Wednesday, 07 September 2011 12:00 Written by Trippe
Decades before the term street art was being uttered from ad executives' mouths, Blek Le Rat was bouncing about Paris throwing up political, thoughtful and humorous stencils... Banksy was quoted as saying, "Every time I think I've painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek Le Rat has done it as well. Only twenty years earlier..."
A new book on Blek Le Rat is due out this winter along with the solo show 60/30 at 941 Geary here in San Francisco to celebrate the 30 years that Blek has been creating works in the street. We emailed him a few questions below to see what he's been up to since we last spoke with him in '08. -Trippe
Where did the name Blek Le Rat come from?
In the 1960s children used to read a lot of comic strips; I took on the name of Blek le Rat in reference to an Italian comic strip called Blek le Roc. I changed it into Rat, because I painted rats and the word "rat" is the anagram of the word "art" (something Banksy hadn't thought of!).
How do you create your stencils? Are they xeroxed photo copies that you enlarge or do you draw them out yourself? Please explain.
In the 1980s I drew all of my stencils, nowadays it depends on the stencil. Often I still draw the stencils because I am inspired by photographs that are not of a quality that lends itself to the stencil making process. I also use xeroxed copies on occasion, but not very often. I like the "handmade" aspect of the stencil, in both the preparation and the final image. Stenciling, though an antiquated medium, also has a very modern look and is ideal for street art, which is why so many street artists employ it. I also prefer black and white—I do not like colorful stencils much.
Your forth coming book explains that it will feature half street art and half fine art. We're familiar with your stencil works. What kind of "fine art" do you do?
Street art is ephemeral and it is very important to keep a memory of what has been done in the street. It is important to me that my fine art reflects the street or urban/public landscape in some way. I try to reproduce the ambience of the street where I often work at night when shades of black and white are dominant. I use the same characters in the street as well as in the work I produce intended for the gallery.
Are you producing much work on the streets in Paris these days?
No. I don't work in the streets of Paris anymore because I know each and every inch of Paris. I love to work in places I don't know because these locations allow me to get in touch with a new atmosphere, new lights, and new people. If I continued to work in Paris I would have the instinct to do the same thing over and over again, without making any progress.
To me, the most interesting aspect of street art is the constant opportunities to be surprised and/or amazed. I lose interest when something becomes routine.
Wednesday, 07 September 2011 09:00 Written by Trippe
Originally published on Fecal Face February 18, 2008
NYC based photojournalist, Lyle Owerko, was one of the first photographers to the World Trade Centers on September 11th and captured some disturbingly intense photographs, one of which ended up on the cover of Time Magazine. These are his words and images of that horrible day.
Sept 11 Time Cover by Lyle Owerko
On September 7th 2001 while on a plane flying back to New York from Dar Es Salaam the previous 5 weeks flashed through my mind. I had been photographing everything from elephants fighting each other, to documenting street clashes to driving my friends through a storm of tear gas and burning tires during a riot. The reason to go back to New York was to shoot an Ad campaign. Part of the trip home meant changing planes in Johannesburg. The layover continued my preoccupation of being torn about flying home. While sitting in the transit concourse I watched a molten orange African sunset burn an unforgettable hole in sky outside the lounge windows. Every day in Africa delivers a unique visual which makes it so hard to leave. It is a constant razor's edge of tragedy and beauty. Leaving was if I was abandoning all that was poignant and tangible in my life. Yet, I felt I had to be in New York for a purpose.
Four days later, just after 8:47am on September 11th found me sprinting through the neighborhood of Tribeca chasing down the source of the worst sound I've ever heard in my life. The final destination was the World Trade Center complex, now marred with a gaping hole in the north tower. Within minutes of reaching the complex another plane began its suicide approach. It struck the Towers looming above me with a punch beyond description. In defiance of the fireball and ensuing shower of glass and steel I managed to click off a series of pictures. Within 10 minutes of leaving my apartment I shot the image that made the cover of Time magazine.
Over the next couple of hours I filled multiple rolls of film with assorted images of people leaping from the Towers and absolute carnage beyond words. Most of those images have remained in my archive silently frozen in memory of that day. What the images will never convey is the aural soundscape I have inside my head. It's hard to reiterate the screams and shouts of horror that erupted from the crowds of onlookers as they viewed the ballet of death occurring above the street that morning. Even now, which is over six years past the event, my ears scan any sound I hear out of the normal in New York. Is it a shout of pain? Is it danger? Did that sonic boom come from a jet in peril? Everything goes through an internal assessment filter making sure my perception is right. The day of 9/11/2001 completely stole my innocence, as it did with many others. Though I've seen many horrible things before then and many after, I've never been in a situation where I felt so helpless to contribute. There are many instances where I've passed up on taking pictures to simply to err on the side of helping, but that day was overwhelming. All I could manage to do was click the shutter to document something I had no cognition of and probably will never fully assess. I remember the policemen yelling at me that morning and encouraging me to keep shooting and keep documenting what was going on around us. They understood the importance. In the images of that morning I hoped to capture the dignity and grace of the people who jumped and to somehow define the decision they made with integrity and peace.
They are not easy pictures to look at, especially when our daily world is an oversaturated media landscape of manufactured realities and the new rising class of "celebritocray" - where disingenuous shock and awe on camera leads to fame and fortune. Stepping out of that bubble and looking at the tangible "real" of the actual moment between life and death is very hard, it forces us to come to terms with so many things including our own mortality. I simply hope these pictures pass on through the generations as an informative tool for future members of this planet to see and understand that all life is precious and beautiful. And yet to grasp how easily innocence can be snatched away in the blink of a second. -Lyle Owerko
This shot was taken about 30 seconds after the second hijacked plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center complex. The air was cluttered with white business papers - which scattered in the sky like giant pieces of confetti following the initial rain of airplane parts and building debris.
The beginning of the jumpers. You can distinctly see this mans hand with fingers spread grasping outwards as he falls.
Jumper. This photo was taken as I started my journey out of the WTC site to a vantage point of greater safety. The North Tower is in the shot, which collapsed not long after this picture was taken.
September 12th/2001 - A burnt out Fire Truck on the corner of the World Trade Center complex at Vesey and Church Streets. This photograph was taken on the same corner where I had stood the day before.
Tuesday, 06 September 2011 15:00 Written by Trippe
Australian Scott Marr creates works through pyrography which is the process of burning wood or other materials with a heated poker.
Where you see Scott Marr painting, he's applying natural pigments that he's made himself. The raw materials for these are mostly collected from the bush near Scott's home - ochres, bark, flowers, sap, berries and other natural products.
Tuesday, 06 September 2011 10:35 Written by Trippe
Been working 6 days a week since getting back from Brazil. Labor Day Weekend left us with an extra day off. With two days off, we headed onto the San Francisco Bay aboard our 27 foot Catalina Augusta for some sailing, anchoring, beer drinking, sun-getting time relaxing.
Friday, 02 September 2011 11:24 Written by Bryson Gill
BG: So Jacob, before I enquire about your upcoming September show (Fri, Sept 9th) at Mark Wolfe in San Francisco, I'm inclined to ask a few brief but personal bio questions about your history and upbringing because I think you have an incredible past.
Small Moon, 5 x 3 inches. Gouache and spray paint on postcard, 2011
Can you tell me about where you grew up, about your father as a Minister and the story about how that affected you (and your family), and also how and why you ended up in the Bay Area and finally in Los Angeles?
JT: I grew up in Colorado near Boulder. Until I was aged 14 my dad was a pastor in Christian churches. The earlier church where he was assistant pastor was very much like the famous "Evangelical" churches that are featured in the documentary "Jesus Camp". There were miracles, spectacles, speaking in tongues, a pool for baptizing. Sometimes church members would line up around the stage and my dad would lay his hands on their heads and pray. When this had gone on long enough, the person would be knocked over by the power of God, falling into the waiting arms of deacons to lay on the floor crying from the experience. I was suspicious, so one time I got in the line. My dad put his hands on my head, I think my arms were in the air, and then I fell.
I was a child being lead to believe in the full text of the bible, the beginning, immaculate conception, worldwide flooding from rain, eternal suffering in Hell, and everlasting life in Heaven.
There I was, laying flat on my back asking myself if I had been knocked over by supernatural force or what? I went up knowing I was going to fall so was this a real thing? I had my doubts. Somehow I always felt like I was being tricked, and I still feel like that sometimes. Now I mostly feel like other people are being tricked and I'm not, but I catch myself back on the other side of that line occasionally. When my dad started his own church the theatrics were toned down a little, but the belief was notched up. No fakers. I think I could fill a book with the stories from my childhood and the lessons I learned from questioning my surroundings, this is just a teaser. My love for skateboarding and punk rock lead me to the Bay Area and I moved to LA to attend grad school at UCLA.
Still Life with Sculptural Element (Water), 60 x 60 inches. Oil on canvas, 2010
BG: How do you like LA? Do you have a favorite food cart or any sketchy food cart stories?
JT: I love LA. People are very free to express themselves here, and not just in a politically correct, socially accepted way. Anything goes. "Beto's" is my favorite food truck. It's on Jefferson near Burnside from 7:00-11:00pm and I highly recommend their tacos al pastor. The food is not sketchy.
BG: How was UCLA and who did you work with there?
JT: UCLA was really great. I pretty much stuck with the painting faculty, they offer a genuine painting program where you go into the studio and work. I think it's what people expect from MFA programs but rarely find. I was very inspired by Lari Pittman, Roger Herman, and Don Suggs and worked with them repeatedly. UCLA a real gem! The library is AMAZING!!! Because I was a grad student and UCLA is a research institution they let me check out as many books as I want and for like 2 months at a time. I still have a lot out even now! I'll have to return them soon though as I'm moving to NYC.
Outer Space Series 1, 12 x 8 inches. Gouache, graphite on gessoed paper, 2011
BG: Your last show at Mark Wolfe was right after graduate school and you had made a pretty extensive group of paintings. How would you describe that show and how are you thinking this show will be different in terms of approach and art work?
JT: I was still in school for the last show, and I had nothing to do except paint! It was so nice. There were paintings in that show that I really felt were good and others that I was suspicious of, in spite of the ample time I had to work. Now I have to work full-time to pay for my studio practice and bills and every moment I have to make art is precious. It gives me a different appreciation of the dedication I have to this conversation of art. I feel very privileged to make art with my spare time. It doesn't hurt that I enjoy my work at the wood shop very much as well. I'm glad to do both kinds of work.
A new video from the Sao Paulo 2010 TRANSFER exhibition (photos), showing a lot of artists setting up (Barry McGee, Steve Powers, Bruno 9li, Flip, Cimples, among others). The beautiful video by Antonio Ternura.
Click here to see photos from the show and its setup.
Here's a look at the process KID ZOOM, the Australian born, New York based artist, and his slightly insane cat go through with a painting, start to finish. He's been on a mission of late and is working towards the Young & Free show in SF on the 10th of Sept.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 15:00 Written by Van Edwards
Mark your calendar, because FFDG in San Francisco will feature works from Mars-1 opening Friday, Nov 11th (6-9pm). Exact details coming soon. For now enjoy a taste of this SF based artist's incredible works.
Thursday, 01 September 2011 12:00 Written by Trippe
Quintetto is an installation based on the study of casual movement of objects or living creatures used as input for the production of sounds. The basic concept is to reveal what we call "invisible concerts" of everyday life. The vertical movements of the 5 fishes in the aquarius is captured by a videocamera, that translates (through a computer software) their movements in digital sound signals.
We'll have 5 different musical instruments creating a totally unexpected live concert.
Pedro Matos just swung through FFDG and introduced himself. About to move to London from his native Portugal, Pedro is here in San Francisco to open his solo show at White Walls (or Shooting Gallery as he's on The Shooting Gallery's calendar) entitled Ephemera featuring oil-on-canvas works this Saturday, Sept 3rd (7-11pm).
Check our interview w/ him from last year. We'd imagine the work is going to be great. I mean, check the prewview below. Crazy talented painter.
I don't think at this point it needs to be written since the last update to Fecal Face was a long time ago, but...
I, John Trippe, have put this baby Fecal Face to bed. I'm now focusing my efforts on running ECommerce at DLX which I'm very excited about... I guess you can't take skateboarding out of a skateboarder.
It was a great 15 years, and most of that effort can still be found within the site. Click around. There's a lot of content to explore.
I'm not sure how many people are lucky enough to have The San Francisco Giants 3 World Series trophies put on display at their work for the company's employees to enjoy during their lunch break, but that's what happened the other day at Deluxe. So great.
SF skateboarding icons Jake Phelps, Mickey Reyes, and Tommy Guerrero with the 3 SF Giants World Series Trophies
When works of art become commodities and nothing else, when every endeavor becomes “creative” and everybody “a creative,” then art sinks back to craft and artists back to artisans—a word that, in its adjectival form, at least, is newly popular again. Artisanal pickles, artisanal poems: what’s the difference, after all? So “art” itself may disappear: art as Art, that old high thing. Which—unless, like me, you think we need a vessel for our inner life—is nothing much to mourn.
Hard-working artisan, solitary genius, credentialed professional—the image of the artist has changed radically over the centuries. What if the latest model to emerge means the end of art as we have known it? --continue reading
"Six Degrees" opens tonight, Friday Jan 16th (7-10pm) at FFDG in San Francisco. ~Group show featuring: Brett Amory, John Felix Arnold III, Mario Ayala, Mariel Bayona, Ryan Beavers, Jud Bergeron, Chris Burch, Ryan De La Hoz, Martin Machado, Jess Mudgett, Meryl Pataky, Lucien Shapiro, Mike Shine, Minka Sicklinger, Nicomi Nix Turner, and Alex Ziv.
"[Satire] is important because it brings out the flaws we all have and throws them up on the screen of another person," said Turner. “How they react sort of shows how important that really is.” Later, he added, "Charlie took a hit for everybody." -read on
Jacob Magraw will be showing embroidery pieces on cloth along with painted, gouache works on paper --- Rachell Sumpter paints scenes of colored splendor dropped into scenes of desolate wilderness. ~show details
NYC --- A new graffiti abatement program put forth by the police commissioner has beat cops carrying cans of spray paint to fill in and cover graffiti artists work in an effort to clean up the city --> Many cops are thinking it's a waste of resources, but we're waiting to see someone make a project of it. Maybe instructions for the cops on where to fill-in?
The NYPD is arming its cops with cans of spray paint and giving them art-class-style lessons to tackle the scourge of urban graffiti, The Post has learned.
Shootings are on the rise across the city, but the directive from Police Headquarters is to hunt down street art and cover it with black, red and white spray paint, sources said... READ ON
We haven't been featuring many interviews as of late. Let's change that up as we check in with a few local San Francisco artists like Kevin Earl Taylor here whom we studio visited back in 2009 (PHOTOS & VIDEO). It's been awhile, Kevin...
If you like guns and boobs, head on over to the Shooting Gallery; just don't expect the work to be all cheap ploys and hot chicks. With Make Stuff by Peter Gronquist (Portland) in the main space and Morgan Slade's Snake in the Eagle's Shadow in the project space, there is plenty spectacle to be had, but if you look just beyond it, you might actually get something out of the shows.
Fifty24SF opened Street Anatomy, a new solo show by Austrian artist Nychos a week ago last Friday night. He's been steadily filling our city with murals over the last year, with one downtown on Geary St. last summer, and new ones both in the Haight and in Oakland within the last few weeks, but it was really great to see his work up close and in such detail.
Congrats on our buddies at Needles and Pens on being open and rad for 11 years now. Mission Local did this little short video featuring Breezy giving a little heads up on what Needles and Pens is all about.
Matt Wagner recently emailed over some photos from The Hellion Gallery in Tokyo, who recently put together a show with AJ Fosik (Portland) called Beast From a Foreign Land. The gallery gave twelve of Fosik's sculptures to twelve Japanese artists (including Hiro Kurata who is currently showing in our group show Salt the Skies) to paint, burn, or build upon.
Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne played host to a huge group exhibition a couple of weeks back, with "Gold Blood, Magic Weirdos" Curated by Melbourne artist Sean Morris. Gold Blood brought together 25 talented painters, illustrators and comic artists from Australia, the US, Singapore, England, France and Spain - and marked the end of the Magic Weirdos trilogy, following shows in Perth in 2012 and London in 2013.
San Francisco based Fecal Pal Jeremy Fish opened his latest solo show Hunting Trophies at LA's Mark Moore Gallery last week to massive crowds and cabin walls lined with imagery pertaining to modern conquest and obsession.
Well, John Felix Arnold III is at it again. This time, he and Carolyn LeBourgios packed an entire show into the back of a Prius and drove across the country to install it at Superchief Gallery in NYC. I met with him last week as he told me about the trip over delicious burritos at Taqueria Cancun (which is right across the street from FFDG and serves what I think is the best burrito in the city) as the self proclaimed "Only overweight artist in the game" spilled all the details.
Ever Gold opened a new solo show by NYC based Henry Gunderson a couple Saturday nights ago and it was literally packed. So packed I couldn't actually see most of the art - but a big crowd doesn't seem like a problem. I got a good laugh at what I would call the 'cock climbing wall' as it was one of the few pieces I could see over the crowd. I haven't gotten a chance to go back and check it all out again, but I'm definitely going to as the paintings that I could get a peek at were really high quality and intruiguing. You should do the same.
The paintings in the show are each influenced by a musician, ranging from Freddy Mercury, to Madonna, to A Tribe Called Quest and they are so stylistically consistent with each musician's persona that they read as a cohesive body of work with incredible variation. If you told me they were each painted by a different person, I would not hesitate to believe you and it's really great to see a solo show with so much variety. The show is fun, poppy, very well done, and absolutely worth a look and maybe even a listen.
With rising rent in SF and knowing mostly other young artists without capitol, I desired a way to live rent free, have a space to do my craft, and get to see more of the world. Inspired by the many historical artists who have longed similar longings I discovered the beauty of artist residencies. Lilo runs Adhoc Collective in Vienna which not only has a fully equipped artists creative studio, but an indoor halfpipe, and private artist quarters. It was like a modern day castle or skate cathedral. It exists in almost a utopic state, totally free to those that apply and come with a real passion for both art and skateboarding
I just wanted to share with you a piece I recently finished which took me 4 years to complete. Titled "How To Lose Yourself Completely (The September Issue)", it consists of a copy of the September 2007 issue of Vogue magazine (the issue they made the documentary about) with all faces masked with a sharpie, and everything else entirely whited out. 840 pages of fun. -Bryan Schnelle
Jeremy Fish opens Hunting Trophies tonight, Saturday April 5th, at the Los Angeles based Mark Moore Gallery. The show features new work from Fish inside the "hunting lodge" where viewers climb inside the head of the hunter and explore the history of all the animals he's killed.
Beautiful piece entitled "The Albatross and the Shipping Container", Ink on Paper, Mounted to Panel, 47" Diameter, by San Francisco based Martin Machado now on display at FFDG. Stop in Saturday (1-6pm) to view the group show "Salt the Skies" now running through April 19th. 2277 Mission St. at 19th.
For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to quit my job, move out of my house, leave everything and travel again. So on August 21, 2013 I pushed a canoe packed full of gear into the headwaters of the Mississippi River in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, along with four of my best friends. Exactly 100 days later, I arrived at a marina near the Gulf of Mexico in a sailboat.
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