Au Revoir – I had fun

odd graffiti

Dear Odd Friends,

 

For the past four years art, music, design & food has been my life. What an amazing experience and incredible journey with great people. However the time has come for me to begin a new chapter in my life. As of the 1st of October I will no longer be the owner of oDD Café (but I will always be part of the oDD family).

 

oDD Café has accomplished SO much in the last four years, yes we’ve been open for FOUR years. We were the first café in the country to combine art , design, music and food. We are really proud of what we have accomplished, specifically on the music side of things in collaboration with Darryl Torr & Openroom, a sound studio on street level, something that has not been done or tried before in SA.

 

The amount of artists that have walked through our front doors and went on to make a big success of themselves is amazing. We have had emerging musicians, graphic artists, designers and supported small businesses by having pop-up stores. Artists such as  Conrad Bo, from the super stroke movement, Chad Farah & Sarah Britten have all exhibited with us. Beukes & Deleney, Carrie Wolf  and  Paper Plan City are just some of the music success stories.

 

We created one of the larger graffiti walls this side of Jozi and we have come full circle. We started out with Mars (Who tagged the balconies upstairs) and we ended with him doing a live graffiti show on Heritage Day.

 

We have been revolutionary, we have been controversial, we were very vocal about the Fankies issue with Woolworth, we supported the 1%. We donated to the twitter Blanket Drive and other charities. We SURE had a lot of fun in the process.

 

We have been voted as one of the top 10 music venues & one of the top 10 café’s in Jozi, and for that and all our other accolades we are thankful & humbled. We’ve loved what we did and we loved that you were a part of it. The friends of oDD Café have been phenomenal. I have learnt so much from you all and have had lots of fun. It is very sad that I need to leave, but I am excited about the legacy I leave behind for oDD Café. So this is not my goodbye but rather my au revoir, as you will still often see me sipping my soy cappuccino in one of the best spots in Greenside.

 

Until next time,

 

Christina Patricios

Greenside’s massive graffiti

Close up of graffiti detail

People moving through Greenside can’t help but noticed a massive piece of graffiti situated just above Shop 1 on 116 Greenway Street in that suburb famous for its side walk cafes, gourmet eating spots and creative retailers. The piece of street art which is causing people to stop and stare includes the messages “be yourself”; “life’s delicious” and “be different.” The graffiti stretches over a building and is some three stories tall.

 

“The age old question when it comes to graffiti goes something like is it vandalism or is it art?” asks Christina Patricios, founder of Odd Café. “This debate has raged in societies since graffiti became a permanent feature of our world and part of our popular culture. At Odd Café we believe that most graffiti is art. Obviously some defacing of public spaces isn’t wanted, but intentional street art that seeks to inspire, inform, entertain or make a social statement is completely different. That’s art that enriches us all.”

Patricios alludes to the likes of graffiti greats such as Banksy. “A huge amount of people revere Banksy’s work which has become famous because of the political and social statements he makes with his work, but what few people know is that he was born in Bristol and was part of the underground scene. His work was inspired by the British government’s approach to graffiti. In the nineties the UK government very much saw graffiti as vandalism, and mainstream society didn’t have an appreciation for street art.”

Odd Cafe's graffiti investment

Banksy started out as a free hand street artist but then graduated to doing stencil work, very much in the style pioneered by Frenchman Blek le Rat. Today Banksy’s art is sold by the likes of Christie’s of New York with pieces like “Fuck the police” fetching $229,000; “In the Event of a Divorce Cut Here” fetching $146,500 and the very well known “Love is in the air” realizing $46,850.

Odd Café is contributing to the growth and recognition of this art form locally and has invested in the three story high mural done by respected and emerging local graffiti artists. “We love design and art forms that intersect with popular culture and invested a considerable amount of money in creating a mural that covers the building Odd Café is housed in. We believe this will inject local culture into Greenside and could help people become more appreciative of graffiti as an art form,” says Patricios. “Just as Newtown is being beautified by street art we wanted to bring colour, debate and visual entertainment to Greenside.”

The three story high artwork was created by Mars and the DS Crew and took about four days to complete using some 100 cans of spray paint. “The brief was wide open which we appreciated because we find work that is wedded to branding or business overly confining and this can clash with the street art mandate, so it was important to us that we had huge freedom when doing this work,” says Mars.

Mars working on his art

“The building now sports cartoon characters, real characters and graffiti lettering which we mixed and mashed up to make it funky in keeping with Odd Café. We used purples, yellows, greens, flesh tones. When we were finished we had emptied about 100 cans of spray paint.”

Mars entered the world of graffiti when he was thirteen after seeing pictures of graffiti in an American hip hop culture magazine. “I practiced drawing some of the pictures on paper and before long my friend and I were out there painting pictures under bridges. I think I started a lot earlier than most people do,” says Mars.

What has driven Mars to mature as a graffiti artist is building a reputation. “You choose a name and try to make that name as big as you can. In the beginning that’s what it is all about. But as you mature you begin to compete with yourself and it’s all about becoming a better artist and pushing yourself further in terms of creating a legacy.”

The building featuring Greenside’s largest work of graffiti can be seen at 116 Greenway Street in Greenside Johannesburg, which is also home to Odd Café.

Souled Out Exhibition @ Odd Cafe

Exhibition Duration: 02.10.2010 – 10.10.2010

Address: oDD Cafe, Shop 1, 116 Greenway Street, Greenside, Johannesburg, South Africa

Photos by Derek Smith

Odd Café in Greenside will be hosting Souled Out; a graffiti-inspired exhibition. The exhibition will showcase a group of Johannesburg-based graffiti artists and illustrators/designers as well as live performances by local B boys and live drawing to be performed by the artists on exhibition. The opening is on Saturday 2 October 2010 from 09h00 to 19h00 with performances beginning at 17h00 at Odd Café, 116 Greenway Street, Greenside. For more information call Odd Café on +27(0)11 486 3631 or email info@oddcafe.co.za

ODD CAFÉ and EXHIBITION SPACE
Odd Café opened only a month ago in the creative hub of Greenside. Each month Odd Café will be hosting and exposing the talents of unique artists and designers and providing a platform for them to promote their work.

Photos by Derek Smith

The café is a postmodern dream (or nightmare) with its amazingly quirky décor, unusual and strangely delicious menu, great coffee and a downstairs exhibition space. The owner, Christine, aims to promote the spirit of “adaptive reuse”. She has reinvented materials, such as cargo palettes to suspend the light fittings or the sacks that contained the coffee beans to upholster the chairs and even somebody’s front gate has become an ornate banister. The walls have been etched into with humourous definitions of “Odd Taal” and the tables alone are a “feast for the eyes”. Her interest in graffiti lies in the way that the artists adapt their surroundings to transform and create art in the public sphere.

Souled Out is an exhibition that consists of artists all deeply rooted in traditional graffiti with a solid Hip Hop base. One might consider moving into a gallery space as selling out and, as far as galleries go, graffiti art is considered outsider art, better yet it should stay where it belongs – outside. This is why the artists have chosen to break down some boundaries and exhibit art inspired by the visual aesthetics of graffiti. And, let’s get real around here; even graffiti artists need to eat so take this unique opportunity to broaden your art collection with unique work created by artists, whose trade has become more widely seen than most art in galleries, yet entirely temporary in nature.

Photos by Derek Smith

If graffiti is what you want to see, you don’t have to go far to see their work. The façade of the building in which the exhibition takes place has been painted by the artists themselves. In keeping with the theme of “adaptive reuse” you can also check out a vintage Merc, just around the corner at the car dealership. Either way, this exhibition aims to bring “the outside” in and turn it inside out.
(Written by Juliet White)

THE ARTISTS
GROE uses spray paint on canvas to create what he describes as abstract wildstyle letter-forms based on his signature style. His letters aim to visually abstract and evolve to the point that they take on character,movement and emotion of their own. Although this is his trademark, the design and general form may change due to the nature of freestyle (improvised painting). Each work progresses in the way that Groe adds something unique and different by drawing on his immediate surroundings or state of mind.

MARS is a graffiti artist and designer and has used spray paint on canvas for this exhibition. The main focus of the work he created for this exhibition is abstract letterbased flowers. The concept of traditional still life subject matter, seen in any home combined with the usually controversial graffiti art seen outside on the streets creates a dynamic clash of genres. By taking both graffiti art and traditional flower painting out of their natural environments and remixing them, he has created what he describes as something classy with a bit of street cred.

NIC HOOPER is an illustrator, graffiti artist and motion designer. For this exhibition he has used skateboards as the surface for his creations. His passion lies in making interesting visuals. He has been in the motion design industry for the last two years, after studying multimedia design. Although this is the first time exhibiting work to the public, he has been doing graffiti for the last ten years and has been drawing his whole life. He says that as with most of the best things in life, it started just for fun and ended up engulfing his whole life. The self-proclaimed South African earthling also runs Shake Well Designs with artist, Tanner Peters.

TANNER PETERS has used mostly found objects and surfaces for this exhibition. He studied fine art, paints graffiti and currently runs the Johannesburg graffiti-based company, Shake Well Designs, in partnership with fellow artist Nic Hooper. His work has to do with the shapes, movement and flow of the genre and how they come together on a static surface. He explores these elements in other figurative images like animals or skulls. The curves and tapering of the horns are inspired by the linear flow and style of graffiti. He breaks down the graffiti style of drawing and applies the methods to other formats and visually appealing forms.