Andre Muniz Gonzaga Dalata is one of Brazil’s most famous street artists and this series ‘I See Things’ is a wonderful example of how graffiti and street art interventions can transform a run down urban centre. Dalata is well known for painting on irregular surfaces in run down areas – interacting with nature and using stains, mould, cracks and collapsed buildings – in a style he calls ‘bizarre passion’. It’s his attempt to start a dialogue between art and the public.
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Slinkachu‘s ‘Global Model Village’ series is a continuation of his ‘Little People Project’ which has been ongoing since 2006. These days his work is famous. His miniature street art scenes, the tiny dioramas that he situates in everyday places are known throughout the World. His work replicates the everyday activity people undertake in the city such as the school run, going to church, a brothel, looking for food, eating and so on. Each installation depicting the vagaries of life, what it means to be human, to live, to suffer, to be part of society.
Like his previous series the installations are built, photographed and abandoned, left to look after themselves. The document of his work is then exhibited in the hope that we gain a new perspective on our own isolation and melancholy which often seems part and parcel of the modern condition. These projects are always done with a sense of hunour and that is precisely the reason they have succeeded in capturing the imagination of people all over the world. It’s a great idea. A simple conceit and a very effective means to tell the story of us.
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Retna is another superstar street artist who has taken his work into the gallery space. His unique style – which looks like some derivation of an ancient Persian – is actually his own, an amalgam of symbols, letters, pictographs and motifs taken from his own multicultural background of El Salvadorian, Cherokee, Spaniard, Pipil and African-American lineage and of course graffiti. Each work has a meaning, each describes an experience.
Some of you may know Retna’s work already – his murals are pretty well known, his style instantly recognisable – but it’s interesting to see how his work is being described and contextualised now that he’s in a gallery. Having said that street art has played an increasingly important part in the contemporary art scene – you only have to look at the work of Barbara Kruger, Jenny Holzer, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Shephard Fairey and many more to realise that.
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The incredible Italian street artist Blu has recently finished a political mural in Madrid, Spain. An indictment on our consumerist, capitalist culture. This piece, in true street art style, is full of big, hard hitting images designed to get the idea across in a sceond, to punch you in the guts, to make you laugh and gasp at its visual ingenuity. A runaway train becomes a metaphor for us, society, while behind it a long line of cars; waste, military hardware, consumer goods and oil follows – and the money we spend to sate our greed used to fuel the engine that is heading right off a cliff.
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Kut, a Latvian arts collective made up of filmmakers, musicians, artists, politicians and cats, recently did a guerilla action called ‘Oh Joy!’ on the streets of Riga. They brought nature into the city. Turned a day into a celebration of summer. Here’s what they said about it:
We brought the country to the city. To revive the grey concrete, to break the routine and give you a moment to reflect on what we are and where we are going. Sometimes surprises just happen and we have no influence over them but we do have influence over our perception. How ready are you to accept whatever life throws at you with a smile?
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Aakash Nihalani uses coloured tape to create wonderful optical illusions in and about New York where he’s based. His work is a great example of how good use of the simplest of materials can create a piece of work that brings joy to many people. I’m sure it’s not as easy as it looks as Nihalani’s ability to draw isometric rectangles and squares needs to be spot on, perfect as do the photograph he takes of the interactions between people and his geometric shapes.
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I Really love this street art by Dan Witz from his ‘Do Not Enter’ project. The project began in 2007 and has since been seen all over the World in places such as USA, Austria, Norway and Poland. It’s funny, while making a point, smart too and if you’re wondering who the baldy guy on signs is – well, thats Witz.
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Street artist Hot Tea has been busy on a new work, ‘LOST & FOUND’ in his home town of Minneapolis. It’s a simple concept and as you can see serves a public good; a vacant tennis court with no net turned into a useful amenity for the locals to use. Here’s what he said about it:
It sat there empty for years LOST with no purpose. I came up with the idea to create my own net using nothing but yarn giving back the tennis court its original purpose. (FOUND)
I am very proud of this piece because I have been trying to find a way to merge my two passions together, installation art (street art) and interacting with people. After the net was complete I rounded up some of the local youth to come try it out, tennis racquet’s and all. They loved it! Mission complete.
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Italian street artist Agostino Iacurci paints wonderful murals using simple shapes and flat colours. HIs style is very illustrative and perfectly suited to buildings and walls that also follow basic geometric forms.
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French Street artist OX makes great use of the billboards he takes over and turns into works of art. What separates him from your average street artist is that he’s able to see what isn’t there and therefore what is possible. First he finds a suitable billboard, looks at the surrounding area and uses that to inform the basis of the billboard work. Continue reading »
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Thom Thom is not your average street artist. Well firstly he doesnt use paint, stencils, wheatpaste or even yarn. Nope. Not for him. He uses a really sharp Stanley knife.
What he does is scour the city of Paris mutilating billboards in true situationist style. Out of this cutting, slicing, pulling, dissasembling, re – appropriating, he turns an advertisement into a beautiful work of street art.
It is a unique method and as his biog states:
The brands, among which this young expert – today in his 30’s – has been raised, are not the problem itself. The real criticism is against the people’s follower behavior. With that shiny scratch, so far never matched.
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German street artist Evol was recently in Warsaw, Poland creating what he does best – miniature city landscapes. His newest piece is an apartment building swarming with butterflies. When I saw it first I thought nothing of it but when you realise what you’re looking at the details are what you notice; the old tags on the building, satellite dishes, window blinds and so on.
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ALMA is a Brazilian street artist who seems to enjoy using decaying, smashed, collapsed, run down walls to paint on – his creatures, shapes, designs, work so well within the limitations and confines of their environment. There’s alot of primitive imagery in his work and his use of strong black lines is really powerful.
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Roa, a street artist from Belgium, sprays beautiful illustrations of animals on buildings, walls and anything he can find in cities around the World. They’re fantastic murals aren’t they?
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X-Times People Chair (X-Fois Gens Chaise) by German artist Angie Hiesl is a site-specific street art performance piece in which she recruits a number of elderly people who sit on white metal chairs that are attached onto the façades of various buildings over 20 feet above the ground. As you can see from the photographs the performers sit and conduct normal everyday activities such as reading the newspaper, folding clothes, knitting, etc.
Hiesl premiered this work way back in 1995 and has taken it all over the world to over 14 countries including: Poland, Brazil, Colombia and Perú with local actors filling in the chairs at each location.
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