Mural Festival

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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Beginning August 10th and continuing through the 20th, over 40 artists participated in Sacramento’s Wide Open Walls mural festival bringing stylish intrigue to the Sacramento area.  Pictured above is Russian artist Lora Zombie, along with two young fans, in front of her mural. What follows are several more images captured by NYC-based street and travel photographer Karin du Maire, who had been documenting the festival from the beginning:

Sacramento-based Molly Devlin and SV Williams, close-up from work in progress

Sacramento-based Micah Crandall-Bear, alongside his mural

Santa Cruz-based Jeremiah Kille, in progress

Australian artists Adnate and Jessica Crema aka Last Night Collective at work

Hong Kong-based Caratoes at work

Sacramento-based Bryan Valenzuela at work, close-up of huge mural

Organized by festival founder David Sobon and Branded Arts, the Wide Open Walls mural festival has evolved into one of the largest of its kind in the United States.

Photos by Karin du Maire

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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The Wide Open Walls mural festival continues in Sacramento adding a widely diverse range of stunning murals to the city’s downtown and beyond. Pictured above is Sacramento-based Franceska Gamez at work. What follows are several more images captured by street art and travel photographer Karin du Maire:

Local artists Franceska Gamez and Shaun Burner at work

Venice, California-based Christina Angelina does Lady Gaga

Local artist John Horton, close-up

Italian artist Jorit Agoch at work

U.K.-based Phlegm at work

And local artist Raphael Delgado on exhibit at Beatnik Studios

Organized by festival founder David Sobon and Branded Arts, the Wide Open Walls mural festival continues in Downtown Sacramento through August 20th.

Photos by Karin du Maire

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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Celebrating the diversity of street art and its power to transform neighborhoods, the Wide Open Walls mural festival is now underway in Sacramento, California. Continuing through August 20th, it is bringing over 40 local, national and international artists to Downtown Sacramento and beyond. Pictured above is Spanish artist Okuda. What follows are several more images captured on site by street art and travel photographer Karin du Maire:

Madrid-based Okuda, close up

Paris-based Ludo

NYC-based How & Nosm at work

Nevada City-based Miles Toland with his mural

And on view at Beatnik Studios in coordination with the festival:

Sacramento-based Shaun Burner

And local artist Bryan Valenzuela

Organized by festival founder David Sobon and Branded ArtsWide Open Walls is one of the capital’s key attractions.

Photos by Karin du Maire

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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Montreal-Mural-Festival-June-2016-Felipe-Pantone

As part of this year’s edition of the Montreal Mural Festival, Station 16 Gallery will host PLANAR DIRECTION, a solo exhibition by the wonderfully talented Argentine-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone. Opening this Thursday evening, June 8, PLANAR DIRECTION will showcase a series of Pantone‘s striking works, characterized by distinct geometric shapes that fuse black and white designs with bold florescent colors. Pictured above is the mural that Pantone painted for last year’s Mural Festival. What follows is a brief preview of his new works for PLANAR DIRECTION:

Planar Direction 3

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Planar Direction 6

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Planar Direction 4

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Station 16 Gallery

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Station 16 Gallery is located at 3523 Boul St-Laurent in Montreal.

All images courtesy Station 16 Gallery

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls 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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Pantone-interferences

Within the past year, we came upon Felipe Pantone‘s mesmerizing vision on the streets of Miami, Montreal, Atlanta, NYC and Valencia, Spain. And recently we viewed his distinctly bold, infectious aesthetic in a gallery setting here in NYC. Until Sunday, April 16 several of the artist’s studio works remain on view in the brilliantly alluring group exhibit, Interferences: Contemporary Op and Kinetic Art, at GR Gallery, 255 Bowery. Pictured above is OPTICHROMIE 85, enamel on wood panel. What follows are two more of Felipe Pantone‘s works on exhibit at GR Gallery.

CHROMADYNAMICA 16, Enamel on wood panel

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SCROLL PANORAMA 11, Enamel spray paint on aluminum and acrylic

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And while here for the opening of Interferences: Contemporary Op and Kinetic Art, Felipe Pantone shared his talents with us on the streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn

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Several other of his works we sighted outdoors these past few months include:

In Atlanta, Georgia  for the Outer Space Project

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In Montreal, Canada for the Mural Festival

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And spotted this past weekend in Valencia, Spain, where the Argentine artist is based 

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Featured along with Felipe Pantone at GR Gallery are Gilbert Hsiao, Nadia Costantini, and Sandi Renko, whose innovative works “investigate and advance the discourse around pattern, optical and perceptual abstract painting.” Located at 255 Bowery — between Houston & Stanton —  GR Gallery is open Tue- Sat 12:00pm – 7:00pm.

Photo credits: 1 – 3 Courtesy GR Gallery; 4-6 Tara Murray & 7 Lois Stavsky

Note: Hailed in a range of media from Wide Walls 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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Pictured above is Argentine artist Felipe Pantone, painted for this year’s Mural Festival. Here are several more murals we captured on our visit to Montreal last week:

UK-based D*Face, 2016

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Montreal-based Xavier Raymond aka X-Ray, 2016

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Australian artist Reka, 2013

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Toronto native Troy Lovegates aka Other, 2013

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Tel Aviv-based Klone, 2016

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Belgian artist Roa, 2013

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Note: LOST PARADISE, a solo exhibit featuring the work of Xavier Raymond aka X-Ray will be on display at Montreal’s Station 16 Gallery from August 18th to September 10th.

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Photo credits: 1, 6 & 7  Tara Murray; 2-5 Lois Stavsky

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

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five8-street-art-Montreal

Since 2013, Montreal has been hosting MURAL, an annual public art festival featuring a wonderful array of murals by both local and international artists. Here is a small sampling of what we saw while wandering on and off Boulevard Saint-Laurent this past week:

Montreal-based Five Eight, 2016

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Melbourne-based Meggs, 2016

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NYC-based Buff Monster, 2016

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Brazilian collective Acidum Project, close-up, 2016

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Chilean artist Inti, 2014

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France native Mateo, 2016

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Photo credits: 1-3, Lois Stavsky; 4, 5 & 7 Tara Murray and 6 Sara C Mozeson

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

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