Throughout the years, street art has been widely known as artistic rebellion against the status quo, whatever that might be. Once thought of as mere vandalism, today graffiti, murals and street performances are increasingly expressive; urban art at its truest. But more than just self or community expression, more and more art in public spaces is designed to improve, develop and even offer colorful solutions to city problems. Several artists, foundations and platforms are doing just that…
Stobosa, La Trinidad Philippines:
Merging the words Stonehills, Botiwtiw and Sadja, three cities of a crowded residential area in the Philippine’s La Trinidad , Stobosa became the largest community art project ever realized in the country. Massive flowers and fruits were drawn on the buildings and painted with bright yellow, orange, red and purple.
Led by a group of Tam-Awan Village artists named Jordan Mang-osan, Ged Alangui, Clinton Aniversaryo and Jenny Lorenzo, 520 residents and other volunteers painted the massive 18,000 sqaure meters canvas, drawn on 200 houses. Around six months were needed to finalize the project and the paint used was environmental friendly by Davies Paints while brushes were provided by the local government.
The project is part of the Rev-Bloom Project, commissioned by the Cordillera Region’s Department of Tourism to encourage tourists into the country. Similar art work can be seen in Rio De Janeiro’s favelas and Cairo’s Manshiyat Naser.
Electric Light Mural, Philadelphia, USA:
An electric mural now illuminates Percy Street, South of 9th and Wharton Street in the American state of Philadelphia, to change the once dark alley into a public piece of neon street art. The mural is the first phase of the Percy Street Project which was conducted by artists David Guinn and Drew Billiau and funded by the nation’s largest art program, Mural Art and Knight Foundation.
The 9-by- 4.5 meters wall was painted and low energy LED neon lights were bent to frame the colored sections painted on the wall. Over 60 meters of light were used in the project and are controlled by Billiau’s computer.
According to Philly.com, the Passyunk Square Civic Association has been trying to discourage unlawful activity from the street for the past five years, searching for a suitable solution. The reactions for the installed art were mixed, however, as some believe that it will discourage criminal activities while others argue that it will do the exact opposite. Late last month, someone drew on the wall and damaged a section of the lights.
“So last night someone damaged the mural pulling some lighting sections off and tagging the wall with LTV. Makes my soul sad to see this. It will take a few days, but we will repair,” Billiau wrote on his Instagram account, attaching a photo of the damaged wall.
Endangered Animals, London, UK:
The 120-meter railway arches in Tower Hamlets, located in East London, were transformed from dull walls to become the voice of endangered animals. Louis Masai led a team of 13 street artists to from Endangered 13 in a project that seeks to raise awareness about species that face extinction.
The Endangered 13 project is part of Human Nature, an environmental art platform.
“We want to see public art that reflects the value we place on the environment, that provokes thought around our society’s relationship with the natural world,” Human Nature says. The Endangered 13 project was finalized in April.
“According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) there are currently 23,250 species listed as threatened,” the projects official website reads. “This means: critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable. Adding extinct and extinct in the wild species the figure is 24,153.”
The animals are not just painted on the grey walls but rather crafted in a collection of murals to create a colorful image of the animals such as blue whales, rhinos, polar bears and birds such as the curlews. The art also seeks to be informative about those species. One artist of the group, named Carrie Reichardt, created a mosaic on the decline of bees to represent the possibility of their extinction.
“ Since I have been painting this mosaic, I have so many of the local people come up to me to tell me how much they loved it,” Reichardt told BBC World, explaining how art is an important factor in any environment.
“I am trying to speak directly about the natural world to people,” Artist ATM also told BBC World.
Origami Birds Mural, Paris, France:
On a building that set to be demolished by the end of the year, French artist Mademoiselle Maurice installed a 15,000 origami bird fresco in a project she named Lunar Cycles.
The mural spreads over 2,000 square meters on the 140-by-15 meters tall building, becoming the largest mural in Paris.
“It’s about Cycles of the Moon, about the change, the movement, the story of the life,” the artist told Wide Wall. ”Work with the moon was a tribute to my grandmother too who is watching the moon phases for the garden and vegetables growing.”
“And I wanted to speak about the process of change, because hundreds of inhabitants lived in this building that they will have to leave (for safety reasons),” Mademoiselle Maurice added. “It was a big trauma for a lot of them because they spent their lives there, sometimes even there since they were born. They will come back later into the new building, but waiting for that they can say goodbye to their home with colors and with the evocation of changes.”
The artist painted the building black before installing contrasting folded paper in blue, orange, green, red and yellow. The artist collaborated with previous inhabitants to finalize her design which pay homage to those who have resided in the building.
The project took 150 hours to complete.