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October 2013

BSA Newsletter for Oct 29, 2013


BSA Images Of The Week: 10.27.13

This weekend Halloween began early, and with Banksy leading the way on Friday night, it looks like there will be more tricks in store before the end of October (Thursday). Another surprise came when Swoon took her turn at the Houston wall.  As of right now, everyone is keeping their eyes open for what will […]

Göla Goes All Natural in Kazakhstan

Street Artist and mural painter Göla sends us images from this new wall on a rooftop terrace in Kazakhstan and of himself in the nude to celebrate it. “The work represents for me the three worlds,” he says to describe the piece he completed for the Almaty festival called Artbat. With interweaving symbols that emblematize what […]

BSA Film Friday 10.25.13

  Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities. Now screening: 1. Debut: Nils Westergard x Nanook in the Navaho Nation 2. MTO in Berlin 3. Vhils Talks About His Work 4. Sajjad Abbas In Iraq 5. Duality by MATEO BSA Special Feature: DEBUT Nils Westergard x Nanook […]

Canemorto in the Norwegian Countryside

As satisfyingly “street” as it is to dodge 18-wheelers that barrel down Flushing Avenue like they want to kill you and to wipe a quarter inch of caked cement dust and grime from your face when painting in Bushwick or to inhale the oily toxic smelling air when wheat-pasting in Newton Creek or building a […]

Opiemme Writes Poetry and Letterforms Across Italy

”What do you write?” For decades graffiti writers have been checking out one anothers’ bonafides with this question. Even as tags turned to large complex pieces, evermore stylized through means of exaggeration or obfuscation, text has always stayed as a fundamental building block for graffiti writers. Opiemme. Edgar A. Poe. “The Raven” Torino, Italy. (photo […]

Steel Gives Firepower to NEKST and Lango Sees Red in San Francisco

Here’s a quick shot from Hemlock Alley in San Francisco as Steel pays an explosive tribute to Nekst and the talented tattooist Lango lets the crimson power flow like a system of veins waving like flames across the wall.  The collaboration brings to life a street that looks like it otherwise may be losing some […]

BSA Images of The Week: 10.20.13

The leaves in Central Park are aflame and so are the passions of Street Art fans (and artists) this week in New York where the general public is now conditioned to be on alert for a near-daily announcement of a new Banksy installation nearly anywhere in the city. It can be a stencil, a sculpture, […]

A Saturday Mural in Mexico City with Tiburon 704, Navajas, and Shente

A ROA/SEGO Colab is Defaced and Replaced (VIDEO) “It’s not illegal graffiti, it’s a contemporary mural,” says a passerby who is watching the new collaboration by Tiburon 7ö4, Navajas, and Shente in Mexico City.  The Antique Toy Museum Mexico (MUJAM) and its director Roberto Shimizu decided it was time to refresh this wall after another […]



My Tribute to 5 Pointz

It has just been announced that 5 Pointz, the best graffiti mecca in the world, slted for demolition by developers, has won a 10 day stay of demolition until early November. This gives the artists a few more days to make the case that the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 protects the artwork on the walls of the buildings there.

Over the years I have photographed and video'd 5 Pointz. Here are links to all of my posted videos in order of creation. Enjoy:



Lock Picking As Sport - And Street Art?

Locks on bridgeAccording to The New Yorker, there is a lock picking contest going on in New York City that is resulting in some amazing "installations" of lock on public infrastructure. Almost like a street art sculpture effort.

The full article is here.

Here is the gist:

Over the past decade, “locksport”—the organized recreational picking of locks by amateur enthusiasts—has become a thriving subculture. Participants are, by definition, not professional locksmiths. This puts what they do in a legal gray area that they are quick to discuss and defend. In addition to nimble fingers and long attention spans, locksport enthusiasts try to remain fluent in local burglary law.

All but simultaneously, the phenomenon of “love locks” has exploded: padlocks with names, initials, or messages of love written on them, clipped to pieces of urban infrastructure as a public sign of romantic commitment. In some cases, the locks have been expensively laser-etched; others are simply written on with Sharpie. “Carrina, will you marry me?” “Zach + Julie, Always + Forever.” They are poetic, forming quite beautiful, rose-like clusters—and they are doomed. In nearly all cases, they will be clipped by the city and disposed of, their magic and romance lost.

On a nearly cloudless Saturday afternoon in September, recreational lock pickers met halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge to help save its hundreds of love locks. The plan was to remove as many as possible before the city’s cleaning crews could clip them, store them in red, Valentine’s Day-colored nylon bags, and, eventually, reattach each lock onto a public-art sculpture, a specially made “tree” to which all future love locks will be latched. They call this “love picking.”


Don't Believe the Media Regarding 5 Pointz - There is Hope

Went to 5 Pointz on Sunday October 13 and spoke to Marie (Marie@5ptz.com) about what is happening with 5 Pointz and its destruction. She offered hope and said "Don't believe the media. We are fighting back."

IMG_1336There is a 1978 law sponsored by Senator Ted Kennedy that protects sanctioned art works from destruction. The law, titled VARA - the Visual Artists Rights Act, makes it a crime to destroy public legal art. 5 Pointz has launched a lawsuit to stop the destruction of the public art all over the building. Let's hope it works to save 5 Pointz.

Check out the video and see what is going on there, what the legal recourse is and join us in our special walking tour with artist Carlos:




All May Not Be Lost at 5 Pointz

IMG_1300With all of the bad news about the destruction of 5 Pointz recently, I am somewhat heartened to hear that all is not lost regarding its survival. This is based on a very brief conversation I had today with Meres, the CEO fo 5 Pointz. He says that there will be an announcement very soon (either today or tomorrow) regarding the true developments of the property. He says - Do not believe everything that you read in the newpapers.

It may be that the developer who is threatening to destroy the 5 Pointz buildings has another agenda, the artists have not be apprised of supposed "things the artists agreed to" and public officials who voted for certain givebacks may not have had all the facts.

Is this totally accurate? I don't know but what I do know is that there will be news very soon. Stay tuned....

City Council to Determine Fate of 5 Pointz

IMG_9277In today's New York Times, there is an article about the fate of 5 pointz. But despite it's encouraging headline, the article is actually "how tall will those glass luxury towers be" rather than "will 5 Pointz be saved".

Here is the full artilce. Tell me how we can stop this atrocity.


The New York City Council is expected on Wednesday to decide the fate of 5Pointz, the brick warehouses slathered in oversized graffiti that became a cultural institution in a once-working-class neighborhood of Queens.

The longtime owner of the warehouses, the Wolkoff family, is seeking to demolish the buildings to make way for two towers with a combined 1,000 apartments on a three-acre parcel near Citigroup Tower in Long Island City. Last week, the Wolkoffs agreed to set aside additional space for affordable housing and artists’ studios with the hope of winning approval for the $400 million project.

Those concessions came after negotiations with the local community board and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer, a Democrat from Queens, over the proposed towers, which would be among the tallest in Queens. But many of the artists who spray-painted the walls with the multicolored art that attracted worldwide attention are unhappy that one of the few places dedicated to their aerosol craft would disappear.

“My father, Jerry, bought it over 40 years ago thinking he’d develop it 39 years ago,” said David Wolkoff, the principal of G&M Realty, a family-owned development company. “We’re now transforming it into other types of buildings.”

The Wolkoffs agreed to increase the number of affordable apartments to 210, from 75, and to include 12,000 square feet for artists’ studios, up from 2,200 square feet. If approved, the project would also include open space and allow artists to paint several walls. Because one of the towers, planned as 47 stories, is higher than current zoning permits, the owners had to go through the city’s land-use approval process.

The Wolkoffs’ decision to nearly triple the number of affordable housing units was not purely altruistic. To qualify for tax-free financing, developers must earmark one-fifth of the units in a project for low- and moderate-income tenants.

“It’s a much better project now than when we first heard about it,” said Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, which represents Long Island City.

Mr. Wolkoff said he was not turning his back on 5Pointz. “The artwork is absolutely fabulous,” he said. “That’s why we’re asking them to come back to the new building.”

But the artists who worked at 5Pointz and helped it become a street-art mecca, drawing international artists and delighting riders on the nearby No. 7 elevated train, were not persuaded by the developer’s concessions. Jonathan Cohen, a graffiti artist who curated the ever-changing art at 5Pointz, said the plan will “just destroy more of what made New York what it is. Now it is just boring, full of bland boring towers of boxes of glass,” he said.

He scoffed at an idea floated by the developers that he curate graffiti spaces when construction is complete, dismissing it as a marketing ploy by the developer.

“Yes, he gave us the wall for free, but we have put tremendous amount of work in it for the past 11 years and contributed to putting Long Island City on the map,” said Marie Flageul, a spokeswoman for 5Pointz.

Mr. Van Bramer, the councilman, said that there was no stopping the project. “The truth is there was not a way to save the building,” he said. “The building is privately owned; the owners can knock that down and build a very large building.”

In a series of meetings, Mr. Van Bramer and Jerry Wolkoff, a Brooklyn-raised developer known for his blustery style, ironed out the details of a deal.

Most of the warehouses on site are now vacant. The artists’ studios and garment shops sit empty, awaiting demolition. David Wolkoff said he would begin work on the $400 million project with the base of the building and the 47-story tower. If demand for the apartments keeps up, he said, the second, 41-story tower would follow fairly quickly.

“Artists really helped transform Long Island City,” Mr. Van Bramer said. “Some pieces of the new building recognize that history and honor that legacy. I think that’s fair.”



Brooklyn Street Art Newsletter this Week


Images of The Week 09.29.13

Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Chris RWK, Chuck Barrett, Cs Navarrate, Damien Mitchell, Deekers, Gilf!, JMR, Katherine Daniels, Kuma, Left, Miishab, NM Salgar, Oculo, RVMP, Sheryo, Skewville, Swil, The Yok, Willow, and Zimer. Top image > Willow and Swil for the Centrifuge Project. NYC 2013 (photo © Jaime Rojo) Zimer […]

Pandemic Breaks Out Inaugural Show Featuring Epic EKG Piece

It’s baaaaaack.  And not a minute too soon. Pandemic Gallery re-opens tonight in the Navy Yard area in Brooklyn with a bigger more commodious location for freethinkers unconcerned with the white box. Rooted in the graffiti and Street Art scene, proprietors and co-curating artists Robin Drysdale and Keely Brandon apply their vision of what they […]

Dan Witz Darkly and With a Smile in Rome

Piquing the public’s curiosity is a studied art. Dan Witz is now doing it darkly on Roman streets. It’s out in the open, but let’s keep it between us. Dan Witz. “Public and Confidential” Rome, Italy 2013. (photo © Giorgio Coen Cagli) The hyperrealist is in this two and a half-thousand year old city drilling […]

BSA Film Friday 09.27.13

  Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities. Now screening: Graphic Surgery for “The Canals Project“, OLEK in “Russia’s PRIDE“, Team OBEY Visits FAILE,  STREET ART BRAZIL via Frankfurt, and M-City in Paris. BSA Special Feature: Graphic Surgery for “The Canals Project” Erris Huigens and Gysbert Zijlstra, artists […]

Bien Urbain 2013 Update

With a theme of “Recover the Streets” the Bien Urbain festival is not so much a Street Art festival as an experiment with public space and our interaction with it. It has been interesting to see how the current romance with Street Art is absorbed by a variety of constituencies during the last decade – […]

MSK Crew and the 2013 Summer Family Reunion in Brooklyn

Before we lose the warmth of the sun we wanted to reflect on one of the largest graffiti shows curated under one theme that was mounted this summer right on the streets of Brooklyn by members of the long-running graffiti crew known as Mad Society Kings, or MSK. It’s a Summer tradition for many families […]

OLEK Interview and Exclusive Photos “From Russia With Pride”

Shortly before she left New York for Russia a couple of weeks ago to do an installation across the entrance of a shopping center with her signature camouflage crochet treatment, Street Artist Olek was feeling a bit nervous. Because of her Polish background and her regard for the Russian arts historically, she was excited to […]

GAIA in Progress at The Rice University Gallery in Houston

Street Artist Gaia Talks About New Installation and Latest Study For the opening this Thursday Gaia will be talking about the impressions he has gathered and internalized of Houston’s urban sprawl and of some of the folks on the front lines of the everyday; using painting, drawing, printmaking, and collage. Much like his commissioned installation […]

Images of The Week: 09.22.13

First day of Autumn, Yo! And we have been harvesting images for you as we enter the new season in NYC. Here is our weekly interview with the street, including CAM, Dasic, Icy & Sot, ILL, Jessie and Katey, MAD, MOR, Paolo Cirio, Pigeon, Rambo, Rubin, Stefan Sagmeister, Tatyana Fazlalizadeh, and Yuko Shimizu. Top image, […]

French Artist COMBO Wants You To Smoke…POT

French Street Artist and media-savvy prankster COMBO is back with a new street art and social media campaign to affect what he calls “a bourgeoise hypocrisy that reminds us of alcohol prohibition”. Enter Kermit the Frog smoking a J. Someone who looks an awful lot like Kermit the Frog is shown here promoting smoking. COMBO (photo © COMBO) […]

BSA Film Friday: 09.20.13

  Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities. Now screening: La Catedral Futumétrica with EC13 + El Niño De Las Pinturas + Spidertag, Meggs and FareShare in Australia, and Five More Minutes with C215. BSA Special Feature: La Catedral Futumétrica with EC13 + El Niño De Las Pinturas […]

Troy Lovegates and the Murals of Summer

For those of you north of the Equator who have been announcing that Summer is over, may we remind you that we still have till Saturday the 21st so keep playing in the sun together with short sleeves on till darkness starts invading and the smell of dinner wafts out of windows as you skateboard […]

Manhattan Sheep Find Greener Grass in Chelsea

New York City has a beautiful sheep’s meadow. It is fifteen grassy acres so-named in Central Park where 200 or so sheep lived for a number of generations in the mid-18th to 19th century, and later it became home to “love-ins”, concerts, and sunbathing. This week Manhattan officially has a second pasture for sheep to […]

INTI Hits 11 Story Building in Lodz

Five days into the progress of this new 11 story wall, Street Artist Inti is gathering some high-flying attention in Lodz. Some neighbors have actually come to the site with binoculars to more closely watch the process up there and to debate with other bystanders if this is going to be the largest mural completed […]

Basquiat Evoked on the Street in Sassuolo, Italy

Remember when we were with French stencil pioneer Jef Aerosol on a Brooklyn roof back in January ’10 where he created a portrait of Jean-Michel Basquiat? His influence has continued unabated among some Street Artists who talk with us today. When you travel around the world meeting different folks on the Street Art and graffiti […]