Crumbling Buildings and Graffiti-Covered Walls Are Meticulously Documented in Oil Paintings by Jessica Hess
Oakland-based painter Jessica Hess documents landscapes and built environments in moments of transition. Combining open skies and lush plant life with crumbling walls and frayed rebar, Hess finds equivalency in growth and decay. The artist, who works in oil paint, shoots photos while exploring abandoned locales, and uses these real life references to build her carefully framed worlds on canvas.
Hess graduated from Rhode Island School of Design and has been exhibiting nationally for over 15 years. Her solo show, The Chaos Aesthetic, is currently on view at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, and runs through May 25, 2019. You can keep up with Hess’s impressive exhibition schedule, which includes four additional shows this year on her website, and see more of her work on Instagram.
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PichiAvo Pushes the Boundaries of their Urbanmythology Style with New Solo Exhibition and Graffiti-Covered Greek Statue
Art center Centro del Carmen in Valencia, Spain is currently hosting Evreka, a large solo exhibition by local artist duo PichiAvo (previously). Through this landmark showcase, the artists present their renowned Urbanmythology style that blends the dynamics, immediacy, and uncompromising attitude of graffiti along with the traditional quality and timeless appearance of ancient Greek and Roman cultures. Dominated by a massive sliced and tagged Greek pillar, the immersive installation features ten new paintings, nine sculptures, and an outdoor monument to the local graffiti scene.
Along with the explosion of colors and graffiti elements on top of traditional Greek iconography, one of the main parts of the show is the “Reflectory room” in which the works are experienced through a mirror. The artists wanted to recreate the accidental and often concealed discovery of graffiti or street art in real life. Eight out of ten paintings exhibited in the show are presented through this concept. Sculptural pieces are scattered around them, with their biggest studio piece, a 40-foot-long column inspired by the temple of Zeus in Athens, laying through the length of the room.
All of the works in the show, except for the column, have been created especially for the show and are related to the Falles monument that they are currently finishing. Fallas de València is a traditional celebration held every year in commemoration of Saint Joseph, and it includes the year-long building and eventual burning of large-scale public statues. The peak of the event takes place around midnight on March 19, when around 400 Falles are burnt as huge bonfires through the city of Valencia.
Following the success of their friend Okuda San Miguel, who was invited by the Falles Festival in 2018 to build the Falla Mayor (previously), the art duo started working on their own statue right after the burning of last year’s works. Pichi & Avo partnered with the local Falles artisan firm Latorre y Sanz to execute the incredibly large-scale piece. Unlike previous years when artisans used mostly foam as a building material, this year’s sculptures are made from wood and cardboard, making the work more flammable and less pollutant.
PichiAvo’s Falles statue is set to be finished on March 15, 2019, along with the others included in the Falles Festival, and will be burned in a big celebration on March 19, 2019. Evreka will be on view at the Centro del Carmen in Valencia until May 5, 2019 and a show dedicated to PichiAvo’s limited editions will be on view at Plastic Murs gallery between March 7 and April 19, 2019. You can see more of the artists’ previous works on their website and Instagram.
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Italian graffiti artist Eron (previously) creates poignant spray painted interventions which speak to humanitarian and social issues. Recently he created a stunning piece titled Tower to the People in Santarcangelo, Italy which converted a simple brick tower into a monumental painting celebrating the power of non-violence. The work features a raised fist that is constructed from a mass of lush roses painted in a classical chiaroscuro technique. The contrast between the fragility of the flowers and the power of the symbol they create speaks to the combined strength of individuals when united for a common cause.
Similar to his previous creations, the artist used spray paint to create an illusion of depth. The work appears almost sculptural, as if the fist was erected with the tower itself, rather than added on as a painted detail. Columns flank either side of the fist, each with hearts near the top and bottom corners. A press release about Tower to the People explains that the work is a tribute to “the strength of gentleness, the power of non-violence, the victory of kindness, the triumph of love over hate, the intensity of poetry, the perfection of harmony, and the desire for freedom and peace among the people all over the world.”
In 2015 Eron was included in the landmark exhibition Bridges Of Graffiti during 2015 Venice Biennale, and earlier this year he painted one of his largest street art interventions to date in Milan. In addition to the public works, Eron has also been creating smaller pieces that revive found objects through his application of ghostly imagery. At the same time, the artist is producing studio works on canvas which cleverly mix realistic and surreal imagery, creating captivating images that strongly rely on both light and shadow effects. You see more of his public and studio-based works on his website and Instagram.
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Banksy’s year-old project in Bethlehem, The Walled Off Hotel (previously), has just released a new set of souvenirs exclusively available in the hotel shop. The series of works, which are each hand painted by local artists, depict the West Bank barrier in a crumbling state. A hooded figure is featured beside the wall in several of the works—either contributing a fresh piece of graffiti or physically breaking through the wall with mallet in hand. Banksy views these works as anticipatory objects, pieces that might accurately depict the wall’s end.
The hotel also released a new album during last week’s Palestine Music Expo, featuring international musicians such as Brian Eno, The Black Madonna, Trio Joubran, Roisin Murphy, and Akram Abdulfattah. The work was produced by Block9 during a “Creative Retreat” at the hotel this past February, and includes seven collaborative songs inspired by Palestine’s history. The Walled Off Hotel Creative Retreat Album is now available for free on Soundcloud.
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Artist, muralist, printmaker, and educator Nina Wright, also known as Girl Mobb, started creating graffiti as a teenager in her hometown in rural Ohio. She found a community of street artists when she moved to Oakland, CA, but struggled to find a segment of women making similar work. Each time she was curated into an all-woman exhibition, the same 5-6 artists were also selected. This lack of female presence prompted Wright to start a mentorship program, an attempt to increase the number of female artists creating street art in the Bay Area.
Wright hosted her first session of Graffiti Camp for Girls in April of this year. The camp was created for young women ages 12-17, and is based on a sliding-scale tuition. Participants learn how to properly use aerosol paints, take the requisite safety precautions, and efficiently collaborate. At the end of each session a large-scale mural is planned, designed, and organized by the young women themselves.
Each of Wright’s four sessions has filled up quickly, and she’s been asked to extend the camp to cities that lay outside of the Bay Area. The street artist hopes that with a growing base of volunteer mentors the program will help to correct the gender imbalance seen in Oakland’s street art scene and beyond. You can keep updated about future sessions of Graffiti Camp for Girls on the program’s website, and view more of the work made by Wright and camp participants on her Instagram. (via Creators Project)
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Mexican calligraffiti artist Said Dokins combines calligraphy writing with graffiti techniques to create public murals that address conflicts of power, destruction, and control imposed by both historic and contemporary regimes. His latest project, Heliographies of Memory, uses luminous tools to explore displaced memory, creating light paintings that use famous historic buildings or other iconic sites as temporary backdrops.
“‘Heliographies of Memory’ consist in a series of photographs that capture the calligraphic gesture, the very moment where the action of inscription is taking place,” said Dokins. “…The texts are written with light, so the words disappear as soon as they were suggested by the moves of the calligrapher, invisible to the simple eye, they just can be captured by a process of long-exposure photography, that reveal what happened, even though no one could see it.”
Dokins collaborates with photographer Leonardo Luna to capture each of his ephemeral interventions. Together they opened the 2017 OASTRALE Biennale of Contemporary Art in Dresden with a choreographed calligraphy presentation. You can see more images of their project Heliographies of Memory on Dokins’ Instagram and Facebook. (via I Support Street Art)
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Josh Keyes (previously) paints scenes that observe the world at the brink of destruction. His works often focus on polar bears and sharks, one species which will soon lose its home as ice shelves continue to melt, and the other which is poised to take over an Earth undersea. The animals are placed in settings that suggest a post-human existence, such as a pair of fighting horses in front of a beached ship and a solitary brown bear looking over a seemingly empty metropolis.
The hyperrealistic paintings also incorporate graffiti found in unlikely places. Tags cover satellites, icebergs, and even a shark, an allusion to the lengths at which humans are willing to leave their mark.
Keyes’ solo exhibition, Implosion, opens August 5th at Thinkspace Gallery in LA and runs through August 26, 2017. You can see more of his works on his Instagram and website. (via Juxtapoz, Arrested Motion)
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