I guess the best way to show this is in the film we made about it – produced by Upsides media for Wahaca
Although now relocated to London, where he has been working as an animator, illustrator and painter, Will Barras was one of the original pioneers of Bristol’s urban art scene. He was one of a number of artists who was celebrated at the Crimes of Passion: Street Art exhibition held at the nearby Royal West of England Academy on Queens Road.
Having graduated from Bristol’s UWE University Will’s career began to blossom from his sketchbook doodles, which featured on local club night flyers. He originated his own loose style of drawing which became influential worldwide thanks to exposure in books such as Scrawl and later on the cover of Street Sketchbook. As a member of the “Scrawl Collective” his work took him on worldwide tours where he would create murals and design illustrations for snowboards and other products looking to his fresh style to appeal to a young audience. Most recently Will has been concentrating on his studio based painting practice alongside mural commissions.
Catching up on Wahaca projects again!…
This one was another nice one to do although a logistical nightmare when it came to the painting but in the end it looks wonderful – thanks Ricardo, Softroom and Wahaca..
Ricardo Cavolo is a Spanish artist who has been based in Brighton, UK for some years but is now moving to Barcelona. For many reasons he seemed like the perfect match for the Widegate space, on the one hand there is a big influence of Mexican art in his work, and his work is also popular in Mexico having painted a celebratory Frida Kahlo mural in Mexico City and on a more recent trip painted many murals for numerous clients and education projects. At the same time his work has a big following in London, he recently had his illustrated book, “100 Artists to Listen to Before You Die” published in English by East London based publishers NoBrow.
His bright and bold creations – usually made with traditional techniques and materials such as watercolours, inks and acrylics – depict misfit characters in Frida Kahlo-esque folk art tones and bringing them into a contemporary context with cool details like glasses, tattoos, bikes and sneakers. Inspired by tattoo and folk art his designs have the bold and symbolic aesthetics of tattoo, of which he says, “ I love that tattoos can speak about a life; they are a biography in the skin. More than that, tattoos can be magical symbols or talismans.”
For Wahaca he took the theme of animals painting bold portraits of horses, leopards and tigers as well as more abstract totemic icons.
It’s been a busy year from my art consultancy with Mexican Street Food maestro’s Wahaca – so catching up on our latest installations – here’s one we did earlier…
For the Kentish Town site (above the iconic Underground station) we wanted to support a local artist and at the same time find someone who could work sympathetically with this much-loved former T-shirt Factory space. Our unanimous choice was Goodchild an up-and-coming artist who works on the street and in the studio in a bold iconic style.
Originally from Bristol, having grown up with that cities graffiti scene, Goodchild went on to study illustration in London and has lived in the Kentish Town area for a number of years. The artist describes his work as abstract narratives or wordless stories told through symbols and in this case he tells the story on 5th Column the T-shirt printers, the company that was based there for 30 years and is still going strong but from another location. 5th column was famed through the 80s and 90s for producing protest T-shirts for Peta, WWF and Anti-Apartheid – eventually meeting Nelson Mandela when he visited the UK shortly after his release.
Using limited colours, strong graphic shapes and patterns influenced by underground comics, Goodchild’s murals celebrate this unique space filled with references to this history and the printing process.
With no blog posts for five months it looks like I’ve closed! But its the opposite – I’ve been burning the midnight oil on many art and design projects to be revealed and blogged about in the coming weeks and months; including a new book to be published by Thames and Hudson in Spring 2016, art direction and management on soon to be five new Wahaca art projects and design work for some nice new clients….
But starting the blog report here is how my design work has been shaping up for Rich Mix, with their regular printed brochure building up to strong visual style which I also translated into a new vinyl design for their front windows….
Following from my previous work for Rich Mix, I recently designed a What’s On guide for the month of January in the form of A6 folded leaflet. It’s a nice handy pocket format which has served well however for February and March we have just designed a 32 page A5 brochure which I’m looking forward to seeing printed!
Another late post but towards the end of 2014 saw the publication of Antony Lister – Adventure Painter! It is a terrific book celebrating the work of my favourite antipodean painter, friend and collaborator Mr Lister.
Produced by the inimitable Roger Gastman this the most extensive monograph of the artist to date full of sketches and behind the scenes imagery. Having previously championed Lister’s work and worked with him on a number of limited edition prints with Pictures on Walls I was pleased to be asked to be one of co-authors of the book.
The book is divided into outside street work and gallery work and my text was for the “gallery” section. You’ll have to track down a copy of the book to read my text, but its well worth seeking out the book to discover and to appreciate the painterly skills and force of nature that is Mr Lister!
Having been a fan for some years it was a pleasure to invite the Berlin based dynamic duo (Julio and Sebastian) also known as 44 Flavours to work their paint magic for us. As their website shows they have an amazing versatility and spectacular artistic range from painting, to sculpture and design.
With some guidance as to the things we liked in their work, the artists were given free range to paint ideas that worked with the space and its distinctive features such as its raw terracotta bricks. Using motifs from their sketchbooks, doodles they had made whilst strolling around Cardiff and otherwise free-styling.
What I enjoyed about their work is that they liked to play with forms and break conventions – such as twisting perspectives or reversing shadows and objects to create unexpected compositions. Although the only shots I have are so far are from the last day of the production, the end results looked amazing. Thanks Julio and Sebastian!
This year it seems that a good few artists I know and have championed in the past have decided it’s time they published their works in their own monograph books…
Consequently I’ve had a few requests from artists to contribute texts – based on my previous experience and appreciation of their work. Finally a number of these books are finally in print and have begun arriving in the post…
First up is this handsome volume for Bue the Warrior…
I first came across Bue’s work when I travelled to Belgium as part of my research for the Street Sketchbook book. Belgium has a particularly vibrant scene often influenced by the strong Bande dessinée culture and in the end Street Sketchbook featured Belgian artists heavily.
Bue the Warrior published by Lanoo is a beautiful object – I was lucky enough to receive the limited edition version which came with a screen print and overall the design of the book (by graphic designer Janine Kopatz) is beautiful …. It features plush pattern details on the front and die-cut tabs on the inside body pages – tasty!
Bue has always been a great traveller – taking his characterful street art to many corners of the world and particularly Mexico which he has a real affinity for and where he also has a big following. The book has Spanish texts to accommodate his following…
For that reason I gave my text a Mexican flavour – titling the piece The Piñata Maker – or El Pinatero… Bue’s next projects include setting up a waffle shop in Mexico City so the Mexican connection continues…
To mark the occasion of the book release in typical Bue style he held a fun-filled (kid friendly) party to celebrate… Check out the photos here…
Rich Mix is a cultural centre in the heart of East London. They always seem to be be putting on music, showing films and exhibiting art that interests me and so it was a pleasure to be asked to design their newest listings brochure for December 2014.
They wanted it to be pocket-sized – folding down to A6. This was a similar idea to a poster/leaflet I had designed previously for them for Joga Bola!
It was printed by the excellent Calverts – a local printers COOP, on a matt paper. Looking good…
Since 2012 I have been working with Wahaca, UK specialists in Mexican street food on an arts programme for each of their new spaces. My work for them is partly a curation role, by introducing to them to 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.
The most recent site has revamped and utilised a unique building in the heart of Brixton on the corner of Electric Lane that has been empty for 12 years. The building which is much loved by the locals and was a former Railway hostelry and the site of the old Brady’s pub. Above the building run the overground lines and the surrounding area are the famous Brixton markets…
Rather than destroy the old layers of history our brief was to work with the exterior and interior surfaces we found. In this regard the chosen artists Roid and SatOne did a fantastic job working together to create art that was sympathetic to the architecture and local life. Having grown up in the area local artist Roid took inspiration from patterns such as the dutch wax african patterns sold in African material shops in the market. The respected German artist SatOne had collaborated numerous times with Roid before and seemed the perfect partner for the commission. Here are a few more shots in progress.
To celebrate the work Wahaca TV undertook interviews with the artists as they were finishing the painting. They spoke about their experience first-hand in producing the work – much better than I can explain here!…
The Exposed gallery is a new space and venture in Russia and so this was the first time that I’ve been asked to design using Russian language and to liaise with printers in Russia. In the end the results were perfect.
Although I’ve mentioned this on Twitter and Instagram it’s about time I mentioned my new book Big Art / Small Art due to be published next week on the 8th September.
As you can see from the photos it’s a handsome looking volume with a beautiful card bound spine, embossed cover and different textured paper sections on the printed pages. The curation, text and general art direction as per usual is my role, alongside the great team at Thames and Hudson for direction, editing, production and fantastic design work by Therese Vandling.
First and foremost though it’s about the art inside the book and the artist’s who trusted me to present their work in this context that counts. As the title suggests the book is about how artist’s use and play with scale to create art that is engaging and experiential – divided into two chapters – Big Art & Small Art.
The idea for this book has been brewing for a while as I’ve been contemplating a series of books that look at the fundamental elements of art as a way of looking at contemporary practice. In my preceding book Raw + Material = Art: Found, Scavenged and Upcycled, the focus was on materials, in particular those artists who were using low-cost and low-tech media in exciting and creative ways.
While I was investigating materials it got me thinking similarly about scale as another fundamental factor in art and how artists today are pushing the boundaries with their approaches to both media and dimension. Materials are a basic consideration in the creation of an artwork, as are scale and proportion.
There is perhaps some subconscious overlap in both books as my attraction to unusual materials and original techniques follows through into this new Big Art / Small Art book.
Because of the far-reaching subject matter of the book it’s made it possible to feature art that is wildly different but similarly inspiring; from the vast clouds of fog used by Fujiko Nakaya, to towers of ice built by Brent Christensen or constructions of thousands of bamboo poles created by Doug and Mike Starn alongside the intricate book carvings of Guy Laramée or Lorenzo M. Durán’s painstakingly cut leaf silhouettes.
I’ve tried to limit my images here so as not to give too much of the book away! Above images include work by Nguyen Hung Cuong, Janet Echelman, Jason DeCaires Taylor, Diem Chau, Katharina Grosse and Jean-Francois Fourtou…
The full artist line-up include 44 artists – many thanks for everyone who was involved and look out for up-coming press which includes the The Guardian website..
Support your local bookshop – http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/tristan+manco/big+art+_+small+art/10493382/
or go for the big guys…
Varoom Magazine is a wonderful magazine produced out by The Association of Illustrators – each issue is full of great content generally on a theme.
The theme of the latest issue is STYLE – with thoughtful essays such as The Commerce of Style, The Culture of Style etc… As a regular contributor to the magazine I was pleased to see my own article published called the “The Hand of Style”.
It was a great excuse to talk about style in terms of graffiti culture and in it we explored the evolution and innovation of Wildstyle through the incredible work of Horfee… Or should I say Incroyable!
For anyone not familiar with the wildly creative work of Horfee here are a few images and please explore his main website for more madness…
In my continuing curatorial role for Mexican street food experts Wahaca, I was very pleased to invite Kenor from Barcelona to create artworks at their new spot on Great Portland Street, just off Oxford st. I’ve long had a love of Barcelona street art since first travelling their in 1991 and then since 1999 I began to document it regularly for my first book Stencil Graffiti and in later books Street Logos and Street Sketchbook. In all that time, Kenor’s work has been a key part of the scene and watching his work develop I felt it would really suit Wahaca’s style and ethos.
Particularly in the last ten years he become recognised internationally, being invited to paint huge scale murals at prestigious street art festivals such as Art Basel, Miami and for institutions and key locations such as Parc de la Villette in Paris. Besides painting murals he has been following in his artist father’s footstep’s to work with painted ceramics, sculptures and work on canvas. This September he is star of a solo retrospective “Polyrythmic Beats” at Galerie Celal in Paris from 11/09/14 until 4/10/14.
Kenor is known these days for large scale works so for Wahaca it was a more domestic setting although there was scope to create work from the window facades of the corner fronted building inviting the viewer into the space. Then the mural continued at double floor height into the basement and around into the window ceilinged alcoves under the pavement into the nooks and crannies of the building.
Something we hadn’t tried before for Wahaca is to create work on the window glazing, which at first the artist attempted with spray paint. The results were good but very time consuming and limited. Luckily we discovered a shop opposite the site which had a huge range of coloured vinyl which the artist was able to cut to his abstract designs to make the final work more durable and detailed…
Here is a fun small project I was asked to help with for Mais Um Discos.
They wanted to make an interactive map which makes use of a clever app called Thinglink, so that visitors to their webpage can explore the music from different areas of Brazil.
My role was to illustrate the map which can be seen here and there’s great music to listen to too…
A little late in posting this but still looking and sounding fresh is the new CD from Mais Um Discos. UK-based Brazilian music label Mais Um Discos asked me to design their latest music compilation which was released just in time for the world cup. As on a previous job we decided to work with a Brazilian Street artist for the main image and in this case it was the wonderful Danilo Omwisye (Zéh Palito).
His artwork (collaborating with artist Fumero) was perfect for our gatefold design in expressing the many sides of new Brazilian music. It also made for nice image for the two-disc CD which is full of great tracks…
More about the CD – rolê translates as ‘let’s roll’ in Brazilian Portuguese and Mais Um Discos’ label head Lewis Robinson ‘rolled’ around ten Brazilian states to pull together 43 tracks that represent some of the most exciting artists and micro-scenes in Brazil now.
To listen or buy the music – link here!
So the World Cup goes to Germany (deservedly) and despite Brazil’s shock at the end of the tournament it was a very memorable world cup. Without Fifa are the ultimate winners in all this but the world’s focus on Brazil can only have been a good thing if we put the one to one side. For my own part it’s been a thrill to have been involved in projects promoting Brazilian art in the UK.
An interesting part of the exhibition was improvised in form of an animation which mixed the graphic imagery of Daniel Melim’s stencils with the work of SHN which was projected in a looped presentation onto the wall…
The AOI Illustration Awards Winners 2104 have now been announced. Sorry to say that in the Public Realm category I was judging it was unanimously felt that the shortlisted work for both New Talent and Professional entries wasn’t outstanding enough to select as category winners.
Unfortunately for AOI- their call for entry period was cut in half this year due to delays in launching their new site. We hope that next year the category will attract more entries!
In the Children’s book category I was delighted to see Chris Haughton announced as one of the winners for his new work – SHH! We Have a Plan (see image above)- My kids and I love his previous books such as A Bit Lost and Oh, No George…
I’m pleased to announced a project I’ve been working on alongside Rich Mix Cultural Foundation on Bethnal Green Rd in East London, Brazilian record label Mais Um Discos, Latin music promoters Movimientos and Coletivo Rua in Brazil.
Joga Bola! is a festival of Brazilian Music, Cinema, Theatre and Street Art that will run alongside the World Cup. My involvement so far has been in curating and inviting street artists from Brazil, who will be painting a mural, installation a two month long exhibition and giving workshops in stencil art and screenprinting. Artists include Daniel Melim and SHN who as well as being great friends are producing fantastic work and I’m sure will make a great impact at Joga Bola.
I also created a logo, A6 foldout poster leaflet and ads for the event…
Brazil is renowned for its progressive D-I-Y street art and Joga Bola! is proud to present debut London shows for trail-blazing artists Daniel Melim and the SHN Collective. Both will take-over Rich Mix creating a special mixed media mural in the main space, an installation in the mezzanine space created from hundreds of silkscreen posters featuring graphic icons combined with stencil art, DIY art workshops and creating other ad-hoc art ‘occupations’ around the venue.
Stencil Maestro Daniel Melim is one of Sao Paulo’s much admired street artists whose murals – playful colourful twists on pop culture – can be found across Sao Paulo city, who has exhibited at MASP and Afro-Brasil Museumand works on projects with young people in the Ferrazopolis favela.
Joining him will be members of the legendary poster art collective SHN, one of Brazil’s firstDIY art collectives known for their street actions, exhibitions and collaborative multimedia projects they call ‘occupations’ that see videos, projections, silkscreen stickers and posters DJs, performers and multiple artists ‘occupying’ public spaces.
Since relocating to the South West some months ago it’s been a pleasure to re-connect with old clients and cultivate new ones in the area. There is so much going on here culturally and in terms of big ideas its a great hub for green and sustainable thinking.
I’ve always been a fan of Sustrans, the Bristol-based national cycle network charity, having used their Bristol to Bath Cycle path almost daily in the past. So I’m pleased to have been doing some freelance design and illustration work for them recently – firstly with a brochure aimed at their volunteer network. It was also a chance to borrow some great photographs for print from my cousin-in-law Zoologist Extraordinaire – Dr Ross Piper
For more about volunteering for Sustrans – take a look here.