We have great admiration for street art, yet Maria Lopez and Havier de Riba have taken the game to new heights with their glow-in-the-dark artworks. Their murals use a phosphorescent paint, which glows up to 12 hours creating two different impressions between day and night. It’s hard to imagine how the technique works yet the duo going by the name Reskate Studio hide clever pictures inside the images they design.
The phosphorescent technique became popular quickly and it’s the kind they employed in perhaps one of their famous projects, Harreman Project, which featured 3 masterpieces along with two exhibitions. The name of this project came from the word Basque, meaning relationship. The painting was done in dark places where it’s possible to control lighting with a motion sensor because lights charge the photoluminescent paint so it glows once lights go out.
Take a look at the Rabbit shadow puppet mural in Timisoara Romania, for instance. On a clear day, you’ll see an image a rabbit. Wait till the sun goes down and street lights illuminate the mural then it shows two hands overlapping each other. They called this mural Asombrar which is Spanish word meaning “to amaze”. The word ‘sombra’ means “putting shadows to a clear idea you already had”.
Another piece in Zaragoza, Spain illustrates a loaf of bread in broad daylight then shows a bread knife when illuminated. This work was their contribution to the Action Against Hunger campaign in 2016 which calls us to imagine the power of participation to find actual solutions to hunger.
How about the Saturn-like planet mural still in Timisoara, which at night depicts an underwater helmet? Given the name “Unawareness”, the piece comments that scientific advances relating to deep-sea exploration slowed down because of the beginning of the space race between the USSR and the US.
Reskate Studio also exhibited their photo-luminescent paintings at the 10th anniversary of Festival Asalto held in Zaragoza in 2016. That came after they participated at the Harreman Exhibition in Vienna, 2015 where they showcased work that reflected on the aspects that establish the correlation between objects.
Meet the artists
Maria Lopez (1980) and Javier de Riba (1985), born in San Sebastian and Barcelona respectively, started painting indoor murals five years ago. Since then, they have developed to creating installations, illustrations, designs, and extensive outdoor murals. The duo began working together when they created an artist gallery called Reskateboarding, work that involved recycling old skateboards.
With their skills in graphic design, they picked artists to work with, arranged shows, and organized gallery openings through the Reskateboarding collective. This work was an avenue through which they met artists and illustrators whose work intrigued them. That was the driving force that led to their collaboration to a more illustrative approach in their personal work. It was also a crucial factor in the growth of their artistic careers and later their collaborative venture, Reskate Arts & Crafts.
Working as a team, they are keen on the materials they choose as to them every piece must reflect their expressive capabilities. They strongly believe that the materials and techniques used must never be unjustified and must convey the underlying message effortlessly. Driven by color and strong illustrations, they strive to make each project to be coherent with the surrounding environment.
Their inspiration comes from interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds and other artists from whom they can learn about various styles and media. With every new endeavor, their restlessness brings them to question their artistic style, and reinterpret it to best serve every project. Each piece challenges their aesthetic, pushing them to try new techniques and styles while balancing their existing abilities with the desire for growth and exploration. Their journey is a continuous fight against stagnancy and in favour of versatility and transformation.
Reskate Arts & Crafts have done several murals across Spain in a project they called “Reaction Project”. It intended to reflect on the use of public space as a social networking tool. To them, public space is a place to share common proverbs that encourage actions that call for reactions, and this is evident in all the murals featured in the Reaction Project. The murals include Gogoa den tokian/Donostia, Forta es la roca, A so de timbals, Qui sembra and A mes mar.
Reskate Arts & Crafts have plans to create more murals in the future even though they need special conditions that work for the photoluminescent murals. Their aim is to light the dark corners in different cities, both installing new lights and encouraging people to interact with the murals. Find out more about the artists on their website.