Eyecatchers: The Street Art Of Oakoak

oakoak-1Hey, everyone! Fish & Bicycles is back on the air after a particularly busy period paying the bills, so to speak.

So, let’s kick things off with an Eyecatchers installment, featuring the Street Art (a favorite genre of mine) of French artist Oakoak.

I stumbled upon Oakoak via a photo gallery at The Guardian, and I’m so glad that I did. His work ingeniously adds painted, stenciled, or pasted images and other materials to existing urban elements, such as the manhole cover in the first photo here, resulting in clever compositions, in a humorous vein.

Oakoak is quoted by The Guardian, describing his work thusly:

What I like about street art is that you can find somewhere to draw anywhere and it is a surprise for the people who find it. Any wall can be a canvas.

He really has a great eye!

Below are some of my favorites, but please do take the time to view the whole gallery at The Guardian, and even more of his work at his website.

Enjoy!

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Eyecatchers: Seth Globepainter

seth-3It’s been ages since I posted an Eyecatchers installment featuring a street artist (some past examples: BLU, Sam3, JR), but, thanks to Colossal, my eyes were decidedly caught this morning by the work of Seth Globepainter (aka Julien “Seth” Malland).

Seth has traveled extensively, meeting other street artists, observing their work, and cultivating his own style. The pieces seen here are from a stunning series of murals with a theme running through them, depicting children (and in one case a mother of an infant child) either gazing at or plunging their faces into rainbows or rainbow like concentric circles of color.

Seth’s human subjects are rendered so beautifully, and there’s a lovely, loving, gentle sensitivity about them. Their gazes seem to represent how the power of a child’s sense of curiosity, wonder, and imagination enables them to see beyond the mundanity of daily life.

The figures do not seem to be in any immediate danger or distress, which is something that, I think, distinguishes the works from those of other street artists. While it might seem a more fitting approach for urban art to depict children as products of a harsh environment, in soiled, ragged clothes, surrounded by signs of neglect or threat, it could also be considered obvious or redundant, since the urban setting surrounding the murals already provides that context. Or, it may be the case that Seth’s work isn’t intended as a statement about urban decay.

Anyway, you be the judge as you check out the following photos of his work.

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More Chandeliers From Recycled Bicycle Parts

light-1Similar to a post I did back in October 2012, this could easily belong in my Tweet of the Day, Eyecatchers, or Upcycling series…

…AND, both posts involve chandeliers made from recycled bicycle parts…

…AND, both posts were sourced from tweets by Christopher Jobson at Colossal.

…AND, since Fish & Bicycles LOVES all things bicycle, this was a no-brainer.

The amazing bike part lighting here, titled Ballroom Luminoso, the work of Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock, is installed in a highway underpass in San Antonio, Texas, taking street art to a whole other level.

Via Colossal:

Ballroom Luminoso references the area’s past, present, and future in the design of its intricately detailed medallions. The images in the medallions draw on the community’s agricultural history, strong Hispanic heritage, and burgeoning environmental movement. The medallions are a play on the iconography of La Loteria, which has become a touchstone of Hispanic culture. Utilizing traditional tropes like La Escalera (the Ladder), La Rosa (the Rose), and La Sandía (the Watermelon), the piece alludes to the neighborhood’s farming roots and horticultural achievements. Each character playfully rides a bike acting as a metaphor for the neighborhood’s environmental progress, its concurrent eco-restoration projects, and its developing cycling culture.

Anyway, here are some more photos of this amazing work:

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Tweet of the Day: @GOOD: Hawaiian Street Art

I want to go to there!
I want to go to there!

We’re in a stretch of weather, here in Bellingham, Washington, where rainy days are greatly outnumbering sunny days, and despite the fact that green is exploding on the no-longer-hibernating flora, crocus and daffodils are popping with color, and cherry trees are starting to bloom, all welcome signs of spring…

…I know a handful of people who have been in Hawaii these past few weeks, and so I’d still rather be there right now, just for a little getaway, really, just a little one will do.

Anyway, as if I haven’t heard enough from my friends about their wonderful island times, the following tweet led to the following video, shot in Hawaii.

It really is stunning! Enjoy.

Eyecatchers: Street Art by BLU

It’s been a while since I featured a street artist in an Eyecatchers installment, but I was inspired to do so today when I came across the work of Italian artist BLU, via Street Art Utopia.

Of the last artist I featured, Sam3, I said that his work was particularly noteworthy for having, “…a distinct touch of sweetness that is often missing in the edgy world of street art.”

Which is not to say that I don’t appreciate edgy art. Indeed, edginess is practically inherent in street art, specifically because there’s often a conflict in the mere existence of it — in works created on a large, in-your-face scale — and the act of creation itself is often illegal.

Digging deeper, as I wrote on the subject back in March 2011, street art can be seen as a powerful reminder, to an economic elite wearing blinders, that injustices keep them elite, an elite that wants to, “…cocoon themselves in their squeaky clean estates, trying to blot out visions of tin shack shanty towns and war-ravaged landscapes.”

Well, BLU’s work is loaded with statements, both subtle and overt, about the inhumane ugliness wrought by the wealthy and powerful, so it seems more appropriate for me to just hand it over to him, via the following photos, as well as a stunning “making of” video of a piece he did in Valencia. (Be sure to check out BLU’s website too for even more of his work, including some amazing animations he’s done.)

Click on the images to enlarge:

Eyecatchers: Sam3

It can be thrilling to discover the works of an artist previously unknown to you, and this is absolutely the case with street artist Sam3.

I haven’t been blown away like this by street art in a long time, mostly because so much of it, in my opinion, is derivative, with all the many Banksy wannabees out there.

But this guy’s stuff is amazing, like Matisse cutouts on a giant scale, with a little surrealism mixed in, and most appealing, to me, a distinct touch of sweetness that is often missing in the edgy world of street art.

As is common with street artists, there’s not much information about Sam3 online. The only thing I could find was a brief interview with him. It’s clear he’s European, but besides the fact that he’s obviously an incredible talent, that’s about all I know.

Anyway, Street Art Utopia has a large sample of his work, and there’s Sam3’s website, of course.

Here are some of my favorites:

TED: InsideOut Project

A little over a year ago, I wrote about my fondness for TED Talks, those 18-minute-ish presentations that are the product of the TED organization‘s various showcases of cutting-edge thinking and creativity.

Well, the 2011 TED Conference in Long Beach, California just wrapped up, so there’s a whole slew of new talks available online, adding up to hours of thought-provoking and entertaining viewing.

My favorite talk so far happens to be the TED Prize winner. The TED Prize is awarded to someone who is doing particularly inspiring work, they receive $100,000, they get to present at the TED Conference, and they get to state “One Wish to Change the World.”

This year’s winner, French street artist JR, works in a medium sometimes called flyposting, whereby he takes black and white photographs, enlarges them to a massive size, and then pastes them predominantly on the sides and rooftoptos of buildings. (I say predominantly, because he’s also flyposted on things like trains and stairs, the latter you see in the photo I’ve posted here.)

I have to admit, I’ve always harbored a degree of ambivalence toward street art. While I’ve written before of my appreciation for graffiti as a legitimate art genre, over the years I have sympathized with private property owners who have to invest time, money, and effort to remove unwanted graffiti and other street art. And while I still don’t advocate wholesale vandalism or territorial gang tagging, JR’s presentation really opened my eyes (no pun intended, watch video for the reference) to the powerful underlying statement being made by street artists.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post titled The Cruel Joke of Austerity Measures, in which I expressed my outrage over the growing consolidation of wealth and power amongst a minute minority of people, a consolidation and hoarding that constitutes nothing less than the growth of oligarchy, all while vast millions of people suffer deprivation and starvation, and millions more struggle to prevent sliding down the slippery slope toward poverty.

In that context, the desire of a private property owner — a member of that small but powerful privileged class — to keep their buildings and communities visually pristine, is so powerfully symbolic. Their underlying motivation, of course, is a fear and repulsion towards all things related to poverty, and so they cocoon themselves in their squeaky clean estates, trying to blot out visions of tin shack shanty towns and war-ravaged landscapes.

As the dominant species inhabiting a planet in crisis, we simply can’t afford that kind of complacency, and our conscientiousness really shouldn’t allow it.

So, JR’s wish to change the world?

I wish for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we’ll turn the world…INSIDE OUT.

As a start, he’s launched the InsideOut Project, asking people all around the world to join in this work. I’ll let the video explain the rest.