FAILE Are Far From Failing With New Piece For VNA


Riding off the success of Les Ballets De Faile, Brooklyn-based duo FAILE are fast on track to world domination. Last week, Very Nearly Almost (VNA), a popular street art magazine, celebrated the release of their 23rd issue with a launch party in NYC’s Lower East Side establishment, Reed Space. The issue features extensive coverage of FAILE’s work. In commemoration, FAILE hand silk-screened a limited edition design onto a series of VNA covers. Continue reading this post…

August 6, 2013 / By

A few thoughts for Valentine’s Day

BIG Valentine

The High Line before it became a park

While I think that Valentine’s Day is gross, there are a few things I’ve wanted to share that don’t really fit anywhere else. So today, three love stories: The first isn’t so much a story as a valentine to a city; the second is about a more amorous love in the same city, and the final story is about a relationship between a professional and his profession.

The Valentine, designed by BIG, sits in the middle of Times Square. There’s an LED heart inside the grid of translucent tubes that glows brighter and beats faster with increasing activity, or an increasing number of people touching the heart-shaped sensor in front of the sculpture. You can watch an interview with Bjarke about the sculpture here (you just have to ignore the first minute or so of people talking about “goin’ green” for Valentines.)

The more amorous kind of love is happening, or was happening, under and around the old High Line. Robert Hammond, one of the co-founders of Friends of the High Line (the group that spearheaded the transformation of the abandoned elevated railway into a new typology of public urban park) spoke in an interview about the gay past of the infrastructure-turned-park. The project happens to snake through the areas of Manhattan most closely associated with gay folks. Robert talks about a whole bunch of clubs that used to be there, an unnamed donor who used to leave said clubs and puke on the High Line, and why it is that so many of the early supporters of the project were gay. His answer? “I believe gays have an ability to see beauty in places other people might find repellent or unattractive. It was easier for gays to see potential in the High Line. They were more willing to support a crazy dream.”

Finally, The relationship is between Lebbeus Woods and Architecture. In two posts from his personal blog, the architect talks about how his relationship with architecture began. Recently, the news surrounding architecture has been gloomy, with architects suffering the highest unemployment rates in survey after survey. So it’s nice to see an architectural professional recall a rosier time in his relationship with the profession by talking about why he gravitated toward architecture. Why was architecture so attractive to Mr. Woods? Here’s a hint: it was never about money or job security.

February 14, 2012 / By

Street Art and Buildings: Herzog & de Meuron make Graffiti

Herzog de Meuron 40 Bond, Photos by Iwan Baan

Herzog de Meuron 40 Bond, Photos by Iwan Baan

Herzog de Meuron 40 Bond, Photos by Iwan Baan

Herzog de Meuron 40 Bond, Photos by Iwan Baan

Photos by Iwan Baan

In an architectural nod to the neighborhood, Herzog & de Meuron created this aluminum, graffiti-inspired gate for the entrance to 40 Bond, a residential building in Manhattan. All this twisting metal is not really graffiti or street art but rather this is art for the street inspired by graffiti, oozing with as much street cred as any architect can garner. But this graffiti gate keeps people out, like would-be taggers, and away from the surface of the building, which at street level is also covered with wiggly lines. The graffiti pattern continues to inside surfaces of the lobby, where wood becomes carved and mirrors become etched with the über graffiti lifted from the streets outside.


July 26, 2011 / By

American Spirit: Margaret Kilgallen

Margaret Kilgallen at Art in the Streets

Margaret Kilgallen at Art in the Streets

Margaret Kilgallen at Art in the Streets

Margaret Kilgallen at Art in the Streets

Click images to enlarge

About six or seven years ago, maybe more, I bought a t-shirt from the Giant Robot store on Sawtelle, it featured the words Cookie’s Surf Shop with a simple drawing of a female surfer. I didn’t really know anything about it, only that the line work seemed so perfect, a mixture of times gone by with a sense of modernity. It turns out the shirt was based off a painting by Margaret Kilgallen. The saddest part is that she had already passed away from cancer.

When I think of the story of Margaret Kilgallen it makes me incredibly sad. Only in her early 30’s, she was diagnosed with breast cancer… while she was also pregnant with her husband Barry McGee. In order for their daughter, named Asha, to survive, Margaret forwent chemo therapy, sacrificing her own life for that of her unborn daughters. It’s a sad and tragic story that I feel should never be forgotten, because she was not only completely unselfish, she was one of the most incredible artists from the Beautiful Losers movement.

I had the extreme pleasure of seeing her work at the opening of Art in the Streets, one I chose to truly relish. I sat back and soaked it in, absorbing the way she drew people and the curves in her type. I sat there thinking of all the time it took her to hang paint each of these panels, and how beautiful it all looks as a complete thought. It saddens me that the world has lost such a brilliant artist, but I always look on the bright side and think of how glad I am that she was here at all.

Check out the photo gallery below, and if you have the chance, visit Art in the Streets so you can see her brilliant work in person. If you’re in San Francisco, there’s also some of her pieces up right now at Ratio 3, you can get more information here.


July 4, 2011 / By

‘Street’, Filmed by C. R. Stecyk III

'Street', Filmed by C. R. Stecyk III

'Street', Filmed by C. R. Stecyk III

'Street', Filmed by C. R. Stecyk III

The goodness from Art In The Streets doesn’t stop pouring in, it’s pretty incredible all the things they’re doing. This here is a video detailing the Street Market, which was the brainchild by Steven Powers, REAS and Barry McGee, and probably my favorite part of the show. If you’re not going to get a chance to see the show, this is probably the best way to see it. The video was shot by the famous C. R. Stecyk III, who you’d know from the Z-Boys and Dogtown scene. He’s done a really great job of documenting the space, getting all the nitty gritty details and dirty corners that you might have missed. Be sure to watch this full screen.

Directors: Andy Bruntel & Felipe Lima
DP: C. R. Stecyk III
Producers: Bret Nicely & Jett Steiger
Camera: Larkin Donley
Sound: Owen Granich-Young


June 9, 2011 / By

ROA Hits Up Chicago

ROA Hits Up Chicago

ROA Hits Up Chicago

ROA Hits Up Chicago

ROA Hits Up Chicago

ROA Hits Up Chicago

Among graffiti nerds, Chicago’s not especially known for having a strong can culture for several reasons. Spray can sales were verboten in city limits way back in the 80s, which in the days before online shopping, meant a 2+ hour trip (less if you can snag a car) to the suburbs to procure it. Further, the fines and penalties are still so steep that most are deterred. And the city has on several occasions swooped in and buffed out commissioned graffiti murals on private property. Not exactly a positive environment for this particular type of expression.

So it’s a promising sign that there’s an obvious uptick over the last few years in street art in general here. Brand new and brilliant work from Belgian street artist ROA went up just days ago in two locations, thanks to Pawn Works & the Hedrich Blessing Photographers. Having seen the rams first hand (Kinzie & Peoria for you locals) they are a massive sight to behold. Pushing 90 feet long, the piece fills the entire building’s wall. And all spray can too. Hot damn.

By far the best part of ROA’s animal subjects is how they are tucked in the architecture, almost caught in a moment. Seeing one feels just like that moment when you happen to spy an interesting animal in its natural habitat. They are the urban replica of the real thing. Very happy to have these marvelous beings, I hope they stick around for awhile.

More ROA amazingness on Unurth. Photos by Unurth & Brock Bake.


June 6, 2011 / By

World Premiere of Alex Stapleton’s ‘OUTSIDE IN: The Story of Art in the Streets’

Shepard Fairey Spinning at the premiere of Alex Stapleton’s 'OUTSIDE IN: The Story of Art in the Streets'

The Premiere of Alex Stapleton’s 'OUTSIDE IN: The Story of Art in the Streets'

'OUTSIDE IN: Art In The Streets' Film Premiere'

OUTSIDE IN: The Story of Art in the Streets is a great glimpse into the making of the current MOCA exhibit. When I saw the footage of Barry McGee and Stephen Powers painting and putting together their incredible installation at the museum I gained a whole new level of respect for them, especially since they created a majority of the pieces at the location. Swoon did the same thing with her team and it was awesome to see them on the ground with X-Acto blades.

The director even managed to interview REVOK before he was arrested for vandalism back in April. He’s now serving 120 days in jail with a $320,000 bail, an amount SABER pointed out as “over $100,000 more than OJ Simpson’s, and OJ was on trial for murder”. So, it was no surprise that the MSK crew were yelling at the screen whenever LAPD officers appeared on screen. In a candid moment towards the end of the film, Shepard Fairey talks about his family and what they think of his graffiti “My daughter knows to only talk to the police if she’s in trouble…not when when she’s putting up stickers”, an act that Shepard may or may not have perpetrated on the stalls of the men’s bathroom.

When the last credit rolled, Jonathan Wells, Programming Director of Levi’s Film Workshop and Executive Producer of the film, invited SABER, Mr. Cartoon, C.R. Stecyk III, Shepard Fairey, Patti Astor, Alex Stapleton, Neckface and exhibit curators Aaron Rose, Roger Gastman and Ethel Seno to come onstage for a Q&A. There was an awkward silence as the crowd built up enough courage to start asking questions like “Where do you get your paint from” to which Neckface replied “I started out stealing my shit…and I still steal my shit” – making us bust up laughing.

“I understand why people get frustrated by graffiti…If I caught some kid tagging my fence I’d knock him out, but if I didn’t catch him, I’d cross his name out first before I buffed it.” – Mr. Cartoon

By the end of the night we had met all of our rebel heroes, heard Shepard Fairey dj a set of punk and hip-hop, and had gotten a better perspective of all the hard work that went into putting Art in the Streets together.

A big thanks to the Levi’s Workshop for inviting us, and a congrats for making all of this happen. ALl of the videos were created at the Levi’s Workshop in the MOCA, where you can make videos or rent cameras for your own projects.


May 25, 2011 / By