Since Art Alley's low point some short two years ago, we have seen a lot of improvements. Recall that we promised the building owners that we would create a positive culture in and around Art Alley in return for their continued permission to use their buildings as the canvass for our art. One of the most promising aspects of this is the small, but ever growing, Art Alley Leadership Group.
Recently a small group of that group spent a great deal of time downtown cleaning up tags that were thoughtlessly (and illegally) put on buildings, poles, mailboxes, garbage bins etc. contrary to our promise. Thanks to everyone involved in this effort.
The question everyone who paints in, or just enjoys Art Alley, needs to ask themselves is this: Am I pulling my own weight? If you participate in Art Alley but do not contain your art to Art Alley and go rogue, and someone else has to clean it up for you to make good on our collective promise to the building owners and Rapid City, you are not pulling your weight and that's not cool.
As promised, below is the link to Grand Rapids, MI. based band The Outer Vibe's new music video "like A Diamond", filmed in Art Alley and the Badlands...
We wanted to open up some dialog about an incident that happened in Art Alley last week.
Although we encourage everyone at every skill level to experience Art Alley as a tool for creative exploration, we recognize that this space exists because it adds a certain value to downtown, and our community. Sometimes it is tough to balance the two and find where to draw the line.
...other times, it really isn't that difficult.
Granted, neither of these images will appeal to EVERYONE, but there are two distinct differences that separate them. EFFORT and CLEVERNESS OF MESSAGE.
We decided to take the opportunity to open public dialog and bring up the question of how expression is maximized, and we took it directly to the place where the question was raised in our minds. We first buffed the vandalized piece (mostly because of the amount of obscenities that were involved) and then we posted these three bills in its place...
What are your thoughts?
Click HERE or on the image to see The Outer Vibe's new video filmed partially in Art Alley!
At the Art Alley Artist Guild's usual Friday morning coffee at The Factory we were discussing art and how art relates to life - as we usually do - and the word "uppity" was used in regards to art. A lot of times art becomes uppity. Is it supposed to be uppity?
Art Alley seems anything buy uppity, but I can easily see it becoming uppity. When I think of bohemian street artists I always think of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat was essentially a homeless teenage drug addict running with the SAMO crew in Lower Manhattan during the late 1970's who couldn't hardly give away his paintings - much less sell them - but then he met Warhol. Warhol made his art "Uppity" and the world changed for him. The last Basquiat I saw sold went for $14.9 million at auction.
Is art uppity? Should it be? Does it get better or worse when it becomes uppity? It becomes worth a lot more money when it becomes uppity. Is it better when it becomes worth more money or is it still exactly the same?
So much happens in Art Alley every week.. It occurred to the Art Alley Artists' Guild that it would be great if the community had an opportunity to get a recap of these things, whether it be a traveling artist who creates a new mural, or the goals and topics that we discuss at our Friday coffee and conversations. Here is the recap for this week. Let us know what you think!
Tuesday, 9/15/14- Art Alley Artists' Guild OPEN PAINT SESSIONS
Art Alley Artists' Guild hosts Open Paint Sessions every third Tuesday of the month. This week Rapid City Public Library brought their teen advisory program down to participate.
Thursday, 9/18/14- The Rapid City Arts Council brought a class from Wyoming's Sundance High School down to Art Alley for a tour. The class was amazed at the variety of work they saw.
Friday, 9/19/14- Art Alley Artists' Guild 8am "Coffee and Conversations" at the Factory Salon. Open to the public. Anyone interested in Art Alley is encouraged to come join in the conversation!
Here is what was discussed.
-Featuring guild member profiles on the blog so people can get to know the people behind the scenes in the alley.
-ways to get artists involved from more genres of art/ welcoming back artists that feel displaced in the alley through collaborative projects.
-we took a look at the generation of local graffiti artists coming up in place of the former generation, and evaluated our mentorship of them.
We will continue to share these weekly happenings, and encourage you to share with us. We feel it is important to document all the amazing things that happen here, and hope you will help us identify and document these things as well, as all things in this space are so temporary.
A new mural that was started on Sunday night (9/14/14) and completed by the next morning has gone nationally viral in a matter of hours. News of the "Protect The Sacred" mural from honorthetreaties.org is being spread around the internet like wildfire.
The artists responsible for the mural kept a low profile, quietly arriving in town, completing the mural, and then disappearing.
Both nationally recognized muralists, Seattle, WA.-based Cheyenne Randall, and Sante Fe, New Mexico-based Jaque Fraqua teamed up to bring this stunning and massive mural to life in just one night. It is believed that at least one of the two artists, Cheyenne Randall was here last year, and created a smaller mural for the group "Honor The Treaties". Part of that mural, a picture of Chief Oliver Red Cloud, seen in the left in the top right corner of the new mural was left in tact.
Pictures of the mural have already been passed around on social media thousands of times receiving great acclaim in just a matter of hours.
Interestingly, the image of the woman at the center of the piece was also used in a poster for a Unity concert that took place in Piedmont this weekend presented by the Paha Sapa Unity Alliance, Uplift, and the Center for Sacred Studies.
One of the most common complaints I hear from fans - and even those who are not fans - of Art Alley has to do with the random tags/scrawls/lettering that is less about art and more about someone having a can of spray paint or a marker in
the one place he or she can use it on a building without getting in trouble. While I don't necessarily encourage this, it is a critical part of Art Alley's rejuvenation process.
The "Wall Scrawl" - as I call it - takes various forms. Sure, occasionally it is done with malice, but more often it is simply someone having fun and lacking situational awareness of where they are placing their mark. I've even seen parents bring their little kids to The Alley with a can of spray paint for some good old 21st Century fun, Rapid City style. No one expects little kids having fun to produce a great mural or even really notice where they are having their fun, but there isn't anyone - and I mean no one person - who doesn't want families to involve themselves having fun in Art Alley simply because they don't have the skill sets, time and materials some of the other artists do. Art Alley is for everyone.
In the end, whether it be malice, lack of situational awareness or simply exuberance the end result is the same, Wall Scrawl. But that is why it is necessary. If the art in Art Alley did not eventually become "tagged" over with wall scrawl (or whatever), it would get to a certain point and then stay the same, and that is not what Art Alley is all about. Art Alley is about constant change. The wall scrawl serves the purpose of creating "art erosion" so to speak, so that something great can take its place. Further,
I think the most important places for Wall Scrawl to eventually show up is on the best work, because if it didn't the best pieces and murals would never change. A large part of what makes Art Alley so great is the way that it changes every day and Wall Scrawl helps make that happen.
Clockwise from top right: BRAVO, SIAMESE, MASE, NEVERLAND, and "S".
I think this is great. Tyler wrote this a little while back for the "Where the Wild Things Are" exhibit at The Dahl. Corporate America has truly stolen our hearts, minds, souls and our pocketbooks over the past decades. Tyler sums up how graffiti art is a way in which artists have worked to reclaim ourselves.
"Writing your name everywhere isn't art. It has no message, and no relevance"
Lego. Cap'n Crunch. G.I. Joe. Chef Boyardee. Nike. Sony. Heineken. Ralph Lauren. BMW. Rolex.
Growing up, it was drilled into us that everything we needed, everything that we valued, everything that would complete us had a name brand attached to it. The marketing for these things were stamped into every square inch of our psyche. It was on the television, in our music, and on billboards down every street. Every nook and cranny was filled with an ad telling us what we needed- what would make us whole. "All things in moderation" had come to pass generations ago, and the human spirit that was our beacon of light became lost and faded away into a desperate attempt to emulate a Ray Ban commercial.
Then a name appeared scrawled across the wall. The name had no price tag attached. It simply said "I'm still here". Then another appeared next to it, and it was large and colorful and it said "I'm here too and there's something special about me." More names appeared, and they became intricate and beautiful. They began to master the techniques of catching your attention even better than the ads that tried to drown them out. Ads of the people, celebrating their own
existence and it was good.
Our art and our names are a celebration of life. We are here. Our spirits blazing, more relevant than any version of life that anyone could sell us.
Today I heard a good story about Art Alley. One of the business owners was carrying a large, heavy garbage can out to the dumpster where she was going to dump it. A young person in the Alley helped her. That's it, no big deal, it didn't take but a minute, but this is what being a part of the Art Alley Artist's Guild is all about, making positive "deposits" into the building and business owners "Art Alley Accounts." If everyone found
one simple thing like this to do each day in Art Alley it would make all the
difference in the world! What deposits are you making in the Art Alley
As far as we want it to reach. The Guild is a mindset. The Guild is a movement and we can do anything we want to as “The Guild.” Art Alley says - no, indeed it commands - “Pay attention, we are the people, and we are speaking.” The Art Alley Artist Guild guides that narrative and you are a part of the Guild. What do you have to say today and where do you want it to go?
Art Alley Guild
The Art Alley Guild is committed to being a positive creative outlet, dedicated to the sustainability and accessibility of Art Alley through innovation and community engagement.