For the second year in a row, the series of events “From Vandalism to Art” focused on the current view of the development of street art and graffiti culture in Europe and the world. The project started in 2021 with an exhibition of 20 of the most recognizable Bulgarian and Dutch street art artists. In 2022, between 08 and 11 September, the Sofia Graffiti Tour, with the support of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bulgaria, will expand the dialogue on the role, meaning, and urban and artistic influence of street art with a series of different events.
During a two-day master class with young Bulgarian artists and students met the world-famous graffiti and street art artist Mr. June (Netherlands). Speakers and guests were Alex Pope from the Museum of Street Art and Graffiti in Amsterdam – STRAAT, and online Javier Abarca – artist, researcher, and founder of Urbanario (the first school for advanced training in graffiti and street art).
At the Cinema House, we watched together the screening of the graffiti documentary: “Crown’s jewels – Hard, Good, Better Times”. The film presents the development of the graffiti scene in the Netherlands from the 1970s to the early 2000s.
David Loof, better known as Mr. June, started graffiti in 1985. Heavily influenced by hip-hop and old-school break, he soon fell in love with the concept of graphic design. Not before long, his talent was noticed, and he was offered the position of art director. He founded his graphic design studio “Out of order” in Rotterdam and offers a multidisciplinary approach to art through video, illustration, and interactive productions.
In recent years Mr. June skillfully combines his love of typographic layout and color turning them into large-scale murals. For them, Mr. June prefers not to create preliminary sketches, but to react to the wall and its surroundings. Thus, he enjoys the creative process to the maximum, and the end result creates a unique cohesion between the environment, the mural, and the “viewer”.
Alex Pope, who arrived especially for the masterclass, told us more about the STRAAT museum, the history of graffiti in the Netherlands, what are “indicators of prestige”, that played a role in the transition of graffiti and street art from underground to museum art, how did the artists themselves influence this process?
The third guest was Javier Abarca (https://www.instagram.com/javierabarc…) – a Spanish artist, researcher, and teacher in the field of graffiti and street art. A leading figure of the first generation of Spanish graffiti and an influential specialist on the international scene, he is a frequent guest at various European conferences and festivals.
Artists: Mr. June, Alex Pope, Javier Abarca, David Roos, young Bulgarian artists
Medium: Spray paint, presentation, movie screening
Location: Sofia, SOHO, Cinema house
Producer: Sofia Graffiti Tour
Project date: Realised: September 2022
Partner: Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bulgaria.