with public art
Twenty years ago, the fortress city of Carcassonne in southern France was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In celebration of the important anniversary, Swiss artist Felice Varini (previously) was commissioned by France’s Centre des Monuments Nationaux to install a massive illusion of concentric yellow circles on the city’s border. The installation, titled “Concentric Concentric,” was installed this spring and will remain up through September, 2018.
Although at first glance the striking yellow marks appear to be painted directly on the surface of the ancient stones—a somewhat alarming gesture for a declared historic site—the circles are actually very thin pieces of colored aluminum, which were carefully adhered to the city’s walls and turrets by local art students. Varini’s bold installation has garnered quite a bit of attention, not all of it positive. In a video interview, included below, the artist explains how he conceived of this particular work. You can see more of his colorful illusions on Facebook. (via Arrested Motion)
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Arthur-Louis Ignoré, also known as Ali, paints white patterned carpets on public sidewalks and passageways in cities across the world, including recent installations throughout France and Finland. The works are inspired by both geometric and botanical patterns found in ancient ornamentation from a wide range of cultural contexts. By combining the patterns into public works, he showcases the diversity found in our modern cities while providing a domestic aesthetic that contrasts the often brutalist feel of urban environments.
Currently the artist lives in Rennes, France, where a few years ago he painted his largest installation to date. The 10,000-square-foot mandala was painted on the roof of the Social Welfare Family Allowance building, and visually created links between works Ali produced in both Montreal and New York City. You can see more of his painted carpet installations on Instagram and Behance.
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French artist Benedetto Bufalino (previously) brings functional fun to existing objects that were built with practicality as a primary objective. Since transforming a cement mixer truck into a disco on wheels back in 2016, Bufalino has continued to create unique urban interventions out of cars, phone booths, and other vehicles and objects from daily life.
While some of his creations are meant to be observed as structures (like his modified aquariums), others are built to be used. Bufalino has transformed a gutted sedan into a working wood-burning pizza oven, outfitted a camper van with a family-sized pool, and modified stretch limousines to serve as outdoor seating or ping pong tables.
Rather than restricting his labor-intensive sculptures to rarefied gallery settings, the artist often installs his work in public spaces to be encountered by the unsuspecting general public. To see more of his projects, including behind-the-scenes looks at the builds, follow Bufalino on Instagram (via designboom).
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As part of the London Festival of Architecture, a little dog gets a big memorial in the form of a one-ton stone bench. Designed by Patrick McEvoy in memory of a deceased dachshund named Geoffrey Barkington, the bench has been installed in Jubilee Gardens. The Festival of Architecture runs through June 30, 2018, and features over five hundred events around the city of London. (via dezeen)
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British graffiti artist Pref explores words and common phrases through unique multi-layered murals. His 3D text is used to create amalgamations of quippy sayings, often placing one word inside of another to give a piece multiple perspectives. In the work below a turquoise “more” subtly shifts into a salmon “less” simply by a twist of the viewer’s head.
Since he got his start nearly two decades ago, Pref has been interested in challenging graffiti’s aesthetic, working with typography to bring a more accessible appearance to painted text. At first the street artist worked with the negative space between letters, which eventually became letters themselves. This transformed into his signature style of combined texts, which he has been exploring since 2010.
“Since then I have pushed and experimented with this idea of overlapping words, seeing how many I can fit into the space of one word, and then slowly boiling it down and simplifying this idea to become more legible,” he tells Colossal. “This in turn lead more to the use of ‘typography’ throughout my style as you see today. I have always been interested in the idea of graffiti speaking to the general public, rather than just other graffiti writers, and readable letters or a more ‘typographic’ approach has been a good route to that.”
Recently Pref partnered with fellow typographic street artist Gary Stranger to launch a collective titled Typograffic Circle. The group unites artists working in the type-based street art subgenre, and their first self-titled group show is on view through June 3, 2018 at London’s StolenSpace. The exhibition features work by Georgia Hill, Saïd Kinos, All Type No Face, along with Pref and Stranger. You can see more of Pref’s recent work on his Instagram and buy select prints through his Big Cartel.
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The Second Annual Nuart Aberdeen Festival Activates the Scottish Town With Installations Inspired by National and Regional Themes
It was 2002 when an international group of street art and electronic music enthusiasts organized the first Nuart Festival in Norway’s oil capital, Stavanger. The idea was to create a secondary event for their music program in order to introduce some of the most interesting artists of the underground street art movement. Keeping their concept simple yet original, the festival presented an annual platform for national and international artists who operated outside of the traditional art establishment, both indoors and outdoors, to stimulate conversation that would challenge the notions of what art is, and what it can be.
It wasn’t long before the visual part of the project continued on its own and grew into what’s now widely considered to be the world’s leading celebration of street art among its peers. It was around the 15th year of the festival when founder and director Martyn Reed and his team were approached by the city of Aberdeen, Scotland with an idea to develop a similar project in their own town. After years of rejecting similar offers, the team felt a strong connection and similarities between the two oil industry-dependent cities, and in 2017 the first edition of Nuart Aberdeen (previously) was introduced to the public.
The 2nd edition of this festival was held only a few weeks ago, and once again brought the Granite City to the spotlight of the international urban and street art scene. Nuart Aberdeen invited well-established artists who first started their careers at Nuart in Stavanger, such as Bordalo II and Ernest Zacharevic, which helped introduce a wide range and vibrancy of contemporary street art to the young festival. Working with local themes and subjects, but within their individual visual languages and mediums, the international line-up of artists produced an impressive series of public murals, installations, and interventions, which brightened up the daily routines of locals, and provided a new attraction for the festival’s visitors.
Addressing themes like the relationship between UK and Scotland (Hyuro), regional history and legends (Bordalo II, Milu Correch, Nimi & RH74, Phlegm), or referring to local specifics such as the lively seagull population (Conzo & Globel; Ernest Zacharevic or Snik), the public works covered topics that locals could easily identify with and engage. And while these pieces were being created on the streets and alleys of the Grey City, selected group of academics were discussing and presenting the past, current, and possible future state of the movement, in the presence of local and international enthusiasts, fans, and members of the creative community.
Always highlighting the activism side of public art, this year’s edition included a project with Amnesty International, presenting their project in support of women human rights defenders in the UK. For this part of the project the team joined forces with “craftivist” Carrie Reichardt who designed an elaborate ceramic mosaic that celebrates Scotland’s woman human rights defenders and the Suffragette movement. The London-based contemporary ceramicist also created “We are Witches” and “Trailblazing Women of Aberdeen,” borrowing the aesthetics of traditional stain glass windows. She also helped create a public monument to local unsung heroes which was fully designed, cut, and installed by local volunteers under the stewardship of Reichardt.
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Abstract Shapes and Graffiti-Inspired Swirls Leap off the Wall in New Three-Dimensional Murals by Peeta
Italian artist Manuel de Rita a.k.a. Peeta (previously) transforms static structures by painting colorful cubes and abstracted cylindrical shapes to appear as if they are floating above the surface of the wall. This technique was derived from the traditional 3D lettering he grew up painting, and continues to evolve as he experiments with realistic objects, like the window that protrudes from the turquoise and purple work below.
“Initially, my works only realized the sculptural quality of individual letters, namely the ones that spelled out my own moniker Peeta,” he says in an artist statement. “Progressively, the fusion between traditional lettering and three dimensional style has given life to a unique kind of visual rhythm. Today, through my anamorphic works I redesign the volumes of any kind of surface involved, thus causing with my paintings a temporary interruption of normality by altering the perception of familiar contexts, and so raising a different understanding of spaces and, consequently, of reality as a whole.”
These large-scale explorations of multiple dimensions and eye-boggling optics have been painted globally, including Guangzhou, China; Barcelona, Spain; Mirano, Italy, and more. Recently the artist wrapped up an artist residency at Jardin Orange in Shenzhen, China. You can see more of Peeta’s work, including his paintings on canvas and sculptural objects, on his website and Instagram. (via Cross Connect Magazine)
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Editor's Picks: Street Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.