Tag Archives: murals

The Unexpected: Artists Descend on Ft. Smith to Revitalize the Streets with Murals 



Walking the wide streets of Ft. Smith, the second largest city in Arkansas near the Oklahoma border, one might expect to find small businesses, historical landmarks, the occasional live music venue, and few shuttered storefronts. What you might not expect to see are towering murals from international street artists around almost every corner, but that’s exactly what’s happening with The Unexpected, an ambitious local effort to bring significant public artworks to the streets of Ft. Smith in an effort to revitalize the downtown area.

Funded in part by local non-profit 646 Downtown and curated by JustKids, the event is now in its second year and has brought over 20 artworks that blanket old buildings, grain silos, store facades, and even a sculpture in a small park. The initiative has also engaged emerging artists from both the University of Arkansas and students from two local high schools who were invited to create their own murals around the city.

This year saw new pieces by Okuda, Faith47, Dface, Bordalo II, Jaz & Pastel, Alexis Diaz, Maser, Guido van Helten, and Cyrcle. The artworks went up over the first week of September with the aid of countless local volunteers and support staff. If you happen to stop by here’s a handy map, and there’s even an app where users can navigate to different artworks, submit their own photos and leave comments. You can see all of the completed works from both 2015 and 2016 on Instagram and Facebook. Photos by Raymesh.


Alexis Diaz


Alexis Diaz in progress


Jaz & Pastel




Fiath47 in progress


Guido van Helten





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Walls and Canvases Rich with Narrative by Artist Duo Herakut 


German street art duo Hera and Akut of Herakut have been traveling the world since 2004, filling canvases and walls with their collaborative form of painting. Each piece offers a glimpse into a character or scene, usually accompanied by a bit of text providing a bit of context or perhaps further intrigue. Their creative process begins with Hera setting each figure’s form and proportions, while Akut fills in the photorealistic details. Via Vertical Gallery:

Hera is a classically trained painter who creates gestural, emotional figures in a freestyle manner using numerous tools including spray cans, brushes, and her hands. Akut is a self-taught painter who is skilled in creating hyper-realistic images of animals and flesh using only a spray can. What initially seemed like an unlikely pairing both conceptually and technically has since become one of the foremost collaborations in urban art and an innovative presence in contemporary painting.

Seen here is just a slight glimpse into their work over the last few years, you can see much more on Facebook and on their website. Herakut most recently had a solo show at Zara Gallery in Jordan, and in July, Hera had a solo show titled “Where do we go from Hera?” at Vertical Gallery in Chicago. (via StreetArtNews)








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New Affectionate Murals Painted on the Streets of Italy and Beyond by Millo 


Italian artist Francesco Camillo Giogino, also known as Millo (previously), is known for his site-specific street murals that adorn buildings with a cast of curious characters painted in primarily black and white. Millo adds subtle color to his works, highlighting hearts, thermometers, and vegetation with shades of red and green. His most recent mural (seen above) is titled In Bloom and was painted in Milan. You can see more of his murals on his website, and on Facebook.







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New Hybrid Wildlife Murals Painted by Alexis Diaz 


All images via @alexis_diaz

Puerto Rican artist Alexis Diaz (previously here and here) brings incredible detail to the large-scale animals and humans he paints, producing murals that illustrate those both living and dead. Alien lifeforms, tentacles, and dried bone are all created from thousands of tiny brushstrokes, each separate element merging together to produce enchanting scenes. Many of his works are created entirely freehand, with Diaz working line by line to meticulous paint his hybrid creatures.

“I feel like having an intimate conversation between the wall, the surrounding space and me,” said Diaz to WideWalls. “I put elements together like in a puzzle until the moment of mutual understanding.”

Diaz’s work was recently included in the group exhibition “Freedom as Form” at Wunderkammern in Milan. You can see more of his intricate murals and sketches on his Instagram and Facebook. (via Cross Connect Magazine)








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The Good of the Hive: Artist Matthew Willey Travels the World to Paint 50,000 Bees 


In an effort to raise awareness about the plight of the humble honey bee, New York-based artist Matt Willey founded the Good of the Hive Initiative, an ambitious project to personally paint 50,000 bees in murals around the world. The number itself isn’t arbitrary, it takes about that many bees to sustain a healthy beehive. So far Willey has completed 7 murals including a large piece at the Burt’s Bees headquarters, and he keeps meticulous notes about the number of bees in each piece which he shares on his website.

For more info you can read an interview with the artist at the Center for Humans and Nature website, and follow his progress on Instagram. And for more bee-centric murals, also check out London-based artist Louis Masai Michel’s similar Save the Bees project. (thnx, Laura!)









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