While graffiti was once considered a sign of urban blight, many artists who got their start as taggers are now becoming embraced by progressive-minded art institutions and civic organizations alike. Enter, the Richmond Mural Project, a yearly street art festival created with the intention of making Richmond, Virginia a unique contemporary art destination by fostering the creation of dozens of permanent murals. Now in its third year, the project brought international artists Chazme 718, Meggs, Onur, Ron English, Sepe, Smitheone, Ekundayo, Proch, David Flores and Wes21 to the Southern metropolis for almost two weeks of painting (June 16 - June 26). Last week, we highlighted the murals of Smithe, Proch and Ekundayo, who seemed to have gotten a quick start (see the coverage here), and today, we show more in-depth photo coverage of Meggs, Onur and Wes21, Ron English and yet another Ekundayo piece.
Situated in Richmond, VA, the street art festival Richmond Mural Project was founded with the goal of creating over 100 murals by the world's leading contemporary artists in its first five years. Such an eclectic array of permanent public artworks, according to the project's founders at Art Whino, would propel Richmond as an international street art destination. Now in its third year, this rendition of the event gave 10 contemporary artists two weeks to complete over 20 murals. Chazme 718, Meggs, Onur, Ron English, Sepe, Smitheone, Ekundayo, Proch, David Flores and Wes21 began painting on June 16 and are finishing their works as we speak. Today, we bring you some photos of the works in progress as well as some finished pieces from Ekundayo and Smithe, the latter of whom was working double time on two pieces. Take a look at the progress photos below and stay tuned for coverage of all the finished murals.
Madrid-based artists Remed and Okuda teamed up recently for the Streets of Colour mural series, which took them as far south as Miami and as far north as Toronto and Oslo. Okuda's work is much more figurative, presenting forms in geometric arrangements akin to Cubist portraits with splashes of neon. Meanwhile, Remed's work is decidedly abstract, layering flat, simplified shapes and playing with arrangements of vivid colors. For Streets of Colour, the two artists seemed to fuse their styles seamlessly. The final stop of the tour was the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art where they collaborated on a wall with Norwegian artist Tune Emblemsvag. Check out some highlights from their mural tour after the jump.
Chilean artist Dasic Fernandez's approach to portraiture is fairly realistic, but his murals become fantastical when he swathes his sitters in fabrics that ooze with bright colors and patterns. Sometimes the fabrics are hijabs, like in his homage to the Yemeni community of Hamtramck, Michigan in 2013. Other times, they're bandanas intended to obscure the face — a nod to the coverings graffiti writers don to protect themselves from spray paint and to the idea of revolution, which Fernandez flirts with in much of his work. The fabrics open like windows into other worlds, revealing clouds and landscapes that invite the imagination to explore.
What happens when you give 40 street artists hundreds of cans of spray paint and let them loose in Taipei? As the Pow! Wow! team took over the Taiwanese capital, the cityscape was covered with murals by artists visiting from around the world alongside those based there.
Taiwan may not be the first place to come to mind when you think about street art, but Hawaiian arts organization Pow! Wow! recently made Taipei its second home. For the last week, about 40 international and Taiwanese artists scaled buildings and crossed below highways to bring their fresh paint styles to Taipei. Just a few months ago, the Pow! Wow! team was in Hawaii revamping the walls of Honolulu for the fourth edition of street art festival Pow! Wow! Hawaii. Now, they’ve hopped 5,000 miles across the Pacific for the first ever Pow! Wow! Taiwan.
A biographical fact Nychos often mentions in interviews is that he grew up in a family of traditional Austrian hunters. This explains the artist's lack of squeamishness: He seems to relish inventing characters and then slicing them open for his viewers to see. While it may be extreme for some, his grotesque display of cartoon violence speaks to the image-saturated, short attention spans of millennials who grew up on a steady diet of Ren and Stimpy and Ninja Turtles. Hot off the heels of his solo show at Fifty24SF in San Francisco, the artist recently traveled to Sao Paolo paint a new mural dubbed "Horsepower." The title is a nod to Nychos's energetic aesthetic and notoriously high-speed painting process. See progress photos of the new piece after the jump.
A far cry from the tight, linear style of graffiti, Borondo's murals utilize sweeping, expressive brushstrokes that demonstrate little restraint. The artist is unafraid of dripping paint, thickly slabbing earth tone hues on walls for his contemplative portraiture. Based in Spain, Borondo recently painted a string of murals in London. "Narcissus," put up on the edge of a canal, cleverly makes use of the wall's reflection in the water. Narcissus, after all, was the young man who couldn't get enough of his own image. "Cheese" (pictured above) offers a political commentary, whether one takes the shackles as a metaphor or a literal allusion to events in recent history. Photographer and filmmaker Fabiano Caputo followed Borondo's journey through the British capital and captured his murals in several time lapse videos in addition to the photos. Check them out after the jump.
Public art and murals add an imaginative dimension to the daily humdrum of city life — a cause public art project Forest For The Trees is championing in Portland at Hellion Gallery. The gallery is currently hosting a two-week pop-up fundraiser show for FFTT, which is gearing up for a mural series in late August featuring the likes of Blaine Fontana, DAL, Faith47, Know Hope, Mary Iverson and many other international and Portland-based artists. The current group show at Hellion Gallery features works from a small selection of artworks from some of the participants: an assemblage by Fontana, psychedelic paintings by Brendan Monroe, a landscape collage by Mary Iverson and more. The exhibition is on view through May 30. Stay tuned for news about the Forest For The Trees mural series later this summer.
Greek artist Stamatis Laskos aka Sive contorts proportions to create a wonderful re-imagining of human anatomy. Laskos, who works in both street art and illustration, creates surreal worlds inhabited by figures with abstracted bodies, bearing elongated limbs and caricature-esque faces with stretched noses and ears. His street art is painted with cool, earthy colors applied with raw brushstrokes. Laskos's illustrative works, while having less range of color, are still rendered with impressive detail and texture.
A blend of Greco-Roman iconography and modern-day graphic design, LA-based duo Cyrcle's latest work is a prime example of the ways images get recycled, re-contextualized and repeated in contemporary culture. Like the philosopher Guy Debord famously predicted in the 1960s, our experiences are mediated through images, and almost everything in mass culture has become an image of an image of an image. Not to get too far off track, Cyrcle's new mural in Malmö, Sweden plays with this notion of pastiche.
When Insa presents his street art GIFs to people, they often think that he went back on Photoshop after painting a piece and animated it digitally. However, what the artist refers to as GIF-iti is painted entirely by hand, one frame at a time. Each layer of the artwork is photographed at a specific time of day to keep the lightning consistent, resulting in a moving mural created by way of stop-motion animation. Insa recently painted such a piece in Paris on a billboard along the River Seine. Painted over the course of two days (in the rain, mind you), the final, moving piece we see here was created using eight layers and 72 total skulls painted at different angles. The colorful work is titled "C'est La Vie" — a tongue-in-cheek name considering the subject matter. Check out some process shots after the jump.