with street art
French artist Julien Malland aka Seth Globepainter (previously) continues to create childhood-inspired interventions around Paris and the world. Earlier this year he had a major museum solo show at MoCA Shanghai which included elaborate sculptures and site-specific installations. He also painted one of his largest pieces to date on the banks of the Seine in Paris, and took part in a creation associated with the upcoming museum of street art at the Mausa Vauban. Malland’s poetic murals resonate with audiences of all ages.
“Sweetness and innocence from childhood regularly contrasts with the chaotic environments I choose to put them in,” the artist tells Colossal. He often places the children in environments with books as a reference to their imagination and creativity. After intensively traveling to over fifty countries during the last two decades, Malland is very much aware of the way globalization and modernization are influencing local traditions. “We read less and less with the proliferation of screen habits,” he explains. “While reading we create our own images suggested by words. The screen makes us lazy and spoils our imagination.”
Eight years after his first visit to Shanghai, Malland went back to the city this March to introduce a large project which took place both inside MoCA Shanghai and in its old alleys. Focused on the idea of childhood memories, the outdoor interventions were cleverly created on crumbling buildings and in deserted side streets. The works depicted children playing emblematic games of the ’70s and ’80s, and evoked the atmosphere of the once lively neighborhood. “The vanishing traditional way of life is being replaced by a more common consumer society,” he explains. “This kind of transformation is worldwide, but it’s faster and more sudden in China. Painting those emptied neighborhoods gives me the opportunity to highlight this metamorphosis and continue to explore the traditional Chinese habits that still intrigue me.”
A few months later he took part in a project initiated by Itinerrance Gallery and the Paris City Hall, painting the banks of Seine along with 1010, Momies, and Nebay. The four artists created a long stream of colorful artwork that following the riverbed for a little bit over a mile. Along with 1010’s trompe l’oeil abstraction of an abyss, Momies’ graphic composition in the colors of the French flag, and Nebay’s calligraphy, Malland painted an anamorphic piece visible exclusively from the Pont de la Concorde. The work depicted a child sailing on a paper boat through a rainbow vortex—another incarnation of his imagery that speaks about the purity and boundlessness of children’s imagination and spirit.
Finally, back in June this year he created two pieces inside of Mausa Vauban, an upcoming museum of street art in Neuf-Brisach, France. Once again he explored the idea of children at play. One work is a compelling installation of a little boy breaking a wall and leaving a pile of colorful bricks stacked around the room and an open passageway. Malland is currently preparing for solo shows in London (November 2018), and Shaghai (January 2019), as well as an outdoor project in a pediatric hospital in the US, and is also working on several new books. You can follow his travels throughout the globe on Instagram.
Share this story
Though mostly known for his trompe l’oeil lettering, Portuguese street artist Odeith has recently been adding larger-than-life insects to his repertoire. Many of the wall-based works are placed in corners and require careful planning to achieve an anamorphic effect. You can see more from Odeith on Instagram.
Share this story
Los Angeles-based artist Thrashbird is known primarily for stencils and paintings that blend socio-political commentary and humor, which are often done in highly visible areas like on city walls or billboards. For a recent project called “Valley Of Secret Values,” the artist ventured off the beaten path to an abandoned industrial site. Thrashbird transformed crumbling structures into replicas of high-end designer bags using paint for designs and nearby found objects like tires and wood for the handles, straps, and hardware.
While on an expedition through Lime, Oregon, the artist happened upon what used to be a power plant. “To see [the stones] crumbling with the passage of time, returning to the earth as a dust, well the metaphor was too strong to disregard,” Thrashbird told Ignant. He chose to paint the structures as handbags as “part beautification project, part cautionary tale,” drawing parallels to the destructive nature of society’s obsession with consumerism while confronting his own demons.
“We grapple for status and purpose in society, and [consume] possessions to showcase how successful we are and to fill us with purpose, with complete disregard for the people and the planet affected by our careless overconsumption,” Thrashbird said. “Our measure of success has been skewed. We’ve come to a place in society where things and social status have become more important than our connection to each other.”
Share this story
Against the backdrop of Paris Fashion Week which introduced several collaborative projects between high fashion brands and big names from the art world (Dior partnered with KAWS and Takashi Murakami continued collaborating with Virgil Abloh, the new artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection), the French capital was hit for the first time hit by the world’s most elusive street artist—Banksy.
Without previous announcement or warning, Parisians began to discover several new street pieces that quickly materialized in the urban/street art galaxy of the social media universe and were eventually confirmed on Banksy’s official Instagram account.
The first piece was found near the Porte de la Chapelle metro station, where Paris’ refugee centre “La Bulle,” was located until August 2017. A city within a city, it was home to a makeshift camp of some 2,700 refugees and was dismantled an estimated 35 times before 2,000 migrants were bussed to temporary shelters. This was done as part of Emmanuel Macron’s wish to remove the refugees “off the streets, out of the woods,” as stated during his campaign.
With this in mind, Banksy revisited his “Go Flock Yourself” piece from 2008, and created a new version as commentary on the current political situation in France and throughout Europe. Depicting a black girl painting a Victorian wallpaper pattern over a swastika, the artist is commenting on the way politicians are concealing wrongdoing and potentially fascist policies.
The second and third pieces appeared soon thereafter. One depicts a suited man luring a three-legged dog with a bone while hiding a saw behind his back, a metaphor for politicians tricking people with promises that often have a masked, devastating agenda. The other is Banksy’s take on the iconic painting “Napoleon Crossing the Alps” by Jacques-Louis David, a symbol of French power and influence. By covering the rider with his own cape, the artist is commenting on the current misguided way the government is leading the country, blinding people with propaganda and false promises.
The last three pieces introduce Bansky’s signature rats to their genesis—Parisian artist Blek Le Rat and his rat stencils were a great influence on the Bristol-born artist, or as he stated in one of his recent IG posts: “The birthplace of modern stencil art.” Placing them around the city in ways that interact with local graffiti and building facades, it may appear as though they’re having fun blowing things up. But in reality, they are a reminder of a volatile period of civil unrest that took place in May 1968 when the government temporarily ceased to function.
In one piece a rat is propelled by a popping champagne cork. Using this symbol of affluence as their vehicle to overtake obstacles, the rodents are once again Banksy’s metaphor for working class people making significant change when they join together and fight for similar cause.
Of particular note in this Banksy “invasion” was that some of the works were miraculously revised overnight, allowing the artist to highlight one of the biggest advantages of stencil technique–its ability to be applied quickly and precisely. With this in mind, a small rat prepared to blow up a Pompidou Center sign suddenly morphed into a much larger rat with bandanna covered face. It now wields a large X-Acto knife, a common symbol of stencil cutting.
Included here are many of the works that have since emerged in Paris, but you can see several more here.
Update: This article was updated on 6/28/18 to include new images and details.
Share this story
Completed over just two days in 1986, a Keith Haring mural in Amsterdam has been revealed once again after nearly thirty years out of sight. The famed artist completed the 40-foot tall-white line painting on an outside wall during his (indoor) exhibit at the Stedelijk Museum. However, it disappeared from view a few years later when the brick facade was weatherboarded to improve climate control; the building was a storage site for the museum’s collections. Over the last ten years, graffiti artist Aileen Middel (a.k.a. Mick La Rock) pushed for the mural—his largest in Europe—to be revealed once again. The restoration of the mural was made possible because the museum changed its storage location and the building is now a Markt Kwartier West grocery store and distribution center. (via Artnet)
Share this story
Visual artist and art director Xomatok (previously) has been busy in Lima, Peru, where he’s outfitted several walls, building facades, and random rock piles with his signature full-spectrum color gradients. The vivid interventions are in the district of Lima called Villa el Salvador, Xomatok shares with Colossal. And although the artist is often commissioned to add his color pops to outdoor areas, the pieces seen here are part of his personal work. You can see more from Xomatok on Instagram.
Share this story
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.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Fashion
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.