Between the 28th of October and the 6th of november, Sarasota, Florida, has become stage for one of the biggest art festival ever oganized in the world. More than 250 street artist, handling chalks, tempere and spray cans have been in the street to show their talent to thousand of amazed visitors. 2D chalk artist all along Pineapple avenue, covering an area of more than 2 km long. Internationally rewarded artists like Kurt Wenner (USA), Kobra (BRA) [top pic], Tony Cuboliquido (ITA), Eduardo Relero (ESP), Leon Keer (NL), and many more on the rest of the street making and showing their art, in one of the biggest 3D display ever seen in an Art festival. In the meantime graffiti artists from all over the world (MTO, Kanos&Astro of Cellograph, Entes & Pesimo and many more) were bombing with raw designs walls all over the city. Denise Kowal, the founder of this non profit festival, in just 5 year has created something extraordinary, guided by her positive and selfless attitude: “I have tried to create a feel and a mood over everything, hoping that all comes together really for everybody” .And she certainly did it right. The theme of this year festival has been the Circus. Every piece of pavement art was connect with this broad and colorfull theme. Clowns, an ancient circus parades, a steampunk juggler, animals, and colors, plenty of colors exploding under the Florida sun. At the entrances, 2 massive elephants, carved by hand
on huge blocks of foam by thai artist Kumpa Tawornprom, welcomed the joyfull visitors.
And even if this might seems just a families amusement park, has not been just that at all. Kanos&Astro, 2 artists from Paris that invented the concept of graffiti on cling film, started since the first day to work on the street, painting just after few days a couple of “Cellograph” and an old abandoned gas station (left picture). Since 2010 the 2 artist have been invited to the festival for their innovative tecnique an their raw talent. In cooperation with MTO, another emergent street artist from Berlin, they did a 25 meters long wall the last few days of the festival.
The master piece of the event has been the one made by Kurt Wenner (the inventor of 3d street pavement art), that helped by more than 20 international chalk artists have built this powerull 3D circus parade (side piture). More than 6 days of work, face to face with the arsh asphalt, fighting with the strong wind caused by the the cyclon Sandy, and then with days of intense sun. They did it in time, and the result is impressive. Thanks to the anamorphic prospective, and the view of the camera, has been possible to also add the side arches without build them, just exploiting an optic illusion. Kurt Wenner had shown in the past what is capable of and even this time he did confirm his great talent. When the anamorphic paint was done, the 20 artist started their own works on a street few meters away joining the other artists. The streets of Sarasota has been for more than a week an open air museum, with the difference that people could interact directly with the artists, bringing this artâ€™s experience at its maximum level.
The program of the festival has been for all the weekend full on : music and shows on 2 differt stages, fire jogglers lighting the night , clowns entertaining the kids and jeering the adults, expert acrobats floating in the air. It has been for sure way more intense than the expectation. Intense not just for the visitors but also for all the artists. Some of them have been knees on the ground, for more then 9 days without any stop. Neither the weather condition or the fatigue could stop them. The altruism has been remarkable. Artists helping other artists with their piece if needed, with no spirit of competition between them. The organization of the festival is based on the precious help of dozens of volunteers : a numerous and motivated stuff who make possible that every aspect of the festival run smoothly. Also all the artists are volunteers : they recieve accomodation, food and travel expenses, but not a cent more for their art works. At the entrance there wasnâ€™t ticket fee, just plenty of donation boxes that the visitors were invited to fill. More than 100.000 visitors in a week time, more then 200.000 people reached trough the social medias, the success has been huge : stay tuned , next year it will make the feathers fly!
Born in Amersfoort, The Netherlands in 1967, Remko had an early interest in drawing. After graduating from the School for Decoration in 1989, Remko landed a job in stand design. In 1992 he started to work for himself as a freelancer and since then making murals and illustrations using a variety of tecniques. In 2007 he saw a live public street-painting event in his hometown of Utrecht and was immediately inspired by the art form.
Remko van Schaik -Netherlands Vera Bugatti is an Italian Artist and Street Painter. She has a Liberal-Arts degree and works as librarian in everyday life but finds time for art and chalking. She loves to paint people and portray human emotions, and at festivals she often composes . Luigi Legno was born in Isola della Scala (VR) in Italy in 1967. He has been a painter for over twenty years, and a Madonnaro artist since 1993.
Vera Bugatti Luigi Legno Italy An accomplished street painter, Carolyn Schultz â€œchalksâ€? throughout the United States for art festivals and media events. She was introduced to chalk painting in 1996 and was quickly hooked on the ephemeral nature and the performance aspect of street painting. Zoey started her chalk career in 2003 at the age of 11. She won first place for Best Portraiture of a Da Vinci painting. Carolyn Shultz Zoey Caar Florida , USA
From what I read about Kurt Wenner the weeks before meeting him in person, I had imaging a man so different from the one is standing in front of me right now. I always thought that artists, especialy if famous and talented as he is, put them self one level over you, in a space time conversation that you never gonna get close to understand. With this idea in my mind, I had to prepare the battle field in a smart and effective way to be the one hosting the game and not a victim of my emotions. Biscuits and crackers inside a couple of colorfull plates, a bottle of water, one glass and a very long breath. He entered by the front door, long and slow steps, one after the other one, light stains of chalk on his hands and his face. Is the 4th day of work in Sarasota from him and his team, their bodie`s muscles are melting slowly like the chalk’s powder on the asphalts. I decided to forget about the interview and the battle I was prepared for, walking him to the kitchen for a refresh. He asked me for a glass of red vine, I took two cups from the cupboard and pour vine in. The following 20 minutes of our conversation have been so intense that another article would not be enough to describe everything we talked about: from italian food and vines (he lived in Italy for more than 20 years) to american ones, from politic to music concerts, the joy and the fights of the world between 1960 and 2012. The plan is changed : I dont have anymore an opponent in front of me but a friend. All the plans of tricky questions are gone, the glasses of vine are telling me to sit and enjoy the conversation, and his broad smile is the signal I was waiting for. He was born in Santa Barbara, a quite city facing the Pacific ocean, 1 hour drive from Los Angeles. He grew up during the time of the hippie’s cultural and
sexual revolution,when protests against the Vietnam war were rising and when the air was filled by the Woodstock’s generation vibes. But his artistic soul wasn’t a rebellion against the system : he was looking for the beauty and the perfection of art, as a form of knowledge more than just a pure form of expression. Guided by the books about the geometry and maths of art that his father was leaving on his table trying to make him step into more scientific and “profound” fields, he ended up working for the Nasa, as an advanced scientific illustrator, creating conceptual paintings of future space projects and extraterrestrial landscapes. “All the nasa projects were made in ink, using ruling pens on vellum paper, exactly as Bernini would have drawn a cathedral”. His eyes light up, remembering those times when science and art were so closely connected. “One day one man brought in box and showed us the first computer graphic line drawing. He told us that in 5 to 10 year this computer would have done our job. Everybody laughed at him, but i understood that was time to leave and find another way in my life. I packed all my stuff and i flew to Rome.” From that day Kurt Wenner traced a new path in his life, an experience that changed completely his life. In Rome, going into the Vatican’s museum, he began to copy all the masterpieces of the greatest artists of the past, to refine his classical drawing skills. He had also the possibilities to go up to the cealing of churces and palaces, watching closely how they were done. “There was an anamorphic distortion tecnique to make them look deep from the ground”. When he began his career as Madonnaro, the artists that draw with chalks on the street famous masterpieces of the past, after short time he was already drawing his own designs. Madonnas, angels, demons, drawn as a renaissance artist would have done.
But nobody recognized him as creator of the paintings, asking him if they were a “Michelangelo” or a “Raffaello”. So he began to work on a different technique, part of himself since the geometry of art’s books, but never explored so deeply before. He used the same anamorphic technique knew in the past, but applied to a completely different point of view and environment : the street. As a person would see, standing few meters from the piece, each points of the drawing, to obtain a perfect and stunning 3D effect. Years of work and improvement finally brought him to be recognized, and to be the first man that changed the prospective and our vision of art on the street. One of the first masterpiece he made was Dies Irae (picture above), made in Mantova in 1984. In years he improved his technique bringing it to the limit, using also walls to created three-dimensionality on more than one level. An example is the recent masterpiece he did in Sarasota Chalk Festival 2012 (see pic article 1). His work gave inspiration to hundreds of modern artists that, using the anamorphic technique, are experimenting new way to impress the public and develop new ideas. Graffiti artists like TSF crew, Ninja, and many more are using this technique, spray cans instead chalks and walls instead roads. The conversation now is going to an end, vine glasses are empty, the sun is setting behind the windows of the room. He probably told this story to other thousand of journalists, but the passion and the energy he puts on it, make it seems as the first time he says it to somebody. ”I have got just a last question for you Kurt : what has been and what it will be art in your life?” “Art for me is a way to understand the universe, understand and build a productive relationship with the universe. If I have a lover and I say that our relationship is all about me, is not going to work very
well. Human beings can threat the universe as a lover, or can threat it as something to impose their will upon.”…..”If you are with a nice woman you have to ask her some question and understand what she is about. Talking about how great you are is not gonna bring you very far with her.” The sun is gone, a dark shadow melt itself with the fluorescent light on the top of our heads. The first star is appearing in the sky, and the night soon will reveal many more of them. I ask myself, why the human species find still so difficult to look at the sky and see behind it : why don’t we really try to look at the universe as something to live in harmony with and not something to fight against. “Thanks Mr. Wenner, for your time, has been a pleasure to have you here” . He smiles while he is standing up, and he walk slowly to the door. I don’t know were he is going, what’s gonna be up next for me, for him, for the world. But i think that both of us are going to look up tonight, trough the night sky. M.R.
Street art festivals are spreading quickly all over the world, as the most effective and entertaining way for the public to enter in contact with art. From Usa to Europe, from Asia to Australia, their success is unstoppable. Thanks also to a quite new form of street painting, the 3D anamorphic drawing. Seen from particular point of view, the geometric distortion used by the artists allowed the viewer to see a 3D image, coming out or going deep into the ground. Using chalks, temper and brushes, those artists create an illusional door on “another world’ where the spectators can step in. Despite its great success, chalks art and street artist has been around for centuries, and they been consider for long time just like beggars, and nothing more. The story goes back to the renaissance period, when art was flowing trough the world and especially into the italian’s veins. Madonnari are the first real street artists, so called thanks to the holy images they reproduced on public sidewalks. It was the beginning of the XIV century and artists as Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Raffaello had already inflame people’ s hearts and brighten people’s eyes with their work. While those artists were working on huge churches and palaces of princes and kings, the pioneers of street art were in the street, traveling from town to town, looking for a piece of bread or few coins and creating paintings with what they found: crayons, pieces of charcoal, bits of colored tiles or stones. Some of these artists were ex-wounded soldiers on leave or disabled workers disgraced. Others simply preferred the style of a nomadic life. Whatever the reason, they all had one thing in com
mon: the need to earn a living to survive the tumultuous nature of Italy at that time. This art has continued over the centuries, little by little, has conquered the rest of the world. The street painters were called “chalk artists” (artists of gypsum) in the United States, “Strassenmaler” (Strassen, painter maker) in Germany, while the English term is “screever” comes from the Italian word “write” and also derives from the phrase written next to the works since 1700. One of the most important evidence focuses on the figure of James William Carling. Born in Liverpool in 1857, from a very poor irish family. From an early age, he was known as “the little drawer” or “The Little Chalker” trough the streets of Liverpool. James and his brothers, Willy, Johnny and Henry, were doing satire on the politics of municipal government. The police was against them and tried every day to arrest them or bit them up, but most of the time they managed to run away and disappear into the crowd . James watched his older brothers for five years practicing their street art, then he had the opportunity to follow in their footsteps when Johnny gave him some paints and crayons. His subjects were the english heroes such as Tom Sayers and Irish-American John C. Heenan. Passers-by were so amused by the talent of such a young person, who began to throw coins in his little hat upside down and this encouraged him to continue. Making his designs on the sidewalk had its pitfalls, as when the rain washed them away. Other times he was beaten by the police, if they were painting the streets frequented by gentlemen of high society; “Bold Street, my heart is sick hearing your name.
Rightly so, because not only i couldn’t draw on that road but I couldn’t even walk on it”. On Christmas Eve of 1865, James had just reached his eighth birthday and he was working on Elliot Street for a bit ‘of money. The day was cold and the frozen wind was beating on his fragile young body. As the hours passed, he moved on Lime Street and, as soon as the young artist began to work, he felt the hands of a police officer grabbing his neck. The police man arrested him and dragged him into prison Cheapside in the heart of the city. He spent the night before in a cell, then on Christmas Day was transferred and sentenced to spend six years in the Industrial School St ‘George. Six years at the school gave James the opportunity to learn to read and to write. In 1871 his brother Henry took him to Philadelphia in the United States of America, where he again began their careers as artists from the sidewalk and also began his career as a cartoonist “Vaudeville”.A reporter showed strong interest in James and wrote an article about him. The director of a company of variety, read this article, gave him a contract as a caricaturist of the crew. Back in Liverpool in the spring of 1887 with the intention of studying at the National School of Art, there is no certainty, however, that it entered the school, since that summer, James Carling became ill. His death was recorded as July 9, 1887, at the age of 29. James William Carling is an important figure in the history of art pavement; to date, he is the first street artist to be fully documented, recorded from birth to death. He created something out of nothing, in an epic struggle against the grinding poverty of Victorian England, only to rise above his situation, and eventually managed to have a successful career as an itinerant artist in to
lthe United States. This is what happened in 800. In the world of street artists today, many issues and situations continue to be the same. They need to travel to work, devoting themself to a life almost nomadic : many of them remain loyal to the hat for get enough money to live, the weather conditions are often against them and police is not always open to pacific discussions. Festivals and street art events give them the possibility to draw in a safe enviroment, but some still prefer to work alone into the street. Silvia Spurio Pompili
1-Peter Bruegel - oil painting 2-San Luca portrait the vergin - Giorgio Vasari
One stage, one Dj, spray cans, canvas, brushes, a crowd and a bunch of artists. Its recipe is very simple, but its success is spreading worldwide. We are talking about the Art Battles, the competitions between 2 or more artists that using different paintingâ€™s styles, make their creation on stage, following the beats. All style are allowed, the only guidance is the time limit, 30 minutes to one hour. The movement born in 2001 in Usa, from inspired action : the founders sought to create an arena that blended graffiti and fine art. Art Battles was the first competitive performance where artists could show off their skills in front of a live audience. This live painting event introduces a new way for the public to participate in the conversation between artist and street art culture. The first Art Battle took place on Houston St.
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between Mulberry and Mott in an abandoned area in September 2001. Since then, Art Battles has performed over 100 live shows in NYC. In 2010, Art Battles had shows at Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Museum with an audience of 2500+ people, while still producing â€œundergroundâ€? events around the world. Currently working in Madrid and Barcelona, in 2011-2012 Art Battles has also been in Paris, France, Verbier, Switzerland, and Valencia, Spain and Amsterdam (picture above). Other companies, as Red Bull and 11 Productions (based in Florida) are promoting and pushing similar events around the globe, since the formula of the show is a winnig horse. The public love it and the artists seems enjoying every single moment of it. What a best way to introduce art legally into the street?
Berlin, the city of the wall that divided its inhabitants for more than 30 years, is now surfing a wave of cultural, social and economic’s development. Thanks to the low cost of apartments and rooms, nearly free education at very high levels and good welfare, brains from all over the world are flowing into the city. Berlin last year saw the highest rate of immigration in more than 15 years. And is not all about the economic growth. The number of student coming from all over the world is trasforming Berlin in the international capital of Europe. Everywhere are growing collectives of artists and musicians, exhibitions and shows, because they are seen with a positive attitude, a certain interest, and the city offer plenty of spaces for this kind of projects.
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East Cross Project just released a new Video called “Berlin spricht...für sich”( Berlin speak by itself). It’s the 3rd part of a project where graffiti and street artists from Berlin tell the story of their protest against the system trough their art. The song and video is based on the street art of Mein Lieber Prost, best known for his smiley faces that adorn the streets of Berlin, but featured many more artists. Street art is becoming not anymore just a symbol of gangs power, but a movement that involves ideas of change and progress, not based on the economical one, but on a deep cultural revolution. Berlin has spoken, what the rest of the world will say?
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