Posted by: Necci – Oct 11, 2012
Art Whino is at it again – this time showcasing “low-brow” art on an entirely new level, bringing Atlanta-based artist HENSE to DC to create a full-building mural. Upon arriving at the reception last Saturday, I was greeted with the supa fresh freestyling sounds of Congo Sanchez, Flex Mathews, Haile Supreme, and B-Cap, (who lovingly refers to himself as “the cute one”). I found myself bouncing away to the drums while admiring the ninety-three year old historic church, looking at the “painting” by Alex Brewer, aka HENSE.
The church, built in 1919, had been empty for ten years, and the owner decided it was time for a change. Shane Pomajambo, Executive Director and Editor in Chief of Art Whino, was contacted to help look for an artist to paint the building. After seeing HENSE’s work at Richmond’s Street Art Festival at Canal Walk last April, Shane had an idea of who he wanted to paint the building, and he contacted HENSE. A proposal was written up, but HENSE said, “I told him (the owner) it would look something like this, but not exactly… The nature of my work is spontaneous.”
HENSE started creating graffiti art in Atlanta twenty years ago, and has since travelled to Japan, Taiwan, France, Mexico, Spain, Czech Republic, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, with Barcelona being his favorite place so far. His older work was more letter based, but his current style is “all abstract and mark making based.” And his small-scale paintings follow the same rubric, too – abstract, mark making based, and spontaneous. Oh modern art, we love you so.
“I know how to work on a bigger scale,” said HENSE, in reference to his graffiti background and his new experience with using an entire building as a canvas. “First, we paint blocks of color. Then we add shapes and lines.” HENSE is working with a team of artists that have been helping him paint – there’s a small amount of collaboration from the artists, but the general idea is his own.
Why is this abandoned church, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, being changed in such a vibrant, dramatic way? Well, it goes hand-in-hand with the changes that are happening in the area – this small section is being converted into an art scene. Mera and Donald Rubell, world renowned art dealers who are also a driving force behind Miami’s Art Basel, have big plans for the area. They are converting a nearby abandoned public school into a contemporary art museum in the near future, and right down the street (I’m talking 2/10ths of a mile) is the Capitol Skyline Hotel. The Rubells bought the hotel in 2002 and have since upped its valued almost 6 times over. “The church is meant to be a standing piece of art, meant to highlight the area.”
Art Whino is a DC based art gallery whose mission is to bring together the pioneers and freshest talent from around the world. With over 1200 artists in the Art Whino arsenal, ranging from California to New York, Germany to Japan and beyond, Art Whino has become an all encompassing force in the art world. Exhibitions cover the whole spectrum of new art forms ranging from emerging stencil and wheat pasting artists to showcasing the most skilled leaders of the low brow movement.
Words and Images by Sandra Whittington