Art Critic cares not for Banksy, street art

The video embedded below appears to be companion footage to Exit through the Gift Shop. I pulled the quote from the footage below because I have been thinking about street art’s legitimacy in the art world, specifically the role of a street art critic –

” To me there is nothing interesting about Banksy, no…

I would never have said this 5 years ago, when there wasn’t this big thing about him. When I saw his stuff around, I thought that’s an entertaining bit of rubbish on the wall.

But now I’m supposed to take all this stuff seriously, and I don’t really know what I am supposed to say. It’s quite obvious that it isn’t really anything.

When people queue up to see a Banksy show or they’re paying hundreds and thousands of pounds at Sotheby’s, I don’t feel disparaged, or bewildered or baffled, I mean it’s a sort of social phenomenon. People suddenly get a craze… it’s a combination of accessible and weird and exotic   ”

Matthew Collings, Art Critic

note the vimeo user name


New street artist emerges in Chicago

Very few street artists do faces or figures, which is a shame considering “faces” get noticed more often than tags. Faces are easier to relate to than a word, no matter how powerful that one word is.  Here enters Snacki:

In February of last year, a new street artist began assailing Chicago’s public space with his scrawlGarbage bins,  the back of signs , and newspaper bins were a favorite for then Snack Attack (now Snacki?).  If you look at Snacki’s work in February, you can see he is figuring out his style and building his confidence.

By the fall of last year, Snacki came into his own and reached that level of cocky required for any good street artist. His pieces are now largersprayed, and in hard to reach places, thereby becoming prominent additions to the urban landscape.

The Snacki faces are distinctive. They come in a variety of colors and are always very tired. The bags under the eyes are large and lopsided, and combined with the words “snack attack”, you have to wonder if these are portrayals of  weary druggies or drunks with the munchies. Or if we are supposed to get philosophical with his work, is “Snack Attack” about today’s cultural gluttony?

via Chicago Art Magazine “Snacki Attacks Chicago”  (by yours truly)

Whenever I take the Brown or Red Lines, I check the status of his faces religiously.  Some of his work is still up, but I don’t want to give away their location and ruin the fun of finding them yourselves.

edit: it has been revealed to me that Snacki has been around much longer than originally thought, perhaps 3 years now, though there is no record of his work on the internet until last year. I personally have never seen his stuff until last year. You can read an “interview” with Snacki, from last spring, here.


Albany Park begins initiative to display artwork in vacant storefronts

FONTANA, CA - OCTOBER 8:  A strip mall storefr...

Image by Getty Images via Daylife

Following the success of the Pop-Up Art Loop Program and Edgewater Artists in Motion, I decided to stop by the North River Commission (an umbrella group that also includes the Albany Park Chamber of Commerce) here in Albany Park to see if they were engaging in a similar initiative. As luck would have it,  they were, and in need of volunteers.  I naturally offered to help  (public art is one of my favorite things in life),  and I spent a day walking along Montrose, the proposed site of Albany Park’s future art walk, documenting vacant storefronts.

How has Albany Park faired this recession, you might ask? There are approximately 25 vacant storefronts along Montrose (a 25 block strip), and that number does not include the burned building on Montrose and Monticello that photographers love shooting. If the NRC uses all of the vacant storefronts to display art, the Albany Park art walk will be more extensive than Edgewater’s, and would hopefully drive some much needed traffic on that avenue.  On my walk I saw two empty diners with bored employees just standing around, and one store was boxing up their inventory under a “going out of business” sign.

If you’re interested in helping out with this initiative (or are a local artist that would be interested in displaying their artwork), please contact the North River Commission. UNITE Civic Association is also helping with this project, and go here to read about other neighborhoods in Chicago using vacant storefronts to display art.


Victorian ladies did collage art

The ˝Playing With Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage˝ exhibit over at the Art Institute is showing for only a couple more days. This particular exhibit features collages in photo albums created by the wealthiest Victorian women. The art of photography was brand new back then, and only the most well to do families had access to a camera. The fact that these women were able to cut up these photographs spoke of their wealth. The majority of books are too old and fragile to allow you to flip through them, so the exhibit curators scanned the artwork onto a number of moniters for easy access. The Playing With Pictures exhibit is small, but very well put together. collage art victorian

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Conversations with 'Goons,' a local street artist

“Goons” is one of the most original and enigmatic street artists  in Chicago.  He cultivates an air of mystery, won’t answer certain questions (he laughs if you ask him why he chose the name “goons”), and will contact you on his own time (trust me on that!).  Over the past couple of years, he’s developed a devoted following on flickr and his identity has been the subject of much debate.  The Viking, a member of his own crew, summed Goons up best by calling him “the most elusive reclusive alcohol abusive lurker of chicago streets.”

photo courtesy of fauxtank

fauxtank via flickr

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