Street Artist Spotlight: Faith47

posted by – 05/26/16 @ 12:21pm

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Who: internationally-acclaimed, studio-based street artist from Cape Town, South Africa

Where: Faith47’s artwork has been displayed in Sweden, UK, France, Tunisia, USA, Australia, Italy, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and more, and her street creations can now be found in major cities around the world

What: Faith47 is acknowledged as one of the most politically engaged contemporary artists, and she displays a great social awareness throughout her pieces. Many of Faith47’s works are inspired by the political and social issues in post-apartheid South Africa. One particular focus of Faith47’s work is the feminine existence: the woman as a strong and also struggling figure. Through her art and the wielding of these themes, Faith47 attempts to condemn the injustices in our society and spread a more positive message.

Street Art Spotlight: Swoon

posted by – 05/26/16 @ 12:03pm

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Who: contemporary, American street artist, commissioned to paint a mural in downtown Nashville as Part II of the Nashville Walls Project

Where: Asia, Europe and the USA

What: Swoon is best known for her illustrative portraiture. She works in a wide-ranging practice including installation and performance, and her work has recurring activist themes. Swoon often works with recycled newspaper and glues her work to the sides of architecture in urban settings using wheat paste. Swoon currently lives in New York City.

Street Art Spotlight: Hush

posted by – 05/26/16 @ 11:46am

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Who: UK-based street artist, commissioned to paint a mural in downtown Nashville as part of the Nashville Walls Project

Where: Asia, Europe and the USA

What: Hush draws his inspiration from graphic novels, animation and other street art. He is particularly inspired by the evanescence of street art, as well as how street artists add to and adapt each other’s work over time. The central image in Hush’s work is the female form, particularly as portrayed in Anime and manga. His style, which combines characters and pop-infused imagery has come to be described as Urban Abstract Pop.

 

10,000 pieces of wood create 1 hollow sanctuary

posted by – 05/24/16 @ 2:41pm

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Katie Paterson’s latest installation at Royal Fort Gardens in Bristol, England, titled “Hollow”, was created using samples from over 10,000 different types of wood. She describes her creation as “a microcosmos of all the world’s trees”. The wood samples that comprise this work were collected from around the world, and they are the result of three years of dedicated work and travels. Paterson uses many common tree species, such as redwoods, ginkgos, cedars and palms. In addition, she managed to obtain a piece of a 5,000-year-old Methuselah tree, one of the oldest living organisms in the world, as well as a piece of railroad from the Panama Canal Railway and wood from the Atlantic City Boardwalk that was destroyed in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy.

Paterson’s sculpture encompasses almost the entire arboreal history, containing a sample of petrified wood thought to be 390 million years old, along with pieces of the oldest and youngest trees in the world. Many of the trees are closely linked with important stories of humanity, such as the Indian Banyan Tree, the tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment, and the Japanese Ginkgo tree in Hiroshima, the tree which survived World War II. The sculpture also represents almost every country on the planet.  Though it more closely resembles a native american wigwam or a pile of wooden blocks from the exterior, the interior of the sculpture holds thousands of wooden rods of varying sizes that extend downward from the ceiling and upwards from the floor, creating the appearance of stalactites and stalagmites. Two people can fit inside the sculpture, which serves as an enclosed, meditative space where one is literally surrounded by the history of the world. Sunlight enters the sculpture through openings in the roof. This filtered light resembles the dappled effect of sunlight through a forest ceiling.

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Several of Paterson’s past projects have also experimented with fusing the natural world and its sciences with artistic sculpture and installation. “Hollow” was commissioned by the University of Bristol and made in collaboration with Zeller & Moye architects. The installation will be permanently located in the Royal Fort Gardens in Bristol, England. To read more, see the article here.

Louis Vuitton Foundation transformed into “The Observatory of Light”

posted by – 05/19/16 @ 11:12am

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Daniel Buren, a French conceptual artist, has been working for five decades with stripes. Using various colors, sizes and materials, Buren applies the stripes to different objects and environments. His chosen environments have ranged from esteemed museums to grungy bus stops. Buren’s latest target, however, was the Louis Vuitton Foundation building. Above the building are 12 glass-paneled “sails” that tower and seem to float above the museum; these Buren carefully glossed over with several translucent colored gels, converting the sails into checkerboards of color. The installation, called “The Observatory of Light”, opened this month and will run through the end of the year.

Buren describes his stripes as a tool to draw attention to a specified space. For example, inside the museum, Buren’s stripes provide verticality by always pointing toward the ground, unlike much of the architecture in the building. Seen from the outside of the building, the stripes provide more of a color-oriented experience for the viewer. As the sun moves across the sky, the colors in the painted panels stretch across the buildings and ground, picking up shades and hues of their surroundings such as green from trees and grass and red of nearby brick buildings and then reflecting those colors back onto whatever space or object the colored light hits.

Buren also has entertainment plans for the Louis Vuitton Foundation. From June 2nd – 4th, Buren has planned a series of performances, titled the “BurenCirque”, that will be performed in tents on the building’s lawn. The actors in each tent are to be asked to simply react to the space and the primary colors displayed. All three tents will perform shows simultaneously, with colliding noises issuing from each, so that the audience receives a multisensory experience. These works by Buren are an interesting and original way to create art that has a strong relationship with its setting, as well as a prime example of how the natural world can manipulate our perception of a created object.

Street Art Spotlight: DALeast and Augustine Kofie

posted by – 04/25/16 @ 1:15pm

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Who: Street artist, painter, sculptor, and digital artist from China (currently living in South Africa)

Where: London, Morocco, Spain, Austria, Milan, and more

What: Paints animals using swift strokes or a combination of shard-like, fragmented shapes. For him, animals are an appropriate subject through which we can study the human condition.

Instagram: @daleast

Website: daleast.com

 

Augustine Kofie

Who: Self-taught LA-based street artist

Where: Portland, Mexico, Germany, Paris, Japan, and more

What: In trying to maintain a sense of balance in his work, Kofie synthesizes seemingly contradictory elements in his work, such as using earth tones to flesh out deconstructed, futurist shapes. He incorporates many influences, from music to architecture to typography, in his sketchy, draft-like works.

Instagram: @keepdrafting

Website: keepdrafting.com

Street Art Spotlight: Niels “Shoe” Meulman and Adele Renault

posted by – 04/19/16 @ 12:38pm

Niels “Shoe” Meulman

 

Who: Visual/street artist, graphic designer, and art director based in Amsterdam who often collaborates with Adele Renault both in making art and running Unruly Gallery

Where: Los Angeles, the Netherlands

What: Launched in 2007, his Calligraffiti movement, as the name indicates, is defined by the fusion of graffiti and calligraphy.

Instagram: @nielsshoemeulman

Facebook: Niels Shoe Meulman

 

Adele Renault

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Who: Artist who works on anything from small canvases to giant walls and, in collaboration with Niels Shoe Meulman, runs Unruly Gallery in Amsterdam.

Where: Brussels, San Francisco, Germany, the Netherlands

What: She paints hyper-realistic images of people and things that many people don’t take the time to observe closely to critically, from faces and the elderly to the homeless and pigeons.

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Instagram: @adelerenault

Website: adelerenault.com

 

The “Truth Booth” is going on a roadtrip

posted by – 04/12/16 @ 2:58pm

People waiting in line at the Truth Booth in Brooklyn.

Since it was first installed in Ireland in 2009, Hank Willis Thomas’s Truth Booth has travelled around the world providing audiences a space to disclose the/their/a truth. Prompted only with the words “the truth is…,” visitors to the the inflated speech bubble divulged personal information and thoughts ranging from serious financial hardships to a steadfast belief in unicorns. But while Thomas has taken the Truth Booth to the other side of the world and back, 2016’s destinations will remain within America’s borders.

In 2016, Thomas hopes to bring the piece to each of the 50 states (funded by this Kickstarter campaign). But why limit the inflatable’s domain to the United States alone? Because it’s an election year. And, as Thomas contends, an important one at that. Giving audiences the opportunity to voice their opinions and their truths, then, is more important than ever.

For Thomas, election years signify the times when it is most critical for people to listen to and understand other people. While other people’s truths may differ, they are nonetheless true, in a sense, as at least one person believes it. Elections in the 21st Century have proved to be some of the most contentious and dramatic in history, so we often get caught up in the theatrics and comedy of loud, frivolous debates and controversial, satirized characters. Thomas wants to draw our attention back to our individual voices and truths so that we may maintain unique perspectives and prevent other people (namely, attention-grabbing candidates) from speaking for us. Through the Truth Booth, Thomas impresses the idea that everyone’s truth is (in theory) valid.

Street Art Spotlight: Herakut and Rone

posted by – 04/07/16 @ 4:00pm

Our street art show and the beginning of the Nashville Walls Project is barely a month away, so over the next few weeks we will spotlight the artists to be featured at the gallery and on the walls of Nashville. First up: Herakut.

 

Who: Duo from Germany

Where: Their street art can be found internationally, from London to San Francisco to Melbourne.

What: Narrative in nature and predominately dark in color, the duo’s work often includes figures with oversized, emotive eyes that are accompanied by thought provoking text.

Instagram: @herakut

Facebook: HERAKUT


 

Next, Rone.

Who: Street artist based in Melbourne, a city with impressive amounts of street art on its walls.

Where: Melbourne, London, Malaysia, Miami

What: While he is well known for his stencil art in highly-trafficked areas of Melbourne, his most well known work incorporates close-up portraits of women’s faces who gaze upon passersby on the street below.

Instagram: @r_o_n_e

 

The 2016 Presidential Race meets the NEA

posted by – 04/05/16 @ 3:39pm

Barbara Kruger’s piece, inspired by Hilary Clinton’s campaign, virtually copies the artist’s famous “Your body is a battleground print” with a few (more political) adjustments.

The presidential race is everywhere – we see it on TV, hear it over the radio, and read it in the newspaper. Now, thanks to Artists at the Front, a project cultivated and promoted by the National Endowment for the Arts, the race is breaking into the art world: the four main candidates (Clinton, Sanders, Trump, and Cruz) will each be followed and studied by an established American artist, who will then create work that represents each politician and the policies they represent.

As Hyperallergic notes, this project is a first for the NEA, which until now purposefully distanced itself from controversy. In contrast to the agency’s previous projects, Artists at the Front involves already-controversial personalities and policies, particularly those of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Richard Prince will be working with Trump, and photographer Ryan McGinley will work with Sanders. Tagging along with Hilary Clinton and Ted Cruz will be Barbara Kruger and Romero Britto, respectively.

Perhaps most interesting is the artists’ commitment to the project. Prince, the “enfant terrible” of the art world,” admits that Trump is a fascinating character. While his policies and personality offend and divide people, Prince is attracted to the “interesting guy.” Besides the appeal of involvement with political characters, artists embraced the challenge of being selected for the project. As the article notes, a thorough vetting process tested the artist’s drive to be “at the Front.”

The project will also draw more attention to art policy and politicians’ involvement with the arts. Interestingly, the most talked-about candidate also has the most controversial stance on the arts. For decades, Donald Trump has demonstrated and vocalized a disregard and disrespect for art and its conservation. Again, this is a way in which the NEA, which Trump has vowed to defund, is inserting itself in a competitive political arena it used to always keep at arm’s length.