2015 in Words of Artists and Art Professionals - Most Popular Widewalls Interviews of the Year

December 28, 2015

Around us, there are so many wonderful artists who continue to make great art every day, and they’ve been doing it for years. We can’t help but wonder: what inspires them? We walk in the world’s greatest art galleries and we’re stunned by all those amazing exhibitions, one after another, year after year, and so we just really wanna know: what is their secret? At a time of inevitable shifts and changes, they have also mastered the art of survival, establishing a priceless and an impressive legacy. Over the course of the year (almost) behind us, we were lucky to have been able to ask these questions and to get to know some of today’s most influential artists and art professional around the globe. Through podcasts and written interviews, we learned a lot about urban and contemporary art today, the way it works and the way it’s headed, in the wise words of the very people who helped build them over the years.

From the world’s most talented artists to gallery owners, art advisors, curators and fair directors, we bring you the best interviews of 2015, so scroll down to check them out.

Dominique Levy, Our Fair Lady

Dominique Lévy is one of the most influencing women in the world of art – and all that at the age of just 48. Lévy, a gallerist, advisor, and collector, founded Dominique Lévy Gallery in January 2013. She has founded the Private Sales department at Christie’s, was its International Director from 1999 to 2003, and in 2005, Lévy co-founded L&M Arts in New York and Los Angeles. Today, Dominique Lévy Gallery has its offices in New York, London, and Geneva, and it is specialized in twentieth-century European and American art, with a program that explores global tendencies in modern and contemporary art through curated exhibitions, original scholarship, and new publications.

Dominique Lévy talked about her role on the art market, her gallery’s continuous participation at the world’s largest fair, Art Basel, and why “the more the merrier” is good for the private auction sales. Click here to read our chat!

Shepard Fairey, The Legend

Known for giving HOPE, for taking over of the most unapproachable of walls, the ultimate paster, printmaker, image inventor and influencer, Shepard Fairey was heading to Detroit for his first appearance in the (ex-) Automobile city after a decade. These 10 years have marked both Fairey’s artistic path and Detroit’s urban development, and when the two meet – we cannot expect anything other than a creative extravaganza. For the show, a part of the Printed Matters series, the celebrated artist revisited some of his most memorable moments in print, while parallely creating the biggest mural in his career in the section of the exhibition called Public Matter. With a little help from our friends at Library Street Collective, a progressive gallery from Motown, we got Mr. Fairey to answer a few questions in an exclusive interview, revealing his feelings, thoughts and plans regarding the Detroit exhibitions, as well as hint about the mural. Well, sort of a hint.

We enjoyed this short and sweet conversation, as we trust you will too! Click here!

Jonathan LeVine - On Street Art and NYC

Exactly one year ago, I wrote my first piece dealing with a certain aspect of Contemporary Art. I had asked myself ‘What is Street Art?’ Namely, was it a subculture, an art movement or maybe a cultural phenomenon par excellance which had its own internal laws of functioning? But, let us back up a bit. We talked to Jonathan LeVine, a notable art professional from New York, founder of Jonathan LeVine Gallery and, what is most important, a witness of occurrences which just might hold the key for, not only answering questions I had, but helping understand those very questions. The next important instance you must take into consideration is the fact that this podcast episode started as part of Widewalls’ Art Travel series but ended up being something different and, I have to add, much more important…

What was it like in the cradle of graffiti and street art, NYC, back in its early days? Where is its scene now? How is the street art market doing? What to see in New York today? It is a brilliant interview. Make sure you don’t miss it.

The Art and Craft of MadC

Over the years, MadC’s transformation from a young aspiring graffiti writer, through her work on researching the Street Art culture and, finally, to the present day when she is conquering the stage of studio work and gallery spaces represents a timeline packed with exciting events. But, more importantly, it is a composition of important junctions which serve to build an identity of a creative individual determined to explore new horizons of artistic expression as well as personal growth. Apart from everything she has achieved, we had a chance and an honor to talk about numerous exciting projects which lie on the path in front of her… 2015 will show a number of solo exhibitions, including the ongoing Bits and Pieces at gallery Wallworks in New York, there are so many walls which are waiting for the touch of MadC’s spraycan and paintbrush and, of course, the publishing of her latest book devoted to the culture of Street Art…

But, we are not going to spoil the conversation for you anymore, we invite you to listen to the soothing voice of MadC here.

The Poetry of Walls by Borondo

Spanish artist Borondo is perhaps one of the most fascinating and innovative artists on the scene today. His work is constantly evolving and taking many shapes and forms. From his original glass scratching method to fire experiments, astonishing large-scale murals and paintings executed on any material except canvas, Borondo’s artworks are always surprisingly original. This dedication to artistic experiments is what certainly brought international recognition to the artist. There are several layers in Borondo’s work and each artistic endeavor requires a different approach. In this interview, Borondo talks about the challenges he faces as the artist daily, especially now when his attention is divided between the studio works, mural painting, and experimental street art projects.

What is the difference between graffiti, street art, and contemporary muralism? Borondo certainly likes to underline this difference and if you want to find out why, you should definitely listen to this talk.

Tangible Illusions of Kate MccGwire

A while ago, I had the opportunity to experience Kate MccGwire’s work personally and I use the word ‘experience’ consciously. Although her art was something I was familiar with, I had never seen anything of hers until that one gallery day in the Belgian capital. Just art browsing, I stumbled upon a very wonderful exhibition at La Galerie Particuliere inspired by the Márquez’ masterpiece novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. By chance, I had just read a book some months before that moment and as the somewhat chaotic, romantic and mystical fable was still unraveling in my mind, there it was – a group exhibition made to answer all of my issues about it. Finally, I’ve decided I’m not a Márquez fan, but I got something else to go crazy over – Kate MccGwire feather sculpture. Immediately I felt the need to stroke the odd being trapped under the perfect glass arcade, a weird, preserved thing that shouldn’t exist at all. It belonged inside a curiosity cabinet, along with other strange angelic monsters, it was an artificial interpretation of something – other. Ever since, I have been following Kate MccGwire’s work and have been looking forward to seeing it again.

So, you can imagine my exaltation about the chance to interview the artist whose work I love. In this edition of Widewalls podcast, I finally got the chance to ask Kate about her work, her beginnings and her creative process. Listen to it here!

To The Future and Back with The London Police

We were lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, because none other than The London Police had the opening of their solo exhibition at Galo Art Gallery in Turin, Italy, entitled Torino Days, Barolo Knights. The spectacular works by Chaz Barrison and Bob Gibson are even more so when seen in person – their impeccable execution and trademark futuristic characters really leave you breathless. At Galo Art Gallery, there was a variety of works on canvas and paper, as well as a special piece dedicated to Galo himself, as you can see from our images in slider. These guys were an absolute marvel to talk to, and we thank them for their time once again.

While in Turin, the two British fellows, or English geezers as they like to refer to themselves, painted a mural too, and also talked to our editor Ana B.K. about it and.. well, lots of other things. I really don’t wanna spoil anything for you, as I think you should definitely hear this conversation out. I promise – you won’t regret it.

Shock Artist Cleon Peterson

Cleon Peterson is an American contemporary artist born in Seattle, schooled to be a graphic designer and an illustrator, and a teller of dystopian stories in his own right. His artworks, usually black and white, with occasional splashes of red as the pain color of war, ooze with terror and killings while exploring different aspects of man’s behaviour and the dark side of the human consciousness. His latest exhibition Poison, ending soon at Library Street Collective in Detroit, focuses on vengeance as a destructive social impulse leading to the scenes of bloodshed and brutality.

When we look at the haunting artworks of Cleon Peterson, we realise that the concept behind them roots in violence, anger, conflicts, vengeance, the everlasting fight between the privileged and the oppressed, the powerful and the weak. Because, look closely: all those submissive shadowy figures seem to give no resistance whatsoever, they’ve given in and are simply there to accomplish their task of absorbing pain and suffering. However, as you will find out after you’ve read the conversation, it’s not about the act of power per se, it’s about how it’s manifested.

Book Talk with Ingrid Beazley

All the classical art lovers from London know well what the Dulwich Picture Gallery is. But all the graffiti and street art lovers know that this is not only the first ever purpose-built public gallery. It is also the birthplace of one of the most interesting projects in London in the past years, connecting street art with the classical fine art. Entitled simply Street Art, Fine Art, the project emerged back in 2013, reinventing the entire approach to the classical pieces, in numerous reinterpretations by world’s most famous street artists Widewalls followed up on last year. Much more recently, at the end of June to be exact, the project culminated with another exhibition entitled Street Art, Book Art, which follows the publication of Street Art, Fine Art of 2014, and the Dulwich Outdoor Gallery project. Curator of the exhibition, Ingrid Beazley, commissioned a series of art books with unique covers, executed by 15 of the original 17 artists that have participated in the project. The result was not only an exhibition, but a much more lasting legacy.

In the wake of the exhibition opening and the project completion, we’ve talked to Ms. Ingrid Beazley about the entire project, the book exhibition and street art – fine art relationship.

The Silent Words of Filippo Minelli

Using photography and video to document his performances and installations, artist Filippo Minelli makes a visual statement on the world we live in. His unique and bold urban interventions created in almost every part of the planet play with the notions of contextualization in a previously unseen, often unauthorized way. For over eight years now, the artist has been dealing with the vast topics of politics, communication, architecture and the ways they influence each other in simple, yet complex ways. His determined artistic expression not only led him to sometimes dangerous parts of the world, but also made him question the very core of the problems causing the tension he would encounter. Whether it’s the CTRL + ALT + DELETE intervention at the Kalandia checkpoint between Israel and Palestine, the Google branding of, well, everything in France, Italy, China or Mongolia, or the ongoing project called Contradictions, which sees writings like Flickr or YouTube in technology-free places like Cambodia or Vietnam, it is clear that Filippo Minelli isn’t just your regular visual artist and that his art poses more and more questions as it goes along.

We had the opportunity to talk to Filippo Minelli about this and his other visual concepts, an inspiration behind his work and the exciting future projects. Enjoy our conversation and check out the works of one of the most creative Italian artists of today.

All images used with permission of their respective owners.

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