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Art

Art and Activism Collide Throughout Montréal in Playful Street Interventions by Roadsworth

February 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Roadsworth, shared with permission

Crosswalks become perches and bike lanes morph into a monkey’s ropes in Roadsworth’s lively street interventions. For decades, the Montréal-based artist (previously) has been altering sidewalks, alleyways, and other public spots with largely nature-based projects that are informed by social issues and environmental crises. Whether a trippy koi pond or a simple yellow spider, the additions transform otherwise drab streets into unexpected commentary.

In recent years, Roadsworth has created large-scale projects for a variety of organizations, including revitalizing a basketball court for a social housing complex and another for Amnesty International that comments on the horrors of the refugee crisis. Beyond commissions, he continues guerilla street art tactics, installing oversized birds, insects, and other animals that often are overlooked.

The artist tells Colossal that these works reflect his “philosophy in regards to public art/street art which implies a questioning of urban space in general and an entreaty to rethink a city that is more conducive to walking/cycling and less dominated by cars, etc. The depiction of various animals is a playful way of reinventing the notion of urban space.”

Follow Roadsworth on Instagram to keep up with his site-specific works that merge art and activism.

 

“Refugee Crisis” (2016)

“Darling Foundry Koi Pond” (2020)

Right: “Tree Lace” (2019)

Detail of “Refugee Crisis” (2016)

“Nurture vs Nature” (2018)

 

 



Art

A Short Film Chronicles Mural Fest Kosovo, Void Projects' Initiative to Infuse a War-Torn City with Public Art

January 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

“At that time it wasn’t easy for me to be in the public with my camera because the country was very sensitive to reporters like me,” photojournalist Hazir Reka tells a group of muralists. “Being in the public with a camera was no different to being in public with a weapon because of how much it could affect reality.” Reka’s referring to a tumultuous time in Kosovo’s history when the region was in the midst of war, an experience he shares with the artists who traveled to the region in September 2020 for Mural Fest Kosovo.

Organized by the art collective Void Projects (previously), which is helmed by Axel Void, the initiative sought to revitalize the public spaces within Ferizaj, a small city desolated by war. Fifteen international muralists—the list includesAruallan, Emilio Cerezo, Doa Oa, Alba Fabre, Maria Jose Gallardo, and Zane Prater—gathered for the project that U.K.-based filmmaker Doug Gillen documents in a new short film.

Throughout “Change,” Gillen follows ten of the artists as they immerse themselves in local life and engage with the city’s youngest residents through workshops and school initiatives that directly involved the children and teens in the creative process. Their resulting artworks are a reflection of these interactions and large-scale depictions of the area’s ecology, citizens, and cultural milieu. While each is distinct in aesthetic—Aruallan and Void produced a photorealistic rendering of an 11-year-old boy they met on the street, while Fabre’s ethereal mural depicts an unknown woman lying in the water in traditional clothing, for example—they’re all infused with themes surrounding the city’s unique environment and more universal understandings of shared humanity.

“The greater this connection, the more effective the work. Exploring the human stories of Ferizaj in this way, at this very unique moment in time, felt like an important opportunity to document meaningfully,” Gillen said.

Watch the full film above to dive further into Kosovo’s history, and see all of the murals and glimpses into the artists’ experiences collaborating with Ferizaj residents on Void Projects’ Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

A Tiled Wave Ripples Across Olafur Eliasson's New Installation in Downtown Chicago

January 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Atmospheric wave wall” (2021), 30 x 60 feet. All images courtesy of CNL Projects, shared with permission

Last week, artist Olafur Eliasson (previously) unveiled a massive, wave-like artwork that mimics the rippled surfaces of the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Comprised of 1,963 curved tiles, “Atmospheric wave wall” sits between the two bodies of water at Willis Tower and shifts in appearance based on the sunlight, time of year, and position of the viewer. It’s the Danish-Icelandic artist’s first public project, which was curated by CNL Projects and commissioned by EQ Office, in Chicago.

Speckled with orange pieces, the blue-and-green motif is constructed with powder-coated steel and based on Penrose tiling, a design with fivefold symmetry, which fills the undulating border. At night, a light shines through the street-side work, emitting a glow through the tile seams and further altering the appearance of the textured facade. Eliasson says about the work:

Inspired by the unpredictable weather that I witnessed stirring up the surface of Lake Michigan, ‘Atmospheric wave wall’ appears to change according to your position and to the time of day and year. What we see depends on our point of view: understanding this is an important step toward realizing that we can change reality.

Follow Eliasson’s latest projects on his studio’s site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation Art Illustration

Around the Block: David Zinn's Quirky Chalk Cartoons Spring to Life in a New Short Film

January 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

If you’ve walked the streets of Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the last few decades, you’ve probably spotted the wide-eyed monsters and mischievous dragons of David Zinn (previously). Since 1987, the artist has been drawing chalk-and-charcoal creatures in site-specific works that wash away with the rain. Drain pipes become robotic dogs, a pillar morphs into a giant pencil, and a green monster pops out of a brick walkway.

A new short film directed by Jonnie Lewis dives into Zinn’s practice by animating his signature cartoon cast that greets the artist as he walks around the city. Watch “Around the Block” on Lewis’s Vimeo, and check out more of Zinn’s eccentric creatures on Instagram.  (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art

Photorealistic Figures Embody Childhood Wonder in Dreamy Murals by Lula Goce

January 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

Bronx, New York City. All images © Lula Goce, shared with permission

From New York City to Azerbaijan to Kristianstad, Sweden, artist Lula Goce transforms blank walls into ethereal artworks that illustrate childlike wonder and growth. Her murals merge photorealistic renderings of adolescent subjects with otherworldly surroundings: plumes of flowers and vines wind around the figures, serpentine creatures emerge from the plants, and shrunken landscapes rest in the children’s hands. Serene and dreamy, the works often center on children painted in subtle tones who peer into the distance or are deep in sleep.

Based in Vigo, Spain, Goce sells prints of her large- and small-scale works in her shop, and you can follow where she’s headed next on Instagram.

 

Kristianstad, Sweden

Belorado, Spain

Murcia, Spain

Vigo, Spain

Västervik, Sweden

Vilanova i la Geltrú, Spain

Panxon, Nigrán, Spain

 

 



Art

A Small Scottish Town Delegates the Annual Christmas Light Display to Its Youngest Residents

December 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images via Poppy McKenzie Smith, shared with permission

In a delightful holiday tradition, the small town of Newburgh in southern Scotland tasks its youngest residents with creating the glowing Christmas decorations that adorn the streets. Now in its 19th year, the annual event begins with school-age kids submitting their quirky designs to a competition. Once a winner is chosen, the artwork is sent to Blachere Illumination to be translated into LED before it’s unveiled at a ceremony held at Lampost 15, where the new work is hung each year. The winning artist gets the honor of turning on the light, illuminating their crooked gingerbread figure or beaming reindeer for the 2,000-plus residents to enjoy. In a similarly charming practice, the runner-up’s art is featured on the town’s Christmas card. (via It’s Nice That)

 

 

 

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