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    Mantra’s Trompe L’oeil Murals Encase Enormous Butterflies in Vintage-Style Boxes

    
    Art

    #butterflies
    #murals
    #public art
    #street art
    #trompe l’oeil

    October 15, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    Torino, Italy. All images © Mantra, shared with permission
    Working with entomologists around the globe, the French street artist known as Mantra (previously) transforms brick facades and concrete walls into massive studies of local butterfly specimens. With framed outer edges that mimic a wooden box, the trompe l’oeil murals render the winged insects in detail, depicting their richly hued scales and delicate antennae. Each artwork features species native to the area, making it possible that a live specimen might flutter by its enormous counterpart.
    In a conversation with Colossal, Mantra said he’s harbored a lifelong fascination with entomology that stems from spending hours in French gardens and bucolic areas as a kid. “As a child, I was interested, curious, and focused on the small life forms in those places,” he says. His current practice hearkens back to those carefree hours and connects with an adolescent desire to become a naturalist. “My approach is as a scientist,” the artist says, noting that education about environmental care and issues is part of the goal.
    Although Mantra considers all insects and natural life beautiful and crucial to maintaining biodiversity, the focus on butterflies revolves around his artistic ambitions because the vivid creatures allow him to experiment with color, shape, and texture. Each specimen is rendered freehand before the artist adds detail and the illusory shadows that make them appear three-dimensional. By painting various Lepidoptera species again and again, the artist is “repeating a mantra,” a detail of his practice that informs the moniker he works under.
    In recent months, Mantra has traveled to Belgium, Denmark, and Sweden, in addition to various locations throughout France, to complete public artworks, and he’ll be in Arkansas this month for two projects curated by Just Kids. Follow all of the artist’s entomological murals on Instagram.

    Rombas, France
    Cancún, Mexico. Image by Gino Caballero
    Silkeborg, Denmark
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Dijon, France
    Jacksonville, Florida
    Brooklyn, New York
    Dallas, Texas. Image by Chop’ em Down
    Overum, Sweden
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Cancún, Mexico. Image by Gino Caballero
    Torino, Italy. Image by Martha Cooper

    #butterflies
    #murals
    #public art
    #street art
    #trompe l’oeil

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    New works from E. LEE go up in Chicago

    We always love checking in with Chicago’s E. LEE. E brings creativity and thoughtfulness to every piece (whether in the street or indoors), and there’s usually more than what meets the eye.

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    E. LEE began his street art career in 2015 with a goal to impact lives with art. By taking the viewer into consideration, he orchestrates experiences using trompe l’oeil effects and pop images as symbols. In this series about cultural symbols of value, he replaces common objects with cartoon representations of currency and gold. The depth created with shadows and the fantastic scale creates a sense of awe for the viewer while the simplicity and boldness of the piece sneaks into a complex question of what we value in our culture…and why.
    First up is a work entitled “Looming Large”, in the Uptown neighborhood. The works invites the viewer to sneak a peek at a stash of massive gold coins within an otherwise unassuming building

    Next up is the complex “Your Life as a Comedy” in the Logan Square neighborhood.

    Lee tells Street Art News, “I feel this piece is very important right now. A lot of people are feeling anxious and unsafe in the current environment. A threat from nature in Covid, a threat from society with possible income and housing loss, and a large amount of social unrest on top of everything.”

    Lee continues, “This is an optimistic piece. The viewer is the protagonist and it is the story of our lives. It’s a cycle (represented by the cycle of the day) showing the metaphoric hurdles we all must overcome:
    The desert: an empty barren place with a lack of nourishment. It is loneliness and a feeling of isolation.
    The flood / ocean: turbulent water represents turbulent emotions. It is the opposite of a lack, but rather an overwhelm and possible feeling of drowning.
    Anvils floating above us on balloons: This is anxiety… the random occurrence that can fall on our heads out of nowhere (cancer, pandemic, death of a loved one)
    A Crack in the Earth: This represents us falling into a hole. A major problem or depression we have to climb out of.

    We navigate these obstacles and we get ourselves to the other side. When we do, there is more life (trees and bushes), more balance, and we’re equipped with the tools to build a little more safety for ourselves and the ones we love. The last panel represents us improving our lives, building, and the opportunity to take a breath and rest up… for the cycle and challenge will soon begin again.”

    Have a tip about Chicago street art? Contact @jreich on Instagram More

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    An Intricate Lace Mural Envelops the Facade of a French Fashion Museum

    
    Art

    #lace
    #murals
    #public art

    September 29, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Nespoon
    On France’s northern shores lies the port city of Calais, a municipality that once was a destination for lace manufacturers. To escape economic and social difficulties, English textile artists and engineers immigrated in the late 19th Century, often establishing clandestine operations that defied patent laws by bringing specialty machines and practices to the region. Soon after, Calais became an industrial hub for lace manufacturing, employing around 40,000 residents.
    A new mural by Warsaw-based artist Nespoon (previously) celebrates that rich history through an oversized textile that envelops the facade of a factory. The public artwork features delicate mesh and floral elements that cover the side of the Cité de la Dentelle et de la Mode, the city’s fashion and lace museum. Nespoon chose this particular motif, which dates back to 1894, from the institution’s archive before spray painting its intricate details onto the building.
    Check out the video below to see the lace motif in-progress, and find more of the artist’s textile-based pieces on Behance and Instagram.

    #lace
    #murals
    #public art

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    Okuda San Miguel Transforms a Stark Lighthouse in Spain into a Technicolor Beacon

    
    Art

    #lighthouse
    #murals
    #public art

    September 11, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “Infinite Cantabria” (2020, Spain. All images © Okuda San Miguel, by Beatriz Carretero and Omar H. Garcia, shared with permission
    Situated along the coast in Cantabria, the Faro de Ajo has been transformed from a barren facade into a vivid display of more than 70 hues. The undertaking of artist Okuda San Miguel (previously), the 16-meter tower features a striped bird, wild animals rendered in bold blocks of color, and various dots and squiggles. Now bearing the name “Infinite Cantabria,” it is the first intervention on a Spanish lighthouse. “It has been a unique experience, both because of the artistic challenge that it has brought about for me, as well having carried this project out in my homeland,” says the artist, who is from the region in northern Spain.
    Follow Okuda San Miguel on Instagram to check out more of his global projects, and pick up a face mask, puzzle, or print for a smaller dose of his technicolor interventions. (via TimeOut)

    

    #lighthouse
    #murals
    #public art

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    Outfitted with Knights’ Helmets, Children Painted by Seth Globepainter Play in the Streets of Paris

    
    Art

    #COVID-19
    #helmets
    #kids
    #murals
    #public art
    #street art

    September 10, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Seth Globepainter, shared with permission
    French artist Julien Malland, who works as Seth Globepainter (previously), is responding to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis with a new series of murals that capture the innocence of childhood. Painted throughout the thirteenth district of Paris, the public artworks feature kids in the midst of an imaginary adventure or playful activity: one rides an oversized pigeon, another blows multicolored bubbles, and a pair appears to float above the ground to embrace.
    Each of the figures is sporting a metal knight’s helmet, a sign of protection for their physical wellbeing, in addition to a show of strength and resilience. In a note to Colossal, Globepainter says the headwear also refers to French President Emmanuel Macron’s speech in March in which he said, “We are at war,” as he closed the country’s borders and ordered residents to stay home. The murals represent the way Parisians have accepted this new way of living and are about “how children, in particular, seem to have adapted easily to it,” the artist says. “They are protected by their helmets which weigh so heavily on them. They can only see through small openings in the metal, but they continue to play as if nothing had happened.”
    To see more Globepainter’s public artworks that consider the world through the lens of childhood, follow him on Instagram.

    #COVID-19
    #helmets
    #kids
    #murals
    #public art
    #street art

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    A Vibrant, Geometric Rug Cascades Down a Staircase in a New Mural by Jessie and Katey

    
    Art

    #geometric
    #murals
    #public art
    #rugs
    #stairs
    #textiles

    August 20, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Jessie and Katey, shared with permission. By Shauna Caldwell
    To create the brightly colored textile that cloaks a three-level staircase on the Appalachian State University campus, artists Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn (previously) imagined the concrete steps as a massive loom. They drew grids on the outdoor structure to map out where each individual strip would start, end, and intersect with the larger geometric forms. “There was a lot of math involved, getting the angles and perspective right was a challenge but eventually everything locked into place,” the Baltimore-based duo, who are known as Jessie and Katey, shares with Colossal.
    Evoking the quilts and other textiles that are traditional to Appalachia, the large-scale artwork is composed of vivid gradients layered into a complex web of stripes and woven patches. Neutral-toned tassels line the angled edge at the bottom of the staircase, giving the flat mural the appearance of a rug.
    This public artwork is just one Jessie and Katey have undertaken in recent months. Many of their projects that were postponed due to COVID-19 are reconvening, bringing the pair to Las Vegas, Washington D.C., and a few spots in North Carolina. Although the actual painting process is solitary, Jessie and Katey say they’ve enjoyed seeing how people are experiencing outdoor art since the onset of the pandemic. “It’s really rewarding watching the work get embraced by the public. People get really creative with it, and murals end up becoming a part of the community,” they say.
    To see where the duo is headed next, follow them on Instagram, and check out the prints available in their shop.

    By Michael Olson
    By Shauna Caldwell
    By Shauna Caldwell
    By Shauna Caldwell

    #geometric
    #murals
    #public art
    #rugs
    #stairs
    #textiles

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    A Massive Flower Splays Across Six Surfaces in a New Mural by Artist Mona Caron

    
    Art

    #flowers
    #murals
    #public art
    #street art

    August 3, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “⁣Limonium.” All images © Mona Caron, shared with permission
    An enormous flower overtakes the San José’s cultural affairs building in a multi-plane mural by artist Mona Caron (previously). Titled “Limonium,” the delicate, pink-and-green leaves spread out across the structure’s facade, transcending a single side. Wrapped around six walls and across four planes, the flower appears to be growing continuously from multiple angles.
    The San Francisco-based artist says determining the spatial logistics was straightforward. She added reference points to the wall and superimposed her botanical piece to a photo, which guided her through the process. In a video posted to Instagram, Caron walks around the pastel mural to capture its illusory qualities. “The main plant faces the entrance to the Convention Center on Market Street, but to its left, there is a semi-enclosed cove, which is the entrance to the garage, and there’s another plant in there, with a flower stem that calculatedly appears to be a part of whichever plant you’re looking at,” she shares with Colossal. “Similarly, I carefully drafted the rightmost flower stem (and) leaves to appear continuous when seen both from the street and from the upper terrace.”

    #flowers
    #murals
    #public art
    #street art

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    Bright Elephants Squeeze Into Their Surroundings in Site-Specific Murals by Artist Falko One

    
    Art

    #elephants
    #murals
    #public art
    #street art

    July 22, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “Everybody wants to be down with the dude on top the stairs” (2019), Cape Town, South Africa. All images © Falko One, shared with permission
    For decades, Falko One (previously) has been transforming blank staircases and piles of refuse around South Africa into homes for his technicolor elephants. Despite their striking hues, each mural is site-specific, allowing it to blend in with the facades and surrounding environments. The artist might position the trunk along a ventilation duct or the torso atop cinder blocks and crates, creating an optical illusion within his vivid murals. “My approach is just to add a bit of color to the space without breaking the scenery,” he tells Colossal. “I try not to make them too intrusive. I always respect that for that moment I am just a tourist to that specific community.”
    Generally, the artist finds viewers are drawn in by the colors before considering the ways the elephant bends and conforms to the structured space. “The value for me is listening to the debate about it. At that moment, there are no wrong or right answers. What better way to get people to discuss something without telling them to discuss it. It’s not a formal discussion on the street but playful, honest banter. I like that the most,” he notes.
    Often sharing his latest murals on Instagram, the artist’s motivation for painting the massive pachyderms is simple and about accessibility. “Everyone loves an elephant,” he says.

    “Evergreen” (2018), Cape Town, South Africa
    “Brick Ross” (2020), Cape Town, South Africa
    “Broke back boat” (2019), Praia, Cape Verde Islands
    “Heavy metal” (2019), Johannesburg, South Africa
    “Homestead” (2016), Nkandla, South Africa
    “Perioscope” (2019), Johannesburg, South Africa
    “Welcome home” (2016), Coffee Bay, South Africa
    “What have you done for me lately” (2019), Cape Town, South Africa
    “Wheel of fortune” (2019), Praia, Cape Verde Islands

    #elephants
    #murals
    #public art
    #street art

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