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Had an awesome night at Art Crawl at Compilation – so many awesome people came to check it out, I can’t wait to see the test screening footage Advanced Vision captured! Stay tuned – I’ll post some when they’re available! In the meantime, my stuff is still available at Compilation until after Christmas, so check out some cool gift ideas if you’re in the hood!

Clocks-by-Stefan-Strumbel-5German artist Stefan Strumbel hails from the infamous Black Forest, and is internationally known for his abstractions and reinterpretations of the banal elements that you’d find in the average household. His process involves taking the paradigms of what we consider “home”, “traditional” or “folk art” and fully questions their concepts, eradicating all sense of what is accepted and flipping clichés on their head. His favourite subjects include the über traditional German cuckoo clock, ever-present crucifixes, and the wooden masks of the Alemannic Carnival, elements found in run-of-the-mill Catholic homes. These objects are exaggerated in Strumbel’s hands, as he redefines them under the aesthetic qualities of pop culture and urban street art, creating a new context, allegorizing social status symbols, and inciting dialogue.

His provocative works replace the traditional with hyper-aggressive motifs that deal with touchy subjects such as death, war, pornography, and violence. Acorns are replaced with grenades, birds with dead rats, deer with pigs, and dripping paint proliferates all. Sticking to a bright and colourful palette, these images don’t faze the viewer at first, until they lean in to see the details, assaulted with an extreme and decadent display of shiny, well-polished taboos, reflecting on society’s deficiencies, truly redefining what the traditional really means to us in this day and age. His works have sold to clamouring audiences worldwide, including celebrities and designers. What I would do to get one of those clocks in my house, I can’t even begin to describe… wow! Love ’em!

Check out more of his works at Circle Culture Gallery and also on his website.

Decrypt the German, and you can check out his blog.

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Brooklyn-based artist Anthony Lister and I share a common view – that the “heroes” that are presented through the media, that surround us at every step, are often misguided, and less glamorous than we perceive them to be. As someone who’s worked behind the scenes in television and film for many years, I know this one all too well and can relate to his ennui, but I do love how he interprets this world through his art.

With his art, Lister splashes this message anywhere he can – any way he can, using stickers, markers, and aerosol paint, drawing from his past experiences growing up in Brisbane, Australia, his travels around the world, and his life as a husband and father of two. His subject matter usually revolves around the pop culture icons that have populated his sphere – skateboarding, comic book superheroes, tattoos, television, graffiti, pop culture, advertising, jail birds, the internet and Aussie celebrity gangsters.

He’s also shown his work around the globe in exhibitions both in museums and on the streets, all over Australia, the U.S., the U.K. and Europe. He’s been featured on many art-related websites such as Juxtapoz.com, FecalFace.com and WoosterCollective.com. And something tells me this is just the beginning…

Check out more of his awesome work on his website.

French-born L.A. filmmaker and street artist Thierry Guetta is making quite a scene on the international art circuit these days, especially after having been exposed to the world in the Banksy documentary “Exit Through The Gift Shop” when the camera was eventually turned on himself. Under the guise of “Mr. Brainwash”, Guetta is quickly becoming a prolific tour de force and his exhibitions have been overwhelmingly successful, to the point where shows have been extended due to the sold-out nature of each event and the hordes that flock to them. Now that the rest of the world has finally caught on, everyone wants a piece of him – even Madonna has asked him to create album cover art (which comes as no surprise, since she jumps on anything that sits on the cusp of the underground, driving it full-force into the mainstream). The Red Hot Chili Peppers also hired him for a guerilla ad campaign for their next album. 

Originally introduced to the world of graffiti by his cousin, French street artist Invader, Guetta uses a variety of mixed media in collaboration with images and icons from pop culture to form a colourful, brilliant, almost psychedelic mash-up in each of his pieces, from the monumental sculptural installations that invade the city streets, to the deceptively simple screen prints that are available in his web shop. 

With enormous success always comes a certain amount of speculation – many people have been wondering if Banksy and Shepard Fairey are behind the whole idea of Mr. Brainwash. So is he just a big hoax? Banksy is never seen – but Guetta has had so much access to him – more than anyone else, it seems. And Guetta doesn’t refute that his status as Mr. Brainwash was created by Banksy in the documentary. Is Banksy just trying to make it look like Guetta’s NOT Banksy on purpose? Mr. Brainwash is definitely more of a comic character, and he is never really portrayed as having any physical artistic talent of his own. His work is largely produced by scanning and photoshopping images – and he readily admits that he hires graphic designers to do most of his physical work for him, but he still remains the main conceptualist behind it all. So the ultimate question is this – is HYPE worth more than ART these days?

Regardless of all the brouhaha surrounding Mr. Brainwash, rather than creating art for the sake of rebellion and antagonism, Guetta’s message is more of a positive, life-affirming slap in the face to society – a vigorous shake to snap us out of our apathetic existence. Whoever he is, indeed Guetta shows us that where ever you live, life can be truly beautiful. 

Check out his amusingly button-happy Mr. Brainwash website here.

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