As promised, let's move on with my top ten inner loop Street Art gems!
Collaboration among artists is a given in the realm of Street Art and graffiti, and while driving down Montrose I fell upon an interesting kind-of-sort-of series by local artists Ack! and Weah. I did my research, and although I was able to identify the artists at least (eventually), there is very little else to be found about these two.
What I can tell you is that they are both regulars on the Houston Street Art scene, and that this is not their first collaboration. In fact, they exhibited together in "The Boardroom" - The Art League Houston's first ever graffiti show, which featured their work alongside fellow Street Artist Raiko Nin. This was the first instance of the artists working together, so I can only assume that the exhibition was the catalyst for these murals.
The first pictured mural is on a wall perpendicular to Montrose, so you have to walk or drive around the side of W.K. Hill Awning Co. to see it in all its glory. It is very aptly named "Two Against One" by veteran art blogger Finijo but I can't find any evidence to suggest either of these gorgeous murals were ever formally named. The second faces Montrose, and features Ack!'s familiar cartoon-like characters seemingly fighting off Weah's fire breathing Chinese dragon-like creature - a collision of styles in the most literal sense..
Ack! is all over Houston, and it's not hard to see why. He has (very cleverly) built himself a brand. With his signature faces, vibrant colors, and exceptionally clean lines, you can spot his murals a mile off. Ack! hand-paints the majority of his mural works, proving that it is definitely possible to achieve those crisp cartoon-esque figures without the help of a stencil. In addition to his al fresco works, he has exhibited in numerous locations around the city including Glitter Karaoke, Art League Houston, and the Station Museum. His collaborations include murals with Eyesore and the incredibly awesome Michael Rodriquez (watch out for him in my Artist of the Week this month!).
Much like the great Banksy however, it proved virtually impossible to find out any more about the Ack! as a person, but I guess that's part and parcel of being a Street Artist. Even though the majority of "graffiti" in Houston is legally commissioned nowadays, I doubt that the temptation to be an illusive artist who only works underground, man, will ever cease to exist.
Weah, on the other hand, is a little more open. In an interview with Houston Makerspace, Daniel "Weah" Anguilu opened up about his influences as a painter and his day-to-day life - somewhat unusually for a Street Artist. Like many Street Artists however, he is insistent that his urban works "do not belong to anyone, it is part of the belief that society is in need of therapy". A noble sentiment indeed, and one that resonates with anyone who has a love of urban art.
Weah's works are wildly colorful and have roots in Cubism, Vorticism, and an overarching obsession with geometric patterns. His mural commissions are featured LITERALLY all over the city, including very notable institutions such as Texas Art Asylum, The Station Museum, and The Glassell School of Art. Now that I have begun to write about him, I think this is an artist I will revisit in more depth in the near future, so hold that thought...
Anyway, to wrap it up, here we see two very different styles that have come crashing together on common ground, and this is something that is happening more and more in the Street Art world. Traditionally, graffiti artists' idea of a collaboration was to grudgingly share space on the same railway bridge.. These days, much like the Street Art genre in general, the process is a lot more choreographed (and certainly a lot more above board). If the results of this shift are more incredible collaborative works like these, then I for one have no complaints..
Apologies for my appearance in the below pic - Maybe I was jogging, maybe it was just a Sunday... You'll never know....
British-born arts blogger living in Houston, Tx. A mixture of Street Art, Fine Art, Installation, and anything weird and wonderful. Follow me if that sounds like your cup of tea.