European cave art gets older
Ancient illustrations in northern Spain date to more than 40,000 years ago
By Bruce Bower
Web edition : Thursday, June 14th, 2012
Red disks, hand stencils and club-shaped drawings lining the walls of several Stone Age caves in Spain were painted so long ago that Neandertals might have been their makers, say researchers armed with a high-powered method for dating ancient stone.
Scientists have struggled for more than a century to determine the ages of Europe’s striking Stone Age cave paintings. A new rock-dating technique, which uses bits of mineralized stone to estimate minimum and maximum ages of ancient paintings, finds that European cave art started earlier than researchers have assumed — at least 40,800 years ago, say archaeologist Alistair Pike of the University of Bristol in England and his colleagues.
How Arab revolutionary art helped break the spell of political oppression
Graffiti, murals and other dissident art have transformed public spaces and mobilised public opinion in the Middle East
Julia Rampen and Laurie Tuffrey
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 5 May 2012 08.00 EDT
Article found here
In January 2011 the Tunisian dictator Ben Ali fled Tunisia. Ten months later, his giant smiling face appeared on the side of a building in the busy port city of La Goulette. At first people just gathered beneath it and stared. Then they started to get angry. Urged on by the crowd, a group of men pulled the dictator's image down. The poster crumpled – and revealed a second poster: "Beware, dictatorship can return. On Oct 23rd, VOTE."
Half-ad, half-performance, this was one of the examples of art as political statement selected by Professor Charles Tripp, a specialist in Middle Eastern politics, who spoke at the University of East London on Tuesday night. He argued that graffiti, murals, posters and other visual art forms helped to "break the spell" of dictators like Ben Ali, continuing to mobilise protesters against threats to the revolutionary ideals.
For instance in January this year, as tensions between Egypt's interim military leadership and the crowds in Tahrir Square grew, the prominent street artist Ganzeer declared: "Art is the only weapon we have left to deal with the military dictatorship". When the authorities put up barricades around Tahrir, they were soon transformed by the city's artists. The use of visual tricks further undermined the installation of the barricades - many of these paintings simply depicted the forbidden street that lay behind.
A Syrian Graffiti Artist, Defiant Until Death
Original Article appears here
They called him "the spray man" for his graffiti that appeared all over the Syrian capital of Damascus. But in truth, 23-year-old Nour Hatem Zahra was an activist like any other activist.
He started protesting in Syria last spring. Back then, the opposition thought it would only take a few months to get rid of President Bashar Assad, as it had in Tunisia and Egypt.
Then Syrian forces started killing protesters, detaining them, torturing them. And the people started fighting back.
But still, there was Nour Hatem Zahra and his friends — organizing protests, hiding activists from the dreaded security forces, ferrying medical supplies to those who were injured but terrified to go to a government hospital.
Then late last year, Zahra got caught. Under torture, one of his friends had given up his name. Zahra later forgave the friend.
He was locked up for 56 days. As soon as he got out, he was at it again. He and his friends went around spraying the suburbs of Syria's capital, Damascus, with slogans against the Syrian president: "Down with the traitor." "To the trash heap of history." Pictures of the president with the word "pig" scrawled underneath.
A few weeks ago, Zahra and his friends declared "Freedom Graffiti Week." The Facebook page calls their work a mix of civil disobedience and peaceful expression.
Info here (Arabic)
Text/Content found here
Following examples set in other Arab Spring countries like Tunisia and Egypt, Syrian activists have taken to arming themselves with cans of spray paint and stencils to peacefully protest against embattled President Bashar al-Assad’s regime via a very public and artistic medium – graffiti.
Activists have called for “a week of graffiti for freedom” from April 14 – 21 not only in Syria, but across the Arab world. The campaign invites everyone, tagger or not, to pick up a can of spray paint and peacefully express their feelings in a public place. The project, which was launched on social networking websites by a Syrian activist living in exile and several of his peers still in the country, included an online tutorial and printable stencil models.
Create a stencil and paint it safely.
Last year, Sean Leow took my Street Art tour of San Francisco's Mission District. He knew a good bit about art in the streets and eventually asked me "do you know about any stencils and graffiti in China?" My answer was no. I believed that it existed and was not that well known due to language barriers (as well as accessing evidence of a sometimes illegal art inside a tightly-controlled country like China). Leow not only knew about street art and graffiti from that part of the planet, he also was part of a group of people who were creating content for the site Neocha Edge, based in Shanghai (http://edge.neocha.com/category/street-urban-art/). He gave me links and jpgs of art from China, Taiwan, and other parts of Asia. I eventually posted them up in the Asia Archive (http://www.stencilarchive.org/archives/index.php/Asia), and was happy to have two artists, Brother (http://www.stencilarchive.org/archives/index.php/Asia/artists/Brother-Ta...) and ROBBBB, get their own artist archives.
Since then, ROBBBB has gotten in touch to say hello from Beijing, pass his personal link along (http://robbbb.com/), and give me some more jpgs to post into his archive (http://www.stencilarchive.org/archives/index.php/Asia/artists/ROBBBB).
I am happy to know that there are stencil artists getting up in China. When I wrote "Stencil Nation," I attempted to include parts of Asia in the content. I was fortunate enough to find a few photographers via Flickr who had traveled to Taiwan and Japan and snapped up some stencil photos. Back in 2008, Asia seemed to be a blank spot in the Stencil Archive geography. There were no books, and artists like Logan Hicks were just starting to travel there with stencil art. I knew it had to be there, and, like the rest of the world, street art and graffiti has blossomed in all cracks and corners of the globe. Including Taibei and Beijing.
(Stencil by ROBBBB, Beijing)
During our most recent email exchange, ROBBBB wished that the English-speaking world could find out more about stencils in China. So I asked him some questions and he was glad to answer them. I have cleaned up the grammar of ROBBBB's answers, but have tried to keep the spirit and intent of his answers intact. I look forward to seeing more mu-ban art and graffiti from China. Keep an eye out for new works by ROBBBB, along with other folks who cut the negative space.
Stencil Archive: How do you say "stencil" in your dialect?
ROBBBB: We call stencils "模板". To pronounce it, it is spelled "mu-ban".
Stencil Archive: My research shows that cut out art originated in China. Do you have any historical details about cut out art?
ROBBBB: Do you know the "paper-cut for window decoration"?
Stencil Archive: No.
ROBBBB: "On the joyous New Year's Day, a lot of people in this area stick various kinds of paper-cut - paper-cut for window decoration - in windows so that they can enjoy it. The paper-cut for window decoration not only sets off the joyous festive air; it also brings beautiful enjoyment to people by incorporating decorating, appreciation, and an ease-of-use into an organic whole. The paper-cut is a kind of well popularized folk art, well received by people through the ages. Because it is mostly stuck on the window, people generally call it "the paper-cut for window decoration".
Graffiti week returns with calls to resume revolution
Author: Jano Charbel
Original Article Found Here: http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/618131
In the run-up to the anniversary of the 25 January revolution, a street art campaign dubbed “Mad Graffiti Week” spread like wildfire across Egypt. The call for the event was announced on Facebook, Twitter and the blogs of Egyptian street artists and activists.
A growing number of Egyptian and foreign artists and activists, male and female alike, have responded to the call. They have painted their art and their messages on walls, not only in Egypt, but also in Germany, UK, Austria, Poland and Canada.
Most of the themes center around calls for completing the revolution, deposing the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), and transferring power to civilian authorities.
Over the course of “Mad Graffiti Week,” three youths are reported to have been arrested — one in Banha City and two in Mahalla City — for acts of “vandalism.” These youths were reportedly detained, questioned and then released on the same day.
Graffiti and street art “are very powerful and effective tools of public expression,” said artist-activist Omar X-ist Mostafa. “This is evident in the fact that the police and army arrest people for painting graffiti with a political message, while the municipal authorities are constantly erasing and painting over it.”
(NOTE: The term "stencil" has been historically known to refer to screen printing images, rather than spray painting them. In the 1960s, stencils were put inside the screens and the image was made when the ink got pushed through by a squeegee)
"An Angel known as 'the Mute' was stopped by a policeman... . The Mute was proudly displaying his colors on a ragged Levi jacket. 'Take that off,' the patrolman [said]... . The Mute stripped off his Levi jacket, exposing another Angel decal on his leather jacket. 'Take that off too.'" The Mute took the jacket off, and then had a shirt with the emblam. The cop told him to take that off, and "under the shirt was an undershirt. It had been stenciled with the club insigia... . The Mute had the last laugh. He was prepared to go all the way. His trousers and shorts were also stenciled."
(excerpt from "Hell's Angels" by Hunter S. Thompson. This story was said to have happened sometime in 1964)
The Origin of Spray Paint
By HILARY GREENBAUM and DANA RUBINSTEIN
Original NYTimes link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/06/magazine/who-made-spray-paint.html
That a paint salesman from northern Illinois created the tool through which rebels, gang members, artists and anti-Wall Street protesters alike have expressed themselves merely confirms that inventors can neither control nor predict the impact of their innovations. After all, Jack Dorsey never imagined that Twitter would facilitate Anthony Weiner’s self-immolation.
The spray-paint can, however, has eminently practical origins. Ed Seymour, the proprietor of a Sycamore, Ill., paint company, was in search of an easy way to demonstrate his aluminum coating for painting radiators. His wife suggested a makeshift spray gun, like those used for deodorizers. And so, in 1949, Seymour mixed paint and aerosol in a can with a spray head. As it turned out, compressing paint in a can made for a nice finish.
Graffiti legend was also an NYPD cop
By KATHIANNE BONIELLO
Last Updated: 11:24 AM, November 6, 2011
Posted: 9:34 PM, November 5, 2011
Police have discovered the identity of one of New York City’s most prolific graffiti vandals -- and he’s one of their own.
Steven Weinberg, 43, of Flushing, a patrolman who retired from the NYPD in 2001 after hurting his leg, is the notorious “Neo” -- one of the peskiest subway taggers of the 1980s.
And the spray-painting miscreant is making a comeback, cops say.