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On the midnight prowl with one of S.F.’s hottest street artists

On the midnight prowl with one of S.F.’s hottest street artists

By Ryan Kost (SF Chronicle)
June 1, 2015

The street artist known as fnnch stands at the corner of Capp and 19th. It’s just started to rain, the sort of rain you can feel but you can’t see unless you catch it in a car’s headlights. He’s staring at a postbox just across the way, freshly painted, a blank canvas. “I really want to hit this box.”

But there are people near it, drunken and rowdy people, people who holler at the woman pacing in front of the corner store. “I got a dollar for you, baby. What’s up?”

Fnnch keeps watching them, and then, after a few minutes, he starts walking. “I don’t think they’re going to care,” he says. “There’s only one rule: Let me know if a cop is coming. Like, nothing else really matters.”

Saving Murals from the SF Condo Boom

Icy & Sot with Ha-Ha (CELLspace, SF, CA)Various Works: 2050 Bryant, CELLspace
Know Your Street Art, SF Weekly by Jonathan Curiel
<< Photo: Icy & Sot with HA-HA (CELLspace, SF, CA)

On a wall just inside the building formerly known as CELLspace, an artwork delivers a defiant message: "NOT for Sale!" But the message is a lie — the building, whose exterior walls once featured some of the best street art in San Francisco, was sold and is slated for development. Last summer, two volunteers — artist Russell Howze and art editor Annice Jacoby — took down much of the outside art and put it in storage for temporary safekeeping. What's left on the walls are stickers, tagging, and remnants of art — including faces of Native American men, a monkey with a sign imagining a battle between two well-known street artists ("Hektad vs. Banksy"), and an impressive work by muralist Joel Bergner. Even in its current state, 2050 Bryant's art potpourri inspires passers-by to take photographs for posterity.

But what about the art that was taken down? Howze, whose own CELLspace work is among the preserved art, and Jacoby are trying to find a patron who will buy the works and display them again. The art includes Bergner's De Frontera a Frontera, a lyrical, red-splashed work about haves and have-nots in the Dominican Republic, and Icy and Sot's collaboration with Regan "Ha Ha" Tamanui, Super Hero with Portraits, which has a caped boy standing alongside a gallery of orange-tinged smiling faces.

Grammarians are Pissed (Quito, EC)

Ecuador's radical grammar pedants on a mission to correctly punctuate graffiti

(Eduardo Varas in Quito and Jonathan Watts, The Guardian UK)

A pair of anonymous vigilantes are cleaning up Quito’s graffiti; by adding accents, inserting commas and placing question marks on sentences scrawled across city walls

In the dead of night, two men steal through the streets of Quito armed with spray cans and a zeal for reform. They are not political activists or revolutionaries: they are radical grammar pedants on a mission to correctly punctuate Ecuador’s graffiti.

Adding accents, inserting commas and placing question marks at the beginning and end of interrogative sentences scrawled on the city’s walls, the vigilante editors have intervened repeatedly over the past three months to expose the orthographic shortcomings of would-be poets, forlorn lovers and anti-government campaigners.

Banksy's Upper Haight Rat Back in SF

Haight Street Rat: By Banksy. On display in the window facing Montgomery Street. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Jan. 21-July 11. 836m, 836 Montgomery St., S.F. Free. www.836m.org.

Banksy’s 'Haight Street Rat’ graffiti holes up in an S.F. gallery
By Rachel Howard (original)
Updated 1:59 pm, Monday, January 19, 2015

A graffiti work by the stealth artist Banksy is back in its original street habitat — sort of.

Through July 11, the image known as “Haight Street Rat,” spray-painted on the side of a bed-and-breakfast in 2010 when Banksy was in San Francisco for the release of his documentary, “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” will be viewable to anyone who passes down the 800 block of Montgomery Street, though the 12-foot-tall work will be protected behind the glass facade of 836M, a nonprofit gallery near the Transamerica Pyramid.

The stenciled rat, which wears a Che Guevara-style cap and clutches a Magic Marker, no longer appears accompanied by the work’s original text, “THIS IS WHERE I DRAW THE LINE.” But “to me, this is as close as you can get to the intention that Banksy had, given the fact that the piece was salvaged and restored,” said Sebastien Lepinard, founder of the investment firm Next World Group and co-founder of 836M with his wife, Julie.

The Lepinards became interested in displaying the work after reading a Chronicle report on the efforts of Brian Greif, former general manager of the defunct KRON-TV, who in 2010 persuaded the owner of the vandalized Red Victorian Bed and Breakfast to let him remove 10 redwood siding planks on which the rat was painted. Greif took the painting to art-restoration specialists, who mounted the slats on corrugated aluminum. He raised $10,000 to offset costs through a Kickstarter campaign, promising never to sell the work, even though other Banksy creations have sold at auction for more than $1 million. Greif then tried to donate “Haight Street Rat” to various museums, but without a letter of authentication from the artist, the institutions said they would not accept the work.

Taking a Tour of El Castillo Cave, Seeing Ancient Hand Stencils

19 November 2014
A journey deep inside Spain’s temple of cave art
In Spain Arts & Architecture By Rachel Corbett, for the BBC

I gasped at my first glimpse of a cave painting: a crude red outline of a deer with one wild circle for an eye. Its iron pigments blazed under the lamplight. The illusion of a breastbone emerged, ingeniously, out of a hump in the limestone wall. After a while, a cave becomes a long black tunnel of sensory deprivation; the sight of this tender image jolted my breath back to life.

“Can you tell you’re in a sacred place?” asked Marcos Garcia Diez, the archaeologist who had agreed to show me some of the most breathtaking rock art ever created. “This cave is like a church and that’s why ancient people returned, returned, returned here for thousands of years.”

Jutting from the base of a mountain about 85km west of Bilbao, El Castillo is one of the world’s most celebrated rock art temples. When Homo sapiens first began their northward migration from Africa to Europe around 40,000 years ago, some joined the Neanderthals here in Cantabria, a region that is home to at least 40 painted caves, including El Castillo. So magnificent are the province’s primordial masterpieces that when Picasso visited, he reportedly declared, “We have learned nothing in 12,000 years.”

SF Banksy Tests Value of Street Art

Back when Banksy was in SF promoting his documentary, I got to meet Sami Sunchild and talk about the large rat that was on the side of her Red Vic bed and breakfast building (read about it). I introduced her to Banksy via my book as well as the artist's own. And her manager let me go onto the roof for exclusive shots of the socialist rat (see my photo below). Ever since I saw the empty space on that wall get replaced with plain wood by a work crew, I've wondered who took the rat and what it's fate was. At long last the SF Chronicle tracked the owner down. And Sami asked him to never sell it. End of story?

 

Quest to display an S.F. Banksy tests value of street art
By Evan Sernoffsky

June 20, 2014 | Updated: June 21, 2014 10:24pm

Art restorers in Santa Barbara began work last week on an unusual canvas: 10 graffiti-covered redwood boards that were ripped from the side of a Victorian home on Haight Street.

Spray-painted on the slats is a beret-wearing rat clutching a Magic Marker, the stenciled work of anonymous street art superstar Banksy, who tore through San Francisco in 2010.

Private collectors have extended six-figure bids for the piece. But a self-described "art freak" from San Francisco who owns it doesn't want to profit from the piece, and he says he can't without breaking a promise.

Google Adds Graffiti to Its Art Portfolio

Google Adds Graffiti to Its Art Portfolio
By RACHEL DONADIO ::: JUNE 10, 2014

PARIS — There’s a portrait of an anonymous Chinese man chiseled into a wall in Shanghai, a colorful mural in Atlanta and black-and-white photographs of eyes that the French artist JR affixed to the houses of a hillside favela in Rio de Janeiro. These are among the images of more than 4,000 works included in a vast new online gallery of street art that Google is unveiling here on Tuesday.

Called the Street Art Project, the database was created by the company’s Paris-based Google Cultural Institute. Using images provided by cultural organizations worldwide, some of which were captured with Google’s Street View camera technology, it includes street art from around the globe, including work that no longer exists, like the 5Pointz murals in Long Island City, Queens, or the walls of the Tour Paris 13 tower in France.

SF Graffiti taggers could face a much bigger price tag

 

Graffiti taggers could face a much bigger price tag

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Graffiti-taggers-could-face...

Graffiti in San Francisco is a mess - literally and figuratively. That's not a scoop, it is merely a discouraging reality.

It begins with the city being a mecca for spray paint vandals from across the country. (Check YouTube.) It continues to the criminal courts, where, when taggers are finally caught red- (or yellow- or green-) handed, they are generally treated as misguided youths and given community service instead of meaningful punishment.

And then there's the final insult. Property owners who have their buildings tagged - sometimes daily - are ordered by the city to clean up the mess themselves or face a fine or even a lien on their property.

"It cost me $15,000 to clean up my building last year," says Laurance Mathews, who owns the building at 245 Van Ness, which, ironically, houses a paint store. The Department of Public Works had a mural painted on his building to try to stop the tagging, "but since they did the tagging increased from a few times a week to several times a day. And there's not a damn thing you can do about it."

A new strategy
Well, maybe there is. It's just a start, and Mathews is skeptical, but Supervisor London Breed has announced a citywide graffiti plan that might begin to turn the tide.

SF Takes Aim at Graffiti Vandals

SF takes aim at graffiti vandals, tries to lessen burden on victims
Posted by Joshua Sabatini on Tue, Mar 18, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Supervisor London Breed has introduced legislation targeting graffiti vandals; police made 203 graffiti-related arrests in 2013, most of them adults.

San Francisco’s $20-million-a-year graffiti problem has seemingly caused more problems for victimized property owners and public agencies than for the vandals.

But now the City Attorney’s Office could be allowed to go after graffiti vandals in civil proceedings that would force them to pay for the damage and perform community service.

Supervisor London Breed and other city officials say the current process does not work and penalizes the victims, since property owners must remove graffiti within 30 days or face fines.

“We estimate that over 90 percent of the graffiti offenses are committed by the same people,” Breed said Tuesday, when she also introduced legislation to address the issue. “The criminal courts have proven an inappropriate medium for prosecuting such offenses.”

Additionally, Breed’s proposal has come with an agreement from city departments to provide more resources for the effort and collaborate. The Police Department, Breed said, “will have an additional crime analyst and a police officer on an as-needed basis so that they can develop these particular cases.”

A Parodist Who Calls Himself Hanksy

A Parodist Who Calls Himself Hanksy
By JOHN LELAND
FEB. 14, 2014
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/nyregion/a-parodist-who-calls-himself-...
The street artist who calls himself Hanksy, on Orchard Street in Lower Manhattan with his piece “Walter Flite.” Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

This is a story about art in the age of social media — about anonymity and self-promotion, about feral cats and viral cat videos.

In April 2011, a law school dropout in Bushwick, Brooklyn, newly arrived from the Midwest, had an idea that he thought might make a splash. He admired the street artist Banksy; he grew up on the movies of Tom Hanks. Why not mash up the two? Using simple computer software, he downloaded a Banksy painting of a rat holding a paint roller, then added an image of Mr. Hanks’s face. The whole thing took 10 or 15 minutes to create. He printed a cutout and pasted it on a wall at Mulberry and Kenmare Streets in Little Italy, signing it Hanksy. It was a stupid pun, he knew, but he was a sucker for stupid puns. Isn’t everybody?

He photographed the wall for his Instagram and Twitter accounts, and emailed it to the Wooster Collective, a popular street art website. Then he went to sleep.

“And then it just went viral,” Hanksy said the other day, speaking in a Lower East Side coffee shop near the restaurant in which he is a partner. “I remember counting at the time that it had been tweeted to four- or five-million accounts.”

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