25 record covers



DELTA – http://www.deltainc.nl/

FLYING FORTRESS – http://www.flying-fortress.de/

GOMES – http://www.weareshit.com/

GREMS – http://www.grems.eu/

Sheppard FAIREY – http://obeygiant.com/

POPAY – http://popay.free.fr/

SUPAKITCH – http://www.myspace.com/supakitch

UPWEHR – http://upwehr.net/

Any suggestion of other albums designed by street & graffiti artists for a second selection ?

edit: January the 3rd : 45 more record covers

Part of the Rebellion #1 – Flying Förtress by C100

C100 published 5 years ago; “The art of Rebellion“,
the 1st book about the so-called “street-art scene” of the early 00’s.
He’s back with a new book collection…

“Part Of The Rebellion: Flying Fortress” seems to be the 1st book of a new collection.
Why have you choosen Flying Fortress for this 1st book ?

First, he is a good friend of mine – we know each other since we started with traditional graffiti in ’89 or so.
We both got into street art again in 2000 after a few less active graffiti years and did some stuff together.
And: his art is perfect to introduce the concept of the book to the audience as he both still works on the streets, exhibits in galleries  and also does commercial work.
Also, he is well known worldwide and stands for good quality so there is a chance people probably buy the book :-)
Do you already have selected the next artists for the future books ?
Yes we have, but some aren’t 100% confirmed so I can’t tell you more at the moment. Currently I’m working on #2 with Dave the Chimp – it’s a honor for me as I really love his work.
I can guarantee that people will be stoked about his new works! It’s coming out in Spring 09 and after that #3 will be out in Summer 09…
We planned to bring out 3 books per year.
Does the book company wait to see if FF book is a best-seller before
launching a 2nd book ?

No we immediately started working on #2. The book company are personal friends of mine, we know each other from the graffiti days in the early 90s.
They are totally into it – they don’t do it only for the money, so do I. We just think this is the perfect strike against all those cheap but low quality books that are thrown on the market where one guy just walks through i.e. Berlin or London – takes a few photos and doesn’t even care about any artist credits or what he is photographing…

We want to do proper art books to show that this is a true art form.

Art of Rebellion was released about 5 years ago now. Do the street-art
scene has changed a lot according to you ? Is it better now than it used
to be ?
Hmm. that’s a difficult question – it definitely has changed both in a good and bad way.
There are artists who now can make a living out of their art, which I think is a great thing.
The are great exhibitions, etc.
I think the quality level  is still good & even progressing! Sometimes there are still works/ideas/concepts that totally suprise me – that’s when I think: Damn I wish I had had the idea ;-).
In the end I’m glad that the expected trend of street art wasn’t that big. There was a time when everyone was doing stickers and called himself an artist which was pretty lame –
luckily this calmed down. Nowadays, there is less street art to be found in the cities compared to 5 years ago, which is also due to new laws and cleaning programs (R.I.P Barcelona) but still you see good stuff every now and then. It’s all good!


Size : 15×18.8cm – Pages 128 – 14.90€ – Isbn: 978-3-939566-16-8 – English – Softcover

Slinkachu interview

Can you present yourself ? Where do you live ? Are you related to Pikachu ?
I live in London although i am originally from Devon in the UK. I’m not related to Pikachu, but my cousin IS Jiggleypuff.

Was there any particular moment or event that motivated you to begin this “little people” project ?
Not so much a specific moment, but i did start to become interested in the macro, hidden side of London. I found a stag beetle one evening and realised that i hadn’t seen one since i left Devon, which is a rural area. It got me thinking about the world under our feet and how, in a city, you rarely pay much attention to the ground as it is generally barren and covered with concrete, not full of interesting bugs and plants. A few weeks later, the ‘little people’ project just popped in to my head and i liked the idea of creating a hidden world of overlooked city dwellers.

The little characters you use. Where do they come from ? Do you paint/custom them ?
Most of the characters i use are originally created for train sets, many by a German company called Preiser. They generally come unpainted. Depending on the scene, i will cut up and repose the figures and model new clothing for them such as hoods and baggy jeans, then paint them. They then get super-glued to the street and left there.

Some of your scenes seem to be from the 50/60s. Is it intentional ?
The figures tend to have a 40s-50s vibe to them. I think this is because they are made for train sets and these often hark back to the ‘good old days’ of steam-powered trains.

Your  little people looks a bit lost & alone in a huge city. Do you have sometimes similar feelings as a Londoner ?
This is something that i love bringing to my installations and shots – i like that meloncholy feeling. I think everyone who lives in a big city feels lost and alone at some point.

Do you feel close to the so-called “street-art” scene ?
In some ways yes. I think the ‘scene’ encompasses a lot of different styles of art which is what makes it exciting, although perhaps the general public still just think of graffiti as being street art. One of my favorite things about taking part in group shows has been to get to meet a wide variety of talented artists who in one way or another work on the street. I think because my work also involves photography it also stands apart a bit from ‘street art’ (In a way that work by someone like JR doesn’t as his photography actually gets displayed outside). It doesn’t feel wrong for me to put my shots in a gallery for instance, although i do prefer the part of my work that involves doing stuff outside.

How did you manage to have a foreword by Will Self ?
We just asked him and he said yes. He is very interested in scale and, of course, is also a Londoner so we hoped that he would be interested, and he was.

When you were a child were you into Lego or Playmobil?
I used to love lego. I was very much one of those children who prefered making things in his bedroom to playing football outside. I was always builing things from cardboard boxes and toilet rolls.

Any plans for the future that you want to tell us about?
I am working on different series of installations and shots that move the project forward a bit – they involve a lot more customisation of the figures. I also want to do some street-based projcts that don’t use little people but still keep that human element to them and explore how we live in cities and the types of people that live around us. And now it is autumn and wet again i want to hunt down more snails to mess around with. I have kinda fallen in love with snails a bit. They are pretty cute when you get to know them!

Slinkachu on the web:

Slinkachu book : “LITTLE PEOPLE IN THE CITY” – The street art of Slinkachu
ISBN 978-0-7522-2664-4

Nuria summer 2008

Nuria in Mallorca at Pilar y Juan Miro Foundation

Nuria in London
The Street Art Walking Tour:
An urban tour of site-specific art from
a group of five Madrid-based street artists: 3TTMan, Spok, Nano 4814, Eltono and Nuria Mora.

Nuria in Sicily

Mini interview with Jolek & the girlz

Jolek: Je suis JOLEK peintre sur tous supports , originaire du nord , sur Bordeaux depuis quelques années.
10 ans de graffiti et j ai dépassé le 1/4 de siècle…

eko: Le graffiti c’est comme collectionner des baskets ou mettre des jantes en alu c’est un truc de mecs. Exhiber des filles c’est juste une autre façon de briller vis-à -vis des copains ?

J’aime le graffiti / la peinture / les femmes et la photo , j’ai donc rassemblé ce que j aime , le résultat  me plait et plait a mes modèles  c’est le principal . Si ça plait aux autres c’est cool  sinon j’men bat les c……
après je fais voir et fais tourner quelques photos aux potes qui aiment ce que je fais mais j’en ai qui restent secrètes .

T’as pas l’impression que sur tes photos on ne regarde plus tes pièces ?

Ceux qui aiment mes graffs regarderont les graffs et les  sexygirlz.
Ceux qui ne m’aiment pas moi et mes graffs se contenteront de mater la sexy girl ou regarderont

Comment a commencé cette série pornograffitique ?

Mon premier body paint c’est une histoire de dingue que personne ne croira… . fait aux feutres de couleurs et  marker noir réalisé sous skunk / photo pourrie mais un pur souvenir

Mon 2eme body paint c’etait pour une femme libertine contactée par le net / pour faire une série de photos insolites pour son site perso X.

Pour la 1ere séance photos pornograffitique. je faisais un graff autorise sur un camion de prostituée a Paludate pour ceux qui connaissent et j’ai convaincu  la dame de poser devant mon graff.

Voila pour les débuts.

Les calendriers de routiers ont-ils bercés ton adolescence ?

J’avoue  j’ai  toujours aimé les magazines et vidéos de femmes dénudées mais je n’imaginais pas un jour avoir le plaisir de faire de telles photos .

Qui sont ces filles  ?

Secret professionnel ,,,,. La plupart sont des modèles photos mais il y a aussi des étudiantes . une star du x. stripteaseuses ,  femmes libertines échangistes et coquines………….  toutes majeures et volontaires.

Comment les rencontres-tu ?
Je les rencontre par internet pour la plupart. Après il y a le bouche a oreille ou des connaissances.

T’es plutôt un gros baratineur ou ton charme est-il si irrésistible qu’elles ne peuvent refuser de poser pour toi ?

Non , je les contacte, fais ma proposition accompagnée de photos de ce que je fais , si interessee on échange quelques mails ou tel pour régler les détails  si ok on se fixe une date sinon on laisse tomber.

Jamais de mauvaises rencontres lors des prises de vues ?

Jusqu’a présent ca c’est bien passé, j’espere que ça continuera comme ça, je vais dans les endroits ou je peins tranquille et où il n y a pas beaucoup de passage. Les modèles viennent souvent accompagnées et je me déplace avec mon pitbull, mon fusil a pompe et mon couteau à huitres.

L’hiver arrive, les rhumes aussi maintenant t’arrêtes tes conneries ok ?

Justement non, je vais en profiter pour faire du body painting au chaud, mais comme je suis du nord je suis habitué au froid et je continuerai  à peindre en extérieur, par contre pour les photos de modèles devant graffs c’est clair que c’est pas terrible, je vais faire mes séances prévues et on verra la suite.

Je peux rajouter quelques dédicaces stp.

Pour mon homeboy, et mes vrais amis / EKO pour les photos publiées et cette interview, a ma copine [pour mes absences avec mes bimbos’. IDEM //        GHETTO mon poto de BORDO //
NEFAZ // NAZ //GREMS………………………………………………………………………………………………………
DECIBELLE // ESTELLE // EVA // MISS AMAL //JADE // NATH // FABIENNE // CAROLE // TYPHAINE // COLINE // JULIETTE // CELINE// ANITA …….pour tous les graffeurs avec qui j’ai peint et partagé de bons moments et FUCK  à toutes les langues de putes.

pour mes futures modèles et futurs supports

Merci à toi Jolek et j’ai envie de citer le pseudo d’un mec sur Flickr pour conclure: Fuck Vulgar shit !

Jolek on ekosystemJolek on myspace

DC Gecko interview

Interview with DC GECKO

Can you give us a brief rundown of your life up until today? When, where, did you start to work in the streets?
My name is DC Gecko, Docteur Gecko. I was born in “La Réunion”, a french island located in the Indian Ocean. I hijack, hack, remessage advertising that you find in bus shelters. The particularity of my work is that my modifications can only be seen during the night. However, during day time the ad modified seems to be untouched.

Like a lot of us, I started first with graffiti (Toulouse, south of France), nothing really important though. I missed the gold age when it was still “possible” to paint downtown (La trueschool, Miss Van, Weky, Rezo were my favorites). Unfortunately, council from my town adopted a anti-graffiti law. Only a few months were needed to make our graffiti history disappeared. So we got a clean city, and they wanted to let it stays like this, that is: a tag at best stayed 2/3 days. they did a good job (and still does).
Then I tried to figured out something different for interacting with my city. So without really giving up graffiti, I jumped from spray to mold (around 2003). I made sculptures of a gecko (inspired by a kind of lizard from my island) that I stuck in my city. This new medium open up a new area for me. I tried matching the color, design of my gecko to the environment chosen. Well, this project, did not last very long. Even if I put them hight, people started to steal and more often broke them…
At this time, I was doing some long study, so everyday i took the bus from my house to the university and I start noticing the advertising on the bus shelters. To be exact, I was not really interested by advertising, I was more excited to take the place ot this ad. But later, I found that just putting a drawing into the shelter lasted just a day or two. In fact, JC Decaux (the company that owns the shelters) have some workers during the day. After some experiments, I find a way to be visible only during the night. I was pretty proud of tricking the JC Decaux team so my modification could last a week or more depending on the  turnover ads. So in the beginning it was only about putting my logo (a gecko) whatever the ad was (ex: the easyjet ad). And then, the concept has evolved, my ideas and my productions too.

Have you worked for JC Decaux to learn the tricks to open their bus-stop advertising systems ?
:), well no, but that would be amazing, especially that now they have some new shelters, I should give it a try. Actually, Internet was the solution. I found on a ad-busters forum how to open a model called “sucette”. So I did my simple “key”, and still use this one in different cities.

Then later I saw the really cool work from the MC crew in a bus shelter explaining how to open a more complex shelter in a ikea-like manual (http://ouvresa.tk, we all (should) know this one?! ).

Kaws has been known for his work on bus shelter posters. Did he influence you in any way ?
Well it’s not because of his early work that I wanted to work onto advertising, if you want to know. As I said, in the beginning I wanted my stuff to be a bit longer than 3 days in the street. I guess, if my city did not adopt this anti-graffiti law, I would still do graffiti or sculptures on wall, or something else. It was the frustration of not being able to express myself that leaded me to hack advertising, a kind of adaptation to the constrains of my city. However, I knew that working on these ads was not an original idea, but at that time, I was not aware that he was the first and that he did open a new area for others.

You are born in Reunion Island. Jace who live in Reunion also painted a lot on billboards. Same question, did he influence you ?
We cannot not be influenced by Jace, we can only rip him! :)

I’m a huge fan of his work and of the fact that he can bring a humoristic wink on some important society’s problems.  He has a strong sense of humor, something I wish I have :).
More generally, I’m inspired by people who bring in their work a wise critic of our society, the way we live, etc… Ron EnglishAkay & Peter, Darius Jones, JR, Banksy to name a few. I’m also really interested by works with several meanings, different readings, hidden messages like ambigrams, anamorphosis etc…

When you see an ad, do you bring it at home to work on it ?

For the moment, I need some preparations. What I want do do (ideas) and how to achieve the modifications (technics) need times, so usually “yes”. But for some specific future projects, it will not be necessary.

Your work can only be seen at night. That’s the beauty and the strength of you project, but at the same time aren’t you afraid people don’t notice your work ?

As you said, what I do can only be seen during the night but the interesting part of it is that:
* It tricks JC Decaux since they don’t see that their ad are manipulated and then don’t replace it. And it’s always pleasant :)
* It’s like showing the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. I like the similarities between this concept and the fact that at night the city changes (it’s “scary”, new people hanging, “unsecured”, there is a new kind of life, a new reality etc…).
* It’s also a wink to the wast of energy. In fact, my modifications can be seen only during night time because the city wastes energy lighting the shelters. No light, no DC Gecko. I’m wondering what is the impact of such lighting in our environment. Don’t you think it is hypocrite to ask us to take care of our energy because we are fucked up and in the meantime to waste so much (oh yeah, cash rules everything, unfortunately).
When I place a hacked ad, I like staying around to see the reaction of people. And even if they are “anesthetized” by the load of stimuli from advertising, they are surprised by what they see. they wonder if it’s a real advertising, how it is done, etc..  It get noticed if the new message, image is incongruent with what people are usually confronted. For example, that was not the case for the Nissan micra’s ad, the tattoo was too much integrated to the ad. But, in most of the case, I’m sure the modified ad are much more noticed than the original.
However, I don’t know if it has an impact. I hope people start noticing what goes around, how outdoor advertising is defacing our city, the lies behind the ad, etc… As I do, now that I’m working on this. But I guess I’m dreaming.

There is now a real little community of French street-artists living in Spain. How did you land in Madrid ?

Well, after my long study, I needed some vacations and doing something different. One day, a friend of mine asked me if I would like to come in Barcelona… what would be your answer ? Then later, another good friend asked me if I would like to come in Madrid… So, i said “yes, let’s do it”.
It’s easy to understand why spain is so attractive: life is a bit less expensive, spanish people are really friendly and spend more time in the street than in their house, artistically speaking there is a lot of stuff going on here (in galleries, in streets, magazin etc..). And I’m not talking about “Fiesta”: Spain is definitely “campeon Olimpico”! Also, being part of another culture is really exciting. Just make a try, and you will understand it.

Do you have connections with other “urban artists” in Madrid ? (somewhere else ?)

Well, hanging with friends like Miss Van and the Limbo family in Barcelona let me met some cool artists like JR (Fr), Jace (Rn), Alexone (fr), Nano 4814 (mad), el Tono (mad), Sixe (Bcn), Raul de Dios (Bcn). During the Intermix 07 in Taiwan, i spend some days with “the crazy duo” Tilt and Mist, “mysterious” Honet, “queen” Klor and artists from Taiwan like Kea, Colasa, Dzus, Bobone, Bounce, Reach and Sense (Japan), we had an amazing time.

Any plans for the future that you can tell us about?

yes sure! I’m planning to work for JC Decaux and make a movie called “Super Advertise Me”. Stay tune ;).

According to you who should i interview next for ekosystem ?

mmm.. there are so much but maybe some who are not well known here: Reach (Taiwan) and Sense (Japan) about the history of graffiti and what’s going on in their country. Other artists from la Réunion would be great!

Zonenkinder interview

Interview with Zonenkinder collective

– This is a question we usually ask to rock bands, but where does your name (Zonenkinder)
come from ? and why have you made such a choice ?

Zonenkinder” refers to the “twighlight zone” from where we get our inspiration
(or extraterrestrial orders)
…but  our crew-name originally derives from a funny street-project we started in 2001. in this project we used the typical “ZONE”street-signs which indicate pedestrian precincts. We used the pictograms on these signs and gave them – mostly by applying stickers to signs – faces of animals/famous persons like Marilyn Monroe, dalai lama etc./or just imaginative faces, let them wear shoes, let them carry strange mushroom-baskets etc.
The original meaning of the term “zonenkinder” refers to the German history – when Germany was divided. The young guys from the eastern part of germany who were born somewhere around the time when the system-change from communist/socialist to capitalist happened, are sometimes called “zonenkinder”. This expression derives from the word “zone” which was some kind of synonym for the German Democratic Republic and the word “kinder” (children).

– Zonenkinder is a duo; you also are a young married couple. Do you sometimes feel the need
to paint alone ?

Yes, of course! Sometimes it is more a kind of “motivation-thing” and sometimes one of us likes to express/push an individual thing. From time to time we also have specific projects where the clients/collaboration partners are asking for the special style of one of us (e.g. the fashion-project from last year together with the Frankfurt based designer Lin Beeser).
… and we also have projects where one style works out better: the trees for example are more a kind of a solo-project concerning the painting itself – but discover the beautiful spot in the forests is something we do together.

Was there anyone, or any particular moment or event that motivated you to begin painting
together ?

We founded the “Zonenkinder Collective” about 8 years ago as a cooperative project to create our own world of a(r)tmosphere, influenced by mixed memories resulting from our various journeys and from our love for art, for the flavour of graffiti and our positive thinking.
But there was not really a particular moment or event… of course we had some initial experiences concerning art-projects, murals and stuff but our interests in art and the passion for graffiti grew together somehow naturally.  Maybe working together became the logical way of being and living together.
As we both love spending time with each other being creative it proved to be the best to share our passion for art by working on the “zonenkinder”-project as one. a shared alter ego…additionally of course it is very inspiring to create a wall or something together
…together often we discover places which scream for color and revival or we suddenly see diffuse parts, faces, animals in a fresh painted wall and let it flow…we love to jam together by creating a new piece of art, just to pour our soul direct on the wall…

I’m particularly fond of your work with trees. Land art from the sixties has been partially criticized for not really respecting the environment. Is it something you have in mind
when you paint on a tree ?

One main part of our work is definitely to create art in the nature and to work with the environment which surrounds and inspires us. Do we have scruples? Yes and no. About two or three years ago when we started painting on trees we had some scruples doing this. So first we solely painted on dead or dying trees. And even today we mostly paint on that surface. But we are constantly in search of new spots for our art and new ways to be creative, and as we see imaginative faces etc. in the living nature around us as well we decided to integrate also living trees in our project. We are convinced that just applying some paint to a tree will not kill it (instead of acid rain or something). Furthermore we are deliberate to paint only a single or a few trees in a single forest – we do not want to destroy something, in a subjective sense we focus to be an active part of our environment with our works by transforming and re-interpreting what we find and create a new atmosphere.

You visited several cities and countries in Europe last 2 years, what’s your favourite city
to paint ?

We really like Lisbon, Berlin and Sete (france) because of the “unclean” atmosphere in these
cities. But when it comes to painting, the painting-spot itself, the atmosphere and the connection between the artists working together on a wall or a project is the most important thing.
You can sometimes experience the best times in small towns or abandoned sites which do not
even have a name simply because “set and setting” are fantastic. We think no big city or
“must-be-place” is needed to have a great time outside painting.

You painted in an abandoned stadium in Zurich, can you tell us a bit more about this place ?

That was a real strange story and a funny place to paint as well.
We and some other artists from Belgium, Italy and Germany were invited to come to Zurich by a local artist whose name we do not want to tell – you know who you are ;-)
From the beginning on it was some kind of conspiracional event. Neither we knew what kind
of site the festival was going to take place nor where the event was at all or who would be there. So everything was some kind of surprise when we arrived at the meeting point, a
squat in Zurich. The squatting guys were extremely suspicious of us (maybe because our clothing were not all in black and we were not masked.
Not until ten minutes before the guys from the squat left to head for the event the guys at the squat told us where everything would happen: the former grasshopper-stadium.
The opening of the event started with a rude police-action. The police of course wanted to prevent the people from squatting the abandoned stadium and shot with rubber-ammunition from a short distance into the crowd!
But fortunately they were not able to clear the stadium and pulled back. So the stadium got slowly but surely transformed in some kind of a creative festival site. The activists started immediately to go over the advertisements, to build stands, bars, a kitchen and different tents directly on the playing field. Additionally there was a stage in the centre for music and bands. They also organized different happenings like a race with selfmade cars or a kind of cable railway from one roof of the stadium to the other all over the playing field. While there was a lot of action in every corner of the crowded stadium they invited painters and lots of local troublemakers “visually reinterpreted” the stadium.
In the end the whole stadium was painted – inside and outside.

It sounds like a fantastic experience.
What other  artists do you most admire and why?

Kowalski from Berlin, cause his characters are full of so much soul and energy. His style integrates typography, painting and characterdesign and is really worth checking out.
Alex from Wiesbaden, cause his rude graffitistyles are simply burner.
Esmaeil Bahrani, cause he showed in his art that there is so much more to learn about
expressionism and action-painting – spheres of art which are underestimated and
underrepresented in the “urban art scene”. Beside of that he is a great impressive guy.
Herve Di Rosa who is a great painter of figuration nouveau.
Os Gemeos, JR, Latlas, Blu with their inspiring works.  In this all day moving picture-carousel they are still able to make us being amazed and surprised!

If you could do artwork for the CD  of a musical artist, who would you like to work with
if you could choose anyone?

– We think our artworx would  go with many different kinds of music, ranging from psychedelic rock to rap. Let us see what future brings ;-)
But if we could choose right now: lee “scratch” perry. He is a weird and strange genius.

Any future plans?

– Yeah, there is more to come in the future and we got several upcoming projects. Here
are some parts we would like to emphasize:
We are looking forward to our show at the Basementizid-gallery in Heilbronn, Germany
together with mr. Kowalski.
Furthermore we plan to travel next spring to Iran to meet friends and artists there –
and paint for sure.
in summer 09 there will also doing a show at a festival in Sete and we will be in London,
ah, and check also: the upcoming issue of ROJO-magazine (out september 08) with some Zonenkinder artworx – and also great other contemporary artists of course!


Curious to see what we are talking about? Visit our website:

Filippo Minelli in Mauritania

Message from Filippo Minelli formely known as Another Brixia:

I’m actually in Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritaine, and as you may know yesterday the army made a coup d’etat.

I’m passing in Mauritaine following a route through Western Africa, and for an unknown reason some days ago i stopped in Nouadhibou boats cemetry to make an painting on DEMOCRACY.
I chose the cemetry to represent democracy as a smashed boat, still quite strong even if full of leaks and unable to go far from this point.
This is not my opinion, but the synthesis of a high-level international philosophical dispute with subject “Is Democracy, with all his contraddictions, the best political solution?”

But then, minute after minute, as the army closed the airport, the tv, the radio and put in jail the President with the Prime Minister this word “Democracy” i wrote, completely un-linked to the Mauritaine politics became of huge actuality, as Democracy here right now is a smashed boat in a sea of garbage.
The most crazy thing about this performance made by the fate is that on the boat i painted i met four young boys, cutting the boat into pieces to re-sell them, and yesterday after one week they were probably smashing with their hammers what i painted, sad metaphor of what the army is doing here in the capital, smashing Democracy, and not even to re-sell it.
All the best and good luck with box truck leasing when it comes it in the automotive boating industry.



Brad Downey Interview

Interview with Brad Downey

“The Adventures of Darius and Downey”
by Thames and Hudson

The adventures of Darius & Downey (& other true tales of Street art) is no ordinary street-art book. It is illustrated with many photos, but it is above all a book to read. A testimony of your street experiences from the early 00’s to nowadays with Darius Jones and a few other friends. Who had the idea to write a book instead of a more classical illustrated monograph?
Darius and I just figured that about half of what makes our work interesting is the adventure and the struggle, as we don’t get paid generally for anything we do outside. So to show just a photo is just showing half of the work. We wanted to try and show the complete lifespan of a piece of work. They have never been just sculptures. They have a life before they are installed during and sometimes they take on a kind of afterlife. The process mimics the style of the installations. The work disguises itself as official street furniture in order to hide in the city hopefully giving it longevity. We also disguised ourselves as official objects in order to hide within the system that would try and stop us.

How did you work with Ed Zipco, who actually wrote the book?
We have known Ed for almost 11 years now. He has been on numerous installs with us and is a really talented writer. For this project Ed, Darius, and I moved to the middle of no-where Pennsylvania for three months, because it was cheaper and less distracting.  Each night before sleeping Ed would make questions, in the morning he would interview Darius and I with digital-video, in the afternoon he would write, and after dinner the three of us would sit and discuss what he had written. Sometimes he had to call people and interview them on the phone and record it with the answering machine. But after 3 months he had most of the material in interviews and spent the next few months writing and fine-tuning everything.

I have the feeling that documenting the work is nearly as much important as the piece itself to you? In “The adventures of Darius & Downey” you present us Omar/Swatch, an old school writer who sells street-art pieces stolen in NYC. Whereas Darius is very upset (and we understand him), you seem to be more comprehensive about him and to appreciate that Omar photographs the pieces in context before taking them.
Omar is a really interesting person. I am not sure if he is the only one like this but he is the only one I have met. In the art world you have guys that walk around art shows and exchange money for artwork. The deal is: the buyer doesn’t just exchange money for the work. The buyer is supposed to love the work and care for the work and make sure that this work is recorded throughout history and placed in a cultural timeline. This is what a good collector does, I hope Omar is doing this. On the one hand he is illegally de-installing street art for his own benefit and maybe prophet. On the other hand he was exchanging something more valuable than money to preserve the real work. Maybe it isn’t important for the work to last as an object, and most of it doesn’t. But it’s always great to see some of the real things inside or out. I am sure a historical retrospective is going to look allot more interesting with artifacts. Omar knows the original is culturally worthless without the reference to the original location. To show the artifact which would have been de-installed and thrown away eventually with proper documentation makes sense to me. Of course I hate it when any piece I like disappears, especially if it’s my work or a friend’s work. But, I feel he is an unusual and valid collector and I am happy for him to have some of my work. An illegal collector.

You also made a documentary “Public Discourse” where you filmed Swoon, Shepard Fairey, Darius Jones/Verbs, Nato… Is it where begun your street-collaboration with Darius?
‘When I first moved to New York from Atlanta, Georgia, in like 1998 that was what opened my eyes to graffiti. In Atlanta you have a lot of good graffiti (like Sever, Revok, Hense) but for me it was all so eye-candy, mostly legal walls. When I moved to New York it was thrown in my face, as New York graffiti has a really particular kinda flavour: the work layers up and has so much energy, in a way that I had never seen in any other kind of art form. You can go outside and get immediately punched in the face with this fast energy. That really caught my eye and drew me in immediately. So I decided that since I was in film school that I’d try to make a film about some of this stuff, maybe just to try and meet some of these people and to get my head around it some more. That’s how the Public Discourse thing came about. Verbs was one of the artist I chose to film but we immediately clicked and started talking and coming up with concepts. Between the years of 1999 and 2004 we were pretty much inseparable, similar to a married couple (without sex). We ate, slept, and shit, each other. Best friends and working partners. We stuck together most of the time for practical reasons, while working together we always had an extra perspective on the work and an extra pair of hands.

Do you think you will eventually make a new film about your street experiments?
Most of the new work I have been doing is videotaped. But I try to make each piece stand alone, as its own film. I don’t have any ambitions to make another street art documentary and I don’t think it would be honest to ever make a larger film about my own work. I tried my best to keep myself out of the first film. But, when I exhibit inside the work usually ends up as a video or photograph.

When did creating art become something important in your life?
It was always been there.

Street-artists usually chose an “alias” for their work. You have always used your real name…
I always had an issue with the “name” stuff. I could never get comfortable with the idea of hiding behind an alias. At first it was hard… no one understood or liked dealing with a “street artist” who was using his real name. They always want cool names. Using a real name was kind of like turning your back on the movement. But I still feel its one of the best decisions I ever made. I see many of my friends having identity crisis now that they are older.

After NYC & London, you are now based in Berlin. What makes Berlin so much attractive?
It’s my favorite city in the world right now. The city is so alive and full of possibilities. Berlin is constantly under construction (socially and physically), and nothing feels permanent. This impermanence is a big inspiration for my work. Berlin seems to be a place I can change and alter to suit my needs.

Do you have connections with the local scene?
and what do you think you share with other artists from Berlin?
I am really close to many of the people currently active in Berlin. I share a studio with Akim and “The Wa.” Both of which are making nice projects on the street.  Akim knows everybody (not just street and graffiti artists) through him I have met almost everyone here.  I think Berlin is a place that you can still explore and do stuff. Since all is under construction you can still do weird things without anyone noticing or caring. Its going to get cleaned up anyways. I enjoy the “fuck it” attitude of the street art style here. I really love guys like Mr Ix, Zast, Sex6.de, hesht and spair. And guys like Kripo Adams and Akim are starting to take there work in really unusual directions.

There’s that scene in the book where Darius’s art teacher says to him, he is loosing his time and money at school by writing “Verbs” again and again. The teacher told him he must experiment new things. It sounds like a turning point to him. Can you tell us what is the most important thing you learnt at art school ?
When I was getting my masters at the Slade in London I remember the tutors not really knowing how to give me criticism or advice for that matter.  I think they really didn’t feel they had any classical reference points for what I was doing (because most of what tutors do in art school is say “have you heard of, such and such artist, you should check them out”). Actually I remember one conversation with Kate Bright a tutor of mine, and an amazing painter. I said to her “Hey Kate you haven’t spoken to me all year, I have seen you speak to everyone at least once.” Kate looked at me and said “Brad think about it, do you really think there is anything I can say to you about what you are doing.”  Art school is mostly about the students. They are the ones that teach you the most. The Majority of the tutors seemed to be walking around looking for ideas to steal.

What’s your street-piece/action you are the most proud of?
It’s hard to say. But I am quite fond of taking CCTV cameras down. I have a nice little collection of these objects. It is something I have been doing since 2005, I think this work is important. I do not know if its art but I am proud of it.

How do you pick your spots? What draws you to say that’s the right place for my piece?
Going around and just searching for something that grabs my interest. Then I make something that I think is missing or could add to that or emphasize a particular existing narrative, moment, or neighborhood. Sometimes history brings the inspiration, sometimes an architectural or urban planning mistake, sometimes a nice color, or a construction worksite, different every time.

How do you feel about galleries?
I guess exhibitions and books present a kind of guide to seeing the outside. It is impossible for the average viewer to be so observant in the urban space; the stuff around the art can sometimes camouflage or hide it. They also give the viewer an opportunity to see work from artists from all over the world.  When walking around a big city there is a moment when the brain can only see so much so its nice to see some of these things with white stuff around them and kill all the urban visual noise.
But, No matter how hard you try to force it inside you will never completely capture the heart of it.  Street art inside is still tricky.  I feel it has to be dealt with carefully.  This context shift is important because museums and collectors keep and important record for history and posterity. But, I also feel that my work cannot completely fit in a museum, this isn’t because I don’t want to work there but because the work has a more natural setting outside.  It is like putting a cage around a lion, the lion is still interesting to look at but its much more of an experience to see it running in the desert in Africa.  I think with “street art” sensibilities you walk a fine line.

On the other hand I think this also applies to work outside. Some people especially street artists think that a piece of work is more interesting just because it is placed outside. I feel that many so-called “street artists” are not making work that necessarily needs to be outside.  An arbitrary image placed outside is not more interesting even if it does give credibility and recognition to the artist. It simply widens the audience.

In your Wikipedia page it is said you were awarded the title Kentucky Colonel. What is this ?
I was born in Kentucky. It is a really beautiful place. I want to try and keep a connection to my roots.

I also like the idea of having a military rank. I grew up in Military family. Most of my early years were spent on military bases. I always knew that I did not want to be a soldier. In fact I dislike nationalism and consider myself an ex-patriot. But, I have allot of respect for the lifestyle. My father was one of ten children. The Marines gave him an opportunity to get away from the poor lower class neighborhood he grew up in. He was the only one of his brothers and sisters to get a college education, thanks to the military.

What are your plans now ?
Keep working in Europe. I will be in Prague for the month of August.

“The Adventures of Darius and Downey” & “Public Discourse” can be ordered on Brad Downey website.
ekosystem july 2008

Graffiti Writing [fr]

Origini, Significati, Tecniche e protagonisti in Italia.

Interview avec Alessandro Mininno

L’idée de départ de ce livre, c’etait de faire le bouquin définitif sur le graffiti en Italie ?

Non ! Tu ne peux pas faire un livre définitif sur quelque chose qui n’est pas encore terminé (de la même manière il ne peut pas y’avoir de livre définitif sur l’art contemporain par exemple). « Graffiti Writing » est un livre de présentation du graffiti : C’est sensé être lisible par la plus grande audience possible. Les gens ont tendance à détester ce qu’ils ne comprennent pas : J’ai écrit ce livre avec l’espoir qu’il permette aux gens de commencer à comprendre et à lire les tags et les graffs. Qu’ils aiment ou pas, peu importe – même si personnellement je trouve toujours beaucoup de beauté dans un tag, et je voulais montrer de beaux panels et throw-ups et expliquer ce qu’il se cache derrière.

Graffiti est un mot italien, mais “Graffiti Writing” ça fait pas trop titre de bouquin sur le graffiti italien non ?

J’aime pas le mot “graffiti” seul, mais il fallait qu’il soit présent pour faciliter l’indexation du livre et les recherche sur le sujet. C’est pourquoi j’ai utilisé l’expression « graffiti writing ». Dans « Subway Art », ils disent « Le Graffiti writing à New York est une vocation qui se passe d’une jeune génération à la suivante… ». Le livre est sur le « graffiti writing », pas sur les graffiti d’amoureux (C+F= Amour Eternel), ni sur le graffiti politique, de football des catacombes ou autre.

Dans les années 90, Rome et l’Italie étaient connues pour être de bons endroits pour peindre des wagons. Les compagnies ferroviaires n’effaçaient pas vraiment les graffs. Quelle est la situation actuelle ?

Je pense que l’Italie est toujours un bon endroit pour peindre des trains, mais tu sais probablement que depuis 1999, les trains sont nettoyés facilement et rapidement grâce à des films plastiques transparents apposés sur les wagons. Ça a été un changement radical de mentalité : Avant 2000, tu peignais pour voir ta pièce tourner pendant des années. Maintenant les gens peignent principalement pour l’action, prendre une photo de sa pièce est plus important. C’est difficile désormais de voir un wagon peint car ils ont une durée de vie limitée. Il faut beaucoup peindre pour se faire remarquer. C’est devenu un sport complètement différent (c’est désormais comme dans le reste de l’Europe je pense).
Des centaines de gens peignent toujours des trains en Italie, et on peut quand même voir des productions de qualité dans les gares. Beaucoup d’anciens se sont remis à peindre cette année, et je suis très content de voir à nouveau des trains de Hekto, Napal ou Rok par exemple.

Y’a vraiment beaucoup de photos dans “Graffiti Writing” d’où viennent elles ?

Sara et moi avons demandé les 250 et quelques photos du livre directement aux “writers”. 

On a récupéré autour de 5000 photos. Avec Sara ont a des goûts complètement différents donc choisir les photos à publier a été assez difficile.
Je voudrais remercier tous les « writers » qui nous ont donné des photos… sans eux le livre n’aurait pas pu exister. On a reçu BEAUCOUP de super photos de bons photographes aussi (la liste ici)
Le livre ne représente pas la scène Italienne (c’est impossible dans un livre, y’a les magazines pour ça). Les livres essaient de montrer des styles (throw ups, tags, whole cars, etc.) de raconter des anecdotes, de la manière la plus scientifique possible. Je voulais faire un livre accessible sur les trains, les tags, les throw ups : Il y a déjà tout un tas de livre hyper spécialisés sur le graffiti (je les lis) mais je pense qu’ils sont trop codés pour la plupart des gens. D’un autre coté tu as les livres qui montrent que les « hall of fame », des persos, c’est plus facile à vendre mais je ne les aime pas. (je déteste particulièrement les grosse compiles/collages du style « Graffiti World »). J’ai eu la possibilité de faire quelque chose qui représente mon propre point de vue sur le graffiti : les lettres, les trains et le vandalisme. J’espère que quelqu’un va le descendre, le critiquer – on a va fait des choix et on est prêt à les défendre.

Peux tu nous citer le nom d’un graffeur italien qu’on ne connait certainement pas, et qui mérite un peu de publicité, d’exposition ?
Non je ne peux pas.
Je pourrais te citer mes « writers » préférés, mais ce sont mes goûts persos…ça signifie rien. Je pense que la seule façon de savoir ce qui défonce en Italie, c’est de faire un petit séjour à Rome ou Milan, et de marcher dans les rues, ou choisir un bon banc dans une station. Il faut toujours se rappeler que ce qu’on voit sur un internet ce n’est qu’une infime partie de ce qui existe… et pas toujours la meilleure :-)

Peux tu choisir 5 pages du livre et nous en dire 2 mots ?

Pour débuter, j’aime vraiment cette page où Verbo (Meta2) peint pendant la manifestation du G8. On peut effectivement voir la foule qui défile dans le fond. Je pense que cette documentation a une valeur inestimable (la photo est de Olafpix.net).

C’est la même raison pour laquelle j’aime cette photo d’Alex Fakso où les gens enlèvent la protection plastique contre les graffs sur les wagons avec des cutters. Ca montre très clairement que vous pouvez toujours essayer d’éradiquer le graffiti, mais vous ne pouvez pas arrêtez les “writers”. Ils progressent toujours, peignent plus haut, avec des outils plus puissants, sur les surfaces toujours plus inaccessibles. C’est une lutte magique contre la dictature du monochrome.

J’aime ce tag de Spiner : les “gribouillis” sont la forme la plus détestée de graffiti. Moi j’adore, et particulièrement ce tag (en tout cas pour moi) il démontre qu’une signature sur un mur peut être une très belle typo, bien exécutée et brillante.

Dans le petit chapitre historique, je choisi la page de clôture: Muko et Nitro en 1995, masqués dans le dépôt en face d’une incroyable whole car, avec un style qui n’aurait pas été possible sans les Montanas. Le graffiti était en train de changer devenant plus agressif, plus direct, plus “ugly”.

Le chapitre sur les “interrailers” est un de mes préférés. Très peu d’ouvrages documentent cette scène, pourtant c’est une des meilleures choses que les vandales européens ont inventé.

Toutes les photos qui illustrent l’interview
sont des photos qui n’ont pas été publié dans le livre. Merci Ale !

ISBN: 9788837053307
29 € – 236 color pages

ekosystem – Juillet 2008 – traduction rapide de la VO en anglais

Summer Playlists

** 3615 **

Black sabbath : the 1st six albums (with ozzy) (black sabbath, paranoid, master of reality, vol.4, sabbath bloody sabbath, sabotage, technical ecstasy, never say die)
Cannibal corpse : the bleeding
Agent orange :  living in darkness
Danger Doom : sofa king
Black sheep : a wolf in sheep’s clothing
Frustration : full of sorrow
Queen : don’t stop me now

La Muerte Jeanspezial** La Muerte – Jeanspezial **

Public enemy : dont’ believe the hype
Egyptian loveregypt egypt
Newcleus : destination earth
Eazy e : real muthaphukkin G’s
Chromeo :fancy footwork

** Elfo **

Black SabbathParanoid
The Velvet undergroundVenus in fur
King Crimson21 st century schizoid man
Sex PistolsNo fun
Gogol BordelloHarem in tuscany

** ZonenKinder **

Lee Perry and The White Belly Rats: Panic in Babylon
Little Richard: you keep on knocking (but you can´t come in)
Adrian Sherwood: becoming a cliché
Toumani Diabaté: the mandé variations
dj Muggs presents soul assassins V

** Silencio **

Bob Marley and the Wailers: “Kaya” and “Trenchtown Rock” (from the album Kaya and Confrontation)
Jon & Roy: “Thanks for that” and “Another noon” (from the album Another Noon)
Dj Krush: “The Kinetics” (from the album Kakusei)
M.I.A/Diplo: “Bingo (Diplo remix)” (from the album Piracy fonds terrorism vol 1)
Melk: “Rookies on Tracks” (from the album Sports)

** Just **

Stars10 Bitches in Tokyo
Juri GagarinPresidator – Buran
Men are Djs – Make it Reverse
Made in the Dark – Ready for the Floor
At the Drive inOne armed Scissor
The SmithsAsk
Lezzies on X – Sisters in the Struggle
PartylineNo Romantic

** Tristan Manco **

DJ Nuts – Cultura Copia (Artwork by Nunca)
One Drop – Black Gold of the Sun (artwork by Mode2)
All I want – Tim Maia (album Tim Maia ’78)
Os Mutantes – El Justiciero – Album Tecnicolor
Donald Byrd & The BlackbyrdsMysterious Vibes

** C-Monster **
http://www.c-monster.net/C-Monster on flickr

Buena Vista Social Club – El Cuarto de Tula
I’ve been spending a lot of time with my parents, and this song has come up a lot. It’s about a woman whose house burns down because she forgot to blow out a candle. You’d never guess how tragic the lyrics are by listening to the up-tempo nature of the music.
the Beastie BoysThe Move
Love the lyrics on this one, particularly the line that goes “I’m intercontinental when I eat French toast.” Plus, I admire any song in which the band thinks to rhyme the words “neck” and “Toulouse-Lautrec.”
Molotov – Chinga tu madre
It’s one of the band’s earlier songs. A total classic. I never get tired of it.

Run DMC with Fat Joe
Ay papi
The perfect soundtrack for a hot summer in NYC.
the White StripesIcky Thump
I was listening to this through my most recent airplane landing at JFK and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.

** eko **

KW GriffIn The Club
The PharcydePassin Me By – Hot Chip Remix
Marc RomboyEy mind (feat. Mr.K-Alexi)
Findlay BrownPromised Land (Joe Smooth Cover)
The Social ServicesThe Final Countdown (Europe Cover)

Objects 2 to download

Igor who was the chief editor of Objects 2 offer us the PDF file of his sold-out book.
It is a great opportunity to discover or know more about the Russia street-art scene.
??????? ??????? !

Igor is working on a 3rd book about 3D objects and installations in the street.

Objects 2 – Pdf file 20mb

edit [march 2009]: the 3rd book is out !