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Amazing Mickey Mouse skull graffiti

IMG 5256

BB pal Greg Long spotted this magnificent graffiti near the GAMA-GO world headquarters in San Francisco's SOMA. If you know the artist, please help me credit him/her! Commenters say it's the work of Goser! Thanks!

Grime Writer: detergent-filled graffiti pen

Grime Writer is a detergent-filled graffiti marker that cleans away street-filth to leave your message behind. There's a good chance that the graffiti you create with these is no more legal than any other kind -- there've been successful prosecutions against companies in the UK that paid "street teams" to "reverse-graffiti" their messages by using detergent and stencils to selectively clean away grime from public walls, leaving behind commercial messages.

Grime Writer is a special chunky marker pen that can be filled with cleaning solution, and used to create art on a canvas of filth. Use it to tag your dirty vehicles & windows, or to transform dirt into artistic expression.

Much more socially acceptable than real graffiti and (more importantly) a lot less illegal - Grime Writer helps you leave your mark wherever you find muck. Use responsibly to help promote the phenomenon of negative graffiti, and brilliantly combine the crime of defacing a bridge with the community service time cleaning it up again afterwards, into one harmless, helpful, creative act.

Grime Writer : Cleans away grime to leave your message (via Super Punch)

Street murals made from sugar

Montreal artist Shelley Miller creates "sugar murals" -- elaborate icing-sugar illustrations on tile that grace the sides of buildings. These often resemble stained glass or painted tile murals. Here's a bit about Cargo, installed in Montreal at Duke St. at corner of William St. in 2009 and left to gently decay:

Cargo is a public billboard initiative with the Darling Foundry presented in the context of le Mois de la Photo à Montréal (The Month of Photo), a biennale of contemporary photography that occurs in Montreal every 2 years. This project involved 2-parts: The first component was the creation of a sugar mural, created in the guise of a traditional ceramic “azulejo”. The image depicted speaks of the history of sugar, linking the port of Montreal into the global network of sugars history and the slave trade that supported this industry. The image links source and destination for all of the “cargo” related to this history, both sugar barrels and human cargo that were carried across the oceans.

Shelley Miller (via Neatorama)


My neighbourhood in East London has a lot of very nice street art, and a fair number of hipster entrepreneurs who lead tourist parties on "Street Art Tours." Artist Dr D combined the Olympic police-state with the Street Art Tour phenomenon to make this great prank notice, which I snapped on the way to our weekly Sunday brunch.


The graffiti of Pompeii

Pompeii is the city frozen in time. Which means that nobody ever came through and cleaned up all the (often incredibly dirty) ancient Roman graffiti (or added their own, more modern, stuff).

So, what you find is a really cool time capsule of the way random, average puellae et pueri talked, at least in certain situations. This is colloquial Latin, and that's not something we get many chances to see.

It's also hilarious. I've seen some of these examples of Pompeiian graffiti over the years, but, as far as I'm concerned, it never gets old. (Ba-DUM-ching!) Some good examples:

From the Bar/Brothel of Innulus and Papilio: "Weep, you girls. My penis has given you up. Now it penetrates men’s behinds. Goodbye, wondrous femininity!"

From the Bar of Prima: The story of Successus, Severus and Iris is played out on the walls of a bar: [Severus]: “Successus, a weaver, loves the innkeeper’s slave girl named Iris. She, however, does not love him. Still, he begs her to have pity on him. His rival wrote this. Goodbye.”. [Answer by Successus]: “Envious one, why do you get in the way. Submit to a handsomer man and one who is being treated very wrongly and good looking.” [Answer by Severus]: “I have spoken. I have written all there is to say. You love Iris, but she does not love you.”

From the House of Pascius Hermes; left of the door: "To the one defecating here. Beware of the curse. If you look down on this curse, may you have an angry Jupiter for an enemy."

From the basilica: "The man I am having dinner with is a barbarian."

Check out more of these at the Pompeiana website

For more about average Roman life, I really recommend Terry Jones' documentary "The Hidden History of Rome". You can watch it streaming on Netflix. It's a great overview of the little bits that we know about how non-elites lived thousands of years ago.

Via The Nation

Image: Pompeii, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from editor's photostream

Breaking Bad street art in Canada

Boing Boing reader Peter Schwagly sends in the photo of Breaking Bad street art above and below, and says,

I'm a super fan of Breaking Bad and Boingboing as well.... is there something to the shared alliteration? I thought you might like this stencil I found in Vancouver a few months ago. Someone did a whole series of Mr White. They were fantastic.

Read the rest

Ron English's Stickable Art Offenses: Wacky Packages meets AdBusters

Ron English's Stickable Art Offenses is an inspired collection of stickers from one of the world's most iconic sticker artists. Ron English designed the iconic Ronald McDonald parody for Super-Size Me, and has built his reputation on grotesque, trenchant, and funny graphic attacks on corporate logos and marketing.

The book opens with English's reminiscence of one of the many times he was arrested for stickering in New York City, then leaps into more than 40 pages' worth of die-cut, full-color vinyl stickers. English's stickers are a bit like a highly politicized Wacky Packages or Garbage Pail Kids for grownups, with a bit of Warholian whimsy thrown in, by way of AdBusters. The book ends with some lovely photos of English's work in the wild, from giant murals to billboard defacements to guerrilla re-branding in the grocery store cereal aisle.

Ron English is a great favorite around these parts, as this extensive collection of Ron English posts from our archives can attest. I can't wait to start decorating my environs with his work

Last Gasp, English's publisher, were kind enough to send us some hi-rez outtakes from the book for your pleasure. Visit the jump to see more.

Ron English's Stickable Art Offenses: A Sticker Book

Read the rest

Chicago turned into giant Monopoly board by street artist(s)

Colossal has the story of a massive, awesome street-art installation in Chicago created by Bored, who turned the city into a huge, spread-out game of Monopoly, complete with enormous Chance cards containing marriage proposals and massive dice.

After a few desperate tweets and some emailing, I finally got in touch with the artist (or artists!) known as Bored. The person (or group) chooses to remain anonymous but expressed via email their dissatisfaction at the lack of quality street art around Chicago. Saying specifically that “the goal of this entire project has been to present something different than a stencil painted on the ground or a poster pasted to a wall. Something 3-dimensional that can be picked up, beaten down, kicked, yanked, grabbed, and broken. And if someone ever put forth the effort to remove it, like a weed it will always grow back. And if left alone it will evolve into something different.”

While there are a number of good street artists in Chicago, this is definitely a welcome change of pace. I’m really excited to see this project evolve and hope they have more ideas brewing.

New Street Artist ‘Bored’ Turns Chicago Sidewalks into an Alternative Monopoly Game

Recreating iconic Banksy images as photos

UK photographer Nick Stern's "You Are Not Banksy" series recreates many of Banksy's iconic, humorous graffiti images. I've always thought that Banksy recreations made excellent cosplay (as this old post showed), but they're great as photos, too:

The project sees Stern meticulously recreating a handful of Banksy’s masterpieces using real-life models and photographing their mimicking poses. The results are extraordinary. Stern himself is a fan of the elusive guerilla street artist: “I have always admired Banksy – I love his cheek and humour,” said the London-born photographer. “Much of art is a recreation or interpretation of real life, but this is the other way round – I wanted real life to recreate art. I hope he likes what I’ve done.”

You Are Not Banksy: Street Art Turns Real-Life (via Neatorama)

PENIS graffiti


Toronto neighbours turn their laneway into a garage-door art-gallery

A pair of Toronto neighbours, Elly Dowson and Christine Liber, set out to cover the coach-house doors in their laneway with awesome murals. This was in the context of an edict from Toronto's dipshit mayor, Rob Ford, who has instituted fines for property owners who don't remove graffiti from their premises. Dowson and Liber figured taggers would be less likely to go after murals, and that their project would also beautify their neighbourhood.

Elly and Christine delivered flyers along their street – they offered to paint resident’s garages with art. The service was offered free of charge, and the paint was generously donated by Maple Paints on St. Clair Avenue West. Responding to the flyer, residents who share the laneway between Kenwood Avenue and Wychwood Avenue began to grant permission to have their garages turned into ‘urban art’. Elly and Christine got to work.

Some of the art was created through stencils, some of the paintings were inspired by artists like Miro, Keith Haring and Mark Rothko, and some were original creations. Soon, the ‘urban art’ initiative started to gain momentum – with good weather on their side, Elly and Christine painted 21 garages in 21 days. Some of the residents had a ton of graffiti, and some had none at all – but everyone agreed that the art might be a great way to minimize future graffiti.

The Kenwood/Wychwood laneway has become a living art gallery. The new art quickly became a destination within the neighbourhood – there was a noticeable increase in foot and bicycle traffic, making for a safer laneway. The initiative not only galvanized the street, but the laneway became a source of pride and has helped build a sense of community.

Elly was once my babysitter -- this is so cool.

The Kenwood Lane Art Initiative: 21 Garages in 21 Days

Flickr slideshow

(via Torontoist, thanks Mom!)

Marc Jacobs turns graffiti into $680 t-shirt

Marc Jacobs's SoHo boutique was graffitied by Kidult, who painted ART in giant pink letters across the storefront. Jacobs had the graffiti photographed, removed, and printed on a t-shirt, which he offered for sale for $689, or "Signed by the artist, $680."

Earlier this week, on the night of the Met Ball, the Marc Jacobs boutique in SoHo was hit by French graffiti artist Kidult, who has famously vandalized Supreme, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton, among others. The hit? Kidult took a fire extinguisher filled with pink paint, and sprayed the word ART over the front of the store (seen above).

As a crew cleaned it up the next morning and Kidult took to Twitter to brag, Marc Jacobs and his canny reps turned the stunt on its head, capitalizing on the graffiti artist’s own work to the benefit of their own marketing: By Tweeting it out as “Art by Art Jacobs” and Instagramming an ‘artsy’ picture of it. Kidult, clearly on the scene, tried to make his presence known, but it was too late: Jacobs had won that one.

Update: Aaand now Wilfry is selling a $35 "meta-tee." (Thanks, Emily!)

Marc Jacobs vs. The Graffiti Artist, Round 2: When Jacobs Turns Vandalized Store Into $680 Shirt (via Kottke)

Occupy Dagobah

A little bit of Star Wars-meets-Occupy street art, snapped near my flat in Hackney, London.

Occupy Wall St The 99% We Are, Yoda stencil, Great Eastern Street, Hackney, London.jpg

Toronto's dingleberry mayor releases $2 graffiti-reporting app

Ess G writes, "Much as I don't want to encourage anyone to laugh at us here in Toronto, this is really just too ridiculous to share. Our Mayor has just launched his $1.99 app that makes it easy for people to report graffiti in need of cleaning up simply by taking a picture. For this low low price, the app saves graffiti haters the trouble of going through all the hard work of dialling 311. The attached link features a city-staged enactment complete with bad graffiti saying 'Fuck you, my turf.' Amazing."

Toronto's mayor Rob Ford is a kind of idiot-non-savant, a dunce and thug who rode to power by promising that he'd "end the gravy-train" of municipal spending and ended up chasing pissant causes like graffiti removal (he's going to charge small businesses to remove the graffiti on their walls, even if the graffiti in question is a beautiful mural that everyone, including the business-owner, approves of), tickets for bicycles that lock up to things other than official (and hens-teeth-scarce) bike-locks, and expensive vanity projects like removing brand-new bike-lanes; and barbarian red-meat politics like shutting down libraries in already underserved areas.

Releasing a $2 app to complain about graffiti is pretty much perfect Rob Ford -- the only thing that could make it more Fordian is if it made fart noises.

Chris Bateman reports on BlogTO:

"This is as efficient as it gets," remarked Ford at press conference earlier today. "This will make it easier than ever to report graffiti vandalism and help keep the city spotless.

Standing in front of local residents busily painting over tags on garage doors, Ford pointed to a bridge on Scarlett Road near Lambton Golf Club as a clean-up success story he hopes to replicate across the city. "Once people know we mean business, the people that are causing this mess are going to learn a tough lesson," he declared.

The app, which costs $1.99 (and is currently only available for iPhone), lets Apple smartphone users send photographs directly to the city with a request to remove of the offending material. If the property owner fails to clean up the tag, the city will - so they say - step in and bill the owner for the work.

Will anyone use Toronto's new anti-graffiti app?

(Image: downsized, cropped thumbnail from a photo by Mariam Matti)

Rude messages left by monks in the margins of medieval manuscripts

Colin Dickey introduces the current Lapham’s Quarterly collection of rude and complaining messages left by monks in the margins of medieval manuscripts, a subject covered in detail in Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art, Michael Camille's 2004 book.

Depictions of sexual consort are frequent, among men and women, among various species of animals, and enough other combinations to make even contemporary readers blush. Camille cautions against reading such images as violations of the sacred text; because the medieval world was so rigidly hierarchized and structured, “resisting, ridiculing, overturning and inventing was not only possible, it was limitless.” That these psalters and books of hours often contained sacrilegious sentiments right alongside their holy piety, it seems, was perhaps the point: “We should not see medieval culture exclusively in terms of binary oppositions—sacred/profane, for example, or spiritual/worldly,” Camille explains. “Travesty, profanation, and sacrilege are essential to the continuity of the sacred in society.”

Living in the Margins