otherwise known as OBEY, shepard fairey has been in the street art game since 1989.
something you might recognise:
he began by slapping his ‘andre the giant’ sticker (beginnings of what evolved into his trademark image, as above) everywhere he could with his mates and fellow design students. the now artist, designer and entrepreneur eventually refined the design to be made into posters and finally pasted them on a multitude of walls globally. an act and image only really meant as an in-joke became more and more recognised by the general public and generated a slightly overwhelming reverberation.
fairey himself admits,
at first I was only thinking about the response from my clique of art school and skateboard friends. the fact that a larger segment of the public would not only notice, but investigate, the unexplained appearance of the stickers was something i had not contemplated...
i was lucky enough to stumble across his paris exhibition just recently. here i found host of prints by the artist which are currently for sale. personally, i never knew the extent of the work fairey had produced outside the OBEY stickers and posters and was amused to find a multitude of interesting pop culture identities and references within the work displayed.
fairey’s experience in design on large commercial scales (having made a name for himself in the marketing/design world, he has worked for the likes of pepsi, hasbro and the black eyed peas to name just a handful in addition to founding his own design company) is evident and the work is highly polished and seriously well made.
i love the subtle (and not so subtle!) nods to different styles of commercial design in the direction of art nouveau posters of the 20s, skater style imagery, chinese propaganda designs and 1960s music posters. the simple use of colour (predominantly black, neutrals, red and blue) and continued reference to the stencil also floats my boat, as i’m sure it will yours… take a geez…
NB: this exhibition can be found at the gallerie magda danysz
(78 rue amelot, 75011 – the work will be around until 18th June so be sure to check it out!)
for this little post i have a bunch of poster/sticker bits and pieces to share with you humans.
these are really from all over the city and for the most part i just think these are cute/clever/nice to look at.
(working two jobs has me a little less descriptive and eloquent than usual, je m’excuse!)
here are some images of some of jef aerosol‘s stencils
he is prolific here in paris (and in his own right) but lives now in lille and perhaps my favourite stencil artist (besides banksy of course). he makes a lot of portraits of famous rock stars and other celebrities and in addition a lot of lovely detailed figures in various poses.
the artist works usually in black and gray tones with his trademark red arrow punctuations. to me he has a simple and very clear visual style which i really appreciate. i think a sophisticated play with simplicity is important! both in life and art. (more of his work in my previous post).
found in the same area as these (around the 20eme arrondissement) and also in the le marais area, among other locations, can be found the stencil work of lézarts janaundjs. much more colourful, this work includes a similar measure of detail and skill as aerosol and can be found almost as frequently (in my experience).
again, all photos are my own so please seek permission before reproducing. thanks!
hello again, this here post centres on the stencil style of street art (as requested!)
stencil art is perhaps one of the newest forms of street art and is also perhaps one of the most involved and highly skilled media within the genre. it’s labor intensive, it’s extremely risky and it involves extra equipment to achieve if you wanna do it right, yo.
to produce a piece with multiple colours or tones one must draw and cut the same number of stencils as are colours/tones. each stencil is sprayed onto the wall and later overlapped with another stencil and another layer of colour/tone (very much like screen printing if anyone has dabbled in printmaking) to produce a detailed, high depth work. in between each layer is a waiting period, depending on the type of paint used, which can be a risky business when making ones art where people often pass by. even in the wee hours it only takes one narrower-minded walker-by to pick up a phone and dial 17 (the number for the police here).
hence, my feelings of respect towards such individuals and the work they so lovingly produce is strong. please scroll for a number of random works i am unable to credit very well (feel free to help me here if you can!) and never fear, i have a handful more really superb stencil works featuring in my next post. so watch this space!
by ‘jef aerosol’
i assume also by ‘jef aerosol’ as the style is remarkably similar
(esp. with the red arrows)
the red text on the windowsill translates as “the music soothes the walls”
i admit this one is not particularly skilled BUT i love the concept. this work is also really well located, surrounded by a lot of expensive boutiques, restaurants and bars in one of the most wealthy arrondissements of paris – a nice little comment on some of the weath and status obsessed parisians… and it’s cute!
if you dig street art and haven’t heard of space invader my first question to you would most likely be, have you been living under a rock??! said with much indignation, buckets of disbelief and a hint of outrage.
probably one of the most iconic and infamous street artists in existence, space invader himself is based in paris (lucky me!). the tally of his invasion of this city is currently at 704 which means that you’d have to have seriously impaired vision not to spot one of his works! i’ve noticed that there seems to be more of them around the north and east of paris if you’re keen on hunting some down. also check out his website here for more pictures and info.
besides paris and the rest of france, space invader has left his mark literally all over the world. again, check out his web site for more details. perth and melbourne (in my beautiful country of origin) hold totals of 26 each (including one stuck to a shipping buoy in the middle of the ocean!). however, it disappoints me slightly that sydney has been forgotten… he’ll just have to come back someday.
the things i love about space invader
* his street art name is both clever and cute
* staying true to the original video game he gives himself points for every invasion
* each little character up on a wall is different
* his visual style is really simple, iconic and fun
* it’s such a nice surprise to turn a corner and bump into one here… sometimes i play a game to see how many i notice (and how many points i can accumulate) in a day.
please scroll to see some of my favourites…
on a side note:
i’ve noticed a few around town that look like they might be fake or copycat versions… can anyone confirm/deny/offer an opinion on this??
i am a big fan of street art
sometimes i leave the house just to go treasure hunting for new pieces…
elaborate crap on the side of trains? NO
bathroom graffiti? NO
all of the above: JUVENILE
try beautiful posters, peepholes, mosaic pieces, clever slogans
think banksy, swoon, obey, JR, space invader, blek le rat and gaia (just to name a handful of some the most well-known).
a lot of people are currently debating the validity and value of street art these days. artists such as banksy and space invader release films and sell iconic merchandise and in the tune of “selling out” i see their point. people have even started cutting out pieces of concrete walls to own a ‘banksy’. and if you’ve seen his film exit through the gift shop you will see that the subject of this film is a classic example of the “sell out” type.
i agree that yes, there’s a charm in the idea of the starving artist, making art in the name of passion and truth but in my opinion everyone’s got to make a living! i, for one, am certain that retaining integrity and making money is possible! debate aside…
the reasons i love good street art:
* it’s free for all to see
* it’s very temporary and ephemeral depending on the weather, the street cleaners, the building’s owner etc
* the element surprise when you turn a corner
* there is no particular style or limit as there is no one from whom to gain permission or approval
* the element of risk involved in putting the piece on the wall is exciting
* the anonymity of the artist and this kind of secrecy is fun
* the artists doesn’t ask permission therefore doesn’t have to endure long and arduous processes to have their work displayed/exhibited.
please scroll to see 5 of my favourite treasures so far
and stay tuned for more in the coming couple of weeks.
goliath – le marais
goliath – le marais
NB: these are all images taken by yours truly during the 8 months i’ve been traipsing the streets of this glorious city.
ALSO: if you happen to know the names of any of the artists i haven’t credited please do tell, as i would be keen to put their names in lights and learn more about their work.