Wednesday, March 20, 2013

East Middle West // An Interview with ICY and SOT

Tabriz, Iran, 2012. (Image courtesy of ICY and SOT.)

When they’re not crashing at a Brooklyn warehouse among a collective of creatives they’re tearing across America in a van and trailer with a punk band (why don’t more visual artists do this?). Street art duo ICY and SOT, two young brothers from Iran, have been taking the underground art world by storm. In an onslaught of paint and paste and that old time punk rock and roll, these stencil artists have been touring the country with New York-via-Tehran band The Yellow Dogs, spreading art at every stop.

I met the brothers several months ago when they visited Chicago for the first time, and I corresponded with them when they hit the road again for their “East Middle West” tour. As a preview of their upcoming show at Co-Prosperity Sphere, below is our conversation about art, politics, their skate culture roots, life on the road, and more.

ICY and SOT’s exhibition at Co-Prosperity Sphere opens this Friday, March 22.

Istanbul, Turkey, 2012. (Image courtesy of ICY and SOT.)

Jenny Lam: How did the two of you first become interested in street art?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Not about The Armory Show // We are all jelly doughnuts

"They deftly represent one of the many valuable functions of Art and its necessity to the human experience: these paintings possess the ability to transcend fear and oppression, to make whole again through emotional, visual communication."

Such is the role of art.

East Side Gallery, Berlin. June 2012.

The quote is from ArtSlant’s “The Art of the Wall and the Spirit of Berlin” (emphasis mine), calling for the preservation of the paintings that run the length of the East Side Gallery, which I visited over the summer. One of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall, the Gallery is a 1.3 kilometer-long memorial to freedom and peace. Now, part of this landmark is under threat of demolition to make way for a luxury condominium complex’s access road. So far, protesters have succeeded in stalling deconstruction, and an online petition has, as of this writing, nearly 75,000 signatures.

And announcements:

Thank you to the artblog for mentioning me in a news post! (Scroll down to “Artist News.”) Added the link to the press page.

I’ve received a VIP invitation to Hong Kong Contemporary art fair. My third VIP invite for May! (One being the inaugural Art Basel Hong Kong and two being the Asia Contemporary Art Show.) This will be quite the trip of contrasts; when I’m not at the fairs, I’ll be hitting up artist studios hidden within industrial buildings on the outskirts of town, visiting my grandma in the projects, hoarding more plastic red watches from the market and turning down stateside people who offer to buy one off me for more than ten times its original price (this really did happen) because it’s become an extension of my soul, etc.

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