A Mural of Brightly Colored Shapes and Clusters of Spots Gives a Striking Update to a School Courtyard in Sicily
Atlanta-based artist Alex Brewer, a.k.a. Hense, paints overlapping shapes and patterns on canvases, outdoor murals, and even billboards. His brightly colored abstract work appears around the world, from the US and Germany to Taiwan and Australia. Most recently Brewer created an acrylic paint mural on the asphalt courtyard of the Liceo Scientifico E. Fermi high school in Ragusa, Sicily.
For the piece, titled “Ragusa Sun,” Brewer wanted to add an element of inspiration and curiosity for the students at the school. “We used colors that contrasted starkly with the existing architecture and we were very conscience of the space and scale we worked in,” he tells to Colossal. “The forms, lines, and colors are intended to be purely compositional, but I enjoy the idea of viewers having different interpretations of the work.”
Brewer’s show INTERPLAY is on view through January 26, 2019, at Sandler Hudson Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia. You can follow his indoor and outdoor creations on the artist’s website and Instagram. (via designboom)
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Last year may not have been the most prolific for Italian street art legend Blu (previously), who besides releasing Minima Muralia, a 288-page collection of 15 years of murals, completed only two officially announced murals. His latest piece titled Capita, was recently shared on the elusive artist’s only official communication channel Blublu.org. The mural was painted in Rome’s Rebibbia neighborhood, and was realized in collaboration with Comitato Mammut, a self-managed civic organization. Painted using artist’s intricate illustrative style, the image depicts an imaginary amusement park water slide attraction as a sharp critique of the social injustices of capitalism.
The slide offers participants several colorful entry points on top with all but one ending in the same swamp-like cesspool of trash. The only slide that keeps its original color and shape, gold, is the one used by politicians, businesspersons, and religious representatives. Ending with a crystal clear pool with and cocktail table set on a lush green field, it’s a direct commentary on subdued class division present in modern societies throughout the Western world. The piece further comments on the dramatic shift in the political climate of his Italian homeland, especially in terms of immigration and the ongoing refugee crisis. Painted on an 8-story building, the work’s oceanic backdrop depicts small boats filled with people on one side with luxurious yachts floating on the other.
Earlier this year, Blu spent several days in Valencia, Spain, taking part in Sensemurs project, the first meeting of muralists whose goal is to raise awareness of the repeated abuses by the local port authority toward people living in the La Huerta (Orchard) area. For this mural he depicted port authority personnel as Egyptian pharaohs using the local community as a source of free slave labor. A few months later he began work on another large piece in Rome, painting revisited versions of the Greek Venus de Milo next to a similarly redone David by Michelangelo, as a commentary on the modern values of consumerist society. The piece is yet to be finished.
Blu remains completely focused on working with non-government organizations and groups, creating works as a gift and source of empowerment for local communities, all while trying to retain is anonymity. Exposing everyone from corrupt politicians to violent police or greedy real-estate moguls, the artist is continuously producing work that supports common people and their fight against an increasingly imbalanced economic and political system. (via Juxtapoz)
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A new collaborative mural by Barcelona-based artists María López and Javier de Riba undergoes a dramatic shift from day to night. Titled Hizkuntza, the mural appears to be a simple outline of a whale by day, but darkness reveals an intricate glowing design. The placement of the whalers inside the whale’s belly suggests an ambiguous power dynamic: did the whale swallow the sailors, or did they overtake the beast and turn it into a ghost of its former self?
The mural is located in Patxa Plaza in Baiona, a small city on the southwest coast of France that is a popular tourist destination. The Plaza in particular is a site of public gathering and celebration of Basque culture. In a description of the mural on Behance, the artists explain that they were inspired by the complex history of whaling. Commercial extinction of the Eubalena Glacialis whale in the Cantabrian Sea forced Basque sailors to explore new horizons, which created new languages like Basque-Icelandic and Algonquin-Basque.
López and de Riba often work in glowing paints, and focus on the culture and history of the locations where they install their murals. You can see more of their work on Instagram and see behind-the-scenes in videos on their Vimeo channel. Hizkuntza is also available as a limited edition glow-in-the-dark print from the artists’ website, Reskate Studio.
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British graffiti artist Pref (previously) transforms words and sayings into visual interpretations of their meanings or messages—forming the word “undo” into a knot, or layering the phrase “all over the place” on top of itself to take up as much surface area as possible. With added shading and perspective the words appear as if they are 3D, like his piece “It Is,” which forms a a narrow grey cube when the letters are stacked. Some of his monochromatic works on paper (which you can see below) will be included in the upcoming group exhibition Control and Disorder with Gary Stranger, Elliott Routledge (Funskull), Georgia Hill, and William LaChance at Galerie 42b in Paris. The exhibition opens this Friday, December 14, and runs through January 19, 2019. You can see more of Pref’s recent work on his Instagram, and buy prints through his Big Cartel.
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New York-based British artist Shantell Martin is known for her black and white doodles which combine patch-worked faces with straightforward messages. Martin’s multi-dimensional works address complex issues such as identity, intersectionality, and other topics relating to the modern human condition. Her public murals and immersive gallery presentations are made intuitively, building fields of loose drawings with a meditative style. Martin teaches as an adjunct professor at NYU Tisch in the Interactive Telecommunications Program, where she combines visual art with personal storytelling and technology. You can follow her global drawings on Instagram and take a short peek into her process in the video below.
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Tamara Djurovic, who goes by the artist name Hyuro (previously), is wrapping up 2018 as arguably her most prolific year. With striking, diverse, and monumental murals painted everywhere from Brazil, Italy, and Spain to Belgium and The Netherlands, her output never looked more impressive and her aesthetics more distinctive.
Growing up in Argentina, Hyuro was attracted to murals at a young age. Buenos Aires has a long tradition of culture surrounding public space, and murals have always been an essential element. “[I’m] not sure in which moment I started to love it, or if it was always there,” she tells Colossal, “I think I could have never imagined the strong impact that working on public spaces had on me.”
What started with flat, often black and white imagery of simplified feminine figures evolved into intricate, highly painterly images that cleverly play with their surroundings and architecture. Without a particular theme to work within, Hyuro’s work is regularly focused on commenting and portraying the more complex side of human beings. She explores how our inner lives affect the relationships with have with ourselves, and how they are reflected in society.
The personal aspect of her work starts with her observations and concerns, continues through reference photos she creates for each piece, and then transfers onto passersby who observe the murals and create different interpretations of them. “I’m not interested in these subjects only from a representation perspective, but as well as a way to keep understanding and knowing myself and somehow try to understand, or digest better the world where we live in,” she explains.
Spending long stretches alone on a cherry picker or scaffold, it’s the challenge of completing the work that is the most important drive for her, along with the satisfying tiredness that comes after the completion of the work. “This last year I hardly spent time in the studio,” Hyuro shares about her 2018 schedule, which was wrapped up with the piece she recently finished in Brazil. Feeling torn about being constantly “on the road” and knowing that some time off is healthy and much needed, she continues her work as it’s a way for her to deal with her most inner feelings. By painting larger than life images depicting everyday moments and nuanced emotions, Djurovic expresses the human experience in a way that both honors and explores the complexities of humanity.
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Artist Louise Jones (previously), known professionally as Ouizi, focuses on flowers in her multi-faceted practice. Whether creating towering outdoor murals, carving linoleum prints, completing indoor mural commissions, or painting on more traditional canvases, Jones creates groupings of real and imagined blossoms. In addition to painting in her home base of Detroit, where she has completed over 40 murals, Jones travels widely to execute work, including in Los Angeles (her hometown), Shanghai, New Zealand, and New York.
The artist’s largest mural to date, titled Wildflowers for Buffalo, was recently completed in Buffalo, New York as part of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Public Art Initiative. The enormous work is the largest mural in Western New York. For this commission and other site-specific projects, Jones researched and incorporated native flora in her designs. She works in a distinctive aesthetic that merges botanical realism with a stylized, sinuous technique that draws from her Chinese heritage.
In an interview with Shinola, Jones explained, “Flowers are a vehicle for me to explore color and shapes. They remind me so much of my own body — they’re very feminine. I consider myself to be feminine, but haven’t always felt that way. As I get older, I’ve learned to embrace my femininity, and I find myself increasingly drawn to flowers with age.”
Jones studied drawing and printmaking at UC Santa Cruz. You can see more of her work on Instagram, and watch a behind-the-scenes video and interview of Jones’ Buffalo mural below.
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