Yesterday, we shared with you the current edition of The Crystal Ship, a Belgian street art festival located in Ostend, which is located in the Flemish Region of Belgium. The collection of images that we presented was taken by photographer Martha Cooper, a frequent collaborator of BSA, during her recent trip to Ostend as a special guest of the festival.
In line with her usual practice, Ms. Cooper did not limit her work to capturing photos of the murals being painted for this year’s festival edition; she also endeavored to take as many photos of murals painted during previous editions of the festival. We are pleased to present a selection of these murals, painted over several years, with photographs taken by Martha Cooper herself.
This selection of murals is an exciting representation of the diverse and captivating street art that has been featured at The Crystal Ship Festival throughout the years, much of it creating a gallery of contemporary artists whose work is arresting and appealing to a general audience. The dedication and hard work put forth by Martha Cooper in capturing these pieces in all their artistic glory is genuinely commendable. We hope you enjoy this glimpse into the festival’s vibrant history and the incredible art showcased in the public square in Ostend over the years.
We’re pleased today to bring new works from David Walker in studio as he prepares for his first US solo show at Black Book Gallery in Denver, “Shake Your Skin Loose”. A departure from his style that many have seen in murals in many cities, these new works are less literal, more impressionist; a product of his own “shaking loose” of expectations for his work.
The works on paper particularly remind us of the public spots where paper advertisements are posted – getting damaged by time and weather, ripped off time and again to make way for new ones, revealing traces of the old. With heavy paint overlaid with irony and personal phrases, they’re are more raw than we are used to seeing the controlled and thoughtful Walker, making way for emotion and imprecision.
“In the age of social media where the treatment of others is inhuman at times and the currency is judgement: Like/Dislike, Left/Right, Us/Them, Pretty/Ugly – All done in a millisecond,” says Walker en route to the new works. “I feel like portraiture and painting or ‘slow media’ is becoming more vital. A good painting can elevate its subject, command inspection, ask questions of the viewer.”
“Whether sitting completely still or sleeping we are internally pulsating as our physiological systems constantly work to keep us functioning,” says the gallery text accompanying the show. “Our nervous system crackles with electricity, blood vessels expand and contract from head to toe in perfect harmony while our mind swirls with contemplation”
From cave carvings in Angoulême in western France 27,000 years ago to your daily, perhaps hourly selfie on a cell phone today, our desire to depict the figure is as much a reflection of the artist and their times as it’s sitter.
A new show at MUCA Munich (Museum of Urban Contemporary Art) opening today invites 30 primarily Street Artists to choose a significant reference portrait of any historical time, country of origin, or artistic movement and interpret their inspirations into a portrait.
Whether drawing influences from Vermeer, Courbet, or Lucien Freud, each artist ultimately represents their own life experiences in their choice of subject and the technique of portrayal. Perhaps that is why curator Elisabetta Pajer has asked each of the artists to give us a statement with their work to help put it into context. Pajer tells us that she looks at the collection of works and the statements create a ‘harmonic mosaic’ of these figurative and written testimonies.
“These artists have sought out inspiration from many mediums that portraiture finds itself interpreted within,” says Pajer. “Taking their themes and inspiration from classical paintings, sculpture, film, theater, photographer, interactions, culture, religion, and science. Exhibiting a great understanding of the complexity of self-reflection with art as the catalyst.”
We’re pleased to be able to present some of the artists and their own words here.
Andreas Englund. Tripping. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Oil on canvas
Size: 116 x 90 cm
“I chose to tribute my artwork to the ‘‘Portrait of a smoking man’’ by Anders Zorn 1860-1920 – Swedens most internationally acclaimed artist. Born in my home region and very inspirational when it comes to his sketchy technique. By doing my own version of this masterpiece with my superhero, I have learned more about ‘‘the great Zorn’’ and his technique.”
Martha Cooper. Futura 1983. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Archival pigment print
Size: 50,8 x 76,20 cm
“This is a 1983 photo of Futura, a legendary New York City graffiti writer, with a classic can of Krylon spray paint. Thirty-five years later, Futura is still spray painting and I am still taking photos of graffiti writers.”
Icy + Sot
Icy & Sot. Under The Water Light. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artists)
UNDER THE WATER LIGHT
Media: Stencil spray paint on canvas
Size: 91,5 x 123 cm
“This portrait is part a series we created reflecting on the relationship between human and nature. Nature plays a big role in human lifespan, but nowadays people have distanced from nature. With this work, we want to show humans closer to nature and pay a tribute to it.”
Swoon. Thalassa. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Screenprint on paper with coffee stain and hand painting with collage mounted on board
Size: 123 × 138 cm
“The name Thalassa is Greek word for ‘‘ocean’’, a primordial incarnation of the sea that is not often personified. Thalassa is said to have given birth to all tribes of fish in the sea. She is the pull of the sea that comes from inside the salt water in our blood. ‘Thalassa was originally created for New Orleans. It was the months after the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf in 2010, and this body of water that I’d loved since I was a child was in peril. As I drew Thalassa surging up from the water I felt her rising like a wake up call, one reminds us of our inseparability from the sea. When I stand in front of the ocean, the word that always appears first in my mind is “mother”. For me there is no mistaking the sense that the sea is our first mother.’ ”
GONZALO BORONDO & DIEGO LOPEZ BUENO
SELFIE ELVIS II
Media: Acrylic and plaster on wood – Plasma TV 50’’- Video on loop – 16:9 Digital – Color
Size: 7 panels each – 120 x 70 x 1 cm + 1 TV
“Inspired by several passport photos found within the Marseilles “Marché aux Puches” (FR), Borondo and Lopez Bueno have designed an installation project with the title “Selfie Elvis II”. Imagination is the basis of the multimedia work with self-portraits of a man recalling the contemporary “selfie”. There are dozens of frames describing human aspects and obsessions. They have been digitally elaborated and assembled in a video by López Bueno. Borondo portrayed Elvis with acrylic on wood and applying gypsum, then scratched with sharp instruments. Faces appeared by subtraction, the absence tells about an ancestral and intangible dimension, wondering about its existence. Is Elvis looking at himself or us in that picture? And what about our images, do they look like us or they are just our dreams? Elvis is not there, Elvis is still there.”
Addison Karl. Kamassa. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Bronze, edition 1 of 10
Size: 30,48 x 20,32 x 15,24 cm
“Portraiture in context to sculpture and form – referencing the masterpieces from both European Classical and Neoclassical time periods. From a culture l mirror of taking inspiration from Gods and Goddess of the ancient world, my sculpture’s subject is focused on a contemporary Chickasaw Elder. Using portraiture as a means of Cultural Preservation but equally re-appropriating classic sensibilities of art history to a Native Cultural narrative. “
Various & Gould
Various & Gould. Trigger (Rokhaya Diallo). IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artists)
TRIGGER (ROKHAYA DIALLO)
Media: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 200 x 140 cm
“Our portrait of Rokhaya Diallo refers to an iconic work by Nikide Saint Phalle: The artistically revised film still “Daddy” shows the artist pointing a gun directly at the viewer. Even almost 50 years later, her eye and the muzzle of her rifle leave no doubt that she is serious about it. Anyone who sees the work feels immediately like coming into the firing line.
In our painting, the French journalist and film maker Rokhaya Diallo takes the place and – freely recreated – also the pose of Niki de Saint Phalle. Thus, an early feministic, vigorous artist of the twentieth century is followed by a modern, committed internet feminist with no less strong verve than her predecessor. Both women are even the same age at the time of the illustration. Only instead of the rifle, Rokhaya Diallo relies on her very own “weapon”, the hashtag. At first glance, it may seem more harmless than a rifle, but in times of #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo it can be an even more powerful tool.”
Fintan Magee The Removalist. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Canvas and acrylic on wall installation
“The portrait has been ripped off the canvas and dragged across the ground and projected onto the wall. The artist has destroyed the canvas and made the portrait ephemeral, rendering it worthless and unsellable. The work comments on the commodification of artwork and the uneasy and paradoxical relationship between artist and the financier of his artworks. With street art becoming increasingly commoditized and contributing to gentrification this work doesn’t aim to make any grand statements on how art should or shouldn’t be produced, only highlight the illusionary, absurdist and contradictory image the art industry presents of itself.”
VHILS. Matta. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Bas-relief carving on plasterboard mounted on metal structure
Size: 181 x 120,5 x 34 cm
“Resorting to a bas-relief carving technique, applied here to a free-standing structure of plasterboard, this piece is a homage to the work of Gordon Matta-Clark, which became a major influence on me after I first saw it at an exhibition in Portugal, in 2002. Matta-Clark was one of the first artists to look at the urban space as a space of creation and reflection on the human condition in the contemporary times we live in. Those are the considerations I try to translate in my own work too, reflecting about the human condition in the contemporary times we live in.”
Andrea Wan. Being Of Light. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
BEING OF LIGHT
Media: Ink on paper
Size: 50 x 70 cm
“Fascinated by the lively and dynamic landscape in the paintings of native Canadian Artist Emily Carr, I chose one of her most renown works, Indian Church (1929) as the subject of reinterpretation. Seemingly more accurate than a realistic approach, Carr’s abstraction of nature elements not only communicated to me that nature is vast and subliminal but also ever-changing in form and expression. The white church which stands calmly in the midst of the mystical environment inspired me to personify the subject as a being who is in tune with all that’s around her.”
DALeast. FIII. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Media: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 100 x 80 cm
“A still moment of Fiii standing in the windy land, which is existing inside the transitory gathering of the particles of the magical net.”
IMAGO: A History of Portraits opens today at MUCA Museum of Urban And Contemporary Art. Munich. Curated by Elisabetta Pajer the show runs until November 2018.
IMAGO is a show dedicated to the history of portrait: over 30 artists from five different continents are invited to pay homage and interpret a portrait in their medium of their choice. IMAGO aims to lead visitors through different artistic eras, helping discover the international history and evolution of the portrait.
Anna Piera Di Silvestre
Ricky Lee Gordon
Known well as a portrait painter of pensively wistful women across numerous expansive walls in cities around the globe in the last decade, Street Artist/muralist/fine artist David Walker is opening his scope of work to new things. Men for example.
“Half a World Passed Me By” represents a turning point for the artist, or a few, says Walker, of the new exhibition opening at Lawrence Alkin Gallery in London this week. Of course he’s still using spray paint, but “I feel that using new approaches and materials has allowed me a fresh dexterity and an opportunity to mature as a painter,” he says.
Maybe it was simply the event of turning 40 years old, but Walker tells us that he’s experiencing a new sense of freedom to explore that he didn’t have before and the two-level show includes figurative works, studies and sketches, along with a new series of text-based paintings featuring his own writings.
‘Half A World Passed Me By’ refers to a few changes for the artist, including talking about something he says he hasn’t felt comfortable speaking of previously.
“I have been completely blind in my right eye since birth. It’s not common knowledge,” he says, as he didn’t want it to cloud perceptions of his work. Whatever obstacles he’s referring to, the new collection speaks for itself. In the meantime we’re happy to hear him say,”I feel far more fearless as a person and artist and far more comfortable to invite people further into my world.”
Take a look at these new images, including exclusive process shots for BSA readers, thanks to photographer Yuli Gates.
“Wall Street Art”: The merging together of two phrases (Wall Street, Street Art) that never had much to do with each other, but now sometimes do.
Additionally it is the newly branded mural program/festival across 24 municipalities in France under the artistic direction of Jourdain Gautier, whose name you may recognize from his founding and directorial roles with Mathgoth Gallery, LE MUR, and 100 Walls for Youth – all Paris based efforts.
“Wall Street Art” has expanded and renamed Essone – a festival that previously hosted walls by artists like Speedy Graphito, Clet, Cranio, and Monkeybird, among others, and now brings us a new wall in Lieusaint.
We begin today with David Walker, the Englishman who lives in Berlin whose singular styling of female subjects is known in tens of cities across the world. You’ve seen his work here many times, turning his attentive adoration to the countenance of this wistful sky-gazing figure. “One recognizes the artist’s particular style where layer after layer, the different colors end up forming a portrait that sometimes borders with hyperrealism, and especially in the eye,” says Jourdain.
Beginning this Tuesday the next artist in the program, Germany’s ECB, will begin his mural in EVRY. We hear stories as well of other greats in the program like Case Maclaim, Fintan Magee, C215, and Astro.
Meanwhile, you can catch Case Maclaim here in Brooklyn today and tomorrow with the Bushwick Collective at the annual Block Party.
“I was conflicted about making the mural in France,” says Street Artist and muralist David Walker about the new sky-gazing countenance of a woman he painted there during the recent terrorist attacks. “I felt it I wasn’t commenting on the current situation there.”
It’s often a point of contention with public art and one that is discussed by city elders, academics, passersby: what role does art in the public have? Is it to advocate, reflect, comment upon, distract, reassure?
Commissioned public and private murals and illegal Street Art are all judged by many and assumptions about the artists intent or role are called into question, – even by the artist. “What’s the point of taking up more wall space?,” asks Walker. “Due to the nature of my work, I can have internal conflictions wherever I go,” he says.
Even though Boulogne-sur-Mer is three hours north of Paris, people in the town felt very affected by the attacks, and many conversations touched upon the events – which seemed to be unfolding even as he painted. “During my stay the TV looped with news of another attack in a northern city just a few hours away,” he says.
It was a 7-day long installation and he says he enjoyed the conversations that he had with people on the street. Some paid him compliments and he says he even appreciated those who didn’t particularly like his work.
“A few commented that the image was not exactly to their taste, but they appreciated that I worked hard everyday and the gesture.” Not exactly work for the thin-skinned, that’s for sure.
Ultimately, Walker says that he decided the new mural plays an important part in the dialogue of the city.
“After painting and seeing and hearing the buzz happening around the wall, in the newspapers and cafes and restaurants we visited, the people made me feel that actually sometimes something simple, hopeful and human can be enough – or even what’s needed from art. I was, at times, taken aback by the positivity I felt towards the work and I was relieved that somehow it did have a place there.”
Here is a full face is out in the open on the side of a building here in Denmark, where David Walker has just completed this mural for a project described by organizers to get high quality art out to the many and not just the few.
Now through June 25th Galleri KIRK is bringing some of the artists they represent to Aalborg, Absalonsgade and Nørregade. Just in time for the Aalborg Karneval, the largest in Scandinavia, which draws nearly 100,000 people to see a parade of 60,000 costumed revelers each year and culminates this weekend, Walker and BEZT from Etam Cru completed their painted contributions to the celebrations.
Formerly a working class industrial city and now working toward becoming known as a “knowledge based” city, Aalborg is ranked number one in Europe for citizens’ satisfaction with the quality of life, according to the 2015 survey by the European Commission.
Murals may have something to do with it Walker tells us. “Aalborg boasts one of the highest concentrations of murals in Europe painted by artists from all over the world.
Also, “snaps” may have contribute to the generally positive outlook – including those who have home distilleries. The herbed and spiced liquid of 40% alcohol known as aquavit that Anthony Dias Blue describes in his book “the Complete Book of Spirits” as something you might drink at a midsummer lunch with “a group of people clustered around a table… including several courses and a clear, fiery drink.” This is something Walker says, “which I found out is very dangerous.”
Possibly that is why his subject has a blue nose?
When you go to Aalborg look forward to finding more murals from the galleri’s “Out in the Open” project from Faith47, Guido van Helten, Wes21, Michal Mraz, Vesod, Linnea Strid, and TelmoMiel.
“Just finished my biggest mural to date,” says Street Artist and muralist David Walker about this upward gazing fresh face in Belgium. Today we have photos exclusive to BSA readers of the new 17 square meter mural at an elementary school that is visible from many of the classrooms throughout the day – presumably for those times during class when students prefer to daydream.
“Wild-Brabant” is the festival in this province of central Belgium and Walkers’ freehand full color portrait took an entire week at the Freinetschool De Pit in Diest school.
The project gathered the daily interest of the teachers, students, and various parents who brought him fresh cookies daily and watched Walker as he demolished 160 aerosol paint cans to create one of his signature women for the campus. The project was organized by Provincie Vlaams Brabant and Killerbee Workshops.
A lot of people thought so, and the rise of commercial festivals and commissioned public/private mural programs probably brought more artists to more walls than in recent history. Judging from the In Box, 2016 is going to break more records. Enormous, polished, fully realized and presented, murals can hold a special role in a community and transform a neighborhood, even a city.
But they are not the “organic” Street Art that draws us into the dark in-between places in a city, or at its margins.
We keep our eyes open for the small, one-off, idiosyncratic, uncommissioned, weirdo work as well, as it can carry clues about the culture and reveal a sage or silly solo voice. It also just reinforces the feeling that the street is still home to an autonomous free-for-all of ideas and opinions and wandering passions. For us it is still fascinating to seek out and discover the one-of-a-kind small wheatpastes, stencils, sculptures, ad takeovers, collages, and aerosol sprayed pieces alongside the enormous and detailed paintings that take days to complete.
The main image above is from a vinyl subway advertisement that was high-jacked and we published it in February of this year on our Images of the Week posting. It’s small, personal, and very effective as you can see someone suspiciously similar to Batman is jumping out of the mouth of someone looking awfully similar to Hedwig of “Angry Inch” fame.
Of the 10,000 or so images photographer Jaime Rojo took in 2015, here are a selection 140+ of the best images from his travels through streets looking for unpermissioned and sanctioned art.
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo
Brooklyn Street Art 2015 Images of the Year by Jaime Rojo includes the following artists;
365xlos43, Amanda Marie, Andreas Englund, Augustine Kofie, Bisser, Boijeot, Renauld, Bordaloli, Brittany, BunnyM, Case Maclaim, Casg, Cash4, CDRE, Clet, Cost, Curve, Dain, Dal East, Dan Budnik, Dan Witz, David Walker, DeeDee, Dennis McNett, Don Rimx, Ricardo Cabret, LNY, Alex Seel, Mata Ruda, Don’t Fret, Dot Dot Dot, ECB, El Mac, El Sol25, Ella & Pitr, Eric Simmons, Enest Zacharevic, Martha Cooper, Martin Whatson, Ever, Faile, Faith47, Findac, Futura, Gaia, Gilf!, Hanksy, Hellbent, Hot Tea, How & Nosm, Icy and Sot, Inti, Invader, Isaac Cordal, James Bullough, Janet Dickson, Jef Aerosol, Jilly Ballistic, Joe Iurato, John Fekner, Le Diamantaire, Li Hill, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Low Brow, Marina Capdevilla, Miss Van, Mr. Prvrt, Mr. Toll, Myth, Nafir, Nemos, Never Crew, Nick Walker, Nina Pandolofo, Old Broads, Oldy, Ollio, Os Gemeos, Owen Dippie, Paper Skaters, Pet Bird, Kashink, Smells, Cash4, PichiAvo, Pixel Pancho, QRST, ROA, Ron English, Rubin415, Saner, Sean 9 Lugo, Shai Dahan, Shepard Fairey, Sheryo & The Yok, Sinned, Sipros, Skewville, Slikor, Smells, Sweet Toof, Snowden, Edward Snowden, Andrew Tider, Jeff Greenspan, Specter, Stray Ones, Sweet Toof, Swil, Willow, Swoon, The Outings Project, Toney De Pew, Tristan Eaton, Various & Gould, Vermibus, Wane, Wk Interact
This Sunday’s Images Of The Week seems to have an overriding theme which wasn’t really planned. It just happened.
A preponderance of stencils, many of them miniature and most placed without permission are here for your consideration. Some of the pieces have been on the walls for years while others are fairly new. After a few days admiring large murals in Norway and Sweden, these little missives are sweet.
Futura also came back to New York from Norway just in time to hit the hallowed Houston Wall yesterday and Martha Cooper is hanging there as well, so you will want to check that out! Martha and John Ahearn just opened their new dual show Thursday called “Kids” at Dorian Gray on the LES, which we thought was dope.
Also in town are Ernest Zacharevic, who will be working on a special project, David Walker has been seen poking his head into things, and Vermibus is popping up here and there on bus shelters with his dissolved portraits. A number of artists and fans are in NYC for the Brotherhood show at Jonathan Levine curated by Yasha Young, and of course Shepard Fairey has his first New York show in five years coming up this week with all new work on exhibition at Jacob Lewis Gallery called “On Our Hands”. As in blood, yo.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring APosse, Dolk, DotDotDot, Dotmasters, Ella & Pitr, Hama Woods, Isaac Cordal, JPS, MIR, Nafir, the Outings Project, Strok, Martin Whatson and TREF.
Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.
Now screening :
1. THIS IS NOW – Endangered Species
2. David Walker in Nancy, France 3. Phnom Penh Murals with Cambodian Urban Art Institute
4. A Primer – The FAILE BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade
5. Drunken Collaboration with Sr. X and Zabou
BSA Special Feature: THIS IS NOW – Endangered Species
Endangered species have been called attention to by Street Artists in recent years, most notably ROA and his large murals around the world, but even Brooklyn local QRST has pasted his paintings of endangered frogs on streets as commentary of our negative effects on entire species, continuously messing with ecosystems and now possibly threatening our own existence.
This short film focuses on a campaign by artist Louis Masai Michel working on the streets of London as part of a funded campaign with Synchronicity Earth, who “support on-the-ground conservation action and creates spaces for cognitive dissidence, working alongside artists, young people, conservationists, activists, film-makers, scientists and enlightened business-leaders to co-create a world in which all life is valued, regardless of economic ‘worth.’”
David Walker in Nancy, France
David Walker just created this mural in Nancy, France to support his current show with Galerie Mathgoth. Not a strict adherent to the École de Nancy , Walker has a craft of his own with aerosol cans that actually bring features and expressions to a life-like quality, all the while eschewing traditional tools of the painting trade. Shout out to Karl’s beard.
Phnom Penh Murals with Cambodian Urban Art Institute
French artists Théo Vallier and Chifumi were invited to gather Cambodian and International graffiti artists to create murals on Phnom Penh’s walls this April and this video gives a good summary of the events. On the streets were new works and collaborations by Chifumi et Théo Vallier, Peap Tarr & Lisa Mam, Tones, David Myers, Koy, Venk, Eltono, and Alias 2.0.
More information of this event sponsored in part by the Institute Francais HERE
The FAILE BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade – A Primer from Miami Beach 2013
If you are wondering what you will see opening July 10th at the The FAILE BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade and throughout the summer at The Brooklyn Museum, here is a good primer from an installation of it they did in Miami Beach in 2013. We’ve seen the new installation that Faile and BÄST are currently preparing for you, and we can tell you that it is like this, but MUCH MORE.
Video Directed By: Priest Fontaine
Shot By: Noah Carlson & Priest Fontaine
Edited By: Priest Fontaine
Music By: Seth Jabour
Drunken Collaboration with Sr. X and Zabou
They say that this is based on a true story, and one you may have heard of before. We’re not sure if they are advocating alcohol abuse or against it , but it’s always a cheery surprise to hear The Dead Kennedys, isn’t it?
Published last month this towering book with the page edges sprayed neon orange was released by Mehdi Ben Cheikh in French and English to commemorate the event, and seeing the installations this way is going to make you wish the place wasn’t destroyed. 500 new photos previously unpublished allows you to see the show as you travel from the cellar to the top floors.
You may wish you had more background on the artists and the context and clearly not all of the artistry is of similar quality but you will be satiated by the images and thankful that they were recorded during their brief duration. Published by Editions Albin Michel, in partnership with the Itinerrance Gallery, this show will continue to soar long after the dust has settled.