Tim Bengel Does Things Differently

Meet Tim Bengel! A young German artist who has found love in sand and gold. Driven by a curiosity for art that began as early as nine years and fueled by the determination to try something different, Bengel set out to turn away from the confines of conventional art. Many artists paint with watercolor or oil, but Bengel tried a range of different techniques before he discovered three key ingredients; black sand, white sand, and gold.

He developed his method of using these materials between 2014 and 2015, and all of a sudden became a YouTube sensation by sharing his unique art videos. Bengel creates everything from architectural views and portraits to expansive city skylines, and his pieces have been well-received so to speak.

With over 330K followers on Instagram, half-a-million fans on Facebook, and his videos receiving millions of views across social media, Bengel has quickly become a worldwide sensation, more than any other artist in his age group.

Personal background

Tim Bengel was born and raised in Stuttgart, Germany, where he also lives and works. The 27-year-old attended the elite University of Tübingen where he studied art history and philosophy. He was inspired from a young age on trips to the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart and claims to do art because he could never do a normal job. Bengel would then go on to try and imitate the abstract works he saw at the museum, and that’s when he realized his interest in art.

In his early beginnings, Bengel realized that art emerges from a combination and creating something new. Staying true to his passion for art. He won his first art competition at the school he attended, at the age of 18. His large-format collage, crafted from coins, beat all watercolor paintings and pencil drawings. From that victory, Bengel realized he could be successful by doing things differently, thus the slogan on his website – “I want to do things differently”.

After graduating from high school, Bengel tried a couple of paths in different fields including fashion, health management, art history, and philosophy. He performed incredibly well in these fields and was always among the best students. But unlike most people who feel satisfied by being top of the class, Bengel found it boring, and he set out for a real challenge – practical art – the only thing that’s never boring, at least according to him.

Of sand, gold, and glue

Tim Bengel artwork New York

Bengel’s artistic process is complex and no one on earth yet has managed to imitate his style. We can share the little we know, though.

It starts with the choice of motif. For Bengel, any non-religious, non-party and non-ideological image is a potential option. He finds templates on the internet, newspapers or while traveling. With the help of his computer and his hand, Bengel transforms the motif into a minimalistic, distinct and striking white-black-gold image.

Tim Bengel working with gold leaf

He then fills black and white sand onto a sticky canvass. An important tool for this process is an X-ACTO knife, which he uses to carefully move the sand into place. The magic unfolds when he lifts the canvas for the un-glued sand and gold to fall off, revealing an intricate image for the eyes to behold. This style takes a lot of time and requires a great deal of patience, but the end product is incredibly striking.

Tim Bengel close up of artwork

Exhibitions and works

From Stuttgart to Munich in his home country to Asian cities including Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuala Lumpur, as well as New York City, Bengel has been involved in major exhibitions both as a solo artist and group projects.

He made his first major exhibition in New York in September 2017 at the HG Contemporary Gallery. The title of this solo project was “Monuments” and featured works including the “My American Dream”, “Versailles Monuments”, “Brooklyn Bridge”, “Tribute to Andy Warhol”, and “Guggenheim”. In this exhibition, Tim said he intended to bring life into something lifeless and to display it in a thrilling style.

Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim, founder and owner of HG Contemporary Gallery said at the time:

“We are so pleased to have the privilege to work with extraordinarily talented artist, Tim Bengel. We seek out the best and most promising artists in the world, so the comparisons to Banksy, Basquiat, and Keith Haring are quite remarkable and well deserved.”

Bengel later said his journey to the U.S was such inspirational. He loved the majestic architecture in New York and San Francisco. Apart from exhibiting his work at the HG Contemporary Gallery, he also visited the Facebook Headquarters and the people he met all along showed him that every dream can become true. Bengel said “The American Dream”, in particular, is a huge inspiration and his case, a young boy from Germany exhibiting his artistry in New York.

He has also had a chance to show his work to Presidents, Royals and Ministers in Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Thailand.

Just last month, Bengel pulled a surprise by creating a striking installation in Berlin made of flowers and tombstones. The masterpiece appeared overnight on the property of Factory Berlin during Berlin Art Week. People have called it #FlowerSkullCemetery and Graves of Our Generation. A look from above shows a large, red skull printed on the ground with a white border and white grids cutting through it. However, this artwork was made from a combination of red and white heater shrubs, which were planted around white marble gravestones. Bengel and his team of fifteen assistants installed this impressive piece at night.

A closer look at the gravestones reveals messages that talk about life in the 21st century. The epitaphs manifest the realities of a world filled with an obsession for social media, such as “Follow me”, global concerns like climate change and the emptiness of consumerism.

Other epitaphs speak of regrets, with an example being “I should have kissed her”, while some speak of a sense of satisfaction like “I spent my life with people I loved”.

Perhaps the epitaph that Bengel finds most troubling is one that says, “I was afraid to create”. He actually reflects on his fear during the time he was planning to create the installation. Nevertheless, the artwork is out there to see and should serve as a lesson for one to conquer whatever is holding them back from chasing their dream.

We leave it there for now and if you can, don’t miss Bengel’s next visit to HG Contemporary, New York, where he will be showcasing “I was present” starting 10th October to 11th November, 2019.

For regular updates, follow Tim Bengel on Instagram.

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.


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.

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.”


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.

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.


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.

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.

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 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.


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.


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.


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.

Mike Meyer, Traditional Sign Painter

Computers are lovely but they have taken over some of the traditional crafts that took time to create to perfection. One such industry is the sign painting industry. Beautiful and decorative signs made by hand are rare to see nowadays. There those of us however who are trying to keep the skill alive.

Mike Meyer is a sign writer who still used the old school methods that were long forgotten by the digital world. Born 1989, the man has been in the letterhead painting business for over thirty years. All that experience under his belt can be seen by how he commands his work.

The Minnesota native is a professional typographer. He is well versed in the how typefaces work and for which function. They understand how to pair the right size of letters together with the right font. That is why you will find different emotions are evoked depending on how the words are written.

Like many great artists, a parent’s influenced is often the case for igniting life passions. Mike Meyer’s father was a barber who dabbled in drawings between attending to his customers. The young Mike wanting to ape his father picked up on the habit.

The obsession with letterheads exploded when he visited the stock car races and marvelled at the details on the cars. From there he went home trying to replicate everything he had seen down to the last detail. He got a part-time job in high school at a sign shop and that was when he realized that, that is what he wanted to do.

He followed his passion and went to sign school for nine months. When these nine months passed and he got certification, he went back to the shop he worked in while in high school. The shop got a new owner and things started to change rapidly.

With people losing their jobs right, left and center, it was finally his turn to be let go. It was a hard blow but still continued making signs. He had never thought of going into business on his own. So with few options left, he joined the army.


His journey has not been smooth as nothing good in life comes easy. Starting his trade took a bit of work. He started from a garage as his first sign shop. He had no customer base when he started his business, he had to go around to other workshops to look for favours.

Since he had nothing else of value to exchange for offers, he traded in his handmade signs. By the time his business was established he had a good customer base. When the vinyl cut out letters emerged in the 70’s, typographers had a problem on their hands.

The cheaper and easily accessible vinyl signs completely disregarded the time and workmanship the old method of sign writing offered. Mike Meyer persevered and until today he is still in the craft.

With the years of experience teaching oneself, Mike Meyer now goes around the world teaching guys how to do sign lettering the old way. The man who started his business in a garage now constantly busy with work.

He says that the art of typography is not dead. He sees a growth in interest especially with the curious millennials in Europe. It seems that countries like Amsterdam still have an appreciation for the art. He doesn’t do it for the money, he teaches in these workshop in order to spread the skill to more people.


His advice for those who want to dabble in the field is to observe their surroundings and decide what makes them happy. He doesn’t in mind blocks when it comes to creativity. He says you can even find inspiration in the grocery market since there are thousands of products with different letterheads and styles.

He encourages students to be open-minded as the field is still expanding with new fonts coming to view. His journey is not over either, he still meets people who teach him a thing or two.

A bigger than life personality and a steady hand, we don’t think that he will stop working or teach anytime soon. The world will always appreciate beautiful things, we thank the lucky stars that we have people like Mike Meyer who understand what it takes to make something beautiful by hand.


Tavar Zawacki

The dynamic world of graffiti births geniuses every day from every nook and cranny of the world. Tavar Zawacki could not escape the call into the art world. By birth, he was already surrounded by art being born from hipster parents.

Born in the 80’s, there were a lot of influences to be unique and speak your mind. He grew up with an open mind and when he turned thirteen, the world of graffiti and skateboards came knocking.

Born with a free spirit and a strong belief in what he wanted to do, the young man booked a flight to Paris at the age of 19. Armed with art supplies and all the money under his name, he began his journey.

An arrow is a symbol that he uses to represent and sign his work. When asked why he chose the arrow pointing upwards as his symbol, he simply said this “The arrow icon I painted was representational of the powerful mentality to ‘Rise Above’ fears, challenges, and anything holding you back from your goals.”

At first, the arrow is not what he used as his artist signature, he used to go by the alias ABOVE. It was in 2001 that he chose to use the arrow signature and from then it’s almost stapled to his name.


Many believe that you have to lose yourself first before finding yourself. In a new country, you meet different people who show you a varied way to live life. Tavar chose to live a nomadic lifestyle. He traveled from country to country looking for new experiences.

The mix of experiences on his 15-year nomadic culture was pooled into a source of inspiration. When you look at his work you can feel the synchronicity between the different stencil layers and text. When he finally settled in Berlin Germany back in 2014, it was time to reclaim his name.

Because he did not want to live in the shadow of the artwork that he had created in his youth, he started to paint under his real name. Finally, he felt like he had more freedom to be himself and to offer authentic expression from the pool of experiences he had amassed.

Not discrediting all the work that he had done previously, the artist continues to amaze the world. He has participated in many events in the past where people have gotten to see him work. For example, in Sweden, he painted the mural Metamorphosis on an eight-story building.


The work got attention due to the vibrant colours and arrow positioning. He said “It’s about having fun and experimenting. As an artist it’s important for me to experiment with my work, otherwise one can become stagnant. Making this mural put the arrow into a new context, giving it room for expansion of a new life.”

In 2015 he participated his largest project yet, the Incognito. The 33meter wall mural standstill today. The abstract piece is full of bright colours that are hard to miss. The piece was commissioned to commemorate the city of the Gold festival. The piece got notable mention internationally fueling his passion.


He has had exhibitions of his work and has visited over 60 countries. The transition of names in the art signature was visible in 2017 when he started using his real name in the same year, he unleashed a solo exhibition.

Launched in Berlin at Urban Spree Galerie, the collection ‘metamorphosis’ was unveiled. “Metamorphosis is about the transformation from one state into a newer dynamic one. With a lot of brutal honesty, and conviction for growth I was able to take inner inventory of what no longer served me.” Said Tavar.

He continued to say “I was able to let go of the fears that were stifling my creative progression. I was prepared for feeling uncomfortable during this metamorphosis. I was learning how to unblock my personal censors, and be valiant in painting the styles of works I’ve previously been too reluctant to paint.”

This was his first show using his birth certificate name as his artist signature. A book with the title of Metamorphosis was also unveiled later that year. The book contains Tavar Zawacki new work and also included his 2014 Detroit exhibition. The book is just an eye-opening read into the artist journey for the work presented and the things that inspired him.

The 49- year old is still young at heart and has a lot of things to look forward to. The world looks forward to seeing the artist that they knew as ABOVE transform his artwork to reflect his current perceptions.

With the arrows always pointing up, the sky is the limit for Tavar Zawacki. We can only wish him the best in his endeavours.

Mimi Choi Optical Illusion with Face Art

It is interesting that artist bloom at different stages in their lives. Some discover their gifts at a young age and some at the prime of their lives. Mimi Choi happened to pop in the scene in her 30’s taking makeup artistry to a whole new level.

The Vancouver based native creates optical illusions that would make you question your sanity. At times people are relentless that the image before them was photoshopped. None the least true because she creates all her works by her own hand.

We have seen the kind of transformation that makeup can do but Mimi Choi takes it to a whole new scale. She doesn’t paint conventional pieces on her face, she prefers 3D drawings that give an optical illusion of multiplying or almost surreal-like structures.


The girl who only needs mink lashes and lip balm on her downtime were not sure if doing optical illusion with makeup would be a road shed be interested in professionally.

Mimi Choi has an interesting story on how she stumbled into the makeup world. She had a passion for teaching and she enjoyed her work but sometimes life just hands you other playing cards without notice. She needed something new in her life and makeup was it.

With an idea in her head, she enrolled to Blanche McDonald and started getting lessons. She messed around with a few ideas but in reality, she didn’t take it too seriously. One sweet Halloween season she decided to try something just to test the waters. She didn’t know it then but that was how she made a debut to the world.

The picture that so many took notice of was the cracked face. The picture went viral and Mimi Choi found herself with a barrage of questions. Both believers and unbelievers of Photoshop use marvelled at the creations. She says “It was my first-ever creative makeup and, when I posted the image on Instagram, lots of people liked, reposted and shared it. That surprised me and motivated me to keep exploring and improving on this style even though it was uncommon at the time.”

Her mother supported her and encouraged her to make the career change. Finally, she quit being a teacher and dove into the profession both feet in. From then until now, she has acquired a loyal fan base all over the world. Her work gets noteworthy attention in all social media platforms and newspaper houses.


As millions of people battle with anxiety and sleep paralysis, Mimi Choi has found a way to deal with hers. Her optical illusion pieces are what she uses to express herself. To the world, some of the images may stir difficult emotions due to their bizarreness but to the art world, her pieces are genius. She finds inspiration from everyday life. Whether it is fish in a pond or the pattern on a woman’s jacket, Mimi Choi will use it to create a sensational piece.

All that work was not in vain, as she has gotten opportunities many people dream of. She has worked with makeup giants MAC and also electronic manufacturers Samsung. Her skill doesn’t require the regular brushes people use, she uses paintbrushes so as to define more carefully.

She never stops working on her Instagram and she posts frequently. Since she does not use canvas, you won’t find her work in the gallery. Instagram happens to be her own gallery. She posts both videos and pictures of her complete works.

She insists that she is not one to follow a routine and repeat a piece. She wants to grow and be able to create original pieces daily. She looks at other artists work but she does not make it a habit.

Mimi Choi is certainly not a one-trick-pony. She has many cards up her sleeves that many people won’t see coming.  She is not only known for scary optical illusions but also elegant makeup for brides. Her limits are yet to be defined.

With only a few years in, we can’t wait to see what Mimi Choi pulls out of her magical hat. We will just remain glued to our phones waiting for her next piece of work.

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.

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’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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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, 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.