Saturday, December 31, 2011

You see me strollin'

(click for big - from August 15, 2011)

Willy St., of course.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

SOLVE lives, and smokes

(click for big - from July 28, 2011)

That's one cheerful Solve.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


(click for big - from June 18, 2011)

Being that it's the end of the year I thought it high time I dug through all of my old cell phone photos from 2011 to make sure I had posted all of the street art I'd snapped. Turns out there were a handful I just plum forgot to put up, so this will be the first in a (short) series for the end of the year.

Happy various holidays, and a good New Year to you all. Keep making art.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some of the best street art photos of 2011

Check this blog post, which contains some of the most incredible photos of street art from 2011. Basically, it's time to step it up, Madison.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Sugar Skulls 'R Us

Nice, hip sugar skull sticker just off State St. on Gilman. Dig the Kanye glasses.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Making out in the Twin Cities

Friend of the blog Michael sends this photo of a stencil found on the UofM campus.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SOLVE Lives in print

Lin Weeks of the Badger Herald put together a nice piece about Brendan Scanlon's life and art for the paper yesterday. Check it out here.

An excerpt:

That passion led Brendan to the Illinois Institute of Art in downtown Chicago, from which he graduated in 2007 with a degree in visual communications. He secured a job as a graphic artist with an advertising firm after graduation, but by that time he had developed a second, more nocturnal, hobby as a guerilla artist: first under the name “Urban,” and later using “SOLVE.” The Chicago police were not the only ones that noticed; Brendan’s work had a legitimate following in both the underground art scene and with an attentive portion of the general public.
For a life so defined by intricately planned works of art executed in secrecy, Brendan’s death was starkly random and public. Early in the morning on June 14, 2008, Brendan and several friends were hosting a party, when, Bill and Eileen said, a group of neighborhood thugs broke in on the action.
As Bill explained, it was not the first time that group had crashed a party Brendan was attending, so perhaps that is why, according to a Chicago Tribune report of the case, Brendan initiated a fight with a member of the crew.
Moments after, while fleeing the scene, Brendan was stopped, pinned and pummeled in an alleyway. The fight should have ended there, but a man named Kirk Tobolski wielded an intricately-decorated switchblade he had received as a gift for his birthday just days before. Sickeningly eager to use it, Tobolski stabbed Brendan in the chest, killing him on the spot.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Throw off your chains (and tinier men?)

I'm not...entirely sure what's going on in this paste-up, but it is delightful. It's also on the back wall of Mickey's Tavern on Willy St., and still there as of this posting. Photo courtesy of Nick Nice.

P.S. I love the fact that so many paste-ups have been going up this summer - much more than I've previously seen - and I'm pretty sure most of them are officially sanctioned by the building owners. There are several big ones on the side of Plan B that I need to get photos of, too. Keep up the great work, all!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Our Street Art Neighborhood: UK's "Griffiti Life" project does up a whole house

This was too rad not to share: A project/street artist company called Graffiti Life out of the UK covered an entire house with their work for a party. Looks like fun - wonder if we could find a similar space anywhere in Madison....

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The paper SWAT team will beat you to a pulp

Another fabulous paste-up at Mother Fools, photographed again by beinshitty on Flickr. Love it. (And no, I won't apologize for the pun in the title of this post...I love puns)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Gas masks and bouquets

This is spectacular. Paste-up outside of reliably street art friendly Mother Fools coffee house on Willy St., photographed by beinshitty on Flickr. I definitely recognize the style of this piece, but still need to brush up on my specific artist names.

Bakery corn and clowns

Witness/photographer JP says these stencils have been on the cooling unit out back of Nature's Bakery on Willy St. for some time now. No word on who the artist(s) is, but they're lovely.

Friday, August 12, 2011

From beneath the waves they emerge

Muddy footprints emerging from the waters of Lake Mendota, onto the sidewalk, and up a wall. I call shenanigans! ...or clever mud stenciling, anyway. Witnessed/photographed by EK from earlier this year.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Under the sea

It would seem that aquatic life is taking over Madison's streets. Thanks to HH for the photo.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A friendly ghost

A ghost by a Ghost. College Library.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

And Justice for SOLVE: Chicago man convicted in street artist's murder

Word came this morning that 27-year-old Kirk Tobolski was convicted by a judge in Chicago of second degree murder in the case of the death of street artist Brendan "SOLVE" Scanlon.

The now 37-month-old case regarding the 2008 murder will go into "post-trial" motions and sentencing may happen as soon as September 1, or, depending on how things go, much later.

A statement released by the Scanlon family reads as follows:
We are dismayed that today Cook County Associate Judge Thomas Hennelly, who has presided for the last two and a half years over the case against Brendan Scanlon's murderer, found the murderer guilty of only second degree murder. In our view, on the facts and the law, it was clear that the murderer committed first degree murder.

Nonetheless, with today's verdict, more than three long years afterward, we have some measure of justice for the murder of Brendan, our son, brother, uncle, and friend, and the intensely creative, prolific and provocative artist known to many across the world as SOLVE.

For this measure of justice, we want to thank a number of people:

-- Chicago police officers for their quick, careful and brilliant work in dealing with the crime and gathering within less than a day afterward evidence important for the conviction.

-- The seven witnesses at the trial for providing testimony to establish the defendant's guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.

-- Our Cook County victim assistance coordinator for guiding us gently over most of the past three years through the tortuous criminal justice process in Cook County involving serious crimes.

-- The Cook County assistant state's attorneys, who handled the case, for their careful and masterful prosecution and completely honest appraisals for us of what was happening as the case proceeded ever so slowly.

As Brendan's immediate family, we also must thank all those who have supported us through this long, tortuous and painful process, including our large extended family; our neighbors, friends and colleagues in Madison and across the US; Brendan's classmates, teachers, friends, colleagues and artistic collaborators; and people around the world who have responded to Brendan's message to reasonably and peaceably SOLVE their problems.

Finally, we want to say that for us today is not a happy day.

Though Brendan and we received some measure of justice with today's verdict, the verdict will not bring him back to us, others who knew him and loved him, or the world. The profound emptiness of Brendan's absence, the profound evil of his having been taken much too early, are not salved by the verdict.

And the murderer will now spend - and justly so - a large portion of the rest of his life incarcerated. This is appropriate and just, because of what he did and his apparent failure to take any responsibility for having done it. But it is also tragic, not a cause for happiness.

Read an article on the conviction from here. My continued condolences to the family, and my hope that the overwhelming, worldwide outpouring of support in memory of their son brings some small measure of comfort.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

With fresh eyes...

(beautiful squid script - click for big)
Maggie's moving to Madison in August (welcome, Maggie!) and was scoping out her new 'hood in advance when she spotted several pieces of street art. I'm chuffed that she thought to send 'em our way.

All of this reminds me that I need to get better at recognizing artist signatures and styles so as to better give credit for works in the future. Any help would be much appreciated.

(charmander by FRNZ)


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Transparently feminist

Dig it - a stencil of "FEMINIST" written as a knuckle tattoo - caught this on a bus shelter along Jenifer St. as I was walking to hit up a coffee shop for its wireless access. Moving sucks.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SOLVE lives, and his alleged murderer finally gets his day in court

I started this street art blog during the summer of 2008 (my how time flies), in large part because of the story of Brandon "SOLVE" Scanlon's murder. Originally from Madison, Brandon had since moved to Chicago and was making a name for himself there as a street artist when he was, tragically, stabbed and killed in an alley near his apartment.

Stickers and stencils of "SOLVE LIVES" almost immediately began cropping up all over Chicago, Madison, and eventually even further afield in tribute to his life. It was hard not to notice. Brandon's father, Bill, has also be a tireless voice of support for his son's memory and street art in general.

So when I got this email from him today, I thought it would make sense to share it on the blog:
Tomorrow, June 22, at 10:00 AM the trial will start for Kirk Tobolski, the person accused of having murdered the artist Brendan Scanlon.also known by his guerrilla art name SOLVE.

Scanlon, who is also known by his street art name SOLVE, grew up in Madison, where he graduated from Madison East in 2002.  In 2003 he moved to Chicago for school and work.  He was killed in Chicago in June, 2008 at age 24.

The trial, titled People v Kirk Tobolski, Case No. 08CR-13164, is open to the public. It will be in Courtroom 205 at the Criminal Courts Building, 2650 S California Ave in Chicago.

Tomorrow the trial will likely run into the late afternoon. It is also scheduled to continue on Thursday, June 23, and might continue on other dates that are not yet set.

The trial is starting more than three years after SOLVE was killed, even though Tobolski was arrested within an hour after the killing and charged with the murder less than a day later. Tobolski has been out on bail since late October, 2008.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Corey Feldman does not care for your dog

Photographer Elisa Derickson is pretty sure this stencil is of Corey Feldman - and apparently he's not down with you walking your stinky ol' dog in Yahara Place Park, y'all.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yarnbombing the Capitol

 (click for huge)
Political protest yarnbombs up at the Capitol building. Sent in by Ald. Satya Rhodes-Conway, now newly appointed to the Madison Art Commission which, given her appreciation of street art, I take as a good sign.

Friday, June 10, 2011

#wiunion mud stencils

(Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Bldg, Madison WI, May 9 2010)

I love mud stencil art. No one can legitimately complain about vandalism, they fit into the "art is transitory" theme, and these especially are just awesome. Creative expression. All stencils by artist Wanderoo, photos by various folks - all related, of course, to the protests in Madison (and Wisconsin) over the governor/Republican efforts to destroy collective bargaining rights for public employees, among a whole host of other outrages:
 (Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Bldg, Madison WI, May 9 2010)

 (Reverse Robin Hood Action Capitol Square - Madison, WI: May 14, 2011)

(Reverse Robin Hood Action Capitol Square  Madison WI May 14 2011)

 (Farmers Market, Madison Wisconsin May 28, 2011)

(Alternate Bratfest, MLK Blvd, Madison WI May 28 2011)
(Interfaith Vigil for a Just & Moral Budget, State Capitol, Madison W June 2 2011)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Gender binary

Nice, simple commentary. Stencil on Jenifer St., photo submitted by L.W.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Warriors of the setting sun

(click for big)
At the corner of North and Hoard Streets. Sent in by Satya Rhodes-Conway (and by the way I love that an alder is contributing to this site - street art for all!).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Don't breathe the air

(click for big)
OK so this is a really rad stencil. Bike path underpass, E. Washington Ave. (probably won't be there for long).

Saturday, April 30, 2011

El Raton

(click for big)

This (nicely done) little plague-bearer was photographed by Chris Bianchetti.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

It's never lupus

(click for big)

House knows. Thanks to CV for the submission! A reminder that anyone can submit photos of Madison area street art to me at madstreetart AT

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Stike [sic] now!

(click for big)
Some topical, if hilariously misspelled, protest graffiti - along some lovely little stenciled...VHS tapes? I think? Nice duo, side of the Bartell Theatre downtown. Though c'mon folks, is "strike" really that hard to spell (unless we're talking the Urban Dictionary definition for "stike")?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Put a bird on it!

 (photo submitted by David B.)

Someone's stenciling sparrows...anyone know who?

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Jade Monkey

 (click for big)
Over at the corner of Cottage Grove Dr. and Monona Dr., on the city's northeast side, the Jade Monkey Cocktail Bar sports this pretty epic mural on the back wall of its building. I've passed it a few times before but never had my camera handy, until today. When it was cloudy and the light was awful. But hell, it's still some (presumably commissioned) beautiful work!


(click for big)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Then Jesus said...

(Humanities Building - click for big)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Obey this face?

Sticker on side door of Mother Fool's coffeeshop
I just can't bring myself to do it. (That's Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, union-buster extraordinaire, for those of you who don't recognize that smug mug)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mushroomland mural

(click for big)
Not entirely sure when this went up - it's possible I just haven't been as observant as I think I am - but I didn't notice the piece/mural until today. Along E. Paterson, near the intersection with E. Washington. Pretty sure it's a sanctioned work, since it's on the side of a business and quite big/intricate. Nicely done!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Scott the Snake

Great new mural on the side of Mother Fools, in honor of the several weeks long protest happening in Madison against the governor's budget bill that, among other things, strips collective bargaining rights from public employees. I've been all over the action, if you're interested in getting caught up.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Chop from the top

I wouldn't go so far as to call this art maybe, but it's still important. The first #wiunion related graffiti I've seen in two weeks of protests.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

(R)amped & Madison Skatepark Fund

Awesome collaboration of causes here:
World renowned artist, Sofia Maldonado painted a quarter pipe skate ramp LIVE... The exhibit will be on display until March 22nd... Want to know the best part? The Madison Skatepark Fund will hopefully be able to auction the art off (in March) as a fundraiser for our cause! The Union galleries are always free and open to the public.
I missed the night Sofia did the live painting, but fortunately the exhibit runs through the end of March and can be easily checked out any time. For more on the Madison Skatepark Fund, too, check their website here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The girl on the wall

Dig this one - something wonderfully eerie about it. 

CV spotted this piece on Atwood Ave. and was kind enough to snap a photo and send it in (remember, anyone is welcome to submit a photo of street art work to me at madstreetart at gmail dot com - just so long as it's from the Madison, WI area).

Apologies for the lack of posts lately - my life has been busier than usual (if that's possible) and between that and all this damn snow it's been difficult to get out to look for art. Will do my best to keep an eye out, though. Thanks for your patience!