Ahead of his new show, we have an exclusive interview with Unga of Broken Fingaz Crew, by Hyland Mather, director of Andenken Gallery.
ARTURb 2015’s edition took place again in Lagos, middle end of September. AKA CORLEONE, ALIAS, BOSOLETTI, MR WOODLAND and REGG were the artists invited to create pieces of art while based at an old prison.
VNA was invited to fully cover this edition. We arrived to Lagos on a Friday’s still warm, late night. The guys were finishing dinner at a tasca (typical Portuguese kind of bistro) the long table resonating with conversations’ sounds and laughter (and a little bit of booze, too). The organizers, Jorge Pereira, Maria João Alcobia and Nuno Pereira were sitting amongst the artists. No formal behaviors or ceremonial mannerisms at sight; the whole atmosphere was the one of a group of good friends having dinner. Quite uncommon for an artistic residence, we shared with Nuno Pereira:
NP (smiling): Do you think so? Well, we prefer to see ourselves more as art-caretakers than as art-curators…
This past Saturday, NYC-based artist and pun extraordinaire Hanksy led an art take over on an abandoned mansion in South Central LA. Titled Surplus Candy, the one day only show featured work from over 100 artists from around the world.
This summer we chose Lagos for our holiday destination. We were looking for beautiful, quiet beaches, nice hot stretches in the sun, cool places for drinks before dinner, and, yes, a little bit of buzz. No more expectations. The truth is we had much more than that: we ended up being struck by what we found on the city walls.
As you start to wander the alleys you literally bump into pieces from international artists such as ROA, BEZT, SAINER, ARYZ, SEPE, ONUR or BORONDO, to mention some, in addition to works from well known Portuguese ones as MÁRIO BELÉM, MAISMENOS, ADDFUEL, amongst others. It wouldn’t be as dazzling if we were in Berlin or Buenos Aires; the thing is it takes place in Lagos, a tiny spot on the Portuguese map, a small picturesque village. How the hell is this happening here?
A few months ago when we were back in Berlin during Urban Nation we had a chance to go out on a mission with one of Berlin’s most prolific graffiti crews, the Berlin Kidz. Take a look closer and you’ll see them abseiling down the wall to catch their tags. As that was going on Alaniz had his mile-high roller brush working on the middle finger from the ground. What’s crazy about this spot is Blu had buffed the entire wall black a few months prior to this as he didn’t like the real estate developers idea of having new condos that would have a great view of the local art hot spot. This was the message the Berlin Kidz and Alaniz had to say about that. Check out the time lapse and action photos shot by Birdman.
Artgang Art Contemporain in Montreal, recently opened a solo exhibition “If Nothing Changes” by Travis Young aka TRAV. TRAV is a California-based who recently started producing fine art after years of making traditional letter-based graffiti as a member of MSK crew. On July 10th he introduced his first Canadian exhibition which features a dozen paintings on paper.
Through his work, the artist is paying tribute to the traditional sign painting by cutting and cropping its elements into abstraction. Along with high technical skills needed to create such works, the artist showed a strong sense of color, form, and line with exhibited pieces. Inspired about his hometown of LA, his works are built with vibrant, eye-catching colors which shape up letters. By layering up such elements and combining them with vintage sign design and geo patterns, his works can be described as geo/txt based abstraction but some of the pieces can be seen as almost surrealist futuristic landscapes. The show will stay on view until August 12th @ Artgang Art Contemporain, a new gallery in Montreal. (Photos by Jose Enrique Montes Hernandez)
VNA 12 cover artist ROA recently painted another of his striking animal murals in Sardinia.
The Belgian artist visited the mediterranean island to paint the mural as part of the Murartista Street Art festival, taking place in the small town of Sadali. His piece fittingly depicts the Sardinian wild boar tied by a rope to the skull of another boar, a commentary on the nature of life and death.
The festival aims to develop innovative initiatives for artistic exchange in Sardinia, inviting leading international street artists to work in a collaborative, small community environment to explore new processes and concepts in public spaces.
Check out some shots of when ROA painted the VNA 12 cover piece in 2012 here.
The cover artist of our current issue #30, Futura, was recently in Venice, taking part in a large group show, working next to other legends such as Boris Tellegen, Doze Green, Eron, Futura, Mode2, SKKI ©, Jayone, Todd James, Teach, and Zero-T. As one of the collateral events of 56th International Venice Biennale Arte, “The Bridges Of Graffiti” opened on May 9th in the presence of participating artists, and will stay on view until November 22nd at the Terminal S. Basilio.
The idea of this coherent show is to present the wide spectrum of creatives that are coming from the graffiti world. Differing in age, geographical origin and influences as well as their current work practice, the artists turned the abandoned ship terminal into an “art terminal”. Futura showed a large abstract triptych along with another large canvas piece, an iron sculpture of his legendary Pointman character, and painted a large mural which is probably the largest abstract works he ever created. Other artist also showed their signature works – Mode 2 painted large figurative mural using only outlines, Doze Green did a similar thing using his distinctive line work, Teach displayed some interesting work using industrial production as an art process, while Todd James once again showed his Vandal room installation. Along with these paintings, murals, sculptures and installations, two legendary photographers, Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, showed their photos featured in legendary Subway Art book. Martha displayed her prints on a large clustered wall, while Henry’s photos of NYC trains were effectively projected on large real train size panels.
Opening tonight (April 23rd) in Geneva, Sowat will be having a solo show with Richard & Le Feuvre Gallery in Switzerland. For this exhibition French-American graffiti artist prepared new body of work that is based on calligraphy and typography, visual languages he fell in love during his stays in California years ago.
Known as a part of the infamous Da Mental Vaporz crew, Sowat has exhibited and painted both legal or illegal all around France and Europe, including working at the Palais de Tokyo. For this particular show he created works on canvas an paper, using various techniques from bamboo stick to acrylic and spray can, as well as an exclusive limited edition lithograph release. Whether understandable or abstract, the works are carrying obvious energy that was put into their creation, juxtaposing the rawness and quickness of graffiti tags with the precision and patience of traditional calligraphy techniques, as seen from these studio preview photos we received.
French mosaicist Invader will be returning to Hong Kong next month for his first ever solo show there.
“Wipe Out” was conceived as a reaction to the artist’s recent negative experiences in the country, when the vast majority of Invader’s public mosaic works in Hong Kong & Kowloon were removed by the Chinese government in 2014 for “safety reasons”.
Refusing to let his global invasion plans be thwarted, Invader’s teamed up with the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Foundation and Le French May for this subsequent event at The Qube, PMQ.
The exhibition will intersperse recreations of the removed pieces with photos taken of the originals in situ. Mosaics feature dragons, dollar signs and the popular Japanese manga character Doraemon alongside his already familiar 8-bit characters. Excitingly, the artist has created a sculpture in tribute to Hong Kong legend Bruce Lee for the show, and uses LED artworks for the first time in his career.
Attendees can pick up souvenir stickers from custom vending machines at the venue, whilst an accompanying book and “FlashInvaders” app will also be on sale. The app can be used whilst at the exhibition, offering increased immersion and interaction for users. All sales at “Wipe Out” will go to Hong Kong charity Pathfinders.
“Wipe Out: An Explosition of Invader in Hong Kong” will run at The Qube, PMQ from 2 – 17 May.
PMQ, 35 Aberdeen Street