An artsy April Fool

April Fools, the Exhibition 1 - 30 April 2009

April Fools' Day, although not a holiday in its own right, is a notable day celebrated in many countries on April 1. The day is marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbors, or sending them on fool's errand, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible.

Urban street art has fast become a cultural phenomenon sweeping the UK and Europe with its audacious challenging of authority and cultural norms. Public but anonymous, these artifacts of clandestine performance by artists operating outside the established channels of exhibiting and selling their art, has contributed greatly to the dialogue of the enduring question,

“What is art"?

Taking the ethos of the hoax into consideration, an eclectic collection of contemporary urban art will be exhibited in London during April, and sold off the walls, which be constantly changing throughout the duration of the exhibition to create a curiosity with the viewer. April's Fool exhibition showcases a collection of international artists who examine the genre's explorations into art in mediums that range from painting, wheat-pasting, and collage to drawing and sculpture.
One of Sirdab's favourite artists, Pure Evil will be partaking in this exhibit.


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WWF: “Our life at the cost of theirs?”
Ad Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Mumbai, India

FedEx: Fragile
Ad Agency: BBDO Canada, Toronto

Nestea: "You are what you take."
Ad Agency: Publicis Venezuela

FA: Women's Deo
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BMW: Robin Rhode's Expression of Joy
Artist: Robin Rhode

click on image to enlarge

TAG of Love

27 MARCH - 26 APRIL 2009

As part of a project unique in the history of art, 300 tagged pieces are being presented at the Paris Grand Palais in a world première. Each of the 300 works in this exhibition comes from an encounter between the leading T.A.G. (Tag And Graff) artists and Alain-Dominique Gallizia, who has spent the past three years in a constant quest for the last art form of the 20th century.

This is the first time so-called "Art Sauvage" has been exhibited in a cultural institution in Paris! By commissioning works from the greatest worldwide graffiti artists, architect Alain-Dominique Gallizia has assembled and continues to collect key examples of painting from this so-called "ephemeral art form."
All the works follow a unifying and threefold principle: the same format (a horizontal canvas in two parts measuring 60x180cm), the same theme (on the left the artist's signature, and on the right an open interpretation of the theme "Love") and if possible produced in Alain-Dominique Gallizia's studio in Boulogne-Billancourt, which he opened to the artists. The (some would say crazy) objective is to create a comparative record, both artistic and historical, instantaneous and eternal, of this movement.

The Gallizia collection speaks volumes about the energy on the street, where every nationality can express itself from the American pioneers and European stars to the up-and-coming generations in Korea (Reach), Iran (Isba) and Brazil (Nunca).
Bubble letters, cloud letters, block letters, chromed signatures, restyled and freestyle cartoon characters… the works at the Grand Palais form a unique and multiple panorama of styles and colours.
Le T.A.G. au Grand Palais is a unique event forming the most important testimony to street art for over three generations.
This exhibition will also be an opportunity to view the 700m2 restored area of the museum’s south-east gallery.

More photos here

Three questions for... Alain-Dominique Gallizia, architect and the man behind the T.A.G. project for the Grand Palais

What gave you the idea for the project?
I first discovered the world of tags in 1992. At the time I was doing volunteer work for a foundation distributing sleeping bags to the homeless at the Gare du Nord station. This is where I first came across the tags that covered the trains and platform walls. As for the project itself, the inspiration was twofold....
Read more here


A 'Grafista' you should meet

Patrick Thomas describes himself as a 'Grafista', a Spanish term for graphic artist / designer. However, the word has an activism sort of connotation, something in the spirit of guerrilla although this is not accurate; it's just how it sounds to the ear...GRAFISTA....TIME TO TAKE ACTION ;0)
Based in the industrial quarter of Barcelona with fantastic views of the city, Patrick's studio, laVista occupies the top floor of a converted warehouse. This is where his inspiration runs big, bold and often politically spirited.
Patrick never fails to make an impact with pure, noncomplex creativity and provoke a reaction with gutsy visual communication that speaks loud his political concerns, as it highlights loads of the world's crucial political matters: Wars, religion, recession, globalisation...Power is pivotal to the simplest of Patrick's graphics.

Design thinkers like Patrick Thomas, who use their creative wisdom to design for stuff that matters and manage to tackle pressing questions, are saluted at Sirdab. Fresh, efficient design makes world problems and controversial ideas rather engaging, as well as thought provoking. We need more of such!

If interested, you can get in touch with designer Patrick Thomas through Agency Rush, a team of cutting-edge image-makers.


Diamond Dusted Sid

BANKSY's 2000 SID VICIOUS acrylic, spraypaint stencil & diamond dust on canvas --tagged & signed on the reverse & on stretcher, was auctioned at Sotheby's March 18 2008 for 120,000—150,000 USD
Got Sold today: Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 110,500 USD

Executed nearly ten years ago during an early and highly formative period for the artist, Sid Vicious by Banksy is a unique canvas created in a one-off template configuration. There is only one further canvas depicting Sid Vicious, though this is a different composition. A consummate portrayal of one iconic bad-boy of British urban subculture by another, this is a brilliant summation of both post-Modernism and urban graffiti art, two of the most exciting trends in British art of the past two decades.

The composition consists of the multiple portrait of the subject, Sid Vicious, in a square, three-by-three grid format totalling nine repetitions. Achieved via the street artist's stencil, this multiplication is deliberately evocative of the work of Andy Warhol, whose repeated portraits of world-famous celebrities--from Jackie Kennedy to Elvis Presley to Mick Jagger--spearheaded the global omnipotence of Pop Art and have conditioned global visual culture ever since.
The three-by-three compositional arrangement of nine heads is a direct reference to Warhol's 'Mao' and 'Marilyn' reversal series, executed from 1979, in which nine representations appeared in a similar grid format.
The use of diamond dust also quotes the work of Andy Warhol, who utilised the innovative material in a variety of portraits and 'Shadow Painting' works from the 1970s and 1980s.
The infamous bass guitarist for the Sex Pistols band, Sid Vicious remains the foremost embodiment of the Punk phenomenon. Punk aimed to revolutionise mundanity and indifference, railing against the desensitised apathy of mass-produced popular music and culture. Here Banksy brilliantly re-presents the literal personification of Punk – Sid Vicious – in Warhol's instantly recognisable dialect of Pop Art. The resolute individuality that stands at the heart of the Punk ethos is perfectly satirised by its desensitising multiplication.
At the same time, the diamond dust portrait at the centre of Sid Vicious suggests Banksy's ultimate conviction in individuality and freedom of expression.


The Banksy Return

A piece of Banksy stencil art is said to have appeared on the streets of London over the last few days in Gillette Square.
forum gave the heads up on it first thing first and I was informed too.
I am a huge fan of his work...
One of the Forum's member, and naturally a
Banksy fervent fan, Stephen shot what he saw and uploaded this top quality work that seem to be produced by Banksy himself. (Should trust the fans conviction that it's him indeed). Cool find! Great close up shot! Banksy's top stencil incorporates beautifully the environment. Love the way the teddy twists the image around. See for yourself. By now, am sure these photos will be invading the cyber space.

All photos by Stephen

Dancing & Painting

For the American artist and entertainer David Garibaldi, his paintbrush is his microphone.
Garibaldi was a defiant Los Angeles street-graffiti artist until a sympathetic high-school teacher pointed him in a more positive direction.
Garibaldi later painted in the studio and created artworks onstage during urban musical performances. This inspired him to develop his “Rhythm & Hue” show, which he describes as “a dance routine involving painting.”
Accompanied by music, Garibaldi amazes audiences by energetically creating enormous pop-culture portraits in minutes. His renowned performances have been featured on TV shows, at charity events and in video games. With a brush in each hand, he creates 6 foot tall portraits in less than 6 minutes, of icons, celebrities, sports personalities, and special honorees to carefully selected music.

These plate-signed and numbered fine art posters were created using a sophisticated digital printer. They are stretched and ready to hang and are produced in limited editions of less than a hundred of prints.
Interested to get one, check it here
Interested to get an original artwork, click here


Frenchy flags subversion

Flags are filled with national symbols that do nothing more than summoning an emotional connection.
Immediately and widely recognisable, bold and colourful, flags are the most commonly used national symbols in twentieth-century war propaganda.
They are such potent, powerful and familiar visuals, in fact, that graphic designers would often use only the national colours to convey their message.

At the Sirdab, we are fond of flags. Click on the 'flag' tag & see for yourself... However, our pick this time is the French flag.
Parody is another means of contemporary communication often used by engaged artists & activists alike. Have a look at these subverted French flags; the message is, for the most, clear and loud, as the parody used is to generate some sort of awareness around major issues. The emblems designed are highly politically charged.
For more on flags, culture-jamming and spoofs, click on flags.
We bet that you'll find an unexpected archive of 'flagedelic' imagery gathered and brought to you by the Sirdab.

Are you Snoopy, Nosy and/or Gossipy?

Design above by kjapelian

The often spoken proverb, 'HEAR NO EVIL, SEE NO EVIL AND SPEAK NO EVIL' is one of my favourite sayings ever. This phrase was put into practice in the form of three monkeys carved: Mizaru, with his hands over his eyes, Kikazaru, with his hands over his ears, & Iwazaru, with his hands over his mouth.

These famous monkey trio has been popular for eons.

In English, the monkeys' names are often given as Mizaru, Mikazaru, and Mazaru.
Sometimes there is a fourth monkey depicted with the three others; the last one, Shizaru, symbolises the principle of "do no evil". He may be covering his abdomen or crotch, or just crossing his arms.

Although commonly spoken, the origins of the three wise monkeys are rarely known.

The main guess is that it is derived from a religious phrase, "If we do not hear, see, or speak evil, we ourselves shall be spared all evil."
It's such a good advice, especially as it is so difficult for people to hold their tongue, not backbite and gossip.

Even the meaning of the proverb is widely interpreted, ranging from not being nosy and spreading rumours to not being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The popular phrase in Japanese translates to: "mizaru, kikazaru, iwazaru."
The Japanese word for monkey being "saru." However, some say that the three wise monkeys aren't Japanese in origin even though the source that popularised this pictorial maxim is a 17th century carving over a door of the famous Tōshō-gū shrine in Nikkō, Japan. The maxim probably originally came to Japan with a Tendai-Buddhist legend, from China in the 8th century.

Whatever its origins or interpretations are, this is one Golden Rule: speaking unkind, evil, or judgemental words is no use to anyone.

Have a look at these funny reinterpretations of the proverb and simply take it as a reminder not to be snoopy, nosy and gossipy.