Just came back from Chicago, for the soloshow ´Luctor Et Emergo´ at Vertical Gallery, and while i was there i painted a couple walls, this was the first one on Michigan Avenue. For now here are some photos, later this week there will be a travel report. Thanks to Joe Renda and The Lie for helping me out.
Thanks to Columbia Collega / Wabash Artcorridor and of course Vertical Gallery for this huge project.
Text by Jennifer Hoffman, www.haadstudio.com
Thank you to my friend + collaborator, Brandon Ballengée, for introducing me to Collin van der Slujis. Collin was seeking information on endangered/threatened Chicago birds for his upcoming mural in Chicago located on a 9 story building on 1006 S. Michigan Avenue. Brandon suggested that we work together. Thank you to Collin for creating an inspiring mural + for the wonderful experience of getting to know him + his work!
I personally never knew what type of amazing birds were migrating through Chicago (from as far away as South America!) until I did Migratory Bird Building Strike Rescue + Recovery a few years ago. On 5.15.2013 a male Northern Parula that my trainer + I rescued from a building collision on Wacker Drive was treated + released later that day. That little bird (approx 4.5 in long, 0.2–0.4 oz) was able to survive + to hopefully breed. That little bird changed my life because it made me realize how important the survival of these birds are. The experience became the catalyst for a whole body of bird inspired artwork + design. This is perhaps a backwards way to become a birder, but I cannot express my gratitude enough to the Chicago Ornithological Society North Pond bird walks conducted by Geoffrey Williamson. I’ve learned more about birds/birding in the past 8 months, than as a lone birder just a few years prior. Birders need mentors (especially women birders).
I started my research for Collin by reviewing articles + looking at my own existing fieldwork. I also asked expert birders for their feedback on endangered/threatened birds + requested accounts of successful rebounds of Chicago birds. The stories they shared were fascinating.
Geoffrey Williamson: “Two more that come to mind that once were common in the Chicago area: Passenger Pigeon (now extinct) + the Greater Prairie-Chicken (gone from Chicago and hanging on by a thread in Illinois in part only because we supplement the birds here with individuals transported from Kansas). Some others: Yellow-headed Blackbird + Black Tern. We are on the eastern edge of the blackbirds range, but habitat loss is pushing them out. They nested not very long ago in southeast Chicago. Black Terns are in trouble everywhere. They too used to nest in Chicago. The same can be said for King Rail. All three are on the state endangered species list. The last three of these used to nest in the Lake Calumet area. The blackbird and the tern were still nesting in the Calumet area when I (started birding here but that ended quickly for the tern. When I started birding here (1990) the Calumet region was so full of birds, but the old timers told me how impoverished it was compared to the “old days.” Now to me it is so impoverished compared to when I got here, when it was already impoverished.”
Beyond bird deaths caused by building collisions, we’ve lost so much bird habitat due to poor land management + invasive species – 300,000 ash trees were decimated in Chicago due to the invasive Emerald Ash Borer. Cats, unfortunately, are also an invasive species (side note: coyotes are the responsible choice for rat reduction). Additionally, there are also reports of LIVE HEALTHY trees being cut down in certain districts…just because they don’t like trees.
Collins powerful mural design embraces a bird that was once common, but has now disappeared from Chicago, the Yellow-headed Blackbird. His piece also highlights that the Red-headed Woodpecker is in need of conservation before it too disappears from Chicago. Ultimately, Collin’s mural is very much about hope – “From Doom to Boom”. Through conservation we can turn things around – look at the success of the Peregrine Falcon in Chicago (once on the brink of extinction, now there are record numbers in Illinois)! Yet we must never forget one of the most cautionary tales of extinction – the Passenger Pigeon (at the time the most abundant bird in North America – it went extinct within 100 years). Street art is a pure form of democracy – elitism (in all of its forms) always restricts the reach of communication + connection – through exclusion. The beauty of Collins mural is that street art is truly for the people. These birds are for the people too – but they need our help.
Vertical Gallery is very proud to present Collin van der Sluijs’ debut USA solo show, Luctor Et Emergo (I struggle and emerge), May 7–28, 2016.
Collin van der Sluijs (b. 1980) is a Dutch artists whose unique pieces have brought him worldwide recognition. He started writing graffiti at the age of eleven, and when he was twelve he began his studies at the professional painting college in Goes. He spent the next eight years studying various art disciplines in different schools across the Netherlands and graduated from the Academy of Art and Design St. Joost in Breda with a bachelor title in 2004.
The character of his work is marked by the various artistic techniques he blends together and his unusual subjects. He has created his own intricate, colorful, odd world with the subjects of his pieces. He takes inspiration for these subjects from the personal pleasures and the struggles of daily life. This world when expressed through the various techniques Collin has mastered, creates beautiful, multi-dimensional pieces of art work, that draw the eye in and keep it there.
Collin van der Sluijs’ exceptional work has been published in magazines and books, and shown in galleries across the world—in The Netherlands, Germany, France, England, Belgium, Italy, United Kingdom, Spain, and USA.
Last week Super-A and i made this collaboration in Berlin for Urban Nation Berlin, for the ´One Wall’project, in the ´Tegel ´ area. The wall is located at Neheimer Strasse 6. Thanks to Urban Nation team for having us. Good times! Photos by Nika Kramer for Urban Nation Berlin.
Text by Urban Nation: Good morning with a beautiful sunrise over Berlin … Early Bird gets the worm.. Progress shot#wip of the work by @mr.super_a and @collinvandersluijs for our One Wall project…part of the concept of this wall was based on this fact : the flocks form a tight sphere-like formation as in flight almost like a fish swarm same principle and by frequently expanding and contracting and changing shape without any sort of leader protect each other as a group from attackers. Each starling changes its course and speed as a result of the movement of its neighbor but how and who triggers the change exactly is unclear and yet all support the movements adjust and stay strong together as a unit ….another great Mother Nature concept.
On the 6th of february the ´Winter Group Show´ is taking place at Vertical Gallery in Chicago, every artist made 2 works on 60 x 60 cm, for the show i made the 2 works above on birch panels. For one of them i asked my 4 year old daughter to help me with the drawings, was a lot of fun. When i see her drawing i realise how much fun and spontaneous energy you loose. Go to Vertical Gallery if you want more information or a pre-sale list from the works in the show.
In the last couple of months i didn´t post here a lot, inbetween groupshows and mural projects i am working on a serious body of work for next year. Since march this year i am working on a solo-exhibition that will take place at Vertical Gallery in Chicago. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but the process is going steady, step by step in a good vibe. For now, here is a detail from one of the larger works in progress (130 x 180 cm).
Here are some photos from last week, we joined forces again, and made this mural for the city of Genk, Belgium. The wall is about ‘senses’
Thanks to Streetartfestival, Kurt Bosmans for organizing the spot and the support! Soon there will be good photo from the mural.
Last month i made 2 new small works (30×40 cm) on canvas for the upcoming show ‘Foliage’ at Flower Pepper gallery that opens at the 5th of september.
Opening: Saturday, Sept 5th, 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Exhibition: September 5th – October 6th, 2015
Acey Thompson, Chelsea Gustafsson, Collin van der Sluijs, Denae Wilkowski, Edith Waddell, Heather Gross, Helen Bayly, Jacob van Loon, Jaclyn Alderete, Jon Lau, Kelly Louise Judd, Lauren Marx, Marissa Quinn, Paige Jiyoung Moon, Simon Kangiser, Susanne Apgar, Valerie Pobjoy, Vanessa Foley, William Joseph Dunn, Yejin Oh
Special Window Installation by Emiko Woods & Amy Van Gilder
On Saturday, September 5th, Flower Pepper Gallery is pleased to present Foliage, a flora and fauna inspired collection of works by Acey Thompson, Chelsea Gustafsson, Collin van der Sluijs, Denae Wilkowski, Edith Waddell, Heather Gross, Helen Bayly, Jacob van Loon, Jaclyn Alderete, Jon Lau, Kelly Louise Judd, Lauren Marx, Marissa Quinn, Paige Jiyoung Moon, Simon Kangiser, Susanne Apgar, Valerie Pobjoy, Vanessa Foley, William Joseph Dunn, Yejin Oh.
Foliage brings together an eclectic group of artists who share a common bond in the way they imaginatively portray nature. Each artist has approached this theme with a different perspective and unique technical style, but together they provide a well-rounded glimpse of our world rarely seen. Participating artist Vanessa Foley describes this theme as something integral to all of her work. “My love of nature and art are inseparable, and I could never imagine one without the other.” Just as each mark of Vanessa’s work highlights and elevates her subject, artist Edith Waddell uses themes found in nature to explore the human psyche. “I use elements taken from flora, fauna and my own recurrent dreams to personify internal emotional conflicts on such subjects as phobia, genetic experimentation, maternity, narcissism, seduction and spirituality. Fragments from the exterior natural world, as well as our own internal emotional world, inspire the concepts in my work.” While each artist chooses to focus and depict these natural elements in a different way, they all leave us with the challenge to look more closely and go outside often.
Several artists have chosen to create diptychs for this exhibition, which playfully interact with each other while allowing us to see greater glimpses of the entire vision that inspired them. From the surreal workings of Susanne Apgar, to the abstract imaginings of Collin van der Sluijs, each piece begs to be studied just as artist Marissa Quinn faithfully studies the cyclical patterns found within her environment through her “delicate penwork [that] guides the viewer through a journey of nature’s paradox of growth through decay.” Foliage ventures to return to the roots of the earth where reality and fantasy collide, to create new growth and study the ever-evolving and intricate world around us.
The reception is open to the public and on view until October 6th, 2015
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