Street art

Somerville, Street art, January 2014

it is beautiful-then gone

truth (sonya kovacic)

truth (sonya kovacic)

Beautiful Then Gone as a phrase is actually based on a book by the famous designer Martin Venezky called "It is beautiful... then gone". This book title and its contents really struck me when my brother gave it to me. It really tapped into a nostalgic place and happened to go along with what I was attempting to capture via photography when I used to shoot photos.

So in essence it became a working title for my collective body of work in photography, capturing life's fleeting moments. We made some stickers and shirts but that was really just because people really identified with that title and design I suppose. I created the design myself. That project was abandoned probably in 2012/2013 and I have since moved on to many other projects in the art world that have been even more successful so to speak. That phrase though... Beautiful then gone.... I think it's still so perfect. It captures a sentiment perfectly. 
-E-mail from the artist behind the sticker.

You can follow more of the artist's work on their instagram account. 

See designer Martin Venezky's work here. 

January 2014, Street art, Chinatown


mural in chinatown (sonya kovacic)

mural in chinatown (sonya kovacic)

In 1968, following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and subsequent rioting in Boston, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs under then Mayor Kevin White (with help from state legislator Katherine D. Kane, and artist/activist Adele Seronde) launched Summerthing, a city wide summer arts program aimed at easing tension and unrest. The program started with making murals as a form of expression, and later included more than 1200 musical and artistic events.

According to Michael Russell, who was part of a team that was considering a similar program in Washington DC, “In one summer, rock music resounded in 18 concerts at Harvard Stadium, including: The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, and the Supremes.  B. B. King, James Cotton Blues Band, Miles Davis, Ike and Tina Turner, Voices of East Harlem, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ramsey Lewis, Percy Mayfield, Jose Feliciano and Janis Joplin (Her last concert.) all played to Summerthing crowds, for FREE!!"

Here's a 1975 photo of a Summerthing event in Chinatown called, Under the August Moon,from photographer Nick DeWolf.

Cambridge, October 2014, Street art

not art

not art, mass ave * (sonya kovacic)

not art, mass ave * (sonya kovacic)

"What does it take to make something art? Do you have to just move it? Or do you have to bring it into a gallery? Or maybe, you just have to see it and witness it as art so by finding these objects and seeing them I think that we all, all the time, make art just by perceiving things as such; or even if we are not seeing it as art, we are seeing it as beautiful." 

-Somerville artist responsible for the Not Art installation in a WGBH interview.

The anonymous artist has been spray painting Not Art onto street signs, construction sites, statues, building facades, and other public areas for around eight years. The reaction from the public has ranged from vehement anger to comparisons to Banksy- the famous and anonymous English street/graffiti artist. Whatever the reaction, it is doing what the artist wants, which is catalyzing conversations about the nature of art.

*This photo was taken on August 30, 2013. Since then, the stencil has been painted over. 

To hear the WGBH interview with the anonymous artist go here. 

If you want to see more Not Art stencils, there is a Flickr group dedicated to them.

Street art, August 2014, Cambridge

young love

graffiti, area 4 (sonya kovacic)

graffiti, area 4 (sonya kovacic)

In her 1896 book Customs and Fashions in Old New England, Alice Morse Earle describes the dating ("love-making") habits of colonial Puritans, by opening with a quote from an Englishwoman:

"'On the South there is a small but pleasant Common, where the Gallants, a little before sunset, walk with their Marmalet-Madams till the nine o'clock bell rings them home to their respective habitations.'

This simple and quaint picture of youthful love in the soft summer twilight, at that ever beautiful trysting-place, gives an unwonted touch of sentiment to the austere daily life of colonial New England. The omnipotent Puritan law-giver, who meddled and interfered in every detail, small and great, of the public and private life of the citizen, could not leave untouched, in fancy free, these soberly promenading Puritan sweethearts."

The Puritan law-givers retained some power, however. As she continues:

"In 1672 Jonathan Coventry, of Plymouth town, was indicted for "making a motion of marriage" to Katharine Dudley without obtaining formal consent. The sensible reason for these courtship regulations was "to prevent young folk from intangling themselves by rash and inconsiderate contracts of maridge." The Governor of Plymouth colony, Thomas Prence, did not hesitate to drag his daughter's love affairs before the public, in 1660, by prosecuting Arthur Howland for "disorderly and unrighteously endeavouring to gain the affections of Mistress Elizabeth Prence." The unrighteous lover was fined £5."

But of course, love finds a way:

"Seven years later, patient Arthur, who would not "refrain and desist," was again fined the same amount; but love prevailed over law, and he triumphantly married his fair Elizabeth a few months later.

Earle concludes, however:

The marriage of a daughter with an unwelcome swain was also often prohibited by will, "not to suffer her to be circumvented and cast away upon a swaggering gentleman."

In the mid-18th century, a young Bostonian named John Adams wrote several letters to woo Abigail Smith. Luckily, the letters survived.

In the mid-18th century, a young Bostonian named John Adams wrote several letters to woo Abigail Smith. Luckily, the letters survived.