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Art

Multi-Story Murals Showcase Domesticity through Elegant Ceramic Tableware

October 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Oviedo, Spain. All images © Manolo Mesa, shared with permission

Spanish street artist Manolo Mesa merges public and private spheres through large-scale murals that highlight simple domestic objects. The multiple-story artworks depict traditional dining scenes, from an elegant porcelain tea set to a lone jug with swirling flourishes to another vessel resting on a saucer.

To complete a recent tableau in Oviedo, Spain, for Parees Fest, Mesa explored the history of an abandoned pottery factory in San Claudio. Event organizers gathered tableware from local residents, a collection that informed the shapes and exterior motifs of his work. “I was able to see all the evolution of this earthenware in the houses of Oviedo. I found postwar pieces, which were inherited and preserved with great affection by collectors. We saw (the) tableware of a lifetime from the middle of the century,” he writes on Instagram. Showcasing a delicate collection of vessels, the resulting mural explores an otherwise hidden facet of local history.

Find Mesa on Instagram to view some works-in-progress and follow his ceramic-centric projects.

 

 

 



Art

Mantra's Trompe L’oeil Murals Encase Enormous Butterflies in Vintage-Style Boxes

October 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

Torino, Italy. All images © Mantra, shared with permission

Working with entomologists around the globe, the French street artist known as Mantra (previously) transforms brick facades and concrete walls into massive studies of local butterfly specimens. With framed outer edges that mimic a wooden box, the trompe l’oeil murals render the winged insects in detail, depicting their richly hued scales and delicate antennae. Each artwork features species native to the area, making it possible that a live specimen might flutter by its enormous counterpart.

In a conversation with Colossal, Mantra said he’s harbored a lifelong fascination with entomology that stems from spending hours in French gardens and bucolic areas as a kid. “As a child, I was interested, curious, and focused on the small life forms in those places,” he says. His current practice hearkens back to those carefree hours and connects with an adolescent desire to become a naturalist. “My approach is as a scientist,” the artist says, noting that education about environmental care and issues is part of the goal.

Although Mantra considers all insects and natural life beautiful and crucial to maintaining biodiversity, the focus on butterflies revolves around his artistic ambitions because the vivid creatures allow him to experiment with color, shape, and texture. Each specimen is rendered freehand before the artist adds detail and the illusory shadows that make them appear three-dimensional. By painting various Lepidoptera species again and again, the artist is “repeating a mantra,” a detail of his practice that informs the moniker he works under.

In recent months, Mantra has traveled to Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden, in addition to various locations throughout France, to complete public artworks, and he’ll be in Arkansas this month for two projects curated by Just Kids. Follow all of the artist’s entomological murals on Instagram.

 

Rombas, France

Cancún, Mexico. Image by Gino Caballero

Silkeborg, Denmark

Las Vegas, Nevada

Dijon, France

Jacksonville, Florida

Brooklyn, New York

Dallas, Texas. Image by Chop’ em Down

Overum, Sweden

Indianapolis, Indiana

Cancún, Mexico. Image by Gino Caballero

Torino, Italy. Image by Martha Cooper

 

 



Art

An Artistic Endeavor in Brussels Installs Custom Mosaics Outside Your Home—People Are Choosing Portraits of Their Cats

September 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

Cats, dogs, and other mammals are known to mark their territories in myriad ways, but pet owners in Brussels have discovered a more enduring and inviting method. What began as a single project by artist Ingrid Schreyers spurred a municipality-wide initiative: the government of Schaerbeek, a suburb bordering the city of Brussels, now installs any mosaic, either created by residents or a local artist like Whitney Orville, free of charge. Many people are choosing portraits of their furry companions, although the idiosyncratic designs range from playful depictions of wildlife to urban scenes.

We’ve gathered some of the street-side assemblages here, but check out this Instagram account documenting the public art initiative for hundreds more. You also might enjoy these Japanese manhole covers and a similar mosaic-centered initiative to fill potholes.

 

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

 

 



Art

Outfitted with Knights' Helmets, Children Painted by Seth Globepainter Play in the Streets of Paris

September 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Seth Globepainter, shared with permission

French artist Julien Malland, who works as Seth Globepainter (previously), is responding to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis with a new series of murals that capture the innocence of childhood. Painted throughout the thirteenth district of Paris, the public artworks feature kids in the midst of an imaginary adventure or playful activity: one rides an oversized pigeon, another blows multicolored bubbles, and a pair appears to float above the ground to embrace.

Each of the figures is sporting a metal knight’s helmet, a sign of protection for their physical wellbeing, in addition to a show of strength and resilience. In a note to Colossal, Globepainter says the headwear also refers to French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech in March in which he said, “We are at war,” as he ordered residents to stay home. The murals represent the way Parisians have accepted this new way of living and are about “how children, in particular, seem to have adapted easily to it,” the artist says. “They are protected by their helmets which weigh so heavily on them. They can only see through small openings in the metal, but they continue to play as if nothing had happened.”

To see more Globepainter’s public artworks that consider the world through the lens of childhood, follow him on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

AnonyMouse Wedges Miniature Shops and Restaurants Built For Mice into Busy City Streets

August 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © AnonyMouse, shared with permission

In cities across Sweden, France, and the Isle of Man lies a parallel universe fit only for a mouse. Miniature restaurants, record shops, and apothecaries squeeze into ground-level windows on the street next to their human-sized equivalents. The adorable universe is a project from a collective aptly named AnonyMouse, which started crafting the charming scenes in the spring of 2016.

Suggesting that the mice have a symbiotic relationship with the pedestrians on the street, the team repurposes items people throw away, turning a champagne topper into a stool or a matchbox into a table. Twenty-five installments currently exist across Europe, which largely are inspired by Astrid Lindgren’s and Beatrix Potter’s whimsical tales and movies from Don Bluth and Disney. “We thought it would bring a bit of joy to pedestrians passing by, but it grew into something slightly bigger, and as such we’ve probably dedicated more time on each project than we originally envisioned. But that’s just part of the fun,” they say. The team crafts each scene with incredible detail, from recreating iconic record covers to plastering up posters advertising mouse- and rat-based happenings.

As its name suggests, the group’s individual identities are unknown. “We like to think that part of the allure of our installations is that they could be done by anyone,” they say. “And since we do not have a specific agenda with them our identities are unimportant.” AnonyMouse won’t divulge plans for upcoming installations, but you can follow all of its adventures on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Sprawling Floral Installations Spill Over Garbage Cans and Phone Booths on New York City Streets

August 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Lewis Miller Design, shared with permisison

Thanks to Lewis Miller Design, those passing through New York City have gotten some respite from the rank smells and soggy refuse of streetside garbage cans. For years, the florist (previously) has been planting guerrilla installations of sunflowers, hydrangeas, and peonies in public areas, transforming trash receptacles, construction zones, and lampposts with sprawling assemblages. Check out some of the recent “Flower Flashes” below, and follow the designer on Instagram to see where the temporary bouquets pop up next.