Tag Archives: street art

Gaia’s Chicago Wrap-up

source: Gaia

Gaia finished his recent double solo show in Chicago with Maxwell Colette and Pawn Works, entitled Resplendent Semblance. One deviation we’ve seen is a greater concentration on the painting and fine art aspect of these street to gallery pieces, stepping away slightly from his more isolated figures and compositions to more expansive backgrounds, colors and strong tonal and realistic subject matters. From seeing Gaia’s progression over the past couple of years he’s really been expanding his repertoire and subject matter. So sick.

source: Gaia

source: Gaia

These are shots from the State and Adams Installation. A slight variation on the rabbit lion is going to be featured in run of prints for sale.

source: Gaia

I remember that lion that Gaia did at the Monseratt House in DC last fall; the colors are vivid but not overly saturated. This guy has skill behind the can and the brush.

source: Gaia

source: Gaia

source: Gaia

Bombing the street as a run-up to the actual shows. Gaia was just in DC last week for a panel discussion at Irvine Contemporary, one that we unfortunately missed due to a combination of laziness and raininess. Never again.



source: Revok1

The sibling duo out of Brooklyn is killing it with their latest mural on 701 E. 3rd Street. The image density, pattern work and winding style is off the chain. Here’s a little close-up of the piece about 4 days in. There seems to be some explosively good works coming in with MOCA’s Art in the Streets underway in the following weeks.

source: Tatscru flickr

Studio Visit: Kelly Towles

A couple weeks ago we hit up Kelly Towles for a little studio visit and interview (still editing, soon to come). Hopefully we can start doing these with a little more frequency; seeing an artist’s workspace in general is always sick. You get a sense of placement and wonder at how stuff gets done, ideas get implemented and in this case, the sheer amount of cans this guy has got stockpiled.

Towles’ studio and pad is nestled among DC’s historic rowhouses a few blocks from Rhode Island Ave. and 1st St.

In one phrase, Kelly Towles is on his grind. Pulling in mural jobs, personal contracts and gallery gigs across the board. Mtn. cans in the bedroom…

Kelly works heavily with a lot of found materials, and his small workspace/studio is crammed with salvaged wood, tools, doors, boxes, paint and even his own screen-printing set up. Now put all that in about a 12ft. x 12ft. space.

These old gloves are sick. While the area might seem cluttered at first glance, everything has its place, and instead of items being placed haphazardly, shelving, tables and self-built racks keeps everything organized.

Kelly manages several murals sponsored and paid for by the city. While keeping a mural up might be difficult, he told us he’s got the necessary cans earmarked three times over… and then some.

Keeping it old school… you just don’t see the Mac Pro under the table.

In a city like DC, space is definitely a commodity, especially when your working on the scale that Kelly has been for the past years. But this is what being on your grind is all about. There is a hardworking, blue-collar aesthetic to his work area, from the foamed floors to the projects that are strewn throughout the room. Drills, hammers, saws and just a huge variety of tools, brushes and pens keeps this guy truckin’.

Check out Kelly’s work at his website, and expect a new landing page dropping in the near, near future. In the meantime, we dig the perspective that this cat brings to a city that people seem hard-pressed to rep. Towles definitely kept it real with us in terms of talking about his own experiences and how such a transient city provides opportunities for art and culture to flourish.

Keeping watch. Kelly, thanks for the tour and the words. We’ll be putting up a short video soon on Kelly’s thoughts and experiences.

Soapbox: Hate the game

photo courtesy of theartnewspaper.com

Our super-secret inside sources (read: Twitter) told us this morning that, surprise, surprise, Mr. Brainwash aka Thierry Guetta, after making millions from his Pop Art inspired series of prints, has been slapped with an infringement lawsuit from the photographer of an iconic Run DMC photograph that Brainwash had appropriated for one of his works. From The Art Newspaper:

LOS ANGELES. Street artist Thierry Guetta, better known as Mr Brain wash, is being sued by a photographer for copyright in fringement over a well-known image of rap group Run DMC (which we were unfortunately not allowed to reproduce for this article). Lawyers acting for photographer Glen Friedman say Guetta reproduced his 1985 photograph without authorisation and used it in unique works of art, prints and promotional material, including postcards for his 2008 debut exhibition in Los Angeles, “Life Is Beautiful”. Friedman’s lawyer, Douglas Linde, says they are entitled to a share of “indirect profits” from the exhibition. Linde is seeking unspecified damages for “damage to [Fried­man’s] business in the form of diversion of trade, loss of income and profits, and a dilution of the value of its rights”. (full article here)

Yeah Thursdays kind of always drifts into street art hoo-hah for some reason… So Guetta is citing “fair use” for his argument, no surprises there, but again this is just the kind environment that we live in. Appropriation has a reached in point in America where it’s the lifeblood of basically all culture. You see the basic elements of form, color, image, shape, perspective reused, repeated and remixed in every industry from fashion, manufacturing, textiles, bicycles etc. The big fuss in a capitalist-driven society comes when you finally make money from it, then all the haters and sensitive photographers come out of the woodworks for a slice of the pie. The reason? The law. Copyright law is basically designed to protect the originator, which is essentially the complete inverse of the progression of art movements, particularly when you have that undertone of social commentary and appropriation built into something like street or Pop Art. Until we can recognize that everything is derivative, and to judge the merits of artistic work in terms of progression rather than outright evaluation, we’ll always be confined by the system. Ennui’s Prediction: Resolved out of court for an undisclosed sum. (see precedent)

Anyway, great article and food for thought.

Throw Up Thursday LA edition

As you know by now, our “regular photographer” is not in DC, so this week’s Throw up Thursday has been temporarily relocated to sunny LA, where I was told it was 70, and “that shit was like Hawaii” yesterday.

The stomping grounds of graff legends like  SINER, WISK, CHAKA, K2s-PRIME, GIN ONE, (the list goes on and on…) is now home to some of the most currently hated-on street artists and grant winners (haha). No, but really though, LA is so saturated at this point, you have to keep going bigger to get noticed. We’ll have a formal DC-based Throw-up Thursday at the end of the week, so this is your consolation prize. (we know, we know, these aren’t technically “throw-ups”)

These are all so dope, and to the people who bemoan about selling-out, repetition, poor image construction etc., street art’s audience is anyone who sees it, so I applaud you for keeping the dialogue going. However, the scale and imagery, setting selection and visibility are all marks of experienced street artists. These are all great pieces because of their setting, they are meant to be seen and fit in fairly well with their “frames”, which is something you shouldn’t ever shy away from in this medium. The bigger the better, go hard or go home. Again, we are lovers and documenters of all street art, be it gallery pieces or chalk drawings.

Again, thanks to our lovely LA correspondent, and as always, a few more snaps on the flickr. Stay tuned on Saturday/Sunday for a DC-specific Throw up Thursday, part 2 coming in a few days.

Moca presents Art in the Streets

From the Museum of Contemporary Art Press Release:

The Museum of Contemporary Art presents Art in the Streets, the first major U.S. museum exhibition of the history of graffiti and street art. The exhibition will trace the development of graffiti and street art from the 1970s to the global movement it has become today, concentrating on key cities where a unique visual language or attitude has evolved. Following MOCA’s presentation, the exhibition will travel to the Brooklyn Museum, where it will be on view March 30–July 8, 2012.

Art in the Streets will showcase installations by 50 of the most dynamic artists from the graffiti and street art community, including Fab 5 Freddy (New York), Lee Quiñones (New York), Futura (New York), Margaret Kilgallen (San Francisco), Swoon (New York), Shepard Fairey (Los Angeles), Os Gemeos (São Paulo), and JR(Paris). MOCA’s exhibition will emphasize Los Angeles’s role in the evolution of graffiti and street art, with special sections dedicated to cholo graffiti and Dogtown skateboard culture. The exhibition will feature projects by influential local artists such as Craig R. Stecyk III, Chaz BojórquezMister Cartoon, RETNASABER, REVOK,and RISK.

Well, this is going in to the calendar. Talk about pulling out all the stops for this one. Basically any name attached to graff and street culture that has seeped into any kind of social sphere is going to be “featured” or otherwise participating in this travelling exhibit… seen at Moca’s the Curve. Definitely an ambitious undertaking.

Alexone//Blek le Rat


A much-missed friend and honorary contributor sent me a package from Paris, France a few months ago with a black notebook inside. Much love.

blek le rat