Historical Item

Jeremy Novy - Queer Street Art

A Movement Defaced: Queer Street Art Fights for Legitimacy
By Jonathan Curiel
published: June 15, 2011
Jonathan Curiel on A Movement Defaced: Queer Street Art Fights for Legitmacy

Cover photo by Michael Cuffe/Warholian.

Inside his art studio in San Francisco's Bayview District, Jeremy Novy surrounds himself with the stencilwork that has burnished his reputation as a street artist of note. Of course, the koi are there. Even people who don't know his name know his aquatic vertebrates — colorful creatures that can be found on sidewalks across San Francisco, most prominently at Market and Laguna streets, where scores of the fish swirl outside the Orbit Room. In Novy's studio, though, the animals are crowded out by representations of people. Men, mostly. Queer men like the drag queen with the yellow beehive and bright red panties, and the young wrestlers grabbing each other's flesh. Then there's the stencil of a big pink erect phallus.

"That's my cock," Novy says matter-of-factly.

Coyote Mentions Early 1967 Stencils in San Francisco

[During the January 14, 1967 Human Be-In] "paisley banners and flags stenciled with marijuana leaves fluttered in the balmy winds that seemed to be blessing fifty thousand people assembled before a single stage crowded with celebrities and Haight Independent Proprieters (HIPs)." p. 75

photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/hragvartanian/

"One morning [before the Summer of 1967] San Francisco awoke to discover that walls, freeway columns, and fences had been plastered with five-foot-high posters of two enigmatic Chinese men in pajamas, lounging on a street corner in the relaxed and at home posture of hipsters everywhere. Over their heads was the Chinese ideogram for revolution, and under their feet were the cryptic words "1% Free." The poster was designed by Peter Berg, executed with stencils by artist Mike McKibbon (drawn from a turn-of-the-century photo of tong hit men found in a library book), and a group of us [San Francisco Diggers] had spent a long night pasting them up in every neighborhood in the city." p. 81

- Peter Coyote, "Sleeping Where I Fall" (1998)

Robert Fisk Notes 2003 Stencil in Iraq

This is an excerpt from journalist Robert Fisk's book "The Great War For Civilasation," a well-researched, graphically-described history of the Middle East from WWI to the mid-2000s:

I remember an American search operation in Baghdad just after Saddam's capture [13 Dec., 2003], all door-kicking and screaming and fuck-this and fuck-that and, just a few metres away, finding a message newly spray-painted on a wall. Not by hand but with a stencil, in poor English perhaps, but there were dozens of identical messages stencilled onto the walls for the occupiers. "American Soldiers," it said. "Run away to you home before you will be a body in [a] black bag, then be dropped in a river or valley."  - p. 1006

Hong Kong Graffiti Challenges Chinese Artist's Arrest

Hong Kong Graffiti Challenges Chinese Artist's Arrest

by Louisa Lim

May 4, 2011 (from NPR)

Hong Kong police are investigating criminal damage charges against artist Tangerine for graffiti of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

Hong Kong police are investigating criminal damage charges against artist Tangerine for graffiti of detained Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, which could carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.

Given his real-life circumstances — summarily disappeared at the hands of the Chinese authorities with no charges yet laid — the furrowed forehead and hooded, tired eyes of the image now seem a representation of suffering. Underneath his face is one simple question, "Who's afraid of Ai Weiwei?"

This graffiti, appearing all over Hong Kong, has become a political statement, more than a month after the world-famous artist was detained by the authorities at Beijing airport. The campaign could yet lead to a jail term for the young graffiti artist responsible. And that fact has led to fears about the erosion of Hong Kong's distinct freedoms, which are a legacy of its colonial past under the British.

MOCA LA... Art in the Streets

"Art in the Streets" Brings Fire to MOCA

Posted: 04/14/11 09:49 PM ET

The show is an audacious multi-platform and colorful endeavor; part history lesson and part theme park bringing about 50 years of graffiti and street art history, it's influences and influencers, under one roof. Then there is the stuff outside. Engaging and educational, "Art in the Streets" makes sure visitors have the opportunity to learn how certain tributaries lead to this one river of swirling urban goo, mapping connections between cultural movements, communities and relationships
within it. When it does this, the museum system effectively differentiates its value apart from a mere gallery show.

Apr 28 : Wooster Collective presents 41st Parallel

On Wednesday April 28th from 7-10pm, Wooster Collective and Drago will present a hot and heavy round table discussion and Q&A session to explore the current happenings in today’s art movement with nine of the top names from the streets of New York: Chris Stain, Elbow-Toe, Ivory Serra, Logan Hicks, Pax Paloscia, Swoon, WK Interact, as well as Drago Publisher Paulo von Vacano and Wooster Collective’s Marc and Sara Schiller at their super chic venue Meet at the Apartment in SoHo.

Ivory Serra (The Serra Effect), Logan Hicks (Arrivals and Departures), Pax Paloscia (Let the Kids Play), and WK Interact (2.5 New York Street Life) all published books for Drago’s 36 Chamber Series box collection. Chris Stain, Elbow-Toe, Swoon, and WK Interact contributed their work to The Thousands: Painting Outside, Breaking In, a book and exhibition curated by RJ Rushmore and published by Drago.

Graffiti's Story

February 5, 2010

Graffiti’s Story, From Vandalism to Art to Nostalgia

Original NYTims article appears here

Eric Felisbret stood by a chain-link fence, watching three men spraying graffiti on a backyard wall in Upper Manhattan. One man smiled and invited him over.

“You can go around the corner and when you see a sign for a seamstress, go in the alley,” the man said. “Or you can jump the fence, like we did.”

Mr. Felisbret, 46, chose the long way. Not that he is unused to fence-jumping. In the 1970s, that was one of his skills as a budding graffiti writer who stole into subway yards. Using the nom de graf DEAL, he was part of the Crazy Inside Artists, a legendary crew from East New York, Brooklyn. This time, though, instead of wielding a spray can, he pulled out a camera and took a quick snapshot of the artwork, done with the landlord’s permission.

If these scrawls could talk - Tom Sevil and Melbourne's Alt History

If these scrawls could talk

September 23, 2009

Original Article Here

Urban activist Tom Sevil leads a tour of political graffiti in search of an alternative history of Melbourne. Andrew Stephens reports.

TOM Sevil is up a laneway inspecting some 1970s graffiti. He likes these places. He's a stencil artist, graffitist and graphic designer, but also something of an archaeologist, because the work at hand here is but a fragment, partly buried beneath rich layers of history.

In white house paint applied with a brush, not an aerosol, this graffito no longer makes sense. It says: Frazer is a bottled toad in a trust - and there it ends, forever to remain a mystery, its final words obscured by years of others' graffiti.

This fragment, a bastardisation of a phrase from Shakespeare's Richard III, is more poetic than most of the illegible tags scrawled about the laneway. It might once have had something insightful (but misspelt) to say about Malcolm Fraser, then prime minister of Australia. But in this world of laneways and rapid-fire guerilla action, the scrawls, tags, posters and stencils are all ultimately temporary.

For Sevil, quality and longevity aside, it is all about political action.

The Teleport Caper: Beyond the Pale (1976)

The Teleport Caper: Beyond the Pale
by David Wills

One grey day Sunday in January 1976, after I had been visiting with the graphic-designer Barney Bubbles, I walked from The Barbican four miles to stay at what had been my old flat on Basset Rd. with the vivacious Lucinda Cowell*, whom I had met one Saturday in the Bridge kaff on Portobello.

Somewhere on the journey, around Camden Town, I found a sombrero that added to my somewhat odd appearance. By the time I got to Notting Hill, and having sprayed my recently cut stencil in a couple of places, I got too careless and was busted, literally red handed, spray paint dribbling, as I stenciled, on a traffic-light control box, “Street Lightnin’ Gang Rules Easy, OK.”

This art was one of a series of cardboard stencils I had designed that related to SLG President Molly (now Mrs. Mark Bode) Rodriguez’s ‘World Teleport’ system of world free transport. It was an early green solution to reduce world pollution from cars and planes, World Teleport’s tag line is “Get’s you where you want to go, in your own time.” (A line that was later adopted by the Grateful Dead.) All one has to to do is brand a space with a stencil, (it can be on paper) and there’s your teleport. If you really want to, you’ll get there one way or another.

1967 Mad Follies Stencil Special

xSacto sends another historical stencil artifact. Mad Magazine inserted about a dozen stencils in their fifth Mad Follies (1967), with illustrated instructions by Al Jaffee. The illustrations encouraged kids to alter signs, dupe adults, and create mischief with the cut outs. Oddly enough, I found a stencil of Alfred E. Neuman up on Haight St. a few weeks ago that was made from this 40+ year old stencil!


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