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Portrait of the Curator : Louise Flynn

Louise Flynn has been with Waterford Walls since the beginning and she performs the key role of Curator which puts her in the position of selecting and commissioning artists and assigning them walls to match their projected paintings. Like all the team she does many other things as well to make the festival the great success it is. This year Louise has accepted applications from a large number of international artists, attracted by the growing reputation of Waterford Walls as a great street art event, as well as Irish based artists with both local and national roots.

 

When did you fall in love with street art? 

 

A few years back I was studying for a Masters Degree and I got really into the idea of art that interrupts every day life or that you happen upon by accident…from huge murals or even flash mobs to clever little pieces that interact with an existing environment.

Are you an artist yourself? 

 

Yes I am a tattoo artist working at High Society Tattoo in Kilkenny, I draw and paint all the time

What is your role in organising Waterford Walls festival? 
As curator I liaise with artists throughout the year and help organise walls, paint, accommodation, cups of tea…. whatever everyone needs to make their experience in Waterford a fabulous one.
What’s the best part of the festival for you? 

 

When it’s over ha! The best thing is welcoming artists to our city and seeing the impact the festival has on them and vice versa the effect their work has on our community. I love seeing people have a good time, enjoying their passion and seeing other people enjoy it too.

Organising a festival is stressful – have you ever had any scary moments? 

 

Apparently you’re supposed to do something that scares you every day so here we are!
What impacts have you noticed on Waterford life thanks to the festival? 

 

I think after year 1 there was a nice buzz about it as it was all so new and unexpected. A lot of people wouldn’t have known it was going to happen. It lifts people’s spirits to pass beautiful pieces of art on their daily route to work or school when before it might have been monotonous. I have heard from lots of people how brilliant they think it is and how it brightens up areas even just brightening their day. I think people take pride in the artwork which is what I love, for everybody to take ownership of their environment and be proud of helping to make it happen. Certain murals are particularly loved by kids like The Elephants by Louis Masai, which I think is really important. They are inspired by this injection of fun into the city, little pops of colour are always nice surprises.

Who should we be looking out for this year? 

 

So many amazing artists to choose from, I’m looking forward to it all to be honest I can’t pick one! I’d definitely recommend making it out to the Deise Greenway to see what’s happening there and take a stroll down O’Connell Street. Basically get the festival map and go everywhere!!

Any shout outs for future projects?

 

Check out my personal work on Instagram & Facebook 

 

Future projects – ask me in September!

 

 

If you would like to check out the festival programme for Waterford Walls 2017 please download a copy from our website at www.waterfordwalls.ie  or pick up a hard copy from the Waterford Tourist Office.

 

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A Portrait of the Project Manager: Edel Tobin

Is it true the Street Art Festival in Waterford is unique in Ireland?

Yes is is unique in that it is a whole city being used as a canvas for street art as opposed to an area o such as carpark.

 

Waterford Walls Festival is now in its third fabulous year – what gave you the original inspiration to create the festival here in Waterford?

Art brings a smile to peoples faces, it encourages conversation in the community. Waterford is a beautiful historic city but there is more to a city than just the architecture. It is about people and how to engage people. What better way than to get people excited and to re imagine their city that to bring art to the streets?

 

Do you have a background in art yourself?

No but I have a huge appreciation of art and the power it has to transform peoples perception of life.

 

There is a huge amount of organisation and planning goes into this event. How do you fit this into your life?

I don’t, my poor old life has had to fit into this event (and 12 month project). But in fairness we have an amazing team who are behind this and who believe it in just as much as me.

 

Have you been surprised at the warm welcome Waterford gives the festival and the artists?

Yes and delighted of course. I always knew it was in Waterford people-we have a long tradition and respect for the arts here. Most of our artists have never been to Waterford before and are blown away by the  reception and affection they receive when they come down to us. And of course it makes the hard work all the more worthwhile with the response we receive from the public towards us and the work we are doing in our city.

Beyond the actual weekend of the festival do you feel Waterford Walls makes a contribution to the community?

Completely. Besides the fact that the murals are there all year round for people to enjoy, we also have events going on all year round. In 2017,we are launching our PATTERNS OF LIGHT event in November. This is a lighting exhibition on the quayside in Waterford. We will be working with young programmers on this event. We also have guided art trails going on all year round and we start out workshop programe in schools and organisations in January until March 2018. This is all bringing increased footfall to our city, our aim is put Waterford on the map as the go to street art destination for tourists. Finally, bringing this splash of colour to our city only brings smiles to people faces.

 

The theme of the festival this year is Renewal and Regeneration. How do you hope the works of art can illustrate or develop this theme?

We are already instilling a sense of pride and respect in the areas where our artwork is situated. It is no coincidence that there has been no vandalism of the artwork done to date. We have chosen streets which badly need a little life breathed in to them. With the new brightly coloured artwork these areas are literally transformed with colour. We will be looking at structures besides walls in the future like seating etc.

 

Can you pick out any highlights for you personally from the festivals?

Gosh that is really hard cause the art is so diverse and the impact it has on the audience. I love Joe Caslins piece on Jurys as it is so poignant and powerful and you can see it from every point in the city. I love Louis Masai-the elephants and that area in general as I really think the artwork has transformed that area. But for me it is about the festival itself-when the artists arrive down and get to work. They are so inspiring to watch and see what they are going to add to our city walls. And then of course it is just great crack hanging out the weekend,.

What do you think we should specially look out for this year?

There is a real shake up this year which is very exciting . A lot of new International and national artists as well as some of our original. I love the fact that this year we will have 3 areas concentrated with artists working and our hubs with live music etc. I think it will be a lot easier for people to find their way around.We have a more comprehensive workshop and art trails  programme which can all be booked with Garter Lane, and we are delighted to be working with them for the first time this year. Lots to look forward to, we can promise you that.

 

Do you have any other plans in the pipeline that you can share?

Lots of plans which I said above and there are more which I can talk about yet but if we get the go ahead will be really exciting. Waterford Walls goes national!!!!!

 

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A Portrait of the Artist : Magda Karol

 

Tell us how you first got into street art, what was the scene like where you grew up and how many years have you been painting?

I have been painting since I can remember but last year was the first time I stood in front of a wall with paint in my hand. As I grew up I witnessed the growth of graffiti culture as trains and walls were painted at night. At that time, I wasn’t bold enough to do anything against the law. Today, street art is accepted and there are festivals like Waterford Walls. This event gave me the chance to develop a different field of art.

 

What has been your favourite place to paint and why?

For me place is not significant. Walls and their surroundings should work with the artist trying to add something new to their appearance without trying to change them completely. In this year’s project I will focus on the first lines I saw on the falling plaster on the building which inspired me to draw out into the already existing shape. I do not have a favourite wall, as each one inspires me to create something new.

 

What is your biggest source of inspiration in your work? Do you have any favourite writers or artists? 

My biggest inspiration is people. I always incorporate human emotions into my art and illustrate them in a metaphorical way. I also have my artistic masters who inspire me and give me new ideas. I love Egon Schiele’s freestyle lines, colour-building like Janny Saville and Sepe, and the incredible guys from Etam Cru who play with the light.

 

What city do you live in now? Has this affected your style, medium or technique in any way?

I have been living in Waterford for 13 years and the fact that I’m a foreigner, and I’m slightly ‘exotic’ helps me to take any criticisms on board much easier. I’m mainly creating for my own recognition but the people of Waterford believed in my authenticity, they invested their faith in my art and thus supported me in my further artistic provocations.

 

We’re very excited about having you at Waterford Walls 2017, What attracted you to the project? And what are you most looking forward to?

This year I will be taking part in the Waterford Walls Festival for the second time, and I’m just as excited. This festival once again gives me the opportunity to showcase my art on a large scale and expand my own techniques and this is most exciting for me.

 

How would you rate Waterford Walls in terms of artistic quality standard? 

I am the last person to judge anything!  I can certainly say that WWF and the people taking part in it are helping me to expand my artistic potential and they are enriching it with a new energy.

 

The theme of Waterford Walls 2017 is “Renewal & Regeneration”. What do you see as being street arts role in this? 

WWF has changed the aesthetics of the city. New walls with new colours light up the grey streets of Waterford. The city gets more modern because street art is a form of contemporary art. I am honoured that my work may have an impact on the appearance of this city.

 

Do you have any projects, trips or shows coming up that we can look out for? 

Last month I was working elsewhere so I accidentally neglected my own artistic backyard. From September I will be back at full speed as I have ideas ready to illustrate but where and when will you be able to see them? Honestly, as yet, I have no idea.

 

Any shout outs, thanks, links or comments?

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who trusted in me and my art and accepted my exotic authenticity. There are so many that I cannot mention them all in a short interview but thank you all very much!!!

Find Magda on Facebook here.

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A Portrait of the Artist: Thiago Ritual

Thiago Ritual is an artist, photographer, activist and free skater from São Paulo, Brasil. Having spent some years in Dublin, he became a notable regular on the Irish art scene, working with the Little Green Street Gallery, Abbey Gallery, Cabra Park Urban Gallery and numerous festivals and regeneration projects.

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A Portrait of the Artist: Louis Masai

Louis Masai is a London-based painter and street artist with a passion for nature – particularly endangered species. Louis painted the patchwork hammerhead sharks on Barrack Street at Waterford Walls 2015, with the astonishing statistic that, ‘By 2030, 90% of marine life will be endangered’. This year, Louis painted the elephants on Barker Street, which have fast become a favourite of locals and visitors to Waterford alike.

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A Portrait of the Artist: Le Bas

Le Bas is a Dublin-based visual artist who divides his time between painting walls and producing studio work. A background in architecture and graffiti has influenced his approach to painting. Le Bas’ art infuses painterly abstraction with digitally produced images, which are meticulously hand-rendered to form a collage-like aesthetic.