In 2002 Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada moved to Barcelona where he began his ‘Identity Series’. Gerada was drawn to the beauty of old surfaces and wanted to blend photo realistic images of anonymous locals to question the controls imposed in public space, and the use and abuse of iconic faces to sell us products and ideas. He decided to apply the same approaches used by advertising, such as strategic positioning and size, but with the intention of creating a poetic counter commentary that fades away with beauty. The Identity Series is about initiating a dialogue with a local community through art. These portraits transformed local, anonymous residents into social icons, giving relevance to an individual’s contribution to the community and touching upon the legacy that each life has to offer.
Gerada chose charcoal for its transparency and ephemeral quality. He involves the visual narrative of the textured wall instead of covering it. These time-based portraits gradually deteriorate. They become a metaphor of the fading of life, of fame and of the things we first thought were so important. The creation of the “Identity Series” is also an act that is environmentally sound and at the mercy of the natural world. The pieces fade away like the warmth after an embrace. The photo realistic drawing is only an aspect of the piece. The importance of the piece is the whole process of creation, destruction and memory. Watch a video of Gerada in action after the jump.
Spanish street artist Escif paints short vignettes of bizarre happenings, surreal situations, and humorous moments. Drawn in a flat graphic style that would lend itself well to story book illustrations, Escif’s narratives embrace the unpredictable, free, dark, wild, and nebulous passerby’s on the street and transplants their stories on city walls.
Filthy Lurker’s sculptures walk the fine line between site specific installations, street art, and teenage gags. His website states that “his art is sparkling with humor, recklessness, and shocks you to look at the world in a new way.” What do you think? Is he merely a prankster who works on a large scale or does Mr. Lurker have something profound to say?
Carlos Donjuan’s paintings combine his years of painting graffiti with the knowledge that he has gained in academia. By interweaving art history references with graffiti art’s history, Carlos creates a hybrid way of thinking made from art jargon and slang from the streets. His paintings work as narratives that are greatly influenced by everyone from Michelangelo to Alice Neel to Twist to Revok. There are elements in these works that deal with personal influences such as Catholicism, Mexico, Oak Cliff, illegal immigration, politics and family. The portraits not only tell stories, but also document several cultures and movements that these individuals are a part of. Movements and cultures such as skateboarding, fixies, turntablelism, street wear, sneaker heads, graffiti and Hip Hop.
Chicago based Kay Rosen manipulates text and typography to change, alter, and redefine the meaning of various words and phrases. Her manipulations transform not only the meaning of the texts but also act as typographic illustrations on a grand scale. (via)
It’s hard to pull off an interesting silhouette in any medium but the sheer size of Sam3′s massive murals painted around the world demand your attention and respect. Mostly painted in the humble palette of black and white Sam3′s graphic silhouettes quietly shout out universal narratives and surreal messages.
French artist Julien Berthier brings a pranksters twist to conceptual art with tongue and cheek alterations, manipulations, and juxtapositions. A great example of his comic wit is A Lost (pictured above) featuring a ripped piece of a billboard with “A Lost” written across it. Next to the torn billboard fragment Berthier hangs a photo of the billboard that originally read “Making Thievery A Lost Art”. Other favorite projects include a large fully functional boat that appears to be capsized, skull topiary, and a fabricated chair based on the artists left handed drawing of a chair (Berthier is right handed.
Swiss born graffiti artist TIKA’s website states that he is based in Zürich, Berlin and Rio de Janeiro, raised in Cairo, Bruxelles, and Cologne, with longer stays in Cape Town, Vienna, New York and Mexico D.F. . With a full passport like that It’s no surprise that his work employs a wide mix of cultural and international references. Like an globalized set of hieroglyphics TIKA’s graphic imagery opens a discourse of today’s global society and the nearly forgotten traditions and sagas of the past right on your cities streets and walls.