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 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

Urvanity Art 2020

By Emma Regolini

February 21st , 2020

Urvanity Art Fair is back for 2020! Living up to its incredible legacy, this year’s has an impressive line up of artists from around the world!

The event brings together creatives from urban, street art, graffiti spheres. In its fourth rotation, Urvanity has become a meeting point for collectors, artists and likeminded individuals to collectively celebrate contemporary art.

Artist: D*Face

Sergio Sancho, the founder of the Madrid based festival says that ‘Urvanity’ began with his passion for art and his mission to increase visibility for artists from non-traditional backgrounds who are breaking boundaries, literally and figuratively. 

Artist: Artez

Known for being Spain’s birthplace for artistic movements, Madrid has a rich artistic history to celebrate, from graffiti to lowbrow, neo-pop and urban contemporary influences. This year Urvanity will spread across 30 galleries showcasing more than 90 artists from around the world.

Artist: Martin Gordopelota

This year the art event will place an emphasis on the presence of international galleries partaking including Le Feuvre & Roze (France), MAGMA (Italy), PADRE Gallery (United States), Pantocrator Gallery (China) and Artrust (Switzerland), which will present works by the inimitable, Banksy.

Artist: Cranio

The event program will not only include an incredible showcase of artworks from a range of disciplines but also a series of panel discussions debating topics surrounding the concept of new contemporary art.

Artist: Cayetena H. Cuyás

With an impressive line-up of galleries and artists, Urvanity, for it’s fourth consecutive year continues to establish itself as a key player in the art fair circuit and a gathering place for some of the best and up-and-coming creative minds.

Artist: Sergio Mora

Urvanity 2020 will present an exciting program filled with activities, talks and round table discussions. Global Street Art has been invited present an insightful talk about ‘Walls and words.’  The talk will explore the power of social media and communication tools in expanding the world of urban and contemporary art! We are excited to support Urvanity in 2020 and beyond! Let the art fair begin!

Artist: PECA

Adapting street art in the digital age with INSA

By Emma Regolini

February 14th , 2020

Bristol born artist INSA has a rich history of creative projects before hitting the sweet spot with his iconic Gif-iti style of work, which he is best known for today. Before focusing on his labour-intensive animated murals, INSA has designed signature collections with Kangol and Kid Robot as well as private commissions for clients including Nike and Sony.

Today, INSA’s work is accessible around the world thanks to the internet. Upon reflecting about how his work is consumed online, including reduced pixels and low quality image resolutions, INSA decided to convert his murals into gif animations, best enjoyed online.

The process behind his hypnotising motion graphics involves re-working, re-painting and re-photographing layers of a mural and then converting them into a looped animation. The layers build colours, shapes, geometrics and dimension compositions, which allows a full story to unfold when the final animation is completed.

INSA’s murals align perfectly with the tumblr, tik-tok and instagram generations of the current digital age.

While his work is carried out in the physical world, his art can only be enjoyed through digital means. Through his augmented-reality ‘Gif-iti-‘ app, INSA makes it accessible to “experience the work firsthand through different viewing platforms.” Unlike other detailed and large scale murals that are best viewed IRL, INSA flips the coin, allowing anyone around the world to enjoy his work at any time.

What could be considered, one of his most impressive pieces to date is his collaboration with Ballantine on a satellite scale floor mural covering 57,515 square metres. With a team of 20 and a satellite 431 miles above the earth, INSA wanted to create the world’s largest GIF. Inspired by his trademark ‘Looking For Love’ design, the team worked to get the floor piece completed over four days in Rio de Janeiro in 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

Odeith and the Rise of Anamorphic Street Art

By Emma Regolini

January 17, 2020

Anamorphism in street art refers to the intentional distortion of perspective, a type of optical illusion that is best viewed from a particular vantage point to experience the true image.

Early use of anamorphism or the ‘distorted perspective,’ dates back to prehistoric cave painting, as artists had to adapt to the oblique angles of cave structures. Over time the technique has been revived and used for different purposes suited to the climate of the era.

In the 17th century, anamorphosis was used to conceal images for privacy or personal safety or to hide secrets particularly associated with royal figures.

Anamorphism used in 17th century fine art paintings
Anamorphism used in 17th century fine art paintings

Today, artists use anamorphism by selecting a specific angle from which to view the piece in or take the best photograph, and for Portuguese artist, Odeith, this often involves calculated 90-degree angles or curved surfaces.

Image via https://www.odeith.com/
Image via https://www.odeith.com/
Image via https://www.odeith.com/

Although the style of 3D art is well established, Odeith has driven and refined the anamorphic style, playing with optical illusions by creating life-like scenes involving creatures, cars, chrome lettering and other realistic objects.

Combining mathematical measurements, shadows and at times an imitated background, Odeith achieves, what he refers to as his ‘sombre 3D,’ style.

It is easy to overlook the detail and skill of Odeith’s work until we are shown the piece from a more conventional angle before we can understand how the design is perfectly stretched and distorted to achieve the perfect shot.

The Portuguese artist is most renowned for his abandoned bus illusion mural piece, which quickly became a viral sensation. After coming across a block-like structure, Odeith eventually unveiled the incredibly realistic bus.

Odeith’s style is one, which is so unique and restrictive to imitation that his portfolio of work from over the years continues to push boundaries and inspire artists across the world.