Great new episode of FifthWall TV by Doug Gillen
This episode looks at the artists pushing the use of technology in street art.
I was 18 years old when I first set foot in the USA as an artist. On my trip I’ve visited many cities in search of my “American Dream”. I thought New York would be the city where it’s at; little did I know my art-career would take off in a whole different city, Peoria, Illinois. In this travel-log I will show you what street-art gem is happening in this Midwestern city, introduce you to some great local artists and show u the things I’m working on while I’m here.
by Ard Doko
Peoria, once known for being the biggest whisky city in the US and the home of the late comedic legend Richard Pryor, is now trying to make a name for itself in the urban-art scene. What started 7 years ago with the man versus wall event in which I got the chance to live paint a billboard in front of an audience has erupted in a general affection of public art. Besides giving the opportunity for mural artists (local, national and international) to paint these billboards, they also help fine-artists with getting their art up in public spaces.
After being awake for 24 hours, getting randomly searched three times (It must have been totally random) and getting my gear back I finally arrived in Peoria. The city has produced some great artists over the years that actually are recognized nationwide for their talent. One of those artists is Preston Jackson, a multi-disciplinary artist and teacher that worked on projects like “visions of the 44th president” and was awarded a Regional Emmy for hosting “Legacy in Bronze”, a television show featuring his Julieanne´s Garden sculptures. That night he played a 2-hour jazz set with his friends at the Contemporary Art Centre in Peoria while I had to provide live visuals for the audience. To paint alongside such a legend made me nervous like hell (because of the jetlag) and at the same time really happy to be part of the experience. After the set we spoke briefly about our work and we will probably meet-up later this trip to go more in depth.
3 months prior to my trip to the US I had received the news that an amazing artist and friend had passed away. Greg DePauw suffered a broken neck at the age 18 due to a trampoline accident, which left him paralyzed. Trying to overcome his boredom in the hospital Greg had picked up drawing by use of his mouth. Because of intensive care and luck Greg had relearned to use his arms and hands. With the tools he had left he started a production line of artworks, ranging from sculptures, paintings and even a fully customized wheelchair accessible hot rod. Me and a few of the local artists went by his house and met up with his brother to see Greg’s studio and learn more about his approach to creating art. It humbled me to see an artist producing such an amount of artwork while being disabled that I’d never take a sick day the rest of my life. Besides understanding his symbolism in his work (signs and stories of the hobo culture) and work-etiquette we learned that keeping a positive mind-set in life and in creating art is a choice that opens doors.
Over the course of a week I did another live painting at Cyds and we primed the first wall for a small series of murals I’m doing here. The t.v. show Good company and the Greg and Dan show on the radio asked me to be on there as a guest along with Alec DeJesus and Joe Gabbert, to tell about the importance of public art in the city.
Next up: Part 2 Donk-E-punch, sneakers, local heroes and The Sweettreats
It’s been almost non stop work, and whenever I get the chance I check out the city. I love to eat the delicious food, check out the insane architecture and mix into the big crowds. It’s a very new and interesting city, with lots of potential to be leading the way in China’s future.
Finished mural “Flow the Chi” is done with latex and spray paint, about 24 feet high. Despite the off and on rain, I managed to pull this off.
Thanks to Jardin Orange for the hook ups, Feng Ya Ping for being my model and for @rlevices for helping me photograph her.
Like to share your Street Art adventure?
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Gerard “Samson” den Haan
Photos: via Kamp Seedorf
– Written by Ard Doko
While “Graffiti capital of the world” might sound pretentious to some, the Dutch make a strong case in claiming that title. The first wave of graffiti in Amsterdam can be traced back to the late 70’s with artists like Hugo Kaagman and Ivar Vics (A.K.A Dr. RAT) who both originated from the Amsterdam Punk scene. With a stencil on request service, graffiti hotspots and pop-up galleries, the scene was creating a solid foundation for the future of urban-art in Amsterdam. The real claim to fame happened in 1983 when the Yaki Kornblit Gallery flew over US writers Blade, Dondi and Quick to exhibit their work, this was the first time that US graffiti was exhibited outside of America. One of the things the US writers admired was the major development in style shown by the local artists like, Calligraffiti legend, Niels “Shoe” Meulman.
The Street Art Today museum is taking a similar approach to his predecessor by flying in artists like Eduardo Kobra (who did a stunning portrait of Anne Frank that can be seen on the outside wall), Nils Westergard, Steve Locatelli and many more. Besides flying in world renowned artists, Coolen also picked up installations by Phibs, Base23 and Dan Leo that were made at the Roskilde festival in Denmark. If you expect to see painting sized canvases on a white wall you’re wrong. Already there are 100 pieces from all over the world with sizes of 30 feet by 16 feet and even a 90-foot canvas. If you read this and feel the urge to head over to one of the biggest graffiti shops, stack up all the material and squat a warehouse to do the same you’re in luck. The winner of the young talent award at the Dutch Street Art awards (you heard that right) is getting an amazing price. A full treatment at the biggest street art museum that includes: a canvas, material, food, drinks, a spot in the museum and 1 hotel night in Amsterdam.
And the winner is..
Forget about the Oscars, the real action is happening on June 2nd in the “Posthoorn Kerk” in Amsterdam with the second installment of the Dutch Street Art Awards (organized by Boomerang Create and Amsterdam Street Art). That night, artists in various categories (a few of them are: Young talent, Dutch mural, Global mural, Greatest Gallery) are competing for the greatest acknowledgement an artist can get. But that’s not all, among the prizes are: a year supply by MTN 94 and Henxs, a chance to curate their own exhibition at O.D Gallery, an all inclusive trip to Aruba Art Fair 2017 or like I wrote earlier a spot in the biggest Street Art museum of the world. It really shows that Amsterdam and the rest of The Netherlands (Don’t forget the various street-art festivals like Kings of Colors in Den Bosch) is aiming to get to reclaim the title of “Graffiti Capital of the world” and that is something I (as an artist and art-lover) only can admire.
-Written by Ard Doko
Hi Céline, thank you for taking the time to do this interview. In your own words, what exactly is MasterPeace?
We are a youth movement that aims to create peace in communities. Our main focus lies in mobilizing youth through various projects related to art and music. With these projects we are creating options for dialogue. I noticed that because of this, we learn to speak our minds and listen to other people’s opinion, creating a base of understanding for each other. I believe that empathy and connection is the main key to a great society. It’s amazing that it all starts with an idea and later on expands into a global campaign. Whether it’s in Colombia, Mali or even Nepal, people are coming together and starting sustainable projects in their communities.
MasterPeace transformed a lot of walls around the world in the course of the years, often in countries with major economical problems, social inequality or those that have been affected by war in the past 20 years. The Netherlands is the first West-European country where the Let’s Colour Walls of Connection project is being held, why did you choose The Netherlands?
First of all, our office is in Utrecht, The Netherlands but the main reason is that we are seeing an increase of polarization in Europe. It feels a lot like “Us versus them” and especially in the big cities, there is a lot of inequality. I have the feeling that a lot of today’s youth feel that they are stuck due to the expectations of society and that is something that is also happening in The Netherlands. On one hand, we’re aware of those problems on the other hand, we want to bend that negativity into something positive. If we emphasize that the world isn’t pretty we’re excluding room for positivity. The mindset has to change.
You said that the youth felt stuck due to the expectations of society, what are those expectations?
If I look back on all the conversations I had with the students at the Albeda College it all comes down to; having a good job, going on vacation, buying new clothes every month and the general feeling of being a part of something. Not everyone has those tools and feels left out in their community. On a broader scale, kids these days have to decide pretty fast what they want to become in life and working towards that goal. Some kids are late bloomers, what about them?
Are the expectations that you just stated new or are these recurring problems and perhaps more visible now a days?
I believe that when my parents were young they had to deal with expectations of that time as well. You will always, especially if you are young, have to deal with the fact that you have different ideas about the world. Kids need to go out to experience and see the world in order to develop. And you know what? It’s okay to choose a different path or make mistakes. I believe it was easier in the past, mistakes weren’t as visible as now a days. Snapchat and Instagram weren’t around to show other peoples success or mistakes. The way we communicate has also changed, everything is much more direct.
The keyword of your project is ‘connection’, in the current digital era it is possible to talk to someone that lives 4000 miles away from you, what kind of connection are you looking for?
We aim to create more togetherness in the world. Art is a way to spark conversation, not only in society but also in communities. Art can show you a raw and harsh reality of what is happening in the world but it can also take you to a world of imagination. You can look at a wall together and ask; what do you see, what is your opinion about that subject? That is how you start a dialogue. All around the world we are creating these murals and everyone joins in the help out with the design and painting them. It’s amazing that you can see a wall in Rotterdam that is inspired by a wall in Nepal, it feels like the whole world is coming together because of art.
What can you tell me about the background of the students that participated?
They are all beautiful people with a lot of ambition. Some of them have experienced a lot in life, some of them have emotional baggage and some of them feel like they are getting a second chance like, I’m 24 with two kids but I’m still going to start an education in order to improve my life. These kids are the symbol of resilience and that is what it’s all about.
You already told a bit about the creative process behind the mural, what does the mural symbolize?
The mural symbolizes the current issues the youth is facing. They’re stuck sometimes and the question is, how do I cope with it? How can I bend it in a way that there is a positive result? If you look at the mural you can see that there is a pattern. Every system has a pattern but what happens if you color that pattern? It also symbolizes the will to get higher up in life (points at the staircase structure) and that everything is connected. So even though you feel stuck inside the system sometimes, the system is dynamic. I believe the graphic designers of “Het Proces” (Dutch for the process) knew exactly how to put those issues and feelings in one big design.
You are planning on doing more murals all over the world this time, a 100 to be exact. Are you planning on doing more murals in The Netherlands?
We’re not focusing on The Netherlands alone, the murals in Barcelona and Paris for example are just as important. I’m looking forward to the themes we have in The Netherlands but let’s look at the global perspective. A mural in Indonesia should impress me just as much as the one in The Netherlands.
Thank you for your time.
Are you an artist that wants to take part in this project click the link:
For more info about walls of connection click here:
For general information about MasterPeace click here: