Tag: living walls

Visual Journal Page 67: Find Humor in Art

Visual-Journal-Page-67-Find-Humor-in-ArtVisual-Journal-Page-67-Find-Humor-in-ArtVisual-Journal-Page-67-Find-Humor-in-Art

As I have expressed in past posts, I love street art.

Not too long ago I had the opportunity to interview a well known, and very talented street artist, Chor Boogie. I loved the way his artwork makes walls come alive, and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn more about his creations (read the post here).

This visual journal page pre-dates the interview with Boogie. My love for street art had already begun to stir around the time I moved to Atlanta.

While in college I spent some time studying the street art genre, focusing on the more well known artists such as Keith Haring, Banksy, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I loved the images that flashed up on the screen in the large art history auditorium. The artwork found a way to present important messages in a fun, vibrant, and inviting way.

Although I did enjoy my time studying these graffiti artists, the artwork didn’t resonate with me the way other genres did. It wasn’t until my move to the “big city” of Atlanta, that street art began to take hold.

Growing up in the suburbs of Roswell, GA, you aren’t exposed to much street art, except the occasional suburban gang tag. When I made the move to Atlanta, the gang tags did grace many buildings, bridges, and walls; however, interspersed with these negative scribbles were beautiful, planned, and well executed works of art.

Not too long ago Atlanta began hosting a Living Walls Conference, which promoted street art through murals. Suddenly amazing, vibrant murals were finding their way to every street tunnel, and concrete, roadside wall. As I made my drives from here to there, I was continuously distracted by the beautiful shapes, colors, and messages.

The words “never give up” greet me on my way from East Lake to Decatur, Edgewood, Candler Park, and Downtown. Friendly bubbles and bulbous shapes make me smile as I had to Edgewood shopping center. A long mural depicting local flora, fauna, and waterways educates me as I go about my day.

However, as much as I love my neighborhood murals, my favorite examples of street art are the more illegal works, which appear over night.

Something about the ridiculous images that find their ways on the walls, the hurried feel to them, and the conversations that emerge peak my curiosity. I especially love witnessing the conversations between works of art. “Don’t stop art” is added to a stop sign, a few days later a “b” is added in front of “art”, spelling out “Don’t stop bart”, with a picture of Bart Simpson skateboarding accompanying it. Another nearby stop sign became littered with phrases such as “stop eating meat” to “stop eating “plants”, to “stop, it’s hammer time”. I looked forward to driving past one wall where a stenciled bunny rabbit was added, who was suddenly being chased by a pack of foxes, and later had carrots flying around.

One day, while making my way to my local Target, I discovered one of my all time favorite works of art. It immediately made me laugh out loud as I turned the corner, and suddenly discovered two Tom Sellecks staring back at me.

Two splashes of yellow were quickly added to a bridge before a two black Tom Selleck stencils were added on top. I loved the crisp stencil over the dripping yellow spray paint. It was beautiful, funny, and added a moment of happiness to a bleak overpass.

It reminded me that not all art has to be serious. It is just as important to have light hearted moments. Artwork is about pulling a feeling out of the viewer, and I felt a lot as I passed by the spray painted Tom Selleck. I felt my smile spread across my face, and the laughter move from my belly to my lips. I felt my day get just a little bit better as Tom’s mustache smile and dark eyes watched me head on my way.

SUPPLIES

  • Visual journal
  • Rubber cement
  • White paper
  • colored pencils
  •  Magazines
  • Yellow watercolor
  • Water
  • Sharpie

HOW TO

To create this visual journal page I used a range of materials to create more of a patchwork feel. I wanted a mix of crisp lines, with sketchy scribbles, and paint drips.

I started the the background first. I ripped up sections of blue, green, and gray to create the sky, trees, asphalt of the road, and grass. Next, I began drawing out the bridge using pencil on a separate sheet of paper. I opted to draw the bridge out, and fill it in with colored pencil, rather than use more magazine pages, to make it pop against the background.

After the bridge was drawn, and filled in with colored pencil, I carefully cut between the bars on top using an Xacto knife. The bridge was glued on top of the background using rubber cement.

To replicate the yellow spray paint splatters I mixed water with watercolor, and placed a blob of the mixture on a separate sheet of paper. I carefully blew the blew of watercolor at an angle, until it splattered. I repeated, let the two splatters dry, then cut them out and glued them on the bridge.

To imitate the stenciled Tom Selleck I found a silhouette image of his face online, printed it out, then traced it onto the yellow splatters. I filled in the tracing with sharpie. Finally, I added the words under the bridge “find humor in art”, because sometimes you need a little comic relief.

I have never been satisfied with the way I wrote the words under the bridge. I wish I had centered it, wrote them bigger, or even tried them smaller, and off to the side. One day I may even choose to simply cover them up. Before you commit to writing in sharpie on your book, sketch it out first!

CHALLENGE

Create a visual journal page that incorporates magazine images, colored pencil, sharpie, and watercolor. Have fun!

Thanks for taking the time to check out this post and read my blog! Help me spread the word about visual journaling by sharing with others. Comment below with your own visual journal tips and stories. Thanks for stopping by!

Spray Paint Murals: Chor Boogie

michael jackson mural copy

I have always had an interest in street art. I love the vibrant colors, range of subject matter, and sense of freedom spray painted images have. As a child the special trips into the city of Atlanta brought awe at the height of buildings and a bit of shock to see words and images plastered on the sides of walls.

As an adult now living in the city I love seeing the living walls. Real art is created here. Conversations between artists happen as a stenciled bunny rabbit is suddenly surrounded by spray painted carrots, then a fox chasing from behind. One day I drive down the street and discover a mural being created, the next day I find Tom Selleck’s silhouette appeared on a bridge overnight. There is constant change, expression, and artistic freedom on these walls. You see mistakes, growth, and change in the layers of paint.

With spray paint often used as a means of vandalization and gang tagging it has developed a bad name. However, despite it’s many negative connotations I do believe there has been more acceptance of good intentioned (and well done) graffiti art. I am excited to see Atlanta begin to embrace street art rather than fight it. This is evident by the large increase in commissioned public art I have seen in my five years in the city. Amazing images have begun brighting dark corners, alleyways, tunnels, and overpasses. The ability for street artists and government officials to come together and create has brought much more culture and flavor onto the walls of my city. For those who don’t spend their weekends wandering art museums, walking down the street has now become an opportunity for them to be introduced to and experience art.

Chor Boogie is one of the artists working to give spray paint a good name.

MODERN HIEROGLYPHICS

Chor has been creating since the age of five, and spray painting since he was 13. For 23 years he has been working with spray paint, honing his skills, and working towards redefining spray paint as a fine art medium. A completely self taught artist, Chor has worked his way from Oceanside, CA to San Fransisco, and all over the world. His work of art, “The Eyes of the Berlin Wall” sold for $500,000.00, breaking records for the street art genre, and setting a standard for street art as fine art.

Chor is not only breaking down the walls between street art and fine art, he is taking the pieces and transforming them into unbelievable examples of the capabilities of spray paint.

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Chor’s artwork contains the sense of freedom and expression I am immediately attracted to. His work has layer after layer of bright colors, intertwining shapes, and a mix of graphic art and realism, which seamlessly come together to create images with impact. Simply looking at a picture online I feel enveloped in the color, I can only image what it is like to stand in front of one of these massive murals.

All of his work is created with 100% spray paint. His 23 years of experience is evident in the way he handles the material. The crisp lines, carefully faded colors, and overall clean look of his artwork is an unbelievable example of how spray paint rivals what any other fine art material can do.

chor boogie at work

I can feel the expression of his artwork dripping down the lines of the spray paint splatters and seeping through his many layers. I feel like I can breath looking at his work, it doesn’t look tight, stuffy, or overworked. I think part of the sense of freedom has to do with his process. He doesn’t spend a lot of time pre planning. His process is very go with the flow, which is evident through his work and in the way he describes it, “I basically scale everything by eye on a natural feel to keep things a little organic along with years of experience, I have a rendering if I’m doing realistic portraits, but I always add my original flavor to it.”

I envy his process. I get too caught up in the pre-planning stages and the little details. I strive to find a way to let loose, be organic, which is why I am so drawn to what he does.

Recently Chor was commissioned to complete a large scale mural on the ground floor of the CUBES, a retail development off West 42nd street in New York City. Chor chose to complete large scale portraits of Michael Jackson and Madonna. The bright patterns pop through the all glass front of the building. The layered spray paint shines through the more monochromatic, and slightly translucent faces of the two celebrities. The layers intrigued me as soon as I saw the images, and when asked the meaning behind them he simply explained, “everyone has flavor to them, some form of abstract within them, and we are all based upon layers shapes and forms.. that create a whole… as one.” Despite our individual level of celebrity, creativity, or exterior differences we are all made up of the same amazing, beautiful shapes.

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Future murals have already been planned for the second and third floors of the building, with super hero and film icons lined up to add a little flavor to the currently blank walls. I asked why he chose these themes for the projects and Chor explained, “I know I’m just like these celebrities and super heroes because I put in just as much work, just a different medium and on a different stage… and if the super hero theme mural happens, its all in relation to super heroes in NYC and the rest of the world..”

chor boogie and michael jackson

I’m excited to see the level of recognition Chor has received for his work. He is taking steps to change the views of spray paint’s role as a fine art medium. I hope with his continued success he will bring light to the importance of public works of art, and increase the collaboration between cities and their artists. He finished up our interview with a little advice for up and coming artists, “can’t stop won’t stop… never stop believing… make it or not.. never disrespect your talent ..”

A big thanks to Chor Boogie for taking the time to do an interview with me! To read more about his work check out his website here. Thank you for checking out this post and my blog. Help me spread the word about Chor Boogie, street art, and my blog by sharing it with others. I couldn’t do it without you!

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