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GREAT BIG THANK YOU GOING OUT TO LONDON – I love you guys! Thanks so so much for your support yesterday, it was amazing to meet you all and I had a BLAST! Special thanks to Shayna Patterson of @livefreeordieapparel for everything! Great job putting together the Punk Rock Flea, and hope I can come see you guys again soon! ❤️ #PRFMLDN#punkrockfleamarket #London

SungaPark3There is something to be said for the delicate simplicity of well placed line and colour and knowing when to stop. These are the qualities I love about the gorgeous watercolour work of self-taught South-Korean designer and illustrator Sunga Park. Her images seem to bleed into the page, without restraint of finite definition, evoking a dream-like stasis. Image and substrate blend into one and the same, as lines and colours wash across the page in a sheer fragment of reality.

Her architectural studies involve buildings from around the world, in such landmark cities as London, Paris, Istanbul, Busan, Venice, and Oxford. Having a firm grasp of both positive and negative space to create her imagery is essential to the structure of her illustrations, blurring the lines between the two in soft washes of colour and sharp contrast of detailed lines. It forces the viewer to almost envision the rest of the piece in their own interpretation, creating a real synergy between man and piece.

Her metro sketches are also a treat – she captures the emotions of her subjects caught in a moment of banal reflection, in a voyeuristic way that isn’t intrusive. Keeping with the dream-like quality of her architectural works, they profess to have a rich background that only you can imagine, without being blatantly shown.

Check out more of her work on her Behance or flickr pages.

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30_2005painting3Michael Sieben’s illustrations have always been a favourite of mine. He’s been a staff writer and illustrator for Thrasher Magazine since 2004, peppering their pages with all forms of awesomeness and hilarity, and partnered with Stacy Lowery to found the super-fantastic Roger Skateboards brand in 2008. Aside from that, he’s one of the founding members behind Camp Fig Gallery, which lasted from 2002-2006 and is one of the founders of Okay Mountain Gallery in Austin, Texas since 2006.

His extensive collection of work has been showcased around the world, including major markets such as London, Japan, Mexico and Peru. As an illustrator and designer, he’s focused mainly on the wonderful world of skateboard subculture, and has worked for huge clients like Adidas, Bueno Skateboards, MySpace Secret Shows, Toy Machine, Upper Playground and Volcom Stone to name just a few.

Recently, Gingko Press and Upper Playground published a book of his artwork entitled There’s Nothing Wrong With You (Hopefully.) I’m dying to get my hands on this one – it’s available at Amazon, as well as on the Gingko Press website, and copies are flying off the shelves, so I better act fast.

To see more of Sieben’s wicked work, check out his website.

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For a self-taught artist, UK skater/surfer Ben Allen’s talent is quickly evolving and his work is increasing in popularity not only with art lovers, but also with celebrities. Richard Branson, Stephen Dorff and Jade Jagger are all huge fans of his work, and it’s no wonder – the imagery he creates is awesome and full of great pop culture icons. His art is now found in galleries across the world and in much of our advertising.

Allen works in a myriad of different materials and media, and his influences are heavily saturated throughout each piece – comic book, surf and skateboard culture, Mexican “Dia de la Muerte” style, various forms of typography, nature, Japanese graphics, and the human condition are all represented. His work is infused with the gradual corrosion of society and the urban environment – the art of fading, peeling, cracking over time, and creating a fresh, and unpredictable style. He works off the top of his head, letting each piece evolve on it’s own, out of objects from the everyday, creating layers of time – yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Some of his corporate clients include Levis, Virgin, Channel 5, The Hoxton Hotel, Nokia, DJ Eric Morillo, and Subliminal Records. He’s also been featured in major magazines internationally including Design Week, The Observer, The Times, Elle Déco, Plus 1, FRANKIE and GQ. In 2012, he’s got some stellar work on permanent display in Selfridges, London and he’s been touring with his work in New York, The Hamptons, Singapore, Korea, Miami and L.A.

To check out more of Ben Allen’s explosive work, check out his website.

Ahh London, where street art has graced the walls of the urban sprawl for decades, and celebrated as one of the best places to catch a glimpse of the stunning work of world famous wall artists – but with the recent Olympic invasion, the authorities are cracking down on unauthorized art, siding with the corporations who’ve dumped millions into their local economy, and attempting to keep copyright under control under any circumstance.

While there’s a lot of sponsored and commissioned work out there that revolves around Olympic subject matter, there are always a few renegades that like to be subversive, shake things up, and practice their freedom of expression. Unfortunately, there have already been a handful of arrests made infringing on that right, and many pieces have already been erased – including many that don’t have anything to do with the massive global sporting event. Famous graffiti artist Banksy has thrown up a few choice pieces, which are currently being threatened, against the wishes of art enthusiasts, and a widespread cleanup of the city is currently still underway.

My favorite offender of this year’s games is Mau Mau, the artist behind the fat McDonalds clown, hoisting a smoking Coca Cola torch. That kind of tongue-in-cheek humor against the capitalist empire is not only amusing, but also embodies the values of the punk generation that once thrived in London. It’s amazing to see the clash between the old traditions and the new in London. “This attack on one of contemporary London’s most renowned traditions reveals how deeply uncomfortable the cultural relationship between this city and the Olympics really is,” writes Jonathan Jones in The Guardian. “An event that is all about massive finance, colossal scale, hyper-organisation and culture delivered from above is being superimposed on a capital that happens to be best at improvisation, dirty realism, punk aesthetics and low art. It’s like Versailles versus the sans-culottes. And this time Versailles is determined to win.”

Rubbing out street art should never be a priority for any city authority – art should be allowed to grow and reflect the society in which it exists. Erasing a part of a city’s identity is not the answer – in fact, it’s just whitewashing an integral part of the community to benefit the capitalists.

If you want to read more about this topic, check out this article on Vice.com about Darren from the Graffiti Kings. He’s created art for big companies like Microsoft, Adidas, and Red Bull – but that didn’t stop the “brand police” from arresting him for creating Olympic-related street art.

What do you think? Is the street art in London worth washing away forever because the corporations want to dominate for a limited time? 

There’s something surreal about Mark Jenkins’ street sculptures – eerie, static humanoids placed in odd locations in major cities worldwide. Rome, Washington D.C., Baltimore, NYC, Rio De Janiero,  Belgrade, London, Dublin, Moscow, Katowice, Tudela, Winston-Salem, Seoul, Royan, Bordeaux, Puerto del Rosario, Barcelona, Malmö…these are just a few of the many places you can find these installations.

Jenkins originally hails from Alexandria, Virginia, is currently living in Washington D.C. and has been mostly known for his street sculptures created from casts of his own body constructed with clear box sealing tape. Eventually, he started dressing the casts in order to make them more realistic and began referring to his sculptures as the “Glazed Paradise”.

The driving force behind his work is to be able to transform the street into a stage, where average pedestrians can become the actors in his world, including the authorities who have occasionally tried to intervene. Musing on the illegality of street art, he once said in an interview with known art critic Brian Sherwin, “There is opposition, and risk, but I think that just shows that street art is the sort of frontier where the leading edge really does have to chew through the ice. And it’s good for people to remember public space is a battleground, with the government, advertisers and artists all mixing and mashing, and even now the strange cross-pollination taking place as street artists sometimes become brands, and brands camouflaging as street art creating complex hybrids or impersonators. I think it’s understanding the strangeness of the playing field where you’ll realize that painting street artists, writers, as the bad guys is a shallow view. As for the old bronzes, I really don’t see them as part of what’s going on in the dialogue unless addressed by a new intervention.”

To check out more of his installation work, visit his website.

To see more of Jenkins’ Glazed Paradise transposed into surreal environments, visit glazedparadise.com.

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