Tuesday, May 29, 2007

budapest street art..these cats are serious

last summer--like every summer in the last 10 years--i went back to visit folks in my beloved hometown, budapest (hungary), and i was blown away by the omnipresence of large murals and graffitis on the city's crumbling walls...people like to experiment by combining old school graffiti styles with fine arts or graphic design elements...
i was in visual heavan as i was strolling around.

these are in a store called Poster Urban Outfit, in a courtyard near the Astoria, Múzeum krt 7.

this is on Kinizsi street, near the Ferenc krt stop on the blue subway line.

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these are part of the same wall

this is the bike storage room of the Szimpla Kert, a bar in the heart of downtown...i loved the decor in the place..."wild styles" feel combined with post-communist retro aesthetic in a decaying courtyard of a Hapsburg apartment building..a must see, because it won't be there forever..developers usually take over with little concern for the art..

here is another outdoor bar & cultural center, the Tüzraktér (an old communist style factory/apartment building)....local writers and artists just went crazy on this one...this place has a raw edge, though the crowd who daily attends the place is pretty benign...i doubt that an establishment like this could ever pass the safety code in the US though...

don't ask....

monkey harem...

Dali stencil in a unused sideroom

more stencil on the street (7th district)

777 is the magic number (new urban art& fashion event)

oh yeah, Boston is picking up on the urban art scene...though many (rightly) complain that not enough art events are happening in this city, our good friend Mayan Tamang (www.mayantamang.com) is making sure that it isn't the case...he is trying to prove that one can do a lot of great things with a genuine collaborative spirit and a whole lot of love! def gets my support for it... inspirational! my dear friends Problak, ninerevolutions, hRo, Kenji Nakayama and myself are going to show some new works along with others bringing some fresh independent clothing design, spoken word poetry, and badass b-boy skills...come check out the pre-party and definitely come to the main event on July 7th, 2007!

benefit auction in SF to support civilian war victims

combining art and humanitarian service is an ideal way for me to chanel my creativity into meaningful projects...last month, i donated this painting to this fantastic benefit show in San Francisco called Maverix-SketchCrawl Benefit Auction to Help Civilian War Victims.

the exhibition was held at Maverix-SketchCrawl Benefit Auction to Help Civilian War Victims Sunday May 20th, at Maverix Studios. Maverix Studios made the Auction of Total $10,387!!!! all the proceeds went to EMERGENCY USA, Life Support for Civilian War Victims. according to Emergency, in war-thorn countries 7% of victims are soldiers, 93% are civilians, 34% of victims of war are children. such extremely high percentage of collateral damage is the staple of modern warfare. Emergency is an organization that is building hospitals and bringing care and human rights in these countries (such as Sudan, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Erithrea).
check out some of the event pictures at the Maverix website.

..there should be more efforts like this..art can be used to heal in more than one way! thanks Sho for inviting me!

strangely, it was not the first time that Gino Strada, the founder of the organization, inspired me to do something for the greater good...
Five years ago, i saw a documentary about him, called" Jung (War) in the Land of the Mujaheddin" (2001), in which he goes to Afghanistan during the civil war (before 9/11) to establish a hospital there for civilian war victims...

the film is powerfully moving and it's equally disturbing... it certainly doesn't spare the audience from brutally painful images of human suffering (in one of the hospitals, one can see how doctors don't even have proper instruments to amputate, and how they are forced to operate with a rusty saw blade...not for the faint of heart)...
(For more about the film, check out reviews of indiewire.com and offoffoff.com

it was this film that inspired me to find the refugee camps in Hungary and volunteer for the refugees and for Cordelia, a Hungarian non-profit organization that provides psychological care for torture and severe trauma survivors...it inspired me to help specifically the Afghan community in Hungary and in the States with volunteer works..these projects had many fruits, in one of which i coordinated with Afghan Communicator to organize the first Afghan Art and Human Rights Film Festival here in Boston a few years ago. people who are not directly involved with current Afghan affairs are starting to forget about Afghanistan again, despite the fact that the security situation is progressively degenerating and the living-conditions are still extremely hard and inhumane for most people...there is so much to do, and there are so many little ways that one can make a difference...many people who want to help others think in grandiose plans but than they get discouraged...but helping even one person could save so many generations...saving even one life from total neglect and alienation, lifelong suffering and lack of opportunities is an incredible feat!

Nicola Conte live on A38

Nicola Conte is an Italian DJ/ producer known for introducing an innovative style of acid jazz that blends classic jazz with hot bossa nova grooves, smokey tracks from ‘60s and ‘70s Italian film scores, and world music themes. Conte, originally a classically-trained musician, is mastermind of Fez, a collective of Italian acid jazz revivalists centered in the Italian town of Bari. Conte has worked with musicians like the Intensive Jazz Sextet, the Paolo Achenza Trio, the Fez Combo, Balanco, Quintetto X, Greyboy, Eli Goulart, Yoshinori Sunahara, Trüby Trio, Re:Jazz, The Dining Rooms, Five Corners Quintet. His first album, Jet Sounds (2000) was distributed in the US by Thievery Corporation's Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) label a year later as Bossa Per Due. This was followed by the Jet Sounds Revisited remix album in late 2002 that featured groovy remixes by Kyoto Jazz massive, Koop, Thievery Corporation, Barbara De Dominicis, Les Gammas, and other heavy hitters in the nu-jazz downtempo scene. Two years later, Blue Note's French subsidiary released Conte's next album Other Directions.

I saw him last summer on two different occasion, once in CIELO (NYC) where he played an amazing DJ set, and a few months later in Budapest. He was playing live on A38 , one of Budapest’s floating concert venues (a converted Ukrainian stone carrier boat with an incredible view of the city)…It was one of the most memorable concerts I’ve been (only comparable to memories of seeing Mos Def, The Roots or Beth Gibbons of Portishead live…). Conte brought along with his band a beautiful, velvety-voiced chanteuse, reminiscent of Billie Holiday. Ahh, nothing's like live music!

i just made myself even busier...

not that i weren't already involved in way too many parallel projects, to add to the piles of to-do lists, i decided to start a blog...i just realized that i have so many incredibly interesting and talented friends, and i really wanted to know about how they came to discover the way to realize their creativity, what projects they were working on now, and everything else in between...and i also wanted to share these conversations...these guys are gems and beauty has to be shared....i also wanted to make some space for my own daydreams, random thoughts and reflections...maybe to catch that ephemeral chain of thought that would occur as i would look at a letter on the wall, that would set off a random pattern of images and associations, to come up at the end of the thought circle with a beautiful face that i would try to remember and attempt to draw later from memory...maybe it is to create a flowing stream of memory...i'll let it flow