Wednesday, November 7, 2012



My final post for the blog will be leaving you with some art work from local street artist from Atlanta, Swampy. I really like this crazy skull head character with ram horns. You can find more of his work on the link I listed above.

Also here is a link to a gallery show he had called "In My Room."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Banksy - "Fuck Art"

I found this Banksy online and I liked how it depicts the contrast between art in a gallery and art that is on the street. It directly communicates how street art is not confined by the edges of a canvas or the walls of a gallery space in a museum. Step outside the frame!

Graffiti Wars

A great video detailing the war between King Robbo and Banksy. It seems like the documentary is pretty one sided. They paint King Robbo in a much for positive light than Banksy. They seems to say Banksy is a sell out, while King Robbo is justified in all of his actions. You decide what the real truth is.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Working together to create Street Art

Nice article about two street artists who work together to create art works. If you found their works without knowing anything about them, I feel you might find yourself enchanted by their works. Creating a back-story or an ancient history within the strokes that create this mythical girl figure.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

banksy at home

If you guys ever wanted to have a Banksy in your home...well, you are in luck! I think I might get a rat for my kitchen. Artsy and gross. yeaaaa.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Battle in Pictures

For anyone that is interested, this blog has more photos detailing the war between Robbo, Team Robbo and Banksy. Enjoy

Graffiti Art vs Street Art: The Battle Closes

When we left off, the battle lines had been drawn between Street and Graffiti Art. Its representatives, Banksy and King Robbo, battle with spray paint and vastly differing ideologies. King Robbo is making statements about the male ego of Grafitti art, trying to prove his superiority. While Banksy focused more on the thought provoking messages of his stenciled work, less on the individual ego of the artist. However, this is just the beginning of the war between Street and Graffiti Art. Through the ongoing artistic battle, we can further understand the ideological differences expressed, but we can also comprehend some of their inherent similarities.
After the move by Robbo to incorporate Banksy into his tag, Banksy adds a childish Fuc in front of Robbo’s name, which is subsequently removed. The bickering continues between these two artists, when all of a sudden, the battle goes dark. Someone covers the battleground in black paint. In the film Grafitti Wars, Robbo takes this opportunity to create a stenciled work of his own. Top Cat leans against the gravestone of Banksy’s career. This is a little different from his usual work and it shows how Robbo is starting to evolve outside of his normal comfort zone. Robbo also does this to illustrate how easy stenciling is and that it doesn’t require any particular talent or artistry.[i] This shift is documented in Graffiti Wars, where Robbo actually begins to make the transition from Graffiti Artist to Street Artist. He brings his work inside gallery shows and starts becoming a famous name again. Maybe the Top Cat piece is also making a statement that he will take out Banksy in the gallery as well as the street. Macnaughton makes the point that ethics also separate Graffiti and Street art.[ii] When someone moves inside of a gallery and gets the chance to profit from their work, it is now street art. 

Whatever the statement about his own rise in the artistic community, Robbo is silenced as, once again, the wall goes black.  This time Banksy comes back with a rather strange work that no one can seem to make heads or tails of. It’s a chalk living room with a three dimensional chair and stenciled elements.  It is noted that Banksy often pays back to his influences in his own way.[iii] Many find Banksy has taken ideas from Blek le Rat and other stencil and Street Artists. However, this particular piece recalls an experimental time for another street artist, Keith Haring. On his website it states, “…he noticed the unused advertising panels covered with matte black paper in a subway station. He began to create drawings in white chalk upon these blank paper panels throughout the subway system.”[iv] That sounds very similar to what Banksy has done here.
Why would Banksy create a throwback to another artist? We may never know the answer, but Banksy sees himself as a liberator and he likes to remind his audience that art is a democratic exercise. He believes that the individual’s opinion regarding a work is as important as anybody else’s.[v] This may have been his way of taking the battle away from a petty feud and going back to inspiring the usual thought concerning his work. A scene as perplexing as this living room will definitely inspire plenty of though regarding its meaning.
This would be the last move in the war between Robbo and Banksy. Shortly after, King Robbo tragically suffered a head injury and remains in a coma. Banksy added one last note to Robbo by recreating his original tag with a torch lit spray can to act as a memorial flame. However, despite the seeming end of the war of Street and Graffiti Art, Team Robbo, who were followers of King Robbo, kept the battle alive. They would go out and vandalize or adorn Banksy’s work in other areas. They would change the content or add anti-Banksy messages.

This continued battle extended beyond the tunnel in Camden to other urban areas. In doing so they both perpetuate a basic ideology that Street and Graffiti Art share. Banksy and Team Robbo achieve the goal of using free public art to reclaim pieces of the urban environment that would otherwise be used for advertisements.[vi] Potter makes the argument that, “The Thing about street art is, it all comes down to property…Street art, like graffiti before it, regardless of what the content of the image may be, is a criticism of the idea of property itself. If it was not illegal, it would not be street art. Therefore its illegality is what defines it. Take it out of that context and you are left with ‘art’.”[vii

Street and Graffiti art are born from the same mother. They both struggle with the definition of legality and property. Who owns what and what gives them the right to own it. They want to take back the streets to make statements. They may be personal statements about themselves. Graffiti Art is all about the male ego and proving yourself with your tag. While Street Art is intended to make a nice image that provokes thought in the viewer. However, both street and graffiti art can agree that they are an anti establishment movement that would not mean anything if they weren’t’ illegal. They may have extreme ideological differences, but at the end of the day, they are more closely linked than most realize.

[i] Channel 4, “Graffiti Wars,” Street Art News video, 46:47, August 15, 2011, 

[ii] Alex Macnaughton, London Street Art Anthology (New York: Prestel USA, 2009), 2.

[iii] Gary Shove and Patrick Potter, Bansy: You Are and Acceptable Level of Threat (Darlington: Carpet Bombing Culture, 2012), Belly of the Beast.

[iv] Keith Haring, “Keith Haring Foundation,” Online [home page on-line]; available from!/; Internet; accessed 24 October 2012. 

[v] Gary Shove and Patrick Potter, Bansy: You Are and Acceptable Level of Threat, 9.

[vi] Ethel Seno, ed., Carlo Mccormick, Marc Schiller, and Sara Schiller, Tresspass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art. (China: Taschen GmbH, 2010), 10.

[vii] Gary Shove and Patrick Potter, Bansy: You Are and Acceptable Level of Threat, Any Last Words.

Street Art: The Power of Location (second post)

When street art began to rise in popularity, it became a new vehicle to communicate to the public.  Advertising agencies and corporations viewed it as an opportunity to push their brand and increase sales and/or awareness.  Corporate strategy and the tactful placement of street art hold similar purposes across multiple channels.  In this post, I will discuss how street art is used in advertising and how the location of the street art speaks for the brand.

Zevs is an anonymous French street artist that is known for painting the outlines of shadows that objects make on the street during the night. In an interview with South China Morning Post (SCMP), Zevs said, “By outlining the shadows I make it more visible in the night and it keeps a trace of these shadows during the day.” [1] By painting the shadows of the night, Zevs is freezing a moment in time and placing that moment into different context during the day. The use of location for Zevs has to do with the location of the shadow at the particular time that it was painted. The shadow is continuously moving, but by freezing that moment the artist is telling the viewer to look at that moment at a different perspective.

Houtlust, now known as Osocia, is a non-profit advertising and marketing agency that focuses on social issues. In 2005, Houtlust and the Auckland Regional Council New Zealand painted shadows of trees, as part of the Big Clean Up Campaign, to freeze a moment in time where a tree once existed. The shadow of the tree connected the viewer to a pole that read, “Nothing Can Replace a Tree. Plant More Native.” [2] This is a good example of how the change in perspective that Zevs created in his street art of painting shadows of objects on the street has transcended into communicating a specific message for a non-profit organization. In both works, the location of the shadow is most important because it holds a position of something that existed and has now passed.

The tagging of street artists and corporate branding are a lot in common. The tag, the alias name of the street artist, and the logos of the brands that make up our consumer economy share the same purpose of creating recognition. In the book, Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art, the author states, “One of the most salient features of graffiti is approximation of branding. At its most basic level, the tag mimics the ideographic compression, repetition, and saturation that we would expect of corporate logos and marketing campaigns. As a matter of practicality and artist’s tag must be fluent, fluid, flexible enough to be put up anywhere, quickly, under any conditions, and maintain the most primary of marketing directives: instant recognition.” [3] Just like a tag, a logo of a company must share similar qualities.

Shepard Fairey is a well-known street artist from the west coast that used a tag to create recognition of an iconic wrestler from the 1970s called, Andre the Giant. In the documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, the narrator states, “Shepards experiment with the power of repetition went back to 1989 and an image based on cult ‘70s wrestler Andre the Giant. Combining Andres face with a command to obey, Shepard had already clocked up over a million hits around the world.” [4] Using a familiar image, like Andre the Giant, and using the power of repetition is a tactic commonly seen in advertising. Andre the Giant as a tag  has the same purpose as a logo for a company brand. Fairey would place his tag all over the country in areas of high traffic that would be seen by a large quantity of people.  It became worldwide propaganda.

In corporate branding and in street art the location of what is being viewed to the public has a direct relationship with recognition and popularity. The location of the work, whether it is placed in a location with a high traffic of people to view or if it is placed in a location that creates a new context or perspective of the work, embodies the purpose. In the article, Tagging as a Social Literacy Practice, the author states, “Tagging is not simply an act of vandalism or violence; it is a social practice with its own rules and codes – a literacy practice imbued with intent and meaning.” [5] The location of the tag plays a large role in the context and message that the street artist is communication with the public.
Joshua Allen Harris is a New York Street artist that uses trash bags as a medium to create installation street art. In 2009, he created a work called Airbear and Cub that was placed on a city subway vent. When the subway passes through the location underground, the air pushes the trash bags up displaying an air filled installation of a bear and cub. When the subway is not passing by, the installation simply looks like a trash bag on the street. The artist uses the location of the subway air vent to put his work into new context and to change the perspective of what someone would normally see as trash.  He is taking something that already exists on the street and using it as part of his work. Advertising installation on the street go by the same practice. Ogilvy & Mather is a large advertising agency with offices worldwide. In 2005 out of the Malaysia office, they placed an image of Duracell batteries at the bottom of an escalator in a local shopping mall. Escalators keep going and going and so do Duracell batteries.  The advertisement is similar to Harris’ Airbear and Cub installation work in New York because they are using the locations environment to create a new perspective to the viewers.  Each one of the works has a tag that creates an identity. The tag Harris has is the use of trash bags on the street, which creates instant recognition of the artist. The tag used in the installation piece for Duracell is the company logo, the shape and functionality of the product. [6]

A street artist, that goes by the name, Slinkachu, is famous for his miniature installations placed in an urban environment. In 2007, Tower Hill, London, England, Slinkachu installed one of his works called, After the Storm. After a rainstorm, he placed a miniature rescue boat and a drowned victim in a puddle on the sidewalk of a common street. The context of the puddle changes once the rescue boat and victim are placed in it. There is a change in perspective to scale as the puddle mimics the idea of a lake. Slinkachu is taking something that was already present on the street and sending a new message by changing the context of the puddle. Similar to advertising street installations, agencies will take ordinary objects and transform them in something new that creates a new way of thinking towards that object. Grey Worldwide, a large creative advertising agency, produced a sidewalk installation in Italy for Mr. Clean cleaning supplies. They made all the lines of a crosswalk dirty except for one that was bright white. This displayed the functionality of the product, while integrating a streets common crosswalk. Just like Slinkachu, Grey Worldwide and Mr. Clean used a specific location to display their work because it was the elements present in the location that brought new context to the miniatures and the product. [7] [8]

Whether it is for a corporate brand or for a famous street artist, the location and the elements of the surrounding environment play an important role in communicating a message. It becomes familiar, yet surprising because new context is placed into a space that might otherwise seem ordinary. Street artist and advertising agencies share a common ground, which is to create instant recognition. In integrating a familiar space, object or image with the work grasps the attention of the viewer with the willingness to absorb the message intended by the artist.

[1] SCMP – South China Morning Post, “A Profile of Artist ZEVS Before His Arrest in Hong Kong”, SCMP Youtube; available from > (accessed 21 October 2012)
[2] Wooster Collective, “Plant More Native”, Wooster Collective online; available from > (accessed 26 October 2012)
[3] Carlo McCormick, Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Art (Los Angeles, CA: Taschen Publishing, 2010), 51.
[4] Banksy. Exit Through the Gift Shop. DVD. Directed by Banksy. USA : Producers Distribution Agency (PDA), 2010.
[5] Laurie MacGillivray and Margaret Sauceda Curwen, “Tagging as a Social Literacy Practice”, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy (2007): [Journal on-line]; available from JSTOR digital library, <> (accessed October 2012). 354.
[6] Joshua Allen Harris, “Airbear and Cub”, Joshua Allen Harris online: Behance Network (2012); available from < > (accessed October 2012)
[7] Slinkachu, “Little People”, Slinkachu online (2012); available from < > (accessed October 2012)
[8] Carlo McCormick, Trespass: A History of Uncommissioned Art (Los Angeles, CA: Taschen Publishing, 2010), 225.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Street/Chalk Art - David Zinn

David Zinn is a street artist who uses chalk to create his lovable imaginative street art.  Chalk is certainly the least permanent of all street art media, but certainly if you can catch the art before it's walked on or washed away, it can leave an impression on you. I'm sure everyone is familiar with street chalk art, as many of the images circulate through forwarded emails. But David Zinn's characters I think create their own stories by being imbedded in our world in a unique way. Check out the link for more of his works. They are worth taking a look at! Below is a Halloween themed image of David Zinn's. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fantastic source for photo research

Graffiti animation to promote French AIDS awareness

Great concept of using the graffiti you would see in a bathroom stall to create awareness of AIDS for the French AIDS awareness organization. It was created by TBWA\Paris. The message: Protect yourself with a condom.

More street Art in Advertising

Here are some more examples of how street art can be used in advertising to promote a product: Feel free to comment on any of them or tell everyone which one is your favorite. In the second half of my thesis I will mention a coupe of these and its relativity to location.

 Folders coffee used the steam created by a drain cap to mimic the steam that comes out of a warm cup of joe.

 Street art is used in this advertisement to develop awareness of the fact that 1/4 car accidents are pedestrians. It was created by Draft FCB in portugal and placed at high traffic intersection.

 This advertisement was created by GREY Group advertising. the tagline was "don't be a tosser, bin your butts." The butts of cigarettes were placed on the end of a crosswalk line to make feel like you are walking on a giant cigarette.

 Street art was used in this advertisement for a local hair salon in India. The hair salon was called Bubbles and they turned a crosswalk into a comb used to brush your hair.

The purpose of this advertisement was to show the products main benefit of a zoom lens. The street art advertisement simulates the movement of the powerful lens of the camera. Genius!

 McDonalds used Street art to promote their french fries by transforming a cross walk into a large size french fry container.

This one is my personal favorite because it is so simple, but makes a clear statement on the functionality of the product. It is for Mr.Cleans magic eraser.

Street Art in Advertising

This is an example of street art being used to promote Durex condoms:

Above: Promoting Durex condoms with knobs in Belguim. Americans refer to this product as
"studded" condoms....A slight difference in condom culture.

Above: To promote Durex condoms with ribs in Belgium. Americans refer to this product as Durex "Her Sensation" condoms. Another slight difference in condom culture.

Some Unique and Cool Street Art

Here is a really cool street artist that found a way to use subway exhaust to create art.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Myth and Street Art

Here are some of the art works I specifically reference:

Space Invader, Unknown title, Unknown place.

 Space Invader, Unknown title, Unknown place.

Banksy, Follow Your Dreams: Cancelled, London. 
Banksy, Sorry! The lifestyle you ordered is currently out of stock, Unknown place.

Myth and Street Art

“Myth and Street Art”

Before we get into how myth applies to street art let's take a look at myth and what it means for people. Myth is something that captures us; something that we believe in. [1] Myths come in many forms: written stories, art, and theater. We continually tell these stories or phrases in many forms, because for people, telling stories is a way for us to come to terms with our lives and the world around us. [2] The story or myth is a way for us to codify our activities in our lives. [3] These activities that make their way into myth are the things that all of us, human beings, have in common. They are the stories that are repeated over and over in our society and we recognize this through myth. We all need the story of our lives told in order for us to understand the mystery of life and to figure out who we are in this big wide world. [4] Street art creates a particular presence for itself, and by subtracting the artist and their identity, the artwork and artist can be viewed as a mythical presence that helps people understand themselves within the world.

Street art becomes mythical through its imagery and content. Using example artists Invader and Banksy we will take a look at their work. Invader uses ceramic tiles cemented together to create various alien creatures that look like the 8-bit video game, Space Invaders. The placement of the aliens on the walls of the buildings varies from looking like they have touched ground to still flying down ready to abduct you. Despite the video game coming out in the late 70s early 80s, alien's invading from space has been depicted in the movies since the early 50s. The aliens in those movies were portrayed as creatures from another planet coming to invade, in search of abducting people, taking natural resources, or looking to replace human life with their own. This was actually a direct response to World War II and the fear that what happened in Europe could happen elsewhere. [5] The myth of the space invader coming to take you still exists through the street artist Invader's artwork.

Reading into the meaning more currently, as far as what alien's mean today, Invader is also quoted for saying that he likes that his images invade our physical space. [6] And other street artists have felt that advertisers are invading our physical space, bombarding us with ads, so why not invade people's space with art. [7] This can lead to the conclusion that Invader is merely alluding to current invading aliens, companies, and branding. His artwork is a physical interpretation that helps us understand what is going on today and hopefully keeps us warned about the invasion of our minds from advertisers or other forces.

Banksy is an artist whose imagery focuses on the social, political, and even just imaginative imagery. Let's start by looking at his street art piece, Sorry! The Lifestyle You Ordered is Currently Out of Stock, which is a stenciled phrase left on what looks like an abandoned building. He is obviously making a reference to online shopping, the job market, and the promise of a wonderful and glamorous life, but in reality they end up with not what they were offered. This particular imagery also deals with stages of life and passing from childhood to adulthood. There are mythological rites and passages we go through in our lives especially from changing from child to adult. [8] Banksy is enlightening us through the rites of passage myth; the passage of coming to realize our reality from our childhood dreams. Another example of this same myth within Banksy's artwork is the piece where he shows a man who had just posted CANCELLED over a sentence that says FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS. This is a common theme is stories and mythology and Banksy proves his artwork as current myth in our society.

Something these artists have in common is their anonymity in society. By being anonymous they create a myth around themselves and induces an even more sacred feeling around their art work. Leaving us with feelings like, “When is the next time I will see one of their art works? Will they make another in this area?” For example, when watching a movie, the stars of the picture gain a mythical presence because they demonstrate multiple presences and make themselves representatives for our lives. [9] Banksy and Invader do the same thing. When looking at their art work we know that when they made the artwork they were “Banksy” or “Invader.” As soon as they leave their mark they turn and become whoever they are on their identification card. They represent the everyday person, particularly you and me, and tell the story of you and me through their art work.

Too many people see street art as vandalism. Looking at the placement of most street art, it is either covering over an advertisement or on an abandoned building. Do either of these instances not make you cheer inside? [10] Does the message of the artwork resonant within you? By altering a space you can transform your consciousness and presence of mind. [11] If we surrounded ourselves with more artwork that made us think about everyone and their needs, the myths of our lives, opposed to advertisements that make us think about ourselves and our wants, what would the world be like? Myths are the clues. They are symbols that we should internalize in order to find meaning within our lives. [12] By taking the time to view street art, we recognize street art as a new form of mythology and storytelling of the people, for the people, and by the people. This hopefully enriches our lives and helps us to find the meaning of ourselves within the world.

[1] Harwood, Frances. “Myth, Memory, and the Oral Tradition: Cicero in the Trobriands,” American Anthropologist, New Series, vol. 78, no. 4 (December 1976): 783-796.

[2] Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth (New York: Anchor Books, 1981), 2.

[3] Harwood, Frances. “Myth, Memory, and the Oral Tradition: Cicero in the Trobriands,” American Anthropologist, New Series, vol. 78, no. 4 (December 1976): 783-796.

[4] Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth (New York: Anchor Books, 1981), 4.

[5] Johns Gill, Jens Hoffmann, Gilane Tawadros, Alien Nation (London: Institute of Contemporary Arts, 2006), 33.

[6] Francesca Gavin, Street Renegades: New underground Art (London: Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2007), 56.

[7] Ethel Seno, ed., Carlo Mccormick, Marc Schiller, and Sara Schiller, Tresspass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art. (China: Taschen GmbH, 2010), 10-11.

[8] Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth (New York: Anchor Books, 1981), 14.

[9] Ibid., 20.

[10] Ethel Seno, ed., Carlo Mccormick, Marc Schiller, and Sara Schiller, Tresspass: A History of Uncommissioned Urban Art. (China: Taschen GmbH, 2010),11.

[11] Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth (New York: Anchor Books, 1981), 19.

[12] Ibid., 5.

(This page was edited on November 12, 2012).

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Political Street Art Images

                                                JR at the Tate Modern in London, 2008
JR at the Tate Modern in London, 2008 
                                              JR, Women Are Heros, Kenya, 2008-2010
    JR, Women Are Heros, Kenya, 2008-2010 
                                               JR, Face 2 Face, Palestine and Israel, 2007 
JR, Face 2 Face, Palestine and Israel, 2007
JR, Face 2 Face, Palestine and Israel, 2007
                                                              Banksy, Los Angeles
                                                          Banksy, Las Vegas, 2011
                                                         Banksy, Bethlehem, 2007
                                                                    Banksy, 2007