1xRUN alumni Above recently knocked out his largest wall to date in Johannesburg, South Africa for the 5th annual City of Gold Festival. One of only three international artists invited the massive wall measures over 108 feet tall x 55 feet wide. Read on to see process photos and detail shots from Above’s massive wall in Johannesburg and be sure to check out remaining works from Above’s colorful Remix works here…
1xRUN: Where and when was this mural created?
Above: I just created the Incognito mural a few weeks ago in Johannesburg, South Africa. I was one of three international artists invited to the 5th annual City Of Gold Festival.
1x: You mentioned this was your largest to date, how big is it? How big was your previous largest mural and where was that?
Above: You’re correct, the Incognito mural was my largest mural to date. The wall was 108 feet tall x 55 feet wide (33 meters tall x 17 meters wide.) In 2014, I painted a mural titled ‘Metamorphosis’ that was in Malmø, Sweden. I believe that mural was around the same height but not as wide as Incognito.
1x: Tell us about the execution behind the mural? How long did it take? What were some of the challenges?
Above: Due to the large size of the wall it was challenging to ensure that all of the design was laid out correctly on the wall. The design’s foundation is based on sharp, accurate lines that all intersect each other. If at any point a line was incorrect, the design would suffer. It took me 3 full days of measuring out the proportions and getting the design placed on the wall. Once that was completed it took 6 full days of filling in the sections with their respective colors. From start to finish the wall took 10 full days to finish.
1x: We’ve seen in both of these recent large scale murals that you’ve been working a lot in an overlapping style. Can you explain more about this style?
Above: This style of overlapping the arrow to create new colors and appearances had started in my mind about 3 years ago. I’ve been creating the iconic arrow logo for over a decade now. As I’ve changed and evolved, so has my creative ideas. I’m very attracted to the process of overlapping colors to achieve a new color. This applies as well to the arrow. For instance when I take a Magenta arrow and place it next to a Cyan arrow the effect is both a new color of Violet, as well as a new intersecting shape. This effect is something interesting to me that I’ve been exploring and will continue to explore.
1x: This style was also seen in your solo exhibition ‘Remix’ @ Inner State Gallery recently.
Above: Indeed it was. I had created three original works titled ‘Metamorphosis’ that had this exact same style.
1x: Not only this overlapping style was exhibited, but also the interchanging of your arrow icon. Tell us a bit more about this.
Above: As you can see from the Incognito and Metamorphosis murals I’ve been intending to breakdown and alter the arrow icon as much as possible. This was completely true with the Remix exhibition. When you look at the original works you can see the remixing and puzzle piecing of different colors, shapes, and styles. When it’s all pieced together you see an arrow consisting of many colors and shapes. It’s like a collage of different pieces that eventually create the final product.
1x: What else is on the docket for you for the rest of the year?
Above: I just got home to Berlin and am starting to prepare for my upcoming solo exhibition in Zürich, Switzerland for early 2016. I’ll be heading to Miami for Art Basel exhibitions and an outdoor painting.