Martin Whatson dries his forehead while, once again, going down with the lift to talk to people passing by his mural and fill up his basket with more cans. The smile on his face tells about the joy of being back on the lift after Covid19 forcing him to take a long break.
During the last few days there has been many trips up and down the 18 meters high wall downtown Aalborg where the artist has just finished his second mural as part of the sixth edition of the mural project ‘Out in the Open’ of the gallery.
Bridging the gap between spontaneous graffiti and sharply cut stencils Martin Whatson has created two of his first murals this year due to the severe travel restrictions around the world.
Mixing the two techniques in many layers a very powerful piece has come to life in the streets of Aalborg.
Working on another mural down the road, the big lift had to go for a ride to reach a little green house from the thirties placed in a street with houses in all kinds of colors and red roofs.
Here the artist decided to underline the simplicity and beautiful stringency in color and shape of the multicolored houses creating a delicate ballerina in a multicolored skirt matching perfectly with the red roofs and colored facades.
Welcoming the artist with lots and joy and anticipation the residents of the house invited him for dinner and within 24 hours the mural was finished.
Martin Whatson calls this piece ’Passé’ as one of the main positions of ballet depicting a beautiful ballerina on a delicate grey background.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Martin Whatson (b.1984) is a Norwegian street artist best known for his calligraphic scribbles in grayscale voids. Over the past decade, Martin has developed an unmistakable aesthetic combining abstract movement with figurative stencilled compositions. His works can be seen to mirror the rise and fall of the streets, as he symbolically recreates the urban environment, then vandalises it to reveal his vibrant transformations.
Growing up in Oslo Norway, Martin was an active part of the emerging graffiti scene of the early 90’s . The physical architecture of the city was a constant inspiration, the elaboration and destruction of each generation contributing to the urban infrastructure.
In the early 2000s, his interest in layers became more literal with the introduction of stencils into his work. The evolution moved him closer to a simple yet effective aesthetic he believed could bridge the gap between the passion and spontaneity Graffiti held for him, with the fragility and transience of nature. This balance would come to define his creative approach.
With as many works on walls as on canvas and paper, the relationship between vulnerability and strength remains constant in each work. Delicate and organic characters feature; butterflies, ballerinas and animals all rendered in empty grayscale space. Minimal figures are constructed of a few layers of hand-cut stencils. The ashen tones of the compositions and vacant backgrounds are reminiscent of his alternative canvases, the concrete. True to form, no gray space stays gray for long in Martins presence. whether immersing entirely or embellishing a detail, the images disappear beneath expressive, spray-painted strokes of assorted colours and textures.
Martins work features with festivals, projects and walls globally. His original work can be found in private collections and institutions with solo exhibitions featured in cities from Tokyo to LA, London to New York.