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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

The Simple Optical Illusion That Makes an Image Look Like It's Drawing Itself

Artist James Nolan Gandy invents robot arms that sketch intricate mathematical shapes with pen and paper. When viewed in real time, the effect is impressive. But it becomes even more so when the videos are sped up in a timelapse. If you look closely in the video below, the illustration appears to materialize faster than the robot can put the design to paper. Gizmodo recently explained how the illusion works to make it look like parts of the sketch are forming before the machine has time to draw them.

The optical illusion isn’t an example of tricky image editing: It’s the result of something called the wagon wheel effect. You can observe this in a car wheel accelerating down the highway or in propeller blades lifting up a helicopter. If an object makes enough rotations per second, it can appear to slow down, move backwards, or even stand still.

This is especially apparent on film. Every “moving image” we see on a screen is an illusion caused by the brain filling in the gaps between a sequence of still images. In the case of the timelapse video below, the camera captured the right amount of images, in the right order, to depict the pen as moving more slowly than it did in real life. But unlike the pen, the drawing formed throughout the video isn't subject to the wagon-wheel effect, so it still appears to move at full speed. This difference makes it look like the sketch is drawing itself, no pen required.

Gandy frequently shares behind-the-scenes videos of his mechanical art on his Instagram page. You can check out some of his non-timelapse clips like the one below to better understand how his machines work, then visit his website to browse and purchase the art made by his 'bots.

And if you think his stuff is impressive, make sure to explore some of the incredible art robots have made in the past.

[h/t Gizmodo]

Tessa Angus
Surprising Sculptures Made From Fallen Feathers
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Kate MccGwire, Orchis, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire is a British sculptor with an unusual medium: feathers. Her surreal, undulating works often take the form of installations—the feathers spilling out of a drain, a stove, a crypt wall—or stand-alone sculptures in which antique bell jars, cabinets, or trunks contain otherworldly shapes.

MccGwire developed her obsession with feathers after moving to a studio barge on the Thames in 2006, as she explains in a video from recently spotlighted by Boing Boing. The barge was near a large shed full of feral pigeons, whose feathers she would spot on her way to work. "I started picking them up and laying them out, collecting them," she remembers. "And after about two weeks I had like 300 feathers." At the time, concerns about bird flu were rife, which made the feathers seem "dangerous as well as beautiful."

When not supplied by her own next-door menagerie, the feathers for her artwork come from a network of racing pigeon societies all over the UK, who send her envelopes full every time the birds molt. Farmers and gamekeepers also send her fallen feathers from birds such as magpies, pheasants, and roosters.

The cultural associations around birds are a big part of what inspires MccGwire. “The dove is the symbol of peace, purity, and fertility," she told ArtNews in 2013, "but it’s exactly the same species as a pigeon—which everyone regards as being dirty, foul, a pest.”

The same duality is present in her own work, which she frequently shares on her Instagram account. “I want to seduce by what I do—but revolt in equal measure. It’s really important to me that you’ve got that rejection of things you think you know for sure.”

You can see some pictures of MccGwire's work, and watch the video from, below.

Kate MccGwire's installation "Evacuate"
Evacuate, 2010
J Wilde

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Convolous"
Convolous, 2015
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's installation "Gyre"
Gyre, 2012
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Gag"
Gag, 2009
JP Bland

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Writhe"
Writhe, 2010
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Quell"
Quell, 2011
Tessa Angus

Kate MccGwire's sculpture "Taunt"
Taunt, 2012
Tessa Angus


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