Street Art Tour with Artscape Saga and GIBCA
Author: Fredrik Goldhahn "Sticks & Spoons"
Hunting for Street Art is one of our biggest interests, so when Artscape and Gothenburg International Biennial for Contemporary Arts, GIBCA announced on their Facebook pages that they were going to do four free bus tours together (even including lunch and snacks!) to get to know the Artscape Saga Project better, with pit stops for Art Exhibitions and Museum visits, that was of course a no-brainer! Unfourtanly, Spoons could't attend to more then one, but what a wonderful opportunity to see all this beautiful Street Art and Art and the tour was awesome!
Street Art by Captain Kris, New Zealand
What is Artscape and the Artscape Saga Project?
Artscape is a nonprofit association that started 2014 with a mission to make "Art Available for Everyone to see in Public Spaces and Cityscapes".
Successful years of working toward making Street Art and Mural Paintings accepted in the public domains and appriciated by a wider audience followed, with Street Art Festivals and Street Art Projects in Malmö 2014 and 2015.
In 2016 it was Gotheburg's turn to get an injection of colorful Street Art and Murals. The region Värmland was up next in 2017 with Artscape's most advanced and ambitious Street Art summit to date.
The "White Moose Project" gathered 29 worldwide famous and local artists and resulted in 32 pieces of Street Art spread over 12 municipalities!
2019 Artscape took their work of spreading Art in the public space to the next level with no less then two large scale Street Art Projects; Artscape Saga and Artscape Street Art Festival in Ljusdal.
There's no suprise that Artscape in just five years have become one of the leading organisations in the world for urban and contemporary Art Projects - yet it's an impressive accomplishment!
Artscape Saga is a Street Art Project with inspiration sprung from Sagas, Folklore, Tales and Myths from all over the World. The brilliance of 26 Street Art Artists created 32 Street Art pieces and wonderful murals during 3 weeks in 12 municipalities to Gothenburg in Sweden, making the project one of the largest urban contemporary art projects in the world.
Street Art in Partille
The first Mural of our Street Art Tour was "Mother Earth" by Mural Painter Mona Caron from Schweiz. It's an interpreted saga by Artscape made from several Mother Earth myths from different parts of the world, with a natural connection to the Saga Projects playfully and investigatory attitude that folk tales are evolving and ever changing being told by generations.
Artscape not only scouted walls to paint for this project; they also choosed the sagas, tales and folklore myths to be the inspiration for the artists. Consciously, they also choosed the artist for each theme, often giving them a theme they wasn't familiar with just to push the artists imagination and inspiration for their art piece.
But a lot of times, also the surrounding environment and especially the people, turned out being a source of inspiration.
Detailed portraits on the Dandelions root
Mona Caron paints exclusively with brush which made this masterpiece of a Mural take about two weeks to finish. During that time the residents became a daily element in the artists work, coming and going, staying for a chat or bringing food or coffee.
That inspired Mona to give the Wall Art an additional tribute to the residents of the house! We see them lifelikely portrayed, marching with a banner saying "Growing Together", on the Dandelions root!
Mona Caron's Street Art and Mural Painting style otherwise almost exclusively include flowers. A lot of flowers! Colorful weeds, flowers and nature with an underlaying message of action, taking climate change seriously and the concern about our environment and future.
So her doing "Mother Nature" for the Artscape Saga Project was more then Natural!
Largest Mural Painting in Scandinavia
Two houses from Mother Nature Mural in Partille you'll find Scandinavias largest Mural and Street Art up to date; Revontulet by Australian Mural Artist Smug aka Sam Bates.
The inspiration is the finnish saga about how Aurora Borealis; or the Northern Lights, once were created. And actually Revontulet is the finnish word for the phenomena.
This Mural is a perfect example where Artscape choosed an Artist taking on an unknown saga or tale; adding an exiting challenge and getting a completely different angle on the interpretation when creating!
However, Australia have their own version of the phenomena called Aurora Australis so probably Smug had some awareness of this type of Aurora as well.
Smug is truly a world famous Mural Painter and one cool thing is that he many times include friends or even himself in his work.
So in the Artwork in Partille we can see one of his good friends; Street Artist and Sign Maker Ciarán Glöbel (Check out Ciarán Glöbel on Instagram - right now there's a Video Pod Cast with Sam "Smug" Bates linked in the bio!) as one of the wanderers that Revontulet saves during the storm when the Northern Lights is created in the finnish myth.
RELATED BLOG POST: "Skin and Bone" - an art exhibition of Sam Bates aka Smug
Smug have an exceptional talent for details. His lifelike Street Art, the effect of lights in the Art and the ability to make even the smallest of details stand out on his big murals, have made him respected throughout the Street Art World.
His work often include the faces of family and friends, birds, animals and skulls. Smug is one of our personal favourite Street Artists and Mural Painters and it's amazing to see his work up-close!
Co-Creating Art and Street Art Workshops
In every municipalitie Artscapes Street Artists make Murals, they also do work shops or co-create together with the people living on the location. It can be a "try street art" work shop together or by gathering ideas for an art piece performed by the artist.
In Partille the Malmö-based street artist Elina Metso (Check out her Instagram!) did the street art painting above with the inspiration from the locals when asking what they thought of when hearing about "sagas and tales". Of course dragons and caves! And reading books!
On the tour Torbjörn from Artscape talked about all the Mural Paintings, the inspiration behind the art and interesting facts about the artists and their contribution to Artscape Saga. Inspiring to hear about their work and the Street Artists!
Detail from the Artscape Saga Co-created Street Art in Partille
Street Art in Mölnlycke
After Partille we headed for Mölnlycke, to see the amazing art of Captain Kris from New Zealand. His piece was inspired by the West African tale about the Frog and the Mouse that became friends...with a little mishap when they went home to the frog.
Captain Kris artwork is a mix of New School, Cartoon-ish and with an uplifting sense of humour and super hero vibes. You should definitely check him out.
GIBCA Exhibition Ollio
The other part of the orginizers of the Street Art Tour was GIBCA; Gothenburg International Biennial for Contemporary Arts.
GIBCA is a project in contemporary art that occurs every two years in Gothenburg. Since its inception in 2001, GIBCA has established itself as one of Sweden's largest art events and is regarded internationally as one of the young, exciting biennials in Europe.
The 2019 Biennale's title, "Part of the Labyrinth", is borrowed from Danish poet Inger Christensen's response to Descartes axiom "I think, thus I am" from 1637: "I think, / thus I am part / of the maze" (from Letter in April , 1979).
You can read more about GIBCA and "Part of the Labyrinth" here!
The style above is typical and a signature style of the Street Art of Ollio
One of many Exhibitions in the GIBCA Program and schedule was the one we visited next; Artist Ollio's Exhibition in Mölnlycke Culture House.
Ollio, or Jonathan Josefsson, began his artistic career as a Graffiti artist. A while he lived in Barcelona. The official explenation was to study spanish but he did a lot of graffiti in the Catalonian city. When coming home he went to Art School for Textiles where he learned a lot of the creative process.
When the punishment for making illegal graffiti was going from small fines to accusement of damaging official buildings and even prison, Ollio ended with Street Art for a while, concentrating on school. But two schoolarships from Art School was a springboard to a new situation; it made him a respected artist with exhibitions and ordered art for hospitals, schools and public institutions and with that also a huge amount of requests making Graffiti on legal walls followed.
Luckily, we have a lot of his Art on the Streets in Gothenburg due to that. Graffiti and creating his Art in a "flow" is still one of his trademarks. The Street Art especially, always leave me standing for a long time looking at all the details.
Besides to Street Art and his "ordinary" artworks, Ollio also do tufted carpets(!) which he learned at Art School for Textile and the combination of expressions to his colorful style is really a great one.
When Ollio does an Exhibition he almost always also included a work of art made on a wall and in Mölnlycke it was a big one, representing his unique style really well.
Jonathan "Ollio" Josefsson's GIBAC Labyrinth Artwork at Mölnlycke Culture House
Street Art in Mölndal
After the Ollio Exhibition, we embarked the bus and headed for Mölndal and found this fantastic Mural telling the Irish Myth of Tir na nÓg - the Gods Land of Eternal Youth.
Street Artist James Bullough from USA have made a Mural Painting inspired by Niahm Chinn Óir, which means Niahm with the Golden Hair, the daughter to the King of Tir na nÓg. She left her immortal home for Olsin, an Irish poet that had captivated her with his song of love, bringing him back to her realms. His longing for the green island became to strong though so Niahm let him borrow her horse. When the horse returned alone, Niahm set away to look for Olsin. She still does...
The 3D Street Art effects on the Mural is amazing, showing James' quality of artistery so well. James Bullough do a lot of layers in his art, often with painted teared surfaces showing an ability to do extremely detailed and realistic art. Love it!
Last Mural of our Street Art Tour was Brazilian Artist Thiago Mazza's huge mural with the inspiration from a tale that have multiple origins, about how the finch got his colors. This saga is one from Belgium about patience and waiting.
In the beginning, all birds were grey. After a rain when they looked really colorless, the King of Birds decided to bring some color to his friends when seeing a rainbow. He was going to give them a color from the rainbow and all of a sudden the birds started to push and shove, to get their favourite colors. When The King of Birds had finisged; a finch still stood back in the line, waiting for his turn...but the rainbow was gone. The Bird King then decided to bring all the birds back and taking a little color from each and every one of them, giving them to the finch.
One of Thiago Mazza's skills is to capture light and shadows which is shown especially in the leafs of the Wall Painting. The artist was amazed by the size of the wall but managed to do an excellent job with just brush and no spray paint!
Birds and djungle is naturally a recurrant subject in Thiago Mazza's beautiful Art Works, so the saga about the finch was a suitable one for this Street Artist to take on, but you should really have a look at more of his work online!
GIBCA Exhibition Amalia Bille
We ended our Mural and Art Tour at Mölndal Stadsmuseum and the GIBCA Exhibition of Amalia Bille. The Artist had some time between Exhibitions actually (busy schedule!) to talk about her work which was interesting.
Amalia's exhibition contained a series of paintings she made on an event where people could drop-in letting her paint their faces for about 2 minutes per session; a brief meeting resulting in art with exiting deepth. Later, she used this inspiration to create sculptures of faces in ceremic.
And that ended a really interesting day with Artscape and GIBCA. Hope they do this kind of trip one more time, I'll be sure to attend the remaining three that time!
Paintings and Faces in Amalia Bille's GIBCA Exhibition "Möten och Speglingar"
Sticks & Spoons Artscape Saga Tour
This post is a part of Sticks & Spoons "Artscape Saga Tour" series of posts. You can read each part as they are, but of course we would love if you read them as a book; on our site, on Food and Travel Guides and who-know-else-where!
Table of content "Artscape Saga Tour"
Feel free to share! And just give us a shout if you want us to do a Guest Blog Post or would like to make a collaboration with us. That would be awesome!
Happy Street Art Hunting Everyone!
Detail from Mona Caron's Mural Art "Mother Earth" in Partille
This post was made with inspiration from the Street Artists and their sites, the books Artscape Saga (ISBN 978-91-639-9459-3) and Ollio "Monster och Mönster" (ISBN 978-91-85639-76-2), the sights and talks on The Tour, as well as the Artscape site and GIBCA site