Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Street Art Indoors

... Is an oxymoron.

It's also an event I just took part in, a collaboration with six other artists that I was invited to participate in.  It was a lot of fun, and one of the only real 'exhibitions' I've ever taken part in, with an opening and all the rest.  I won't mention the rest of my art resumé, it's a bit embarrassing.  The best parts have all been chronicled on this blog already.  Pretty much.  Except for when I've been lazy.  Of course, nothing was for sale and all the art will be gone in a month or so and I'll be left with memories and photos, if not more cash in my pocket.

Here's a picture:

Schmuck that I am, I only took pictures of my own work, but maybe that's just as well as I'm going to start being mean now.  One of these days this tendency is going to bite me in the ass, and I hope it's not today.  I really did enjoy participating in the event and I'm very pleased I got to take part.  I may have to say that several more times as a disclaimer.

I'm not going to be super mean.  It's just that the whole concept of the show was a bit weird for my taste, calling it 'street art indoors' and all that (I didn't come up with that title).  The thing is that almost none of the artists involved actually do any work on the street, with the exception of myself and possibly one other.  It's more 'street art' as a trend rather than, you know, art on the street.

You could say that any art on the street is street art, couldn't you?  By that definition, a statue of a politician in the median of the road would be street art, right?  I would say no.  So then does it need to be clandestine/illegal to be street art?  I would say not necessarily although others would disagree.  Why is some work street art and other work is graffiti?  Why do I say, with some frequency to anyone who will listen, that there is no real street art scene here in Salvador?

These are all very interesting questions and I hope you enjoyed them.  I hope they keep you awake tonight as you turn them over and over in your brain.  But this is the real question that came to mind during this collaboration: if you take a bunch of artists who don't work on the street and you put them in an institutional space (this was actually in a foyer, not a gallery) and have them make some art, can you call it street art?  Even if you qualify it as 'street art indoors'?

As they say on Fox News right after they've told you what they expect you to think: You Decide.

But I really enjoyed myself and I hope they invite me back again next year.

Here's another picture from my contribution:

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Casa Caiu

This blog is pretty much defunct, but I have a good story to tell and I think I can tell it quickly.  Those are pretty much the parameters these days.  I have lots of stories but not the time nor the focus to get them out.  I think maybe this blog has run its course, maybe, like a book, I should give it an ending.  Or like a novela, the famous Brazilian prime-time soap operas.  Unlike an American TV show, which keeps going until the ratings drop enough, novelas run their course and wind themselves up in less than a year.  Evani's current favorite just ended tonight, not even a half hour ago.

But not yet.  I'm not ready to give up the ghost.  I've got twelve followers and by gum, I won't let you down!!

Anyhow, the story.

Yesterday a building in a neighborhood near where my wife grew up a building blew up.  Literally.  A three story, steel and concrete building exploded.  Here's a picture:

As you might imagine, this is big news even in a place as crazy as Bahia.  One guy died and several others, including two young girls, were injured.

What happened?  is you eminently logical question, and I will tell you.  Apparently they were making espadas there, these completely insane homemade fireworks that are basically gunpowder packed into a bamboo tube, lit like an enormous sparkler.  They make their appearance at São João, the big party that rolls around at the end of June.  Here's an example, this video was shot in the neighborhood where the house blew up:

I'm not a big fan of São João, I've whined about it on this blog in the past, it's a freakin' month of my life listening to homemade fireworks go off and I have come to loathe it.  I heard some fireworks last night and cringed - it's starting again.

However, this business of the espadas (better known as 'guerra de espada' or 'war of the swords') is just madness and stupidity as far as I'm concerned.  I'm sorry, but no civilized place should let people run around in public with homemade rocket bombs of considerable calibre in residential neighborhoods where they could, you know, burn or blind people, which happens all the time.  You only need to watch 30 seconds of the video above to see what I'm talking about, but if you watch a bit more you'll see the cop cars on the scene, doing fuck all about it.

But hey, I'm a 40-something fuddy duddy and I don't get it.  The people who are into this are really into it, it's an insane adrenaline rush apparently.  And plus, what's the worst that could happen?

Well, you could blow up and die and take a whole building down with you, and you could cause the deaths of innocent people which thank goodness didn't happen yesterday.  They're trying to figure out if the neighboring buildings will also have to be torn down as they suffered structural damage in the explosion.

So that's a pretty good story, right?  Well, it gets better.  One of the guys who lives, I mean lived, in the house?  I know him.  He's a graffiteiro.  And a cop to boot.  There's actually a picture of him on this blog, but I'm not going to tell you where.  I found out about this whole thing because Facebook lit up with people wanting to help him out because his house blew up.  The two girls who were injured were his nieces.  As for me, I'm going to wait and see.  I don't know what his involvement was, but as you may have noticed from my tone I don't think highly of building homemade explosives in residential neighborhoods with kids in the house.  This guy is one of the nicest people I've ever met and I'm sure he wouldn't intentionally harm anyone, especially his own family.  Oh wait - he's a police officer now.  Maybe he would hurt someone.

I'm an American, more specifically a UnitedStatesian, citizen of one of the most reviled and warlike nations on the planet.  We blow people up, things get blown up, we shoot people, etc.  Who hates the Brazilians?  Nobody, except maybe some Argentinians, and that's mostly over soccer feuds.  Who is Brazil going to war with?  Nobody.  Who's blowing up bombs in Brazil?  Why, that would be the Brazilians.  Whole lot of shooting going on in Brazil, whole lot of dying going on here, and it's all internal, all self-inflicted you could say.

There's a joke about God as he's making the Earth, he makes this amazing paradise that has no earthquakes, no volcanoes or hurricanes, and that's Brazil.  One of the angels asks him if that's really fair and God says: Don't worry, wait until you see the people I put there.  That's pretty mean, and also pretty funny.  But seriously Brazil?  At least take 'Order and Progress' off of your flag.