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    “St. George” by Bozko in Sofia, Bulgaria

    Graffiti artist Bozko just finished my new mural for the 2020 Edition of our urban art project “Urban Creatures”. The mural entitled “”St. George” is located in Sofia, Bulgaria. It is Bozko’s interpretation of the old biblical scene, which he finds more and more corresponding to the current reality.

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    Bozhidar Simeonov, also known as Bozko, is a Bulgarian artist who lives and works in Sofia. Besides street art, he works in illustration, comic books, animation and set design. His characters are easily recognizable and strangely appealing in a morbidly adorable way.

    Image credits: Vladimir Gruev More

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    Rome Tracks Down the Man Behind All That Graffiti. No, It’s Not Banksy.

    AdvertisementContinue reading the main storySupported byContinue reading the main storyRome Tracks Down the Man Behind All That Graffiti. No, It’s Not Banksy.The tagger known as Geco is not as famous as the British provocateur, but he has made a name for himself in Italy.Graffiti in Rome that reads “Geco gives you wings.”Credit…Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio, via Getty ImagesNov. 14, 2020ROME — The post on the Rome mayor’s Facebook page was triumphant: The police had tracked down a man “once considered uncatchable,” she said in announcing that after a yearlong investigation, the authorities had discovered the real identity of the elusive tagger known only as Geco.For years, his moniker in blocky letters has marked countless Roman subway stations and bridges, abandoned buildings and schools, parks and galleries. Stickers with his name have been affixed to innumerable street signs, lamp posts and news stands.“He has soiled hundreds of walls and buildings in Rome and other European cities, which had to be cleaned using public funds,” the mayor, Virginia Raggi, wrote on social media this week. She posted a photo of “hundreds of spray paint cans, thousands of stickers,” and other tricks of the trade that she said investigators had confiscated from the apartment of Rome’s most-wanted graffiti painter.The city authorities did not disclose Geco’s real name. But Italian news outlets identified him, without saying how they had obtained the name. And they gave few personal details about the man, who is thought to be in his late 20s and originally from Rome. His lawyer would not confirm his real name.Geco is not nearly as well-known as Banksy, the world’s most famous artist-provocateur, whose real identity remains a secret. But he has made a name for himself in Rome, where his tags seemed to be everywhere, while his true identity — in the spirit of his more famous counterpart — was kept a secret.Paulo von Vacano, a publisher and expert in contemporary urban art, said tagging “is something brutal, archaic,” adding: “You tag your name to show that you are king of the street. In the context of what he did, he did it very well.”Geco fueled his fame by tagging a perilously tall railway tower and by climbing to the roof of a municipal food market to leave an unusually verbose message: “Geco ti mette le ali,” or ‘Geco gives you wings.”While most Romans would concur that the Italian capital could use a good cleanup, including its graffiti, many grumbled that the city — and the mayor — had much bigger problems to contend with, from the ever-present scourge of potholes to infrequent garbage collection, not to mention the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic.“He has soiled hundreds of walls and buildings in Rome and other European cities, which had to be cleaned using public funds,” Mayor Virginia Raggi, center, wrote on social media this week.Credit…Riccardo Antimiani/EPA, via Shutterstock“A writer treated like a mafioso,” a lawmaker for the center-left Democratic Party, Matteo Orfini, wrote on Twitter. “Reading and interpreting a city only through the lens of decorum and security can’t be the solution. In fact, it’s a (not small) part of the problem.”At least one “Free Geco” tag appeared on a city wall. But actually, he has not been arrested.Geco’s lawyer, Domenico Melillo, himself a graffiti writer turned street artist known as Frode, said the investigation was still in a preliminary phase and his client had not been formally charged.“Everything has to be verified,” he said.If Geco is charged with defacing public or private property and found to be a repeat offender, he could face up to two years in prison and fines.But Mr. Melillo dismissed the mayor’s Facebook post as little more than political propaganda which violated his client’s right to secrecy during the preliminary investigation. Mayors have understood that cracking down on graffiti has become a way to forge a political consensus, he said, adding, “They want to show that they’re doing something.”Through his lawyer, Geco declined to be interviewed.The Geco sting was carried out by an 18-month-old environmental police task force that works directly for the mayor’s office. It acted on numerous complaints by Ms. Raggi as well as the city’s infrastructure commissioner and an association for one of Rome’s biggest parks. They claimed damage to city property as well as various other buildings and green spaces.It was rumored that Geco had landed in the cross hairs of the mayor because he had mistakenly tagged what he thought was an abandoned building that turned out to be a Secret Service hide-out.The mayor’s office said Geco had also operated in other European countries, above all Portugal, where he had caused thousands of euros in damages in Lisbon.Some might argue that Rome had expanded its urban art scene thanks to his tags. When it comes to graffiti, there has always been a fine line between vandalism and creative genius, said Mr. von Vacano, the urban art expert.Many grumbled that Rome had much bigger problems to contend with, including the ever-present scourge of potholes and infrequent garbage collection.Credit…Giuseppe Lami/EPA, via ShutterstockMany celebrated contemporary artists, including Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, began their careers as taggers. And countless street painters have achieved fame, and market value, from Banksy to Blu, another celebrated — and anonymous — Italian artist.Geco has never strayed from his roots as a tagger. In an interview on a Portuguese website, he defined himself as a high-volume bomber who wanted to “spread my name more than having a super-developed aesthetic.” He said his top priority was quantity, adding, “Quality comes later.”“He is pure,” Mr. von Vacano said. “He is everywhere, a free spirit, and like all street artists of his kind, he works in lawlessness. He does not interact with the art system.”While Ms. Raggi was celebrating the supposed downfall of one street painter, another was being celebrated at Rome’s municipal Gallery of Modern Art, with a retrospective of the American Shepard Fairey. The show, “3 decades of dissent” is now closed because of the coronavirus.And for a campaign launched last November to teach Roman schoolchildren to keep their city clean, Ms. Raggi hired a well known graphic artist to draw her as a manga comic figure. (In one, the mayor is shown frowning upon a graffiti writer.)Not long after, the artist, Mario Improta, known as Marione, was fired from the campaign after he posted a vignette on social media depicting the European Union as the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz.“It’s clear that not everyone likes graffiti and it’s legitimate that someone can be annoyed that someone has tagged his house. But it’s a leap to think of a writer as a criminal,” said Andrea Cegna, the author of a book on graffiti.To praise the Banksys or the Harings, he said, you have to accept the contradictory part, the illegal part.“Because as is true of everything that is aesthetic, everything that has to do with taste,” Mr. Cegna said, “there is no right or wrong.”AdvertisementContinue reading the main story More

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    “Polvere di Stelle” by INTI in Naples, Italy

    Street artist INTI is back with a new mural entitled “Polvere di Stelle” in the Barra neighborhood in Naples. This project was done in collaboration with the Campania region and Jorit Foundation.

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    “Look with the naked eye, without placebos or metaphysical aspirins. Look without dogma, without wanting to rest on great truths. Look without easy answers that calm doubts, prevents us from seeing poetry in the uncertain and in the minuteness of our place in nature.”

    A visual artist and muralist born in Valparaíso, Chile, INTI creates artworks surly carries out not more than the meaning, he also transmits the warm colours of it. Painting on canvasses, creating sculptures or large murals, his artwork addresses birthplace of the Latin American culture, multiplying it on a global level.
    Today he is one of the most recognized street artists globally. He usually paints murals on a gigantic scale, his works often take up whole sides of buildings. He has painted murals in several cities in Chile and worldwide and has participated in international festivals dedicated to the culture of street and graffiti in Norway, France, Poland, Hawaii and Lebanon amongst others. More

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    “We Travel The Space Way” by RUN in Rovigo, Italy

    Italian artist RUN just worked on a massive mural in the city of Rovigo, Italy. The title of the mural is “We Travel The Space Way”. The mural was done on the circular wall of the Rovigo Sports Hall that extends into 540 square metres. The architecture of the building reminds RUN of a star observatory, thus, the concept of the mural.
    The work depicts a series of characters immersed in a sky full of stars. It represents an invitation to travel with our imagination from one planet to another. The artist’s usage of only 5 colours with the predominance of blue, gives the painting a strong and dreamy feeling.

    Giacomo Bufarini, also known as RUN, is a London based Italian artist whose works can be seen adorning streets from China to Senegal. His recognisable style shows a level of detail and complexity rarely seen in street art today, evidenced through his vivid rendering of interlocking bodies in symbolic poses, pattern like, friezes in bright, arresting colours.

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    Scroll down below for more images of the mural. More

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    “Cocina” by Pastel in Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Argentinean muralist Pastel recently finished a new work located in Villa Ballester, Buenos Aires. It is entitled “Cocina” and was painted on Plaza Roca water tower, that was built on 1950’s. The mural features floral designs and motifs that are visually integrated into the vegetation of the square.

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    This large-scale project is part of the celebrations for the 131st anniversary of Villa Ballester, together with the integral maintenance of the square. In addition, #BallesterCiudadCultural has an ongoing schedule of artistic activities.

    Francisco Díaz aka Pastel is an artist and architect based in Buenos Aires. Pastel sees painting as a way of counteracting social gentrification. Similarly, his use of floral imagery ties into ideas of human nature and greater awareness toward our surroundings.
    Check out below more closeup and overview images of “Cocina”. More

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    Discovering Banksy – Part 3

    Famous street artist Banksy displays his art on publicly visible surfaces such as walls and self-built physical prop pieces. Banksy no longer sells photographs or reproductions of his street graffiti, but his public “installations” are regularly resold, often even by removing the wall they were painted on.

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    When we think of an artist, the first things that comes to mind are their most renowned pieces. So here’s a refreshing way in rediscovering Banksy’s art — a little viewing over some pages of his sketchbook. Scroll below to view some of Banksy’s rare sketches and have a sneak of what goes into his artistic process.

    Sketch of policemen together with the subject of Edvard Munch’s The Scream

    “Riot Cop Drawing” from Dalston, 2003

    This sketch was exhibited at the Vanina Holasek / Bankrobber London show in NYC Dec 2nd-29th 2007. Listed as “Tom Tom” Piece work 2004 (but 2002/3 is more likely).
    The drawing shows a window display formulated for a Banksy show at TomTom Gallery in London (Banksys gallery at the time), with ideas for the window graphics/paint/artwork incorporating “Fuck the Police” and Banksy as well as. An early example of his now iconic signature. The show never materialised at TomTom but was to take another much larger form at the infamous “Turf War” show in Dalston (East London) in 2003.

    Sketch of a person holding a stereo with the words “Don’t hate the player, hate the game”

    Banksy’s sketchbook drawing of his freehand Cat & Dog street piece in Easton, Bristol in the late 90s

    Cat & Dog Piece in Easton, late 90’s

    Sketch of graffiti with pointing hands

    Sketch of a maid with the words “grim spot for it light skin tone”

    Banksy’s “Sweep It Under The Carpet Maid” sketch

    This is a sketch of one of Banksy’s more famous works “Sweep It Under The Carpet Maid”. Banksy explained the meaning behind the pictures: “In the bad old days, it was only popes and princes who had the money to pay for their portraits to be painted, this is a portrait of a maid called Leanne who cleaned my room in a Los Angeles motel. She was quite a feisty lady.”

    Sketch of a person painting

    A quote from Banksy

    Rat sketch of Banksy

    Rats are one of Banksy’s greatest sources of inspiration and one of the most prolific subjects in his work.

    Banksy’s sketches and versions of street signs More

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    Oli Epp “Quarantine” Limited Edition Print Release

    Contemporary artist Oli Epp just released his latest limited edition screen print entitled “Quarantine”. The print measures 90 x 100 cm (image size); 120 x 130 cm (paper size) and comes in an edition of 50 + 5 APs. It is a 27 colour screen print on Somerset satin tub sized 410gsm paper.

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    “Quarantine” is the largest artwork-size screen print Oli Epp have done to date and the most complex with over 27 individual layers!

    “I made this painting at the beginning of lockdown, when images were circulating of people wearing bottles on their heads and other makeshift masks, and even full bodysuits. There was an eccentric sense of hysteria in the air and I wanted to picture that. As the image is remade today for this print, that madness has already settled into the mundane, so it captures a very particular moment. That’s one of the reasons it’s the only painting that I own” said the artist.

    Oli Epp is an artist based in London. Deformed, quirky and exuberant figures inhabit his artworks, often staged within theatrical settings. Easy to read at first glance, these hyper-dramatised characters reflect upon our complex relationship to technology and social media.
    To register your interest please email [email protected] More

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    “Shadow” by Fintan Magee in Newcastle, Australia

    International street artist Fintan Magee just worked on a new piece in Newcastle, Australia for Big Picture Festival. The mural is entitled “Shadow” and is painted alongside a statue of Australia’s first female mayor faces Civic park and the old civic train station in central Newcastle.

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    “Shadow” explores the role of de-industrialisation, isolation, renewal and the new work force in post-industrial Australian cities.

    Fintan Magee is a prominent Australian muralist and painter who is best known for his realistic large-scale murals. The artist uses his platform as a renowned muralist and studio artist to raise awareness around looming society issues like climate change and forced human migration.
    Scroll down below for more images of the stunning mural.

    Photo credit – Wilt Living @wiltliving More