Brazilian vibes

With only a few months to go until the World Cup in Brazil I’m pleased to be involved in a number of Brazil themed projects including an artist mural, exhibition and workshop project at Rich Mix in London soon to be announced…

In the meantime here are a couple of logo projects on a Brazilian theme…

The first was completed last year for Instituto BR a new consultancy aimed at promoting 21st century Brazil via contemporary Brazilian culture, and the Brazilian Portuguese language. For Instituto BR I was asked to create a family of logotypes which could be used in different design and communication contexts. The inspiration for the logo came from the central diamond used in the Brazilian flag which turned into a repeat pattern could be used to describe the shape of Brazil.

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More recently I was commissioned to design a logo for a new series of CD releases for Universal Records. This up coming series will feature many albums from their excellent back catalogue plus new material. I created a logo that could be adapted to different formats for usage on a social media campaigns, print campaigns and album design. The logo is inspired by Lambe Lambe – a particular style of letterpress poster, made famous by the print shop Grafica Fidalga in Sao Paulo. Having commissioned Grafica Fidalga to produce posters in the past I made use of type examples in my personal collection of Lambe Lambe to produce this design.

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Barry Cawston – Influx

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Some late news prompted by seeing this lovely photography book on my shelf (designed by myself!). I am a big fan and friend of the wonderful photographer Barry Cawston. Barry’s work has won many awards and his is typically known for his landscape and interior photography shot on a large format camera. He has a great eye for those spaces in between, for colour, pattern and texture and we both share a love of travel.

After working together on logos and CD cover concepts for the excellent Ramona Flowers - Barry asked me to design a book of his recent photographic work to coincide with an Exhibition at Atkinson Gallery. It was my first experience in designing a book that would be produced digitally. There has been a huge rise of on-demand printing options and after some research we decided to use Blurb.

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I created the book in Indesign as I found it gave me the maximum control in the layout but Blurb also offers good off-the-shelf layouts which can be found on their website, which can be used on-line and are not too bad for a simple book. Although as a designer I needed more control of the text and styling. We produced two versions a small paperback and then a larger format cloth bound hardback version which can be purchase and viewed here.

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Subverzine – Brighton Museum

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Photograph borrowed from quiltypleasures blog

The accepted brief for designers and makers has always been to produce well made goods, fit for practical use. However, many have also employed shape and decoration to ask questions about political and social issues of their times, or about form and function. This is the subject of Subversive Design, currently showing at the Brighton Museum – a unique exhibition gathered from pieces from its historical collection, alongside new works cleverly curated to fit this fascinating theme including furniture, fashion, ceramics and more. Designers shown include Campana Brothers, Dupenny, Grayson Perry, Timorous Beasties, David Shrigley, Philippe Starck, Leigh Bowery, Jean Paul Gaultier and Vivienne Westwood. Within this larger theme the exhibition looks at a number of sub-themes such as Big Issues, Form Vs Function and Subverting the body.

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Wallpaper design by Timorous Beasties

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In October & November of 2013 I was invited by Brighton Museum to work with the Museum Collective – a group of young people aged 16 to 21 years old who organise and run events at the Royal Pavilion & Museums. Over a series of workshops we responded to the Subversive Design exhibition by producing our own zine which took inspiration from the art and issues embraced by the show.

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Workshop session

The collective used collage, original drawing and painting, writing and journalistic skills to explore the works and quotations highlighted from the exhibition signage. Our main limitation was that we relied on analogue techniques and only used computers for research. The results were serious, fun, quirky and spontaneous…

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Zine cover

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Collating finished pages of zine

The final result – Subverzine, is soon to be reproduced as a limited edition zine to be sold in the museum shop as the exhibition continues. Thanks again for the invitation and congratulations on the energy and commitment shown by all those who took part!

Words of Wisdom

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Words of Wisdom aka WOW – is an initiative of the Enquiry Desk a not-for-profit initiative founded by Josie Sullens and Zara Wood. The idea is that creative professionals share some of their words of wisdom for others. Zara Wood aka Woody asked me to take part some weeks ago and I only got round to mentioning it now.
See my page here: with lots of other great and good characters here to read about here – If you know your onions therm you’ll probably of heard of most of these folks. If not its a great way to browse and gen up on people doing creative stuff in design, art direction and illustration…

Sanez and Kawamo for Wahaca at One New Change

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Each art project working with Wahaca becomes my favourite one and the same is the case for this one recently completed at One New Change, St. Pauls, London. The place was a blank canvas with no particular history to the site but it did allow for space to create a huge mural across the length of the space becoming the biggest mural painted for Wahaca so far!…

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For this project I was delighted to invite two young Mexican street artists who often work together – Sanez (aka Fabian) & Kawamo (aka Sergio). Both are influenced by indigenous traditions and the rich artistic culture of Mexico. Sanez is known for his distinctive graphic painting style often using rollers to depict pre-Hispanic inspired motifs, while Cawamo produces high detailed and often politically inspired stencil art.

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Although stylistically different, their work compliments each other while they both seek to create what they describe as, “our own national identity in our work.” Both artists have been drawn to the creative city of Oaxaca as a place to work and initiate projects. Originally from Monterrey, Fabian now lives in the city, while Cawamo spends time between Guadalajara and Oaxaca, together they team up to produce murals, exhibitions and performance pieces.

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Most recently in June, 2013 they received attention for their experimental art project and exhibition “Corpus Plural” which involved working with the community of Teotitlán del Valle, a small village 31km from Oaxaca. Using installations, murals and video performance they invited local children to create a local lexicon of graphic symbols and explore ancient cosmology.

In the global world of street art Fabian & Cawamo present something authentic; they are both fascinated by their local roots and cultural identity, which they explore in original ways. In their combined murals Fabian’s bold designs create a structure using flat colour and clear outlines that have a flavour of and references to pre-Hispanic sacred art but with a contemporary interpretation. Into this geometric structure Cawamo integrates motifs for example symbolic animals, local people and folkloric activities such as shamanistic dancers.

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Fabian’s decorative patterns and compositions are also filled with icons such as birds; deer and other animals, all sacred symbols in Mexican folklore. But more
 than simply re-interpreting icons, they feel a real affinity with, as they describe the “way pre- Hispanic cultures perceived the universe, with infinite possibilities, that’s how we see our work. Transmitting sensations rather than communicating an idea.”

Both artists have an autodidactic approach, having had no formal training, only knowledge learned from painting graffiti on the street. However they both draw from extensive personal research in folkloric art, national history and Mexican underground culture in developing their designs. Fabian is currently studying traditional printmaking techniques such as etching and lithography, in the numerous print workshops, which can be found in Oaxaca.

The following images are of the work at Wahaca in progress..

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Daniel Melim at Wahaca Islington

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It’s been a busy year. Particularly with my on-going artist liaison work for Wahaca – finally it’s time to take stock of all the projects completed so far starting with… Daniel Melim at Wahaca Islington.

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Earlier in the year we invited Brazilian artist Daniel Melim to create murals inside and out at Wahaca’s Southbank Experiment documented here. This job went back to back with another project at their new space in Islington (which we now have professional images of). It was an interesting space to tackle with a double height space which was left open, allowing Daniel to paint two storeys into the original ceiling.

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To compliment Daniel’s stencils we used found surfaces such as panels from old tea chests and found wooden frames to add depth and texture to the installation.

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Daora CD Design

Having been a fan of Brazilian music for some decades now it has been a pleasure to work with the Mais Um Discos label recently. In their own words - Mais Um Discos releases music from Brazilian artists who fuse styles, disregard genres and irritate purists and while Gilles Peterson says - “What Mais Um Discos is doing in Brazil is amazing.”

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I was asked to design their latest double CD DAORA – compiled by Rodrigo Brandao. It’s a fantastic mix of what’s going on now in Urban Brazilian music. Given the nature of the music we decided to work with Sao Paulo based stencil artist Daniel Melim whose work seemed to reflect the music. With quite a lot of text to cram on the design we kept it simple with blocks of text cut-out in a fanzine style.

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Sometime ago I assisted in their first album Oi! A Nova Musica Brasileira! - initially hooking them up with the artist Derlon and my Sao Paulo buddies Choque Cultural. So with Daora it was nice to work on a project from start to finish.

 

Visualog – iPhone covers

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Sometime ago I wrote a piece for Varoom magazine about Brazilian illustration which identified current trends and talents coming from this vibrant scene. So it was a pleasure recently to work with a new company called Visualog from Japan to create a series of iPhone covers called Braziliance! using Brazilian artists. The artists we chose are all producing fantastic work in different fields and are all ones that I have either met or worked with before.

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We produced a range of 25 designs from three artists available for two types of iPhone. Brazil is a mix – of different heritages and landscapes, from the rainforests to its growing metropolis. We are all familiar with the stereotypes of soccer and samba that are famed worldwide, but at the same time itself Brazil is becoming known for its cultural cool in art and design. In particular its growing cities are developing into a hot bed of artistic talent with the rise of its street art, which has turned cities such as Rio and Sao Paulo into world capitals of graffiti art. The artist’s in this collection represent different parts of Brazil’s up-and-coming creative scenes; from the streetwise figures of Rodrigo Branco’s graffiti paintings to the sensational DIY stickers and zines of Pacolli and not forgetting the woodcut and ephemera inspired fresh graphics of Flavio Morais.

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Flavio Morais

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Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Flavio moved to London in the late 70’s where he studied at the Chelsea School of Art. He lived and worked in Barcelona during the 80’s, returning to Brazil in 1994.

Flavio now lives and works in Barcelona for clients throughout Europe, Mexico and the USA. A highly sought after mural-artist his work can be found in a multitude of bars and restaurants around Barcelona.

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Patricia Colli aka Pacolli is a Brazilian artist originally from Sao Paulo but today spends much of her time in San Francisco.

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She has a DIY approach to art, using her drawings and screen-printed cartoon characters to make her own self-published zines, sticker packs and T-shirts. Her cute, kitschy animals, love hearts and messages feature in masses of sketches, collages and graffiti murals which she has painted in cities and galleries from London to LA.

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Rodrigo Branco

Rodrigo Branco aka Rodrigo de Souza Caldas at 25 years old is an up-and-coming painter with a background rooted in graffiti. Branco is a nickname bestowed to him meaning “The White” since he lives in an otherwise predominately black suburb at southern tip of São Paulo. His neighborhood of Grajaú is part of what is known as the ‘periferia’ the poor outskirts, which surround the city and it his experiences living there that are a theme in his work.

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His portraits rendered with bold colors, strong lines and layering are intended to reflect the daily lives of people he observes eking out a living on the edge of city.

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Daniel Melim at Wahaca Southbank experiment

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Last year it was a pleasure to begin working with Wahaca, purveyors of Mexican street food who are full of innovative ideas. My work with them is in a curation role, by introducing to them interesting street artists from around the world and matching the right artist to a particular space or project. This can involve planning with architects, artist liaison, production and documentation.

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One of their most interesting projects is the Wahaca Southbank experiment – a temporary space created from sea containers set in the iconic setting of London’s Southbank Art centre. I was lucky enough last year to be invited to work in its initial phase and to fly in the artist’s, Saner from Mexico City and Remed from Madrid, to create murals inside and outside the space. The plan has always been to update the murals as time goes by and so it was a great pleasure this year to invite Daniel Melim, a Brazilian artist whose career I’ve been following since around 2003. We did however leave some pieces from Remed and Saner untouched so that the site builds up its own artistic history.

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Daniel Melim is an artist based in São Bernardo do Campo in the south of São Paulo.
He principally uses stencils to create his colourful work, which he applies in a highly original way – by accentuating imperfections such as paint drips or using the same mask twice giving the idea of a printing error. In this way his work is a build up of textural and collagic layers.

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In Melim’s artwork and outlook there is a component of social activism. As the son of a teacher, his own fine art education led him to become an art teacher himself for four years. In 2006 he was drawn to volunteer and community work, setting up art workshops for community teens in the Ferrazopolis slum. This work continues and has resulted in huge site-specific projects. Melim’s studio-based paintings and installations have been exhibited at MASP and Afro-Brasil Museum, both in São Paulo as well the Valencia Biennale in Spain. His workshop project Casa da Cultura continues and is funded by artist’s volunteering and sponsorship including some donations from the UK based ABC Trust.
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Melim’s work created for Wahaca’s outside spaces was in response the Southbank’s Festival of Neighbourhood season. IN his words “My idea is to create different pictorial planes through the vertical bands, composing distinct colours side by side, as part of the work, creating a contrast and yet a harmony between the different parts. Along with the Latin culture of the communities and all the richness of colours and textures inspired by this culture.”

Manguetown Graffiti & Brazilian Street Art

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I’m taking part in this talk soon (see blurb below) looking forward to finally meeting Derlon, although I’ve been following his career this will be a first meeting!

The Embassy of Brazil in London, in collaboration with Instituto BR, proudly presents a round table discussion on Manguetown Grafitti & Brazilian Street Art. The panellists, Derlon de Almeida and Tristan Manco, will discuss Derlon´s creative process and unique style; contemporary urban art in Brazil and its ever evolving format: from marginalized grafitti to an admired and established form of expression that mixes popular culture and social awareness as well as its relevance within a worldwide street art context.

Derlon de Almeida is one of the most important names in Brazilian urban art, a self-taught artist whose artistic language includes a mix of street art, Brazilian popular culture, wood cuts (xylography) and pop art. A household name in Recife – aka Manguetown – Derlon made the city his canvas and his creations can be found on walls and buildings in Brazil and abroad with individual exhibitions and commissions in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Lisbon and Amsterdam. Derlon was recently featured in the BBC 1 series Brazil with Michael Palin. Derlon’s first UK solo show From Manguetown: The Urban Art of Derlon opens on 17 July at Shoreditch´s gallery 71A. He will also be participating at Vamos! Festival in Newcastle.

Tristan Manco is a designer, illustrator and art director for clients including the BBC, Habitat and EMI Records to mention but a few. Tristan also works with international contemporary artists as well as an art director for clients including Pictures On Walls and Choque Cultural. In 2002 he published his first book, Stencil Graffiti (Thames and Hudson) which was followed by Street Logos (2004), Graffiti Brasil (2005), Street Sketchbook (2007), Street Sketchbook: Journeys (2010) and Raw + Material + Art (2012).

EMBASSY OF BRAZIL IN LONDON | 14-16 COCKSPUR STREET, LONDON SW1Y 5BL

Zine-making workshop residency

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It is now the end of an enjoyable four months spent leading zine-making workshops at the De La Warr Pavillion in Bexhill on Sea, East Sussex. During this period there were five workshops, open to the public on various Saturdays, where I and my assistant Marian guided participants of all ages to make their own zines and illustrations – see my previous blog entry.

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Over this period I have been reporting on the results for each workshop on the De La Warr Pavillion’s own blog. Each session has been slightly different to the last, some busier than others, while some of the quieter sessions have ended up being super-productive with individuals and groups creating many paged finished zines, crammed full of great material all within the short three hour period of the workshop.

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The range of work has been really impressive – some zine-sters were interested in writing content, others in drawing, while each session produced some exciting collage. Beyond explaining the basics of the workshop Marian and I encouraged each group to experiment with media, think about themes in their work and promote creativity.

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For anyone who took part in the sessions here are a list of zine related links to discover more..

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Craphound Magazine

Cheltenham Design Festival

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I am pleased to announce my inclusion as a guest speaker at the Cheltenham Design Festival amongst the great and the good including British design gurus Adrian Shaughnessy and Neville Brody. There’s plenty going on over five days starting from Thursday 11th April through to Sunday 14th April – my own talk is bright and early on Friday morning @ 10am as one of their studio events. The full brochure can be downloaded from their website.

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My newly drafted talk will focus on the fundamentals of Street Art and keeping with the general theme of this year’s festival I will be looking at how original thought can change the way we live. In particular I’ll be taking a closer look at creativity in street art and its relation to community.

 

 

Maurizio Cattelan and Georg Baselitz

Maurizio Cattelan and Georg Baselitz are two extraordinary and radical contemporary artists who I have long had a fascination with so I was pleased to be asked to recently to contribute articles about them for the latest issue (37)of Huck Magazine which is on the shelves now…

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Issue 37 was curated by famed artist/skateboarder – Mark Gonzales. He chose all the contents for the issue which included many artists and creative types including Barry McGee, Tom Sachs and Raymond Pettibon. I was assigned to write about Maurizio Cattelan and Georg Baselitz who were two other great choices of Gonzales…

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Portrait of Maurizio Cattelan by PIERPAOLO FERRARI

 

My article Maurizio Cattelan can be read on-line here.

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Portrait of Georg Baselitz by MICHAEL DANNENMANN

My article Georg Baselitz can be read on-line here.

Zine workshops @ De La Warr Pavilion


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Following on from my recent visit to the Hotseat at the University of Gloucester, where I took part in introducing the BA Graphic students to the world of zines, I am planning to give a series of zine-making workshops to be held over the coming months at the De La Warr Pavilion.

The zine workshops are in response to Shaun Gladwell‘s Cycles of Radical Will exhibition which takes place at the De La Warr Pavilion for the next 5 months and will be seasonally updated during this period. The show is mostly made up of vast panoramic video installations with films made specifically for the space. Not forgetting Gladwell’s roof top “sculpture” a cruciform bmx ramp open to the public who book a slot.

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One of the key pieces for me was a video (pictured above) made of professional flatland BMX champion Matti Hemmings set against the backdrop of Bexhill seafront beautifully filmed in slow motion like a ballet movement.

To see more of Matti visit http://www.mattihemmings.co.uk

Shaun Gladwell is fascinated with subculture and mythology in varied forms such as skateboarding, extreme sports and cult movies. The workshop is intended to encourage visitors to the exhibition to express there own culture, passions and obsessions through art and design through the DIY process of making zines.

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I’ll also be showing exciting examples of zines from my own collection as well as artist zines I have worked on. Basic materials and ready-to-use collage will be made available at the workshops. Outside these times a work station has been set up for people to draw and make zines alongside a selection of interesting zine-related books to browse through and a “Beginners Guide to Zines” photocopied handout designed by my good self.

Hotseat @ University of Gloucestershire

tumblr_mhro1ttHJw1rjjyzuo1_1280I was put in the “Hotseat” this week as I gave a lecture to the BA Graphic Design students at the University of Gloucestershire. I was the last speaker of 10 visiting the students in the hotseat programme. The third year students had created the hotseat project to document the visiting lectures, providing notes to the lectures for other students. Each designer/speaker had their own pillow printed for the chair, which we were asked to sign and the pillows would then be auctioned off. Each pillow provided the key image for a poster to advertise each talk and finally each speaker got given a poster to take home as a souvenir…

Thanks to the students who attended across the courses and thanks for the invitation to speak.

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Revolution Graffiti – Street Art of the New Egypt

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At the end of last year I was pleased to be asked to write the forward to Mia Gröndahl’s excellent forthcoming book Revolution Graffiti – Street Art of the New Egypt. Revolutionary graffiti and in particular its recent flourishing in countries such as Egypt, Libya and Tunisia is something that I’ve long been fascinated with and the author Mia Gröndahl’s research into the subject is excellent.

Below the author talks about the subject from one of Egypt’s key graffiti walls..

 

My intro to the book is due to be published on the Thames and Hudson blog and so in the meanwhile here is a preview…

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For many urbanites street art has become something more often associated with a gallery show or a clothing brand, but recent transformations in the geo-political landscape have caused a reawakening of its authentic roots. Mia Gröndahl’s ‘Revolution Graffiti’ charts the emergence of a powerful art movement that has spread across Egypt’s city walls with a heady mix of passion and optimism. Ignited by the uprising that led to the revolution of 26 January 2011, the streets and squares that were filled with a sea of demonstrators soon became covered with murals and slogans that reflected the disparate feelings of anger, sorrow and euphoria. Today Egyptian graffiti has grown into a strong social movement which allows ordinary citizens to communicate and acts as a visual expression of the revolution.

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As the momentous events of the Arab Spring unfolded in the global media, we were first struck by the reported images of bravely defiant crowds, aerial views of teeming streets and films made by citizen journalists uploaded to social media. Before too long however a different kind of imagery began to be emerge, that of graffiti. Newspapers and news channels such as the BBC and The Guardian began to publish photo stories of the flourishing graffiti which was both compelling and surprising. Graffiti had become part of the story, a symbol of a new-found freedom and a spontaneous way for people young and old to articulate what was happening at street level. It was also a demonstration of the power of art to encapsulate a tumultuous political landscape and visualize emotions more effectively than any number of column inches.

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The revolution has been a catalyst for unlocking latent creativity and free speech which has in turn been embraced by a public eager for change. In this landscape of largely untutored and defiant expression, the aesthetics are not as important as the message, however many artists limited by materials or without training have produced work which is stunningly effective. Those graffiti artists who have an arts background such as graphic designers and art students have in turn brought an extra dimension to the scene. With a more global outlook this new generation of Egyptian artists have used wall painting and stenciling as an opportunity to explore artistic freedom and critique society.

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For many the Arab Spring became synonymous with the idea of ‘Twitter revolutions’. In the case of Egypt, the extensive usage of social media is said to have played a crucial role in organising the uprising against Mubarak. It is however people’s actions that create revolutions not just the tools, for example at one point Mubarak’s regime pulled the plug on internet services which forced demonstrators to replace Twitter with an analogue version – that of hand-held signs spreading the word of the next gathering. Both analogue and digital have played their part in this revolution as graffiti has given people a citywide social media of thought-provoking words and images that are then disseminated to an audience worldwide. One could say graffiti has become the real social media – so welcome to the graffiti revolution!

Images borrowed from here.

You can follow Revolution Graffiti with lots of news on its Facebook page.

Nelio @ Wahaca Covent Garden

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Once again it’s been a pleasure working with Wahaca, the London-based Mexican street food specialists, to bring art to one of their spaces. In mid-January we set to work on the revamp of their Covent Garden branch working with the French street artist Nelio. Wahaca wanted to work with an artist whose work encompassed 2D and 3D and in the end Nelio’s creations wowed us all! It was also a great pleasure for me to invite Nelio – an artist I had admired for sometime and was brilliant to work with even if it meant cutting my fingers prising nails out of old bits of wood…

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Bursting with colour and energy the vibrant work of Nelio has been attracting a cult following worldwide, due in part to his many travels painting across Europe, Asia and Australia and recent shows in France and Denmark. When he is not busy traveling in search of inspiration and walls to paint, he works from his studio in Lyon.

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Part of the appeal of Nelio’s work is his striking and unusual use of different colour palettes and tonality from nearly monochromatic to beautifully polychromatic compositions. These colours and forms in turn are often suggested by the found textures and hues he finds on faded and deteriorating walls. Another quirky attraction is the way he sometimes incorporates three-dimensional elements into his street pieces using found wood and discarded materials – something which he was able to do to great effect at Covent Garden. (See Below)

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While his paintings are rooted in graffiti, his influences also include architecture, art history and graphic design. Among his references he cites the symbols of the ancient Egyptians and the Maya and the influence of “futuristic movements such as Suprematism, Cubism, Dadaism, Surrealism, De Stijl, Bauhaus, Op Art”. Fusing these influences he aims to create a universal visual language that is both ancient and futuristic. For his pieces at Wahaca he has looked to Mexico for inspiration, in particular Mayan architecture and the explosion of colours of a piñata party. See more examples of the finished work below…

 

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My role in the project was to suggest and coordinate with the artist for the design and production of the final works. Thanks to Nelio, Mark, Lenny, Kerry and all at Wahaca, all the folks @ Softroom. Also to the helpful guys at Chrome and Black who found us all the right paint colours…

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Extramuros – Julien Seth Malland

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Extramuros (Outside of the Walls) is the new and wonderful book by Seth the Global Painter – who I recently featured in Varoom Magazine. I wanted to give the book a plug not least because I wrote the introduction to it!

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Seth aka Julien Malland is an artist, traveller and documenter that I’ve been lucky enough to meet on my travels and Seth’s own travels echo some of my own. For instance we have both had the opportunity to travel to Mexico, Brazil, Palestine & India – although Seth’s travel extend much further… to China, Indonesia and more recently Madagascar and Ukraine…51Lp6US38zL

We both share an interest in Street Art and like and have met many of the same artists on our travels. We also have a similar interest in traditional and folk art techniques and more general concepts of globalisation. So with so much in common it was a pleasure to introduce the book – the book is in French so I thought I would publish my text in English here below as a taster of the book…

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Welcome to the world as seen through the well-travelled paintbrushes and sketchbooks of Parisian artist Seth – the Globe-Painter. From Mumbai to Dakar, Oaxaca to Yojakarta, Seth has made a modern day pilgrimage to explore the world through paint, colour and cultural exchanges with artists he has met along the way. Driven not only by a natural wanderlust but also a curiosity to discover more about the lives of people in different places through the art they produce. His approach has been to create an artistic dialogue, whether it’s by painting with local street artists or learning from traditional craftsmen, his aim is to create a mutually inspiring two–way exchange.

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As we see in this book’s exquisite photography, what captures the artist’s eye are the differences between places; the pigmentation of a wall, the local vegetation or a particular kind of typographic stencilling used in a specific city. These details and flavours are then absorbed and infused into his work and investigations. Rather than view this visual information as something ‘other’ or exotic, his response is to learn through conversations with local people about the traditions that make each place aesthetically unique. Often this means discovering the secrets of fabrication, be it studying batik processes in Indonesia or lending a hand to bus painters (is there a word for them?) in Dakar. Learning by doing is his method and in the same way his collaborators often learn something from the artist. For instance, the batik artists of Indonesia (name the place) who subsequently became inspired to paint their own murals, or the professional painters in Dakar who were equally keen to study Seth’s spray-can techniques.

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Despite the beautiful diversity witnessed in the following pages, it has become ever more clear to the artist that globalisation is a powerful force that is having a homogenising effect on countries around the world. Wherever you travel in urban areas you will find the same familiar tower blocks, multi-national brands, hip bars and hipsters. Even in the most remote places it’s hard to find somewhere completely untouched by this influence. Through his own experiences the artist has come to realise the importance of specificity and that local artistic traditions and skills need to be kept alive. While it maybe impossible to stem the effects of globalisation and keep local traditions in a state of historic purity, the answer may lie in a form of cultural hybridity. Seth’s own work promotes this idea through a modern cultural mix, which celebrates artisanal traditions by bringing this kind of art back to the masses on the street.

As a fellow traveller and documenter I hold a particular admiration for Seth’s dedication, enthusiasm and conscious approach to travel and making art. Rather than impose a street piece on a neighbourhood that is unwanted or misunderstood he takes time to get to know the local community and its particular stories. In this way his work is more of a public art than street art, since the process of consultation is integral to it. He uses simple characters that are somehow connected to their environment that he hopes will speak to ordinary people. In the artist’s opinion the placement of a piece is fifty percent of the work, since it can draw attention to a particular environment or place. For instance his paintings of figures in Indonesia (name place) a village destroyed by a volcano bring about a symbolic attention to a community in need of help. In a similar fashion his collaborations with other artists such as Saner and Neuzz in Mexico are less about the ego of an individual artist and more about creating harmony in jointly painted work so that it looks like one person created it.

Many of the adventures and collaborations documented in this book have come about in spontaneous and fortuitous ways. Armed only with a camera and sketchbook our wandering artist relies on the generosity of the people he meets to share their skills and view of the world, which in turn he creatively distils into wonderfully engaging images. His global painting mantra can be summed up in a few words – tread lightly, learn something and leave something beautiful.

Varoom Magazine 20 – Interesni Kazki

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Following on my regualar editorial contributions to Varoom magazine I recently wrote a small piece for the latest issue which takes the theme of “Muse”.

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My interpretation of “muse” was to take inspiration from dreams and the world of imagination, which made me think of the fantastic work of Interesni Kazki, the Ukranian street art duo I featured in Street Sketchbook Journeys. It was a pleasure to introduce their work to the magazine and a new audience, which felt quite appropriate since Interesni Kazki also have an illustration background.

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Imaginadium

Imaginadium_MonoEarlier this year I was invited to create the identity and branding for a new arts and cultural hub called Imaginadium. Covering a wide range of art interests with strands for Art, Cabaret, Comedy, Dance, Film, Music, Theatre & Spoken Word – Imaginadium is a space for creatives and arts lovers.

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Currently you can explore Imaginadium across a wide range of social media and blogging sites including Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter with a central website due to launch soon. I recommend anyone interested in or involved in the arts to sign up for newsletters!

The full branding for Imaginadium will be revealed next year with an explosion of imagery and video stings so stay tuned as Imaginadium grows with events and many ways to get involved.

Below are a selection of graphics elements and social media icons created for the Imaginadium Style Guide to be implemented across digital and print communications.

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