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.

 

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.

Patrick Tresset Portrait - French Robotics Artist

Patrick Tresset, Makes Art with Computer Robot Drawings

Life does not always work out the way we plan just ask Patrick Tresset. You think you want something and when you are immersed in it, you find that your interest lost. In his life, art and science have never been apart.

The French artist started tinkering with computers from a young age. When the time came for college, he decided to focus on business computing. This passion thrived until it he got out of college. Interest lost in the sciences, he went back to the arts.

The painting arts welcomed him with open hands and he revelled in it for a time. After a decade or so of painting, he lost interest in the field. This may have been catalyzed by his mental problems that disabled full functionality in the society. The good news is that he sought help from specialists who helped to get on the right track.

He did get help but he was done using his hands to paint. It was then that in 1999 he came up with the concept of robots that could draw. His first trials did not produce a portrait, it was all doodles. This first research helped him identify that he was unequipped to produce visible art and thus he sought some education.

With a masters from the Goldsmiths College for computing, he was able to have more insight into his idea.  He was able to look into computer vision and perception. His final thesis was on a software that could let computers draw outlines of a person’s face.

For a first step, this was brilliant but it hadn’t reached the level of quality that we wanted. Thus, he moved to the next step in his big plan. A doctoral conquest was next in search of more information to make the project even greater. In 2009, they got a grant 3-year from the Leverhulme Trust.

At first, robotics were not included in the research, but then they realized that it was unavoidable. This is because drawing usually features different gestures to compose a visible portrait. The discovery that they needed robotics made the whole process of software integration easier.

patrick tresset

By the year 2010, Patrick Tresset had a robotic model for display. It worked well, but for a perfectionist, he had to tweak it. By 2011 he had produced the first robotic drawing that met his standard. It was at the right time too since the model got so much international attention that museums wanted to exhibit his installations. Success at last.

Crash by Paul-N

Crash by Paul-N

All his machines have the name, Paul. There are various models that distinction is required. You will find the models with a suffix of a roman number or letters of the alphabet. These models have a camera recording the facial structure of the face in question. These images are processed to command the robotic arm to draw what it sees.

Robby by Paul II

Robby by Paul II

These robotic arms are bolted to different school desks (command centres) to produce different effects. There are plans to develop these robots further to a point where each robot has its own distinct style.

Patrick Tresset art machines

Consider Mr. Patrick a teacher of artistic robots. In his recent work, he has been able to create robotic models that can learn and take instruction. What is interesting is that some of these models portray human traits. Some are slow and some are fast. Some have a hint of shyness thanks to Patrick Tresset’s genius.

In humanizing these robots you are able to marvel at what science and art can produce when intermingled. In the future, there are plans to see how far they can take up this project with the new advancements in technology.

patrick tresset computer art

Astro Boy by Paul-II

In his studio located in London, you will find portraits of many who have come to get their portraits taken by these robots. People are fascinated with the thought of a robot being an artist with an identity. In the future, we predict human-like robots with a sophisticated mindset.

Museums such as the Museum of Israel, Seoul’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, London’s Victoria& Albert Museum, the Prada Foundation, and BOZAR are some of the places that his work has graced.

Already he marvels at his work saying “I am always surprised, I am never sure what they’re going to do,” Every portrait made is different from the other even though it is on the same subject. There is no telling where this project will be in five years. All we understand is that it will be beyond marvellous!

 

 

Work on the longest mural in the world - US Mexico border

Longest Mural in the World Us, Mexico Border

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

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

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

How, you ask? By a mural.

longest mural us mexico border

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

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

longest mural us mexico border

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

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

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

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

longest mural us mexico border

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

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

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

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

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

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

technician holding a disc of vanta black

Vantablack – The Blackest Substance on Earth

They say that it is blacker than black and in all reality, it is one hundred percent true. Vantablack made its way to the market and all of a sudden both artists and the scientific community are obsessed with it.

Vantablack is a material that is constructed out of singular carbon nanotubes. These nanotubes a brown to a structure that can be compared to a forest made of grass. This structure is what contributes to its most notable feature.

Vantablack is a patented by the Surrey NanoSystems Limited. The Vanta in the name Vantablack stands for Vertically Aligned Nano Tube Arrays. It is so dark it can be compared to peering down a small blackhole.

Its vanta-stique features

Dubbed the darkest man-made material. It has the amazing ability to absorb 99.98% of the light directed at it. This action is made possible through the length of the Nanotubes. The absorbed light stays within the confines of the tube long enough to dissipate into heat energy.

3d  vantablack object appearing to be 2d Another feature that this rate of light absorption offers is 3D-2D change. When objects are covered with this material, you are unable to distinguish any tangible detail. A statue covered with the material will lack definition and appear flat to the human eye.

Another interesting feature of this material seems superhydrophobic. When water is poured on a Vantablack surface, the water just floats on the surface. It does not seem to get wet which is a great feature for both artists and scientist.

It is so light that vibrations or shock won’t be able to affect it. Durability is assured since the material is not affected by temperature changes. In space or on earth, the material remains unchanged.

2018 Olympics

The world is excited for the 2018 winter Olympics. There are many exciting events to be expected and Asif Khan’s work is one of them. Asif Khan was not a stranger to Vantablack. He had been involved with the company before this version of Vantablack was introduced to the market.

There was an uproar as to why the material could not be licensed to more artists or commercialized to more studios. The rights to use Vantablack for art were bought by none other than Anish Kapoor. Meaning that no one else could use it for art in the world. People are mad but there is nothing to be done.

Back to Asif Khans work in the Pyeongyang Olympics which will enable people to peer into space. The four walls of the Hyundai pavilion will be covered in thousands of lights to ape what we might see in space.

“It will be like you’re looking into the depths of space itself, as you approach the building that star field will grow to fill your entire field of view, and then you’ll enter as though you’re being absorbed into a cloud of blackness.” Says Asif Khan. Many people are eager to experience this vision of space supported by the blackest manmade material on the planet.

Future of Vantablack

Vantablack was first made to be used in space exploration procedures. Its ability to absorb light was perfect for satellite explorations. Due to the minimization of light flares, the telescopes could pick better images and look further into space.

Another surprising use is in the jewelry industry especially pertaining to watches. These luxurious watches are limited since their cost can be quite high, however, the aesthetic appeal is incomparable. Swiss watchmakers have already gotten their hands on the material. You can get an MTC watch with the Vantablack background for around 95,000 dollars.

The automotive and mobile industry has not been left out. In the future, you will have car dashboards coated with the material. Your mobile cases or cameras may contain this material for aesthetic or functional use.

The chief technical officer at Surrey NanoSystems insists that the product can never be commercialized. He says “It has to be applied by specialist contractors trained by us, using a technique that forms a consistent nanostructure. It does not come in a spray can.”

We cannot wait for the inclusion of this material and its properties to our lives but for now, we sit and wait. The material is still new in the market and it is only proper to exercise control until proper parameters are established.

The unveiling of the 2018 Olympics will be a sight to see and a wonder to experience. If you will be at the Olympics, stop over at Asif Khan’s pavilion and peer into space. It may be the closest you ever get to a black hole.

A worker in orange work suit stands infront of a grey painted wall next to a mural in sao paulo, brazil

Largest South America Graffiti Wall Erased

The beauty of Brazil has never stopped seducing the world into submission. From those white sandy beaches to Pico da Neblina, the country boast both of aesthetics, and football talent that till today captures millions of fans.

Among the charms that Brazil offers, is a beautiful metropolitan, claiming the position of the largest city in South America. This state is rich in culture and free expression. São Paulo, is not be underestimated as it supports 12.04 million people as of 2016.

The culture of the city can be illustrated in the art that paints the city. Along the 23 de Maio highway, your eyes feast on art like no other. The street mural displays the work of graffiti artists over 5000 square meters. It all started with Rui Amaral and 200 artists joining in creating this beautiful piece of artwork.

It’s a tale of love and danger. Amaral started his love affair with putting his artwork out there. What better audience than a highway? Millions of eyes who have nothing else but to look as they wait to get to their destinations. He used this opportunity to protest the injustices he saw were afflicting the society, and in the mean while dancing with the police.

It definitely had an impact on how the society could express itself. It became such a cultural phenomenon, foreigners flooded to the country to see the street mural. It became engraved in the urban history, culture and not to forget tourism in São Paulo. The mural made its debut in 2015, the office of the mayor sang its praises.

The fall

They say changing winds abides no greeting, recently there have been drastic changes at 23 de Maio. In January, sanitation workers got busy exacting orders from the new sitting city mayor, Joaoa Doria. The directive to the sanitation workers, was to paint over the beloved mural. The city woke up to the horror that their mural was no longer going to be part of them.

Wielding a spraying device himself, the mayor took it upon himself to take part in the destruction. The mayor and his sparkling millions has been making a few changes. He plans to enforce a restoration of the city to its original state. Pretty but without all the exciting stuff.

His campaign aims to paint the city one color, replacing broken street essentials like trash cans. The clean-up also includes covering up graffiti on city walls, planting trees, and collecting garbage. Although a noble idea by the millionaire business man, the act put to trial the value of art and if protection of art was a worthy cause.

As situations go, the campaign has collected loyal supporters. Praising the work of the Doria administration who are keen in keeping the city clean and devoid of mixed messages. Fines have been increased to discourage anyone from engaging in graffiti activities in any part of the city.

before and after picture of the mural cover up

There are others who view things differently though. The mayor’s critics suggest that this is all a plan to sell São Paulo off to investors. They claim that the mayor aims to privatize public land, and probably put up city parks for concessions. This sent the twitter world into an angry rant.

Despite this, a trend is also arising in other cities like lima inspired by the ‘Pretty City’ trend. Cities like Lima and New York have waged a war against graffiti on public property. The mayor however retorts that he is pro art. To add on, the office of the mayor put out a statement that some of the art was old and that it gave the city a dilapidated look.

To compensate for this injustice, the mayor has offered to support a museum of street art. The limits are that the murals to be put up, have to be approved by a committee. Also artists who have private funding are to be handpicked by an independent committee. This puts a limit in the freedom of expression, where artists are forced to box down creativity.

The city clean-up also puts the administration at a bad position as to where the homeless shall be taken. The homeless have been suffering since the city suffered fires between the 70s -80s leaving a large population stranded.

There has been action to protect the remains of the historic mural. The city department dealing in historic preservation, got a judge to cease the repaint of the city mural. This of course put a stick in Doria’s ‘pretty City’ mechanisms. There are rumors however, of the city setting up legalized areas where graffiti can be expressed freely.

It’s a case of compromise for the society. They get to live in a better environment, and still have access to their beloved graffiti murals, at legal, designated areas.

the walled off hotel website image

The Walled Off Hotel

“For a long time, I thought it was a scam until I got some cash in to the bank” those were the exact words of Montreal artist Dominique Petrin when she was asked about the call from British street artist Bansky in regards to the project codenamed; The Walled Off Hotel.

Dominique Petrin and Bansky were the sole master minds behind The Walled Off Hotel, which is located at the West Bank city of Bethlehem. It sits just beside an Israeli wall which was built to prevent Palestinians from invading the country. Petrin did her best preparations as she was handpicked by Bansky himself, asked about this she based it on a one liner statement “British colony on the verge of collapsing”.

view of the interior of scenic room inside of the walled off hotel

The three storied all-inclusive hotel boasts of a ceiling to floor graffiti-strewn concrete from almost each and every room. It hosts a low lit restaurant and bar which is highly decorated as a British colonial clubhouse, but some of the artists’ works are ironic covering the walls and were unveiled just about a few weeks ago but have only opened recently to overnight stays. Bansky who is well known for his politically motivated artwork converted a former pottery workshop to an all-inclusive resort, which also includes an art gallery, a tea shop and a graffiti supplies store.

view of mural featuring ironic depiction of two men pillow fighting painted by banksy inside of the walled off hotel

Bansky did most of the artwork, from the angels on life support hanging just above the piano to the masked Palestinian pillow fighting with the Israeli soldier just above one of the beds. Every room has its own uniqueness, one room has been painted solely to like a concrete wall is surrounding the whole room, and somehow it still manages to feel and look comfortable.

Another room feels and looks like an army barrack, furnished with foot lockers and bunker beds. An art gallery which is situated on the first floor will show art works made in this region exclusively, its curator Ismail Duddera saying “it will open an entirely new chapter of Arab art in general and Palestinian art in particular”.

On August 2015, Bansky – whose identity remains a mystery, launched his Dismaland attraction at a derelict lido in Somerset, which was designed as a cynical take on Disneyland entertainment resorts attracting 150,000 people within duration of five-weeks. After the closing of Dismaland “Bemusement Park”, he sent fixtures and wood from the park dismantled castle to the jungle refugee camp, he thus added a painting of Steve Job’s signature look of a black polo neck clutching an earlier Apple computer on his left hand while slinging a sack over his shoulders with his right hand.

Bansky decorated most of the corridors and bedrooms within the hotel, using a range of his signature stencils. A couple of the guest quarters will be decorated by guest artists Sami Musa from Ramallah and French-Canadian Dominique Petrin.

view of the timeline displayed in the museum inside of the walled off hotel

Instead of a gym, the walled off hotel chose to incorporate a museum which is dedicated to enlightening guests and visitors on the separation barrier providing a much deeper context on the topic, while being thoroughly careful not to choose a side between the Israelis and Palestinian conflict which surrounds the hotel.

model depiction of construction vehicles during the creation of the wall as seen inside of the walled off hotel

Banksy’s work largely being politically affiliated, from a chain of stencils on Israelis separation wall, which violates international laws by stretching into the occupied West Bank, to a life-sized sculpture of an inmate from Guantanamo Bay. A few images have become largely controversial and emblematic critiques of the Israeli state policies. Other works are also mischievously politically motivated like a bullet-ridden tank that shoots water into a hot tub, a bust with a piece of clothing, made from cotton tightly covering the mouth, while tear gas cloaks it.

the 'wall mart' store inside of the walled off hotel that sells art supplies for painting on the west bank barrier

At the entrance of the museum sits a figure of former British Foreign Secretary Lord Arthur Balfour, whose hand moves mechanically in repeated circles indicating the signing of the Balfour declaration of 1917, expressing the UK’s support in establishing a home for the Jewish people. The exact timing of this installation is somehow politically significant; as it has been exactly a century since the British took a hold of the Palestine and power shifted drastically. Balfour is still the most controversial figure in the conflict, detested by Palestinians, thanked by Israelis

Not everyone is taken with the hotel and its route is full of controversies and has a dramatic impact on the everyday lives of a lot of people. One thing everyone agrees on is that everything here is under dispute. The art project was meant to promote and encourage talks about peace between the Israeli and Palestinians, all this while functioning as a normal hotel.

Banksy’s work may bring about positive effect around the community, his work not only sheds spotlights on places but also makes statements on important and critical issues happening around there. The Walled Off Hotel is a masterpiece and a reminder to everyone staying inside it of what exactly the Palestinians are experiencing.

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 transformation - Grafitti Retreat

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!