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Monthly Archives: April 2012

Herakut is a graffiti duo from Germany – Akut, from the East, and Hera from Frankfurt. They fell in love with the graffiti scene instantly due to it’s heavy hip hop influence, the fact that it’s done outdoors, and that the dimensions of the work are usually massive, which leads to more public exposure. From the instant they met and painted together it clicked, and their two vastly different styles have since fused into one, creating an awesome contrast between the two without the competition. They usually take turns at the piece they’re working on, collaborating in sporadic bursts of imagination. Their symbiotic relationship as artists grows out of the idea that, as a graffiti artist, you’re used to having your work crossed out, but you don’t let that stop you – you just go one to paint a new one.

Their most poignant piece, I think, is “Sisters Helping Brothers Helping Sisters”. It evokes a sense of unity between the sexes that otherwise is overlooked by most of society. In a world where people are generally becoming more individualistic, it lashes out and reminds us that we need to come together as a community to create something beautiful – we cannot always do it by ourselves.

To see more from Herakut, visit their website.

 

Christian Guémy (aka C215), is a Parisian stencil artist who’s been in the graffiti game for over 20 years. Described as France’s answer to Banksy, his work is prolific, magnetic, and lyrical. Focusing mostly on portraits of people, he usually narrows in on one main type of character – those that society has forgotten or cast aside, such as the homeless, refugees, street urchins, and the elderly. He likes to put them in places where people can be drawn to them when they pay attention, but that can be easily overlooked as you pass by, and they exist in many cities all over the world such as Amsterdam, Paris, London, Rome, Barcelona.

Aside from street art, he also creates more commercial artwork that is exhibited in galleries and solo shows, capturing his subjects on canvas and wood. He’s also passed on his extraordinary talent to his daughter, Nina, who is also growing into becoming a talented stencil artist.

For a quick introduction to C215 and his work, click here.

Check out an interview with C215 here.

Visit his website for more.

This is just a small sample of his work:

If we keep building up, and lose the ability to have individual garden spaces, why not grow on every surface we’ve got? In Phuket, Thailand, they’re doing just that – and they call it botanical apartment therapy. Beautiful gardens spill over the exteriors of apartment buildings, creating a veritable fantasy-land of colours and textures as well as helping to bring oxygen to a densely populated community. Aside from the aesthetic quality, it also gives people a chance to repurpose discarded items, keeping them from becoming landfill.

 

It comes as no surprise that our world’s eco system is rapidly on the decline, regardless of our sporadic efforts. Just look at Iran – it is literally choking on it’s own pollution. In response to the concern for their survival, a bold group of artists in Tehran have created the Tehran Monoxide Project as a full-scale protest against the deterioration of the air quality that threatens their community. Massive art installations and posters are creating much needed awareness in the general public that was otherwise somewhat oblivious to the ecological downfall that is impending. Installations such as the one depicted here enforces the idea that deforestation is becoming a major problem, and if it continues, they will continue to suffocate.

Residents are finally becoming educated about the various health effects and are becoming increasingly concerned about just how long they will be able to survive in one of the most toxic cities on the planet. Parents are now realizing that their children won’t have much of a world to live in if it continues. Hopefully, with enough awareness and preparedness, they will be able to come up with long-term solutions that can make a difference in their survival. While it is unlikely that their quality of life will make a complete recovery, they are at least beginning to get a good start on making significant changes in their day-to-day lives.

To find out more about the Tehran Monoxide Project, check out their website.

British graffiti artist Shok-1 has been a major player in the game since way back in 1984 and has literally created thousands of awesome works that are scattered across the globe. Aside from street art, he’s produced all sorts of consumer products such as posters, books, and art. Until recently, Shok-1 has been relatively underground and undocumented, but now he’s created a retrospective of his work to illustrate his historical impact on the graffiti scene and it’s definitely turning heads.

One of the more interesting stories in his vast collection is that of a mural he painted in China, which the Chinese authorities saw fit to “redesign” instead of obliterating it. The censored version includes kissing fish and transforms the noose into double hooks, and his signature tag is covered up. Why? What the hell are they trying to say with this? Fishing is romantic? According to Shok, “A friend sent me a photo of what the Chinese government actually did to my painting. They said they were going to paint it out. For me, this is far worse.”

Regardless of the backlash from authorities, Shock-1 continues to evolve as an artist as he combines techniques that he’s picked up along his travels. What I’m loving right now is his gorgeous smoky neon effects that seem to breathe an ethereal quality into the concrete jungle. I also love the Pink Floydness of his characters.

To see more on his retrospective, visit his website.

Look out Banksy – you’ve got a sneaky Russian guerilla street artist gearing up to blow you out of the water. Known only as P183, and cloaked in the shadow of enigma, this imaginative artist is throwing up some amazingly witty and wonderful pieces that are being spotted all over Moscow.

Like his predecessor, P183 creates works that are heavy with social and political commentary and playful optical illusions that bring new life to the urban landscape and force it to interact with his art. Amusing and mischievous, his style and technique follows that of the recent developments in street art that are quickly growing in popularity the world over. If he wants to keep his globally-admired street artist title, Banksy’s going to have to step it up a few notches.

If you can read Russian, or are just curious to see more, visit his website. http://www.183art.ru/

In the aftermath of the Libyan uprising against the tyrannical Muammar Gaddafi, the people have just cause to celebrate, though their future is still very uncertain. Having a chance at a new found freedom,  a more democratic and liberated Libya is beginning to surface and it’s been inspiring many towards creative projects of all kinds. Sculptor Ali Al-Wakwak is using the weapons and debris from military vehicles that brought so much death to his country and transforming them into works of art. Having amassed material for his work during the revolution, he constructs animals, birds and dinosaurs from the broken bits, twisted and tarnished by war. The dinosaurs are a metaphor for the Gaddafi regime that is the dark and evil side of Libyan history – something that once was vicious and powerful, now rendered extinct. A hope that others will overcome their own predatory foes.

According to Mashalla News, Al-Wakwak still lives with the haunting memories of life under the Gaddafi regime. He spent seven years in prison in a tiny cell with seven or eight other people with not one possession amongst them, just for his refusal to fight in the war in Chad. Luckily, he escaped torture, but others were not so lucky. His son has also spent seven years in prison, and was tortured due to the fact that he was a devoted religious believer, and was seen praying a lot. Gaddafi feared these types of people the most and doled out severe punishment. Al-Wakwak and his son were reunited once the revolution began, and creativity sprang from the ashes.

Al-Wakwak’s work is mostly about the idea of change – the transformation of something old to something new. The past must be remembered, no matter how harsh, how ugly and broken, but it must be a in intrinsic part of something changing. A phoenix-like evolution must take place. His sculptures often bring people together in order to piece them together, as many as ten people collaborate to assemble their parts, further evoking the creative aspect within others in the process. In time, we will begin to see a new hope in the progress of Libya – this is just the beginning.

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