Supporting the arts has always been at the heart of our philosophy. Our founder Henry Levison understood that the role of a good tool maker was to support the tool users - the artists - and their community. We continue to follow this by supporting a range of art events, charities and initiatives around the globe. Discover some of recent projects below.
BIG WALLS AND WINDOWS PROJECT 2022, LONDON
Two pieces of public art. Two historic art schools. The 2022 Big Walls and Windows Project in London continues to bring large-scale work to the forefront. Liquitex is proud to provide materials in support of this collaboration with University of the Arts London (UAL) in partnership with British store chain Cass Art.
Big Walls and Windows offers art students an opportunity to gain exposure with large scale public art proposals. We want to inspire ambition, making all situations a platform for work. Artists are tasked with devising a temporary, site-specific mural that fully utilizes the scale, context and dimension of the space. Each should be produced safely, within a limited timescale, to budget.
After an open call, the undergraduate artists selected to bring their installations to life were Ffi Farrer-Miles, a final year BA Fine Art student at UAL Camberwell College of Arts, and Manyi Takor, a first-year BA (Hons) Fine Art student at UAL Central Saint Martins.
Ffi’s work explores the idea of conservation, aesthetic and color chemistry through abstract geometric painting. Taking inspiration from the British architect Maurice Bingham Adams, her installation celebrates the stained-glass windows of the Victorian part of the college. By bringing this original feature into the modern part of the building, the piece creates a dialogue between the traditional and contemporary.
Manyi’s piece, Hidden Identities, connects to a long tradition of fresco and mural painting. It asks the audience to consider what acceptance and equity really mean in a space where expected and acceptable values are incongruent with the ego. It examines how identity is formed by experiences often related to the expectations of others, probing the dissonance from dwelling along liminal margins.
UAL is Europe’s largest specialist art and design university. Made up of 6 colleges, it develops students at every level, from foundation to postgraduate.
Black Lives Matter Mural, New Jersey
One work: many artists. It takes a village for change to happen. Time for an update on the huge mural project in East Orange, NJ, USA we told you about last year. This initiative for change brought the community together to create a collaborative artwork based on the Black Lives Matter statement.
16 local artists were commissioned, led by artist Malcom Rolling, a lifelong East Orange resident. Each were given a letter to create, and Malcom choose a font by Tre Seals, titled ‘Marsha’, inspired by the sign outside the Stonewall Inn and named after Marsha P. Johnson, an African American transgender woman from NJ and prominent figure in the 1969 Stonewall uprising.
The Black Lives Matter mural was initiated as a bold supportive statement to spread a positive message of creativity, community and social awareness within the area. The 9,000 sqft mural was painted onto the floor in the parking lot in East Orange’s Manufacturers Village studios. Built in the 1880s, this is a repurposed Victorian industrial complex, now home to a community of artists and creatives. Project management and guidance came from the artists at Manufacturer’s Village, the Arts Council of East Orange, Pink Dragon Artist Syndicate and Liquitex, with additional support from community fundraising.
We were delighted to support the initiative with materials and guidance. Liquitex Professional Soft Body, Spray Paint and mediums were the most popular with the muralists. A documentary ‘It Takes A Village | Artivism In A Pandemic’, chronicled the entire journey - from ideation to reveal. Made by local filmmaker Kiymora Smith of The Gold Standard Productions, the film can be seen here and shows that public art is a unifying experience that strengthens our sense of humanity and connectedness to one another.
Congratulations to all the artists involved @simonebaileycampbell @dollasignlogos @kernyboydraws @newbie_noodle @solo_1804 @visualminds.art @sunahnashart @kirkmaynardart @god_swearableart @esotericurbanism @artcat_on_q @grdesignsinc @slimsuliart_world @iamcjgallery @serralunaart and @m.rolling
Photo credit: Maria Baptiste (@photographermariab) and Armando Diaz (@outtherenj)
Afrik’Art Festival, Montpellier, France
We were delighted to support Afrik'Art Festival, a new three-month event organized by the Africa-France Artistic Federation (FAAF) in the Montpellier region of southern France.
The festival culminated into the 28th Africa-France Summit held in the city in October. The aim? To promote and support local African artists, many of whom are refugees or have been displaced from their home countries. An exciting schedule of art exhibitions, residencies, fashion shows, film projections, live performances, workshops and debates bought a buzz to the Occitanie region.
Liquitex provided materials for the Afrik'Art residency series. Seven artists took part from all corners of the African continent, including the Ivory Coast, Cameroon, Congo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Tunisia and Guinea. The residency was based at Le Reservoir arts space in Sete and kicked off with a technical workshop by Liquitex artist Laurent Blandin. Here, he introduced the artists to different ranges such as Acrylic Markers and Spray Paint. Largescale works were produced and exhibited within the Sete space before moving to Le Serre Gallery in the city. The opening night party was attended by the Mayor of Montpellier and each artist had the opportunity to present their work and talk about their experiences.
The residency artists also became involved in other festival activities. Bellah Bah and Obou created public pieces using Liquitex in Montpellier. Obou’s signature masked figures are central to his huge 24m x 3m open air work at the Hall Tropisme, using Liquitex Spray Paint and Basics. Rafiy Okefolahan and Ikram Ben Brahim hosted inclusive creative workshops for kids with themes of color discovery and diversity. The artists’ work then became part of the Montpellier Art Fair where Well Rimo also did a two-hour live painting installation using Liquitex Basics.
FAAF was started in 2021 by friends Valère Hounhanou and Joël Réjant, with the objective of helping young Africans and diaspora artists to increase their visibility on the artistic scene. Valère, who was born in Togo, and Joël, who originates in the West Indies, now live in France. They started the festival to develop cultural links between the African continent and Montpellier and to promote difference as a strength, in a spirit of solidarity and exchange.
Valère tells us, “It's important to be able to put in place a strategy to build a bridge between Africa and the metropolis. Montpellier is a city with great diversity. It's a strength. We must highlight African art. We wanted to set up this project to support artistic creation. Its purpose is to detect young talents who have potential but lack exposure. We bring them contacts with galleries and people who can help them.”
The first Afrik'Art Festival was such a success that it will become an annual event sponsored by the city of Montpellier and the region, with a focus on film, fashion, contemporary art, literature and dance. Find out more here.
BIG WALLS AND WINDOWS PROJECT 2021, LONDON
Since 2013, University of the Arts London (UAL) has been home to the Big Walls and Windows Project. This initiative gives students the opportunity to submit their work for a chance to be featured in a temporary exhibit within the college. In collaboration with Cass Arts, Liquitex was proud to continue supporting the project this year by providing materials and covering equipment costs.
After an extensive submission and selection process, second year BA Fine Art student Sarah Savage and BA Fine Art graduate Alice Bajaj were chosen as the winners of this year’s competition. Sarah was chosen as the winner for UAL Camberwell College of Arts, and her mural was displayed at the entrance to the school. Sarah’s design concept was inspired by landscapes, travel, and the juxtaposition between freedom and restriction. Her mural featured a variety of Liquitex colors and mediums, including Ceramic Stucco, Modeling Paste and Black Lava.
Alice Bajaj was chosen as the winner for UAL Central Saint Martins. In her piece, Alice married silhouette motifs of the people seen around the college building and surrounding areas, symbolizing different identities and styles of the students, staff and members of the public that circulate. Alice utilized Louise Bourgeois’ Maman and Kathy Acker’s pseudonym of The Black Tarantula as inspiration, exploring the symbolism of the spider in the history of feminist art.
Take a look at their incredible work below.
LONDON COLLEGE OF FASHION, LONDON
Creativity was in full bloom during a collaborative project led by the London College of Fashion’s BA (Hons) Fashion Textiles class and UK retailer Cass Art. The project focused on fashion’s reoccurring obsession with florals and brought together a range of different specialisms, including print, knit and embroidery. Students were asked to interpret a variety of flower species through the lens of realism, abstraction, minimalism and maximalism, expressing themselves on clothing and the photographic set.
Equipped with a full suite of Liquitex Professional materials, the students went wild in nature, working with their chosen botanicals. Everything from backdrops to sculptures, gloves to shorts were created in Liquitex acrylic paints, markers, inks, spray and mediums. The process came to a climax with each artist showing their work in a specially curated photoshoot with creative direction from Rob Unett, beauty by Kirsty Gaston and wet-plate photography by LCF MA Fashion Photography alumna Kasia Wozniak. Take a look at the spectacular results here.
Artists from left to right, starting top row: 1 Agata Szwajcowska, 2 Rosie Sweeney & Jasmine Ataç, 3 Katy Theobald & Erin Henry, 4 Lingjiao Li, 5 Alice Mahoney, 6 Soyeon Kim, 7 Faye O’Brien & Corran Green, 8 Mollie Lusty, 9 Airu Zhu, 10 Yiwen Chen
PARCOURS SAINT GERMAIN 20TH ANNIVERSARY EXHIBITION, FRANCE
In the heart of Paris’ chic St. Germain fashion and art district, emerging artists had the unique opportunity to showcase their work on bookseller booths along the scenic Seine River. Led by their professor Artist Stéphane Calais as part of The Fine Arts School of Paris (Beaux-arts de Paris), 16 students created and displayed pieces at the iconic Parcours Saint-Germain exhibition.
The Parcours Saint-Germain is an annual outdoor arts and cultural event in Paris, sharing a blend of contemporary art, fashion and design with the neighborhood in an accessible manner. Artist and Professor Stéphane Calais is the project’s curator. This year, this Paris mainstay event celebrated its 20th anniversary of bringing visual artists and creatives to art lovers, locals and tourists alike.
Liquitex was proud to supply materials to support these artists, including Liquitex Basics acrylic paint, markers, Soluvar Matte Varnish, brushes and aprons. Learn more about Parcours St. Germain here, and Beaux-arts de Paris here. To see more creations from Stéphane Calais’ studio and students, find them on Instagram.
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.
See more of Laura's work here and find Clark Fly ID @clarkzilla on Instagram.