Tuesday, November 5, 2013
When MELROSEandFAIRFAX started, our only goal was to shine some limelight on all the incredible art blanketing the streets of LA. That was it. Just one modest goal.
Without a doubt, M&F has more than surpassed the initial landmark.
Over the years, M&F has built itself from a local neighborhood blog, into the lead street art blog for Los Angeles, and from there, M&F has maintained a 2-year stranglehold in online rankings as the #1 Street Art Blog in the USA, and, currently, ranked #2 in the entire world. Pretty damn impressive for a blog that is mainly focusing on illegal work from local talent in the neighborhood~
The resolve of this blog cannot be questioned. Hard work is what led to M&F's success. No one spent more time on the streets than this blog. And no single source (online, print or what-have-you) has put more effort trying to capture and document the actual action on the streets.
Just in terms of sheer numbers alone, here are some stats. M&F has been around for 4 years. Over that time, we have averaged 10+ posts per day, and not missed a single day of posting in over 3+ years straight. M&F has made 14,581 total posts and has thousands of visitors from all over the world visiting the site each and every day.
M&F believes it is the best street art blog ever not because of the stats, but because we stayed true to the streets. That's what street art is about, right? Street art. Not public art. Not gallery art. That stuff is boring. Street art is the stuff that doesn't need a permission slip. That's what makes it exciting. And for 4 years, M&F has constantly captured the action on the streets, broadcast it to the world, and in doing so, explained and detailed the nuances of the streets. There is no other site who has taken on this type of task, and no one who has remained so completely dedicated to the mission. M&F didn't get to the top of the street art world by grabbing the biggest names and trying to capitalize on that. No, we worked from the streets up, trying to gather nickels and pennies to make a buck. M&F didn't just post pictures. We told the story. M&F was the main source to find out the backstory of what street art is -- how every little tag has an origin, how every artist climbs from humble beginnings towards the top, how every little beef has a story, and how every little mark has a meaning.
Sometimes it was difficult. Especially how M&F represented the general street art community but M&F did not always feel supported by the community. We understand that this genre is composed of people who by their very definition are rule-breakers, ego-maniacs and outlaws. It takes big balls to get up in LA, and even bigger balls, and a thick skin, to remain in this community for any time--especially in the position of a public figure. M&F was proud to be tougher than the haters, and the nay-sayers never stopped M&F from doing or saying whatever was needed to be said or done. And all the hate never stopped M&F, not even for a single day. But it is sad, because its hard to hold any community together when the hate is stronger than the shared bond. This situation might be similar to the way that Banksy is reviled in some graffiti circles. In the graffiti and street art worlds, currently, disdain is kind of like a badge of success. M&F believes that the street art and graffiti community, as a whole, have some growing up to do. If there is going to be a productive community, its got to be supportive of each other. Battle the ideas that keep people down. Battle the authorities. Battle the buffman. But don't waste time and energy battling each other. The street art community will finally come into its own when people stop bickering within the community, and come together, as a whole, to fight the good fight. Remember people, its us against them--not us against us.
Our favorite pieces of street artist are not necessarily painted by the most skilled artists. M&F's favorite street pieces are the ones that pack a message. Street art is not just decoration. Street art is a public forum, and the best art is a catalyst for change. Street art should aim make the world better a better place, both through ideas, and imagery.
M&F encourages artists getting up to remember that the streets are the highest prize. Like Banksy says, art was brought inside at the will of the church and institutions. That was a blip and a mistake. Art is for the people and the streets are for the masses. To be explicitly clear, fuck the galleries and museums. There should be no greater pinnacle for any street artist other than getting up with an awesome new piece on the streets.
Street art is the biggest art movement the world has ever known, not because of online blogs, or Instagram, or Facebook. Street art is massive because you can travel to any corner of this globe and it is there. M&F has personally been to 46 states and a few continents ourselves, and seen it everywhere from the backwoods of Kentucky to the S. Dakota Badlands. In every city, in every small town, on every little abandoned shack and in every overgrown corner, folks are getting up. Its not about where you live. Its about the human need to express one's self in their environment. What graffiti has done is re-connect modern humans with our inherent, innate and primal need to mark territory. Tagging is the modern version of piss and cave writing. Street art is the biggest art movement the world has ever known because it gives a public voice to each and every person. Even as net neutrality is dying on the internet, the streets remain the one free place to speak your voice--at least until you get caught. And, once again, that's what makes street art so fuckin' exciting, right? These are not merely artists, these are outlaws risking life and liberty to share their message. And the street art movement will just keep growing. Wherever someone feels like they don't have a voice, the strong begin to speak up. Street art is just going to keep getting bigger and bigger. Indeed, a voice on the streets is the best weapon the people have. Stay up~
M&F has been telling this story for the past 4 years. And we have been so involved that this was not just a blog, this has been a lifestyle. Which is what makes it so necessary to take a break, and also so hard. The story on the streets is never-ending, which is makes it difficult to step away. Even now, we feel there are stories that need to be told and posts that ought to be made. But not by M&F, and not now. This is not a closed door and M&F is not gone forever. The return door is still cracked open. M&F might be back and pick up where we left off. We plan still be writing, and still be invested in the street art scene--and we even plan to post again on MELROSEandFAIRFAX at some point. However, we are aware that with something like a blog, it doesn't pick up where it was left off. If we ever wanted to regain the status the blog now has, that it would take much hard work to build it back up. Half of M&F's heart is still on the streets, but to try an live a balanced life, M&F will be taking some time off the blog so that we can focus on some of our other passions.
Thank you to all the artists who make the streets a better place. Thank you to all the photographers and contributors who made things happen. Thank you to all the fans who drove the success of M&F. Thank you to the beautiful City of Los Angeles -- it is the best place we have found in 46 states.
That's it. For now.~
Thank you for an absolutely amazing month. The roller coaster was spectacular. It was like the grown-up, street art equivalent of having Christmas every day. The excitement, the anticipation, and our eye-popping at the spectacles could not be matched. Like a symphony conductor, you played the masses, masterfully pulled and plucked at our heart strings. Thank you~
On a personal note, a Banksy image was the first street art that M&F ever personally witnessed on the streets. As a young teenager, someone painted the image of your copper flipping the bird in our neighborhood, and your image spoke to us and stuck with us. The image was not painted by you, but by some random Banksy fan in middle America years ago, but that doesn't change things. Basically, your street art became our first street love. And we still love you~
While running this blog, M&F has seen how Banksy's influence is as big or greater than the rest of the entire worlds of graffiti and street art combined. For what its worth, M&F would like to extend an open apology to Banksy from graffiti writers of the world and the street art community. Basically, nearly every graffiti writer that hates on Banksy is just jealous of your success, and every street artist wanting to be Banksy wants your success, but without understanding what it takes to get there. Like you say, people should not eat to shit. Instead of hating on your fame, or trying to snag a piece of it, true artists should emulate and learn from your example.
Banksy has conquered every mountain in the art world one achievement at a time. When Banksy wasn't a household name, you began painting animals (that time you painted the cow was where M&F first heard your name, and never forgot it since. To be clear, not that 'paint animals' should be the lesson learned, rather keep it fresh by doing what no one has done before and what no one expects). When graffiti was not considered fine art, you invaded the world of fine art with graffiti. When museums would not have your art, you broke the rules to put it in there anyway. And somewhere along the line, your art works began to command colossal financial success. But unlike many other artists, that was not your end game. It is so disappointing how many artists will work for years on crafting a unique and personal look or aesthetic, and then, once a deep pocketed advertiser comes along, they sell their aesthetic out for a paycheck. What is up with that? It cheapens the art because all of a sudden it not art, but just another cool advertisement for so-and-so company. Its the artistic equivalent to selling your soul. But Banksy, the biggest reason you are such a hero is that you achieved everything, and did it all without selling your artistic soul. You did it all without selling out, or compromising what got you to where you are. In fact, once you got to the absolute top of the art world, you bring it back home to basics. Back to the streets. Back to where art should be. Boom.
Yes, thank you for the entertainment, but even more so, thank you for bringing art back to its roots. In the modern world, art has lost its way, and lost touch with the people. As you pointed out, generations ago, art got taken inside in service to the institutions and the church. Now, these days, art is assessed by its value, not its content. People are told what good art is, instead of experiencing good art and being able to explain why that art is impactful to them. This has made art boring, and generally a subject that most people are uncomfortable about giving opinions on or an honest opinion about. Art, in the art world, is about fake, money driven posturing. But none of this is real art. Art doesn't matter how much it costs or what the critics say. Art happens when it influences people, and the best place to influence people is outside, on the streets. Your month long exhibition was a powerful demonstration and testament to the powers of art. Banksy, you have conquered both the streets and the auction houses. We always knew you were prophetic, but now we think that you might be a prophet. Moses set out the 10 Commandments after climbing down from the mountain. In a similar way, Banksy has climbed every mountain in the art world, and now he brings the art back to the masses. Galleries now want your art. Museums now want your art. Nearly every art establishment in the world wants your art! And you want to give the art back to the people. That is just fucking awesome. Thank you for stealing art back from the institutions, and offering it back to the people. Indeed, Better Out Than In.~
Banksy, your name is bigger than the rest of the street art world combined. You are a role model for the scene, and beyond. Throughout it all, you have continued to fight the good fight. You have become the greatest artist of this generation. You have achieved it all on your terms. All the while, you have utilized your ever-growing fame to do quiet acts of humanitarianism, while for the public at large, you are banging a loud drum for change. You might be a career vandal, but modern politicians, media giants, celebrities and other so-called 'role models' would benefit from emulating you as a model.
Banksy, you are King of the Graffiti World, King of the Art World, and our best hope for shaking things up on the streets in the future. Thank you for being the only hero worth looking up to.~
Monday, November 4, 2013
Well, Banksy's New York Accent lasted the entire month of October. Now, it finally got crossed out by some hater. As you can see, Banksy's accent got 'accented' by a bunch more New York accent's.
Click the jump for a final random and huge look at many pieces from BanksyNY during Better Out Than In.
Stay up and stay musical!~
These hand painted pieces from There She Is and You Killed Me First are some of the brightest shining stars along the streets of Los Angeles.
Its these little moments that are so special, when you are going down a street in LA, and all of a sudden you become confronted by a colorful hand painted work of art. Boom. That's what street art is all about. Its kind of like magic~
Here are two giant hand painted pieces from There She Is and You Killed Me First. Click through for a tremendous glimpse at these awesome pieces. Go ahead, and take a trip to YKMF's street level amusement park.
This mural seems to capture everything that is wrong with street art and its lost values.
At face value, this is a mural painted by Kai Aspire. The piece is entitled 'Lost Values', and it is re-assigning Louis Vuitton's 'LV' to mean 'Lost Values'.
At face value, it is pretty weak. The art is lame. The message doesn't say anything. And why any street art piece would be talking about 'lost values' in the uber-rich fashion world is a stretch to say the least. Louis Vuitton and street art? What do they have in common? Nothing but lost values and poor artists.
But even though it wasn't intended, this piece works perfectly on a deeper level. Like we say in the opening sentence, this mural seems to capture everything that is wrong with street art and its lost values.
Kai Aspire is not just another street artist. Kai was born with a silver paint brush in his hand. Kai is the nephew of Mr. Brainwash, and Kai's father owns this wall where the mural was painted. In fact, years ago, this wall used to be organic street art. Meaning that art just used to pop up on this wall on its own. Then, 3 years ago, the Guetta family started curating this wall. The best part is that the art did keep changing with constantly rotating murals, but the worst part is that the move transitioned this wall from 'street art' to 'public art'. Strike one.
Strike 2 is the focus of the content itself. Like we say, street art and fine fashion have nothing in common. And any street artist thinks that fashion empires like 'Louis Vuitton' demonstrate 'lost values', well, then the artist is the one with the lost values. Like here. Street art should pack a message worthy of the streets. Not just this piece, but street art in Los Angeles in general seems to be failing to spread a worthy message.
Strike 3 is to pretend to be something you're not. And since Warhol, their has been a movement in the art world that says a factory is okay--the factory concept is the idea that the artist does not have to paint every stroke, someone else can do the work and yet the art is still considered an original. Okay, fine. We understand the factory concept. But what Kai is doing seems beyond the scope of Warhol's factory. You see, Kai paints murals like this one, and the one pictured below. Actually, the one pictured below provides the perfect example of what Kai did and didn't do. Kai did paint his name on the right. You can see from the thick brush strokes and uncontrolled drips how Kai literally has no skill with the brush. And now, compare that to the image next to Kai's signature. It is a masterfully blended image of Kanye West dressed up in medieval clothing. The art skill is seriously stunning, but it is clear that the image was not painted by Kai. The image on the wall was actually wheat pasted, but it is an enlarged image of a painting that Kai attempted to sell at a previous art show, as his own work. What!? A lot of folks in the community were outraged at Kai's first show because he did not paint the art that he was selling. Forget the factory concept, when did it become anything other than fraud to pretend something you didn't make, is yours? Talk about lost values . . .
Okay. So this mural has technically already struck out. But there are still more egregious things wrong with it. Basically, and 'technically' this entire mural is not even 'art'. This is an advertisement. In fact, if you were to take this mural and shrink it down into postcard size, then this would be a flyer for Kai's show. It is not art because the information on the flyer tells the viewer where to buy what the artist is selling. The viewer is not allowed to interpret the image or message, when it is done this way the viewer is instructed where to 'shop'. Like we say, this is not art, this is a painted advertisement. For an art show with paintings that the artist did not paint focusing on issues that are irrelevant to life and the streets.
Finally, the only time Kai does anything on the streets is right before he is about to have an art show. As M&F has said before, the streets are not a platform to a gallery. The streets are the real prize. And if you only put up a handful of street pieces in order to hype a gallery show, well, that is not really a street artist. Don't know exactly where to draw the line, but that is not a street artist at all. That's someone trying to use the streets for advertisements. Not street art, an insult to the streets.
Street art needs to dump some baggage, get back into touch with what its about, and remedy these 'lost values'.
Stay up, Los Angeles!
Then, the stop sign got completely tagged over by someone who didn't share the dream saying 'Fuck That'. In addition to an onslaught of supportive stickers.
Well, the dream never dies. Never stop dreaming, because the sign is back. Not sure if it was the buffman who buffed the tags and stickers off, but the sign is back and the dream is alive. Never stop dreaming!
Sunday, November 3, 2013
(***An 'eternal' classic flashback***)
Well, Banksy's original piece didn't last long. Less than a day before it was defaced.
But here is a great series of the lucky ones who got to visit Banksy's inspirational piece before it was damaged.
Crazy combo in Los Angeles. Stickers getting up on all the signs and poles, like the action in all your mom's holes!
Slaps from YB, No Ideas, 4get, Kilz, Slap Shit Burn Marijuana, Tribal, Dufas, Hier, STFU, Bus, Xosk, SenX, Spray PID, Korsen, Killers, Word, Howe, Foer, Arson, Cyrcle, Jukes OES, Revok, Ahh'd Art and more.
(Only a few weeks old but Banksy's New York residency already feels like forever ago. Here is another classic flashback--this one featuring Banksy's Confessional. Note--these pictures were all captured before the Confessional was altered. Enjoy!--and fuck church!)
Religion is such a back-asswards way to live your life. Growing up, M&F used to be forced to go to church every single Sunday. And the preacher told us that the closer your sin was to Sunday, the greater the severity of that sin. So, don't know about you but M&F plans to sin big today on Sunday to score some big points in heaven. Highest score wins?
Fuck the churchgoers. For all you true-to-heart street art-goers, here is a Sunday sampling of Banksy's Concrete Confessional.
Stay up and keep sinning!
Bandit gets up on Day 3 of his month long series tributing Native Americans. This piece says 'Kizh Nation Shall Rise' and it features Toypurina, a female tribal war hero and the only native woman to lead a revolt against the Spanish.
Pasted up in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles.
Always dig strong female role models. Stay up!
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Banksy's 'The Banality of the Banality of Evil' sold for $615,000 at an art house auction ending earlier this week, so how did Banksy's other pieces do?
The brick from Banksy's was originally listed at $666.69, and when that went unsold, it was relisted. The 2nd time it did sell for $78.77 with 8 bids. To be clear, this auction was just for one leftover brick from Banksy's Spinx installation, not the pyramid art work itself.
Banksy's Grumpy Asshole truck was also listed on Ebay for $120,000, and that auction ended unsold. There are some funny updates where the seller says that this is Banksy's best piece in the exhibition, and then threatens to keep it--if it doesn't sell. (M&F will take the piece if you don't want it, bro.~)
Click the jump to check out auction pics and updates
Banksy's graffiti wild cat got buffed.
The strongest thing M&F notices about this piece is how Banksy outlasted the haters. This was one of Banksy's last in New York, and it rode for days unprotected and untagged. Until it got buffed.
Street art doesn't last forever. But the strongest ones outlast the hate. Too bad the wild cat is buffed, but this piece was a victory for BanksyNY.
***Here is another Banksy feature that was written during Better Out Than In, but not posted til now. Enjoy~***
This piece by Banksy seems to be an aesthetic favorite among the fans
And it has ridden for days without being damaged or defaced. Even though the surrounding chain link fence is easy enough to hop, it seems enough to keep the toys and Omar's away.
Here is a return visit to Banksy's Wild Horses. This piece seems to be more about appreciating the art than interacting with it. Click the jump to check out more pics, including night time shots.
It is always fascinating how property owners, and the city authorities, do not want bright, colorful, artistic graffiti, but they don't seem to mind mis-matched buff scars.
Bleepbloop calls attention to this discrepancy with a new series where the artist went to unpainted walls, and painted the buff right onto the walls before signing around it.
Friday, November 1, 2013
***This feature was written during Banksy's Better Out Than In but never published. The timing references might be out of sync, but the larger points still apply***
This morning, Banksy's 'Eternity' piece woke up to even more damage. The funniest is a new tag that says nothing more than 'Fuck Banksy'.
Its hard to make it in the world of graffiti and street art. Everyone outside your community hates what you are doing. The authorities will arrest you for your art. Even within the community, it often times feels like there are more haters than lovers in the scene. And at end of the day, some buffman is waiting to paint over your art. Its tough to get up and stay up. It takes a thick skin and balls of steel. And, some might add, questionable judgement. Bottom line, it is tough work being a graffiti or street artist.
M&F already addressed the small minded--and small dicked--mindset that leads to tagging over pieces and 'Team Robbo' type behavior (there are also some valid points raised in the comments). This post is to point out that it is hard work being a graffiti or street artist. There is a lot of hate coming from every angle. Not every graffiti and street artist has experienced the hate on Banksy's level, but everyone who gets up has experienced it on some level or another.
As Banksy prophetically quoted on this very piece yesterday, "I'm just going to use that hostility to make me stronger, not weaker".
Staying up is for the strongest, toughest ones. Stay up!~
Fuck yeah. Burn One is taking LA's street art to Asia and the world~
Two of LA's stalwart street artists, Burn One and Bankrupt Slut, just got their collab pasted on the other side of the globe--in Korea! Posted up by Burn One.
Interesting to note how the graffiti tagging in Korea is still done in English.
Dig it. Stay up!
GoneMOCA just got up all over LA with an installation of 100 hand painted cubes.
These are highly collectible and most get taken soon after being discovered. Placed from Malibu to Melrose, keep your eyes peeled for Gone's boxes, before they are gone.~
October has been a mad month. All kinds of craziness surrounding Banksy went on in New York City, and throughout it all, Banksy's art seemed to bring the nameless faceless masses of New York City together.
Click through to see random groups of New Yorkers posing together with Banksy. (There is one pic in particular of some dudes who look so happy they can't contain themselves. If you can tell who looks happiest in the pics, you might be able to remember why!)
Posted by Melrose+Fairfax at 3:13 PM
The last piece from Banksy was so packed with drama and excitement that it is worth a return visit to Banksy's Balloon Bubble Letter Throw-Up. This piece was the finale to his month long show.
Basically, what is happening in all these pictures is that some dudes used ladders to climb the building and snag Banksy's balloon bubble letters. As they jumped off, the balloon dudes got physically assaulted by 2 Banksy Hunters. The police witnessed the entire thing, and they arrested the two balloon dudes for trespass and criminal mischief. The two Banksy Hunters who assaulted the dudes were not arrested. But later, the police also arrested a couple more photo people who supposedly got in the way of the NYPD performing its duties. What duties? Well, like fat balloon butt cops trying to figure out how to cram Banksy's Balloons into the back of a police van. And then there's some pics of people improvising after Banksy's balloons were taken.
So that's the story behind the madness.
Click the jump through to check the pictures of Banksy's New York finale
The RTH Crew gets painted in South Los Angeles.
The post is titled 'Cocky' because a proud looking rooster and his hens were strutting around this spot during the painting.
RTH also has reason to be cocky, being one of the first graffiti crews to embrace all methods of getting up, even pasters. Like here, where Kiosk to the left has a graffiti piece riding and pasters next to it on the cut away.
With more action from Branded, Rekoil, Lukas and Realm.
October is officially over. And all of the street art lovers officially have a Banksy hangover. M&F is already suffering from BanksyNY withdrawal.
Perhaps the fans aren't the only ones to see Banksy's New York residency come to an end. Maybe Banksy is also already nostalgic.
The IG account Banksy_co_uk just posted this photo of a rat saying "No rats this time in NYC, but here's an oldie". This might actually be from Banksy, since this IG account was often the initial outlet to publish Banksy's new pieces for the day.
So no rats this time. Banksy clearly wanted to distance himself from the rats, and his monkeys. However, it seems that Banksy enjoyed his time on the streets so much, that he doesn't want to fun to end either. November artist residency, Banksy?
In celebration of Native American Month in November, Bandit aims to put up a new piece every day.
His first piece is called Warriors of the Art World, and it says 'We are not the rockstars of the art world. We are the warriors of the art world.
As for not being rockstars, M&F says speak for yourself! Lol. J/k. The line is something that this blog coined because we do believe that street artists are the rock stars of the art world. But we also agree that the best street artists are also warriors.
So stay up on the streets! Whether you are a rockstar or a warrior. Or, both~
Thursday, October 31, 2013
As a capper to Banksy's month long artist residency in New York, his artwork, 'The Banality of the Banality of Evil' finished bidding at $615,000. The price jumped over $300,000 in the final minutes of the auction.
Pretty impressive price for a painting of a Nazi. Wonder if the buyer is going to hang this up? or just brag about it?
This is not rumor. The streets are hot after Banksy's month long artist residency, and, Space Invader got arrested last night in New York City. Seriously.
Today, the NY Lowdown published a story that Space Invader got arrested last night while installing this Snow White mosaic. The police took him into custody, and then contacted the property owner Mark Miller, who runs an art gallery at the location.
Not sure exactly how things work in New York, since the NYPD was saying it needed a property owner to charge Banksy with vandalism. The article does not say whether Miller is pressing charges or the NYPD. But Miller says that he plans on keeping Space Invader's art work. So if he is not pressing charges, who is?
This is not the first time Space Invader has been arrested. He has already been ticketed multiple times in Los Angeles as well.
Banksy's month long artist residency in New York is now drawing to a close. Banksy has rocked us, shocked us, and now he is trying to knock the art world upside the head. In his final audio, Banksy reveals his major ambition of Better Out Than In--to reclaim art for the outside, not the inside.
Banksy is truly the greatest artist of this generation. He has proven himself on the streets, in the galleries and museums, in the auction houses--and again on the streets. And the entire journey, Banksy did it all on his terms.
Street art is the biggest art movement the world has ever known. And consider these words from Banksy a call for revolution for the entire art world. Check out Banksy's words of wisdom below:
Well, this is the last day of the show. I'd like to so we are going out on a high note, and, I guess in a way, we are~.
This is a sideways take on the ubiquitous spray painted bubble lettering that actually floats. Its an homage, or sorts, to the most prevalent graffiti, in the city that invented it, for the modern era. Or, its another Banksy piece that is full of hot air.
So, what does the artist hope to have achieved, with this so-called residency? Shame it didn't get any press . . . He told me, that 'if just one child has been inspired to pick up a can of paint, and make some art, well that would be statistically disappointing considering how much work I put in'.
Its been an interesting experiment, but is there a cohesive message behind it? I gave the artist two minutes to think of one . . .
Banksy asserts that outside is where art should live, amongst us. And rather than street art being a "fad", maybe its the last thousand years of art history that are the "blip" when art came inside, in service of the church, and institutions. But art's rightful place is on the cave walls of our communities. Where it can act as a public service, provoke debate, voice concerns, forge identities.
The world we live in today is run, visually at least, by traffic signs, billboards, and planning committees Is that it!?! Don't we want to live in a world made of art? Not just decorated by it?
Thanks for coming.~
Banksy didn't leave New York without leaving a little something for everyone. Its not limited. Its not pre-made. But it is official.
Banksy released this image today on his website saying 'Now available - the official Banksy New York residency souvenir T shirt (you have to take the jpeg to a copy store and make it yourself)'.
Very cool of Banksy to do this as a keepsake for everyone to remember this month. The Omar-ized versions are Do-It-Yourself (but hope you get plenty of people pulling on your balloon string~).
This is rich. The NYPD decided to confiscate Banksy's Balloon Graffiti Throw Up. Guess the NYPD can't catch Banksy, but they did catch his balloon!
All humor aside, this could be more devious than cops merely confiscating illegal art. America's police departments have been known to seize money or other quetionably illegal stuff, and then the person they took it from must prove that it is not illegal. Its an unfair practice abused by many police departments to try and garner more money for themselves. So, its kinda like the NYPD 'stole' Banksy's piece. Lets see if the police cash in, or if the balloon gets 'returned' to the building owner.
Or perhaps the NYPD just wants the Balloon for fingerprints. (Yikes!)
Also, the dudes who tried to steal the balloons ended up getting arrested. M&F is not condoning what they did, but out of everyone who claimed a Banksy this month, these dudes seemed to do it the right way risking life and limb to grab a 'public' piece with no clear owner. Survival of the streetest? And now they are getting arrested? Something smells sour about this situation.
All in all, Banksy couldn't have scripted a better ending. This is not using art as decoration. This is 'making' art in real life. This is why he came to New York. Like Banksy said, "Nobody comes to New York to bathe in your well mannered common sense. We're here for your spirit and audacity."
Indeed. Stay up, New York~
Oh shit! Shit is gettin' real at Banksy's Balloon Throw Up piece.
It turns out, when the dude who snagged Banksy's piece jumped off the roof, he got physically mugged by a couple of tough looking Banksy Hunters. Problem is, all of the drama happened right in front of the cops, so some people might be getting arrested for this!
Update! The dudes got Banksy's balloon down. But the NYPD showed up, and not sure how this is going to turn out!
Haha. Its kind of funny how the NYPD has been chasing Banksy all month, and now they are in the opposite position of defending his art work?
Yup, this is art~
Apparently, the dudes have a ladder long enough to get up to the upper level, but the balloons are tied to to the rooftop, so they appear to be safe--for the minute.
This piece would have been much safer, and stronger, if Banksy had actually painted the graffiti onto the building. Have never seen one cut out of a building this high up. Just sayin'.
Ironically enough, some of the folks on the scene are calling the cops to protect Banksy's vandalism. What a strange world we live in, and as Banksy says in his audio, why live in a world decorated by art, when we could live in a world made of art? Watching how the public fumbles over how to deal with a Banksy, its real life art (chasing after art).
The pictures that Banksy released on his website looked like graffiti bubble letters, meanwhile the audio recording on Banksy's website described these as actually full of hot air. Turns out, it is both. These are actual balloons, painted with graffiti, and shaded on the wall with spray paint. But the actual letters themselves are balloons.
It seems that Banksy is having some fun poking at himself with this piece, at the same time he claims the graffiti crown. It is worth noting, that Banksy has outlasted the haters in New York. When Banksy first started, the haters were chomping at the bit to paint over Banksy's new pieces. But as the month wore on, the haters grew less and less motivated. Even last night's Bronx Zoo piece remained untouched, untagged and unvandalized even though it was unguarded for an entire night.
When Banksy started his art show and the pieces would get tagged over, some folks would talk about how New York graffiti does not take kindly to outsiders, but now, at the end of the month, its kind of like Banksy has taught New Yorkers how to behave around graffiti.
Click the jump for a closer look at Banksy's Inflatable Throw-Up.
Folks outside the streets might not understand this last move from BanksyNY. Folks were talking about Banksy hitting the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State Building. But Banksy's idea was even bigger than that. By culminating with a simple graffiti throw up, Banksy is saying that the BIG point about this month's exhibition, is to take graffiti to the next level.
Banksy definitely chose this spot on purpose. The building is filled with bombs from some of the biggest graffiti bombers in the world. Even before Banksy showed up, this was a graffiti Wall-of-Fame. Names like Nekst, Adek BTM and Lewy are as big as it gets for street bombers. And Banksy is above it all. Above all the other names, and all the other beef that writers are throwing around.
Also notice how Banksy employs a unique kind of shading with this piece.
Are all the graffiti writer's listening? Banksy is clearly talking a little shit while he is making his big point. Banksy is not just a street artist. He is also 'tops' in the graffiti world, as well.
This is not the fist time that Banksy has painted wild graffiti cats. But his Bronx Wildcat in New York across the street from Yankee Stadium is Banksy's best yet.
Not only did Banksy use tags to fill in the stripes and animal print from the wild cats, but he also use the texture of the wall itself. After painting the tags, you can see in the upclose picture (below) how Banksy painted the wall, and then scraped off some of that work to add to the piece. Very impressive, and love the way the building itself is incorporated into the art.
There has been a lot of talk online about the words and tags that Banksy utilized in his New York Wildcat. There is clearly a peace sign, and a 'NY' for New York, and next to the peace sign, there also appears to be a gone over Cope2 tag. Cope has been shamelessly begging for attention from Banksy during the entire month Banksy has been in New York. Cope wanted it so much that he even posted a fake picture of a fake collab with Banksy, featuring a fat pig and NYPD over Cope's tag. And a lot of people think that Banksy might be tributing Cope with this tag, but unlike the peace sign and the NY the 'C' on Cope is clearly painted over. In the graffiti world, going over a tag is an insult. So not sure what Banksy was trying to do there? give Cope props? or memorialize him forever getting capped?
And yesterday M&F called out New York for not recognizing this new piece of art all day. It turns out that some locals saw Banksy paint this piece. It did not go unnoticed all day. Banksy did it in the middle of the afternoon, around 3:30 in the daytime. It took Banksy about 20 minutes to paint, and he did it all by himself, with no assistants or assistance. Boom.
Click the jump for more of Banksy's Bronx Wildcat
Some new pictures just got put up online, reportedly showing Banksy's newest piece.
At first, this might look like a Banksy piece. But from looking closer at the art, this does not feel like Banksy. The shading is off, the market line is strange (wouldn't Banksy have it doing something, not just there).
Not Banksy. Just another someone clearly inspired by Banksy's month-long residence in New York.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Andy Warhol said that an artist should not worry about what is written in the press, they should just measure it in inches.
BanksyNY's month long residency in New York has highlighted the many strange ways that people react to art. Throughout it all, Banksy has tried to incorporate many layers of meaning in each of his pieces. Still, the main discussion with the masses doesn't seem to get far beyond the monetary value of the art. But maybe its not the people's fault? Maybe, a HUGE part of the problem is the mainstream media. The mainstream media is so out of touch that it is hilarious. And the way that the New York Times has handled Banksy's New York invasion has shown that.
Banksy has steadily been building his buzz all month long. Banksy's art works and art stunts have gained the attention of every major news outlet. Banksy's influence was so dramatic and heavy that for a couple of days in the month, the term 'Banksy' was the most searched Google term in America. Banksy is arguably the most widely recognized artist in the world, and so, as one of his final acts for Better Out Than In, Banksy submitted an editorial to the New York Times.
Now, this is where things get funny. The New York Times refused to publish Banksy's short essay, but the very next day they published a much longer article about Banksy. The article that was published included a banal run down of Banksy's pieces in New York, and how the people have reacted to it. The article completely ignores Banksy's editorial, until one of the final closing paragraphs. The space given to explain why Banksy's editorial was not published took up just about as Banksy's essay would have anyway. But the New York Times said that Banksy's essay "wasn't at all what we were expecting, so it was rejected".
This is the perfect example of how the mainstream news is, (28) days late, a buck short and missing the entire point completely. It was nice of the New York Times to join Banksy's month long celebration--3 days before its over (now that's great reporting!). Then they publish a bland and boring profile article about the artist instead of the incisive and incendiary words that the artist asked to be published--a buck short. Furthermore, the published article completely dismisses Banksy's ideas while trying to catch at the tail of Banksy's energy. This shows how out of touch the mainstream media is. The mainstream media is handed a juicy story, but they refuse to print it. If anyone wonders why mainstream print news is dying, its because of the news organizations themselves. The media has dumbed down the news to the lowest common denominator so that its not worth reading anyway.
Warhol wanted his media to be measured in inches, so to him, this would have been a victory. But Banksy is not Andy Warhol. Banksy is bigger than Warhol, and, once again, the greatest artist of the modern generation (--its worth mentioning that Damien Hirst spent this month body painting Rhianna--that is the type of art the mainstream media is comfortable with, but really who gives a fuck? Did Hirst's art change the world? Banksy's kinda did). Banksy is not Warhol or Hirst. He is better. Banksy actually has ideas in addition to his art, and Banksy's ideas are worth hearing. Hirst can have Rhianna and his dots. Warhol can have his inches of print and his soup cans. Yes, Warhol can keep his inches, but please give us Banksy's wisdom.
Banksy dares speak truth to power. Banksy is anonymous like a super hero. And Banksy is our best hope against the banality of mainstream media and modern life.~
Stay up, Banksy!
***UPDATE -- The New York Times has published another long article on Banksy today. The new article says nothing new, and is loaded with cheap insults and weak comparisons to other artists. The author even has the gall to call Banksy's 'Sirens of the Lambs' his "most political piece", while the author completely failed to mention Banksy's unpublished editorial submitted the New York Times. Seriously, fuck you New York Times. You set the bar so low that you tripped. The NY Post has done a better job covering Banksy this month. You just don't get it, and while you don't get it, the inches of words you print are digging print journalism's own grave.***
Here is a closer look at Banksy's Bronx Zoo graffiti leopard.
This location was listed on Banksy's website as Yankee Stadium, but this is not on the stadium itself, but right across the street.
The blue background and fierce spirit of this piece seems to make it a favorite amongst many fans. But perhaps the larger point that Banksy is trying to make by waiting all day to reveal this piece is that just like in the jungle, the wild cats are still blending in.
C'mon New York. After a full month of Banksy and this piece did not get spotted on the streets all day!? Big time fail. Banksy has opened eyes during Better Out Than In, but apparently still not enough to notice everything unusual in the Big Apple.
People were wondering if Banksy was going to hit an iconic New York landmark site, and now he has. On October 30th, Banksy brought the Bronx Zoo to Yankee Stadium!
Gothamist published an article with the owner of Banksy's 'Grumpy Asshole' truck.
The new owner is not impressed. He says "For me, its worth nothing more than art on the other sides of the truck. I don't know art. To me it has no value. I can't appreciate that."
The owner is an Orthodox Jew, so he did not answer his phone all day on Sunday, allowing the truck to sit there all day. Even though it was unprotected, there was no vandalism, only fans writing their names in dust.
The owner is now trying to sell it to the highest bidder saying "I can replace the truck so it doesn't have value to me--but it has value to someone else". Apparently, this own can appreciate the financial value, even if not the artistic.
Now, wonder if there is some rich grumpy asshole willing to pay tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars for a 'Grumpy Asshole' truck?
***UPDATE -- Banksy's Grumpy Truck is now on Ebay for $120,000. Or better offer. The asking price might seem like a bargain since Banksy's 'The Banality of the Banality of Evil' is currently above $300,000+.***
The auction for Banksy's art piece, 'The Banality of the Banality of Evil' is currently at $220,200, with 74 bids. This is after only one day of bidding, and still less than 24 hours into it.
Its actually kind of exciting to see these numbers jump. But the amounts are so ridiculous that it essentially like pretend money to most folks like you and me. But it is sure crazy watching those numbers climb!
Meanwhile, still waiting on Banksy's reveal for today. Usually, when Banksy has waited, it generally has meant that it is not a graffiti based piece, and also, something that Banksy wanted to last through the day without being noticed, before he claims it and the crowds go nuts. Stay tuned for Banksy's piece for October 30th!
***UPDATE -- The bidding has now jumped up to $300,200 with 83 bids***
Here is a return visit to Banksy's Twin Tower's tribute in New York City. This stencil was one of Banksy's earlier pieces during this month, but now his later pieces with Banksy's unpublished essay submitted to the New York Times, and the 'Blocked Messages' stencil.
The New York Times refused to publish Banksy's words, but then the tabloids took the story and ran with it. Now, everyone is still talking about Banksy's letter and what he meant by it. The thing is, the level of discourse is disappointingly simple. Most of the online chatter seems to be about why Banksy cares about the way a building looks and if he has offended New Yorkers with his essay. But, that is not Banksy's point.
M&F believes that the bigger point that Banksy is trying to make, is that people and countries get judged by how they handle their trials and tribulations. And 9/11 was the worst terrorist attack to ever take place on American soil. So how has America responded to the tragedy? Banksy's point in critiquing the architecture of Word Trade One, its not just about the way it looks, its about what happened in the process. Instead of making America a stronger and better place after 9/11, the architectural complaints that Banksy is making about the building are really saying that the values America exhibited after 9/11 are not how to make things better, the values America has shown with World Trade One stand for corporate greed, compromise, and what-is-not-necessarily-in-the-best-interest-of-the-American-people. Banksy's letter is not simply about architecture, its about how America fumbled the ball after 9/11.
Banksy is not insulting New York. He is encouraging America to do better. That's what the flower means attached to the Tower in Banksy's art. After something bad happens, try to turn it into something beautiful. The World Trade One shows how America has failed.
If you still take offense to Banksy's letter, ask yourself, with everything that has happened since 9/11, is America better? or worse? -- Exactly.
Stay up, Banksy. Stay up, New York. And stay up, America~
Click the jump for a pictorial return visit to Banksy's Twin Towers Tribute--with pics from before it was defaced
Geez, people. M&F tried to tell you all yesterday -- this dude is not selling legit Banksy t shirts.
Banksy's publicist has now confirmed that this dude selling 'I Am Banksy' t shirts has nothing to do with Banksy.
Kinda funny, like how all the 'die-hard' fans who know enough to recognize a Banksy (or so they think), but they don't know what the man or his plan is about. Bet, these are going to sell out again today. So, who's going to go and buy some more fake Banksy t shirts?
A lot of people have been wanting Banksy to return to his rats, something he has not yet done during Better Out Than In.
A rat just showed up on the streets of New York, but this rat is not Banksy. When did Banksy forget how to paint? Banksy is known for adding freehand highlights with shadowing and flairs to his stencils, but he doesn't forget major features like the face and tail.
Nope. Not Banksy. Just more mediocrity.
The photographer can be seen in the official photo released from Banksy's website.
This gives a slight glimpse at behind the scenes and clues as to how Banksy works.
Still, the details are difficult to make out. It the photographer a brown haired woman? Or a guy in a hoodie?
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Here is a closer look at Banksy's 'Banality of Evil'.
For more history on this piece, apparently it was purchased 2 months ago from the thrift shop for $50. And then it was re-donated earlier today with a strong suggestion of where to hang it in the front window.
The bidding on this piece started at $74,000. Perhaps that was to establish the actual value, so that any amount spent over that value by the bidders is tax deductible, since the its being sold for a charitable cause. So, these rich people get to buy a Banksy and save money! #Richpeopleproblems
The bidding on Banksy's painting is currently at $157,200 with 37 bids. Click the jump for a closer look at Banksy's 'Banality of Evil'.
***UPDATE -- the auction is now at $203,100 with 48 bids***