Portuguese artist Add Fuel and British artist Pref are among the seven artists named for the fourth year of the The Unexpected festival to be held primarily in downtown Fort Smith later this month.
64.6 Downtown — a nonprofit funded and created by Propak owner Steve Clark — has organized the festival since 2015. This year’s event is set for Oct. 22-28. The Unexpected was the 2017 Henry Award winner for Community Tourism Development and is designed “to bring high-quality urban and contemporary art to Arkansas alongside their curatorial partner, the international creative house, Justkids.” Justkids is a creative house that conceives and produces art projects internationally.
This year the festival will also include the Unexpected Outlier Series will bring several musical acts to downtown Fort Smith, including Backroad Anthem and Trout Fishing in America. According to 64.6 Downtown, the series will include “augmented activities expanding on art, music, and thought to create an enhanced cultural experience in downtown Fort Smith.” The music is set for Oct. 26-27.
The most high-profile part of The Unexpected are the large murals painted on the side of downtown Fort Smith buildings, and large art installations in public spaces. Following are the artists 64.6 Downtown made public Friday via Facebook. Details about what the artists will do and where is expected to be provided later this week.
• Alexis Diaz
Diaz is a Puerto Rican painter and urban muralist, “known for his chimerical and dreamlike depictions of animals in a state of metamorphosis,” according to Widewalls. Diaz created the “owl” mural in downtown Fayetteville.
Pref is British street artist Peter Preffington.
“Using a range of modern and traditional typefaces, he visualizes popular sayings and expressions in his distinct overlapping style. While these typography murals might seem difficult to decipher at first, it’s this unique style that helps draw the viewer in,” according to My Modern Met.
• Cody Hudson
Hudson is a Chicago-based artist who, according to his website, is now in Amsterdam, Netherlands, as part of an art show with 15 international artists
According to Artspace, Hudson is a multimedia artist, and his “use of graphic line work and a palette of bright colors have coalesced to create a body of paintings that reference his narrative of longing and hopefulness while also finding context within contemporary abstract painting.”
• Ana Maria
Ana Maria is originally from Puerto Rico and has been affiliated with The Unexpected from the first year. Her work utilizes an interpretive storytelling style with different dimensions of life and time as well as characters with mixed phenotypes — animal, mechanical, and human. She has participated in both Unexpected festivals so far and decided to relocate from Houston to Fort Smith based off her first year’s experience with the murals project. She opened an art school in Fort Smith in February 2017.
• Yatika Fields
Fields, is a painter and muralist from Oklahoma who now lives in Tulsa in conjunction with the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.
“His compositions are often spontaneous and left open for interpretation so that multiple stories can be drawn from them. His kaleidoscopic imagery, with its dynamic pop, symbolism and culture aesthetic, reference both historical and contemporary themes- tied together with traditional affinity but provoked by general concerns of world differences,” according to Fields’ website.
• Add Fuel
Add Fuel is Portuguese visual artist and illustrator Diogo Machado. According to his website, “he first created a dark yet exuberant visual universe populated by a cast of slimy, eccentric and joyful creatures, influenced by a variety of interests ranging from video games to comics, animation, sci-fi, low-budget B films, designer toys, and urban visual culture.”
Buffalo is Fort Smith artist Nate Meyers, who also is a designer, builder and fabricator. He has 10 years of experience in concrete construction work. Meyers has shown at galleries in Colorado and Arkansas where’s he’s also painted murals. He most recently founded Bastion Gallery, Fort Smith’s only fine art gallery, according to information provided by 64.6 Downtown.