Updated: Jun 28
‘Nothing is Art if it does not come from Nature’, said Antoni Gaudí, the most popular Catalan architect and founder of the local Modernism. Art has always been a privileged tool to involve the viewer in its storytelling. A special event has been combining the artistic spirit with the safeguarding of biodiversity for six years. And the result is very encouraging. Born under the name of UPAW – Urban Painting around the World, this unique Street Art Festival turned into UPAINT (You Paint) to draw the public’s attention to this kind of art that can reach very high levels of artistic creativity, as it just happened in the 2022 edition, held at the Terrasses du Casino de Monte-Carlo from the 17th until the 20th June 2022. “After all these years, we can say that you are the ones to give life to the event. I’m talking about you, the artist, the audience, the collector, the amateur... that strong bond between painting and each of you. So, we wanted U and PAINT to become our message, our name, our identity”, stressed Alberto Colman, founder of the festival. UPAINT is then born to travel around the world with a precise mission: “Wherever we go the circle will start with You and end with Paint with the contribution of the most amazing urban painters”, the patron added.
A team of fourteen talented artists from different cultural and creative backgrounds found themselves working side by side with the picturesque view of the Mediterranean Sea and the Belle Époque skyline of Monte-Carlo Casino. A unique combination that created synergy and comradeship among them and towards visitors and the organizing staff. A cozy atmosphere that welcomed, with the same open arms, the passers-by and the most distinguished guests, starting from H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. This is perhaps one of the most intriguing ingredients of UPAINT in addition to the environmental cause. Every year the money collected from the charity auction run by ArtCurial, famous French auction house, are donated to a specific project which preserve the Environment. This year, the project identified as the beneficiary is Destins Croisées, Territoires Partagés (Crossed Destinies, Shared Territories), promoted by Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and a series of relevant bodies from Provence & Alpes Maritimes region. The mission is to gather around the table actors operating in nature conservation, agriculture, farming, hunting, sport, tourism and public administration to improve cohabitation in PACA region between humans and other living beings. Different species of natural interest are involved, notably wolves, boars, mouflons, deer, ibexes, suede, chamois, foxes as well as other mustelids and birds.
At UPAINT Festival the works realized over the four days hit for quality and variety. Particularly exciting the portrait of a woman by Alice Pasquini (nickname: Alicè), artist graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome with numerous experiences abroad and a relevant portfolio. Amazing mix of colours and surprising game of hands that hide the face as if to protect ourselves from the risks we encounter because of the human impacts on the Environment. The Nature and its protagonists wrapped by a vortex that releases power and energy. This is the impactful outcome by Aura Aerosole, artist from Dusserldorf (Germany), graduated in commercial design with important collaborations, attending major expos. The synergy with Oldhaus, German muralist, was very effective.
Fantastic balance between classical and contemporary art for Bond Truluv’s piece of art. The German artist, with a background in anthropology and fond of new technologies, offered an extraordinary virtual animated version of its work thanks to a digitalized maquette (sketch) he designed. The 3D sculpture by the Portuguese most popular artist Bordalo II was striking for its strong message on damage caused to nature by human impact. Son of art, the artist, trained at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Lisbon, creates masterpieces with naturalistic theme, using innovative techniques and recycled materials. The piece of art by the British artist, Curtis Hylton, struck for the refined pictorial composition with pastel colours and harmonious lines: the pure essence of natural beauty.
A quite meaningful outcome by Dario Vella, most popular Italian artist, offered a spectacular tromp d’oeilperspective where key animals of biodiversity, like the wolf or the bear, seemed to come to life from the floor, while a roulette table in the background was about to determine their fate. What better theme to describe the fragility of the earth’s ecosystems? Mr. One Teas, skilled self-taught artist from the Principality of Monaco, loyal participant of the festival, gave the best of himself by sending a clear message through a double painting. A wolf and bear notable close-up showed all the pride of Nature labelled ‘Fragile’ to identify its preciousness and uniqueness.
Dan Kitchener (nickname: DANK), British artist working globally with big music stars like Miley Cyrus, Sir Paul McCartney, Lenny Kravitz, was able to depict a true Hollywoodian storytelling from a futurist film based in far East. A lonely street and a crowded one in a cemented metropolis by night. An extraordinary attention to detail, a result not easy to achieve using the technique of aerosol freehand painting without using any grid, stencil or guide. Dreamy abstract depiction with nuances treated in detail as if they were on a piece of handmade paper. This is the masterpiece designed by Futura (stage name for Lenny McGurr) from New York, real star of street art being a pioneer during the 1970’s and currently one of the most quoted artists of this technique. Another popular New-Yorker, Buff Monster, amused and amazed with his bright-colour humanized ice-creams, true flagship of his painting that has enchanted some of the most famous brands in the world, like Disney, Converse, Hello Kitty, Samsung, Nike and Coca-Cola.
A shining kaleidoscope of colours, geometric shapes and sketches gave life to an eclectic fox who stands out like an embroidery, thanks to the skilful hands of Tim Marsh, a French artist based in Barcelona fond of fashion design and capoeira. Unique style for The London Police (Chaz Barrisson and Bob Gibson), from United Kingdom, who launched a new street art movement at the end of the last century. Comic-shaped lines form a complex multi-layer storytelling creating skylines of fantasy cities animated by smiley-like characters, called the ‘Lads’. Pez (José Sabaté), Catalan talented artist for the second time at Monaco’s Street Art Festival, expresses his fantastic humour and cartoonist skills in representing four smiling fishes into a dream of colour, making reference perhaps to himself (pez is the Spanish word for fish). Counting on thirty years of artistic production and international renown, Spok Brillor from Madrid created a double mirror image of great visual impact treated in detail keeping the American Sixties in mind and a glimpse at Edward Hopper’s style.
The Junior Challenge, in partnership with the Mairie de Monaco, addressed to Monegasque teenagers gave rise to inspiring artistic creations to celebrate biodiversity and the importance of safeguarding living species. A meaningful moment of sharing on a sustainable spirit.
UPAINT 2022 was able to innovate while keeping intact its spontaneous essence. And further novelties are already announced for the next year edition. UPAINT will be the first event under the patronage of the Principality’s Cultural Affairs to enter the Metaverse thanks to the support of DWorld, the first virtual twin city of the Principality of Monaco in partnership with the Smart City Department at the Gouvernement Princier. The project is co-founded by Manila Di Giovanni, new entrepreneur graduated at the Monaco International University, who attended this year’s final ceremony. ***
To know more about UPAINT please visit: https://www.upaint.art
By Maurice Abbati