pichiavo painting mural

Artist Group: Pichiavo

Who said that classical art is dead? Who said that classical artwork would never be complemented by graffiti? If there any of you who never thought the classics and graffiti complemented each other, the Pichiavo pair will prove you wrong.

They are the ‘art cocktail masters’ infusing graffiti, classic art, while in-cooperating in sculptures, social text, and space. They are idealistic artists who believe in the complete freedom to express an idea.

These two street artists have a versatile style that is not common today. Whether on paper on canvas you will note the colour, detailed sculptures and texts that are meant to complement the piece being made. They are not like many modern artists who love to give direct messages on their artwork. Their approach gives you a lethargic almost surreal sneak peek into the past. It like the gods and goddesses come alive in their artwork.

Pichi and Avo met in the streets of Valencia Spain both of them engaging in graffiti activities. From the time they met, it was like they synchronized their lives and their artwork. They complement each other’s style like Ying and Yang.

From 2007 the pair has become like brothers. They spend so much time creating art that sometimes it is hard for their fans to tell them apart. They are inspired by the golden age of classical art and the dynamic nature of modern art.

At first, their initial focus was on graffiti based techniques. Later on, they made a decision to make art that reflected both their interest and personality. Since they were already enthralled by Greek mythology and classical art, it was easy to find a style that suited both of them.

pichi avo mural

Pichiavo has pure natural talent which is a big boost if you are trying to make notable art. The other thing that has supported their quest for unique art is the formal education that they have received. In combination, they have formal certification in fine arts and design.

Their work is not politically or religiously inspired and thus have gotten the opportunity to work in many countries. They are true to themselves and tend to shy away from artistic egocentrism. Artistic egocentrism is responsible for personal rows between artists among other qualms. Everyone wants to be the best and have ownership of the centerpiece.

Since they were not trying to go the traditional route, they came to the agreement to paint as equals. Whether they are working on a wall or a canvas they always try to have all the right settings.

pichi avo mural

During an interview with Bombing Science they stated “In terms of walls, we like to know where is the wall and see the environment, ones we have that we play a lot, normally with concepts related to mythology as part of the classical art in base on that, we do a lot of research our self-traveling searching for sculptures and we use that for our work, ones we have the idea of the character we do a sketch where we work more with colors, graffiti… but ones we go to the wall all that is just a reference as we normally freestyle all the background, so at the end, we have freestyle work and more planned work.”

With this kind of detailed work, they have traveled the world to share their art. From Germany, the UK, Belgium, Greece and many other countries. They are yet to work in the US but they have had successful gallery shows in the country.

pichi avo stadium mural

In the past, they have contributed their showmanship to creating notable murals. They were involved in creating the 2016 dolphin stadium mural and the Bowery wall in New York City. They are not done yet however, they have more shows and artwork coming your way.

They continue to evolve their style daily ensuring that they fully develop the concept of their ideas. They are not only an artist but normal people as will engaging in hobbies most of us like. They love to surf, engage in sports, music, and readings in between creating their art based empire.

The world is full of possibilities for this two Spanish artist as they continue to dive into the world of classical and modern art. We can only act as an audience at a great show waiting for the next unveiling.

Practice makes perfect, and at the level of skill that these two work, there is no telling what is next. Watch this space.

 

Longest Mural in the World Us, Mexico Border

The border between the United States and Mexico has existed for a number of years without any major problems. The wall has been used to cross over by various immigrants looking for a better life in the states.

There have been a lot of changes in policies since president Trump took power. With the suggestion to build a new wall, relations between the US and Mexico were strained. Trump proposed that Mexico pay for the wall but in the end, it seems that the US will have to foot the bill.

Art is a good way of reconciling the community to the events of their times. Artists have used their voice to bring the community to awareness. A man by the name of Enrique Chiru came up with a brilliant concept of using art to spread positive messages.

How, you ask? By a mural.

Dubbed the Mural of Brotherhood, the project seeks to cover 700 miles of the 2000 mile border. The aim is to become the longest mural in the world.  The mural being painted faces the Mexican side giving hope while shedding light on Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

Born in Mexico himself, he crossed the border at a young age together with his mother. In the one year that he lived in LA without legal papers, he came to understand some of the problems that immigrants face.

He wanted to give back to the Tijuana community by passing these visual messages of hope. There even images that indicate that the people are against plans of building the wall. Beginning in 2016, the mural has gained momentum drawing international attention.

This was not his first mural. He has over 18 years of experience in the world of art. He has painted over 80 murals. These murals have been located in different cities like California and Guatemala among others. With all the experience, he was suited to conduct this project. The fact that it was his hometown was the cherry on top of the cake.

While it did not start as a world record breaking project, it started as a simple way to maintain and beautify the border. Enrique Chiru said “The wall is rusty and dirty, they never do maintenance. I wanted to beautify it to give something back to the community.”

The project as it continues to expand it has been worked on by over 2600 volunteers. Enrique Chiu sometimes directs the painting so as to ensure that everything looks neat and that the message is clear. He is known to draw outlines of what is to be painted to give direction to the volunteers who have never painted before.

Once the outline is complete, the volunteers have complete freedom to choose the colors that they want. The initiative is still ongoing and more people are volunteering to paint the large mural. This project has brought a lot of people together and created a bond that is cemented completion of the mural.

When asked by the Lonely planet Travel News on the progress on the wall, Enrique Chiu stated “So far we have painted two kilometers in Tijuana, half a kilometer in the city of Tecate and half a kilometer in Mexicali. I want to make a change in the world like many people, and I think I’m achieving it. Through art and the will of people, a social and cultural movement is being made that can fill people with positive feelings and send messages in this huge canvas we have. Every weekend people, friends, and artists keep arriving to achieve this union,”

Already, he and his team have covered tremendous ground. With 1.3miles covered, there is still more to go. He even has an idea to paint on the other side of the wall if the US gives their permission. This would be a lovely idea as both sides of the wall will send a message of peace and unity for both nations.

With a world record in view, Enrique Chiu and his team are working non-stop. The record was held by the Pueblo Levee project in Colorado. Unfortunately, the project gave in to wear and tear as the levee had to be repaired. While the 3mile project gets repaired, the mural of brotherhood will hold its place.

More people and public institutions have offered their support thus making the project an achievable dream. There are no restrictions as to age or skill. All can paint and add their contribution to the largest outdoor mural to be.

Are you interested? Join the bandwagon and make the mural a success. You won’t regret it.

blek le rat xavier prou painting

Artist Spotlight: Blek le Rat

Xavier Prou or popularly known as Blek Le Rat, a French graffiti artist was born on the 15th of November 1952, in Boulogne-Billancourt, western suburbs of France. Dubbed “The father of stencil graffiti”, Blek Le Rat attended the École Des Beaux Arts in France before graduating in 1982. He is said to be an inspiration to many stencil artists for years such as Banksy and Invader. He is also nicknamed ‘Banquesy’, the French Banksy.

Le Rat gathered inspiration from Blek Le Roc, a French Comic about American trappers during the Revolutionary War and adopted part of the name for his own. Le Rat begun his art in the streets of Paris around 1981 painting rats.  He described his rats as, “only free animal in the city, one which spreads the plague everywhere, just like street art”. Eventually settling for the “rat” name as an anagram of “art”.

Before he graduated, Le Rat visited New York and fell in love with the city’s street art and graffiti in 1971. He returned to France determined to make a difference. And that he did. As he didn’t feel New York’s still would suite his hometown, he decided to go a different route and develop a unique style for Paris. At that time, no artist was using stencils for their work and here’s why Le Rat stood out of the pack. Most street art is deemed illegal and comes with hefty fines. Le Rat didn’t want to spend so much time on the streets due to the police, and hence the genius use of stencils to make it even faster.

example of blek le rat stencil art

The Rise of the Stencil Graffiti King

Canadian artist, Richard Hambleton brought his work to Paris from the US in the early 80s. At this time, Blek Le Rat was already doing his black rats stencils and was inspired by Richards’s larger pieces. So, he began making larger pieces of art and even self-portraits.

Blek creates all his stencils by hand to ensure a perfection and best use street art use. He is credited as the first person to create life-sized stencils and transforming stencils from the then basic imagery done by most artists.

The first meeting of the urban art movement and graffiti was held in Bondy, France in 1985. Blek Le Rat, Leonard Hilton McGurr was known as Futura, Sylvain Perier also known as SP 38, Miss.tick and Olivier Rizzo aka Speedy Graphito, were among those in attendance.

In 1991, Blek dedicated a replica of Madonna di Loreta, by Caravaggio an Italian Baroque master to his then future wife, Sybille. This image is Le Rat’s oldest known artwork. In the making of this replica, the French police identified and arrested Le Rat. This brought about his subsequent use of premade stencils, which made the use more efficient in speed and also avoiding the larger fines that came with being caught in the act.

blek le rat example of stencil art

Competition or Comparison?

Although the two have never met, much comparison has been done in the industry between Blek Le Rat and Banksy artworks. Prou has definitely had influence over Banksy. In the past, Banksy has been quoted saying, “Every time I think I’ve painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek le Rat has done it as well, only twenty years earlier”. Le Rat’s response to this sentiments was , “People say he copies me, but I don’t think so. I’m the old man, he’s the new kid, and if I’m an inspiration to an artist that good, I love it”. Their relationship has been mainly based on rivalry and admiration and increasingly unstable over the years.

blek le rat ballerina

Despite these sentiments, Le Rat has been quoted expressing his “anger” with Banksy in a Graffiti Wars documentary by Channel 4. He has publicly expressed his disappointment with Banksy making a man with a child or Banksy making rats. While some could argue Banksy made Le Rat famous by taking on most of his previous work intentionally or not, Le Rat was however displeased as Banksy was reproducing his technique and style in street art. He went ahead to suggest Banksy reveals his identity for everyone to know what kind of person he was. As fans and enthusiasts hope a pray for a collaboration between the two, it remains to be seen what comes out of the two artists’ differences.

Exhibitions

Blek Le Rat’s organized his first solo exhibition in October of 2006 at the Leonard Street Gallery in London. Most of his oeuvre has been included in many collections and galleries all around the world. He also took part in the Cans Festival in 2008 were famous street artists were also featured. Prou made his American debut in 2008 at an event held in Subliminal Projects Gallery in Los Angeles, Southern California. At this exhibition, he featured his wife’s photography and three-dimensional artworks. In December 2009, Le Rat had an exhibition titled, ‘Le Ciel Est Bleu, La Vie Est Belle’. Which translates to ‘The sky is blue, life is beautiful.’ This exhibition mainly covered his work from the early 80s to 2009. In a bid to bridge the divide, he went ahead to exhibit 25 unique lithography monotypes and large-scale artworks as well.

With a career spanning an impressive 30 years, this artist has no intentions of stopping anytime soon. As signaled from previous interviews, “I will never stop. Ever. Unless there was something wrong with my legs. But 30 years is a long time. It’s a lifetime. This is my life”. Prou still commands a great deal of influence in today’s guerrilla style art movement and street art. No doubt his name will be revered for many years to come.