Monday, November 23, 2009

SOLVE retrospective photo gallery

EHS Retrospective 8
Originally uploaded by qtouch
Click the photo for a gallery of shots from the East High reception and show of Brendon "SOLVE" Scanlon's artwork, courtesy qtouch.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The kids are all right

This mural, on the back wall of O'Keeffe Middle School on Madison's near east side, was originally painted in 1992 and apparently touched up in 2002 by students with the help of art teachers. It's always been a favorite of mine, living in the 'hood as I do. It's just so cheery!

According to photographer >Elab'rãt>'s description, though, "To understand some of the imagery in the mural, it is important to know that in 1832, during the so-called "Blackhawk War," the Native American leader Blackhawk and his people camped in the Madison area and then crossed the Yahara [River] near where the School is located today while they were being pursued by federal troops. That pursuit ended in far western Wisconsin on the Mississippi River south of La Crosse when the troops caught up with Blackhawk and his people and ruthlessly murdered a large number of them, including children."

The mural is, obviously, a depiction of / wish for better times.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Beautiful paint and ink

This is the current mural on the graffiti wall over at Mother Fool's, and I have to say, it's absolutely stunning. I'm fairly certain I've seen work by this artist around before--it's a distinctive style--and it's all been just as good. I'm always amazed at the different technqiues and levels of detail that some folks can reach with the spray can.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ectoplasmic Spirit

I love it when people make my job easier. Such is the case with photographer Peter Patau, who sent in this submission today, taken in the alley behind Riley's Wines of the World. Seems an appropriate find for this haunted time of year.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The many stencils of Vilas Hall

Vilas Hall, on the UW-Madison campus, does seem to attract an inordinate amount of stenciling. Whatever the reason, it provides for some fun double-takes whenever you walk through its outdoor corridors. This series of shots comes to us courtesy of C & V, who say they love this blog. Well, this blog loves them right back! And all of our other readers and contributors. You make things a little easier when I don't have time to go out and grab photos on my own, and for that I'm very thankful.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Darker Side of Autumn

Intrepid photographer Peter Patau snapped this shot of a gnarly skull on a picnic table in Wingra Park. The title he gave the photo seems even more appropriate considering the nasty weather we've been having lately. It won't be long before seeking out street art becomes a major expedition. Our local alt-weekly's website also picked up on this one.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Are you prepared?

So asketh these incredible posters stuck to the wall outside of the Weary Traveler on Willy St. (as well as Mother Fools). Is there a story to these?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

SOLVE art show and reception at East High

Tiptoe's Drawing at the Scene of Brendan's Death - Still Riding 3-22-09

Just got the head's up from SOLVE's father, Bill Scanlon:
Brendan Scanlon, the artist known on the streets as “SOLVE,” grew up in Madison and graduated in 2002 from East High School. After graduating he lived in Chicago, where he worked as a graphic designer and became recognized, in traditional art circles and on the streets, as a prolific and intensely creative artist, before being struck down in 2008 in a senseless act of violence. A retrospective show of Scanlon’s art is now on display at the Ray Edwards Art Gallery at East High, 2222 East Washington Avenue. In connection with the show, the public is invited to the Gallery for a reception with light refreshments on Saturday, September 26, from 5 until 8 PM. For more information, email wscanlon at tds dot net.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chalking it up on the streets

Literal street art! This Sunday, Madison held its first annual "Ride the Drive" event, wherein 6 miles of downtown roads were shut down to all but bike and pedestrian access. There were a lot of kids and adults out doing chalk art on the suddenly accessible streets, too, and the above shot was snapped by intrepid kite aerial photographer Craig Wilson.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Doesn't jogging mess up his hair?

Looks like disgraced ex-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been hiding out in Madison - this, apparently, in the middle of his attempts to cash in on noteriety by appearing on various reality TV shows and hiring himself out as a terrible Elvis impersonator. He should really look where he's going. Photo by USB.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Camouflaged street robot

This little guy glared up at me from the pavement near the capitol square, at the corner of W. Main and S. Fairchild streets, as I was headed to a gig at The Frequency. There wasn't enough time (for obvious reasons of personal safety) to get close enough to figure out if he was made of the same stuff as the crosswalk, but it looked awfully similar. Clever work, regardless.

Takes the term "street art" to a whole new, and far more literal, level.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Pink Ranger has you on a short leash

I spotted this while on my commute home from work last Friday. The Pink Ranger has sadly already been removed (I think it was just a paste-up), but the little transformer guy is still there, keeping watch. This was on a wall where Escape Java Joint used to be on Williamson St. One of the bigger and more whimsical pieces I've seen in awhile.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

A face on the train

This rather nice photo comes to us courtesy of Peter Patau, a fine local photographer and budding street art spotter. The piece looks to be done on a train car on the tracks along the southwest bike path, so it may just be passing through town.

I know graffiti on trains is as highly illegal as anything, but I must admit that I enjoy the added color. There must be a certain thrill for the artist, too, knowing that their work will travel from place to place and be seen by people across the country.

But, you know, illegal.

Monday, July 27, 2009

SOLVE lives at the Overture Center

Well this is nice/unexpected:
[Brendan] Scanlon, a Madison native, was a Chicago-based muralist who went by the alias "SOLVE." He was killed last summer, stabbed in an alley at age 24. Now, a tribute to his street art lines the Playhouse Gallery hallways in the basement of Overture.
It sounds like a great show, representing both SOLVE and many of the artists who respected and were touched by his art in some way.

And I admit to being a little pleasantly surprised that this is being housed by the Overture, which tends to lean more heavily toward gallery art and artists (which, contrary to certain other local bloggers' beliefs, I also enjoy). It's good to see them branching out and offering space to the kind of art you'd usually only see under a freeway or some other outdoor surface.

You can check it out until Sept. 16th at the Overture Center in downtown Madison.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A bear wall

Spotted and shot by the intrepid beinshitty.

I really dig this piece. It almost looks vintage, but the colors are still bright. Also delightfully weird. I'm not entirely sure of the medium.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Who is that masked man?

The sign was pretty dirty, so maybe the mask makes sense. Found along Jenifer St.

Sunday, July 5, 2009


Found painted on the side of Africana Restaurant, 2701 Atwood Ave. I hear the fufu is quite good.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Atwood is the hottest

J sends us this snap of a mural on Atwood, where one of the youth community centers used to be located. And though the center has moved, the mural lives on! And, as of right now, it's true that Atwood is the hottest. As well as pretty much every other street around here. Someone get me a fan....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bury "America"

Intrepid on-the-ground reporter DW sends in this snapshot of a particularly feisty sticker/paste-up on the corner of Gorham St. and Fordem Ave. on the city's northeast-ish side. Is that angry man someone in particular? I don't recognize him. But I like how "America" is in quotes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The transitory nature of street art

One of our city's most vibrant and visible pieces of street art (and the masthead for this blog) has officially been slated for demolition. The mural on the side of Tranquil Tattoos (1900 E. Washington Ave., on the corner with First St.) will turn to dust once the "Emerson East" project goes in. The project, to include housing, retail, and underground parking space, was just approved by the city's Plan Commission.

I know perfectly well that art, like most things, is transitory in nature. We can't expect to hold onto it forever. Good Buddhist monks would shake their heads at us to think otherwise. But it's still sad to see one of the few great examples of mural work in Madison relegated to the rubble heap.

We have so few places open to letting artists do their work on their walls, so the loss of even one is felt all the more acutely.

And for that, I shake my head.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wash hands

I wandered out into the golden light of early evening this past Friday in order to check out some of what was on offer for Gallery Night, when Madison's artists throw open the doors of their musty studios and allow the public to wander through and check out their wares. It's a fantastic idea, and the crowds of people that can be seen walking from place to place are a testament to the events popularity. I'm all for anything that makes art more accessible to everyone.

While I was out, I came across this sticker--apropos especially because of the current debate over our country's use of torture. The piece is by Gitmo Jesus, (aka P.S. Mueller) a staple here on the near east side and Madison at large.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Rocketship of love

Love rocket

The flowers are beginning to bloom, grass is greening, and celestial love is in the air and on the streets. Photo courtesy of Olive, our bicycle-bound, street art hunting gal about town.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring drip

Spring, slowly--cannot come fast enough.

Finally got out on a photo walk/art hunt last weekend. More to come. This painting/mural is a permanent feature on the bike path near the Atwood neighborhood's community gardens.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Northside graffiti crackdown

Looks like the MPD is "cracking down" on graffiti in the city, especially on the north side. They've gone so far as to release a summary police report on 8 recent arrests.

The report also trumpets "Graffiti is a 'quality of life' crime the MPD will continue to focus on. It is hoped these arrests will serve as a deterrent to others."

Read the full report here.

Thing is, I'm actually against the stupid, scrawled tagging style of graffiti (the stuff that any joker with a paint pen or permanent marker could make). My take is that they're pointless, obnoxious, ugly, and give a bad name to the kind of street art we should be encouraging--ie: the kind of stuff I try to post here.

If we want to make real progress in convincing the crotchety official types to allow for more public art space, one of the things we have to do is make some effort to cut down on tagging that actually damages property. There are a lot of negative, misinformed attitudes to overcome, and we need all the high ground possible to do that.

At least, I think so. Feel free to argue a different point. And be sure to stay alert while you're out there, kids. The MPD is on the we've-totally-got-our-priorities-in-the-right-place prowl.

(photo by Sean Future on Flickr)

Monday, March 2, 2009

Here's lookin' at you

Even in the midst of so much snow and ice, street art connoisseurs are out looking for new work to admire. Tipster A. sent in this shot of a stencil found at North Webster and E. Dayton. He was also kind enough to send along word of several other art sightings, and I'm hoping to hit the pavement soon to search out some of them on my own.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stop showing us up, Chi-town

While areas just north of Madison are currently getting hammered by a snowstorm, those of us in the city are sitting through a very early thunderstorm. It's a little eerie, because it seems premature and could easily turn into crazy bad ice later on - but it also gets me to thinking about spring.

You see, I'm going a little bit stir crazy, wanting to get out into the world for some serious biking and general wandering. It's a good way to find hidden street art gems, and Madison is usually pretty rife with artsy stuff during the warmer months.

Winter can be somewhat barren, though. And that's why I'm a little jealous of Chicago right now, as they keep having cool (indoor) street art related events.

The flier you see up there is for something called "Artist in the Window" and is coming up this Saturday. If you're in the neighborhood, you should definitely stop by to check it out. Seems like a fairly straight-forward instance of "true" street art.

Tipster Q had this to say about it: "'Artist in the Window' is truly street art, involving not just display but also creation of art on the street. Furthermore, it's street art beyond the reach of various 'authorities,' like politicians and cops, who self-righteously disdain and seek to destroy street art."

Right on right on.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Shepard Fairey arrested for old art

This isn't directly related to Madison, but I find it interesting and relevant to what this blog is all about: Shepard Fairey was arrested in Boston while on the way to his art opening, based on warrants issued for old street art he'd allegedly put up.

Fairey is the artist behind the blue and red Obama "Hope" poster, among other things. He's also currently dealing with the AP's (pretty ridiculous, IMHO) suit against him for alleged copyright infringement. He based aforementioned poster off an AP photo, but as far as I can tell, this is pretty clearly an instance of fair use, not infringement.

It ain't easy being an artist.

What do you think? Is this a case of someone being targeting simply for becoming a more prominent figure, or do these people have legitimate greviences against him?

Monday, February 2, 2009

We live here

Even under all of the snow and ice, a little insectile color shines through. Now that the days are slowly getting longer, too, I may have more time to wander the side streets with my camera, looking for hidden art. Well then, happy Imbolc!

And thanks to tipster A.S. for taking the photo and sending it in.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

SOLVE Show in Chicago

SOLVE Show in Chicago
Originally uploaded by {Elab^rate=>
Word on the grapevine has it that there's a SOLVE show in Chicago this weekend. SOLVE was a Chicago-based graffiti artist originally from Madison who was killed last year, spurring a whole slew of tribute work across town.

If you're a fan of the medium, the artist, or just a curious onlooker and find yourself in the area come January 16th, be sure to check this out.

Thanks to tipster Q for the heads up.