Lichtenberg Totem mural from JBAK

I’ve not blogged for a week or two, but have had this one in mind for a while. Having heard a few months back about this mural, I’ve really been looking forward to the outcome. And just a week or so ago, JBAK completed the truly enormous mural in east Berlin off Landsberger Allee.

The guys completed this work in association with LOA (Lichtenberg Open Art) & HOWOGE, a housing association in the city, and is the direct result of a pretty stressful sounding application process.

Karl explained that following their initial acceptance, their first presentation of what they had in mind didn’t get the reaction they’d hoped for. “It did not go well, we left discouraged and feeling all the holes to our artwork for this project”.

But having done enough to persuade the organisers to chase for a revised plan, the pair went back, addressed the requests from the organisers and sealed it. Now just to paint all 32m of that bad boy…

It wasn’t plain sailing by the sounds of things. 12-14 hr days, 6 days a week, for 4 weeks. Oh, and chuck in a handful of lift breakdowns just to make things interesting.

The mural takes aspects of James and Karl’s individual work, as always, but this time there was a really different look to the piece. Maybe there’s more bright colour involved this time? With that sort of high contrast, saturated look highlighting some of the aspects of the bodies it almost looks as if the top layer of skin has been removed to reveal the colour beneath.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it looks different. Different but still great!

Anyway, enough of the chat, check the flicks from Just and Karl below. Let us know what you think!

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Close up detail 

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At the controls…

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Karl taking in the finished mural

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Toteam mural, Landsberger Allee, Berlin.

Steven
UKB

Malakkai // Artist Profile

Tucked in a driveway adjacent to Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen, was where I first saw Malakkai’s work in the flesh.

Opposite stood another painted wall, but it was the Spaniard’s one that really caught my attention. A sort of dream-like piece, with a large fox, a distorted character riding on his back, in a circle of trees with eyes. Off to the left sits a red apple…in a bear trap.

There’s quite a lot to take in - both in the painting itself and potential symbolism within. It’s a surreal trip!

After digging around to find out more about Malakkai (I struggled as much of it is in Spanish…) there’s not a great deal more I can say with certainty at this time. He’s Spanish, called Isaac, an illustrator, graffiti artist, and a cross-stitch maestro…according to his Facebook page.

I can’t really put his work into words and do it justice, so I’ll let his pictures do the talking. I’m excited to have discovered him for myself and by complete accident - he is such a talent!

Worthwhile giving him a like on Facebook too, his daily sketches are something else…

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Malakkai. Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen

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Malakkai. Vesterbrogade, Copenhagen

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Malakkai, Cristian Blanxer, Kerotoo. Gemona del Friuli, Italy.

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Malakkai & Danjer. La Rioja, Spain

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Malakkai & Rems. Gemona del Friuli, Italy.

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Carlos Gómez, Diam & Malakkai. Almeria, Spain.

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Malakkai. Hueral de Almeria, Spain.

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Malakkai, R.Jack & Ysco. Vidreres, Spain.

Steven
UKB

Images from UKB and Malakkai (www.malakkai.es)

Karl Addison’s 14 Tails mural, Berlin

Within the legendary Berlin street/urban art scene, Karl Addison and James Bullough (JBAK) have established themselves with a number of impressive works both in the city and beyond over the past few years.

The pair are due to start painting an epic 32m high building in Berlin on Monday, but before this, Karl had time to complete his own 100m long wall at the corner of Klosterstr. and Stralaurstr.14Tails_11 14Tails_13

Karl’s illustrations are among my favourite, and it’s always great to see these translated onto a bigger canvas.

Utilizing a mixture of the Screen Printing theory of trapping he uses for his drawings and the way he paints using Colour Theory, these colourful Koi Carp are really, really cool.

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Karl also runs the Idrawalot Gallery in Berlin,  a great space in Neukolln that’s recently started to offer artists a residency in the city.

The Program is a free one month studio and residency for a working artist, providing valuable resources and support for a working professional and emerging artist specializing in drawing, screen printing, painting, murals, urban & contemporary art.

The program is open to all artists of all mediums and disciplines. Think this might be for you? Find out more on the Idrawalot website and enter your application via Call for Entry.

Steven
UKB

London calling – street art round-up (Pt. 2)

As promised in part 1 of the London street art update post, here are the pick of the rest of the flicks from my 48 hours in the city. Some more top work from Borondo, an excellent piece from Nick Kuszyk at the Village Underground, and a classic from Alex Senna.

As ever way too much to see in just 48 hours, but check out what I did manage to see below!

Firstly, I couldn’t resist taking a wander by this from Stik, I’ve always liked this piece and it’s just off Brick Lane so it’s easy to make a detour by. These guys are pretty much synonymous with London now, and have been cropping up around different European cities more frequently.

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Much has been made of Borondo lately by urban art websites and blogs, myself included, but these two interesting works really demonstrate his talent and also his versatility. Apparently created from painting the inside of shop windows and delicately scraping it away, they are quite different from his larger outdoor painted pieces, but no less impressive.

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Nick Kuszyk’s Village Underground effort was probably one of my favourite’s from the trip. In fact, it’s probably up there as one of my all time favourite’s at the Village Underground. Martin Ron’s giant robotic hand being another that had a massive impact. The vivid colours on this one really make it pop.

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Ever since declaring my favourite Latin American street artists in a blog post, Alex Senna has been one of the artists I’ve been keeping tabs on. His, usually, black and white works are really cool sometimes with an almost Dysney-esque innocence about them. This example was just along from the Old Street roundabout.

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The stencil paintings of Snik are really unbelievable. Multi-layered and intensely detailed. These two examples just off Brick Lane were drawing the attention of a large street art tour, whose guide was more interested in the larger scale Rone pieces a stones throw away.

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…and this is the Rone piece. These portraits of beautiful women and flowers from the Aussie were also on display at D*Face’s Stolen Space Gallery, a really nice exhibition. The huge green monster alongside another of Rone’s ladies is called Frank and is the work of Mysterious Al.

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Finally – another old piece from the inimitable Roa joined by another South American, Martin Ron. I really liked the 3D aspect of his photo-real break dancer.

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So, yet another great trip to London, there’s always a mountain of new work to check out. I’m already excited to go back in July and check out what else has gone up in the intervening months! What did you think? Have you seen any on the streets lately that you think should have been included? Get in touch!

UKB
Steven

London calling – street art round-up (Pt. 1)

Undeniably one of the best cities for graffiti/street art/murals, whatever you want to call it, when in town for the UK blog awards I made sure to set aside a day to wander the ever changing streets of east London and take in the latest.

With guys like Borondo and Nick Kuszyk recently in town, along with exhibitions from the legendary (in this case, the use of the word ‘legendary’ is entirely deserved) Thierry Noir and Rone there was plenty to pack into 24 hours in the capital.

To give enough attention to some of my favourite pieces, I’ve split this post into 2 parts, this being the first.

Check out what I saw below, and as always comment, share, get in touch on Facebook, or tweet me @urbankulturblog.

London based James Cochrane aka Jimmy C had been getting about recently, before setting off for the In Situ Festival in Paris. These 2 more recent pieces are some of the best examples of his portrait style constructed from circular spraypaint spots or squiggles.

I like getting really close to his outdoor works to check out how they were put together, it makes the fuller picture all the more impressive when you step back, these close-ups hopefully give you a sense of the idea.

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I was really excited to check out Borondo’s work and was completely blown away. Not only by the quality of the pieces (they are visually some of the most impressive on the street just now) but the fact that there were so many.

Below are just two of his latest walls, off Brick Lane and next to Rough Trade Record Store. Check out part 2 of this blog post for something completely different from the stupidly talented Spaniard.

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Fin DAC’s portraits have also been gathering lots of attention lately. I interviewed him for UKB back in 2012, but this was the first of his pieces I’ve seen in the flesh since then. The Irishman making good use of this spot alongside work from Malarky.

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There’ve been plenty of tribute pieces online lately, marking the death of ‘The Godfather of House Music’, Frankie Knuckles. Paul Don Smith’s art often takes inspiration from film and music luminaries, this one was no different. His work is quite unassuming, small scale, often tucked away in doorways. Brick Lane is home to a number of his stencils, this being one of the most current I spotted.

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Lastly I caught a glimpse of this from Cranio on the way to grab a bagel! The indigenous characters of his native Brazil that feature frequently more often than not are the vehicle for his thought provoking stance on identity, consumerism and corrupt politicians…among other things!

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Part 2 coming soon, featuring further work from Borondo, as well as Rone, Nick Kuszyk and more…

Steven
UKB

Eduardo Paolozzi looks out on Leith again

Following on from the impressive mural by the Blameless Collective - Leith Late have almost delivered the latest of their own ‘Mural Project’ pieces in collaboration with Fife artist, Russell Dempster, portraying famous Scot Eduardo Paolozzi.

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Russell’s piece represents the 3rd large scale street art mural organised by Leith Late and adds another level to Edinburgh’s modest scene (well, at least the organised scene), growing steadily in the last few years thanks to organiser Morvern Cunningham.

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I cycled by the spot on Henderson St today to check it out in person and caught up with Russell as he put the finishing touches to his portrait of one time Leither, Eduardo Paolozzi. Asked to create a mural with a link to the area, Russell chose to paint Paolozzi, who many regard as the UK’s own father of pop art. He felt that although he was a notable Leither many in the area are unaware of him, his work or his connection to Leith.

Judging by the positive reaction (he was being congratulated by a number of locals as I took a few photos!) Paolozzi will most definitely have made his way into the collective Leith consciousness this week.

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The piece is made of 5 posters, put in place with the help of locals from Sofi’s Bar next door, with the subtle colour added afterwards. The shop front that is now home to this artwork was at one time an ice cream shop – a nice link back to Paolozzi’s childhood in Leith where he lived above, and helped out in, the family ice cream business.

I was quite surprised to find out that this is the first outdoor piece of this scale that Russell has attempted as the almost finished product is outstanding. It seems like it’s been a learning experience though.

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He explained that scaling up his work from a size that he’s more familiar was a test, adapting his work on the fly to suit the space when some initial plans just didn’t work as well as he felt they may have done.

But really, without him having told me this I’d have been completely oblivious. The outcome is epic! The shattered glass effect looks amazing, and is reminiscent of some of Paolozzi’s sculpture works, for example those at the top of Leith Walk with their disjointed overlapping appearance.

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If you’re in the area, it’s well worth a detour to check out Russell’s mural. It really has lifted that part of the street, no longer does it look bare and derelict. It’s also great to hear that the locals are taking to the piece, and becoming quite protective of it already.

The official opening of the mural is tomorrow, with Sofi’s Bar being the place to be just next door. A job well done, and beers thoroughly deserved for all involved!

Finally, check out more from Russell on Facebook, on his own website, or get your hands on some of his work on his Etsy shop.

UKB.