Nicholas Ganz is the author of some of worlds definitive books on graffiti and street art culture. The German writer and photographer began spraying graffiti himself in the 90s, capturing his own work and that of other artists on camera. A self-taught photographer, he created the pseudonym Keinom in 1997, eventually going on to publish his seminal book ‘Graffiti World’ in 2004. In this essay, he explores the impact of graffiti globally and tracks the development and subsequent globalisation of the artform.
American artist Gaia has had a busy year! In his own words, here’s a recap of some of his biggest murals from 2015…
1 – What Are the Aesthetics of Reinvestment, Gainesville
Finished piece for @352walls in#Gainesville Florida. Entitled ‘What Are the Aesthetics of Reinvestment’ the mural seeks to develop a portrait of downtown Gainesville and locate the theoretical framework behind New Urbanism and its influence upon gentrification. The piece begins with a portrait of the one and only Jane Jacobs with an adjacent picture of a tenement typical of New York’s Lower East Side. It continues with an image of the newly constructed @ufcontinuum paired with a church from Porters, a historically black neighborhood on the south side of downtown. Finally the piece is concluded with an old photo of Union Academy, the second accredited all African American high school in Florida, and the school’s founder A Quinn Jones. Lastly there is a person on their laptop drinking coffee in the corner.
From an old warehouse in industrial district of Honolulu to the streets of Tokyo, POW! WOW! festival has surely gone long way in its 5 years long history. After organizing POW! WOW! Taiwan last year, their Asia tour this year also included the first ever POW! WOW! Japan event.
Through a weeklong event from Oct. 17th, this edition surely set new limits for the organizers. Artists from across the globe and Japan assembled in Tokyo for an unique opportunity to create and show their work in one of the world’s most unique cities. Through live art events, installations and musical performances, POW! WOW! Japan produced over a dozen murals within one-block radius in the Tennozu area, as well as opened exhibitions and events in Shibuya and Harajuku. Mostly inspired by the local traditions and folklore, the public works include a massive Sumo themed mural by Case Maclaim, as well as smaller pieces and interventions by both international and local artists such as Dave Kinsey, Fafi, Kamea Hadar, Takizo, Bakibaki Mon, Cook, Yayshogo, Luise Ono, etc. After Japan the tour continues in Taiwan, so stay tuned for recap of that event.
This past Saturday, NYC-based artist and pun extraordinaire Hanksy led an art take over on an abandoned mansion in South Central LA. Titled Surplus Candy, the one day only show featured work from over 100 artists from around the world.
This summer we chose Lagos for our holiday destination. We were looking for beautiful, quiet beaches, nice hot stretches in the sun, cool places for drinks before dinner, and, yes, a little bit of buzz. No more expectations. The truth is we had much more than that: we ended up being struck by what we found on the city walls.
As you start to wander the alleys you literally bump into pieces from international artists such as ROA, BEZT, SAINER, ARYZ, SEPE, ONUR or BORONDO, to mention some, in addition to works from well known Portuguese ones as MÁRIO BELÉM, MAISMENOS, ADDFUEL, amongst others. It wouldn’t be as dazzling if we were in Berlin or Buenos Aires; the thing is it takes place in Lagos, a tiny spot on the Portuguese map, a small picturesque village. How the hell is this happening here?
After a successful London solo show, Polish artist Sepe is spending his summer exploring abandoned spots around his homeland and painting new works. Continuing slightly darker, more haunting style he’s been working with lately, he recently revealed this new piece in Wołczyn, south Poland.
Inspired by “Mouse Utopia”, experiment by John Calhoun from 1968, “And We Left All Our Cares Behind” is the title of this new raw and expressive piece he recently revealed. The piece is artist’s vision of what happens to human development when there are no dangers nor natural limitations like the struggle for existence etc. Painted in a secret, abandoned spot using dimmed, pastel colors with lots of sketch like lines and drips, this surrealist piece blends great with the environment with almost ghost-like feel to it.
Street Art and the Baroque have not always been the closest of partners, be it due to their wildly different demographics, styles or time periods, however teacher turned curator Ingrid Beazley has aimed to change that in a three year long project which began when she collaborated with Stik, an artist who requires no introduction, and asked him to create his own reinterpretations of the old masters’ pieces. Three years and sixteen further collaborating artists down the line, today Beazley is the figurehead of a project that even she states is “more successful than I ever imagined.” Continue Reading →
Part of the ongoing curated projects by Urban Nation in Berlin, Germany project M8 was curated by Stolenspace Gallery and featured just about every major contemporary artist. First of many postings from this project is the beautiful and quite massive mural by Shepard Fairey and the Obey team. Take a look at their process in the pics we got while hanging out with the crew for a couple of days.
Pics by: Birdman Photos
Jet creates beautiful artworks formed of lacquered plates from the state of Michoacan, Mexico. He takes information and inspiration from folk art he grew up with and reinterprets those works as means of paying homage to his own heritage.
Instead of recreating traditional themes, he utilises urban influences such as street art, hip hop, punk rock and multiculturalism to produce some truly unique works.
June 6th – 27th
Black Book Gallery
VNA 12 cover artist ROA recently painted another of his striking animal murals in Sardinia.
The Belgian artist visited the mediterranean island to paint the mural as part of the Murartista Street Art festival, taking place in the small town of Sadali. His piece fittingly depicts the Sardinian wild boar tied by a rope to the skull of another boar, a commentary on the nature of life and death.
The festival aims to develop innovative initiatives for artistic exchange in Sardinia, inviting leading international street artists to work in a collaborative, small community environment to explore new processes and concepts in public spaces.
Check out some shots of when ROA painted the VNA 12 cover piece in 2012 here.