Artist Adele Renault (previously here and here) creates large-scale paintings of pigeons, highlighting the spectacular feather patterns and hues that might otherwise go unnoticed at the birds’ small scale. Recently the Belgian artist completed a mural of two grey and blue-toned pigeons for St+art India’s Lodhi Street Art Festival in Delhi. The bird on the right has its mouth agape, squawking at the one on the left from the other side of a window that peers into a courtyard. Programming for the festival runs through the end of March, 2019. You can view more of Renault’s large-scale paintings on her website and Instagram, and take a look at her Amsterdam-based space Unruly Gallery which she runs with collaborator Niels Shoe Meulman. (via Street Art News)
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Finding Hope: A Balloon Mural by Mehdi Ghadyanloo Brings Levity to the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting
Iranian muralist and fine artist Mehdi Ghadyanloo is the creator of the poetic mural recently installed in the lobby of the Congress Centre in Davos, Switzerland, where the 2019 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is currently taking place. After participating in the forum last year as one of the speakers, Ghadyanloo contributed a large-scale commissioned painting titled Finding Hope, designed specifically for this event.
The work is comprised of three separate panels installed in the main entry hall of the Congress Centre, and depicts a young girl with a floating red balloon. Although Ghadyanloo was initially challenged by the unusual structure of the inward facing walls, he decided to create a triptych whose parts correlate with each other in both a hopeful and tense narrative. The balloon suggests innocence when paired with the little girl, while noting possible destruction when placed opposite of a sharp needle.
“The audience here has more power to create real change than the rest of the world,” Ghadyanloo tells Colossal, “so this is a good place to touch their hearts and ask them to do something. Not in a direct way as they are used to be asked, but in a kind of a visual, poetic way I would say.”
Last year, joined by a small team of muralists from his hometown, the artist completed Rebuilding the Sky in Almetyevsk, Russia, in similar style to his perspective-challenging and illusion-based works in Tehran. Ghadyanloo wanted to add joyfulness and color to the concrete look of the city. Around the same time, he also painted a piece titled The Fraud and Hope on the rooftop of the OK Center for Contemporary Art in Linz, Austria, which depicts a huge water swirl and a gaping black hole. The piece was created as commentary on the issue of the global warming, melting ice, and the role of water, but also references migration crises and the artist’s personal phobias.
Although Ghadyanloo is known worldwide for the 100 large murals he painted in Tehran between 2004 and 2011, the Iranian artist has taken a little break from public works in the recent years. “I was doing more personal things in my studio and enjoyed to be away from this responsibility that I feel on my shoulder when I work in public,” he explains. “I think now is the time for action, to do more public art projects besides my gallery paintings.” You can view more of Ghadyanloo’s reality-bending murals and paintings on his website and Instagram.
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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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