Okuda San Miguel was born in Santander and based in Madrid since 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Complutense University of Madrid. Since its inception in 1997, his pieces on rail-roads and abandoned factories in his hometown were clearly recognizable. Parallel to his work in the street, Okuda also starts producing more intimate works in his studio, with which from 2009 evolves into a more personal way. In his work, multicolored geometric architectures blend with organic shapes, bodies without identity, headless animals, symbols that encourage reflexion, he uses a unique iconographic language.
The multicolored geometric structures and patterns are joined with gray bodies and organic forms in artistic pieces that could be categorized as Pop Surrealism with a clear essence of street forms. His works often raise contradictions about existentialism, the Universe, the infinite, the meaning of life, the false freedom of capitalism, and show a clear conflict between modernity and our roots; ultimately, between man and himself.
Mathieu Tremblin is born in 1980 in Le Mans. He works and lives in Arles and Strasbourg, France. Inspired by anonymous, autonomous and spontaneous practices and expressions in urban space, Tremblin implements simple and playful actions in order to question the systems of legislation, representation and symbolization of the city.
He recently took to the streets of France on a mission to improve the legibility of ugly graffiti. Mimicking the scale, color, and layering of each tag, Tremblin created his own replica in a perfectly crisp font.
“From the people who build monuments in the first place, to those who destroy them, from theVisigoths and Vandals sacking Rome, the waves of European colonization, the destruction wrought by ISIS, taggers defacing Banksy’s work and I’ve even seen guys walking down the street keying cars one after another, there is a thread running though all: the universal connection is about leaving a mark.
They are all trying to say: Here I am. I have existed.
Some say it with beauty. Others with destroying the beauty. But the sentiment is the same.” – Matthew Quick
To represent these ideas into cohesive, instantly recognizable visual stories, Matthew Quick started painting existing monuments with specific contemporary items. And while this worked, something curious also happened. What he found was that in many cases the added object altered the focus, causing the viewer to begin questioning the origins of the item and its place in society.
With his attention now turned to contemporary society, suddenly everything was fair game. With their conscious symbolism, the statues provide a foundation for a revisionist take on the notions of beauty, pride, individual freedom, social control, surveillance and nationalism. Historical sacred cows were also up for grabs. With ordinary objects replacing their crowns and thrones, the aura of emperors and gods can be transformed into powerless nobodies. And by gently ridiculing the deceitful behavior of rulers who intentionally fail to act as they speak, it allowed him to question their motivations and subvert their initial grandiose goals.
Matthias Gephart is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Berlin, Germany, who is revisiting his roots in graffiti in a project that incorporates his creative interests. He is always in search for abandoned spaces that held the unknown quality like empty houses or factories.
“Typography in urban space does not necessarily need to be limited to writing names on walls. I prefer to set the focus on an inter-action with the specific athmosphere of the environment and write a message, a poem or a dadaist info that suits the situation. Ruins of industrial architecture have shaped our landscapes – they seem to materialise as a melancholic victory over the idea of never-ending progress, but re-definition is just at hand.”