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Legendary LA-Based Street Artist Robbie Conal Installs Anti-Trump Poster Series Around Philly

April 3, 2018

Last night, legendary septuagenarian street artist Robbie Conal rolled through Philly to install a handful of anti-Trump wheatpaste posters around town!

The wheatpaste, Hammer & Pickle, is an update of Robbie’s Bully Culprit/Can’t Even poster from 2015. The New York-bred, Los Angeles-based artist is currently traveling through a handful of U.S. cities installing this new poster, starting in Washington D.C. over the weekend.

If you don’t know much about Robbie – who has been putting up street art posters for over 30 years – here’s more about him from his bio:

“Robbie Conal grew up on the upper west side of Manhattan. Raised by union organizers who considered the major art museums to be day care centers for him, he spent his formative years immersing himself in art history at The Metropolitan Museum of Art and the other great local art institutions of New York City…”

“In 1986, angered by the Reagan Administration’s rabid abuse of political power in the name of representative democracy, he began making satirical oil portraits of politicians and bureaucrats and turning them into street posters. He gradually developed an irregular guerrilla army of volunteers, who helped him poster the streets of major cities around the country. Over the past 24 years, Robbie has made more than 80 street posters satirizing politicians from both political parties, televangelists, and global capitalists. He has also taken on subjects like censorship, war, social injustice, and environmental issues.”

Learn more about Robbie Conal and his work here, and check out the wheatpastes he just installed around Philly here: 2nd and Poplar streets, 2nd street and Germantown avenue, Front street and Montgomery avenue.

Kool-Aid Man Aids in Center City Demolition

March 26, 2018

LOVE this new Kool-Aid Man, sorry, Kool-Hazo Man piece from Philly’s own parody street artist Kid Hazo, installed this weekend at the site of a demolition at the intersection of 9th and Locust streets in Center City!

As Hazo wrote to his Instagram about the piece, “OHHHH YEAAAA!!! Keep drinkin’ that Kool-Hazo kids!”

Read more…

LOVING This Temporary James Baldwin Mural in Fishtown

March 23, 2018

FINALLY got to see Nile Livingston‘s brilliant James Baldwin mural in Fishtown (the gate’s been up the last three times I went to check it out.)

After completing her mural last November, Nile wrote the following on her Instagram about the inspiration behind the mural: “Painting a portrait of the iconic James Baldwin felt fitting amid our present cultural and political climate. Baldwin reminds me that maintaining benevolent curiosity for fellow humans is how we hold on to our own humanity. I found this quote from him to be particularly resounding ‘The role of the artist is exactly the same as the role of the lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the things you don’t see.'”

Nile’s mural is a temporary installation, the latest of Mural Arts Philadelphia‘s series of rotating murals on a singular gate outside The Fillmore on Richmond street at Frankford avenue! These murals rotate about every six months, so if you haven’t seen this mural yet either but you want to, it’s likely you have at least a couple more months left to check it out!

Streets Dept’s ‘2nd Saturday Street Art Tours’ Are BACK for Our 2018 Season!

March 19, 2018

(Photos by Evan Kaucher)

Y’all, so excited to announce today that Streets Dept‘s 2nd Saturday Street Art Tours are BACK for our 2018 Season!

Streets Dept’s 2nd Saturday Street Art Tours are a new kind of guided walking tour that explore the art in Philadelphia’s public spaces one neighborhood at a time! Each month we walk a different neighborhood in search of street art, graffiti, murals – and more! Each tour hosted and led by me, StreetsDept.com’s founder Conrad Benner.

For the kick-off of our 2018 Season, we’ll be checking out one of Philadelphia’s most active and vibrate neighborhoods for graffiti and street art: Kensington – including the graffiti mecca that is 5th and Cecil B. Moore!

GET YOUR DANG TICKETS!  Read more…

Powerful New Installation by Street Artist Outside Philly High School: ‘Lives Over Guns’

March 18, 2018

A powerful new installation today by Philly-based street artist, YOMI, depicting a young shooting victim laid out in front of a Philadelphia high school, joins the national conversation around greater gun control.

Installed outside of South Philly’s Academy at Palumbo (formerly known as Bartlett School and Frank C. Palumbo Junior High School,) YOMI’s installation is a response to our country’s latest mass shootings at Parkland High School in Florida. And the robust and vibrant activism that has been a result of that tragedy thanks to the organizing and outspokenness of the students of Parkland and students at schools across the nation.

I joined YOMI for his install this morning to grab photos of his piece while it lasted. Because, with street art installations of such a pointed political nature, not to mention one that is this potentially triggering, it’s hard to imagine that it will last long on the street before it’s removed by The City or a neighbor. (In fact, I’m sure it’ll be down before you even read this post.)

Nevertheless, after he installed his piece I talked with YOMI about why it was important for him to create this installation and why he put it where he did:

“It’s my hope that this piece will continue the conversation between students, teachers, and parents about stricter gun laws and school safety. That students will continue to be passionate about making a change for the better and not be intimidated by greedy politicians and their ineffective and inadequate policies supported by powerful gun lobbyist such as the NRA.”

“The site for this installation was chosen because it’s a very diverse school with 49% of students being African American and 99% of graduates moving on to study at college or university. Also, it was one of the few schools to support its students as they took part in the national school walk-out and that their voices and their right of self-expression is being valued and respected.”

YOMI ended with this final thought: “On Saturday March 24th, Washington, D.C. will be the stage of a massive protest #MarchForOurLives, organized by the Parkland survivors. I urge everyone to join them and confront lawmakers and the White House head on. Let them know that these tragedies must stop, that the line has been drawn. And after the March is over don’t let it fade away. Don’t stop the protests. Don’t stop the walk outs. Change is possible but we must Demand it!”

Read more…

Playful New Yarnbomb on Spring Garden

March 16, 2018

(Photos by Streets Dept Contributor Eric Dale)

Awesome new yarnbomb installation yesterday by Nicole Nikolich (aka @lace_in_the_moon) at the intersection of 12th and Spring Garden streets!

While this is the first yarnbomb I think I’ve ever seen from Nicole, I am definitely bummed that I apparently missed this “Guacward” yarnbomb that she did last summer. Excited to see if she does more as it gets warmer!

See other yarnbomb installations by the following artists at their respective links: Ishknits, Binding Things.

Interviews with Street Artists: Reviving Philly Sticker Art with Aviz

March 7, 2018

Interview and photos by Streets Dept Contributor, Eric Dale.

Few street artists in Philly are quite as prolific as Philadelphia sticker artist Avizzle, or Aviz. Center City street signs and newspaper boxes are filled with his work, but you can also find his character on less-trafficked residential streets throughout the city. His stickers are so abundant because his goal over the four years he’s been putting them up has been to perpetuate Philly’s unique, hand-drawn sticker tradition – and maybe bring it back from the brink.

For today’s latest Interviews with Street Artists, Streets Dept’s Eric Dale talked with Aviz as he put up some fresh stickers around Center City!

Streets Dept’s Eric Dale: How did you get started doing stickers?
Avizzle: Originally, I got into the whole thing because of Snod. He introduced me to stickers early in the game, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever! And then I researched it and realized Philadelphia has a community. That’s how I kind of found my place.

SD: What’s the origin of your character?
AV: When I first started, I was just thinking “I need to have my own character!” So I started creating a bunch of random characters. But Philly has a distinct style that a lot of sticker artists had back in the day – it’s not something that you can just pull off Google Images. There’s a certain aesthetic, so I tried to follow that.

SD: So your character has evolved over time?
AV: Yeah. I had a notebook, I remember, where I had created 10 different characters. Then I narrowed it down to two, and then to one. But the first one kind of looked like this one guy down in South Philly named Kaddy. So I changed it up a bit, and over time elaborated on it and it started to take its form. It takes a while! I knew how to draw, but for the first six months it was really rough. When I first started, I made it super aggressive and grim – like, sinister. But once I figured out my style, I just stuck with the more cartoony look. Technically, my character was supposed to be a dog, but it got so misconstrued! Now it’s a shark, I guess.

SD: You’ve previously described sticker art as a hobby. What’s the most fulfilling part of it for you?
AV: I would say just walking around the city. Before I got into sticker art, I didn’t really go out that much. So getting into stickers made me more active in the streets – just knowing what’s around and also experiencing things that I never knew existed. I would go to random areas – Northern Liberties for one. I would never go there if it wasn’t for stickers. Or up in the middle of West Philly – there’s no reason for me to go there.

SD: Do you think it will ever be more than a hobby? Read more…

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