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 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

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.