Contemporary artist and muralist Sebas Velasco was born in 1988 in Burgos, a city in northern Spain. His disciplined romance with painting continues to produce nighttime scenes of the urban every day, mysterious, gloomy, but not necessarily forlorn. Large-scale scenes incorporate elements of the surrounding architecture and marginal cityscape, his canvasses are painterly, blurred, and focused on the emotional, and psychological trajectory of a life lived alongside the wreckage of a city, often solitary figures seeking adventure in gritty, industrial scenes.
Velasco often uses a combination of spray paint and acrylic paint to create his murals and canvas paintings, sometimes incorporating stenciling and other forms of street art into his work, a unique blend of traditional and contemporary techniques.
Today we pass along the news that Sebas is offering two of his nighttime reveries as prints for a short time and at more affordable prices than his other work demands today. Named after favorite songs by bands in Yugoslavia and Poland, the two prints capture this moment in his career, this time of unsettling transitions, insecure daily existence where it seems that anything is possible, and chaos is probable.
“Titles for the work often draw from song titles, Kao da je Bilo Nekad (As it was once before) was named after a song from EKV; a Serbian and former Yugoslav rock band from Belgrade and Kalejdoskop Moich Dróg (Kaleidoscope of my ways) is from a Polish Reggae band called Daab. This fusion in the margins almost feels like spring, stolen moments that can be shared – in lingering romantic brush strokes. If you are interested, we included a link below to learn more.
From the press release, “Compositions are collaged from his own photography to create impossible yet familiar vistas, his brutal constructions become stoic remnants of a memory lost to time.”
Timed Edition Print Release Artist Sebas Velasco Kalejdoskop Moich Dróg (Kaleidoscope of my ways) (left) Kao da je Bilo Nekad (As it Was Once Before) (right) Fine Art Print Giclee on Hahnemühle 310gsm Hand Pulled Varnish Finish 45cm x 45cm
Launch Wednesday 26th April 16:00 CET / 15:00 GMT / 07:00 PST Ending Friday 28th April 16:00 CET / 15:00 GMT / 07:00 PST Prints purchased within the first 12 hours will have free shipping anywhere in the world and will receive the special rate per print
The glaring intrusion of advertising’s florescent night – the stirring it causes inside your head and heart as it demands attention. This is not normal, yet we have tried to normalize it, this shallow gaudy preening cousin of fire. Muralist Sebas Velasco makes a hunt of this sort of late-night urban scene with photographer Jose Delou. Like reporters on the city beat, they play interviewer and sociologist, ultimately portraitist.
Today we have a Latvian chef and a Swedish chariot of a more recent vintage, a Volvo. The parking lot is a depository, now also a stage. The family wagon in the glow of the Swedish hypermart; the modern hunter, circling the prey for dinner.
A young master painting in the Old Master vein, perhaps, this Spanish poet captures something between the past and the future. Sebas Velasco is not yet 6 years out from his Masters in painting, yet he is bringing imagination and emotion to his mural work that gives you a longing to know more.
Along with the photographer, friend, and longtime collaborator Jose Delou, Velasco has been traveling the last six weeks from the Prado in Spain through Germany, then Sweden. Bringing depth to the surface, his portraiture stands astride the beauty, and decay; a romantic alienation found only in the modern metropolis.
While you might hesitate to mention the Spanish and Old Master painter Goya for fear it might complicate the conversation, Velasco is showing us how he will continue to build the image that will captivate. In some way, his manner of capturing the character is familiar, compelling, and somehow impossible.
There is a discernible difference between mural festivals created as commercial endeavors and those led by artists, like the Murart 22 in Ontiyent in Spain. It captures the city’s light and the alignment with the culture. Here we see Sebas Velasco musing over a local waitress whom he and photographer Jose Delou met over a meal one night in this city.
A perfect figure to represent the night glow on the outskirts of Ontiyent, Claudia is cast in the cooler tone of industrial neighborhoods, the warmth vanished under this street lighting. Known for his unique portraits, Sebas reveals her delicate features under the hum of cool gas station lights. The compelling result is balanced and elegant, well within its element.
We’re looking forward to more thoughtful work from Murart 22 with artists Mantra, Marina Capdevilla, Lidia Cao and DULK.
Recently we brought you coverage of Shepard Fairey’s newest work for the Djerbahood project on the island of Hara Sghira Er Riadh in Tunisia. A gradually-building project curated over the last decade or more by the Tunisian-French owner of Paris’ Galerie Itinerrance, Medhi Ben Cheikh, there must be nearly 200 artists from 30+ nations represented here now.
As each year passes we become more aware that the collection represents an era, a vast survey of a time when street art was graduating to murals worldwide. Some of these artists have risen in prominence in the street art/contemporary art world, while others have declined, or have shifted their attention to something else entirely. In that respect, Djerbahood is an archive for all to investigate and analyze.
Sensitive to local cultural values in terms of content, the various expressions of creativity may not follow one aesthetic – but they invariably are complemented by the predominant white stucco walls that define this pristine haven for street art murals. While some have aged quite beautifully, others have shown the passage of time and the elements, gently weathering the overall aesthetic.
The project is documented in a beautifully edited and printed book, which we reviewed here. To reacquaint you, below are a few selections from the project:
To reaquaint you, below are a few selections from the project:
It’s a whole new era! Or error. It’s hard to tell with events and scenes of daily life going in and out of focus, isn’t it?
Post-urban dislocation has been ratified as a modern aesthetic in recent years – late-term capitalism deflating before your eyes, you may say. Or empty consumer culture run amok with no plan for the future. Perhaps these thematic scenarios are personified by the subjects in these canvasses here from Sebas Velasco, who began this fine art career writing graffiti in the early 2000s back home of Spain.
Graffiti writers are used to viewing a city’s marginal areas, and its refreshing to see a talent like his capturing the scenes without maudlin commentary. That makes it brutal, indeed.
Hosted in a temporary event venue at 15 Bateman Street in London, W1D 3AQ, the transience and economic insecurity of the rudderless gig economy is driven home here as well for “A New Error”. These are scenes you once associated with fallen regimes, now they are merely benchmarks along the route to empty ruin. Velasco’s realism is not quite a love poem, but it hints at it.
“The works are inspired by the freedom of travel and the isolation we all shared the past year, with artists adapting their process to painting at home,” says the artist in a press statement. “The iconic structures are juxtaposed with scenes I came across in transit, just getting lost in a country, stumbling across a village or moment in the final hours of daylight. A romantic view of the journey and process, rather than outcome. Others are very small creations, studies I produced while in lockdown.”
Sebas Velasco “A new error” is currently on view in Soho, London at 15 Bateman St. The show closes tomorrow October 20th. For further detail DM @charlotte_pyatt
Here in Basque country you can casually drive between Bilbao (Spain) and Bayonne (France) as if you were just heading out to the shopping mall to buy new kicks. The signs of course are in multiple languages (Spanish, French, Basque) and there is much more political street art in these towns- addressing topics like fracking, racism, women’s rights and amnesty for political prisoners.
With an atmosphere that is more politically charged than other parts of the world, you can quickly forget it when you see so many rolling green hills dotted with puffy round sheep and old white farm houses along the highway.
Arriving in Bayonne we were happy to see many of the medieval small streets still boast Gothic-style cathedrals, a cloister here, the occasional castle there. It’s a walkable city with centuries of history, conservative cultural values, and a cool Street Art festival from the last few years called Points de Vue. Co-Founder Alban Morlot obliged us with a tour of the city and a multitude of murals produced over the past few years (You can read here our article of the recent 2018 edition of the festival with exclusive images from Martha Cooper and Nika Kramer).
Headquartered in the public/privately run community center/gallery called SpaceJunk since the early 2000’s Alban and director Jérome Catz have been organizing shows here and in Lyons and Grenoble as their interests and network of artists has expanded. The two met when Catz was better known as a celebrity snowboarder organizing an art show for a sponsoring brand, and Marlot attended the show as a self-described “groupie”.
With a common interest is providing artists a platform and complementary abilities with funding and collecting, the two have gone on to mount shows and festivals in their organic path through the lenses of “board culture”, graffiti, Street Art, Lowbrow and Pop Surrealism.
Shows and exhibitions over the last decade and a half have included artists such as Lucy McLauchlan, Adam Neate, Will Barras, Jeff Soto, Laurence Vallières, Robert Williams, Robert Crumb, Isaac Cordal, Vhils, C215, Slinkachu, Ron English, Zevs, Shepard Fairey, JR, Lister, Augustine Kofie, Beast, NeverCrew, Monkey Bird, Daleast, and Seth.
A topic close to our heart for a decade, they also began a new film festival for there 2017 edition of the Grenoble Street Art Fest.
Headquartered in the public/privately run community center/gallery called SpaceJunk since the early 2000’s Alban and director Jérome Catz have been organizing shows here, Lyons, and Grenoble as their interests and network of artists has expanded. The two met when Catz was better known as a celebrity snowboarder organizing an art show for a sponsoring brand, and Marlot attended the show as a self-described “groupie”.
With a common interest is providing artists a platform and complementary abilities with funding and collecting, the two have gone on to mount shows and festivals in their organic path through the lenses of “board culture”, graffiti, Street Art, Lowbrow and Pop Surrealism. Shows and exhibitions over the last decade and a half have included artists such as Lucy McLauchlan, Adam Neate, Will Barras, Jeff Soto, Laurence Vallières, Robert Williams, Robert Crumb, Isaac Cordal, Vhils, C215, Slinkachu, Ron English, Zevs, Shepard Fairey, JR, Lister, Augustine Kofie, Beast, NeverCrew, Monkey Bird, Daleast, and Seth. A topic close to our heart for a decade, they have also began a film festival for there 2017 edition of the Grenoble Street Art Fest.
As we walk through a very windy afternoon that kicks up the new construction dust that coats this neighborhood by the river, Alban talks to us about the suspicious embrace of locals and politicians of his work, the various working personalities of artists for the festival, the creation of a new currency by the Basque community, the tradition of socialist bars and political activists in the neighborhood, and his own connection to graffiti that began when he was hanging out in his hometown of Pau as a teenager with other skaters.
would listen to music, smoke a blunt, and skate all day. At some point graffiti
became my culture,” he says of those times that formed his character and
informed his aesthetic eye. “I don’t think I realized it at the time when
I was a teenager but by the time I was 25 I said to myself ‘this is my culture’.
I know I’m not the only one to feel this way but I knew that I wanted to share
this experience and make it visible for other people in my generation.”
and riding in a car to see murals, small installations, illegal graffiti, and
formally approved artworks, you may wonder how this organizer and curator looks
at his position in an evolving urban art scene that has witnessed the arrival
and departure of many over the last 15 years. He says that his work has always
centered on the artists, and that despite the chaos and change, this may be why
job is to know the artist and learn where they want to go and what their
context is,” says Alban. “Afterwards I let them express their hearts without any conditions
because I want them to have the maximum pleasure to produce their art. This way
you receive the best from them.”
You may wonder where this philosophy comes from, and ask if he always felt this way.
“I think I just love artists so much,” he says. “People at Space Junk often ask me if I am an artist and I am not. I just consider artists to be very important in our lives and in society and I think we have to put artists in the middle of the system and not like they are just observers. I think artists belong in the center of society and I think people have to learn again how to listen to what they have to say. The way they present society is a very different point of view that helps us to understand who we are, who our neighbors are and help us to drive together.”
Our sincere thanks to Alban and Jérome for their work and hospitality and we hope you enjoy some of these pics from Bayonne.
A multiplicity of patterns and colors and fills and histories on intersecting planes that gore, cleave, hack through art and popular culture – this appears as a harbinger for the generation after Y. Fueled perhaps by the exuberance of youth and the desire to see and consume all things, to be all things simultaneously, the new kids are insisting that some manner of collage in three dimensions will accurately represent the upheaval we are experiencing in many regions. These are the effects of a raging globalism, at least on the surface – and possibly our efforts to rationalize what appears as chaotically irrational.
How appropriate that Fasim is incorporating his own version of automatic drawing here on the large scale of the public mural while an invited guest of ‘Urban Skills, Urban Culture Exhibition 2018’ in Alcoy, Spain. His inspirations for this September work came his trip to the Louvre in August, he says, where he poured over Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities, their individual histories and motifs swarming his mind.
“This psychological game has always attracted me because it changes all concepts, poses new meanings and I like to alter things,” he says in the group’s press release, “since I was a child I always try to see things from other points of view, even the impossible or delirious that are my favorite. It is an act of poetic rebellion.”
As if carefully curated chaos, this first edition ‘urban art’ festival selects only a handful of artists from backgrounds of graffiti and Street Art from as close as Barcelona and as far as Mexico City, each carrying within them a virtual environment and ecosystem of aesthetic histories, each ready to spill.
Importing influences from urban culture with new murals by Nuria Mora, Sebas Velasco, Demsky, Smithe and Dulk spread across the city of 60,000 in del Centro, el Partidor, Santa Rosa, Batoy and la Zona Norte.
Far from the active urban cultures that gave birth to this music and art, these artists articulating the journey, reflecting influences from western art history, hip hop culture, and some of the global Internet vernacular of searching, and appropriating. A participatory project funded by a number of civic organizations, it looks like URBAN SKILLS chose some of the best voices to address this moment and to give a view into the future.
Manolo Solbes Arjona poses in front of this portrait of him at the piano in his “cave” by Sabas Velasco. Below he writes a text to accompany the work;
La espiral del consentimiento roza su límite cuando los ojos trashumantes, perciben como se alborota su mimesis en el horizonte de la Osadía.
Mientras escribo y Vincent se columpia en sus dibujos, recuerdo una perfección en tu diáspora; a los colores acariciando la Imagen, y a los aborígenes del Territorio Serpis atónitos, al ver aparecer sobre su estar una sensación que, por azar, inercia y armonía de los creativos que invocaron al espejismo, pudimos ver otra vez, a la belleza bailar alrededor de una hoguera donde la Pitecantra Madre aún nos llama.