My Life and Music

By Michael Melvin

I chose to write this piece, having just recently graduated from Syracuse University. Having had many experiences creating music and DJing in college, I wanted to look back on the moments that brought me closer to my passion. I compiled a timeline of experiences that have led me to performing live events and producing remixes for many well known producers and artists in the industry(Louis The Child, Kiiara, Connor Maynard, etc.)

What first got you into music?

My first experience with music was taking music classes as a kid at Greenwich Country Day School. Eventually I began taking guitar lessons once I realized that music was a passion.

In school I developed an interest in the performative area of electronic music, using external controllers and equipment to produce music. The first external controller I used was the Korg Kaossilator. At the time digital music equipment like this was hard to come by. It was for this reason that I was first introduced to it via an iphone app back when the phone had just come out and was in its infancy.

I used to visualize that one day I could play an entire live show with buttons and electronics. In 2004 Tiesto actually did that at the olympics in Athens; making sounds with what looked like futuristic space station controls.

Seeing Tiesto on the TV screen DJing for the Athens Olympics was huge for audio fanatics everywhere. He proved to anyone that it was possible to make it big as a professional DJ. This single moment in time sparked an obsession with music mixing and mastering that would lead to a new age of performance.

_Y6B4688. ©2013 Chip Riegel / Sheffield, MA, USA, 10/08/2013. Berkshire School for the school’s marketing efforts.

While at Berkshire School, I was able to extend my interests forward by taking their Digital Music course, which at the time was taught by Clive Davis. Taking all 6 levels that were offered I had learned software synthesis, how to manipulate midi through an external controller, and how to program various synthesizers in Pure Data.

At the time Ableton 9 was all the rage in terms of Digital Audio Workstations. I remember there were only a few copies and due to the fact that I was in a high level class I was allowed to use one of them at my specific workstation. Through using this software, I was able to use a whole new bunch of software synths, download VSTs(Massive, Serum, i.e.), and connect to the launchpad, which was all the rage at the time.

After reading the manual for ableton I was starting to understand the commands and how to use them in order to manipulate audio and midi on the screen. Somewhere along the way, I found a launchpad(buttons/electronic pads) that wasn’t being used and decided to use this in my track Artist Collection By Raymond.

By assorting my tracks into different buttons, I was able to transition between multiple ideas seamlessly. This was my first real experience with electronic music controllers and would continue to lead me into a feirce rabbit hole of gizmos and software packs.

After being introduced to the idea of Music Production, I chose to learn music theory and study tracks to understand how songs were structured in popular culture. In many of the tracks that I would hear my peers play, there was usually a bass drop or a chorus. Once I was able to get my tracks sounding like reasonable dance tracks, I came out with Gluten Free and Internal Refinery shortly after.

Melvin – Gluten Free

At this point in time, I was going by the moniker MoŁ. As an avid Deadmau5 fan, I wanted a name that would seem interesting and unique. I ended up changing the name later to Melvin, as I just wanted to produce the music and the symbol Ł was making things very difficult on a marketing/ publishing front.


The summer before college, I did an internship at Arch St. in Greenwich. During this time I learned many things about production, music editing, and remixing tracks. I began to look out for remix competitions on my email in hopes of something good popping up.

Most of my remixes that I have available on my soundcloud are from doing these competitions. Apart from producing remixes and originals, I also have started to look towards events and mix live sets in hopes of reaching a broader audience.

What is the first Remix you ever made?

I had been hearing through other music producers in the area that remix competitions were a great way to gain exposure and to get clean vocals. Seeing that Galantis had come out with a remix competition, got me excited and I signed up almost immediately.

Galantis – Spaceship Feat. Uffie (MoŁ Remix)

Ultimately, I ripped this entire song apart and changed it as much as I possibly could. Applying reverb, and ring modulator, there was nothing left behind.

What is your favorite Remix?

There something about the synths used in this remix that I just love. That and the snares leading up to a chill drop into different drum variations.

Bonnie X Clyde – The Uknown (MoŁ Remix)

What is everyone else’s favorite Remix?

Louis The Child – Better Not (feat. Wafia)(MoŁ Remix)

Due to the fact that most people in the EDM comunity know about Louis The Child and anyone who avidly listens to pop music knows about the artist Kiiara and her amazing vocals. Working on both of these projects were a lot of fun and taught me many things about vocal reproduction and slowing down the tempo to something more focused for the summer.

Kiiara – Messy (MoŁ Remix)

This remix was definitely one of the more popular ones. With the help of these fresh vocals, it was easy for me to incorporate soft snares and elusive claps alongside a nice glass piano and LFO incorporated pad.

Mixes/ Live Sets

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbH

Once I was finally able to reunite with my friend Walsh after the pandemic, we began to listen over a few of the tracks that we had either made or collected in our pursuit of good music during quarantine. We had realized that much of the music we had once worshipped had become completely forgotten and replaced by a new standard of track. As we were not listening to the same music that we had once listened to on our portable bluetooth speakers in high school. Melvin and Walsh realized it was time work on longer curated mixes and begin playing live sets for youtube.

Plan for continued mixes on Soundcloud. Stay posted for events in your area.

For a sneak preview:

How to follow

Recordings Lost And Found

“Something that cannot be repeated

Location being played, who it is being played around” – Michael Melvin

When I think about Framework and Memory, I am instantly reminded of music. The connection that we as people make with tracks and our memories is out of this world. Sometimes, I find myself connecting my memory of a loved one with a song or track. Even when our memory of that event fades, we still remember the song that was played. This is a weird phenomenon that we will explore in the sections that follow.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

I chose this photo because it encapsulates kinda the expression that I had upon finding out that my relatives were about to pass. I wanted to display how most people seem to be dialed into their careers, so when you get a phone call about a loved one in distress it can be really tough. Completely leaving your life behind for a second, you need to completely change everything and embrace the sadness and confusion that follows.

In putting together this project, I wanted to look at the ways in which music plays a role in our lives through connections in my own life. For my Great Grandfather music entered into his life in a strange way. As the story goes, my great grandfather was working as a Janitor at the New York Philharmonic in order to pay his way through school. After spending many nights working there, he would start playing the piano. According to legends, this man could play any song by ear and even bought a piano years later that is still in my Great Grandmother’s house in New York. In remembering moments in our lives, many times the moments filled with music are the most memorable, or at least I know that is the case with me. For others music can be a sign of solitude or an homage to a better time. 

I see music come up as a topic daily as a discussion as we are perplexed by this weird notion that we own our own favorite songs or just a memory of it. I first noticed this strange phenomena a while back when I was driving in a car with my friend James Walsh. When asked about the songs he was playing, he started acting if they were his songs. This bravado associated with collecting the ‘superior mix’ is something that just boggles my mind. To this I replied that the music was not his, but the way he put them together was ‘quite nice’. For me, making mixes exemplify catching a moment and displaying it through sound. As DJ’s sometimes we can get fixated on our sound cache, but at the end of the day the mix is what really matters.

I chose to use this picture of a cassete and its case, simply because it reminds me of my fathers side of the family. My Grandfathers brother actually used to have a band that recorded on cassetes and traveled in a hurse. I would go into more detail, but I feel that these cassettes could use a whole new project in order to explain fully.

For many, listening to music brings nostalgia, which makes it difficult to convince someone that the production quality of one song is better than another. The average listener will overlook slight details in a recording and even label sub par recording techniques as being new wave. As someone who listens to a broad variety of music from multiple different pieces of equipment, I am able to distinguish slight differences in the way something is produced or in this case reproduced for the consumption of the listener.

Debunking the theory that you have to give up music in order to move into your adulthood. In the opening chapter of Wired For Music, Adriana Barton recalls whether she should fix her cello or not. For something so monumental to her life it seems like it would only make sense for her to fix it. I am in a similar situation as I need to download all of my files back on my computer in order to be where I was originally in my production process.

For many people, music becomes something that follows us into adulthood; reminding us of a simpler time where life wasn’t so goddamn difficult. For my grandfather this was a symbol of freedom, and a sign to all that if you put all of your hard work around something, you at least have the right to play the piano as loud as you want to.

After going to my Uncle David’s wake, I had brought back one of his ipod nanos that he had in his stereo. Out of all the stuff that was sitting there in the house, this ipod seemed to stick out to me as an interesting object to take back with me and analyze. As I looked over the music there seemed to be a small collection of music files, which I was able to listen to and understand the guys sense of music a little more. This image of Rick Nelson’s 20th masters album appeared first and it for this reason that I chose this photo for this peice.

An interesting music group to see on Uncle David’s roster was the Traveling Wilburys. Turns out this small crew of guitarists, put together by George Harrison, actually have some pretty sweet tunes. I am especially drawn to their song Tweeter and the Monkey Man, which mixes folk with a hint of forlorn solace. In video below you can see some recordings of the band recording alongside a few backstage stills.

Uncovering an object like an ipod nano from the 2000’s seemed like a strange object to find at a place that looked like it had never moved past the 90’s. In total the 4gb ipod had 232 songs downloaded on it. While it would have been nice to see more music on the ipod, the music there painted a nice picture of Davids niche music taste.


Ouyang, Lei. Music as Mao’s Weapon: Remembering the Cultural Revolution. University of Illinois Press, 2022.

Schneider, Marius, et al. Cosmic Music: Musical Keys to the Interpretation of Reality: Essays. Inner Traditions, 1989.

Barton, Adriana. Wired for Music: A Search for Health and Joy through the Science of Sound. Greystone Books, 2022.

Diamond, John. The Life Energy in Music. Enhancement Books, 2011.

Cohen, Sara. Decline, Renewal and the City in Popular Music Culture: Beyond the Beatles. Routledge.

Crystal, David. The Cambridge Encyclopedia. Cambridge University Press, 1992.

YouTube, 14 May 2015, Accessed 7 Dec. 2022.

Sports Photography Over The Years: From Old World Athlete to Wavy Little Skaters to Death Defying Daredevils

As time has progressed in the United States, we have seen many different takes on the subject for sports photography. What is a professional sports photograph? How do we pick who is suitable to photograph? As we look through early photography in sports and into later more setup sports photography professionals, we should see a positive shift in an industry that used to be so personal and portable. As time and technology progresses, we see a new choice in focal point for our mainstream superstars.

In this project we will be following older photos juxtaposed with more recent photos in order to see how photographers are able to capture images that display victors or visual evidence of phenomena regarding sports over time.

Yousuf Karsh

This photo of Gordie Howe by Yousuf Karsh really encapsulates everything that the media used to want as their typical star athlete out of practice. Similar to James Bond, Gordie Howe seems to be in a suit as he grins and grips the head of his hockey stick. I feel that this encapsulates the older generation of successful sports stars and depicts what the hockey world believed to be at the time; the ‘perfect’ man.

Al Bello

This picture taken by Al Bello Photography in 2013, encapsulates Rafael Nadal and his reaction to winning the US Open against Djokovic. You can tell that Nadal is the focus of the photo as the Mercedes logos in the back do not perfectly align with the picture. The focal point in the background is more focused on the crowd witnessing Nadal’s reaction in celebrating such an achievement. While I have seen some of Al Bello’s photography, specifically his photos of swimming in the olympics. However, this photo of Nadal really struck out as something that the old world idea of being an athlete.

Christopher Sjöström

The viewer is able to see the light on the ski covered with some nice powder. Christopher Sjöström is known for taking winter sports photography, but is also able to produce more ethereal images like this one.

This photo, Off The Wall, taken by Christopher Sjöström is interesting in the fact that it takes the skier and places them almost obscurely within the environment.

This photo was taken by Christoffer Sjöström and highlights the world as a playground as we see Candide Thovex flying over a wall of ice. The position of the camera especially shows how massive of a jump Candide must have hit in order to achieve a jump of such massive proportions. Recently Sjöström has been putting together a photo portfolio for display that spans 10 years of following the global skiing legend Candide Thovex.

Kevin Metallier

By utilizing historic landmarks within his photos, Kevin Metallier transports the viewer to a specific location. This photo is not only intriguing because of the strange feat of physics being performed over a street ledge, but also because it is juxtaposed alongside the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.

Larry Chen

This photo by Larry Chen zooms in on an interaction with formula drift driver Frederica Asbo and his head mechanical expert Steph Papadakis. Apparently the Supra had undergone a mechanical failure, which required Papadakis and his team to find a solution. By taking a picture of this moment as Asbo is about to leave the pit, we are able to capture the intensity of such a situation.

Howard Bingham

Mohammed Ali and Howard Bingham, were very close friends and Ali allowed Bingham to capture much of his life, whether that was on or off court. As you can see in this photo, Howard Bingham is right behind Ali as he looks dialed in to win at life. Apparently their friendship blossomed when the photographer met Ali offering him a ride in his car, eventually he just followed recording Ali’s life and establishing himself as professional photographer.

Jay Dash

This picture was found on POWDER magazine, a subscription based news service that has been providing the ski and snowboard community with gnarly depictions of epic sends. In this picture we can see skier Sam Cohen is cracking a backflip between two trees. Noticing that Cohen is practically horizontal in this picture, we as a viewer are stuck wondering how he will pull off such a radical stunt. In order to land this, Sam will need to fully rotate and fit the gap between the two trees like a needle in a haystack.

Tom Jenkins

After scoring his second goal of the game, Lionel Messi blows a kiss to his fans. By zooming in on this interaction, the Photographer Tom Jenkins just happened to catch the perfect time just as his Messi’s hand is moving away from his lips.

Joe Brook

Joe Brook has been working with Thrasher for many years and has been a sports photographer for quite some time. I find it amazing how the photographer uses the view from inside the pipe as a way to capture what is going on when the skater is in between the dropping into the pipe mid air. By bringing meaning to a spot like this through the eternal, Brook is encouraging others to visit this place and take in all of its beauty. While this pipe may look like an eyesore or trash to some, it has beautiful meaning for those who look for it.


“Gordie Howe, 1990 by Yousuf Karsh.” Yousuf Karsh, 

Red Bull Gives You Wings –, 

Neeson, Niall. “10 Skate Lensmasters You Should Follow on Instagram!” Red Bull, Red Bull, 21 Jan. 2022, 

Mestrich, Qiana. “Rest in Power: Howard Bingham.” Dodge & Burn: Decolonizing Photography History, 22 Dec. 2016, 

Reddick, David. “The Best Photography in Skiing.” POWDER Magazine, Powder Magazine, 2 Nov. 2017, 

“Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History, 1843 to the Present.” Brooklyn Museum, 

“Larry Chen on Instagram: ‘It Was Such an Incredible Effort by the @Stephpapadakis Team to Try and Put @Fredricaasbo’s Supra Back Together after a Mechanical Failure. Who Was Watching on the Live Stream? @Toyotaracing #Toyotausa #Toyotaracing #Toyota #Supra #a90 #a90supra #Mkvsupra #Toyotasupra #Fredricaasbo #Formuladrift #Formulad #Drifting #Drift #Lifeofchen #Sirplease.’” Instagram, Jenkins, Tom. “Singles.” Pixelrights,

System, Neon Sky Creative Media. “Sports Portfolio.” Portfolio-30: SPORTS PORTFOLIO: Al Bello Photographer,

Contemporary Street Art Journal

April 27, 2022

I chose to add this song because it reflects the patience that it takes in order to scope out a spot and create one of these pieces of art. Usually done at night, this song also mentions, ‘vacant dreams’ which I thought was an interesting inclusion as our very own Syracuse Street Artist(Vandal?) goes by the moniker Vacant.

Earlier I spotted one of the Vacant eyes of one of the tributaries on the Syracuse highway. Sadly I was going too quick to catch a picture. This shows the extra care that the artist had to take in order to find a perfect place to commit vandalism in order to create public art.

I drove through Downtown Syracuse looking at the different depictions of street art that can be seen everywhere. Walk down the street and look at the walls anywhere in Syracuse, NY and you will see rushed tags or small throw-ups. This is what gives Syracuse its character and becomes a part of people’s daily lives in the form of memories(especially if you have ADHD).

Ever since the rise of the internet and the introduction of new communication technology, we have learned to categorize different aesthetics over the internet. We do this through our comments and our posts and we are constantly growing our intended vision.

When I started writing for my blog it was hard to find topics to write about. Growing up in an academic setting most of my teachers and professors have told me to be mindful of my work. Most of the time when people try and be completely mindful, they are able to share their work. For my work, much of the cultural aspect being explained is hidden from the public eye. The only way for me to understand this work is by experiencing it myself and explaining how I relate to the subject of discussion. I think that the experience of art is singular to the viewer and the meaning can vary from one person to another.

The reason that I post at all on the internet is in order to group my interests into a singular place where I can access them during my day. The posts come in the form of music blogs where music has a place on my blogging platform. Since music has always been very important in my life, it would only make sense that I could share these new tracks that I have recently become aware of.

Photo by Caio on

Building a repertoire of photos was definitely a key part of learning how to post online. By using Adobe Lightroom, I was able to renue photos I had taken prior and make them feel new. The photo in question is the bench photo which was taken on an outdated iPhone. The rest of the photos are taken on my Nikon Camera. Each photo was planned and then the shot was targeted for ample lighting and directional lighting.

Rick the Bit – A QR Coded Story by Cinzia Bongino is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0

 When I first saw the QR Code mural, I was tempted not to include this almost corporate. However, I like to see the usefulness of the QR code in generating an online presence. I saw a QR code in the bathroom one time and I thought that was the smartest thing as all you have to do is scan the code via your phone.

In putting together the website component of the project, I had trouble with the backend and making sure that each link had a photo. In going through the images and linking them together under the umbrella of contemporary street art, I found connections that I would not necessarily have established through my exploration of this niche genre of art.

Having just come back from my sister’s graduation at the prestigious Michigan University, I was happy to see that the streets were flourishing with culture. One looks a small alley and we found tons of street art fighting for their place on the facade of their choosing.

What is Strategic Vandalism?

Rare defacement of object at Alpha Chi Chapter of Theta Chi bench in front of the house on 711 Comstock Ave

What came as a surprise to many onlookers walking down Comstock is the bench in front of the alpha chi chapter of Theta Chi. Why was this bench vandalized and is it tasteful or just a bunch of strategic vandalism?

When asked how I should respond to this piece of work, I first had to analyze. For hours I looked at my phone looking at the curves of the lines and shapes that were being displayed. It seemed like the perpetrator had complete disregard for taste and message. All that the defacement did was destroy a perfectly fine bench.

Similar to building, this vandalism doesn’t seem to be very well thought out. Could be strategic vandalism!

This type of depiction could be from a building, but it looks oddly similar to strategic vandals like Katsu. This strategic defacement reminds me of early Katsu mixed with nothing original.

Image captured at 711 Comstock Syracuse, NY

A couple of days after opening up to my class about the Strategic Vandalism on 711 Comstock I came back to the same location of the bench and happened to find these inscriptions on the side of our dumpster. The inscriptions were not there when the dumpster fist got there. Thinking about this object and the new tag many questions arise. Did we get a new dumpster? Did someone strategically vandalise our dumpster? Is it actually art?

Katsu- Schacter, Rafael, and John Fekner. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. London Aurum Press, 2017.

Although I believe Katsu’s depiction to be more tasteful as it is away from eyesight, while everyone can see the typography on that post or the painting over on side of the letters on the defaced bench.


My Professor at Syracuse University, Kevin Adonis Browne asked me what my thoughts were on the vandalism of the bench. I told him I was dumbfounded and had no idea how I would respond. I asked some of the fellas about what we would do about the bench and they seemed to believe that the bench would look nice painted over as a blank monochrome design. I seem to agree with this idea, but I also like the character of the art prior to the bench. If only the Vandalism was more tasteful. I also seem to believe that it would be cool if someone replace the bench with art painted or stenciled on it. I know we have artists out here reading this. You can leave comments at the bottom of this page.


Schacter, Rafael, and John Fekner. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. London Aurum Press, 2017.

Monday Aesthetic Of The Day; Purple/Pink/Blue Filters

Today is a day for trying new things. Try taking pictures with a purple filter. Put your photo into Adobe lightroom and try enhancing your photo and replacing dark lines with purple hues.

Edited in Adobe Lightroom

Heres a track to start your afternoon

This track would bump sitting on the beach drinking a bud light seltzer and staring out over the sea as the sun sets over the horizon.

Heres another one to continue your vibe into glossy purple hues resembling A$AP Mobs Yamborghini High music video.
Check in the Vibe section as I will be adding a link to my pinterest where you can see more photos that adhere to the purple-blue aesthetic.

Atlantic Ocean Sunrise; Edited in Adobe Lightroom

This Into by Tchami is something else. The percussive melodic elements are set to the vocals of gangsters paradise. Just wait until the next one.

Classic Electro House track by SBRN
Here at Melvin Blogs, we get that that shit can get tough and genres of interest may vary. It is for this reason that we try to include music from a broad range of artists not only in EDM/ trap. We also include chill mixes and will later be including links to playlists in other sections of the website.

This track featuring SharC is a great portrayal of how it feels to be winning from the perspective of SharC. The beat, however, kind of goes hard. especially the bass which bumps at intervals that naturally catch your attention. Great song to listen to alone in your room if you need to hype yourself up.

This anthem by Tritonal by Noisestorm is a great way to keep your productivity levels up. If you are going to the gym and need a hype playlist visit

Cry/ Dance Mix_02 by Kasbo

This is an especially chill mix by Kasbo. Enjoy a trip back in time about like 5 years. Kasbo is great at building and keeping attention with those soft synths and thick saw bass.

albellophotography art artgallery Audi basquiat cars Contemporary culture daredevils dog drifting edm flight graffiti gronk hockey jack Katsu Keith Haring lifestyle man marketing mask Meme modernart nadal nhl photography real rob s6 salty sill skate skateboarding soccer spare sports streetart streetwear sweet tire walsh wine yousuf karsh


Contemporary Avant-Garde Work: Street Art

-Michael Melvin

Ukrainian Artist Homer

In this essay, we will be discussing Contemporary and Avante- Garde forms and how these concepts fit perfectly within the contemporary world of street art. While the definition of contemporary art is very loosely translated, the ‘art’ can be seen as the ‘art of today.’ Naturally, since contemporary art goes against classical forms of art, this concept can be a popular choice for those looking to explore the Avante Garde.

Dai East
Wuhan, China

Stressing formal opposition Avante- Garde fits perfectly with the contemporary art format. The need to express art past its initial format is recognizable as having some type of respect in the contemporary art circle for people who are finding themselves. This has been seen in contemporary street format by the artist Dal East in Wuhan, China. He used the entire building facade for his spiritually unraveling street art masterpiece. This piece is a large-scale acrylic painting with influences from eastern philosophy. Looking at the piece, there are many Eastern influences(Schacter). The film that most notably pops out for this art piece is the Chinese animated film, Big Fish and Begonia. Big Fish and Begonia comment on the relationship between the spirit world and the reality we live in. Dal East seems to be commenting on the disconnect between modern-day people and their ties to the older generations. We can see this as energy slowly unravels into a whale made up of beams similar to the cursed warthog in Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke. What makes Dal East’s art avant-garde is the format he uses for his painting. East can extend his art to a larger audience that would not necessarily see the art in a studio setting by taking up the whole facade of a building.

Big Fish and Begonia(2018)

Ukrainian artist Sasha Kurmaz challenges how art can be expressed. By turning to the street canvas, he was able to bring art to a place where everyone could experience it. While Sasha, also known as Homer by most Ukrainians, has painted over some of his pieces due to his Avante-garde nature, he still has some of the pieces on showcase for all of the public to see. The act of creating these masterpieces and then deleting them is very avant-garde. It questions what art is and how/ where it can be interpreted.

Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke

With the rise of street art in the mid-1980s, Street Art entered the “high art” world through social activism and the need to move art into a more prestigious space. While people are still finding ways to express themselves using street space internationally, the United States found a way to legitimize certain street art as ‘art’ and turn this craft into contemporary works respected by the ‘high art’ circle.    

While Basquiat was introduced into the “high art” sphere by his relationship with artists like Andy Warhol, his work garnered so much attention that it should have been instantly recognized. From October 18, 2020 – July 25, 2021, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston held their Writing the Future; Basquiat and The Hip Hop Generation exhibition. This exhibition comments on the increased popularity of street art and its transformation into the art world. Contemporary street artists like Keith Haring, Fab 5 Freddy, and others were included in this exhibition( Through the relation with Basquiat’s art, the exhibition can show how street art has evolved over the years from its original format on the streets.

When people see street art, they are initially reminded of the rising ‘black culture’ and its impact on art and society. I am reminded of Graffiti Crews, MCs, and Grandmaster Flash, who thought it was necessary to express themselves in very clever ways, which society did not accept at the time. For people who find it hard to relate to the ‘high art’ circle, it can be culturally advantageous to have public artworks which everyone can appreciate. 

Jean Michel- Basquiat

While I don’t necessarily like the way contemporary Street Art is being marketed as a part of the ‘Hip Hop Generation’, I am fond of the artist that was being recognized and the artwork that was being displayed.

Basquiat and Fab 5 Freddy connected art to hip hop. Not many people have wanted to go to museums because of the lack of diversity in art. Having exhibits like these will definitely drive the younger generations to come to museums as these pieces fit the real issues that people want to talk about today in modern-day America.


“Writing the Future.” Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 

Schacter, Rafael. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. Aurum Press, 2017. 

Ototo, et al. “What Is Contemporary Art? an in-Depth Look at the Modern-Day Movement.” My Modern Met, 18 May 2021, 

Contemporary Street Art: Art or Vandalism

Michael Melvin –

File:Fall of the Berlin Wall 1989, people walking.jpg

As a child growing up close to New York, I have always been obsessed with city life. The people, the different cultures, the public art, and the hustle always kept me excited. I always felt that there was more to life and New York City was the place where dreams happened, so naturally, I would take the train every weekend to experience this dream...

When someone first sees a depiction of street art, one can think of all sorts of kinds of things. First, street art can be relative, as it can be seen or not seen as art depending on its appeal to the community. In New York City, this appeal can be seen in the light of public art and tagging. In doing this project, we are looking at the prominence of street art on a global and domestic scale. Prominent artists such as Dai East, and Katsu, as well as work done by myself. Through understanding the similarities in formats, we can see how global artists have used street art as a way to transform neighborhoods.

We will also be looking at how some artists never fully transformed their work into art and how that would later be accepted in the art world in certain instances.

Schacter, Rafael, and John Fekner. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. London Aurum Press, 2017.

This is Dai Easts mural in Wuhan, China. His depiction of the whale reminds me of a cross between Chinese animation Big Fish and Begonia and the possessed boar in Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke. The most notable thing about this piece is the size of the wall they chose to display this artwork on. The size and height makes it almost impossible for this peice to not catch your eye.

To hear that pop-ups are happening all over China right now is actually stunning to me. I had recently read articles and watched videos describing how people in Beijing have been taking up street art and citing New York as the place of influence and style. Personally, when I went to the 798 art district and China and did my throw-up piece, I was not thinking about New York City. I was thinking about my personal struggles as a human being and my persistence in being the person I wanted to be.

Considering the recent COVID- 19 pandemic and the protests in Hong Kong, we must be aware of how a large mural like this would affect the community. Personally when I see a large well done mural I feel a sense of pride in the fact that another human being produced such a peice. Seeing a peice like this in China is something even more huge, as it can be difficult to get painting permits, especially working with the extremely beauracratic CCP.

In looking at these two pictures back to back we are reminded of the ways in which street art can be used in order to transform a plain white wall into a communal masterpiece. In looking for a piece of art that was similar to Dai East’s example in Wuhan, China, I had to look for a large scale mural in downtown Syracuse. In choosing the mural, in particular, I had to sift through multiple photos that I have taken in advance to work on the website portion of this assignment.

While many of the pieces in Syracuse are works of art, I had to use my own rationale in order to pick a photo that would do Dai East’s work justice in terms of the size and space of the art piece. 

For a while, street art was not accepted as a viable art form. However, through the help of artists like Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Banksy, the art world soon became obsessed with this new format and its application within communities.

This is a depiction of one of Katsu’s tags which can be seen by helicopter or plane. Many of his tags can be found located all over New York and he has even had his pieces featured in museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

This is a depiction of raw street art or a tag. I am not sure what it means, however, the CK seemed to remind me of Calvin Klein who is a notable designer in fashion. While this tag could have been used as a way to claim territory, I found that this picture was a great example of the difference between art and simple vandalism.

A great ballad by Nardo Wick and Lakeyah that encompasses the vibe that Melvin Blogs would like to represent. The choice of this song is directly linked to the link to the idea of linking fashion with art. More importantly, finding a way for contemporary street artists to make money in other areas of business. As we continue to post we will also include explanations of certain street artists’ rise to fame. and fortune.

Through engaging with the material I have become aware of the many ways in which street art can be used as a form of expression. Personally, my relationship with street art is linked to nostalgia and my respect for art regardless of the platform it can be found in.

In looking at Street Art in the contemporary format, we need to make sure to emphasize that this form was initially connected to cultural heritage and painting was a means of expressing one’s identity in a harmless, yet rebellious, way. This will be covered in the next post which will also be located on the Melvin Blogs Contemporary Street Art page.

Through taking the time to take in my images, I hope that you see this work as a reflection of many different groups of people and cultures, all intersecting at a point where expression is felt to be needed or just necessary. In exploring these occurrences, I ask the audience to be mindful of the locations of the pieces and to think about what meaning could be drawn out of each depiction.

About Me

My introduction into the Contemporary world of street art came about during my time spent abroad in Beijing, China. During the duration of my time studying abroad, I enjoyed many local restaurants, talked with people in the area, and had a run-in with the art district. It came to my attention that many of the walls were very oblique and not very colorful. I thought that maybe a touch of art here and there would provide a more positive walk on the way home from work.

In making this remix freshman year of college I initially wanted to have an anthem that could be played at parties. With the reggaeton/dembow/percussive element along with the Bonnie Clyde Uknown lyrics, this piece definitely is hype.


Schacter, Rafael, and John Fekner. The World Atlas of Street Art and Graffiti. London Aurum Press, 2017.

Young, Alison. Street Art World. London, Uk, Reaktion Books, Cop, 2016.

Hughes, Melissa. Street Art & Graffiti Art: Developing an Understanding. 2009.

Soergel, Allison Arteaga. “The Writing on the Wall: Exploring the Cultural Value of Graffiti and Street Art.” UC Santa Cruz News,

Bates, Lindsay. ScholarlyCommons ScholarlyCommons. 2014.

  • My Life and Music

    By Michael Melvin I chose to write this piece, having just recently graduated from Syracuse University. Having had many experiences creating music and DJing in college, I wanted to look back on the moments that brought me closer to my passion. I compiled a timeline of experiences that have led me to performing live eventsContinue…

  • Recordings Lost And Found

    “Something that cannot be repeated Location being played, who it is being played around” – Michael Melvin When I think about Framework and Memory, I am instantly reminded of music. The connection that we as people make with tracks and our memories is out of this world. Sometimes, I find myself connecting my memory ofContinue…

  • Sports Photography Over The Years: From Old World Athlete to Wavy Little Skaters to Death Defying Daredevils

    As time has progressed in the United States, we have seen many different takes on the subject for sports photography. What is a professional sports photograph? How do we pick who is suitable to photograph? As we look through early photography in sports and into later more setup sports photography professionals, we should see aContinue…

Syracuse Campus Golf Outing 10/14/21 6:30

10 October 2021

Syracuse University Campus Golfing Organizational Flyer

Some of my most profound childhood memories took place on the golf course. I recall the immense anticipation I felt every week as Sunday—the day my dad took me golfing—approached. It was a quiet game, but I loved the silence; the course was a place to think profoundly and evaluate every aspect of the layout. As a college senior, I often remember people and places that have slipped my mind as so much has happened in the past four years. When this project was assigned, I took it as a challenge to create an organization that encapsulated my love for the game of golf. During my time at SU, I’ve enjoyed golfing with the friends I’ve made and found it to be something we have all bonded over.

Furthermore, I am taking a golf course this semester at Syracuse University, which sparked the idea to play “campus golf.” While at first, this was something I joked around about, I realized that I could use this assignment to physically design a golf course layout and bring my idea to life. My success in this project was due to creating my own opinion, class engagement, and my understanding of Illustrator.

By actually playing golf on campus, I figured out where possible holes could be for the Syracuse ‘back 9’. This was very gratifying as I was able to hang out with my friends and talk over a friendly game of golf. I was also able to experience the beauty of the Syracuse campus, which is something rare in modern times where technology is everything.

During class, I have been well engaged in the content being presented. By taking notes on the readings and actively listening, I can take away much from each class. I have logged into every class and even got a chance to learn a little about design software from our classmates. This part was especially important as it motivated me to sign up for Adobe Creative Cloud. 

As someone who is not a design major, I initially had no idea how to use Adobe Illustrator. However, after learning from my friend Preston Buhrmaster, I was able to use the pen tool. This tool was crucial to making the layouts of grass on the flyer reflect that of an image of the campus greenery. By using layers, I was able to mimic what land is available for golf. This was not the only precaution I took before building the final draft as I sketched how the course would look on a piece of paper from my notebook. Through planning and working consistently on the project, I have been able to make an excellent final presentation.

In one of our class sessions, I taught my classmates how to use Datawrapper for statistics and infographics. I learned how to use Datawrapper with my own insights on technology and similar programs I’ve previously used. I hope that my shared knowledge helped my peers make convincing infographics with great rhetorical applications. I not only appreciated sharing my own skills but also giving inspirational feedback and overall conversing with my classmates. It was equally helpful hearing what they had to contribute to the conversations we had and keeping their feedback in mind. 

The aspect of my project I am most proud of would have to be the articulate details. Each hole number is formatted onto the flyer to read vertically down the screen; I picked over my final product for hours before deciding it was finished. Patently, nothing is truly perfect, but the time and effort I put into this project resulted in my satisfaction. That being said, there’s nothing I’d change if allowed to do so.

Dark and Light: Contrast and Perception

Michael Melvin

Caravaggio Saint Jerome Writing

The nature of this presentation and paper revolves around the idea of dualism and how it plays a critical role in understanding contrast: Dark and Light, Knowledge and Ignorance, and Life and Death. Through assigning contrast to art we can understand the multiple perceptions within the simulation in question. It is from this third perspective that we are fully able to take in the art and understand the duality in energy and light that brings balance or dissonance to the subject in question. By breaking the illusion and focusing on the mutual relationship between life and death, artists are able to remind the audience of reality. Once the viewers are caught in this illusion and get a taste of realism, they will always come back for more in order to understand what is considered the avant-garde. 

Through viewing Caravaggio’s Saint Jerome Writing, we are instantly hit with much symbolism. Saint Jerome is on the right donning a halo which resembles that of an angel. To the right of the glowing Saint Jerome writing, we see a skull perched upon a book in the back corner. This skull is an example of a memento mori. During the medieval European period, through the depictions of skulls in contrast to human artifacts, 15th century artists were able to create deep symbolic work. This same theme reemerged in late medieval Christian artwork and this idea of looming ephemerality was always popular and thought of as avant- garde for its time period no matter what was displayed.   

Humans have always been obsessed with the idea of escaping fate, which creates a romantic lust in most god fearing citizens. Gohr states reasons why a negative depiction could be aesthetically pleasing by stating that, “The relationship between beauty and terror, eros and death, those time honored themes of art, are presented again by the painting. Negativity, death is introduced as a theme.” Gohr, “Remarks,” n.p. (Page 129). Oddly enough the sentiment Gohr is expressing is still true today. With the rise of postmodern thought, many are looking towards the Anti- Aesthetic in order to create the avant- garde.

While we ponder the ideas of fate and death, we also cannot overlook social injustices. Luey Lippard makes a fair point stating, “Political realism is usually labeled propaganda. Yet racism, sexism, and classism are not invisible in this society.”(Luey R. Lippard, 347). Through using political realism as an artist, one can make progressive propaganda that caters to the artists ‘struggle’. In this scenario the artist is using their platform in beneficial ways that cater to the avant- garde and ‘not being a sellout’. “Foster argues that the avante- garde returns to us from the future, repositioned by innovative work in the present.”(MIT Press) The avant- garde is the reinvisioned present, which is the ideal simulation for creating the world of your own choosing.

While one may think they full understand avant- garde and its benefits to modern art, German critic Peter Bürger states, “that all its activities can be subsumed under the project to destroy the false autonomy of bourgeois art- is problematic”(Peter Bürger) I feel that this new wave of art could be representative of a new age centered on perceptual reasoning. However, I feel that the raw power of this new wave of anti aesthetic art is only programmed to get a response out of its audience.

Concept of Dualism: Yin(阴) and Yang(阳) 

But knowledge is as food, and needs no less

Her temperance over appetite, to know

In measure what the mind may well contain;

Oppresses else with surfeit, and soon turns

Wisdom to folly, as nourishment to wind.

John Milton (Bk. VII, ll. 109-130)

What follows the idea of modernity is the criticism of the manifestations. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a German critic, stated, “Postmodernity definitely presents itself as Anti Modernity.” (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 1). The idea that what is modern can be redefined through the avant- garde puts pressure on artists and creators to shape the future aesthetic; the anti aesthetic. By depicting realism through a hole in the lens, artists are able to provoke feeling and thought. While the reality is still just an illusion, this re-depiction creates a strong image in people’s minds. 

This idea of creating copies was actually done by many artists in order to create collections of great value. Benjamin H.D. Buchloh states, “The repetition of the original act of depletion and the new attribution of meaning redeems the object.”(Benjamin H.D. Buchloh). Simply put, by redoing something that people already know one can get a secondary effect on the market through a similar copy. This can be used in branding and marketing. Andy Warhol is known best for this repetition of everyday items, as seen with his Campbell’s soup can prints. Through the use of copies, the utilitarianism and capitalist ‘struggles’ are fully at work with the artist. While attempting to prove the reality of a robotic lifestyle, Warhol is unironically catering to the needs of society. 

Art should be a reflection of society during the time of creation. Due to the fact that art is noble in practice, many great artists have to receive funding in order to stay afloat financially. Due to the relationship between artist and art purveyor it can be difficult for an artist to create large expository pieces due to legalities and money. While the struggle within every artist is to fight for what they believe in as an individual Jurgen Habermas explains ‘the struggle’ as, “[The struggle] takes form of exposing every manifestation… drawing the connection between modernism and nihilism… between the Left generally and terrorism, anti- semitism, and fascism”-(Jurgen Habermas, 6) Basically this quote states that the artist struggle is to navigate the world as it is without giving up personal values. However, through looking into the contrast between two conceptually different ideas, we are able to see that perception plays a huge role in determining whether the struggle is applicable at the moment.


Foster, Hal. The Return of the Real. MIT Press, 2009. 

Wallis, Brian. Art after Modernism Rethinking Representation. New Museum of Contemporary Art U.a., 1999. 

R. H. Fuchs, Anselm Feifer (Venice: Edizioni “La Biennale di Venezia,” 1980) 

Gohr, “Remarks,” n.p. (Page 129)

Foster, Hal. The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture. New Press, 1998. 

Glasses Cover Eyes: Duality, Knowledge,etc.

Giorgio de Chirico. Portrait of Guillaume Apollinaire (Bildnis des Guillaume Apolinaire), 1914. Oil on canvas, 32(⅛)x25(½)” (81.5 x 65cm). Musee National d’Art Moderne, Centre National d’Art et Culture Georges Pompidou, Paris

Heartfeild Portrays Hope That Baby Will Grow Up Strong

John Heartfeild. Hurrah, die Butter ist alle!, 1935. Photomontage in A-!-Z(December 19, 1935). Text reads: “Hurrah, the butter is gone! Goering in his Hamburg speech: ‘Iron has always made a country strong; butter and lard have at most made people fat.’”

Duality Between Ignorance and Cruelty

Carole Conde and Karl Beveridge. Work in Progress, 1980- 1981. Color photograph, 16 x 20” (40.6 x 50.8 cm). From a series of eight

Christy Rutt: Comment on City Hygienics(New York’s Banksy?) 

Christy Rupp. Making Visible During the Day Something Which is Nocturnal(formerly Rat Patrol), 1979. Posters: offset printing on paper, each 6 x 18” (15.4 x 46.2 cm). Various site in New York City

Duality of Future; Hope and Fear

Victor Burgin, Zoo 78

Duality Between History and Present

Barbara Kruger, Untitled, 1981-83

Distressed; Duality of Face

Richard Misrach, Playboy #38 (Warhol), 1989-91.

Duality in Nature

Tony Smith, Die, 1962.

Andy Warhol Finds Hope in Form of illusion

“Illusion is no longer possible, because the real is no longer possible” -Jean Baudrillard

Window display with paintings by Andy Warhol, Bonwit Teller, New York, 1961.

Vito Acconcis’ Trademark Highlights Transience of life

Vito Acconci, Trademarks, 1970.

Dark Within Light: Racist Indoctrination of Youth Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson, Mining the Museum, 1992, details of carriage and KKK hood, Maryland Historical Society

Perspective; Outside view on Duality

Barbara Kruger, 1981

Utilitarianism and Capitalism

Utilitarianism and Capitalism

Andy Warhol. Campbells Soup Cans 1962

Life and Death; Transience of Life

Vanitas By Antonio de Pereda

Postmodern Anti Aesthetic

Marcel Duchamp, Fountain, 1917.

Memento Mori as Kitsch

Lindsay Lohan wearing Marc Jacobs V-Neck Cardigan Chocolate/Argent, Alexander McQueen Skull Scarf

Banksy paints London Underground train with sneezing rat not wearing face mask. The Arts Newspaper.

Minimalism and the Anti- Aesthetic

Buyers of Maurizio Cattelan’s $120,000 Banana Defend the Work as ‘the Unicorn of the Art World,’ Comparing It to Warhol’s Soup Cans.

Kaws and Transience of Life

Steve Aoki Kaws