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Hong Kong Street Art Risks Selling Out

According to Malcolm McLeod writing for Artsy, Hong Kong sanctioned street art risks "jumping the shark" because the artists are encouraged and supported. I am not so sure that I agree.

Here is the full article. I look forward to your comments.

In Hong Kong, buildings rise and fall daily in a jungle of bamboo scaffolding. Many are torn down and replaced within only 30 years of their construction. With the exception of the colorful high rises that light up the sky along Victoria Harbour, the architecture of Asia’s commercial center is defined by utilitarian shades of gray and beige. In reaction to their drab surroundings, a core group of local and international street artists have been making their marks on Hong Kong.

“Cities right now are really ugly, because at some point in the first half of the 20th century, people started to have a very strong belief that a single ideology could create a new world,” says the Italian-born, Hong Kong-based street artist Barlo. Around that time, he says, the idea of decoration fell by the wayside. “That was the beginning of modernism, born from the idea that when you create a building, everything is designed to follow a function from beginning to end.”

Over the last five years or so, explosions of artwork have begun to breathe life into areas around Hong Kong Island, Kowloon, and the New Territories. Depending on whom you ask, you’ll hear this artwork called street art, muralism, graffiti, calligraffiti, or even vandalism. Each of these monikers represents a different style and attitude found among the international culture on Hong Kong’s busy streets. For contemporary artists, these forms of art present both an opportunity to beautify the city and a chance to experiment.

“I actually stopped painting for a while when I was living in London,” Barlo laments. “I would walk outside and get discouraged because there were so many legends working around me. In all that busyness I think I lost my own voice.” He recalls feeling inspired upon arriving in Hong Kong, where he initially didn’t know anyone and wasn’t confronted by an onslaught of art on the streets. With this newfound creative freedom, Barlo moved on from graffiti and portraiture to develop a more naturalistic style of painting, using brushes to portray mythological creatures and fantastical scenes in Hong Kong.

  • Barlo, World Upside Down, Hong Kong. Courtesy of Barlo.

Compared to the long histories of street art and graffiti in cities like New York or London, Hong Kong’s scene is still embryonic. Yet it’s evolving at a startling rate in recent years thanks to an influx of international talent and a growing cadre of locals looking to make names for themselves. While street art has existed in Hong Kong in niche groups for nearly two decades, beginning with the illegal works of graff writers like Tsang Tsou Choi (a.k.a. the King of Kowloon) and then Xeme, it is only recently that the general public has taken a genuine interest, often driven by commercial support. In this city built on “making the sale,” street art has become a hot commodity, and many groups are jumping on the bandwagon. Thus, we are seeing an uptick in opportunities for artists to create work legally.

First, there are galleries and museums—including Above Second Gallery, Over the Influence, and nonprofit Hong Kong Contemporary Art (HOCA) Foundation—that have exhibited the works of international stars such as CyrcleShepard Fairey, and Vhils. Above Second’s director, May Wong, takes a lot of the credit.

“I don’t want to sound boastful, but we kind of brought the street art trend to Hong Kong,” she says, pointing to “Work in Progress,” the gallery’s 2013 group show. “With Cyrcle, Rone, and all these artists, we already had one of the biggest street art exhibitions years ago. And that’s why the education level has come so far in Hong Kong.”

Educating Hong Kongers on the artistic merits of street art is a motivating factor for Wong and her peers. “I think it’s just taken longer for people to understand,” Wong says. She recalls seeing the King of Kowloon’s work as a child. “I walked by it going to school every day or would see him in action. I’d ask my mom, ‘What is he doing?’ and she’d say, ‘Oh, he’s just a crazy guy.’ Back then, I didn’t see it as an art form or even as graffiti.” That changed after she spent time living in New York. “It hit me that a public space can have something that influences the society and gives energy to the community,” Wong says. One such community in Hong Kong is Lam Tei village near the Siu Hong MTR station, where local artist 4Get and Frenchman Sautel Cago collaborated with eager residents of this lower-income area to create abstract, improvisational works on their walls, which can still be seen today.

  • 4Get and his mural in Hong Kong. Photo by Superen. Courtesy of 4Get.

4Get, who splits his time painting in Hong Kong and mainland China, sees the presence of big, international names at museums and galleries as a boon for the local scene, not an intrusion. “There are many artists who come and go in Hong Kong, but basically, we all know each other. It’s not a big community—there are only 20 or 30 people doing [street art] who are [Hong Kong] locals,” 4Get says. He acknowledges that, as an artist, the infusion of these international artists fuels inspiration and offers an opportunity to learn about the broader landscape of contemporary street art. “We have the chance to get to know the outside world and see big artists like Shepard Fairey, to see how they execute their work and their crazy styles.”

In contrast, Barlo believes major street art exhibitions are limiting opportunities for local or unknown artists. “It always depends on what is your goal in life,” he says. If you want to become a famous contemporary artist and show in galleries—no simple feat anywhere in the world—Barlo says Hong Kong is an especially difficult place to start. On top of that, he doesn’t see it as a place where artists are encouraged to take risks.

“A lot of the people that want to do street art here want to play it safe,” Barlo explains. “The main problem is no one will give you a space and say, ‘OK, you are a street artist for a living. Please change this space and create an experience for the viewer, so that they enter your world and want to leave with a piece of it.’ ” Instead, if an artist receives a commision, that transaction is more like an investment. “But if you’re someone who’s never had a solo show, then who will invest in you?” He adds that confining street art to white cube galleries is creatively stifling. “It’s taking that change you are trying to create in the city and confining it to a gallery—boring.” How, then, are local street artists supposed to make a living in Hong Kong?

“It’s easy to be a punk when you’re 16,” says Cath Love, an artist whose character Jeliboo is gaining popularity on T-shirts and apparel. “But then you grow up and the bills start rolling in.” Many Hong Kong street artists, Barlo included, work day jobs as graphic designers, and they make a point to distinguish that work from what they’re doing in the streets. With the exception of a few exhibitions from Above Second and Pearl Lam—who, last year, put on a show of nine local street artists called “Hidden Street”—local street artists aren’t well represented in Hong Kong galleries. Yet somewhere between the worlds of high art and advertising, the collaborative and commercial opportunities for artists in Hong Kong are growing, usually through private and corporate commissions as well as citywide street art festivals.

  • Okuda San Miguel and his mural Rainbow Thief  at 180 Tai Nan Street for HKwalls 2016. Photo by Cheung Chi Wai. Courtesy of HKwalls.

These commercial opportunities figured prominently in “High Art, Low Art, Street Art,” a recent panel discussion at Bonhams Hong Kong held in conjunction with the auction house’s display of work by New York-based artist KAWS. During the discussion, the speakers tried to piece together the phenomenon of street art in Hong Kong, particularly the difficulties of securing public walls for artists and undertaking a traditionally rebellious art form in a city where issues of control and censorship have been front and center since the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement in 2014. Among the speakers was Maria Wong, managing director of the annual street art festival HKWalls, which was started by Jason Dembski and Stan Wu in 2014 and has since served as a major platform for Hong Kong street artists.

Wong discussed how neighborhoods have slowly become more amenable to the HKWalls festival. “The first year, we had local shop owners saying, ‘What, you’re just going to scribble on my wall? Why should I let you paint my wall?’ They thought of it as vandalism,” she recalls. “Now, we have this great portfolio of work, and it helps a lot. It’s getting easier to convince people.” That snowball effect is evident in some of the massive walls Wong and her team were able to procure for the 2015 festival in Sham Shui Po.

“Hong Kong is catching up a bit late, but even globally I think it’s become kind of a trendy thing, so people see it as a way to market themselves and their business,” Wong says. “They also see the value of having it in their offices. That’s probably why you’re seeing a lot of it being paid for,” she adds, referring to the commercial side of street art in Hong Kong.

HKWalls is heading into its fourth year of giving local, regional, and international artists equal opportunities to get their work onto city walls. The initiative has exposed street art to the communities of Sheung Wan, Stanley, and Sham Shui Po, while educating shop owners about the work’s value and emphasizing the positive energy these artists bring into the spaces they inhabit.

Secret Walls is another group supporting street art in Hong Kong and abroad, with events coupling live art exhibitions with music, dancing, and drinking. In a tournament format not unlike a rap battle, artists take the stage and paint throughout the party. When all’s said and done, the cheers of the audience determine which artist moves on to the next round of competition.

  • Gan working on his mural at 110 Nam Cheong Street for HKwalls 2016. Photo by Eric Hong. Courtesy of HKwalls.

Secret Walls Hong Kong recruits artists from various backgrounds to compete in their shows. Among them are local artists Boms and the collective Parents Parents, who come from backgrounds in illustration and graphic design. Boms paints Chinese characters, rather than English letters, alongside cartoon characters in works that resemble a twisted Studio Ghibli film. Since taking part in HKWalls and Secret Walls, local artists have received invitations to international festivals, as well as commissions to create works in restaurants and office spaces around the city. Most recently, Parents Parents painted a mural at Facebook’s Hong Kong office.

Barlo is critical of these commercial jobs, which nevertheless offer a large source of income for Hong Kong-based street artists. “I think what we see right now is a resurgence in Confucian ideals, really. A respect for authority. I think that’s why you don’t have very many young kids just going and painting in the streets,” Barlo says. “If your goal is just to do Nike’s office from the beginning, what are you doing?”

While Barlo may criticize these commercial gigs, others, like veteran Hong Kong painter Stern Rockwell, a transplant from New York, believes that any support for the scene is positive. “I don’t believe in selling out,” Rockwell says. “Obviously, it’s more fun if someone just gives me a wall and lets me do my thing, to improvise. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to make a living and hold on to that visa. So you’ve got to work inside the lines a bit.” Rockwell has sold small pieces through a number of galleries, and he’s willing to compromise with his patrons, but only to a certain extent. “Some people want a specific idea that is suitable to their company and represents their image, and it’s more of a back-and-forth process dealing with the corporate side of things. So, for me, that’s not the fun stuff, but it’s still cool in the end. It’s still my work, and I’m still happy with the outcome.”

Given this commercial focus and the lack of overt political motivations found in the provocative works of artists like Banksy or Blu, Hong Kong’s street art scene is an easy target for criticism. However, the medium’s storied, rebellious spirit does thrive, albeit somewhat secretly. In the far corners of the city, abandoned buildings double as training grounds for those brave enough to make the journey. Barlo and Boms reminisce about the days they painted abandoned warehouses or school buildings in the New Territories or out past Kennedy Town on the Island Line, before they were confident about putting their stuff out there. These more established artists and the veteran Rockwell agree that doing this work off the beaten path is the best way for aspiring artists to start. “A lot of people want to do what I do, and to them I just say: ‘Do it.’ The walls are out there,” Rockwell says.

  • Stern Rockwell and Senk, HKwalls 2016. Photo by Kyra Campbell. Courtesy of HKwalls.

As someone who has made Hong Kong his home after visiting for many years, Rockwell has had a comprehensive look at the city’s changing climate for street art. “The majority of people here in Hong Kong embrace it. I think people here like the idea of expressing themselves and seeing people expressing themselves,” he says. “I started coming here in the early ’90s and there was absolutely no creativity at all. It was just how much shit could you jam into a store. So it’s changed a lot.”

Several organizations have sprung up recently to encourage and develop a homegrown brand of street art. Secret Walls, for example, has a side project in the works called School Walls, with the idea that, one day, kids around Hong Kong will compete and collaborate with one another in the name of street art. And Write the Future, a spray paint store and meeting place in Kwun Tong, encourages all artists, whether visiting or local, to use its space for sharing and educating people on the merits of street art—a concerted effort to eradicate the stigma surrounding this misunderstood art form. Barlo, for his part, looks to the example of 4Get’s collaboration with Lam Tei village, and he hopes to one day involve the growing refugee population of Hong Kong’s New Territories in a documentary art project.

“When it’s done right, street art is not just decoration to make a city more cute or more colorful. We must make a city more interesting,” Barlo says, “and touch someone on a deeper level, to make them think. It’s about changing the environment you exist in.”

 

—Malcolm MacLeod

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140 Essex Street in NYC this Weekend

140 EssexArtists Fill a Lower East Side Building with Murals Before It’s Demolished

According to Hyperallergic - Before it’s razed, 140 Essex Street is hosting a one-weekend exhibition featuring 10 murals by 10 artists.

The low warehouse building at 140 Essex Street on Manhattan’s Lower East Side is not long for this world. The former site of the Essex Street Market and, more recently, host to a mockup of the subterranean park the Lowline, will soon be leveled to make way for an apartment building that is part of the Essex Crossing mega-development. But before its walls meet the wrecking ball, they are being filled with murals.

This weekend, 140 Essex Street will reopen to the public one last time for Market Surplus, an exhibition featuring murals by 10 artists who’ve filled the building’s 20-foot-tall walls. Organized by Hanksy, the show features an international slate dominated by renowned street artists, including Pixel Pancho, Elle, Faust, Sonni, and more. When I visited the raw, cavernous space last night, many of them were still hard at work on their murals — the building only became available at the end of last week — but several were already finished and ready for tonight’s opening celebration.

“A lot of the artists are making murals inspired by the neighborhood,” Hanksy explained. Some of the references are fairly overt, like Sonni’s popping, stylized rendering of the local cityscape replete with rooftop revelers and water towers. Others are much subtler in their Lower East Side homages; for instance, the artist NDA used to work at the Essex Street Market and, during a recent visit, struck up a conversation with the butchers near his former stall. His mural is a giant portrait of them.

Most poignant, perhaps, is Faust’s mural of golden, elegant script, which reads: “This will never last.” It speaks not only to this building’s imminent disappearance, but to the cycles of demolition and construction reshaping this neighborhood yet again.


The Beautiful Psychedelic Pollution Floating in the Gowanus Canal

Watergowanus07-1080x721Steven Hirsch’s photographs, now in a new book called Gowanus Waters, capture unexpected beauty in one of America’s most polluted waterways.

 

Who would have thought that such dangerous pollution could produce such vibrant colors in compositions that remind us of high art?

According to Allison Meyer of Hyperallergic,

New Yorker Steven Hirsch brings his lens so close to the toxic surface of the heavily polluted Brooklyn waterway, you may worry about his health. Yet the results are strangely mesmerizing, transforming the burbling brew from more than 150 years of industrial runoff into psychedelic abstractions. Streaks of purple mingle with neon greens and blues, while rainbow wisps swirl amid a murky darkness, like galaxies floating in space.

Hirsch’s vibrant images encourage a new perspective on the 1.8-mile waterway. And while they’re not necessarily a form of environmental advocacy, it’s hard to separate them from the site’s polluted past. The Gowanus neighborhood continues to be gentrified and developed (the gleaming Whole Foods got a $12.9 million tax credit for its cleanup of contaminated land) even as the adjacent waters remain poisonous. In a 2013 article for Popular Science, Dan Nosowitz asked, “What would happen if you drank water from the Gowanus Canal?” The answer was complex due to the sheer number and variety of pollutants — in one of the stagnant micro-zones, you might be guzzling raw sewage or E. coli, while another would be rich in radioactive material or arsenic. No matter what, you’d probably get dysentery.

The Gowanus Canal is now an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund Site, although it’s possible the cleanup plan could be delayed under the Trump administration, with longtime EPA opponent Scott Pruitt leading the agency. Some of its “black mayonnaise,” a grotesque mix of coal tar, heavy metals, and PCBs lining the canal’s bottom, along with old boats, tires, ragged metal, and even boulders, was dredged late last year. Will Hirsch’s photographs eventually be a time capsule of industrial folly?

“One spring day, we visited the canal and Hirsch saw, for the first time, the water teeming with tiny fish, but caught virtually none of the slime he’d been hoping to discover to make new photographs,” journalist Jordan G. Teicher writes in an introduction to Gowanus Waters. “Indeed, thanks to its Superfund status, the canal — long referred to by locals as ‘Lavender Lake’ for its distinctive, unnatural hues — is slowly on the mend. Soon enough, Hirsch’s polluted palette will be a memory, much like the industrial heyday of the borough’s interior.”

 


Gowanus Batcave

What fresh hell is this What fresh hell is thisI go to Gowanus often and never heard of the Batcave. So I am thrilled to be able to explore it ... before it gentrifies! Read the full history here.

Known best for the ever-changing political graffiti on its overhang, visible from the 4th Avenue 9 Streets stop on the F and G train, the building is now empty save the furniture and belongings of the people who had lived there.

Currently being cleaned of an excessive build-up of moldy books, mattresses, and plush toys (albeit the graffiti remains relatively untouched), the building was recently bought and is being developed into an art center and bicycle velodrome. 


Abandoned Psychiatric Hospital Ruin Porn

I am fascinated by buildings in ruin. And apparently there are many abandoned psychiatric hospitals that have been allowed to fall into decay all over the world. Atlas Obscura just posted an article on them. The one that is travel-able for me is Creedmore which is on the border of Long Island in NY.

CreedmoreHere is it's history:

Opened in 1912, Creedmoor State Hospital was initially the farm colony of Brooklyn State Hospital (now Kingsboro) with 32 patients who worked the farmland as part of their treatment. Like many other similar institutions, over the first half of the 20th century the population at Creedmoor rapidly expanded before deinstitutionalization occurred beginning in the 1950s, at which point the hospital shrank from 8,000 to 500 patients in the span of only four decades.

The 1970s were a rough time for the hospital, when crime infested the campus. Three rapes, 22 assaults, 52 fires, 130 burglaries, six suicides, a shooting, and a riot occurred within 20 months of each other. It was around this time that Building 25 was abandoned. Never sold off or demolished, it has been rotting on the hospital grounds since it was vacated in the early 1970s.

Besides the pigeons which have overtaken the top floor and the odd squatter, the building is empty of everything but detritus. Thick with grime, if it weren’t so inaccessible by public transportation this would likely be an even more popular spot for urban explorers, teenagers, and those others fascinated with forgotten things.

This is located across Union Turnpike from the active Creedmor campus, you'll see two smokestacks coming up from the property. The entrance is on Winchester Blvd and most of the campus is drivable. Some of the buildings are in active use, for offices and for residential rehabilitation.


Detroit's Street Art Scene is Disappearing. Is That REALLY Good??

Detroit-cleans-up-and-graffiti-landmarks-vanish-body-image-1475804132 Detroit-cleans-up-and-graffiti-landmarks-vanish-body-image-1475804132Readers of my blog know my passion for street art. This article reported in Vice shows the continued short sightedness of urban planners who, in league with developers and gentrifiers, remove the traces of street art as part of a city's rebirth. Why can' street art and (asethetically beneficial) gentrification co-exist? I am not advocating keeping Detroit ruins in place. I am saying that there should be a place for the creative expression of the old Detroit alongside the new up-and-coming Detroit.

Here is a link to the full article and a short excerpt below:

From the point of view of many residents and property owners, the eradication of graffiti may be a sign of Detroit's much-touted rebirth, but for many writers it spells the end of an incredible cycle of creativity. Not long ago, Detroit was considered by many to be the graffiti capital of the US, and perhaps the world—a vast playground with a near-unlimited supply of walls where writers could paint undisturbed in broad daylight.

In a city teeming with corruption, violence, and arson, catching kids with spraypaint was not a priority for law enforcement. The freedom to paint made for an amazing sight—there was once graffiti everywhere, and since it took some effort to get to Detroit if you weren't from there, the local competition was high, the risk was low, and much of the work was pretty damn good.

I first visited the city in early 2013 on a quest to find and document as much of its graffiti as possible, and was immediately hooked. I returned three more times, witnessed the city's rapid transformation, and explored its buildings and neighborhoods with a rotating cast of other photographers and graffiti writers.

 


Mural in Abandoned Philly Building Becomes Wall Art for Future Condo

IMG_4358Talk about my ambivalence here. Here we have a situation that is becoming more and more prevalent. A developer buys a building to turn it into luxury condos and discovers a piece of street art, decides to preserve it for their new moneyed class tenants. This is not unlike the greedy developers who tore down graffiti mecca 5Pointz in Long Island City Queens to build a couple of 80 story glass towers that will be named ... wait for it ... 5Pointz! While I like the idea that the art is being preserved I am not especially happy that another center for street art is being turned into luxury housing and not, (how about this idea) a museum dedicated to street art.

 

From Hyperallergic Philadelphia ---

Mm-partners-philly-caroline-caldwell-768x563Real estate developers whitewashing or tearing down walls covered in graffiti is a familiar narrative, but it appears we may have reached such an advanced stage in the cooptation of street art that those days will soon be at an end. Philadelphia-based real estate developer MM Partners is currently turning the long-vacant (and mural-filled) Pyramid Electric Supply Company building in Brewerytown into condos, and in a post on Instagram yesterday the company promised to save a mural by artist Caroline Caldwell so that it “will be a feature wall in someone’s bedroom.”

“I know this won’t be the popular opinion, but I love this piece and I’m stoked it’s getting to live on,” Caldwell said in response to the news on Twitter. Indeed, aside from the occasional act of accidental preservation, as happened with a long-lost Keith Haring mural that turned up in a $17 million Lower Manhattan loft, a developer choosing to preserve rather than scrub away a building’s street art is relatively unheard of — though that didn’t stop the developer who leveled 5Pointz from trying to use the graffiti center’s name to market the apartments rising from its rubble.

“I used to live a few blocks from the Pyramid Electric Factory,” said RJ Rushmore, a street art authority (and Hyperallergic contributor) who called our attention to the MM Partners post. “It’s an easy building to get into and provides easy access to trackside spots along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, so it’s a popular building for graffiti writers and urban explorers. Nearly half the time I visited, I’d run into other people inside. Usually not painting, but just exploring or even using it as a dance studio.”

In addition to Caldwell’s neon-hued rat and cobra, which are destined to live on as someone’s bedroom wall art (#betterthanIKEA), much of the rest of the Pyramid Electric building’s murals are also slated for preservation. “[MM Partners have] been supportive of public art for a few years now, working with Steve Powers’s ICY Signs shop, the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, and independent muralists,” Rushmore added. “Actually, in a way, this is the second of Caroline’s pieces that has fallen into MM’s hands. A few years ago, she was commissioned to paint an interior mural at Brewerytown Beats, the local record store. When they moved their store to a new location, the mural stayed. So far as I know, it’s still there.”

“We 100% intend to keep a good amount of the art that is in the building and integrate into our development,” David Waxman, a founding and managing partner of MM Partners, told Hyperallergic via email. “We as a company are committed to bringing good contemporary art to the neighborhood where we build in Philadelphia, Brewerytown and into our projects. We also happen to love art and are collectors ourselves.”


New Williamsburgh Brooklyn Street Art Project Unveiled

This month was the unveiling of a new QUEEN ANDREA (a.k.a. Andrea von Bujdoss) mural at Ascenzi Square, located in the triangle formed by North Fourth Street, Roebling Street and Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg. In vividly colored lettering, it greets passerby “GOOD DAY” and “HEY YOU” as they approach the intersection, which is adorned in lights.

According to Bedford and Bowery, the mural was inspired by “New York City’s diversity.” This 3,475-square-foot asphalt mural by the influential graffiti artist was commissioned by the Department of Transportation as part of its New York City beautification initiative. Specifically, this mural was part of three “asphalt activations” that have been appearing at certain Citi Bike stations. QUEEN ANDREA was also tapped to beautify the 191st Street Tunnel last year.

QUEEN ANDREA_mural_Ascenzi Square_Williamsburg_Brooklyn_Untapped Cities_Jarrett Lyons


Queens Couple Sees Art in the Bullet Holes Piercing a Public Housing Complex

From the NYT: The print was one of dozens of pieces on display on a long white wall in Queens last week, mounted among bright and cheery watercolors. From a distance, the 10-inch-square image looked like a patch of ice with a round area missing, drilled for fishing perhaps. A closer look revealed the ice to actually be shattered glass, the round hole left by a bullet.

It was a stately setting for a gritty image — a silent auction of works by Long Island City artists “that reflect the diversity and glorious breadth of talent in the L.I.C. community,” according to the program for the event, the LIC Arts Open.

The bullet-hole print on canvas was made from a photograph taken nearby by Rita Frazier Normandeau. “It’s beautiful,” Ms. Normandeau, 69, said on Thursday, admiring her work on the eve of the auction.

Bullet artShe would know. She and her husband of 47 years, Raymond Normandeau, 72, have been chronicling gunfire and photographing its aftermath as tenant activists in the Queensbridge Houses public-housing complex for more than 30 years. While other couples their age stroll through New York City’s parks in search of exotic birds, the Normandeaus are on the hunt, cameras in hand, for the countless hazards and annoyances of life in Queensbridge, from cracked and broken steps to dog feces to bloodstains and bullet holes.

“I think it helps point to a problem that people just don’t pay attention to,” Mr. Normandeau said. “People think gunshots are normal, and they shouldn’t be.”

The bullet-hole print, untitled, went for $100, the minimum opening bid, Mr. Normandeau said. He did not believe many people were in the market for such images. “If they wait long enough, a bullet may come through their window,” he said, “and they won’t have to buy a picture of one.”