Greek Mythology Morpheus Fresco Mural Charon

The History of Murals

What is a mural?

A mural is a piece of art that is painted on walls. It can be on the inside of buildings or outside for public display. They are large and take artistic expertise to paint them. The artwork incorporates the architecture of the building to bring out the painting and the building as one.

There is an ongoing debate on whether the drawings that are on canvases then put up on the walls qualify as murals. It is an artistic style that has however been in use since the 19th century. Murals are on only on side walls; they can be on ceilings and floors.#

Brief history of murals

Murals date back to 30,000 BC from the earliest paintings in the Chauvet cave France. The largest numbers of paintings are from Egyptian tombs in 3150BC, Pompeii in 100BC-AD79 and Minoan places 1700-1600BC. The whole period within which ancient paintings are is known as the Upper Paleolithic times.

Dry plaster is how paintings were put together in the Middle Ages, the 14th century. Kerala mural painting is an example of fresco secco. When the technique of painting murals on wet plaster took root in Italy, circa 1300, wall painting quality grew. It is the age where mural painting began to take shape and become modern.

The best-known style of mural painting is Fresco, but there are many methods and techniques as shown by the Mexican muralism art movement that took significant root in modern times. The pioneers of this movement include Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and Jose Orozco.

Fresco technique of mural painting utilizes water soluble paints and lime wash. Applying the mixture on large surface results in a wall painting. Once the mixture dries, the colors take shape. For millennia, another method known as the Marouflage technique has been in use.

Today, people appreciate murals even more, and the methods are different. They now incorporate oil painting which is very popular. There are abstract paintings and trickster murals that are known as Trompe-l’oeil. The significant change came about through the works of Graham Rust and Rainer Maria in the 1980’s. In Europe, oil painting has taken center stage and is in private and public buildings.

Mural painting is revolutionary and proves that walls and ceilings do not have to be plain. Now, wall paintings can be shown by transferring the wall art into a poster paper canvas and then paste on a wall. The art or photographic image gives the illusion of a realistic scene on the wall.

History of mural painting techniques

Fresco paintings are the earliest method used. It came from Italy and came from the word fresh. There are two categories of the art. Fresco is whereby you apply paint on plaster on the walls and ceilings whereas the Buon fresco technique, you paint in pigment and mix it with water on thin wet, lime layer of mortar or plaster. The wet plaster and the dye mix, and when it is dry, the reaction with air glues in place the particles of the pigment.

Fresco Decoration Pictorial Mexico Mural Cancun

Once the process is complete, the painting can last centuries with the pictures looking fresh, and the color is brilliant. Fresco painting is on dry plaster, and therefore the pigment needs a medium like glue, oil, or egg that will fix the pigment to the wall.

Mezzo fresco is another technique that paints on almost dry plaster and came to be in the 16th century by Ignazio Pozzo. The pigment will drive into the plaster lightly and give impeccable murals. The mezzo fresco style of painting considerably took over the Buon fresco method.

Materials used in mural painting

Over the centuries, different materials have been in use for wall painting and the evolution of the techniques has also seen to the change in the materials. The earliest known is the tempera painting which then gave way to oil painting in the 16th century.

Paintings once complete in the old days did not have any protection from sun rays. As the materials and times change, the application of varnish and protective acrylic has taken shape to guard the murals against UV sun rays.

The use of POP clay is what young muralists are using. They mix it with glue to make them even more durable. When the clay dries, you then paint with the colors you want and even apply varnish for protection.

Technology has taken its place in the mural painting. Digital techniques are now taking shape in a mural painting like wall scape. Mural painting has been in constant evolution over the years, and it continues to evolve to incorporate the use of modern materials and pictures.

Advantages of murals

Murals are imperative in the world of art and the contemporary world because they bring art to the public and make people more aware of art. Murals are expensive and take a significant amount of time that is why for a painting to be put up, there has to be a sponsor who is funding the project.

Murals are also a communication tool. You can use a wall painting to communicate the message that you wish the public to know. The size of the painting will attract the attention of the public which makes it an effective way of communicating a message.

Murals affect the attitudes of the people passing by them. Everyone gets their understanding of the painting, and they therefore add aesthetic value to the areas that they are put up. They can be a tourist attraction that brings improvement to the areas.

Murals can also be used as landscapes, especially because they are vast and hard to miss paintings. Every painting is unique, and it’s hard to mistake one for the other. Murals are a way of expression for the muralists. It is their way of speaking to people and the world. They command the attention of the people and leave their mark in the area for centuries to come

Murals are continually coming up, and most people are now aware of the existence of paintings, their artistic value and their significance in the community. They take time and patience to put up and with modern technology taking over, the evolution of muralism is even faster than before.

masaaki hiroi holding one of his spinning tops

80-year-old Masaaki Hiroi Makes Spinning Toys for Fun

Nowadays, it’s uncommon to find craftsmen who have mastered their art through eras as well as really love what they do. 80-year-old Masaaki Hiroi is one of those jewels – a fourth generation wooden toymaker prominent for his Japanese Edo spinning tops.

Masaaki Hiroi started making the spinning tops in his 30s having learned the technique from his father. He has presently made more than 4,000 varieties. Edo spinning tops were popular during the Edo Period, around 1603-1867 but Hiroi still thrives on these toys. They have a distinctive component which adds an extraordinary movement to the toys and they are sometimes loaded with entertainment.

He says, “I want to make people who buy my toys laugh”, which he creates to be enjoyed by both young and old people.

In spite of the fact that his original works were based on tradition, they were not acknowledged in Japan and perhaps it was a big blow to his efforts. Yet, Hiroi continued his endeavor. In 1980, he was invited to Paris to exhibit his creations and was exceptionally appraised. While in the exhibition, he was convinced that to maintain the tradition, one needs to continue creating the tradition from the old.

At long last, the Japanese caught up with his innovation, uniqueness and his conviction. And since 1983, Hiroi began to be invited to the United States and other countries to have exhibitions and workshops. He has exhibited his works in over 50 countries to date.

The Japanese craftsman is also popular for his ability in creating conventional super spinner, kyoku-goma tops which are used by conventional spinning performers for their expert exhibitions.
The Kyoku-goma is extremely basic top yet which needs the highly skilled craftsman to make the best balance and spinning movement. You might need to take a spin but it’s difficult. This top is for those who try to reach the apex in spinning tops. But once you master the skill, you’ll have the capacity to get this magnificence to move along a tight string while spinning at the same time.

Although many children these days forego toys and rather choose to keep their minds buried in their pervasive iPads and iPhones, far less would ever opt to play with an antiquated wooden toy instead of their cutting-edge plastic partners. Yet, this hasn’t discouraged the 80-year-old craftsman from spending his days making carefully assembled wooden artworks to amuse an increasingly smaller group of youngsters.

“Cutting-edge technology is fun, but it’s a pity if children become absorbed only in those toys. There are traditional toys and traditional ways to play in Japan, one of them is spinning top. I am sad to see so many old toys become obsolete around the world. I can only wish that children continue to play with both new and old toy. I want to make people who buy my toys to laugh and make toys that anyone, old and young, men and women can enjoy. We are given such little time”, says Hiroi.

Today, Masaaki Hiroi is highly perceived an expert craftsman of Edo Tops and his mission for inventiveness still continue.

Hillary Clinton Mural that Caused Controversy

First it was a mural depicting a near-naked Hillary Clinton in a swimsuit with stars and stripes. The mural went viral, circulating around social media and causing criticisms of all kinds. The provocative painting was displayed on the wall of a small business building in the Melbourne suburb of Footscray.

Protests followed from Maribyrnong Council who called the mural offensive.

“We believe it is offensive because of the depiction of a near-naked woman, not on the basis of disrespect to Hillary Clinton, in accordance with the Graffiti Prevention Act 2007,” said Stephen Wall, CEO of Maribyrnong City Council.

hillary clinton mural wearing star spangled bathing suit with cash

That prompted Lushsux, creator of the mural, to add something extra to his painting – he painted some $100 notes stuffed in the swimsuit in reaction. This was also a response to Instagram after it suspended his account for posting the image on the social media platform. The artist’s account had already won over 100,000 followers.

The authority went further to claim that local residents were not happy with the painting and even threatened the owner of the building with the prosecution along with a fine if the mural was not removed. Of course, the mural went up during Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign so perhaps it created a negative image of her.

‘Hillary Clinton’ in a Burqa

Lushsux branded the calls to remove the mural as pathetic. Instead of removing the mural, he eventually covered up the swimsuit by painting a Burqa over it, leaving only the eyes showing. The Burqa is traditional outfit worn by Muslim women to cover their bodies in public.

hillary clinton mural by lushsux wearing a burqa

Next to the new work, he painted the message, “If this Muslim woman offends u, u r a bigot, racist, sexist Islamophobe.” He then posted on his new account, “This is no longer a wall of a supposed ‘offensive and near naked’ Hillary Clinton, it is now a depiction of a beautiful Muslim woman”.

Lushsux is no stranger to controversy

It’s not only Clinton who was handed the artist’s treatment and it wasn’t the first time the artist attracted media attention for his satirical paintings. Lushsux also painted and adjusted murals of the then Republican nominee Donald Trump and his wife, Melania across Melbourne. However, these murals didn’t receive harsh measures from the Instagram owner.

He has also satirized extremely renowned celebrities in the past. In another mural, he displayed an image of singer Taylor Swift and captioned: “In Loving Memory of Taylor Smith, 1989-2016”, in reference to the pop star’s public conflict with rapper Kanye West. After Swift threatened to take legal action, Lushsux transformed that piece into one Harambee, the gorilla whose killing after a little child fell into his fenced area sparked outrage.

Of course, there are those who have no hard feelings towards the murals or how Lushsux express his ideas. Some even find the murals funny and create memes out of them. In any case, the murals live on and so is the artist. We can only wait for the next controversy he’s going to create.

murals in the market homepage

Murals in the Market – what a beautiful scene!

In collaboration with the Eastern Market Corporation and Knight Foundation, 1xRUN and Inner State Gallery curated and delivered a 9-day mural festival that thrilled locals and visitors to Detroit. There were series of events that activated the whole footprint of the Market which organizers believed will leave an everlasting impression on the Eastern Market.

Detroit’s 2016 mural festival was huge; it was a triumphant return to the city for the second year of its only international mural festival and more than 50 local and international artists were invited to add new arts throughout the city. You can check out the full list of artists on their website.

1010 murals in the market 2016

Over the last 5 years, 1xRUN and Inner State Gallery have produced more than 75 murals in the Eastern Market, with over 100 murals throughout Detroit city. On 2016 alone, 50 new murals were added to the city’s gallery.

Artists from as far as Paris, Singapore and Australia crowned the festival with breathtaking murals. New York’s Cey Adams, a renowned graffiti artist came along to exhibit his work alongside notables such as 1010 from Germany and Britain’s Mr. Jago.

Visitors had the chance to get up-close with the artists and culturally significant photographers during discussion panels. Cey Adams said he acknowledged the mass population that dropped by, inspired by what he does, that a city like Detroit is putting on a festival like Murals in the Market.

Pat Perry murals in the market 2016

Mexican Victor Quinonez, famous as Marka27 said he really enjoyed the city and the culture. Some of his works are on at hot spots such as Belmont Tunnels, L.A, and Hall of Fame in Spanish Harlem, N.Y and Five Points in Queens, New York.

For the native artist Pat Perry, who lives about half a mile from his mural in Eastern Market, the festival was an opportunity to use his artistic talent to inspire the enthusiasm of his neighbors. He thinks when people walk by the mural every day, they feel more value than if the wall is just an abandoned building.

What’s the impact?

With the production of these murals, every location has had a significant visual impact on the surrounding neighborhood. Not only that, there’s an increase in traffic to the areas, economic boom as well as increased security.

Felipe Pantone murals in the market 2016

Even more interesting, all events were free and open to the public as both the local and international artists looked to extend their artistry markets. And it was more than just artwork; from multiple art exhibitions, installations, children’s workshops, community events and live music, it was a great way to portray the spirit of Detroit. The festival brought more energy to Eastern Market and encouraged people to connect with each other and their city as well.

Visitors to Eastern Market are now treated to a batch of bright murals on every corner. And that was the goal of the organizers – to encourage people who have never visited the century-old Eastern Market and seen the renovated sheds in the area. It’s more exuberant today than it has ever been thanks to the public art that has expanded the footprint and the district at large.

 

ArtUnitedUs – The Largest Urban Art Project

Art continues to grow all around the world, uniting different cultures wherever it touches. One special place where street art has recently made a major impact is in Kiev, Ukraine. Project ArtUnitedUs is taking the city’s look to a whole new level. Launched on March 16th, 2016, ArtUnitedUs claims to be the greatest urban art project which unites 200 of the best artists through mural art and the declaration of maintaining peace around the world.

ArtUnitedUs initiators are Ukrainian social figures Geo Leros, Wone Interesni Kazki, Ilya Sagaidak and Iryna Kanishcheva. On their website, they express that the artists were united by the forces to coordinate the strengths of art towards peace, regardless of whether it would be in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine or Abkhazia.

As indicated by them, now is a period when propaganda of hostility and brainwashing create tensions on earth. This is the major reason why a line-up of international street artists will cooperate to create public awareness and direct attention towards the issues of war, animosity and violence.

The organizers are certain that murals are an immense weapon that will save the world. With 200 murals to be painted around the world, project ArtUnitedUs aims to create an entirely new history. The initial 100 murals will be made on the Ukraine territory and the other 100 in strategic places around the world, forming a “ring of peace”.

Notable Murals

about travelling mural by artem proot

“About Travelling” By Kyiv native Artem Proot

The painting by Artem Proot is about travelling into the places that make us better, giving us fascinating meetings and opens numerous new opportunities. He was helped by a 12-year old kid Oleskii, who is diagnosed with cerebral palsy. Apparently, the coordinators of the project will look into consideration the opportunity to draw children with handicaps into the way toward making art in Ukraine.

 

labyrinth mural by rustam qbic

Labyrinth mural by Rustam QBic

It was supposedly the first mural of the project, done by the Russian street artist at Dmytrivska 62/20. His Labyrinth mural portrays a character wearing a crown molded like a maze over his head who guided by scarab bug compass, who tries to discover an exit from a huge labyrinth of life difficulties. As per the artist, the mural reflects on the sense of this journey, an excursion we all undertake at some point in our lives.

 

shelter mural by paola delfin

“Shelter” by Paola Delfin

The Mexican artist works are usually influenced by illustration expressing beauty and a feminine sensibility through fragile drawing and natural structures. Her “shelter” mural in Kiev highlights the picture of a young woman with her arms traversed over her chest in a defensive, yet at the same time fragile and peaceful position. She doesn’t fear since she is sheltered. “Shelter” suggests that we all have a place of refuge, regardless of whether it is a person or a place we feel comfortable with.

Among the world-class artists

Some other big names that make up this project and whom we expect many interesting works from include:

108, 2501, Aaron Glasson, Andrew A. Antonaccio (2Alas), Adnate, Add Fuel, Agostino Iacurci, Alexey Luka, Alexei Kondakov, Andrew Hem, Ana Marietta,  Bik Ismo, Britcev Alexander, Bohdan Burenko, Cyrcle, Celso Gonzalez, Case McClaim, DALeast, Deih, Emmanuel Jarus, Edgar Saner, Ernest Zacharevic,  Evoca1, Ernesto Maranje, Filio Galvez, Faith47, Fintan Magee, Fin Dac, Fikos Antonios, Gaia, Grebeniuk, Guido Van Helten, Grino, Herakurt, Hyuro, Ilya Chichkan, INO, James Bullough, Jade Rivera, Jonny Alexander, JR, Jura Kanevski, Kenor, Liqen, Li-Hill, Moneyless, Mata Ruda, M-City, MTO, NeSpoon, Okuda, Olivier Bonnard, Os Gemeos, Pastel, Phlegm, Retna, Reka1, Ricky Lee Gordon, Rone, ROA, Sainer (Etam Cru), Sebastian Velasco, Sego, Sasha Kurmaz, Smates, Saddo Raul, Sten & Lex, Senekt, Speto, Storaz, Soke, Smitheone, Vero Rivera, Waone Interesni Kazki, Zio Ziegler, … and many others.

Peace.