Last December, I had the pleasure of spending a week in Paris with my parents. Between visiting art museums, touristic sightseeing and getting to know my local boulangerie & fromagerie, I managed to catch some great graff trucks, largely in the 11th, 13th and 20th arrondissements.
With my employer’s headquarters based in Munich, I regularly make trips to the Bavarian capital. Though I’m there for work, I always make time to take in some of the local sights. On a visit in September 2014, I was delighted to come across a giant wall by the Berlin-based artist, Kripoe. It was a perfectly serendipitous moment: bleary-eyed, jetlagged and rushing to work for an early morning continuing education session, this wall greeted me as I stepped off the tram outside the office.
With a little digging, I discovered this wall was a 2012 joint initiative between Amnesty International and the Munich-based non-profit arts association, Positive-Propaganda, who are “dedicated to establishing contemporary and socio-political art in urban spaces”. Amazingly, they had been able to convince the notoriously aloof artist to paint his first legal wall, titled “Hände hoch für Waffenkontrollel!” (“Hands Up For Gun Control”).
Around the corner, also on the grounds of the Schwere Reiter art center, I came across another Positive-Propaganda wall by the Spanish artist Aryz.
After an absence of two years, I returned to Munich in November 2016 for a 3-day software training. With only a Sunday afternoon of free time at my disposal, I hit the ground running, determined to see the walls Positive-Propaganda had helped produce since my last visit. With walls by Blu, Escif, Ericailcane, and Shepard Fairey, the organization had managed to attract some of the most socially conscious artists active on the streets to their cause. No mean feat in an era of increasingly vapid and purely decorative mural festivals…
I’m very proud to announce my first book, (Un)Sanctioned: The Art on New York Streets, the culmination of a decade of obsessively keeping up with NYC graffiti and street art. (Un)Sanctioned presents a photographic overview of art found on NYC streets, covering a vast spectrum of styles, mediums and techniques, running the gamut from illicit handstyles to guerilla sculptural installations to full-blown production murals done with permission. The 192 page hardcover volume, published by the UK’s Carpet Bombing Culture, is set to be released October 28. (Un)Sanctioned includes an introduction by art critic Hrag Vartanian, an essay by yours truly, and contributions from artists Elbow-Toe, Leon Reid IV, Jordan Seiler, Garrison and Alison Buxton, and Fade.
A book launch and signing will take place in conjunction with the 10 Years of Ad Hoc Art anniversary exhibition at 17 Frost Gallery on October 22.
(Un)Sanctioned: The Art on New York Streets
Release date: October 28, 2016
Publisher: Carpet Bombing Culture
Book Launch: October 22, 2016, 6:00-10:00pm
Location: 17 Frost Theater of the Arts, 17 Frost Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
For me personally 2015 marked a year when things got real and everything – including documenting street art & graffiti and most definitely blogging – was put on the back burner. Nevertheless here’s a small selection of artworks, places and moments that resonated with me this year.
My thanks and gratitude for all the love and support these past months…