With so many great artistic achievements and exciting developments in the world of art in 2015, it definitely wasn’t easy to decide which artist should be awarded Artist of the Year title. Considering various criteria from the originality of artistic approach to the level of commitment and productiveness, we have decided that Artist of the Year should be the one with the most prolific year behind him/her. After numerous debates, we can proudly announce that our choice fell on Claudia Walde aka MadC. Starting as a graffiti writer in her teens this girl sprayed her way to the very top of the male-dominated street art scene. From her ambitious 700 Wall that remains one of the largest murals created by a single artist to recent large-scale public pieces, studio works, and meticulous research projects MadC constantly grows as an artist and her success comes as a result of her hard work and devotion to what she loves best. The year 2015 has been truly successful for Claudia Walde who had four solo shows, participated in numerous group exhibitions and street art projects, painted a line of new murals and published her latest book. In the following paragraphs, we will highlight some of her greatest achievements over the last twelve months and see why she was the best choice for our Artist of the Year title…
Editors’ Tip: Mural XXL
For this spectacular volume, Claudia Walde, whose own recent 1,800-square-foot, brilliantly colored mural on the Alte Messe, Leipzig, was created in just one grueling week of work, has selected more than 200 of the best XXL mural works from around the world and profiled thirty artists who pioneered this trend. Working in dangerous conditions, hundreds of yards above the ground, yet always keenly aware of the viewer’s perspective from street level, these new street muralists are as fearless and technically skilled as they are brilliant and creative. With exclusive commentary from the practitioners as well as detailed information about their planning, methods, challenges, and inspirations, Mural XXL also includes a map identifying exciting murals around the world.
MadC’s solo show at 44309 Street Art Gallery, Dortmund in January was the first exhibition for the artist in 2015. In the exhibition titled Night and Day MadC presented new paintings and LED installations, exploring the relationship between overlapping colors, light, and calligraphic movements. Working in her signature style of multilayered brush strokes MadC created works on black and white surfaces, investigating the notions of depth and transparency along with various effects artworks have, depending on the intensity of light they are viewed in. The series of successful solo exhibitions continued in May at New York-based gallery Wallworks. In New York, the artist presented twenty of her small format canvases in an exhibition fittingly titled Bits and Pieces. The visitors of the Wallworks gallery had an exclusive opportunity to enjoy MadC‘s abstracted graffiti gestures in small formats, something that is rarely seen in the oeuvre of German artist known for her grand projects. In October, MadC traveled to London for her exhibition Characters at Pure Evil gallery. Centering on the theme of characters in form of symbols and letters the exhibition revisited some of her best works created over the course of last nineteen years. The exhibition was also marked by the release of her new book MuralXXL. A month later, Galerie Brugier-Rigail in Paris hosted MadC’s show The Bright Side of Life which was only a teaser to the exciting solo show taking place at the same venue in March, 2016.
Perhaps the most significant project of the year was the book MuralXXL that after two years of tireless work saw the light of day. The book was published by Thames & Hudson in the UK and the US, and it also has editions in French and German. From Paris to Johannesburg the book follows the stories of more than 200 large-scale murals created by world’s leading street and urban artists. This is probably one of the most comprehensive projects of its kind and it is truly an impressive endeavor. More than thirty artists were featured in the book that provides precious insight into their artistic processes and techniques, along with challenges they are facing while painting on the grand surfaces. This is the third book dedicated to street art and graffiti culture by MadC and if you’re interested in finding out how much hard work it took to compile the information we encourage you to check out Part II of MadC’s exclusive chronicles for Widewalls.
When MadC wasn’t busy exhibiting her works at galleries or working on her book she was on the streets doing what she does best – creating stunning murals. It is hard to keep track of all her public pieces, so we will pick our favorites here. In May, while visiting New York for her Bits and Pieces exhibition, MadC completed a beautiful collaborative piece with the artist Crash. The same month in Vitry, Paris she painted a large-scale wall, creating an impressive piece that found itself on our list of top 100 murals of the past two years. This summer MadC also painted three new murals in Dortmund and she described this process in the first part of her diary. MadC also shared her Dulwich adventures with us regarding the painting of the mural for Dulwich Outdoor Gallery. Prior to the show at Pure Evil gallery, MadC worked on a mural inspired by the Old Master painting, making an abstract version of Venetia, Lady Digby, on her Deathbed by Sir Anthony van Dyck.
If you thought that the list of amazing projects ends here you are definitely wrong. In March, Claudia Walde participated in Women’s Forum Street Art Project that seeks to support women street artists and increase awareness of their work, considering the fact that female street artists today enjoy far less recognition than their male peers. For the occasion, MadC created a mural titled She Rocks The Streets and the painting of the mural was accompanied by Google Street Art feature on MadC’s work. In addition, MadC collaborated with Asker Farvehandel association in Norway, painting their Russ busses with Tes and CanTwo. MadC also exhibited her works in numerous group exhibitions and she spent a week in Morocco as part of her residency with Jardin Rouge foundation, along with Ceet, Hendrik „ECB“ Beikirch, Reso, Kashink, and Michael Nock. With breathtaking murals, amazing exhibitions, and impressive projects MadC truly rocked the world of street and urban art and we are definitely looking forward to her new projects in 2016!
Featured images: MadC portrait via Flickr; MadC - 1747, detail (Courtesy of Kolly Gallery); Characters and Night and Day Exhibitions (Photo credit Marco Prosch); MuralXXL Book (Courtesy of the artist); Dulwich mural (Photo credit Marco Prosch); Mural with Crash (Courtesy of the artist); Mural in Dortmund - In progress shots (Photo credit Marco Prosch); Mural in Vitry, Paris (Courtesy of the artist); She Rocks the Streets (Courtesy of the artist); Jurassic Park Bus (Courtesy of the artist)