Dubai and the United Arab Emirates has seen a recent influx of street art and artists. However, those working beyond preordained areas, outside the law and within a true graffati tradition, still surprisingly few. One of the only such street artists is known Arcadia Blank. Though rare and often illegal, the artist’s work has garnered the support of many locals by forgoing trite tagging for short thought provoking maxims. The short text pieces touch on religion, politics, globalization, media, and a range of other matters with an intriguing mix of sarcasm and sincerity. Further, Arcadia often utilizes temporary structures, which not only minimize private property damage but also is especially appropriate to the artwork’s style.
Las fall street artists MOMO and El Tono were invited collaborate on a project for the Bien Urbain festival in France. Both artists often work with an abstract painted style. For their collaboration, though, the artists added a third dimension. Using pieces of wood, the artists filled gaps in walls and windows throughout the city. Instead of being unused negative space, the gaps were transformed into a framing device for these abstract compositions. Simple but elegant, the series is illustrative of innovative trends in street on new approaches to interacting with the urban environment.
Spain based street artist Ruben Sanchez has a peculiar artistic style. His work can be found internationally (his latest, the top photograph, created in Dubai). However, his home of Spain can be found in his artwork anywhere its painted. Influences such as Picasso’s Cubism or Miro’s Surrealism are clear in his spray painted mural. He goes on to say of the influences that can be found in his work:
“If you dissect any of my artworks in an operating room you will find graphic design, tribal art, graffiti, cubism, skateboard culture, 90’s and 80’s music, flamenco, social situations and a kaleidoscope among others.”
Take a stroll along the High Line in NYC and you can’t help but notice Chelsea’s very own eye-popping mural by Eduardo Kobra on 25th and 10th. This towering piece of street art infuses a rainbow bolt of color into Manhattan’s skyline, emoting nostalgic imagery: re-imagining Alfred Eisenstaedt’s 1945 classic photograph “VJ Day in Times Square.” Likewise, if you live along the west coast in LA, you might have noticed Kobra’s psychedelic Mt. Rushmore redeux at 1255 La Brea Ave, exposing the art of democracy.
Interestingly, this artist is not from America, but São Paulo, where his passion for blending vintage or classic iconic imagery into contemporary settings first emerged in the late 1980s and has traveled internationally ever since. The intention was and is to pay homage to the parts of a country’s past or remind the city inhabitants of their historical precedents– emphasizing a certain level of romanticism.
The street artist known as Above works primarily with stencils and spray paint. However it can also be said that he works primarily with politics and wit. Above’s pieces expound on their surroundings, such as cast shadows, trash cans, electrical wires and even preexisting street art. He also uses these surroundings to bring attention to political issues. For example, a line of silhouetted people queue up down a city block as a comment on Spain’s high unemployment rate and a reference to the lines at the unemployment office. Another piece was daringly executed near an ATM – a masked figure points a gun at the ATM with one hand, and is handing cash to a real homeless woman nearby with the other.
Hyuro has a very peculiar style of street art. Her work is highly detailed and uses subdued colors. It is her artwork’s narrative quality that makes it stand out. Each mural seems to be a very small piece of a much larger story. The viewer passing the mural almost feels like an interruption to some mysterious goings-on. The influential fellow Spain based street artist ESCIF poetically says regarding Hyuro and her work:
“Hyuro doesn´t paint on the street. Hyuro talks to the street. And she does it with such respect and affection, which are the others who, as we approached, we paint the walls that she just whispers.”
The art of the glitch has made its way off the screen out of the realm of the accidental. Perhaps it’s the aesthetic source of a new abstraction. The form has also made its way street art and graffiti. Polish artist Krzysztof Syruć incorporates explicit glitch stylings and subtler inspiration in much of his work. This first piece seems to use its background as a source image. The image is distorted, ‘corrupted’, and reduced to basic values. Other pieces seem to reference circuitry, code, and even biological systems.
This week’s images bring us surprising works of beauty, detail, and wit. Sam3 brings a silhouette mural with an innovate use of the fence posts (I’m guessing located in rural Spain) – the piece references the expulsion of the Moors from the Ricote valley in the 16th century. We also have a giant new mural in Poland from Sainer of the ETAM crew. Alexis Diaz also give a new mural, an elephant/octopus creature a week in the making comprised of thousands of detailed brushstrokes. Stenciler DS smartly rebuffs the buffer – after one of his stencils was painted over DS replaces it with a portrait of the “remover man”. David de la Mano‘s is a poetic and carefully detailed mandala-esque piece. Ludo expounds on his theme of contrasting technology and nature with an impressive tulip-rifle mural. Nychos new piece in San Francisco finds a tiger literally jumping out of its skin. Finally, we have an awesome collaboration between artists POSE and Revok that followed their dual exhibit at the Jonathan Levine Gallery.