The Italian city of Venice is something of a living museum, with historic buildings and monuments almost everywhere one looks. I had been warned there was next to no graffiti and had set my expectations on that front low. While it was true that I saw no productions or burners – with the exception of a piece that zipped past on an Trenitalia train on its way out of Venezia Santa Lucia train station – I was surprised to see a lot of tags I recognized, some of which had been running for over 10 years. Within minutes of leaving the train station, I picked up a trail of shiny, silver Twist tags that marked the path to San Marco Square.
Winding my way through the city’s narrow alleyways, I scanned all surfaces as usual. A pedestrian city geared heavily towards tourists, the shutters and gates of Venice’s many shops were a popular target. The astute eye will spot KR and Espo tags.
The duo that makes up UR New York was also well represented on the street.
So much for there not being any graffiti in Venice.
Steve Powers continues his Downtown Brooklyn beautification project… God knows the Fulton Street Mall needs it.
This week the support continued to pour in for our buddy, Aidan Jack Seeger, with a gigantic billboard recruiting members for his posse going up on Broadway, under the JMZ line in Brooklyn. Ewok 5MH has some video here.
And if that wasn’t enough, Chino BYI has set up a blog featuring artwork dedicated to Aidan by some of the world’s top graffiti artists, including Steve Powers/Espo, Haze, Faust, Kaves, Lunar YCU (Croatia), Keo, Python, Lemon (Germany), Serch (Zwolle, Netherlands), KR.one, Ces One, Shizel, Wolf, Samp, Mickey (Amsterdam), Cey Adams, and Reas.
There will also be a Ducati Raffle at the INDIAN LARRY block party on Saturday 9/24 (see the schedule), with all proceeds going towards Aidan’s medical bills. The annual block party is always a good time and now it’s paired with a good cause. Hope to see you there!
In today’s issue of The Guardian, author, art director & designer Tristan Manco shared his picks for The 10 Best Street Art Works – In Pictures. Artists include such influential names as Jenny Holzer, JR, Keith Haring, Swoon and Blu, among others. I was also happily surprised to see that one of my Steve Powers pictures from his Love Letters mural project in West Philly had been included in the article. Yes, you can file this post under shameless self promotion.
This Saturday only, fall Under the Influence of ESPO. Steve Powers will be on hand at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem to introduce the following film program:
A Love Letter For You
Dir. Joey Garfield, 2010, 59 min
Jail bound youth spray paints a love letter to his girl.
Espo Runs The Show
Dir. Joey Garfield, 2005, 25 min
A artist’s manager tries to keep his client motivated for his debut solo show at a leading art gallery.
Got That Gary
Dir. Joey Garfield, 2000, 1 min
Gary promotes the wares of the Street Market.
Style Wars The Musical
Dir. Matt Lenski
A preview of the beautifulest musical on off Broadway.
I had an opportunity to view the semi-fictional/semi-autobiographical A Love Letter For You film earlier this year – if you are a fan of ESPO’s work, you will not want to miss this screening. I might also add that the Maysles Cinema regularly programs rarely screened graffiti films, many of them of historical interest. They should be supported, as they “work hard to solicit material and programs from amateur video-graphers, “hood” documentarians, street vendors, video store-owners, neighbors and citizen-activists.”
Under the Influence of ESPO
Saturday, May 21st, 7:30-10:00pm
343 Malcolm X Blvd. (btw. 127th & 128th Sts.)
New York, NY 10027
It appears that all of this snow currently being dumped on NYC has gotten me thinking about my hometown, a place that is well known for it’s crap weather. Growing up in Syracuse, NY, I was fortunate enough to have some really talented writer friends, such as Shone237 and Sake, but it was a rare occasion for outside talent to come through Onondaga county. Yet over the last few years I have been happily surprised to see some internationally renowned names getting up in the Salt City, two out of three with permission and funding, no less.
Back in 2007, Leon Reid (aka Darius Jones, aka VERBS), installed his first legal sculpture right outside of the city court house.
So, basically I’m just braggin’ for a city that hasn’t always had a lot to brag about…and encouraging any artist with a good idea (and some talent) to consider applying for a grant from the city of Syracuse’s Public Art Commission.
Having grown up outside of Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love will always hold a special place in my heart. Although I’ve lived in New York for many years now, I make a point of going back to Philly as often as possible. When I heard that the organizers of the Love Letter for You mural project were running a special “Love Train” on Valentine’s Day, I jumped at the chance to join in on the love fest.
Waiting for the “Love Train” to depart from Center City, the excitement on the platform was palpable and infectious. To the sounds of the O’Jay’s “Love Train” blasting from a boombox, the enthusiastic “Love Train” staffers got everyone on board a specially decorated Market-Frankford El bound for West Philadelphia. Once the train emerged above ground at 44th Street, Steve Powers took to the PA for a tongue-in-cheek guided tour of the mural project. As if the cheers and claps of appreciation weren’t enough, the smiles on passengers’ faces spoke volumes about how this project has been received in Philadelphia.
Having lived in West Philly in the mid 90s, I know all too well how much this neighborhood is in need of revitalization. Empty lots, burnt out row houses and boarded up businesses are a fact of life in West Philly. When I walked along Market Street under the El last November to see the love letters in person for the first time, everyone who saw me photographing them spoke warmly and proudly of the murals. After yesterday’s train ride, I know without a doubt that this project has already touched many people and understand why it has so wholeheartedly been embraced by the community.
I could go on and on about the importance and impact of public arts programs, but I’ll spare you that and simply encourage you all to hop the train to West Philly and show the neighborhood some love.