NTWRK, North America’s premier livestream shopping platform, announced the return of BEYOND THE STREETS, a two-day virtual art fair focused on graffiti, street art, and more. The fair’s second virtual edition, slated for December 1 & 2, 2021, will once again be curated by Roger Gastman, BEYOND THE STREETS founder and longtime champion of graffiti as a contemporary art form. Cleon Peterson, the LA-based artist whose paintings show clashing figures in a struggle between power and submission, will serve as BEYOND THE STREETS artistic director and will also create exclusive products for BEYOND THE STREETS.
BEYOND THE STREETS will feature an unprecedented lineup of world-class artists, designers, and brands, including Bert Krak, CB Hoyo, DABSMYLA with Late Lunch, MADSAKI, Mike GIANT, Mister Cartoon, Takashi Murakami, POSE, Shepard Fairey, Spacebrat and Wild Style with Vic Mensa all debuting new work — including paintings, sculptures, limited-edition prints, skate decks, drawings, and more. The fair will launch exclusive products across fine art, collectibles, apparel, and home goods, and offer unique content experiences from around the world throughout the event.
“Bringing Roger Gastman’s renowned in-person event to NTWRK’s virtual sphere last year was a perfect fit for the NTWRK audience,” NTWRK CEO Aaron Levant says. “BEYOND THE STREETS’ appreciation and respect for street culture is palpable; the art is visceral and exciting. It’s a celebration of pop culture, the artists, and their stories—we’re delighted to host this amazing experience again.”
“NTWRK’s global platform provides BEYOND THE STREETS the technology and accessibility to push the culture of graffiti & street art forward to an audience larger than ever before,” says Roger Gastman. This year’s virtual Art Fair will dive deeper into our favorite artist’s worlds and what inspires them with behind-the-scenes content and exclusive artwork drops.”
BEYOND THE STREETS 2020 featured more than 300 exclusive products and over 100 artists and brands, including industry luminaries like FUTURA2000, Felipe Pantone, Guerrilla Girls, Kenny Scharf, Mister Cartoon, Pushead, Shantell Martin, and Shepard Fairey. The festival drew hundreds of thousands of shoppers and led to increased awareness for many artists and product creators.
Check out our exclusive interviews below:
How did you get involved with this fair?
Roger invited me to be a part of the event. I’ve been friends with Roger for years and participated in every BEYOND THE STREETS. Roger is a cultural anthropologist and BEYOND THE STREETS is the product of that investigation. The artists here share a special kinship and follow a long tradition of being a voice from the other side. Many times the artists have been invisible or overlooked. But if you look closely, these artists have been actively addressing the issues of our times from within culture. It’s about mark-making, space, language, music, fashion, class, race, gender, and a true celebration of how our differences create ripples that profoundly influence culture and history from the underground.
What is your role/responsibility as artistic director?
I lent my style and work to the look of the thing. I talked a bit with some other artists, listening to their stories and sharing mine.
How did you get your start in art?
I was cursed an artist. I was living happy and free, then one day, I woke up with the desire to do something meaningful in this world. It’s been a real problem because that job fills your soul with constant questions and doubt. I don’t know who laid the curse on me, but it’s been a problem for years.
Who are important mentors in your career?
It’s strange, and I just realized this, but BEYOND THE STREETS offers a perfect illustration to answer this question. I know all these artists, and we’ve all been on this ride together, influencing, supporting, sometimes bickering with one another. I have an entire lifetime of relationships with people like this. We all feel like we’re working in our caves alone, then one day, we look up and realize we’re part of something bigger. I always wanted to be part of something bigger than just myself. That’s the point I can stand back and see that I draw inspiration from the people around me, the people that came before, the people that came after me, all in all, the company I’ve kept throughout this life.
How were artists selected to participate in the fair?
We are working with over 75 artists with roots in graffiti and street art or who draw inspiration from it. There work has evolved into highly disciplined studio practices, they’ve gone on to have fantastic careers and are now showcased in museums and gallerys across the world. As in years past, we’re continuing to celebrate the endless creativity and imagination of these artists. The world of graffiti and street art is incredibly broad, not only in its range of mediums but also in the diversity of its talent. One of the reasons why we decided to partner with NTWRK last year for the show’s first virtual iteration, and its return this year, is because they strive to provide a platform for emerging and diverse talent.
What do you hope attendees take away from attending the virtual event?
One of the main benefits of the show’s return virtually is the accessibility and ease for a larger audience. You don’t have to live near a major museum or gallery to participate in the show. We’re releasing a number of in-depth video conversations between our emcee J Balvin and artists such as Cleon Peterson (who is also the show’s Artistic Director), DABSMYLA, Gustavo Zermeño Jr. and Estevan Oriol, which dive into the artist’s studio practice and their creative process. It’s an opportunity for fans and those who might not be as familiar or are curious to learn more about the art form and also purchase pieces from the leading artists.
What’s next for you & BEYOND THE STREETS?
We’re continuing to push the conversation of graffiti and street art as a contemporary art form further. We are planning on expanding the show and bringing it to new cities across the world. Stay tuned for more on that soon.
I also have a documentary, ROLLING LIKE THUNDER, that dives into the secret underground world and history of freight train and graffiti culture, uncovering stories of myth-like artists, competitive graffiti crews, and battles with the institution premiering on SHOWTIME on December 17th.