This year, the city of Aalborg, Denmark saw the fifth edition of the Out in the Open mural project, which provided a truly amazing street art experience. Over the course of five years, the festival has enriched the landscape of the city with a range of murals created by some of the world’s most recognized street artists out there. In this way, KIRK Gallery, which initiated the project in 2014, sought to open up the world of street art to a much wider audience, while acknowledging the responsibility that comes with making art in the public.
Out In The Open 2019 brought together Vhils, Seth Globepainter, Telmo Miel, Oliver Vernon, Fintan Magee, Joram Roukes and Nils Westergard.
Take a look at the amazing works they have created!
Featured image: Oliver Vernon, Aalborg (detail). All the images courtesy of Out in the Open Festival.
Portuguese visual artist, Vhils has been developing his Scratching the Surface project since 2007, in nearly 90 locations in over 30 countries around the world, spanning a variety of contexts. These works are carved onto the surfaces of walls in chiseled strokes, with the exposed layers providing the necessary contrast and depth.
The work created for the festival features a portrait of a young lady, one of the everyday heroes the Portuguese artist usually pays homage to, people that shape and are shaped by the cities they live in. He once again used his groundbreaking carving technique based on removing the wall’s top layers with non-conventional tools.
Over the years, Seth Globepainter has affirmed his name as one of the top artists in the field continuing to create childhood-inspired interventions around Paris and the world. Continuously traveling the world, he often explores the way globalization and modernization are influencing local traditions. Seth almost always uses children in his work, with an idea of talking to the inner child inside each and every one of us.
The artist created not one, as initially planned, but two outstanding pieces during the festival. Titled Jack in the Box, his first mural depicts a small boy sitting squeezed into a small box with a pencil in his hand, and more pencils leftover on the ground, after drawing a little window on the wall for himself.
Upon finishing his first mural, Seth passed by a wall while in the van with the crew when he suddenly burst out: “Oh! Just got an idea for the wall we just passed! Could I do that one, too?!" In 24 hours, everything was good to go.
In the work The Phoenix, the artist filled out the blocked windows of an old building with a little tower, just a little further up the street from his other mural, trying to create an illusion of a transparent building. When the sky is right it all works out beautifully, with just a little girl sitting at the edge of one of the windows and a bird hovering in the next one.
A Dutch artistic duo, Telmo & Miel are best known for works combining spray painting styles with classic Realism, Abstraction and Surrealism. Each artist comes from their own respected backgrounds with their own history behind them but they both have come together to combine their unique styles into one.
Titled Exquisite Waste of Time, the mural examines whether our constant impatience and desire for everything to go really fast, at the end leads to something better. The artists themselves explained that in our contemporary society, every loss minutes feel like a waste, as we love efficiency because the time is short. However, that haste is often egocentric.
But short does not mean it’s worse than less short... More time does not mean a better time. So let’s keep this short and sweet, so it doesn’t feel like a waste. Let’s just try to make any waste of time feel like an exquisite one.
A Brooklyn based artist, Oliver Vernon creates works which draw upon an incredibly varied pool of influences, from abstract expressionism to post-pop surrealism and the polished finish of figurative realism. Each painting has its own set of rules, or rather the rules are being bent, broken and ultimately formed.
As part of the festival, Vernon has just finished his biggest mural ever. Working from 9 to 9 for two weeks, he created an outstanding piece of art within modern abstraction. As the artist explained, he started out with the safety net of making a grid and just following the sketch and picking out the exact colors he wanted, but he ended up just dipping the brush in the large buckets of paint and mixing the colors directly on the wall itself. The result is a work with just the right movement and energy.
An acclaimed Australian street artist, Fintan Magee is known for his unique style which combines the surreal with a good sense of humor and disturbing circumstances. Drawing from his personal stories, his works deal with broader issues like climate change and the migrant crisis.
For the festival, the artist created an amazing new mural Structure over the course of two weeks. The work is based on photographs the artist took of young locals of five different nationalities and a few inspiring words from local residents about what it is like living in Aalborg. The work is executed with an incredible looseness in the strokes at the bottom, which tighten up with more intimate details towards the top.
A Netherlands-based artist, Joram Roukes is known for works which are reflections of everyday life situations, observed, filtered and reassembled in a collage-like way. Through his art, the artist poses a fragmented yet cohesive view of today’s society and human behavior.
His piece for the festival, titled Final Cut, is a striking mural of an eagle reassembled in a collage-like way. It is executed in arrestingly bright colors and intricate detail through skilled representations and experimental juxtapositions. With incredible liveliness, the work draws the viewers into a surreal world the artist has constructed.
A truly creative mind and a non-stereotypical voice of the generation, Nils Westergard explores contemporary themes with a focus on traditional values of friendship and honesty. He once explained that he recently realized how important his friends are to his life. "I love each and every one of them and wouldn’t be able to live without them. So I’ve been painting friends that are always around, friends I meet for short periods, and everything in between," he said.
The mural Birdman tells the story of a homeless man who, time after time, passed by a mural Westergard was working on in California, always with a pigeon on his shoulder. The two ended up talking about a wide variety of things and the artist decided to dedicate him a mural. Executed over the course of 3 days, the mural is located in the little town Tårs half an hour northwest from Aalborg.