Berlin-based urban painter, David Walker, is a staple on the streets of London and Berlin and is the most recent artist to have been picked by l’association to make Le M.U.R., creating one of his signature emotive portraits. Ludovica Giulianini reports on Walker’s true work of art.
Over 140 artists have made ephemeral artworks on the wall since it’s inauguration in 2007, but few have matched the beauty of Walkers’ portrait on this three by eight metre former billboard set aside by the city council for the purpose of promoting street art.
Painting portraits is probably the most difficult challenge for artists. Not because of the problems they might encounter in representing the real face of a person, but because of the quasi-impossibility of reproducing the aura of that person and the emotions flowing from a facial expression, from a glimpse.
There are millions of quotes from artists about the difficulty of painting portraits. But when I looked at David Walkers’ works there is only one quote that came to my mind: “A portrait, to be a work of art, neither must nor may resemble the sitter. The painter has within himself the landscapes he wishes to produce. To depict a figure one must not paint that figure; one must paint its atmosphere.” Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916), Italian Futurist painter and sculptor. Technical Manifesto of Futurist Painting, 1910.
Even though David Walker still paints that figure, it is the atmosphere he is able to reproduce around that figure that makes of his portraits, works of art.
He depicts feelings and emotions and reproduces them in a vortex of dancing colours. The sensation you prove while looking at his work, after you realise that there is a face coming out that mass of apparently random lines, is of real serenity.
By the years, David Walker has developed a very unique technique. He paints freehand with spray cans. He does not use brushes and the results, under a technical point of view, are some of the most astonishing of this genre.
(photo, above, sourced from David Walker’s Facebook page)
Drinks served at vernissage
Photo: Ludovica Guilianini copyright 2013
See David Walker’s urban artwork in Paris at Le M.UR., 107 rue Oberkampf, until 13th June 2013.
David Walker’s website, here.
Paris exhibition of work by David Walker, June 1st, at Galerie Mathgoth.