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Art

So Far So Good: Vivid Paintings by Murmure Take a Wry Perspective on the Climate Crisis

November 22, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Faille (Crack)” (2022), acrylic on canvas. All images © Murmure, shared with permission courtesy of Galerie LJ

Artists Paul Ressencourt and Simon Roche, a.k.a. Murmure (previously), have worked collaboratively for the past twelve years to synthesize a studio-based practice with large-scale street art. In high-contrast acrylic paintings, the duo reference the climate crisis and enduring problems of overconsumption, especially regarding the immense impact that humans have on marine life and rising sea levels. The artists’ new exhibition Jusqu’ici tout va bien, which translates to “So far so good,” approaches environmental catastrophes like thawing glaciers and overfishing from a characteristically sardonic perspective.

Ressencourt and Roche focus on the absurdity of capitalist systems in the face of destruction. Paradoxes abound as surveyors plot developments on a melting ice sheet, supine whales are served up as giant sushi rolls, and oblivious holiday-makers dive from icebergs and wade around shorelines devoid of flora and fauna. “In spite of everything, Murmure favors in their art a form of beauty which contrasts with the cruelty, the stupidity, and the urgency of the situations depicted in their works,” the exhibition statement explains.

Jusqu’ici tout va bien is on view at Galerie LJ in Paris through November 26. You can find more of Murmure’s work on their website and Instagram.

 

A painting by Murmure of a whale being served up as sushi with chopsticks.

“Whale Sushi” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

“Jusqu’ici tout va bien (Banquise)” or “So far so good (Ice)” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

“Joyau” (2022)

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

Detail of “Joyau (Jewel)” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of a whale underwater that is sliced into maki rolls.

“Whale Maki” (2022), acrylic on canvas

A painting by Murmure of two surveyors plotting lines on an ice sheet.

“Marquages (Markings)” (2022), acrylic on canvas

Two details of paintings by Murmure.

Left: Detail of “Whale Sushi.” Right: Detail of “Joyau”

Detail of “Faille”

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

Detail of “Joyau”

A painting by Murmure of people swimming by an iceberg.

Detail of “Jusqu’ici tout va bien (Grande Banquise)”

 

 

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Art

New Banksy Works Emerge Among the Destruction in Ukraine

November 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

All images shared with permission

Banksy (previously) has been traveling through the battle-scarred streets of Ukraine, producing a slew of works directly confronting Russia’s unwarranted and unjust aggression. The elusive street artist’s signature stencils have been spotted among the rubble of bombed buildings and barricades in Borodyanka and Gorenka, both in the Bucha Region, while others are just outside the capital city of Kyiv. Each centers on the strength and resiliency of the Ukrainian people.

The works broadly criticize the ongoing war and its disastrous effects on the everyday lives of citizens, depicting a woman outfitted with hair rollers, a bathrobe, and a gas mask grasping a fire extinguisher, a bearded man scrubbing his back in an open-air bathtub, and silhouettes of young children teeter-tottering on a left-behind hunk of steel. Perhaps the most pointed piece is that of a young boy slamming Russian President Vladimir Putin to the ground during a judo match—according to the BBC, Putin has projected an interest in the sport.

Watch Banksy at work on these pieces in a recent YouTube video, and find more on Instagram. This is the first time the artist has emerged since the Spraycation series 15 months ago.

 

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged barricade in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

A photo of a stenciled Banksy mural on a damaged building in Ukraine

 

 



Art Design

Vibrant Letters Drift and Twist in Bold Typographic Murals by Pref

October 31, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Shake Hands” in Leige, Belgium. All images © Pref, shared with permission

For British artist Pref, the art of decipherment is as integral to his murals as the expressively layered designs. Known for looping and layering blocky text to give the illusion of floating forms, contrasting letters wriggle, tilt, overlap, and cast bold shadows. His training in graphic design spurred an abiding fascination with typography, and while much that field is oriented toward clear communication, Pref is interested in literally twisting messages. He meticulously arranges each letter to form puzzle-like compositions, encouraging the viewer to work out a word or phrase. “The wording for my pieces are usually autobiographical,” he explains, “like clues and relics from my past or a commentary on current times.”

You can see more of Pref’s work on his website and follow updates on Instagram.

 

“Put you in a box” in Liège, Belgium

“Nuture, Nature” in Sand City, California

Left: “You are the one.” Right: “Off and on”

“Remarkable” in Jackson, Michigan

“Here we are” in Los Angeles, California

Left: “Blah blah blah.” Right: “Say bye”

“Drifting” in Ostend, Belgium

“Inspire, Expire” in Bayonne, France

 

 



Art

More Than 70 International Artists Descend on Cincinnati for BLINK, a Massive Mural and Light Festival

October 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

Max Sansing. All images by Halopigg, courtesy of BLINK, shared with permission

For the first time since 2019, the largest public art and light festival in the U.S. brought a spate of new works to Cincinnati. More than 70 artists from around the world gathered in mid-October for BLINK, a four-day event that spanned 30 blocks across the Midwestern city. In attendance were quite a few artists featured previously on Colossal, including Max Sansing (previously), PichiAvo (previously), Shantell Martin (previously), Nespoon (previously), and Faith XLVII (previously).

We’ve gathered some of our favorite works created during this year’s event—you’ll find Martin’s signature line-drawn figures encircling a cityscape, PichiAvo’s vibrant amalgam of art history and graffiti, and a new delicate lace design from Nespoon—although it’s worth heading to BLINK’s Instagram to take a peek at the light projections, immersive projects, and other murals, as well.

 

Insane 51

Add Fuel

Faith XLVII

PichiAvo

Shantell Martin

Jenny Ustick

Nespoon

 

 



Art

From Play to Politics, Artist S.C. Mero Transforms Los Angeles’s Streets into Sites of Satire

October 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Vote-by-Mail” (2020). All images © S.C. Mero, shared with permission

An explosive mushroom cloud, an absurdly large bike lock, and a lobster served up from a pothole are a few of the installations from artist S.C. Mero that relay both the irony and irreverence of modern life. Working across Downtown Los Angeles for the last decade, the artist transforms infrastructure into temporary sites of critique and play. “Both of those realities are equally true not only of my environment but life itself,” she says. “Given the nature of this neighborhood, the subject matter can seem quite political because the disparity of wealth and its consequences are more apparent here.”

Many pieces utilize crumbling streets or areas the city has yet to fix as the base. In creating a miniature streetside swimming pool, for example, Mero left the soy sauce packet, cigarette butts, needle caps, leaves, and other debris found in the exposed manhole before she covered the cavern with plexiglass. Those objects are now frozen under the clear material and surrounded by lounge chairs and a diving board fit for Barbies and Kens.

Other works like “Vote-by-Mail,” which is included in a group exhibition on view through December 10 at Torrance Art Museum, are more explicit in their commentary on contemporary issues. Directly speaking to the rampant voter suppression of the 2020 elections, the blue post office box stands atop legs that are unreasonably tall, making it impossible to drop a ballot.

Currently, Mero is working on a sculpture that will be included in the next show at Shit Art Club opening later this month. She’s also planning a series of works with the Fashion District’s business improvement organization and plans to transform the battered concrete spheres lining a traffic median into a new piece each month. “It’s the first time I’ve worked in collaboration with the city or property owners. I think it’s a cool story considering they were the ones who removed most my artwork when I first started,” she says.

Find more of Mero’s satirically minded works on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Milkweed, Cypress Spurge, and Other Native Plants Soar into the Sky in Mona Caron’s Poetic Murals

September 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Balsamorhiza” (2022), Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California. All images © Mona Caron, shared with permission

Towering far above their real-life counterparts, the wild specimens that populate Mona Caron’s murals emphasize nature’s inherent beauty and resilience. Clusters of pink petals peek out from behind curled milkweed leaves in Denver, while the wispy stalks of a euphorbia plant sprout flowering tendrils on an apartment complex in Bellinzona, Switzerland. Many of the botanic murals shown here are part of the San Francisco-based artist’s ongoing Weeds series, which places flourishing plants among largely urban environments as a metaphor for the endurance of the natural world.

Caron (previously) has been prolific as of late, having worked in several cities around the world, and you can find glimpses into her process and information about her subject matter on Instagram.

 

“Milkweed” (2022), in Denver, Colorado, for Broadstone Kendrick

Detail of “Balsamorhiza” (2022), Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California

“Euphorbia” (2021-2022), Bellinzona, Switzerland

“Euphorbia” (2021-2022), Bellinzona, Switzerland

“Milkweed” (2022), in Denver, Colorado, for Broadstone Kendrick

Detail of “Milkweed” (2022), in Denver, Colorado, for Broadstone Kendrick

“Quebra-tudo, Abre Caminhos” (2022), in collaboration with Mauro Neri

“Quebra-tudo, Abre Caminhos” (2022), in collaboration with Mauro Neri