Studying mythology allows one to examine how the values of contemporary culture are transmitted through history. Tying a thread between past and present, Portland’s Antler Gallery invited a group of artists to create portraits inspired by mythical creatures for their third annual “Unnatural Histories” group show. Each piece is accompanied by a short story written by each artist relating their specific character’s tale. According to curators Neil M. Perry and Susannah Kelly, some artists reinterpreted existing myths while others took the opportunity for more inventive storytelling. Participating artists include Josh Keyes, Craww, Vanessa Foley, Michael Page, Hi-Fructose co-editor-in-chief Annie Owens, Siolo Thompson, Brin Levinson, Syd Bee, Jackie Avery, Crystal Morey, Susannah Kelly, Ben Kehoe, Neil M. Perry, Jennifer Parks, Jon MacNair, and Ryan Berkley. Take a look at our preview of the exhibition before it opens this evening.
Last Saturday, Merry Karnowsky looked to the La Brea Tar pits for the inspiration behind their pop-up gallery at Tarfest. Produced by LAUNCH, the event is an annual music and arts festival paying homage to Los Angeles’ natural wonder, while fostering creative expression. The famous seepage has been happening for tens of thousands of years, and continues to ensnare organisms today. These unlucky flora and fauna were interpreted by artists Greg ‘Craola’ Simkins, Todd Carpenter, Lezley Saar, Von Sumner, and James Griffith, who used tar as his painting medium. With the pits just a few hundred feet away, their renderings merged new culture with this culturally historic spot.
We recently spotted Aryz’s massive wall at the We AArt mural festival in Denmark (see our coverage here) and shortly after, the prolific Spanish artist traveled to Vilnius, Lithuania to paint a new mural for the Vilnius Street Art Festival. Aryz took an atypical route in the creation of this piece: though it appears geometrically organized and precise, he painted the mural without sketching out his idea prior to coming to the wall. Before he arrived, the wall already had the words “Kaip Ne Žmogus” (or, “Not Like Human”) tagged on it. Aryz incorporated the text into his piece, and it seems to fittingly describe this otherworldly scene.
Liu Guangguang was born in China’s Gansu province. He attended Lu Xun Academy of Fine Art. He lives and works in Shenyang and Beijing. He’s a member of the Beijing-based EDGE Creative Collective. His recent work is about scale. His figures (and animals) go about their normal activity. They check their phones. They play cards. They get ready for bed. The people smile without a care in the world. Despite the normalcy of each image, something’s unusual, if not wrong. Either the figures have miniature heads or else their bodies are gigantic. Their fingers and necks are elongated. A few have huge eyes. One woman has the floppy ears and trunk of an elephant.
Technicolor maven Maya Hayuk recently opened her solo show “Alles Klar” at Die Kunstagentin in Cologne, Germany. Sparsely hung on the gallery’s white, painted-brick walls, the painter and muralist’s neon creations have room to breath without overwhelming the viewer. After all, Hayuk almost solely uses neon hues, often overlapping them in kaleidoscopic patterns that subtly evoke folk art forms such as weaving. Each piece attracts the eye like a nexus of energy — as if Hayuk’s intense color choices have a sort of gravitational pull. On a mural created at the entrance of the gallery, Hayuk turns up the volume, subsuming a corner of the space in refracted rainbows.
Hot off a mural tour that took him to Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, Shepard Fairey recently traveled to Berlin for to create a new street piece for Urban Nation’s “One Wall” project. The arts platform is behind the interdisciplinary Project M (see our coverage here and here) and recently invited Fairey, Dutch collage artist Handiedan and Irish muralists Icy & Sot to create large-scale wall works. In his typical propaganda fashion, Fairey’s mural champions creative freedom with the slogan “Make Art Not War.” Read our recent interview with Fairey here and take a look at some photos of the piece by Henrik Haven below.