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  • seandodson 6:27 pm on December 5, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexandros Vasmoulakis, , athens, graffiti, greece, , , ,   

    Alexandros Vasmoulakis: the brightest buckle in the graffiti belt 


    This summer I took a train from London to Istanbul and back again. As you cross the alps, from Austria to Slovenia say, you notice how much graffiti is painted on the walls of the big cities. It’s almost as if you hit the graffiti belt somewhere south of Graz.

    Most of it is despoilingly ugly, especially in Athens where the streets around many of the ancient monuments have been ruined with the most moronic of daubings. But then again there’s also the delightful work of Alexandros Vasmoulakis whose delicate, fantastic murals enliven the city marvelously.

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  • seandodson 10:02 pm on September 15, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Beyoğlu, graffiti, hasan huseyin, , meyhane, Tünel, Tünel Pasaji, ,   

    Tünel vision: a passage to Istanbul’s coolest quarter 

    I’ve just returned from Istanbul where I stumbled across a fabulous corner of the city situated around the northern entrance to the Tünel, the old underground funicular railway that connects the Galata Bridge with the city’s main shopping street. Opposite the entrance and you find the gate to the Tünel Pasaji (Tunnel Passage), a handsome courtyard filled with plants, antique shops and tables from the assortment of cafes that line its edges. We ate at KV an eclectically furnished restaurant serving hearty local cuisine and later returned for lunch at Hevetia, a cafe serving modern meze which you order buffet style.

    The Passage is also connected, by another gate, to a long, narrow street where the city’s trendy folk hang ot outside fine restaurants next to walls filled with political graffiti and some admirable stencil art. There are vegetarian cafes and traditional meyhanes (raki houses). Rose sellers and waiters, carrying trays of sweet Turkish tea, add to the throng.

    Nearby is Coffee and Stories, one of the most beautiful coffee shops I have ever visited. Featuring floor-to-ceiling prints of the photographer Hasan Huseyin, who I believe owns the place, it is worth a visit to the area alone.

  • seandodson 2:43 pm on August 25, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: architectural graffiti, , bruno taylor, , , graffiti, guerrilla gardening, , london olympics, , subversive architecture,   

    Subversive architecture: how urban ‘guerrilla’ artists have designs on a better city 

    Subversive architecture: the growing practice of taking over public spaces in order to make political points. The name is derived from the Office for Subversive Architecture, a small practice in Berlin. Among their many projects is a recently installed “viewing platform” designed to help you look over the wall onto the site of the London Olympics (Flickr photoset here).

    Also in London is the work of Bruno Taylor (left), who recently installed a swing in a bus stop (video here) at Exmouth Market in Clerkenwell. Behind the visual gags of both projects is a serious attempt to improve the life, no mater how temporarily, of city dwellers. Also working to similar ends is the Polish artist-known-only-as “Truth” who adorns (often abandoned) buildings with a three-dimensional graffiti made from blocks of polystyrene. Like the movement of Guerrilla Gardeners before them, these artists seek to offer a wry commentary on city life by deploying the tactics of the graffti artist and a political theory clearly influenced bt Situationist International of the late 1950s.

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  • seandodson 4:04 pm on July 14, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , graffiti, , kebabs, kreuzberg, oranienstrasse, SO36, , turkish, turkish culture   

    In praise of Kreuzberg: where east becomes west and west becomes east 

    The gentrification of east Berlin is now in full swing pricing out the bohemians that made the quarters of the “new east” so unique. As a result Kreuzberg, the eastern district of the former west Berlin, is thriving. This once Turkish enclave is now as trendy as Mitte and Prenzlaurberg where a decade ago. I’ve just returned from there and I loved it. My friend Daniel West showed my the area around Oranienstrasse. We ate schwarmas at the excellent Maroush (above left) which were the best I’ve tasted outside the middle east; sipped cocktails at San Remo Upfamor (above right) and downed a few glasses of the local pilsner at Luzia, a converted Butcher’s shop, where to my delight they actually played some old Iggy Pop.

    Both Iggy Pop and David Bowie both frequented Kreuzberg in the late seventies, often to attend the legendary club SO36, which remains open. Today the area east of Moritzplatz, down towards Kottbusser Tor is redolent of those heady days. Artful graffiti sits alongside designer shops and surviving examples of the district’s working class roots. There’s also a palpable lack of anything too corporate (aside from a branch of Spa) and an admirable collection of old fishmongers, button stores and a delightful shop selling objects made by the blind: all wooden cabinets and baskets and brushes.

    Kreuzburg remains a place of punks and graffiti and politicalisation (I saw handbills enblazened with signs shouting Stop Gentrification!) and it’s also home to many communities of gays and Turks – trendies and crusties – thinkers and drinkers. A great big mix of everything that makes Berlin such a great city in my opinion.

  • seandodson 5:33 pm on June 1, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , chapman brothers, , , graffiti, Hitler, , , little people, , , slinkachu, street art, will self   

    Thimble-sized sculptures installed on the streets of London 

    I quite like the work of the Little People aka the Tiny Street Art Project, which further describes itself as “little handpainted people left in London to fend for themselves”. It reminds me of a much nicer form of contemporary art than the Chapman Brothers (who are currently busily retouching the paintings of Hitler). Anyway, the artist behind the little people, Slinkachu, has a new project, entitled the inner-city snail (the bottom two images, above) and a book out in September. Interestingly enough, the forward is to be by Will Self, who once wrote the slightly sinister short story, Scale, about a man who has lost all sense of it and ends up thinking he is living inside a model village. Slinkachu’s work is too cutesy to get under the skin in the same way. I think I just like them for their wit and the way they soften your view of London.

    • andipagallery 5:59 pm on December 7, 2009 Permalink | Reply

      We publish the artwork for Slinkachu and welcome you to view his work in the gallery anytime. His work, including new releases “Glory” and “Spilt Milk”, can be viewed at http://www.andipa.com. Enjoy.

  • seandodson 1:09 pm on January 17, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , culture jamming, graffiti,   

    Cutting advertising down to size 

    Originally uploaded by the decapitator

    An anonymous artist is currently roaming the streets of London and defacing adverts by eerily removing the images of heads from posters and replacing them with gory stumps. The East London Decapitator seems to work by capturing the unadulterated images from poster advertisements, then returning home to remove their heads on a computer before revisiting the site to paste over the original image with that of the beheaded rendering. The work is not perfect, but from a distance its difficult to see that the advertisement is not as originally intended. It is, instead, a rather shocking and blood-spattered form of culture jamming. Various posters have fallen under the knife, including this fly-poster for Mulletover, the Shoreditch warehouse party.This, as my friend David Cano points out, reminds of the early Adbusters, as well as a long tradition of graffiti artists who have long defaced commercial advertisements. There can be a variety of motives for defacing adverts: environmental; politics (in this case a witty piece of anti-capitalism); or the purely purile.

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