Category Archives: Week9

Studio Hush

Vittoria Somaschini

This week I wanted to focus on the street art produced by the London based street artist, Studio Hush. Unlike other street artists such as Banksy, or Keith Haring, little information exists about Studio Hush. After some extensive googling, I was unable to find even a name associated with the art. In all photos of the artist working on his art obscure his face, which indicate that anonymity is a part of his identity as an artist as well as his method.


I found his work to be astounding in its ability to be hyperreal. When I initially found Studio Hush, I thought it was photography mounted with collages, however, it is all painted. His art is reminiscent of portraits of geishas, and overall traditional Japanese portraits. His portraits capture sadness as well as the hustle and bustle of modern life, as they are dark and collaged with bursting color. Hush  is in dialogue with his fellow street artists as the color in his paintings initially appear to be scribbles – much like the work of Cy Twombly, however, upon further inspection they are bits and pieces of tags and “traditional” graffiti art. “Hush transforms the remains of past tags into points of expression, recycling them into illustrative fluorishes that generate his innovative new work” (Juxtapoz 2013)


Works Cited:

Irvine, Martin,The Work on the Street: Street Art and Visual Culture” .The Handbook of Visual Culture, ed. Barry Sandywell and Ian Heywood. London/New York: Berg, 2012: 235-278.


Studio Hush 

Street Art: Eduardo KOBRA

By: Arianna Drumond

 Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra (or simply KOBRA) exemplifies the role of the artist as interpreter and provocateur. Known for his work both in São Paulo and across the United States, KOBRA has created a portfolio of murals that explore city history, man’s relationship with the environment, and the great thinkers of modern society.


Regardless of the topic, KOBRA’s work is recognizable for its photorealistic quality and psychedelic color palate. The goal is to create a 3D effect that allows viewers to feel as if they are stepping through the mural and into another time.  According to Irvine “…most street artists seriously working in the genre begin with a deep identification and empathy with the city: they are compelled to state something in and with the city, whether as forms of protest, critique, irony, humor, beauty, subversion, clever prank or all of the above (Irvine, The Work on the Street).” KOBRA clearly expresses his affinity, particularly for Sao Paulo, in his paintings and murals.

KOBRA is best known for his nostalgic renditions of eras past. His work is developed from historical research with the intent of demonstrating the past life of a given neighborhood within a city.

“My work nowadays is based on the use of old images of the cities I am painting. I visit museums, check the books and from there I come up with some images from the 20s or the 30s that show the architecture of the city. The idea of the murals is to recreate a city that no longer exists, do [sic] people who didn’t live in that time can see it and those who did live back then can have a moment of memory or nostalgia (Kenoyer, Hi Fructose).”

The artist’s goals are more complex than simple nostalgia. He seeks to encourage people to connect with their environment, both built and natural, to explore their impact on the world around them, and to be mindful of the relationship between past and present. Like the work of Keith Haring, the brilliant colors and patterns, and seemingly light topics, are simply the first layers in a much greater examination of modern culture and the built environment.

In addition to his city murals, KOBRA developed GreenPincel, a project dedicated to exposing the negative impact the industrial world has had on the environment. The paintings and murals are designed to explore issues of deforestation, pollution, and the mistreatment of animals.


Click HERE for GreenPincel.

Click HERE for other works.


Irvine, Martin. “Street Art and the Digital City.” Communication, Culture, and Technology Department, Georgetown U, Oct. 2013. Web. 28 October 2013.

Kenoyer, Jane. “Brazilian Mural Artist Eduardo Kobra.” Hi Fructose: New Contemporary Art Magazine. July 10, 2012. Web.

Bansky: Art and Environment in Street Art


by Abby Bisbee

As the 1980s turned into the 1990s and the 2000s, the popular graffiti art of Keith Haring and Basquiat developed into a new artistic movement: street art. While many artists still employ spray can, street art has also come along with a new arsenal of hybrid artistic approaches such as print-making, drawing, collage, and stickers. A comparison between the environment or “canvas” of the graffiti artists from the 1970s and 1980s and the street artists of the last two decades recognizes that while both use walls of private property, the street artists have taken after their name and literally moved their art off of the walls and onto the street. Today, in NYC, one can find street artists creating their most recent works on sidewalks, commercial billboards, and motor vehicles. The artists, like Haring and SAMO, conduct their work in secrecy often in the dead of the night (Semple). Street art is one of the most hybrid forms of artistic expression in our modern world because its purpose is to draw upon what the viewers know and manipulate the physicality of the subject to make their point. The artists of the movement have “combined punk and hip-hop attitude with learned skills and knowledge of recent art movements” (Irvine). While perhaps he the artist with the most notoriety of this street art movement, Bansky has embraced all of the aesthetic and theological elements of the art and provides an excellent example of how the genre has not only spread from the walls to the streets, but how it has become a socially acceptable form of art despite its illegality.

The main goal of street art was born out of the need to “control…visibility itself” (Irvine, 3). What the artists, such as Bansky, are doing today is changing the manner in which we see “private” space – it is the anti-commercial, the anti-advertising. In this manner, it has strong similarities with pop art and the Warholian movement of the 1960s. Many street artists either present recognizable images from popular culture or distort them to make a social, political, or economic statement. For Bansky, the placement or environment in which he creates his artwork is just as important as what he creates.

Often Bansky shapes his art to not only to its metaphorical canvas (wall, sidewalk, car) but also to the location in terms of social significance. As Irvine recognizes in his chapter on street art, “…street art is explicitly an engagement with a city, ofen a neighborhood…artists are adept masters of the semiotics of space and engage with the city itself as a collage or assemblage of visual environment and source material” (4). To that concept, one of Bansky’s current works in NYC is a truck that is used for caring live cargo with stuffed animals peeping out of the sides. Ironically, and in line with Irvine’s statement, the truck can be found in the Meatpacking District.

Bansky's Meat Truck in the Meatpacking District

Bansky’s Meat Truck in the Meatpacking District

Bansky will also often take pre-existing graffiti and make a social or political statement by adding to it. In the painting below, Bansky combines both hip-hop culture “Ghetto fo Life” and contrasts it with the anti-ghetto, a young well dressed boy who is being served spray paint by his butler. Along with this example, Bansky will often incorporate his figures so that they appear to be interacting with their environment, rather than just performing as a surface or 2D painting. They will be interacting with signs, or leaning on doorways, or my personal favorite, climbing over imaginary bridges. The image below calls to traditional Japanese art of the early 19th century.

Ghetto fo Life

Japanese Bridge Bansky


Bansky Man with Flowers 2

Bansky’s art has led the charge for the beginning of the institutionalization of this avant-garde genre. Street art’s purpose is not to be placed in a museum, but rather to use accepted and known subjects, formal qualities, and compositions to make the city dweller more aware of their social and physical surroundings. Despite this, street art has been in high demand by galleries, collectors, and the artists’ adoring fans and some scholars are even beginning to write about the movement. While the subject continuously morphs and keeps the art form fresh, the concept is beginning to become institutionalized and many street artists are even being invited to collaborate with exhibitions in museums (such as the Tate) (Semple) and even create artwork for commission. Two of Bansky’s paintings, beckoning Warhol’s repetitive prints, were recently hung with permission by the owner for a public exhibition on West 24th Street. This artwork truly embodies how street art is not only a hybrid of artistic movements but also a hybrid between the urban environment and the artistic community.

West 24th Street


“Better Out Than In: An artists residency on the street of New York.” 2013. Web. 29 Oct 2013. <>.

Irvine, Martin. “The Work on the Street: Street Art and Visual Culture”. The Handbook of Visual Culture. By Heywood, Ian and Barry Sandywell. 1st ed. New York: Berg, 2012. 235-278. Print.

Semple, Kirk. “Lawbreakers, Armed With Paint and Paste.” The New York Times. 9th May. 2004. Web. 29 Oct 2013. <>.

“Street Art | Tate.” Tate, 2008. Web. 29 Oct 2013. <>.

Street Art and its Relationship with the Urban Space

Estefania Orviz

According to the anthropologist Marc Augé, if a “place” can be defined as relational, historical, and concerned with identity, then a space which cannot be defined as relational, historical, or concerned with identity will be a “non-place.”  Therefore, supermodernity produces non-places, meaning places which are not themselves anthropological places…and do not integrate earlier places…Place and non-place are like opposed polarities:  the first is never completely erased, the second is never totally completed:  they are like palimpsests on which the scrambled game of identity and relations is ceaselessly rewritten (63-64).  Augé also asserts that Michel de Certeau understands “place” as an assembly of coexisting elements in a certain order and the “space” as animation of those place by the motion of a moving body…” (65).  As we know, street art finds its natural habitat in the city.  The urban space is the place where speech becomes writing and where the street artist establishes a dialog with the urban space (Irvine 9).  It is interesting to point out that the spatial dialog not only goes across a specific city but across other urban spaces as well.  Such is the case for Banksy who has brought his own British touch to the streets of New York the last few weeks.

Banksy has created several works on the walls of Manhattan, but I would like to spend a little more time exploring two pieces of his work and how he has made a place a space, according to Certeau´s theory, and a non-place a place, following Augé´s propositions.  On the one hand, if we look at the heart full of Band-Aids painted on a street of Brooklyn on October 7th, we come to realize how an ordinary neighborhood street that could be considered a “place” becomes a “space” at the moment in which people start walking by it and engaging in understanding its meaning.  The metaphor of a wounded balloon shaped as a heart flying on the streets of Brooklyn serves as an intersection between the arts brought to the city walker and its perennial durability as a metaphor for the heart of the city.  At the same time the artist´s work becomes visible and susceptible of entering into a dialogic relationship with other media, especially photography, as seen in the photograph.  A New York police officer takes a picture of the heart despite the fact that street art is a forbidden practice.  This way, Banksy transforms a place into a space.

Similarly, Banksy turns a delivery truck into a mobile garden with a rainbow, a pond, a waterfall, and butterflies.  By picking a “mobile space” that serves as a means of communication, he puts the individual in contact with another image of himself (Augé 64).  By creating this moving “locus amoenus,” the artist invites New Yorkers to engage in understanding the meaning of this artificially made idyllic location as a case of simulacra that serves the walker to reinsure their reality.  In Baudrillard’s terms, Banksy makes the garden an opposition to reinforce the reality of the city as an example of hyperrealism.  Moreover, he transforms a non-place, a delivery truck, into a palimpsestic place where the relationship between the city’s inhabitants and its own urban space, New York, can be constantly reinscribed every time the truck stops in a different section of the city.

Augé, Marc. Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity. London-New York: Verso, 1995.

Irvine, Martin. “Street Art and the Digital City.” Communication,Culture, and Technology Department, Georgetown U, Oct. 2013. Web. 28 October 2013.


Pedestrian street art of Peter Gibson

Aena Cho

I first came know about the Canadian artist, Peter Gibson, aka ‘Roadworth’, from a photo that a friend of mine took during her trip to Montreal.  I only considered his work – simple symbols that just aims to surprise the viewers and add unanticipated fun to the spaces where it is drawn on.  However, after learning about street art from this week’s readings, I began wondering if the work, which looks nothing like sophisticated graffitis and murals of well-known contemporary street artists, can be also perceived as the ‘street art’ I have learned from the readings –  not just a new innovative genre of visual art but also a form of statement or even subversion, the act of “getting up” and contest for visibility (Irvine, 5) against traditional institutional art and sometimes even the regime of government and law.

Gibson, who is known as a “pedestrian street artist”, first began using the city of Montreal as his canvas in 2001.  Hoping to encourage the city to build more bike lanes, he began to paint bicycle symbols with stencils around the streets; mimicking those that are used to designate the city‘s official bike paths.  He has expanded his work to all the streets, sidewalks, and parking lots in the city; transforming the streets into “giant playgrounds”.   Some of the works include road lines with a plug drawn in at the end, a fish skeleton at a crosswalk, tight rope walkers drawn walking on shadows, and even gigantic shoe prints in the middle of the road.

Like many pop artists and street artists who have been influenced through his work, Gibson challenges the conventional notion on the nature, definition, or aesthetic of art – in a way that goes further from pop artists who often incorporate mundane objects into their works and other street artists who incorporate their works into public spaces.  Being placed in almost every location all over the city, his works can be seen virtually everywhere and anytime; they are accessible by everyone in the city.  Definitely, any form of art would not be more “public” than the “pedestrian art”.   Furthermore, as the humorous, open-ended and non-preachy work can be interpreted in many different ways such as on a political or comical level or everything in between that is entirely public in the nature: it is indeed art in public for the public.

Also, Gibson’s work “competes for visibility” which is one of the characteristics of street art as identified by Professor Irvine.   Particularly, it is somewhat parallel to “Ron English, Shepard Fairey, Banksy and many others [who] have made explicit subversions of advertising space” (Irvine, 22).  As Gibson asserts in many interviews, his extremely ubiquitous, public work is a statement against corporate monopoly on public spaces.  Like most other street art, it is also a kind of political or social activism which opposes the hypocrisy implicit in the notion that public space is democratic when in fact it is allowed more to corporations for use than it does to everyday citizens.

gibson     Gibson 2    Gibson 3

<Works cited>

1. Irvine, Mark. The Work on the Street: Street Art and Visual Culture“.The Handbook of Visual Culture, ed. Barry Sandywell and Ian Heywood. London/New York: Berg, 2012: 235-278.

2. Peter Gibson Street Art: ‘Roadsworth’ Series Turns Montreal Streets Into Giant Playgrounds . Huffpost Arts & Culture. April 17, 2013. <>.