Hand-Grown Murals: Watch as Plant Paintings Take Over Walls

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

weed painting interior

Some say art is as much about process as product – these time-lapse animations show just how true that can be, illustrating the evolution of green-themed graffiti as it creeps, crawls and overtakes the walls on which it is painted.

weed progress animation

weed growth painting

Weeds is a series of projects by artist Mona Caron (via Colossal), captured on film, that is as much about slow and usually-unseen urban processes as it is about artwork in public spaces.

weed corner illustration painting

weed wall art space

Of her work and plants themselves, she writes: “they may be tiny but they break through concrete. They are everywhere and yet unseen. And the more they get stepped on, the stronger they grow back. This is a series of paintings of weeds, some of them on-site animations, created as a tribute to the resilience of all those beings who no one made room for, were not part of the plan, and yet keep coming back, pushing through and rising up.”

weed rooftop image picture

weed building side growth

weed roof mural art

Mona paints native wild plants and invasive species alike, bringing to light processes that are typically hidden both due to their slow progression and their ubiquitous nature – over time, we stop noticing what is happening “at the margin of things” if we are not paying attention. So far, she has painted plants in Switzerland, India, Greece, and the United States but she is looking for more places to travel and paint as well.


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Photoluminescent Furniture: Filled Wooden Voids Glow in Dark

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

glow dark wood table

A pair of crafty carpenters have separately arrived at the same conclusion: glow-in-the-dark resin is a really neat way to fill cracks, gaps, splits and other natural or accidental voids frequently found in wood shelves and surfaces.

glow in the dark shelf

Whether you have a small piece that needs infill or mending or a larger project in the works, one of these approaches may well be ideal for your own do-it-yourself project – some details are provided below but full instructions on each strategy can be found via links included as well.

glow shelf final product

glow knot seen from below

In the first instance, Mat Brown decided to try something other than the standard invisible-style repair to solve the problem of empty space around knots and front-facing unevenness in boards to be used as shelving.

glow dark resin mix

glow dark wood process

He provides further details on the process over at his blog, but in a nutshell: he used robust tape below and on the sides then heated up the resin, mixed in the powder and poured in the results. After a second similar round he cut, sanded and finished the pieces.

glowing infill table design

glowing cyprus power resin

Mat Brown has subsequently brought a similar idea to the table, creating a tutorial for filling in the naturally separation gaps found in a certain species of cyprus, livening up the surface with bright resin.

glow dark table detail

The full illustrated list of 25 steps for this latter version can be seen on Instructables, but in this case a similar process was used, just heavier-duty tools employed (like a drum sander) to keep the workload down. Hat tip to Chris of Colossal for finding both of these projects as well.


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Blacking Out BLU: World-Famous Berlin Mural Erased in Protest

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

blu middle finger black

A huge multi-building work of art has been painted over in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin, reportedly at the behest of the artist BLU himself as a reaction to the clearing of an adjacent tent city and plans to build condos next to (and with views of) the mural.
blu-black-alternating

In the course of painting the walls black, a hand was temporarily left in place with its middle finger up (as shown in the first image above) – this aggressive gesture can be interpreted as a broader commentary about gentrification in the neighborhood or a specific reaction to the residential project next door.

Death of a piece of art. #sad #blu #streetart #xberg #berlin #cuvrybrache pic.twitter.com/EOlWt8cmuw

— Joel Espi (@arthurcabot) December 11, 2014

Just like that #cuvry #xberg #berlin #Cuvrybrache #blu #streetart #graffiti pic.twitter.com/6EbkREnypw

— Marc Honninger (@MarcHonninger) December 11, 2014

Heartbreaking #cuvry #xberg #berlin #cuvrybrache #blu #graffiti #streetart #destruction pic.twitter.com/EzcqZA1UZa

— Marc Honninger (@MarcHonninger) December 11, 2014

As with any controversial act, this whitewashing (or black-washing as it were) has drawn both praise and criticism. On the one hand, it can be viewed as an attempt to fight development and change, but it also represents the destruction of an iconic work and arguably an act of egotistical self-sabotage.

The mural itself was originally created in 2008, with part of its progress captured in the timelapse video above. It was, from the start, a commentary on economic and social justice as well as gentrification – now it is again, perhaps, but in a different way.


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Making Faces: Huge Military Warehouse Mural Spans 48 Windows

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

giant building mural blu

Covering two sides of a three-story building in Rome, this ground-to-roof artwork is massive, even by the standards of a big-thinking street artist like BLU used to large-scale works.

blu building in progress

blu giant street mural

Various window and door openings are incorporated into colorful characters with a” rainbow range of painted personalities,” some of which play off of the existing architectural details or structural quirks of the building.

blu colorful face art

blu window door mural

BLU lives in Bologna and has been active in the street art scene since 1999 – he is well-known for his large-scale works around the world. Like Banksy, he keeps his identity a closely-guarded secret.

blu rainbow giant characters

blu building corner

About the artist: “His graphic mania is directly proportional to the epic scale of his murals. His paintings seem to interpret the architectural language of public spaces and reinvent them into new shapes. Thus, his murals are never detached from the places where they were conceived because Blu is a painter in the landscape, urban or industrial. He always tries to communicate with the society which inhabits those spaces, searching for the uniqueness of each place.”


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Automotive Acid Trip: The Graphic 3D Art Of Chris Labrooy

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[ By Steve in Art & Drawing & Digital. ]

Chris-Labrooy-Ford-truck-graphic-art-interlock-1a
Chris Labrooy loves vintage vehicles, but with a twist: the digital artist’s far-out 3D illustrations are an automotive acid trip into the 4th dimension.

Chris-Labrooy-Ford-truck-graphic-art-interlock-2

Born in Aberdeen, Scotland, Chris Labrooy graduated from the Royal College of Art in London and embarked on a prolific career in the graphic arts medium. His expansive and growing body of work has brought him international recognition; chiefly for his automotive-themed folios titled “Tales Of Auto Elasticity” and “Auto Aerobics”.

Chris-Labrooy-truck-graphic-art-Ford-F1-pickup

Labrooy pays homage to the singular style expressed by vintage vehicles such as the red Ford F1 “Woody” pickup above. While the comparatively primitive paint technology employed by automakers over a half century ago had its drawbacks, Labrooy’s digital graphic illustrations bring out the best in these vehicles’ rich, deep, non-metallic hues.

Chris-Labrooy-car-truck-graphic-art-auto-aerobics-pink1

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One wonders whether Labrooy was influenced by Mike Ross’s Big Rig Jig, an interactive construction made from two actual 18-wheelers displayed at the 2007 Burning Man festival – check out this video. Not that it matters; while Big Rig Jig explored one facet of modern society’s fascination with the automobile, works such as Labrooy’s Auto Aerobics series shake, rattle & roll our perceptions in a way only made possible through creative 3D modeling and state-of-the-art digital graphics techniques.

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Yarn Bomb Bus: Knitted Double Decker Cruises Around London

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knitted bus 6

Has there ever been a cozier-looking bus cruising around the streets of London than this neon yarn-bombed double decker dubbed the No. 7up? The beverage brand commissioned Austin-based artist and ‘urban knitter’ Magda Sayeg to essentially knit a gigantic sweater for one of London’s iconic public buses, a classic red Routemaster, in a variety of eye-popping patterns.


knitted bus 2

Sayeg lugged 20 suitcases of yarn to London for the project, part of 7up’s ‘Feels Good to be You’ campaign aiming to refresh the brand as ‘naturally unique and individual.’ The artist is known for covering all sorts of urban surfaces in soft knits, from public benches and fountains to an entire town square in Santiago, Chile.

knitted bus 4

knitted bus 3

The practice of ‘yarn bombing’ is sort of like graffiti, enlivening objects all around a city with unexpected artistic details. Typically, sections of each piece are pre-made and then quickly knitted together around the object. It’s not unusual to see entire cars and buses covered in colorful yarn creations, but a double-decker seems to take the art of yarn bombing to new heights.

knitted bus 5

knitted bus 6

“Knitting and crocheting doesn’t have to be functional, it can be subversive, renegade – even illegal in certain cases. It’s bad ass!” Sayeg told Design Milk. “And it makes me proud, as a woman, to be part of something that is so powerful. Taking this craft that is female dominated onto the streets graffiti style, which is male dominated, is what is appealing (or not) about yarn bombing. As long as it evokes some emotion, I believe it is good.”


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Street Style: Apparel Custom-Printed with Scalable City Maps

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[ By WebUrbanist in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

custom map skirt design

Taking customized couture to the streets, Monochome allows you to turn any urban grid at a scale of your choice into a unique tank top, t-shirt, flare or pencil skirt.

figure ground urban grid

custom cool urban grid clothes

Using OpenStreetMap, the company lets you select between a black-on-white figure/ground representation or more traditionally-gridded white-on-black map. Ordered now and these should arrive by Christmas – a perfect holiday gift to compliment some urban grid dog tags.

example zoom custom shirt

The user-friendly selection tool allows you to get incredibly precise with your pick, creating a composition that is both personalized and aesthetically pleasing through a combination of panning and zooming. The above set of four examples, for instance, are simply variations on the same location at different scales.

street style map skirt

custom shirt steps process

street style skirt two

A number of standard cities are presented but you can also search for your own location or address or your choice. Due to the nature of OpenStreetMap, you are encouraged to add data for any place not already in the system.


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Motion Exposure: Light Art Captures the Movement of Kayaks

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[ By Steph in Art & Photography & Video. ]

motion exposure 1

Strange undulating patterns of colored lights seem to slink across the surface of water like living entities in this captivating series of images by Ontario-based photographer Stephen Orlando. In a variation on the art of light painting, Orlando attaches LED lights to the oars of kayaks and canoes, literally spotlighting their movements as they cut through rivers and lakes.

motion exposure 2

motion exposure 3

Long exposures capture nothing but the lights as the subjects move against the backdrops, erasing the kayaks and the humans piloting them. The result is surreal, as if bioluminescent alien creatures were gliding on the surface of the water.

motion exposure 4

motion exposure 7

“I’m fascinated with capturing motion through time and space into a single photograph,” says Orlando. “Using LED lights with custom color patterns and long exposure photography, I’m able to tell the story of movement.”

motion exposure 5

motion exposure 6

“This technique reveals beautiful light trails created by paths of familiar objects. These light trails have not been artificially created with Photoshop and represent the actual paths of the objects.”

spark faces

cyclones

Another project takes light painting to a more urban setting, with painter Diliz capturing faces in sparks. Cyclones of light also appear to break through the surface of the earth and bodies of water in stunning works by Martin Kimbell.


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Wall is Over: Art Students Whitewash Historical Street Murals

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[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

wall is ocver

In an audacious and contentious move, a group of young artists took it upon themselves to paint over the famous John Lennon Wall in Prague, replacing decades of layered mural work, drawings and tags with the message: “Wall is Over”. While the surface in question has particularly significant meaning for the local population, it has also long been a global symbol of resistance against governmental oppression – its clearing has thus become a border-crossing controversy.

whitewashed john lennon wall

Calling themselves Prague Service, the arts collective in question wanted to create a blank slate for future writers, reworking the wall that got its name after the assassination of its namesake. The piece was also intended to work as a combination  tribute to Lennon, referencing the song Happy Xmas (War is Over), and celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in what was then Czechoslovakia. Of their work, they write: “Twenty-five years ago, one big totalitarian wall fell … Students of art schools are expressing their commemoration of (1989) and opening room for new messages of the current generation.”

wall john lennon prague

According to Hyperallergic (with details from the French Associated Press): “It didn’t take long for others to take advantage of the free space and begin filling the Lennon Wall with tags again. However, the wall’s owner, the Order of Malta, was not so quick to dismiss the incident, and is pursuing legal action against the artists.”

3d installation art head

While the intentions behind this buffing of history may have been good, there may be unintended references as well to an era of Communist domination in which free expression was limited and street art was also painted over for political reasons. Images above and below via Rick Chan, Matushy, Steven Feather, Eregoion,  Brandon Schauer and Brian Beggerly.

wall street art tribute

More on the history of the John Lennon Wall: “In 1988, the wall was a source of irritation for the communist regime of Gustáv Husák. Young Czechs would write grievances on the wall and in a report of the time this led to a clash between hundreds of students and security police on the nearby Charles Bridge. The movement these students followed was described ironically as “Lennonism” and Czech authorities described these people variously as alcoholics, mentally deranged, sociopathic, and agents of Western capitalism.”

wall is over rework

In fairness to the students who edited it, the wall will not be over for long – its surface will continue to be reinvented over time: “The wall continuously undergoes change and the original portrait of Lennon is long lost under layers of new paint. Even when the wall was repainted by some authorities, on the second day it was again full of poems and flowers. Today, the wall represents a symbol of global ideals such as love and peace.”


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