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The last details have been put on the walls, the spray cans are empty, 10 amazing & big murals have arose…If Walls Could Speak is a wrap! 

During If Walls Could Speak 10 international and nationally recognized artists used the Platanenweg as their canvas to create 10 stunning murals. 10 murals with 10 stories, all within the theme: Amsterdam for Everybody. After the If Walls Could Speak interviews with Kash & Chuck, Julieta XLFDopie, Studio GiftigIVES.one, Sjembakkus and Beazarility and Smug it’s time for…

Leon Keer

Dutch artist Leon Keer is known worldwide for his 3d art. He keeps exploring the possibilities to give his artworks an extra dimension. For If Walls Could Speak he created something we might all need in our life; a solution in case of lost childhood.

“I applied the theme Amsterdam for Everybody by adding a personal touch. I believe that if you don’t loose contact with your inner child, you will stay free to unconditionally think what you think and do what you do. It stands at the base to welcome everyone the way they are without any preconception. The case might be that outsiders will see it as a metaphor for Amsterdam. That you can do and not do whatever you want and can be who you want to be.”

 

“If Walls Could Speak was a nice festival with an enthusiastic audience and good flow from the organization. The budget is usually a problem but I think the available recourses have been handled well. There was a great line up with a nice diversity of art styles.”

“Even though I enjoyed the festival, for me personally the theme Amsterdam for Everybody doesn’t say me that much. When I’m going out for diner in Amsterdam I’m rather ignored than being helped in a friendly way. Amsterdammers are proud of their city, but where Amsterdam used to be the precursor of having a free mind there are now more and more rules that seem to limit the free thinking. So I couldn’t really empathize with the sentence Amsterdam for Everybody on a personal scale. But of course Amsterdam still stands for freedom and personal development for others.”

“A group project like this is very nice to work with. Tips and tricks are shared and you get to know like-minded people better. For the spectator it’s amazing to walk a route within short distance and see so many artworks, in this way everyone can choose their own favorite to enclose in their hart.”

“For me it’s important to involve the public in your work. I create interaction with my 3d paintings, it invites to pose next or on the artwork. The extra technology that I use, like augmented reality, even adds some extra interaction. On your screen, you can see the artwork coming to life and you can also make something happen by tapping your screen. I get my inspiration from the surroundings. Everyone has a story. Story of life.”

“In case of lost childhood, break glass”

Thank you for joining If Walls Could Speak, Leon. Want see more of Leon Keer’s work? Make sure to follow him on InstagramFacebook and Youtube

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Years ago, Ard Doko made an appointment with Oscar and Farud from GO Gallery. The, at that time, 19 year old artist already sold his graffiti style work at an other Amsterdam art gallery and was convinced he could also sell his work at the GO. Being one of the first in Amsterdam specialized in street art, Oscar and Farud did see some potential in him, but not enough yet. With the good advice “create your own style, develop yourself, find a story to tell and then return.” Ard Doko would indeed return.

Years later, the art of Ard Doko is indispensable in the gallery. His chaotic, dramatic, emotional but still somehow reassuring work sells. Is it the recognition we might all have when we look at the canvasses? Or maybe the eyes of the models who slightly look past you, even though you really want to be seen and share each other’s feelings for a second?

Between Pain and Pleasure is Ard’s first solo exhibition at the GO Gallery. I’m not sure if he followed Oscar and Farud’s advice. But he indeed developed and created his own style, but most of all he tells a story.

When I enter the exhibition and take a close look at the 15 new works from Ard, I notice that in a certain light, graffiti-ish tags shimmer through the white background of most of the works. Did he want to remind us where he started? “The tags probably stay, you always want to develop but will always carry a part of your own identity and how you wanted to start.” Ard tells.

He contiunues: “Four years after I invited myself to the GO Gallery and was send away to develop my own style, I met Farud and Oscar again at an art fair in Germany. They saw I made progression.”

“I developed my style by letting go. Letting go of the style I thought was cool when I was younger. I let go of what other people thought about me, about my work, about how they thought I would develop. At first that style was dark. Later on I discovered how I wanted to create a scene with a combination or maybe more an interweave between darkness and relief. Something people could more relate to, as we can all relate to the dark emotions we have, however it’s hard for us to admit. I continued with that.”

 

The artist is now fairly modest, a contrast with how he first entered the gallery. But learning comes with the years. Ard, now 28, didn’t only stole the hart from Oscar and Farud, but many others too. I think it’s an interesting fact as Ard’s work shows so much emotion. Showing the type of emotion we’re afraid to show or receive in daily life makes Ard’s work almost commercial perfect. Is that the balance or fine line he’s searching for in Between Pain and Pleasure?

The works on show are typically for the style Ard developed the past years. But what stands out more than before are the abstract adjustments to the emotionally charged but ethnically perfect models. Bright pink, yellow, blue, in combination with sharp lines like Kandinsky, almost looking like confetti, are something I less noticed in previous work.

“Between Pain and Pleasure felt like the correct thing to do when I was asked by the GO. As with love and abstract art, I both find it very interesting but I don’t know how it works. That’s how the combination occurred: the positive effects of love but also the negative effects. Being interested in making more abstract work but at the same time finding it scary.”

The artworks touch me. They invite me to go back to feelings that are hidden away. At the same time, I realize that pleasure often comes with pain, or is it the other way around?

 

“I don’t specifically want to make a statement. Some topics are interesting to paint about but its not always a statement. But if one of my friend is experiencing something it does sometimes trigger me to reflect it in my art. I paint mostly about a feeling. The whole expo, but maybe all my work, works on both sides. If you’re looking for stratification and a deeper meaning, you’ll find it in my work, but if you don’t need that I hope you find it interesting as well.”

I ask Ard about why he has made the eyes of his work stand out so much, in a different way we’re used from him.

“If you highlight one specific feature, you automatically focus on that part instead of the rest of the body. It’s the same with a burka, you focus on the eyes, it’s the only thing you look at and identify with. I thought it’s interesting with painting, I can make one thing very realistic and the rest more graphic, abstract, visual. People still look mostly at the highlighted part even though there’s a lot to see.”

When looking at Ard’s works, I see the pain. I see the pleasure. I’m not sure if the feeling his paintings give me are my feelings or his. Does he want to tell me something or do I want to be heard? One thing I know, the emotions that Ard’s work arouse in me, is the reason I wanted to write about art.

The exhibition Between Pain and Pleasure is on show till 6 July at GO Gallery Amsterdam.

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The last details have been put on the walls, the spray cans are empty, 10 amazing & big murals have arose…If Walls Could Speak is a wrap! 

During If Walls Could Speak 10 international and nationally recognised artists used the Platanenweg as their canvas to create 10 stunning murals. 10 murals with 10 stories, all within the theme: Amsterdam for Everybody. After the If Walls Could Speak interviews with Kash & Chuck, Julieta XLFDopie, Studio Giftig and IVES.one, Sjembakkus and Beazarility it’s time for…

Smug 

Artist Smug is certainly no stranger to a lot of people. The Australian who has been living in Scotland for some time now, is known for his semi-realistic work. During If Walls Could Speak, whoever passed by was amazed how flawless, precisely and skillfully the artist works.

Hi Smug, you have been with us here in Amsterdam for If Walls Could Speak, how have you found the experience?

“It’s been great. We realised when I arrived that although I’ve been to Amsterdam many times this was actually the first time I’ve painted here, so it has been great to finally leave my mark.”

The theme of the festival is ‘Amsterdam for Everybody’, what does that mean to you?

“I think the theme is very appropriate for what it is what we do, as murals and all public art truly is for everyone to enjoy.”

How did you incorporate the theme into you mural?

“Being a semi-realistic painter I’ve painted a portrait of a man I know. I like to celebrate the every day hero. Not the most famous or the most beautiful but just that man or woman that you might pass in the street. Just as my artwork is for everyone, so is my subject matter.”

(text continues below images)

 

Do you prefer working in a theme like this or freestyling as such?

“Occasionally I like a loose theme to guide me.”

All 10 walls are in very close proximity. Do you enjoy working in such a close knit festival surrounded by other artists?

“Its always good to be surrounded by like-minded artists and this crowd were all great.”

What’s next for you?

“I’ve got a busy year ahead of me, but just the usual mix of murals, canvases, travels and weeding my veggie patch.”

Thanks Smug! Follow Smug on his Instagram to see his latest works.

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The last details have been put on the walls, the spray cans are empty, 10 amazing & big murals have arose…If Walls Could Speak is a wrap! 

During If Walls Could Speak 10 international and nationally recognized artists used the Platanenweg as their canvas to create 10 stunning murals. 10 murals with 10 stories, all within the theme: Amsterdam for Everybody. After the If Walls Could Speak interviews with Kash & Chuck, Julieta XLFDopie and Studio Giftig it’s time for…

The ASA collab wall from IVES.one, Sjembakkus and Beazarility.

Amsterdam knows many role models, people who are inextricably linked to Amsterdam. When team ASA started brainstorming about their design for If Walls Could Speak, it soon became certain they wanted to bring an ode to one of Amsterdam greats. When doing research on the area where the festival was held, they realized the influential Karel Appel, who passed away in 2006, was born not far from the Platanenweg in Amsterdam East. Unlike other famous Amsterdammers, he did not have a street art ode yet.

“At first, we wanted to invite a Dutch artist to make a mural on this wall. But we realized that having the opportunity to organize and curate a festival like this, is something ASA has been trying to achieve since we started 9 years ago. We thought it would bring all the aspects and the mission of the festival together if we would also make a mural. Being both present as the production team as well as artists, asked for a creative approach to the design as we couldn’t be working on the mural all at the same time.” tells Beazarility. From that given, Beazarility created the design in which both Sjembakkus and IVES.one display their specialties.

Karel Appel is an inspiration for IVES.one, Sjembakkus and Beazarility. After all, Karel Appel was a painter and sculptor, known for his expressionist style and his use of primary colors. He was one of the members of the renowned CoBrA movement and has clearly left his mark on Dutch art history. “Karel Appel is special to us for his style as an artist. It’s the first street art ode for Appel. We wanted to make a mural where our individual styles would complement each other.” Sjembakkus explains. “I usually make portraits,” IVES.one tells, “the work is a combination of a self-portrait from Apple which he photographed, in combination with a self-portrait he painted within the CoBrA style. The portraits are fragmented, something typical for my work.” The mural shows 8 different disks, that are separated into 4 parts, a total of 16 ‘panels’. Together it shows a fragmentary double self-portrait, in which the styles of the three ASA artists are connected.

Amsterdam for Everybody for the three means a city that offers many possibilities. “Whether you are young or old, there is something to do for everyone and also for self-development, so also as an artist. Now with If Walls Could Speak it brings the opportunity to show so. For us, Amsterdam has always been a city where everyone can feel at home and be creative.”

“De appel valt niet ver van de boom.”

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ARTRIUM is an open-air contemporary art gallery in the center of Moscow, on the walls of the Atrium Mall. A great, new addition to the Moscow street art scene with an impressive artist selection. 

The Artrium project was born a year ago. The brain child of team Atrium and team Gumball 3000, it brought together 11 renowned names from the global street art scene. For the first time in their careers’ Shepard Fairey, Felipe Pantone, Tristan Eaton, Ben Eine, PichiAvo, Okuda San Miguel, Pokras Lampas, Faith47, WK Interact, Faust, Haculla were challenged to create on the façade of the same building.

Tristan Eaton, Okuda and Pantone on the Artrium mall

Over the course of 4 months, the walls of Moscow’s Atrium Mall were transformed into a sprawling canvas of unbridled artistic expression. As a result, the location has now become Moscow’s primary street art destination, drawing thousands of spectators and art lovers on a daily basis. Artrium’s mission is to acquaint the public with current street art from around the world and to inspire a creative environment for new cultural exploits.

Shepard Fairey: “The true vocation of art is to serve as an open means of expression, communication and empowerment, focus on a wide audience, and not only on high-brow connoisseurs and frequent visitors to galleries and museums. Every day on the facade of the Atrium, thousands of people see works of art whose images and slogans make you think — this is the real role of art.”

Have a look who created the amazing murals at Artrium:

SHEPARD FAIREY – ART IS THE HAMMER

One of the most influential and recognizable street artists of the planet, the author of graffiti Obey and Hope. His Moscow work is inspired by the famous Brecht slogan: “Art is not a mirror reflecting reality, but a hammer that forges it.” This is his first large scale work in Russia.

FELIPE PANTONE – DATA FALL 

An artist whose works are easily recognizable by “fragmented” geometric compositions with bright color accents. In addition to painting on the facade, Pantone created his first public art object — a 24-meter installation “Data Fountain” located in the central hall of the Atrium. This installation is one of the largest sculptures of 2018.

Tristan Eaton – TOWER

Known for his unique aesthetic that blends elements of Pop culture, Eaton has been a favourte of New York’s MoMA curators for a while. He has completed two large scale works at Artrium. The first, is a massive portrait of a futuristic space man, the second, a sprawling spire that showcases a woman’s portrait, fused with classical Russian cultural elements.

WK INTERACT – 4 PEACE

A New York based, French artist who adheres to the status of incognito and does not advertise his real name. One of his most famous works — Brave — is dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11 in the United States. As part of Artrium, WK Interact created the mural of 4 PEACE. .

HACULLA – UNTITLED

Professional skater and fashion designer, Haculla, the most traditional and most brutal street art artist in the Artrium collection. His style of “keep going till they catch you” is literally imbued with the spirit of the streets of New York, and the work is performed according to the classical laws of the genre. Today, his creations and paintings are sold in the most elite areas of world megacities, and you can see his painting in Moscow on the exit of the underground parking lot of Atrium.

POKRAS LAMPAS – MAZE OF THE ATRIUM

Calligrafuturist and the only Russian participant in the project, Pokras Lampas created a piece titled “Maze of the Atrium” located at the main entrance to the building. According to the author’s artistic plan, this part of the building is presented as a rhythmic architectural form, resembling a labyrinth, in the very heart of this microcosm, people from all over the world meet with various cultural codes and stories. The painting hides the keywords that unite us all: ĤØᑭΣ / Ł0ƲΣ / ÇᖇΞА卞Σ ‘Hope, Love, Create’.

PICHIAVO – FAITH HOPE LOVE

The Spanish duo of artists are the authors of the work “Faith. Hope. Love”. The images of the god Eros, the god of love, and his muses of beauty and art seem to remind us that there is no beauty without love in the eyes of those who contemplate it.

BEN EINE – MOSCOW MOSCOW & THE GREATER GOOD

Besides the fact that Ben Eine has worked side by side with Banksy for over 10 years, he is one of the most successful street artists, a pioneer in the study of letter forms. His bright typographic style is designed to show that street art is different from graffiti. He believes that “street artists want to add something to the environment. They have regard for their viewers.”. For Artrium, Ben created two walls, one spells : “Moscow Moscow”, the second: “The Greater Good.”

OKUDA – FREE LOVE

Okuda is one of the most prolific public art artists of our time, known for his unique polygonal technique in the form of multi-colored geometric shapes and patterns. His work can be found around the world and not only on walls. Okuda works a lot with entire buildings and interiors, complementing the painting with his own sculptures. One of his most large-scale and famous works is the abandoned Spanish church named the Temple of Chaos, which has become a new icon of modern art. For Artrium Okuda created a massive corner piece entitled: “Free Love”.

FAITH47 – WITHIN ME YOU AWOKE THE LONG FORGOTTEN

The world-famous artist, originally from South Africa, currently lives and works in Los Angeles. In her work, she is trying to disarm the strategies of global politics, protecting everyone’s right to personal freedom. Faith47 works with various forms and tasks, including projection mapping, video installations, printing, and drawings.

FAUST – KEEP YOUR WORD

Faust is an innovative and influential graffiti artist from New York. He became recognizable by integrating classic design elements into modern urban aesthetics, challenging how most people see and perceive graffiti.

Faust was named one of the top 20 graffiti artists you need to know right now, according to Juxtapoz magazine, New Yorker’s published his works in Stars of Calligraphy, and Paper Magazine named him among the most influential young artists in New York. For Artrium, Faust created his first work in Russian, it reads: Держи Слово, “Keep Your Word.”

The Artrium project is supported by Moscow’s Department of Culture and is intended to serve as an unspoken element in urban navigation.

A short 3 min video, directed by Georgy Tarasov, showcases the artists and their works. You can preview the video here https://youtu.be/FCx_V7BYpnY. It is intended as a teaser for a longer film created by UK’s Tupman Brothers, in collaboration with Chop Em Down films and Cameraptor, set to premier end of May.

Starting from June, Artrium will host a new wave of artists. Names of participants will be announced on a weekly basis on Artrium’s Instagram.

Read more about all the works on www.artriummoscow.com

Current news about the project www.instagram.com/artriummoscow/

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A genuine tribute from Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada to the local associationist movement of the San Isidro neighborhood in Carabanchel (Madrid)

Last week, the neighbours of the historical Tercio y Terol Colony, located in the San Isidro neighbourhood of the Carabanchel district in Madrid, received another big reason to feel proud of their achievements after years of legitimate fights and vindications in the streets.

An impressive ‘chulapa’ with an contemplative look was added to the tower of the Ancient Water Tank at Amalarico street, 7th. This is right by the Hogar Bar, the main meeting point for the families who live in the area. The ‘chulapa’ outfit is a typical dress from Madrid’s 19th century. Some women still wear the ‘chulapa’ during the local San Isidro bank holidays.

Photo credits: Antonio Guzmán (Dpto. Media Lab, IED Madrid)

The artist behind this new mural is Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada, who arrived in the capital of Spain just after completing his biggest mural to date in New York. This enormous mural was a collaboration with Street Art For Mankind and the United Nations’ International Labour Organisation. The piece itself is a colossal 2290sqm warning about the consequences of human trafficking and child slavery.

Once he arrived in Madrid, Gerada began work on his latest artwork. It’s quite a peculiar location for street art, a neighbourhood composed of 640 single family homes built during the 1940s while the fascist political regimen of the dictator Francisco Franco was at its peak.

Photo credits: Antonio Guzmán (Dpto. Media Lab, IED Madrid)

The project is driven by Carabanchel Creativa and curated by Esther Fernández Castelo (Colectivo Mad Clan) in collaboration with the General Ricardos Neighborhood Association and the European Institute of Design. This mural project is part of a series of cultural actions organised in order to activate several spaces in this area of the city which has been traditionally forgotten by the local authorities.

The creative process of La Chulapa took place during the San Isidro local holidays and is a concerned example of public art. Created in close collaboration with the neighbours of this historical area this project is thought of as a well deserved acknowledgement to the area as a source of positive change and as a generator of unity. The neighbours are always chasing away the gentrification ghost that threatens some of the downtown parts of the city.

Photo credits: Antonio Guzmán (Dpto. Media Lab, IED Madrid)
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The last details have been put on the walls, the spray cans are empty, 10 amazing & big murals have arose…If Walls Could Speak is a wrap! 

During If Walls Could Speak 10 international and nationally recognized artists used the Platanenweg as their canvas to create 10 stunning murals. 10 murals with 10 stories, all within the theme: Amsterdam for Everybody. After the If Walls Could Speak interviews with Kash & Chuck, Julieta XLF and Dopie it’s time for…

Studio Giftig “A floating woman in a dove coloured cloth, blending with pigeons, whereby the pigeons are used as a symbol for freedom and the city of Amsterdam.”

Dutch duo Studio Giftig conquer the Netherlands and soon the world with their photo-realistic work. They always photograph their own models, resulting in a picture perfect style. They are true public favorites. If Walls Could Speak resulted in a wide variety of stories within the theme ‘Amsterdam for Everybody‘. But the artists have one thing in common: for them Amsterdam stands for freedom, believing in yourself, nostalgia and fraternization.

 

For the duo, freedom stands out the most in this list. The first thing they think about when you say Amsterdam? “Freedom and pigeons! Wherever you walk in Amsterdam, especially when it’s around the city center, you see pigeons. They are part of the city and at the same time they stand for freedom, another aspect that we associate with Amsterdam.”

“The theme Amsterdam for Everybody to us means: Freedom for each individual in each possible way. We brought together this two typically Amsterdam associations together in one design. We painted a floating woman in a dove colored cloth, floating among the pigeons. The pigeons stand as a symbol for freedom and the city of Amsterdam. The floating lady resembles the same. Because she is floating, she is not attached to any obligations or expectations. She feels one with the pigeons and slowly takes on their colour.”

 

“The nice thing about the theme was that it really appealed to us. It gave us artistic freedom to approach it in our own way, we could make a mural in our own style and tell the story we wanted to tell.”

“Being part of a festival like this was amazing. We had a great time with old friends and we met awesome new people and artists. The sun was shining every day, the reactions of people passing by were great and all in all, the whole vibe was amazing. And a big advantage of working together with a big team on such a project is meeting other artists and see how they work which is always inspiring.”

Studio Giftig is going to have an awesome summer, joining several projects. Keep an eye on their Instagram and Facebook to see what the duo is up to.

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The last details have been put on the walls, the spray cans are empty, 10 amazing & big murals have arose…If Walls Could Speak is a wrap! 

During If Walls Could Speak 10 international and nationally recognized artists used the Platanenweg as their canvas to create 10 stunning murals. 10 murals with 10 stories, all within the theme: Amsterdam for Everybody. We published the interviews with Kash & Chuck and Julieta XLF and now it’s time for…

DOPIE

Dopie is a Dutch artist who highly developed himself in portraying all kinds of animals. His work is colorful and powerful, but also accessible for those new to street art. For If Walls Could Speak he made a hybrid of an Amsterdam city sparrow and a bright green parakeet. The city sparrow has been found in Amsterdam for many years whilst the wild parakeet settled down and spread after someone released his parakeet pet.

For Dopie the two birds portray what Amsterdam for Everybody means to him: freedom and lust for life. Both birds are perky and stand for the Amsterdam combination of nature and urban life.

Dopie is what you call “the silent power”. Everytime I have a look at his wall, I’m impressed with how easily the gigantic bird is coming to life. Dopie seems to be completely included in his work and even when he is working on the top part of the wall, you can feel his passion and proud for the work he’s making.

When we sit down for an interview, Dopie tells me something I’m surprised about. Part of the reason he’s working so hard and barely coms down for a drink, is because of his fear of heights. I’m so glad his passion for creating the at art he makes, stands above his fear.

“I’m very happy with how my work turned out. I also couldn’t ask for a better location for my design, as the bird cheeky peeks through the trees when you approach it.”

“I like to work from high to low, almost as a system. Because I have fear of heights, I try to avoid as much as possible that I have to go up and down all the time with the platform.” Even though Dopie makes several large scale and high murals a year, his fear of heights doesn’t get less. “But once I’m up high and focused on my work, it gets less. The moment I’m working on the details, I enjoy it so much that I almost forget that I’m 15 meters above the ground. And even though it wasn’t my favorite part to climb up the balconies, I’m happy I also painted the edges of the windows, it makes the artwork complete.”

“Growing up in Amsterdam learned me that Amsterdam for Everybody is everywhere in this city. At school, when I was younger, everyone accepted each other. It didn’t matter what your background was, what kind of clothes you wore, what kind of music you listened, what kind of scene you were part of… growing up with that acceptance was what I really liked here in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is free, openminded, everything is possible here. Now I don’t live in Amsterdam anymore, I appreciate the city in a different way. But I do miss the vibe that used to prevail.”

“I love working freestyle, like I did with this bird. I use a photo for the basis shape of what I’m making, but the rest I freestyle and fill in the way that I think suits best. The fact that I didn’t feel any boundaries at all within the theme worked out very well. The natural environment of the wall fits well with my design, I couldn’t ask for more.”

“When I freestyle, I always make animals. And contrary to what everyone thinks, I don’t have a favorite animal to paint. Every type of animal comes with a different challenge. With reptiles it’s the thick skin with relievo, mammals and predators have an interesting body posture and fur and birds have their feathers that can be painted in different ways. So I like to vary in the type of animal I make, but I don’t have a favorite.”

“Wat komt aanvliegen van ver of dichtbij, de mus of halsbandparkiet, in Amsterdam horen we er allemaal bij”

“Being part of If Walls Could Speak was very nice. I’m selective in the projects I do because I want to keep it special. There used to be a few murals made by me in Amsterdam, but as the years passed by, they disappeared. So I’m very happy I have my work in Amsterdam again! And, as I said before, the fact that the location suited my work was a big plus as well. And of course I also prefer to make work that stays permanently. Working on a piece like this, keeps my busy 24 hours a day. I want to perfect it all the time and at night I’m thinking about what I can do to make it even better. But I don’t mind, it’s what I love about being an artist. Challenging yourself and then being proud of the end result.”

Do you love Dopie’s work too? Follow him on Instagram and Facebook. 


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The last details have been put on the walls, the spray cans are empty, 10 amazing & big murals have arose…If Walls Could Speak is a wrap! 

During If Walls Could Speak 10 international and nationally recognized artists used the Platanenweg as their canvas to create 10 stunning murals. 10 murals with 10 stories, all within the theme: Amsterdam for Everybody. Yesterday we published the interview with Kash & Chuck and now it’s time for…

Julieta XLF

We talk with Julieta the moment her mural at If Walls Could Speak is finished. No surprise; she’s a bit tired after the hard work, but also happy and satisfied with the result. And we can see why! The title of Julieta XLF’s work is: “Wherever you come from, here you are welcome.” The mural is unmistakably made by Julieta. The lovely, infantile figures are characteristic for her style and within the If Walls Could Speak theme “Amsterdam for Everybody” they tell a little story and show many details.

“For me, Amsterdam for Everybody means WELCOME. It doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are, there is always a place for you. Just like myself, I felt very welcome to Amsterdam.” Julieta tells. “I made an illustration where a  girl is giving a welcome to a migratory bird, and the migratory bird is also sharing its nest with the girl. They are both sharing place, house, nest…love. It’s necessary to imagine a world without boundaries -where we can move like migratory birds- to make it happen, don’t you think?” It sounds like the perfect world. A world where Julieta can easily take you to with her beautiful work. The details are stunning; the heart the little girl is holding in her hands, the flash of the universe top left, the way she incorporated the balconies into her work.

“I really liked the experience, how the ASA team has taken care of us, the good vibes of the people, the organization, the positive reactions of neighbors passing by, my friends and artists. Even the sun was shining every day! I’m also very thankful that you had me on board and gave me the chance to share this experience with artists whose work I admire since a long time.”

 

“I like both working to a theme like this as freestyling. If the theme can be interpreted open-minded, like this one. If I don’t have a theme I always do research of the place and find something to connect my work to within the place it’s going to be. I also did that with this mural as the theme is so specific to the location of course.”

To the question if she enjoys working in such a close knit festival surrounded by other artists, Julieta answers enthusiastically: “Sure! This has been the best. I always want to see how other artists work and have the chance to talk to them, but usually that’s not possible. Also the fact that the team was always around to help. All together is better  ;)”

 

“Wherever you come from, here you are welcome”

What’s next for Julieta? “I’m going to France in June for a live painting and a mural at the university of Perpignan for its Ecopoetic Seminar and after that I’ll go to the  Street Art Festival in Grenoble. I’m very excited! July maybe Greece and September to Serbia where I’ll be part of Festival Rekonstrukcija.”

Thank you, Julieta, for bringing your spark to Amsterdam!

Also, don’t forget to check out Julieta XLF’s website, Instagram and Facebook.

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The last details have been put on the walls, the spray cans are empty, 10 amazing & big murals have arose…If Walls Could Speak is a wrap! 

During If Walls Could Speak 10 international and nationally recognised artists used the Platanenweg as their canvas to create 10 stunning murals. 10 murals with 10 stories, all within the theme: Amsterdam for Everybody.

First in the line-up: Kash & Chuck

Dutch Kash & Chuck both started with graffiti many years ago. We wanted a wall that included this art style, after all the precursor of street art. For us, no one could do that better than this duo. The result is overwhelming. Kash & Chuck managed to paint the biggest coat of arms of Amsterdam, in the entire world! Nothing stands stronger for the theme Amsterdam for Everybody. And as Kash & Chuck say: het wapen verbroedert (the coat of arms fraternizes).

 

“Because we are allready working in the scene for such a long time, we know what we are capable of. A wall like this, we designed it on a post-it.” explains Chuck. “But seeing the result on such a huge scale; I’m a bit overwhelemd my self to be honest.” tells Kash. It’s the biggest wall they have done so far. “Making the coat of arms of Amsterdam on such a big mural (10×15 meters) is very different from doing the grafitti pieces we usually do. We feel honored. The dimensions and proportions need to be exactly right. Beginning with the coat of arms and later on filling it in with our typical grafitti style, really combines best of both worlds.”

Notice the Amsterdam voor iedereen (Amsterdam for everybody) tag?

During If Walls Could Speak I get to know Kash & Chuck better. They are a pleasure to hang around with, and you can tell from the way they work and talk how much they love the grafitti scene: “We are grafitti pur-sang. We always want to pop. If we paint a wall or a door and someones quickly passes or drives by, the work needs to pop. It needs to stand out and gain attention. We’re used to the fact that people see our work as a snapshot. But if it’s a snapshot of a piece you’ve been working on for hours and the person who sees it just gets a flash of it for two seconds, you want it to be overwhelming. If it doesn’t pop, it doesn’t work. That’s the reason our color palette is always so bright.” What they explain me, definitely shows in the work we are standing across from: “Especially with the coat of arms, the colors are super contrasting. It’s recognizable, everyone knows what it is. Pure red, pure black, pure white. It shouts Amsterdam.” The first idea for a mural design when Kash & Chuck were approached to join the festival, was totaly different from the result we can now enjoy. Because of the balconies popping out the wall they had to change their first concept. It’s called killing your darlings, but the circumstances resulted in the biggest coat of arms of Amsterdam. Just as If Walls Could Speak, a first in Amsterdam.

The design might look quit simple. But Kash & Chuck definitely didn’t choose the easiest way by putting the coat of arms diagonal on the wall. Making the Amsterdam crosses perfect, asks for precision.

“Het wapen verbroedert”

There’s a reason I’m impressed by the final mural but also why people passing-by raise their thumbs up: “Wherever you’re from, if you live in Amsterdam or visit the city, you will always see this symbol. It’s everywhere. Everyone who passes by, is stunned, amazed. It’s like everyone who’s passing our mural shares the same proud of Amsterdam as we do. Because when you live here, you are proud to live in Amsterdam. It’s our Amsterdam. We feel honorded to add this to our city. Even if you arrive from a distance, you can see the bright red color shining at you.”

The location of Kash & Chuck’s mural on the Platanenweg, has been chosen for a reason. It’s the wall closest to the city center, the place where it all started for both Kash & Chuck as the grafitti scene. We wanted to place this specific mural as close to its roots as possible. The result? The biggest coat of arms combined with grafitti, by grafitti artists pur-sang. What’s not to be proud of?

Check out more work from Chuck on his Instagram and Facebook

And don’t forget to have a look at Kash his Instagram and Facebook

All pictures by Lewis Duncan

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