October 30, 2009

Albin Ray

Just came across the work of Albin Ray who was also at the recent BLK River Festival. It's refreshing to say the least to see someone working in the graffiti realm solely with legible text again.

I know, you are saying, 'hey what about readmorebooks, ripo, steve powers, or Mike Mills?' Sure, they are all amazing in their own right but there is a rad conceptual twist to Albin Ray that hints back to those beautiful early days of Samo tags in the east village.

Although Albin Ray says to be living between NYC and Vienna a majority of his work turns up in Bremen. Bremen, the same city that gives us Armsrock, Denis Vidinsky, Max Schaffer, and Gregor Gaida seems to be a rich street art city that leans heavily on its political and literate sensibilities.

Moving into the Scandinavian hinterlands of Bremen one confronts the work of Akay, Adams, and Tele who laid the foundation for conceptual, confrontational, poetic, and most important, legible work. These pioneers in street art used the public space for what most "street artist" claim to be doing... communicating to the public. Ironically, it seems like a majority of street art becomes insular in nature. Where once it began as a reclaiming of public space, now it is a refined language between street artists. This type of preaching to the choir is not necessarily a degrading factor but it is two-fold since it excludes some of the general public and tightens the aesthetical language of street art.

The other side of the coin is that as the aesthetic language of street art is further articulated, factions branch off and create their own dialects. Metaphor aside, we see this through the use of new materials and techniques (i.e. Aakash below or F.A.T. Lab with the Eye Writer).

So as we continue to move into the crazy world of capital "S" Street Art I'm excited to see the historical and traditional form of graffiti continue on in the work of Albin Ray.

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