Tag Archives: wheat-paste

CULT OF KAWAII: WHEN STREET ART “GETS CUTE” WE ALL SUFFER

 

Look, savvy reader! Look at the photo above!

See that tiny wheat-pasted street artwork of a poodle-like canine waltzing down the pavement seeming to give zero fucks but in a totally oblivious, entitled way?

Ahhhhh …. cuuuuuuuuute, right?!?!? 

Look again, look carefully. Is that a dollop of poop nonchalantly emanating from the butt of this kawaii canine? It is! It must be! Wow, this cartoon pup really does give zero fucks.

Ahhhhh …. cuuuuuuuuute, right?

Well, we’re not buying it. This is just a little too cute (or as Japanese high-school girls love to squeal: Kawaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii”). And frankly this is even a little too cute for the Los Angeles Arts District where this pic was snapped.

Sure, the poop is a touch of insouciance and whimsy we can appreciate here at Global Graphica. Clearly this artwork was something not executed without thought. (Notice how that dollop of poop has its own shadow!!!!)

And we like how the artwork was posted at the eye level of a small rodent. (The artwork actually is the size of a small rodent — less than a foot long. It shows that the artist is, as corporate HR specialists like to say, “detail oriented.”

That aside, this kind of cuteness is too easy and a kind of artistic crutch. We want our street art to be bolder, grittier, heavier, more epic, aesthetically nuanced and more serious about message.

What is this artwork trying to say? Pick up your dog’s shit? That everybody has to poop, even the most beautiful and haughty little bitches? (For the record, the word “bitches” is used here in the scientific sense to mean “gender-female dog,” and not used in the often misogynistic hip-hop sense).

With this kind of cute, we suffer. You, us, everybody — even the artist — suffers. Yes, the struggle is real.

 

“Skull Phone” Street Art by Spazmat

For years we would see the wheat-pasted artwork of artist Spazmat posted around downtown New York City. His posters were unmissable. His street art was comprised of an iconic image: An illustrated portrait of a skeleton with a cell phone in its bony hand held up to the skull as if talking on the phone. The posters were usually rendered in a stark white on black. Informally dubbed as “Skull Phone,” the image suggested many things, among these the dangers of technology.  We hadn’t seen Spazmat’s artwork in many years until we recently spotted one of his skull phone wheaties on a utility box along Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles. This one was printed in blue and white with a striped design, almost nautical in style and fitting for its location a few meters across the road from the ocean. 

“Deface This” Trump Street Art

These repeated black-and-white “Deface This” and “Not Norml” (sic) posters of new U.S. President Donald Trump are funny political commentary and an invitation to a form of participatory art and creative activism. We’ve being seeing these pop up around Los Angeles the past week or so. The ones pictured here were on a utility box on Sunset Blvd. in L.A.’s hip Silver Lake neighborhood.

Street Art in Miniature

This wheat-pasted street art of two dogs is awesomely colorful and cute. It’s also tiny, smaller than the palm of a hand. It’s miniature street art, which is cool. But it would be even cooler if it was the size of a small building, because the artwork itself is beautifu and could have such great impact at a larger scale. The artwork is in an alley behind Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, Los Angeles.

Street Art as Office Decor

We recently went to a series of meetings at a creative agency in Southern California. The walls of the conference room where the meetings were held were covered in wheat-paste street art. Most of the artwork was boldly illustrated black-and-white poster cut-outs of hand-drawn graphics in a comic style. Our favorite was a large graphic of a masked Mexican “lucha libre”-style wrestler. The artwork gave the conference room a lot of energy and a sense of fun, while showcasing the tastes of the company’s creative team. 

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この会議室は、カリフォルニアの広告代理店にあります。 会議室はストリートアートで装飾されています。

“Selfie This” Street Art Poster … Venice, Los Angeles

The cheeky message of this wheatpaste street art posted on a back-alley dumpster is unequivocal. Using a graphical, copy-paste collage style, the poster could be interpreted as form of commentary on the inherent narcissim of self-photography and image-making that is a by-product of social media. “Selfie This” offers a middle-fingered salute as hilarious insult, a visual offense that can be used for ironic, humorous effect by anybody taking a selfie with this poster. Which was probably the point. Look for it in the alley behind the restaurant Gjelina on Abbot Kinney Blvd in Venice, is Los Angeles.

Tattered “Vegan Club” Poster … Silver Lake, Los Angeles

Here’s another one of those Vegan Club wheat-pasted street art posters that have been popping up all over Los Angeles and New York. The posters have a guerla-marketing quality and are usually two-toned single color prints of a pop-cultural icon rendered in high-contrast. The one pictured here is on a utility box on the pavement off Sunset Blvd. in Silver Lake, in Los Angeles. There seem to be tons of these in Silver Lake and neighboring  Echo Park.

Street Art by Bunny M. in Nolita … New York City

The wheat-paste street art of artist “Bunny M” depicts a mysterious mythical humanoid that reads at a glance like an artifact of dark, foreboding Japanese manga comic book illustration enshrined on the brick and stone walls of lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. Pictured here is one in Nolita in downtown New York City.

Street Art by Calen Blake in New York

Fresh street art by artist Calen Blake on the old Bowery Bank building, a.k.a., the Jay Maisel Building, at the corner of Bowery and Spring streets in New York’s Lower East Side. This wheat-paste artwork is yet another portrait of a woman with an intriguing body of hair — it’s a densely packed school of small fish.

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Street Art … “Ellle Thug Life” in New York

This #ELLEThugLife street art paste-up at the old Bowery Bank Building (a.k.a., the Jay Maisel Building) in downtown New York is filled with diverse religious symbolism and compelling imagery. It depicts a naked woman wearing only a head-scarf and partial face veil and sporting many tattoos as she stares directly at the viewer. The image is powerful, mysterious and evocative.

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“Chandlerier” by Hanksy … Lower East Side, New York

In this recent street art piece titled “Chandlerier,” the increasingly prolific Hanksy has made pun-tastic reference to the TV series “Friends” and one of its lead characters, Chandler (played by actor Matthew Perry). Here Chandler is portrayed comically dressed in a one-piece leotard and ballet slippers. The wheat-pasted artwork is on a utility door next to the entrance of the Untitled Gallery on Orchard Street in New York’s Lower East Side.

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King of Spades by Cost, New York

This king of spades street art on Great Jones Street in NoHo, in downtown New York, is by the incredibly prolific artist Cost, and it’s one of the few pieces by him that rely on graphic images rather than on text alone. The King if spades is much less cryptic, but visually way more compelling and arresting than his usual works.

Speaking of “arresting”…  Cost, whose real name is Adam Cost, was recently arrested by NYPD on charges of vandalism. It seems like Cost’s wheat-paste posters are everywhere in New York City, and this had made him a high-profile vandal high up on the wanted list of NYPD’s graffiti-vandalism crime unit.

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What Iconic Tech Entrepreneur is the Inspiration for the Latest Wave of Street Art Hitting NYC?

Well it’s late Apple Computer co-founder and visionary Steve Jobs, of course. As the father of the much-loved iPod, iPhone, and iPad, Job’s legacy is a kind of ubiquitous presence in our daily lives whether or not we actually own and use an Apple device. iPhones are everywhere. Jobs’ iconic image is the basis of a rash of new street art popping up in downtown New York and Brooklyn this past week by the NYC-based artist who goes by the moniker UnCasso (a.k.a., UnCuttArt). The artworks are illustrated renderings of the photo by acclaimed Scottish photographer Albert Watson, and printed on heart-shaped paper in various colors and wheat-pasted to walls. Steve Jobs has been the inspiration and subject of street art previously, and his image used with other global icons.

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Street Art … Monkey with Money in NYC

These “Monkey Money” street art wheat-pastes (“wheaties”) and stickers have been dotting walls around New York City for a while now. Here’s a tiny one we found on Ludlow Street not far form Global Graphica HQ in the Lower East Side.

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Street Art on Bleecker Street, New York City

Large wheat-paste street art poster of artist Matt Siren‘s skull graphic in drip-paint style. Siren’s “wheatie” is overlaid by a subsequent paste-up by OCMC on Bleecker Street in NoHo, downtown NYC.

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New York Street Art … A Boy and His Automatic Rifle

Pictured here is a super-fresh street art wheat-paste illustrated image of a boy with a Kalashnikov automatic rifle by artist “Teacake” on Ludlow Street in New York’s Lower East Side. As we’ve mentioned in previous postings over the past year or so, the short stretch of Ludlow Street just south of Grand Street is gradually evolving into a fertile “street art gallery.” It’s perfectly suited as a canvas for street art given that on each side of the street is a window-less, door-less 20-meter-long wall, sides of a buildings that face each other.

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