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

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

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

The ethereal work of Polish muralist Natalia Rak

By Emma Regolini

January 31, 2020

You may recognise the work of Natalia Rak from her gradient blending, ethereal murals spread across the world and Instagram. The Polish born muralist studied graphic, screen-printing and poster design but later on began to focus on painting and larger scale projects.

Growing up in a small Polish village, Natalia often recounts the absence of street art in her physical surroundings. Today she draws inspiration from mythology, religious symbols and fables.

Today it is widely agreed that Natalia’s murals appear to transcend their physical environments. Rak’s use of symbolism and references to fable-like iconography adds a tangible element of magic to her work. Natalia often cites her deep connection to nature and the importance of protecting endangered species, flora and fauna.

Rak’s murals often portray women from an ethereal perspective. Carving her own space in the street art arena, the Polish muralist says that as a female artist, she understands the complex nature of what it is to be a woman.

Rak also explains that she is more interested in created figures with often-androgynous faces, focusing on their expression and form rather than traditional portrayals of females and males (in Eastern European cultures).

Despite the recurring presence of females in her work, Natalia says that there were not many female street artists to look up to years ago. In what could be considered a male-dominated space, Natalia hopes to be as skilled as her male counterparts while forging her own path and style.

Rak’s work and murals have been included in numerous group exhibitions around the world since 2009. In past interviews Natalia highlights the duality of sharing your work on social media as an artist while remaining inspired and continually creating. She says it is important to share high quality images of your work, sharing the process and how pieces are created