Flash Invaders // Street art collector app

Some might say that graffiti, and perhaps ‘street art’ more generally, holds an uneasy relationship with technology and the internet. Some feel like the web has diminished the original graffiti subculture by opening it up to wider audiences who experience the artform behind a screen as opposed to in person.

This may very well be the case, and a crime in which I am complicit simply by running this blog!

Yet there are many others who actively embrace the internet, and the potential it has to exponentially increase the number of people who can experience their art, either in person or virtually. A rise in visually stunning and digital-only ‘GIF-fiti’ like this from Insa and Unga shows that by no means do all street artists feel resentment towards the web.

Now with Invader’s recently released (and free) ‘Flash Invaders’ app, street art and digital technology are probably more closely aligned than they ever have been.

As I work in the digital/web development sector by day, and blog about street art in my spare time, I was really interested in this venture.

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The concept is simple. If you spot an Invader mosaic piece, grab your phone and ‘flash’ the invader (take a picture of it through the app). Once you’ve flashed it, and depending on whether or not the app recognises the piece from the app’s database of Invader mosaics, you are awarded points. These point are then totaled up, and your position on the delightfully 8-bit high score table is decided.

I’ve yet to test it on actual Invader pieces, so I’m interested to know if anyone has tried it out for real yet, and how they got on. The process of matching the image with the database is a potentially tricky one, so it will be good to find out how well this works.

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The high score table already has some entrants with well over 300 pieces spotted, which means roughly 20 flashed per day. I am not sure if there’s been a little subversion of the system involved or not…but yet again, those based in Paris will have the edge in ticking off a number of his pieces quickly!

Anyway, it looks like a really fun way to combine the collectibility of his art, and introduce a gamification aspect to give it an appropriately digital twist. It also got me thinking about app development in this way as an art form, or as a way to complement art. Does anyone have any examples of apps being used in this way? I’d really love to check them out – if you do, comment below, drop us an email or find us on Facebook.

Download the Flash Invaders app and start ‘flashing’ his mosaics!

Steven
UKB

Lichtenberg Totem mural from JBAK

I’ve not blogged for a week or two, but have had this one in mind for a while. Having heard a few months back about this mural, I’ve really been looking forward to the outcome. And just a week or so ago, JBAK completed the truly enormous mural in east Berlin off Landsberger Allee.

The guys completed this work in association with LOA (Lichtenberg Open Art) & HOWOGE, a housing association in the city, and is the direct result of a pretty stressful sounding application process.

Karl explained that following their initial acceptance, their first presentation of what they had in mind didn’t get the reaction they’d hoped for. “It did not go well, we left discouraged and feeling all the holes to our artwork for this project”.

But having done enough to persuade the organisers to chase for a revised plan, the pair went back, addressed the requests from the organisers and sealed it. Now just to paint all 32m of that bad boy…

It wasn’t plain sailing by the sounds of things. 12-14 hr days, 6 days a week, for 4 weeks. Oh, and chuck in a handful of lift breakdowns just to make things interesting.

The mural takes aspects of James and Karl’s individual work, as always, but this time there was a really different look to the piece. Maybe there’s more bright colour involved this time? With that sort of high contrast, saturated look highlighting some of the aspects of the bodies it almost looks as if the top layer of skin has been removed to reveal the colour beneath.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it looks different. Different but still great!

Anyway, enough of the chat, check the flicks from Just and Karl below. Let us know what you think!

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Close up detail 

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At the controls…

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Karl taking in the finished mural

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Toteam mural, Landsberger Allee, Berlin.

Steven
UKB

Malakkai // Artist Profile

Tucked in a driveway adjacent to Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen, was where I first saw Malakkai’s work in the flesh.

Opposite stood another painted wall, but it was the Spaniard’s one that really caught my attention. A sort of dream-like piece, with a large fox, a distorted character riding on his back, in a circle of trees with eyes. Off to the left sits a red apple…in a bear trap.

There’s quite a lot to take in – both in the painting itself and potential symbolism within. It’s a surreal trip!

After digging around to find out more about Malakkai (I struggled as much of it is in Spanish…) there’s not a great deal more I can say with certainty at this time. He’s Spanish, called Isaac, an illustrator, graffiti artist, and a cross-stitch maestro…according to his Facebook page.

I can’t really put his work into words and do it justice, so I’ll let his pictures do the talking. I’m excited to have discovered him for myself and by complete accident – he is such a talent!

Worthwhile giving him a like on Facebook too, his daily sketches are something else…

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Malakkai. Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen

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Malakkai. Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen

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Malakkai, Cristian Blanxer, Kerotoo. Gemona del Friuli, Italy.

Malakkai 2

Malakkai & Danjer. La Rioja, Spain

Malakkai 3

Malakkai & Rems. Gemona del Friuli, Italy.

Malakkai 4

Carlos Gómez, Diam & Malakkai. Almeria, Spain.

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Malakkai. Hueral de Almeria, Spain.

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Malakkai, R.Jack & Ysco. Vidreres, Spain.

Steven
UKB

Images from UKB and Malakkai (www.malakkai.es)

Karl Addison’s 14 Tails mural, Berlin

Within the legendary Berlin street/urban art scene, Karl Addison and James Bullough (JBAK) have established themselves with a number of impressive works both in the city and beyond over the past few years.

The pair are due to start painting an epic 32m high building in Berlin on Monday, but before this, Karl had time to complete his own 100m long wall at the corner of Klosterstr. and Stralaurstr.14Tails_11 14Tails_13

Karl’s illustrations are among my favourite, and it’s always great to see these translated onto a bigger canvas.

Utilizing a mixture of the Screen Printing theory of trapping he uses for his drawings and the way he paints using Colour Theory, these colourful Koi Carp are really, really cool.

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Karl also runs the Idrawalot Gallery in Berlin,  a great space in Neukolln that’s recently started to offer artists a residency in the city.

The Program is a free one month studio and residency for a working artist, providing valuable resources and support for a working professional and emerging artist specializing in drawing, screen printing, painting, murals, urban & contemporary art.

The program is open to all artists of all mediums and disciplines. Think this might be for you? Find out more on the Idrawalot website and enter your application via Call for Entry.

Steven
UKB

London calling – street art round-up (Pt. 2)

As promised in part 1 of the London street art update post, here are the pick of the rest of the flicks from my 48 hours in the city. Some more top work from Borondo, an excellent piece from Nick Kuszyk at the Village Underground, and a classic from Alex Senna.

As ever way too much to see in just 48 hours, but check out what I did manage to see below!

Firstly, I couldn’t resist taking a wander by this from Stik, I’ve always liked this piece and it’s just off Brick Lane so it’s easy to make a detour by. These guys are pretty much synonymous with London now, and have been cropping up around different European cities more frequently.

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Much has been made of Borondo lately by urban art websites and blogs, myself included, but these two interesting works really demonstrate his talent and also his versatility. Apparently created from painting the inside of shop windows and delicately scraping it away, they are quite different from his larger outdoor painted pieces, but no less impressive.

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Nick Kuszyk’s Village Underground effort was probably one of my favourite’s from the trip. In fact, it’s probably up there as one of my all time favourite’s at the Village Underground. Martin Ron’s giant robotic hand being another that had a massive impact. The vivid colours on this one really make it pop.

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Ever since declaring my favourite Latin American street artists in a blog post, Alex Senna has been one of the artists I’ve been keeping tabs on. His, usually, black and white works are really cool sometimes with an almost Dysney-esque innocence about them. This example was just along from the Old Street roundabout.

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The stencil paintings of Snik are really unbelievable. Multi-layered and intensely detailed. These two examples just off Brick Lane were drawing the attention of a large street art tour, whose guide was more interested in the larger scale Rone pieces a stones throw away.

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…and this is the Rone piece. These portraits of beautiful women and flowers from the Aussie were also on display at D*Face’s Stolen Space Gallery, a really nice exhibition. The huge green monster alongside another of Rone’s ladies is called Frank and is the work of Mysterious Al.

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Finally – another old piece from the inimitable Roa joined by another South American, Martin Ron. I really liked the 3D aspect of his photo-real break dancer.

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So, yet another great trip to London, there’s always a mountain of new work to check out. I’m already excited to go back in July and check out what else has gone up in the intervening months! What did you think? Have you seen any on the streets lately that you think should have been included? Get in touch!

UKB
Steven

London calling – street art round-up (Pt. 1)

Undeniably one of the best cities for graffiti/street art/murals, whatever you want to call it, when in town for the UK blog awards I made sure to set aside a day to wander the ever changing streets of east London and take in the latest.

With guys like Borondo and Nick Kuszyk recently in town, along with exhibitions from the legendary (in this case, the use of the word ‘legendary’ is entirely deserved) Thierry Noir and Rone there was plenty to pack into 24 hours in the capital.

To give enough attention to some of my favourite pieces, I’ve split this post into 2 parts, this being the first.

Check out what I saw below, and as always comment, share, get in touch on Facebook, or tweet me @urbankulturblog.

London based James Cochrane aka Jimmy C had been getting about recently, before setting off for the In Situ Festival in Paris. These 2 more recent pieces are some of the best examples of his portrait style constructed from circular spraypaint spots or squiggles.

I like getting really close to his outdoor works to check out how they were put together, it makes the fuller picture all the more impressive when you step back, these close-ups hopefully give you a sense of the idea.

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I was really excited to check out Borondo’s work and was completely blown away. Not only by the quality of the pieces (they are visually some of the most impressive on the street just now) but the fact that there were so many.

Below are just two of his latest walls, off Brick Lane and next to Rough Trade Record Store. Check out part 2 of this blog post for something completely different from the stupidly talented Spaniard.

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Fin DAC’s portraits have also been gathering lots of attention lately. I interviewed him for UKB back in 2012, but this was the first of his pieces I’ve seen in the flesh since then. The Irishman making good use of this spot alongside work from Malarky.

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There’ve been plenty of tribute pieces online lately, marking the death of ‘The Godfather of House Music’, Frankie Knuckles. Paul Don Smith’s art often takes inspiration from film and music luminaries, this one was no different. His work is quite unassuming, small scale, often tucked away in doorways. Brick Lane is home to a number of his stencils, this being one of the most current I spotted.

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Lastly I caught a glimpse of this from Cranio on the way to grab a bagel! The indigenous characters of his native Brazil that feature frequently more often than not are the vehicle for his thought provoking stance on identity, consumerism and corrupt politicians…among other things!

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Part 2 coming soon, featuring further work from Borondo, as well as Rone, Nick Kuszyk and more…

Steven
UKB