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D*Face (United Kingdom)

ARTSCAPE 2014 International Street Art Festival in Malmö 0

Agnese Čivle,

International Street Art Festival
Malmö, Sweden 
Starting May 12, 2014

ARTSCAPE 2014 is an international street art festival taking place in Malmö, Sweden, in May of this year. Artists from all over the world will descend on Sweden's third largest city and transform it through murals and installations – bringing art to the public!

Together with an ambitious workshop program and creative talks, the ARTSCAPE festival aims to inspire and explore the possibilities of street art in the modern urban environment.

An interesting part of the festival program is the street-art gallery show. All artists involved in ARTSCAPE have been asked to contribute a piece of gallery art for what will surely be Sweden's strongest street-art gallery show ever. The exhibition will open on May 29 and run until June 29.

Since a future plan of is to pay special attention to the street-art phenomena in contemporary culture, getting to know more about the ARTSCAPE idea seemed like a sensible thing to do. Consequently, we prepared a couple of questions to ask its organizers: project director of ARTSCAPE, Tor Hedendahl; and the festival's director, Daniel Wakeham. Both were very obliging.

Faith47 (South Africa)

What makes ARTSCAPE different from other, similar events in Europe?

Tor: We are trying to get the whole city involved in Artscape; there are workshops and events connected to the project, so as to involve as many people as possible. There's also the “Artscape Exploration: Future” event, for which we have invited experts to discuss the future of street-art. This is something we have put a lot of effort into, and we hope that this will be an event with global appeal and significance.

Daniel: Another thing differentiating us from many other similar festivals is the fact that we are painting on walls right in the city centre. Walls on houses that are far from being derelict – we are definitely putting a permanent mark on the city.

Phlegm (United Kingdom)

Could you tell us more about the organizational process of this festival? How do you deal with the issue of anonymity among street artists? Is it easy to find them, invite them, and gather them together for this event?

Tor: Many of the street artists involved with Artscape have no problem showing their faces or revealing their real names; however, we do have great respect for the artists' anonymity, and we have taken steps so that it will be possible for artists to be anonymous – even in a big street-art festival like this one. It is not easy to gather together such high-level artists for a festival, but I think it helped that we had enough goodwill in the art- and street-art-worlds, so to speak. 

Daniel: Yes; at the top level, the street-art community is still small, and a few good contacts will get you far. But Tor did some cold-calling and emailed artists that we like, and you'd be surprised how many humble artists got back to us!

Natalia Rak (Poland)

Could you please tell us your vision of what the city’s environment will look like after the close of the ARTSCAPE festival?

Daniel: Colourful!

Tor: We're working together with the city of Malmö, the Region of Skåne, E.on, Moderna Museet Malmö, and so on. I think we will make an impact, and that Malmö will be forever changed. One should keep in mind that most of the art is permanent, and it is up to the owners of the buildings to decide how long the art will stay up. However, since we have gotten all of Malmö involved, as well as the established Swedish art scene, I think the real impact will be on how people view street-art in Sweden. 

Cyrcle (USA)

As we can see, in recent years street art has earned its legitimacy. It has become a market commodity, and has even been earning on a commercial scale. What is your point of view on this phenomenon?

Tor: I think when an art-form becomes as large as street art has, it is hard to hold it back. When something becomes hip or gets a lot of attention, there will always be people who will find a way to make money from it. But it is an interesting question – what will this look like in the future? Where will the street-art scene be in five years' time? These are the questions that we want to discuss in our “Artscape Exploration: Future” event. 

Daniel: We are keen to investigate if street-art really needs to go the traditional art route (e.g., galleries, canvases) for street artists to make a living from their art. Is street-art even relevant when exhibited in a white cube?

Stinkfish (Mexico)

All of the artists involved in ARTSCAPE have been asked to contribute a piece of gallery art. What are the conditions that artists must take into account when creating this work? How did you come up with this idea?

Tor: Many street artists make artwork for galleries and museums. It is a way for many street artists to earn money from their art. We wanted to give the artists an opportunity to show their “inside-works” as well. Again, this raises an interesting question – is it still street-art when it is shown inside? I think that if you're a great street artist, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't be able to create art for inside shows as well, no matter what you choose to call it. 

Daniel: The gallery exhibition is a natural way to gather something from each artist, and put it in one place. The murals and sculptures of the street-work will be scattered around the city, and most artists won't even be in Malmö at the same time. All of the artists involved in Artscape are established professionals and create gallery pieces regularly; the only restriction or guideline we gave them was size! (Laughs)

D*Face (United Kingdom)

Could you please highlight the artists that one should not miss when visiting ARTSCAPE?

Tor: I think this is an impossible question to answer – there are so many great artists involved in Artscape. I think one needs to visit our website and see, from a personal view, which artists are closest to their heart. Personally, I wouldn't want to miss any of the artists, of course!

Daniel: I would have highlighted Shamsia Hassani from Afghanistan, but her visa application got held up, so she won't be a part of Artscape, unfortunately. Not this year, anyway..!