281_Anti-Nuke Art Retrospective in Roppongi


Things are heating up again in Japanese politics. The House of Councillors election for the Japanese Diet’s upper house is expected to take place in July 21, 2013. As a result, it’s J-Politics all the time in the Japanese news cycle and until then, we won’t find out whether the ruling party, LDP, will have a firmer foothold.

Until then, you can get your fix of both art and politics at  281_Anti-Nuke’s exhibition at the Pink Cow bar in Roppongi, Japan.Tourists and Tokyoites may have seen 281′s work conspicuously stickered on public property throughout the city. Giant Robot did a brief entry on sighting on his designs last Fall. Since then, 281′s prominence has grown as more news outlets have reported on his work.

His art stands on its own, but his agenda is a bit bit clearer now that he’s agreed to a few interviews. His position on nuclear energy is a given. Most of this is an extension of his opposition to Japanese politicians in general who he feels carelessly put the country in harms way due to poor regulation of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants that underwent a meltdown after the Earthquake and Tsunami in March 11,2011. He agrees with critics who accuse the Japanese government and TEPCO of (unintentionally) ‘creating’ the nuclear disaster through their own corrupt mismanagement and incompetence. Hence why both ex-PM Yoshihiko Noda from the political ‘left’ and current PM Shinzo Abe from the ‘right’ are targets of his rage. They’re each a part of the establishment that enabled TEPCO to haphazardly play dice with the country’s future. It’s this political context thatt has led connoisseurs to deem him Japan’s ‘Banksy,’ an English graffiti artist who–like 281–operates anonymously.

Most of 281′s art is still visible on the streets of Shibuya, Shinjuku, and other parts of Tokyo. However, a lot of it has either faded or been defaced, so it’s more preferable to see his art in a more preserved state at The Pink Cow. Even if political activism is beneath or beyond you, you can at least act like you know.

The Pink Cow
5-5-1 Roppongi Roi Bulding B1F Minato-ku,
Tokyo 106-0032

For more information: visit


Chinese Graffiti on the Luxor

Sad times. Nothing is sacred. The Luxor gets allegedly tagged by a tourist. (Chinasmack – Chinese Graffiti)

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Street Art at Asian Museum

It’s street art and perhaps it’s all ok to do, I guess. This piece is by a group, UpsideUp and ask Museum Director Jay Xu who just said “go and paint our walls.” Hear that? Bay Area graffiti artists are notorious and strong. Aerosol on the walls? Maybe he didn’t want to say this.

Museum Director Jay Xu says: “It’s a great thing that our museum is in such a dynamic neighborhood that artists choose to use our wall as a canvas,” said museum director Jay Xu. “We will keep it there as long as it lasts.” (SFGate - Jay Xu)

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Tempt1 – Getting Up: The TEMPT ONE Story


Tempt1 or Tony used to work out of an office near GR years ago. While I can’t say I knew him in any kind of personal capacity except seeing him around and interviewing him one time, he’s now the subject of a documentary. It’s not exactly a happy tale since he’s now fighting ALS and can only move his eyes. The Eyewriter invention (something that was developed with Kickstarter funds) has changed his living quality. He can now draw and such with the movement of his eyes.

He once published a graf mag and I do recall him telling me how he chose to always look where no one else was looking in finding content. Of course, I do want to see this film and I hope it leads to more great things for him.

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Jeremy Lin Mural

Yes, with the dirt lined streets and the roll down door after roll down door, there’s space for murals. Here’s a Jeremy Lin one. (Animal NY – Jeremy Lin)

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Tribute to the Kid with the Red Backpack

He was beaten, bloodied, but still standing. David Choe made a tribute to the kid with the red backpack.


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17 Symbols Used by Chinese Thieves

Like hobos in America, thieves in China communicate with yet another form of writing, pictograms.

From (Chinasmack – Thieves)

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Hawaii HIFF Day 4

Robot tagging the trash. I like the two hearts and the idea that it’s in the line of the old Japanese robots.



I didn’t stay here, but the sign is great.


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Obama Fried Chicken

This has been online for a few days, and it’s still the only photo that we’ve seen of Obama’s Fried Chicken. Is it really a a chicken place, or just a cheap cloth banner art project? We don’t know and it seems like no one knows as it’s just this one photo circulating on the web. Maybe it’s Chinese graf doing it’s job. Why not shoot just a little lower and show more? Here today, gone tomorrow. But that would make a funny T shirt. Anyone?


Is this the best Obama they could find?!!



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Banksy Goes Back to the Future and Does Anti Japanese American Graffiti

Graf-prankster, Bansky. He kickstarted the Flux Capacitor, jumped in the Delorean with Marty and Doc and went back to the Pasadena, March 1945. He then busted out the stencils and paint and made a political statement that’s racist but thought provoking. Poor folks, they didn’t keep the piece, which is now worth multi millions of dollars.

The Paulings family were residents in Altadena, CA and merely hired a recently released Japanese American internee (concentration camp), to be a gardener. They were against Executive Order 9066, which basically put JA’s behind barbed wire and were outspoken about it. They made efforts to bring the graffiti perpetrators to justice but had no such support from the police or FBI. Their gardener, George H. Minaki was thought to have gone to war as part of the 442 Battalion, but no one is sure.

It is said that the graffiti artists were involved in a high speed chase fleeing the scene, but got away in their silver sedan when lightning struck the local clock tower at precisely 10:04pm. (Patch - Paulings)


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Shepard Fairey – Chicago

Best known in Chicago for his Barack Obama “Hope” poster in 2008, artist Shepard Fairey has left his mark on our lakefront.

Under Lake Shore Drive, at the Viaduct for Grand Ave. he created a 130 by 10 feet “Obey” mural featuring record album-like cover works.

As part of the Navy Pier Walk 2011 art exhibition, which is billed as the largest outdoor installation of its kind in the country (officially opens July 1), his work will remain up through October.

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Graffiti Expression Rebellion in Kabul

“Many walls in Kabul are already covered in advertising slogans or fly-posting. There are also rare political slogans.” Free expression and Afghanistan are not two things one normally might consider compatible. And as a continuation of that line of thinking, it is therefore not easy to envision Afghan youth sneaking around the streets and alleys of Kabul spray-painting slogans and anti-American-military phrases on the walls of homes and shops. But it is happening. It seems that teenagers and young adults in their 20s have taken inspiration and encouragement from British artist Banksy and anonymous western art group Combat Communications. As a result, in Kabul in the last 18 months an underground art scene has formed and grown, based largely on the desires of some Afghan youth to express their frustrations and concerns by painting graffiti and “editing” public advertisements and government signage. Pretty neat, and something to be encouraged in an historically oppressed and war-torn country like Afghanistan. Because maybe the way to true freedom and democracy in that country isn’t a gun, but a can of spray paint. (The Guardian UK – Afghan Graffiti Rebels)

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Update to Totoro Yarn Bomb

Here’s a link to the Hookedhands blog who created and put up the Totoro yarn bomb. Did you know yesterday was Yarn Bomb day? It’s International as well. International Yarn Bomb Day!

Well talked about especially during our Blithe Spirits art exhibition, was the Totoro Yarn Bomb. It’s Crocheted! We took a look at the blog, that were hanging in little strips of paper and saw this: “You can find my Totoro on Sawtelle Blvd between Olympic Blvd and Santa Monica Blvd.  He’ll be smiling down at all the Japanese food lovers and Giant Robot frequenters, spreading some neighborly love.” We thank Hookedhands for the shout and the neighborly love.


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Totoro – Sawtelle Street Art – Knitted!

Spotted and photographed by Sasha from Giant Robot at the corner of Sawtelle and Mississippi. Let’s see how long this stays there! Great work, Hayao Miyazaki would be proud.

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Hitotzuki – Continuum Opening Images Set

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Uglydoll Ox Graffiti?

As seen in West LA. No, that can’t be our friend David Horvath’s handiwork, but this looks like Uglydoll Ox. Eyes transposed, maybe the “artist” did some clever mirroring. I’d think doing an official, green OX electrical box would be the way to go. I’m just planting ideas.


Giant Robot Artist Friends Series – Hitotzuki – Kami and Sasu


Here’s a special video I cut about this artist duo. Kami and Sasu – known as Hitotzuki. I hope you like it. Special thanks to Goh Nakamura, folks at 72andSunny, and Ayako Fujitani.


Kami and Sasu – Continuum at 72andSunny Begins Tonite

Tucked away at a full scale PR and Marketing company, 72andSunny near LAX is a workspace and gallery who are hosting, the partner – husband + wife team, Kami and Sasu, also known as Hitotzuki. Hailing from Nakameguro, Tokyo the duo have painted numerous murals in Japan and have worked nearly two weeks on a signature wall piece which will stay “permanently”. Both with a cheerful and happy worth ethic, they brought their three year old son who plays in the space while they’re work on individual paintings which will be hung on their mural. I’ve interviewed Kami in the past for the cover of Giant Robot  #56 and also curated him in an exhibition into an exhibition at the Scion Art Space in Culver City. Insiders, Outsiders, and the Middle and it’s great that 72andSunny has picked up the “ball” and ran further with it by bringing his wife, Sasu to do a mural. I wanted to bring Sasu three years ago, but their son was a newborn at the time. The opening tonite is private, but maybe you can catch it down the road. To view the pieces
Please email [email protected]
The gallery will be open until June 26th
M-F 10-5

We have some Kami goods left at the GR store. Not a lot, but hard to get.


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Graffiti – Ba Le Sandwich Shop

Ba Le Sandwich Shop – Chicago

Ba Le 5014 N. Broadway

In the words of the great Ed Lin, C’mon, graffiti people! It’s bad enough that this thing is 5 ft tall, and is the first thing that you see as you go to get your Banh Mi, but do you really need to taunt us too? I know that you were once a beautiful blank canvas, but they don’t deserve this. They serve yummy and cheap sandwiches and even give you the 6th one free if you buy 5. They make cool funky looking desserts that beg to be eaten. They are a small hard working business, that is an asset to the neighborhood. I eat here all the time and feel bad for them. I’m tempted to turn this into positive advertising for them by re-tagging it…

now wouldn't this make you buy a banh mi or two?

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Street Market II – video tour MOCA – Art in the Streets


I shot this without the intention of turning it into a film, but I figure there’s so many of you out there who won’t be able to make it to MOCA – Art in the Streets. This is another way to see it. In my opinion the “Street Market II” is the best part of the entire exhibition. The three, Barry McGee, Todd James, and Steve Powers – TWIST, REAS, ESPO respectively, made an effort and succeeded in creating an actual environment, so I isolated it into it’s own video. No where else in the exhibition did I feel that I was being pushed into a very different space. Street Market? There definitely is a place that deserves such a name and it’s at MOCA. On a side note, when the first Street Market took place in Philadelphia, I was invited to go by Mr McGee himself. Perhaps I should have gone, but Todd James did say, “this is even better!” I may post more video from the rest of the exhibition, but again, this part is my favorite.

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