Street Artist Curtis Hylton for ‘Out in the Open’ 10-year Anniversary, Aalborg 2023

The city of Aalborg, in Denmark, has become an open-air art gallery thanks to the long-running ‘Out in the Open ’ mural project, curated by Kirk Gallery. This year they are celebrating its 10-year anniversary!

Murals from Wes21 & Onur, Guido Van Helten, Conor Harrington, Faith 47, Sepe & Tone, Bezt, Herakut, David Walker, Seth, Vhils, Telmo Miel, Oliver Vernon, Fintan Magee, Joram Roukes and Nils Westergard are just a few of the artists that have contributed to Aalborg’s open-air Museum over the decade and this year expect to see nine new murals!

The first mural introduced this year to ‘Out in the Open’ was by Argentine Martin Ron and his Australian assistant Matt Gorick with ‘Olivia and her Heart of Gold’ to life. Read more here. At the same time, artist Cristian Blanzer began painting his mural ‘Contraluz’ on the Rooftop of Friis Shopping Centre in Aalborg. Read more here. French artist Hopare finished his mural ‘Trine’ in downtown Aalborg. Read more here.

The next artist to paint is Curtis Hylton, an artist known for large-scale, spray-painted mural work, focussing on the natural world, and his depictions of birdlife incorporate national and International species.

His mural is titled ‘Nightingale and the Rose’, inspired by the romantic fairy tale by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) ‘The Nightingale and the Rose‘ and is completely integrated into the architecture.

‘She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,’ cried the young Student; ‘but in all my garden there is no red rose.’

‘The Nightingale and the Rose’ by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

In a May 1888 letter to a friend, Oscar Wilde wrote of the meaning of ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’: ‘The nightingale is the true lover, if there is one. She, at least, is Romance, and the Student and the girl are, like most of us, unworthy of Romance.’ 

This is based on the Nightingale, who flies around each rose tree to find a red rose as she believes in Romance between the student and the Professor’s daughter. Working hard in the background, she eventually sacrifices her life for the beauty of love, only for the love to be fickle and materialistic. Underserving of her precious life.

‘If you want a red rose,’ said the Tree, ‘you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart’s-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine.’

‘The Nightingale and the Rose’ by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

 ‘I am afraid it will not go with my dress,’ she answered, ‘and, besides, the Chamberlain’s nephew has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers.’

‘The Nightingale and the Rose’ by Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

The beautiful Nightingale stands proud in Curtis Hylton’s mural, and the red rose she made by singing underneath the moon was art in itself. She sits in a background of yellow roses, which mirrors the buildings surrounding her. The white rose sits against her chest, a pure heart.

Photo Credit Nico Giquel



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