Happy New Year: Top five posts of 2011

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Happy 2012! This past year, I’ve taken this little blog with me around the world, leaving my Berkeley home and venturing to Barcelona, my city of birth St. Petersburg and a few other destinations in between. It has been a true pleasure seeing so much art and creative energy on the street and meeting some of the people behind it. If you’re curious, here are the top 5 most popular posts of 2011. Picking my favorite artworks would be too difficult, but it’s interesting to see what people have been drawn to nonetheless. I’m going harder in 2012, just you wait.

5.

Kashink at Sauvons La Jarry, Paris

4. 

ATWA, Oakland

3. Bronik at FemGraff, Barcelona

2. 

Vigilante Vigilante, Berkeley

1. JCHM, Barcelona

beached

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Boarded up and abandoned, this house in West Oakland has a rather sad appearance. It’s horrible how many houses are foreclosed and how many people are evicted from their homes in the East Bay, so the work of art pasted to the house’s facade makes an especially powerful statement.  The beached whale in this wheatpaste sheds tears of desperation; it’s lost, removed from its natural surroundings. A glimmer of beauty amid the bleakness, the artwork draws attention to similarly displaced people who, too, have lost their homes.

free and naked

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M4M’s work has been cropping up here and there around the East Bay; the hasty style the naked figures are painted in is reminiscent of David Choe or the Australian graffiti artist Lister. M4M’s work that I’ve seen is usually executed with monochromatic, dripping paint. The writhing, twisted limbs of the figures have a similar spontaneous effect, as if they’re tumbling in perpetual motion. The geometric style of SANRI’s futuristic pharaoh bird in between the two naked dudes makes for an interesting contrast on the wall.

grandma’s closet

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Though it looks like a collage, this poster is actually a print. Between the floral wallpaper and the fake magazine clippings, the work seems to revel in kitsch. The juxtaposition recalls something you might find in your grandmother’s house (if yours regularly saves newspaper clippings and hasn’t redecorated since the ’70s like mine.)

day of the dead

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These screen printed posters of a pallid teen by Impetus have been spotted around Berkeley lately. Luckily I got this shot earlier, because since then they have all been destroyed with angry scratch marks. The gold, purple and black color combination and the Ben-Day dot texture refer the work back to Pop art, which seems appropriate since the piece was probably silk screened. I can’t say I am a huge fan of the subject’s 2003-era emo haircut (I don’t mean to hate but I just can’t endorse that fashion choice), but this piece’s clean execution makes it a pleasure to look at nonetheless.