Friday, 31 July 2009
"Star Wars is all about the Hero's Journey, and so is working out," says Flynn, " you leave home, battle your demons, and hopefully return home stronger."
Flynn is frustrated with his students' lack of commitment and focus, but when a 7-foot man in an incredibly authentic Darth Vader suit arrives at the gym, Flynn thinks he's found his dream student.
Instead, Flynn and his students learn, first hand, about how powerful the Dark Side can be...
Check these bad boys out.
Kokiriko Bushi by Omodaka – On Far East Recordings, this even samples Stevie Wonder.
Magical 8-Bit Tour by YMCK – This ones for all you print-heads out there.
Go YMCK, Go by YMCK
Scotch Bach by DJ Scotch Egg – He makes all his tunes on hacked Gameboys – Genius. Amazing video too.
Scotch Chicken by DJ Scotch Egg – Heavy, heavy shit.
Thursday, 30 July 2009
Monday, 27 July 2009
How We Go Out
Willow Don't Cry
Check out more of Leslie here...
Thursday, 23 July 2009
Modernism was considered positive, rational, and objective, architects like Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe championed its capacity to facilitate a new social order. They prophesized that technological progress and a reconsidered urban plan would result in "better living through architecture."
The dream that modernism could somehow improve living conditions never really came true. Instead, just the opposite occurred. In the UK at least Modernism pretty much failed and most Modernist residential schemes became run down housing estates. Anonymous, cheap, high-density housing isolated its inhabitants from the greater city and socio-economic problems escalated. Ironic then is the fact that years later these residential areas became the catalyst for the growth of a vast amount of anti-social behaviour including graffiti.
Contemporary graffiti's connection to post-modernism certainly began as a response to the flaws of Modernism but it was able to establish itself as an independent discipline that understood how to manage and employ meaning within a cultural context. However in the last ten years we have seen contemporary graffiti move out of its little bubble and into the mainstream, mainly through the likes of Banksy. The graffiti purists cringe at the term 'Street Art' and quite rightly so as to them 'Street Art' is associated with a misinformed public who like to name drop Banksy to act cool at dinner parties. In today's world 'Street Art' is a term that is used loosely and thrown around to describe any kind of public artwork. Luckily 'Street Art' has more to offer than just Banksy.
In the Post-Modernist global society we live in today increased communication, trade, technology and overseas manufacturing mean that all previous barriers between segmented disciplines have been ripped down and re-thought. In arts and architecture the post-modern is evident in the way familiar styles and spaces are recreated and reviewed; different styles collide with the eclecticism of a car crash. As the boundaries between the different styles of art, technology and science become increasingly blurred we discover that 'Street Art' is at the forefront of this experimental cross fertilisation. Due to increased fines and zero tolerance the graffiti legends of the 70's and 80's have retired and are trying to make an honest career out of their skills; many have turned to graphic design, product design and legitimate art careers whilst the new generation of young guns are utilising their knowledge of technology and new materials to evade the law and to leave their mark on society.
Again, many of the graffiti purists will argue that this form of 'Street Art' is bullshit but RWC will happily argue the case that everything should naturally grow as new technology and methods are developed to perform a given task (in this case 'Getting Up' without getting busted) and that we should accept them and move on. If the pioneers of Graffiti hadn't taken the Fat Caps off spray starch, we'd never have 3D letters.
Delta (Boris Telegen) is a Dutch artist whose current portfolio includes works on canvas, murals, collage, print, sculpture, motion graphics and product design. During the 80's Delta was a pioneer in the European graffiti scene. His unique three-dimensional style which is not too dissimilar to his Dutch predecessors in the De Stijl group has a very distinct and recognisable aesthetic.
Delta's distinct style has now become his tag, his compositions rarely contain full letters or words but more suggest the use of letterforms. His convoluted forms which hint at isometric architectural drawings twist and turn like traditional graffiti art but are more akin to 3D constructivist pieces reminiscent of the Bauhaus or even of Russian Constructivism.
Delta Interview Part 1
Delta Interview Part 2
It was inevitable that new tools and a dose of cross-fertilization would force the subversion of letters and language but Delta has transcended traditional elements like spray paint, using sculptural devices to create complex tags more suited to robotics and architecture.
YKK, the zippers, Music by Sangatsu
In one of the more interesting hybrid explorations Delta has teamed up with fellow Dutch writer Zedz and the architectural studio of Maurer United Architects. It was only a matter of time before the right architect came along, to see this 3D- aspect crystallize in architectural design. It was no surprise that the partner in this master-scheme was Maurer United Architects. This prize-winning bureau is run by two architects: Nicole and Marc Maurer. The duo has a strong preference for so-called "media-related-projects" in the field of architecture.
In 1998 the team transformed 'graffiti related images' into 'graffiti related architecture' with two designs: the first was a design for a villa named 'Masterplan', by Delta and Maurer. In the other 'Zedzbeton' a graffiti-piece by Zedz was blown up by Maurer to make a 50 meter long piece of 'city-furniture'. Although the typical forms used by Delta and Zedz still strongly relate to graffiti (the artists name remains the starting point of each design), the natural hostile attitude of the graffiti-artists towards the architectural design has disappeared. This confrontation has now transformed into a fruitful synthesis. The results are amazing as well in content as in form.
Check out more from Delta and Zeds here….
The clash of disciplines that is evident in the collaborations of Delta, Zeds and Maurer is just the tip of the Post-Modern graffiti/street art iceberg. In New York City the Eyebeam gallery in Chelsea has founded a centre for the study of graffiti technology. The Graffiti Research Lab is masterminded by two tech-minded artists, Evan Roth and James Powderly.
The purpose of the project is to rethink how people make and look at graffiti and street art, not by making the stuff but by developing tools that graffiti writers could potentially use. Using their odd combination of training — Powderly's background is in aerospace robotics and NASA-financed Mars missions; Roth's is in coding, architecture and Web design — they develop new methods of self-expression. These include, so far, digital projection techniques, L.E.D.-driven light art and specially written computer programs.
Commonly known as Geek Graffiti this tiny but thriving genre is moving at an astounding rate. Utilising the internet to disseminate ideas and technology like the shareware of the 90's, the Graffiti Research Lab is making their technological know how free and easy to access. As more and more people learn to program at a younger age, and computers get cheaper, technological elements are going to start to sneak into traditional graffiti.
Graffiti Research Lab - LED Throwies
So far the Graffiti Research Lab's activities include the Electro-Graf, a simple method of using magnetic and conductive paint to embed L.E.D. electronics inside a graffiti piece, surrounding the graffiti with a halo of brilliant light; L.E.D. "throwies," tiny and colourful battery-powered lights attached to magnets, designed to be thrown onto urban surfaces; the Night Writer, an inexpensive device of the kind MacGyver might have used that posts foot-tall messages in glowing L.E.D. lights on metallic surfaces in a single fluid motion; and Jesus 2.0, a recent light sculpture collaboration with the street artist Mark Jenkins of Washington. The lab is also working to refine various digital projection ideas that Roth explored in his Graffiti Analysis project.
Graffiti Research Lab - Laser Tag
How to laser tag.
In today's anti-war/bush/surveillance/capitalist climate it seems more and more people want to reclaim the public space of the streets. Due to the open source nature of the Graffiti Research Lab's work Roth realizes that eager companies may try and co-opt the technology for advertising and turn the 'power to the people' ethos around. Roth is strongly anti-commercial and this forms the basis of the open source ethos. The projects are intentionally designed to be cheap, user-friendly and not illegal.
Check out stacks more videos from the Graffiti Research Lab here….
and Eyebeam here…
A flurry of New York-based graduate thesis projects in recent years have explored new forms of technology-oriented graffiti, including John Geraci's Grafedia, a method of creating hyperlinked graffiti on city streets, and Joshua Kinberg's Bikes Against Bush, which uses text messaging and a custom-built dot-matrix printer connected to a bicycle to print giant chalk letters on the sidewalk.
Another public project to utilise projector technology with the addition of public interaction is TXTual Healing. TXTual Healing is an SMS Enabled Interactive Street Performance established in 2005. The simple explanation is that it's a mobile phone paired to a laptop using proprietary software, custom scripting and graphics, and then the results are displayed through a projector connected to the computer. The whole system is mobile and with the right projector/beamer, quite bright. The public audience receives a paper tab with a phone number. A participant sends a text message to the provided phone number and it is then displayed inside the speech bubble. Speech bubbles are projected on walls near windows and doors to encourage an audience to create the conversations happening inside. The whole system is automatic and uncensored.
TXTual Healing in Toronto
The project explores the use of mobile technology to trigger dialogue, action and create content for a staged public performance whilst trying to build community through public story telling. By using the facade of a building the intention is to engage an audience to think about the physical spaces they move through, live in and share. Like traditional Graffiti TXTual Healing tries to address the public vs. private space debate and what kind of dialogue might transpire if we shared our private thoughts and stories in public. The piece was designed to encourage play, idea sharing, thought, discourse, and entertainment.
Check out TXTual Healing here…
The Bubble Project is based on a similar idea to TXTual Healing but is executed using a much less technology savvy process. The Bubble Project aims to counterattack the one-sided corporate onslaught of marketing and advertisement messages which propagate public space.
The Bubble Project
The project was conceived by an artist and art director Ji Lee who originally printed 15,000 stickers that look like speech bubbles used in comic strips. He posts these blank speech bubbles on top of advertisements throughout New York City allowing anyone who sees them to write in their comments and thoughts. By filling in the bubbles people engage in the project and transform the corporate monologue into an open dialogue. After time passes, the comments are photographed and posted on the project's website.
Yellow Arrow is a long-running international media project that explores urban narrative through physical tagging of locations, text messaging and the Internet. Like TXTual Healing, Yellow Arrow utilises new technologies to explore urban space and how we interact in it. Established in 2005 as a street art project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan the Yellow Arrow has grown to over 35 countries and 380 cities globally and become a way to experience and publish ideas and stories via text messaging on your mobile phone and interactive maps online. The project offers curated tours of specific cities and the ability to browse thousands of single points of interest submitted by people.
People publish to Yellow Arrow by placing uniquely-coded stickers at locations of their choice (or tagging) and then sending a text message from their phone with the story they would like associated with that place. When someone else sees the sticker, they send the unique code and then receive the author's original message back. The project has many parallels to the traditional graffiti tag; this is my story, I was here.
The project is built around the general philosophy that every place is distinct and engaging if seen from a unique perspective. With this foundation, Yellow Arrow enables every place to become an attraction. Stories are always tied to unique details such as back-alley murals or unique street markers, as well as classic locations like the Empire State Building in New York or the Reichstag in Berlin. Overall, the aim is for Yellow Arrow to provide a frame and platform to see the world in a new way.
In more general terms, Yellow Arrow is an evolving 21st century publishing platform that merges conventional editorial publishing and user-generated content. The structure leverages the power of community publishing set forth by new media, while maintaining elements of a traditional publishing model to support cohesive curation and foster high-quality content.
Check out Yellow Arrow here…
This kind of Street Art has obviously pushed the boundaries of how language (visual or written) can be visualized and communicated in the public sphere. Yet there is something unreal about it. There comes a point in which upsetting narrative content and violating a utilitarian need causes these technically perfected and abstracted tags to become at once meaningful and meaningless. Unlike Graffiti this technology based Street Art is increasingly difficult to connect to personal experiences. Lacking the raw energy and power or the history and shared experience that comes with rolling in crews, racking paint and cutting chain link fence, these pieces float in a world of fiction. They are unreal and it's easy to doubt their authenticity.
The truth is that Le Corbusier's hope for an age of technology and progress that could improve the lives of so many has finally arrived. A new global level is doing today what the architect wanted his craft to do almost a century ago. Information, access to it and the ability to manipulate it, is fulfilling the promise of a new social order.
And in the end it is the sheer volume of data being sent and received through rational computer-based systems that is rendering graffiti writing impractical. Bombing is losing out to blogging and modernism has kinda made a triumphant return.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Skateboarders are not like normal people. To become a good skateboarder you ultimately have to spend a lot of time on your own; the repetitive nature of learning new tricks and hurting yourself over and over shows a level of dedication beyond that of the average person. Skateboarder's also have a very unorthodox way of thinking, they will look at the world in a different way, using obstacles in the street and re-appropriating them for their own use and giving them new meaning. If you've ever watched a skateboard DVD in great detail you'll understand the level of creativity (and destruction) at play as the skaters negotiate various objects in the urban metropolis.
Bobby Puleo's part from Static 2: Music - The Invisibles by Josh Stewart
This re-appropriation of objects could be paralleled (tediously) to the art of sampling were the DJ/producer will butcher up an existing record and create something new; or Pop Art were artists such as Roy Lichtenstein recreate found imagery and produce something that has a new meaning. Like a DJ/producer who is constantly after new hooks, a skateboarder is constantly scanning the streets for new ledges, steps, banks and curbs to re-appropriate.
I also believe that this alternative way to view your surroundings has heavily influenced the artwork I make now. The street can be a canvas for art as well as for skateboarding and I'm constantly aware of my surroundings and on the look out for interesting textures, shapes and locations that will influence my art.
When it rains skaters have to find something else to channel their creativity into, so it is not surprising to discover that a lot of Skateboarders are creative in other areas such as art, photography, film and design.
The reason I'm writing this blog is that this week I saw a piece of artwork made by a skater whose nickname is 'Strictly Business'.
The piece is a collection of 100 used skateboards, each with it's own story and battle scars. The way it is displayed is reminiscent of a museum display and quite rightly too, each one of these decks is a work of art and in future could very well be displayed in museums around the world as documentation of our popular culture. The only downside is it'll probably all get lumped into that whole 'urban' thing. The graphics on these boards are worn out and damaged and yet this artwork tells a more important story than the original graphics of the deck.
On seeing this piece I was flooded with memories from my youth and it occurred to me that along with BMX bikes this was part of my life that has shaped quite strongly who I am today. Anyone who has skated for even a brief period of time can remember the graphic on the bottom of his or her favourite deck. The deck artwork became a part of your story…why you picked that board to skate, and why it spoke to you.
Strictly Business' collection of 100 decks reminded me of my own fascination with collecting. I think our generation is a generation of collectors, it's in our blood. As a kid I'd collect stickers, records and Star Wars toys; and now as an adult my collections of Star Wars toys, art, fortune cookies, trainers and records are still going strong. The theme of collecting reminded me of the work of Bobby Puleo. Bobby Puleo is an artist and professional skateboarder who was born in New Jersey and currently resides in Brooklyn. Skateboarding for twelve years Bobby began collecting found objects from the streets eight years ago as a natural reaction to his 'constantly looking down at the street' while skateboarding.
His collections have since evolved into various categories of things, items that naturally repeat themselves in the curbs and gutters of the world. Items such as prayer pamphlets, broken cassette tapes, discarded directions, found photos, found negatives, various product packaging, post it notes and American flags.
I feel a little uncomfortable theorising this subject as most of the artists involved in Skate Culture share a common string: a need to exist creatively in a world full of "business as usual" types. The do-it-yourself approach of most skateboarders has made it possible for a spontaneous explosion to thrive in a scene that is/was truly underground. These individuals took the initiative to make it all happen for themselves simply because they wanted to-and had to-have fun and express themselves. Most skateboarders who make art care little for the 'Art World' and are truly outsider artists.
For the past several years, skateboarding, like never before in its fifty-year history, has grown exponentially and has thus influenced mainstream culture in myriad ways. This wealth of pure creativity that has been floating up from the streets and into the galleries recently has, and is still influencing a new generation of young artists like Barry McGee, Chris Johanson, Evan Hecox, Thomas Campbell and many more.
The Alleged Gallery in New York first opened its doors in 1992. Sure, it was a gallery, but the disclaimer was inherent in the name: Alleged.
With its hand painted sandwich board signs and banners there was no mistaking the iconoclastic agenda. This was pure Carney on Ludlow Street in the Lower East Side, an exhibition space for the less savoury social margins where skater kids could mix with hookers in the name of art. The Gallery was run by Aaron Rose, who operated in a less then professional manner but ALLEGEDLY had a heart of gold.
At this time Ludlow Street was still just another pill and powder fuelled Lower East Side gutter of low rent tenements that just so happened to have a phenomenal demographic of artists, musicians, film-makers, designers, writers and all around hoodlums.
Some of the first shows at Alleged are now notoriously known as being parties for the entire neighbourhood to get drunk and misbehave in ways that would have sent any fine art collector who might have accidentally stumbled in there running for their lives. The art openings featured some of the best urban folk artists from the early Ludlow Street scene that have know gone on to form the whole NYC anti-folk scene.
Alleged was far from the glitzy art world of NYC but no less a potent stew-pot of raw creativity. It's misfit artists were truly outsiders barred from the hallowed halls of an ever more institutionalized art market.
In 1993 Aaron Rose launched Minimal Trix, an exhibition of skateboard art, a show that would come to define an entire generation of art-making before it made the full transition from the streets to the galleries. Many of the artists came from the Mission School on the west coast to join many of the NYC artists. Subsequently this exhibition created a scene that had been fragmented and had only existed in isolation. Many of the artists in this scene went on to become household names in the worlds of folk, fashion, film, performance and art including Glen E. Friedman, Phil Frost, Spike Jonze, Barry McGee, Margaret Kilgallen, Mike Mills, Shepard Fairey and Sofia Coppola
Ten years after the Minimal Trix exhibition Jeffrey Deitch's gallery in New York held an exhibition entitled 'Session the Bowl'. Session the bowl was an exhibition and performance project in which the central element was Free Basin, the enormous handmade wooden sculpture/skateboard bowl created by Simparch. An exhibition of new painting, drawing, photography and video by thirty-three artists associated with the skateboard culture was presented on the surrounding walls including work by many of the artists from the Alleged scene, these included Thomas Campbell, Larry Clark, Phil Frost, Futura, Evan Hecox, Todd James, Chris Johanson, KAWS, KR, Ari Marcopoulos, Barry McGee, Ryan McGinness, Mike Mills, Steve Powers, Ed Templeton and Tobin Yelland. The project also included a series of organized and impromptu skate demos. Free Basin was part sculpture, part architecture and part stage for performance.
During the late 90's Ed Templeton was one of the most famous pro-skaters in the world. Outside of skateboarding, Ed Templeton is an artist and photographer. He began by painting the graphics for his skateboard company, Toy Machine.
Ed Templeton is a featured artist of "Beautiful Losers" a travelling exhibition organised by Aaron Rose, which includes the work of various contemporary artists. A lot of the art included in Beautiful Losers provides skateboarding and other urban themes. Templeton and some members of the Toy Machine team skated on ramps setup at the base of the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center in the summer of 2003 for the temporary showcase of Beautiful Losers.
The Beautiful Losers exhibition brought together all the artists from this scene that had begun to create art that reflected their lifestyles, most of which related to skateboarding or street culture in some way. The exhibition made clear some unifying traits among these artists including a vocabulary of pop culture iconography and a strong D.I.Y ethic. Most of these artists worked in areas that were contrary to academic trends. Because of this, it was necessary to develop alternative avenues of communication and distribution for their work. Many of these artist are now mainstream names in the art world as the major galleries start to tap into the underground scene.
One of the latest artists to jump on the skateboard bandwagon is Jeff Koons, Jeff Koons creates what's been dubbed Neo Pop artworks and sculpture. The American born artist, and ex Wall Street broker, gained international notoriety in the 1980s by taking popular culture items and turning them into controversial, yet highly valued pieces. Koons explores and blurs the distinction between low, commercial aesthetics and high art.
In line with his capacity for creating accessible sculpture, Koons recently collaborated with Supreme the uber trendy skate boutique in NYC to produce a new variety of monkey imagery with surreal backgrounds on a set of skateboard decks.
If you want to find out more about some of these artists simply buy the Beautiful Losers book by Aaron Rose and read it.
I hope this blog offers a brief a window into what is essentially a subculture within a subculture, and to show the huge talent and diversity in genres and style, that makes it impossible to pigeon hole the artists or artwork.
Hopefully it also proves that youth is not always wasted on the young.
I once read that Dalek sometimes paints up to 30 coats to get such flat colours, I bet he's seriously chuffed to have his working process compressed into 8 minutes of awesomeness.
Monday, 20 July 2009
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Saturday, 18 July 2009
Thursday, 16 July 2009
Find out more about Beautiful Decay here...
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
Teaser trailer for the graffiti documentary on the artist "Ghost" from Underdog Pictures.
Ghost painting at the Stussy SF store last year some time.
Straight up vandalism from back in the day.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places
This stunning animation made up of 35 frames which were hand painted across east London in 7 days is part of an interesting project that joins together Charlie Dark and the Run Dem Crew, the talented young producer Goldielocks, visionary artist Benedict Radcliffe and of course, INSA.
The Nike Sportswear IAM1 project celebrates the launch of the Air Maxim, the evolved ’87 Air Max 1 for 2009. Badass.
Location: 1948, Arches 477 – 478, Batemans Row, Shoreditch, London, EC2 3HH
Open: 17th July – 26th July 2009
Jump on it....
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
Monday, 6 July 2009
Video for "Mountain Trip To Japan, 1959" by The Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players.
12 Year Old Rachel Trachtenburg (this is about 4 years old) of the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players does a cover of "Bike" by Pink Floyd. Her Mom, Tina Pina does the introductions in this Clip from NYCs Checkerboard Kids...
The OFFICIAL RELEASE of part one of the new Rachel Trachtenburg kids TV pilot featuring ALL the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players!
Find out more about them here...