Bold and graphic, this piece by Logo works a lot like, well, a logo. The simple combination of letters and words carry a complicated message — the struggles the residents of Oakland, not just graffiti writers, deal with regarding police brutality.
Speaking of which, watch this new video of the testimony of someone arrested at Occupy Oakland:
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.
Kashink at Sauvons La Jarry, Paris
3. Bronik at FemGraff, Barcelona
Vigilante Vigilante, Berkeley
1. JCHM, Barcelona
This black and white wheatpaste by Turnip gives the artist’s signature image a clean, minimalist feel. Who knew a root/vegetable could look so sharp. Turnip turns up in different sizes and colors, but the monochromatic rendering draws attention to the elegance of the design.
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.
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.)
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.
In the early morning before the shops open and civilization begins its routine hum, this bear’s muzzle can be seen roaring in downtown San Francisco. Painted with haphazard brushstrokes, the multicolored figure looks as if it’s dripping with liquid, as if the bear just emerged from a muddy jungle. I don’t recall this artist’s name but I definitely saw his work in the “Urban Osmosis” show last year at LoPo and Space Galleries. Drop me a line if you know who this is.
UPDATE: It’s by Chad Hasegawa, thanks Get Up for the info.
It seems attempts have been made to tear down this mixed media poster from the street, but so far they have (fortunately) been unsuccessful. Covered in lines and wrinkles and bulging out in unsightly places, these figures intimately coil their limbs around each other. Though a bit grotesque, their sexuality is comical and even somewhat endearing — the opposite of the glamorized version we’re constantly subjected to through advertising. Though it’s not obvious from far away, the piece actually uses real fabric for the woman’s undergarments. The detail adds a soft, domestic touch to the tough urban environment.
These scratched pieces by GATS and Shark KTS KMX have a ghostly presence in this public bathroom, looming over you when you think you’re most alone. The clean scratches contain a subtle beauty; the pieces aren’t immediately eye-catching but the discovery is rewarding to a keen observer. I guess it felt a little weird to be taking photos in a bathroom but I am quite pleased with how this one turned out.