The Representational Art Conference, a California Lutheran University Arts Initiative event organized by Michael Pearce, is a yearly international event focused on forward-looking representational art in the 21st century. This year’s TRAC—held between March 31st through April 4th, 2019—took place at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Ventura Beach, California, gathering a large number of attendees hailing from North America and as far away as Europe, South America, Asia, and Oceania.
Vince Natale – Falco Luciferus II & Dreameater
Artists, writers, poets, philosophers, filmmakers, scientists, curators, and other creative minds gathered to exchange ideas, present papers, attend lectures, hold demonstrations, participate in panel discussions, socialize, forge friendships and alliances, and exchange ideas on all sorts of art-related subjects. This year’s topic was Imagination and 21st-Century Representational Art. While TRAC provides an exciting platform for debate, it does not seek to establish a single monolithic aesthetic for representational art but instead tries to identify commonalities in an effort to understand the unique potentials of representational art, ideally shedding some light on possible future directions.
While hundreds of art festivals and fine art shows pop up across the U.S. throughout the year, some are especially outstanding in terms of atmosphere and attendance.
And, you know what that means? The better the show, the better chance you have of connecting with excited customers and selling your work!
So whether you want to check out these fairs in person and see what they’re all about, or you’re ready to throw your hat into the ring, we’ve rounded up some of the highest rated art fairs across America as determined by ArtFairCalendar.com.
Check out these art fairs consistently voted the best of the best:
Aberdeen! The granite city, the city of grey! Who knew it would become such a hotbed of street art. The cities Nuart festival has already produced some amazing murals as part of it’s two previous festivals. Now established firmly as a key event in the urban art calendar. It’s third installment once again sees some of the world’s very best street artists heading to the city.
This isn’t something we say lightly. The truth is that already Nuart has attracted some real talent to the city. Firmly established over the North Sea in the Norwegian city of Stavanger, the move to Aberdeen payed homage to the close links between the two cities. The first event in 2017 really played on those links. Bringing artists across who were already well established in the Nuart family. The likes of Martin Whatson, Alice Pasquini, Fintan Magee and Herakut all creating stand out works.
Elki multi-layer stencil piece. Part of Nuart 2018. Photo by Inspiring City
An imposing piece overlooking the market from Herakut. Created as part of Nuart 2017. Photo by Inspiring City
STREET ART IN ABERDEEN
In 2018 the focus centered much more on the Scottish scene. Local artist Elki returning to the city to produce one of his largest and most ambitious pieces to date. Whilst Glasgow artists Conzo & Globel combined to create a much photographed comedic tribute to the chip stealing seagulls of the area. Carrie Reichardt meanwhile created a number of works in mosaic paying tribute to inspirational Aberdonian and Scottish women.
So for 2019 an even more ambitious line up beckons. A serious nod to stencil art is driven by the presence of Norway’s Strøk, Hama Woods and the UK’s Dotmasters. Street installation artists are representated by Jan Vormanns who creates art out of LEGO by utilizing spaces occuring within the urban environment. He is joined by Ememem whose tiles will fill cracks in the street and potholes in the road. Portugal’s Vhils, one of the most exciting talents on the scene at the moement, is renowned for his quite literally ‘explosive’ work. Axel Void’s dark muralism comes to Scotland for the first time. While Australian SMUG, now resident in Glasgow promises to bring a showstopper to the city.
An artist whose multi-layer stencils cause viewers to double take. Showing figures clambering along often giant walls. They cast long shadows which distort perspective. Seemingly inhabiting a reality in which gravity is not an option and time has suddenly frozen. His work has an other-worldy and rhythmic nature to it. Often juxtaposed as they are against the ruins of factory buildings, rusting metal and decaying plaster.
Axel Void is a multimedia artist driven by a passionate interest in the art of storytelling. Inspired by truth in all its forms the artist aims to explore the visceral realness of an uncomfortable reality, or the hazy delight of nostalgia. Each and every one of Axel Voids works documents sincerity, presented with an almost journalistic intrigue. Over recent years he’s visited the UK a number of times painting in Manchester and London.
Axel Void mural in Walthamstow
Alex void mural. Part of Banksys 2015 Dismaland exhibition in Weston Super Mare
Known for his unique typography he paints his colourful letters large wherever he goes. Eine is a staple of the London scene. He was there at the birth of the modern day graffiti movement and his letterforms are his current evolution. Now known more for his large scale words painted high and wide. It’s a far cry from his days tagging the streets of the city which had led him to the attention of the law a number of times. Now his work is feted by the likes of David Cameron who famously presented one of his canvases as a gift to Barack Obama. Have a look at his Petticoat Lane Alphabet here and his work at the Olympic Park here.Ben Eine’s “You saw it in the tears of those who survived” on the Village Underground wall in Shoreditch. Photo by Inspiring City
Another core of the UK scene. Dotmasters is also an intrinsic part of the early days of the Nuart festival. Acting sometimes as a producer and co-curator as well as artist at previous events. His work has featured in both Banksy’s CANS festivals as well as in the documentary ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’. Well known in London we’ve seen his work most recently in Croydon and Penge. We also featured his campaign to highlight the unjust expulsion of homeless people from an unused office block in the city.
An artist whose interventions cut into the fabric of a city. He creates colouful works of art within roads and pavements. Inviting us to observe the details as he draws attention to it’s imperfections. Filling potholes and cracks with colour using locally sourced ceramic tiles and grout. He calls it his ‘street flacking’ project. Stepping into spots where city council’s have failed to maintain. The result is a little bit of surrealism and magic to the structure of the city.Ememem patching up potholes with tiles around the world
Inspired by architecture which the artist sees as a mirror for society. Evol utilizes stencil techniques to transform electric enclosures, concrete planters and other familiar elements of the modern city into unique pieces of art. Interested in depicting the urban lives of ordinary people. Many of his works are also narrative or suggestive of the turbulent history of Berlin. The artist is particularly interested in the postwar socialist architecture of the former East Germany. As a result many of his pieces depict grey and functional buildings with a brutalist and monumental appeal. These ‘cities within cities’ are rendered so precisely it is often hard to tell whether or not you’re not looking at real buildings when viewing his work in photographs.EVOL’s work inspired by the turbulent history of Berlin
Showing a reverence for nature and its immediate connection to humanity. Hama’s multi-layer stencils draw attention to greed and human consumption and its effect on our natural environment. Her hope is that her work empowers and challenges viewers to come to their own conclusions and to rethink the choices they make. Particularly those choices which might have an impact on the natural world.Stencil art from Norway’s Hama Woods
An artist whose work on the street looks like it would not be out of place on canvas in a studio. Her murals weave together images from mass media which she combines through digital collage. Her work examines how the over-saturation of imagery and information can leave us in a state of disorientation and confusion.
Helen Bur mural at the Stavanger Nuart festival in 2018
Helen Bur painting at Upfest in 2018. Photo by Inspriring City
HUSH fuses traditional eastern art with the more western tradition of action painting and graffiti. Fascinated by Asian graphic novels and inspired by the likes of Mimmo Rotella, Roy Lichenstein and Sir Peter Blake, Hush has a unique style. A visual treat, HUSH’s work results in a layering of complex textures and colours in a fusion of anime, pop-graphics and graffiti. Multiple layers of tagging and graffiti transition from the street to the studio and back again. Forming a deeper, richer exploration of colour, shape, form and ultimately, culture.
Bringing his Dispatchwork project to Aberdeen. Jans Vormann uses LEGO bricks to repair damaged walls. He describes the project as “a forum to further develop, piece by piece, a global game together”, one that encourages citizens to take back public space and leave their mark on the city in a playful way. Some of the installations use a handful of toy bricks while others have used up to 40 kilos. Having started spontaneously patching-up surfaces in Bocchignano, Italy in 2011, Vormann has since employed the technique on walls in nearly 40 cities across Europe, Central America, Asia, and the United States.LEGO bricks from Jans Vormann patching up a wall
Taking what might be considered to be more traditional art out of the gallery setting and into the street. Julio Anaya Cabanding displaces these often well known paintings by re-producing them in often inhospitable settings. Searching for adandoned places in which to host them. The result is that he ends up ‘unlocking’ these paintings from the ‘sacred’ space of the gallery into somewhere altogether different. Generating new meaning given the new environment and how people might interact with them.
Known for his photo-realist graffiti work, Smug, or SmugOne, is a contemporary graffiti writer originally from a small Australian town. Now living and working in Glasgow his murals are highly technical photo realistic figurative pieces. His murals, favoured by photographers for their engaging appeal, are created using only spray paint. A popular artist we’ve featured his work before in Leicester where his work for the Bring the Paint festival is still a stand out mural in the town.
Destroying in order to create. The Portuguese street artist who openly operates under his real name, Alexandre Farto, is internationally recognized in the forming of dramatic, oversized portraits. Made by carving directly into outdoor walls. Growing up in Seixal, an industrialised suburb across the river from Lisbon,he was deeply influenced by the transformations brought on by the intensive urban development the country underwent in the 1980s and 1990s. It’s this which has influenced his artistic process. He often involves industrial methods such as drilling and controlled explosions. The majority of the subjects in his artworks are anonymous and formerly unremarkable urban citizens. These are ‘common people’ turned into icons to create a contrast this with the need people seem to have to create icons in the first place.
The Nuart festival in Aberdeen takes place between 18 April 2019 and 21 April 2019. Photos provided in this article have been provided by Nuart unless otherwise stated. For more articles on the 2019 event have a look here for the graffiti grannies of Aberdeen. Click on the links for the murals of 2018 and the Street Art of Aberdeen.