Global art curator, Justkids, in partnership with Life is Beautiful Festival, continues to infuse art to the ever-growing outdoor art gallery in Downtown Las Vegas. This time choosing the 21 story tower of the iconic Plaza Hotel & Casino as the playing field for American artist Shepard Fairey and UK artist D*Face.
These are the 2 largest art murals ever painted in the city. A week after the historic demonstration of his “We the people” series, Fairey, accompanied by his daring team, arrived first on site to start the project with no vertigo in their system nor chill in their blood and went at it for six days enduring some unexpected cold weather. “This kind of work is very physical and pretty exhausting but it’s also very rewarding to see a piece on that scale come together.” said Shepard Fairey. This perfectly mastered art of proportion and precision invites the viewer not only to awe at the piece but also realize the risk of its creation.
The piece, entitled “Cultivate Harmony” is about as colossal as a mural can be. However the attention to detail and colours is never compromised. The final result is a dexterous work of solid stencil technique of Shepard Fairey’s signature imagery and palette. The lotus flower, the peace sign, the Obey logo, the globe inside a teardrop remembering his latest environmental theme ‘Earth Crisis’. Through his design Shepard conveys the idea of peace between human beings and harmony with the planet. As he explains, “These ideas are hard to argue with unless you are really just someone with a reactionary and a hostile side.”
Bringing another member of his family of dysfunctional comic book characters to life by making a ingenious use of the Plaza fragmented architecture and uneven wall surface, D*Face’s “Behind Closed Doors” is not only his fifth mural in Downtown Las Vegas, but his largest ever to date. His other downtown works are located throughout the Fremont East and have been curated by Justkids as well since 2013. “I get to stay in many varied hotels in many cities, as such I’ve become fascinated with the comings and goings in these dwellings, the people, the stories, the lives that have been before,” said D*Face. “I wanted to play and use the architecture to present a mural to the public that is both a reference to and, I hope, a homage to hotel life.”
The result is a frightened Lichtenstein imagery revamped in a perfect twisted D*Face style, and a rising ornamental yet political hopeful Shepard Fairey responding on a conflicted turning point in Americas history. Two pieces of art that will change Downtown’s for the years to come. Justkids through Life Is Beautiful will continue enriching the Las Vegas community with art by bringing both up-and-coming and well-known artists to downtown for the festivals fifth year this September 22-24.
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