It was action time last week in Montreal with the second edition of MURAL festival. I will talk of the festival more generally in a next post, but today I want to focus on one of the exhibitions that took place in the line-up of the festival: End Orphans, a solo show by Alex Produkt. Actually, I was here in Montreal to assist in organizing this show curated by my friend André Pace, art addict, collector and owner of a private gallery, so I guess that my appreciation is not quite objective as I have been involved in the organization… But this show was a real beauty! Part of the festival, it also provided the opportunity to Alex to have his own wall (above). For me, one of the best events of the show was also the amazing documentary that Ian Lagarde made during the last months, following Alex at work at his studio, in the streets, trying to capture a small part of his soul. The least I can do is to invite you to have a look, and get inspired by one of the purist street artists I’ve ever met.
German graffiti master Semor — who had painted at 5Pointzlast year — returned to NYC earlier this month with three amazingly talented Swiss artists: Onur, Wes21 and Kkade. A standout is the mural — fusing elements of surrealism, photorealism and graffiti — that the four fashioned together.
Over the past month, Hense has been in Lima, Peru painting this massive mural. The following is a recap of the events courtesy of Hense:
We just finished up a large exterior installation in Lima, Peru. This is my tallest work to date measuring 137 feet tall and 170 feet wide. The project was organized by Morbo Gallery and funded by the ISIL Institute in MiraFlores, Lima.
I worked with my head assistant and a crew of 10 professional painters over the course of a month to complete the work.
With all my exterior projects, I rarely use a preconceived sketch or concept to go off of. In this case, I presented a few rough concepts to the school to express my vision for the building. However, I always like to leave some room for creative freedom and spontaneity while working. This project was challenging because of the scale. Every shape and mark that we made on the wall had to be massive to be seen from a great distance. I also wanted to leave smaller, details that would be seen by viewers close to the work. In this case most of my painting crew were local to Lima and spoke little to no English and I speak very little Spanish so it was challenging to communicate with them in the beginning of the project. After a month of working everyday with them we managed to be able to understand each other. I’m very grateful for that experience and I learned a lot from them and hope that they were inspired in some way by assisting in the process of the artwork.
We used over 200 gallons of exterior latex paint and a small amount of aerosol on this work. Most of the tools we used were rollers of various sizes, a paint sprayer, brushes, and homemade tools. One thing I feel is important when working on this scale is the improvisational use of tools to create the marks and shapes. In order to reach heights and lengths I had to attach brushes to extension poles to paint in hard to reach areas. We used strings and ropes to create circles and lines that needed to be accurate. However, most gestures and shapes were created freehand. I always push to keep a loose, painterly feel at a large scale. All my work is purely abstract and non representational.
These works are inspired by the architecture and context of the structure. In this case I wanted to use very bright colors that would pop against the sky and next to other near by architecture in Lima. This piece has many layers in it. some of which we covered completely. It’s important to me that the work has a very layered and built up look. I’m never afraid to destroy the image at any given time if it means I have to in order to achieve progression in the work.
I’m always wanting to challenge myself and the viewer in regards to painting and what that can be.
Special thanks to: Jules Bay, Taylor Means, Morbo Gallery, ISIL Institute, Luar Zeid, Panorama, Angel, Paul, Pedro, Alex, Miguel, Jaime, Mayo, William, Christian Rinke, Gino Moreno, Os Villavicencio, Carlos Benvenuto, Candice House, Elard Robles. For all the hard work and making this project come to fruition.
This week at Bushwick 5 Points the lyric and the comedic collided with the completion of walls by both LNY and Hanksy. Depicting Malik, a student of his in the Young New Yorker Program, LNY brought attention to a cause that he has focused on for the past several months. By depicting the student against the backdrop of the city, the artist gives a voice to the problematic nature of New York’s legal system in his wall.
Countering the stark color palette and serious tone of LNY’s work, Hanksy brought his typical pop sensibilities to this Bushwick neighborhood. For these walls, or doors rather, the artist used cultural icons Theodore of the Cosby Show and Thor to play on the surfaces that he was given to paint. By transforming Thor to Dhor and stenciling a Theodoor Huxtable, Hanksy brings his light-hearted nature to an area that was once notorious for its violent crimes.
Whenever I pass bleak-looking school buildings, I imagine their exteriors transformed into playful wonderlands. NEVERCREW, a first-rate Swiss-based artists duo with roots in graffiti, did just that to an elementary school in Lugano. Here are some close-ups:
Over two days, artist ND’A was invited to paint a tall narrow space nestled between Nick Walker and Jay Shells at Bushwick 5 Points. At the crossroads where St Nicholas, Troutman, and Scott meet, Joe Ficalora has created a street art oasis. While his family have owned the buildings for years, Joe has taken it upon himself to breathe new life into them. When speaking to Joe, you can tell the passion he has for the artists with whom he shares his walls. This passion has created a space where artists from other countries as well as the New York area can have a more permanent home than the temporal streets that surround his buildings.
Since his visit to Mexico in June with LNY, ND’A’s style has shifted from text-based to the symbolic. Originally incorporating lyrics from various sources including music, the artist has moved towards a more universal meaning for his murals. Rather than having the text connote a specific reference, he is using symbols to create an appeal for the general public. For example, “drunk or sober never lose your composure,” as he used in his Bushwick Open Studios panel, will divide viewers as either those who understand the RZA line or those who are left feeling outside the reference. However, when removing the lyrics and leaving only the symbols behind a crown, a wolf, a bike lock, and a foam finger can take on a number of meanings for those who venture to Bushwick 5 Points.
In this 90+ degree weather, Felix Mashkov and Vadim Gerasimenko of Concrete Jungle have been at work these past few days in Bushwick, Brooklyn creating a starkly stylish winter wonderland. Though they are returning to their hometown of Vladivostok tomorrow, they promise to return this year. Here are some images captured yesterday:
Balancing elements of local heritage with commentary on the process of large-scale, public works-style painting, UGLAR recently utilized techniques of fine art and street art to pay tribute to L.A.’s three greatest contemporary muralists, Willy Herron III, Kent Twitchell, and Chaz Bojorquez, with a massive mural just north of Chinatown called “Painting the Painters.”
Roughly 20 feet high and 100 feet long, the piece features several crewmembers depicted in the process of painting it (anchoring its left side is a larger-than-life Sergio Diaz, and spaced throughout are life-sized representations of Jose. A. Lopez and Evan Skrederstu), as well as a color-chart chameleon whose scales reflect every hue in the piece, and Tlaloc, the Aztec rain deity. It’s a piece that honors those that came before while commenting on the process of mural-painting, and could only have sprung up on the streets of L.A.
Location: 1726 N. Spring Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Each time we visit Bushwick, surprises await. It’s always fun to come upon an artist at work, and this time we met one painting on the streets for the first time. Daniel Gausman, who recently made the move from the Midwest to Brooklyn, NY, draws his inspiration from “geometry, quilting and color.” Still in progress, his huge mural on Varet Street is a homage to all three. Seeking larger walls than his local apartment can provide and at home interacting with passersby, Daniel is likely to grace more NYC walls with his talents.
Whenever we visit the Hunts Point section of the South Bronx, we either come across How&Nosm walls that we’ve never seen or we rediscover details on some of their murals we’ve come to love. Today was no exception. Here’s a sampling of what we saw: