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Art Illustration

Phlegm’s Monochromatic Comic Book Characters Explode Onto Walls Across Europe

August 19, 2021

Christopher Jobson

All images © Phlegm, shared with permission

If there’s one theme that ties the epic stories unfolding in works by Sheffield-based Phlegm (previously), it’s a sense of action, toil, and perseverance. The otherworldly characters that appear in the Welsh artist’s murals, prints, paintings, and comic books are often unceasingly busy and cause mischief or wage battles using unusual crafts and weaponry. Each piece is a brilliant balance between his crisp monochromatic painting style born from the pages of his earlier comic books and the folk-ish narratives that often draw from historical artworks, leaving every piece open to interpretation by the viewer. Each piece can seem comical or tragic all at once.

Phlegm recently completed a mural in Sweden and contributed to a sprawling collaboration with artists Sweet Toof, Teddy Baden, Run, and Mighty Mo on a single wall in London’s Hackney Wick neighborhood. You can follow more of his work on Instagram.

 

 

 

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Art

‘A Great British Spraycation’: New Works by Banksy Cheekily Interpret Summer Vacation

August 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Banksy

In what’s dubbed A Great British Spraycation, ten new artworks by Banksy (previously) recently popped up across coastal towns in England in witty interpretations of quintessential summertime fun. A short film posted to Instagram shows the anonymous artist driving around Norfolk and Suffolk in an aging camper as he paints his signature stenciled murals of children imagining an adventure at sea, the metal claw of an arcade game descending over a bench, and a couple dancing atop of a bus stop.

A Great British Spraycation satirizes the idea of “staycations,” a necessary alternative to traditional holidays in the wake of COVID-19 and restrictions placed on international travel following Brexit. Coincidentally or perhaps intentionally, three of the cities the artist worked in—Great Yarmouth, Gorleston, and Lowestoft—are competing to become the next UK City of Culture in 2025.

This glimpse into Banksy’s process follows a wave of similarly revealing footage from the artist, who’s increasingly documented his works-in-progress, like in  “Create Escape” or in another video of his trademark rats causing havoc on the London Underground.

 

 

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Art

Ornate Murals by Nespoon Cloak Blank Facades in Traditional Lace Patterns

August 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. All images © Nespoon, shared with permission

Every inch of Nespoon’s elaborately designed murals is rooted in local history. Prior to sketching one of her large-scale lace patterns on a residential building or commercial facade, the Warsaw-based artist (previously) visits museums and meets with residents to learn more about the region’s culture and its ties to fiber arts. “I respect and commemorate the emotional bound between individual patterns and particular cities or even particular groups of lacemakers. If there is no tradition of lace making in the area where I work, I ask for laces in the homes of elderly people living nearby,” she tells Colossal. “I always find something.”

The resulting murals envelop concrete and brick structures in intricate webbing embellished with oversized florals or fringed edges. Often splaying across multiple levels and wrapping around corners, the massive works showcase the intricacies of the craft and bring the adornment traditionally associated with domestic life out into a public space.

 

Craponne-Sur-Arzon, France

Because women produced almost all of the decorative textiles for centuries, their stories remain at the forefront of Nespoon’s body of work, which ranges from stenciled graffiti pieces to smaller ceramic installations imprinted with patterns. Still today, lace museums and makers tend to be women, the artist says, veiling each of her site-specific projects within a broader, global context of feminine art, craft, and tradition.

While many of her projects are celebratory and honor the local customs that manifest in the lace pieces, others, like humble motif painted in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, necessarily confront a community’s struggles. “For the first time in my life, my wall had such clear traces of war, dozens of bullet holes all over the facade,” Nespoon writes, explaining further:

While working, I thought about the fate of women who are victims of wars all over the world. Here, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, however, it had an extraordinary dimension. Institutionalized sexual violence and mass rape were a cruel instrument of terror used in this conflict, in front of the whole world. I wanted to not think about it, but I did. The bullet holes became part of my mural.

Next week, Nespoon will be installing a lace web at the Triennale di Maroggia in Switzerland. She’s also preparing for a solo exhibition next May in Brescia, Italy, and working on a book compiling her works from the last 12 years, many of which you can find on Behance and Instagram.

 

Craponne-Sur-Arzon, France

Callac, France

Callac, France

Patras, Greece

Patras, Greece

Malmö, Sweden

Nespoon working on the mural in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

 



Art

A Monumental 20-Story Wildflower Blooms Above Jersey City in a New Mural by Artist Mona Caron

August 11, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Mona Caron, shared with permission

A single Joe Pye weed with barbed leaves and a blossoming head looms over Jersey City in a staggering new mural by Mona Caron. Set against a black backdrop, the hardy botanical—which is actually a wildflower from the eutrochium genus that’s native to the region—is the latest from the San Francisco-based artist, who’s known for her multi-story murals of plants and weeds that soar above city skylines. Commissioned as part of the Jersey City Mural Arts Program, the exquisitely rendered flower is a celebration of resilience as it “rises with the sun, facing off the skyline across the Hudson,” Caron writes on Instagram. “A vision of nature winning, of plants being the ones towering over us for a change, putting us back in our place. May we learn. May they come back.”

 

 

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Art

Lush Tropical Plants Sprout from Brightly Colored Murals by Thiago Mazza

July 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

Lisbon. All images © Thiago Mazza, shared with permission

In his brilliantly hued murals, Brazilian artist Thiago Mazza recreates the dense foliage and thick, fleshy petals he encounters in tropical forests and other verdant areas. Prickly thistles, striped leaves, and seemingly endless varieties of flowers spring up in wild masses that crawl down sidewalks and engulf entire buildings.

In a note to Colossal, Mazza shares that all of his large-scale projects start with a carefully arranged photograph of the flora he finds during his forest excursions. “When I photograph the compositions with real plants, I do under a strong natural light so I can capture the light and the shadow, the contrast that I search in my compositions,” he says. The resulting works bring the otherwise remote plants to urban areas, transforming stark facades into lush gardens celebrating nature’s diversity.

Based in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, Mazza is currently painting an installation in the middle of a field as part of a residency at Campidarte in Sardinia, which rounds out a months-long expedition around Europe where he completed murals in Sintra, Lisbon, and Civitacampomarano. Keep an eye on his Instagram for his upcoming works, which are slated for Foz do Iguaçu, Tbilsi, and Madrid this fall. (via Street Art News)

 

Lisbon

Bertioga, Brazil, with the help of Drin Cortes

Poços de Caldas, Brazil, with the help of Drin Cortes

Belo Horizonte, Brazil, with the help of Drin Cortes

Vukovar, Croatia, with the help of David Arranhado

 

 



Art

A Mythical Stencil Mural by MonkeyBird Is a Monumental Homage to Burgos Cathedral

June 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © MonkeyBird, shared with permission

A guardian angel in the form of a grey heron watches over an allegorical mural at Burgos Cathedral in Spain. Painted by Louis Boidron and Edouard Egea, who work as MonkeyBird (previously), “Mymesis, beings and places” is an homage to the artworks and design of the church, which UNESCO designated a World Heritage site back in 1984 in part because it captures the evolution of gothic architecture: construction on the building began in 1221 and wasn’t complete until 1567, meaning it showcases the entire history of the style.

Translating many of the religious symbols and motifs found inside, the duo combines the cathedral’s profound history with its signature stenciled aesthetic and recurring monkey and bird creatures. The resulting mural is a dense display of ornate structural elements, airborne birds called papamoscas cerrojillo that typically nest in the building, and a gilded clock from the 18th Century. “Our intention was to offer an effect of complex depth and monumentalism, combining some of the most spectacular references of the temple, such as the main altarpiece, with its many details, the Golden Staircase, or the circular oculus in the center of Santa María façade,” MonkeyBird says.

Head to Instagram to see more of “Mymesis, begins and places” and to follow the duo’s projects and occasional print releases.

 

 

 

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