MENINAS MADRID GALLERY, SPAIN
Las Meninas, or Ladies-in-waiting, painted by Diego Velazquez in 1656, is a piece of Spanish art history that questions both reality and illusion. Today, it’s celebrated through the Meninas Madrid Gallery which brings 50 sculpted and painted Meninas to the streets of the city every autumn. The project is curated by artist Antonio Azzato and supported by the Madrid City Council.
For our 65th anniversary year, we sponsored and created our very own Liquitex Menina for the installation. Local artist Maria Cabanas was selected for the commission and given the brief to represent our 65-year legacy. The result is Infanta Tatuada, an artwork inspired by Margarita Teresa of Spain, the young royal from Velazquez’s Las Meninas. Maria tells us “After reading a lot about the Infant Margarita, I chose to work with a swan motif due to its royal associations and elegance. I played with the concepts of painting and body art and wanted it to appear as if she had commissioned me to tattoo her skin. Words, tattoos and art have always gone together so I also added some signature roses and the iconic quote from Liquitex founder Henry Levison, “I’m only happy when I’m trying to create something new”. It’s wonderful these can all co-exist within the same setting.”
The 2020 the sculptures not only bring a color, hope and optimism to the streets but also made a real difference for those in need. All 50 Meninas will be auctioned for charity, with the money donated to the local food bank.
We’ll be participating again in 2021 and are looking for next year’s Menina artist. Acrylic artists are being asked to create their own design proposal and submit via social media using hashtag #MeninasLiquitex65. As well as the chance to create their own Menina, the winner will receive Liquitex materials worth €650.
Find out more about the Meninas Madrid Gallery initiative here. See more of Maria’s art @customizarte on Instagram.
LIVE MORE MURALS, LONDON
When artist Rebecca Byrne was asked to transform two gyms within a National Health Service facility for non-profit Live More, we were delighted to provide materials. The gyms are within St Charles NHS Hospital’s Centre for Health & Wellbeing and give users of the secure psychiatric intensive care unit much needed space to exercise safely.
Wanting to engage the staff and users in the installation, Rebecca set up a workshop to hear their views, before creating designs for the walls. The result can be seen here – two original works of art made to reflect and include the wishes of the people who live and work in the spaces. Rebecca tells us more...
"I really believe in the connection between mental health and exercise, so I was thrilled when I was invited to do this. Water Dance was based on the overwhelming request to bring the outdoors in and make it feel like there was some of the natural world in their environment. The themes reflect the lack of access to large open spaces and considers the way the natural world is also in a struggle to survive and adjust to a changing climate. The plant life depicted is based on images of fauna that are under threat but managing to adjust and thrive. I used multi layers of green and yellow Acrylic Ink as I wanted gestural, fluid forms that seem to be coming to life.
For Octagon Foundations I reflected themes of strength, rebirth and new beginnings. Historically, an octagon symbolizes transition and renewal, and that relates to what many of the people here are going through here. I used three shades of blue Soft Body for so the colour itself is in transition, and the shapes open up as they rise - carrying you forward. Gestural mark making was essential to both pieces because it establishes a personal connection from me as an artist, through the work to the people who use the spaces.”
Live More, founded by Matthew Waugh, is an organization dedicated to fostering mental health through sport, specifically in psychiatric hospitals. Find out more about their work here. See more of Rebecca’s work here.
DULK, VALENCIA, SPAIN
Antonio Segura Donat, better known as Dulk, is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates urban art, sculpture, painting and drawing with a pop-surrealist style.
His naturalistic worlds invite us into a tragicomic, surreal landscape full of details... sometimes real, sometimes fiction. The unique dreamlike pieces are full of colourful creatures and characters, often expressed as large scale open air murals to incredible effect.
Dulk works exclusively in Liquitex acrylics, particularly Heavy Body and Glazing Medium which he uses to achieve vivid effects and subtle textures. Find out more here.
Ian Davenport, Dallas Contemporary
We were delighted to support longtime Liquitex user and Turner Prize nominee Ian Davenport’s exhibition at Dallas Contemporary, 2018-2019. Horizons was a rare chance to see the full scope range of Ian’s work: opening with an early piece from his student days at Goldsmiths in London, travelling through Colourfall from the Venice Biennale, to recent work made specifically for the museum space. Curated by museum director Peter Doroshenko, Ian's color-drenched immersive artworks dazzled the senses against the industrial backdrop. Find out more about Ian Davenport here.
Hospital Rooms is our current adopted charity. Founded by artist Tim A Shaw and curator Niamh White, Hospital Rooms commissions extraordinary art and art workshops for secure and locked mental health units. The charity aims to disrupt the barriers that limit access to art and culture for people using these in-patient services and works with a wide range of emerging and established artists, including Anish Kapoor, Nick Knight and Julian Opie. Liquitex are proud to support the charity’s activities with professional materials for the artists and patients to use. See artist Sutapa Biswas below, working on the Women's Lounge at Highgate's Garnet Ward in London, and Rebecca Byrne transforming 136 Suite in Ipswich, UK. Find out more about Hospital Rooms here.
CHINA TOWN MURAL, NYC
In 2018 we linked up with ArtBridge to help artist Chen Dongfan transform NY Chinatown's Doyers Street into a vivid walkway of color. The artist used Liquitex materials on an asphalt canvas of 4,800 square foot, leading from Pell Street to Bowery, to paint mural The Song of Dragon and Flowers. In place for three months, the work aimed to capture the soul and spirit of the dragon, while flowers were used as a symbol of peace in response to the history of the neighborhood.
The mural was commissioned by ArtBridge, a New York based non-profit charity which empowers emerging artists to transform urban spaces. Chen currently lives and works between New York and Hangzho. He describes his work as "not about dreams, but rather a kind of reality, a kind of memory, a mental world, the intersection between sensation and illusion, which requires time to find a way in." He is interested in how images are transmitted over time and what are the information and the sensations people receive through transmission, while still paying special attention to the materialistic aspect of paintings, experimenting with texture through layers of paint and welcoming the diverse outcomes of it. Chen used a range of our professional acrylics for the Doyers Street piece, including Soft Body Acrylic and Spray Paint. The durable, lightfast nature of our formulas has contributed to our long history of mural collaboration, which dates back to 1955.
BRONX STEP UP MURALS, NYC
In 2016 we supported Step Up: Bronx in Motion, the creation of two large-scale murals on steps in the West Bronx, New York. Step streets are public, open-air staircases that provide pedestrian shortcuts across the Bronx’s hilly topography, and were painted by Bronx-based artists Laura Alvarez and Clark Fly ID.
The project was initiated by ArtBridge, in collaboration with the NYC Department of Transportation and the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, using materials from our professional range Laura’s design, Cross-Street Stitches (below right) reflects the neighborhood’s history of manual labor. “I vividly remember the older women in my family working at home taking care of the families but also sewing - creating those beautiful dresses for the children and adding embroidery,” she said. “I want to beautify the neighborhood by adding that touch, creating a cross-stitch pattern along the stairs remembering the old traditions, the hand-made artisanal design in an era of technology and plastic.”
Clark Fly ID’s design, I Love the Bronx (left) riffs on the Bronx’s history as the center of the graffiti art movement. Clark Fly ID is a life-long Bronx resident who has played a prominent role in the borough’s history of street art. “This mural is a colorful reminder of our devotion to the Bronx,” he said. “I find inspiration from the city.” The overarching goal of Step Up: Bronx in Motion is to rethink the intersection of public art, public health and public space.