Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Monday, August 30, 2010

A New Group Aims to Protect Graffiti Artists

Graffiti in Harlem, New York
NEW YORK— Street art, teetering as it has been for the last decade between crime and high-end gallery cash crop, has taken another step toward establishing itself as a legal, rarefied art form. This past weekend saw the launch of the Urban Art Foundation, which styles itself as an ACLU for graffiti-related criminal charges, offering financial backing and legal representation for those arrested for tagging city streets. It also hopes to procure landmark status for some of New York’s finest covertly-made works and promote the art form in public schools.
The group went public at a "Meeting of the Styles" at P.S. 15 in Paterson, New Jersey, a "Warriors"-style congregation of international graffiti stars, who came together to raise money for the nascent organization. Participants included such intriguing-sounding spray-painters as Eyesor, Madhatter, Herm Life, and Ms. Bless. Over the course of the day they decorated a wall of the school and offered spray-painting lessons and other art-related activities for children.
Real estate developer Eric Granowsky conceived of the idea for the new foundation, which is in the process of becoming a nonprofit, after he was frustrated by the downsizing of arts programming at his daughter's school — a sad trend in New York City’s public schools, 20 percent of which lack a certified art, music, theater, or dance teacher.

Wholecar Graffiti photos from all around the world (pt.2)

Some Wholecar Graffiti photos from all around the world.

To see the pt.1, CLICK HERE!

(Click on the images to enlarge them)

To see the pt.1, CLICK HERE!

Artist promotes Graffiti Art in city

New York based artist Jas Charanjiva is a collector of designer vinyl toys, painting walls with graffiti artistes and amassing underground art magazines. She is in town to promote street art in the city.

“My interest expanded to art found on the streets in the form of graffiti, Tokyo pop art,
proest art and the rock star lifestyles of the 60s and 70s,” says Charanjiva.
Jas recently painted a seven-feet long graffiti at The Guild, Colaba, called The Human Side based on the Taliban rule.

Powerful genre
“Street art is a powerful genre. Art in galleries is seen by a limited few, while street art is out there for the world to see. I have been giving lectures and holding workshops for organising an underground movement in Mumbai,” she adds.

Charanjiva is opening a studio in Mumbai. “I’ll be releasing a line of urban lifestyle products like posters, t-shirts and toys. I also plan to do murals around the city to encourage street art. It’s a good time to do this before people mistake street art for vandalism.” But is Mumbai ready for this subculture?

Art and city
“India will begin to appreciate street art at a higher level once people are exposed to what’s been taking place in other cities around the world in regards to the same.”

Charanjiva also lauds the Wall Project on Tulsi Pipe Road in Mumbai. “It has had a good start in accepting paintings and messages on walls as art. Now I want to see established and emerging underground artists to do the same throughout the city.”

Taken from: HindustanTimes

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Linden taking on graffiti with help of new machine

LINDEN -- Over the last several years, more and more scribbles of paint have appeared on walls around Linden, revealed in the morning like clusters of toadstools.
“It’s transcended from art to vandalism, really,” said John Venditto, general supervisor with Linden’s Department of Public Works. “It’s been increasing, to be sure. It’s starting to spread all around town, so the townsfolk were starting to get very nervous.”
 So when CitySolve Systems, a graffiti removal business from Brooklyn, approached the city last year with an apparatus that cleans buildings of graffiti, the city was interested.
After shopping around, the council approved the purchase early this spring, and for $64,990, the city got a trailer full of powerwashers, special solutions to remove graffiti and industrial-size supplies of neutral colors of paint so that entire walls can be repainted as graffiti crops up again.
“The neat idea this company had is if you can’t remove the grafitti, paint over it,” Venditto explained. “There’s certain blends of paint that mix in well with bridge abutments and buildings, and you just paint it, and if they tag it, we hit it again right over the top of it.”
A few public works employees were trained to operate the equipment, and the city is working its way down a list of high-profile locations.
Graffiti removal is a big deal for business ownersn like Michael Fedor, owner of A Brite Neon Factory on Routes 1 & 9.
“Our building was just repainted about a year ago,” Fedor said. “Starting about six months ago somebody put graffiti on it, and they kept adding to it and adding to it, until half the wall was covered. It was horrible.”
The new wall suddenly looked like an abandoned building, Fedor said, until early this month, when Linden public works employees came to him with the new tools and offered to repaint the wall for free.
“Business is not all that great right now because of the economy, and I couldn’t afford to repaint the building,” Fedor said. “So they came, and it was like God sent somebody. It was great.”
If his building is tagged again, Fedor said the city workers told him to call right away so they can respond immediately.
That suits him fine.
“(Graffiti painters) may think it’s art, but to me its just horrible,” Fedor said.

Taken from: NJ

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Foim on a Kiev Subway

Some works of Foim (click on the images to enlarge them):

To see more about Foim, CLICK HERE!

Graffiti welcome on Harrisburg's Peace Wall

Graffiti has always been associated with urban life.
In Philadelphia, New York City and even downtown Harrisburg, you can see places where people have chosen to express themselves with a can of spray paint on the side of an office building, a bridge or a bus stop.

Kids wanting to be creative? Maybe. Kids breaking the law? Always.
Bob Welsh of Jump Street, a nonprofit dedicated to developing educational and economic opportunities in the arts, is out to change that. He has found a way for budding Harrisburg artists to show their talents without vandalizing property. 
It’s called the Peace Wall.
This new “canvas” of sorts is at 1801 N. Third St. at the Neighborhood Center. Organizers hope it will represent the collective acceptance and encouragement of the community toward the individuality and artistic expression of its youth.
Kids shouldn’t be denied the chance to cultivate their creativity simply because they can’t afford an easel or a quality set of watercolors.
The wall is 6 feet tall and 16 feet wide — a big step up from your average easel size and certainly an adequate amount of space in which to fit the artistic creations of a large number of youth eager to make their creativity known.
But what’s even better is that this wall isn’t a once-and-done creation. It is expected to be a living, breathing chronicle of the city’s creativity.
Once it’s fully covered, the wall will be photographed, its markings saved and posted on Jump Street’s website. Then it will be repainted so more people can come and express themselves on its surface.
This is the kind of idea we all can get behind. Giving teens the kind of tools that usually result in vandalism but instead are used for art and self-expression is priceless.
What’s even better is that we can all view this ever-changing canvas.

Taken from: Penn Live

Livingston declares war on graffiti vandals

Truck with tools to paint over or wash away markings modeled after Fresno's.

LIVINGSTON -- It must be a tough life for taggers in Livingston.
That's thanks to an anti-graffiti truck and its operator, James Linan, said City Manager Richard Warne.
The truck was built by Dan Folkner, a vehicle maintenance worker, and Jesus Chavez Jr., a fleet maintenance mechanic, in 2006 after they were sent to Fresno to study a similar graffiti truck there, Warne said.

Folkner and Chavez made two trips to Fresno to make sure they knew exactly what they needed to build their own model.
The truck and equipment cost the city $68,943, but is worth every penny, Warne said.
The truck uses recycled paint that costs about $6 a gallon, instead of $22 a gallon for regular paint, said Jim Rightsell, street supervisor for the Public Works Department.

Before Folkner and Chavez built the truck, graffiti had to be removed manually and painted over with hand brushes and rollers, a monotonous task that would cost city employees lots of time, said Kathryn Reyes, Public Works superintendent.
Graffiti removal was a full-time job, and even then workers couldn't keep up with it, Reyes said. But since the graffiti truck's introduction in 2006, its operator, Linan, has not only been able to quickly eliminate graffiti with the truck's spray guns and seven various colors of paint, he also has time to work on parks and streetlight repair.

"Taggers don't have a chance," Reyes said.
Linan patrols the city for any graffiti outbreaks, but also takes reports from the police department and citizens, he said.
"I can probably clean it quicker than they (taggers) can make it, so it works in my favor," Linan said.
The city will remove or cover graffiti on public or private property at no cost to the owner, Warne added. The graffiti truck operates every day.
The quick removal of graffiti has worked as a deterrent to tagging, Rightsell said. It's even pushed graffiti outside the city limits.
Just as Livingston got the idea from Fresno, other cities near Livingston are starting to catch on.
Local officials from nearby communities have called and visited to learn about Livingston's graffiti truck, Rightsell said.
Mayor Daniel Varela Sr. doesn't see that as a surprise.
"This is one of the best things they could have done for the city of Livingston," he said. "It became a solution to an issue and a problem."
Skeptics may say there's not a lot to see in Livingston, but as long as Linan's operating the spray gun, there's one thing that will almost never be seen -- graffiti.

Taken from: Merced Sun Star

Man sentenced to jail over graffiti spree

Damage to Preston Street hardly considered art, judge says

A 21 year-old man who sprayed graffiti along Preston Street in what was described as "an imbecilic game of tag" was sentenced to 30 days in jail Friday.
Kyle Kenneth McAndrew pleaded guilty to mischief for the spree of vandalism involving him and six other people that caused $20,000 worth of damage along the popular Little Italy strip during the early morning hours of June 15, 2009.
Assistant Crown attorney James Bocking told Ontario Court Justice Richard Lajoie that McAndrew and his friends were caught "black-handed" by police at around 4:45 a.m. after tagging nearly a dozen businesses or private residences as well as a mailbox, a concrete wall near the Transitway, the O-Train station, a billboard and other property. The vandalism occurred just days before Italian Week celebrations.
"This is not even an attempt at artwork, it is merely an imbecilic game of tag, where the goal is to put your personal signature on someone else's property," Preston Street BIA executive director Lori Mellor wrote in a victim impact statement. "These perpetrators are not doing anything to improve the neighbourhood, only tearing it down with their filth."
Mellor wrote that business owners are tired of their windows, delivery vehicles and other property being "savaged by paint." They have already struggled enough through slow sales from the global economic downtown, road and sewer work along Preston Street and last year's transit strike, she wrote.
"It feels like they are being kicked while they are down," she wrote. "It infuriates them that bored kids are allowed to run rampant with no responsibility for the damage they have wreaked."
McAndrew also pleaded guilty to twice violating release conditions by possessing spray paint cans. He has remained in jail since his arrest Aug. 18 near the VIA Rail tracks on Belfast Road, where police caught him with another man carrying two spray cans.
"The message needs to be sent that small businesses in this town aren't one's canvas," said Bocking.
McAndrew's lawyer, Gerry White, said his client's "dysfunction" extends beyond graffiti to alcoholism.
"These young people think it is art. You and I and the court and the public think it is a gross nuisance," said White.
Lajoie agreed, sentencing McAndrew to 30 days on top of time already served and 20 hours of community service.
"You can argue you are expressing artistic talents but the majority of the population doesn't see it that way," said Lajoie, who also sentenced McAndrew to two years probation, including conditions not to possess any graffiti-making items such as paint cans and to stay 50 metres away from Preston Street unless in transit or for work.

Taken from: Ottawa Citizen

Faith and graffiti: Artist moves from prison to the classroom

When Ron Kaszuk sees railroad cars splashed with graffiti, he sees it as a “blatant sign of disrespect.” He shakes his head in despair when talking of the drugs and crime often associated with the tagger lifestyle.

So why is Kaszuk teaching graffiti classes to kids?

“I just want to teach them to be free with their art. I want to help them to learn to express themselves and how to use color based on their emotions,” he said.

The first challenge in understanding graffiti as a form of expression is separating the art from the dilapidated structures on which they often appear. The second is to separate the hip-hop culture in which the art form is embraced from the thug lifestyle with which it is commonly associated.

Kaszuk believes graffiti can be a legitimate art form while retaining its street character. The seed of this belief had already begun to sprout when he was at one of the darkest points in his life.

“When I was sitting in jail around all of these hardened criminals who didn’t care and who were absolutely coming back, I said, ‘Man, I just don’t want this,’” he recalled, his voice cracking with emotion.

These days, the 32-year-old regularly attends church, has started a graphic art business in Springfield, Ill., and works with young artists in space provided by a dance studio.

“I lived a bad life. I made horrible decisions. But God has changed my life,” he said.

Paying debts
Kaszuk grew up on Chicago’s South Side. He first discovered his love of art when his brothers’ friends would leave notebooks of graffiti-like sketches lying about, and he would try to sketch what he saw.

“I lived in a bad neighborhood. You couldn’t always go out, so what I would do is play Legos and draw,” he said.

As he got older, the influence of the neighborhood gangs took hold, and with it came the outlaw side of the art form. After drinking beer to stoke his courage, Kaszuk would head out at night with cans of spray paint.

Vandalism wasn’t his only vice. Kaszuk was also involved with dealing drugs. When he was cash-strapped, he and a friend started breaking into cars to steal the owners’ tollway change.

“We were doing hundreds of cars a night and filling up backpacks to the point that it would take two of us to carry,” he said.

Their crime spree in 2003 lasted seven days until they were arrested. According to the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Kaszuk was found guilty of burglary and sentenced to 90 days in jail. Kaszuk served his 90 days, but later broke the terms of his release when he refused to miss work to meet with his parole officer.

In 2006, a warrant was issued for Kaszuk’s arrest.

“I actually came to Springfield on the run. I didn’t come to Springfield to change my life; I came to Springfield, and my life was changed,” he said.

Kaszuk moved in with a friend here, but soon realized that he was heading down the same path as before. He began attending Alcoholics Anonymous, where a man told him about a transitional house for recovering substance abusers. He moved in.

“I didn’t have anything. I had clothes and a backpack. And I started living the right life. And when I did that, I knew I had a warrant, and that’s when I turned myself in,” he said.

Kaszuk returned to DuPage County and was sentenced to another eight months. He served about six months in 2007 at the Vandalia Correctional Center before he was paroled Nov. 9, 2007.

After completing his sentence, Kaszuk returned to Springfield.

This time, he wasn’t on the run. This time, he was on a mission.

Being open
Kaszuk began working odd jobs as a handyman to support himself. He also began attending the iWorship Center.

“Pastor (Eric) Hanson has been a huge influence on my life. ‘Family,’ a lot of people use that term loosely. These people are people who love me, who helped me through the hard times,” he said of his fellow church members.

After Kaszuk painted a mural for the church titled “Modern Day Mary,” a church member recommend him to Tracey Sims, a local dance teacher who was looking for someone to decorate her new studio. She recognized his talent immediately, not just as an artist, but as a teacher.

Bringing in an ex-convict to teach graffiti art to kids could be seen as a risky move, but Sims said she thought his talents would fit well with the hip-hop dance classes she offered. She also saw his ability to connect with people.

Kaszuk doesn’t hide his past. He begins each session with a personal introduction that lays bare many of the things he’s done. Sims said it’s not unusual for parents to be teary-eyed by the time he has finished talking about his personal salvation.

Kristen Ferguson has three young children taking classes with Kaszuk. She admitted to initial concerns and even did some investigation into his background.
After attending the first few classes with her kids, she says she feels comfortable that they’re in good hands.

“He’s got a lot of enthusiasm for teaching children. My kids enjoy their time in exploring both their artistic sides and Christian expression,” Ferguson said.

For those who fear that the streets of Springfield will be awash in graffiti once his young students graduate to adolescence, Kaszuk is going to great lengths to see that doesn’t happen. He’s had police officers talk to his students about the consequences of illegal graffiti, and he’s made his own feelings known.

“I let them know very sternly that if I find their name anywhere it’s not supposed to be that I will personally call the police,” he said of the practice of taggers signing their works. “It won’t be tolerated.”

‘The kids I’m targeting’
While Kaszuk has discovered a gift in teaching children, he still feels a greater calling. For the most part, the kids he works with now are from good families and are already headed in the right direction. He eventually wants to set up a studio in St. Louis, where illegal graffiti is still a big problem.

“The kids who are climbing on water towers, who are really talented, those are the kids I’m targeting,” he said.

In addition to getting them to go straight, Kaszuk wants to show them that there’s a legitimate market for their talent, especially as a form of advertising.

Kaszuk started I.M.A. Graphics to offer his services to businesses and organizations.

Kaszuk admits he isn’t perfect. He’s fathered five children, four of whom live in Chicago. He has little contact with his relatives, most of whom can’t, or won’t, believe he’s turned his life around.

But he says he’s determined to atone for his past transgressions by helping others overcome their own.

“One thing I really believe is that God will give you the things that you need, but you have to go after the things that you want,” he said.

Taken from: Sussex Countain

Friday, August 27, 2010

L.A. County sheriff's officers arrest two suspected graffiti vandals

They're searching for a third man suspected in tagging that caused nearly $340,000 in property damage.

Officers with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Transit Bureau arrested two suspected graffiti vandals and are searching for a third suspect after serving search warrants Tuesday at their homes in Whittier and El Monte.
The three men are members of a tagging group called PCN, which stands for Painting City Nightly or Painters Causing Nightmares, deputies said. They are accused of causing $338,000 in damage to freeway bridges and L.A. County properties.  They started tagging about 1 1/2 years ago, officials said.

German Lara, 21, was arrested without incident early Tuesday at his home in the 1200 block of Danbrook Drive in Whittier.
"This is a message to all taggers," said Lt. Vincent Carter. "If you don't stop tagging, we come to your houses at 7 in the morning, break down your door, wake you up and take you to jail."
Lara's mother opened the front door when deputies arrived and was cooperative. Later, she sat crying on the sidewalk. Lara was smiling as deputies arrested him. Three siblings also were home when deputies arrived.
Lara, who uses the tagging moniker Move, is responsible for $109,000, including $12,000 in damage to a railroad bridge owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, deputies said. His brother described him as the family's "black sheep," and one sister said he had refused to attend school, choosing instead to "hang out all night," deputies said.
Deputies seized several spray cans and a computer at Lara's house. Deputies said the computer contained pictures showing his alleged graffiti. They searched a second building in the backyard but found nothing.
Hours later and a few blocks away, Andrew Pineda, 20, of Whittier, who uses the tagger name Bogus, was arrested at his workplace. He is accused of causing about $109,000 in damage, including $30,000 to MTA property and about $79,000 to properties owned by the state of California and Union Pacific.
The third suspect, James Matthew Rivera, 20, whose tagger name is Supa or Supah, was not at his El Monte home when deputies arrived. He is accused of causing $120,000 in damage.
His grandmother, Amelia Reyes, 72, who lives at the house on Fruitvale Avenue with at least three of her 11 children and two other grandchildren, told deputies she did not know about Rivera's alleged tagging activities. His aunts said Rivera was a calm person who did not talk much.
Deputies seized a laptop from the Reyes home.

Taken from: L.A. Times

Amazing street art that enlivens cities

Today’s post is just for enjoyment. Look at this incredible pavement art from Edgar Mueller, all temporary work created on public streets and plazas. This comes by way of Brice Maryman, fellow land use practitioner in Seattle, and Gordon Price of Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, whose ork I have featured before. Prices's feature on Mueller, “Chalk Guy,” first appeared on the latter’s Price Tags blog.

Mueller's own site says that, if one looks from the right spot, the three-dimensional paintings become "the perfect illusion." The artist "paints over large areas of urban public life and gives them a new appearance, thereby challenging the perceptions of passers-by." Here is a description of Lava Burst, the work that follows:

"On the occasion of the 30th anniversary (9.-10 August) of the international competition of street painters in Geldern (Germany) Edgar Mueller has painted a large sized, three-dimensional picture . . . Residential buildings and a couple of business are strung together. The look falls to an apparently quite normal street of a German, medium-sized town. But an apocalyptic scene offers itself to the observer. The floor has burst and lava flow into a raging sea there where cars ran once and the people followed their weekday. Nothing is like it once was." 

Bear in mind that this appeared in large scale directly on the pavement:

Live graffiti exhibition in Woburn

Woburn is not somewhere you would usually expect to see graffiti.
The blank canvasses will be covered in graffiti
However this weekend some of the best graffiti artists in the country will converge on the traditional High Street and be let loose with their spray paints.
The live art exhibition will feature some of the UK's most exciting street artists whose work will literally take shape over the weekend.
Visitors to the exhibition can join in and create their own work of art.
"There will be around 14 urban artists painting live in Woburn, and everybody is welcome to come and see them at work and even give it a try," said Johann Bester, Director of Bedford Street Gallery and organiser of the event.
"The front of the gallery and the garden walls of the Black Horse pub next door will be covered with canvass and these will form part of the live painting event taking shape over the weekend.
"The artists have already been hard at work in the village and have painted the entire wall behind the bar at the Black Horse, plus there'll be lots more to see over the weekend so please come along to see this exciting project developing." 
The sheds will act as blank canvasses for artists to paint live
Among the street artists painting during the August Bank Holiday weekend will be Ben Slow, SPQR, Rocket01, Faunagraphic, Danny O'Connor aka DOC, David Le Fleming, Joseph Loughborough, Otto Schade aka Osch, Oliver Winconek, 20/20, Sars, Mef & Kem - KeMeF.iNc Est 1984, who will transform the 'blank canvasses' into some interesting pieces of art.
Artwork created over the weekend as part of the event will remain on show in the Black Horse garden until the end of Oyster Festival this year on 12th September.
During the live painting by, there will be white painted sheds in the garden of the Black Horse, at Bedford Street Gallery, in front of the Heritage Centre, on the Cobbles and the Green. These will be painted 'live' to promote 'Sheds for Art' as part of Woburn ARTBEAT 2011.
The sheds will act as blank canvasses for artists to paint live and then be used as satellite galleries and information points for charities during specific events throughout the year for the promotion of Woburn, art, the charities and sponsors of the sheds.
They will then go on sale with all proceeds going to local charities and artists.

Taken from: News BBC

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