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Courtesy of Julien's Auctions
Courtesy of Julien's Auctions

9 Works You Can Own From Artsy’s First-Ever Street Art Auction

Courtesy of Julien's Auctions
Courtesy of Julien's Auctions

Once upon a time, street art and graffiti were regarded as lowbrow activities created under the cover of night by vandals. But a culture that was once vilified has since transformed into its own thriving sector of the art world, thanks largely to the Internet. Not only have artists like Banksy, Shepard Fairey, D*Face, KAWS, and FAILE become household names, they've had major shows at art museums, city-wide artist residencies, and taken part in auctions like the one that just launched over at Artsy, an online resource for all things art.

Artsy recently partnered with Julien’s Auctions to present “Street Art Now,” a curated collection of more than 30 works by some of the biggest names in street art, as well as a few artists who are following in their footsteps. “Utilizing data-driven insights that indicate market demand for an artist's work, we helped select a body of artwork that street art collectors around the world will be eager to add to their collections," Artsy’s collector relations director Rebecca Bronfein Raphael told mental_floss. The online auction is now live on Artsy and will run through February 21. Check out the list below for a glimpse at some of the great work that is up for grabs.

1. BANKSY // MORONS (WHITE & GOLD) (2006)

Estimate: $20,000 - $25,000

If you ask someone who knows nothing about street art to name a street artist, he or she will probably say "Banksy." The elusive British artist is known for his polarizing wall stencils which, thanks to their value to collectors, are now carved out of walls or protected with Plexiglas almost as fast as the anonymous artist can paint them. This signed, limited edition print is from an edition of 150, though Artsy says that contrary to the printed number, it is believed that only 50 were made.

2. RON ENGLISH // CAMO TRAMP BOY (2008)

Estimate: $800 - $1200

From pasting satirical messages on billboards in the 1980s and coining the term "POPaganda" to creating vinyl toys of his most popular works today, Ron English is the artist that street artists look up to. This silkscreen print is signed and numbered 18 out of 100.

3. DAMIEN HIRST // SKULL (2009)

Estimate: $3000 - $5000

Hirst is one of the wealthiest artists on Earth, and one with a self-confessed “obsession with death.” This acrylic spin painting is on a piece of paper cut in the shape of one of his signature skulls.

4. SHEPARD FAIREY // BILLY IDOL (2008)

Estimate: $6000 - $8000

One of five Fairey works in the auction, this 2008 print of rock musician Billy Idol is signed by both the artist and the subject and is number six of a very small series of eight.

5. MR. BRAINWASH // ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE (2010)

Estimate: $800 - $1200

The subject of Banksy’s 2010 documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, Mr. Brainwash—whose real name is Thierry Guetta—appropriates and alters pop culture imagery while “mischievously undermining the tone of the source material,” according to the auction listing. This print is from his Icon Series and features an image of John Lennon holding a teddy bear.

6. TAKASHI MURAKAMI // AND THEN WHEN THAT’S DONE… (RED) (2009) 

Estimate: $800 - $1000

Takashi Murakami has been called the "Japanese Andy Warhol" for his style and the way he approaches the culture and business of art. He's also a favorite of people like Pharrell and Kanye West, who have introduced his work to an entirely new fan base over the past decade. This offset lithograph is signed and numbered 195 of 300.

7. KAWS // DISSECTED COMPANION (2010) 

Estimate: $2000 - $3000

One of the artist’s many highly coveted figures, this Be@rbrick art toy stands 11 inches tall and is in mint, unopened condition.

8. FAILE // SURGERE SUPRA BESTIAS (BALLET DE FAILE SERIES) (2013)

Estimate: $1500 - $3000

In 2013, the Brooklyn-based art duo FAILE collaborated with the New York City Ballet on a two-part installation and Art Series performance. This 27-color screenprint was made to commemorate the collaboration.

9. BEN EINE // THE BIG BLACK CIRCUS A TO Z (2011) 

Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000

Created using spray paint and glitter, this large 59-by-59-inch canvas work features stylized typography from a series that the artist first painted on the walls of a street in London.

All images courtesy of Julien's Auctions

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The Getty Center, Surrounded By Wildfires, Will Leave Its Art Where It Is
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The wildfires sweeping through California have left countless homeowners and businesses scrambling as the blazes continue to grow out of control in various locations throughout the state. While art lovers worried when they heard that Los Angeles's Getty Center would be closing its doors this week, as the fires closed part of the 405 Freeway, there was a bit of good news. According to museum officials, the priceless works housed inside the famed Getty Center are said to be perfectly secure and won't need to be evacuated from the facility.

“The safest place for the art is right here at the Getty,” Ron Hartwig, the Getty’s vice president of communications, told the Los Angeles Times. According to its website, the museum was closed on December 5 and December 6 “to protect the collections from smoke from fires in the region,” but as of now, the art inside is staying put.

Though every museum has its own way of protecting the priceless works inside it, the Los Angeles Times notes that the Getty Center was constructed in such a way as to protect its contents from the very kind of emergency it's currently facing. The air throughout the gallery is filtered by a system that forces it out, rather than a filtration method which would bring air in. This system will keep the smoke and air pollutants from getting into the facility, and by closing the museum this week, the Getty is preventing the harmful air from entering the building through any open doors.

There is also a water tank at the facility that holds 1 million gallons in reserve for just such an occasion, and any brush on the property is routinely cleared away to prevent the likelihood of a fire spreading. The Getty Villa, a separate campus located in the Pacific Palisades off the Pacific Coast Highway, was also closed out of concern for air quality this week.

The museum is currently working with the police and fire departments in the area to determine the need for future closures and the evacuation of any personnel. So far, the fires have claimed more than 83,000 acres of land, leading to the evacuation of thousands of people and the temporary closure of I-405, which runs right alongside the Getty near Los Angeles’s Bel-Air neighborhood.

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This 77-Year-Old Artist Saves Money on Art Supplies by 'Painting' in Microsoft Excel
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It takes a lot of creativity to turn a blank canvas into an inspired work of art. Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi makes his pictures out of something that’s even more dull than a white page: an empty spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel.

When he retired, the 77-year-old Horiuchi, whose work was recently spotlighted by Great Big Story, decided he wanted to get into art. At the time, he was hesitant to spend money on painting supplies or even computer software, though, so he began experimenting with one of the programs that was already at his disposal.

Horiuchi's unique “painting” method shows that in the right hands, Excel’s graph-building features can be used to bring colorful landscapes to life. The tranquil ponds, dense forests, and blossoming flowers in his art are made by drawing shapes with the software's line tool, then adding shading with the bucket tool.

Since picking up the hobby in the 2000s, Horiuchi has been awarded multiple prizes for his creative work with Excel. Let that be inspiration for Microsoft loyalists who are still broken up about the death of Paint.

You can get a behind-the-scenes look at the artist's process in the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

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