When it comes to street art, it doesn’t get much cuter than Stik. The British graffiti artist based in London paints mouthless and noseless stick figure characters on walls, doors, water towers, and more, that despite their minimalistic quality exude warmth and charm. Sometimes in groups holding hands (see the two water towers we’re acquainted with in the East Village and Bushwick), and other times alone, these not-so-little guys are usually painted in black and white against solid bright colored backgrounds. In addition to his unauthorized work, the somewhat private Stik, who has been homeless at times, works with many charitable and human rights organizations. See? That good heartedness shines through in his art. Stik’s work can be seen in Europe, NYC, and even the Middle East and Japan. We are fortunate to have two of his works right in our neighborhood.
You can see more of his work here and an interview below:
All images courtesy of Stik except bottom left: Geof Hargadon via Brooklyn Street Art, and bottom right: Paul Whitehouse via Huffington Post London.
The past few weeks I’ve spent quite a bit of time in the West Village and occasionally found myself on streets I hadn’t visited in a while. One of these was Leroy Street over by Washington where I came across three typographic murals, or, more accurately, concrete poetry, on the exterior of Gavin Brown’s Enterprise Gallery. It’s hard to explain the happy feeling playful or stylish or clever typography instills in me. That might be because it’s not really logical, it’s just an emotion. It goes as far back as my childhood when the IBM logo or the Design Research logo (and store in general) had a similar effect on me. Even the subway graffiti, not the black tags all over the interior of the cars that created a gloomy feel, but the occasional spectacular tag on the outside of a train car, large, colorful, and with dimension, would inspire me to run home and title my French homework “FRENCH” in block letters or bubble type, much to the dismay of my teacher who probably could have done without the header altogether but, at a minimum, I’m sure would have preferred it read “FRANCAIS”.
Anyway, back to the Concrete Poetry. Defined as “poetry in which the typographical arrangement of words is as important in conveying the intended effect as the conventional elements of the poem, such as meaning of words, rhythm, rhyme and so on,” another term for it is Visual Poetry. After a little research I discovered that these street pieces were created by Swedish artist Karl Holmqvist who is known for his text-based works, poetry, and readings. I don’t claim to know what these mean, but I enjoyed them and the surprise of turning a corner and seeing them there. Make of them what you will.
School of Visual Arts design student Shurong Diao decided to link Chinese calligraphy to the Roman alphabet by substituting black ink on rice paper with long black hair…and when I say “long” I mean crazy-long (photoshopped long?) hair. Every letter of the alphabet has been created and there are even a few words thrown in. Maybe not the most practical typeface, but kind of fun.
Dutch visual artist Martijn Sandberg creates Image Messages in public spaces as well as in paintings and sculpture. He explores the tension between text and image, legibility and illegibility, public and private domain. In his site-specific public artworks throughout The Netherlands, Sandberg plays with the material bearing the image which in turn camouflages the message from certain angles, and exposes it from others. “Image is message is image.” Whether created using bricks on a building facade, tiles on a floor surface, concrete staircases, or a wooden fence, there’s a trickiness to all of Sandberg’s work that both challenges and amuses the viewer. And as if that weren’t enough, the messages themselves are often chuckle-worthy, such as in the third photo down in what looks to be brass strips: “U Heeft Tien Bewaarde Berichten” which translates as “You Have Ten Saved Messages.”
Click to enlarge
Flickr user Harvezt has cleverly ventured to the other side. The other side of iconic album covers, that is. Harvezt has created a gallery of album covers as seen from behind. From a British bobby directing Abbey Road traffic, to the other leg and cheek on the Strokes’ Is This It, on to Kraftwerk, Springsteen, Nirvana and more, the funny and well-executed idea often surprises, but even the less surprising cases readily evokes a smile. You can see the rest of the set here.
These are fun. Illinois-based graphic designer Lauryn Bertolo designed a wearable calendar. What’s the Date, as the 3-piece bracelet is called, is screen printed on fabric in bold type and adjusts to every day of the year. I have a feeling it’s a prototype, but I bet there’s a market out there.
SVA design student Motoko Ishii used what looks like cassette tape or reel-to-reel audio tape to create a visual interpretation of Radiohead’s song Last Flowers. The project was done for Olga Mezhibovskaya’s typography class at the School of Visual Arts, and this particular assignment, titled Visual Music, invites students to select a piece of music of their choice and express it with the tools of typography. Nice assignment and beautifully executed, down to the serifs, by Motoko.
Reminiscent of the summer of 2000 when The Cow Parade hit the streets of NYC—we were huge fans, having set out on the mission to find all the cows and photograph ourselves with our favorites, pre-social media era, just for our own pleasure…imagine that!— this April the city has kicked off The Big Egg Hunt NY with close to 300 eggs “hidden” around town that Fabergé commissioned artists, designers, and architects to paint, or create their own, all in the name of charity. The participants are an impressive bunch, from artists such as Jeff Koons and Julian Schnabel, to architects Zaha Hadid and Morphosis, to graphic designer Debbie Millman, fashion designers including Cynthia Rowley and Diane Von Furstenberg, and, of course, street artists: Dain, Cost, Faust and plenty more. Unlike the cows at the beginning of the century, the eggs can be tracked via smartphone app that will notify a person if they’re near an egg and will place it on a map once it’s been discovered (and checked in) by ten people. It seems many of the street art eggs are located downtown, other eggs are exhibited in Grand Central, Rockefeller Center and Columbus Circle (there are a whole bunch more photos here.) But those are just a few eggsamples… there are lots more to find all across the boroughs, so get cracking! Well, you know what I mean. You have until April 17th. After that they’ll be exhibited at Rockefeller Center through the 25th and then auctioned off. Anyone can bid via the website and there are also more affordable mini versions available in the site’s shop.
via gothamist & nytimes
South African street artist r1 sees the street as an open canvas and thus uses it accordingly, creating urban interventions and sculpture mostly using found materials, reappropriating them into the cityscape. His latest work is titled Yield, based on the commonly seen street sign. Starting by setting a street pole into the sidewalk, r1 continued with 100 yield signs, fitting them in a design on the wall behind it. Commissioned by the City of Johannesburg as part of its upgrade program, the intent being to encourage its citizens to engage more actively with the city’s life and creative activities. The significance of the yield sign is found in the word’s two meanings: to “give way, concede” to others, as well as “to produce.” As r1 states:
“This tension between being productive and giving way exist in every city, and bustling Johannesburg is a good example of it. This piece illustrates that these two seemingly opposite forces are in fact symbiotic; both embodied in the symbol of the yield sign.”
You can see a video of the installation below, and much more of r1’s interesting work here.
All photos courtesy of the artist.
Fashion shows keep pushing the boundaries and blurring the lines between art, performance, design and fashion. Last week in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld and his Chanel team took their Fall 2014 runway show to a whole new level. Stepping into the Grand Palais, all attendees were welcomed by the over-the-top Chanel Shopping Center. An entire supermarket recreated with every item rebranded/repackaged and emblazoned with the highly recognizable interlocking C’s of the Chanel logo. From every food product you can imagine, to cleaning products, welcome mats, brooms, soap, garbage bags and much more. The models walked through the runway aisles clad in the new Fall line, all wearing sneakers (because you can wear a Chanel suit to pick up your groceries, but heels might be too much?) pushing grocery carts or carrying baskets. An impressive feat, which apart from the obvious wow-factor, was meant to be a commentary on the state of consumerism. You’ll be relieved to know that all of the items are being donated to charity. It is difficult to wrap one’s head around all the design, printing, and organization that clearly went into this event, in addition to the fashion line itself. It’s the ultimate mega pop-up shop/installation… it’ll be tough to top.
Here’s a video of the models strutting their wares:
via Garance Doré
I like this concept: projecting street artists’ work onto them and photographing their portraits is what photographer Guille Lasarte did here. Street artists in this series include members of Demolition Crew, Jos, Duarte Brito from Unimotion, Mr. Isaac, Hugo Ferracci, and Cintia Lopes. Another concept I like: Book a Street Artist.
Both via Panta
German artist/designer/architect Tobias Rehberger (previously here) currently has a three-part exhibit titled Home and Away and Outside at the Shirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt. For the purposes of this post, I’m focusing only on the first part: a floor to ceiling installation with an optical illusion all-over effect combined with paintings and sculptures that create a dizzying state of sensory-overload. The dazzle camouflage graphics covering the surfaces are based on an optical technique employed mainly on ships in World War I making them difficult to pinpoint as targets. Once visitors make it through this first, trippy, part of the exhibition, they are greeted by a second, more tranquil section that contains applied and functional artworks including much of the sculpture that has set Rehberger apart since the 90s.
Home and Away and Outside is on view in Frankfurt through May 11, 2014.
It’s been, and continues to be, a long and relentlessly snowy winter here in NYC this year, but Brooklyn-based author/illustrator Shelley Jackson is making the best of it. With admirable handwriting, Jackson has set out to writing a story in the snow—one word at a time—photographing each one and posting them to her instagram. Reading from oldest photo to newest, you can follow the ongoing story, waiting with bated breath for the next words to appear. Photos, it seems, are posted in relatively large batches roughly once a week, so maybe you can get a sentence or two in at a time. Story aside, the photos themselves are lovely, with great composition and a splash of color here and there. This is not the first time Shelley Jackson has taken to story-telling a word at a time; SKIN, a story published in tattoos on the skin of 2,095(!) volunteers is a previous project.
You can follow SNOW (in reverse order) over here, “weather permitting”, but from the looks of things outside, that shouldn’t be an issue…this could end up being a multi-volume story.
via gothamist via the awl
Last month, continuing in the tradition of converting pre-demolition or abandoned sites into an opportunity for a temporary street art show – Tour Paris 13, Rae’s Word of Mouth Bodega, and Surplus Candy being prime examples – Le Projet FMR organized the exhibition Home Street Home in a villa doomed to destruction in Montpellier, France. Coralie & Tom, former lawyers who started the project, had a week to set the place up with the help of local and international street artists. Some of these include: Mr. BMX’s bikes; Levalet and the incorporated cables; Baubô in the bathroom; Mme. Moustache; Yuri Hopnn; Stoul in the kitchen; Depose’s graffiti walls; and Souredj’s sculptural street art, to name just the ones in the photos above. Home Street Home was up and open to the public from January 17th through the 19th. You can see many more photos on Le Projet FMR’s website and facebook page, and you can get a virtual tour with some artist interviews in French in the video below:
Olivier Ratsi is a French visual artist whose work is mainly based upon representations of space’s perception and the experience of reality. His audiovisual immersive installation, Onion Skin, offers the viewer a changing perspective of space and time. Consisting of two walls set up perpendicular to each other and serving as canvases on which a series of animated geometric shapes are projected—along with sound—a new dimension is slowly revealed. Using repetition and scale, the anamorphic visuals play tricks on the viewer, having what initially seemed flat, suddenly delineate a new space, consequently altering their perception of depth all the while having a hypnotic effect. The illusion appears as the “onion skins” seem to peel away and leave their physical surface behind. Here’s a video:
via rooms magazine
I certainly know where I’ll be headed if I find myself in Frankfurt. NONEON is a small shop/gallery run by designer Fabian Thiele who has been collecting letters from old signs and fixing them up, making them into lights, all, apparently, affordable to boot. Just seeing these piles of illuminated type makes me happy. The shop is only open on Fridays and Saturdays so, if this appeals to you next time in Frankfurt, make sure to plan accordingly. Recycling at its best.