Ed Hay may spend most of his time cleaning up graffiti from the railway cars for the CN. But, for the past six years during his "break time" he has taken pictures of what he considers to be some of the best pieces--before he paints over them! By his own count he now his over 300 pictures, and some of his favorites will be on display at the Graffiti Gallery in Manitoba. Though Mr. Hay admits that the CN would probably "frown" on his contributions, he contends, along with the artistic director of the gallery Pat Lazo, that the work "shows the importance of having legal places for graffiti artists to work."
The Graffiti Gallery is no stranger to the controversies that inevitabley follow any efforts to frame graffiti outside of the mainstream context of illegality and property damage. In its own words, the Gallery has been "using art as a tool for community, social, economic and individual growth." Started by Steve Wilson seven years ago, it has been navigating the awkward problems of legitimizing graffiti without alienating the graffiti writing community. And, its come a long way, now operating as a non-profit organization, it offers a diverse set of educational programs and holds various shows and exhibitions. Not to mention, it has helped to invigorate the creation of numerous murals in the surrounding area, which have helped to blur the lines between graffiti "vandalism" and "art".
photos are from the Graffiti Gallery
Andrew Lynn has compiled footage from the Bicycle memorial ride on January 8, here in NYC and made a short documentary. It can be found on Breathing Planet, and worth a look. The event was a really powerful way to remember the lives of the 21 cyclists that were killed last year. And to remind people in NYC that we, cyclists, are a presence here in the city, and we demand respect and safety when we ride the streets.
Thanks to Sucka Pants for the heads up!
Our condolences go out to the families of Ivan Morales, the first NYC cyclist to be killed in 2006. And to Sarah Tucker, who was killed in a hit-and-run in San Francisco, on January 12.
She was heading down Polk Street at about 2 a.m., according to Inspector Pat Tobin with the department's hit-and-run detail, when she came to a green light at the intersection of Geary Street. A motorist driving a black Honda CR-V sport utility vehicle west on Geary apparently ran the red light, entering the intersection just before Tucker, who crashed into his passenger door.
"She sees him coming, she yells 'Hey,' that's what made some of the witnesses look up," Tobin said today. Tucker apparently did not have enough time to stop before slamming into the door of the Honda.
Tucker was catapulted off her bicycle, according to the Police Department, and landed in the street. She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital where she died at 9:46 a.m. The driver of the Honda is described as a black male, according to police.He apparently did not have any passengers with him. Damage to the door will be obvious, Tobin said. "All the witnesses said the passenger door had marked damage -- very noticeable," Tobin said. "All the witnesses got good looks at his face."
Any witnesses to the event itself or those who have spotted a black Honda CR-V with damage to the front passenger door are encouraged to call Tobin in the hit-and-run division at (415) 553-1641, or call the department's confidential tip line at (415) 575-4444
A while back, I asked my friend Salvador to take some pictures of political graffiti during his trip to Chile. Salvador is back and he has brought 26 pictures of excellent stencils and slogans he spotted on the street. A wide spectrum of radical politics color Chile’s urban landscape. Some pieces are explicitly anarchist, others socialist; others are less ideological but deliver a clear and powerful message of dissent and hope for a better world. Click here to view all of the pictures on Salvador's Flickr account. The image above reads, "Rebel Action Muralists"
This might also be a good time to mention the recent presidential election in Chile. Michelle Bachelet, a 54-year-old pediatrician, is Chile’s first female president and the first democratically elected women president in Latin America. Bachelet is part of a new generation of political leadership for the center-left Concertación coalition – an oftentimes testy alliance of the Christian Democratic Party, the Socialist Party, and the Party for Democracy and the Radical Party.
Bachelet is the daughter of a high-profile Air Force general who strongly supported the government of President Salvador Allende in the 1970s and who later died as a result of torture received in Pinochet’s prisons. She and her mother were later briefly arrested and tortured, before exiling themselves – first to Australia and then East Germany. She returned to Chile from exile in 1987 to practice medicine and continue her involvement with Socialist Party politics.
Bachelet is also a single mother of three and a self-declared agnostic. For many, her political victory represents an important challenge to the sexist machismo and Christian intolerance of Chilean political institutions. Her socialist ideology also represents another obstacle for the United State’s quickly sinking neo-liberal agenda in Latin America. Of course, many remain skeptical that any political party can ever bring freedom or sustainable solutions to the people of Latin America. The first image bellow (from left to right) reads, "The political parties are not part of the solution. They are part of the problem. Annul and Organize!"
The second image reads, "Political prisoners. On hunger strike since 12/4/2004. To the streets!!!" The third image reads, "Because they take everything from us. We reclaim everything. We will take everything. Capitalism is misery."
With almost all other venues for speech and debate closed off, activists are using graffiti to speak out against Mugabe's dictatorship in Zimbabwe:
A few streets away from Robert Mugabe's heavily guarded official residence is a wall painted with screaming red graffiti telling Zimbabwe's president that "At 80, it's time to go". . .
Other graffiti insulting the president and ZANU PF have multiplied recently on walls in Harare and other major cities and towns. Along a street named after the president himself, a dissident artist has scrawled, "Mugabe is a dictator."
With nearly all avenues of protest closed, Zimbabweans frustrated by the Mugabe regime use graffiti to express their anger with the system. The words on the walls are a clear indication that the majority of the people in the towns and cities are completely fed up with the ruling party and yearn for change. . .
So popular has this type of protest become that nearly every wall along the streets of Harare is painted with graffiti. Some hurls insults at the president's young wife, Grace, known as "The First Shopper" for the way she spent huge amounts of money in the top boutiques of London, Paris and New York before Britain, France and the United States banned her and her husband from entering their countries. Grace, a former secretary, was once photographed at Singapore's Changi International Airport with fifteen trolley-loads of exotic foods and electronic goods at a time when the World Food Programme said half the Zimbabwe population was starving.
Submitted without comment:
If Tony Blair wants to know what drives young vandals to cover walls with graffiti, he won’t have far to look. His own grandmother would have been a target of the respect agenda that he launched last week.
Friends of Mary Blair say she helped to daub Communist party slogans on walls in Govan, Glasgow. She did no actual daubing, it was her job to mix the whitewash.
The revelation is particularly embarrassing because young Tony went out of his way to praise the respectful attitudes of 1930s Govan. “They didn’t have as much money as we did,” he recalled, “but people behaved more respectfully to one another.”
But Alex Morrison, 86, once a neighbour of Mary Blair and fellow Communist party activist, poured scorn on that idea. “I’m sure Mary would have been laughing her head off at her grandson’s description of Govan as some kind of idyllic community,” he says. “The reality was that Govan was a terrible place to live.”
Recently in Massachusetts police used the networking website Myspace.com to find 3 graffiti artists that are suspected to have caused $75,000 worth of "damage." Stoughton Police Officers "spent more than two months surfing the popular website Myspace.com for Stoughton youths who were active in the graffiti artist community." According to the Boston Globe.Officers turned to the website after attempts to identify the "perpetrators" in the local high school were unsuccessful.
Myspace, a free website, allows users to form networking groups based on shared interests. All three of the teenagers charged were members of a group called ''Graffiti Artists," which features artists from all over the world.
Police used photographs, of the graffiti, and the list of "interests," tagging, found on the website as probable cause to bring the three teenagers in for questioning.
CBS4 in Boston reports in their news clip:
(one) 18-year-old has been charged with 28 counts of tagging property and 11 counts of malicious damage of more than $250; , (another) 17(years old), has been charged with 17 counts of tagging and 11 counts of malicious damage of more than $250; and (another) 18 year old, has been charged with 14 counts of tagging.
They were charged according to each "tag" on every building and vehicle, which accounts for the numerous counts. The Stoughton Journal reports that they face "felony"criminal charges and the possibility of paying restitution.
As graffiti artists and websites proliferate it is assumed that police and detectives will use them as an aid, much like this example and what happened recently in Dallas.
Sunday's memorial ride for the 21 bicyclists killed in 2005 was a success, with over 100 riders from all five boroughs meeting up in Manhattan. We spent the weekend making seven ghost bikes together with Time's Up --- six for bikers whose names only recently became available, and one for the eight whose names have not been disclosed by the city bureacracy.
The ride (and ghost bikes) received a fair amount of press attention --- see the Village Voice, Indymedia, Staten Island Advocate, Gothamist, and Newsday --- which goes a long way towards raising awareness of cyclists' right to safe travel.
k.see has posted several photos from the ride on flickr and of the process of creating the ghost bikes in our photolog. I'll be updating our ghost bikes project page soon with full information on the recently-created memorials.
Thanks to fi5e and James for their help, without which we would've been hard pressed to pull this off on such short notice.
This Sunday, Time's Up! will be leading a memorial ride for the twenty-one bicyclists killed on the streets of New York in 2005. The rides will cover all five boroughs of the city and will pass ghost bikes for bicylists killed by cars. Visual Resistance will be installing a number of new ghost bikes for cyclists killed in the past year whose names have only just been made public. We will also be installing a memorial for the eight cyclysts whose names are unknown to us at the present time.
The police department and Department of Transportation are highly selective about the information they make available to the public. We know that 21 bikers were killed in 2005, but we have only been able to track down information on 13 deaths. Tragically, we are unable to honor the remaining 8 deaths by name. The tragedy of each loss is compounded by its coverup. In creating ghost bike memorials, we wish only to do a nice thing for the stranger who could be us. Sadly, the city bureacracy won't allow this remembrance.
So, Sunday we honor them all together. We will gather at 1pm in five different locations around the city, and meet up in Manhattan. The full details and locations are available on the Time's Up website. See you there.
GoreB is one of the most prolific street artists currently working in New York. He has a background in freight graffiti, and for the past year or two his hand-painted wood panels have been bolted to street signs in just about every neighborhood of Brooklyn and downtown Manhattan. He paints portraits of historical figures as often as friends and neighbors, often mixing in cryptic text. He's been a driving force in the Endless Love Crew and is a really nice guy to boot.
Those all reasons not to miss his new show at Skewville's Orchard Street Gallery:
Orchard Street Art Gallery presents Gore.b
Thursday, January 12, 2006 --- 7-10pm
Here are the highlights for the opening night:
* Special burlesque perfomance by Tamale Sepp and Cricket
* gore.b's mom is making appetizers
* walls will be painted by NYC's ELC Crew
* meeka will also have work in the show
Gore.b left the texas trains and came to NYC a few years ago, since his invasion NYC's poles have been filled with ever evolving gore.b art. Gore.b is infamous here at the gallery for the demolishing blows his thought provoking doodles created when he illustrated London's prominent figure heads helping the USA win Vs. the UK in "Doodledown: A Transatlantic Scrawl".
Show runs January 12 --- February 5, 2006
Orchard Street Art Gallery
Gallery hours: Saturday & Sunday 1-7pm or by appointment 917.682.6753
139 Orchard Street, between Rivington and Delancey, Manhattan.
Trains: F to 2nd Avenue or Delancey-Essex stops.
Mike Ferner, a former Toledo councilman and one-time mayoral candidate, was arrested yesterday with his brother for spray-painting anti-war slogans on overpasses along I-475/U.S. 23 in Maumee and Sylvania Township. . . .
The Ferners face at least two counts each of vandalism and one count each of possession of criminal tools --- the can of fluorescent orange spray paint recovered in their pickup when it was pulled over by Sylvania Township police, troopers said. Both were being held last night in the Lucas County jail in lieu of $3,000 bond apiece pending arraignment in Maumee Municipal Court.
Mike Ferner has been an active critic of U.S. military action in Iraq and, in 2003, took part in a "peace tour" of that Mideast country. He has several previous convictions for civil disobedience related to war protests or other causes he has taken on.
Story here. Ferner is a member of Veterans for Peace and has written extensively for CounterPunch, antiwar.com, and other publications. He traveled to Iraq in Febryuary 2003 with the pacifist group Voices in the Wilderness.
The Washington Post had a nice article a few days back on Philadelphia's extraordinary public murals:
White-haired Marian Custus peers out her door where a row of elegant townhouses once stood. The owners fled, and crack and arson crept in. All became rubble. Two years ago the artists arrived and enlisted neighborhood kids and painted two radiant murals on the sides of rowhouses, known collectively as "Holding Grandmother's Quilt."
"Do you know how lucky I am?" Custus confides to a visitor. "It's like waking up every morning and having a museum painting in your neighborhood. I feel so lucky to live here."
No city in America has so much mural art, a brick wall poetry that reflects every mood in Philadelphia. There are portraits of Dr. J and Frank Sinatra and a brilliant mural of Jackie Robinson sliding home. But as touching are murals of neighborhood children and a beloved cop who died in Iraq, a "Healing Wall" that stretches 300 feet along the railway tracks and a 50-foot Brobdingnagian garden mural that dominates a now-drug blasted corner in the Mantua neighborhood.
Full article here. Many of Philadelphia's public murals were initiated and funded as an anti-graffiti program. Here's a program that actually defines quality of life positively, cultivating beauty on the city's walls. NYC's politicians could take a lesson in constructive thinking from Philly!
Photo at top from Fivefity_Tom's flickr photostream.