That freshly painted graffiti in your city isn’t just a large mural of random words — it’s the title of a song by none other than cantankerous Canuck Justin Bieber, who is using street art to promote his forthcoming album, Purpose. On Wednesday, the Canadian pop star, unwitting lesbian style icon, and one-time drag racer shared 18 photos of graffiti in 18 cities around the world as a way to announce the tracklist for the 18-song album. Eighteen artists were commissioned for the project, and it seems the Biebs deliberately downplayed the role of the artists supporting him. As Klughaus gallery, which curated the project, notes, JB neglected to give the artists the appropriate “social shoutouts,” and it has been reposting the photos with their proper tags.
The teengirl magnet hit some of the world’s largest cities — including New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Chicago, Boston, Berlin, Oslo, and Sydney — and you can check if yours is Bieber-free with this handy map. Spelling out the titles of each song, the murals went up just this week — and it’s clear that the Bill Clinton-hater favors a specific style of street art. A lot of the works are loud and dense with wildstyle-like lettering, although there are some more minimal ones such as Brooklyn Whelan‘s black-and-white cursive in Sydney, which comes with an ominous message: “Mark My Words.” Strollers in Seattle received a more aggressive one — “Get Used to Me” — while passersby in Paris ended up with a more appropriate note: “Sorry.”
Putting the famed singer-hair-swisher out of the picture, though, some of the works are actually quite fun, such as Greg Mike‘s toothy blue beast on the side of a building in Atlanta, which reimagines its windows as eyes; or Shora Dehnavi‘s trippy contribution, which features cushiony bubble letters in pulsating, wriggly forms. But we offer the sincerest of condolences to those unfortunate souls in Oslo who now have JB’s sad mug on a public wall (rendered by Mikael Noguchi), with the alleged egg-slinger holding up a sign that reads “Love Yourself” in front of a cloud of airborne hearts.
Curiously, the bad boy from north of the border announced that graffiti was his “new hobby” exactly two years ago — and sparked the gem of a headline, “Justin Bieber the next Banksy?” — but didn’t contribute his own visual art to the project. The choice was probably for the better, since the images he has shared of his own work have included shoddily spray-painted pictures of apes with jewelry, penguins, and a frog portrait of Tupac. These 18 new works just prove that it’s Bieber’s world now, and we’re all stuck living in it.
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