Posts

Credit-Joel-Fox_MG_0092-crop

Artist Spotlight: Mode 2

This brilliant man was born in Mauritius in the year 1967. His days as a child were spent exploring the Indian ocean before eventually relocating to the UK in 1976. Heavily influenced by the culture he was exposed to in the 80s, the young boy spent his time diving through comic books and sci-fi stories. He claims to draw for as long as he can remember. This only speaks of his exceptional talent.

Mode 2 has taken the art world by storm, drawing his inspiration from the hip-hop culture which was close to his heart. He says “After my school exams in summer ‘84, I started hanging out in Covent Garden, the hub of the London Hip Hop scene, which I had discovered the year before, walking through it with my mother and the younger of my older brothers. My drawing ability led me to pick up the marker and spray-can, doing anything from painting banners for the “Alternative Arts” center, or customizing the trousers or jackets of some of the other people hanging out with me, whether they were dancers or Mc’s”

He has written his name among the greats like his partners’ Eskimo, Zaki, Scribla, and last but not least forming Chrome Angelz. The forerunners of the British graffiti circle recognize his work in street art inspired movement. For more info you can check out his latest tales on his blog.

His Artwork

His motto to empty every paint can as beautifully as he can has followed him all through his art life. Understanding rhythm and movement are the hints given to understand his artistic way. Mode 2 uses the fluidity of the movement in dancing to emit some good vibes from his projects.

2008_Butterflies-In-The-Springtime_H115cm-X-W155cm_DSC01611

He has enjoyed residence at the emporium Coco de Mer. During his residency, he refined an offshoot style where he mixes graffiti art and variables of traditional portraits. He says that he cannot put his art in a box and refuses to categorize or define his art.

Taking leave days from school, Mode 2 used to travel to Paris to get commissioned jobs. He rubbed shoulders with the famous Bando. He became part and parcel of the first generation of graffiti writers who were based in Europe. Their environment was soaked in inspiration for them to take in and create amazing artwork.

As an artist, he employs a harmonious contrast to make his objects come alive. He loves painting about situations everyone faces like lust, love. And sexual promiscuity. He uses his style in such a way that it has no proper posturing or obvious antagonism. This turn of events landed him on the cover of” Spraycan Art “back in 1987 and the exposure took him to a new level in his career.

His passion for soaking his surroundings brought him a close working relationship with the compact camera. He took photos of what captures his eye. Some of his photographs were however used in a book that was printed by Lazarides Gallery located in London. This was the beginning of “Toxic” Paris parties in 2004.

Because of his love for hip hop, she designs banners for the” battle of the year” even though he is still one of the competition’s committee. Lately, he has gotten opportunity to display his prints at the Galarie Issue in Paris, France. This event is to socialize people with digital applications.

The year 1996 was a good year for Mode 2. He met Swiftly who hosted a show and this changed his life yet again. He opened doors making flyer illustrations for various companies both locally and internationally. Till today he still enjoys making presentations once in a while.

Although his artwork shows an obsession with the female form, he insists that he tries not to have preferences while making art. Even while painting of harsh realities, Mode two tries to breathe a little positivity into the wood work.

He also hints of how he got his success. He is heard saying”Still, when looking back over the years, what had helped me to really make my name was what many would call graffiti, though it was actually called “writing”, by those who practiced it and made it evolve.” He encourages young artists to let creativity flow and to avoid tags.

2009_05_15_That-First-Dance_P1000297

Mode 2 has been around the art scene to see it morph into what it is today. He has already put his name in the hall of fame. We salute his hard work and his inspiring history as he has gained millions of loyal fans all over the world.

He lives us saying “We, in the meantime, despite the plague of communication technology, will continue to evolve and refine what we do, choosing where and when we wish to reach out to the public and give from what makes us feel alive.”

burst by jame bullough

James Bullough Bio

James Bullough is an American born artist who grew up in Washington DC and now lives and works in Berlin, Germany.

As a kid growing up in the exurb of Washington DC, Bullough was fascinated with the innovative graffiti art that he used to see around the DC subway. He began developing an interest in making his own art inspired by the edgy urban art, which came innately to him. He started studying the mastery of the Old Masters and illustrating extraordinary oil paintings of urban contemporary art.

His work is about creating captivating contrasts and juxtapositions, which he achieves by integrating the momentum of one image and the technical of the other. In most of his works, Bullough leans heavily towards photorealism combined with 3D effects, producing paintings that strike a balance between realistic figurations and stylized intervention. He works with oil, latex, acrylic, spray paint among other materials.

Bullough’s transition has been like any other artist; from doing small pieces on walls of train tracks around his hometown to massive murals on the sides of tower blocks. He moved from the United States to Germany in 2010, after quitting his job as a middle-school teacher in Baltimore, the US. With the desire to focus on his artwork full-time, he’s never regretted the decision, acknowledging it’s the best decision he ever made in his life. It was best for the world; perhaps we couldn’t be seeing his stunning pieces of art that exist today.

While in Berlin, he found himself concentrating his efforts to the spray can as opposed to his initial paintbrush. His seamless transformation from painting photorealistic oil murals using a paintbrush to creating photorealistic spray-paint murals has attracted the attention of many art fanatics. In his first three years in Berlin, he worked with another American born and Berlin based artist Addison Karl under the name JBAK.

james bullough artwork of a woman in blue shirt

The pair gained popularity for their various works and wide-ranging murals across Germany and the US. One of their major artistic accomplishments in Berlin is his ‘Totem’ mural, done at Landsberger Alle 228B in 2014. This epic mural bursts with color and imagination, featuring three individuals all standing on each other’s backs – forming the totem. It looks more of an acrobatic art to a Layman’s eye and stands as tall as 11 stories. The duo had to employ a crane when they painted the mural and the job took over a month to complete.

Today, Bullough works as an independent artist, balancing his time between mural painting and studio work. A quick look at his work will show you he prefers to paint people in his trademark colourful style. He especially decorates women onto dull walls, crushing the blankness with the magnificence of beauty of the smooth delicate skin of women and long flowing hair. His Desi mural in Brooklyn, NYC is a perfect example.

James Bullough artwork of person jumping in the air

VantagePoint Radio

Bullough also has eyes for other ventures apart from art. In 2014, he introduced a new project to the world as co-creator and host of VantagePoint Radio. The interview show focuses on urban art and the graffiti/mural artists who occupy the genre. Each episode features an established artist or a group of artists in the contemporary art scene and Bullough sheds light on their lives and works.

Exhibitions

Since his departure from the US, James Bullough has returned to his mother country for several exhibitions. His last visit to Los Angeles in May 2016 saw him exhibit a series of works called ‘Breaking Point’ at the Thinkspace Gallery, which was nothing less than jaw-dropping.

Thinkspace Gallery – Breaking Point

In this series, Bullough captures fractured moments of existence; disruption and personal break through the expressive body motion, asking his models to channel individual memory and to remember encounters of “breaking” at the time of their capture.

Working with dancers from Berlin, he starts with the body movement, captured in an expanse of negative space, then disguises it further, grafting, striating, and dividing its surfaces and planes. The models remain mysterious and faceless all through, an exclusion planned to reaffirm the typical universality of the emotive physical motion.

This masterpiece shows how his style has evolved significantly over the years. Previous works featured graphic inclusions and interruptions, with areas of the subject clearly removed. His recent works are more dynamic as he shifts and activates the interrupted segments of the figures rather than delete them. Areas of the body are superimposed, shaking with transitional movement as opposed to being static.

Generally, Bullough has attended many exhibitions in Germany and the United States. He was also invited, among other international artists, to exhibit his works at the Stolenspace Gallery in London, the UK in December 2015.

His illustration of photorealistic imagery challenges the viewer’s perception of reality by shifting and breaking up the bodies he paints. Bullough is simply proving that tower blocks and city walls shouldn’t be a dull opaque white, but instead a playground for creativity.

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.