The Vision Art Festival is a unique encounter between nature and art in the amazing setting of the Valais Alps. The festival aims to create an open-air museum in the mountains, spread over an incredible surface located between 1.500 and 3.000m above sea level on the Glacier of Plaine Morte.
With its spectacular circular view, coiled up on a mountainous plateau overlooking the Rhone valley and the Valais Alps, the renowned Swiss resort of Crans-Montana offers an ideal platform to host the Urban art scene. The artists will be inspired by the beauty of the panorama and this incredible light which historically has inspired novelists, writers, painters, musicians back in the 18th century. Stunning photography by Documentary Photographer and Wallkandy blogger Ian Cox, specialising in documenting art in its environment.
It all began with a crazy idea by Gregory Pages, founder and curator of the festival, who wanted to bring colour and art to the grey concrete ski resort… sounds perfectly sane to me! In 2014 Gregory tested his idea mixing nature and art by inviting American artist Brantley Hebru and Iranian duo Icy and Sot to paint some colour on these walls.
Hebru Brantley travelled from Chicago and painted his popular character ‘Fly Boy’, based on the successful Tuskegee fighter pilots in World War II.
“It’s very rare to see a popular character that is African-American, Latino, or Asian. I wanted to create that, but in a space of high art and with some historical context.” Hebru Brantley
Iranian brothers Icy and Sot used stencils for their murals. They included ‘Walking Boy’, which they stencil in every city they visit… a scene in the Alps and also ‘Let Her Be Free’ stencil.
“After last year’s ‘test event’, which produced a mural by Icy & Sot and Hebru Brantley, the local community accepted the idea and the long preparations begun.” Gregory Pages
So after the initial baby steps introducing street art to the locals, it was now time for Gregory to call in an impressive lineup of international artists: Chor Boogie, Reka One, Okuda, 2Alas, Greg Mike, Angry Woebots, Leza One, Rustam Qbic, Toz, Rodrigo Branco, Never Crew, and more and take street art to new heights!
On August 24th, Vision Art Festival 2015 officially opened. Check out the images below to see what a spectacular festival it turned out to be, and read the inspirations behind the murals as GraffitiStreet speak to some of the artists involved…
Felipe Pantone works ranges from graffiti to kinetic art. They are marked by strong contrasts, bright colours and the use of mixed techniques, blended perfectly together. Pantone adapts his work to the environment that surrounds giving the impression that everything is in harmony. Here he has included the grids of the carpark into his work.
Okuda San Miguel of Santander, is known for his distinct style, geometric prints and multicoloured buildings. The mastery of Okuda, transforming its walls into a fantastic world full of surreal figures drops the jaw of any viewer. Here we see an owl meaning wisdom standing out through the grey concrete.
Reka’s work is heavily influenced by pop culture, comics and illustrations. Here Reka one uses earth colours within his murals.
2Alas uses brushes and rollers and style is very particular. They combine several techniques, first transfer of a figurative image, digitized, which will be dealt with “close-up” and in black and white, much like a printer where the pixels are visible, then adding vertical lines and perennial and multicolored geometric forms.
Joshua Keen Valencia is based in Los Angeles and his mural reflects the mythical tale of Le Dahu, being drawn to the majestic danger, allure and beauty of horned creatures and a beautiful woman, the mythical tale of Le Dahl was a perfect fit.
“My piece is a culmination of all the things that inspire me. I believe the space that is not occupied is just as important as the space that is. Negative spaces can create captivating shapes that are pleasing to a unknowing eye. The decision to leave the piece void of her hair and eye surrounded by the complementing geometric shapes effectively appeal to subconscious mind. The hard shapes against the organic allure of her beauty are subtlety confronting…”Joshua Keen Valencia
Rustam Qbic has a surreal imagination. We must look closely to appreciate the details here. His mural is called ‘ behind the mirror’, a reflection to what is beautiful.
“This mural shall be viewed from two different view points. If we stand in the centre in front of the piece we see a person wandering in the desert in search of source of water. On his way he appears in front of the mirror and sees his reflection. If we go a bit to the left we see one more wall with a broken part of the mirror behind which a person sees a garden with a fountain. Not many people can see deeper than their reflection, into their soul and find the source they are looking for there in the heart.” Rustam Qbic
Remed seeks truth through simplicity and a universal language of form and colour. Remed does not prepare for this mural projects but leaves it entirely to the locations inspiration, and judging by this much scenery he had plenty!
Greg Mike currently lives in Atlanta. His work incorporates bright explosions of incandescent colours filtered by an exit perspective surreal Pop Art. Greg Mike painted free-handed driven by his imagination.
Angry Woebots uses minimal colours and detailed character design, his paintings are usually composed of stressed out emotional pandas. The pandas tend to represent the story of struggle, which the artist relates to his near death experience.
“Everyone uses the panda of an icon of something cute and harmless, but I love painting them disgruntled and angry; it takes people by surprise.” Angry Woebots
Chor Boogies mural was a beautiful dedication to his late Grandmother Patricia Demeo who passed away before he went to Switzerland …
“This is my rendition of her inner soul reaching the universal love … with a combination of spirit animals that cross my path… the butterfly… is a symbol of rebirth and transformation … The California King Snake which eats poisonous snakes … are protectors. The other significance of this painting is the golden heart… so basically I have a heart of gold now and keep love and life in all the same perspectives … so STAY GOLD” Chor Boogies
Nevercrew are a duo composed by Pablo Togni and Christian Rebecchi, working together since 1996. Their work is called ‘Developing machine N1’, a project Interacting with the structure of the location, with its main lines, movements and with its use (cable car station), a project that wants to recall different dimensions in one and let them communicate.
“A changing perspective, from the bottom to the top, from the inside to the outside.
The alps of course for us are expression of nature, that’s always a big part of our works, and inspired us the idea of different heights, of the possibility to change the point of view on the landscape, to relate with new proportions.” NeverCrew
Leza One, graduated from the Art School of Geneva, lives and works in Miami. In his large wall, Leza One willingly includes elements that refer to its origins, here he paints ‘The © secret’… perhaps referring to the secret swiss bank accounts?…
Rodrigo Branco (Brazil), from Sao Paolo, combines his unusual vision of the world with warmth and tenderness. A classic by the Brazilian artist.
Jasm1 (Issam Rezgui) bases his murals by inspiration of the areas origins taking advantage of minimalism to recreate the human and emotional complexity.
Demes (Collectif 21) is one of the artists from the street scene, he is distinguished by his unique style, calligraphy, inspired by the “wild style” and frescoes and letters on the railways.
Brazilian artist Toz is the co-founder of one of the oldest collective of graffiti in Brazil, Flashback Crew. Toz paints his colourful balloons…
The swiss Alps are beautifully natural and mixed with Gregs crazy idea of a Street art festival, this idea defiantly works… there’s always method in the madness, and now street art in the Alps!
Check back at a later date for Portuguese artist Vhils to finish this years festivities with a bang!