graffiti

The following guest post is by Houda Lazrak

On Christmas Day 2017, while Sydneysiders were enjoying their day off with street cricket and family lunches, I explored the quiet streets of Newtown, Sydney’s hippest inner west neighborhood, in search of some street art. Rife with murals, graffiti and smaller street art pieces, the suburb has a history of embracing public art with large-scale murals erected on neighborhood walls since the late 1980s. The image pictured above is by Ears, who is also a classically trained violinist. Below are several more of many works — painted by an all-Australian cast of artists — that I captured on that cloudy day.

Fintan Magee, Matt Hogan Reserve —  painted through a crowd-funded project arranged by local residents and is titled after the park in which it is located

 Nico

Apeseven, Predators Folly

Phibs 

Phibs and George Rose, Save our Coral Reef — addressing coral bleaching in Australia and around the world, urging all to take active responsibility for the care of our oceans

Close-up

Several murals pictured here were organized through the Perfect Match Public Art Program, an Inner West Council initiative that matches artists’ public art proposals with local residents and business owners who volunteer their walls for transformation.

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

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All photos by Houda Lazrak

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With her deep passion for street art and remarkable knowledge of the Israeli street art scene, Dina Segev is the quintessential street art tour guide. Whether conducting workshops for school-age children, or lecturing adults about graffiti and street art or simply guiding groups of visitors through the streets of Tel Aviv, her enthusiasm is contagious. While in Tel Aviv earlier this year, I had the opportunity to observe Dina as she conducted a tour for school-age children and, then, speak to her.

When did you first become interested in street art?

As an artist, I’d always been interested in art, and I had been giving private lessons to students in my studio for over 20 years. But I wasn’t aware — for quite awhile — what was happening on the streets. One day, a friend gave me a tour of Florentin, along with a spray can, as a birthday present. I instantly fell in love with what I saw. That was back in 2013. I loved it so much, in fact, that I wanted to take my friends on a tour. And so I took 16 friends on a street art tour of Florentin. It was so interesting that my husband asked me to do it for his company’s clients. And soon afterwards, I took my mother – along with her grandchildren – on a steet art tour for her 75th birthday. Two years later, I closed my studio. Now the streets are my studio.

Among those artists whose works you’ve encountered on the streets, do any stand out?

There are many. Among the first generation artists who come to mind are: Klone, Know Hope, Zero Cents, Adi Sened, Latzi, Foma and Ame 72. Second generation artists include: DedeNitzan Mintz, Dioz, Signor GiUntay, Pesh, Minks, Imaginary DuckB.T.W BinskyLord of Lords and ARC D.L.P.  Among the more recent ones are: Solomon Souza, MR, FrenemyMonkey Rmg, Didi, TAG, Murielle, The MisSK and Damian Tab. And Mati Ale who has brought amazing street art projects to Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station.

And you, yourself, began painting in the streets? When did you start and why?

I began about a year and a half ago. Why? Because I love the idea of connecting with others — even if I never meet them face to face — through my words on the walls.  It is one heart touching another. And — as a result — the anonymous city becomes less anonymous and, maybe, even a bit intimate!

What about the folks — from school children to retirees — who have participated in your tours and workshops? How have they responded to the street art you introduce them to?

They’ve been really appreciative and express great interest in what they see in the streets. Many begin to look at the streets as they never had before.

And what about the artists, themselves? How have they responded to what you are doing?

I’ve developed friendships with many of the artists, and they’ve been supportive of what I do. The artists are not comfortable, though, with those tour guides who lack the knowledge that a street art tour guide should have.

How has the street art scene in Tel Aviv changed since you first started observing it?

While some artists are no longer as active as they used to be, there are many new ones using the streets as their canvas, including more women. There is definitely more of a balance between males and females.

Can you tell us something more about what you offer?

I offer tours for all occasions and all ages. In addition to street art tours in Tel Aviv, Netanya and Jerusalem, I conduct tours of the graffiti exhibitions inside Tel Aviv’s Central Bus Station. I also present graffiti workshops and conduct lectures on the topic in a range of settings.

How can folks join your tours or participate in your workshops?

If you live abroad, you can contact me by email: Disegev@gmail.com. I can also be reached at this phone number: 052-3869500. And if you read and understand Hebrew, you can contact me via my website.

What’s ahead for you? Any long-term plans or goals?

More tours, more workshops and more lectures. And I’d like to travel to share my knowledge of Tel Aviv street art with others in cities throughout the globe. That is my ultimate goal! I’d, also, like to publish a children’s book about graffiti and maybe one for adults, too!

It all sounds great! Good luck!

Photo credits: 1 (with artwork by MR), 4 & 5 Lois Stavsky; 2, 3, 6 & 7 courtesy Dina Segev; interview conducted and edited by Lois Stavsky

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

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Recently released by Schiffer is Tokyo Graffiti, a delightfully intriguing and wonderfully informative survey of  Tokyo’s current street art and graffiti scene documented by London-born photographer David Sharabani aka Lord K2. After reading the book, I posed a few questions to Lord K2:

You’ve documented urban art in several cities and have previously published a book on Santiago’s rich street art scene.  What drew you to Tokyo?

Tokyo’s street art scene has never been documented and published before in a book of this format, and its urban art is relatively overlooked by locals and tourists alike. The walls and streets are so pristine and well-organized — many with an abundance of logos and commercials – that you may get the impression that street art is not needed. But when well-placed and in the right context, it enhances Tokyo’s well-planned and maintained architectural surroundings.

Also, I saw this book as a challenge. I was in Tokyo photographing the Sumo wrestling culture. The majority of my time was spent handling bureaucratic paperwork, and out of frustration and impatience, I decided to hit the streets. Initially, I wasn’t entirely sure there would be enough art out there to justify a book. But the more I dug in, the more hidden gems I discovered. Since Tokyo’s graffiti is not so apparent, I thought it would be a good idea to compile a book of some of the most significant pieces in one format to be viewed easily.

How does Tokyo’s street art and graffiti scene differ from other cities you’ve visited?

Regarding graffiti and art that is often regarded as vandalism, it’s not in the nature of Japanese to vandalize, rebel or speak up. Their economy functions well; there is virtually no street crime, and the education system is excellent. It seems that there is not too much to protest about. Also, conformism is an integral part of the Japanese way. Going against the flow of polite dignified behavior is considered a far more extreme form of misconduct than it is in most other countries.

Another distinct difference between Tokyo and many other cities is that in Tokyo it is a nightmare-of-a-process to obtain permissions, limiting the quantity of “decorative art,” even though the quality is generally high.

There are, though, a fair amount of stickers mounted in the highly populated central neighborhoods of Harajuku, Shibuya and Shinjuku, since these are quick and easy to put up with a minimal chance of being caught. Many of these stickers have been put up by foreigners.

What were some of the challenges you’ve faced in documenting it?

A big challenge was getting the artists to talk. They were happy to be interviewed, but cautious as to what they would reveal. It was hard to extract any juicy or emotive information. Fortunately, I was introduced to Little Pink Pills, who was already well-informed on the scene. She ended up writing the book’s text that accompanies my photos.

The other challenge was sourcing the graffiti. Even though artists would pinpoint locations, this didn’t suffice. I had to scout the streets for hours on end on my bicycle. I was inevitably much fitter for it.

Do any particular images or styles stand out to you? Any that are distinctly Japanese?

The mural that stands out most to me is one that was painted by German artist Case Maclaim. It’s a gigantic mural on the back of a building in Tennozu Isle painted for Pow! Wow! Japan depicting Sumo video game fighter E .Honda. It’s striking to see it in the distant urban scape.

Half the street art in Tokyo is painted by Westerners. They often incorporate images from popular Japanese culture such as Samurai, Geishas, Sumo, as well as comics that portray social issues. Japanese artists do not have a collective style of painting, as each individual/crew has its own distinctive style. Many of them incorporate less commercial elements of Japanese culture. For example, Usugrow blends Japanese calligraphy with pointillism and Los Angeles Cholo culture. Shizentomotel paints Namahage, a traditional Japanese folklore demon. Dragon‘s style is a fusion of graffiti, manga and ukiyo-e. Tamura Yoshiyasu, a manga artist, painter and illustrator, mixes modern manga with traditional Japanese art.

I’m so glad that you and Little Pink Pills made this book happen! Congratulations!

Photos 1 Book cover 2 Fin DAC 3 Unidentified 4 Kami and Sasu aka Hitotzuki 5 Assorted stickers 6 Little Pink Pills 7 Case Maclaim  & 8 Makoto; interview by Lois Stavsky

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

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Featuring a captivating range of paintings, drawings and pastels, Daze’s solo exhibition, Daily Commute, is a stirring ode to NYC – its diversity, its energy and its legendary graffiti culture. Handsomely curated, it continues through March 17 at P.P.O.W at 535 W 22nd Street in Chelsea. Pictured above is Midtown, rendered with oil, acrylic, spray paint and pumice on canvas. Several more images follow:

Rush Hour Reflection, oil, spray paint, acrylic and pumice on canvas

Eastern Parkway, oil, acrylic, spray paint and pumice on canvas

Masquerade W.H. in Times Square, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

Stolen Moments, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

Generations, oil, acrylic and spray paint on canvas

P.P.O.W is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm.

Photo credits: 1, 3, 5 & 6 Lois Stavsky; 2 & 4 Tara Murray

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Fusing the wild style graffiti style he had mastered while growing up in Denmark with a contemporary fine art sensibility, Mikael B creates sumptuous murals, characterized by bold shapes and mesmerizing colors. He was recently invited to paint the exterior of Art Share L.A., a nonprofit organization that supports Los Angeles-based artists by providing a creative environment for them to live, work, develop, perform and exhibit. Pictured above is one side of the huge 9,300 sq. ft space. Several more images follow:

The artist at work on one segment of the mural

And here on another segment

While taking a moment’s break

The completed project

Photos courtesy of the artist

You can follow the artist on Facebook here and on Instagram here.

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

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Hundreds of intriguing characters swarm the streets of Athens. Those pictured above were fashioned by Barba Dee, RKuan and Dreyk the Pirate. Several more follow:

Dimitris Dokos

Anna Dimitriou

N Grams

Enas Kanenas

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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

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From Sonke‘s droopy-eyed ladies to Lotek‘s socially conscious troublemakers, dozens of girls have found a home on Athens’ walls. The image pictured above was fashioned by Athens-based Sonke Wia. Several more follow:

Athens-based stencil artist Lotek

Athens-based, Polish native Dimitris Taxis

Athens-based Refur

Athens-based Antonis Hambas

The prolific Athens street art pioneer Achilles

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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

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Featured above — in this second post documenting the range of faces that have surfaced in Athens public spaces — is the work of the noted Greek artist Ino. Several more seen last week follow:

Athens-based Achilles

Unidentified artist(s)

Athens-based Exit

Montreal-based Waxhead

Athens-based Neid

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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

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Teeming with intrigue, the streets of Athen, Greece showcase a range of gritty, authentic artworks. Few surfaces remain untouched! The image pictured above was painted by the prolific Athens-based Achilles. Several more images of faces encountered last week follow:

Also by Achilles

Athens-based Atek

Spanish artist Borondo

Maz

Note: This is the first of several post on Athens street and graffiti.  Special thanks to Vassia of Alternative Athens and to my StreetArtNYC Instagram followers for introducing me to this city’s vibrant street art scene and identifying the many artists whose works grace these streets.

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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Whereas street art makes its way onto a range of public surfaces in Tel Aviv, it is far less prevalent in Jerusalem.  But hidden alleyways and spaces off the main roads, along with Mahane Yehuda — Jerusalem’s marketplace — host a range of intriguing pieces. The image pictured above was fashioned by Haifa native Maayan Fogel. Several more images I recently encountered while wandering the streets of West Jerusalem follow:

The itinerant Jerusalem-based Elna of Brothers of Light   

Brazilian artist Manoel Quiterio

The prolific British-Israeli muralist Solomon Souza

Solomon Souza‘s rendition of  Amar’e Stoudemire — as seen at the Mahane Yehuda Marketplace, as it was closing

Random installation in the art-friendly Nachlaot neighborhood

Photos by Lois Stavsky

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

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