Archive for street art

Featuring: Os Gêmeos

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , on November 14, 2008 by victorbiola

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Os Gêmeos are two twin brothers from São Paulo in Brazil. Os gêmeos actually translates to twins. Their artwork varies from casual graffiti to complicated murals. Their work has a very artistic touch to it and the characters in their work are often of a dreamlike appearance.

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For more information and images try: WikiPedia, Lost Art, Interview of Os Gêmeos at: Art Crimes, Deitch Projects, Images on Flickr, We Make Money Not ArtVisual Resistance and Eyes On Brazil.

 

Below is a video of Os Gêmeos:

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Virtue Ruins Beauty

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2008 by victorbiola

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I enjoy print making as an artform. It is a great way to express yourself and I liked it long before I had heard about Stencils as a serious artform. Screen printing produces some amazing results. Screen prints are nomally found in galleries and some can get quite dear.

Virtue Ruins Beauty is a piece by an artist called Give Up. The images below are a paste up from an abandoned building in Houston, Texas. See link: Citynoise Website. I wanted to share it as an example of good streetart. It is an interesting idea to return the art found in galleries back to the street, so putting the prints into abandoned buildings, as opposed to bring the streetsart into the galleries or putting protective covers onto graffiti (as happened with a Banksy graffiti in Melbourne).

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Street Art is Street Art is Street Art …

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2008 by victorbiola

stencil-jef-aerosol3Steinlen-milk-poster

 

I love stencils and I think that the stencil is the modern reincarnation of the poster. The poster was a very powerful medium that became very popular in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s (Art Nouveau/Jugendstil). Some of the more famous artists using posters as a medium were Toulouse-Lautrec, Mucha, Steinlen and many others in Europe. Japan had proven to be highly influencual on the development of the poster as an art form.

mucha-posterLike the poster as an art form the stencil is dispensable and mostly short-lived. A stencil in a street art sense is a response to a political question, it is a satire on the state of art or just a beautiful or not-so-beautiful image. The fact that it is short-lived and a child of its day make it so attractive. Stencils are very graphic and can be very visual depending on the contrast and colour scheme (of the stencil and the wall).

toulouse-lautrec-jane-avrilI must admit that it scares me to see art critics getting too involved in street art. Seriously, once the establishment gets too involved in any movement it does kill the vibe and spirit of that movement. Get the establishment involved with all their definitions and dogma and you end up having many layers between the work and the viewer.

If you want to experience a good sculpture for example you want to be able to engage with it and one aspect of engaging with it means feeling it! Once a sculpture is placed in a museum it becomes less accessible (in a tactile sense). You might have heard of the case in Melbourne where a council went so far to install an acrylic protective cover on some street art. Sorry, I might rephrase that: not just some or any street art but on a piece by the almighty Banksy. True, I like Banksy and a lot of his pieces work for me, but street art is street art is street art is street art is street art is street art…

Below are some images from Melbourne’s backstreets and a few other selected pieces by 108 from Italy, Swoon from the US and Jef Aerosol from France.

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Stencils All Over The World

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2008 by victorbiola

Below you will find a selection of stencils that I have found online. Personally, I prefer stencils that are in not too many colours and layers. Stencils are great when kept simple, once they get too complex they become overworked. As always there are exceptions, but in most cases over complicated works indicate that the creator has confused creation with masturbation. I don’t get a kick out of the latter…

Click on the images to find the site where they are originated. Some come with interesting posts or articles.

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A blog by the name The World is not Flat has a good post on European street art. The writer, a visitor from the US (a country south of Canada) describes his/her (that is the problem with unisex names- Lee) thoughts on the European situation. The  first photo was taken from that blog.

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The Wooster Collective is another interesting site/blog and very active. If you like political stencils (as I do) you will find a lot of interesting works here. The image of the child on the van in New Delhi and the profile of the girl on the black wall can be found there.

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paris-stencilAnother gem in the search for inspiring stencils has to be a blog called World of Stencils.

Here I found some very beautiful pieces (see the nude stencil from Paris) and some very complex works by an artist called artiste-ouvrier. As mentioned earlier in this post, I prefer simple stencils, but as always there is the exception to the rule…

World of Stencils also features a group of stencil artists called WCA – Free University of Stencil Art. I have added two of their works below. Both motives show animals.

 

 

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If you like some of the works, check my future posts for more stencils to come and get involved in the debate on the legality of street art!

Read the following blogs to get informed:

  • Core TV 1 Featured this group before- they are independent filmmakers working on documentary on Melbourne’s opinion on Street Art
  • Geekgirl Love the name! This post is on a stencil festival in Melbourne and has some interesting insights into our current political state of the art regarding street art
  • Don’t Ban The Can Most locals know about DBTC by now, they are an interest group of street art supporters and against the Graffiti Prevention Act. They organise events to celebrate street art! This is what democracy is about! Standing up for what you believe in…
  • Graffiti Hurts Australia This group is actually fighting against graffiti and street art and has been very active in the media. Personally, I find this group extremely conservative and negative, it is still good to see what their views are…

Enjoy the Streets with Victor Biola …

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Street Art

Posted in Art, Life with tags , , , , , , , , on November 5, 2008 by victorbiola

Melbourne is at the centre of a discussion on the legality of Street Art. We are now looking at various community leaders openly stating whether graffiti is art or not. Many of these public figures do not have a background in art, yet they seem to have developed an expert opinion on the topic.

I am not trying to sound condescending or like an elitist, but since when do we ask a police spokes-person on definitions of art? That would be a bit like asking a theatre director how to keep Melbourne’s streets safe and quoting him on the topic as if he was an expert.

Beautiful banner by Astrid Elsmann

Beautiful banner by Astrid Elsmann

In my view the entire discussion regarding graffiti misses a major point. We should not ask whether Street Art is Art! The question should be whether or not Street Art should be criminalised by parts of our society.

Have we not learnt from our not so distant past? Did American officials really believe that they could stop the entire country from consuming alcohol in the 1930’s? Do Victorian officials seriously believe that a draconian law will stop taggers from tagging? Does the Graffiti Prevention Act not rather criminalise young people in general?

We have to be very clear that this new legislation has the power to have the opposite effect that tagging becomes a trend. We should acknowledge that there is a problem with graffiti in the public opinion. We should also acknowledge that there are many Melbourne residents who want change and a massive reduction in the amount of tagging and graffiti. Well, the Graffiti Prevention Act will not bring the solution but put young members of our community in dire straits.

To quote from a stencil that I saw in Fitzroy once:

‘Keep your coins, I want change’…

Read the following blogs to get informed about the debate:

  • Core TV 1 Very informative post on the Graffiti Prevention Act and some of the groups who are against graffiti. Good blog.
  • Geekgirl Love the name! This post is on a stencil festival in Melbourne and has some interesting insights into our current political state of the art regarding street art
  • Images To Live By This is another informative blog with a great post on the Graffiti Prevention Act 
  • Don’t Ban The Can Most locals know about DBTC by now, they are an interest group of street art supporters and against the Graffiti Prevention Act. They organise events to celebrate street art! This is what democracy is about! Standing up for what you believe in…

Victor Biola

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PS: If anyone is still looking for a valid definition of art please check the Free Dictionary

art 1

n.
1. Human effort to imitate, supplement, alter, or counteract the work of nature.
2.
a. The conscious production or arrangement of sounds, colors, forms, movements, or other elements in a manner that affects the sense of beauty, specifically the production of the beautiful in a graphic or plastic medium.
b. The study of these activities.
c. The product of these activities; human works of beauty considered as a group.
3. High quality of conception or execution, as found in works of beauty; aesthetic value.
4. A field or category of art, such as music, ballet, or literature.
5. A nonscientific branch of learning; one of the liberal arts.
6.
a. A system of principles and methods employed in the performance of a set of activities: the art of building.
b. A trade or craft that applies such a system of principles and methods: the art of the lexicographer.
7.
a. Skill that is attained by study, practice, or observation: the art of the baker; the blacksmith’s art.
b. Skill arising from the exercise of intuitive faculties: “Self-criticism is an art not many are qualified to practice” Joyce Carol Oates.
8.
a. arts Artful devices, stratagems, and tricks.
b. Artful contrivance; cunning.
9. Printing Illustrative material.

Graffiti Documentary

Posted in Art with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2008 by victorbiola

Graffiti seems to have become a topic that polarises the community throughout the world. It is interesting to see the various interest groups and lobbies here in Melbourne and the same trends can be seen world-wide (see some links below) . You might find it interesting to read up on opinions at this blog:

www.coretv1.wordpress.com

There is also a questionnaire about that topic that is fun to answer. They are a new group of independent filmmakers working on a documentary on graffiti in Melbourne.

Personally, I must say that I have very mixed opinions on the topic. I live in a diverse city, Melbourne (by the way). We have our Jewish suburbs in the South and our Muslim community mostly in the Northern suburbs. There are various European groups, many Iraqis, Indians, Chinese, Malaysians, and various other East Asian groups. Basically we are a melting pot of diversity. Mostly the blend works and there is not a lot of negative tension. The diversity is generally very appealing from the culinary aspects through to the dating side of things. The world is here!

Well, back to graffiti. You find a very interesting mix of street art. There is a large amount of stencils, paste-ups and conventional graffiti in the CBD. There is also a fair of tagging happening there, but the tagging itself seems to dominate more in the outer suburbs, where the stencils become more rare.

Again, personally, I do not like tagging much at all. Graffiti artists often commence by tagging. That might be the case, but it does not make it more appealing. Many artists start somewhere, but the public generally gets spared to look at their first attempts. I find tagging very selfish and ugly. It annoys me.

Many vandals who are obsessed by their own tags hide behind a diverse and talented street art scene. I am not trying to say that only the best artists should be able to do street art, but there are to many selfish taggers out there imposing their ugly stuff on everyone. It also has a tendency to devalue an area. If you want to sell your house, you will get less for it if someone has placed graffiti or tags on it.

In many cases graffiti adds colour to an area and it can therefore add artisitc value. In very few cases it will add property value and that is only if a majority of people feels attracted to that location due to the graffiti.
In many cases graffiti destroys the vibe of an area and I believe that it is a clichee that graffiti always adds artistic value. For a starter it is hardly ever done in respect to the architecture. I doubt that the majority of taggers ever consider imagery and colour after picking the location.

There should be and will be a space for art in the streets of our urban centres regardless of laws. This will not change in the future. It seems to be a natural need to our species to express ourselves as well as marking our territory. One might say that there is a primitive notion in that, but it does not change the nature of it.

Your views comments are as always welcome!

Cheers,

Victor Biola

 

Another few interesting blogs/sites that I found on this topic:

Site on Southern Californian graffiti and street art, set up in support of book ‘Graffiti L.A., Street Styles and Art –  http://graffitila.com/

Site of Chicago activists (pro-graffiti) – http://www.counterproductiveindustries.com/gbgc/

Detailed website on global graffiti, intelligent write-ups, interesting vids and good imagery!!! – http://www.ilovegraffiti.com

See also: http://ilovegraffiti-en.blogspot.com/2008/10/more-debate-in-australia.html

YouTube site – send in your video opinion on graffiti – www.youtube.com/coretv1

Interesting post with good background knowledge – http://cuidado06.wordpress.com/2008/06/06/19/

Opinions –  http://subcorpus.wordpress.com/2007/04/26/is-graffiti-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder/

Irish voice on the topic – http://kirribilli.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/artvandalism/