Category Archives: art

>Graffiti — Art Crime — Softcore

>This is the kind of graffiti/street art that even the average dork usually appreciates. Why? Because the dorks can relate to this stuff, because they understand (kind of) what’s going on, and then — all of a sudden — that kind of graffiti is acceptable to these dorks. Of course, that’s just a normal dork reaction and you should be free to feel that way… You’re still a dork, though.

The next graffiti post will focus on tags and hardcore stuff that the dorks don’t get at all and thus they immediately start raving about how graffiti should be stopped because it all looks the same, it’s ugly, linear and destructive. The problem here usually is that the dorks don’t understand how to draw a tag, how to build a piece and what it’s like doing that stuff in the dark — with the police constantly breathing down your neck. Tags and throw-ups obviously looks like shit to them, because they don’t get the picture.
That’s what I think bothers people the most about graffiti. They don’t get it and it’s in their face.

I guess I’m just tired of those lazy hypocritical bastards who always complain, but never make an effort. Now for the softcore stuff. Hope you like it! And don’t forget to check the video at the end of this post.

All photos stolen from the Fat Cap site. Please go there.



And here’s a pretty cool video, a wall-painted animation.

>Four quotes about books

>

Four quotes about books from four of my favourite writers: Voltaire, Ezra Pound, E.M. Cioran and Franz Kafka.
Book autopsy by Brian Dettmer, an artist who carves into books, dissecting them and revealing their art…

What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbor’s, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.
Voltaire

Certain books form a treasure, a basis, once read they will serve you for the rest of your lives.
Ezra Pound

A book should open old wounds, even inflict new ones. A book should be a danger!
E.M. Cioran



We need the books that affects us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be an axe for the frozen sea inside us.
Franz Kafka

>Issuu — A great PDF viewer

>PDF files can be a drag to read through. Thanks to bibl.se I found this great online PDF viewer that works like a charm and looks spectacular. It’s truly easy to publish PDF files, and it’s easy to embed them on Facebook, MySpace, Blogger, whatever…
As bibl.se puts it: “If SlideShare is the YouTube of PowerPoint, this is definitely the YouTube of PDF!“
Check out Issuu right away!

Below you’ll find a pretty cool Ukrainian art e‑zine named Rott Art.

>Situationism, Part 2

>Originally posted September 18, 2007.


Part one of the Situationism series can be found here.
In addition to this you may want to read about Oswald Spengler as well, here (English) and here (Swedish).

I take my desires for reality because I believe in the reality of my desires.
(Anonymous graffiti, Paris 1968)

People who talk about revolution and class struggle without referring explicitly to everyday life, without understanding what is subversive about love and what is positive in the refusal of constraints, such people have a corpse in their mouth.
Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution Of Everyday Life

The situationist movement was at its peak in the late sixties, but kind of folded after the riots and shit that were trendy at the time. Their ideas live on, though. And mind you, I’m not that much into their art — or anti-art – since most of the times it just sucks. It’s their ideas that I like.

Having concluded that the art and culture of bourgeois society was intellectually fucked, doomed to repetition and soulless, meaningless activities, the situationists referred to art as something that truly could change peoples lives and their way of thinking.
Art to them was not just something to feed the senses for a while, making you feel good and momentarily happy. That way of looking at art is shallow. In the eyes and mind of Guy Debord, art was revolution. Art was war. War against the everyday madness, the everyday slaughter of the soul. Most of all, art was real and goddamn important, and the situationists were determined to see through the lies, myths and bullshit that is being thrown at us every single second of our lives.
“It was about the radiation of art into pure existence, into social life, into urbanism, into action and into thinking which was regarded as the important thing”, as stated in the book Situationister i konsten (1966). Art wasn’t supposed to be a useless medium.


So what do you get when you mix art with politics?
Street art, of course. It’s available for free for everyone to see, and the creator is most of the times totally anonymous. We cannot judge the art and the message by who the creator is, but rather by what the message constitutes and how it is executed. True art. True politics. No names, no games. Well, names in a way, since there’s usually a tag attached somewhere, but close to nobody knows the person behind the tag, and that’s what’s fascinating about graffiti. It’s the deed and action that counts, not who’s done it.
No gods, no masters.

Must erase…all signs of…life by Hop Louie
Banksy at the separation wall in Israel/Palestina

Banksy at the separation wall in Israel/Palestina

Art of Destruction Sweden (AODS)

However, street art to me is not about reclaiming the streets. Well, it is in a way, but since Reclaim The Streets today seem to equal mindless destruction executed by degenerated fuck ups with nothing better to do, I strongly reject that kind of “reclaiming”. And I bet most of the serious situationists of the 60’s would’ve done so too. Such behaviour is nothing but fake and I spit blood on their useless corpses.

The moment of revolt is childhood rediscovered, time put to everyone’s use, the dissolution of the market and the beginning of generalised self-management.
The long revolution is creating small federated microsocieties, true guerilla cells practising and fighting for this self-management. Effective radicality authorises all variations and guarantees every freedom. That’s why the Situationists don’t confront the world with: “Here’s your ideal organisation, on your knees!” They simply show by fighting for themselves and with the clearest awareness of this fight, why people really fight each other and why they must acquire an awareness of the battle.
Raoul Vaneigem, The Revolution Of Everyday Life
Mindless scribbling on walls is not about reclaiming the streets,
it’s about mindless scribbling on walls.

On a sidenote:
Scribbling is for children (and adults!), and we should strongly encourage them here. Marvin Bartel has written an essay entitled “Working with children who scribble on walls” here. You should read it! And when reading, try to relate to graffiti…


Debord et al argued that the great Spectacle, the world’s greatest soap opera, is so influental that not only does it superficially bomb us with commercials, but it possesses such power that it shapes almost all human life (this Spectacle being a small ruling minority dominating the masses, forcing the individual only to consume and participate in society as an alienated, passive idiot).

In this consumer’s society, everything is always “getting better and better”. There’s no end to perfection. Just think about it; how will Gillette’s razor blades look in a year or two? Like a rocket ready to be sent into outer space? It seems like they’re inventing a new revolutionary shaving system every year.


When will this madness end? Not until we say so. And that’s where the passive idiot thing enters the scene. The Spectacle is by no means a dialogue. It is in fact the exact opposite – a monologue, talking to itself, about itself. And as we all know, opposition (for example, in the form of street art) is not looked upon with keen eyes. This artificial “evolution” of Gillette’s shaving systems is a lethal blow to our own evolution. We’re trapped and cannot evolve at all. The situationists labelled this forced existence “a colonization of our everyday lives”.

In a future post I’ll probably write something about the situationist critique against urbanism, which in some ways touches upon what Spengler had to say about cities and such.

>The Art of Persuasion, Part 3: German propaganda posters

>Originally posted July 18, 2007.


Part One (UK) and Part Two (USA) of these series.

Most nations would stop fighting when realizing there’s no chance of winning the war. Germany didn’t. They continued to fight long after they had abandoned all hope. I’d say this had very much to do with propaganda. And very much with a certain doctor.

On March 13, 1933, the Ministry for Popular Enlightenment and Propaganda was founded under the direction of Dr. Josef Goebbels. No such thing had ever existed before, in Germany or in any other country. This was the time of the awakening of the (uneducated) masses.
Adolf Hitler had read Lord Northcliffe: “The bombardment of the German mind was almost as important as the bombardment by cannon”.
In Mein Kampf he writes:
“The psyche of the masses is not receptive to anything that is weak. They are like a woman, whose psychic state is determined less by abstract reason than by emotional longing for a strong force which will complement her nature. Likewise, the masses love a commander, and despise a petitioner”. One could say Hitler despised the masses…
He is also quoted saying:
“Haven’t you ever seen a crowd collecting to watch a street brawl? Brutality and physical strenght is what they respect. The man in the street respects nothing more than strenght and ruthlessness – women too for that matter. The masses need something that will give them a thrill of horror”.
Hitler argued that propaganda must be adressed to the emotions and not to the intellect. He had no need for educating the already educated. He spoke in black and white, and with enormous power and energy – always emotional.

With Goebbels as head of propaganda the Nazis rose to power. Goebbels described Hitler’s speeches as “religion in the most mysterious and deepest sense of the word”. He truly admired his Führer. And they used these very personal words – his Führer, my Führer – never the Führer; because it was a relationship, bonded by blood.

The propaganda machine worked the hardest at the mass gatherings. Each single individual underwent, in Goebbels words, “a kind of metamorphosis from a little worm to a giant dragon”. These huge demonstrations mostly took place at night when people’s minds were most open to persuasion. At the annual rally in Nuremberg half a million people attended to gather strenght.
Albert Speer was responsible for the art direction at the rallies, and the “cathedral of light” was his idea: 130 anti-aircraft searchlights placed around the rally field at intervals of forty feet. The huge eagle (over 100 feet in wingspread) was also one of Speer’s brilliant creations.

When the Second World War started, the Propaganda Ministry had complete control of the press, radio, film, posters, art, literature, music, theater… It is therefore nothing strange with people acting as they did. When every contemporay book you read, every newspaper, every film you see, every broadcast you hear for years and years, always with the same spirit, the same propaganda, you definitely lose your judgment.
Goebbels particularly enjoyed the cinema. He realized that this new art form could reach a far wider audience than books or theater. The old Motion Picture Law was replaced by the Reich Motion Picture Law in 1920, and from that moment nothing was approved that ran counter to the spirit of the times.
You’ve all seen Triumph of The Will (1935), and maybe even Olympia (1938), Leni Riefenstahl’s masterpieces of truly great art. There’ so much to say about those movies, but I intended these posts to be about the poster art, so… Maybe another time.


People may forget an article, but they won’t forget a picture, especially when they see it often, everywhere, and when the message is pure and strong, black and white. A flyer could be thrown away, the radio turned off, the political meetings not attended… Everybody walks the streets, though. The poster could not be avoided. Graffiti artists use this direct method as well.
The master of Nazi propaganda posters was named “Mjölnir” (real name: Hans Schweitzer). “What lenghty speeches failed to do, Mjölnir did in a second through the glowing fanaticism of his powerful art”, as one Nazi leader put it.

Personally, I find the Nazi propaganda the most fascinating, and certainly the most beautiful, dark, powerful and striking. Maybe this has to do with me too being totally intoxicated by their visual force? However, I am not alone. The Nazi propaganda resulted in billions of artifacts inspired by the powerful art of persuasion (hello Dyanne Thorne!).

Bonus propaganda:
Goebbels assembled a swing band called Charlie and His Orchestra to perform Nazified versions of the jazz hits of the day! How about that?
First volume of their music
Second volume of their music

And now, the magic of the mystic art…

















>The Art of Persuasion, Part 2: American propaganda posters

>Originally posted June 30, 2007.


During the last years of World War II the Office of War Information, a US department of psychological warfare, was showering occupied Europe with 7 million flyers a week, which was made possible due to the invention of the leaflet bomb which could hold 80,000 leaflets in one piece. On July 16, 1943, 16 million leaflets alone were dropped in every part of Italy, informing the Italians that they could either die for Mussolini and Hitler, or live for Italy.
That’s how much used propaganda was, and still is.
But the propaganda flyers didn’t only try to convince or persuade – they worked as warnings as well, often telling of coming bombing attacks, thus allowing time to leave the area. That’s why propaganda was read by so many.

Besides flyers, leaflets and posters, radio was a very important propaganda medium. Playing on the emotions of the public, utilizing great speeches and announcers, this made a deep impact. It frightened and inspired the people into action.
The Americans also used film to a great extent. “That which is done by Hollywood today will be emulated by American cities tomorrow”. Hollywood had very strong Jewish and British elements, and it did what it could to help. They created cruel stereotypes of the enemy, and it worked out really well, speaking directly to the primitive emotions of the American audience. The bad guy gangster became the bad guy Nazi, and so on.
Music was also used as propaganda, the well known label Decca Records, for example, producing vinyls entitled We’re gonna have to slap the dirty little Jap (and Uncle Sam’s the guy who can do it), and Columbia released Praise the lord and pass the ammunition, while Bluebird had their Good-bye mama (I’m off to Yokohama).

As stated in Part One of this series, the American propaganda used God, democratic values and stereotypes to persuade the public. A lot of the posters also speak of the danger of careless talk, most of the time depicting women as those careless talkers.

So, here’s some amazing propaganda posters, done the American way.
















>The Art of Persuasion, Part 1: British propaganda posters

>Originally posted June 28, 2007.


Propaganda posters. They are commercials of evil; mindfucking the people, enslaving the masses. They don’t win any wars, these fascinating weapons of destruction, but they certainly play a huge part in creating hostility, fear, national pride and false consensus.
But first and foremost, as with almost any totalitarian art, the posters are beautifully crafted and do indeed hold some ancient power of belief, spirit and fanatism. Their influence cannot be denied, neither in the political sphere, nor in the world of art.

As strategic weapons, propaganda though flyers, posters, radio broadcasts and television serve as a compliment as good as any to military campaigns, diplomatic negotiations and economic sanctions. Back home people are being told to produce more for their country, to keep silent and to hate the enemy. At the front propaganda seeks to strengthen the morale of the troops and to weaken the enemy’s will to fight.
The strategy for propaganda differs between countries and ideologies. The Nazis idealized the Aryan übermensch and blamed Jews, bankers and Bolsheviks for everything bad in the history of the world. USA speaks of democratic values, the trust in God and creates grim stereotypes of the enemy. Britain, during World War II, used the “hate the enemy” themes, and the Soviets invoked the nationalist image of Mother Russia to make its people gain power and confidence.
The war game would not be the same without the art of persuasion.

First out in this small series: The art of British propaganda.













>Engravings of symbolism into flesh

>Originally posted May 19, 2007.








Look at these tattoos. They surely represent more than just something nice and cool to look at. These engravings speak of something that matters to the one wearing them. They represent death, life and the madness of it all. That ugly truth staring you right in the face.

For me, to have a tattoo inked forever in the flesh should definitely mean something more than wanting to show it in front of your buddies, looking at yourself in the mirror, wearing that tank top wife beater…
The more shit you show off with, the more unsatisfied you are with your miserable life and looks. If you’re happy sporting the latest fashion tattoo, then fine. It’s your choice and you’ll have to live with it. If you’re in it for looks only then you’re just vain. Nothing wrong with that as long as you’re aware of your vanity and lack of confidence.
That’s how I see it. Or rather, that’s how I’d look upon myself if I had tattoos that meant nothing to me.

The tattoos I have are for me, not for somebody else. They represent something I truly believe in. As cliche as it may sound, that’s what matters. Still, to each his own, as they say.


The Public Enemy symbol

First and foremost, I got this made because Fear of A Black Planet by Public Enemy is one of my top five albums of all times, all genres included. It means so much to me for so many reasons, I’ll probably dedicate a whole post to this amazing work of art someday (the album – not the tattoo), even though it deserves an essay, maybe even a book. It’s that good. But it needs to be remastered! The levels are way too low and it bugs the hell out of me everytime I listen to it.
But anyway…

The symbol pictures a man in a classic hip-hop pose, arms folded, caught in the sniper’s crosshairs. This man is about to be taken down by the people in power, because he’s a public enemy and thus automatically an enemy of the state. (Actually, the man is apparently E Love, L.L. Cool J.’s sidekick at the time, and the symbol is drawn by Chuck D. himself, but that’s another story…)

To me this symbol represents rebellion, courage and the will to power – power to the people, to the individual and to the true folk soul, the spirit in man. To never deny your convictions. No comply!
As for the “will to power” concept, as coined by Nietzsche, it does not mean “a desire for and of power” as — for example — the Nazis interpreted it, but rather a display of creative energy put to use. And a whole lot more. Also, Nietzsche’s Will to Power manuscript was extensively manipulated and falsely edited by his fanatically anti-Semitic sister, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche. Go figure.

Nietzsche says:
I do not speak to the weak: they want to obey and generally lapse into slavery quickly. In the face of merciless nature, let us still feel ourselves as merciless nature! But I have found strength where one does not look for it: in simple, mild, and pleasant people, without the least desire to rule—and, conversely, the desire to rule has often appeared to me a sign of inward weakness: they fear their own slave soul and shroud it in a royal cloak.

It’s about respect — a word that’s been extremely worn out and lost its meaning a long time ago in the hip-hop community, where it is commonly used, thanks to soulless, mindless fucks praising the shit that flows on MTV.
Respect and rebellion. Evolution of the mind.

The PE symbol was engraved into my right arm by Mange at Evil Eye Tattoo, in 2001, I think.

To be continued…

>American Splendor

>Originally posted March 24, 2007.


Comics, that’s kids stuff, right?
Well, that’s what I thought as well for quite some time.
As a kid I was kind of obsessed with Spider-Man for some years, but by the time he’d went black I was out there riding my skateboard and listening to records instead. I guess I wasn’t into comics that much after all. I still find Spider-Man among the coolest of superheroes, though. He’s metal, you know, the way he shoots his net making the sign of Satan:


However, I didn’t quite realize that there were “adult” comics (except for the crappy “erotic” shit) until I got hold of some anime movies (which I bought from the drummer in Sator, by the way! This was in 1990…). Those movies made me rediscover comics in a way. But since the style still was that wild and crazy shit it didn’t make any lasting impressions. It was fun for the moment and then forgotten about.

In 2003 I saw American Splendor. Yeah, I’m one of those late losers who discovered Harvey Pekar through that movie. I really loved the film, so I bought Our Cancer Year, one of his and his wife’s comic books that they based the movie upon. And it fucking touched my soul, I tell you!


American Splendor is all about life, death and the things that matters – things and thoughts that at first may seem pointless, but after some consideration may turn into mindbending visions. It did for me.
I spent a lot of time thinking after reading Our Cancer Year, the same kind of thinking that may occur after reading a really thick, good book or seeing a mindfucking movie. I just love the way that a few strokes and a few lines can get your thoughts going.

Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff
. That’s probably the best and most accurate summarization ever, even though it’s become quite a tiresome cliché since the movie hit the charts.

Harvey’s life is drawn by a lot of different artists (Our Cancer Year excluded, which is fully drawn by Frank Stack), and that in itself makes this comic really interesting. Here’s just a few examples of how some artists perceive our man:








And of course I identify with Harvey. He’s just an honest and literate guy with a sense for politics and music. Him being a Jew and just being so goddamn tired of the exploitation of the Holocaust is a revelation. This strip is from 1994:


And the cover of The New American Splendor Anthology has the coolest quote:

When I was younger I thought about women constantly… I was always running around looking for a good time… Now I’ve matured, my priorities have changed. I’m aware of what’s really important: CRUSHING MY ENEMIES.

The fact that I discovered American Splendor so late bugs me. I’ve missed so much. Harvey’s been doing his comics since 1976! Bah…

Harvey Pekar — homepage and blog
American Splendor — The movie
A list of some of his comics

Other adult comics that’s touched my soul lately: