Learning how to create public art & make change.
Visit: Parc Departemental des Cormailles, M7 to Mairie d’Ivry
Dan Pitera, advisor to the TAP Gallery, Associate Professor of Architecture, Director of Detroit Collaborative Design Center
Check back soon to see an interview with founder Erik Howard and professor Dan Pitera as they give a walking tour of TAP.
Detroit Graffiti Photoset.
(Stay tuned for a tour of the The Alley Project)
“By valuing the arts I feel like you value..people’s opinions…across race, class because we all express ourselves and arts doesn’t see the color of one’s skin.” -Sharon De La Cruz, graffiti artist and program director of ACTION and WOMEN at The Point
All images courtesy of Sharon De La Cruz and The Point.
“It was more about my name, you know, BG183 that was the key. It was the message of me being out there like how a mayor is gonna run for mayor and he’d post his name everywhere.”-BG183, member of Tats Cru
“Fuck that. Any advert in a public space that gives you no choice whether you see it or not is yours. It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. You can do whatever you like with it. Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head.”
“You owe the companies nothing. Less than nothing, you especially don’t owe them any courtesy. They owe you. They have re-arranged the world to put themselves in front of you. They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs.”
“Instead of waiting for someone to give me money… or a space, you go outside and see what …resources you do have that are free and available.” -Shantell Martin
- Want to see Shantell in action? She’ll be teaching a drawing class in Minneapolis (June 5th-8th) and speaking in NYC (March 30th) and Austria (May 16th - 18th)
- Want to intern for Shantell? Message @Shantell_Martin
- Shantell says if you want to become an artist don’t wait for funding. Throw a drawing party at your house, a show in your friend’s living room, and start drawing on your shoes or the wall down the street!
2 Minutes with Graffiti Artist and founder of Aerosol Art Parks Caleb Aero
Interview with the awesome couple responsible for Centre-Fuge, and the transformation of a construction site into a street art gallery coming soon! In the mean time visit the site on 1rst street x 1rst avenue in the East Village, they are debuting Cycle 2 on March 12th.
Fresh off a plane, and back in San Francisco after a month in Port-au-Prince, Mike Zuckerman talked to me about how he organized a community around a memorial wall going up in Cité Soleil where he was an outsider, a blanc, and a foreigner.
Originally from Palo Alto, CA and raised in Long Island, Mike’s eclectic career (corporate world to green night clubs to photographer/community organizer) has led him to fascination with the 3rdSpace (a term invented by Ray Oldenburg). Mike describes the 3rdSpace as the place people spend their free time (as opposed to home or work time) and ultimately where they build community. This led him to an interest in public art, specifically how to transform public spaces into 3rdSpaces. He also got an unexpected lesson in the importance of flexibility, but I’ll let him speak for himself.
ArtRoots: How did you end up working in Port-au-Prince?
Mike Zuckerman: I wanted to help out, but not just in a give money sort of way. So I hooked up with Haiti Communitere. They pick you up from the airport, provide clean water, toilets and a safe place to sleep. Then you can work on anything you want.
AR: How did you start working with in Cité Soleil, a community where you were a complete outsider?
MZ: Cite Soleil is widely considered one of the worst slums in all of the western hemisphere. There are 300,000 people living in extreme poverty with little access to power, plumbing, and municipal services like trash removal. It is also considered very dangerous so has not had much aid or relief from NGOs and the UN. Many Haitian will not even go there, it was even difficult to get rides there as one driver told us “it is better to live than to die”. Because there has been little outside assistance, the residents have taken matters into their own hands and have launched Konbit Soley Leve (Rising Sun Collective), a local community organization. They started with cleaning the streets, painting the walls with art and are now adding agriculture. From my last trip I knew Sabina Carson, a Blanc (a white girl) who lives in Cité Soleil and is part of Konbit Soley Leve. She let me know that the community was planning a memorial mural for the two year anniversary of the earthquake.
Whenever working as an outsider it is best to assist locals achieve their own goals. I call it the “art of intervention”. It’s about creating a forum and participating in what people are already doing and help them create it. In Uganda this was soccer during the World Cup. In Cité Soleil it was meeting with local leaders. They wanted to create a mixed media instillation so adding wheat-pasting to graffiti was what we came up with together. I brought 30 large black and white photos from my last trip that were printed by JR’s Inside Out Project in New York. They liked the photos, but wanted to make sure the mural represented Cite Soleil so I had to take new photos and figure out how to print them in country. It was community driven and the outcome looks very Haitian.
AR: Part of what you did was build a social network, right?
MZ: Yeah, well bringing people together to enhance the community. The plan was to build a collaboration for the mural with Haitian street artists Jerry and Snake and my photographs. Although Jerry’s work is iconic and all over Port-au-Prince, he had never done any graffiti in Cite Soleil because he didn’t know anyone to get permission from and it would not be safe to go in uninvited. Snake is an up and coming graffiti artist that has been tirelessly working to fill the walls of Cite Soleil with art and positive messages. They had never met each other until the morning of the install. Snake was so excited to finally meet his hero Jerry that he took a photo with him and sent his friend to go print it out for his house. Jerry is now acting as a mentor to Snake. Later in the week I introduced Jerry to JR (2011 TED Prize winner) who is an internationally renowned street artist, and like Snake was enamored with Jerry, Jerry was enamored with JR.
We ended up using the black and white pictures of faces and the collapsed National Cathedral with graffiti. And we brought places that kids in Cité Soleil don’t get to see (like the Cathedral) to them. There were already some undesired tags on the wall so we positioned the photos to cover them up.
AR: What were your goals at the outset of the project?
MZ: The original goal was to bring JR’s Inside Out Project to Haiti to spread art and bring back some international attention to the situation in Haiti despite it being out of the news cycle with so many other natural disasters occurring lately. We planned out trip to coincide with the 2-year anniversary of the quake. Although we put up 40 posters around Haiti, this mural in Cite Soleil became the major focus of our trip.
Konbit Soley Leve is honestly one of the most incredible, inspiring communities I have ever encountered. The goal now is to help tell the story of this group of people faced with a reality few of us could imagine who are progressing faster than communities who are being given millions of dollars in aid. It is proof that with strong community you can do anything. Cite Soliel has some of the cleanest streets in all of Port au Prince. I believe that here in lies an example for not just the rest of Haiti, but for the World.
AR: What type of lasting effects did the project have?
MZ: The mural is on a wall next to a park that was a tent city since the quake. I think it helped turn this site into a 3rdSpace. It has recently been cleared and reclaimed as public space for kids to play, church to be held and community to be cultivated. There was a balloon launch ceremony here at the very moment the earth shook and took between 200,000 and 300,000 lives in an instant. It is important to commemorate those who were lost, but also equally important to lay the foundation for a brighter future. Jerry has continued to work with Snake and bring his unique style to Cite Soleil. They learned how to wheat-paste and I expect to see more of these popping up around Port-au-Prince.
AR: How many people in the community participated?
MZ: Well beyond the Konbit Soley Leve meetings, the installation was an event. We had maybe 6 or 7 people putting it up, and a few more holding ladders, and before that people came to clean the street,
AR: Okay, last question!
MZ: I sold 8 1/2 x 11 glossy print outs of the pictures for 20-150 dollars each, and the money sponsored each of them turning into a poster in Port-au-Prince. When the poster went up I tagged the sponsor on Facebook in a picture of the poster they sponsored. I didn’t raise enough to cover the whole trip, but it covered printing and installation of the work. I have been commissioned to install some additional large scale wheat-pastings in America and I have pledged to allocate 10% of any money I earn doing commercial installations towards future community driven ones.
Recommended Reading: Street Art Cookbook