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Brooklyn Street Art

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Pastel + Lora Zombie. Up North Fest X BSA: Røst, Norway. Dispatch 4

Posted on July 13, 2017

This is the third year for Northern Norway’s UPN Festival and this year it’s on an Island called Røst and includes a collection of artists eager to do site-specific and environmental works – one evolutionary development in the mural festivals that blossom throughout the world right now. This week BSA is proud to bring you images and interviews along with Urban Nation this year at UpNorth, where the seagulls never stop calling and the sun never goes down this time of year.


“If you do this in London this would just be one wall out of many,” says UpNorth festival founder Gøran Moya,

“But on this island the artists can really make an impact. They can be part of changing history for this community. The festival is also all about doing this together. Because it’s such a small place the artists, crew and locals have a special opportunity to interact with each other. This makes the whole project more personal I think.”

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

We had asked him to contrast the nature of what we call “Street Art” in its original environment versus the experience of creating and seeing it here at UPN.

“I think this will have a greater impact. For the artists coming to such a remote place where there is no history of urban art, but also for the community of the island. Most people don’t know anything of this artistic expression and can be very sceptical in the beginning. But they have always ended up loving it. They also take a pride in this.”

“We’re just trying to have new work that brings a contrast – Like getting Pastel to paint his colorful expression on a island without almost any vegetation.”

 

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

An Argentinian architect and painter, Pastel routinely brings the natural world to the manmade irregular spaces in the built environments of modern cities. Not a stranger to the city, he’s equally engaged in the country – taking particular care to educate himself about the sliding matrix of environments that one walks through when visiting a place – social, historical, geological…

So it makes sense that his work here draws directly from the eating habits of sea and air in this land where both are the principal actors. His interesting twist is how flora becomes symbolic for social issues in Pastels projects – a catalyst for dialogue about the nature of nature and the nature of us.

 

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

BSA: Can you describe that shell/flower arrangement, how it is related to the local vegetation, what you learned about the geography/agriculture/topography on Røst?
Pastel: The painting is based on the local flora that grow during the artic summer (24hs sunny) and the marine imagery. The seagulls jump into the water and catch sea urchin, then they drop them in the ground to crack the shell and eat it.

You can find all over the island these empty shells covering the ground. Because of changing climate conditions and the noticeable jump from to a subpolar oceanic climate to a cold-summer Mediterranean climate, the flora has become endemic and unique to the region itself.

 

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

BSA: Can you talk about the greater significance of the work as it relates to environmental or social issues?
Pastel: In my painting I’m focusing on the flora as a way to talk about the local issues of each place I’m going to paint in. The issues may reference architecture and urban mistakes, socio-economical and historical problems. I think of my painting as a dynamic way to make architecture in public spaces (a kind of “urban acupuncture”), as a performance, hopefully improving the local identity of each place.

When I work on studio paintings I translate those meanings using poisonous plants instead of the local flora.

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

BSA:What are some of the challenges for you as an artist right now?
Pastel: I guess one ongoing challenge for me is to improve my painting techniques. My biggest challenge may be that I am a difficult critic with myself. Also when I think of the concept of painting on public areas, I feel a great responsibility about the work I create in public space.

Pastel sharing what inspired him to paint this wall. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 

Pastel. He thought he had completed his piece but then he had a change of heart and decided to switch the background color completely. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Pastel. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Lora Zombie begins. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)


Known more as a fine art illustrator than urban artist, Russian born Lora Zombie brought her fantastical sensibility to this very grey area, injecting her self-taught style of art-making into the familiar environment.

Her world-wide collectors will probably not make it up here, but then again much of her success as an artist can be directly traced to her presence on the Internet – and of course bouyant personality and the ubiquitous shocking blue hair.

Lora Zombie. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

“Lalala!” Lora says when we ask her to answer a few questions about her image of a girl getting a ride on the back of a bird at UpNorth.

BSA: Can you tell us about the piece that you did for UpNorth?
Lora Zombie: So my piece is more about just good bright harmony and joyful vibe! I wanted to spread some bright and flying feeling for Røst island!

 

Lora Zombie. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

BSA: How would you describe the environment working in Røst?
Lora Zombie: The Environment was wonderful. It felt like artist camping – fun and childish.

BSA:How are you challenging yourself as an artist right now?
Lora Zombie: Animation is my challenge at the moment. Conceptual animated video clips.

Lora Zombie. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Lora Zombie. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Lora Zombie. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

Lora Zombie. Up North Fest 2017. Røst, Norway. (photo © Tor Ståle Moen)

 

Our thanks to our partner Urban Nation (UN) and to photographer Tor Ståle Moen for his talents.


See our Up North roundup piece on The Huffington Post

 

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