Showing 4 posts tagged urban art
Perhaps best known for his traveling one-ball show, RedBall, Kurt Perschke is a modern artistpar excellence.
Though photographs might give an alternate impression, RedBall is in fact just one piece, moving from place to place throughout the world. At 250 pounds and 15 feet (the height of a typical semi), it is no small task to get it where it needs to go. Inflation and deflation take about 40 minutes each, with varying results for the final result. Sometimes the ball is free-standing, sometimes smashed into small spaces or between walls, sometimes suspended in the air. Perschke calls it an opportunity to engage with the public – people get to interact with it, touch it, push on it, jump against it.
“The humor and charisma of the piece allow it access to the city and invite others in to its story,” he said. “I think it’s essential for public work to do more than be ‘outdoors’ – it needs to live in the pubic imagination. Scale, tactility, physical presence, these are all tools of sculpture and here they are used as an invitation.”
Though the project got its official start in St. Louis as a commissioned piece, Perschke was frustrated with the limitations imposed upon it. “So I took it to Barcelona on my own dime, got some new friends there to help out, and did it illegally in most of the Barcelona sites,” he said. “Those pictures led to press and some big commissions, the real start.” Since then it has traveled the world, making stops in Sydney, Abu Dhabi, Norwich, Taipei, Grand Rapids, Toronto, Chicago, Scottsdale, and right here in Portland, Oregon.
Despite RedBall’s notoriety, that is not all Perschke does. A true Renaissance man, he splits his time between videos, sculptures, drawings, prints, public projects. But no matter what he’s working on, the most important thing to him is not material, but rather the spark that necessitates its use. “I use whatever the idea needs,” he said. “The idea chooses the material.”
Using fluorescent colored tape as his medium, Aakash Nihalani creates impermanent and playful art around the streets of New York City. Most of his work consists of isometric rectangles and squares, placing them in the middle of the day, in plain view. His nonchalance is due to the ease with which his pieces can be removed. Sometimes they get taken down immediately, sometimes he is allowed to take a picture first. His designs can be as simple as a single rectangle and other times they are great networks of interworking patterns. Nihalani is known to work with already existing city structures, signs, or even other people’s street art, including Banksy’s “Flower Thrower,” adding neon colors to the original black and white stencil image.
He enjoys using “the city as a raw material,” he says, offering people a chance to step into a “different New York than they are used to seeing.” On park benches, sidewalks, doorways, and subway platforms, Nihalani utilizes public space to incorporate color and create impromptu pieces of urban art. He also has pieces in Vienna, LA, Missouri, and India. Most recently, Facebook commissioned Nihalani to create a tape art installation in their New York office. See more of his other forms of art on his website and blog.
Fear large surfaces no longer, street stars and urban artists. If you like applying huge swatches of color at once but don’t dig our retro friend the paint roller, Krink has the answer for you: the refillable 8-Litre Applicator.
Krink, or KR’s Ink, is a line started by a dedicated street art dilettante who honed his skills in the alleys and parking lots of New York and San Francisco. As his art grew bigger and better, transforming him to a urban art pro, so did his homemade inks, so much so that when he returned to the Big Apple in 1998, he was offered a deal to market them.
The result is Krink, now making much more than simply inks. Like, for instance, giant fire extinguishers whose bellies hold vibrant paints instead of nitrogen. You might have to wait a bit to get your spray on though; the product is so popular it’s currently sold out.
At Portland’s Hellion Gallery last Thursday night, we got to chat with multi-media artist and designer Blaine Fontana. This is his second time living in Portland, OR, and it sounds like he’s got an abundance of exciting projects in the works. From his work space at Fontana Studios in North Portland, he produces some of the most interesting and beautiful woodworking, fine art, sculpture, and design available in the Northwest or anywhere. This was Fontana’s first solo show in Portland, although he has been working professionally for about 10 years. The son of a farmer and an artist, Fontana’s approach to art has both practical and highly imaginative elements. One of his standout pieces at Hellion gallery was the “Victoria”—a customized, fully functional Hi Fi System, which doubled as a minibar, complete with cocktail set. Standing three and a half feet tall, the beautifully ornamented radio provided music for the evening through its mp3 player inputs. Another standout pieces was his three-dimensional “Ampersand,” made from salvaged wood and painted with acrylic, standing 40 inches tall. His largest piece was an Oregon-shaped coffee table made from salvaged Western Red Cedar. Also featured, were several mixed media pieces and model trees. Fontana’s preferred medium, he says, is an idea, letting the piece “be birthed in the way it originally wanted to be.” Fontana urges people to be creative in any small way they can, saying “it doesn’t have to be epic.” Look for more from Fontana Studios this summer, including various artist workshops. Also available from the Fontana Studio Store is his second published book,Amalgamate, featuring 75 full color plates covering Fontana’s multimedia pursuits. Fontana Studios will be hosting an Open House on June 9, 4-10pm. 2127 N. Albina Ave. Portland, OR