"Blogging isn't journalism, it's graffiti with punctuation."

Laser314

Listen to “Spray It, Don’t Say It” – my latest Spoken Word performance

laser 3.14

A couple weeks ago I performed a Spoken Word piece at The Spoke, a live storytelling event here in Toronto, which I blogged about here. The organizers recorded the audio of my piece for their podcast, and you can now listen to it here below! It deals with street art, graffiti, heartbeats, heartbreak, mourning, healing, hope…all the good stuff. Enjoy!

My Soundcloud also has other audio clips from some of my previous Spoken Word performances, so please check it out!

brows

Don’t forget to check out the official Christine Estima dot com for more on my Spoken Word performances, my published articles, essays, short stories, and more!

 

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#Laser314: Her Brows Were All It Took


As many of you know, I’ve been photographing Laser 3.14‘s street art for well over a year now. I’ve blogged his work so much, that him and I have become friendly. Friendly enough that he even gave me the nickname “Brows” because of my infamous eyebrows (they really are the only reason people like me, let’s be honest). Every time I’m in Amsterdam, he let’s me know the locations of some of his latest works so I can go on a graff-hunt. Anyway, since I had recently been in-and-around the ‘dam for 3 weeks, he sent me on a hunt, and the above piece in question was found on the Vijzelgracht near the Weteringsplein.

I am forever humbled and obliged.

Here are some of his newest works to be found on the streets of my beloved Amsterdam.


The future is already haunting us


Children of the electric funk


Promises of heaven
Giving us hell


I peel off my skin
So I can reach the inner me


The drapes are drawn
Our bodies entangled
Intertwined
(This one is my favourite, obvi)


My favourite thing about this photograph is the shadow of the guy next to me who took a swig from his liquor bottle right as I snapped this photograph, and the shadow of him falls upon Laser’s work, giving it a level of potency, methinks.


Welcome to (my life). This was number 1.


This was number 2.


Versace never reassured me.
This was particularly potent because the street it was on had some pretty upmarket high street shops like Gucci and Ermenegildo Zegna.


The certainty of uncertainty

(this to me is like the flip side of the ol’ Death and Taxes saying)


It’s clear
It’s lucid
Just fine


Heed
the Vortex
Of bloodshed
And violence


Yours too? What are the odds!


She explodes
golden arches
Everywhere


She controls the knob
Or as I like to think of this one, “She stoops to conquer.” Har har.
Laser told me this one is actually around 3 or 4 years old, so we’re both shocked it’s still kicking around!

Check out my Laser 3.14 category so you can see all of his pieces that I’ve photographed in Amsterdam. And the next time you’re in the ‘dam, make sure you check out his work!


Laser 3.14’s graffiti-poetry hits Amsterdam again

Sorry for not blogging for almost 3 weeks! It’s been crazy around here. I went from Berlin, to Regensburg, to Amsterdam, and now I’m in Paris, where I will be situated for the next little while … ah, the life of resourceful nomad. Expect more photojaculations about all of these adventures!

Anyway, you, my little munchkins, might remember the last few times I have blogged about Laser 3.14, the graff-poet of Amsterdam. Well, I let him know that I would be in Amsterdam for a week, and he sent me all the locations of his most recent bombings. The work, as always, is thrilling and moving. Dude speaks exactly what is on my mind and in my heart, and he has recently had a few gallery exhibitions and openings that have been met with lots of press and accolades. Dude is going places.

This one I found on my own. Someone had wrapped up the tarp & knotted it through itself (see the hole right before the 3?). I had to unravel it just to photograph it. Almost get yelled at the home owner. Totally worth it.


Found this one also by mistake. It’s part of an older batch, hence its poor state. It says “blind idealism destroys reason.”


Found this by accident. It’s one of my favourites.


Another from his older series. “Don’t just murmur your insanity.”


Again, an older one that I just stumbled upon. It says “Travis the streets are swept.” You’ll see in some of these pieces I’m about to blog that he likes to use the names of his friends in his tags….


“Oh you’ll know when it’s too late.”
When I found this one in the pouring rain, that red bike was blocking the piece. I had to pick that fucking tank up and move it out of the way. It was obvious that bike hadn’t been moved in some time because of the cobwebs on it. I’ve seen some pics lately of others photographing this piece and the bike is where I left it.
YOU’RE ALL WELCOME!!!!


“This panorama is for you.”
What a panorama…. cough.


“Mind control is everything, everything is mind control…” upside down.
NEAR…


FAR!


“Things don’t work that way Timmy.”
Remember what I said about the names?


“Nobody believes the media… except when it’s in their own interest.”


“Reap the tame heart, and all.”
NEAR…


FAR!


This was on the other side of the previous one! Two tags on one corner= my idea of christmas.


As I’ve noted in past blogs, Laser 3.14 almost exclusively only tags construction boards and tarps. My guess is that he does it so that no one’s property is damaged by his tags. Those tarps and construction boards are only up temporarily. Also, they seem to provide an awfully potent frame for his poetry. The boards act like excellent frames, and the tarps give his words a kind of ethereal beauty. Lately I find myself extremely disappointed when I pass a construction site and cannot find his work.


FUCK YEAH.


And this one was on the other side of the previous. It’s like a poetry corner!


“Wrong underdog, try the one next door.”


Again with the friends’ names 🙂


This has to be some inside joke, I don’t get it. Who’s egg man?


This one is my absolute favourite and really speaks to me. “Too much love for after the fact.”


Yes, yes, GOOD GAWD YES.


BACK OFF, GET YOUR OWN IDEALS!


So nice, he tagged it twice.


“The Goggle age questions your ideals.”

As you’ve seen from this huge haul of his work, Laser 3.14 is interested in online privacy, the theatre of the media, capitalist ideals, the state of Europe, personal agency, and of course, as always, matters of the heart. This is what good street art is, people. TAKE NOTES.

Check out my Laser 3.14 category for more of his work that I’ve photographed.


The Best Life

I’ve been on the road for three weeks now, and I’m so glad I decided to throw off the shackles of suspended animation and stationary living that were cutting into my skin (In short, paying rent is for suckers). I’ve been a backpacker for nine years now, and even though I have been to so many places, and learned a lot, I always seem to discover new places and learn new things. So far all the cities on this journey are places I have been to/lived in before (Brussels, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and soon Berlin), but it’s hard to be bored in these cities. I’ve forsaken flying, and have been taking the delightful European trains like a civilized person. I’ve been Couchsurfing and house-sitting, which has allowed me to make new friends, snuggle with some snuggle-pets, and take the time to really explore without feeling rushed. My days consist of drinking sweet lattes, writing in my journal while sneaking glances at the pretty bearded hipster dudebro behind the counter, walking around a European metropolis in the sunshine, taking photographs of provocative street art and urban art, indulging in Pain au Chocolat’s without a trace of guilt, going to flea markets, spending hours at enthralling museums, rocking out to Nils Frahm, and partaking in SO MUCH EUROVISION (I had no idea when I came to Copenhagen that I’d be here at the same time as the Eurovision Song Contest, but boy has it been fun! Go Conchita go).

A friend of mine recently sent me this message:

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I am forced to agree.

Here are some highlights and urban art from my travels this past month.

Brussels


In Brussels, of course my first stop was the Jeu de Balle flea market to spend hours upon hours rummaging through boxes to find some love letters. Remember this? Anyway, I found 10 love letters written between a husband and wife from 1956-8 in Brussels. He was a military doctor and so he was stationed away from home quite often. Look at that lipstick kiss in the letter! They totally got it bad for each other. I also found a letter written during WWII (it’s undated but I’m guessing from the letters’ contents that it’s from about 1944) written between cousins about how “les sales boches” (aka The Nazis) have invaded Belgium and the family misses their homeland. They are in exile in an area of France that was not occupied by the Nazis and 12 family members are living in a small flat. The cousin writes to the other cousin, begging him to join her, saying, “we will make space on the mattress for you.”

I love you, Jeu de Balle.


Jef Aerosol has an ongoing exhibit just around the corner from Jeu de Balle.

Amsterdam


Of course no trip to Amsterdam is complete without going hunting for a few Laser 314‘s 🙂


I also spent a great deal of time at Amsterdam’s Resistance Museum, and then following a map to all of the important locations in the city during the Nazi occupation, including where Jews had to buy their Star of David armbands, the theatre converted for mass deportations, the Carlton hotel that a war plane smashed into, the bombs that dropped on a home on the Herengracht, the air-raid shelters, and more. Highly recommended if you’re into WWII history like me


This is Laser’s nod to 1984.

 

Copenhagen


When you take the train from Hamburg to Copenhagen, the train (which is only 4 small carriages) goes ONTO THE FERRY. No one ever believes me when I tell them this.


SELFIE.


Ah, Copenhagen. I was last here in 2006 (read my post from that time here, and this post has all my photographs from back then). If I’m being honest, my memory of my time here in 2006 is rather hazy, so I’m glad I’m spending a good chunk of time here.


This is wonderful. An underwater sculpture in one of the canals.


The boats have to be careful, otherwise their propellers will be destroyed.


Kirekegaard’s grave!


Hans Christian Andersen’s grave!


I swear, Copenhagen is filled with so much antiquity, and so few people, that sometimes, you can walk down a street, preserved in detail for 200 years, and wonder if you’ve stepped through time, without the presence of cars and technology to distract you.

I’m still in Copenhagen, so this section is a work in progress. More photographs to come! I have SO MUCH STREET ART TO SHARE!

Stay glued.

 


#Laser314’s poetry on the streets of Amsterdam will make your heart ache

Some people go to Amsterdam for the pot. Some go for the ladies in the red-lights. Some go for the bicycles.

I went for Laser314 (whom I have blogged about before). If you don’t know, Laser 3.14 is a street poet. He sprays his unique and original lines of poetry (yes, they’re his words) all over the city in English. Most locals tend to appreciate his work, as it is not seen as typical narcissistic vandalism. The poetry is moving, heart-breaking, ephemeral, and packs an emotional punch. When I found this piece last summer, I needed to sit down on a nearby bench. I  just tried to breathe.

It was a glorious two weeks.


I was lucky enough, through the magic of the webernet (heehee), to get into contact with the elusive Laser, and he instructed me to go graff-hunting in certain areas of Amsterdam, where I found many of these pieces.


But I also found many of these pieces on my own, just from using some intuition, a bike, and good pair of walking shoes 🙂


After a while of hanging out in Amsterdam and finding Laser’s work, I started to easily identify possible places he might have bombed. He seems to favour either the tarps that go over construction sites, or the plywood that protects constructions sites. There are very few instances of his poetry-art appearing on anything else (although I have seen photographs of his work appearing on skips and industrial garbage bins). If I were to hazard a guess, I would say he does this because, this way, he’s not permanently damaging anyone’s property. Those construction tarps and boards will come down, eventually. No harm, no foul, no clean-up, no damage. Everyone wins.


Travel beyond the shroud.
I adore this one.


We are always on the verge of something.


Vermin gnawing holes in democracy.


This one was the hardest to photograph because half of the piece was covered by cinder blocks and construction. It says, “Days of confusion precedes the age of reason.”


And the horses waited to be tamed…


Life can be such a lonely place.


Ha ha ha!


Vote Nixon, he’s dead.


Progress. Regress. Regrets.


Hello, I’m your assassin!


I wish I was someone…

I hope to find more on my next journey to the ‘dam. Well, if I’m hoping for things, I hope to meet someone who’ll spraypaint poetry about me one day …. but one step at a time, Chris.

Ah, so much Amsterdam-Awesomesauce.

More street art pics to come from my time in the most magical city on the planet… just you wait.


“The thread end of an idea burns away and I’m pulled in—on the momentum of whatever was there waiting”


All that’s left

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