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U.K.’s Oldest Cathedral Recruits Ant Steel for Its Artist-in-Residence Program

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Steel and other community members will create large-scale works for an exhibition in November.

Ant Steel is not the type to scale walls or stealthily spray-paint street corners under the cover of darkness. Steel asks for permission to paint. Always. He’s not interested in tags or gaudy throwies and tends to paint vibrant, highly realistic works as community projects.

Steel’s more formal approach to graffiti stems from a career in graphic design that involved preparing images for advertisement. If it was a spray job, Steel would go and watch the painters dangle off the side of giant billboards, his feet firmly on the ground. Only more recently has Steel begun creating a different type of public art: a mural of Queen Elizabeth II outside a shopping center, an extensive pro-Ukraine painting on a town wall—and now, a series of works as artist-in-residence at St Albans Cathedral, Britain’s oldest site of continuous Christian worship.

St Albans Cathedral

The wall depicting a peregrine falcon Steel painted for St Albans Film Festival. Photo: courtesy Ant Steel.

“Street art has a loud voice and I want it to shout as loud as possible,” Steel told Artnet News. “At the cathedral, I have a remit of running workshops and events. My goal is to be involved within the community.”

To be clear, Steel won’t be transforming the stone walls of St Albans with color, though, in a curious echo, the cathedral is riddled with thousands of carved graffiti marks dating back hundreds of years. Instead, Steel will be creating large-scale works on boards as well as working with children, asylum seekers, refugees and adults to create an exhibition in November, one he believes will “turn some heads.”

St Albans Cathedral Ant Steel

Steel’s wall for Ukraine in St Albans. Photo: courtesy Ant Steel.

The Cathedral approached Steel after learning about the workshops he led for the St Albans Film Festival as part of its broader push to attract younger and more diverse audiences. The landmark has been running its artist-in-residence program since 2018.

“The Cathedral has long been a patron of arts and is keen to support local artists,” Kevin Walton, the Cathedral’s Canon Chancellor, told Artnet News. “Ant Steel’s fresh and engaging artistic offer and his dedicated approach to community work matched our vision.”

Walton was also drawn to the idea of a contemporary graffiti artist playing off the marks worked into the Cathedral. “We are consciously building on our long heritage in this place,” Walton said.

See more images from the artist in resident program below:

St Albans Cathedral graffiti

Ant Steel at work outside St Albans Cathedral. Photo: courtesy Ant Steel.




Risk Recieves Lifetime Achievement Award

‘An Addiction I Could Never Shake’: Street Art Pioneer Risk on How He Brought Graffiti From the Street to the Gallery

RISK-2-1024x683To write his first bit of graffiti, a young Kelly Graval didn’t travel very far. He staked out his high school until it was dark, before jumping the fence with four cans of red and white spray paint. On a wall, he painted “a big piece” that simply read “SURF,” a nod to his hobby.

“It was terrible,” he said of his debut as a graffitist—though by the next day, the work managed to draw the attention and admiration of his classmates, most of whom, back in the early ‘80s in Los Angeles, had yet to encounter any form of graffiti.

From there, Graval’s canvases would only grow larger and farther as his adventures in graffiti took him to train yards and freeways across L.A. His legend would develop alongside his tag, Risk, an apt moniker that captured the rebellion and peril inherent in graffiti writing, and that, yes, he borrowed from the board game.

For Risk, it made sense that he should persist in writing and tagging the city. “You have the art form and you have the strategic form,” he told Artnet News of graffiti. “It’s just an addiction that I could never shake.”

Decades on, his endurance is paying off. Recognized as a pioneer in the West Coast graffiti scene, Risk has seen his work included in exhibitions from “Art in the Streets” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles to “Beyond the Streets” in Los Angeles and New York. His recent forays into fine art and sculpture, too, have fetched prices upwards of $200,000.

Over Art Wynwood weekend which was from February 16 through 19, Risk will be collecting the fair’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award for continuing to “innovate and shape contemporary art through his work.” His sculptures will feature within the fair, which is presented by Art Miami, and his graffiti art will take up an entire mural that flanks the entrance.

Certainly, the honor is “mind-blowing,” he said, but it’s also been gratifying to watch what once was deemed vandalism enter the art conversation.

“My whole life I wanted graffiti art to be a mainstream art form—to just be considered a genre of art. I wanted to see this art form be in galleries and museums, and celebrated around the world,” he said. “And now it is.”

Read the full article here.

Banksy Valentine's Day Mural Revealed in Margate UK

Banksy’s Startling Valentine’s Day Mural Exposes Domestic Violence as a Dark Reality Ignored on the Most Romantic Day of the Year

The anonymous artist's new work appeared overnight in Margate.

As reported in Artnet by Vivienne Chow,

Banksy, Valentine's Day mascara (2023). Credit @banksy.
Banksy, Valentine's Day mascara (2023). Credit @banksy.

Banksy has unveiled a new mural highlighting the fight against domestic violence on the morning of Valentine’s Day, drawing applause from fans around the world who praised the artist for not forgetting the reality of abuse on this supposedly romantic day.

Titled Valentine’s Day mascara, the work appeared overnight on a white brick wall in the British seaside town of Margate, one of the most economically deprived areas of Kent.


It depicts a woman dressed as a 1950s housewife tossing a man into a real abandoned freezer, around which Banksy created the work. The woman in a blue checkered dress, apron and yellow household rubber gloves has a broken tooth and a black eye probably caused by a punch. She appears to be enacting her revenge on her abuser, while only his legs are visible, sticking out from the end of the freezer.

Banksy, <i>Valentine's Day mascara</i> (2023). Credit @banksy.

Banksy, Valentine’s Day mascara (2023). Credit @banksy.

The work went live on the elusive artist’s Instagram page on Tuesday morning, and garnered more than half a million likes within a couple of hours. Many have left comments praising the artist for drawing attention to the issue.


Levels of domestic violence rose during the pandemic lockdowns, and the most recent Crime Survey for England and Wales estimated that 5 percent of adults aged 16 years and above—6.9 percent women and 3 percent men—experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2022, equating to 2.4 million adults.

“Sheeeessssh but that’s some people’s reality,” one user wrote on Instagram. “Fighting violence used against women. Even on Valentine’s Day. Always!” wrote another user.

Another speculated if there were other hidden messages behind the work. “Anyone else notice the Ukrainian colors? I think that’s the message,” another user pointed out.

One user guessed if Banksy was female. Another shared their horrible accounts of domestic violence and abuse their family experienced. “Anyone who’s experiencing abuse—get help, get out, get free,” the user wrote.

If you or someone you know is being abused, support and help are available.



Space Invader Invades Paris!

Space invader parisParis is waking up to the beauty and fun of street art thanks to Space Invader's long creative project in that city.

WHAT IS A SPACE INVADER ? A Space Invader is a small mosaic pasted by the artist Franck Slama on the street corners of more than 70 cities around the world. Franck Slama is a street artist and mosaicist French, born in 1969. He was trained at the Beaux Art de Paris.

Atlas Obscura reports:

As a tourist in Paris, you will likely find yourself near the Notre Dame cathedral. Consider a short detour about a thousand feet south, and you’ll a small space invader on public display: PA-03, which originally appeared 1998. 

While walking the streets of Paris, you have undoubtedly spotted small tile mosaics on the sides of buildings, typically one story above street level, ranging in size from a square foot to much larger. Many are in the shape of the pixelated characters from the 1978 video game Space Invaders.  

The artist known as “Invader” (Franck Slama), a graduate of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, started erecting this street art in 1998. A bit of a rebel, he gravitated toward street art, though he favored ceramic tile over spray paint, as he liked the permanence of the medium.

Knowing his work was created to last, Invader kept a comprehensive database of all of his art. Each piece has a catalog number. For instance, PA-199 is the 199th piece to be placed in Paris and LDN-147 is the 147th piece to be placed on London—you get the idea. As of July 2019, Invader has placed and cataloged more than 3,700 works of art in 78 cities worldwide. Paris, where it all started, has more than a third of the total.

A few blocks away from PA-03, where Rue Monge hits Rue d’Arras, you will find PA-04, also originally dating back to 1998. PA-01 had a known location, but it has been “deleted,” as has PA-002 (though it has been re-activated by others). As of July 2019, PA-04 was also partially destroyed. It appears as though PA-03 and PA-04 may have been completely destroyed at some point but were later restored, though it’s unclear if the restoration was the work of the original artist.

Know Before You Go

If you enjoy the hunt for Invader art, it is recommended that you install the Flashinvaders app on your smartphone, which allows you to snap a photo of each invader. The app will analyze the image and inform you if the artwork is made by Invader or an imitator. It will also display the catalog number, the date of creation, and the name of the piece. For the fun of it, you score points for each unique acquisition. You can also see a live feed of other snaps being taken around the world. Enjoy the hunt.





A Look Inside the Batcave

Like all great graf places, the batcave in Brooklyn is slated for demolition to build ... wait for it ... luxury apartments. But here it is as is.

Dating back to the 1950s, the Gowanus Batcave is one of the City's oldest graffiti havens. Similar to its Queens counterpart 5 Pointz, the Batcave is being demolished and converted into residences. In this immersive 360° video from the New York Times, peek inside the graffiti-filled Batcave before it is gone for good.


The Pothole Picasso

Jim bachorThe Washington Post reports on Jim Bachor's effort at filling in potholes with mosaics.

Jim Bachor travels across the country filling potholes for a living. He doesn’t just fill the unsightly road gaps with cement, he actually turns them into art — and often, social commentary. Bachor uses hundreds of pieces of Italian glass and marble that he cuts to create the sometimes subversive mosaics, which he installs on the ground to beautify unsightly city streets. He doesn’t work with cities on the installations, he works rogue, and he places the mosaics himself.

Bachor began his pothole art in Chicago, where he lives, by installing the word “pothole” in black and white marble in a road divot in 2013.“People loved it and thought it was funny,” he said. “Was it legal? I still don’t know. I decided to turn my hobby into a bit of a Robin Hood thing. If I had to ask for permission, I wouldn’t be doing this.” He was recently in D.C. making pothole mosaics of wolves for a conservation group.

Bachor’s work in Chicago includes filling street craters with mosaics of a TV remote control, cats, a Twitter blue check mark and the words “I couldn’t do this if I were Black” — as well as other images to make people stop and look, including the word “LIAR.” He’s worked in many cities, including New York, where he’s made mosaics of dead rats, pigeons and cockroaches. He was called “Pothole Picasso” by the New York Post.

In D.C., Bachor was hired by the #RelistWolves Campaign, a privately-funded group that is working to get Northern Rocky Mountain wolves reclassified as an endangered species in an effort to get them the same protection as other gray wolves.

Now he spends about 10 hours on each piece and said he has created 108 artworks, including commissioned installations for streets in Nashville, Philadelphia, New York City and Los Angeles.



The Best Street Art in Athens, Greece

One of the oldest cities in the world, full of history and the cradle of democracy and culture.

This is Athens. The ancient’s ‘glorious city’. And at the same time, a contemporary city that assimilates cultural trends and adapts them to its own character. It goes without saying that the modern urban religion of graffiti and street art is part of this: tags, throw-ups, wild style graffiti, political activist stencils, stickers, paste-ups and public art murals created for festivals and other projects. So if you love art and street culture, you’ll love discovering this lesser-known side of Athens.

Every neighborhood has a different story to tell.

 Keramikos & Gazi  Exarhia
 Metaxourgio  Piraeus
 Omonia  Rentis
 Psirri  The School of Fine Arts
 Monastiraki  The Polytechnic campus

Ra Paulette's Hand-Carved Caves

As showcased in Atlas Obscura, these amazing cave carvings are unusual and creative. But they are also closed to the public...

One man has carved a number of natural New Mexico caves into psychedelic sandstone temples. 

For over 25 years, New Mexico artist Ra Paulette has been creating natural crevasses in the New Mexico wilderness and painstakingly chiseling, digging, and carving intricate underground wonderlands.

In 14 different caves in the desert just north of Santa Fe, Paulette has created an underground fantasy world using nothing but the power of his own hands. Sometimes using preexisting crevasses and sometimes simply tunneling into the soft sandstone cliffs, the artist creates singular subterranean spaces to which he ascribes a sort of spiritual power.

No two of Paulette’s caves are alike, some featuring undersized doors or skylights that let the sun in, while others include benches carved right into the wall or deep niches for flickering candles. The walls of the caves are also decorated with carved designs ranging from flowers to abstract suns to purely emotive design flourishes; all look as though they formed naturally because they are etched into the cave walls themselves.

Paulette considers his creations more of a hobby or public service than a money-making venture and generally just leaves the caves to be discovered by others when he is finished. He hopes that those that come after him can discover some peace or epiphany in his chambers. Paulette finds his joy in creating things, not necessarily the things’ finished states.

Know Before You Go

Most of the caves now sit on private property, and because of past issues with trespassers, the owners have closed the caves to the public.