Over the weekend The Crystal Ship brought art to the seaside in Ostend. For the third time running, Belgian’s largest coastal city forms the backdrop for the popular art festival The Crystal Ship. I just returned from a fantastic few days spent with the Festival team, artists and photographers! Today I propose a recap of the artists making progress on their artworks.
Specially for this unique event, over fifteen (inter)national artists created large scale murals and art installations using the City by the Sea as their canvas. Each work are a permanent addition to the forty larger and hundreds of smaller creations which resulted from the two prior editions as of 7 April.
I was pleased to return to Ostend and cover for the event. Thank you to Bjørn Van Poucke, curator of the Crystal Ship and the Festival team for making us feel at home and to the artists for their availability!
This years line up features the following artists:
A Squid Called Sebastian (B) – Ben Slow (UK) – Colectivo Licuado (URU) – Dourone (FR) – Etam Cru (PL) – Gaia (US) – Icy & Sot (IR) – Jaune (B) – Joachim (B) – Johannes Verschaeve (B) – Matthew Dawn (B) – Milu Correch (AR) – Oak Oak (FR) – Telmo & Miel (NL) – Wasp Elder (UK) – Zoer x Velvet (FR)
Colectivo Licuado, from Montevideo in Uruguay, was founded 5 years ago and consists of Camilo Núñez and Florencia Durán. Their motivation is to give color to public and private spaces. They explore and combine the culture and traditions of the environment in which they work with their own style.
The artworks of Telmo & Miel are realistic, humorous, colorful, poignant but also playful. Telmo & Miel consists of the creative duo Telmo Pieper and Miel Krutzmann. They each have their own style that gives their works their own character. For the interpretation of the work the spectator is challenged to use his fantasy.
A Squid Called Sebastian is an artist from Ghent, who was born in Boston (US) but raised in Belgium, is at the top of the Belgian street art scene. His work is often autobiographical, although that is not always visible. He likes to tell a story with his paintings, drawings and murals, inspired by themes such as dead and living people, society, comics, media and nostalgia.
Ben Slow lives and works in London and is known for his striking black and white portraits. He is inspired by the vibrancy and mix of sub-cultures in the city and by the colorful people he meets during his travels. His work focuses on people who have an impact on the local community. Ben creates is his biggest work ever for The Crystal Ship.
“The aim of The Crystal Ship is to bring art closer to people, to residents. Our approach is to have artists do their thing in the centre of town, right on neighbourhood walls, in all the places where people live, work, etc. The first two editions of The Crystal Ship have proved that art in Ostend is right there next to you, accessible, and that this was and is enormously appreciated,” according to the proud mayor Johan Vande Lanotte.
Dourone was born in a small village not far from Madrid. His passion for art began at an early age when he often went to Madrid with his grandmother and saw the colourful graffiti in the streets. Realistic or surreal, the work of Dourone is very colorful and figurative. One of the recurring motives in his work is the fact that he always works around a feminine portrait. The goal of Dourone is to teach people in a culturally responsible way values such as freedom, respect and diversity. Themes that always return in his paintings and murals. Check Dourone interview here.
Jaune‘s work is based on the paradox between the visible and the invisible, with sanitation workers as the main protagonists in his humorous installations and paintings – an idea that was born from his own experience working in the profession. Despite performing an important public service in garish fluorescent clothing, he observed that they exist in the background of our urban environment, becoming almost invisible to the average person. It was in 2011 that he decided to free these characters from their roles by symbolically placing them in ever more absurd and whimsical scenarios in and around the city streets. Those who were supposed to keep the world tidy have become harbingers of chaos. Check out his interview here.
Icy & Sot have been contributing to international culture with their stencils, interventions, wall paintings and videos since 2006. Their address the issues of human rights, capitalism, ecology and social and political issues. During the Crystal Ship they produced two striking pieces echoing the sad reality of immigration. Below is their second intervention in a lake located in a park in central Ostend.
OAKOAK sees his environment as his playground. He uses elements from the environment or plays with existing defects such as a crack in the street, adds a drawing and conjures a smile on the face of casual passers. Be surprised during a walk through Ostend. He collaborated with Jaune during the Festival.
Wasp Elder is a socially engaged artist who wants to teach people through his artworks. He excels in realistic detailed portraits with expressionistic strips and smears, sometimes in a style reminiscent of collages. He often draws inspiration from Wikipedia and Google, where he searches for historical characters that he portrays in a modern way. He has already painted activists, feminists, revolutionaries and philanthropists and hopes to give a creative lesson in history in his artworks.
Matthew Dawn graduated from Digital Arts And Entertainment at Howest and is now a renowned artist in Belgium. He came into contact with street art through friends and conquered his place in the scene by giving street art workshops. With spray can or brushes, Matthew Dawn finds his way into a creative comic strip world of colorful characters and portraits and often gives his works a deeper message
Joachim is a productive and very talented artist from Lier (Belgium). His striking graffiti pop art style is impossible to ignore. He is known for his childlike spontaneity and is prepared to experiment with a wide range of styles. With multiple wall paintings to his name, sold out prints and exhibitions throughout Europe.
Coverage and photos by Julie