July, 2010

The Gemeos rocking the “Viva La Revolución” Exhibition of the Museum of Contemporary Art of San Diego that runs until January 2011. Fellow artists Shepard Fairey and JR tak about their work and the exhibition here.

Photos courtesy the Gemeos blog on 12OzProphet.

July 17th, 2010

Happy Birthday Vaughn Bodé

I first heard of Vaughn Bodé thanks to my school friend TK aka SnatchOneskiRocker an original all round B Boy, graffiti writer, DJ and breaker who now works in music. In 1989 TK painted this fantastic lizard at the 3 Corners Hall of Fame in London.

Starting with artists like Seen and Dondi in New York, writers have been reproducing Vaughn’s characters on trains and walls the world over since the 1970s. His vast body of work can be found in books with names like Deadbone Erotica and Junkwaffel populated by characters like Harry in the Amber Block and Cheech Wizard. His remarkable cartoons are crude, philosophical, grotesque, beautiful, sad, mean and often very funny.

The Bodé legacy is looked after by tatooist and cartoonist Mark Bodé – just 12 years old when his father passed away on July 18 1975 at the age of 33.

See my light come shining brightly is a moving account of Vaughn’s life by Bob Levin.

Vaughn Bodé, Happy Birthday to you, wherever and everywhere you are.

All images copyright Bodé. Photo of Snatch character copyright Toby Howell.

Zooks and out.


Watch the skies because Tropa de Elite 2 is coming! This is the sequel to José Padilha’s Elite Squad, one of the highest grossing and most controversial Brazilian films to date. Tropa 2 picks up on the story in the present. Anti-hero Capitão Nascimento has left the BOPE and is now working for the government in the state public security secretariat, where he becomes involved in investigating the armed groups called milícias (militias) that have been growing in power of the west of Rio since 2005. Hopefully the film will reveal some of the high level corruption that sustains violence in Rio. Militias control whole neighbourhoods and put rest to the misconception that violence in the city is purely the result of favela based gangs. A new character in the film, a state deputy and human rights activist, is based on real-life head of the Rio state human rights commission, Marcelo Freixo, and his work in unmasking some of the big political players behind militias and organised crime including the city’s former police chief. Marcelo is the target of death threats and only travels around Rio with police protection and a bullet proof car. Although he can’t even enter most of the west of the city, he is standing for election again in October. Let’s hope he gets elected again. Tropa 2 will be released in Brazil on 8th October.

July 1st, 2010

Rammellzee (1960-2010)

“…The letters are weapons. Instead of Orson Welles stating that the books will be burnt, the books will stay there. The letters have left the page, and once it went up then they had better be ready to fly. It was our competition, called the burners, that made those letters get so bad, so dope, so illuminating them bastards actually ended up with wings…”

The flamboyant and mysterious sculptor, graffiti writer, art theorist and MC, Rammellzee, passed away in Queens, New York on 27 June. Like many, he began his career by writing his name on the trains and walls of New York in the 70s. He went onto become an MC, and is featured on the microphone here at the grand finale of Charlie Ahearn’s film Wild Style. Rammellzee progressed to sculpture and performance art, taking on a complex and intriguing persona who camouflaged himself just as the graffiti writers camouflaged their work. Read his New York Times obituary here.

Here he describes the evolution of graffiti in an outake from Style Wars by Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant: