As an artist whose illustrations have natural fluidity, it’s no wonder that Kelly Vivanco found herself painting water in “Peculiar Tides”. Her latest solo at Thinkspace gallery has a water theme, an element that has captured our imagination for centuries. Water is a source of life and vitality, doomed disasters, bold adventure stories and some of the world’s most curious mysteries. Telling its story is an undertaking felt by Vivanco’s roughly 40 paintings created over 8 months, sculptures, and a narrative starring childlike heroines that vaguely resemble the artist.
Berlin-based artist Reka recently travelled to London for his current solo show “Trip the Light” at StolenSpace Gallery (see our preview here) and left a mural behind in the Shoreditch district. While the graceful movements of dancers’ bodies served as the inspiration for the paintings in Reka’s exhibition, the mural took on a more playful, illustrative look despite its shared Modernist aesthetic. Over a black background, Reka painted free-flowing, abstract forms. Some of them emerge as illustrations of specific objects — a fish head, a chess piece with an all-seeing eye — while others keep the viewer asking questions. Is that a spray can with the punk slogan ACAB? The whimsical piece is intended to keep us guessing.
The gigantic murals of the Peruvian painter El Decertor run along sidewalks in Lima, on apartment buildings in Baltimore, and on streets and buildings in Venezuela, Morocco, and Mexico, just to name a few. Across each city, the work features consistent motifs of complex, colorful backgrounds made from fractured polygon patterns, with a prominent figure at the mural’s focus. These figures are mostly mystical — they are clearly human, painted with an empathetic realism, but posed with some symbolic gesture or object: metaphors for immigration, agriculture, housing, meditation, colonialism. Occasionally the murals drift into the surrealistic, framing an alternate reality for passersby throughout the city to gaze into, and perhaps recognize some of their own inside.
Uninspired by the lack of public art in their home town of Aalborg, a mid-sized Danish city, Lars Bonde and Mads Mulvad curated We AArt, the first art festival focused exclusively on murals in Denmark. The fest brought out many diverse talents from different corners of Europe. In our first update, you’ll find a large-scale mural by Aryz, who is known for expressing his illustrative style on monumental walls. Also hailing from Spain, Kenor created an abstract wall alive with neon colors and Escif painted a mural with neatly compartmentalized depictions of people and objects that evoke’s a traveler’s sketchbook. Stay tuned for more murals from Interesni Kazki, Alexis Diaz, Don John and Jaz, whose walls are still in progress as we speak.
A couple of weeks ago, Pejac shared a simple window drawing on his Facebook profile, as a tribute to legendary French high-wire walker, Philippe Petit. The drawing was done using acrylic on a window glass to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Petit’s walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. This simple idea, captured on camera by his friend Silvia Guinovart Pujol, shows the riskiness and fragility of the art of tightrope and is a great example of the Spanish artist’s style: simple, minimalist yet effective.
Both based in Berlin by way of Australia, Two One and Reka (see our recent studio visit here) are exhibiting together at StolenSpace Gallery in London in two concurrent solo shows: Reka’s “Trip the Light” and Two One’s “The Hunted Hunter’s Head.” Inspired by the graceful movements of dancers from a young age, Reka (whose mother was a ballerina) presents a series of paintings that pay homage to the fluid, abstract shapes the body can make. His Cubist-inspired paintings might have one imagining a toe-tapping soundtrack of jazz or even the swell of a symphony, but Reka tempers these allusions to older, more traditional art forms with gritty paint textures that evoke his graffiti roots.