Street Art: “A Visual Gift”

23 12 2011

It seems like Penn Quarter is quietly becoming the new hot spot for street art sightings. It’s surprising because this little neighborhood is always changing its appearance and is currently going through some remodeling in terms of new business coming in. Over the past few weeks, I’ve already seen some pretty cool street art budding along the streets, so it’s cool to see a consistent flow of new pieces popping up.

Today, I’m featuring a piece I saw at the beginning of the week. Drawing on the Postal Service’s address stickers is popular, probably one reason being, because they are a free medium. As I was walking down on 7th St., I couldn’t help noticing this bright design, gracing the side of the future Wagamama. I love the bright colors used and the playful amorphous design shown. The warm colors stand out in these (supposed) colder months. I also like that you can see that this piece was obviously drawn using markers/pens, a very accessible drawing medium, unlike some street art pieces done with spray paint or a printing process. This piece is like a visual gift for the eye, not dealing with any (obvious) message or reference. How delightful!


Street Art: Janky, Batman, and I Rock

16 12 2011

It’s Street Art Friday! And I have some pretty amazing samples of street art and graffiti to share with you this week. Today’s posting is unique because it features three very different styles of street art, but all of which are pretty rad. They can’t get much more different: we have stickers, a flier, and paint as for mediums. Styles range from the comic book-looking to the child-like hand drawings. The only thing tying these all together is that all three images use only a black and white color palette. Let’s take a look-see, shall we?

First are a couple of stickers by an artist I assume is named “JANKY.” (Hi back!) These pieces speak playful messages to the viewer and are very self-aware of themselves. The first, “JANKY made me” depicts a young figure that is slightly androgynous-looking. The figure has their wrists bound together and is shown in an awkward position. The second figure is simply wearing a large puffy jacket and holding a sign. The comic-book stylings of these figures stand out to the viewer and work well with the combination of the bold lettering.

Next up is a simple flier with a humorous but simple message. We see the well known figure of Batman, with the text, “Believe in me plz,” implying to the viewer that Batman isn’t a real person. But even though the popular super hero may not be accepted as being real or successful (the question of whether we should “believe” is not specific in to what it is referring to), he is petitioning for himself to be recognized. The child-like drawing and abbreviated spelling/text-speak immediately grabbed my attention: I wanted to know what this flier was from and who created it.

So while the first two photos were taken last Saturday in Friendship Heights, I can’t remember the exact location of this third image. On the back of this stop sign we see a number of different tags, stickers, and drawings, but my absolute favorite is the graffiti image of the figure with the words, “I ROCK.” Yes you do, cute little person-figure. I love that this artist chose what looks like kid proclaiming how cool they are, as the subject for their graffiti. It’s simple, lovable style captivated me right away. And it delights with with a positive message. You rock, kiddo! I hope to see more graffiti like this that is so awesome.

Street Art: Mexican Skulls

9 12 2011

Who’s been missing my street art postings? I know I have. Today I’m featuring a couple of stickers that I recently spotted in Chinatown, specifically around the intersection of 7th and E St. NW. I’m inclined to believe that these are both done by the same artist, mainly because of the unique subject matter. These Mexican Day of the Dead-style skulls are pretty fantastic. The detail work is well done and the colors are bright and hard to miss. Yet, they’ve been placed on newspaper vending boxes- so not necessarily at eye level, or a place that let’s them take the spotlight. Nonetheless they are great:

Outside Starbucks on the corner of 7th and E St.

Outside The Lansburgh apartments on 7th St., just South of the E St. intersection.

I love how similar they are, yet the pieces show obvious differences. The top piece is drawn onto a post office sticker- the medium here is obvious, as the label’s text is visible through the design. Whereas the bottom piece has been cut to form the shape of the skull. The second piece is more cartoonish and humorous than the first picture which is more of a serious design. The first piece also uses more variation with the thickness of lines as well as shading, creating a more realistic image.

I would love to know a few things about these mysterious stickers. Are they done by the same person? What is the meaning behind them? Why weren’t they put up during Halloween/The Day of the Dead? -I’m sure I would have noticed if they were up then. Would that have been too obvious of a time to showcase these beautiful designs? I hope there are more of these stickers around town. These may be some of the best street art stickers I’ve seen in D.C. lately.

Street Art: Halloween Edition

28 10 2011

Fridays are often Street Art/Graffiti days, here at CAPSLove, and I wasn’t about to let Halloween stop yet another weekly edition of this weekly venture. Today we’re taking a look at some fantastic examples of Halloween-related street art and graffiti. I’ve found a number of Jack-o-Lanterns for today as well as a few ghosts and zombies. I think there needs to be more spooky graffiti out on the streets. Sure, Halloween is a fantastic holiday, but why limit scary art to just one holiday? Nonetheless, let’s take a gander at some fine pieces of Halloween-type street art, shall we?

"ALERT" graffiti that's got all the Halloween bases covered.

"KLONE" tag, where the bright orange jack-o-lantern stands out among the darker background of bats.

I'm really digging this mummy with the sideways cap and cigar!

"THOUP" jack-o-lantern playing with perspective. The yellow blobs with bats add a nice touch to the design.

I know there is so much high quality graffiti here, but look at how expressive those Frankenstein's Monsters are! I also love the bright green colors used.

A sad, winged jack-o-lantern files in front of a eery, crackling scene.

 Halloween Countdown: 3 days!

Have a rad Halloween weekend! I’ll see y’all back here for the real deal on Monday!

Street Art Friday: Stickers Galore!

21 10 2011

Remember when I used to write about street art I saw around D.C? Those were fun times. Well, the hiatus has been on long enough and today I’m here to end that! I’ve got so many pictures of street art, you won’t know what hit you! So peel yourself off the ground (you know, from being hit) and pick yourself up, because today I’ll show you some pretty fantastic stickers (and one more goodie) spotted while strolling around DC the past few weeks.

The first three are from a walk I took along Independence Ave. in Southwest D.C. There’s some construction that’s been going on on the Smithsonian castle that has been overtaking part of the sidewalk on the North side of the street, next to the Hirshhorn. Construction sites always tend to attract graffiti and street artists, so I had my eyes peeled and my camera at the ready as I walked past…

I love the innocence in the imagery on this sticker. The stenciling of the child's face mixed with the butterfly wing creates a sweet collage.

The stenciled image looks like it's produced by the same artist as the first image. But this one's darker and more fierce. It's a strong action shot!

This was taken mainly for the cute robot in the bottom sticker, that says, "What's Good??" (The top sticker is part of this:

Next up are two pieces I’ve seen in other places. These are especially exciting finds for me, because I’ve seen the same work of these artists in completely different locations and with quite some time passed in between sightings. So it’s both cool that I remembered these pieces and also that the artists are still going strong.

I saw this image years ago in a much smaller size. This large piece was spotted along H St. NE. It's a great cartoon face!

The last piece was spotted on a back side street/alley along Macomb St. in Northwest D.C.  When I spotted the text, it immediately reminded me of this earlier post I wrote where I saw the same text along Wisconsin Ave. in Friendship Heights. This is slightly different however; the writing is scrawled on a sign, as opposed to the cute, small sticker that I previously spotted…

I really like the overlap of text here. A good play with lettering! It begs the question if there is meaning behind the messages of the tag and the sign.

Street Art: Spain Style

19 08 2011

If you were to take a look at all of the photos I took while abroad in Spain, you might be surprised by the vast quantity of photos I took of the street art/graffiti in that country. It’s always fun to visit another country to see their own art, and this contemporary medium definitely has its place in Spain. Among the hundreds of photos from my trip, an estimated 150 were of street art/graffiti alone. Today I am sharing my top 10 favorites that I spotted on my travels.

"Get Up" dancers stencil

The original Game Boy created in tiles much like the artist Space Invader does.

Some 3-D pieces including the arrow at right by the artist, Above.

Maybe my favorite from the whole trip.

Just loved the lettering here.

Saw this face throughout Spain, always semi-hidden from the textured walls it was drawn on.

Simple idea, but it caught my eye and stayed in my mind.

Someone put underwear onto the Crosswalk Man!

Michael Jackson stencil. Nice.

Spotted this 3-D tiled image of a pixelated mushroom on a few occasions.

Finally Home

15 08 2011

It’s been two and a half weeks of traveling and I’m finally back home. It’s almost as if I am currently experiencing culture shock of my own every day life, since I am not used to the daily grind. It’s kind of funny how a trip lasting more than a week will change your perception of life.  What- a bed to sleep in for more than a night or two? Amazing! Being in a static location for more than a day? Who knew?!

So instead of detailing every single amazing day of my two trips, or posting a handful of photos (they have yet to be uploaded from my camera, but perhaps this too will come later), I intend to share a sampling of things I learned while away: (The first five are in regards to my Spain trip and the second five points are about my road trip.)

  1. One of the reasons I was particularly excited to travel to Barcelona was because I had learned that the city had a bounty of amazing street art. While I did not see as much of the street art by artists I had read about, I did end up seeing the works by an artist or two who are actually pretty well known, so those few instances made up for the lack of quantity.
  2. I remembered more Spanish than I thought I would.
  3. I didn’t know as much Spanish as I thought I would.
  4. Worn-out Converse sneakers, while they may not give me away as a tourist, are not the most comfortable choice of walking shoes. The incredibly thin soles do not work well on Spain’s many cobble stone-covered roads.
  5. The Sagrada Familia church by Gaudi was one of the things I was most looking forward to seeing on my Spain trip. Even though it wasn’t as large as I was imagining it would be, and even though seeing the tons of photos that many have taken of the church may have slightly tainted my experience, it was still one of the best parts of the trip.
  6. Driving for roughly 10 hours in a day isn’t as long as I had thought it would be.
  7. Apparently I hate Colorado for it’s non-existant and/or incredibly confusing signage while driving through the Rocky Mountains. It is because of this that my friend and I missed seeing a concert I was really looking forward to and instead drove a few hours out of our already lengthy way. On a possibly related note, the only places in Colorado that I actually do like are cities that start with the letter, ‘D’: Durango, Denver, and Dinosaur. (Yes, that last one is real.)
  8. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time of a suicidal bird is terrifying. In other words, when a bird flies right into your car’s front windshield, the proper protocol is to: 1. freak out 2. keep on driving (moving to the side will not help, neither will breaking, even if there are no cars behind you, and accelerating probably won’t do you much good either. Think of the physics of all of these cases.) 3. and make sure to take your car to a powerful car wash afterwards to remove all the blood and guts from your vehicle.
  9. Kansas City was surprisingly boring. My friend and I were in the downtown area which, for a Saturday afternoon was basically a ghost town. (However, the Public Library did prove to be a highlight.) The Country Club Plaza was also unexpectedly mundane except for the wedding party we saw being photographed in front of the city’s many famous fountains.
  10. I have developed an even deeper love for Elvis Presley, even though I didn’t think that would be possible. Case in point:
  • My new dream job is to be a back-up singer for Elvis, especially singing the male back-up parts.
  • I have decided that I want to marry an Elvis impersonator… a young Elvis impersonator. I have yet to see someone impersonate Elvis before his trendy disco era, but nevertheless, that’s who I want to marry.

I’m pretty sure that there’s more than just that as to things I discovered/learned while away, but those are probably the most important and memorable. As you can tell, there were plenty of fantastic memories that I now have because of the privilege I have had to be able to travel. Like always, I anticipate the next trip I can take, but for now, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to come back home to daily routine.