French Street Artist's Amazing Creations

Charles levalScrolling through Charles Leval's work is not only fun but illuminating. His work can be seen all over Paris. Enjoy!

 

Street art is a usual sight in many cities and towns. Most of the time, the street art we see is not that impressive—random tags or writings that you can't even read. Sometimes, however, there is artwork that takes your breath away. It livens up the surrounding area and makes it look much more cozy and colorful. And although many people dislike street art, we hope this artist and his work can change your mind.

The French artist Charles Leval, better known as Levalet, creates the kind of art that brings cities to life. He creates designs that interact with their surroundings, often choosing a humorous theme. His art is playful, funny, and very beautiful. He told Bored Panda: "I didn't start working in the streets because I was first and foremost interested in the street. What I wanted—and what keeps being my aim—was to work on reality and produce a context-sensitive art. Not simply to show one’s productions ranging from picture rails on a neutral medium and beckon the eyes to enjoy it, but also an art which is a means of intervention and joins an outside reality and aims at modifying it."

 

 

 

 

 

 


Secret Tiles All Around Tel Aviv

Tel aviv tilesThis from Atlas Obscura -

In the early 20th century, Tel Aviv had a distinguished industry of beautiful decorated tiles, which can still be seen in some private homes, apartments, stairwells, and public buildings. After peaking in the 1920s, the tiles have become more and more scarce over the decades. Now, there’s a renewed appreciation for them.

Between 1921 and 1925, Tel Aviv’s population went from 2,000 to 34,000. The new city’s architects were European Jews who trained in art schools in Eastern and Western Europe. Their building style came to be known as Eclectic. Architect Professor Nitza Szmuk, the guru of historical building conservation in Israel, says Eclectic architecture represented “the attempt to create a synthesis between East and West, thereby generating a local notional style.” The architects’ perception of Palestine and the Near East remained Orientalist, even when walking in the Tel Aviv sunshine or buying a tomato at the local grocer. The tiles in their buildings were part of this European Oriental fantasy. In the words of Architect Yossi Klein in a Domus magazine article, “the contrast between ‘the Oriental style’ and the European building technique allowed Zionists to return to a ‘sterile Orient,’ while maintaining European modes of living.”

“This was the golden age of the painted tile,” says Avi Levi, a landscape architect and hunter of derelict buildings and decorated tiles. “They became a local fixture and the connection to the European origins was forgotten.” The decorated tiles prevailed during the early 20th century in houses in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. They were found in luxurious villas and humble apartments. However, “after three decades, people started to think of the tiles as old-fashioned, expensive and excessive.” Ultimately, “this style flourished only for a short time,” Klein writes, “and as the conflict with the Arab community escalated, Modernist tendencies prevailed.” The romantic, Eclectic style gave way to the clean, modernist Bauhaus. Decorated tiles were abandoned in favor of simple, cheap, industrial tiles. As a result, most of the factories have closed. But at the end of Herzl Street, a street of woodworkers and craftsmen in southern Tel Aviv, the small tile factory of the Gluska family is operating to this day.

 

 


Fill Empty Storefronts with Local Art - A Great Idea

Monica-Banks-in-Window-768x1024With all of the empty storefronts, local administrators on Long Island have a great idea - require empty storefront owners to use their space to showcase local artists. And it looks to be a win-win. This from Artnet --

Landlords in a Tony Hamptons Town Must Fill Their Empty Storefronts With Works by Local Artists—Or Else Pay a Fine

Southampton's mayor proposed the initiative, which is now a law, last summer.

It’s not uncommon for storefronts to remain empty during the colder months in Southampton, the quiet eastern Long Island village overrun by beach-bound New Yorkers every summer. But the pandemic has exacerbated the issue, leaving its commercial streets looking like ghost-town versions of their former selves. 

Now, the village is turning to local artists to breathe a little life into these tenantless properties. 

Last year, Southampton mayor Jesse Warren introduced the Storefront Art Project, an initiative requiring landlords to fill storefront spaces that have been empty for more than a month with creations from community artists, or else be slapped with a $1,000 to $2,500 fine. The idea was signed into village code in July, and its impact is starting to be felt on the streets now. 

Artworks can’t be offensive or overtly political, according to the law, and must be approved by the village administrator or come via sponsorship from the Southampton Arts Center or Southampton Artists Association. (The town encourages artists to go through these organizations for support—financial and logistical—in realizing potential projects.)

A grace period for landlords extends through next month, after which fines will be doled out to nonparticipants. But Mayor Warren doesn’t anticipate many of those.

“Our goal is to partner with the landlords, not to fine them. We want to them succeed so we’ve been pretty lenient with the enforcement,” he tells Artnet News over the phone. “We’ve received mostly positive comments. If anything, people are calling us up and saying, ‘Enforce the law more!’”

Among the first fruits of the initiative was a pair of wavelike assemblages made from coat hangers, price tags, and aluminum can tabs by local artist Alice Hope, which went up in the window of what used to be a Chico’s clothing retailer last November. Following that came an installation of photographs by Kerry Sharkey Miller hung in a former J. Crew earlier this month. 

“The community has been very enthusiastic about the project,” says Amy Kirwin, artistic director of the Southampton Art Center, which sponsored both artworks. “The installations are providing a safe way for people to enjoy art during these challenging times, and it also benefits local businesses by driving more traffic into the village.”

“Of course the ideal situation would be for all of the shops to be rented, but this is a wonderful alternative in the colder months,” she adds.

Kirwin says three other installations are in the works, one of which—a suite of ceramics resembling baked goods by artist Monica Banks—will be revealed in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, there’s a stack of additional proposals still to sort through as more windows become available. 

The artists behind these projects were paid, via honorarium, by the Art Center, but the law doesn’t require landlords to pay installation artists. For most participants, the appeal will come in the form of free exposure—and from that, hopefully, sales.

On this point, Mayor Warren says he encourages landlords to take a note from some of the village’s newest inhabitants—art businesses like Hauser & Wirth, Phillips, and others that have recently opened up Long Island outposts—and market their artists’ work, the way a gallery might. They can even take a cut of potential sales, he says.

As of last week, some 75 storefronts on Southampton’s two biggest commercial stretches, Jobs Lane and Main Street, remained empty, according to the Washington Post


Love These Hats!

Hat donut-1000x563According to Israel21c, Maor Zabar makes some crazy hats. They are definitely artworks unto themselves.

Growing up in Haifa, Maor Zabar was the kind of kid who painted on the furniture and drew on the walls.

“I used to drive my parents nuts,” admits the 42-year-old award-winning costume and hat designer.

Fortunately, his parents indulged their little boy’s artistic exploits. They sent him to afterschool art lessons and the WIZO Haifa Academy of Design for high school. He spent a year living with an uncle in New York, learning makeup artistry before finding his true calling.

Zabar’s famed creations include the attention-grabbing getup that Netta Barzilai wore for her winning performance in the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. In 2014, Zabar started his hat business.

He doesn’t consider himself a milliner. He simply loves hats and wanted to create them freely outside the confines of his theatrical costume commissions.

“I don’t treat my hats as fashion items. I refer to them as art pieces,” he says.

It wasn’t long before images of his hats – featuring food, carnivorous plants, sea creatures, pride, and bride themes – from his online Etsy store began making a buzz in the blogosphere. “I get inspired by things I come across, even pictures in a book or a vacation I took,” explains Zabar.

You can spot Zabar’s hats on stylish heads at launch events, red-carpet events and British horseraces.

“If you’re daring enough and want to make a fashion statement, a hat is the most standout item to do that with,” says Zabar.


The Australian Town That Turns Trash Into Christmas Trees

The 2020 tree is made from farm castoffs.A great find from Atlas Obscura -

The traditional public Christmas tree in Lismore, the largest town in the northeast of Australia’s New South Wales, used to be pretty ho-ho-hum.

Before 2015, a Cook pine in the middle of a roundabout was dressed up each holiday season as a tannenbaum. But, like all Cook pines, the tree leans toward the equator, so the effect of decorating it was underwhelming. “Everyone said ‘Oh, that’s a bit sad, it can’t even stand straight,’” says Neil Marks, acting mayor of Lismore City Council.

The first tree—built under the cover of night out of a pile of bicycles—debuted in 2015 and ushered in a new tradition. In subsequent years, the tree has been made from used tires, old road signs, broken umbrellas, and potted plants combined with solar-powered lighting. Materials are sourced from the town’s junkyard, and various town staff take on design and construction.

Like most things in this unusual year, the 2020 tree was a little different. It was a group effort, since most staff worked from home due to COVID-19 restrictions. And the tree is an ode to resilience. “This year’s tree is a nod and a tribute to our rural community,” says Marks, who spoke to Atlas Obscura while he waited to see whether flood waters in town would recede and allow him to travel back to his workplace. “They’ve had a tough time. They’ve gone through fires, a drought, and now a little too much rain.” Local farmers have also suffered from indirect effects of COVID-19, including border closures, despite Lismore being one of the many regions of Australia that has had no active cases of the virus.

This year’s 23-foot tree is made from recycled 6.5-gallon drums that store chemicals for use on farms. The decorations are made from used animal feed bags, piping, and discarded metal.

Many in the community love the scrappy, garbage-inspired trees. “I’m very much in the ‘bah-humbug’ community but, despite my general pessimism, I have grown fond of our tree,” says Lismore resident Gray Wilson.

 

 

 

 

 


LA2 Has Show at Miami's Graffiti Museum

LA2For the past three decades LA2 has applied spray paint and ink to canvas, clothing, and various found objects in his unwavering journey to push his personal graffiti pop style. Fluorescent colors rooted in his Puerto Rican heritage, bold lines and tags learned in the streets, and cartoons tributes to his friend and long-time collaborator Keith Haring, make each painting a sweet piece of candy for your eyes. The energy of the old NYC dance clubs, of the Avenues filled with cars blaring music, and the children who grew up on this street art culture are channeled onto each canvas that explodes with positive energy and life – a life of art, color and celebration. Email hey@museumofgraffiti.com to request a catalog of all available works for sale.

I had a show with LA2 and other artists at the Dorian Gray Gallery in NYC in 2010 and interviewed him at the opening event.

 


Artist Sues Trump’s Border Wall Contractors for Destroying His “Cheese Wall”

Just like with the destruction of 5Pointz in Queens, NYC, the VARA act may provide some justice to the destruction of the Cheese Wall --- Thank you to HyperAllergic for posting ---

 

A 70-foot wall made entirely of cheese, erected near the US–Mexico border as a critique of the current government’s immigration policies, has been destroyed — and the artist behind the work is suing Trump’s border wall contractors for allegedly dismantling it.

Cosimo Cavallaro began working on the sculptural installation, “Cheese Wall,” in March 2019. The Canadian-Italian artist leased a private property in San Diego County to create a barricade out of bricks of expired Cotija, a Mexican cheese named after a town in the state of Michoacan. Cavallaro’s often works with perishable materials to highlight the problem of waste, both in terms of material accumulation and financial extravagance.

In a complaint filed in San Diego federal court, Cavallaro claims that employees of the construction company SLSCO, hired by the Trump administration to fortify the US-Mexico border wall, “knowingly and willfully trespassed onto the site and destroyed the Cheese Wall” on or around October 2019.

Cosimo Cavallaro’s “Cheese Wall,” built of blocks of Cotija cheese, before it was destroyed. (photo by Alan Shaffer; courtesy of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP)

The suit rests on a potential violation of the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990, conversion, private nuisance, and trespass. Cavallaro also claims he was “deprived of the opportunity to communicate his artistic message through the Cheese Wall” and “to see the Cheese Wall, at its full length, stand in contrast to the border wall.”

“The loss of Cos’s work has been devastating to him,” Melinda LeMoine of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, who is representing Cavallaro, told Hyperallergic.

“For years, he worked to bring his vision of the Cheese Wall to life, only to have trespassers tear it apart and bury it in the dirt. He has never sued anyone before. But he felt that he had no choice here. He cannot recreate what is lost, but he can stand up for what is right,” she added.

Cavallaro standing at the former site of his destroyed “Cheese Wall” near the US-Mexico border. (photo by Alan Shaffer; courtesy of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP)

The artist is seeking damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

When Trump took office, he promised to build a “big, beautiful” wall along the Southwest border to keep out what he falsely described as an influx of Mexican criminals. According to recent analyses, the (now possibly lame-duck) president has built 15 miles of new primary barrier and 350 miles of replacement or secondary barrier; another 221 miles are still under construction. That is a far cry from the 2,000-mile stretch of concrete he had committed to during his 2016 campaign.

In a 2019 interview, Cavallaro said that his installation was meant to “show and expose waste.” The sculpture was supposed to stand at 1,000 feet and was still under construction when it was torn down. By then, it stood at six feet high and contained more than 400 Cotija bricks.

“I don’t like walls,” Cavallaro said. “This is a wall that I can handle, that I’m willing to live with. This wall is perishable, it will not last.”


Shantell Martin Public Art in Queens

Rockaway-Mural-Rockaway-Untapped-New-York-NYC_2Untapped Cities website announces a great piece of public art in Queens, New York:

Awarding-winning artist Shantell Martin has debuted her 16,000-square-foot mural in the “Big Yard” Seaside playground at Waterside Children’s Studio School. Located near the new Rockaway Hotel and used by 700 students and numerous community members, the outdoor recreational space provides the ground for Martin to make her mural visible to passersby on foot, guests atop the neighboring and new Rockaway Hotel rooftop, and New York City travelers arriving by air.

The mural consists of iconic, monochromatic black and white interconnected lines, Martin’s signature style of drawing, that form texts and images to revitalize and beautify the neighborhood and highlight the vibrancy of the Rockaway Community and its urban beach landscape. “Because of the scale, there are multiple ways to experience the piece. What you have on the ground is very different from the experience you have of it from a higher perspective where you get to see how the lines, words, and faces are actually interacting with each other,” Martin said. “It’s all about discovery and letting people interact with it the way they naturally feel inclined to.”

The project is a response to an open call letter from Friends of Seaside Playground, a grassroots organization dedicated to promoting wellness through art, sports, and outdoor activities for children in the community, and its partners 7|G Foundation and The Rockaway Hotel. The committee sought proposals for a temporary mural at the “Big Yard.” Martin, who has previously presented her works on large scale screens at World Trade Center and on a former military chapel on Governors Island, was unanimously chosen by the committee. “When curating a public artwork, it is imperative that the work connects to the community that is living with it,” said Michi Jigarjian, Rockaway Hotel’s Social Impact Officer. “For Shantell’s piece in Rockaway, she centers on the empowerment of understanding ‘who you are’ and ‘yes you are you,’ which is a powerful message for a community as diverse and vibrant as Rockaway.”


Street Art of Shrine? Maybe Both

Subway-shrine-nyc-untapped-new-york1Nicole Saraniero writes for UnTapped New York that there is a makeshift shrine to Mercury spotted at a Brooklyn NY subway station.

When you are running late and waiting for the subway, you may find yourself praying for it to arrive quickly. Well, it looks like one subway rider has taken their plea for timely service to the next level by creating a cardboard subway shrine. This makeshift ode to the god Mercury was spotted by straphanger Russel Jacobs in the Utica Avenue A/C stop in Brooklyn.

The subway is a the perfect place to find guerrilla art and fun pop-ups like this. The shrine features a sketch of the Roman god Mercury with winged feet, a winged hat and winged staff. Mercury is known as the god of luck, commerce, communication, among other things. The most appropriate for this application, Mercury is the patron of travelers. The altar of the shrine is strewn with an offering of yellow roses, red electric candles, a trio of dice, a miniature bridge and a Metrocard. Perhaps if you leave an offering, Mercury will smile upon you and your train will arrive on-time.