bambi artwork showcasing donald trump and theresa may dancing

Bambi, the female Banksy

The art scene has enjoyed Banksy’s satirical street art all over the world. Painter, political activist and film director, Banksy has painted a number of distinctive pencil stencils. Unequivocally, a legend in the art industry.

What a man can do a woman can do better. Meet Bambi, the female Banksy. Bambi, is, however, a pseudonym of this British artist. She has grown to be a household name with her spray cans and stencils over the last eight years. Very little is known about her personal life. Just like her brother-in-crime, her identity is well hidden and sort of an adventure for art lovers at the same time. Only a select group of individuals know her true identity, namely her mother, manager, and the only and only Banksy.

bambi art

You lift my Spirit

Working in the cover of night, her wonderful pieces come to life. Despite her attempts to keep a secret identity, she has alluded to the fact that she has a successful pop career. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess who she could be.

In an interview with Daily Mail in 2014, Bambi revealed she went to the City & Guilds of London Art school, one of England’s longest established art schools. She later went on to an MA from Central Saint Martin’s School of arts. From what began as ‘childhood vandalism’, came out a successful career on the streets of London and beyond.

Bambi is said to draw her inspiration from the likes of Andy Warhol, a prominent American artist, and leading figure in visual arts and an avid collector.

Her Work

While pieces of her work going for tens of thousands of pounds, famous personalities are itching to get their hands on a piece of art from Bambi. In 2011, rapper Kanye West commissioned a portrait for his wife. Bambi, in turn, created an amazing semi-nude portrait of Kim Kardashian that sprung her into the limelight. Since then, A-list personalities such as Rihanna, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Robbie Williams (just to name a few) have all come out in support of her work and often paying hefty sums of money to own her artwork.

Despite the bevy of important people seeking to hang her artwork on their walls, Bambi has gone on record for rejecting Harry Styles request to mural walls of his house. All in order to maintain her level of anonymity in the industry.

bambi artwork

Diamonds are a girl’s bestfriend

Bambi’s other famous works are such as It always seems impossible until it’s done, to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s 95th birthday. Usain Bolt’s To Di World and the Jubilee Tribute of the Queen, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’. Portraying a young Queen Elizabeth II on the throne.

While critics claim she may lack in Banksy’s wit, Bambi brings out a feminine touch and a taste of color and glamour. Using modern public figures, she paints to address contentious political and social concerns in the society.

bambi artwork of little girl on side of building

Dear Santa

Over time Bambi has expressed her concerns on being referred to as ‘the female Banksy’ and therefore not being recognized for her own talent. Which speaks for itself. Citing the obnoxious male-dominated industry and society in general. Gender is important to Bambi as the message she paints out. Bambi’s use of social commentary, according to her, is to save the world by providing relevant social material to discuss current and future challenges.

I believe in Angels

Michael Sakhai, of Walton Fine Arts, is Bambi’s original gallerist. The two began working together when Bambi first walked into his gallery in 2010. Walton Fine Arts hosted Bambi’s first ever public exhibition dubbed, ‘When Banksy met Bambi’ at the Walton Fine Art Gallery in April of 2013. The main aim of this exhibition was to showcase not only the difference but the similarities in the two artists.

Over time, authorities caught up with Banksy’s paintings and had them repainted. The same fate has befallen Bambi’s artwork such as Amy Winehouse’s Amy Jade in the past with their getting defaced in the streets of Camden. Amy Jade has since been repainted and protected using perspex screen.

Bambi has also hit the headlines when her painting was stolen from a gallery in Islington, London. The five stolen stencil pieces were set to be auction the next day to assist in a charity for Art Against Knives.

Lie Lie Land

In a 2017-mural painting called ‘Lie Lie Land’, Bambi painted US President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister, Theresa May, in a dance pose. Made popular by the movie ‘La La Land’, the painting on the corner of 40 Cross Street and Shillingford street was met by mixed reactions from both fronts and quickly became a tourist attraction until it was painted over by city officials. Bambi’s reason for painting this mural was to highlight the current social and political injustices.

Whether her fans will get to know Bambi’s real identity remains a mystery. What is clear though is her stardom will continue to rise as long as there’s wall to paint on an audience that will take note and take action on the important issues affecting each of us from day to day.

Mark Wagner Makes Art with Paper Money

When people say money doesn’t mean a thing should definitely meet Mark Wagner. Mark Wagner is a collage artist that has caused quite some controversy regarding the material he uses as a medium for art. Many people find it shocking that he uses real money to create his intricate collages. It is also the reason why they notice and get curious about his art.

In this economy, most people would hold on to their money rather than cut it up to make art. Mark Wagner is of the belief that money has all the qualities that would contribute to great art. He points out that these bills have anti-counterfeit measures hidden in the notes which makes it the best material to work with.

Money passes around from hand to hand and therefore it has to keep up with constant wear and tear. That is why you will that during the printing process, they ensure that the high flax content is hardened and treated. This structural standard is what the artist likes compared to other pieces of paper available. Money can be contorted, glued or cut without losing definition over time.

Born in 1976, he started using dollar bills in 1999 to create collages and he hasn’t looked back. He likes to centre his work on money and issues related to money. The first thing people think when they look at his art is that is it real money? And if it is, isn’t it illegal to cut up money?

The law says “Whoever mutilates, cuts, defaces, disfigures, or perforates, or unites or cements together, or does any other thing to any bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt issued by any national banking association, or Federal Reserve bank, or the Federal Reserve System, with intent to render such bank bill, draft, note, or other evidence of debt unfit to be reissued, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.”

The question is, what is the intention of the artist? Is it to make the note unfit for use/circulation or is it in the name of creating art? In this case, we can clearly see what the artist is doing with his bank notes. He is yet to be arrested for cutting up notes so we doubt what he is doing is illegal.

When looking at work produced the collage artist, you would think that he has used thousands of dollars in one project. That is not usually the case. He looks at the dollar and sees 16square inches of material. Nothing goes to waste, he even keeps the smallest pieces that can be compared to confetti. This allows him to utilize the remainder of the materials he has on different pieces.

He suggests that working with money is cheaper than relying on quality paint and paper from the store. He says “Art materials are expensive. A single sheet of Fabriano Roma paper lists for $17.65, a one-ounce tube of cadmium red oil paint for $28.39. A favourite irony is that dollar bills end up being an inexpensive material—and possibly the only one that effectively gets cheaper through the action of inflation. The value of the materials is eclipsed by the amount of labour required to animate them. I pay my studio assistants more than a dollar just to cut up a dollar.”

For a man who uses the money to make art, it is very simple for him to forget its value. He says that he has to remind himself that money actually means something in the world we live in.

One day he was hungry and wanted to go eat with his studio-mate. He looked at his wallet and found it empty, on realizing this he became annoyed. The funny thing is, he had forty dollars right there on his work table. To him, it was no longer a medium of exchange for goods but a material for art.

He has various works that have been recognized and appreciated by many. Famously he made a portrait of the federal bank reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, Abraham Lincoln, the Mona Lisa, among others.  You can buy an omnibus of his collages or visit his various exhibitions.

Whoever said money can’t buy money definitely has not purchased one of Mark Wagner’s artwork. Money does not run Mark Wagner’s life, it runs his art and he could not have it any other way.

Artist Spotlight: FAILE

Faile is not a new name in the world of street art or high-end galleries. Their work is recognized internationally. Thanks to their partnership there are thousands of art pieces to commemorate their style and work ethic.

Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller form the artistic group under the signature of Faile. The famous duo had humble beginnings, born a year apart their friendship started when they were in high school. During those days schooling together, they always talked about working together.

In destiny’s punctual nature, things had to take a turn. The two separated, one went to New York as the other remained in an art school in Minneapolis. While McNeil was in New York he discovered a whole new world, He had never seen graffiti in the numbers that he witnessed on the streets of New York.

His curiosity sent him on a documentation spree taking pictures of the most interesting pieces he saw. He then called his friend Patrick Miller and told him to come to New York. By the end of 1999, the group Faile was official. Starting off more of a print art based group, the craft evolved and other skills were employed.

When the group started there were three members. Together with Miller and Mc Neil was a lady by the name of Nakawa. Due to circumstances best known to them, Nakawa left the group and started her own journey to success as Lady Aiko.

Their work as a group was widely known even when Nakawa was in the group. Their style which featured “large format, monochromatic, screen-printed female nudes,” Their stencil, wheat pasting combined with comic-like images stood out and introduced a new style in town.

Today, their styles shave definitely evolved maintaining their iconography and duality style while focusing on the same themes that have been recurrent in all their work. Themes like triumph/calamity or love/hate can be denoted by their artwork.

Faile has produced books, held exhibitions in museums, made notable installations such as the Wolf, and even collaborated with the clothing/ music industry. There is not much they haven’t done. They run a permanent studio to take care of work demands.

the Wolf installation by Faile

Speaking of work demands, Faile found themselves in a bit of a pickle recently with the city of Toronto.   The pair had been sought out by the transportation services of Toronto in an exercise to reduce ‘tagging’.

The city had been facing the problem of tagging walls with useless graffiti. The city had already commissioned other works previously to help reduce the tagging issue.  The pair accepted to so the work but found themselves too busy to attend to the work.

The issue arose when the people of Toronto found out that the group had sent interns to do the job. Considering that there was no shortage of homegrown artists, residents did not understand why the pair didn’t have the grace to do it themselves.

The interns did not even know they were to travel until they were informed on short notice. One intern reports “Last Wednesday Patrick [McNeil] came up to me and said, ‘How would you like to go to Toronto on Friday?’” she says. “He said, ‘It’s gonna be a lot of hard work.’ I said, ‘sure,’ and two hours later he came back with my plane tickets.”

Bathurst St mural

Many feel like the $23,000 dollars given to the pair should have been invested in a local artist. When questioned about the decision, the head of StreetARToronto said: “We hope that by inviting street artists from out of town, other cities will invite our artists too, and it gives local artists the opportunity to see the work of internationally recognized street artists.”

While that sounds like good reasoning, it is not the city’s fault that they felt snubbed. The pair should have informed the council of the change of plans so that they could take necessary measures.

There are many people who wanted to see the original Faile work on that Bathurst Street wall. Unfortunately, it was not to be so. The interns, however, did a marvellous job creating a beautiful mural that still stands today.

Admittedly, this might have been an oversight on Faile’s part but the group is still very respectable in the art world. One mistake can be forgiven as long as the group continuous observing a good work ethic.

Although they can’t classify themselves as street artists, they have definitely contributed pieces that can never be forgotten. They are ambitious and seem to have more projects coming their way. Their message is covert but their expressions are overt. And we say, why not?

brittany nicole cox, antiquarian historologist

Brittany Nicole Cox, Resurrecting Ancient Clocks

Have you ever heard of an antiquarian horologist? Well, in this century it is rather rare to find this skill set developed due to the digitization of our world. Brittany Nicole Cox, however, has found a way of resurrecting this profession and turning it into a long life passion.

She started her fascination at a young age while hanging out with her grandmother. She got little gifts like music boxes and musical snowballs that she took apart to understand how it worked.

She said “I would always take the mechanisms out of the bottom and chuck the rest of it. It was really quite special, seeing everything working, seeing how delicate it was, and fragile. Producing something that was so tangible and beautiful to me, I got a lot of comfort out of that” during an interview with The Stranger.

Although this was her fascination, she did not know that it could be studied and thus went on pursuing other things. She went to college and put her efforts into the study the philosophy of metaphysics.

Having being trained to be a jeweller, it all seemed like a strange mix of skills. While studying the philosophy of metaphysics her love for automata was sparked. Automata machines basically refer to artificial life that ran in the renaissance era.

These Automata do not depend on electricity but rather in gears that are interconnected and mobile to create motion. They can be flowers, musical boxes, animals, birds, among others. She acquired an even larger understanding when she attended the West Dean College.

The pristine college is known for its involvement in restorative arts and education. Graduating with a masters in Horological conservation, she hasn’t been able to stop since.

Her workspace is never clattered, she is well organized and meticulous. Since her work is very detailed, she has to record everything. Every time she pulls a clock or a musical box apart, every piece is accounted for.

Sometimes she gets to work with one of a kind pieces that are broken. Considering that some of these items were made in the 17th century, spare parts are a bother to find. That is when she relies on her knowledge to create these missing parts. She has seen hundreds of pieces resurrected, which fills her with joy.

In her line of work, she has worked with big institutions such as the National Trust looking to restore important artifacts. For example, she worked on the famous Pagoda clock that contained more than 600 pieces for complete restoration. The 6-month project unveiled a lot of damages to the clock but it was restored and returned to Anglesey Abbey.

Song Birds happen to be another thing that she has worked on extensively. They come in various sizes and mechanisms. She says “They seem to delight people in a way that pretty much nothing else does, everyone loves the birds.” She is working on a disquisition on the bellow feature found in all songbirds. She believes it will help other aspiring horological students to learn the craft.

“It was the most meaningful moment in my whole horological career.” Says Brittany Cox regarding on working on the silver swan. The silver swan is a priceless automaton that is 250 years old. This exceptional work of Merlin is famous all over the world. It was a checkup to see if the mechanisms were working properly but the fact that she laid her hands on it, was magical.

She does not want to sit on her knowledge. She is keen on helping others understand her craft. She has a workshop situated in south Seattle that she uses to teach classes and also work on personal projects. She teaches subjects such as gearing and engine turning which happens to be an old technique.

Her work studio is full of projects and tools indicating that is a work is constant. For many, the idea of an antiquarian horologist might be baffling but once you see those automata full restored to their full glory, it’s hard not to be amazed by their motions.

There are people in this century still making automata in this century, some simple and some exquisite with gems on them. Are you interested? Why not take a class or two, you never know when the passion will come

Remember that old is gold.

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.

 

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.

Fredric Harwin – Ocularist

Heroes don’t have to be the typical character portrayed in movies. Heroes can come from every walk of society. Fredric Harwin, MSc, BCO, BADO, FAMI has changed the lives of many people. Through his world-class services, he has become a renowned ocularist. His work is so detailed and full of passion, ensuring that his patients get nothing but the best.

He is responsible for making cool almost real looking acrylic prosthetics that when worn could be mistaken for a functioning eye. Losing an eye has to be a very traumatic experience for anyone since it is the tool in which we use to look into the world.

For Fredric Harwin, he believes that everyone has the right to belong. People with eye impediments tend to be ignored by the society. For them to feel comfortable they have to find access to natural, nontoxic prosthetics that durable.

To begin with, he achieved a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Wayne State University. He then went over to Michigan University to collects a master’s degree in biological and medical illustration. He was lucky enough to have his first job at Wayne County General Hospital.

He didn’t know it at the time but his work as a medical illustrator was going to serve him when he plunged into ocular prosthetics. In his work, he got the chance to contribute to a two-volume atlas based on cardiac surgery.

He personally had to attend all these surgeries in order to get all the details. At times he even had to attend the same procedure twice. The meticulousness of his work as a medical illustrator can be seen in all of his work including the famous prosthetics.

During that time he got interested in the world of prosthetics. He came up with the idea of opening a clinic for facial prosthetics at the Oregon Health Sciences University. Like all smart people do, his research took him on a journey. He visited various clinics in the span of a year to make sure he understood all the ways to do these prosthetics.

In the midst of making different prosthetics, he came to the conclusion that he really enjoyed making the eyes. From there he has not stopped. He has various patients waiting for his services that are usually detailed.

Generally, he spends 8 hours, 4 sessions before the final product is complete. The client gets to see him working which creates a bond between them and ensures that the details are as close as can be. Making one prosthetic has twelve steps, at the end, the client gets a prosthetic that fits like a glove. The eye is very detailed that you could see layers and blood vessels just like a normal eye would have.

The combination of art and science can clearly be experienced from his work. He customizes each prosthetic with a symbol that means something for the client. It may be a rabbit or a sunflower, it doesn’t matter, Fredric Harwin will do it for his clients.

His talents don’t end there. When he discovered the world of oil paints and canvas, his possibilities became larger. Being that he is a firm believer that art and science can work together, he believes that nothing can stop him from making his clients feel good.

example of ocularist work

His artwork is dreamy and intricate with detail. He says that his favorite things to paint are trees. Since he has been illustrating blood vessels most of his life, he integrated them into his tree paintings. It’s not only trees he paints, you can see landscape, vibrant color and immaculate detail.

Just like he is a lover of art, he is a lover of science. He has accomplished a lot having the opportunity to work at a professor in several well-known universities. Currently, he still runs his clinic and he is an assistant professor at John Hopkins Medical School. He even finds time to the president of The Center of Ocular Prosthetics.

The look on his face when he sees a satisfied customer is priceless. For him, it’s not all about the money. It is just about helping his clients feel comfortable in their own skin and live normal lives.

ocularist example 2

For those who are looking for a customized prosthetic eye, there is hope. With technology evolving every day, there is a chance that more people like Fredric Harwin will be able to avail these services to the multitudes to need them. For more information, check out Frederic’s website www.fredharwin.com.

Artist Spotlight: C215

They say that practice makes perfect. That has proven true for the street artist Christian Guémy who has spent over 20years honing his craft. Known all over the world as C215. Known primarily first for graffiti then stencil work, the artist has a philosophical approach to life and art.

C215 was born in Paris back in 1973. From the time he was a child, c215 had an interesting life. His mother was also an artist, she spent her time creating drawings and frequently engaging in smoking cigarettes. When she committed suicide at 18 years old, C215 was left with his grandmother who fueled the artistic passion.

His grandmother took him to the space where his mother used to work and from there the art and Christian Guémy were one. He even joked that earlier he would steal girl’s notebooks and leaving drawings in them. The girls would open their books and gasp with surprise. As he grew up the passion grew even bigger but he had to make money and support himself.

Before becoming the renowned artist that he is now, C215 held regular jobs. He worked as an export manager for luxury furniture, worked in the financial markets and also conducted a market study for the furniture trade union.

All these varied experiences between working a regular 8-5 job, his studies and being a freelance artist has contributed to the man that you see now.  He has an interesting approach to his artwork and perception of life.

Unfortunately or fortunately, C215 has faced some prison time. The cell in which he was held was number 215. He decided to use his cell number as his art pseudonym, which to this day he is known by. If it were not for that prison time, we probably wouldn’t have the powerhouse logo that is C215.

His work

Before all the fame, Christian Guémy was versed in what he wanted to do. Considering that he got a master’s degree in art history he got a chance to work in an encyclopedia of crafts projects. His main focus being the history behind cabinets, plaster and stucco decorations.

c215 artwork on street

He went on further to study the 17th-century religious architecture and classic French architecture to give him a better understanding of the skillsets used in those days.

c215 madonna and child

C215 is well versed in the ways of street art. He has 20 years under his belt using spray cans to create works of art. He started using stencil in 2006 to make art when he was looking to make a portrait of his daughter and her mother. It proved successful and he started going at it seriously.

mural by c215 cat in tunisia

By 2007, he had galleries interested in his work and it became the main source of income for him. Seeing that he was dedicated to stenciling every day he compiled an enormous collection of art. In the beginning of this journey, he worked with the powerhouse Banksy which made his name be known by those who had not heard of it.

You can find his art in the walls of Paris and major cities in the world. He believes in creating street art that blends while sending the right message. Most stencil drawings tend to lack dimensions. His art has layers of vibrancy giving you that 3D feel. The colors draw you in, leaving you lost in wonderful detail.

c215 artwork near magazine rack

His work is focused on creating portraits of normal people that are overlooked by the society. He is not interested in the celebrities or people who hold big positions in the society. His interest is to capture the uniqueness of street children, beggars, the babysitter, the homeless man on the street corner or anyone who receives no recognition.

He wanted people to look at his paintings and ask who the subject was. That intrigue and recognition of the forgotten ones in the society are all he is after. He believes that every human is unique and deserves to be recognized.

c215 artwork

He is not only a stencil artist. He has other hidden talents that he is still discovering. He has dabbled in media arts and installations. This only goes to show us that there is more to expect from the artist.

When asked what his artwork stood for he stated “In the end, behind the portraits, the question is always freedom and dignity in the face of a capitalist daily life system. “ He strongly believes that artwork should be shared among people. Just because people can’t afford gallery-based art does not mean that they cat view it from the street. Strong words behind a strong man.

 

carolina falkholt standing infront of finger mural

Artist Spotlight: Carolina Falkholt

When looking for one word to describe her artwork, shy would not be among them. Carolina Falkholt is among the most versatile artists on the planet. She is known for grafitta which incorporates graffiti and the female reproductive organ representation into masterpieces.

Born in 1977 in Sweden, she lived a normal childhood in her hometown Dals Långed, Dalsland. She then pursued an education at the Waldorf school Kristofferskolan in Stockholm.

Her time in the Waldorf School opened doors for her to start graffiti work. At the time, she went by the assumed name blue. To seek better opportunities she moved to New-York and found herself working with other major artists.

To understand her work, one needs to understand the level of artists she worked with. She joined two famous groups; Hardcore Chickz and The fantastic partners. Her work was recognized and she ended up working for the Rawkus recording company. She collaborated with huge artists like Sento and Lady pink. All this work led to her being recognized among Sweden’s famous graffiti writers.

After 4 years working and living in New York city she had gotten enough experience and acknowledgment under her belt, she went back home to Gothenburg, Sweden.

Her Works

Globally she is known for drawing and graffiti but she has dabbled in other avenues of art. She sculpts, does installations, organizes performances, creates collages and finally film and photography.

carolina falkholt standing infront of finger mural full

If you look at her artwork, you will notice a lot of colors and unending circles. These circles create beautiful webs which are then filled out to make beautiful designs. She also has a thing for incorporating other features of the body besides the vagina. You will find some paintings with eyes, hands, ears, and mouth.

You can see how much work she puts in since most of her work is very intricate. Her hand paintings are especially notable for the detail and meaning since she utilizes the Swedish sign language.

Among her, most notable works include the 2010 collaboration with a number of other artists. The project was named Graffiti Mariestad. Thirty artists including musicians, dancers, and other famous graffiti artists worked to produce a large-scale artwork. It can actually be considered among the largest graffiti works to ever be produced.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the silo which housed the masterpiece was torn down.  For the sad part, the artwork was gone forever. For the better part, she got commissioned to create a public sculpture.

falkholt test sculpture

She did not disappoint. She created T.E.S.T, a 12 foot sculpture that was inaugurated in Mariestad back in 2011. The statue featured materials from the demolished silo making it a great way to remember art through art. You can read her book SILO to understand the whole process.

She has had her work displayed in many museums including the Gothenburg museum of art, Ystad art Museum, Eskilstuna museum, and other places like Steneby Konsthall. She has also found time to participate in TV shows and curated exhibitions such as the Mynningsladdare in Gothenburg. Her works are unending and so is her praise.

carolina falkholt mural Övermålning

In 2014, she was commissioned to do work which turned out to be controversial. The painting dubbed Övermålning featured derogatory words towards women painted over with a motif of a lady’s naked bottom half.

Since the painting was commissioned by a school in Nyköping, many did not approve of the message it sent. They even erected a wall in front of it. After a ray of heated arguments with politicians taking a standpoint on the matter, the painting won. The wall came down and all was free to see.

Another high school commissioned a painting by Carolina Falkholt. As it turns out, it also proved to be another controversial painting depicting a naked woman upside down in an uncomfortable position. This mural did not raise as many eyebrows comparing it to the 2014 painting.

falkholt penis mural in new york december 2017

The one that got the most attention is the mural she painted in 2017 in New York City. The 40inch erect penis made its debut on the side of a building at 303 Broome Street. Many were amused by the painting and some not so much.

Commissioned by the street Art Foundation, this painting got a lot of attention. The intention was that the painting was meant to accompany an earlier painting of a vagina on Pike Street. Unfortunately, due to the order of the landlord, the painting was painted over just hours after it was completed.

When asked what she thought of the matter she said: “Art is one of the only places left where we can truly be free and discuss whatever difficult topics there are, since art has the ability to translate and transform language in any direction possible.”

With those few philosophical words from her, the art world is sure to experience the brilliant antiques of Carolina Falkholt. Her art is vibrant, controversial and the world wants more and so do we!

Artist Profile: Keith Haring

He came from art and became one of the most famous artists of his time. He was born in 1958 in Reading, Pennsylvania but grew up in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. His father was an engineer and a cartoonist. His first art influences came from his spending time with his father. He was the first born of four siblings and the only boy. Walt Disney cartoons, Dr. Seuss, Looney tunes and Charles Schulz were also his influences.

He was brought up in a religious family, but he left all that behind when he was a teenager and decided to travel the country. He made a living from selling vintage t-shirts, and during that time, he tried drugs. He lost interest in commercial art which he was studying at Ivy School of Professional Art in Pittsburgh. His decision to leave was after he read The Art Spirit by Robert Henri which made him want to focus on his art.

He familiarized himself with the art of Jean Dubuffet, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Tobey while working at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts as a maintenance person. All the art influences around him kept giving him a push towards art. He came by Pierre Alechinsky work in 1977 that gave him the confidence to make large calligraphic images.

In 1978, Christo a sculptor gave a lecture that gave Haring the push he needed to show his work to the public. It was then that Haring got the courage to hold his first on man exhibition at the Center for the Arts in Pittsburgh. After the show, he moved to New York to study painting. Keith also ventured into video and performance art while there. He got behind on credits because his teachers did not award his social activism works any points.

The earliest recognition of Keith was through his art on subways. His had film of his exhibitions at Club 57 in 1980. He took part in the Times Square Exhibition where he drew human and animal faces in his art for the first time.

crack is wack keith haring mural

He became friends with Futura, Kenny and Jean-Michel in 1982 who were also upcoming artists. Between 1982 and 1989 he did over 50 public works of art in many cities around the world. His remarkable mural Crack is Wack is still visible through New York’s FDR Drive.

After his extensive works around the Cities, he met Andy Warhol who was one of his themes in his art. The beginning of their friendship cemented the success of Haring as an artist.

Keith Haring International Work

keith haring new south wales

He took part in some international art projects which gained him international recognition and grew his art even more. He went to Australia in 1984 and worked on murals in Melbourne. He also went to Sydney where the National Gallery of Victoria and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art had him paint a mural replacing the water curtain that was in the national gallery.

keith haring mural sao paulo

Rio de Janeiro was also one of his stops where he did paintings. He also worked in the Musee d’Art Modern de la Ville de Paris, Manhattan and Minneapolis. He drew a poster of free South Africa which was crucial to his political activity in 1985.

Haring did a section of the Berlin wall in 1986. He got to work with children because he loved children at the City Kids Speak on Liberty project for the Statue of Liberty. It took the collaboration of 1000 children.

Haring described his work as trying to break the barrier between high and low art. It was not about making money. His works then took on a very socio-political theme. He worked on AIDs awareness works, Anti-Apartheid and the Crack Cocaine Epidemic. He also had other works of art of different things like Coca-Cola and Absolut Vodka.

He continued his tradition of solo exhibitions in 1987 at Helsinki and Antwerp. He was the artist and designer on the album A Very Special Christmas that featured Madonna. He worked with artists and joined artists groups that saw him become part of the label of Chateau Mouton Rothschild.

pile of crowns by heith haring

At Woodhull Medical and Mental Health Center, he worked on public murals in the lobby and the care department. He paid his respects to his friend Jean-Michel in 1988 who died of an overdose by painting A Pile of Crowns for Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Sexuality

Keith Haring was an openly gay artist who actively rallied for safe sex. He, however, got a positive diagnosis for AIDs in 1988. The following year, he began a Keith Haring foundation that gave funding to AIDs organizations and Children’s programs. The foundation was also to extend the reach of his artwork. He spoke about his ailment and created AIDs awareness every chance that he got.

 

tuttomondo keith haring

In 1989, the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center gave Haring a platform to paint a mural on the 208 West 13th Street building. For the mural Once Upon a Time, he chose the second-floor men’s room of the building. June of the same year, on the wall of the Church of Sant’Antonio, he did his final public work of art, the mural Tuttomondo.

He also took part in the fashion industry where his artwork was in clothing. Some of these clothes the likes of Madonna would wear. He also ventured into jewelry design with David Spada. He made sculptural pieces for Jones.

Death

Keith Haring died on February 16, 1990. The cause of his death was related to his earlier AIDs diagnosis. He developed complications that caused his death. He had made an impact on the world through his art and Madonna held a benefit Concert in his honor. All the money made from the tour of her Blond Ambition album given to various charities for AIDs awareness.

The works of Haring and his efforts in creating awareness about AIDs got recognition by several organizations which drew inspiration from it and carried on his vision for Awareness and Funding. He is among the first famous people who had foundations dedicated to helping people affected by AIDs.

Much of Haring’s work is chronicled on The Keith Haring Foundation