BY REBECCA RAFFERTY
As of Thursday morning, at least four murals in the 2012 “Wall/Therapy” project have been completed, and two more are nearly done. Spanish-born, German-raised, Manhattan-based twins How & Nosm finished their work on a building facing Union Street near East Avenue in less than 17 hours on Saturday, then painted at a few “Easter egg” locations around town. Watching the twins work is something else – the expert rapidity with which they put down paint was astonishing to behold. People say that twins have a unique bond, and it’s easy to believe it when you witness the intuitive, tireless way that these two worked side-by-side, their styles slightly different but complementing each other seamlessly.
Their main work, “See the Forest for the Trees,” is a complex image with vignettes placed within a larger scene. Humans and animals pop in and out of compartments in the main figures, at war with one another amid a forest of severed trunks. Though the image includes blood literally raining from the sky, their stylized design and characters minimize the shock of the violent imagery. It’s a bad-ass work, but it doesn’t feel real, so it doesn’t hinder the study of the complex components involved in the massive piece.
Spanish artist Liqen also finished his piece on Pennsylvania Avenue, adding an armed soldier and more surveillance cameras around the razor-wire-bound bald eagle. His characteristic black linework matches the starkness of the piece, and he offers an alternative view to the ridiculous statement that “America is the best country in the world.”
South Africa-based artists Faith47 and DALeast also finished their first works at the Public Market, hers a prowling lioness above Union Street Bakery, with a message of fierce maternal protection; his a great blue whale on the side of a building on Pennsylvania Ave. A harpoon soars toward DAL’s sea beast, the entire scene made up of his characteristic highly dimensioned knotted black linework, which creates the impression that the matter of the mammal is stitching itself together before our eyes, or else about to untangle itself and fade away. The tangle-form also has a serious drop shadow that heightens the 3D effect of the work. Both artists will complete another work in the St. Paul Quarter.
Rochester-based Mr. Prvrt‘s owls on the Harman Flooring building off Union Street at the Public Market gained some beautifully eerie scenery and clusters of glowing candles, and he’s framed each vignette by painting the bordering bricks copper, making the pieces pop even more. Perv will start another bonus piece today (location TBA).
German artist Case is nearly finished with his mermaid and diver, and has been adding photo-real detailing and watery depths around the figures on Pennsylvania Avenue. Nearby, Rochester artist Thievin’ Stephen‘s layered stencil work is shaping up to form a minotaur. At Roc Brewing Co. on North Union Street, Rochester artist St. Monci continues to add kinetic details to his structured, architectural piece.
Belgian artist ROA began work on his piece on a wall facing the World Wide News lot in the St. Paul Quarter yesterday, making serious progress on a group of animals, including two massive bears. Brooklyn-based artist Cern began his second piece over at the Avenue D Rec Center yesterday, and San Francisco artist Siloette arrived last night and will join him at that location today. For updates and images throughout the week, follow @roccitynews on Twitter or “Like” Rochester City Newspaper on Facebook.
Last night, “Wall/Therapy” founder Ian Wilson moderated a panel discussion featuring Mr. Prvrt, St. Monci, Case, and Cern at School of the Arts, where the group discussed their inspirations, backgrounds, processes, and the social aspect of creating public art. The audience learned that while most of the artists have roots in traditional graffiti, Mr. Prvrt is a proud art-school dropout with a background in printmaking.
St. Monci discussed working intuitively on site-specific pieces, where his biggest influence is the actual space and his own stream-of-consciousness while creating. Most of the artists agreed that their public art work is largely site-specific, while Case stated that he doesn’t necessarily work with the space in mind foremost, but rather “arranges an idea upfront,” paints from photos, and creates fantastical imagery from a blend of experiences and memories.
When one audience member asked about the purpose of creating street art versus art in the sanctified gallery space, Cern passionately expressed being troubled by so many cities’ choices between gray walls and being dominated by advertizements. “Who is controlling the public space is very important,” he says, and all of the artists agreed that they feel aware of both the privilege and the responsibility to give back to the community and influence youth positively.