Mona Caron at work

Mona Caron, Mural Artist

To many homeowners, weeds are some of the most unsightly plants in their gardens. They are unwelcome and every time they are seen, a form of weed killer is pulled from the store to destroy them. Unfortunately, they keep coming back. Others are so strong that they sprout through the cracks of pavement and sidewalks. So even if weeds are kept away from the fertile soil the garden, they will always find a way – they’re such strong-willed.

Such powerful and resilient characteristic of weeds is what Swiss-born American artist Mona Caron idolizes in her murals that feature massive, towering weeds.

Mona believes that weeds are beautiful plants and have a role to play in life. They are somewhat a symbol of people and issues in society that many others often consider of less importance, yet they have to be addressed. That tells why Mona often collaborates with local and international, social and environmental movements for labor rights, water rights, and climate justice.

Weeds mural by Mona Caron

A weeds mural by Mona Caron

Murals

As part of her “WEEDS” project, Mona has created murals in many places around the world including her adoptive city San Francisco, Portland, Sao Paulo, Colombia, Taiwan, and Spain.

She usually chooses the location of each mural in resonance with the “WEEDS” series metaphor – resilience and resistance. They are places where alternatives are being established, places that are making a difference while resisting the entropy of our world.

Take, for example, mural + assemblage collaboration with Dustin Fosnot in San Francisco. The work is a poetic representation of the precarious condition that many people find themselves in as a result of the real estate crisis in the city.

Mona Caron & Dustin Fosnot collaboration in San Francisco

Mona Caron & Dustin Fosnot collaboration in San Francisco

A recurring theme in her murals is the large scale portraits of seemingly unremarkable plants, in which the difference between the artistry’s heroic magnitude and the plant’s natural fragility or lack of appreciation is meant as a tribute to the resilience of all those beings that are often deemed unfit within the designs of society, but keep growing anyway.

Such is the narrative behind her soaring artwork in the city of Kaohsiung, Lingya District, Taiwan.

“I’m known to paint weeds. The plants in this mural are hardly weeds: their medicinal properties are appreciated enough to make them widely cultivated. But I painted them growing, like weeds do, from an inhospitable ground, a disturbed environment. Our disturbed environment,” she said.

“But from those beacons in the dark, healing plants grow upwards, pushing beyond our predicament. The healing plants assert themselves somehow, reaching that elusive clear sky, rarely seen in many cities like Kaohsiung.”

Collaborations

Mona Caron has created multiple pieces of art with other artists from around the world. In 2015, she went to the depths of Medellin, Colombia and together with Zatelite Afrobeat, they created a 500ft long mural on a convex wall on the fast lane side of a one-way street. This was for the 4th World Bicycle Forum of that year.

Mona Caron collab with Zatelite Afrobeat in Medellin, Colombia

Mona Caron collab with Zatelite Afrobeat in Medellin, Colombia

The mural unfurls to passers-by, starting small and growing to something big from left to right. According to Mona, the mural symbolizes the impact of the small, simple act of riding a bike in the city, something that can eventually bring about pronounced transformations, which further the liveliness and livability of the urban setup.

Other collaborations include Mona and Liqen mural in Vigo, Spain, Mona + Apexer at Trail Head in San Francisco, as well as a remarkable Collapsible painting kit and self-growing mural by her and SofT Zulah.

Artivism

In line with her activist trends, Mona Caron creates artwork to support issues in society. Her art has been used in labor rights groups, water rights groups and climate justice rallies with organizations ranging from 350.org to Zero-waste Detroit, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Land is Life, and US Social Forum.

Mujeres Custodias: Women Protectors of our Endangered Habitat

Mujeres Custodias: Women Protectors of our Endangered Habitat

A prime example is her 2016 Mujeres Custodias mural in central Quito, Ecuador. Featuring 6 Amazonian and 3 Andean indigenous women, the mural was created to raise their profile along with other women leading the defense from fossil fuel extraction, mining activities, and agricultural laws that endanger food sovereignty and abolish ancestral culture in the region.

A vast majority of her murals created for mass street actions involved collaboration with her longtime friend and partner-in-art, fellow artivist and puppetista, David Solnit. However, her social involvement transcends mural creations. In 2015, Mona made a host of paintings directly on banners and flyers for the COP21 Climate Summit in Paris.

Among other things, she does illustrations for books, posters for political or music events, and news editorials, using watercolor and block print techniques.

Personal background

Mona Caron was born and raised in the Centovalli area of Ticino, Switzerland. She studied English literature at the University of Zurich before moving to San Francisco, where she went to the Academy of Art University and graduated with honors BFA in illustration.

But her true love for botany is largely owed to three aspects; her childhood’s natural environment, her mother’s teachings as well as influence from her father, Peter Bissegger, who is a theater set designer.

wallspot promo shot

Wallspot – The Legal Walls Management System

Wallspot is an organization and a system whose primary role is to manage legal walls, which are used for artistic interventions, where the public space has used as a means for creation. If you’ve wondered if such walls can be managed, then Wallspot answers that question since they offer a great solution.

Wallspot Origin and Philosophy

Wallspot seeks to provide an excellent solution for artists. The organization was formed under the idea of bringing together and integrating people who are engaged in art such as photographers, promoters, arts managers, the local government, as well as the general public. Wallspot aims to become an international platform that targets creators and urban art lovers.

The primary goal of the organization is to bring all kinds of professionals together and engage them in the art form, to create a community of global urban art. According to Wallspot, they view the public space as somewhere people can gather together, build collectively, and also an area where social transformation can take place. The organization fosters a social dynamic, which bridges the gap between the artistic community and the society, as well as bring new cultural values to the city.

Among other goals, Wallspot seeks to provide support to quality artistic creations. They are open to all kinds of disciplines, and all of these under just one social philosophy, which calls to see active participation in all sectors of the society.

Wallspot Team

Wallspot includes a great team of multidisciplinary programmers, creative designers, arts managers, curators, and sociologists. The good thing about the organization is that through its broad team of professionals, they are well able to understand and approach projects in various ways and even in an effective manner. Therefore, they offer an all-rounded vision.

The organization works on pioneering innovations that seek to unite urban art and technology.  That helps to gain more momentum and recognition around the globe as this significantly contributes to creating channels that allow the participation of the public.

Cultural Managers

Wallspot has a large portfolio of cultural managers that help to oversee and support what the organization is trying to do.

Some of these cultural managers include:

  • Rebobinart from Barcelona, Spain
  • RMUTL, Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Rewriters010 from Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • NotAnotherArtHub from Johannesburg, South Africa
  • BLED’ART Nkongsamba, Cameroun
  • Municipality of Agued, Agued, Portugal
  • Throwupgallery, Aberdeen Scotland
  • Nthililo studio art gallery and school
  • Cheltenham paint festival
  • SAUE government, Tallinn, Estonia
  • Doseculture, Longueui, Canada

Wallspot Services

Book a space Reserving a space for art projects, among other things, has been made easier thanks to Wallspot.

Add space – Another excellent service provided by Wallspot is that you can also add space. For those who are interested in this, know that Wallspot allows for space addition.

Donate space – they also offer the option of giving space for the right cause.

Wallspot Gallery

The Wallspot gallery is filled with great stuff. From the recent projects to the old ones, they have managed to come up with great works that continue to impact the communities across Europe and beyond.

When it comes to photography, Wallspot has done an excellent job. Their website has a portfolio of what they have done so far up to where they are currently. That’s something to keep an eye on – especially if you are an artist. They have also organized a lot of paint and art events around the world.

Wallspot Spaces

wallspot space available in montreal canada

Wallspot spaces available in Montreal

Some of the Wallspot spaces include:

Tres Xemeneies – The Tres Xemeneies is a wall that has excellent symbolic values, and it was the first wall of the Murslliures, Wallspot predecessor. It’s a Wallspot predecessor. For long, it has been a very remarkable space when painting Barcelona’s city. It is also among the most photographed places by people who love street art.

Agricultura – The Agricultura is the wall that is available and has the largest painting space in Barcelona. It measures approximately 2-10 meters high and circles an entire block. It is known for many artists going there to work together during weekends.

Selva de Mar – The Selva de Mar is the second-longest wall in Barcelona. It measures about 2 to 6 meters in height.

Western town – The town of the west is an exterior wall that has a façade on the front part. It boasts a range of areas to make interventions in a variety of supports.

Maria Reverter – Maria reverter is a wall that is located in private parking of approximately 40 meters long and 2 meters high. The wall is located in an old town in Barcelona, but it is precious. It has been saved from the real estate boom.

Carretera Barcelona – The Carretera is a wall that is located in one of the essential parts of the city. The wall is available for booking and includes a massive paint of Barbera del Valles.

Wallspot has created many artworks and spaces. As you can see, the organization strives to create amazing stuff and unite like-minded people together for a more significant cause. If you love art, then you should consider checking out what Wallspot has to offer for creatives. When a bit of exposure and connection with the right people is done correctly, a lot of things can happen, and the people can make a significant impact.

The spaces provided by Wallspot showcase just how efficient the organization is trying to create a better cause. Be sure to check them out.

 

Matthew Willey painting bees

Matthew Willey – The Artist Committed to Hand-Paint 50,000 Honeybees

You might be asking, why would an artist commit himself to paint 50,000 honeybees? Well, that is the number which is necessary for a healthy and thriving hive. Matthew Willey wants to paint these in murals all around the world.

Who is Matthew Willey?

Matthew Willey on scissor lift while painting bee muralMatthew Willey has been in the art industry for about 25 years now. Throughout his career, he’s managed to bring beauty to walls of homes and businesses across the UK, Croatia and major cities in the U.S. He combines design, scenic art, and painting abilities to come up with fantastic honeybee murals that seem to grow with strokes and texture, a wing at a time.

Over the years, Matthew has mostly focused on mural painting, although he also creates some works on canvas. He has written four screenplays, and he’s a co-founder in an educational company that makes Homers’ Odyssey and Greek mythology, which students and teachers can easily access.

Achievements

Matthew Willey has made some major accomplishments in his work as a result of the excellent work that he is doing to try and save the bees. He created “The Good of the Hive“, which is not only a website but also a movement that he uses to showcase his work and create awareness about saving the bees.

He has managed to share stories of the Good of the Hive at the FAO in Washington DC, the United Nations, Smithsonian’s National Zoo, Burt’s Bees Global HQ, NEA’s podcast, the Planetary Health Alliance 2018 annual meeting in Scotland, among other places throughout the US.

Some of his work has been featured in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Veranda Magazine, The Huffington Post, among many media channels and publications.

How it all began

In an interview by Joe Philips at Humansandnature.org, Matthew Willey describes how he started and what drove him to the extent of trying to save bees.

One day in high school, Matt and friends found about 1,000 bees dead at the base of a hive. Matt was staggered at the impact and visceral reaction, and this considerably opened his eyes. “With all the data and research that we have, at the end of the day, we are all just human, and we react to our experiences through our five senses,” says Matt.

After carefully investigating on the issue of the 1000 bees’ death, Matt was able to find out through the help of the chief apiarist in the area that the bees had died due to exposure to chemicals.

He then began researching honeybees and came across altruistic suicide, which was an idea that fascinated him. He discovered that when a bee falls ill or feels a bit sick, it will leave the hive and fly off into the abyss just for the good of the hive.

That’s where Matthew drew the name of his famous project, “The Good of the Hive.” He describes his first honeybee-themed mural painting as something that made him realize that bees symbolize connection as well as create a connection.

He says when he started painting bees, everyone would stop and tell a bee story. Matt wants to raise awareness about the plight of the honeybee. He is quite ambitious about his project to personally paint 50,000 honeybees in murals around the world.

Collaborations

During his mural site paintings, Matthew met with one Zach Ellis, who was fascinated by the work and decided to join The Good of the Hive. Zach was on a road trip at the time, and when he learned that the next mural was going to take place at about 30 minutes from his home, he was excited, and that’s where their partnership began.

Zach was much impressed by the energy Matthew portrayed from his work and the captivating visuals of the painted bees. Since their meeting, Zach has managed to offer a lot of help and service thanks to his exceptional skills. Some of the things that Zach has been able to help out with include; photography, logistics, videography, and marketing matters, among others.

Zach was born and raised in the mid-west, and he is a facilitator, speaker and coordinator who is quite accomplished in his fields. His desire is to see passionate people connected together. It is quite clear that their meeting and collaboration has been a great and successful one.

Projects

Although Matthew is popular for “The Good of the Hive” project, he has also worked on other significant projects throughout his career. Some of his murals include the Flower Child, Burning Man, Bees 1875-1892, Honey & the Hive, 2560-2606, 1893, 1817-1874, among many others.

There are also installations that Matthew has been able to work on. They include The Swarm, Bending Hives, and Colony Expanse, which can all be seen at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington, DC.

Media projects include:

The Good of the Hive Film

This one is about saving the world through playfulness and art. The film shows a bit about the work of Matthew Willey on how he paints 50, 000 honeybees on murals around the globe. The main focus of the film is murals at Janney Elementary School in Washington, DC. The letter of a 7-year old girl helps to create an opportunity for the uniting of her community to help preserve pollinators.

There is also merchandise sold by Matthew Willey on The Good of the Hive website, which people can purchase to help support the cause, among other things.

The work of Matthew Willey is inspiring. His good cause has inspired many, both young and old, to try and make a change in helping save honeybees for the benefit of humankind. You can check out more information on what he is doing and planning to do in the future by logging on to his website.

Mural Painting Robot

Robots do a whole lot of activities previously done only by humans. From car assembling to actual driving, farming to bartending, robots have now more than ever taken much of the work that people used to do on their shoulders. Most importantly, these machines are more efficient than us, cutting a large chunk of the time we can naturally take to accomplish a task.

Perhaps the latest application of robotic technology is in the art industry, particularly mural painting. A few companies pioneered by some leading mural artists have recently introduced wall-crawling robots that paint murals (large or small) on almost any surface. This is something that can transform cities, public spaces, communities, and homes in just a matter of days.

The name on everyone’s lips at the moment is Mikhel Joala, the inventor of the mural painting robot Albert and founder of the company Sprayprinter. Joala is a street artist originally from Estonia and he says Albert can paint murals up to 100 times faster than humans.

“It’s definitely going to change how to think about street art,” Joala said in an interview with sfgate.com.

“But I think that Albert can coexist with hand painting artists because a printed image is always going to be different than a painted one.”

How it works

The mural painting robot works much like a traditional printer, using small dots of color to create a variety of colors and details.

Robot Albert, for instance, comes in two parts. First is the printhead that carries about six cans of spray paint. The other component is the spooling mechanism with cords that attach to the printhead and which also guides it around the wall.

The spooling mechanism additionally features a built-in computer interface where images can be uploaded for printing. It means the robot does not come up with its art, but that’s something clever minds like Joala are working on for the future. As the robot drifts around a surface, it constantly sprays dots of paint onto it and eventually, an image appears.

Typically, robot muralists use an intelligent algorithm to calculate how the image will be scaled on the wall. The machine can spray 1 sq.m per minute, a super-fast application for a task that could take weeks or months if hand-painted by a mural artist.

What has been done so far?

This art technology is still in its early stages but there are a couple of works out there to show its capability. Sprayprinter, for instance, has created murals on the sides of buildings in Joala’s native Estonia as well as northern California.

In 2016, Sprayprinter painted a large mural of Albert Einstein onto the wall of a four-story office building in the company’s hometown, Tartu, Estonia. Armed with three cans of spray paint, it took the robot just five hours to complete the giant mural.

In July 2017, Joala’s prototype also painted a 30-meter high mural on an industrial chimney using five cans of spray paint, a job that took a mere 14 hours to finish. During the time, Joala said the robot can create images three times more than the size of the 30m mural. The beauty of his invention is its scalability, which he said will empower them to break the world record for the biggest mural in the world.

Last year, robot Albert painted a mural in SoMa in March, San Jose in May and two others in California on September 2018.

Another San Jose based startup Vibot was also involved in painting a two-story-high mural on the side of a building in the city’s downtown, using robot technology. Asked whether the technology is here to steal artists’ jobs, Vibot CFO Yeong-Sae said:

example of nissan ad painted by mural painting robot“We’re certainly not trying to take small platforms away from muralists, that’s for them to do. We take a much larger project, much more complex pictures that need to be done cost-effectively and in a much shorter period of time.”

In fact, Vibot’s have painted major skyscrapers across Korea, so when they say much larger projects, they mean it.

“They don’t have the ability to paint on these large walls, so they don’t get the exposure that these muralists might be able to get,” Kim added.

Bottomline

Mural painting robots are on a mission to transform plain, boring, gray city spaces into stunning points of human expression. Above all, they make light work of painting massive murals and that’s something to back up.