International artists donate their time to create beauty in public spaces
by Amy Hybels | Posted: Fri 1:15 AM, May 31, 2019 | Updated: Fri 1:52 AM, May 31, 2019
FLINT, Michigan (WJRT) - (05/30/2019) -The Flint Public Art Project wants to bring more beauty to the city, by creating fifty murals by October. It's an ambitious goal for the organization, that just became a non profit, and it's attracting international talent to help make it happen. For Simo Vibart, spending hours creating an abstract mural on the outer wall of Totem Books is a labor of love.
"When you add art to a blank space," he explained,"it just gives life to it." The mural he's finishing is what the 29-year old Argentinian describes as 'doodle art'. "Every single person's going to look at it different," Vibart said,"they will interpret different things from the forms that I do."
The only direction Sebastián Oyarbide, who is known as "Sebacener" in artist community, was given for painting the future home of Flint City Hard Cider, is that the mural had to include apples.
"You have the mural like, in front of you," he explained, "and its upside down so your brain don't recognize it at 100%, so you have to change the perspective to see it in different ways." After talking with a group of young women who work directly across the street from the building he's painting, it's obvious that the 24-year old Argentinians' efforts to create beauty are not in vain.
"It's amazing," noted Danielle Lepine,"And it's been cool to watch the process from the beginning."
The Flint Art Project is the brainchild of Joe Schipani who has an ambitious goal this year, to paint 50 murals throughout the city: "Who doesn't want to look at this," he said while watching Sebacener paint. "Let's see the beauty, and bring the beauty here."
Schipani has partnered with Kobra, a California company that supplies the paint at wholesale, and CoLabs which has helped connect him with the artists. Several blocks away, another artist is hard at work in Buckham Alley painting a large mural, based on a photograph he took of two step sisters who live in Flint.
"For me, art and painting is an important social tool," said Nil Safont, who goes by the name "Slim" in the artist community. "For me, art is a language."
This is the 23-year old artist from Barcelona's first visit to Flint.
"I think it has a special energy," he said,"it's very particular."
The Flint Public Art Project is also creating a space for color on Flint's East side.
Simo Vibart just completed two murals outside the Hispanic Technology Community Center. He spent four days painting a shipping container that serves as a storage unit for a food distribution program.
The artwork is very colorful. We asked Vibart what type of reaction he hopes his artwork will evoke.
"To make them happy," he said,"to be looking at something colorful."
The artist said he hopes his art will make an impact, and he believes art in the public space gives a lot to the community.
"It changes their life," he said,"at least for a moment."
Two female artists will be arriving in Flint next week, one from Barcelona, and another woman from Austin, Texas.
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