"

Thanks, ( E )! For more lovely shots of Brazil and ( E ) 's work, visit his Flickr.