Block Club loves you Rochester!
That’s right, Flower City. Beginning today, you can now find Block Club magazine in your neck of the woods! Woohooo!!!
Only 1,000 copies are available, and based on our experience here in Buffalo, they go fast. But they’re free, made with lots of love, and are ready for all for you to enjoy! You can find Block Club at 25 locations in and around the city, including Boulder Coffee Co., Joe Bean Coffee Roasters, House of Guitars, Genesee Brewing Co., The Little Theatre, The George Eastman House, Needle Drop Records, The Owl House, and many more.
This issue is our 32nd, and is called Stop. In it, we discuss the things in our cities and lives that end, and what we do in response. It includes a wonderful story by Rochester writer Laura Sikes about the city’s dormant subway platforms, which were beautifully photographed by another Rochesterian Kyle Schwab.
Pictured above is local artist Thievin’ Stephen, whose wall art tag is captured in one of Kyle’s photos. Our distributor-and-bestie Lulu caught up with Stephen today, who’s hard at work on the city’s Wall Therapy event, where he caught up with the photo.
We’re pumped to be in your fine town, Rochester, and can’t wait to explore, learn, converse and share more! Rust Belt unite! (Pittsburgh, we’re coming for you next…)
Much love,Ben and the Block Club team

Block Club loves you Rochester!

That’s right, Flower City. Beginning today, you can now find Block Club magazine in your neck of the woods! Woohooo!!!

Only 1,000 copies are available, and based on our experience here in Buffalo, they go fast. But they’re free, made with lots of love, and are ready for all for you to enjoy! You can find Block Club at 25 locations in and around the city, including Boulder Coffee Co., Joe Bean Coffee Roasters, House of Guitars, Genesee Brewing Co., The Little Theatre, The George Eastman House, Needle Drop Records, The Owl House, and many more.

This issue is our 32nd, and is called Stop. In it, we discuss the things in our cities and lives that end, and what we do in response. It includes a wonderful story by Rochester writer Laura Sikes about the city’s dormant subway platforms, which were beautifully photographed by another Rochesterian Kyle Schwab.

Pictured above is local artist Thievin’ Stephen, whose wall art tag is captured in one of Kyle’s photos. Our distributor-and-bestie Lulu caught up with Stephen today, who’s hard at work on the city’s Wall Therapy event, where he caught up with the photo.

We’re pumped to be in your fine town, Rochester, and can’t wait to explore, learn, converse and share more! Rust Belt unite! (Pittsburgh, we’re coming for you next…)

Much love,

Ben and the Block Club team

Smart Ideas for Smarter Cities is a…smart campaign. I appreciate its simplicity, its innovation in billboard advertising, and its clean, pleasing color palette.

Beyond the design, the message is as simple as it gets: What do you want for your city? What does improvement look like to you? How can things be better, smarter, and so on?

Projects like this—thank you, IBM—are taking advertising design into new territory, both physically and civically.

-Ben

Courtesy Hello You Creatives.

Brooklyn’s Street Museum of Art needn’t bother with collection; the already extant street art, etched into the Brooklyn landscape, does the work itself. Instead, SMoA simply provides a walking guide to the underground urban art movement that covers the borough’s walls. From We Heart:

That’s the idea at the heart of Street Museum of Art (SMoA) – leading art lovers on a walking tour of the city, pointing out artworks that may normally be lost or ignored as people buzz about with their frantic daily lives. Signs have been placed giving information about the work, some telling the viewer where to look for the more discreet pieces. […]

So far, so great, but here’s where the project gets really interactive. SMoA also provides blank labels on their website that fans can print out, fill in and stick up to highlight work that they discover, to share with other users. Interactive, inclusive and with the potential to unearth an absolute treasure trove of obscurely-placed or previously ignored artwork, constantly expanding, and encouraging city inhabitants to look at their environment through fresh eyes, always on the lookout for new work to champion.

Pretty great idea. SMoA is now “showing” its inaugural exhibit, In Plain Sight, with works by C215, Elle, Faile, Gaia, Imminent Disaster, Sweet Toof, and more. Read a bit more about the concept on the SMoA blog.

- Maggie

via: sfhcbasc.blogspot.com via: musingsofanartstudent.blogspot.c via: brownpaperbag.com via: nonindigenouswoman.com via: sunny-ny-days.blogspot.com

San Francisco street art legend Margaret Kilgallen, AKA Matokie Slaughter, melts my heart. I especially look to her work during weeks where I feel like I’ve been staring into a computer screen just a littttttle too long, obsessively nudging things a pixel this way or that. Master of lettering, Kilgallen saw the value in imperfection. Taking cues from American folk art and hand-painted signage, she painted cheeky wordplays and illustrations on both tiny scales (scraps of wood, boxes) and massive scales (gallery walls, railroad cars) until her death in 2001 at just 33 years old.

- Julie

I like things that are handmade and I like to see people’s hand in the world, anywhere in the world; it doesn’t matter to me where it is. And in my own work, I do everything by hand. I don’t project or use anything mechanical, because even though I do spend a lot of time trying to perfect my line work and my hand, my hand will always be imperfect because it’s human. And I think it’s the part that’s off that’s interesting, that even if I’m doing really big letters and I spend a lot of time going over the line and over the line and trying to make it straight, I’ll never be able to make it straight. From a distance it might look straight, but when you get close up, you can always see the line waver. And I think that’s where the beauty is.

The Awl recently featured an interview with the rising star of satirical street art, Hanksy. While perhaps not as explicitly politically minded as the more well-known street artist - Hanksy claims to simply have fun with his love of Tom Hanks - the parodical Banksy imitator does make an intriguing statement on the commercialized state of street art. 

[The Awl]: If one was trying to explain what Banksy does to someone who knows nothing about street art, one might say something about how he can take an image and put it out of context to make a point—a girl floating freely… on the wall in the West Bank. A masked prostester hurling…. a bouquet of flowers. Are you out-Banksying Banksy?

Hanksy: Like gently taking the piss out of his work?

[The Awl]: A bit, yeah.

Hanksy: I guess I am subverting the subversive. It’s a bit of everything really. Celebrating his work while also softly pointing out how mainstream and accepted street art has become to the general public. But not everything in life is meant to be taken so seriously.

As Banksy has become a celebrity (albeit faceless) unto himself, Hanksy playfully turns this commercialization on its head. And while the satirist is certainly a fan of Banksy, he plans to steer clear of the loaded commentary the street artist has become synonymous for.

Still, is this ever entirely possible? Art ultimately takes on whatever meaning each member of its audience personally holds it to, and graffiti art - public by its very nature - seems incapable of meaninglessness, calling out from the urban walls of one’s every day experience. It exists upon the structures of what came before it; it becomes as accessible (and entertaining) as the very pop culture it often satirizes, a novelty of the medium which may, occasionally, take away from the very message it seeks to convey. 

Ultimately, Hanksy’s pop Banksy spin-offs provide an interesting commentary on Banksy’s inevitable celebrity. It reminds me of the aftermath of Banksy’s (brilliant) Simpsons intro, as NPR’s Linda Holmes lamented, “Has this bit led to more discussion of outsourcing and sweatshops, or more discussion of ‘The Simpsons and Banksy?”

- Maggie

London based art duo 3D Joe and Max have teamed up with Reebok CrossFit to create the world’s biggest 3D street artwork to date. Set on London’s Canary Warf, the piece measures nearly 9,601 square feet and stretches 350 feet long, its anamorphic art encouraging those passing by to work out and try the CrossFit movements on a teetering 3D precipice. Created in under seven days, Joe and Max now officially hold two Guinness World Records. Really, really amazing work. 


- Maggie

This year’s Art & Design Issue of Block Club focused on the reuse of old objects and the revitalizing power of art. Artist Patti Harris was quoted, saying, “I feel like this old stuff needs to be brought back, or that it needs to be remembered, or utilized, or shown that it is quite beautiful. Or that you can make it beautiful.”

Indeed, the same notion applies to the power of public art - the reclaiming of the monochrome urban landscape as something more reflective of the vivid undercurrent and heartbeat of city life. 

Here Comes the Neighborhood is a wonderful short-form docuseries that explores the power of public art. This installment focuses on the Wynwood Wall of Miami, following the key players of this outdoor street museum project.

It would be truly amazing to see a similar effort unfold across Buffalo’s urban canvas - lush with fantastic old warehouses and grain elevators. Buffalo News arts writer Colin Dabkowski explored the public art of Buffalo last year, lamenting the government’s slight of the vibrant artistic community that thrives in our city. Perhaps Buffalo, in time, can too see a successful public reclaiming and reuse of its urban landscape - have you checked out Omaha lately?

- Maggie