Art’s black sheep no more

Street artists get­ting off the pave­ment, onto walls

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Karen Turner

ONCE con­sid­ered the rebels of the art world, street artists are now part of con­tem­po­rary pop cul­ture. So, it is only fit­ting IKEA, the Swedish re­tailer known for its af­ford­able sleek de­signs and mod­ern sen­si­bil­i­ties, would en­list graf­fiti artists from around the world to cre­ate 12 posters for its an­nual art event. “Street art has been kind of the black sheep within the art scene,” says Hen­rik Most, the cre­ative leader be­hind the art event, which launches glob­ally April 1. “It was con­nected to mu­sic, to graf­fiti, to sub­cul­ture. It was not con­nected to artists com­ing from aca­demic in­sti­tu­tions as ed­u­cated artists.” Times have changed. Tap­ping into the tal­ents of a di­verse group of street artists from 11 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, in­clud­ing Swe­den, China, Spain, Brazil and the U.S., IKEA is bring­ing art in­spired by the graf­fiti in sub­way tun­nels and spray­painted on the side of aban­doned build­ings into the home. “Some street artists work very graphic, some black and white, some more graf­fiti like,” ex­plains Most of the va­ri­ety of styles in the new col­lec­tion. “And then we have dif­fer­ent tech­niques; from spray­ing and throw­ing paint to fine drawing, sten­cils and col­lage, while oth­ers have been work­ing more dig­i­tally.” One San Fran­cisco artist known sim­ply as Elle in­cor­po­rated bold colour with a strong fe­male mes­sage in her glow-in-the-dark poster in­spired by the psy­che­delic ’70s. “I wanted to make a piece that was full of en­ergy, colour, an­i­mals and a strong woman cen­tre­piece,” she says. Hua Tu­nan of China leaned more to­ward re­al­ism with an ink drawing of a large ea­gle. “It rep­re­sents the courage that I think many street artists have,” he says of the fierce, beady-eye bird. “The ea­gle is free, colour­ful and brave. It’s also one of the tra­di­tional an­i­mals of China.” Only avail­able while quan­ti­ties last, all 12 posters in the col­lec­tion are $20 each. Seven are ver­ti­cals mea­sur­ing 70 cen­time­tres by 100 cm; the re­main­ing five are 100 cm by 70 cm hor­i­zon­tals. “We think that art be­longs in peo­ple’s homes. And with th­ese col­lec­tions, art be­comes ac­ces­si­ble for a lot of peo­ple — you don’t need to be wealthy to buy some­thing unique,” Most says.

SUP­PLIED PHO­TOS

A San Fran­cisco street artist, known sim­ply as Elle, com­bined bold colour and a strong fe­male mes­sage in her glow-in-the-dark poster for IKEA.

Fast-dry­ing ink was used by Hua Tu­nan of China to draw this vi­brant ea­gle.

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