Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Street Art: In Jozi, the walls can talk

TRUNK CALL: Falko with the work in Newtown, Johannesburg, he produced for the fifth annual City Of Gold Urban Art Festival
Image by: Alon Skuy


Johannesburg is a gold mine - not just in the historical sense, but also for graffiti artists who travel from all over the world to colour its walls.

In its fifth iteration, the one-week-long City of Gold Urban Art Festival took place in Braamfontein, Newtown and Jeppestown - and attracted a palette of top international street artists.
Known only by his mural moniker, London graffiti artist Solo One thinks Jozi's streets are the best place to paint.

He said: "Forget New York, Johannesburg has the capacity and the space for us, and local artists are as good as artists from anywhere in the world.
"People in Jeppe watched us paint. I think we opened their minds to the idea that they can use their surroundings and the buildings as a canvas.
"Fifteen years ago Cape Town was the spot for graffiti artists to express themselves, but the bylaws in that city crushed street art. Johannesburg is more open to it now."

The Canadian graffiti artist Mediah has been painting on the streets for 21 years, contributing work in the US, Mexico and the UK. Of his first time in South Africa, he said: "The opportunities to paint in areas like Jeppe that need to be redeveloped are great. We can tackle large-scale works."
Cape Town artist Falko, 43, said there was no such thing as street art when he began painting on urban walls 26 years ago.

He said: "The police only knew political graffiti. If they caught you painting a wall they thought you were writing political slogans."
When asked how many walls he's painted, Falko replied: "That's like you're asking how many times I've had sex. I mean, in 30 days I can paint 71 walls."
Let's just say he's prolific.

Falko's 17m x 8m mural can be seen in Newtown.

Source- Times

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