kanazawa gold leaf being produced, a hand using chop sticks to position the leaf is visible

Kanazawa Gold Leaf

5,000 years ago, Egyptian craftsmen recognized the remarkable durability and malleability of gold and became the first goldbeaters and gliders. They hammered gold using a round stone to make the thinnest leaf possible. Today, the technique is heavily used by Japanese artisans in the city of Kanazawa to create gold leaf. Gold leaf is perhaps the finest material on the planet whose thickness measures a mere 10,000th of a millimeter (0.0001 mm).

Kanazawa produces 99% of Japan’s gold leaf thanks to its water quality and favorable climate. The city is also a major producer of Japanese silver, brass leaf and uwazumi, which is somewhat thicker than metal leaf.

History of gold leaf in Kanazawa

While the root of gold leaf production in Kanazawa is not clear, one of the great rulers of Japan, Toyotomi Hideyoshi was known for his obsession for gold. Even so, every ruler in Japan liked to use gold leaf in furniture and buildings as a representation of their power.

Towards the late 17th century, the Edo government opened a “Hakuza” market in Edo, which is the present-day Tokyo to regulate the production and sales of gold and silver leaf across the whole of Japan. During that time, production of gold leaf was strictly prohibited in other places other than the markets of Edo and Kyoto, while the feudal government tried to strengthen its economic system.

With the government ban in place, artisans in Kanazawa were unable to manufacture or sell gold leaf. Yet, they strove to establish a local gold leaf production industry, secretly manufacturing gold-leaf and creating various traditional artifacts and techniques that use the metal leaf.

After several twists and turns, control over the industry came to an end following the Meiji Restoration in 1868 when Edo Shogunate surrendered political power to the Emperor. Gold leaf manufacturing and sales then became known nationwide and have been used in many forms to date. In addition to the favorable Kanazawa’s climate, artisans experience and creativity during the ban period helped in developing exceptional techniques which have been passed down to the present generation.

Gold leaf in art

Traditionally, it was commonly used as gliding material for decoration of art such as statues and the picture frames that are often used to hold or decorate paintings, jewelry and paper art. The possibilities are actually endless, as gold leaf can be used in traditional craftwork, paintings, architecture, and contemporary interior goods with minimal differences in composition and through special processing. The leaf-making skill in its manufacturing is also applied to other metals including silver, brass and tin.

In later years of the Early Christian art, old ground paintings were introduced in mosaics where the background of the subjects was all in gold. It was then used in religious works of art (icons) in decorating religious subjects, including Christ, Mary, angels and/or saints. During the European Bronze Age, gold leaf was used in wrapping objects by folding it tightly over.

kanazawa gold leaf items

Gold leaf is also currently used in Buddhist art to decorate symbols and statues and can be seen on domes of various religious and public architecture. The famous Taj Mahal is the closest example where gold leafing was heavily used in its several decorations.

Today, gold leaf is often used in art in its raw state (without the gliding process). Gold picture frames made without leafing are available for a relatively lower price from various companies that manufacture commercial picture frames.

Gold leaf in architecture

From ancient shrines to modern structures, gold leaf has been a vital component to designate important buildings since the dawn of mankind. Golden-domed structures can withstand weather, wear and tear, and even modern day pollution, keeping them stunning sites for decades.

Golden architecture became a fundamental component of Roman churches and basilicas back in 400 A.D. The Basilicca di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome is the most notable and one of the earliest churches of gold mosaics.

In London, the Criterion Restaurant opened in 1873 in the heart of the city features a sparkling ceiling of gold mosaic, coved at the edges and patterned entirely with lines and ornaments in white and blue tesserae.

Culinary uses

Being a safely inhalable material, gold is often used to decorate drinks, food and cosmetics. It typically promotes a perception of high value and luxury, yet it adds no flavor to food or drinks. It is sometimes present in desserts and confectionery such as chocolates and honey.

In Europe, liquors with miniature floating pieces of gold leaf are popular since the late 16th century, a practice which was originally regarded as medicinal. In India, they use gold leaf as a garnish especially on festive occasions, with slender sheets placed on the main course. The traditional Japanese green tea, mostly produced in Kanazawa also contains pieces of gold leaf.

Wrap Up

A single piece of gold leaf can make you feel rich and joyful. The remarkable traditional techniques of Kanazawa shed light and happiness to the lives of many people today. For the people of Kanazawa, sleekly made and glistering gold and silver leaf remains an integral part of their rich culture of artistic work.

2007 kelburn castle

Street Artists Transform an Old Castle into a Mind-blowing Grafitti Retreat

Once you sight the Kelburn Castle, you’d be forgiven to think that castles have to be old, dreary stone buildings with grey and brown exteriors. The ideas of Patrick Boyle, the 10th and current Earl of Glasgow will completely change your perception.

Kelburn Castle was originally built in the 13th century and undergone remodeling in the 16th century. It’s perhaps the oldest castle in Scotland and it holds the record for inhabiting the same family for the longest time. In 1703, David Boyle, the then owner of the castle was among the commissioners who negotiated the Treaty of Union uniting Scotland and England into Great Britain. The castle has been home to a long line of Earls the family has produced since then.

In 2007, experts told Lord Glasgow that the castle’s concrete would soon need replacing to avoid further deterioration of the stonework. David and Alice asked their dad, the Earl of Glasgow, to paint the building into a colorful mural.

The job landed on four Brazilian graffiti artists Nunca, Nina Pandolfo, and twins Os Gemeos. Together, they designed a tropical imaginary world featuring large and vibrant monkeys, fish and huge fruits. A quick glance at the mural will tell you a lot about Brazilian graffiti tradition; vibrant, color-rich and energetic. Taken out of its urban context, it illuminates the Scottish countryside with formidable hues and shines through any rain-soaked distress the world can throw at it.

It was a groundbreaking artistic move that combined the transient, contemporary culture of street art with traditional, lifelong and rural nature of the castle, creating a lasting contradiction of visual beauty.

2007 kelburn castle

“It is a project of contrasts and collaboration that bridges between cultures, rural and urban realms and unites two proud and very different cultures”, explained the Kelburn estate.

The work was originally meant to be temporary following a three-year permit from Historic Scotland, a government agency responsible for preserving Scotland’s historic monuments. A report came out in September 2010 claiming the agency was piling pressure on Lord Glasgow to remove the graffiti, though it was later denied by both parties. Another 2011 report suggested that the Earl had written to Historic Scotland requesting permission to keep the graffiti as a permanent feature of the castle.

He said, “In the three years that the mural has been on the castle it has attracted enormous interest from around the world and it is loved by everyone who sees it…It has become a landmark and a talking point and it has given the castle and the estate a whole new character”.

The Earl fought a good fight, of course, he had to; he spent £20,000 for the work that featured a psychedelic series of interwoven cartoons representing a surreal urban culture.

A 2011 memo published by Historic Scotland stated that owners of listed properties should only use ‘historically correct colors in a manner which is appropriate to the building’. Historically indeed, yet many who have witnessed the breathtaking mural appreciate the artwork in contrast to the dull and monochrome part of the mansion.

The report continued, “Where more than one color is to be used, they should all relate to the architectural features of the whole building in a logical and consistent manner”.

The mural had quickly become an integral feature of Kelburn alongside a series of outdoor attractions and a country centre open to the public. These include a ginger bread house, a Chinese garden in a secluded forest and a stone grotto. The Kelburn Glen in particular with its deep gorges and waterfalls is one of Scotland’s most scenic woodlands and leads to stunning views across the Farm of Clyde islands.

For information, the mural was once mentioned as one of the top 10 world examples of street art by author and designer Tristan Manco, putting it on the same level with the Favela Morro Da Providencia in Rio de Janeiro and Banksy’s work in Los Angeles.

Historic Scotland eventually allowed some leeway for the artwork to live a few a more years. Unfortunately in 2012, another inspection suggested that the cement was again damaging the original walls of the castle and should be removed, according to BBC. There was a planned removal of the mural in the summer of 2015 but until date, there are no more updates from either the castle owners or from the media.

Sometimes people take time to start appreciating art, even the French first thought the Eiffel Tower was ugly yet today it’s their iconic structure. We hope Historic Scotland looked at things differently and let the work of the Brazilian street artists continue drawing millions to Kelburn.

art cube from urban nation at lollapalooza 2015

URBAN NATION @ LOLLAPALOOZA FESTIVAL 2015

The Lollapalooza festival was nothing short of explosive. The festival made a spectacular debut claiming success even before the festival was completed. The festival offered the attendees a chance to indulge in a once in a lifetime art experience. They constructed a magnificent installation in the middle Tempelhof airport.

art cube at urbannation lollapalooza festival

THE CUBE – was an installation that was used by seven artists to display master art pieces. These artists had horned their skills to perfection finding harmony between street art, and modern art. Approximated at eight meters, it included passages where visitors would have the relish of exploring the fine art that was hanging around.

URBAN NATION received an invite from Lollapalooza to attend the festival. URBAN NATION would fuse music in with the art and form a musical marriage. This collaboration would bring forth Europe’s Lollapalooza festival where people could come and enjoy art.

URBAN NATION is an organization, that supports young artists who have their eyes set to leave a mark on the urban scene. This Berlin based organization, brings together local and international artists together, to create projects on how to beautify urban spaces. The organization is set to help artists, access the best in inspiration and find audience to critic or applaud their work. The organization is non- profit and its initiatives and accomplishments are supported by exhibitions and local workshops.

URBAN NATION is a baby project by the Berliner Leben Foundation. This organization has been running under the guidance of Yasha Young. A foundation, by the name of Gewobag Gewobag founded the Berliner Leben foundation back in 2013. The aim of this was to provide platforms that promoted the general development of the city districts in Berlin.

The foundation, has its eyes set on equal participation and cultural integration that is important in keeping the society aware of their surroundings. They also focus on the needs of senior citizens, sport development and finding aid for youth who need funding.

The Lollapalooza is a festival that takes place annually. It is an amazing music platform where popular artists perform popular genres of music to multitudes of years. This festival invites a wide range of artists who take their time, to display the mastery of their crafts. People are in love with Lollapalooza simply because it offers a buffet of art displays and music ready to seduce the eras of the gods. This festival has proven to offer a free platform, where nonprofit based political groups, and visual artists find voice for their causes.

Molded and brought to life in 1991 by the melodious Perry Farrell who was famously known for Jane’s Addiction. Lollapalooza took a break in 1997 and stayed dormant till 2003. The festival took the chance to tour north America just as a way to advertise their epic return. The year 2004 was not such a good year for the festival due to low ticket sales.

Back in 2005 musician star Pharrell Williams worked with the sports entertainment company one known as C3 Presents.  The result of this collaboration stamped the festival as it is now. Grant Park in Chicago was to host the festival as a weekend destination kind of festival.

Lollapalooza has taken the festival to other locations like, Chile, Brazil and recently Berlin. Hosting to over 160,000 people during a period of 2-3 days where people indulge in various art forms and let their hair down.

“THE CUBE-Think out the box” held on September 12th -13th was the first alliance the Lollapalooza festival was having with Europe and expectations were high. Hosting both international acclaimed artists and local celebrity artists, the art spoke through and journalists took their time to collect information that they needed for their publications. The music was up to our expectations and the art did sooth our minds. It’s like a piece of nirvana.

The director of the festival Fruzsina Szep had these reassuring things to say “Lollapalooza is more than a music festival. It is a blend of music, fashion, art, food and cool projects for children,”, he added, “I am very excited about the artistic spirit that URBAN NATION will bring to our festival. It’s great that URBAN NATION has chosen to embrace this adventure and help us make Lollapalooza a one-of-a-kind Berlin festival.”

The festival was jam packed with renowned international artist who appreciate the festival platform. Appearances were made with artists like fat boy, muse and Sam smith just to mention but a few. Some of the pieces were created by famous faces such as, Telmo Miel, Alexis Dias, James Bullough, Case Maclaim, Tankpetrol from Manchester, and Li Hill just to mention but a few.

The marriage between URBAN NATION and Lollapalooza has proved to be fruitful. There are many plans to make it even more explosive every year!

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.

roboart - wall painting robot

Artbot – the new artist on the block

In Korea, apartment buildings dominate Seoul city and large murals as high as 75m command the walls of the apartments. You’ll be forgiven to think that the best artists from around the world created the murals, yet no human applied paint on a single art.

Introducing Artbot – a robot for painting exterior walls of apartments or large buildings. The robot breaks an image into several small pieces to paint the entire picture. Made and used by Korean company Roboprint, it’s a safer, quicker and more economic form of painting building’s exterior than people can do. Using Artbot is less expensive than the traditional labor painting by up to 80% plus there’s no risk of human accidents working in high places.

Artbot also works on highways and expressways where sound proof walls can be transformed into delightful masterpieces. The apartment repainting sector in Korea is approximately a $350 million industry and with the Artbot’s efficiency, these figures are bound to shoot. Apartment repainting helps to increase the value of a property as well as the visual appeal. Even those dull storage tanks in industrial settings can be transformed into artistic murals and make the surrounding lively.

Technology

The wall painting robot system relies on different technologies to execute various tasks.

The first is Real-Painting Technology. This allows the robot to create a necessary color by spraying 4 color paints (CMYK), one after another through a nozzle situated at the head.

Another one is Image Splitting Technology which is specifically what creates an image. Since the robot works on relatively large wall paintings, it splits an image into many small pieces to paint the whole image. This allows expressing a wide image as one real wall paint. Moreover, selective or partial repainting can be possible regardless of the possibility that painting work is disrupted because of machine faults or external causes.

Perhaps one that saves on a major challenge that artists usually experience is the Irregular Structure Painting Technology. Yes, painting on uneven surfaces is overwhelming but it can’t beat the Artbot. The spout of the robot keeps a setting distance from a surface to be painted at least 20mm while the head takes after an irregular or a curved surface. Along these lines, painting a twisted surface is possible.

The final and one that cut’s significantly on labor costs is the Workability Improvement Technology. This reduces work preparation time by a level checking gadget Print leveling by a lift. The robot painting system is also controlled remotely and wirelessly.

The Artbot has now put Roboprint in a dominant position in the building repainting market. And to meet resident’s expectations of increasing the value of their apartments and promote customer satisfaction, the company shows luxurious designs along with their smart painting robot. Their mission is clear; transform Seoul city into an urban museum.

 

A Young Artist Makes Yonge and St. Clair a Place to Visit

There is a new life in Toronto city, thanks to Phlegm’s 8-storey mural.

phlegm mural painted on st clair

The Mural

What was once an empty side of a 12-storey commercial building at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue is currently a monster wall painting done by Phlegm, a British street artist and illustrator. Phlegm collaborated with a public arts organization, STEPS, to create Toronto’s newest public art landmark.

Assisted by Danforth-based muralist Stephanie Bellefleur, they painted a human silhouette peering at its surroundings. Stephanie was lucky to land this gig from a pool of over 100 applicants. While Phlegm was busy burning through cans of spray paint, Stephanie provided logistical support; overseeing materials and other hardware, working the swing stage and offering artistic input when required.

Phlegm came up with the idea of creating a human body out of the Toronto landmarks like the ROM, CN Tower, Old City Hall and St. Lawrence Market to portray the city as a spirited, living ecosystem. He also consulted with over 230 native residents and integrated their insights including certain buildings and ravines.

st clair mural being painted by phlegm

Phlegm

Born in North Wales and now residing in Sheffield, the UK, Phlegm is widely known as a cartoonist and an illustrator. His work is composed of quirky figures and a descriptive structure. They usually feature strange creatures and ancient-like beasts.

Most of Phlegm’s arts are entirely based on illustration. The larger part of his vast characters originates from comics which he often spray paints onto massive walls. Phlegm likes to use the black Indian ink and a dip pen for painting his work and only uses color for painting large murals or screen-painting.

Phlegm’s style has developed entirely from his independently published comics. In the most recent years, he has put a solid exertion into taking a shot at street art. He appreciates working the empty spaces on large walls, old industrial facilities and different structures. Phlegm believes that a piece of art in the street becomes part of the urban architecture and is impacted by what’s around it rather than being a cumbersome canvass in the art display or gallery.

Since Phlegm’s took the stage, he has gained recognition across the world and is a standout amongst the most respected street artists. His street art is distinctive and exceptionally full of energy. His work has additionally shown up in various objects such as vehicles, boats, planes and several street art festivals across Europe; the UK, Germany, Norway, Sweden and Croatia. He has also painted murals in Tunisia, New Zealand, Australia and the United States.

STEPS

This award-winning company was given the task to leverage underutilized public spaces in the heart of Toronto by Slate Asset Management, the owner of the four corners of Yonge and St. Clair.

STEPS couldn’t help but invite an artist to help beautify the plain wall of the Padulo building at 1st St. Clair Avenue. Their instincts led them all the way to Britain, calling Phlegm to take part in the project. Phlegm was chosen from 10 shortlisted artists because of his vast experience with giant murals and his unique black and white style.

With a solid mandate to fabricate the capacity of local developing artists, the St. Clair Ave. project was STEPS’ first on international level. They strongly believe the mural will cultivate cultural dialogue and help foster tourism in the region.

'untitled' kirsten mccrea mural at up here

How UP Here Festival Transformed Sudbury

In August 2016, Up Here made a comeback to Sudbury, Canada with the aim of rebranding the city. The pollution-stricken downtown city of Canada had long been the centre of criticism from outsiders and Up Here was out to refine that notion. A city formerly nicknamed ‘the asshole of Canada’ by the locals was set to become the happiest city in Canada.

Up Here landed in Sudbury already rebranded after their original name, Up Fest was found to infringe on another street art festival from the UK. That was a blow to their Sudbury’s festival event which was much about muralists, musicians and artists, but they still nailed it. To add the icing on the cake, Up Here even launched a mobile app thanks to their shrewd graphic designers and marketers Andrew Knapp and Christian Pelletier.

"you are beautiful" mural from sudbury's up here festival

There were about 16 Up Here’s commissioned murals which were part of the plan of transforming Sudbury and change the perception of the city. Pelletier’s ambition was to make Sudbury a destination for art enthusiasts by turning the city’s downtown to an urban art gallery. The plan involved inviting artists from around Sudbury and across the world to create big murals.

2016’s event rocked with big stage artists, with the likes of Ella and Pitr, Kirsten McCrea, Ola Volo, James Kirkpatrick and Hobz leaving marks of jaw-dropping murals.

'god helmet' mural on Science North building rooftop

The mural at the Science North rooftop is especially breathtaking. Done by French artists Ella and Pitr’, the piece is of great significance to Sudbury as it put the city on the international stage. The mural features a sleeping giant and it’s visible via Google maps. Many people from around the world hunt for Ella and Pitr’s murals all over the internet trying to find the different pieces in Chile and Portugal. And now Sudbury was added into the game. That’s why it matters to the people of this city.

'untitled' mural by kirsten mccrea at up here festival in sudbury

 

The musical offerings at last year’s fest put the focus on female-fronted bands with U.S Girls, Young Galaxy, Dilly Dally and Stars making the headlines. Locals Neli Nenkova and Tracy Baker also made to the podium. People had tough decisions to make. Pelletier called the festival ‘dueling late nights’ which put two bands against each other at different venues. Some hip hop acts were also on the roster as Pelletier was of the idea of diversifying the program in all senses.

up here mural by krueger krew

He also didn’t forget about the fun and creativity for kids. They organized a family day and kids from within Sudbury had a blast of 2016. Kids did face-painting on adults as well as painting mini-murals on cardboards. The organizers believed there’s no better way of gentrifying the city than getting everyone engaged and celebrating the move together.

whos going to take the weight mural from up here mural festival in sudbury

By the time the fest was over, Sudbury was lit by life-worthy elements. It looked renovated with beauty oozing from all corners of the city. Pelletier said last year’s theme was based on terraformation, which according to him is making an inhabitable space livable. They are proud of that achievement.

ostendstrasse frankfurt germany mural in subway (aka metro) tunnel

Ostendstrasse Metro Mural – 6,600 m2 Mural in Frankfurt, Germany

Murals have the power to transform a community. They unite people and teach them about their culture plus their origins. Issues like inequality, violence, unemployment among others are well expressed by murals because of the long-lasting effect. It’s hard to ignore a large painting on a wall somewhere in the street even if it’s been there for many days. And, you somehow realize something new about it every time you see it.

The tunnel in Ostendstrasse metro station in Frankfurt was once considered a dangerous place to wait for a train. The walls were covered in dirt and the area wasn’t bright enough.

Enter Case Maclaim and Does. The two artists combined to create a 6.600 m2 mural in the tunnel. They spent six weeks underground and gave the city a masterpiece. The work began with cleaning the walls which were the major challenge of the project. Not like the dirt was an issue but because the tunnel was not equipped with a system that could allow large amounts of water.

frankfurt mural

Nonetheless, Case and Does had the extra manpower for assistance. They moved in a 1.5-ton compressor that removed grime with dry ice. The walls were then prepared in one color coating which consumed 1,000 liters of paint. They used green as the base color because of its crisp effect. Green also gives a sense of growth, rejuvenation and energy, perhaps what they intended for the people.

frankfurt tunnel mural

The artists followed by applying their designs on the primed walls. They added 2 more color palettes resulting in an awe-inspiring art that span every inch of the wall. Ostendstrasse metro station is now a go-to place for everyone visiting Frankfurt. Many people flock the station for public meetings, take photographs and witness the piece of art.

Case Maclaim Bio

Born Andreas von Chrzanowski, CASE is a German graffiti artist. Case began his work back in 1995 painting with spray cans to create photorealistic graffiti. His style features body shape representations and photorealistic arts. Some of his artistry usually portrays people or the human body. He takes them from their natural form and displays them in a new context often with animalistic, monstrous and mythic elements.

Most of his incredible works can be seen on several walls across Europe. From London to Wroclaw, Seville, Milano and Moscow, Case has caused waves in the international art arena. He has also painted walls in Mexico, New York and Los Angeles. He has been doing projects since 2008 and the Frankfurt painting is a tip of the iceberg.

About Does

Joos van Barneveld aka DOES is a Dutch artist known for his pure style, eye for detail and balanced color palettes. Born in 1982 in The Netherlands, he started crafting in 1997. His talent and years of experience have raised him to international artistry.

His works have featured in several exhibitions around the world. Does works includes prints, illustrative drawings, canvasses and murals. He likes to breathe brightness, dynamism and energy in his art. The Ostendstrasse wall graffiti sums it all.

Thank you Case and Does for breathing new life to Ostendstrasse metro station.