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Street art homages to Frank Zappa, Lemmy, David Bowie, Bon Scott, Ian Curtis & more

Frank Zappa street art mural under a bridge in London by James Mayle and Leigh Drummond
A massive mural of Frank Zappa under a bridge in London by artists James Mayle and Leigh Drummond.

I recently came across images of some beautiful street murals of both the sadly recently departed Lemmy Kilmister and David Bowie—which is what got me cooking up this post chock full of graffiti and street art homages to notable musicians and rock stars who are no longer with us.

Of the many public pieces, photographed at places all around the globe, I’m especially fond of the Lemmy/Bowie hybrid that popped up on a utility box in front of a restaurant in Denver, Colorado shortly after Bowie passed on January 10th, 2016, as well as a haunting image of Joe Strummer that was painted on the side of a rusted old van.
 
Lemmy/Bowie street art mashup in Denver, Colorado
Lemmy/Bowie street art mashup in Denver, Colorado.
 
Joe Strummer mural painted on the side of a van by French artist, Jef Aerosol
Joe Strummer mural painted on the side of a van by French artist, Jef Aerosol.
 
Inspired street art dedicated to everyone from Joy Division’s Ian Curtis to James Brown, after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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04.05.2016
09:14 am
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‘Watching My Name Go By’: Must-see vintage short on graffiti in 1976 NYC
07.16.2015
11:01 am
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In 1974 Norman Mailer wrote an essay for Esquire called “The Faith of Graffiti”—a gripping and sympathetic investigation on the defacement of public and private property as an urban art movement of complex and fascinating depth. Mailer’s work eventually produced two collaborative pictorial books—The Faith of Graffiti and Watching My Name Go By. The beauty of tagging and graffiti art is almost taken for granted today, especially since artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat legitimized the genre to the art world in both its unlawful execution and its distinctive aesthetic, but Mailer was doing something new by recording the phenomenon as an organic outpouring of artistic expression, and this short 1976 documentary—also named “Watching My Name Go By”—is equally open-minded in its portrayal of graffiti artists and their critics.

The documentary isn’t just mindless cheerleading either; time is given to community members who hate seeing their city constantly vandalized (though quite a few also admire the work), and on some level you have to feel bad for the public servants charged with cleaning up after the kids. At the same time, no one is shocked by it; in addition to the graffitists’ own reflections on their craft, the “civilian” interviewees offer thoughtful insights on the phenomenon. There is a certain amount of juvenile nihilism of course, but some theorize this outlet of masculine delinquency as youthful rebellion. One official points out that graffiti isn’t a practice relegated to “minorities” or “kids from broken homes,” and from the accounts of the kids themselves, the graffiti “craze” appears to be appealing most of all as a hobby, rather than a denouncement of society or conscious act of dissent.
 

 
Via Flavorpill

Posted by Amber Frost
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07.16.2015
11:01 am
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Berlin slated to lose two graffiti masterpieces
10.14.2014
11:33 am
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Anyone who works in the medium of graffiti can’t be too enamored of the possibility of permanence for his or her work. The destruction or evanescence of the works is kind of built in, whether the antagonist is the cops, the weather, or rapacious developers. But as graffiti becomes a more accepted part of the art world, the hopes for longer durations rises. A year ago, in October 2013, the incredible exterior of the legendary 5 Pointz space in Long Island City in Queens, New York, was painted over in stark white, a sobering reminder that the exigencies of commerce will generally trump a technically illegal grassroots art movement.

It looks like something of the sort will happen to the remarkable murals of the Italian street artist Blu in Berlin—murals that Artnet earlier this year named one of the five most important murals in the city. The Blu murals are located on Curvystraße, in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, and were painted in 2007 and 2008. One mural shows the torso of a man straightening his tie and wearing gold watches on both wrists which are connected by a chain. The second one shows two figures trying to unmask each other, with the one holding his fingers into a W (for West) and the other into an E (East).

Graffiti art has a special status in Berlin. Since 1989 the city has been defined by squatter culture, after the unused living spaces of the then-squalid Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg neighborhoods in East Berlin were occupied by young people—that tone has come to define the famously “poor but sexy” world capital. I visited the city in the summer of 2013, and the preponderance of graffiti was a little bit mind-blowing, it’s clearly semi-legal there and a source of scruffy, anti-establishment local pride. I was strolling in Kreuzberg when I happened upon a tour group that was on the theme of urban art and local left-wing activism—you’d be hard-pressed to find such a tour in New York City, let me tell you. I followed the group for the second half of the tour, and in fact the guide showed us the number three entry on Artnet’s list, the “Cosmonaut Mural” by Victor Ash on Mariannenstrasse.

It was reported last week that real estate investor Artur Süsskind and the architectural firm Langhof plan to tear down the buildings and replace them with 250 apartments, a kindergarten, a supermarket, and an open air terrace facing the Spree River. Not to be deterred, Berliner Jascha Herr has launched an online petition calling for the artworks to be protected under Germany’s monument protection statute. As Herr writes, “The city of Berlin loves to promote its alternative scene—and more precisely the cultural value of its artists—but it simultaneously discards them. It is simply about selling to investors who only see personal profit in the alternative landmarks of the city. But the cultural identity of the city belongs to all of us.” Unfortunately, it would be unprecedented for the landmark protections to be extended to artworks as young as seven years old.
 

 

 
Two nifty time-lapse videos documenting the creation of the two murals after the jump…..

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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10.14.2014
11:33 am
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Graffiti artists reclaim the commons and obscure subway ads
10.06.2014
08:58 am
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For what New Yorkers pay to ride “public transportation,” you’d think the MTA wouldn’t feel compelled to sell every square inch of subway car to bloodsucking corporate pirates—much less that aesthetic villain, Dr. Jonathan Zizmor. M.D.. But where there is a square inch to monetize, “public” space will never really be public. Two anonymous artists, going by SKI and 2ESAE, have decided to take the commons with some slick guerrilla tactics.

Now defacing ads is nothing new, and their messaging might be a little platitudinous (“be who you are don’t be sheep”), but the project itself is a kind of a cool ad campaign against ads. While the duo’s traditional idiom is graffiti, the plastering of polished “ad copy” is a subtler, more formal approach to anti-advertising protest—you have to look twice, something straphangers almost never do for a scrawl of Sharpie or an artless tag in spray paint. While very few people probably saw the installation itself (I’ve been on the J train at 3AM—it’s pretty dead), the folks at ANIMAL videotaped it for posterity—YouTube is the last town square, I suppose.

I’d hope actions like this might take off, but the MTA has already announced plans to put cameras in cars... you know… for safety.
 

 
Via ANIMAL

Posted by Amber Frost
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10.06.2014
08:58 am
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‘Graffiti: Fun or Dumb?’: 1976 PSA is, like graffiti itself, fun and dumb
01.27.2014
11:40 am
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Graffiti: Fun or Dumb?
 
This stern, cheerful, inane PSA from Counselor Films about graffiti says a lot of things that are mostly true, and yet doesn’t seem to get anything right at all. The graffiti depicted in the video (some of it concocted for the video, of course) is indeed a blight in visual terms—it’s hard to argue the point. Either they didn’t know that some graffiti can be aesthetically appealing or the “golden age of graffiti” hadn’t really happened yet—I suspect it’s a bit of both.

Meanwhile, the need to express oneself, the benefits of outlaw behavior, the fundamental need for protest—you won’t hear about any of that here.
 
Graffiti
 
The video features a sublimely silly pop song that suggests what might have happened if your parents had descended into the rec room and wrested control over Rod Torfulson’s Armada:
 

Hey is it fun or just dumb?
Yes, either it’s fun or just dumb
You know there are kids in school
Some of them break the rules
Hey is it fun or just dumb?
Maybe what they’re doin’s funny
Maybe it may look that way
But maybe if it’s costin’ money
I wonder what it’ll cost—who’s gonna pay?
Hey is it fun or just dumb?
Yes, either it’s fun or just dumb
Either it’s fun or just dumb

 

 
From A/V Geeks

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
‘Bad Graffiti’: Vulgar, juvenile, misspelled & ignorant wall scrawlings from Detroit (NSFW-ish)
Graffiti pioneer Stay High 149, R.I.P.

Posted by Martin Schneider
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01.27.2014
11:40 am
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Cool Charles Bukowski graffiti
07.03.2012
07:13 pm
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Photo: Mirgun Akyavas
 
Austin, Texas has some of the finest examples of street art of any city on the planet. Here’s something that recently went up in the downtown area. I don’t know who did it and they may want to stay anonymous. If not, and you see this, let us know who you are so we can give you credit for this splendid piece of art.

To the right of the portrait is the famous Bukowski quote: “Some people never go crazy, what truly horrible lives they must live.”

Posted by Marc Campbell
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07.03.2012
07:13 pm
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Mausolée: Unbelievable time-lapse footage of a 430,000 sq ft graffiti art project in Paris
06.13.2012
02:53 pm
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An extraordinary underground museum of graffiti art has been painstakingly assembled in the ruins of a formerly squatted grocery store in the north of Paris. Organized by two artists, Lek and Sowat, forty French artists and crews took over the building after police had cleared the space of its residents.

Sowat told Dangerous Minds:

On August 12, 2010, Lek and I found an abandoned supermarket in the north of Paris. For a year, in the greatest of secrets, we continuously wandered in this 430,000 sq ft monument to paint murals and organize an illegal artistic residency, inviting forty French graffiti artists to collaborate with us, from the first to the last generation of the graffiti movement. Together we built a Mausoleum, a temple dedicated to our disappearing underground culture, slowly being replaced by street art and its global pop aesthetics. Amongst other things, we made a stop motion movie of the whole experience, showing a years worth of work in 7 minutes of high speed sequence shot, a bit like watching Graffiti through the windows of New York Subway system.

To illustrate this movie, we chose Philip Glass’ ‘Opening’ track. When we reached out for permission to use the music, we were offered Mr Glass’ own master of the song, a version that is less known by the public than the track that was put out in the ‘glassworks’ album. We didn’t do this movie for financial reasons, we wanted it to be free and accessible to the most people possible.

 
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The Mausolée space reflects French social, political and human drama today, as few museums or more traditional art spaces could. Due to the nature of the space, people can’t really visit there, so the artists have published a book commemorating their 40,000 m² “mausoleum” of graffiti art as well as posting this gorgeous Koyaanisqatsi-esque time-lapse video of how the project came together.

It’s a knockout.
 
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Posted by Richard Metzger
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06.13.2012
02:53 pm
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Bob Derply: Terrifying Bob Marley graffiti
10.17.2011
01:25 pm
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Redditor cc132 says, “I live next door to this terrifying piece of shit. The longer you stare at it, the funnier it gets.”

Yes. Yes, it does.

Posted by Tara McGinley
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10.17.2011
01:25 pm
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Connect the Gum: Inspired sidewalk graffiti
08.23.2011
02:07 pm
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I like this idea: “connect the street gum” to create graffiti portraits. BTW, this was spotted in SoHo in New York City.

(via Wooster Collective)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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08.23.2011
02:07 pm
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More HANKSY graffiti spotted on the streets of Soho, NYC
05.11.2011
02:21 pm
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If you’re out of loop on the whole HANKSY graffiti thing popping up on the streets of NYC, here’s the first HANKSY that appeared about a month ago.

(via Wooster Collective)

 

Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.11.2011
02:21 pm
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Morrissey Fans Are Lazy
05.03.2011
07:10 pm
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Posted by Tara McGinley
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05.03.2011
07:10 pm
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Stanley Kubrick street graffiti
12.05.2010
03:28 pm
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Imagine walking down the street and seeing this! Pretty great, huh? 

(via Das Kraftfuttermischwerk)

Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.05.2010
03:28 pm
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‘Style Wars’ creator Henry Chalfant’s new website is street art heaven

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Ace photographer Henry Chalfant who produced the classic 1984 documentary on New York City graffiti artists and hip hop, Style Wars, has a new website and it’s a beauty. An incredible resource for anyone interested in street art, hip hop culture and outlaw artists, check out Henry’s site here. It will blow your mind.

These photos were cropped in order to fit the page. See them in their full glory on Henry’s webpage, where you can actually scroll along the full length of the subway car.
 
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Posted by Marc Campbell
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10.27.2010
03:06 am
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Keith Haring and Grace Jones: flesh graffiti and the Queen Of The Vampires
08.05.2010
02:02 am
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In the mid-1980s Grace Jones’s body became the flesh canvas upon which Keith Haring created some of his most striking images. In the process, Haring contributed to Jones’s reputation as an innovator of cutting edge style and fashion. She wore Haring’s body paint in the video for her song I’m Not Perfect and in live performance at New York City’s Paradise Garage.

Body painting was a natural extension of the ephemeral nature of Haring’s art. Like subway graffiti and street art, it isn’t intended to last.

I remember the days before Haring became famous, when his “Radiant Baby” graffiti was as ubiquitous on the streets of New York as the smell of urine and the sound of ghetto blasters. For awhile, Haring was New York.

In the above photo we see Haring preparing Jones for her role in the 1986 movie Vamp, in which she portrays Katrina the Queen of The Vampires.

The music in this clip from Vamp is by Jonathan Elias who produced Jones’s Bulletproof Heart album.

 
for more photos pull up to the bumper

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Posted by Marc Campbell
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08.05.2010
02:02 am
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Big Bang Big Boom: Incredible new urban art animation by Blu

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One of the true tests of innovative sequential/evolving visual art is whether it hits you as a fantastic story that a little kid could describe…”Then the van had eyes and then it ate the worm…” This thing does it.

Although the anonymous, hyper-proficient Bologna-based artist Blu has nothing near the global profile of Banksy, s/he’s shown and worked in as many regions, including the wall at the West Bank. S/he’s also been able to work stop-motion animation into his/her ouvre, and the ten-minute video below is the latest fruit.

It seems absolutely relentless and almost epic in its scope. Enjoy.
 

BIG BAG BIG BOOM - the new wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

 
via Reckon

 

Posted by Ron Nachmann
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07.06.2010
04:38 pm
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