Blek le Rat
Blek le Rat is a French graffiti artist. He was one of the first graffiti artists in Paris, has been described as the "Father of stencil graffiti". Xavier Prou was born on 15 November 1951 in Boulogne-Billancourt in the western suburbs of Paris. Blek began his artwork in 1981, he described the rat as "the only free animal in the city", one which "spreads the plague everywhere, just like street art". His name originates from the comic book Blek le Roc, using "rat" as an anagram for "art". Influenced by the early graffiti-art of New York City after a visit in 1971, he chose a style which he felt better suited Paris, due to the differing architecture of the two cities, he recognised the influence of Canadian artist Richard Hambleton, who painted large-scale human figures in the 1980s. In 1985, he was on the first meeting of the graffiti and urban art movement in Bondy, on the VLP's initiative, with Speedy Graphito, Kim Prisu, Miss Tic, SP 38, Epsylon Point, Jef Aérosol, Futura 2000, Nuklé-Art, Banlieue-Banlieue.
Blek's oldest preserved street art graffito, a 1991 replica of Caravaggio's Madonna di Loreta, which he dedicated to his future wife Sybille, was rediscovered behind posters on a house wall in Leipzig, Germany, in 2012. French authorities identified Blek in 1991 when he was arrested while stencilling a replica of Caravaggio's Madonna and Child, with the connection to Blek and his artwork being made by police. From that point on, he has worked with pre-stenciled posters, citing the speedier application of the medium to walls, as well as lessened punishment should he be caught in the act, he has had a great influence on today's graffiti-art and "guerilla-art" movements, the main motivation of his work being social consciousness and the desire to bring art to the people. Many of his pieces are pictorials of solitary individuals in opposition to larger, oppressive groups. In 2006 he began his series of images representing the homeless, which depict them standing, sitting, or lying on sidewalks, in attempts to bring attention to what he views as a global problem.
British graffiti artist Banksy has acknowledged Blek's influence stating "every time I think I've painted something original, I find out that Blek le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier." The two have expressed mutual desire for collaboration. Blek le Rat disagreed with those who claim Banksy has copied his work: "People say he copies me, but I don't think so. I'm the old man, he's the new kid, if I'm an inspiration to an artist that good, I love it. I feel what he is doing in London is similar to the rock movement in the Sixties." More however, in the documentary Graffiti Wars, Blek took a different tone, stating, "When I see Banksy making a man with a child or Banksy making rats, of course I see where he takes the idea. I do feel angry; when you're an artist you use your own techniques. It's difficult to find a technique and style in art so when you have a style and you see someone else is taking it and reproducing it, you don't like that. I'm not sure about his integrity. Maybe he has to show his face now and show what kind of guy he is."
In October 2006, Blek le Rat had his first solo U. K. exhibition in London at the Leonard Street Gallery. He participated in the Cans Festival in 2008, which featured outdoor street stencil painting in Waterloo, London by many of street art's biggest names, his American gallery debut took place at Subliminal Projects Gallery in Los Angeles in 2008. It included paintings and three-dimensional artwork, as well as photography from his wife, Sybille Prou. Blek had an exhibition in December 2009 at the Metro Gallery in Melbourne, a centre of street art in Australia; the exhibition entitled "Le Ciel Est Bleu, La Vie Est Belle", featured wooden panels, screen-print, photographs, tracing the artist's oeuvre from the early 1980s to the present. Blek le Rat has nonetheless expressed preference for the streets over galleries, stating the integrity of an artist is to be seen by as many people as possible, not being sold or recognized in a museum. In 2014, Blek le Rat exhibited 3 large-scale original paintings and an edition of 25 unique monotypes with lithography in a setting that bridges these traditional spaces—the Quin hotel in New York City—as part of the hotel's Quin Arts program.
The artist created the lithographs at the New York Academy of Art during his tenure as artist in residence at the Quin hotel. Collectively entitled "Escaping Paris," the exhibit was curated by DK Johnston of The Arts Fund; the Quin's permanent collection includes Blek le Rat's "Love America" on the 14th floor and loaned works the "Great Wedding" on the second floor, "What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen" in the boardroom, "Tango" in the lobby. Most Blek le Rat commemorated this collaboration on the Quin's façade with an image of Andy Warhol. Banksy Shepard Fairey King Robbo List of urban artists Street art Stencil Graffiti by Tristan Manco. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0500283424 Blek le Rat – Getting Through the Walls by Sybille Prou and King Adz. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-28735-4 "BLEK LE RAT – 30 Years. Art Publishing Limited. Essays by Jonathan LeVine, Jonathan LeVine Gallery, Jeffrey T. Iverson, Time Magazine, Carol Kino, culture critic and regular contributor to the New York Times, Russell Howze, author of "Stencil Nation: Graffiti and Art, Carolo McCormick, culture critic and senior editor of Paper Magazine, Waldemar Januszczak, Britain's most distinguished art
Old master print
An old master print is a work of art produced by a printing process within the Western tradition. The term remains current in the art trade, there is no easy alternative in English to distinguish the works of "fine art" produced in printmaking from the vast range of decorative and popular prints that grew alongside the artistic print from the 15th century onwards. Fifteenth-century prints are sufficiently rare that they are classed as old master prints if they are of crude or workmanlike artistic quality. A date of about 1830 is taken as marking the end of the period whose prints are covered by this term; the main techniques used, in order of their introduction, are woodcut, etching and aquatint, although there are others. Different techniques are combined in a single print. With rare exceptions printed on textiles, such as silk, or on vellum, old master prints are printed on paper; this article is concerned with the artistic and social aspects of the subject. Many great European artists, such as Albrecht Dürer and Francisco Goya, were dedicated printmakers.
In their own day, their international reputations came from their prints, which were spread far more than their paintings. Influences between artists were mainly transmitted beyond a single city by prints, for the same reason. Prints therefore are brought up in detailed analyses of individual paintings in art history. Today, thanks to colour photo reproductions, public galleries, their paintings are much better known, whilst their prints are only exhibited, for conservation reasons, but some museum print rooms allow visitors to see their collection, sometimes only by appointment, large museums now present great numbers of prints online in high-resolution enlargeable images. The oldest technique is woodcut, or woodblock printing, invented as a method for printing on cloth in China, separately in Egypt in the Byzantine period; this had reached Europe via the Byzantine or Islamic worlds before 1300, as a method of printing patterns on textiles. Paper arrived in Europe from China via Islamic Spain later, was being manufactured in Italy by the end of the thirteenth century, in Burgundy and Germany by the end of the fourteenth.
Religious images and playing cards are documented as being produced on paper printed, by a German in Bologna in 1395. However, the most impressive printed European images to survive from before 1400 are printed on cloth, for use as hangings on walls or furniture, including altars and lecterns; some were used as a pattern to embroider over. Some religious images were used as bandages; the earliest print images are of a high artistic standard, were designed by artists with a background in painting. Whether these artists cut the blocks themselves, or only inked the design on the block for another to carve, is not known. During the fifteenth century the number of prints produced increased as paper became available and cheaper, the average artistic level fell, so that by the second half of the century the typical woodcut is a crude image; the great majority of surviving 15th-century prints are religious, although these were the ones more to survive. Their makers were sometimes called "Jesus maker" or "saint-maker" in documents.
As with manuscript books, monastic institutions sometimes produced, sold, prints. No artists can be identified with specific woodcuts until towards the end of the century; the little evidence we have suggests that woodcut prints became common and cheap during the fifteenth century, were affordable by skilled workers in towns. For example, what may be the earliest surviving Italian print, the "Madonna of the Fire", was hanging by a nail to a wall in a small school in Forlì in 1428; the school caught fire, the crowd who gathered to watch saw the print carried up into the air by the fire, before falling down into the crowd. This was regarded as a miraculous escape and the print was carried to Forlì Cathedral, where it remains, since 1636 in a special chapel, displayed once a year. Like the majority of prints before 1460, only a single impression of this print has survived. Woodcut blocks are printed with light pressure, are capable of printing several thousand impressions, at this period some prints may well have been produced in that quantity.
Many prints were hand-coloured in watercolour. Italy, Germany and the Netherlands were the main areas of production; however prints are portable, were transported across Europe. A Venetian document of 1441 complains about cheap imports of playing cards damaging the local industry. Block-books were a popular form of book, where a page with both pictures and text was cut as a single woodcut, they were much cheaper than manuscript books, were produced in the Netherlands. As a relief technique woodcut can be printed together with movable type, after this invention arrived in Europe about 1450 printers came to include woodcuts in their books; some book owners pasted prints
Katagami or Ise-katagami is the Japanese craft of making paper stencils for dyeing textiles. It is designated one of the Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan; the art is traditionally centered on the city of Suzuka in Mie Prefecture. This is good for making a certain picture within your project, it is different from IseWashi. Multiple layers of thin washi paper are bonded with a glue extracted from persimmon, which makes a strong flexible brown coloured paper; the designs can be intricate, fragile. Nowadays the stencils are sometimes sold as artwork, attached to hand fans, or used to decorate screens and doors in Japanese rooms. For kimono printing the stencils are stabilized by attaching them to a fine silk net. In past times, human hair was used instead of silk, but silk is less to warp and can be finer. Three sheets of washi or Japanese paper are pasted together with kakishibu, tannin-rich persimmon juice; the pattern is excised using a variety of tools known as dōgu-bori. Four principal cutting techniques are used: Pulling the knife towards the artist, which results in long straight cuts.
Carving patterns, which allows for figurative designs. Cutting circular holes in fan-like designs Using shaped punches; the stencils are used for resist dyeing. Rice paste is passed through the stencil onto silk; when dyed, the color does not adhere to the areas with rice paste. By multiple alignments of the stencil, large areas can be patterned; this technique was developed in France as Silk screen printing. The stencil is not used for more than one kimono, though multiple stencils can be cut at the same time; the use of stencils was known by the Nara period. Paper stencils developed alongside the kimono, it is known as Ise-katagami since towns in Ise Province, now Mie Prefecture, were historic centres of the craft. Production is now localised around the town of Suzuka. Former practitioners Nakajima Hidekichi, Rokutani Baiken, Nanbu Yoshimatsu, Nakamura Yūjirō, Kodama Hiroshi, Jōnoguchi Mie were recognized as Living National Treasures; the Association for the Preservation of Ise-Katagami was founded in 1992.
Ise-katagami was designated an Important Intangible Cultural Property in 1993. The Ise-Katagami Stencil Museum in Suzuka opened in 1997; the Museum of Applied Arts Vienna has more than 8,000 Katagami in its collection, which inspired artists from the Wiener Werkstätte such as Josef Hoffmann, among others. In 2018 more than 600 Katagami with detailed data sheets were published in the online database of the MAK; the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, Middlesex University has around 400 Katagami which are part of the Silver Studio Collection. They were among the visual resources collected by Arthur Silver as inspiration for designs for wallpapers and textiles. Katazome Washi Important Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan National Treasures of Japan - Dyeing and Weaving Media related to Katagami at Wikimedia Commons Timeline
The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. Constructed by the German Democratic Republic, starting on 13 August 1961, the Wall cut off West Berlin from all of surrounding East Germany and East Berlin until government officials opened it in November 1989, its demolition began on 13 June 1990 and finished in 1992. The barrier included guard towers placed along large concrete walls, accompanied by a wide area that contained anti-vehicle trenches, "fakir beds" and other defenses; the Eastern Bloc portrayed the Wall as protecting its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the "will of the people" in building a socialist state in East Germany. GDR authorities referred to the Berlin Wall as the Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart; the West Berlin city government sometimes referred to it as the "Wall of Shame", a term coined by mayor Willy Brandt in reference to the Wall's restriction on freedom of movement. Along with the separate and much longer Inner German border, which demarcated the border between East and West Germany, it came to symbolize physically the "Iron Curtain" that separated Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War.
Before the Wall's erection, 3.5 million East Germans circumvented Eastern Bloc emigration restrictions and defected from the GDR, many by crossing over the border from East Berlin into West Berlin. Between 1961 and 1989 the Wall prevented all such emigration. During this period over 100,000 people attempted to escape and over 5,000 people succeeded in escaping over the Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200 in and around Berlin. In 1989 a series of revolutions in nearby Eastern Bloc countries—Poland and Hungary in particular—caused a chain reaction in East Germany that resulted in the demise of the Wall. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on 9 November 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the Wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, euphoric people and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the Wall.
The "fall of the Berlin Wall" paved the way for German reunification, which formally took place on 3 October 1990. After the end of World War II in Europe, what remained of pre-war Germany west of the Oder-Neisse line was divided into four occupation zones, each one controlled by one of the four occupying Allied powers: the United States, the United Kingdom and the Soviet Union; the capital of Berlin, as the seat of the Allied Control Council, was subdivided into four sectors despite the city's location, within the Soviet zone. Within two years, political divisions increased between the other occupying powers; these included the Soviets' refusal to agree to reconstruction plans making post-war Germany self-sufficient, to a detailed accounting of industrial plants and infrastructure - some of, removed by the Soviets. France, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Benelux countries met to combine the non-Soviet zones of Germany into one zone for reconstruction, to approve the extension of the Marshall Plan.
Following World War II, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin headed a group of nations on his Western border, the Eastern Bloc, that included Poland and Czechoslovakia, which he wished to maintain alongside a weakened Soviet-controlled Germany. As early as 1945, Stalin revealed to German communist leaders that he expected to undermine the British position within the British occupation zone, that the United States would withdraw within a year or two, that nothing would stand in the way of a united communist Germany within the bloc; the major task of the ruling communist party in the Soviet zone was to channel Soviet orders down to both the administrative apparatus and the other bloc parties, which in turn would be presented as internal measures. Property and industry was nationalized in the East German zone. If statements or decisions deviated from the described line and punishment would ensue, such as imprisonment and death. Indoctrination of Marxism-Leninism became a compulsory part of school curricula, sending professors and students fleeing to the West.
The East Germans created an elaborate political police apparatus that kept the population under close surveillance, including Soviet SMERSH secret police. In 1948, following disagreements regarding reconstruction and a new German currency, Stalin instituted the Berlin Blockade, preventing food and supplies from arriving in West Berlin; the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and several other countries began a massive "airlift", supplying West Berlin with food and other supplies. The Soviets mounted a public relations campaign against the Western policy change. Communists attempted to disrupt the elections of 1948, preceding large losses therein, while 300,000 Berliners demonstrated for the international airlift to continue. In May 1949, Stalin lifted the blockade; the German Democratic Republic was declared on 7 October 1949. By a secret treaty, the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs accorded the East Ge
Aerosol paint is a type of paint that comes in a sealed pressurized container and is released in an aerosol spray when depressing a valve button. A form of spray painting, aerosol paint leaves a smooth, evenly coated surface, unlike many traditional rolled or brushed paints. Standard sized cans are lightweight, portable and easy to store. Aerosol primer can be applied directly to many plastics. In 1949, Edward H. Seymour, of Sycamore, IL, added paint to existing spray can technology at his wife Bonnie's suggestion, it was designed to demonstrate an aluminum paint he developed. His patent was awarded in 1951. Most aerosol paints have a metal, glass or plastic ball called a pea inside of the can, used to mix the paint when the can is shaken. Acrylic-based craft primers and vinyl dye can be used on plastics like miniatures. Most brands include a wide variety of paints, including primers and traffic resistant enamels and matte finishes, metallic colors, textured paints for home decor. Aerosol paint is useful for semi-permanent marking on construction and surveying sites.
Inverted cans for street, utility or field marking can be used upside-down with an extension pole. APWA has standardized colors for excavation markings. Hiking trails can be marked with aerosol paint trail blazes. Small to medium-sized repairs to automobile bodywork can be completed by enthusiasts at home using aerosol paint, though to paint an entire vehicle in this manner would be difficult and expensive; the main disadvantages, compared to a professional spray gun, include the limited quality provided by the built-in nozzle and the lack of infrared baking after applying the paint, which indicates that the paint could take several months to obtain its final hardness. For a good finish it is essential to prepare the surface well, sanding to provide a key and degreasing with naptha. Areas not to be painted should be masked, although for repair work it is important to avoid spraying a full coat right up to the masking tape, which will leave a hard line; the flow of paint should be started or stopped on the masked area rather than over the area intended to be painted, as aerosols discharge "blobs" of paint under these conditions.
Coats should be built up enough to avoid runs, but a "dry" finish must be avoided by spraying too thinly or from too far away. The optimum distance between the can and workpiece is around one foot. Most automotive paints will require a clear lacquer after the color coat 24 hours later; the color coat should be well matted down with fine abrasive paper before applying the lacquer. There are a variety of tools to assist in the dispersal of paints including spray paint handles and attachments to equalize the pressure and secure hand grip. Other customized technology such as sprayprinter can be attached to aerosol cans to automate the process of spray painting and allow for images to be created in a manner similar to printing. Speed and permanence make aerosol paint a common graffiti medium. In the late 1970s, street graffiti writers' signatures and murals became more elaborate and a unique style developed as a factor of the aerosol medium and the speed required for illicit work. Many now recognize graffiti and street art as a unique art form and manufactured aerosol paints are made for the graffiti artist.
Graffiti artist paints tend to be more expensive, but have a wider selection of rich colors, are thicker and less to drip. They are produced in standard high pressure cans for fast, thick coverage and lower pressure cans for more control and flexibility. Most art brand paints have three mixing peas in a can. A wide array of actuators, or caps are available, from standard "skinny" caps to wider "fat" caps, as well as caps that control the softness or crispness of the spray. Calligraphy caps create fan spray instead of the standard round; when aerosol paint is used, care must be taken to mask areas where paint is not wanted. A stencil can be used to protect a surface except the specific shape, to be painted. Stencils can be purchased as movable letters, ordered as professionally cut logos, or hand-cut by artists. Stencils can be used multiple times for consistency. Official stencils can be used to and label objects, vehicles or locations. Graffiti writers can use stencils to mark in busy places or leave recognizable tags over a large area.
Stencil artists use multiple colors, or create elaborate stencils that are works of art in themselves. Unauthorized graffiti is considered to be vandalism in most jurisdictions because the work or display is done without permission of the property owner; the term'aerosol art' is used for displaying art form'with' permission of the property owner. The UK and many cities in the United States prohibit the sale of aerosol paint to minors as part of graffiti abatement programs. While major industrial and consumer aerosol paint companies like Krylon and Rust-Oleum participate in anti-graffiti programs, art-brand companies are supportive of writers and graffiti culture, though most do not endorse illegal writing. Like many household chemicals and aerosols, aerosol paint vapor and propellant can be misused as an inhalant. Graffiti Monstercolors Rust-Oleum Krylon Vanishing spray The Plain Man's Guide to Aerosols CAPCO is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing accurate information about aerosol products The Aerosol Products Division of the Consumer Specialty Products Association gives
Consumerism is a social and economic order that encourages the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts. With the industrial revolution, but in the 20th century, mass production led to an economic crisis: there was overproduction—the supply of goods would grow beyond consumer demand, so manufacturers turned to planned obsolescence and advertising to manipulate consumer spending. In 1899, a book on consumerism published by Thorstein Veblen, called The Theory of the Leisure Class, examined the widespread values and economic institutions emerging along with the widespread "leisure time" in the beginning of the 20th century. In it Veblen "views the activities and spending habits of this leisure class in terms of conspicuous and vicarious consumption and waste. Both are related to the display of status and not to functionality or usefulness."In economics, consumerism may refer to economic policies which emphasise consumption. In an abstract sense, it is the consideration that the free choice of consumers should orient the choice by manufacturers of what is produced and how, therefore orient the economic organization of a society.
In this sense, consumerism expresses the idea not of "one man, one voice", but of "one dollar, one voice", which may or may not reflect the contribution of people to society. In the complete absence of other sustained macro-political and social narratives—concern about global climate change notwithstanding—the pursuit of the'good life' through practices of what is known as'consumerism' has become one of the dominant global social forces, cutting across differences of religion, gender and nationality, it is the other side of the dominant ideology of market globalism and is central to what Manfred Steger calls the'global imaginary'. The term consumerism has several definitions; these definitions may not be related to each other and confusingly, they conflict with each other. One sense of the term relates to efforts to support consumers' interests. By the early 1970s it had become the accepted term for the field and began to be used in these ways:Consumerism is the concept that consumers should be informed decision makers in the marketplace.
In this sense consumerism is the study and practice of matching consumers with trustworthy information, such as product testing reports. Consumerism is the concept that the marketplace itself is responsible for ensuring social justice through fair economic practices. Consumer protection policies and laws compel manufacturers to make products safe. Consumerism refers to the field of regulating, or interacting with the marketplace; the consumer movement is the social movement which refers to all actions and all entities within the marketplace which give consideration to the consumer. While the above definitions were becoming established, other people began using the term consumerism to mean "high levels of consumption"; this definition has gained popularity since the 1970s and began to be used in these ways: Consumerism is the selfish and frivolous collecting of products, or economic materialism. In this sense consumerism is negative and in opposition to positive lifestyles of anti-consumerism and simple living.
Consumerism is a force from the marketplace which harms society. It is related to globalization and in protest against this some people promote the "anti-globalization movement". In a 1955 speech, John Bugas coined the term consumerism as a substitute for capitalism to better describe the American economy: The term consumerism would pin the tag where it belongs — on Mr. Consumer, the real boss and beneficiary of the American system, it would pull the rug right out from under our unfriendly critics who have blasted away so long and loud at capitalism. Somehow, I just can't picture them shouting: "Down with the consumers!" Bugas's definition aligned with Austrian economics founder Carl Menger's vision of consumer sovereignty, whereby consumer preferences and choices control the economy entirely. Vance Packard worked to change the meaning of the term consumerism from a positive word about consumer practices to a negative word meaning excessive materialism and waste; the ads for his 1960 book The Waste Makers prominently featured the word consumerism in a negative way.
The consumer society emerged in the late seventeenth century and intensified throughout the eighteenth century. While some claim that change was propelled by the growing middle-class who embraced new ideas about luxury consumption and about the growing importance of fashion as an arbiter for purchasing rather than necessity, many critics argue that consumerism was a political and economic necessity for the reproduction of capitalist competition for markets and profits, while others point to the increasing political strength of international working-class organizations during a rapid increase in technological productivity and decline in necessary scarcity as a catalyst to develop a consumer culture based on therapeutic entertainments, home-ownership and debt; the "middle-class" view argues that this revolution encompassed the growth in construction of vast country estates designed to cater for comfort and the increased availability of luxury goods aimed at a growing market. Such luxury goods included sugar, tobacco and coffee.
In particular, sugar consumption in Britain during the course of the 18th century increased by a factor of 20. Critics
Tavar Zawacki is an American abstract artist based in Berlin, Germany. For twenty years Tavar Zawacki created and signed all of his artworks with his street artist pseudonym,'ABOVE'. At the age of 19, Tavar bought a one way flight from California to Paris, bringing with him a backpack full of art supplies, all the money in his bank account, a'rise above your fears' approach to starting his art career. Starting in Paris in 2000, Tavar transitioned from painting traditional letter style graffiti of A-B-O-V-E, to his'Above arrow' icon that represented his optimistic mentality to'rise above fears and anything holding you back from your goals.' During a 20-year period the artworks of ABOVE could be seen in over 100 cities spanning 50 countries around the world. In January 2017, Tavar Zawacki decided to step out of his self-imposed shadow of anonymity, start creating, signing artworks with his real birth name - allowing more freedom of creative exploration, as well as liberation from the arrow icon he has associated himself with.
Tavar Zawacki's painting styles with his large scale mural works, as well as his indoor fine art are characterized by the use of hard-edge painting, color field, geometric abstraction, Op art, Trompe-l'oeil painting styles. Tavar Zawacki has been showcasing his work in galleries and creative institutions around the world since 2005. Tavar Zawacki was born in the foothills of Northern California in 1981 from two creative hippie parents who invented his name. Tavar was encouraged by both parents at a young age to express himself through art, music. At the age of 13 years old, Tavar was introduced to graffiti. Tavar stated'as a teenager I spent my time after school skateboarding, painting graffiti on trains at the train yard. I was magnetized towards skateboarding, graffiti because they were both D. I. Y. and independent ways of expressing myself.' At age fifteen, Tavar started spray painting the traditional letter style graffiti with his moniker'ABOVE' on freight trains in California. Four years Tavar changed from painting traditional letter graffiti to an arrow symbol that pointed'Above'.
Tavar credits an impactful, pivotal experience where a train he had painted with the letters A-B-O-V-E was leaving the train station and his name was illegible due to the increased speed of the departing train. Tavar realized that he needed to find a way for his artwork to connect and be recognized in a fraction of a second. In 2000, at the age of 19, Tavar moved from California to France. At that time Paris was home to street artists like Zevs, Stak and André Tavar and the other Parisian artists were part of a movement in street art, based on characters and logos. In 2003, Tavar returned from Paris to California where he introduced his hanging wooden'Arrow mobiles' from overhead wires. Tavar would proliferate this hanging process of his'arrow mobiles' for years to follow. In the summer of 2014, Tavar went on a self-titled "U. S. A. Tour", he drove 5,000 miles across the United States hanging 300 plus arrow mobiles in 14 major cities. It was during Zawacki's self-titled, U. S. A. tour that he introduced elements of word play by writing a word on both sides of the spinning arrows to suggest a dialog.
Zawacki has declined to respond to questions about how he is able to hang his mobiles so high, saying, "I value and respect that we all have imaginations and for me to interfere with what your imagination would be wrong." After finishing the U. S. A. tour the previous year, Tavar returned to Europe in 2005. When asked in an interview why he did not hang his arrow mobiles in Europe after his U. S. A. tour, he responded, "In the United States there are an infinite amount of overhead telephone wires and street cables. However I was unsure if the different European countries had many overhead wires like in the United States? I decided instead to make wooden arrow that were able to adhere to the sides of buildings, at elevated heights. During my travels around Europe I was able to in fact see that most of the countries I visited had overhead wires to support the future hanging of my arrow mobiles." Tavar visited 15 countries during his 4-month long European tour, installing around 500 of the larger wooden fabric arrows.
After returning to California, Tavar began planning a new tour which he titled the'Sign Language Tour'. By his own reports, Tavar counterfeited Eurail tickets for a six-month duration, spanning 26 countries around Europe. Tavar's'Sign Language Tour' focused exclusively on his word play sign language arrow mobiles. Tavar is quoted saying `. I found a lot of charm knowing that the arrow mobiles, once installed, are spinning around. To create a dialog I painted one word on each side of the arrow. Conceptually speaking, when the wind would spin the arrow mobile there would be a small word play dialog to anyone who looked at it." Tavar customized arrows to certain countries language such as French, Spanish German and Italian." In 2007, Tavar expanded from the word play of the previous year by painting larger word play murals on the exterior of building facades in South and Central America. He said in an interview " I wanted to return to painting letters, like the traditional graffiti I did when I was younger, but instead of painting my graffiti name, I wanted to paint word-based art, site specific and could be read and understood.
Tavar funded his'South Central Tour' by working as a waiter in a restaurant in Alaska for four months in spring 2007. His south central tour lasted six months, starting in October 2007 in Ri