Amazon Street Art Project
By LORI ZIMMER, DEC. 2015
Amazon.com is throwing its hat into the fine art ring. With over 244 million customers, artists could greatly benefit from tapping into Amazon’s already well-established client pool. Rather than simply co-opting fine art into their inventory, Amazon has enlisted reputable curators to help shape the program into a worthy roster, rather than an IKEA poster free for all. With the success of Artsy, Artspace Saatchi Online, and Etsy, why not Amazon? Launching December 7th is their first foray into the hot button genre of street art with the Amazon Street Art Project (#ASAP).
Being a genre at the peak of trendiness, RJ Rushmore, the founder of Vandalog was enlisted as #ASAP’s curator. Now that street art has grown to museum exhibition status, been incorporated commercially into advertisements, and been responsible for increasing property values the world over, this project could have gone horribly wrong with the wrong curator at the helm. In the tumultuous genre of street art, I’ve always respected Rushmore. His Vandalog blog is known for being an opinionated, investigative, and critical space for street art, graffiti, and public art, unafraid to take on the controversial, or to disagree in the face of criticism.
#ASAP’s roster of seven artists is impressive, covering the spectrum of street art around the world and varying methods, styles and purposes- and pushing the envelope by including artists that delve into political and activist commentary with their work. The project will release limited edition prints from Ron English, Stikman, Logan Hicks, Faith 47, AIKO, Gaia and Ganzeer- each having designed and created a hand-signed and numbered print, in their own discernible signature style. Ron English’s “Monarch Butterfly,” tells the story of the metamorphosis of the endangered African Elephant, targeted for its ivory. Known for his photorealism, each print is hand embellished with metallic acrylic by the artist.
Each print in Logan Hicks’ “Wasted Lives” completely hand sprayed from five layers of stencil, making no two alike. The beautiful “The Psychic Power of Animals" by South African artist Faith47 celebrates the artist’s penchant for the theme of aqua regalia, or the purity of water. Deckle edges ground the grace of the piece with the beauty of imperfection. Amazon clientele will also be introduced to the important work of Ganzeer, an Egyptian artist who began working in protest street art after the Egyptian uprising in 2011. The presence of his print alone confronts consumers browsing Amazon.com to shop with the reality of political unrest in the world, stealing the moment of filling one’s online shopping cart with Ganzeer’s reality of confronting revolution.
The prints are available in very limited quantities of 50 each, priced between $200-$550 and available for only a window of time- from December 7, 2015 – December 13, 2015. Amazon Art is also furthering their intent to have a stake in the art world, by sponsoring the inaugural year of Art on Paper Miami - where a VIP party on 12/04 in conjunction with Meural (www.meural.com) will feature digital images of the art featured in the Amazon Street Art Project. WM