Artists named for ‘The Unexpected,’ one mural set for Fayetteville

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 445 views 

Artists for the second “The Unexpected” event set for Sept. 2-11 in downtown Fort Smith have been named, but mural locations remain unknown – although one mural will be in Fayetteville.

The artist line-up, curated by JUSTKIDS, includes Alexis Diaz, Okuda San Miguel, Guido Van Helten, Jaz, Pastel, Faith 47, Bordalo II, Cyrcle and returning artists D*Face and Maser. Diaz will open The Unexpected on Aug. 26 with a mural in Fayetteville.

The inaugural murals festival was held Sept. 6-13, 2015, in downtown Fort Smith with more than seven well-known international street and urban artists painting or creating large and unique murals on several buildings in the area. The event is pitched as “The Unexpected Project” by Steve Clark, owner of Propak Logistics and active supporter of the murals effort. The project is part of 64.6 Downtown, an organization formed in January 2015 to promote downtown Fort Smith.

“We had the pleasure to bring exceptional artists last year and the impact and response of Fort Smith was very positive. We are coming back with a brand new program including a variety of Art interventions such as installations, performances, videos and murals,” curator Charlotte Dutoit, with JUSTKIDS, said in a statement.

• Alexis Diaz
Diaz is a Puerto Rican-based “urban muralist” and, according to Widewalls, is “known for his chimerical and dreamlike depictions of animals in a state of metamorphosis.” He has been a muralist since 2010.

• Okuda San Miguel
The artist was born in Spain and is known for his work in abandoned factories, former churches and city streets in his hometown of Santander, Spain.

“The artistic expression of Okuda resides somewhere in between the sheer geometrical shapes empowered by the colorful patterns and the gray bodies representing the human condition,” Widewalls noted.

• Guido Van Helten
Van Helten lives in Iceland but grew up in Melbourne, Australia, where he was arrested five times for his graffiti work. Those experiences redirected his efforts to “more professional and developed work.”

ArtistAnnoucement“Working from photographic references that are culturally specific he creates delicate vintage portraits that have a deeply sentimental quality. His work is reminiscent of watercolor paintings that are applied with a grace and sensitivity that evokes enormous feeling,” according to Widewalls.

• Jaz
Franco Fasoli, aka Jaz, is from Argentina and first began street art in 1999. Much of his recent work includes animals and most frequently, donkeys.

“Many of Jaz’s recent artworks depict fighting scenes featuring characters with human bodies and the heads of wild animals such as wolves and lions,” Widewalls reported.

• Pastel
Francisco Diaz, aka Pastel, is also from Argentina, and began his urban art career in 2001. He incorporates arrowheads, flora and other symbols into much of his work.

“Modern cities are full of ‘Non-places’ because of irregular and not inclusive master-planning. So, paintings are a kick-start for those places, working on the local identity and not acting as a tool of social gentrification,” Pastel has said of his work.

• Faith 47
The artist known as Faith 47 is from South Africa and her work has been part of events in New York City, Taipei, Paris, Montreal, London, and Tel Aviv – just to name a few cities.

“Using a wide range of media intended for gallery settings, her approach is explorative and substrate appropriate, including found and rescued objects, shrine construction, painting, projection mapping, video installation, printmaking and drawings,” noted the Faith 47 biography page. “While some people see a dilapidated building as proof that the world is purging itself of the unwanted, Faith47 is reclaiming these forgotten elements with a sensuality of her own and presenting them with a virtuoso’s skill-set.”

• Bordallo II
Arturo Bordalo is based in Lisbon and is known for his use of junk to create art installations that typically look like animals.

“Although each piece is comprised of trash, the final product can’t be further away from it – forming various animals that are directly affected by the junk used to create the actual work, the artist sends a message of the danger of pollution,” noted Widewalls.

• Cyrcle
Cyrcle is American artists David Leavitt and David Torres. Leavitt is also known as Davey Detail, and Torres is also known as Rabi. The duo formed in Los Angeles in 2010.

According to Widewalls, their art “focuses on life, duality, and the human condition combined with the aesthetic consideration of form, typeface, color, and balance, which is what creates their ‘signature’ style.”

• D*Face
Dean Stockton, aka D*Face, is a returning muralist to The Unexpected. Born in London, he is best known for his pop culture work, and coined the term “aPOPcalyptic” to describe his art.

“Working with a variety of mediums and techniques, DFace uses a family of dysfunctional characters to ridicule and hold to ransom all that falls into their grasp – a welcome jolt of subversion in today’s media-saturated environment. His aim is to encourage the public not just to ‘see’, but to look at what surrounds them and their lives, reflecting our increasingly bizarre fascination with celebrity culture, fame, consumerism, and materialism,” according to Widewalls.

• Maser
Originally from Ireland and now living in the United States, Maser is also a returning artist for The Unexpected. He began his street and urban art work in Dublin, and quickly grew to be one of the more popular artists in Europe – to include being one of just 11 international artists selected to participate in a film that accompanied U2’s “Songs of Innocence” album.

An opening celebration is set for Sept. 1 at the Windgate Art and Design on the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith campus with the opening of Maser’s “Argon” installation. According to a statement from The Unexpected, Maser’s work is an “immersive sensory exhibit where visitors are encouraged to become part of the three dimensional canvas.” The installation is sponsored by the UAFS Foundation and in collaboration with the UAFS Chancellor’s Coalition for the Visual Arts.

“We love having the chance to invite the community to campus and to give people the opportunity to see what a wonderful facility we have in Windgate Art & Design, thanks to the generous gift from the Windgate Charitable Foundation,” Mary Lackie, vice chancellor for University Advancement, said in the statement. “Hosting an artist installation on campus affords our faculty and students the opportunity to work and engage with an internationally known artist. This is the kind of value-added experience that we want to be able to provide for our students.”

As it did in 2015, The Unexpected will include a mural designed and created by the UAFS art department and students. Also, there are plans for a collaborative mural created by faculty and students at Northside and Southside High Schools in Fort Smith.

Sponsors for the 2016 mural project are: ArcBest, Arvest, BHC Insurance, Breeden Dodge, First National Bank, Fort Smith A&P, Ghan and Cooper Commercial Properties, Hanna Oil and Gas, Melanie Radcliff, CPA Inc., Mercy, OG&E, OK Foods, Penny Packard, Propak Corp, The Pruitt Family, Rheem, Slim Chickens, Sparks, UAFS Foundation in cooperation with the UAFS Chancellor’s Coalition for the Visual Arts, and Zero Mountain.

“We are pleased to continue to bring innovative works to Arkansas and to introduce the state to new urban contemporary artists,” Event Organizer Claire Kolberg said in a statement. “Our continued partnership with UAFS and the community has had a positive impact by furthering our commitment to establishing creative spaces in Arkansas.”