with street art
Last year may not have been the most prolific for Italian street art legend Blu (previously), who besides releasing Minima Muralia, a 288-page collection of 15 years of murals, completed only two officially announced murals. His latest piece titled Capita, was recently shared on the elusive artist’s only official communication channel Blublu.org. The mural was painted in Rome’s Rebibbia neighborhood, and was realized in collaboration with Comitato Mammut, a self-managed civic organization. Painted using artist’s intricate illustrative style, the image depicts an imaginary amusement park water slide attraction as a sharp critique of the social injustices of capitalism.
The slide offers participants several colorful entry points on top with all but one ending in the same swamp-like cesspool of trash. The only slide that keeps its original color and shape, gold, is the one used by politicians, businesspersons, and religious representatives. Ending with a crystal clear pool with and cocktail table set on a lush green field, it’s a direct commentary on subdued class division present in modern societies throughout the Western world. The piece further comments on the dramatic shift in the political climate of his Italian homeland, especially in terms of immigration and the ongoing refugee crisis. Painted on an 8-story building, the work’s oceanic backdrop depicts small boats filled with people on one side with luxurious yachts floating on the other.
Earlier this year, Blu spent several days in Valencia, Spain, taking part in Sensemurs project, the first meeting of muralists whose goal is to raise awareness of the repeated abuses by the local port authority toward people living in the La Huerta (Orchard) area. For this mural he depicted port authority personnel as Egyptian pharaohs using the local community as a source of free slave labor. A few months later he began work on another large piece in Rome, painting revisited versions of the Greek Venus de Milo next to a similarly redone David by Michelangelo, as a commentary on the modern values of consumerist society. The piece is yet to be finished.
Blu remains completely focused on working with non-government organizations and groups, creating works as a gift and source of empowerment for local communities, all while trying to retain is anonymity. Exposing everyone from corrupt politicians to violent police or greedy real-estate moguls, the artist is continuously producing work that supports common people and their fight against an increasingly imbalanced economic and political system. (via Juxtapoz)
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Yesterday, Banksy (previously) left his mark in the South Wales town of Port Talbot, his first in the UK nation. The area drew attention earlier this year when a World Health Organization report named it the most polluted community in the UK (the designation was later revoked). The street artist seemed to be referencing this undesirable ranking in his piece, which is placed on two adjacent sides of a cement brick garage. A young boy clad in winter gear and with a small sled appears with arms outstretched, his pink tongue catching what appears to be snowflakes. But the nostalgic scene takes on a different meaning when both walls are viewed together, as the “snow” is revealed to be flakes of ash from a dumpster fire. Banksy has declared the work to be his in a video posted earlier today on Instagram, where you can join 5 million others in keeping up with his latest hijinks. (via Juxtapoz)
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French street artist Julien Malland, known as Seth Globepainter (previously), currently has two solo exhibitions collectively titled Chambrum Rangeam, or “clean up your room,” at Dorothy Circus Gallery’s locations in London and Rome through December 24, 2018. The title references the common phrase uttered by ones’ parents in childhood in order to present a space of youthful freedom in the two concurrent shows. The exhibitions include new sculptures, like Malland’s piece “Scientia Potestas Est” (above) which presents a young boy on a stack of used books.
Malland also recently released a lithograph print that fuses the precision of printing with the often messy medium of spray paint. The piece, titled “The Ladder,” features a boy sitting on top of a singular cloud looking off into the distance. Propped against his resting place is a multi-colored ladder, produced by the artist in dripping lines of spray paint. For the limited edition, which was released on December 7th and has already sold out, Malland collaborated with the Parisian printing house Idem Paris. Although the base of each work will be uniform, his added hand-painted gestures make each completely unique.
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British graffiti artist Pref (previously) transforms words and sayings into visual interpretations of their meanings or messages—forming the word “undo” into a knot, or layering the phrase “all over the place” on top of itself to take up as much surface area as possible. With added shading and perspective the words appear as if they are 3D, like his piece “It Is,” which forms a a narrow grey cube when the letters are stacked. Some of his monochromatic works on paper (which you can see below) will be included in the upcoming group exhibition Control and Disorder with Gary Stranger, Elliott Routledge (Funskull), Georgia Hill, and William LaChance at Galerie 42b in Paris. The exhibition opens this Friday, December 14, and runs through January 19, 2019. You can see more of Pref’s recent work on his Instagram, and buy prints through his Big Cartel.
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New York-based British artist Shantell Martin is known for her black and white doodles which combine patch-worked faces with straightforward messages. Martin’s multi-dimensional works address complex issues such as identity, intersectionality, and other topics relating to the modern human condition. Her public murals and immersive gallery presentations are made intuitively, building fields of loose drawings with a meditative style. Martin teaches as an adjunct professor at NYU Tisch in the Interactive Telecommunications Program, where she combines visual art with personal storytelling and technology. You can follow her global drawings on Instagram and take a short peek into her process in the video below.
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Tamara Djurovic, who goes by the artist name Hyuro (previously), is wrapping up 2018 as arguably her most prolific year. With striking, diverse, and monumental murals painted everywhere from Brazil, Italy, and Spain to Belgium and The Netherlands, her output never looked more impressive and her aesthetics more distinctive.
Growing up in Argentina, Hyuro was attracted to murals at a young age. Buenos Aires has a long tradition of culture surrounding public space, and murals have always been an essential element. “[I’m] not sure in which moment I started to love it, or if it was always there,” she tells Colossal, “I think I could have never imagined the strong impact that working on public spaces had on me.”
What started with flat, often black and white imagery of simplified feminine figures evolved into intricate, highly painterly images that cleverly play with their surroundings and architecture. Without a particular theme to work within, Hyuro’s work is regularly focused on commenting and portraying the more complex side of human beings. She explores how our inner lives affect the relationships with have with ourselves, and how they are reflected in society.
The personal aspect of her work starts with her observations and concerns, continues through reference photos she creates for each piece, and then transfers onto passersby who observe the murals and create different interpretations of them. “I’m not interested in these subjects only from a representation perspective, but as well as a way to keep understanding and knowing myself and somehow try to understand, or digest better the world where we live in,” she explains.
Spending long stretches alone on a cherry picker or scaffold, it’s the challenge of completing the work that is the most important drive for her, along with the satisfying tiredness that comes after the completion of the work. “This last year I hardly spent time in the studio,” Hyuro shares about her 2018 schedule, which was wrapped up with the piece she recently finished in Brazil. Feeling torn about being constantly “on the road” and knowing that some time off is healthy and much needed, she continues her work as it’s a way for her to deal with her most inner feelings. By painting larger than life images depicting everyday moments and nuanced emotions, Djurovic expresses the human experience in a way that both honors and explores the complexities of humanity.
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Designer and artist April Soetarman has been producing and anonymously hanging custom street signs around her hometown of Seattle since 2016. The practice started as a way for her to diversify her art-making, which had previously been more architecture-based, in addition to working through some feelings she was processing at the time. After her original “NOTICE: I Never Stopped Loving You. Hope You’re Well” sign became viral, she began producing other rewrites of classic street and warning signs and adding them to her website Weird Side Projects.
After several requests for her most popular sign “ATTENTION: You Are Wonderful And Deserve Every Happiness,” Soetarman decided to go public with the design and recently started a Kickstarter to fund a larger run. You can see more of her aluminum signs, and further art projects, on her website and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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Editor's Picks: Street Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.