This Fall marked the two-year anniversary of the mural painted by Tatiana Suarez and Kamea Hadar in the neighbourhood of Little Haiti. The collaborative mural was organised by ocean lifestyle brand, Olukai, kicking off Anywhere Aloha—a campaign which shares the spirit of Aloha globally. With the unveiling of their follow-up mural along the historic Miami River, the project’s inspiring message comes full circle.
Russian artist Rustam Qbic has been very busy lately traveling the globe and painting recognizable surrealist murals. He recently flew back to Norway, this time to take part @ Upnorth festival in Bodo.
Visiting the quaint and remote parts of Norway for the first time, the artist was impressed with the nature and the peaceful life there. This inspired him to create more playful image than what we’re used from him. “After School” depicts a young boy spraying the Northern Lights onto the sky with his spray paint. The finished piece nicely blends his love for graffiti, the movement that opened the doors of the world for him, along with this beautiful local phenomenon, adding the local townscape to the image. Keeping his illustrative aesthetics and attention to detail, as well as creating surrealist imagery, Qbic certainly justified his 2nd invitation to Norway in less than 2 months with this piece.
Argentinian artist recently spent some time in Greensboro, North Carolina, creating a new signature mural. Using his floral images Pastel painted a large piece that is emphasized with lots of black negative space around it.
Covering a whole facade of a 3 story buildings, including its windows and other architectural elements, the main floral images is done using limited color palette. Known for aesthetics that evoke illustrations of scientific books, the artist usually paints plants that are growing locally, juxtaposing them against urban elements of the city.
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“Remember kids: you are what you eat! Treat other people as you want to be treated. Don’t run with scissors! The second mouse gets the cheese. Employees must wash their hands. This is the rhythm of the night. John Snow knows nothing! (But maybe he is still alive).” -Herakut
Across the pond in Los Angeles, the German duo Herakut just finished their latest mural and are gearing up for their show at the Corey Helford Gallery on Saturday March 26th. This home shopping network ad to sell you a butterfly shapewear suit to transform yourself from that ugly pug you are and into a beautiful butterfly. As always their loose yet hyper realistic style never ceases to amaze their fans as they can make a large painting of something that is usually the ugliest yet most adorable small dog, a pug, into a beautiful work of art. Even better when they take some inspiration off the Ron English elephant mural on the side of it. They titled the mural: “Herakut’s Butterfly-Effect (tested on elephants).”
Photos & words: Birdman
Part of the ongoing curated projects by Urban Nation in Berlin, Germany project M8 was curated by Stolenspace Gallery and featured just about every major contemporary artist. First of many postings from this project is the beautiful and quite massive mural by Shepard Fairey and the Obey team. Take a look at their process in the pics we got while hanging out with the crew for a couple of days.
Pics by: Birdman Photos
Shepard Fairey will paint his largest mural to date in Detroit, on the recently purchased and soon to be renamed Compuware Building.
The 184 ft wide by 60 ft tall piece will go up some time during Detroit Library Street Gallery‘s “Printed Matters” exhibition, running from May 22 to August 31 across the street. The show features prints inside the gallery using slightly more unorthodox materials such as wood and metal, whilst an outdoor section of the gallery called ‘The Belt’ showcases a smaller mural, displayed for the duration of the event.
Shepard’s largest piece will be placed on the blank, vertical, yellow space shown in the middle of the building, which was recently joint-purchased by two large companies.
LSG displays modern and contemporary fine art, and has previously exhibited artists such as HUSH, Vhils and VNA cover stars Swoon and Cleon Peterson. Printed Matters promises to explore Shepard’s usual themes of iconography and phenomenology alongside his own musical and artistic influences.
Last month Barcelona based artist Miss Van came to visit sunny Los Angeles, CA and found a mysterious looking store on Fairfax Blvd. she wanted to paint. After a friendly exchange of words with Palace Costume, which is an old cinema costume shop usually closed to the public, she invited her friends over to paint the blank front walls. LA based artists Esao Andrews, Victor Castillo and Dan Quintana came to add their work that is usually seen on canvas so it was nice to see their work on a different medium. Once finished Dan, Esao, and Miss Van had a fun time exploring the inside of the costume shop that lead to some hilarious photos on the roof top of the shop. Check out the video and photos by Birdman.
“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.
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.
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.
Known and respected throughout the graffiti scene for his past and present creative conquests, Australian artist JOHN KAYE has no problems getting up and going all out. More recently recognized for his ink illustrations and large-scale mural work, his art has been appearing in multiple galleries and showcases around the world.
We catch up with John to chat about his ideas, artistic integrity and creative influence.
VNA: Talk us through some projects you’re working on at the moment.
JOHN KAYE: My main priority at the moment has just been to draw or paint something everyday. It’s been going well so far. Other than that I’ve been lucky enough to team up with a few different people to work on some collaboration stuff that has been really fun and a massive learning curve. I’ve also been working on developing some limited run clothing that hopefully I can show everyone soon and I’ve been trying to save some money for a few trips I want to go on this year.
VNA: A lot of your illustrations and print series work features poetic lines with underlining themes surrounding crime, punishment and rail transport.
‘All You See Is Crime In The City’, ‘Find The Right Ways To Do The Wrong Things’, ‘From The Cradle to the Grave’, ‘Graffiti Gets You Nowhere’, ‘Better Seen Than Heard’
Obviously these topics are a source of experience and inspiration to you, can you tell us a bit about why?
JOHN KAYE: Traveling and graffiti have both been huge parts of my life. When I was a kid, I was always fascinated by the different graffiti everywhere I went. Generally everything I do is a form of personal expression. The work you are referring to all just relates to things that have happened around me at a certain point in time. As my experiences change, so do the things I create. If people relate to my work, or interpret it in a certain way, I think that’s a good thing. Although, it’s never really the initial intent.
VNA: Do you think your past experiences as an artist have affected your current style?
JOHN KAYE: Definitely. My experiences are the most valuable thing I have. It doesn’t matter if they are mistakes I have made, or things I have enjoyed. They will always affect what I do in some way.
VNA: Why do you think graffiti and street influenced artists are now becoming so prevalent in the mainstream art scene?
JOHN KAYE: The Internet has probably played a massive part in that happening. Everybody today has access to so much more information. Obviously people are constantly pushing boundaries and everything is always developing. So I guess as things evolve and change, people begin to pay more attention and the audience naturally grows.
VNA: It seems ironic that artists such as yourself who’ve come from such colourfully illicit artistic backgrounds are now being commissioned by the same individuals and associations who once strongly opposed the art form. What’s your opinion on this?
JOHN KAYE: Personally I’m very particular about who I choose to work with. I feel like the individuals and associations who once strongly opposed the art form haven’t really been converted into enthusiasts of any sort. All that’s happening is that they are becoming more aware of the possibility to use artwork to there own advantage.
In my experience when I’ve had offers to work with certain people, it’s easy to tell what their motivations are. Sometimes they are very genuine and other times it’s because they are looking to use controlled artwork as a solution to a problem, or something that they can benefit from. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that. I think it’s great that people are open minded enough to take these things into consideration. I just feel that it’s extremely important as an artist to understand why you are doing something in the first place, and then to continuously keep that in mind as you carry on with whatever you decide to do.
VNA: Tell us about home.
JOHN KAYE: Haha, okay. Home at the moment is a confusing subject. I feel like Melbourne is the closest thing to being home. When I was really young I moved around all the time between a bunch of different towns and cities. Nothing has really changed. I still have trouble spending very long in one place. Recently though, I’ve been spending the majority of my time on the Gold Coast. I have some very patient friends that have tolerated me leaving my belongings all over the place and have been kind enough to let me stay with them from time to time, which is lucky.
VNA: You’re heading to Melbourne next week, yeah? What’s on the cards?
JOHN KAYE: A friend of mine is opening a burrito bar with a skate bowl in Melbourne next month and I’ve been working on some illustrations for him, so it seemed like a good enough excuse. I try to spend as much of my spare time down there as I can. I really enjoy painting in Melbourne. The weather is nice and the days are long.
VNA: If you could work with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?
JOH KAYE: If I can pick someone who’s deceased, I’d probably say Nicola Tesla. He had such crazy ideas and visions to create things that would have massive impacts and he continued to work towards them no matter how insane he appeared. If that’s not allowed, then I would probably have to go with Jay Z. Everything he does, he does well.
www.johnkayeart.com / @johnkayeart