British street artist Xenz has created a colourful concrete jungle in Sandvika, Oslo. Despite their formidable size, the columns remain dwarfed by Sandvika railway bridge, with the contrast being beautifully captured by photographer and film-maker Nima Taheri.
Commissioned by Sandvika By in collaboration with Bærum kommune, and produced by Street Art Oslo, the work took five days to complete.
James Finucane, Street Art Oslo: “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 film and photography certainly delivered.”
With a total surface area of 200m2, Xenz set about tackling the columns with the same graffiti techniques he first picked up painting derelict warehouses 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 Impressionst and graffiti movements:
“Putting paint in tubes gave the Impressionists the opportunity to work en plein air for the first time. In the same way, the portable nature of spray paint created new opportunities for making art in the streets like never before. 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 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.
Davina Seljelid Arnesen, Sandvika By: “I have long been excited about this project and am very pleased with the result, which has transformed the area by adding colour to the city. Over time, Sandvika has received many well-known street art works 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.”
The project is one of four undertaken by Xenz during a month-long stay in the Norwegian capital thius summer.
Xenz (Graeme Brusby, b. 1974) is a graduate of Edinburgh College of Art and has worked as an artist for over 20 years. He started painting graffiti at just 14-years-old, inside the derelict warehouses of Hull, England. Gradually, he has developed a completely distinctive and experimental style, where he uses spray cans to paint landscapes inhabited by birds and butterflies. He has lived in Bristol where he painted alongside members of the renowned graffiti crew TCF, as well as artists such as Banksy and Inkie. He has also participated in exhibitions in the United Kingdom, Miami, New York, Basel, Ibiza, New Delhi and Sydney. For the past year and a half he has been living in Rome.
Links: www.streetartoslo.no / @street_art_oslo
www.xenz.org / @xenzogram