Friday, October 26, 2012
Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat, born Xavier Prou in Boulogne-Billancourt, Paris in 1952, was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris, and has been described as the “Father of Stencil Graffiti” .
Early career and influence
The iconic stencils of rats by Blek le Rat
"Ballerina" by Blek le Rat at the 941 Geary Gallery, San Francisco
He began his artwork in 1981, painting stencils of rats on the street walls of Paris, describing the rat as "the only free animal in the city", and one which "spreads the plague everywhere, just like street art". His name originates from a childhood cartoon "Blek le Roc", using "rat" as an anagram for "art".
Initially influenced by the early graffiti art of New York City after a visit in 1971, he chose a style which he felt better suited Paris, due to the differing architecture of the two cities. He also stated the influence of British artist Richard Hamilton, who painted large-scale human figures in the 1980s. He is credited with being the inventor of the life-sized stencil, as well as the first to transform stencil from basic lettering into pictoral art.
Blek's identity was revealed to French authorities in 1991 when he was arrested while stencilling a replica of Caravaggio's Madonna and Child, with the connection to Blek and his artwork being made by police. From that point on, he has worked exclusively with pre-stenciled posters, citing the speedier application of the medium to walls, as well as lessened punishment should he be caught in the act.
He has had a great influence on today's graffiti art and "guerilla art" movements, the main motivation of his work being social consciousness and the desire to bring art to the people. Many of his pieces are pictorials of solitary individuals in opposition to larger, oppressive groups. He has also been noted for his series of images representing the homeless, begun in 2006, which depict them standing, sitting or laying on sidewalks, in attempts to bring attention to what he views as a global problem.
Influence on and opinion of Banksy
British graffiti artist Banksy has acknowledged Blek's influence stating "every time I think I've painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier." The two have expressed mutual desire for collaboration; in 2011, Blek was seen adding to a mural begun the previous year by Banksy in the Mission District, San Francisco.
Blek initially disagreed with those who claim Banksy has copied his work: "People say he copies me, but I don’t think so. I’m the old man, he’s the new kid, and if I’m an inspiration to an artist that good, I love it. I feel what he is doing in London is similar to the rock movement in the Sixties." However, more recently in the documentary Graffiti Wars, Blek took a different tone, stating "When I see Banksy making a man with a child or Banksy making rats, of course I see immediately where he takes the idea. I do feel angry. When you’re an artist you use your own techniques. It’s difficult to find a technique and style in art so when you have a style and you see someone else is taking it and reproducing it, you don’t like that. I’m not sure about his integrity. Maybe he has to show his face now and show what kind of guy he is."
"Sheep" by Blek le Rat at Subliminal Projects Gallery, Los Angeles
Blek Le Rat, London, 2008
In October 2006, Blek le Rat had his first solo U.K. exhibition in London at the Leonard Street Gallery. He participated in the Cans Festival in 2008, which featured outdoor street stencil painting in Waterloo, London by many of street art's biggest names.
His American gallery debut took place at Subliminal Projects Gallery in Los Angeles in 2008. It included paintings, silkscreen and three-dimensional artwork, as well as photography from his wife, Sybille Prou.
Blek also had an exhibition in December 2009 at the Metro Gallery in Melbourne, a centre of street art in Australia. The exhibition entitled "Le Ciel Est Bleu, La Vie Est Belle" (The sky is blue, life is beautiful), featured wooden panels, canvas, screen-print and photographs, tracing the artist's oeuvre from the early 1980s to the present.
Blek le Rat has nonetheless expressed preference for the streets over galleries, stating the integrity of an artist is to be seen by as many people as possible, not being sold or recognized in a museum.
Sunday, October 14, 2012
images of complete carnage flickering infront of your eyes ,cold sweat and the fear of dying caused by dreaming too fast, enters your mind. You sit in bed and wonder what the fuck is going in your head. All this happened to Nychos at the age of fifteen . His mind started to go crazy mostly while he was sleeping.
Obviously dreams are reflected memories, but why are they so crazy
and horrifying? Lets go 10 years back. Nychos grew up in a little village near Graz (Styria,South of Austria). He calls it the green hell. Born into an Austrian hunters family, he saw, at a very young age, things which normal people would consider as cruel and brutal. He quickly got used to death and any other brutalities of nature.His mind never took it as something disgusting. Rather he started to see some beauty in those ugly things. One day. when he was about six he found a little dead baby lamb under a trashcan. First he was shocked as he saw that cute but dead little animal. Something was weird about it. when he looked closer he realized that half the body was eaten up by maggots which had the same colour as the lambs fur. Crawling and moving pretty fast, they were covered up by the trashcan and didnt like the light. Suddenly he wasnt shocked anymore and enjoyed looking at one life growing on another past life. At the age of seven he was bitten by a wild boar when he was playing in the forest close to his home. Not much later he had boarmeat for lunch.This fact was very interesting to him.Watching his father pulling guts out of a dead wild animal was daily business so he started to get inspired by the anatomy of all kind of creatures.
He's also a kid of the 80s, so he is from the generation of kids getting raised by the TV. Watching cartoons was one of the most important things to him. He was always an observer of things and always very visual, but at one point his mind started to go crazy.
At the age of nineteen those "dreams" turned into epileptic fits followed by car accidents and nine months of EEG and CT-tests. The doctors couldn't tell him what it was cause he didn't show symptoms of an epileptic. After he worked out more or less (by himself) what was going on, he found the way he had to go. Nychos mentions the encounter with the white rabbit waking him up after one of those mental dreams again covered in sweat. The Rabbit told him something which led him back to a cartoon he saw when he was seven and he already forgot. "Watership Down". A cartoon way too brutal for young kids. Nychos saw clear and moved on to fullfill his destiny he was born for, he understood that he had to follow the white rabbit . Those dreams finally started to make some sense.His ideas were always there.,they just needed to get out . And so he started to draw. When we asked Nychos why this sounds similar to the story of the movie "DONNIE DARKO" he answerd that couldnt believe what he was watching.he knows his story is much older then this movie and he understands that hes not alone with this phenomenon. After doing some research about the movie he worked out that it has the same origin. "watership down". Couple of years later he started the graffiti / streetart project "RABBIT EYE MOVEMENT" .The rabbit eye movement is just a little part in his creative universe but a very important one for his whole development as an artist. It nourishes the idea notion of creative destruction and the breakdown of society. “The rabbits operate outside of our system,” says Nychos, “and have no rules to follow. They just have to be smart cause the whole world is their enemy.They appear whenever and wherever they want to ,hit and disappear". Being a Rabbit, Nychos sees similarities to the any underground movement especially the the urban art movement. Still unstoppable and led by the rabbit, Nychos often collaborates with the world's most accomplished painters, making him one of the most noticeable breakout artists from the Austrian scene. In 2011 he teamed up with several "Urban Illustrators" who all have a kind of unique and weird style. Dxtr, HrvB,Cone ,Vidam ,Look,Frau Isa,Rookie,The LowBrows and Nychos are "THE WEIRD"
Watch them in 2012 cause they will go nuts! at least until the final battle between heaven and hell approaches.
Source: Nychos The Weird Facebook Profile
Saturday, October 13, 2012
Os Gêmeos (Portuguese for The Twins) are graffiti artist identical twin brothers (born 1974) from São Paulo, Brazil, whose real names are Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo. They started painting graffiti in 1987 and gradually became a main influence in the local scene, helping to define Brazil's own style. Their work often features yellow-skinned characters - taken from the yellow tinge both of the twins have in their dreams - but is otherwise diverse and ranges from tags to complicated murals. Subjects range from family portraits to commentary on São Paulo's social and political circumstances, as well as Brazilian folklore. Their graffiti style was influenced by both traditional hip hop style and the Brazilian pixação movement.
From early influences to present
Hip hop culture reached Brazil in the late eighties and appealed to a lot of the country's teenagers at the time. The twins started out as breakdancers, and got involved with the graffiti aspect later on. Of course, their first steps into the graffiti world were attempts to emulate American hip hop pieces, in early New York style. It was not until some years later that they started to consciously put Brazilian cultural elements and influences into their graffiti.
Their first significant artistic influence outside their immediate environment, and their limited access to American hip hop (Style Wars, Subway Art, Beat Street), stemmed from a chance encounter with Barry McGee (also known as Twist), who happened to be in Brazil for several months on a study program through the San Francisco Art Institute in 1993. Technique and experience were shared, and McGee provided them with a lot of photographic examples from the American graffiti scene. Through Barry McGee, Os Gemeos met Allen Benedikt (founder of 12oz Prophet Magazine and also part Brazilian), who together with Caleb Neelon (also known as Sonik) became the first to interview them after a trip to Brazil in 1997 (12oz Prophet Magazine Issue 6; 1998), which became Os Gemeos' introduction to audiences outside of South America.
The 2008 Tate Modern exhibition Street Art ends, appropriately, with graffiti removal on a large scale. Here, a massive figure by Os Gêmeos, one of six artworks on the riverside façade, is removed by specialists using steam jets operating from a cherry picker.
Their latest work is a wall in Miami, Florida painted for Art Basel Miami Beach. Before that was a painting of 16 at 10 meters in the centre of Heerlen, the Netherlands. This painting determines part of cultural festival Cultura Nova. It was the inspiration source of the large opening act where the head character came to life in association with the French group La Plasticiens Volant. The show “L’Etranger” went in premiere on 29 August and was one-off seen on Cultura Nova. The wall painting continues to be preserved and is shown on the Schelmerhofje in Heerlen, the Netherlands. Click here for a photograph.
Because Subway systems and trains are often an object of pride in Brazilian cities, and therefore especially well guarded, they were never on top of the list of graffiti canvases (in sharp contrast with graffiti in other countries). But as of the early 2000s a couple of high profile graffiti artists, Os Gêmeos being one of them, were invited to paint the trains legally. Other large scaled public commissioned work, such as huge murals (for example the Avenida Paulista mural) followed afterwards. The most current mural is in 21st between 8th and 9th avenues on NYC's Chelsea district which is about 50% complete as of 08/09/2010. The latest mural is 6 stories on height and is painted on an elementary school.
Their first solo exhibition in the United States was at The Luggage Store in San Francisco, California in 2003.
As part of the Dreamland Artist Club 2005 project, they painted a 60 foot mural in Coney Island on Stillwell Ave.
Os Gêmeos in Coney Island
Comments on Os Gêmeos' work:
"With rage, bliss and the power of their simultaneity, Os Gemeos have come to signify Brazilian graffiti itself to many viewers."
"Renowned for spray-painting with a kind of intuitive understanding, they have also gained recognition for their fantastic characters..."
Andre the Giant Has a Posse is a street art and viral marketing campaign based on a design by Shepard Fairey created in 1989 in Providence, Rhode Island. Distributed by the skater community, the stickers featuring an image of André the Giant began showing up in many cities across the U.S.A. At the time Fairey declared the campaign to be "an experiment in phenomenology". Over time the artwork has been reused in a number of ways and has become worldwide. At the same time, Fairey altered the work stylistically and semantically into the OBEY Giant.
OBEY Giant clothing sold at a department store
Fairey and fellow RISD student Ryan Lesser, along with Blaize Blouin, Alfred Hawkins, and Mike Mongo, created paper and vinyl stickers and posters with an image of the wrestler André the Giant and the text "ANDRE THE GIANT HAS A POSSE 7' 4", 520 lb", ("7'4", 520lbs" (2.24 m, 236 kg) being Andre The Giant's famously billed height and weight) as an in-joke directed at hip hop and skater subculture, and then began clandestinely propagating and posting them in Providence, Rhode Island and the rest of the Eastern United States.
In an interview with Format magazine in 2008, Fairey said: "The Andre The Giant sticker was just a spontaneous, happy accident. I was teaching a friend how to make stencils in the summer of 1989, and I looked for a picture to use in the newspaper, and there just happened to be an ad for wrestling with Andre The Giant and I told him that he should make a stencil of it. He said 'Nah, I’m not making a stencil of that, that’s stupid!' but I thought it was funny so I made the stencil and I made a few stickers and the group of guys I was hanging out with always called each other The Posse, so it said Andre The Giant Has A Posse, and it was sort of appropriated from hip-hop slang – Public Enemy, NWA and Ice-T were all using the word."
By the early 1990s, tens of thousands of paper and then vinyl stickers were photocopied and hand-silkscreened and put in visible places throughout the world.
"Andre The Giant Has a Posse" is also the title of a 1995 documentary short by Helen Stickler, which was the first documentary to feature Shepard Fairey and chronicle his influential street art campaign. The film screened worldwide, most notably in the 1997 Sundance Film Festival. In 2003, Village Voice film critic Ed Halter described the film as: "... legendary ... a canonical study of a Gen-X media manipulation. One of the keenest examinations of '90s underground culture."
OBEY Giant poster on building exterior
Fairey has come under criticism for appropriating others' artwork into his own while failing to provide attribution for the work used. Austin, Texas graphic designer Baxter Orr did his own take on Fairey's work: a piece called Protect, with the iconic Obey Giant face covered by a SARS (respiratory) mask. He started selling prints, marked as his own work, through his web site. On April 23, 2008, Orr received a signed cease-and-desist order from Fairey's attorneys, telling him to pull Protect from sale because they alleged it violated Fairey's trademark. Fairey threatened to sue, calling the designer a "bottom feeder" and "parasite".
Over time, Fairey's artistic imagery has evolved into a sometimes subtle, sometimes not, parody of a range of iconic styles, mostly a juxtaposition of popular political propagandas and multi-national commercialism. It usually bears the text OBEY Giant.
The original "André the Giant has a posse" sticker format has been widely imitated for humorous effect. In these parody stickers, the image of André the Giant has been replaced with a similarly stylized black-and-white photo of some other person or character, along with the new figure's height and weight. For example, the parody sticker "Tattoo the Midget has a bigger posse" features the image of Hervé Villechaize portraying the character "Tattoo" from Fantasy Island. Colin Purrington's "Charles Darwin has a posse" stickers, featuring a black-and-white photo of Charles Darwin, promote the theory of evolution.During the 2000 Presidential Campaign "Ralph Nader has a Posse" showed up on college campuses. Numerous other parody stickers can be found featuring different pop culture figures, including the Homestar Runner character Strong Mad.Peter Griffin in the TV show Family Guy is seen painting over the Sistine Chapel with the Obey Giant Icon in the season 4 episode "The Cleveland–Loretta Quagmire" (show creator Seth MacFarlane was classmates with Fairey at the Rhode Island School of Design).
These parody stickers are a further extension of the original "joke", and thus are most likely to be found in locations where the original André the Giant iconography is already familiar, such as SoHo, Manhattan, or South Street, Philadelphia. An unusual occurrence of a parody sticker was at the particle physics laboratory Fermilab where the director of the lab was the subject of the sticker.
Tenacious D produced stickers with the slogan "Obey the D" and stylized images of their members, Jack Black, and Kyle Gass, over their initials. Guitar Hero II features a "Vlad has a Posse" sticker on various loading screens throughout the game. Electronic Frontier Foundation created a sticker with the words "Fair Use Has a Posse" on it. "Joey Deacon Has A Posse" parody stencils have appeared in the UK.
"Jack has a posse" stickers have appeared in the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego, California in July 2011 during the Esri International User Conference held at the nearby San Diego Convention Center. The stickers carry an image U.S. businessman Jack Dangermond, founder of Esri.
ThinkGeek produced a t-shirt with the slogan "Fezzik Has a Posse" in March, 2012, in reference to André the Giant's role as Fezzik in the 1987 movie The Princess Bride and the André the Giant Has A Posse stencil/sticker phenomenon.
Invader (born 1969) is a French urban artist who pastes up characters from and inspired by the 1978 arcade game Space Invaders game, made up of small coloured square mosaic tiles that form a space invader character mural. He does this in cities across the world, then documents this as an "Invasion", with books and maps of where to find each invader.
Invader is responsible for perhaps the most recognizable street art stunt of the last decade. In a planet-wide war of attrition, the pixilated expansionist aliens from Space Invaders stalked the Earth once more, appearing everywhere from on the 'Hollywood' letters to Jacques Chirac's lapel.
Invader started this project in 1998 with the invasion of Paris – the city where he lives and the most invaded city to date – and then spread the invasion to 31 other cities in France (such as Montpellier, Marseille, Avignon, Rennes, Bordeaux, Lille, Chartres, or Bastia…). London, Cologne, Geneva, Newcastle, Rome, Berlin, Lausanne, Barcelona, Bonn, Ljubljana, Vienna, Graz, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Manchester, Darlington, Istanbul are among the 22 other European cities which have been invaded. Throughout the world, São Paulo, Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego, Toronto, Bangkok, Tokyo, Katmandu, Varanasi, Melbourne, Perth and even Mombasa are now invaded with his colourful characters in mosaic tiles.
The mosaics depict characters from Space Invaders and other video games from the early 1980s. The images in these games were made with fairly low-resolution graphics, and are therefore suitable for reproduction as mosaics, with tiles representing the pixels. The tiles are difficult to damage and weather-resistant.
Space Invader in Amsterdam
Invader installed his first mosaic in the mid 1990s in Paris. According to the artist, it was a scout, or sentinel, because it remained the only one for several years. The programme of installations began in earnest in 1998.
Invader in Paris
The locations for the mosaics are not random, but are chosen according to diverse criteria, which may be aesthetic, strategic or conceptual. Invader favours locations that are frequented by many people, but also likes some more hidden locations. In Montpellier, the locations of mosaics were chosen so that, when placed on a map, they form an image of a giant space invader character.
The mosaics are half built in advance. When Invader arrives in a city he obtains a map and spends at least a week to install them. They are catalogued, pictured and Invader uses a map indicating their locations within the city. Typically, mosaics are located 10 to fifteen feet above the ground, and often on street corners in areas of high visibility.
Invader in Los Angeles
One of the more prominent places where the mosaics have been installed is on the Hollywood Sign. The first was placed on the letter D on December 31, 1999. During further trips to Los Angeles, Invader has placed mosaics on the 8 other letters of the sign.
Invader also works on another project that he titles "Rubikcubism", which involves making artworks made of Rubik's Cubes. Invader has had solo exhibitions at art galleries in Paris, Osaka, Melbourne, Los Angeles, New York City, London and Rome.
Most recently, Invader placed two of his iconic tile works on the World Of Wonder Storefront Gallery, located at 6650 Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood, CA. for the 4th annual I Am 8 Bit group show.
Since 2000 Space Invader has shown in many galleries, art centers and museums, from the 6th Lyon contemporary art biennale (2001), the MAMA Gallery in Rotterdam (2002), at the Paris based Magda Danysz Gallery (2003), at the Borusan Center for Culture and Arts in Istanbul, Subliminal Projects in Los Angeles (2004), etc..
In 2010, he was one of the featured artists in the Banksy film Exit Through the Gift Shop in which it is claimed that he is a cousin of Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash).
In 2011, he has taken part in the MoCA LA show at Geffen Contemporarya : "Art in the streets" curated by Jeffrey Deitch. He was the first artist arrested for taking part in the show.
As of July, 2011, no arrest has been made of either of the two French nationals who were detained by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) on suspicion of vandalism near MOCA's Little Tokyo gallery. Authorities believed one of the men detained only for suspicion was the French street artist Space Invader. Shortly after the two men were detained by LAPD, they were also released with no reported charges; however, authorities maintain one of the two men released was the artist "Invader".
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Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Banksy,born in 1974,is an artist from Bristol, UK, whose artwork has appeared in Bristol, London, New Orleans, California, Sydney and many other locations around the world. Banksy's seems to be talented in his artwork line and uses his stencilled techniques at times he adds written material such as slogans to his mostly graphic pieces, his artwork takes form of a strong visual message often going against mainstream media and capitalism. Banksy began his career as a graffiti artist in the early 90's in Bristol's graffiti gang DryBreadz Crew. Although his early work was largely freehand, Banksy used stencils on occasion. In the late '90s, he began using stencils for the most and became widely recognized around Bristol and London, as he developed his signature style.
There is two sides of a coin some may suggest that his stencilled graffiti is the voice of those living in urban environments that could not otherwise express themselves, and that his work is also something which improves the looks of urban surroundings bringing a moment of consciousness to our so often rushed ways of living our daily lives on the other side of the coin others disagree, asserting that his work is simple vandalism, some people seem to find all forms of graffiti and spray painting in public places a crime. Although we are bombarded by advertisement that seems not to bother them but the fact is that it has been a human condition since the beginning of humanity and part of what we know about our ancestors has been written in cave walls a long long time ago.
Banksy didn't invented the stencil critics style it was there long before him but randomly and done by others as a form of complaint towards one specific topics known as adJammers or subvertising movement, who changes corporate advertising to the intended message that the hijacker likes to advert.Some people notice that his style was similar to Blek le Rat a french artist that began working with stencils in the early 80's around France and Jef Aerosol also a french artist that started around the same time.However Banksy himself stated on his website that in all actuality he based his work on that of 3D from Massive Attack, stating, "No, I copied 3D from Massive Attack. He can actually draw."Banksy by the end of 2005 already had 5 books published:
- Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall published in 2001.
- Existencilism published in 2002.
- Cut It Out published in 2004.
- Wall and Piece published in 2005.
- Pictures of Walls published in 2005
- You Are an Acceptable Level of Threat published in 2012.
Banksy's first film
- Exit Through the Gift Shop, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary for the film in the year 2011.
Another of Banksy's tricks involved hanging a piece of his own art in various museums around the world such as London's Tate Modern, the New York Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the American Museum of Natural History and The British Museum.
But here some more interesting stuff about Banksy, I've found out about some "Beef" in his career.
Banksy starts what became a "Graffiti Epic War" with retired London graffiti artist Robbo or King Robbo considered Old School in the English graffiti community and well respected by his old works on the streets of England, he started around 1985. The following pictures show the spray can battle that takes place in Regent's Canal in Camden, London.
BANKSY vs ROBBO
In 1985 Robbo painted a large full colour graffiti piece called Robbo Incorporated.
By 2006 Robbo's piece has been abused by tags but even faded out is a piece that has been there since 1985
December 2009 The war starts, Banksy partially covers a piece of Robbo which in graffiti culture is a very disrespectful thing to do. Co-op pieces always have to be authorized by both graffiti artist and apparently this wasn't the case.
So King Robbo comes out of retirement and decides to do his part on Banksy's piece by using his wallpaper guy to make a statement.
Banksy goes back and adds FUC to Robbos piece.
Robbo goes back and leaves King Robbo on top again.
Banksy doesn't want to play back and forward with Robbo anymore and goes all black.
But Robbbo takes it serious and is determined to make a clear statement. "That particular wall belongs to Robbo since 1985"
He goes cartoon and leaves a note R.I.P Banksy's career.
Banksy doesn't like that and like the Rolling Stones he once again Paint it Black.
January 2011 Banksy goes back and creates what many call a bizarre concept of gold fish
Tragically after that Robbo's suffers an accidental fall that causes him a head injury and he goes into coma.
November 2011 Banksy goes back to the wall and puts up the highlights of old Robbo Inc with a lighten spray can.
War wasn't quite over after that, graffiti writers that sympathize with old school Robbo created Team Robbo and went over several pieces done by Banksy around the London area.
Yes it seems like Banksy made a mistake when he went over Robbo's old piece by the English canals of London but the repercussions of that were enormous and England's Graffiti history was written by this two guys.
The question remains who is Banksy???
Graffiti artist, political activist, film director, and painter Banksy has been very evasive when it comes to his true identity, Despite the fact that there is a lot of information about him and some may speculate that he has been caught in videos no information seems to be accurate enough to be accredited real, some may suggest that photographer Stephen Lazarides is Banksy but he's in actuality his manager, others say that his real name is Robert Banks or Robin Banks,Robin Gunningham, according to the Daily Mail, Fact is that Banksy's real name is...Unknown til this day.
Written by: Sebastian Labaca