Those unable to experience the black-and-white murals of Belgian artist ROA (previously) in person can admire photographs of his works in the recently published Codex. Released by Lannoo Publishers, the 352-page book contains four chapters centered on Eurasia, Africa, America, and Oceania, regions where ROA’s depictions of local animals blanket building walls. The photographs portray a snake wound around itself, six different species perched on vertical ledges, and an alligator on its back with its tail scaling a fire escape.
ROA works directly on the building, foregoing sketches and projections, and uses the architecture to inform the ways he paints birds, rodents, and other native creatures. Captivated by anatomy, the artist attempts to animate his paintings, giving energy and life to species often disregarded by humans. “Exploration of nature, more specifically of the animal world, can lead to increased empathy,” he says. “It teaches you something substantial about how one should live a good life.” The monochromatic murals’ scale often makes animals larger than their real-life bodies, securing and emboldening their monumental presence.
Codex, which is available now, also incorporates writing from RJ Rushmore, Lucy R. Lippard, Johan Braeckman, Gwenny Cooman, Robert R. Williams, and Kathy De Nève.
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A T-Rex is inhabiting the streets of Paris. Artist Julien Nonnon has given life to extinct creatures in his latest work, “Prehistoric Safari,” by using video-mapping technology to project images of the dinosaurs in the Jardin d’Acclimatation, a long-established Parisian amusement park. Nonnon says the digital art form, which is at the intersection of photography, video, architecture and scenography, has allowed him to produce 17 3D-projections of species that occupied the Cretaceous period. A T-Rex flaunting its yellow eyes and a triceratops brandishing green horns appear at nightfall on building sides in holographic form.
The artist tells Colossal that this project is centered on pop culture and “was inspired by the adventure books of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Jules Verne and Michael Crichton, as well as Steven Spielberg’s movies.” In addition to the 3D-projections, Nonnon also directed a mini film titled “Dino Escape,” which depicts a dinosaur invasion of Paris’s streets and includes an interactive quest for audience members to retrieve a T-Rex egg and bring it to present day.
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Argentinian artist Elian Chali, who goes by just his first name professionally, creates vibrant murals that balance a simple aesthetic with carefully calculated designs. Elian often incorporates anamorphic shapes into his murals, placing squiggles and squares at the corners of buildings, creating the illusion of floating patterns. Clean lines and flat color fields almost seem to be rendered digitally rather than laboriously hand-painted across hundreds or even thousands of square feet. In addition to his mural projects, the self-taught artist creates smaller gallery-ready paintings and prints, and also works as a freelance curator. Follow along with Elian’s latest projects on Instagram. (via Street Art News)
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A 21 Foot-Long Painting of The Last Supper by 16th Century Nun and Artist Plautilla Nelli Has Just Been Painstakingly Restored
In the 1500’s self-taught artist and nun Plautilla Nelli created a life-size mural of Jesus and the twelve apostles at the Last Supper. Spanning 21 feet feet, the vibrantly colored painting includes carefully rendered details including wine chalices, salt cellars, wood panelling, and a rhythmically creased tablecloth. In addition to the inanimate objects depicted, Nelli demonstrated impressive facility with human anatomy in her renderings of the religious figures—at the time, women were barred from studying the field of anatomy.
Nelli’s masterpiece stayed for two centuries at her convent, Santa Caterina, and then changed locations a few times before being unstretched, rolled, and put in storage about a hundred years ago. After an initial restoration and then additional damage due to flooding in the 1960’s, The Last Supper has been undergoing restoration for the past four years. Brought back to life by an all-female team of curators, restorers, and scientists at Advancing Women Artists, it is now on permanent display at the Santa Maria Novella Museum in Florence, Italy. (via artnet, Smithsonian Magazine)
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The anonymous artist duo MonkeyBird creates large-scale paintings of black-and-white cross contour depictions of mythical animals accented in gold. Most MonkeyBird artworks incorporate a humanoid monkey and bird, which represent “the two faces of humankind, the monkey being the realist, and the bird being a dreamer,” according to Paris-based 5Art Gallery. Old-world details like classical architecture, timekeeping devices, and weight scales add to the timeless look of the pair’s paintings. MonkeyBird’s members bring training in graphic design, as well as object and industrial design to their artistic aesthetic, which can be seen in their clean, technique-driven stenciling.
Based in Bordeaux, France, MonkeyBird travels widely to create outdoor murals as well as indoor installations. They’ll be working in Moscow from October 2 to the 11th. Follow along with MonkeyBird’s newest projects on Instagram, and pick up a limited edition print in their online store. (via Hi-Fructose)
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The 19th Edition of Pioneering Street Art Festival NuArt Challenges Participants to Consider the Old and the New
For the 19th consecutive year, the quaint Norwegian town of Stavanger hosted another edition of the internationally known NuArt Festival. What started in 2001 as side programming at an electronic music festival has evolved into one of the most influential street art festivals worldwide. In addition to the production of public artworks, Nuart also includes a series of academic talks, debates, and movie premieres/screenings, all working towards greater definition and recognition of the street art movement. Its concurrent indoor exhibition also provides the artists an opportunity to create indoor works and installations without limitations or censoring, providing a unique blend of street art attitude showcased inside a gallery-like setting.
One of the works painted last week in Stavanger was the image of a girl taking a photo of a painting in a thick ornate frame. What seemed like an eye candy composition that creates a simple interaction of the character with an object on the wall is actually a harsh critique of the way the general public and the art world are dealing with the global refugee crisis. “On one side there is the passive position of the observer, on the other side, there is the position of the artist. Both acts as beholders of the critical situation,” the artist Jofre Oliveras (previously) stated about his poignant piece, titled Beholders. The artist further extended his critique of the art world with an indoor installation and live performance work presented in collaboration with the members of the 1UP CREW. As a way of protesting against the speculation of the art dealers based on the artist’s name, Oliveras painted a series of large works on canvas, which were then crossed over and destroyed by the notorious international graffiti crew.
Not far from this mural Argentine muralist Hyuro (previously) created her vision of the crisis and the way it is affecting the lives of individuals. Using hands as the universal symbol of individuality and closeness, Valencia-based artist depicted two hands interacting with a straight line between them. Symbolizing arbitrary manmade borders, the hands are both crossing over or being crossed over by the strict mark. Also talking about important social issues, Paul Harfleet introduced the concept of the ongoing Pansy Project, planting a single pansy flower on the location of homophobic abuse. Not being able to find the actual plants due to their seasonal nature, for the first time Harfleet painted these fragile flowers on multiple locations through the city and inside exhibition spaces.
Working around the festival’s theme “Brand new, you’re retro,” Julio Anaya Cabanding (previously) painted a series of smaller interventions which free a classic artwork by Norway’s Lars Hertervig in unexpected places. On the side of a staircase, at the end of a dark hallway, and finally, as part of the exhibition, his work is successfully merging the worlds of art history museums with street art.
This sensitive merging of two similar movements is an ongoing subject of the work by the Portuguese artist Nuno Viegas who painted a large mural showing a head masked with a shirt. Portraying the classic image of vandal graffiti writers with their makeshift disguise costume, the artist wanted to pay tribute to his graffiti past. “I see graffiti as the retro and street art the brand new,” the artist explained to Colossal. “But it is important that people realize the difference between both and don’t get them mixed up. Let’s respect graffiti and not try to appropriate it, let’s be proud of the “new” movement we are part of. We are writing history and it is important that we write it right and make sure we respect and do not distort what has been done before we got it to the game.”
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