Culture

Wild Walls

Street artist Louis Masai Michel and his wildlife inspired work

gorilla posse [caption id="attachment_4053" align="aligncenter" width="603"]IMG_5789 Photo credit: Klaus Warschkow[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4054" align="aligncenter" width="603"]IMG_6018 Photo credit: Klaus Warschkow[/caption] shooting a shooter this guys knows whats up. rhino

Street artist Louis Masai Michel talks to EcoHustler

What motivates you to paint wildlife? U know what, I think its the other way round…wildlife motivates me to paint. I have always loved animals, the animal kingdom has always been a huge impact on my understanding of how we as humans really are…a natural way of life in as much as one can survive in London in a natural existence is very important to me… I try to go on little adventures exploring that whenever I can…when I was 18 I spent a month in the Amazon rainforest, sitting, listening and observing…that connection with the natural will never leave me, one day ill be back in that raw environment. When it comes to creating a painting I love marks and exploring how texture can create movement, and painting animals allows for that exploration to ripen… Why in the streets? When I paint outside there is a direct connection with the environment that I am painting in. If I painted behind closed doors all the time in the studio, I would never know what the public really feels about my work. But of course there are many reasons I love painting outside. Another being that I can paint in the sun, size is another factor, and the most rewarding of all is that I can change an environment for as long as the painting is left in its new environment. This particular project is about raising awareness and therefore the presentation in a public space is imperative in order for the message to be carried… Why in South Africa? Actually u know what there are in fact four reasons why I initially chose south Africa…firstly because I am painting about African endangered animals so I wanted to be somewhere in the African continent…So south Africa particularly because its easy to buy good spray paint, thirdly because I have some friends living out there that are artists and we wanted to hang out and paint together. Then I actually have a lot of family out there that I had never met so that was fun to explore. On a spiritual level of guidance which is something that I believe in, I think I have been sent there to understand the critical state of the rhino death and tell a wider audience that we need to help preserve this beautiful creature…which is where I am now. How did the public react to you painting them? By them, im guessing you don’t mean me painting the public…hahaha…yeah the peeps of capetown and jozi seemed pretty happy with me painting their walls, perplexed that I did it for free, but happy I was there doing it. One of the best moments for me was when I was thanked for providing statistics about the animals. That’s when I realized that the painting was serving its purpose. Are you going to do it in the uk? Try and stop me…anyone that wants a wall painted as part of this project…my email is here. Poaching is really bad right now - do South African's care? Too right they do…it’s the huge campaign happening amongst the people to prevent this happening that has had such a driving impact for me to tell people in the uk what is happening…I hope that the book I publish before the end of the year about the paintings I do in conjunction to this project makes lots of money to donate to rhino conservation… What roll can art play in making a difference? Artists were once valued amongst tribes as the third most important person in the community…although the general public may not realize the importance of art in our society today, trust me when I say as artists, we do…artists have one of the most influential jobs to uphold. I cant say that my art will save the rhino from extinction, I cant say that it will even save a few but I do know that more people will become informed. And if during that informant stage someone listens that can safe the rhino well then we made a difference. I hope that the poachers don’t wipe out any more rhino sub species we lost one last year already…now I best go find some more walls to paint because I think I see some blue sky arriving at last, which means I can paint outside again….one love

Related articles
Technology
Thousands of people from all around the world pledge not to eat farmed salmon

Thousands of people from all around the world pledge not to eat farmed salmon

"We will not feed farmed salmon to our children. We're certainly not going to feed farmed salmon to our customers."

Nature
Botswana’s elephant poaching crisis

Botswana’s elephant poaching crisis

The world awaits an appropriate response from Botswana

Culture
Writing For Life – Try Serialised EcoLit For Yourself!

Writing For Life – Try Serialised EcoLit For Yourself!

Sue Hampton’s writing is a deepening commitment to more physical activism