Open Call painting weekend – RECAP

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During the last weekend of May, the selected makers of the Open Call got to work at the Wallspot. Following an extensive briefing, they created their  designs. They had two days to realise the design on a wall of 8 meters wide and 2.40 high. Keep reading to discover how they got on and what they created!

The Blind Wall Open Call offers makers the opportunity to experiment on a large canvas and gain experience in making public murals. During Made You Look, we announced the eight chosen contestants, including two duos. We provided them with a briefing with practical information and the theme to which their mural had to be linked: littering. In the Grote Kerk, CrossArts opened the theme year ‘Sustainability & Creativity’ in May. Picasso’s painting ‘Guernica’ served as inspiration for a tapestry created by textile artist Claudy Jongstra. The participants took up the subject of litter and each created a mural design in their own style. 

Jet, decided to let the briefing sink in for a few days before she got to work. She looked for useful words and phrases relating to the theme. Her design is an explosion of  microplastics and plastic bags, she says. With a few helping hands, she got her mural finished in time. This experience taught her that you need to adjust your design in advance to the given time and wall size. 

Waste we don’t see
On Saturday, the makers started their mural, their desired base colour was already applied to the walls. The makers had free reign on their choice of materials. Stijn and Jesse chose spraypaint, which, due to the fast drying process, ensured that they finished quickly. During their research on litter, they noticed that you can dive into clichés very quickly, plastic bottles and bags for example. “With our mural, we show the invisible and that you have a choice as a human being. For example, there are various opposites in our mural: bike – scooter and left – right,” says Jesse. 

Loes also used the ‘invisible’ in her design. She often works with plants and natural elements and for this assignment she wanted to stay close to her own style. Her mural shows a cross-section of a tree trunk, which gradually fills with green-coloured poison: “I added that with spray paint which was a challenge because I haven’t yet worked with it much.” On a technical level, she learned a lot during this weekend, also from coach Guido de Boer, who made her look and think differently. 

The trick is to turn the eight-meter wall into a whole that speaks, Barbara says. The story serves as the starting point. In her mural she has depicted the links of a chain. “With this I refer to the waste chain, you ingest microplastics and they are passed on. Everything is connected,” says Barbara. 

Different stories
Some makers relate to the theme more than others. The work of muralist-duo VAAF, consisting of Jonna and Lotte, usually revolves around feminism, the body and nudity. Their mural can be viewed as a transformation, where human remains turn into waste and vice versa. What makes art in the public space so great, is that everyone can find and say  something about it. “I like it when people have strong opinions about our work. People are allowed to have their own opinion about it,” says Jonna. 

The second day of painting followed on Sunday. Ellis continued with her ‘ode to microorganisms’. The theme of littering is not unfamiliar to her as she is currently illustrating posters on the subject. Tiny critters help us process litter and turn it into compost, she explains, “We overlook them and take them for granted. This mural makes the viewer stop and think about that.” A rainstorm that erupted half an hour earlier than predicted, caused her background colour to run. Therefore, when asked what she learned this weekend, she replied, “That weather apps can’t be trusted.” 

Ellis also discovered which brushes are suitable creating murals, something that Timber also learned. After a good final sprint and some help, he got his mural finished on time. While searching for the theme, he started sketching. He then added those sketches to his  mural. “It shows how the animal kingdom is affected by our actions. I use humour in my work to make the viewer laugh and make an impact,” says Timber.

Jury moment
Around 4 pm, the last paint strokes were applied.. The jury, consisting of Gabi Brunhoso (winner of Open Call 2021), David Roos (director of STRAAT Amsterdam) and Dennis Elbers (founder of Blind Walls Gallery), talked to each participant about their murals. The makers explained their choices and shared their experiences. After a short deliberation it was time to announce the winner!

Each participant was called forward and received feedback and compliments from the jury. Floor was eventually declared the winner, which means that they will be making a Blind Wall in Bredathis Summer. Their work as an illustrator and tattoo artist often involves simplistic images. In this mural, Floor makes something small seem big, to show the viewer that it it actually there: “The theme urged me to look around the city a lot. I noticed that there are cigarette butts everywhere. We’re so used to them being there that we don’t even realise it anymore.” Floor is honoured to have won and is looking forward to making a Blind Wall this Summer!. 

All makers interpreted the theme in different ways and put their own spin on it. This resulted in eight diverse and professional murals. It was the second Open Call painting weekend; last year we organised the first one. Compared to then, this year we really took it to the next level, Stein thinks,  projectmanager of the Open Call. A new element was that participants were each assigned a experienced and professional coach, such as Hedof, Jan van der Ploeg and Ilse Weisfelt. Stein enjoyed seeing all participants working together, it didn’t feel like a competition: “There was a nice atmosphere among them and they helped each other when necessary.” It was a successful weekend for everyone involved . 

Make sure to keep following us to find out what Floor will be making this Summer!

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