Mars painted this epic “Refreshing Like That” piece for Sprite towards the end of 2015…Keep reading →
Besides from a few events and exhibitions that we never posted, here are a few other highlights from 2015 we didn’t share. In no particular order…Keep reading →
The Westdene Graffiti Project is a community mural initiative within the suburb of Westdene, Johannesburg. Spawning from Clint Hill’s idea to art up the suburb, various residents have donated their walls to bidding graffiti artists through the I Love Westdene Facebook group, and with the help of infamous Jozi graffiti photographer, Derek Smith, who lives in the area…
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Over a month ago, South Africa’s graffiti and street art scene lost one of its most original, inspiring and creative artists to date - Pastelheart.
In the weeks that followed, many artists, friends and fans dedicated their time and talent creating artworks that…
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A graffiti and street art exhibition taking place this Thursday, followed by the Montana ‘Just Writing My Name’ graffiti jam over the weekend.
New artworks have been added to the Kliptown landscape this month. Below of some of these new pieces.
Rasty & Falko
Rasty & Falko
Drake & Tower
Tower & Riot
Trips & Riot
Lady Aiko (USA) works from 2013, with Mein
Kasi & Falko
Photos: © Cale Waddacor
The launch of the latest range of clothing by Butan Wear SA in collaboration with the Demolition Squad.
“Maneuvering through the precarious streets of Johannesburg one can’t help but notice a particularly emphasised name: DEMOLITION SQUAD. Established in 1999, DS has undoubtedly become one of the most prolific graffiti crews in South Africa. The crew consists of five artists; TAPZ, MARS, TYKE, FIYA and AYBE, who have been flying the flag “high above the toys” since its inception. This garment was created by fusing street level graffiti knowledge with cutting edge street wear design, resulting in a piece of art that reflects not only our collective passion for street culture, but offers a unique perspective of our world through the eyes of our generation.”
Limited edition clothing including caps and T-shirts will be on sale on the evening. Get yours before they hit the shops.
>> MORE INFO
Demolition Squad are one of the most elite graffiti crews. Tapz, Tyke, Mars, Fiya and Aybe (in the UK) continue to develop their individual styles while dominating the streets of South Africa.
They recently recorded their first ever video interview:
Their blog slogan; ‘Demonstrating Style In All Disciplines’ is only too true…
>> Pictures via http://www.demolition-squad.tumblr.com/:
New walls painted in Jo’burg throughout January 2014:
(Click ‘next’ in the top right corner to navigate through the gallery)
Pieces, left to right:
Rasty & Myza, Tapz & Tyke, Anser & Riot, Trips, Dekor & Tower, Bias, Tyke, Eron & Jers & Gasr, Tapz & Tyke & Spent (Angola), Mars, Fiya.
Freddy Sam’s Nelson Mandela tribute mural was also completed last month:
More of Angolan graffiti artist, Spent:
Cape Town, South Africa.
with Cros & Shur.
Cape Town, South Africa.
Johannesburg, South Africa.
with Mars & Mein.
Johannesburg, South Africa.
with Mein & Mars.
Johannesburg, South Africa.
More Spent in Part 1.
Before Instagram and inner city gentrification there was Graffiti and with it came the mingling of exhaust and paint fumes, the scraping away of rot and unearthing urine-stained sidewalk weeds for the perfect spot. There was finding the best wall and owning it, but most of all burning the rest. This is graffiti and it all started from the ground up.
One of the themes we have been unpacking and repackaging, for the last year at Two by Two Art Studio, is how graffiti writers find their place in the art world and at what point do studio artists leave the white cube for the streets. MARS’ debut exhibition From The Ground Up takes graffiti from its very roots and plants it into a space that is both public and private. This is a show by a prolific graffiti writer with a graphic design background. Original artworks, small to large scale, are all reasonably priced allowing for any art enthusiast have a piece of the street for their own collection.
MARS has been painting walls, trains, alleyways, drains and anything else you can lay your eyes on for years. He is one of Joburg’s finest graffiti bombers and has, in recent years, taken his productions to a new level. His crew Demolition Squad has also recently claimed awards at the 2012 South African Hip hop Awards for Best Graffiti Crew and the best crew at the Newtown Back to the City Festival.
10 October 2013 until 24 October 2013
with DJ’s Left & Right and a graffiti tour with Past Experiences at 6PM.
>> MORE INFO
The third annual City of Gold Urban Art Festival kicked off last Sunday with a bang! The launch was held at Grayscale Gallery featuring works by local artists and some of the international participants.
Pose (MSK Crew, USA) painted live at the launch alongside Kevin Love and Cureo. Unfortunately style master Revok (MSK) could not make it here to South Africa.
Pose, Love and Cureo:
Herakut (Germany) wall by Akut - Hera was sick and could not make it to the festival…
Solo One (UK) returned to Jo’burg for his second City of Gold.
Local artists Zesta, Mars, Bias and Rekzo:
Kid Kreol & Boogie (Reunion Island)
The film screenings take place tonight at The Bioscope, and the closing event is going down tomorrow at Alliance Français in Parkview.
Pose, Love, Cureo - Grayscale parking lot, Cnr. De Korte & Henry St. Braamfontein
Pose, Kid Kreol & Boogie - Cnr. De Korte & Eendracht St. Braamfontein
Solo One - Market Theater, Miriam Makeba St. Newtown
Herakut - Cnr. Commissioner & Miriam Makeba St. (Old Chinatown) Newtown
Zesta, Mars, Bias, Rekzo and Solo One - Cnr. Marshall & Philips St. Jeppestown
Kid Kreol & Boogie - Cnr. Op De Bergen & Corrie St. Troyeville
Love, Myza, Ekse - Cnr. Main & Browning St. Troyeville
Kid Kreol & Boogie, Love, Cureo, Ekse - Cnr. Matipa & Coka St. Soweto
One of the most notorious writers in South African graffiti is MARS.
A king in all aspects, from train bombing and rollups to colourful pieces that are out of this world good!
We caught up with him for an exclusive interview…
How did you get into graffiti… Was there anything that sparked this obsession?
I was 13-14 years old and first saw graffiti in a Source magazine. Later that year, a friend and I were watching a movie called “187” and these kids from L.A were drinking, smoking weed, skateboarding and doing graffiti. Graffiti was the subsequent misdemeanour – we were already doing all the other stuff. We drew some shit graffiti attempts and the next day made a mess in an abandoned church next door. Looking back, it had nothing to do with art, we were just fucked up.
How did you come across your name?
Maybe a year later, after dabbling with random names, words, characters, mostly on paper, still not knowing what graffiti is or meant to be, we were at the same church and I had an alien character I did. I wanted to put a word next to it, so being a dumbass I did the most obvious thing and free-styled a horrific MARS. I ran out of paint halfway through, this happened often in the toy days… At the time I was unaware that there are a million other Mars’ in every city around the world. I would have chosen something more original had I known.
What was the scene like when you first started writing?
There was no scene really, the only graffiti I saw was DS and DBS tags around my area, being young I also couldn’t get around much so that’s all I knew. There were no graffiti shops, no imported name brand spraypaint, no books, no blogs, no Facebook, no super-star graffiti artists, NOTHING… I discovered Artcrimes.com, and in the following years looked at every single page on that site, maybe even twice, no jokes.
Around 2005, I went to Cape Town for the first time and brought back two rare gems; the “Graffiti World” book and 2 Montana cans from the graffiti store in Canal Walk, I think. Less than 8 years later and I have over 30 books and 6 different international brands of spray-paint on my shelf. It’s been a crazy transition from fuck all to information overload.
Your style keeps evolving and you go through ‘style phases’. Give us a little insight… This new style of yours is very funky and ‘loose’ – and not symmetrical at all. Tell us more about your decision to move towards it…
For a long time I did symmetry pieces, and in recent years have been trying to make them more interesting than typical boring graffiti, you know, have the “WOW” effect. I came to a point where I realised that the symmetry had reached its highest point for me and it wasn’t going to get any more interesting or “WOW”. I still use a lot of the same shapes and elements, along with new ones. I always try doing something new, I like being meticulous and at the same time spontaneous; making a medley out of two extremes, often one prevails. At times you can see a piece is a lot more spontaneous and experimental. Bombing is obviously a little different, repetition is key. I try being versatile; characters, pieces, backgrounds, anything with a can that I want to do.
You like to add extra flare to your pieces by adding characters. Have you ever felt a need to explore characters more?
Definitely, like I said, I want to do it all – be well rounded artistically, that includes characters. Hell, I might even do some more street art orientated stuff in the future, who knows, I just ride the wave.
Tell us about your crew, Demolition Squad…
Your crew has been putting up high class productions lately. Do you plan a wall or do you just freestyle? And is it hard to translate your ideas from paper onto the wall?
Tapz, Tyke, Aybe (London), Fiya and Mars. Whereas a lot of crews are a bunch of weak writers coming together to make an average crew, DS is five individually strong writers who form a well rounded, prolific crew. We all have strengths and are all versatile; we bomb, do pieces, trains, jobs and live graffiti. DS has been around for over 10 years and has outlasted many crews throughout the years. Writers come and go within the crew, but those that are meant to be here are. I think we are the strongest now than we ever have been.
Walls get planned differently. Sometimes we meet for serious concepts, and other times we just do whatever on the day.
Favourite surface to paint on?
Lately; weird textured walls, over windows and protruding surfaces. I like how it looks - not so perfect like on a flat wall. Trains are also nice, if you don’t know why, then I suggest you go do one.
You’ve smashed a lot of trains in recent years… I’m sure you might have some crazy stories?
Being shot at definitely changes ones perception of life and how fragile it is. Myself, Angel, Trips and a German tourist writer, Azme, got to experience this one night not so long ago. Trips and I ran one way and were about 2 meters apart, we heard the bullet fly through in between us. I always cherished my time on this earth as I experienced death at an early age, but this definitely gave me insight to my own mortality and how much I love being here.
Besides graffiti, what else are you interested in?
Most forms of art, music, reading, hanging with friends and loved ones, Nikes, driving, hustling, watches, eating at larney (fancy) restaurants poorly dressed, tattoos, pulling wire, x-hamster, pulling wire on x-hamster, pushing buttons, cigars, disappointing people, gear, pissing off girls, trying to stay sober, slores, buying crap I’ll never use, avoiding authorities, experiencing new things, travelling, hating, loving, loving to hate, hating to be in love… I believe life is about experience, so I try everything at least once.
Which artists do you admire the most right now?
Too many to mention, all for very different reasons, some of which have nothing to do with graffiti.
How does it feel knowing that you are inspiring the next generation of graffiti artists in SA?
I never really thought I was inspiring anyone, I guess pretty well, if you say so. I think I still have a lot to do, I’m just glad when someone looks at my pictures, even better if they can relate, it validates my existence. I only hope someone picks this shit up by the time I leave.
Where is the best place you’ve painted and where in the world you like to paint next?
I really like the freedom Johannesburg has, in first world cities it’s a lot more difficult to get walls, do street bombing and trains, as the public are very aware of graffiti. Jo’burg graffiti is still in somewhat of a grey area, in all aspects… I liked Sofia, Bulgaria, it’s similar there. Brazil is a must…
Will you ever stop doing graffiti?
What do you think graffiti of the future will look like?
Probably like graffiti of the past, it all goes in circles. Crappy retro graffiti is popular at the moment, just as vintage clothing is. I wouldn’t be surprised if people start doing cave man scratching and it becomes popular. Then again, so is the new “design” style graffiti, which is definitely a lot more “futuristic” looking, with a dash of retro. I don’t know, graffiti is so diverse at this point it could go anyway.
Special thanks to MARS for this interview. ©GraffitiSouthAfrica.com
Recently painted graffiti pieces in Johannesburg, South Africa:
Rekzo, Rasty, Myza