All posts tagged: Kitsune Jolene

Images Of The Week: 05.19.24

Images Of The Week: 05.19.24

Welcome to BSA’s Images of the Week.

And welcome to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where history and modernity converge in its mural narratives and lively streets, telling stories of resilience, an evolving culture, and a pensive optimism. As street art observers, our journey through Belfast’s neighborhoods has been eye-opening. The murals here are not just art; they reflect the city’s tumultuous past, vibrant present, and hopeful future. Belfast’s predominantly Victorian architecture is a testament to the city’s industrious heritage, particularly its shipbuilding legacy linked to the RMS Titanic. Still, some of the kids are rocking new attitudes, and a sizeable multi-disciplinary artist community is making new spaces for exploration.

The punk movement, which provided a rebellious soundtrack during the Troubles, has left a lasting mark on the city’s sonic legacy. Today, local musicians, DJs, and electronic artists draw inspiration from traditional instrumentation and this era of lucid experimentation, performing live in clubs and bars. There is an unmistakable convivial, welcoming atmosphere in Belfast’s pubs and a raucous laughter that shakes your ribs in many a cluster of revelers out for the night. We also noticed a gentle generosity – from its bakeries and cheesemongers to checkout clerks and museum provosts and park bench poets.

For an old shipbuilding city wracked by civil strife, this feels like a young city, eager to move forward while honoring the sacrifices made during the Troubles. Some of the murals here encapsulate perhaps a different spirit, blending poignant tributes, more muted political statements, and a willful optimism amidst the general confusion that is now plaguing most of the Western world.

So here’s this week’s interview with the street, featuring ROA, Conor Harrington, BustArt, MTO, Asbestos, Dan Kitchener, Kitsune Jolene, Aches, Evoke, KFIVEMFU, Studio Giftig, and Annatomix.

ROA for Hit The North Festival 2023 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BustArt (left), 2022 Edition. Annatomix (right) 2023 Edition. Hit The North Festival. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
BustArt. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Asbestos for Hit The North Festival 2023 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
ACHES for Hit The North Festival 2020 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
ACHES for Hit The North Festival 2022 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
ACHES for Hit The North Festival 2022 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
MTO for Hit The North Festival 2016 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Studio Giftig for Hit The North Festival 2023 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Studio Giftig for Hit The North Festival 2023 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Unidentified artist. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Kitsune for Hit The North Festival 2022 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
EVOKE. Hit The North Festival 2023 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Conor Harrington. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Conor Harrington. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Conor Harrington Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Kitchener is the Artist, as you can see. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Kitchener. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Kitchener. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Kitchener. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Kitchener. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Kitchener. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Kitchener. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Dan Kitchener for Hit The North Festival 2017 Edition. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
KFIVEMFU. Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Untitled. Spring 2024. Dublin, Ireland. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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“Hit The North” Belfast 2024. Dispatch 2

“Hit The North” Belfast 2024. Dispatch 2

You might not expect it, but the Belfast Cathedral Quarter was quite a mad rush of activity on Sunday morning. We heard “Ave Maria” played on church bells through the fog out the hotel window, raucously accompanied by the squawks, screeches, and cries of seagulls nesting on the roof next door. Next, we heard and saw the boisterous fans of the 26.2-mile May Day Marathon who were piled 2 deep and hollering and clapping from the sidewalk as several thousand damp runners flew by with numbered banners on their chests. We signaled our support for the athletes by lifting breakfast forks full of fried eggs, boiled tomatoes, potato bread, bacon, and black pudding as we watched through the gauzy curtains of the hotel lobby.

FGB. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

But you are here for the “Hit the North” festival, now in its 12th year, only a few blocks from the cathedral. With the Sunflower bar at the intersection of Union Street and Kent Street, you have reached the epicenter where long wooden tables are set up in the middle of the street for visitors to have refreshments, and 50-60 artists are lining up to paint side by side up and down the block. The smell of aerosol thickens through the streets. The Seedhead Arts team—Adam, Eoin, Zippy, Rory, and a few others—are all arriving with boxes of paint supplies, t-shirts, ladders, and maps for the stream of visitors who are gathering to watch, have a beer, take selfies, and possibly talk with artists as they create.

FGB. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With Seedhead, the aim is to provide platforms for artists and performers to showcase their talents while fostering connections between artists and audiences. They often collaborate with local venues, artists, and cultural organizations to create dynamic and engaging events that contribute to Belfast’s street art/public art scene.

One such example of the evolution of community art festivals was the presence of the rest of the family for Northern Irish painter and print-maker Sara Majury, who has only recently begun to translate her art to the street, having taken a course on how to do so. Her small family, with whom she traveled this morning from a rural part of the country called County Down, sat on the sidewalk across the street, watching curious visitors walk past them while she prepared her wall. Her husband Johnny spoke briefly to us while their kids Rory and Freya enjoyed a snack and knocked over their flasks of water a couple of times. While mom was testing paint cans and sifting through the bag of stencils to layer on the wall, Johnny, a leather costume designer for shows like “Game of Thrones,” tells us that the children will stay still for a few more minutes because they were promised food. A moment later, he produces small sandwiches and chips for them before describing the further entertainment he plans to offer – to take them to see the Festival of Fools performances at a location just two blocks away.  

Supporting the artist. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)

We had some other great conversations with artists and visitors here this afternoon but we’ll bring you more later. For now, here we bring you scenes of some works in progress at “Hit the North.” These walls will be completed by six pm if the weather stays dry. Then, off to the bar for some curry and a glass of beer to celebrate with the artists, many of whom have traveled a great distance, for a job well done at this year’s “Hit the North.” To summarize a sentiment that we’ve heard here a few times from organizer Adam Turkington; the artists, visitors, and advertisers all leave, but in the end, it is the art that remains here on the street.

FGB. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PENS. KVLR. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Kitsune Jolene. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Glen Molloy. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Glen Molloy. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Perspicere. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
VIBES. ODISY. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
VIBES. ODISY. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
KVLR. DECOY. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Steven P. Harrington)
Novice. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
PSOMAN. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
CODO. WIP. Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Hit The North Belfast 2024. (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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Evolution of a Revolution: MEMUR Part I in Oldenburg; Street Art

Evolution of a Revolution: MEMUR Part I in Oldenburg; Street Art

From environmental nightmares to the corporate war machine to social solidarity to identity politics to abortion to the isolation brought on by Covid, the muralists at the MEMUR Festival in Oldenburg, Germany are not muting their serious concerns about the modern world.

Amanda Arrou from San Sebastian, Spain. Chosen topic, Feminism. (photo © Martha Cooper)

For being the inaugural episode of a festival, you have to be impressed with it on many levels. First is the selection high-quality international and national artists from both the street art and graffiti world. Secondly, organizers devised an equitable solution for these two distinct, yet entirely related, subcultures to participate fully on the walls of their fair city – with respect for all. Finally, the true rebellious spirit of this organically grown and democratic global people’s art movement was preserved by encouraging artists to select a modern-day societal ill and address it with their work.

Amanda Arrou from San Sebastian, Spain. Chosen topic, Feminism. (photo © Nika Kramer)

It’s refreshing to experience a themed public exhibition like this that has not been censored by commercial interests but that endeavors to speak openly with its artworks about potentially difficult subjects to address the everyday passerby. “Street art has always been a means to criticize, reflect, and question,” says an online description of the scenes’ nascent beginnings, and that couldn’t be more true from our perspective. MEMUR 2022 calls it ‘Evolution of a Revolution,’ and since there is a widespread notion across developed world countries that leaders are not representing citizens anymore, you can imagine that these works may get people talking together and realizing that we are not polarized left-right, but top-bottom.

Amanda Arrou from San Sebastian, Spain. Chosen topic, Feminism. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Today we’ll show you images from the street art muralists’ walls on one side of the 280-meter-long wall of the railway elevation on the Oldenburg federal railway path, and tomorrow we’ll show you the ‘Wall of Fame’ created on the other side by a stunning array of graffiti writers. In both cases, we extend our heartfelt thanks to two of the main participants in the event, photographers Martha Cooper of New York and hometown superstar/international photographer Nikka Kramer. Thanks to both for sharing their images with BSA readers.

Arsek & Erase, from Sofia, Bulgaria. Chosen topic: Hyperinflation. (photo © Martha Cooper)

Bulgarian muralists Arsek & Erase may have chosen one of the hottest current topics to address in their mural; the fear of hyperinflation and the severe damage it can do to individuals. The illustration-style painting features a vicious snake enveloping a jar of “savings”, preparing to consume it whole. Here in Oldenburg, where German inflation rose to its highest level in almost 50 years in August (8.8%), people are familiar with the topic. In their hometown of Sofia, Aresek & Erase are experiencing a 17% rate of inflation as of last month. Technically the term “hyperinflation” is somewhere above 50%, and 60 or so countries have fallen into it in the last hundred years, including Argentina today, and rather famously, the Weimar Republic (of which Oldenburg was a federated state) exactly 100 years ago, from 1921-23.

Arsek & Erase, from Sofia, Bulgaria. Chosen topic: Hyperinflation. (photo © Nika Kramer)

Suffice it to say that today many of the world’s currencies are in danger of inflationary pressures, including the dollar and Euro. There was talk amongst participants and organizers of MEMUR that the costs of the festival itself had to be recalibrated a few times because of increased costs in lodging, transportation, labor, and art materials.

“Thanks to everyone who came despite the heat to watch the artists paint, participate in the graffiti workshops and try their luck at the raffle,” said the organizers in their Instagram posting.

“All the positive feedback on the festival and the exhibition “Evolution of a Revolution” in the Kulturhalle am Pferdemarkt has only strengthened our belief that Oldenburg is ready for street art and that we definitely want to continue!’

Kitsune Jolene from Ghent. Belgium. Chosen topic: Roe vs. Wade overturning women’s rights. (photo © Martha Cooper)
        
Kitsune Jolene from Ghent. Belgium. Chosen topic: Roe vs. Wade overturning women’s rights. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Yara Jacobs from Hamburg, Germany. Chosen topic: NRW flood catastrophe. (photo © Martha Cooper)
“A Valley Doesn’t Give Up” “Don’t talk, but do” Yara Jacobs from Hamburg, Germany. Chosen topic: NRW flood catastrophe. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Robin Holthaus from Oldenburg, Germany. Chosen topic: Millionaires in Space. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Robin Holthaus from Oldenburg, Germany. Chosen topic: Millionaires in Space. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Devin Liston from California. The USA. Chosen topic: Wars and military conflicts due to corporate greed. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Devin Liston from California. The USA. Chosen topic: Wars and military conflicts due to corporate greed. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Jack Lack from Groningen, Netherlands. Chosen topic: Climate change. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Jack Lack from Groningen, Netherlands. Chosen topic: Climate change. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Tayla Broekman from Melbourne, Australia. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Tayla Broekman from Melbourne, Australia. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Kartel from Berlin, Germany. Chosen topic: Ukraine war. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Kartel from Berlin, Germany. Chosen topic: Ukraine war. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Philipp Pulkowsky, from Bremen, Germany. This is a memorial RIP mural in honor of Daniel Orwoll. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Klara Schöell, from Hamburg, Germany. Chosen topic: Effects of social isolation due to the pandemic. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Klara Schöell, from Hamburg, Germany. Chosen topic: Effects of social isolation due to the pandemic. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Bolados, from Hannover, Germany. Chosen topic: Solidarity. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Bolados, from Hannover, Germany. Chosen topic: Solidarity. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Flood Shack. A sad but contemporaneous topic that responds to the immediate community; Various artists constructed this installation using salvaged materials found when the waters receded from the recent devasting floods in Oldenburg, Germany. The building in the background houses the offices of an insurance company… (photo © Martha Cooper)
Flood Shack. Various artists. (photo © Nika Kramer)
Memur Festival. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Martha Cooper)
Memur Festival. Nika Kramer and Martha Cooper. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Olly H.)
Memur Festival. Nika Kramer and Martha Cooper. Oldenburg, Germany. (photo © Olly H.)
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