All posts tagged: Fintan Magee

COVID-19 365 Days Later; Art in the Streets That Narrated a Pandemic

COVID-19 365 Days Later; Art in the Streets That Narrated a Pandemic

What the hell just happened? Has it been a year? Or has it been 10 years? Or just one long nightmare/daymare? Or has it been 10 years? Did we already ask that?

In March 2020 we awoke to a world that was transforming before all of our eyes, yet we felt so cut-off from it and each other. The first days seem so long ago as we mark the first anniversary of the pandemic. Still, the initial shock of those days resonates in our chests so strongly that we confidently talk about a collective global trauma that has indelibly marked a generation.

Pobel. Stavanger, Norway. March 14, 2020. (photo © Tore Stale Moen)

From Stockholm to Mexico City to Barcelona to Bethlehem to New York to LA, BSA brought you street art that was responding with fear, derision, critique, hope, and humor to the never-static, always evolving barrage of Covid news. Stuck inside and afraid to expose ourselves to each other, we New Yorkers became accustomed to experiencing the outdoors only through our windows, connecting with neighbors we’ve never met who were also banging pots and pans or clapping and waving and yelling.

We listened to ambulances screaming past our windows every half hour or so during those first weeks, imagining the torn families, the terrified fellow New Yorkers now being rushed to the hospital and separated from their loved ones without a goodbye, gasping for air. We wondered if we would be next.

Jilly Ballistic and Sack Six. Manhattan, NYC. March 23, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

When we did go to the streets, they were empty – or nearly. In New York this was unheard of. In this bustling, noisy metropolis, we experienced a daily disconcerting quiet. That is, until the killing of George Floyd by cops finally pushed the anger/anxiety into the streets all summer.

The deadly hotspot of New York quelled, but the fires of Covid spread west, grabbing communities who thought they would avoid impact. At the same time, local, state, and national leaders fumbled and argued or famously callously ignored the desperation of citizens, occasionally admirably filling the shoes they were elected to occupy, often misstepping through no fault of their own.

Pure Genius. Manhattan, NYC. March 23, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We have no particular wisdom to offer you today beyond the obvious; this pandemic laid bare inequity, social and racial and class fault-lines, the shredded social net, the effect of institutional negligence, the ravages of 40 years of corporate privatization, and the power of community rising to the occasion to be in service to one another in ways that made us all more than proud.

Here are some of our favorite Covid-themed street art pieces from over the last year, a mere sampling of the artistic responses. Interspersed we paste screenshots of the daily events (via Wikipedia) in 2020 that shaped our lives, and our society.

We mourn the losses of family and friends and the broken hearts and minds in all of our communities. And we still believe in the power of art to heal and the power of love to balance our asymmetries.

Trusto Corp. Los Angeles, CA. March 26, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Lapiz. Hamburg, Germany. March 30th, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Tag Street Art. Tel-Aviv, Israel. March 31, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Phlegm. April 6, 2020. London, UK. (photo courtesy of the artist) Phlegm created a visual diary of his experience with the Pandemic. We published his diary HERE
Don Langrend for USA Today Network. On April 13, 2020, we published a compilation of political cartoons with views on the Pandemic. Click HERE to see the whole collection.
Alessio-B. Padua, Italy. April 15, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Banksy. London, UK. April 19, 2020. (photo Instagram)
Shepard Fairey. Los Angeles, CA. April 20, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Banksy “The Girl with a Pierced Eardrum” Bristol, UK. April 23, 2020. (photo © Reuters/Rebecca Naden)
Cake Stencils. Bethlehem, Israel. May 10, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Almost Over Keep Smiling. Manhattan, NY. May 15, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Captain Eyeliner. Manhattan, NY. May 15, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
SacSix. Manhattan, NY. May 15, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Oliver Rios. May 15, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Teo Vazquez. Barcelona, Spain. May 25, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Adam Fujita. Brooklyn, NYC. May 25, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada. Queens, NYC. June 2nd. 2020. (photo © Just A Spectator)
Russian Doll NY. Manhattan, NYC. June 6, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gianni Lee. Manhattan, NYC. June 13, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Various & Gould. Berlin, Germany. June 19, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artists)
Sara Lynne-Leo. Manhatttan, NYC. June 27, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Stikman. Manhatttan, NYC. June 27, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentifed artist. Brooklyn, NYC. July 18, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
De Grupo. Manhattan, NYC. August 1, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Sticker Maul. Manhatttan, NYC. August 6, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Fintan Magee. Queensland, Australia. August 16, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Persak. San Miguel De Allende, Mexico. August 23, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Novy. Manhatttan, NYC. August 29, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Asbestos. Cork, Ireland. September 8, 2020. (photo courtesy of the artist)
1111 Army. Brooklyn, NYC. September 12, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist. Brooklyn, NYC. September 12, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Raddington Falls. Manhattan, NYC. September 26, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Faust. Manhattan, NYC. September 26, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pure Genius. Manhattan, NYC. October 31, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
I Heart Graffiti. Manhattan, NYC. November 14, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
UFO 907 in collab with MUK 123. Manhattan, NYC. December 15, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
The Creator. Manhattan, NYC. December 28, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
City Kitty. Manhattan, NYC. December 28, 2020. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Karma. Barcelona, Spain. January 4, 2020. (photo © Lluis Olive Bulbena)
Pobel. Stavanger, Norway. February 11, 2021. (photo © Tore Stale Moen)
Aya Brown. Brooklyn, NYC. February 27, 2021. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Manhattan, NYC. March 06, 2021 (photo @ Jaime Rojo)
Paolo Tolentino. Manhattan, NYC. March 07, 2021 (photo @ Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist. Manhattan, NYC. March 07, 2021 (photo @ Jaime Rojo)

As NYC went on complete lock-down and New Yorkers were ordered to remain in their homes in complete isolation the city’s residents organically joined together in a collective 7:00 pm ritual in support to the first responders. To the nurses, doctors, paramedics, trash collectors, public transportation, police, fire fighters, supermarkets workers etc…with their services and sacrifices we, the residents of this megalopolis were able to keep out hopes for brighter days to come.

Video of four former presidents urging people to “roll up your sleeve and do your part” and get the vaccine.

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BSA Film Friday: 12.04.20

BSA Film Friday: 12.04.20

Our weekly focus on the moving image and art in the streets. And other oddities.

Now screening :
1. Fintan Magee / Nothing Make Sense Anymore / A Selina Miles Film
2. Aufstieg (Rise) by Eginhartz
3. Nadia Vadori-Gauthier “Une Minute de Danse” For The Art And Culture.

BSA Special Feature: Fintan Magee / Nothing Make Sense Anymore

What a fantastic title! The narration of selective outtakes from the news, from the artist, from the atmospheric music – quickly take you here.

“I didn’t have to develop any grand themes or concepts around the work. I just knew I was going to paint a plant every day,” say street artist/muralist/painter Fintan Magee as he describes the structure he put in place of the unstructured life that Covid foisted upon him. “It kind of became almost a daily meditation.”

“Too much chaos this year to string any common narrative,” he says. “Or maybe chaos is the narrative.”

Fintan Magee / Nothing Make Sense Anymore / A Selina Miles Film.

Aufstieg (Rise) by Eginhartz

From Austria, Eginhartz gives us Aufstieg, a video performance meant as an ironic comment on the psychological interplay between the rapacious development of drones and the stubborn attitude of brutalist architecture.

Here’s the artists attempt “to contrast the massive aesthetic of a brutalist residential block with a poetic gesture. The coexistence of nature and ruins is broken here by the action of a protagonist.”

“The coexistence of nature and ruins is broken here by the action of a protagonist.”

Nadia Vadori-Gauthier “Une Minute de Danse” For The Art And Culture.

An ongoing performance of poetry from your favorite French street choreographer, Nadia Vadori-Guthier. This time she brings friends!

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Fintan Magee Finds Someone in the “Shadow” in Newcastle

Fintan Magee Finds Someone in the “Shadow” in Newcastle

Fintan Magee has been experimenting with the various visual effects that occur when one is looking at a figure through a lens/glass/texture of some kind. In August we showed you a mural he had completed in Queensland, Australia that featured two figures behind a mottled glass pattern that you may recall from going to a lawyer or perhaps to hire a private detective.

Fintan Magee. “Shadow”. Big Picture Festival. Newcastle, Australia. (photo © Wilt Living)

Today we have ‘Shadow’, a new work in Newcastle that he created for the Big Picture festival. The vertical striping creates a subtle optical illusion of its own. He says he painted alongside a statue of Australia’s first female mayor as it looks across Civic Park toward the old civic trains station at the center of town.

Fintan Magee. “Shadow”. Big Picture Festival. Newcastle, Australia. (photo © Wilt Living)

What are his current inspirations? “The role of de-industrialisation, isolation, renewal and the new work force in post-industrial Australian cities.”

Fintan Magee. “Shadow”. Big Picture Festival. Newcastle, Australia. (photo © Wilt Living)
Fintan Magee. “Shadow”. Big Picture Festival. Newcastle, Australia. (photo © Wilt Living)
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Fintan Magee: Two Figures Behind Mottled Glass in Queensland

Fintan Magee: Two Figures Behind Mottled Glass in Queensland

Struggling to focus your eyes on evolving mysteries of the day, you may think that the world is visible at times through mottled glass. You can make out the forms, the gestures, the motions perhaps, but the identity and character are also formed and shaped by a filter, a storied thick glass filter. It’s a biomorphic embossed way to see things, like the office door leading into the darkened lair of a private detective, his cigarette smoke billowing over the brim of his dense gray fedora.

Fintan Magee. Two Figures Behind Glass. Ipswich, Australia. (photo courtesy of the artist)

For Queensland, Australia’s Fintan Magee, it’s another challenge that he admirably meets artistically, painting the effect over two essential workers forms in this new mural. “The Arctic glass pattern in the painting was common in middle-class Queensland homes in the 1960s and was used in French doors and windows,” he tells us. “Some of my earliest memories of Queensland architecture was my father’s silhouette through the glass doors when he got home.”

Evocative of a middle-class life afforded to many rich countries in the decades following the end of World War II, those same associations are now aching reminders of how we’ve been duped – with banks and corporate captains gradually re-writing the laws to silently kill the middle class in stages, while the light keeps changing the forms behind the glass.

Fintan Magee. Two Figures Behind Glass. Ipswich, Australia. (photo courtesy of the artist)

“The work explores the role of de-industrialization in urban communities and on the suburban fringes of Australia. The figures in the mural appear distant, disconnected, isolated, and breaking up,” he says. “As middle-class homes become increasingly out of reach for working-class Australians and lower-pay and job insecurity continues to shape how we work, this painting explores how nostalgia shapes political views and how workers view their communities and the outside world.”

To be absolutely timely, Magee says he is paying a tribute to those who have continued to work essential jobs, sometimes sacrificing, usually worrying, during this time of Covid-19 crisis, and both the forms here are also evoking the distances we feel from one another.

Fintan Magee. Two Figures Behind Glass. Ipswich, Australia. (photo courtesy of the artist)

“The work specifically looks at two rail workers from the city of Ipswich. As Queensland was in lockdown, many people in management or admin roles were able to isolate, while many essential, transport, delivery, and medical staff continued working. Keeping our economy functioning and food supply moving. This painting pays tribute to these essential workers while proposing a reassessment of how they are valued in the post-COVID-19 world.”

Guess it depends on how you see them.

Fintan Magee. Two Figures Behind Glass. Ipswich, Australia. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Fintan Magee. Two Figures Behind Glass. Ipswich, Australia. (photo courtesy of the artist)
Fintan Magee. Two Figures Behind Glass. Ipswich, Australia. (photo courtesy of the artist)
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Fintan Magee and “Nine Days” from Solitude in Sydney

Fintan Magee and “Nine Days” from Solitude in Sydney

Sydney-based social realist painter and muralist Fintan Magee has been burrowed in his studio for the last few months, wondering when he was going to be able to do some figurative painting. The plants have kept him company, and he finds it reassuring to watch them in the winter sun as he keeps himself quarantined from unnecessary contact with others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)

“Every day while in the lockdown, I photographed and painted two small plants that I had recently repotted and was keeping on my balcony,” he says as he scans over the 32 small still life works he created. It’s been a good exercise, working outside his comfort zone perhaps – not photoshoots of subjects, no imagining of them operating inside a new metaphor.

Now he shares with BSA readers what the process looks like, and picks 9 of his favorite still-lifes as a cross-section print for you to marvel. “The work documents the simple act of keeping the plants alive during the lockdown. Each work took 5-7 hours to make and allowed me to discard building concepts and focus primarily on the painting process making each work a daily meditation, allowing reflection on physical space and the passing of time while marking a day of the crisis.”

Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
Fintan Magee. Nine Days. (photo © Fintan Magee)
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Fintan Magee Elevates Cultural Workers Who Make It Happen in Vancouver

Fintan Magee Elevates Cultural Workers Who Make It Happen in Vancouver

Brisbane based conceptual realist Fintan Magee sends us a new conceptual, figurative piece he just finished in the Mt Pleasant neighborhood of Vancouver, Canada as part of their local mural festival. Included in the lineup were a varied selection of illustrators, graphic designers, old skool graffiti writers, and practitioners of current trends like dark pop surrealism.

Fintan Magee. Van Mural Festival. Vancouver, Canada. (photo © Fintan Magee)

Fintan tells us that this mural, perhaps because of the unusual configuration, was a challenge – and you can see the original sketch he includes here of a couple who are local events managers who work in the performing arts.  

Fintan Magee. Van Mural Festival. Vancouver, Canada. (photo © Fintan Magee)

“They are part of a new series I am doing that explores story telling through body language,” he says. “The work also uses public art to celebrate local workers and community contributors over celebrity or the grandiose.”

Fintan Magee. Van Mural Festival. Vancouver, Canada. (photo © Fintan Magee)
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Martha Shoots Adele, Fintan, a Pigeon Fancier and More at Eugene 20X21 – Edition 2019

Martha Shoots Adele, Fintan, a Pigeon Fancier and More at Eugene 20X21 – Edition 2019

Photographer Martha Cooper again rules the roost at BSA with her new photos of the 20×21 EUG Festival in Eugene, Oregon. Organized and funded by the City of Eugene’s Cultural Services Public Art Program, the citizenry is invited to be a part of events and symposia – an intimate affair with this years select list of invited artists.

Adele Renault (photo © Martha Cooper)

“This year 20×21 organized ‘viewing parties’ at the walls to give the community an official chance to meet and socialize the artists at their walls,” says Ms. Cooper about the 10 day series of events. You could meet Fintan Magee at his wall, or talk to Sidney Waerts aka SIT at Well Balanced (center for integrative care), consort with local muralist Kari Johnson at Lane County’s Dining Room, or see a new show of incredibly framed artworks at Coffee Plant Roaster with painter Adele Renault and photographer Ms. Cooper.

Adele Renault (photo © Martha Cooper)

Blending small family owned businesses, the chamber of commerce and cultural organizations together with the artists and artworks is a finely balanced effort, and according to people we spoke with Eugene is careful to get the balance right. For example the combination of Adele’s mural and Ms. Coopers photo installation was in a coffee shop owned by Irv Weiner, who is a pigeon flyer/fancier originally from New York.

Adele Renault (photo © Martha Cooper)

“His coop is on top of the building with the pigeon mural and the coffee shop is inside,” says Martha of the interconnectedness of programming. Now Mr. Weiner has added to his list a cannabis growing supplies business; a rather normal development in this city that has become known for its marijuana-related economy during the last decade.

Adele Renault. Pigeon Fancier & coop owner, Irv Weiner holding Eugenie. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Here are exclusive images of the artists at work, as well as some additional interesting details and local color about this mural-centric cultural event in Eugene.

Adele Renault. Irv is captured on camera as he releases Eugenie. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Adele Renault (photo © Martha Cooper)
Adele Renault (photo © Martha Cooper)
Martha Cooper and Adele Renault exhibition. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Adele Renault (photo © Martha Cooper)
Fintan Magee (photo © Martha Cooper)
Fintan Magee (photo © Martha Cooper)
Fintan Magee (photo © Martha Cooper)
Fintan Magee (photo © Martha Cooper)
Fintan Magee (photo © Martha Cooper)
Fintan Magee (photo © Martha Cooper)
Sydney Waerts (photo © Martha Cooper)
Sydney Waerts (photo © Martha Cooper)
Sydney Waerts with fellow muralist, Eugene resident and festival assistant, Bayne Gardner. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Sydney Waerts (photo © Martha Cooper)
Kari Johnson (photo © Martha Cooper)
Kari Johnson (photo © Martha Cooper)

Eugene was first recognized as good mural festival location perhaps because of the work done here by activist, performer, storyteller, and public artist Kari Johnson. Her dedication to her work as social mission and communication inspires her peers and is emblematic of what Eugene is.

In a 2016 bio by the artist for the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Kari Johnson shared her history and outlook:

“Both of my grandmothers were painters named Ida. They managed to paint landscapes and still lifes in spare moments while raising big families during the Great Depression and WWII. Continuing where they left off I began painting when I was 14 and completed my first mural 10 years later. Other than learning how to make prints with potatoes at a summer fair, I am self-taught.

I feel the most inspired when I’m making public art. Being a public artist is like being an architect of mood, stirring feelings and inspiring connection, helping to anchor and identify a place. In my art I particularly care about promoting social justice, harmony between humans and our plant and animal relations. I want my art to invite individuals to belong to the place, join community, and help shape our human story.”

Kari Johnson (photo © Justin Bauer)
Kari Johnson (photo © Justin Bauer)
Kari Johnson (photo © Justin Bauer)
Artist Shamsia from Afghanistan was invited to paint at last year’s edition of 20x21EUG. Travel issues delayed here arrival and Ms. Cooper was not there to document her work so we include here it her mural from 2018. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Kiran from Nepal had similar travel issues as Shamsia and here is his mural from last year. (photo © Martha Cooper)
And a smaller piece by Kiran from last year as well. (photo © Martha Cooper)
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Fintan Magee & Guido Van Helten in Tehran : “The Carpet Repairmen”

Fintan Magee & Guido Van Helten in Tehran : “The Carpet Repairmen”

Welcome to January 2 and you may be feeling a little more lethargic as you go through your duties today, looking askance at the empty bottles, stray glitter, the new rip in the rug. Yes, there is some damage to the carpet from all that dancing you and your Aunt Francine and cousin Ozzie were doing as the clock struck twelve!

Guess that is why it is called “cutting the rug”.

Fintan Magee & Guido Van Helten. ‘The Carpet Repairmen”. Tehran, Iran. (photo courtesy of the artists)

No worries, we’re bringing in the ‘The Carpet Repairmen’, a new large scale mural collaboration between Australian Street Artists Guido Van Helten and Fintan Magee that they finished as a commission recently in Tehran, Iran. Meant to mark the 50th anniversary of the Australian Embassy in Iran, the current US president naturally ruined the timing of the celebration of peace and goodwill by putting more sanctions on the country and tension on the event, say the artists.

As one may expect, mural making in Middle Eastern countries has often been reserved for politics anyway; with propagandist messages, murals of martyrs, images recalling war, political leaders. Van Helten and Magee concentrate instead on the valued talents of the carpet makers – a history and work of pride that no one can argue with.

Fintan Magee & Guido Van Helten. ‘The Carpet Repairmen”. Tehran, Iran. (photo courtesy of the artists)

They tell us:

“This mural is based on images of two carpet repairmen working in Tehran’s Grand Bazaar. Persian carpets are famous world wide for their quality and craftsmanship. Then men work 8-10 hours each day rethreading and stitching old and damaged carpets, the repetitive work requires incredible hand skills and speed. This painting pays homage to the dignity of hard work while putting a human face to an important aspect of craft and culture in Persia.

The painting ‘The Carpet Repairmen’ also act’s as a broader metaphor for working life in Iran. Decades of economic sanctions and blockades on imports and have meant that people have to be resourceful in the country. Reusing, repairing and recycling products has become a necessity. Showing the resilience of the Iranian people and how life goes on in this hospitable, welcoming and ancient culture.”

Fintan Magee & Guido Van Helten. ‘The Carpet Repairmen”. Tehran, Iran. (photo courtesy of the artists)

 

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BSA Images Of The Week: 09.30.18 – UPEA Special

BSA Images Of The Week: 09.30.18 – UPEA Special

BSA-Images-Week-Jan2015

This week we have a selection of the UPEART festivals’ two previous editions of murals – which we were lucky to see this week after driving across the country in an old VW Bora. We hit 8 cities and drove along the border with Russia through some of the most picturesque forests and farmlands that you’ll likely see just to collect images of the murals that this Finnish mural festival has produced with close consultation with Fins in these neighborhoods. A logistical challenge to accomplish, we marvel at how this widespread program is achieved – undoubtedly due to the passion of director Jorgos Fanaris and his insatiable curiosity for discovering talents and giving them a platform for expression.

So here is a sample from what we found from UPEART’s two previous iterations before the recently completed UPEART 2018.

So here is our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Apolo Torres, Artz, Dulk, Espoo, Fintan Magee, Guido Van Helten, Pat Perry, Smug, Teemu Maenpaa, Tellas, and Telmo & Miel.

Top Image: Millo. UPEA 2017. Jyväskylä, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Telmo & Miel. UPEA 2017. Joensuu, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Telmo & Miel. UPEA 2017. Joensuu, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fintan Magee. UPEA 2017. Helsinki, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Fintan Magee. UPEA 2017. Helsinki, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

SMUG. UPEA 2017. Kotka, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

SMUG. UPEA 2017. Kotka, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

 

Guido van Helten. UPEA 2016. Helsinki, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Guido van Helten. UPEA 2016. Helsinki, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pat Perry. UPEA 2017. Helsinki, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Pat Perry. UPEA 2017. Helsinki, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Teemu Mäenpää. UPEA 2017. Espoo, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Dulk. UPEA 2017. Espoo, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Apolo Torres. UPEA 2017. Helsinki, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Apolo Torres. UPEA 2017. Helsinki, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Artez. UPEA 2017. Espoo, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Tellas. UPEA 2016. Helsinki, Finland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Street Artists At Munich Museum Present the Portrait, “IMAGO” Curated by Elisabetta Pajer

Street Artists At Munich Museum Present the Portrait, “IMAGO” Curated by Elisabetta Pajer

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

Andreas Englund. Tripping. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)

TRIPPING
Media: Oil on canvas
Size: 116 x 90 cm
 
-Statement
“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

Martha Cooper. Futura 1983. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)

FUTURA 1983
Media: Archival pigment print
Size: 50,8 x 76,20 cm

 
-Statement
“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
 
-Statement
“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

Swoon. Thalassa. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)

THALASSA
Media: Screenprint on paper with coffee stain and hand painting with collage mounted on board
Size: 123 × 138 cm
 
-Statement
“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.’ ”

Borondo

Gonzalo Borondo & Diego Lopez Bueno. Selfie Elvis II. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo © Blind Eye Factory)

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
 
-Statement
“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

Addison Karl. Kamassa. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)

KAMASSA
Media: Bronze, edition 1 of 10
Size: 30,48 x 20,32 x 15,24 cm
 
 
-Statement
“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
-Statement
“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

Fintan Magee The Removalist. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)

THE REMOVALIST
Media: Canvas and acrylic on wall installation
 
-Statement
“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

VHILS. Matta. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)

MATTA
Media: Bas-relief carving on plasterboard mounted on metal structure
Size: 181 x 120,5 x 34 cm
 
-Statement

“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

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
 
-Statement

“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

DALeast. FIII. IMAGO. MUCA Munich. (photo courtesy of the artist)

FIII
Media: Acrylic on canvas
Size: 100 x 80 cm
 
-Statement
“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.

Artists include:

Jef Aerosol
ASKEW ONE
Borondo
Vesod Brero
Martha Cooper
DALeast
Paola Delfin
Anna Piera Di Silvestre
Andreas Englund
Evoca 1
Ricky Lee Gordon
Hubertus Hamm
Handiedan
Icy&Sot
Addison Karl
Know Hope
Klone Yourself
Fintan Magee
Mario Mankey
Marco Mazzoni
Antony Micallef
Miss Van
Nychos
Sepe
David Shillinglaw
Søren Solkær
Sten Lex
SWOON
TelmoMiel
TWOONE

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Fintan Magee: Wishes And Hopes For 2018

Fintan Magee: Wishes And Hopes For 2018

As we draw closer to the new year we’ve asked a very special guest every day to take a moment to reflect on 2017 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for them. It’s an assortment of treats to surprise you with every day – to enjoy and contemplate as we all reflect on the year that has passed and conjure our hopes and wishes for 2018. This is our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and of saying ‘Thank You’ to each of you for inspiring us throughout the year.

*******

Brisbane-based realist Fintan Magee has been nailing tall walls around the world this year with technical precision and an extraordinary appreciation for our ordinary lives. We had the privilege of seeing him in action in Scotland, Sweden and Tahiti this year and each time we realized that he’s undaunted by the scale of a job, in love with the process of painting. He is also completely dedicated to speaking to the profound issues of our time including global warming, sea levels rising, our refugee crises worldwide, and natural resource preservation and management. Carrying the water theme, Fintan shares with us one of his favorite pieces of the year in Instanbul.


FINTAN MAGEE

I chose this one because it was a new aesthetic for me and Istanbul was easily my favourite city that I have visited this year. I also wanted to thank Mural Istanbul for being amazing hosts and all the locals who looked after me.

Fintan Magee. Istanbul, Turkey. June, 2017. (photo © Fintan Magee)

 

Fintan Magee

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Murals Across Finland: UPEA ’17 Sweeps More Cities

Murals Across Finland: UPEA ’17 Sweeps More Cities

From the country with the highest standard of living comes a country-wide mural festival called UPEA for 2017! Only in their second year, they are going big here at home.

Messy Desk. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Markus Hänninen)

Okay, the murals are not in every city of this Scandinavian country, but if lead curator and visionary (and former graffiti writer) Jorgos Fanaris realizes his vision, there will be even more than the 40 or so murals the festival has already put up over the last two years in cities like Helsinki, Riihimäki, Kemi, Kotka, Espoo, Turku, and Hyvinkää.

Yes, some of the current international circuit of mural stars are here. So are a stunning selection of Finnish talents and less recognizeable names, making this a conscientious formulation that respects the culture and highlights the global movement simultaneously.

 

Guido Van Helten. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Erho Aalto)

Like many of today’s mural festivals and far from their illegal Street Art/graffitti roots, many of UPEA 17 are mega-murals; multi-story and sophisticated images borrowing from many strains of art history and popular culture – even conceptual art – as much as anything else.

These and other signs of curatorial/organization maturity are not typically hallmarks of two year old festivals, and we could provide a list of rookie mistakes that have plagued others we’ve covered over the last decade. This is probably because UPEA 17 is the result of many years of on-the-ground organizing experience and street culture knowledge – and multiple false starts and obstacles that blocked organizers in the years leading up to last years inaugural outdoor exhibition. People on the ground will tell you that logistics and costs and bureaucracy and local politics are always factors to pull off a festival well. In our experience, so is time.

 

Teemu Mäenpää. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tomi Salakari)

We were lucky to have an extensive interview with Jorgos Fanaris about this years successes, the challenges along the way, and his roots in the scene.

Brooklyn Street Art: How is UPEA 2017 different from the first edition?
Jorgos Fanaris: Compared to UPEA16, UPEA17 was of course much bigger. More artists and more projects, but also bigger projects. The first edition was more of testing the concept and feeling around what we could do. The second edition was really about making an impact, letting everyone know about UPEA as an event that creates notable art in public spaces, that we are serious and we are here to stay.

Millo. UPEA Festival 2017. Finalnd. (Photo © John Blåfield)

Brooklyn Street Art: You had an incredibly wide variety of artists painting: From large scale realist portraiture, to surrealism to cartoons, landscape etc…is there a specific style that resonates better with the public?
Jorgos Fanaris: The amount of talented artists that have already participated in UPEA in the first two years, is humbling to say the least. We are very privileged and honored to have had them.

If I evaluate the response the artworks have received from the public, I think raising a specific style in a position that it somehow communicates more with the audience wouldn’t be right. For example if we think realistic portraiture and classic style of Guido van Helten, its easy for anyone to understand that this is technically really difficult to execute in this scale. This year in Hämeenlinna we did the 56m high silos, which of course by the sheer size is something that makes people go “Whooaaaa, how can he do that? We must go and see”.

 

Dulk. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tomi Salakari)

The project gathered and still gathers spectators in huge numbers. During the project there were traffic jams in the area on Sundays. On the other hand in Lahti, the artist named Messy Desks did the crazy cartoon style piece that has million things happening. It created a huge buzz and received a lot of response from people. She was getting gifts from people from the area and was taken out for formal dinners after for appreciation and show of gratitude. Kids are ecstatic about it, knocking on the “doors” and “windows” trying to get someone to open.

At the same time, the second wall we did in Lahti with Roberto Ciredz, a surrealistic piece with total harmony, which by no accident is totally different from Messy Desks wall, was voted as people’s favorite of the two in local newspaper. There are so many things that contribute the overall feedback. I think every style and approach has its place and purpose.

Brooklyn Street Art: Murals become part of a neighborhood, part of the storytelling and lifetime benchmark associations and memories people have – as well as part of the fabric and character of a city. How has the festival been received by the people whose daily lives will be impacted with the presence of the murals?
Jorgos Fanaris: The artworks created a lot of excitement and grassroots movement in their own areas and communities. In Kontula Helsinki, the triple walls by Fintan Magee, Apolo Torres and Pat Perry encouraged the residents to do a “night of arts” event for the unveiling of the artworks. They had food, live music, fire performance and other artistic activities. Over 1500 people attended and possibly the event will continue next year.

 

Eero Lampinen. UPEA Festival 2017. Finalnd. (photo © Henrik Dagnevall)

In Espoo Matinkylä, where Artez did a great piece, the residents organized an celebration event with huge number of activities, dozens of performances and speakers, about thousand people attending the event. In Kotka, where Smug did the amazing wall right in the city centre, the city made an official unveiling for the wall by closing the street and having a horn orchestra perform. Hundreds of people attended even though it was on a Friday during the work hours.

These are just few examples. We saw a lot of these type of things grow from the artworks we did this year.. We see that street art gets reactions from people who might not be too involved with art in general, like going to the galleries for example. The artworks are a refreshing injection into the community and it’s super exiting for us to see things starting grow from them.

Onur. UPEA Festival 2017. Finalnd. (photo © John Blåfield-Valmis)

Brooklyn Street Art: Do you get support from community and city officials for the festival?
Jorgos Fanaris: Yes, we are working with the officials in every city we are in. The support has been great, possibly due to the fact that we have been able to create an event this size with fairly limited organization and funding.

Still the way we execute different projects really varies. Regardless of how much the city is involved, the permits, which are always a big thing in Finland, are handled by their own unit inside the city. In some cases the city assists us in the permit process and it can be very helpful. But also in many cases we handle the whole process completely. From searching locations and handling all the permits and other things all the way to executing the artwork. The range is very wide on different projects. Still, the city is involved and even if we are doing permits and related responsibilities ourselves, it helps that they are officially supporting the project in the background. Everyone has a common goal to make the project happen and in a positive spirit they work towards that goal together.

Onur. UPEA Festival 2017. Finalnd. (photo © John Blåfield-Valmis)

Brooklyn Street Art: What drives you to make this festival happen? What is the motivation? The incentive?
Jorgos Fanaris: Upeart is a collective of people from various backgrounds; from graffiti, city development to event organizing and more. I think the motivation varies depending on who you ask. But in general, it’s about interest in the possibilities art has in public spaces. The vision to push for ambitious ideas, pushing limits further and willingness to take chances.

I personally, have a graffiti background from late 80’s to beginning of the new millennium. When I painted myself, I was mainly, especially in the later years, interested in graffiti as a tool in getting reactions from ordinary people by using public space or things that move in that space. At some point, I moved away from actively painting and started working in music projects, doing shows and stuff like that.

During those years, Finland gradually started to dismantle the very strict zero tolerance on graffiti and street art they had imposed in the country for years. Many youth and grassroot organizations worked years relentlessly on it and it started finally to show some results around 2008. At some point, I thought the time would be right to start something like this. Do it seriously and professionally. We actually tried to start an ambitious project like UPEA for few years, but it was difficult. We had of course no money at all and with that also no guarantees about anything.

 

Ricky Lee-Gordon. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Rikupekka Lappalainen)

Then we tried to get a group of people together with the same goal to work on the project. With 3-4 people each contributing a little, combined, it creates an effort big enough to start an interesting thing – on paper at least. It proved to be very difficult. We had actually two tries that failed to make any progress.

We came together with a couple of people, agreed about the goal and how we should work towards it. But when it came down to doing real work for it – nothing much occurred. To me it was really strange. I feel that we wasted a lot of time and energy of course, and it was really frustrating. But eventually, probably after three years or something from the original idea, Upeart started to come together and this time with people who have the drive and are actually willing to work for it. So finally, the organization and the event UPEA was born on the third try.

Brooklyn Street Art: This is a very young festival, only two editions. Did you look at other festivals as an inspiration for UPEA?
Jorgos Fanaris: Yes, of course. You look around other festivals and different things that people do everywhere for ideas. I personally think that there are a lot of new and exciting things happening in several places around the globe. That’s why keeping your eyes open and trying to learn from everything is important. You see things and think, wow that’s so cool, could we do something like that? You add your own ideas in to it and it changes to something else.

Wasp Elder. UPEA Festival  2017. Finland. (photo © Matti Nurmi)

It’s a notable fact that UPEA is so young, like a little baby. We are not there yet and have huge task ahead of us on refining the concept. Already this year we wanted to do several other things besides murals, but we just didn’t have the resources to execute. But its ok, things always need time. The organization needs to grow, the concept needs to be refined and we need to build up our personal networks and several other things. In this process of maturing and finding the way for you, it helps if you see what else is going on around the world.

Brooklyn Street Art: What distinguishes UPEA from other European Street Art Festivals?
Jorgos Fanaris: I guess one obvious thing compared to many others, is that UPEA is a multicity event held all over the country. Finland is a small country, only 5 million people and the biggest city the capitol Helsinki, has only 1 million. When we thought about the concept, we really had to think about what will happen when we do a large number of big artworks and how it progresses when we do this year after year. We thought we would need serious space to execute on the level that we want year after year.

Apolo Torres. UPEA Festival 2017. Finalnd. (photo © Anna Vlasoff)

One thing of course also is that we have seriously big projects, especially on the second edition this year.

Considering we had the 56m high silos, triple side by side 8 story buildings, a complete house on all four sides and several single big 6-8 story buildings and so on, the sizes of the projects were huge. However now that we are looking forward at upcoming years, I think UPEA will become more and more original and mature to something very unique. Also one thing is, that several artists have told me, UPEA is one of the best organized events they have participated in. True or not (I think they are nice and say that in every event), I think this a proper note to end an interview!

Telmo & Miel. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Antti Ryynänen)

Telmo & Miel. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Antti Ryynänen)

Rustam Qbic. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tomi Salakari)

Rustam Qbic. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tomi Salakari)

Artez. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tomi Kaukolehto)

Andrea Wan. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Jorma Simonen)

Smug. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tommi Mattila)

Vesod. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Anssi Huovinen)

Vesod. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Anssi Huovinen)

Roberto Ciredz. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Markus Hänninen)

Jussi27. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Anssi Huovinen)

Pat Perry. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tomi Salakari)

Fintan Magee. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tomi Salakari)

Jani Leinonen. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tomi Salakari)

Logos or graffiti tags? Jani Leinonen. UPEA Festival 2017. Finland. (photo © Tomi Salakari)

 

 

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