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.
On his website, the street artist Spidertag describes his work simply by writing “It´s all about nails + pure wool + geometry + abstraction + streets + abandoned”. It can hardly be described more accurately. Using nails and wool yarn, Spidertag installs geometric abstractions in beautifully lonely locations. The work, as pure abstraction, doesn’t appear to reference any figurative object (except perhaps spiderwebs). Though maybe burgeoning trend within street art, this type abstraction and material sets Spidertag’s work apart as understated and unique.
Italian artist Mimmo Rubino, also known as Rub Kandy, plays with the city. His art’s relationship with the city and its citizens is interactive, even fun. His newest project is simple but imaginative. Rubino uses an urban mainstay as a canvas for his spray paint work: a cement truck. While the mixer spins, Rubino keeps a spraying can of paint steady. Repeating the process with various colors eventually covers the mixer in near perfect stripes. Appropriately, the piece is titled Revolver.
The pieces of Xuan Alyfe arrive from a variety of influences rarely found in street art. His work is largely abstract, but peppered with figures and other recognizable objects. The murals seems to subtly reference minimalist, surrealist, and even graphic design styles. Aylfe’s art even seems to piece together various influences of other street artists into his own distinct style. Perhaps appropriately, then, he has exhibited and painted murals worldwide.