Huffpost Arts
Jaime Rojo & Steven Harrington Headshot

NUART 2012: International Street Art Catalysts in Norway

Posted: Updated:

"By far the best exhibition we've yet created," says Martyn Reed, organizer of the Nuart 2012 street art festival as it draws to a close in Stavanger, Norway. What's left after two weeks of painting, panel discussions, and parties? The art.

On old factory buildings, bricked stairways, in labyrinthine tunnels, and hanging on gallery walls, the city itself has welcomed international street artists to do these installations over the last decade and the funding for the events, artists, and materials are largely contributed to from public grants.

It's a stunning model of arts funding that we'd like to see more of; one that is sophisticated enough to make behavioral and aesthetic distinctions and that is appreciative of the positive contributions of Street Art to the contemporary art canon. Here is one model that recognizes the importance of art in the streets as something necessary, even valued. And the city of Stavanger keeps inviting a varied mix of well-known names and newcomers who show promise year after year.

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartbeneineNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
Ben Eine (photo © Ian Cox)

At some point during the panel discussions at Nuart Plus this year there was talk about the dulling effect that the growing popularity of street art festivals specifically -- and sanctioned public art generally -- can sometimes have on the finished pieces. Certainly we are all familiar with those brain-deadening community murals of yesteryear that include lots of diversity, droning morality lectures and cute ducks. But we think the right balance of currency, community, and unchecked creativity can often catalyze great results, and smart people will know how to help keep it fresh.

Another topic discussed this year, at least in part based on our 2011 essay "Freed from the Wall, Street Art Travels the World," which we wrote for Nuart's "Eloquent Vandals" book, is the game-changing influence that the Internet continues to have on the Street Art movement itself. Considering that in the last year alone we have shown you art in the streets instantly from Paris, Iceland, Istanbul, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Copenhagen, London, Sweden, Atlanta, Bristol, Baltimore, Boston, Berlin, Beijing, Brooklyn and about 25 other cities on five continents, we think it's worth quoting the intro from that essay; "The Internet and the increasing mobility of digital media are playing an integral role in the evolution of Street Art, a revolution in communication effectively transforming it into the first global people's art movement."

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartaakashnihalaniNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb1.jpg
Aakash Nihalani (photo © Ian Cox)

Solidly, Stavanger took a lead in the Street Art festival arena early and is still setting standards for high quality as an integrated cultural event without compromising integrity with so-called 'lifestyle' branding. These images from 2012 show just a sampler of the many directions that Street Art is taking us, with traditional graffiti and letter-based influences and new overlays of 20th century fine art modernism keeping the scene unpredictable and vibrantly alive. Nuart artists this year included Aakash Nihalani (US), Dolk (Norway), Eine (UK), Ron English (US), Saber (US), Sickboy (UK), Mobster (UK), HowNosm (US), Niels Shoe Meulman (NL), Jordan Seiler (US), and The Wa (France).

Thanks to Ian Cox for sharing these images, some exclusive and some previously published.

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartaakashnihalaniNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
Aakash Nihalani installing a piece on the street. (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartsickboyNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
Sickboy takes in his indoor installation. (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartsaberNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb1.jpg
LA's Saber at work. (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartsaberNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
Saber (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetarthownosmNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
How Nosm (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetarthownosmNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb1.jpg
How Nosm (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetarthownosmNuart2012copyrightIanCox1web.jpg
How Nosm (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartjordanseilerNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
Jordan Seiler (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartmobstrNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb1.jpg
Mobstr takes in the wall. (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartmobstrNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
Mobstr makes MOM proud. (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartsickmobstrNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb2.jpg
Mobstr indoor installation. Detail. (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartmbstrNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
Mobstr makes friends with the notoriously wet climate in Stavanger. (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartronenglishNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
Ron English at work on his indoor installation. (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartnielsshoemeulmanNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb1.jpg
Niels Shoe Muelman working on his indoor installation. (photo © Ian Cox)

2012-10-08-brooklynstreetartnielsshoemeulmanNuart2012copyrightIanCoxweb.jpg
Niels Show Muelman (photo © Ian Cox)

<<>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><>>><><<>BSA<<>>><<<>><>

This article was also posted on Brooklyn Street Art.

Read all posts by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo on The Huffington Post HERE.

See new photos and read scintillating interviews every day on BrooklynStreetArt.com

Follow Jaime Rojo & Steven Harrington on Twitter and http://brooklynstreetart.tumblr.com/.