Smartify X Urban Art Fair

Think all graffiti is vandalism? Think again! Urban Art is swiftly becoming the art world’s coolest and most sought-after genre of contemporary art. What was once considered a blemish on urban spaces, is now being seen as what it really is — skilled, interesting, provocative and beautiful. The term ‘Urban Art’ is broad-reaching: it includes graffiti culture but also represents a broader cross-section of artists like traditional street artists who now work in formal gallery spaces. Lastly, it covers artists using more traditional media but with a subject matter that deals with contemporary urban culture and political issues.

Urban Art is most important and relevant because it speaks directly to contemporary concerns and political ideas. And it is working its way into the mainstream — street art is now a prominent voice of resistance and dissent in our contentious political times. The stylised red, blue and beige “Hope” portrait of Barack Obama that came to represent his 2008 presidential campaign, started life as a poster sold on the street by artist Shepard Fairey. And perhaps most recently, in March 2018, renowned street artist Banksy revealed a new mural in New York protesting the imprisonment of Turkish artist, Zehra Doğan who was reportedly put in prison in 2017 for her painting of a damaged Turkish city.

There’s no better way to celebrate this exciting time for Urban Art than by taking a trip to the Urban Art Fair, which is happening in Paris from the 12th to the 15th April. The fair is being held at the magnificent Carreau du Temple, a converted market which dates back to the 19th century. The historic site provides an amazing contrast to the totally modern art. Smartify are going to be live at the fair and to tempt you to come take a look — we’ve picked out some highlights for you!

Universal Museum of Art: ‘Walk Into Street Art’ Exhibition in Virtual Reality

We’re really really excited by this one! Curated by the director of the Urban Art Fair, Yannick Boesso, the exhibition walks you through some of the best of street art from across the world, using VR headsets. By working in virtual reality, the UMA have an amazing ability to put together exhibitions that could never exist in real life — drawing together parallels and making connections that you can’t do in a museum. They’re showing exactly how tech can radically increase exposure to beautiful, important and interesting art — we can’t wait to put on the headset and have a go!

Street Art Place | Memorie Urbane: Works by Andrea Ravo Mattoni

Ravo Mattoni’s artistic project is a simple one: ‘to reproduce Classical paintings on large walls that can be seen by anyone.’ This street artist is convinced that there are huge connections between contemporary art and classical art and he wants to expose these ideas to the greatest number of people. As such, he has created vast reproductions of some of the most important classical artworks, all in spray paint. Interestingly, he explicitly explains that he doesn’t want to challenge museums, rather to support them. The idea being that you see the artwork in the public space then visit a museum to see the real thing. We’re excited to see more of his work and learn more at the fair!

Ten Year Celebration of Graffiti Art Magazine featuring the Spray Collection

Graffiti Art Magazine is the publication for anything related to Urban Art. When it started ten years ago, the Joint Commission of Publications (France’s controlling body for magazines and newspapers) refused to acknowledge the magazine as a ‘real’ publication because it was thought to be promoting ‘vandalism’. A lot has changed in a decade. Urban Art is now a key part the contemporary art world and Graffiti Art Magazine is its most vociferous advocate and can be found in newspaper kiosks around the world. The magazine is therefore holding a party to celebrate this significant anniversary at the Renaissance Paris Rèpublique Hotel, welcoming the press, the VIPs, the exhibitors and the artists who are taking part in the UAF. Excitingly for us, it’s at this party that Smartify’s partners The Spray Collection will be presenting their artworks. Happy Birthday Graffiti Art Magazine!

We are so happy to be partnering with the fair and are excited to visit all of the booths. If you’re interested in attending tickets can be purchased here. Remember to download the Smartify app to find out more about the artworks as you wander around.