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A Poetic Twist On Street Art

May 16th, 2011 · No Comments

Robert Montgomery’s WORDS IN THE CITY AT NIGHT and hijacked neon signs via design work life. Appropriation is a big theme in the British artist’s work – he is known for hijacking advertising space around cities and plastering his own politically-charged poetry on top.

I love his message here.





Look familiar? This is an exact replica of  the iconic “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign.

Artist Crush: Ute Bertog

January 7th, 2011 · 5 Comments

These paintings by the German-born, Minneapolis-based Ute Bertog are bold, modern and in-your-face. There’s a rawness and rebellious energy we associate with street and underground art which I assume are key influences. Letters and words are fragmented, juxtaposed and layered conveying messages about youth, urban culture and social constructs. The artist is in a group show at grayduck Gallery that opens Jan. 14th.

I am a painter intrigued by abstraction and its reluctant relationship to language. I paint text – not to make transparent works, rather to create opportunities for meaning to slip into other guises…

…Covering, rewriting, tracing, scraping, cutting are all procedures that slowly transform a given text extracted from popular media until the ability to read is either severely undermined or completely taken away. This is where imagination and play come in and readily fill in any gaps, offering the chance to undermine and confuse original content.


Chalk Art in Paris

November 22nd, 2010 · 5 Comments

Nichole snapped these shots of chalk art on the streets of Paris (via Wolf Eyebrows). I love the concept, the b&w palette and simple, contrasting patterns. And the best part is that it’d all wash away with a good rain shower. This is my kind of street art!


Catching Up With Street Artist, EMA

October 22nd, 2010 · 3 Comments

Florence Blanchard, aka EMA, is a painter, street artist and biologist who resides in Paris. EMA and I met last year through the Chocolate and I show when she was still living in New York. Since EMA moved back to her native France she’s continued her large-scale street-art which prominently features her mustachioed character, “Dropman.”

You’re an artist and you have a PhD in biology. What kinds of jobs/projects are you working on these days?

I’m mainly working on large scale paintings in abandonned places around Paris and England, which I document on my blog EMARAMA. I’m also wheatpasting in the streets and producing canvasses and screen prints for a couple of shows in the UK. One of the main themes I’m exploring is synchrotronic waves, which have been appearing in my work for the past year or so. The inspiration for painting these takes its roots in recent scientific physics experiments, which have been conducted in Europe on particule collision. More than the actual science behind these investigations, I have been intrigued by the popular fear of ‘black holes’, which it triggered in the media back in 2008. In my work, the synchrotronic waves represent an abstract scenery for figurative components – the geeky mustachioed characters in the shape of a drop.

You don’t hear of a lot of women making street art. How did you get involved?

Actually, these days I think you hear of a lot of women making art in the street. It’s way different from when I started painting graffiti 20 years ago. I got involved with the graffiti scene because I couldn’t find anything else better to belong to at that time. I had a strong urge for creating visuals and as a ‘proper teenager’, I didn’t want to belong to a mainstream scene, so it happened this way. I’m always happy to paint with other women, so I’m glad to see more of them around these days.

You started out doing street art but more recently took up painting. What was the transition like?

I’ve always been painting – either in the street or on canvas, so I wouldn’t say there was ever a switch between ‘street art’ and ‘painting’. I find the best way to keep it moving is to always try out new things. Generally a new technique comes with new ideas and inspiration. I started having gallery shows in the past few years and needed to paint on smaller surfaces so I decided to use paint brushes. You can really paint fine details with a brush, so I made very detailed tiny pieces or very technical bigger figurative pieces. These days I’m trying to loosen up with the technique, and come back to a more raw and natural flow.

Is there a story behind the cone-headed mustached man who appears in a lot of your work?

The ‘cone-headed mustached man’ was recently baptised ‘Dropman’. He is shaped as a drop and generally falls off a synchrotronic wave. I started wheatpasting Dropmen in Paris and London after I moved out of New York. They are an evolution of a series of portraits I wheatpasted in New York. I also paint them much larger in abandonned warehouses and buildings using spray paint and bucket paint.

You lived in Brooklyn for almost a decade but recently moved to Paris. How do the independent art scenes differ?

When you live in Brooklyn, I feel you are in a bit of a bubble – constantly trying to make a living while being surrounded by creative people from all boards. Sometime you don’t really have the time or energy to follow what’s happening elsewhere. When I moved to Paris this year I was surprised to find out the street art/ graffiti scene had been hit hard by recognition from the collectors’ world. When you talk to street artists in Paris they mention ‘auction houses’ a lot, and some of them make a lot of money while some others don’t.

Although it’s really cool for these artists to finally make some money, it also has deleterious effects on the independant and DIY spirit that once started the graffiti and street art scenes. Beyond that, I was happy to find other female painters, I can go painting with, which was not really the case when I left France in 2001.

Score! “Polite Graffiti” Coming to Brooklyn

January 14th, 2010 · 3 Comments

How awesome is this? Earlier today artist Christine Finley covered several NYC dumpsters in fashionable wallpaper as part of her Wallpapered Dumpsters Project, and tomorrow she is doing the same in DUMBO (25 Jay St)!

What a lovely idea. I especially love that this “polite graffiti” is, well, polite and girlie (which proves that street art can be!).  So, thank you, Finley, for make everyday walking about in NYC a little sweeter!

Photo by Rob Bennett from the New York Times.