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Streets to Silos, Artists Magnify Impact

Friday, February 24, 2017

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Although street artists have long held the goal of making a lasting impression with their designs, murals have recently gotten much bigger, more connected to the communities where they appear and sometimes, explosive.


Artist Guido van Helten is just the latest creator to make a larger-than-life display out of ordinary buildings and tall structures, including a pair of grain silos in Australia.

His paintings consist mostly of emotional, sepia-toned portraits that allow meaningful expression to tower over the town they reside in.

He focuses more on areas that don’t get that much foot traffic, using his art to bring new people into a city or town that they’ve probably forgotten about.

"There's a bit of a global movement that recognizes the value of mural art as a tool for regeneration," Helten told BBC News.

Greeting Tour

That school of thought is shared by artist Victor Ving and photographer Lisa Beggs, who are on a cross-country mural mission tagging walls and buildings across the nation.

Their latest stop landed them in Tucson, Arizona, for port No. 20 on the excursion that they started two years ago. The murals tend to mimic postcards and the pair make it a point to talk to local people and get feedback on what should be in the design.

“We look for a city that would appreciate a mural like this, and we pick a spot where people would walk by and see it and want to take their picture in front of it,” Beggs told Tuscon News Now.

Explosive Designs

While each of these artists has taken graffiti to a different level, Alexandre Farto (also known as Vhils) has taken visual art a step further.

Instead of using paint—though sometimes the walls are painted first—this visual artist carves directly into the walls of buildings and sometimes even uses explosives, with a different protocol for each type of work.

“The metal pieces follow a very different process as they are etched with the aid of nitric acid, following a process very similar to engraving. The areas that are meant to be preserved are coated with an oil-based acid-resistant bitumen before being placed in an acid bath,” Farto told uproxx.com.

Each artist, though, is seeking to unearth a bit of each area’s history by adding some character to its buildings.

“…I look at this process of carving as an act of contemporary archaeology,” Farto said. “Walls, which are composed of different layers, reflect the passage of time.”


Tagged categories: Color; Color + Design; Design; Explosions; Graffiti; Murals; Paint; Paint application

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