Just because a piece of art does not sit in a classy gallery or an auction house does not diminish its artistic merit. The collaborative spirit, unpretentious attitude, and penetrating resonance are precisely what street art aims to convey. The six artists featured in the Peace of Mind group show do not limit themselves to representing specific cultures and societies. Instead, they took up a collective consciousness of mankind , insightfully pondering over the crisis faced by the human race - together.
Wes 21, Onur, Smug One, Insane 51, Kaili Smith, and Li-Hill are six street artists representative of their generation. Their works break national boundaries and respond to transcultural problems such as environmentalism, conservationism and the human psyche.They innovate by combining distinct artitisc forms and mediums with visual technologies. Indeed, their delicate skills come from training in school, yet true inspiration lies in the streets.
The conflicts between nature and technology, reality and fiction, and utopia and dystopia appear throughout Wes 21’s works. The artist worked as a freelance designer and illustrator, engaging with distinctly different forms of art, such as mural, 3D sculpture, and painting. His experience and unconstrained spirit make his works always unpredictable and truly original. The artist communicates his social and environmental commentary with a power visual vocabulary. The wild fantasy and dystopian imagination of his works bring new dynamics to the street art scene.
Onur’s trademark style is hyperrealism and photorealism with a touch of humor and sarcasm. His unique style and sensibility comes from his earlier training, as a theatre painter and graphic artist. He innovates with transformed acrylic rolls and ultra-violet paints to render a futuristic dynamic to his works. Painted in large-scale at public venues, Onur’s works undoubtedly undertake a social mission. In his recent works, Onur reflects on the impact of the stressful and monotonous every-day-life on human psychology. The penetrating power of his murals provide a sense of relief for his audiences.
The prototype of the artist’s large-scale, spectacular murals comes from photography. Although photographs are based off of the artist's works, he never copy and pastes them exactly as they were. Instead, he recreates them with brilliant colors, surrealist imaginations, and a unique sense of humor. Since a young age, Smug loved to draw and paint. From an artistic young kid to one of the most respected street artists, he displays intricate techniques transferring the subjects from paper onto the wall, with nothing else but spray cans.
Insane 51 is an Athens-based muralist. His earlier experience in graffiti led him become interested in street art, especially the visual sublime and eloquent tension of murals. The artist pioneers in 3D murals, which borrows intricately from both natural light and technology. His specialty in photorealism combined with his innovation in 3D murals renders true magic.
Many of Li-Hill’s works attempt to disect the human psyche, social dilemma, and environnemental problems brought by industrialization, information overflow, and technology of modernity. With a versatile background in fine arts, graffiti, and mural painting, Li-Hill develops a unique style featured by multi-layers, complex composition, sense of motion, and intricate details.
Kaili’s current work examines the social construct around "Youth criminality" and offers alternative perspectives through paintings and film. The works are influenced by his upbringing and experiences as a child, but also an ongoing growing understanding in psychology with research into the process of Normalization of behavior. His earlier works focus people whose lives are influenced by globalization and merging of culturals.
Pictures by Carolin Melz