Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.
Creative murals by designer and street artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo are turning Tehran, Iran’s streets into an outstanding open-air gallery. Executed on two-dimensional blocks of concrete, Ghadyanloo’s artworks deceive the viewer’s eye by skillfully using methods from op art and 3D painting.
Mehdi has established a mural-painting company Blue Sky Painters, which helps him to work with the large-scale street art projects. What is not very frequent in the field, is that Ghadyanloo is fully backed up by the city’s municipality. According to the artist himself, it is one of the government’s goals to promote mural art in Tehran.
“The city is an architectural mishmash with buildings often having only one facade and the other three just left blank and grey. This doesn’t make for a beautiful city but it is a great environment for mural work. I think the municipality really felt the need to bring some cohesion or at least colour to the often confused and smog-smeared architectural face of the city.”
Ghadyanloo graduated from MA in Animation, which brought him closer to storytelling and surrealism. The latter has really influenced his style in urban murals. His scenes often depict unrealistic sights and actions such as cars flying in the air, man bicycling down the wall, people defying gravity and so on. Many of Ghadyanloo’s creations also cleverly interact with their surroundings bringing even more life to the streets of Tehran. (via: My Modern Met)
Street artist INSA paints graffiti murals that he then turns into gifs – called “gif-itis” – by photographing multiple frames of a mural he paints several times, then combining the successive images to create animated gifs. Animating these street murals allows for a viewer to engage with the street artist’s work without leaving their home. The murals exist in the real world as a static image, but when combined with technology, they become a moving image only accessible in the virtual world.
In 2013, INSA traveled to Kubuneh Village in Gambia to paint murals on local structures for the Wide Open Walls Project. He completed his most recent piece (the revolving skulls and hearts at the beginning of this post) a few weeks ago after spending 2 days painting 8 layers of the mural.
Street artist Banksy has famously made his way to NYC. For the past few weeks he’s sprinkled his work throughout the city. Everyday, he posts photos on his Instagram feed of new pieces and where people can find them. The response, so far, has been staggering. His reputation and widespread media coverage has people turning out in droves to view his art.
Not everyone is impressed, though. Jerry Saltz, famed art critic for New York Magazine, calls him “Mr. Meh,” and is generally underwhelmed by the message of Banksy’s work. Saltz writes in a recent post on Vulture, “His black silhouette figures, surreptitiously painted on walls around the city, strike me as formulaic tweaked political cartooning, and anarchy-lite.” He goes on to say that Banksy is a repetitive thinker; If you’ve seen one, then you’ve seen them all. Additionally, Saltz notes that artists like Kara Walker have been creating silhouette works for nearly 20 years and Banksy’s work, “…doesn’t pack anywhere near the formal or psychological incendiary wallop” as Walker’s does.
In the above video, Saltz takes to the streets. He found a crowd of people surrounding Banksy’s work on the side of a DSW. Interestingly, the piece was vandalized. Another street artist screwed a large sheet of Plexiglas over Banksy’s work and painted “Let the Streets Decide” over top. Once it’s removed, Saltz talks with the crowd about what they think of Banksy and the particular piece:
From the conversation, Saltz has a realization. He writes, “I suddenly got what the reaction to Banksy is about: It’s being part of the reaction to a Banksy. It’s a multiplying communal occasion, friendly, a way to talk to strangers and share a piece of New York. It’s anti-Establishment, anti-capitalist, and anti-art-world enough to add a frisson of libertarian rebellion and take-it-to-the-street cred.”
Where do you stand with Saltz and the people on the street? Do you think Banksy is interesting?
“Graffiti Girls” is a stunningly beautiful portrait series by Austin TX-based artist Kevin Peterson. His blend of both hyper realistic portraiture and natural graffiti penmanship is a new one, and his command of both styles is impressive. Peterson uses the rough and jagged shapes of wall tags to directly juxtapose the soft beauty of young girls; the ragged and worn versus the innocent and clean. Though subject and backdrop are polar opposites, the girls seem empowered by the art behind them, instead of shying away from it. They may live in a world that’s tagged up, but they aren’t scared of it. The color and design of the spraypaint behind them seems to enhance the girls’ beauty and personalities, especially with Peterson often coordinating the tags with the girls’ outfits. These portraits help to make the argument that graffiti is becoming a more normalized form of public art, and though it’s not always pretty, younger generations growing up in this world are used to its presence, instead of threatened by it.
Rae Martini‘s work combines expressionistic urban texture with graffiti-infused flourishes of color. Throw ups, tags, and gradients are partially obscured by grime of every variety. Everything’s happening at once. What’s great about these is that they present an evolved aesthetic within the realm of graffiti without abandoning some its more classic techniques. See more from the Italian artist after the jump.
A little over a week ago, we featured an interview between James Jean and Jeff Staple. This week, check out another vid of Staple stirring up some insightful chatter with a talented artist.
NYC artist Jose Parla is known for bringing the most subtle graff references to his abstract expressionist paintings. Tags and drips meld seamlessly with texture and scale in his atmospheric work, eschewing the familiar graffiti-aesthetic-as-gimmick-syndrome.
Full interview after the jump.
Renowned Brazilian brothers/collaborators Os Gemeos, known for their huge street art murals featuring vivid colors and strange, yellow dudes, just opened a show at Boston’s ICA. While the bros are in town, they’re getting up with two large pieces that are starting to look like some of their best work yet. If your grandmother still thinks that public art is a nuisance, then show her these gorgeous process photos. And if you’re on the east coast, a road trip may be in order before the summer’s out. The show at ICA/Boston runs until November, 25.