Books

A huge fan of zines and independent publications of all kinds, I was delighted to discover Never Blue, featuring artworks by some of my favorite artists — who make their mark both on and off the streets. Curious about it all, I posed some questions to its curator, Mr. Green aka A Color Green.

Never Blue Zine <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

Just who/what is A Color Green? And when was it born?

At the easiest level, A Color Green aka ACG, Mr. Green or Coloure Greene is an independent, NYC-based artist and curator. Mr. Green was born roughly six years ago, about the same time I began to concoct a haphazard entrance into the film industry. And playing off its founder’s last name,  A Color Green was conceived as a film production company title. Today, A Color Green is both an individual artist and his alter ego, as well as a tight-knit production and publishing team – (though always looking to expand into something new!)

Can you tell us something about its logo?

As I began to search for what would be a company “logo,” an immediate connection with the cartoonish face you’ve become familiar with on NYC streets in sticker or tag form was born. Upon realizing the breadth of possibilities or absurdities in this face, ACG expanded into an alter-ego reminiscent of some of my favorite artists or musicians — graffiti legends like Snake 1, contemporaries like Chris RWK and Frank Ape and pop-culture icons like MF Doom, Quasimoto or Big L, Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Dupieux, Roger Ebert and more.

Mr Green Mirror Image <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

What spurred you to take Green to the streets?

When I moved back to NYC a few years ago, I didn’t have the resources to pursue my own filmmaking. And inspired by those contemporary artists, I decided to try taking Green to the street, tying in film references. A big inspiration was my intent to develop a curatorial channel to feature these very artists.  And as that “channel” continues to grow, so do the partnerships and connections that have allowed me to branch back into some of my original inspirations in filmmaking and publishing which, of course, leads right back to this interview, Never Blue and some upcoming projects.

Chris RWK keeping theblues away <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

Never Blue is Volume 2 of the zines produced by A Color Green. Can you tell us something about Volume 1? Is it still available? What spurred you to produce Never Blue?  What is the concept behind it?

A Color Green Zine was conceived as a trilogy, each installment correlating to a different side of my character, inspiration, aesthetic and — I suppose — humor. As an artist, I’ve always identified with those masterful creators like Picasso or Kubrick who understood the importance of change and redefining one’s self throughout a career. This trilogy is a direct nod to something like Picasso’s Blue Period or Kubrick’s ability to produce Barry Lyndon directly after A Clockwork Orange. The styles are so radically different, but through the change you still catch a similar glimpse of what drew you there in the first piece — whether a feeling, face or something else entirely. 

Our first edition, Black and White was also a limited edition risograph print co-published by Endless Editions  – as the entire trilogy will be — and featured roughly thirty artists, a number of whom are also featured in Never BlueWhile Black and White was meant to adhere to that gritty, DIY style — which I’d strictly adhered to for two years – Never Blue, was meant to be a sad or celebratory, soulful or seductive step away from the simple shades of B&W. If you missed out on the sold-out first edition, you can download a free copy of the A Color Green Zine Vol. 1 Black & White now on BitTorrent.

Ceez <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

Works by dozens of artists representing a wide range of styles, sensibilities and cultures are featured in Never Blue? That’s quite impressive. How did you decide which artists to include? How did you reach out to them?

While Never Blue is the second official zine I’ve created with A Color Green, it’s actually our third publication following a small print we released over the summer called the Green Carpet Zine. Like I said, we had always intended to make A Color Green Zine an official trilogy, and receiving the proper submissions took some time — so much so that we took a break and created the entirely random Green Carpet Zine.

What differentiates the Green Carpet Zine from the official ACG trilogy is an emphasis on street art and representing that style in an illustrative or photographic form on the page. There were a number of artists I knew who had to be in it – starting with several highly talented friends including: HausRiot, Kristy Elena, Seth Laupus, Zero Productivity, Leaf8k and JCorp TM who were in the first edition. Next, I needed to reach out to some of my favorite contemporaries like Brolga, CEEZ, Chris RWK, City Kitty, Murrz, Abe Lincoln Jr. and Frank Ape who’d inspired me to get back into street art. And as I often find with that community, everyone was wonderfully supportive. I also opened up submissions to artists via the Con Artist Collective where I received dozens of illustrations that were incredibly difficult to choose from. The remaining slots were announced via social media where another couple of dozen artists responded.

Unfortunately, not all of the artwork could make it in, and that’s where we needed to put on the curatorial hat and figure out which submissions not only fit the theme, but worked together in a layout as well. Emphasizing the different styles is very important to us, and when you flip through the zine, you’ll find we pair similar styles together and contrast different looks. The result is a blend of hand-style, graphic design, illustration, wheat-paste and whatever else.

Abe Lincoln Jr <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

What was your greatest challenge in getting this zine out? How did you promote it once it was published?

Time is always the greatest challenge. The balancing act of juggling work, life and responsibility. Every artist who submitted to the zine — whether anonymous or not — has a life outside of their alter-ego, and so do I. We couldn’t dictate a strict delivery for some submissions, because we desperately wanted some artists to partake, and I would have pushed the printing back for some people if need be.  But after receiving over fifty submissions, we knew we had to cut it off and set a release date. That release date, after two years gave ACG and Endless Editions the much needed fire under our asses, and within two months we had two hundred fresh risograph copies and an opening set at Con Artist NYC where another 25 artists donated work to hang on the walls.

Promoting after such a long build up was the easy part and it took place mostly via social media — across 30 somewhat artist pages on different platforms — in addition to a couple of NYC art listings and press releases. Con Artist also has been a major champion of our work and promoted it heavily across their channels.

MURRZ Never Blue <em>A Color Green</em> on Mr. Green, Zine Curation, <em>Never Blue</em>, an Imminent Film Release and More

What’s ahead for A Color Green?

Up next for ACG is a long-awaited rest from zine curation and my official directorial debut in MUTE which will have its hometown world premiere with the BK Horror Club and Brooklyn Horror Fest tomorrow, April 21. The short film features Danish star Albert Bendix as a tongue-chopping madman and is followed in double-feature form by a screening of the modern-classic You’re Next, sponsored by Throne Watches and Narragansett Beer. Tickets can be purchased here. And If you’re yet to check out Never Blue, you can buy a copy at Con Artist while supplies last or head over to Printed Matter, Inc where the zine will go on sale later this month. More on www.acolorgreen.com.

Interview by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy Mr. Green

Images: 

1. Mr. Green with Never Blue

2. Mr. Green

3. Chris RWK

4. Ceez

5. Abe Lincoln Jr.

6. Murrz

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Peter Bengsten the street art world cover Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

Currently based in Sweden, Peter Bengtsen is an art historian and sociologist who has been researching street art for the past nine years. The Street Art World, a 248 page book, is the result of his research based on studies of everyday interaction among artists, gallerists, collectors, bloggers and street art enthusiasts.  I recently had the opportunity to read Peter’s engaging book and pose some questions to him.

When and how did you first become aware of street art?

I grew up in a small town in the Danish countryside, with virtually no exposure to graffiti or street art. As a kid I would sometimes see throw-ups by Tower and Carn in the underpasses when driving with my parents on the freeway, and those names have been stuck in my head ever since. It wasn’t until I moved to Copenhagen in 2000 that I really became aware of street art and graffiti, though.

You write that when you first discovered street art, you did not deem it “worth documenting and preserving.”  What changed your mind?

When I say that street art wasn’t worth documenting, what I really mean is that for a while the immediate and brief encounters with the work on the street were enough for me. However, over time I started getting attached to some of the artworks I passed regularly, and I also began recognizing the work of certain artists like HuskMitNavn and later Armsrock and Faile. I found myself feeling a bit sad when the artworks eventually disappeared, and I felt an urge to somehow keep them. Photography was one way of doing that. The technological developments around that time had a lot to do with making this form of documentation possible. Back in the early years of the 2000s I was using a film camera and I couldn’t afford to photograph graffiti and street art, but that changed when I got my first digital camera in early 2005.

Faile Copenhagen 2004 Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

When it comes to preserving street art, I am still conflicted. As an art historian, I see a value in keeping material examples of street artworks for posterity. However, a key part of street art for me is that artworks are transformed over time, because the street is open to change and dialogue. When street artworks are placed under glass or cut out of walls to be preserved in a more controlled environment that openness is taken away. In preserving street artworks, I think one of the essential things that set street art apart from other art may be lost.

Armsrock street art Copenhagen 2008 two months Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

As an academic, what are some of the challenges you face when researching and writing about street art?

Even before I started my research, I found expressions of a rather strong anti-intellectual and anti-institutional mindset in the street art world. These public expressions have become less dominant in recent years as street art gets more integrated in the mainstream art world. However, academics that are seen to attempt “investigating” street art – rather than actually engaging with the art and the social environment that surrounds it – are sometimes still looked upon as a species of “culture vulture,” swooping in to pick the bones of a social and cultural environment they know little about. Over the years I have seen researchers fail in their work because they lacked a fundamental understanding of the social rules of the field they were trying to study.

To mitigate the critical attitude towards academic researchers, and the institutional art world they are seen to represent, I think first impressions are very important. In my own case, because my interest in street art was not academic to begin with, I had already been socializing with other street art fans for some time when I started doing formal research in 2006. While I have still met some skepticism and received derisive comments regarding my role as a researcher and my attempts to intellectualize street art, I think the connections I already had with other enthusiasts made it a lot easier to move forward with my project. If I had come from the outside with a research agenda, things might have been different.

Banksy stencil art London 2015 jpg Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

How have other street art enthusiasts – from bloggers and collectors to the artists themselves – responded to your academic approach to the subject?

Apart from the skepticism I already mentioned, people have generally been very positive during the research project. When I was working on the book, I had a lot of help from people who provided me with viewpoints, information, and – very importantly – photographs of artworks I couldn’t get to myself. My research budget doesn’t allow for expenses related to image rights, so if people hadn’t been so generous and willing to let me use their images, the book would have ended up looking very differently.

In terms of the finished book, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. I was confident I had created a solid piece of scholarly work, but it was also very important to me to write something that people outside the academic world would be interested in reading and could relate to. From the comments I have received, street art enthusiasts enjoy the book and recognize the world I am describing. This doesn’t mean they always agree with everything I write, but to me that is really great. My goal with the book was never to present the “truth” about what street art is – I actually don’t believe one such single truth exists. My hope was that the book could be part of an ongoing dialogue about street art, and critical engagement and disagreement are essential to that.

Erica ilcane mural Grottaglie Italy 2012 Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

What are some of the changes that you have observed in the street art “world” since you first began documenting it and writing about it?

One of the most significant changes is that the street art world has become increasingly professionalized. This can be seen in for example the establishing of commercial magazines dedicated to so-called urban art, the increasing number of print houses and galleries that produce and/or sell limited edition artworks, the companies around the world that arrange commercial street art tours, and the vast number of street art festivals that have popped up in the past decade. With a more professional system in place, I think it has become easier for some artists to make a living from their work. While this is a positive development in many ways, from a personal point of view I do find it tiresome that some artists now seem to consider doing street work simply as a way of promoting their commercial wares. This is for example reflected in the number of websites and social media handles that are now included in, or placed next to, work in the street.

commercial stencil London  Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

Along with the professionalization, street art enthusiasts seem to have become increasingly focused on the market value of commercial products. I see this very clearly on street art forums. Members have always discussed the value of their collections, but investment potential has gradually become the main focus since 2006, when urban art really started becoming a thing with galleries and auction houses. I think this development may partly represent a change in attitude among the people who were into street art when I first started out with my studies, but I strongly suspect it is also because a different demographic has taken an interest in street art and/or urban art as an investment object. Sadly, it seems to me that critical discussion about the art itself has largely been quashed by the market.

What are some of the key factors that have contributed to these changes?

Money obviously has a lot to do with the way the street art world has developed. With the increasing recognition and popularity of street art/urban art, it has become big business for some to provide a growing customer base with consumable products like limited edition screen prints. As a result, a growing number of print houses are constantly on the lookout for new artists, and it is not uncommon to see prints from artists who have done very little street work. This is in part possible because artists today make very conscious efforts to be “discovered” quickly, for instance by placing their street work in highly photographed areas and by leaving their contact details in or next to the work.

04 unknow artist Copenhagen 2008 Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

Having witnessed the market success of some of the older generation of street artists, it is perhaps not surprising that members of a new generation see doing street work as a shortcut to a commercial career. Lack of experience and maturity on the part of these artists may be one reason a lot of the commercial work released today is very formulaic and/or blatantly rips off previous work by other artists. Despite this, much of the published work seems to sell out. It is hard to say whether this is because customers actually like the artwork, and perhaps are unaware of the source material, or because they don’t want to miss out on what is often deliberately presented to them as an investment opportunity. However, the number of prints on the secondary market is an indication that a lot of customers do see their purchases as investments.

Apart from money, technological developments have profoundly influenced the street art world. Digital photography and videography has made it simple for people to create visual material, and the internet in general – and social media in particular — enables people to share what they, and others, produce.

05 unknown artist Malmö 2015 Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

I think the ease of sharing content has played a very important role in the developments seen in the street art world. It is to a large degree through the online sharing of visual material that the interest in street art is spread to new people. These new enthusiasts — and potential consumers — form a basis for the continued existence of the marketplace that now constitutes a central part of the street art world.

Is street art dead? Or is it just sleeping?

I would say that all depends on your definition of street art. The notion of the death of street art comes about when someone experiences a conflict between a specific, subjective ideal of what street art should be and what they think it has become. The statement “street art is dead” has been popping up at regular intervals for as long as I have followed the street art world, yet people are still making, documenting, discussing and trading what they call street art. Although the street art world has become more professional and commercially oriented, much to the frustration of some, I don’t think this implies that street art is dead or even dying. It simply means street art – like all things – is evolving.

06 Kissmama paste up Copenhagen 2013 Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

Note: If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book or if you want more information about it, you can contact Peter at peter.bengtsen@kultur.lu.se. You can also check out Joe Austin‘s review of the book here

Interview by Lois Stavsky; all images courtesy Peter Bengtsen

1. Cover illustration:  Ericailcane

2.  Failepolaroid of paste-up, Copenhagen, 2004

3.  Armsrock, photos of the Danish artist in Copenhagen, taken in July and September 2008, illustrating how artworks are gradually transformed in the street context

4.  Banksy, stencil painting behind acrylic glass, London, 2015

5.  Ericailcane, mural Fame Festival, Grottaglie, 2012

6. Stencil, filling the street – a space already over saturated with commercial messages – with additional advertising

7. Stencil painting, unknown artist,  Copenhagen, 2008

8. Stencil, Malmo, Sweden, 2015

9. Kissmama, paste-up, Copenhagen, 2015

Note: Hailed in a range of media from the Huffington Post to the New York Times, our Street Art NYC App is now available here for Android devices.

en play badge 2 Art Historian and Sociologist Peter Bengtsen on <em>The Street Art World </em>

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On Urban Art Legends by KET

February 15, 2016

The following post is by Houda Lazrak, a contributor to StreetArtNYC and recent graduate of NYU’s Masters Program in Museum Studies

Urban Art Legends, by the renowned graffiti writer, photographer, curator and author Alan Ket aka KET, presents 39 engaging profiles of key urban artists, along with photos of their significant works.

Urban Legends Ket On <em>Urban Art Legends</em> by KET

After a concise and informative introduction, in which he terms urban art as “this other art world,” KET introduces his readers to such pioneering and influential artists as ATOME, Futura, JON ONE, Lady Pink, Mode 2, Os Gemeos and Saber. Included in the artist profiles are: essential career highlights, defining artistic features, style evolutions, crew associations and specific creative projects, along with the artists’ engagement with the fine art world.

We learn, for example, that in addition to painting train graffiti, DAZE exhibited alongside Basquiat and Haring at NYC’s Mudd Club, lectured at universities and designed a train station — with Lee and Crash — in Germany.  Iconic musicians such as Madonna and Eric Clapton have purchased his canvases and numerous museums in the U.S., Germany and the Netherlands have added his paintings to their collections.

crash graffiti On <em>Urban Art Legends</em> by KET

Crash, KET notes, pioneered the graffiti movement’s relationship with the gallery world with the exhibit, Graffiti Art Success for America, that he curated at Fashion Moda in 1980. He has since exhibited in museums throughout the world and partnered with a range of companies on varied projects. And he is now, once again, active on the streets.

KET also selects some 20 artists — including Sane Smith, Risk and JON ONE – to whom he awards  “legendary status.”  We discover, for example, that Sane Smith was sued for three million dollars for painting a work visible for miles on NYC’s Brooklyn Bridge. Risk attains “legendary status” for being the first Los Angeles writer to paint a NYC subway train when he visited in 1978. And KET confers legendary status on Paris-based Harlem native JON ONE for receiving France’s premier award, the Legion of Honor, for his contributions to art and culture in France.

jononegraffiti Le Départ On <em>Urban Art Legends</em> by KET

KET also seamlessly links the two worlds of street art and graffiti by telling the stories of individuals — such as Ben Eine and Os Gemeos – who have dual identities as both graffiti writers and street artists.

Urban Art Legends beautifully captures the diversity of artistic practices found in our cities – from subway trains to galleries and back onto the streets. KET’s enthusiasm and passion for urban art pervade these pages as he writes that “justice cannot be done to all those incredible talented individuals who have informed and advocated” the urban art movement.

Urban Art Legends certainly comes close, as it offers readers a solid grasp of over three dozen of those individuals who have significantly impacted the urban art scene.

Atome image 4 On <em>Urban Art Legends</em> by KET

Published in the UK by LOM ART, Urban Art Legends is now available online and in most NYC bookstores.

All images courtesy LOM ART:

1. Book cover, designed by Jamie Keenan; Nick Walker, 2015, Photography by Paul Green

2. CRASH, panel piece on subway train, Bronx, New York, USA, 1980. Photography by Phade

3. JONONE, Le Départ, spray paint and acrylic on canvas, 600 x 300 c.m., 1994, Speerstra Collection

4. ATOME, Sydney, Australia, 2014. Photography by artist

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stikbook1 London Based Stik on His Iconic Character and His Newly Released Book

Known for his iconic life-size stick figures that have surfaced throughout the globe, East London-based Stik has attained celebrity status with Random House‘s recent release of his first book. While in London last month, I had the opportunity to speak to the artist.

When did Stik first surface? And where?

It was back in 2003 in Hackney Wick along the canal.  It was the safest place to paint at the time.

Can you tell us something about Stik’s origin? What was the concept behind it?

I came up with the idea of six lines and two dots simply because it was the quickest way to paint without getting caught.  My first Stik drawing represented my struggle to find shelter and survive. While homeless, I had lost all my drawings. Anything I could get up on the streets could be seen, at least, for a time.

stik London Based Stik on His Iconic Character and His Newly Released Book

How did folks respond to your work at the time?

They liked it. They could identify with it. It especially spoke to lonely people.

How has Stik evolved since it first surfaced?

At first I only painted lonely people.  It was my way of reflecting on my personal struggles. Then as my circumstances improved, I became involved with causes and the figure changed as its context changed.

stik street art london London Based Stik on His Iconic Character and His Newly Released Book

What are some of these causes?

Homelessness, gentrification, the National Health Service, underground cooperatives and more.

Your new book, simply titled Stik, is currently a best-seller in London.  What was the concept behind it?

It is a journal of the progression of the Stik project.

stik street art character London London Based Stik on His Iconic Character and His Newly Released Book

Your book is so stunningly presented and has gotten such wonderful press in London. When did the idea of first publishing a book come to you?

In 2010, while living in a homeless hostel, I was writing a monthly column for the Hackney Citizen that included a mural related to a news story. I did this for a year, and it made me think about articulating meanings.

Any plans to visit NYC?

Yes! I plan to visit NYC in the spring.

stik reads book London Based Stik on His Iconic Character and His Newly Released Book

That sounds great!  We are certainly looking forward to seeing you again in NYC!

Photo credits: 2. Tara Murray 3. Dani Reyes Mozeson 4-5. Lois Stavsky; interview by Lois Stavsky

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Street Art Santiago . David Sharabani aka Lord K2 on His Newly Released <em>Street Art Santiago </em>with Images of Artworks by Piguan, Piri, Salazart, Guztok and more

Penned by London native David Sharabani aka Lord K2, Street Art Santiago is a fascinating foray into 14 neighborhoods within Santiago, Chile. With his stunning photography and revealing conversations with the artists, the author presents us with an intimate, striking portrait of an historic capital city.  I recently had the opportunity to meet with David and ask him a few questions.

Street Art Santiago is quite amazing.  When did you first start documenting street art?

It was in 2012. I was on vacation in Bogota, Colombia, and I was struck by the texture and quality of the pieces on the walls there.

piri bellavista street art santiago chile David Sharabani aka Lord K2 on His Newly Released <em>Street Art Santiago </em>with Images of Artworks by Piguan, Piri, Salazart, Guztok and more

You’ve been quite passionate about public art since. I’m a huge fan of your site the Museum of Urban Art. What other cities have you explored?

I’ve also photographed street art in Buenos Aires, São Paulo and here in New York City.

salazaart santiago chile street art graffiti David Sharabani aka Lord K2 on His Newly Released <em>Street Art Santiago </em>with Images of Artworks by Piguan, Piri, Salazart, Guztok and more

Why did you choose the street art in Santiago as the subject of your first book?

I discovered so many distinct styles that I loved, many representing the rich political and social history of the city.  And I also felt a special bond with the Chilean artists whom I met. They love to share walls, and they love to collaborate. They invited me to paint with them, and they are extraordinarily humble.

piguan piri guztok David Sharabani aka Lord K2 on His Newly Released <em>Street Art Santiago </em>with Images of Artworks by Piguan, Piri, Salazart, Guztok and more

You have a formal education in art. Did what you see on the streets impact your work as an artist?

Yes, after a few months in Buenos Aires, I was inspired to learn how to do stencil art. And I’ve been doing it since!

grin Cubdos Derik Sick graffiti santiago David Sharabani aka Lord K2 on His Newly Released <em>Street Art Santiago </em>with Images of Artworks by Piguan, Piri, Salazart, Guztok and more

What were some of the challenges you faced in producing this book?

I was working with an inexpensive pocket camera. I was new to graffiti and street art, so I lacked any credibility. My knowledge of Spanish was limited. And I didn’t have a clue as to how to publish a book.

brillos graffiti crew santiago chile David Sharabani aka Lord K2 on His Newly Released <em>Street Art Santiago </em>with Images of Artworks by Piguan, Piri, Salazart, Guztok and more

You seem to have brilliantly overcome these challenges. What’s next?

I’m off to Thailand at the end of the month where I will be documenting another kind of art, the art of Muay Thai, Thailand’s principal spectator sport.

vandal jony bellavista santiago chile David Sharabani aka Lord K2 on His Newly Released <em>Street Art Santiago </em>with Images of Artworks by Piguan, Piri, Salazart, Guztok and more

What about street art? Any other books on the way?

Yes, my next book will focus on the street art in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

That sounds great!  Good luck with it all!

Interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

Photos: 1 Piguan 2 Piri 3 Salazart 4 PiguanPiri & Guztok 5 Grin, Cubdos, Derik & Sick 6 Brillos Graffiti Crew 7 Jony

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shida vexta street art melbourne dean sunshine Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

With his keen eye and infinite passion, Melbourne-based photographer Dean Sunshine avidly documents the graffiti and street art he encounters in his hometown and beyond. His second, newly-released book, Street Art Now, is a first-rate chronicle of the art that has been surfacing  — not only on the streets of Melbourne — but in other cities across the globe that Dean has recently visited. I met up with him when he was in NYC this past fall. Soon after, his stunning second book Street Art Now made its way into print. 

STREET ART NOW Cover FINAL Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

Have you any early memories of Melbourne graffiti and street art? When did you begin to photograph it?

Graffiti and hip-hop sprouted in Melbourne in the 80′s with VHS copies of Style Wars being handed around, educating the kids here about these subcultures thriving in NYC. My first piece of graffiti art was a present for my 21st birthday in the mid eighties — a basketball backboard spray painted by Merda and Ransom – two of the stars of the Melbourne scene. Decades later this piece still hangs at my home and many of the writers who are now mates are surprised and envious of this original piece. I started taking photos in the early 2000′s.

Wane COD graffiti melbourne Dean Sunshine Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

What motivated you to do so?

I loved snapping all this amazing art seen on the streets, but it was actually my partner at the time who told me I was a fool to have thousands of images on a hard drive that nobody else could enjoy. She said, “You should start a blog,” and the Land Of Sunshine was born.

Roa street art melbourne Dean Sunshine Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

Adnate street art Melbourne Dean Sunshine Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

How do you find the time while working at a day job to photograph so many great pieces of street art, blog regularly and publish two books?

I find time during my daily grind in the rag trade driving around to appointments across the suburbs of Melbourne visiting textile factories. On these travels I often stumble over graffiti and street art, and I pull over and take a quick shot. On the weekends I often hunt out abandoned factories, get down into the drains, and search new lane-ways – always on the lookout for new work.

shida seth globe painter street art melbourne dean sunshine Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

Do any particular moments stand out in your street-art hunting expeditions?

There are so many highlights throughout my time documenting. I have met, hung out and I’ve been privileged to watch so many incredible artists in action including: ROA, Kid Zoom, Herakut, Hush, D*Face, Stormie Mills, Rone, Makatron, Adnate, SlicerLi-HillShida, Smug, WANE, Sofles, Kaff-eine, DEB, Heesco, Meggs, Reka, Phibs, Bailer, DVATE, Does, Twoone, Mysterious Al, Dscreet, Vexta, 2501, Faith47, DALeast, Pixel Pancho, Phlegm, Insa, Sirum, The Yok, Sheryo, Gaia, Alexis Diaz, Maya Hayuk, Crash, Daze and ELK. But the times I have spent with Futura, Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper stand out the most, as these three are the pioneers of this scene in which we find ourselves submerged. I got to take each of them around the streets and lanes of Melbourne, proudly showing them my favorite spots in my own hometown. Such absolute legends, all with a passion that has lasted decades. I wish I will be as passionate 25 years on!

Pixel Pancho street art perth australia Dean Sunshine Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

What brought you to NYC?

I came to New York this past September to keep my wife company who was shooting fashion week. (Yes, she is also a photographer!) As she went uptown each morning to the shows, I got on my pushbike and rode all over, snapping as I went.

kaffeine li hill street art NYC dean sunshine Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

What other cities have you visited?

Over the last years, I’ve been lucky to have travelled to Los Angeles, Hawaii, Berlin, Paris, Italy, Mexico, Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and even Perth. It’s funny how these days it’s a priority when I’m on holidays to track down and snap all the local art I find. My recent book, Street Art Now, documents some of these findings.

yok sheryo street art zicatela mexico Dean Sunshine Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

What’s ahead?

Well, I am soon to become a father so my priorities will change — although I will probably be doing the same, just with the little guy on my back.

KEITH HARING mural 1984 Dean Sunshine Melbourne Melbourne based Photographer Dean Sunshine on Street Art and Graffiti, <em>Land of Sunshine</em>, NYC, His Newly Released Book and more

Congratulations! I am quite certain you will.

Note: You can check out some local coverage that Dean’s recent book, Street Art Now, received here, along with a guided tour of the Melbourne scene by Dean here.

Photos of above artworks in Street Art Now:

1. Vexta and Shida in Melbourne

3. WANE in Melbourne

4. ROA in Melbourne

5. Adnate in Melbourne

6. Seth GlobePainterShida and TwoOne in Melbourne

7. Pixel Pancho in Perth

8. Li-Hill and Kaff-eine in New York City

9. The Yok and Sheryo in Zicatela, Mexico

10. Keith Haring in Melbourne, 1984

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Currently based in Brooklyn, New York, Genea Barnes began exhibiting her artful photography in 2005. Her current work has taken her into the streets of over 50 cities where she has photographed hundreds of ghost bikes. 

genea barnes ghost bike child nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

When and where did you begin photographing ghost bikes?  

I saw my first ghost bike in Brooklyn in May 2010. It struck me. It felt like someone had punched me in the chest. That was the first ghost bike I photographed. I’ve since traveled to over 50 cities photographing them.

genea barnes ghost bike williamsburg nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

Why — do you suppose — you became so committed to this project?

I feel a special connection to these bikes. I am taken by their intense beauty. Their impact was — and still is — tremendous on me. They remind us of lives that were lost and they remind us to keep safe. I knew, at once, that I wanted not only to photograph them, but to share my findings with others.

genea barnes ghost bike and man nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

Have you any particular message you would like your photos to convey?

I am frustrated by people’s lack of spatial awareness. A ghost bike represents the most grievous outcome of this. A ghost bike, like much of  street art, is a way to call people out. We must all start paying closer attention to our surroundings.

genea barnes ghost bike and graffiti nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

Why a book?

I had always hoped that my art would make a difference…that it would raise awareness. And after my first exhibit of ghost bike images, I knew that it could. Not everyone will attend an exhibit, but anyone can check out a book and, hopefully, be moved by it.  We are so distracted by technology that we often forget to pay attention to our surroundings. And the outcome of that can be fatal.

genea barnes ghost bike nyc Genea Barnes Takes Us on a Photographic Ghost Bike Journey

You can find out more about Genea’s remarkable photography project here and help fund her book at her Kickstarter here.  

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I am Michael Alan Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

Earlier this fall, the wonderfully talented multi-media artist Michael Alan released a book of selected drawings and writings. With the limited edition just about sold out, Michael offers some insights into it all.

Why did you decide to publish this book?

I am tired of artistic control. The government. The police.  Most outlets for publication.  I am also tired of solo shows in New York. Super stress to basically make some dumb money and hear people talk about beer. So came the idea of the book. My work is too intricate for the web. It needs to be in your hand. People need to slow down. That’s what books do. They slow you down. I also wanted my friends and fans who can’t — or don’t want to —  buy a painting to be able to own a handmade affordable piece. The book is a work of art.  And I’ve been sick. In case something happens to me, I don’t want anyone rewriting my mind.

Michael Alan art1 Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

How did you decide what to include? 

Kristen Collins chose the works. She is a lovely, brilliant artist who made this possible. She is passion.

Michael alan artworks book Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

What are your personal favorites and why?

They are all my favorites. My work is about change. Energy. Life. These differ every day. That’s why I work in multiple styles.

michael alan alien Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

How have folks responded to the book?

The response has been great. It’s attracted a range of fans – from as far as Australia. We had only gotten the word out on Facebook and Instagram, and we are almost sold out. This will be the first blog to cover it.

Michael Alan art Michael Alan on His Recently Released Book, Artistic Freedom and more

If you are interested in owning a signed copy of the book, you can contact the artist at artisticrevolution@gmail.com.

All images © Michael Alan 

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Motohiro Nezy sticker sticker bomb skulls  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Researched and edited by Ryo Sanada and Suridh Hassan of Studio Rarekwai, Stickerbomb Skulls is an extraordinary collection of skull stickers certain to appeal to those of us who love street art. Ranging from the humorous to the morose, the stickers included in the newest addition to the Stickerbomb peelable sticker book series encompass an array of styles and cultures.  And as Finland’s  Micke Nikander – whose image is the first one featured in the book — suggests, the skull is the one thing we all share as it “follows us from cradle to grave.”

Micke Nikander

Micke Nikander sticker skull  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Colombian artist Matacho Descorp

Matacho descorp sticker bomb skulls edited 1  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Australian artist Mike Watt

Mike watt sticker skull  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Singapore-based artist One Two Delta

One Two Delta sticker bomb skull edited 2  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Welsh artist Mr. Kobo

Mr. Kobo sticker bomb skulls  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

Here in NYC, the Stickerbomb peelable sticker book series, published by Laurence King, is available at StrandBarnes and NobleMcNally Jackson and at the Museum of Modern Art Bookstore.

Stickerbomb Skulls Front  Stickerbomb Features over 180 Skull Stickers from across the Globe

 Book review by Dani Reyes Mozeson; first two stickers — Run DMC & the Notorious Big — by Japanese artist Motohiro Nezu

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Banksy I love NY Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak, a graduate student in Museum Studies at New York University.

Last October, the British stencil artist Banksy paid an unexpected visit to New York City. And fervently chronicling the elusive artist’s daily workings — during his month-long residency —  was writer and photographer Ray Mock. The founder of Carnage NYC, Mock presents — in Banksy in New York – a comprehensive and insightful account of the month that captivated us street art aficionados, along with so many other New Yorkers.

Banksy in New York Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

For each of Banksy’s pieces, Mock offers a short narrative, providing insights into the various sites and neighborhoods, as well as into the artworks and the reactions they elicited. Each account is complemented with a range of photographs — from selected close-ups to shots of strangers’ poses with the pieces.

Banksy with hammer Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

In addition to chronicling the pieces that surface throughout the month, Mock shares first-hand insider anecdotes.  We follow him on his adventurous rides to the designated locations and we meet some of the others out there  – who, too, are obsessed with locating and photographing every Banksy piece that appears. Mock also offers us intriguing background information. He recounts, for example, how a half-joke by a local resident to charge for photographs of the East New York beaver stencil resulted in a price tag of $20 for each photograph shot that day.

Banksy East NY Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

As Banksy’s pieces — particularly those that are politically-motivated — are contingent on location, the local viewers’ reactions and interpretations are part of the process. Banksy’s piece, Ghetto 4 Life, in the Melrose section of the Bronx, for example, did not go over well with Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, who had loved Banksy’s previous Ronald McDonald installation.

Banksy Ghetto 4 life Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

Despite all the attention Banksy’s residency received in the media, Mock provides us with something that was lacking — an overarching personal account of Banksy’s legacy on this city’s urban and social landscape. We speculate, along with Mock, on Banksy’s possible intentions and we embrace the artist’s uncensored creative expression.

Banksy Graffiti is a crime Banksy in New York: Writer and Photographer Ray Mock Chronicles Banksys New York Residency

In addition to the limited edition of the book — with a screen printed cover —  which can now be purchased via Ray’s site, a new hardcover edition will be available for pre-order on his site starting on November 3. It will also be in bookstores by Thanksgiving.

All photos by Ray Mock

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