As the exciting news of the lift on the Cuban embargo continues, we take the time to revisit one of our favorite and memorable projects of 2012: Wrinkles of The City – Havana, Cuba by JR & José Parlá. The two artists surprised the city with stunning walls that paid tribute to those who lived through the Cuban Revolution for the occasion of the Havana Biennal. Cuba is now destined to change and we find ourselves taking another look at this video to imagine how Havana will never be the same again.
Here’s a video of the project documenting JR & José Parlá‘s collaboration:
Italian artist, RUN sends us his latest work from London to share with us his special solo exhibition and book titled, ‘Parabola di G’. This show marks his move from painting murals to becoming a studio artist, as he exhibits for the first time by his real name, Giacomo Bufarini. His show, ‘Parabola di G’ follows the journey of a semi-fictional character, G, as he falls through levels of reality into a dreamscape. The exhibition presents a unique opportunity to see the original drawings of the book presented within an immersive gallery wide installation. Visitors to the exhibition fall into a story within a story, stepping into the unfolding pages of the book as they walk around the space.
The exhibition explores ideas of imagination and creativity through a charged story applicable to modern life, employing a host of metaphorical characters in highly imaginative and often surreal scenes.
“Parabola di G does not presume to teach anything, but to introduce a new world through a book. A simple story with emotions and details that tell a fact or some facts or some truth. The story was inspired by the consequences of events that really hits the artist’s life, analogies that might have similarity in the experience of G and in yours.” -RUN
Check out the video interview of the show just released by the artist and if you’re in London, check out this show which has been extended until mid-January:
A London based Italian artist, Bufarini began painting murals on abandoned walls in Bologna and Florence in the 1990s under the pseudonym ‘RUN’. Working as RUN within the Italian underground scene, Bufarini and his fellow collaborators catalysed the European street art movement and began to affect a modern renaissance in muralism across the continent. RUN became a street art legend as Bufarini proliferated his unique and highly recognisable style internationally and today his expansive public works can be found adorning street corners from China to Senegal. Bufarini’s murals reveal levels of detail and complexity through vivid renderings of interlocking hands and faces in bright, arresting colours. Inspired by his travels around the world, Bufarini is interested in anthropology and the human form, integrating images and symbols from different cultures into his work. Based in London since 2007, he now balances his street works with a studio practice that draws out a deeper and more subtle side to his work.
Bufarini works in a range of mediums and techniques, including wooden sculptural forms, printing, etching, drawing and monotyping on wood, canvas and paper. His illustrative style depicts a world of fantastical characters and settings from which his large scale street works derive.
Visual Artist and Musician Mathew Sawyer‘s nonsensical, humorous and clever works are worth a closer look. His first solo show in a public gallery took place this year titled White Male, 36 Years Old, Average Height, No Pets, Out of Shape and Anxious, and he’s been busy between shows of art, music and in between. Check out this selected list of works, some on going, documentary, some funny, curious and poignant that Sawyer cleverly crafts together:
FUCK YOU to the future (without me), 2014
Ping Pong Ball – Series:
‘Someone to share my life with’ - Waterloo, London
‘Love is like a dream we had, death is like a dream we’ll have’
New collaboration mural completed by Faith47 and Alexis Diaz at Wynwood Walls, Miami, Florida. Titled ‘EROS -DESIRE – DE SIDUS – OF THE STAR‘ the gigantic wall illustrates a sensuous scene of a beautiful woman (EROS) entangled and afloat with a snake.
“The image reflects on the different layers of sensuality. Eros is the greek god of love and desire, the word desire comes from the latin word ‘de sidus’ which means ‘of the star’. The intensity of how we look to a partner to complete us somehow. Perhaps sensual desires could be reflective of a deep yearning to return to the source. ” -Alexis Diaz
Urban Nation and Hin Bus Depot’s “Urban Xchange” in Penang, Malaysia recently took place and our contributing photographer, Henrik Haven was there to document the new murals and installations going up. The participating artists included: Rone, Elle, Vexta, Ernest Zacharevic, Adisson Karl, Tank Petrol, Don John, Mr. Toll, Antanas Dubra,SKL0, Kenji Chai, Bibichun and 4Some (a crew from Kuala Lumpur consisting of Donald, Black, Fauzan and Jojo). Here is Part 2 of our comprehensive coverage of these completed murals:
David Choe‘s long anticipated return to Japan definitely includes a wall to mark the occasion. UP founder and curator, Matt Revelli speaks about Choe‘s career and his path to success for the occasion of his final return to Tokyo:
“Ever since we exhibited his first gallery show in San Francisco, artist David Choe has been an integral part of the Upper Playground family, traveling the world throughout Asia, Europe and North America, representing Upper Playground’s spirit and core with his own aligned to ours of getting things done when everyone says that it can’t or couldn’t be. Not a slacker or a trustafarian, David has instead imbued and embodied every act of his with a never sleep attitude governed by a respect for time and opportunity, with a direct and genuine gratitude and positivity that is as infectious as it is infamous. Like a preacher whose every canvas is a sermon, he paints and sculpts the gospel of his soul; and through the myriad of different products he creates in stores, streets, schools, and galleries worldwide, David is one of the only artists that understands how to use Upper Playground in the way it’s designed to be used. However, the shadow of history always follows its figure. Eight years ago David travelled to Tokyo to oversee an exhibition and collection created in collaboration with Upper Playground. The pendulum of his person had him switching roles from collaborator to confidant and artist to ally and it was on this trip that everything changed- we got word that David had been arrested for punching a security officer in the face and was going to be imprisoned for 7 years. Banned from visitation, we were forced to get updates through our distributor by phone. It was a roller coaster of emotions, with one day being positive and the next completely devastating. Finally, after 90 days, we got a call saying he was getting out. He returned a humble man, having lost 40-50 lbs., grateful for his experience. He didn’t curse his time or situation like most men would, his feeling was he got his due: he was in prison not for hitting the security officer, but rather, for all the crimes and sins he had committed up until then and had never been caught for. It was a cathartic experience and an opportunity to repent for all the crimes he had been committing daily throughout his entire life. And in true Choe fashion, he turned an overwhelmingly negative experience into a positive one by creating hundreds upon hundreds of prison drawings and sketches, exhibiting the work in New York. From there his paths and roads, though intricate with obstacles, would carry him to greater and higher heights that have him standing where he is today as one of the top artists in the world still spreading the ethos of Upper Playground.People often try to dissect and understand the how’s and why’s to his success. The answer is simple: he looks at failure and success as equal opportunities. “- Matt Revelli
In early November, PangeaSeed’s Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans project teamed up with 8 high-profile international street artists who came San Diego to celebrate the oceans and highlight the plight of our seas. The featured artists who came from around the world were Daleast (China), Phlegm (UK), Tatiana Suarez (Miami, USA), Persue (San Diego, USA), Zio Ziegler (San Francisco, USA), Exist 1981 (San Diego, USA), Fintan Magee (Australia) and Nosego (Philadelphia, USA). Checkout the results of this beautiful and ambitious project working to beautify cities and raise awareness on key issues such as overfishing, shark finning as well as highlighting the importance of sustainable seafood choices.
About SEA WALLS: MURALS FOR OCEANS:
Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans is a groundbreaking street art project created by PangeaSeed (PangeaSeed.org) members and supporting artists to help bring the beauty and the plight of the world’s oceans into streets around the globe via art and activism.
By collaborating with internationally renowned artists, we create large-scale public murals and organize community-based educational efforts that focus attention on major environmental issues the oceans are currently facing and promote the importance of long-term sustainability of natural resources.
Photographer Martin Schoeller’s clever and humorous take on the tradition of photo portraits give new face to well known celebrities we are too familiar with. Here are some works from his recently published book of portraits titled, “Portraits”, including George Clooney, Jack Black, Steve Carell, Quentin Tarantino, Taylor Swift, Michael Douglas, Cesar Millan, Jeff Koons and much more: