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Paint the Future Party: Alliance Franscaise

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Success!  R1500 through the door equals approximately 30 cans of premium paint, plus onetwo outside donations and the generous sponsorship of 100 CANS from Durbans premier underground art store STEP UP GALLERY (Sandy Centre, Pinetown), all together creating a thick rack of color to be lovingly and finely processed and produced upon our awaiting cityscape!

With performances by SPITMUNKY and JET WENTWORTH, customization from FINK and CADE, shirt stencilling from PTF Crew, and a host of heads nodding and chilling and celebrating the postponement of the trial of the 031 Aerosol 7, this evening was a fresh approach to catalization through cans and capitilization on cannisters…much respect to all involved in pulling this off…Durban stays fresh once again!

Follow Your Art Opening – Ewok

“I thought I knew exactly what I was gonna say and how I was gonna say it this evening, until I popped into the gallery early for a sneak preview.  I totally became a kid again.  I was so excited that I started vocalizing every time I saw a new piece.  One of the curators commented that she hoped everyone would be as excited as I was.  I said I didn’t think that they would be as vocal, but I was sure they would be equally as stoked.
I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer skill in all of the technique on display, the absolute quality of craftsmanship, from the Free Beer to the ChangeRoom recycled cassette belt buckles.

I was totally stoked on the energy inherent in all of the work, on the walls and the canvasses and the found objects, it just seemed to be screaming at me in some kind of insane visual hysterical laughter and I couldn’t help but screech back.  The mixing of mediums, the fresh styles and the complete and utter embrace of grungy now pop clashing culture, carried off in fine Durban laid back it-is-what-it-is style had me totally buzzing.

Then it was the full-on life affirming society stripping messages in all of the work, provocative, catchy, funny, relevant and conscious and correct, everything mainstream advertising trains to attain, all contained in this one mind-blasting space of cool kid culture.  Cool in the way it is rad to be able to hookup the lightie at the robots with a couple crown on your way home walking past all those dirty walls.  Cool like it is when you kick the breeze over a brew with a bru while the band settles into the next set and you both think their sound is okay, saluting them with a cold quart.  Cool like cool should be, like whatever is clever, like sweet is subject to taste so your sweet might not be mine but that’s fine.  Cool like the Durban collective.
So, some words about the FOLLOW YOUR ART exhibition.

This is an exhibition of art that exists outside of any exhibition space.  Without the galleries or the exhibitions, this art will still find its way to you.  This art actively seeks you out, in its fashion and its design and its music and the way it constantly occupies physical public spaces, this is a culture of art comin’ at you.

It brings itself to you, and it will find you, and because it is so able to do this, it becomes fully aware of the responsibility that is intrinsic in this brazen act of attitude and self confidence.  The responsibility, when claiming public spaces, to benefit the viewer in some way, to enhance the experience of that space, and need it be said, to contribute to its community.  This is not selfish art, or subliminal art that asks so much of the viewer and yet seems so unwilling to translate or be translated.  This art wants to communicate clearly with you, and it understands the necessity for this type of communication in bringing people together, in supporting other sub-cultures within its own, in inspiring further developments through the free sharing of its craft.
This is our art, as a community of creatives, musicians designers writers authors poets performers activists and accompanying heads, this is our art.  This art is a gift, as in free and I hope you like it, as in I want you to have this, a gift as in out of respect for you and in celebration of you.

 This art is a gift, from a generation of artists who want to play their part for us all, who want to communicate for us all, who actively seek to define clearly the many messages of our collective culture, who are not satisfied only in the journey from studio to gallery space to collectors wall, but are focussed on playing a real part in influencing and supporting and promoting every aspect of our day to day missions.

In this way, we are the art, and they are the artists, and in typical wonderful flip the script mash-up anything goes style, the opposite also applies. This exhibition pays tribute to our collective fashions, our collective music, our collective and diverse ideologies and all of the in-between idiosyncrasies that allow us all to keep the fire burning, to keep our cool, and to keep conscious.”

(Images courteSy of the COLLECTIVE)

Piece on the Corner: S.A.P.S Video by Amehlo Productions

Video from the first Surface Attack Production Squad project: connecting property owners with artists through legal walls… Corner Cafe, Durban

Corner Peace from Amehlo Productions on Vimeo.

Gangs of Graffiti Q&A with Clinical Psychologist Mandy Kok – Editorial

We spoke to Clinical Psychologist and artist Mandy Kok about the psychology behind graffiti art, vandalism, authority’s response, art and more…

Why Get Up? from Amehlo Productions on Vimeo.

We hear plenty of talk about the “rebelliousness of youth”, even to the point where we have commodified it, in some cases even celebrating it. Could you talk to us about what this impulse is, where this impulse comes from?

Each developmental phase is characterized by certain growth processes and tasks or imperatives.  The psychological task of adolescence is to separate from our parents and establish our independent and distinctly unique persona. We do this by switching our reference focus from parents to peer group, by pushing the boundaries of previously respected norms of being that have been established by authority figures, by experimenting with new ways of being that challenge “the folks” but earn acceptance into the new “in-group” or “gang”. Read the rest of this entry

Follow your Art – Street Art Culture Exhibition

Follow your Art: contemporary/street culture is a first of its kind exhibition of art and design at the COLLECTIVE.

It celebrates the production and cultural influence of youth cultures. Skateboarding, graffiti, comics and design have not only affected fashion, music, literature, and film, they have influenced a generation of young artists who identify with the lifestyle and counter-culture stance of these creative art forms born from the street. In addition to including works in all mediums by more than 50 artists, Follow your Art includes music, album covers, skateboards and “zines” that reveal the spirit and vitality of street culture and its ever expanding influence on the youth of tomorrow.

The unifying traits of these artists, whose styles still lie outside the world of conventional gallery art, include an interest in pop culture iconography and a nonsensical do-it-yourself attitude. Follow your art traces the early influences on this new generation of Artists, Filmmakers, Illustrators, Graffiti writers, Cartoonists and Designers, and explores the broader cultural trends that make their work what it is today.

Follow your art aims to offer each artist an outlet to express their personal perspectives to enable them to engage in an intercultural dialogue and expose themselves to other sub cultural diversities within our city and beyond. We hope this exhibition will be the first of many, where we can view the best and most inspirational local and international artists. Most of all lets have some fun whilst expressing who we are through our respected art forms!
Opening night: Live music by Danti Daxi, The Otherwise and Asleep in Transit, launch of “Free Beer 6”, and possible live art performances.

There will also be a cash bar, and coffee available.

Be sure to submit artworks for our Follow Your Art exhibition before the 5th September. The closing date for submissions is 30 August 2011. Download the entry form here

The Collective/ Warren Raysdorf

Art versus Vandalism by Kirsty McCready

Undoubtedly many will have different views on graffiti as an art form:

 Some say its vandalism and others say its art- and then there are a lot of people who are ill-educated when it comes to telling the difference between the two.

I couldn’t find more simple definitions than those of the Oxford Dictionary.

  • Art: the use of the imagination to express ideas or feelings, particularly in paint and drawing
  • Graffiti: drawings or writing on a wall etc, in a public space
  • Vandalism: the crime of destroying or damaging something especially public property deliberately and for no good reason

As there are different views on graffiti, there are different sides of graffiti too.

There is the artistic side, where murals are painted and aesthetically pleasing and then there is vandalism, where property is defaced, tagged and damaged. The one is a legitimate and accepted art form worldwide, and the other is illegal.

Taking the above mentioned definitions of the words in to account, one could say: the gentlemen who were drawing/writing/painting on a public space to express ideas and feelings about their loss of a friend were taking part in graffiti art.

Not all graffiti artists are vandals, and not all vandals are graffiti artists. Read the rest of this entry

Gangs and Graffiti by Dashen Naicker

It was with some alarm and amazement that I read the article titled ‘Graffiti gang caught red-handed’ in The Mercury (August 15, 2011). I don’t fancy gangs much. They stab joggers and shoot giraffes with homemade handguns. My friend says they kill kittens and make biltong from unicorns.

The above is, of course, preposterous. Sensationalism and hearsay are dangerous. They sacrifice veracity for venality and dilute public discourse. Which is why we read newspapers like The Mercury, which in their words “prescribes that news must be reported in a truthful, accurate, fair and balanced manner”. Such a prescription invokes responsibility and accountability. As an influential conveyor of information (or ideology) to the community at large they have the agency to define and refine this community’s collective consciousness and the social mores attached therewith. Read the rest of this entry

Mercurial Misrepresentation by Karen Logan


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The unfinished wall in remembrance of Eiy5.  Images by Karen Logan.

Gang definition: ‘An organized group of criminals’.

How does a group of young artists painting during the day, in a highly visible area with no attempt to hide their actions, on a wall that has been painted annually in the memory of a deceased friend get arrested and then labelled a ‘gang’ by our local paper that is meant to support the local arts scene? How much money has the city spent on a private investigating company to help the police ‘bust’ an event that would have been easily discovered by a simple Facebook search?! This smacks of opportunistic, attention-grabbing abuse of public responsibility on a soft target that clearly believed they were acting within their rights. The Mercury photographer could have got a much better quality picture had they asked the young artists involved to stand next to their mural with the pride they can deservedly wear for attempting to brighten up an area the city clearly doesn’t have the resources to uplift.

IRRESPONSIBLE SENSATIONALISM from THE MERCURY? By Iain Ewok Robinson

In response to todays (Monday 15th 2011) article in The Mercury under the title “GANG CAUGHT RED HANDED”:

A front page title such as GANG CAUGHT RED HANDED smacks of sensationalist and irresponsible journalism upon clearer analysis of the details of the event being described.

For any writer worth their pen, there can be no denying the obvious negative connotations associated with the use of a word like GANG in describing a group of urban youth, especially in a country and a city where violent gangsterism is still a serious issue affecting our communities. To label as a GANG a small group of young creative artists, engaging in what was quite obviously an unsuspecting and harmless act of craft and expression, is once again both short-sighted and potentially damaging for those involved, and can in no way be justified other than as an attempt at catching the attention of potential consumers of a product, in this case a newspaper. Read the rest of this entry

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