“Graffiti to me is like a bird or a flower from somewhere far away that you don’t usually see. I´ve always loved the irony that I can use a spray can to decorate as well as to damage, but ultimately I like to make beautiful paintings. It’s not always about destruction. That´s my take on it anyway.” Xenz
British street artist Xenz has painted a colourful jungle on concrete background, in Sandvika, Oslo. The work took five days to complete and includes flowers and birds high up on the concrete columns. Despite their formidable size, the columns are still dwarfed by Sandvika railway bridge
“We knew early on that painting the columns from top to bottom would look incongruous against the backdrop of this vast expanse of raw concrete. What this space needed was something more subtle, something that enhanced this stunning architecture as opposed to camouflaging it. Xenz´s trompe-l’œil technique and Nima Taheri´s stunning photography certainly delivered.” James Finucane, Street Art Oslo
With a total surface area of 200m2, Xenz set about attacking the columns using the same graffiti techniques he first picked up as a 14-year-old in Hull in the north of England.
125 years on from the famous visit of Claude Monet to Sandvika in 1895, the project also gave Xenz the opportunity to draw on some unlikely comparisons between the Impressionist and graffiti movements:
“Putting paint in tubes gave the Impressionists the opportunity to paint en plein air for the first time. In the same way, when they put paint in spray cans it opened up a whole new way of painting in the street. I grew up painting in derelict warehouses in Hull but it wasn´t so much about replicating the New York style graffiti we were seeing in magazines and TV programmes. For me it was about using the tools and techniques of graffiti, which were readily available to anyone, to make the environment around us more beautiful.” Xenz
The area attracts many pigeons and is an attraction spot. Xenz playfully incorporated a cat amongst the pigeons.
The artwork was formally opened by Berit Inger Øen, Bærum City Council Head of Culture, as part of an event co-organised by Street Art Oslo and Sandvika By.
“This work adds colour to the city. I have long been excited about this project and am very pleased with the result. Over time, Sandvika has received many well-known street artworks and I hope Xenz´s artwork will have a mark on the city for many years to come. I would also like to thank Arne Eriksen for his generous donation, which provided the financing for this project.” Davina Seljelid Arnesen, Sandvika By.
Commissioned by Sandvika By in collaboration with Bærum kommune, and produced by Street Art Oslo. The project is one of four undertaken by Xenz during a month-long stay in the Norwegian capital.
The local community give Xenz’s latest artwork a thumbs up! check out the recap video below …
Photo credit Nima Taheri