with spray paint
In a poetic new series of works on canvas, German-Pakistani artist Jasmin Siddiqui, aka Hera, nods to her background in street art with sweeping, spray-painted marks, chaotic drips and splatters, and snippets of text. The gestural pieces are rooted in narrative and feature wide-eyed characters who wear headdresses of long-nosed rats, wolves, and strange, hairless creatures. In each imaginative rendering, Hera positions the possibility and wonder of adolescence alongside wild animals often deemed nuisances to human society, with “I’m fine really” displayed next to a child whose finger is snapped in a mousetrap and the title of another work, “Love Her But Leave Her Wild,” accompanying a contorted figure.
“My affiliation is always with those who create beauty in the darkest of places. Because the gutter feels closer to my creative home than the artist studio. I come from graffiti culture,” says Hera, who’s also one-half of the street art duo Herakut (previously). “I used to be the vulture, the raccoon, the street rat, that rummaged through leftover paint buckets left on the curbs of home renovations, treasuring other people’s trash.”
The mixed-media pieces shown here are part of Hera’s solo show Here We Go Again, which runs November 6 through December 11 at Corey Helford Gallery. She currently has a limited-edition print of a fox-clad figure available through myFINBEC, and you can find more of her small- and large-scale works on Instagram.
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Spanish street artist Pejac (previously) addresses the concept of “returning to normal” in a discerning new series that focuses on the urgency of the issues affecting the world today. Centered on the increasingly disastrous effects of the climate crisis and the social issues that dominate the news cycle, the artist speaks to the myriad global crises in his largest exhibition to date, which opens on October 30 in a former train factory in Berlin. Titled APNEA, the solo show features 45 of his newest works in myriad mediums and themes, including chaotic scenes in acrylic, oil, and spray paints, delicate honeycomb on cardboard, and large-scale sculptures and installations that occupy the industrial space.
Pejac created many of the pieces on view since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, an ongoing concern that also formed the basis for his 2020 trio of interventions paying tribute to health care workers. The new series includes a disquieting depiction of the White House overcome by a violent riot, with canisters releasing billowing smoke and an unaware figure golfing in the foreground, in addition to a cyclone-like drain on a paint palette. Other pieces depict a surreal earthen map of the U.S. with state lines cracked in the dirt and a rendering of Rodin’s “The Thinker” precariously balanced on scaffolding. “During a time of lockdown, painting within the four walls of my studio felt like a liberation and a lifeline. APNEA represents this contradiction,” the artist says.
To coincide with the show’s opening, Pejac is releasing “The Boss” (shown below) as limited-edition prints and postcards available through a lottery system, and proceeds will be donated to Sea-Watch, a German NGO that has helped thousands of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea. The artist also teamed up with the organization for an installation depicting a child wearing a life jacket atop Neo-Gothic Holy Cross Church in Berlin, a heartwrenching visual that draws attention to the refugee crisis. You can find out more about the release and see additional works on Instagram.
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As if lifted by a breeze, oversized ribbons and bunches of fabric float across the trompe l’oeil murals by London-based artist Rosie Woods. The gleaming, prismatic textiles sway and subtly twist into folds and ripples in the spray-painted works. Through the flowing movements, Woods explores the fluid, ever-changing nature of the human experience by synthesizing abstraction and realism. She explains:
I often wonder what my soul would look like if it manifested itself as an object I could see and touch on this earth. My artwork today looks to express the depth, growth, and complexity of the mind as well as its ability to encompass both light and dark spaces emotionally. I’d like to think you can “feel” my artwork with your eyes.
Woods translates her massive, lustrous textiles to smaller canvases, which she sells in her shop. Although she’s sold-out at the moment, you can watch for upcoming releases on Instagram, where she shares a variety of process shots and news on where she’s headed next.
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Nearly a decade after completing the “Alphabet Street” project in East London, English artist Ben Eine has again painted all 26 letters from A to Z on over 40 shop shutters. “Alphabet City 2.0” uses 26 bespoke fonts and a wide range of spray paint colors to transform the area into a vibrant street art destination.
Made in association with Global Street Art and the Poplar Housing and Regeneration Community Association (HARCA), the “Alphabet Street” shows the evolution of Eine’s style over the past 30 years. Bold letters emerge from the metal shutters with deep drop shadows and layered graphic elements. Each glyph has its own personality and dimensionality that allows it to stand alone while also being a part of the larger set.
It’s that exploration of type that Eine and his team are bringing to clients with their new creative agency; “Alphabet Street” also marks the launch of Eine’s new creative design studio, Our Types. “Our minds are always busy, even when sleeping, it refuses to rest,” he said in a statement. “It is the only true tool for manipulating the world about us. Our Types is going to be the visual drug your brain has been looking for.”
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Colorful Installations of Spray Paint and Mesh Form Connections Between the Analog and Digital Worlds
Hanover and Berlin-based art duo Quintessenz recently completed a large-scale installation for the newly funded Paxos Contemporary Art Project, which is currently taking place on the island of Paxos in the Adriatic sea. Although designed to be appreciated and enjoyed in person, the images of their intervention created inside of a 400-year-old ruin are quickly becoming viral due to the work’s strong contrast against the historic setting.
With roots in both graffiti and chromatics, Thomas Granseuer and Tomislav Topic of Quintessenz combine aspects of spray paint, textiles, installation, and the digital image in their work. Their large site-specific works and facade murals often uses shape as the main inspiration, while also borrowing aesthetic elements found on location.
The duo transform spaces into frameworks for presenting their abstract creations and challenging the spectator’s perception. These ideas are present in their recent installation Flickering Lights, which was was created for Fashion Week Berlin back in January 2018, and Pardis Perdus installed in Les Baux-de-Provence, France in 2017. In both of those installations, and their latest piece in Paxos, the artists use dyed or spray painted fabric in a range of layers as a way to interact with light conditions and points of view. The one-ton construction Flickering Lights was suspended in a large hall of Panorama Berlin from over 32,000 square feet of fabric and dyed with over 200 gallons of paint.
Similar to the Paradis Perdus piece, their latest intervention in Greece used the architectural structure to emphasize the effect of their creation. Like digital abstract images somehow transferring into the real world, both these pieces employ color shades and different size layers to create depth and perspective illusion. Appearing bigger and smaller depending on the observer’s movement, they leave room for individual experiences of these interfaces between analog and digital worlds. Although exceptionally photogenic, the artists’ idea is to enjoy these works in person. “We hope that the visitors of our work leave their mobile phone cameras in their pockets for a moment and simply enjoy the light and the translation of the wind in the material,” Quintessenz explains.
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Spanish street artist Javier De Riba (previously here and here) paints floors instead of walls, mapping out interlocking patterns in the style of intricate tiles. All of his pieces are created with spray paint and stencils, yet the resulting works are almost indistinguishable from the floors of traditional Catalan homes where he was raised. Typically placed in abandoned buildings, De Riba’s geometric patterns stand in stark contrast to the derelict walls that surround them, each painting breathing new life into crumbling architecture.
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