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TUES – Interview Graffiti World Record in Dubai

What happens when you bring over 100 graffiti artists together to paint one wall in one city? No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Dubai saw no punch ons or turf wars last November for the city’s ambitious attempt to break the record of the World’s Longest Graffiti Scroll.

Alongside over 100 different artists from 26 countries, the Ironlak Family made international art history by trekking their team to Dubai to take part in the painting of the record breaking scroll, measuring over 2.2km long. Created in celebration of the United Arab Emirates’ 43rd year as a country, the canvas scroll stretched across Jumeriah Beach to mark the shape of the country. The team’s efforts became a globally recognized street art and graffiti event titled ‘Rehlhatna’.

VNA catches up with Ironlak’s own TUES to chat about the crossing of graffiti artists from around the globe for a collective project.

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Pejac paints a new piece in Santander

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Based on his pencil and acrylic painting from 2013, Pejac recently painted a street version of the New Order image in his hometown of Santander. Placed in a real environment with minor depth and perspective touchups, the emotive image turns into an illusion and comes to life in this variant.
Showing blossom branches turning into brick wall patterns (or the other way around), the piece symbolizes the drastic changes that the term New Order stays for. Using sand paper and paint Spanish artist managed to blend his work with the rugged concrete surface he worked on, yet again proving the strength and possibilities of his powerful technique. The added colored flower details and little bird resting on a branch are making the image pop up more and completing this strong piece.

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MEAR ONE – Urban Analogue – C.A.V.E. Gallery LA

This series of monotypes titled Urban Analogue by MEAR ONE was created over a seven-year period between 2003-2009 with the late great Southern California master printer, Pat Merrill.

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Each work from this series is unique, they are based on the artist’s subconscious exploration of his everyday structural and psychological environment growing up on the streets of LA. The spontaneous and liberating process of experimentation and execution inherent in this art form allows ad-libs of thought and subversive irony to flourish and which feature prominently in these works. Though more like his live art than his graffiti and tags, MEAR ONE draws from both practices to bring to this series a certain energy, speed, and fluidity from the streets that translate into remarkable movement, texture, and abstraction onto the surface.

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MEAR explains “As an artist one of the many interesting aspects of this personal journey is the ability to explore different mediums, and a great teacher recognizes these abilities and helps you do exactly that.”

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“Pat Merrill understood my natural affinity for the graphic arts and language that resonated seamlessly with monotyping. In printmaking you have to think outside of the normal realm of color, shape, shadow, and light gradients because everything becomes limited and decisive. Pat confronted me with several technical challenges, stripping me down of my traditional process, providing a new palette and tools, which in this case gave birth to the discovery of mark-making by scraping and removing as opposed to adding and applying. Through this reductive process I recognized in this medium something special and unique unto itself that even my studio paintings could not achieve.”

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“It was only when I accepted it couldn’t be like my paintings that I decided to make my printing reflect my process. With finished works you don’t want to show people your process, but if the intention IS the process itself then it suddenly makes the work far more exciting. And that’s exactly the point. If I’ve created something new and unique that no one was expecting, and that isn’t necessarily referenced by me, then I’ve done my job. Otherwise everything becomes a monotonous montage of what you are used to and nothing sticks out, nothing is spectacular. But Pat was insistent that I get outside of myself, find new ways of doing what I already knew so well, if only to renew and refresh the spirit.”

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“Pat Merrill was a master printer, artist, curator, teacher, scholar, philosopher, Vietnam veteran, a critical mind, an advocate for the peace movement. We shared similar world views that allowed us to vibe off one another throughout the creation of this series, and in many ways that dialogue is captured in this work. The end result, what it does for me as an artist, when I come back to my paintings it amazingly improves my realism, my structural design, or my understanding of the physical form so that there exists a symbiotic relationship wherein one supports the other. When Pat passed in 2010 he left behind this legacy of discovery. With the recent passing of another great master printer, Richard Duardo, a huge hole in Los Angeles culture was exposed and it is to these great teachers I dedicate this exhibition.”

www.mearone.com

Images courtesy of Birdman

Smates Interview – Five Years On

“Time flies when you’re having fun,” was Bart Smeets’ aka Smates’ reaction when we first told him it had been a whole five years since we last covered him here at VNA. In the meantime he has managed to achieve that closest held dream of every creative mind, to make a living from his love. Although, as he later mentioned, such an achievement has come at a cost. With an interview that was five months in the making, we touched bases with him again after all this time for an update on how things have progressed.

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Phlegm painted a new mural in East London

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Few days ago Phlegm rounded up a new landmark piece he’s been working on for about a week in East London. Showing one of his giant characters sadly sitting alone inside a house, this simple but striking piece is painted on a large wall in a private car park just down from Old Street Tube station.

Upon closer inspection one can notice a framed image of a telescope, one of his recurring images being shown inside the house, but also, an old fashioned TV flying outside of the broken window on the side. This detail is actually Phlegm’s nod to a legendary Banksy piece that was painted on the same wall some 10 years ago or so. Upon finishing this wall, which was possible thanks to Red market and AltLondon, Sheffield-born artist packed his suitcase and headed to West Australia where he is gonna work on yet another impressive project.

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Dean Zeus Colman – PILLS – Prescription Art

Dean Zeus Colman’s latest exhibition ‘PILLS’ opened recently at Prescription Art in Brighton.

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Following on from recent ‘sweet art’ works, ‘Pills’ will consist of a wall of oversized ecstasy tablets, each with their own distinctive – and authentic – branding. ‘Pills’ explores how adults continue to eat branded sweets – however this time they are looking for a stronger rush than sugar.

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Ben EINE – ‘Hand In Hand’ – ARTSPACE Dubai

Ben EINE recently unveiled his latest mural on the British Embassy, Abu Dhabi in the presence of his excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.

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Ahead of his debut solo show in the Gulf region, EINE has created a 40-metre outdoor artwork on the perimeter wall of the British Embassy in Abu Dhabi. In a truly ground-breaking moment for the art scene in the region, His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan joined Her Majesty’s Ambassador Philip Parham and British Council Country Director, Marc Jessel to inaugurate the wall, with His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan taking up a spray can for the first time, to personally ‘tag’ the wall.

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