The realization of certain artworks often depends on the amount of support the artists receive. This especially relates to large-scale installations in public space, so any structure which tends to enable the production of the same is more than valuable.
Such is the example of Justkids, a creative organization that produces and promotes extensive art projects on an international scale. It was founded by Charlotte Dutoit in 2014, with the aim to make a solid platform for public art, artist residencies programs and brand collaborations.
For the sixth year, Justkids offered a rich street art program conducted in a collaboration with Life is Beautiful Music & Art Festival. Los Angeles-based artist Luke Pelletier released the official poster for Life is Beautiful’s 2018 edition, and a number of impressive murals and wall installations from different renowned artists were presented throughout eighteen city blocks of Las Vegas.
In order to bring festival closer to you, we decided to present works of eight artists who have enriched the neighborhoods of the Nevada capital.
Featured images: Bordalo II - Lion; Joakim Ojanen mural. All images are courtesy of the artists and Justkids.
The first on our list is Marquis Lewis, better known as Retna. For more than two decades, this prolific urban and graffiti artist has been producing distinct, unique and bold works based on his interest in calligraphy.
For this edition of Justkids, Retna created a huge metallic mural located between Ogden and 7th street. The work itself is an embodiment of his recognizable and extraordinary visual language and it is practically a dedication to the Las Vegas community. Charlotte Dutoit, Justkids curator explained:
RETNA’s mural for Life is Beautiful aspires for a future, rooted in the myth of the past, featuring a quote of Crazy Horse, Chief of The Oglala Lakota: I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again.
Featured image: Retna mural. Courtesy of the artist and Justkids.
Following up is the iconic French graffiti artist André Saraiva, who gained fame in the late 1980s while using the moniker Mr. A. Throughout his career, a number of almost three thousand cartoonish winking smiley face characters were painted by this individual.
Saraiva produced a great number of interventions in alleys and corners all over Downtown Las Vegas. Alongside those works, he introduced The Empty Club, an installation consisting of a lonely rotating disco ball floating in the middle of the empty mirrored room of a former gas station.
Featured images: André Saraiva installations and mural. Courtesy of the artist and Justkids.
Lakwena is a prolific street artist who managed to establish a precise text-based aesthetic. She explores the conventions of traditional sign-writing and contemporary graphic design by focusing on the meaning of words in a contemporary context of worship and myth-making.
For Justkids and Life is Beaituful, Lakwena released her biggest mural project on a 120 feet long wall. She also produced a dazzling and eclectic visual identity for this year’s music lineup poster, signage, and visual ID.
Featured image: Lakwena mural. Courtesy of the artist and Justkids.
Artur Bordalo is a Portuguese activist and ecologic artist who is better known under the name Bordalo II. He is known for colorful figurative works are which are often made of recycled materials and are dealing with environmentalist issues.
An ambitious 10,000 square feet installation entitled Wild Wild Waste was produced by this creative for Justkids. It is made entirely of trash and is on display in a former 50’s Motel. By creating a zoo parody, the artist tends to question the human waste production and the commodification of animal habitats.
Featured images: Bordalo II - The Whale, The Lion, The Penguins. Courtesy of the artist and Justkids.
London-based Lithuanian artist Egle Zvirblyte is primarily an illustrator which explains the cartoonish and colorful aesthetic. She is apparently interested in creating boldly-shaped and rather witty works based on the artist’s articulation of everyday interactions and situations.
For Justkids and Life is Beautiful, Zvirblyte produced a bright and lucid mural fulfilled with eccentric figures caught in a narrative about the creation process, vulnerability, desire, and female empowerment followed by an intriguing message: I slowly melt into eternity.
Featured image: Egle Zvirblyte mural. Courtesy of the artist and Justkids.
The work of Spanish graffiti artist Sebastián Velasco can aesthetically be characterized as contemporary figurative painting. He employs a variety of themes and techniques and produces socially charged narratives.
The piece Velasco produced is actually his first also mural in the USA; it is an exceptional ninety-degree diptych which reflects on the Las Vegas nightlife mythology, the city lights, as well as its unique street culture and architecture.
Featured images: Sebastian Velasco - Corner. Courtesy of the artist and Justkids.
The next artist on our list is Raul Oprea, a Romanian contemporary painter, muralist and illustrator better known under the pseudonym Saddo. He was the founding member of one of the first Romanian street art groups titled The Playground. Throughout the years, Saddo created a specific visual language largely inspired by religion and mythology through which he questions major themes of death, violence war and mortality.
Just like Sebastian Velasco, Saddo did his first mural in the USA as well but was focused on combining different elements from naive illustrations, Eastern Europe folklore, comics, and hip-hop culture.
Featured image: Saddo mural. Courtesy of the artist and Justkids.
The last on our list is a prolific American graffiti master called Aware. He started out by tagging his names on trains in order to express his existence and to develop a recognizable aesthetic. Aware is an activist and is closely related with the Indecline crew, so the majority of his works are politically charged and are based on the promotion of awareness.
The mural that Aware produced for Justkids is representing the multiple dimensions of American society; it is deep, colorful and bold and is a contribution to his hometown.
Featured image: Aware mural. Courtesy of the artist and Justkids.
New York City, United States of America