Graffitti artists like to talk about styles of their letter-based art form as if they contain individual DNA from the clans that originated the particular aesthetic, era or technique of rendering.
Whether its bubble, old school, wild style, abstract, hardcore, or any number of subgenres, when graff heads get together for one big painting fest, the sessions are sometimes referred to as a meeting of styles to denote the differentiation that is evident to insiders and to give the event an air of diplomacy and cross-cultural cooperation on par with the annual G20 meetings.
While many pieces are completed next to one another on a wall, less often will you see a true melding of styles -- two or more distinct design schools working in a complimentary and seamless way: such is the nature of diplomacy.
When Michał Bieżyński from the Urban Forms mural festival in Łódź, Poland gave two towers to five local guys with a solid graffiti history and professional credibility to work together on a collaborative piece, he had to trust that they could combine their styles and finally strike a balance. Now, clearly closer to what is thought of as a street art aesthetic, the murals they create blend together into one voice with a harmonious timber.
"We got two massive buildings to paint entirely free hand and we had to build the team and the project so that we would be able to manage such giant spaces," says artist Robert Proch, also known as TONE, one of the five artists working together. "The Polish scene is quite integrated is some sense," he explains, "We know each other well simply because we have been doing numerous walls together for years now."
Leaning toward the fantastic and representative, the two mirroring compositions ripple upward from the figurative to the abstract, melting and exchanging shapes and forms that move from organic to rigid and rhythmic. In fact, it was not a completely smooth process to face the huge project wholistically and represent the perspectives of five different artists.
"Despite the long wall paint experience of our group, we found that it wasn't so easy to integrate," describes TONE. Ultimately however, cooperation and synergism of styles began to overtake the process and the artists found a way for their styles to act complimentarily
"We have never had a chance to work together in such a configuration," says TONE, "but our knowledge about each others styles helped us to separate our appropriate roles. We began with a very rough concept for the general idea; make the composition somehow integrated with the landscape of Łódź suburbs.
The building on the left shows residents rushing at sunrise with all their hopes and frustrations. The right one shows the big return and closes the whole scene in a circular manner. Viewed vertically from bottom to top all the human figures become more and more reduced into pure abstract form. As an accent on each wall a bollard-man who appears standing in the crowd."
The resulting diptych is entitled "Recycles" and each of the 33-meter high walls can be seen from a great distance by many of their neighbors. In fact, it was the act of creating distance to look at the big picture that TONE says finally helped the guys work together harmoniously.
"A team wall requires each painter to make little steps backward to help achieve a general project integrity. Also the rhythm of work with lifts forced us to separate into two groups; the first week was occupied by Chazme, Cekas and Proembrion, and Sepe and Tone joined in for the second week."
The five artists would also like to give props to the assistants who helped. "We have to mention also our lift-lords: Marek, Mirek and Darek, who struggled during whole process by operating with levels and helpful suggestions and a steady hand. Thank you guys!"
This article is also posted on Brooklyn Street Art.
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