Guerilla Getaway: Creativity and Local Context

It has been so long that I even miss to write…

sorry for the long post :p


Nowadays it is easy to see murals and beautiful pieces of art in the streets, but sometimes I ask myself: is there any kind of connection with the local context in this?

After an awesome experience in Halle (Germany) where I assisted Wall & Space International Conference, I started to understand better why the “beautification” of the cities can become a social issue while the process of murals could be an exchange between artists and communities.

It doesn’t mean that there is no exchange going on. In fact there are street artists that make their ego as big as the piece they’re painting on the streets, but there are also artists that prefer to refer their work to issues and beauties of the community. Through the participation of locals during the process of creation, some street art projects are made specially to illustrate and create the composition between history-context and communities. It helps the international artists to understand the identity of the place they are working with and for sure it will reflect in the result of the art.

Mr. Dimaggio is an Italian artist that came as a gift from our network in Halle. During all the knowledgeable exchanges, he always had great thoughts to add to us. But also to my way of thinking about how community and street art go in the same direction. His last post fits perfectly in this text and can be an example of what I am trying to say here.

It takes time to understand the local context and more than this, the artist may spend time walking around and speaking with people. Sometimes street art festivals don’t have this availability to bring artists in advance of the paint session, because it depends of budget and preparation to introduce to them what is going on in the community. Some producers have this commitment and are doing their best to bring street art and society closer, but unfortunately it isn’t the majority.

Art by ECB – Hendrik Beikirch for All you can paint – Urban Art Festival hosted by Freiraumgalerie, in Halle, Germany.

Hendrik Beikirch is a german artist who create works based on people he met in his life. Each work has a story behind. It goes from anonymity to fictional portraits.

“Beikirch’s murals are not so much interventions in the urban landscape as they are our silent companions, reminders of our common humanity and representations of both actual individuals and the diverse populations of the modern city. roadside shadows, they command our attention; at times melancholic, other times brusque in their sensibility. the subjects of his fictional works are inspired by his imagination and do not adhere to human proportions, instead they are distorted, fragmented and subtly surreal in appearance. questioning both their surroundings and the conventions of portraiture, these works share the hyperrealist aesthetics of his documentary work, while employing skewed perspectives to accentuate the image and its character.”  (statement of Hendrik Beikirch official website)

Unknown artist. Kempen area, Flanders, Belgium.

The countryside of Belgium is known for its closed culture. The locals are quite and the public art is more about the history and their idles. This autumn we took a ride with our bicycle just following the channel and suddenly I got this surprise on the way. This art is a complement of the landscape and it is almost imperceptible. Have a close look ; )

When we think about street art, we think mostly about colors and personages, or geometrical figures. But this artist got the spirit of the town. It is just like I see the Kempen culture, they are hiding the beauties and enjoying themselves between locals and amazing landscapes. It is a place to live as a fairytale and they know how lovely it is, they just don’t share so much to keep the secret spot save.

© Pinterest Felipe Fernandes. #Pura Poesia. Alfama, Lisbon, Portugal.

Going to the same direction we have my dear friend Felipe (Fe), the Pura Poesia (EN. Pure Poetry) of Portugal. Fe created this lovely tag during his studies in Trends and Communication. He understood the soul of Lisbon and spread its message in the places that it fits perfectly. Just take a walk through Lisbon’s streets and you will understand that this shiny city is Pura Poesia as Fe says.

I will only ask you one thing: when you see Pura Poesia in Lisbon, just stop for a few minutes and observe the place with another eye. It will be easy to find the poetry around the walls 🙂

The Pura Poesia is mostly about the landscape but also about the artist. As Luca – Mr. Dimaggio – said in his post, paint on the streets is also about the comprehension of the artist about him-herself and the surroundings. To get into Pura Poesia, Fe put himself present in the city, he spend time understanding the flow of the places and found out how to express it by combining the space, the walls and his soul.

Unkown artist. On calçada in Lisbon, Portugal. (EN. on every street I see you)


Fintan Magee for Tropica Festival in Canggu, Bali.

In Bali the local and the international artists are speaking the same language. Fintan Magee is an Australian street artist that could capture important elements from Balinese lifestyle to paint this mural. The cats are present everywhere and most of them are lovely as we see in the art. The woman is the powerful part of Indonesian culture, they work hard in the rice fields, in shops and tourism sector. The trees and the sky are perfectly continuing the landscape, this relation is also about to put your art connecting with the local context.

Fintan Magee. Photo by Facebook page Art People Gallery.
Unknown artist. Barong, the popular masks in the Hindu culture. Wall of Fame in Echo Beach, Bali.

The Barong is the king of the spirits, leader of the hosts of God and it is part of Balinese culture that came by the Hinduism influence centuries ago. You will find this masks painted in different styles and different walls over Bali. In this huge wall (or hall) of fame we can find numerous signs of spray works connecting with local culture. Check out other signs in our instagram account @yesyoucanspray .

Collaboration Cinzah and Slinat for Tropica Festival in Canggu, Bali.
Detail of Cinzah and Slinat art work for Tropica Festival 2016 in Canggu, Bali.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the waste in the oceans and what is happening every year with this. Every year during the rainseason the beaches of Bali receive tons of waste coming from all around the globe. This work by Slinat and Cinzah is the illustration of what happens on the island. In 2016 they collect around 5 tons per day of waste – predominantly logs and plastic trash – on the beaches of Bali’s Badung regency.

This year, the rainseason has arrived earlier and so far the Badung’s Environment and Hygiene Agency (LHK) declared status of emergency because the daily volume of waste increase 10 times more than last year. Unfortunately it is going up, up to 50 tons (info: The Canggu Weekly, n 046). As we can see, the beauty of this street art work is more than the drawing on the wall, it is about the reality of the island and the consequences of human’s actions and its irresponsibility about the production of waste worldwide.

There are many big names that also think about the local context when they produce their urban art, like Banksy with his pieces that provoke society in the political way and bring a huge discussion in the street art world. Or like ROA, the Belgian artist who paints extincted animals, usually belonging to the place he is painting.

Here I choose to speak about a select group of artist whose works manifest what they feel while painting and using the public spaces. The connections between creativity and local context we see when Fe uses the combination of letters and words, when Luca uses drawings and lines, ECB uses memories, Fintan Magee continues the landscape to compose the artworks and Cinzah and Slinat illustrate a worldwide problem on a wall with colours.

Think the local. Spray the wall !!!!

With warm greetings from Asia

Angela Souza


Mr. Dimaggio >

ECB Hendrik Beikirch >

Freiraumgalerie >

Pura Poesia >

Fintan Magee >

Tropica Festival >

Art People Gallery >

Cinzah >

Slinat >



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