Exploring ‘Home’ with Ian Strange

By Emma Regolini

August, 7th 2020

Work by Ian Strange

The award-wining work of multidisciplinary artist Ian Strange is much deeper than painting warning signals on homes and setting them ablaze.  His practice explores architecture, space and the idea of ‘home’.

Originally from Perth, Western Australia, Strange first trained in film and photography before relocation to Sydney and then onto New York where the trajectory of his career began moving at a faster pace.

Strange is most renowned for his on-going series of suburban architectural intervention and documentation of subverting the archetypal domestic home and the ideas we attach to it.

Each home that he has worked on is scheduled to be demolished in the following days and weeks, making the process and documentation of his practice imperative.

In his 2018 TedTalk, ‘Home is where the Art is,’ Strange explains the idea of ‘home’ as an idea of physical and metaphorical security and familiarity.  A place of nostalgia and history

Strange references his early creative endeavours in the street art scene as work that has set the tone for what he does today.

As each project informs the next, Strange continues to explore people’s relationship to home across the world from USA to Australia, Poland, Japan and New Zealand.

Strange also explores the identity linked to our homes, individually, culturally, temporarily and permanently. The final documentary film and imagery from his projects can be harsh and degrading, adding to the importance we place on these physical spaces.

Through his site-specific works, Strange prioritises the communities, their history and their individual stories, which informs the work. He explores the unique relationship and concept of ‘home’ in each geographical location i.e. socio-economically abandoned mining towns or earthquake-affected cities.

Ian Strange’s 2017 body of work Island (2015-2017), saw him reconfigure the idea of home as a desert island, both a place of solace and one of entrapment, by setting alight (and documenting) three houses in Ohio with text: ‘SOS’, ‘RUN’ and ‘HELP’.

Strange explains the documentation process, “The homes are prepared and restored [where needed], the gardens are dressed, painted and then photographed at dawn and dusk. The documentation is where the work finds it’s final form”. The homes are elevated and celebrated in a way before they are demolished.

Outside of the art-world sphere, Strange is also a collaborator of Virgil Abloh of Off-White, synonymous with the world of luxury street-wear and culture. Strange was commissioned to design sculptures for the Melbourne, Sydney and New York retail spaces.

From painting dystopian warning signs to ‘erasing’ homes (painting them completely black) to setting them ablaze or illuminating them from the inside out, Ian Strange is a formidable force in the contemporary art and street art world.

Add Fuel & Azulejo

By Emma Regolini

July 24th, 2020

Image via Add Fuel

Renowned for his detailed ceramic visuals, Portuguese visual artist Add Fuel (short for Add Fuel to the Fire), Diogo Machado has continued to expand his appetite for tile-based art across the world.

Image via Add Fuel 

Leaving university with a degree in Graphic Design, Add Fuel spent a few years in design studios in Portugal, a short stint in Munich and then honing in on his focus and craft in 2007.

Image via Add Fuel 

The visual and aesthetic origins of his mosaic-tile details originate from cartoons, skate culture and urban visual culture. Intrigued by the possibilities of incorporating these topical inspirations into symmetrical patterning and tessellations, Add Fuel began to build on the design language we see from his work today.

Image via Add Fuel 
Image via Add Fuel 

Add Fuel’s approach to Portuguese ceramic and tile design blends traditional and contemporary decorative elements and references. The layering of compositions creates a trompe-l’œil visual illusion.

Image via Add Fuel 

The artist’s unique process and visual approach creates a dialogue between the history of ceramics as an art form in Portugal and his contemporary visual references. When speaking with Juxtapoz, Add Fuel explains the importance of ‘Azulejo’ tile mosaics around the 13th century.

Image via Add Fuel 

Azulejo is a form of Portuguese and Spanish painted tin-glazed ceramic tile-work. Azulejos are found on the interior and exterior of churches, palaces, houses, schools, and nowadays, restaurants and bars.

Image via Add Fuel 

Azulejos ornamental art form and geometric canvas opens up the opportunity to work use these elements has a canvas for creative expression as Add Fuel has done over time.

Image via Add Fuel 

The level of visual and physical craftsmanship involves a considerable research process. Add Fuel’s work is adaptive in that it can tell as story though a mural, in a gallery or a real tiled space.

Image via Add Fuel 
Image via Add Fuel 
Image via Add Fuel 
Image via Add Fuel 
Image via Add Fuel 
Image via Add Fuel 

Courts as a Canvas

By Emma Regolini

July 17th, 2020

Basketball courts are the perfect canvas for large-scale murals as well as creative and recreational activism.  These spaces are often meeting points and cultural hubs for members of the community.

Court by Gustavo Zermeño Jr and Alfonso Garcia with Project Backboard

Founded in 2014 by Dan Peterson, Project Backboard focuses on transforming neglected court spaces into large-scale artworks for the community.

Court by Matt W. Moore with Rémy Martin

After Peterson began to notice the decaying state of some of the courts in his community, he began small improvements and touch-ups, eventually collaborating with local artist Anthony Lee on a Memphis court refurbishment, which became the birth of Project Backboard.

Court by Lois O’Hara

Peterson told Colossal that he prefers to work with local artists from areas who have a connection to the park or city where the court is located.

Court by Mark Paul Deren

Project Backboard has expanded from Memphis to St Louis, Los Angeles, Baltimore, New Rochelle and New York. Using courts as a canvas for public art means that that it is accessible to all members of the community and has the power to transform neglected spaces.

Court by Mur0ne

We’ve pulled together some of our favourite court murals by Project Backboard and others from around the world…

Court at Pigalle Paris
Court by AKACORLEONE
Court by Nick Dahlen with Project Backboard
Court by Scott Albrecht with Project Backboard
Court by Ugo Galassi
Court by Gustavo Zermeño Jr with Project Backboard
Court by Charlie Edmiston with Project Backboard
Court by Alexey Luka
Court by Blue the Great with Jumpman
Court by Lindert Steegen
Court by Kaws with Nike
Court by Katrien Vanderlinden
Court by Carlos Rolón with Project Backboard

Exploring the Clean, Bold, Optimistic work of Efdot

By Emma Regolini

July 10th, 2020

Image via Efdot

Efdot, also known as Eric Friedensohn is U.S. based artist and creative mind known for his figurative hand-drawn works. His minimalist, abstract-meets-figurative style has allowed him to work solo or collaborative across mediums worldwide

Image via Efdot

Drawing inspiration and nuance from artists including M.C. Escher and Keith Haring, Efdot has been able to establish a signature style and apply it to branded projects with WeWork, Google and Skillshare among others.

Image via Efdot

Efdot’s latest community-building project Muralists, is an online platform feature stories and advice from muralists around the world. In an age when ‘go-big-or-go-home’ outdoor messaging and murals have the power to start conversations and create change, Muralists is an exciting platform to see grow.

Image via Efdot

We asked Efdot a few questions about his creative process during the pandemic as well as advice for his younger self and other artists.

If you could give one piece of advice to your 18 year old self what would it be?

I’d tell my 18-year-old self to not be afraid of putting your art out there for fear of judgement. And don’t be afraid to focus on a specific niche of creative work. That’s how people will remember and support you.

Image via Efdot

What advice would you give to a young creatives wanting to freelance/source clients?

Start out by building a solid portfolio to show potential clients. Focus on quality AND quantity. If you have a product that is unique and memorable, it’s just a matter of time before clients reach out to work with you. Patience and persistence is the key.

Respect the people you’re working with, but also respect your own needs and rights.

Image via Efdot

What was the impetus for starting Muralists?

I noticed a lot of artists wanting to get into painting murals, but they didn’t have too many helpful resources or opportunities to learn.

In 2018, I started collaborating and having conversations with different muralists to study their processes. I wanted to share their work, experience, and knowledge of others in the field, along with the things that have served me as a muralist. Everyone’s practice is different, so having a platform that can share the nuances and narratives of each artist is really awesome.

We are just getting started with the Muralists project, and will be launching a podcast very soon called “Extra Paint” to share deeper conversations with our featured artists. You can find it at www.muralists.com.

Image via Efdot

Has your creative process changed while working through the pandemic?

Yes, definitely. I have been making fewer murals and collaborating in-person less. This is because most of my commercial mural projects have been postponed as businesses are shut and big events are not really happening. But I am still making art, in the form of donation-based murals, drawings and paintings, limited edition prints and baseball cards.

Image via Efdot

Is there a dream project that you would like to work on?

I would like to design and paint a skate park. I can see it having a ton of awesome skateable sculptures and murals in it as well.

Image via Efdot

What are three key learnings/lessons from your contract with WeWork?

1. Everything can be a collaboration, and therefore be made stronger.

2. I learned various tools and techniques that allow for my work to explore different media. I consider myself a multidisciplinary artist and feel that I can create works for a multitude of spaces/environments.

3. Research makes more impactful art. Art typically exists within a specific context, and, through research, you can make your art resonate deeper with an audience or serve as an example of a particular time or place.

Image via Efdot

What is your dream mural location?

I haven’t painted a mural on the side of a building larger than three stories tall. I’d like to do a large mural like this in the next year. I’m not super picky about the location as long as there are a good amount of people around to actually see and enjoy the mural.  If I had to choose a city I’d say Barcelona… They have a great art/design scene I’ve always had a dream to live there.

Image via Efdot

Can you describe your work/style in three words?

Clean, Bold, Optimistic

Image via Efdot

The Human Condition with Faith XLVII

By Emma Regolini

May 1st, 2020

FaithXLVII, Johannesburg

Faith XLVII (47) is an internationally acclaimed visual artist from Cape Town, South Africa. As an interdisciplinary artist, Faith47’s work speaks to issues of human rights, social issues and spiritual endurance across different races and genders.

Faith XLVII, ‘SALUS POPULI SUPREMA LEX ESTO-SKID ROW’ 2018

Her career spanning across the last two decades has seen her work on the walls of abandoned factories to bustling marketplaces, Skid Row and gallery settings.

Faith XLVII, ‘Multum In Parvo’ 2013

In post-apartheid country, Faith47 found her work inspired by the social and political issues around her in South Africa. Even at first glance, her murals strike a deeper tone within the viewer, transcending their physical location.

Faith XLVII, ‘Unearth’ 2016

Imagery depicting political problems, environmental destruction, women’s rights and humanitarian subjects, Faith47 debunks these issues with a truthfulness and emotive nuance allowing the viewer to reflect on the human condition and the world around us.

Faith XLVII, ‘Who will Guard the Guards themselves?’ 2016

A recurring theme in Faith47’s work is the physical location in which she stages her murals. These spaces become somewhat of a sanctum or spiritual place where the work can breathe and speak for itself.

Faith XLVII, Johannesburg 2017

Faith explains that, “there’s a fragility in these [broken down, decaying] environments as it reflects life [or one that once was]. She has also mentioned that,

“These empty building feel like spiritual experiences, exploring holy chambers of neglected architecture.”

Faith XLVII
Faith XLVII, ‘Multum In Parvo’ 2013

Creating art in these spaces brings an air of intimacy between the viewer and the artwork. The feeling of spirituality, Faith has mastered across many diverse environments.

Faith XLVII, ‘ The Psychic Power of Animals’ 2015

Her work in Warwick Triangle, Durban, South Africa (2014) presents murals across six huge walls on four support columns of the N3 viaduct adjacent to the Early Morning Market in Warwick. Faith has said that the energy on the streets breathes life into the work.

Faith XLVII, ‘A STUDY OF WARWICK TRIANGLE AT RUSH HOUR’ 2014

An artist has the ability to learn so much and see different layers of culture and systems in these open environments, something that can’t be experienced in a studio.

Faith XLVII, ‘A STUDY OF WARWICK TRIANGLE AT RUSH HOUR’ 2014

The project at Warwick Triangle allowed Faith to explore the notion of an informal economy and celebrate traders from the market, highlighting the everyday man or woman on the street. The artworks also feature cultural tapestry patterns and poem excerpts from Durban locals.

Faith XLVII, ‘A STUDY OF WARWICK TRIANGLE AT RUSH HOUR’ 2014

More recently, Faith47 worked alongside fellow South African artist Inka Kendzia to create and stage a projection-mapping mural in Cincinnati during the Blink Light Festival.

Faith XLVII, ‘AD PACEM’ 2019

Faith’s artwork depicted Eirene the Greek goddess of peace, highlighting the importance of actively working towards societies which function on open communication and inclusion, core pillars of humanity.

Faith XLVII, ‘AD PACEM’ with Inka Kendzia 2019

The detailed and montage-like projections interacted with the work to communicate a narrative alluding to borders, immigration, freedom of movement, protesting and the strength of the human spirit above all.

Faith XLVII, ‘AD PACEM’ with Inka Kendzia 2019

The raw intimacy and vulnerability in Faith’s work carries a profound weight of human interconnectedness and the sanctity of human life and what we make of it.

Faith XLVII, ‘Estamos Todos Los Que Cabemos’ 2015

In 2011, Faith referred to the street art scene as a new art movement that many “had not yet got their head around.” It has now become a way to start conversations and connect individuals.

She explained [in year’s to come] “people will be reading about it in art history textbooks.” A visionary in her own right, Faith47 is one of the most revered female street artists in history.

Faith XLVII, ‘ The Psychic Power of Animals’ 2015

While We’re Inside…with Vadim Solovyov

By Emma Regolini

April 24th, 2020

As we remain locked inside whilst the pandemic sweeps through the world,  Vadim Solovyov is reimagining a new reality.

The artist’s digital manipulations of larger-than-life creatures give voice to a seemingly dystopian reality than the one we are currently experiencing.

Via Vadim Solovyov

Portraying everyday urban environments overthrown by pigeons, racoons or sea-life presents an eerily surreal parallel universe where human civilisation is no longer in power.

As we collectively settle into a ‘new normal’ in 2020 from raging natural disasters to a sweeping pandemic, Solovyov’s fantastical compositions remain a thought provoking concept.

Solovyov has shared with publications that he began this conceptually dystopian series as a way to explore strange events in his reality.

For example the colossal sized raccoon making it’s way to the embankment to perhaps rinse itself, references the need for washing and sanitising our hands to help present the spread of COVID-19.

The artist sites that his visual depictions each uniquely comment on an issue or problem in society facing the human race.

Despite it’s dystopian connotations, the visuals spark surprise and curiosity for viewers with a deeper call to action.

Instinct and Experimentation with PunkMeTender

By Emma Regolini

April 17th, 2020

Contemporary artist PunkMeTender is most recognised for his bold and instinctual artwork and installations adorning the walls of Miami Art Basel, the Kardashian’s and many LA streets.

Via PunkMeTender

Originally hailing from France, PunkMeTender came to Los Angeles to pursue his passion for art and experimentation. With creativity sewn into his family lineage, PunkMeTender says that he,

“Found painting as a form of therapy and a way to express his emotions.”

PunkMeTender
Via PunkMeTender

The artist’s style and work is constantly evolving, drawing nuances and elements from street art, graffiti, photography and the female form.

Via PunkMeTender

PunkMeTender’s instinctual approach to his work means he can break the rules as he pleases, reflected in his moniker. Adding to the mystique of his work, PunkMeTender stays anonymous to maintain his freedom and express himself creatively without restraint.

Via PunkMeTender at Content Art Fair Miami

His artworks range from large-scale 3D murals to smaller fine art objects and private celebrity commissions. Recurring motifs include his use of butterflies and plexiglass exploring evolution and an untouchable desire.

Via PunkMeTender for Kylie Cosmetics
Via PunkMeTender

PunkMeTender cites his artistic inspiration stemming from; Yves Klein for his minimalism, Damien Hirst for his ingenuity, Jean Paul Gaultier for his creativity and Alexander McQueen for his emotive creations and out of the box visions.

Via PunkMeTender

It’s evident that through his work, PunkMeTender explores the intersection of street art, fashion and female sensuality while honing in on the natural desires of human kind. His work has a passionate and enigmatic energy communicated through his use of bold colours and beautiful dimensions.

Via PunkMeTender

He states that, “the secret is to have the ability to find weaknesses in your own work and to dig those pain points out before anyone else.”

Jerkface
Via PunkMeTender

We asked PunkMeTender a few questions about his career trajectory and advice…

Who are you and what do you do? I am PunkMeTender, and I am an artist. 

Your work often features butterflies, representing transformation and new beginnings. How has your work evolved and changed over time? My work is constantly evolving; I compare it to a study. My artwork in an endless study, but the scale of the evolution becomes more and more refined. 

Has there been a defining moment or project in your career to date? The day I landed my feet in Los Angeles, I knew it was my city, a city of angels. 

Does the scale of a project ever intimidate you? Not at all, I’m usually the one to push projects to a bigger scale and to their limits.  

What is your dream project? My dream project is to curate and design a haute couture fashion show at Paris Fashion Week.

What are you currently working on? Currently, I am working on spinning paintings. I’m studying the connection between the feelings of layering the paint and the mécanique of spin that has no feelings. 

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given? If you don’t go forward, then you stay still.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Keep fucking up.

How would you describe your work in three words? Real, Aesthetic, dimensional

Via PunkMeTender

THE CULTURALLY ENCHANTING WORK OF GLEO

By Emma Regolini

April 3rd, 2020

Gleo ‘The Other’ São Paulo, Brazil 2017

Colombian artist Gleo has made a name for herself outside of her hometown of Cali (Colombia) on the street art scene globally.

Growing up in a small tropical city of the Colombian Pacific, Gleo also known as Natalia Gallego, has found freedom in painting walls since she was fifteen as a form of self expression and political participation.

Gleo, 2017 image by Jadi Ilias

Gleo often recites her purpose for painting walls, streets or public spaces as a reflection of their accessibility and universal ownership. Gleo explains that the “word ‘public’ is very complex, this space belongs to everyone and no one.”

Gleo, 2019

In recent years Gleo’s work has featured masked mystical beings and creatures often symbolising Latin American mythologies or cosmology. Her work captures these creatures in dream-like state through colour and the objects adorning them.

Gleo, 2017

She cites that we often “dress up and put on a mask, trying to transcend a higher self.” It is true, that Gleo perfectly captures the perceived demigod state of mind in her work on a large scale.

Gleo, 2019

A common thread between her past work includes historical objects or talismans as she draws inspiration from periods of antiquity and ancestral cultures. Her characters appearing transcendent in nature exude a sense of knowledge and spiritual power.

Gleo, 2019

When commenting on the lifespan of each murals, Gleo goes back to the public ownership of each space and therefore it’s preservation is dependent on the inhabitants. With some murals lasting days, months or years, many street artists can agree that the fate of each piece is out of their individual control.

Gleo’s enchanting, captivating and colourful murals have taken over walls worldwide from Colombia to Peru and across Europe. As a prominent female Latin American artist, the world has fallen in love with Gleo’s blended composition of cross-cultural iconography and warm theatrical renderings.

Gleo, 2016

Remixed Nostalgia with Jerkface

By Emma Regolini

March 27th, 2020

You may recognise Jerkface’s nostalgia-driven, potently optimistic reimaginations of yours and my favourite cartoon icons. His remix of colourful pop-iconography makes his work not only stands out but will also make you stand still and appreciate his flawless attention to detail and nuance.

Jerkface in Brooklyn, 2016

Jerkface’s daring dissections and use of ubiquitous characters including The Simpsons, Spongebob, Mickey Mouse, Looney Tunes and many more make him a key player in the art scene.

Jerkface’s first wall as a teen in Queens 2013

Breaking away from widely used stencil, wildstyle or realism forms of street art, Jerkface’s pieces evoke a sense of familiarity, naivety and innocence.

Jerkface in Manhattan, NY 2016

The artist often reflects on the happiness he sought from cartoon programs during his childhood years. His work bridges the gap between youthful memories and the weight adulthood.

Jerkface in New York, NY 2017

From geometric abstractions to repetition and transparent layers, Jerkface purposefully creates provocative scenes that are rich with emotion, energy and an unbridled enthusiasm. In a time like this, Jerkface’s work seems indispensable now more than ever.

Jerkface Grand in Manhattan, NY 2014
Jerkface, 2018

The artist’s creative process however is far from simple. Relying and trusting on his intuition and experience over time, Jerkface explains that his design process starts with the idea and then a sketch which he builds on to refine the design. He says that, “over time, you learn to look at your work better and differently.”

Jerkface in Asheville, NC 2017

Over the years, you can see his designs become more refined and enriched with movement while staying true to the innocence and joy of his youth. True to form, with constant revision and improvement, his pieces today are flawless.

Jerkface in Manhattan, NY 2017

He states that, “the secret is to have the ability to find weaknesses in your own work and to dig those pain points out before anyone else.”

Jerkface
Jerkface in LES NYC, 2016

By manipulating and refining his playful characters, Jerkface has been about to create new compelling visual narratives for characters including Pink Panther, Sesame Street and many more.

Jerkface in Brooklyn, 2018

In addition to his success in the street art world, Jerkface’s 2016 exhibition “Saturday Morning” (a nod to Saturday morning cartoons) at Under the Influence gallery in Hong Kong garnered international recognition leading to several murals around Hong Kong and the US.

Jerkface in Manhattan, 2014

When asked about his view on street art today, Jerkface says, “everything happening around street art is inspiring.” Heavily influenced by his surroundings in New York, the artist explains that he is most inspired by “the regularity of artists painting massive buildings.”

Jerkface in Manhattan, 2015

As the circuit of street art festivals worldwide expands and street art becomes more widely respected, it is exciting to see artists like Jerkface and others share their work on a big scale.

Jerkface in Brooklyn, NY 2017

“Art on such a big stage is so overwhelming, so grand. It becomes larger than life.”

Jerkface
Jerkface Manhattan, 2015

MAGNIFYING THE ARTIST MADC

By Emma Regolini

March 20th, 2020

You may recognise her multi-coloured abstract murals from around the world. MadC is the unstoppable female artist dominating the traditionally male oriented arena of graffiti and street art today.

MadC villa mural for Pullman Hotels Maldives

MadC, also known as Claudia Walde is a German born graffiti writer and muralist. Carrying a degree in graphic design with a Master’s stamp, MadC began her career in graffiti long before her adult years.

MadC Germany 2020

Completing her first graffiti piece at 16 years of age, MadC went on to reach early international acclaim in 2010 with her piece, known as the ‘700 Wall.’ The wall covered 700 square metres along the train line between Berlin and Halle and took 4 months to complete. According to most sources, the painting is still the large graffiti mural created by a single person.

MadC ‘700 Wall’ Berlin-Halle 2010

Following her success from the ‘700 Wall,’ MadC’s style and approach slowly began to change direction. Departing from detailed and thematic storytelling, her work and artistic path diversified into gallery shows, larger scale murals and a deeper analysis of the pillars of traditional graffiti.

MadC London, UK 2013
MadC 1000 square foot wall, Chicago 2018

What has been acknowledged as a shift in ‘artistic strategy,’ saw MadC take a closer look at wild-style graffiti, dynamic lines and bold motion and colours. Her murals could now be described as having placed a magnifying lens over aggressive lettering, angles and shapes to give clarity to a different world of expression, beauty and art.

MadC Philadelphia, USA 2016 for the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

MadC’s focus on magnified brush strokes and layered transparencies give way to a liquid form. Her murals spread across the world wash the faces of multi-storey walls in an effortless way.

MadC 12-storey mural in Berlin 2019, for Berlin Mural Festival

Bridging the divide between street art and the gallery world, MadC presented her first show in 2015 named, ‘Night and Day.’ The series explored the relationship between night and day and the role it plays in the life and activities of a graffiti artist.

MadC Marrakech, Morroco 2016

More recently, MadC presented a series of works, ‘Dialogue’ throughout the gardens of the Brenners Park Hotel in Germany Each sculptural painting has a direct link to the hotel and their placement in the garden. The painting, ‘Indigo Coelin’ (centre below), represents the fresh breeze, which floats through the restaurant. Elements of pink add sweetness while the gold lines draw meaning from the gold elements inside the hotel.

Depending on the light, the gold changes throughout the day, similar to the light, which reflects and moves through the restaurant.

MadC ‘Dialogue’ 2019, Brenners Park Hotel, Germany

MadC’s magnified, abstract style brings a fresh and vibrant energy to the world of traditional graffiti. Claudia’s roots in graphic design and teenage years honing her craft has enabled her to build, develop and refine a recognisable style which she is renowned for today.  

MadC Germany 2015