‘I could have died’: how an artist rebuilt his career after a studio fire | Art

“The difference between a good life and a bad life,” begins a line attributed to psychiatrist Carl Jung, “is how well you walk through fire.”

Artist Mike Henderson knows the purifying, clarifying effects of fire. In 1985, a fire tore through his home studio, damaging much of his work from the previous two decades. But that moment of destruction was also one of creation.

“I realized that the fire was a changing part in my life,” the 79-year-old said via Zoom from his home in San Leandro near Oakland, California. “I could have died if I had stayed there. I started looking at my life in terms of relationships and what life is all about. Raising a family: I wouldn’t have done it. I decided to clean up my life so I could find that person.”

Henderson did just that and has now been married for over 30 years, although he sadly wags a finger at the camera to show that he recently lost his wedding ring – he removed it to put on a pair of rubber gloves and believes was stolen from his home by workers.

The painter, filmmaker and blues musician is now preparing for his first solo exhibition in 20 years. Mike Henderson: Before the Fire, 1965-1985 opened last week at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art at the University of California, Davis.

Mike Henderson, Sunday Night, 1968. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Haines Gallery

This is a rare chance to see Henderson’s large, figurative “protest paintings” depicting the racist violence and police brutality of the civil rights era. The show includes many pieces that were thought to have been lost in the fire, but were recovered and restored by the museum. There is also a slide show of damaged artwork to highlight the dozens of paintings that were beyond saving.

It’s been a long journey here. Henderson grew up in a home without running water in Marshall, Missouri, during the era of Jim Crow segregation. His mother was a cook; his father worked in a shoe factory and as a caretaker. “We were poor,” he recalled, reclining in a chair under a blue baseball cap. “We couldn’t even play ‘weak’. We couldn’t find the P.”

But when he attended sermons at church with his grandmother on Sunday, Henderson was moved by the religious paintings. “I was a stranger because I was still a dreamer. I had these dreams of something else like wanting to be an artist or play the guitar. It didn’t make much sense. You have to be a football player, athlete, you go to the army, you get married, you live two doors down from your parents and it repeats again. Sitting around telling lies in the barbershop and so on. I tried to fit in, but I didn’t.”

He was severely dyslexic and left school when he was 16, but returned at 21. A visit to a Vincent van Gogh exhibit in Kansas City was inspiring and life-changing. In 1965, Henderson rode west on a Greyhound bus to study at the San Francisco Art Institute, then the only racially integrated art school in America. He found a community of artists and kindred spirits from backgrounds very different from his own.

“I went as an empty vessel. I had no opinions about anything, so I was like a sponge that just soaked up everything. I was around students whose parents were New York artists, kids who traveled the world. Truly diverse: Indians, Koreans, Chinese, Japanese, and various tribes of Native Americans. I made a habit of mixing with everyone I could to find out whatever it was that I didn’t know.”

Mike Henderson, The Cradle, 1977
Mike Henderson, The Cradle, 1977. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Haines Galler

It was also the tumultuous era of civil rights demonstrations, protests against the Vietnam War and, in Oakland, the birth of the Black Panthers, a political organization that aimed to combine socialism, Black nationalism and armed defense against police brutality.

The rallies were culturally and racially diverse, Henderson recalls. “There is a common thread here; everyone feels something here. Everyone questioned everything and said, why are we fighting? It was like a magnet that glued me to it and I just took everything in.”

He smiles when he recalls one anti-war protest where a limousine pulled up and a woman got out, kissed him and exclaimed: “Harry, I haven’t seen you in years!” It was singer-songwriter Joan Baez. Henderson, tongue in cheek, managed to point out, “I’m not Harry!” Baez excused herself, got back into the limo and headed to the civic center, where Henderson watched her perform the Lord’s Prayer.

But it was also a revolutionary moment in art – bad timing for a young figurative painter who idolized Goya, Rembrandt and Van Gogh. “In the 60s, painting was dead. Conceptual art, filmmaking, the new stuff was coming in. How am I going to make a living out of it? I do not know.

“I knew one thing. I’m not going to be on my deathbed wondering why I didn’t try. I knew that the protest paintings I was doing weren’t going to hang in someone’s living room, but the paintings came through me. There was a deeper calling. It wasn’t about, will it sell or is it popular? It came out of me and I had no control over it. It controlled me.”

It was a financial struggle. Henderson sometimes had popcorn for dinner and depended on student loans or the kindness of strangers. But in 1970 he joined the pioneering UC Davis art faculty and taught for 43 years with Wayne Thiebaud, Robert Arneson, Roy De Forest, Manuel Neri and William T Wiley (he retired as professor emeritus in 2012).

In 1985 he took a sabbatical from UC Davis to play in an orchestra touring Switzerland. But during his first weekend away, he learned that his home in San Francisco had been destroyed by fire. “It was like the rug was pulled from under my feet when my landlord called me and told me that everything was gone,” he says.

Mike Henderson, The Kingdom
Mike Henderson, The Kingdom, 1976. Photo: Courtesy of the artist and Haines Gallery

“Wow, the first thing I did was get rid of all the booze around me because I wanted to bounce and it was going to miss my brain. I was in shock. When I came back, I later found out things weren’t so bad. There were some paintings that were saved.”

And luckily, the fire stopped at the door of a storage cabinet containing Henderson’s treasured films of blues musicians like Big Mama Thornton. “When the landlord told me the whole block was gone, I first thought of that film. I might be able to do the paintings again, but I could never replace those films.”

Henderson did not resume work on protest paintings after the fire. Instead, his later work explores black life and utopian visions through abstraction, Afro-futurism and surrealism. He reflects: “I didn’t want to paint figures anymore. I felt I was done with numbers.”

His house was gone and he could no longer afford to live in San Francisco – “I’m not Rauschenberg!” – so he got a place in Oakland instead. “It was a big change and I did a lot of soul searching as to why I was there. I knew there was only one way to go and that was to go forward.

“I remember thinking I was in a trench. I can’t go over the right or left side. I can’t go back. I have to go forward and just keep going, see where it leads, and maybe I can get out of this ditch. Eventually I moved on and got married and had a son: he is a wildlife biologist. I couldn’t complain because I chose art. So whatever he chooses is fine with me!”

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Victoria artist covers graffiti with massive mural of Wednesday Addams

As Paul Archer looks up at his latest mural, it glares back at him.

The Victoria Airbrush artist, known professionally as “Archer,” has taken his love of a fictional family to new heights with a 16-foot tall mural of Wednesday Addams, shiny eyes and all, on the back of a building in the downtown to paint.

The feat, which was completed on Jan. 13 with permission from the local Chamber of Commerce, was a creative way to remove graffiti that had spread to the parking lot at 850 Broughton St., according to Archer. look, to hide.

“Usually I just go out and repaint gray because I try to keep that area pretty clean. It’s right behind my shop. So instead of painting the gray back, I decided to do Wednesday because it was Friday the 13th, and I thought that would be appropriate,” he told CHEK News.

BC’s rainy winter season isn’t ideal for artists working outside, but the precipitation actually improved the final product for Archer this time around.

“When I started it, it started raining on me, so it created a texture in the face that was kind of different,” he said. “I finished it the next day and it took me about a full day in total.”

Wednesday, known for her morbid personality, pale skin and pigtails, is a character who appeared in the 1964 sitcom The Addams Familythe blockbuster films The Addams Family and Addams Family Valuesboth released in the 90s, and, most recently, the Netflix series Wednesdaywhich opened in November 2022 and stars Jenna Ortega in the title role.

Archer, who calls himself an “airbrush extraordinaire,” decided to take a picture of Ortega in character and, with a whole lot of paint, his already extensive mural portfolio which started more than 40 years ago.

“I do murals all over BC, and I get a fire burning inside once I find something I really want to do. Then I look at a wall,” he said.

“Usually at this time of year I only paint canvases or interior work, or interior murals. But my true passion is doing the great outdoors. I’ve done 18-story buildings, and I’m full of stuff in the Kootenays and the Okanagan most of this year. I have done more than 100 murals over the past few years.”

In Victoria, passers-by may recognize another of Archer’s pieces on the side of a building at the corner of Burnside Road and Wascana Street, where a mural of a girl with a sunflower stands about two stories high.

“It’s massive,” he exclaimed. “Now people actually plant sunflowers and a garden in front of it. As it grows, it works with the mural, and it brings the community together. It’s really cool.”

And the artist is no stranger to the spotlight, especially last fall when one of his mainland murals of a famous monarch went viral and was featured “on multiple news stations,” Archer recalls.

“I did Queen Elizabeth II the day she passed away when I was in Grand Forks,” he said. “I saw that the side of the courthouse had graffiti tags all over it, so I went into the town hall and said, ‘I want to paint the queen on the courthouse. Call me at this number if you’re interested.’ Ten minutes later I got the call.”

On his career and previous projects, Archer reflects that he has quite a few memorable ones and over the years has developed a passion for large-scale pieces that impress not only the public but himself.

“When you finish, walk off the swing stage and walk back about three blocks and look at it, I can’t describe that feeling inside,” he said. “It’s just a sense of accomplishment.”

As for his latest mural of Ortega, Archer says he hasn’t actually watched her new show, even though it’s an Addams Family with the famous theme song “the ringtone on my phone,” he added with a laugh.

(Photos courtesy: Paul Archer/archermuralartist.com)

Editorial Policies Report an error

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
This record-breaking artist uses the beaches of Dubai as his canvas

(CNN) — People have made marks in the sand throughout history. For some it is a meditative exercise. For most, it’s a way to get your name on a holiday beach. For Dubai-based Filipino artist Nathaniel Alapide, this is how he became a Guinness World Record holder.

Dubai’s 72 kilometers (45 miles) of sun-bleached coastline, and the vast Arabian desert, are its canvas. Using only a simple garden rake, each morning (after checking the weather, wind and tide reports) Alapide, 45, draws enormous calligraphic strokes across the beaches and deserts, rendering large and complex designs that are soon eroded by wind or waves are deleted.

“I really try to imagine the rake as a brush,” he said. “When you move it at a certain angle, it will give a different stroke, a thinner line.”

The average drawing for Alapide is about 20 meters (66 feet) square. “Sometimes I’ll do a job that will take an hour,” he said. “Or sometimes I work for hours every day to create.”

When he includes a written message, the pieces can be over 100 meters long.

Alapide’s sand art began in 2014, when he sketched a tree in tribute to his late grandmother in a stretch of sand on Umm Suqeim Beach, in the shadow of the iconic wave-shaped Jumeirah Beach Hotel.

The scale of the drawing impressed the hotel, which in 2015 offered him his first full-time job as a sand artist.

Alapide’s tree, from 2014.

Jojo Villena

Since then, he has decorated the UAE’s sand with around 1,900 drawings. He has been commissioned by major brands such as Burberry and Adidas, and he created work for National Geographic for the series “The UAE from above.”

The UAE government even used Alapide’s work to turn the beach into a public service announcement to inform the public of Covid restrictions, with a giant slogan reading “#STAY HOME” visible from the air .

An ephemeral art form

In 2022, Alapide set a new record for the world’s largest sand sculpture. The drawing, which is more than 23,000 square meters (250,000 square feet) in size, was commissioned by Abu Dhabi Aviation Club and showed the rulers of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It took 30 days to create and required 12,000 tons of sand in four colors sourced from across the UAE desert.

Even though he has made a career out of the practice, Alapide says creating a work of art out of sand is not without its challenges.

“On the 20th day of creating the world record piece, we were almost 70% done, but then there was this weather that happened,” he said. “It was raining, and the wind was so strong, it almost wiped out the whole stretch.”

“I think that’s why I find this kind of work interesting,” he continued. “Because it’s short-lived, it’s fleeting. It’s like a ritual for me now, like the morning prayer. I work on something in the morning and by evening it’s washed away by the tide.”

Alapide says that the temporary nature of his work reminds him that everything is constantly changing, especially in a city like Dubai.

One of Alapide's dramatic creations, against the coastline.

One of Alapide’s dramatic creations, against the coastline.

Chris Dabu

“When people see the sand art, they see both beauty and loss,” Alapide said. “Beauty in the work and then loss when it is washed away.”

“I think making sand art is a great way to connect with people,” he added. “I like to see how people interact with the work and I found that the children notice the drawings more than the adults. I think because they are more aware of their surroundings. For adults we can be blinded by our own lives and our busy days.”

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
The Ghanaian scenic artist who worked with Hollywood actor Van Damme

Prince Kojo Hilton is a versatile artist who is breaking boundaries in the art industry and putting Ghana on the map.

The young artist had a hand in a number of famous movies, including working with famous actors.

One such popular personality is the Belgian actor Jean-Claude Van Damme in the movie “Sense 8”.

Mr. Hilton was the scenic artist, and he created the aesthetic impression for the main character in the movie.

“I also had the chance to work with Hollywood in 2012. I was employed by Jean-Claude Van Damme. On that set I worked as a scenic artist. I created the look and feel of the main characters in the film. The film is called Sense 8. It was shot in eight countries, and I happened to be working on the Kenyan version of the Sense 8. So if you watch the film, that was my idea of ​​what the car should look like; the main character’s car has to look for the film,” he said.

The famous artiste made these revelations on The Doreen Avio Show, which airs on Joy Prime on Saturdays.

He added that “I created the fake bullets used in the movie. It was the movie in which I transformed a donkey into a zebra.”

The Ghanaian painter who worked with Hollywood actor Van Damme

Also in the 2015 war drama movie, Beast of No Nation, Mr. Hilton the painter, a role he played so well that the film won several awards.

Mr. Hilton has worked as a film director, scenic and set designer and special effects artist on various projects around the world.

In his early days in the film industry, the versatile artist worked as an art director on “The Dons of Sakawa” which featured Majid Michel, John Dumelo and Prince David.

The Ghanaian painter who worked with Hollywood actor Van Damme

Again, he was responsible for designing the look and feel of the 2010 Ghanaian direct-to-video thriller Chelsea, directed by Moses Inwang and starring Majid Michel, Nadia Buari and John Dumelo.

Mr. Prince Hilton was appointed Pan-African Ambassador for Painting in 2019 based on his work and projects.

According to him, his guiding principle as a painter is to solve problems with his paintings.

The Ghanaian painter who worked with Hollywood actor Van Damme
Guest, Prince Kojo Hilton (left) and Doreen Avio (right)

He also wants the young artists, especially in Africa, to be inspired to be creators and inventors rather than mere painters and sculptors.

“We need to encourage our young people, our children, to understand that art is not just about drawing and painting. But artists must be dynamic, You don’t have to learn to be a sculptor or a painter. You have to learn to be a creator or an inventor. I don’t just paint. I paint to solve problems,” he said.

Mr. Hilton revealed that his works make him feel good but he is not resting on his laurels to achieve more for himself, the art industry and his country, Ghana.

He called on the government to pay more attention to the arts industry and treat it as one of the sectors that can drive Ghana’s development.

DISCLAIMER: The views, comments, opinions, contributions and statements made by readers and contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policies of Multimedia Group Limited.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Artist Aïda Muluneh: ‘We were at the mercy of foreign photographers’

On the streets of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia, Aïda Muluneh’s photographs are popular among local businesses: printed from the Internet and placed in windows as temporary advertisements for everything from hair salons to tour operators. “I think it’s hilarious — they could have picked a photo of Beyoncé, but they chose to take my weird work because they saw something in it,” says the Ethiopian-born artist and entrepreneur, who is on Zoom from Abidjan, Ivory Coast, speak up. “I usually call them and tell them not to do it again – but that’s when you know you’ve reached people, when you’ve made an impact as an artist – when the work goes to every corner.”

It’s easy to see the street appeal of Muluneh’s art. The stark geometries of her choreographed scenes of female figures whose skin is painted in block colors are indebted to the bold graphic style of 20th century West African studio photography, but with a surrealist twist. They also incorporate Ethiopian symbols, ancient African traditions such as body painting, landscapes and personal stories from her own family.

In her latest solo exhibition at Efie Gallery in Dubai, The art of advocacy, there are striking images from her 2018 commission for NGO WaterAid, shot on the salt flats of Dallol in Ethiopia, famous for its hydrothermal springs; the barren background contrasts with majestic female figures inspired by women Muluneh saw carrying water.

‘The Road of Glory Yemen’ (2020) © Aïda Muluneh

A woman dressed in bright reds and blues with multiple hands and golden flames on her lap

‘The Rain of Fire Vietnam’ (2020) © Aïda Muluneh

Other works in Muluneh’s signature shades of canary yellow, pillar box red and electric blue reflect concerns about conflict, disease and famine, but in a totally different language to the images of Africa – depictions of starving bodies and land destroyed by violence and nature – she was exposed to growing up abroad. “We were at the mercy of foreign photographers,” she says.

Muluneh and her mother left Ethiopia in 1979 for Yemen, then Cyprus and finally Canada in search of “a better place to live.” I understood the power of the image very well – but the image that the system pushed out there did not correspond to the version of Ethiopia that I knew. Many of us [Africans] felt a sense of urgency – not just to show the peach side of Africa, but to create balance.”

The art of advocacy explores how Muluneh, 48, uses photography to raise awareness about issues that affect many African people today – from drought to tropical diseases – but with dignity and imagination. “Photography, regardless of where you come from or your economic status, is an integral part of our society,” she says. “The image is the strongest thing, it’s not politicians talking to people.”

Headshot of woman in black top with arms folded
Photographer Aïda Muluneh: ‘What’s the point of art if you can’t go outside the comfort zone of your own community’ © Mario Epanya/Efie Gallery, Dubai

Her early forays into photography were first encouraged by her grandfather, who was in Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie’s air force, as well as a painter and poet. After graduating from Howard University in Washington, DC in 2000, Muluneh worked as a photojournalist at the Washington Post, but ended up feeling restricted. “I believe in photojournalism, and I’m still learning it — but it got to a point where it wasn’t enough for what I wanted to say.” She quit her job and returned to Addis Ababa in 2007. “I felt passionate about reshaping how the world sees us, and more importantly, how we see ourselves. We don’t just sit here and wait for people to save us.”

Creating her own work is only part of Muluneh’s project. She has played an important role in the local photo festival and biennale scene, which includes Bamako Encounters in Mali and Lagos Photo in Nigeria; it stimulated the continent’s art scene, in the absence of institutions and government support. Muluneh was the founder of East Africa’s first international photography event, Addis Foto Fest (AFF), which was launched in 2010. She says she has seen an increase in the number of African photographers since the first edition of AFF, that only five from the continent out of 34 participants; in the 2018 edition there were 36 out of 152. The festival will return in 2024.

A woman in blue stands on a rock with a trail of orange containers

‘To know the way to tomorrow’ (2018) © Aïda Muluneh

Two women in red dresses holding water jugs

‘Burden of the day’ (2018) © Aïda Muluneh

Muluneh attributes the increase in interest in photography she has seen on the continent to social media, which has given a new generation “access to an international community to be able to discover things without the gatekeepers keeping them locked up”. Her response was to create an AFF spin-off, Africa Foto Fair, which launched in December 2022 in Abidjan, where she moved in 2019. This is the first international event dedicated to photography in the Ivory Coast, she says, and the first fair to expand to a second African country.

The participating international photographers showcase various approaches to photography, but with a focus on those who visualize social justice, from award-winning Ethiopian documentary photographer Mulugeta Ayene to conceptual photographic artist Meseret Argaw to Pablo Albarenga, known for his work on indigenous land rights in Latin. America.

As part of the business model of the exchange, Muluneh also opened a high-quality printing facility – the first of its kind in Côte d’Ivoire. All editions sold at the fair will be printed at the Africa Print House, Abidjan, and her ambition is that all the printing for African photographers will one day be done on the continent.

In July 2023, Tate Modern will stage its largest ever survey photography exhibition of the African continent, A world in common. Muluneh is among the artists included. “These collective shows at international institutions are important, but it’s even more interesting to be included in shows that have nothing to do with race, nationality or ethnicity – when we don’t just have to show where we come from.”

A woman lies in a blue cloth

‘The more loving part 2’ (2016) © Aïda Muluneh

Two women dressed in blue - one standing in the background and the other sitting on a red bench

‘The sorrows we bear’ (2018) © Aïda Muluneh

Capturing the rallying spirit of her work, Muluneh will unveil an installation with Public Art Fund in March, taking over 330 bus shelters in New York, Boston and Abidjan simultaneously with a series of 12 new images inspired by Ethiopian writer Tsegaye Gabre -Medhin’s poem “This is where I am”, which paints a bloody yet hopeful picture of Ethiopia in the first months of the civil war that began in 1974 – the year Muluneh was born.

“You have to confront people with the work — what’s the point of art if you’re not able to go outside the comfort zone of your own community or environment? I think that’s the power of photography.”

‘The Art of Advocacy’, until 23 February, efiegallery.com

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
A Chicago mural artist grapples with Kanye West’s antisemitism

Leave a comment

CHICAGO – Black for the pack. White for the pocket square. Silver for the Rolex. The street artist was halfway through spray painting his 14-foot mural in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood last August when people began to recognize the subject.

“Kanye West!” Chris Devins recalled one woman screaming. “I love Kanye!”

Devins, 48, an urban planner who has sketched celebrities on buildings for years, thought this one would be a hit. Ye — the rapper formerly known as Kanye West — grew up here, chanting “Chi-town” in his songs and naming his 4-year-old daughter after the Windy City.

And at first, Devins was right: Passersby that morning stopped to take selfies with his portrait of Ye before the paint was dry. One man recorded an Instagram video of his wife admiring it: #Beautiful.

Devins set out to turn a defunct catering company’s wall into a tribute to the superstar that, with regular repairs, could last decades. He added his Instagram handle so fans could tag him in their photos. Another Ye mural in Chicago was so popular that the creator sold an NFT version of it for around $200,000.

Then Ye began a weeks-long tirade against Jews, and attention suddenly shifted from his creative legacy to his anti-Semitic outburst.

“I’m going to die 3 over JEWISH PEOPLE,” Ye tweeted in October, apparently referring to Defcon, the US military’s defense readiness system. He blamed Jews for the community’s ills on podcasts and live streams. He refused to back down after losing a $1.5 billion sneaker deal with Adidas, among other lucrative partnerships. “I like Hitler,” Ye said in a December interview with Infowars founder Alex Jones. “Hitler has many redeeming qualities.”

The antisemitism reverberates. A group of men raised their arms in Nazi salutes as they draped a banner over a Los Angeles freeway that read: “Kanye is right about the Jews.” A similar proclamation was projected onto the side of a stadium during a college football game in Jacksonville, Fla. Another appeared in red paint on a Jewish grave about 30 miles north of Devins’ mural: “Kanye was rite.”

Now when people viewed the street artist’s work, they saw something else. Friends and strangers flooded his inbox asking if he planned to remove it. One wrote: “You have to take responsibility for immortalizing an idiot.”

Ever since he got involved in graffiti art as a teenager, the Chicago native has bristled at the idea of ​​censorship. He hoped Ye would apologize. The rapper has fueled controversy in the past, attributing some erratic outbursts to episodes of bipolar disorder.

Devins told People, “I think we should leave it as a commentary on modern-day celebrity and the need to handle it responsibly.”

But quietly he wavered. His mother is Black, and his father is Irish. His Irish grandfather disapproved of their union. “I’ve dealt with racism basically from birth,” Devins said.

He did not want to broadcast acceptance of any discrimination. He reminded critics that his wife is Jewish. She also erred on the side of the First Amendment. Ye’s insults upset them both, he said, but neither felt right to erase the mural. A protective instinct flared up instead. When someone sprayed “TRASH” over Ye’s suit, Devins rushed to restore his portrait.

“I don’t think we should censor anything just because someone is behaving ridiculously,” he said.

“I’m sensitive to people’s feelings,” Devins said. “If someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey, I’m hurt by this’ – that would be different.”

Then he heard from a rabbi.

Across town, another artist struggled with the same dilemma.

Jason Peterson, 53, worked with Ye for nearly two decades: first on a Boost Mobile flip-phone ad featuring the rapper’s lyrics (“I’m Chi-town’s finest”), then on ad campaigns for his Yeezy sneakers .

Peterson, a photographer and creative director who runs a marketing agency in Chicago, once took a portrait of Ye against a brick wall on the West Loop’s trendy Lake Street. As artists worldwide repackaged their work in the form of unique digital copies called NFTs, an idea struck him in 2020: What if he blew up the portrait into a 22-foot mural and auctioned off a cyberspace version?

“Don’t miss the opportunity to be linked to this NFT and the mural forever,” read one cryptocurrency website’s announcement before the roughly $200,000 sale.

Peterson didn’t think he’d ever want to break his own link.

“I loved it,” he said. “I drove there every day and thought: There is my contribution to the city of Chicago. I loved it because I love Kanye. His music. Him as a person.”

When a photo of the men doing Nazi salutes across LA’s 405 Freeway started making waves on social media, Peterson flashed back to his youth as a skateboarder in Phoenix’s punk rock scene. He and his friends, he said, would fight with “racist skinheads”. One guy broke his partner’s arm with a baseball bat.

“The skinheads, the bridge in Los Angeles — it was deeply messed up,” he said. “The effect of what Kanye said … it was to give freedom to a bunch of idiots.”

The owner of the Lake Street building, a Jewish man, wanted the mural gone. One October afternoon, Peterson grabbed a ladder and a bucket of black paint and over the course of an hour darkened his portrait of Ye into a silhouette. (Days later, the owner completely repainted it.)

“When I did, I was almost a little tearful,” Peterson said. “It felt like it was the hard thing to do, but it was the right thing to do.”

He posted a photo of it on his Instagram story and wrote: We need better role models. The image — along with cellphone video someone shot of Peterson on his ladder — went viral.

Down the street, Rabbi Avraham Kagan, co-founder of Chabad River North and Fulton Market in the neighborhood, pondered how to address it all.

Ye’s antisemitic spiral disturbed him. Here was a powerful figure with more Instagram followers than the estimated number of Jews on the planet, saying things like, “Hitler has many redeeming qualities.” Bias attacks are already on the rise: The Anti-Defamation League counted a record 2,717 incidents in 2021, according to its latest audit.

Peterson’s painting over his mural was a welcome development, a sign that people have rejected hate speech. Kagan hesitated to call for anything that could be interpreted as censorship or derided as “cancellation culture.” His strategy against antisemitism? Talk back. Speak better.

“A little light dispels a lot of darkness,” he liked to tell people, quoting a Jewish proverb.

As Hanukkah approached, Kagan encouraged members of a young Jewish professional group to give menorahs to bars, restaurants and apartment buildings across Chicago. The goal was not to back down when anti-Semitism dominated the headlines. He encouraged everyone to light the candles with pride.

Some of the menorahs ended up in tall buildings overlooking Devins’ mural. Towards the end of December, when the rabbi read that the tribute to Ye was still standing, he looked up the street artist’s phone number.

Devins has faced controversy before.

After he was commissioned two years ago to paint a mural of King Von, a Chicago rapper who died in a 2020 shooting, people labeled the work a glorification of gang violence. (He disagreed.) When he painted Michelle Obama in an Egyptian headdress in 2017, basing the portrait on an illustration he found on Pinterest, Devins caught flak for not initially crediting the image’s creator not credited. (He apologized and said he didn’t know who made it — then pushed back: “In retrospect, I consider it collaboration.”)

Both murals remain up. Defending his work usually came naturally, Devins said, but when Kagan called just before New Year’s Eve, he had no desire to argue.

They met for coffee in a posh West Loop hotel lobby. The rabbi spoke about the responsible use of influence, and Devins readily agreed. He thought about it for months. He could no longer stand by the mural of Ye.

“He crossed the free speech line into extremism,” Devins said.

Now another dilemma: Should he take it off? Or add something fresh to the conversation?

Kagan proposed responding to the vitriol by amending Sec. He shared some teachings that a religious mentor often repeated.

“One must see the world as balanced between good and evil – between positivity and negativity,” he said. “One good deed can tip the scale and bring salvation.”

Nine days later, on a cold January morning, the rabbi and the street artist agreed to meet again at the mural.

Kagan brought his eight-year-old daughter, Chaya. and one of the young professionals handing out menorahs on the block, 23-year-old Jeremy Kopelman. The street artist arrived with his wife, Jody. They all stared up at the brick wall that Devins had transformed over the weekend.

“What I like about this is — you made a point,” Kagan said. “You say: We don’t stand for negativity, and you did it with a positive message.”

“It really adds something positive to the conversation,” Jody said.

“It’s not about fighting hate with hate,” Kopelman said.

“I feel good about it,” Devins said.

He had no control over how superstars used their platforms, but he could do something about this piece of Chicago.

One quote from the rabbi stuck with him, Devins explained. It was short and sweet and perfect for the moment, he said, “considering the darkness these comments have dragged us all into.”

He painted a lone candle by the rapper’s mouth – “where the words come from,” he said – and added a message in yellow: A little light dispels a lot of darkness.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Nigerian artist Morenike Olusanya creates inspiring images of Black women

Written by Aisha Salaudeen, CNNLagos, Nigeria

Morenike “Renike” Olusanya spends much of her time with her iPad and touch pen sketching the people and things she finds interesting.

The Nigerian-born visual artist is particularly fond of painting black women. “I’m in Nigeria; Black women are all I see. I love to paint our culture, our fashion and our hairstyles,” she said.

Growing up in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, Olusanya has always been artistic. “Drawing was a normal thing for me to do as a child,” she explained. “My father was an artist for a short period, so I saw him draw. I saw my older brother draw too.”

Olusanya, 28, studied creative arts at the University of Lagos and worked as a graphic designer before finally taking up visual arts as a full-time job during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.

Nigerian artist Morenike “Renike” Olusanya. Credit: Morenike Olusanya

Bestselling book covers

Olusanya’s art exists in many forms, such as portraits, dance art and book covers. Some of them are created on canvas, but she prefers to illustrate digitally.

Combining shapes, lines and shadows on her iPad, she has designed book covers for notable women including Aminata Touré, Germany’s first black female minister, award-winning American author Coe Booth, and Jamaican-American author Nicola Yoon.

In 2020, she illustrated the cover of Yoon’s book “Instructions for Dancing”, with a sketch of a black man and a woman dancing tango.

“The book is about a woman, Evie, who starts dancing. She meets a man with whom she connects through dance,” explained the artist, adding that the cover took her two months to complete.

According to Olusanya, illustrating the cover was a “dream come true”, especially since it became an instant New York Times bestseller upon its release in June 2021. “I can proudly say that I have book covers for several created best sellers,” she added.

Olusanya's coverage for "Instructions for dancing" by bestselling author Nicola Yoon.

Olusanya’s cover for “Instructions for Dancing” by bestselling author Nicola Yoon. Credit: Morenike Olusanya

The power of storytelling

Many of Olusanya’s portraits share a message about what it’s like to be a black woman in today’s world.

“If I see a phrase, thing or person that I feel tells a story and can be carried out in a work of art or picture, I go for it,” she explained.

One of her pieces, “Aminata,” is an image of a black woman with short pink hair, wearing a sleeveless white dress that exposes her back. “The hair color was inspired by my friend, Chigozie,” said Olusanya. “At the time I found myself insecure about all the fat on my back. So I painted it, as you would see in the portrait. It was my way of accepting myself. It was also a way of showing that it’s It’s natural for black women like me to have fat on their bodies.”

That of Olusanya "Aminta."

Olusanya’s “Aminta.” Credit: Morenike Olusanya

Her dance portraits are even more personal. “It’s like a journal for me; I draw them based on what I experience,” she explained.

For example, “She will not be silent” was created during the pandemic when there was an increase in cases of violence against women. “The art was inspired by how women on social media lent their voices to support other women who faced targeted harassment,” she explained.

“It was very hard for me, but I wanted to create something powerful, something that shows that when a woman is treated unfairly, there will always be other women who try to help,” she said.

That of Olusanya "She will not be Quiet."

Olusanya’s “She will not be silent.” Credit: Morenike Olusanya

‘People can relate to what I do’

In 2021 Olusanya was included in Leading Ladies Africa’s list of 100 most inspiring women in Nigeria and in 2022 she won the Lord’s Achievers Special Recognition Award: A Lady Making Impact Through Art.

“Winning the award was very encouraging for me. It reinforced that art is my thing, and people can relate to what I do,” she said.

While Olusanya is happy to be recognized for her work, she said the highlight of her career is being commissioned to create portraits for some of the biggest brands in the world, including Hulu, Dark & ​​Lovely, Penguin Random House and Scholastic.

For the next few years she just wants to keep creating and experimenting with art. “I want to continue to collaborate with bigger brands and host exhibitions in Lagos and other countries,” she said.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
This Incredible Stretchable Paper Sculpture Will Blow Your Mind

The image was created by the famous artist Felix Semper

Art has the power to stimulate and inspire the human mind. Thanks to the internet, many beautiful artwork videos showcasing diverse talents go viral daily. One such video that has left social media users stunned is of a stretchable paper sculpture. Created by renowned artist Felix Semper, the video shows an extraordinary elastic paper sculpture. A Twitter video that goes by the handle Fascinating shared the video and wrote: “Stunning paper sculpture by Felix Semper.”

Watch the video here:

In the video, the artist holds the seemingly solid bust in his hands and pulls it to show its elasticity. Within seconds, the bust that appears to be carved from stone or wood becomes a fluidly moving object. The bust can be moved in any direction, and the artist showcases this by twisting, extending and maneuvering it into mind-bending positions and poses.

The video got a whopping 57 lakh views, over 10,770 retweets and 92,000 likes. Needless to say, the paper art stunned internet users who were left both mind blown and creeped out.

One user wrote: ”Visually captivating. These are the things that stimulate and challenge our minds, stimulate our senses! Artists like Feix take art forms to new levels. Thanks for showing it!” Another commented: ”I know it takes an incredible amount of skill and an incredibly impressive understanding of your medium, but it gives me the heebs so bad.”A third added, “Oh geez! It scared me, but well done!”

In particular, the artist makes his incredible sculptures from thousands of layers of glued paper. With sandpaper, he then carefully carves the paper block into the desired shape. The process finally ends with him painstakingly painting the paper sculpture, with incredible attention to detail.

In the past, several of his artworks have gone viral on social media. Mr Semper whose bio reads, ”Stretch your imagination” regularly shares videos of his artwork on Instagram where he boasts of 2,39,000 followers.

Here are some of the other artworks:

According to his website, his stretchy paper sculptures are inspired by everyday items and pop culture. ”They are made from glued layers of paper, cut wood, books, recycled materials, etc. This fluid movement gives the sculpture a playful mobility in contrast to the traditional aesthetic. He changed the media to stretch, twist, extend and retract. Felix invites viewers to experience sculpture in an insightful new way,” reads a description on the website.

Featured Video Of The Day

India is now world’s 3rd largest car market after China and US: report

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
tan yamanouchi completes sweeping home studio for artist in tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi & AGWL complete home studio in Tokyo

In central Tokyo, JapanTan Yamanouchi & AGWL complete an introvert at home and studio for an up-and-coming manga artist, her partner and two pet owls. Deriving from ancient Japanese thought, the compact dwelling is envisioned ‘floating a few centimeters above our daily lives’, creating a space that remains connected to our tangible daily life, while evoking a sense of fictional narrative.

Amidst a streetscape of plain geometric dwellings, its sculptural facade emerges from the ground in one continuous sweep, interrupted only by a dramatic tunnel leading to an entrance. Inside, the architects rearrange the existing program to accommodate all the family’s private living needs while creating spaces for the artist to complete her work and network. A variety of public and private spaces are distributed and unified over a system centered around a continuous ‘void’ that meanders through the space’s dynamic split levels, characterized by contrasts of dynamic sequences and plays of light with shadows.

all images by Katsumasa Tanaka

a meandering void system separates living spaces from work

The project began with the height that, according to the client’s request, had to ensure an introverted front for the house. Along the street, the house dynamically emerges from the ground and takes shape as a fluid deformed earthquake-resistant wall, just like the image of the earth rolling up. A dramatic hollowed-out tunnel leads to the entrance, inviting visitors to step away from the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Inside, Tan Yamanouchi & AGWL redesigned the overall plan to make efficient use of the long, narrow lot with an existing split-level floor plan, rearranging the sequence to create significant differences in height. Further, the architects significantly limiting the number of openings to create a contrast between light and dark in a ‘void’ that spreads throughout the house — with the exception of a small light court integrated with the north of the house.

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo
the house dynamically emerges from the ground as a deformed seismic wall

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lifestyle of manga artists has seen a notable shift. Increasingly working from home due to online production becoming the new mainstream norm, artists have begun dedicating spaces in their private homes to serve as meeting spaces and studios for media interviews. As a result, to ensure that the client has enough space to keep this public and private function separate, yet easily accessible, while ensuring that every corner sparks creativity and comfort, Tan Yamanouchi & AGWL designed the interior and program as a ‘void’ with contrasts of highs and lows and lights and darks to create unbounded yet defined areas.

Refer to ash ‘dams and banks’ by the architects, these zones accommodate the need for a variety of public and private shades throughout the space, and allows for subtle and flexible use of space in a very compact dwelling. Furthermore, a wooden staircase ascends through the void, creating a three-dimensional composition that sparks a narrative experienced through the body.

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

Tan Yamanouchi and AGWL's introverted facade hides a manga artist's two-level home studio in Tokyo

project information:

name: A Japanese manga artist’s house

location: Tokyo, Japan
architecture: Tan Yamanouchi & AWGL

chief architect: Tan Yamanouchi

structural engineer: Graphics Studio / Yuko Mihara Construction

construction: Taishin Kensetsu / Yasuhiro Ikebe, Keisuke Nishide

building area: 44.16 square meters

designboom received this project from us DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

edited by: ravail khan | design tree

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Artist who inspired Prince George’s Christmas painting praises his ‘eye for colour’

The artist believed to have inspired Prince George’s Christmas portrait praised the young royal’s ‘talent’ and ‘eye for colour’.

Hannah Dale – of Wrendale Designs – said the nine-year-old royal’s festive work, which depicted a red-breasted reindeer on its body and antlers, was ‘lovely’ and showed an impressive command of watercolour.

“I think having a love of animals and love of nature is obviously something that may have caught his attention,” she told HELLO! Magazine. “It inspires me a lot.”

Hannah, from Lincolnshire, explained that it was ‘a lovely surprise’ to see the post display on her social media feed, which she admitted was immediately influenced by one of her Christmas card designs.

The artist believed to have inspired Prince George’s Christmas portrait (pictured) praised the young royal’s ‘talent’ and ‘eye for colour’

The artist was pleased to see a young talent being encouraged to pursue art, insisting it was a ‘fantastic’ ability to enter.

She also expressed her assurance that the Prince and Princess of Wales – who shared their son’s painting on their Instagram account – are proud of their child’s work.

Prince William and Kate Middleton, both 40, wished their followers a Merry Christmas when they posted the photo last weekend.

Hannah explained that it was 'a lovely surprise' to see the post display on her social media feed, which she admitted was influenced by one of her Christmas card designs (pictured)

Hannah explained that it was ‘a lovely surprise’ to see the post display on her social media feed, which she admitted was influenced by one of her Christmas card designs (pictured)

The artist (pictured) was pleased to see young talent being encouraged to pursue art, insisting it was a 'fantastic' ability to get into

The artist (pictured) was pleased to see young talent being encouraged to pursue art, insisting it was a ‘fantastic’ ability to get into

Royal fans were quick to praise the nine-year-old’s artistic flair, suggesting he gets his skills from his mother, who is a keen photographer.

One person said: “A budding little artist. Merry Christmas everyone!’

Another said: ‘So much talent for a little guy! Longing for his mummy.’

During the festive season, the young royal siblings appeared on screen with their parents at their mother’s annual choir service and stole the show.

Together at Christmas, which features the Christmas carol concert organized by the Princess of Wales on Thursday 15 December, took place in Westminster Abbey.

Together at Christmas, featuring the Carol Concert organized by the Princess of Wales on Thursday 15 December, took place in Westminster Abbey

Together at Christmas, featuring the Carol Concert organized by the Princess of Wales on Thursday 15 December, took place in Westminster Abbey

Prince George and Princess Charlotte were in the front row of the crowds, along with their parents and the King and Queen Consort.

During the service, which included readings from Kristin Scott-Thomas and Prince William and performances by Craig David, Alfie Boe and Mel C, the young prince and princess stole the show.

Viewers praised well-behaved Charlotte, who looked excited as Hugh Bonneville read an extract from Paddington Bear.

The seven-year-old stole viewers’ hearts with her ‘priceless’ reaction when her face lit up during the tribute to the late Queen, her great-grandmother.

George and his younger sister Princess Charlotte, seven, wowed viewers across the country as his mother's carol concert was broadcast on ITV1

George and his younger sister Princess Charlotte, seven, wowed viewers across the country as his mother’s carol concert was broadcast on ITV1

Speaking at the start of the show, Kate said: ‘This Christmas will be our first without her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

“Her Majesty held Christmas close to her heart as a time that brought us together.”

Later in the program, Kate describes a sweet connection between the late Queen and her young children.

Sharing a family photo of Queen as a child putting on a Christmas production, the princess said: ‘It really resonated with me, and to see Her Majesty here doing the production on Christmas Day during the Second World War, which I thought was very special.

‘I remember doing this kind of thing as a little girl too… when I saw this picture it was amazing because I saw my kids doing this kind of thing, putting on little shows for us . That’s when they ask me to join, so we dance like around the table!’


An artist in the making! Prince and Princess of Wales’ Christmas message features 9-year-old Prince George’s festive painting of a reindeer

By George! Amazon removes photoshopped 2016 image of Prince George that showed the royal wielding a chopping knife as part of promotion for £19.99 toy sold at the online retailer

King Charles takes charge of Royal Christmas: Fergie will have lunch with family at Sandringham while Harry and Meghan stay away, but Prince Andrew WILL NOT walk to church with others on Christmas Day

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestEmail
Newer Posts