VukovART is a street art festival in Vukovar, happening for the fifth consecutive year. For a month, Vukovar becomes a canvas for ten carefully selected artists from all over the world. The Festival is organised by Val kulture and the city of Vukovar, co-financed by EU and Interreg funds. We asked Filip Mrvelj and Krešimir Herceg from VukovART a few questions!
How did you get the idea to start VukovART?
Krešimir: The idea existed several years ago, as we worked on several other cultural projects. In 2016 Filip, as the only 3D street art artist, was called to paint one side of the bridge across river Vuka in Vukovar.
While working on it together, we developed the idea of turning it into a festival. The first 3D street painting in Vukovar went viral. In cooperation with the city of Vukovar, the next year we organised a festival that attracted six world-famous 3D artists.
How do you select artists for the Festival?
Filip: VukovART is based on the principle of excellence. We don’t have a classic public call but select artists directly based on specific criteria. By doing this, we try to bring the best artists to Vukovar.
What are the plans for VukovART?
Krešimir: In the future, we hope to bring more world-famous artists that would promote Vukovar as a world harbour of art. We are working on many ideas, such as holding international panel discussions like those we have already had.
We are planning to have public calls to create murals on smaller walls to promote young and talented artists that are not famous yet. We have the strategy and plan and hope we will be able to meet our goals in the future.
Starting on May 15 until June 15, Vukovar becomes an open gallery where everyone is invited. Artists will work on multiple locations creating art on streets and walls.
The Festival comes with a rich programme that will include workshops, debates, kids’ events, movie and literature events, panel discussions, lectures and concerts. Many famous musicians will entertain the visitors, like rock band Vatra, Mia Dimšić, musical group TRAG and vocal group Akvarel.
Famous singer Davor Gobac will host an art workshop for the youngest and present his work in an exhibition. Domagoj Jakopović Ribafish, Dušan Bućan and Robert Knjaz will host lectures about their travels.
An active weekend is planned with a half marathon, and bike tours of all the street art created so far. Main events will be complemented by a craft scene and new street food concepts.
The Artist lineup for VukovART 2021
Artworks will vary from 100 to 300 square metres on the walls and anywhere from 30 to 80 square metres on the ground. This year, 10 artists from all over the world were selected to sail into the Vukovar harbour to change the city’s visual identity:
Ivan Blažetić Šumski, an illustrator, muralist, painter and sculptor from Rijeka, Croatia, his work has a strong narrative element. He’s collaborating with famous brands like Nike and recently his work was published in GQ magazine. Ivan is the creator of the biggest mural in Vinkovci, 42 metres high.
Marion Ruthardt from Düsseldorf, Germany and her partner Gregor Wosik are famous for XXL 3D paintings and hold several world records. The most famous is an artwork in Venice with a surface of 2000 square metres.
Kerim Mušanović is the only active 3D anamorphic artist from Bosnia and Herzegovina. His expertise is painting wildlife and nature, and his work is displayed in museums in Los Angeles and Sarajevo.
Artez is an artist from Belgrade, Serbia. He started as a graffiti artist but experimented with different styles. Change of workspace makes him creative, and now his artistic focus has shifted to murals made with acrylic and brush. His signature style is a mixture of realism and illustration.
Juandres Vera from Mexico already performed in Vukovar. His most famous work at the Festival was a double-layered painting with the use of watercolours. During the performance, he washed away the top layer revealing the original painting below. He works with decorative murals, mostly inspired by urban life.
Victor Splash is an expert in 3D illusions, graffiti and volumetric installations. He loves to call it 3D cubism, through which he speaks to the viewer in forms. Victor is a participant and winner of many street art festivals in the USA and Europe.
Mr Woodland is a graffiti artist from Germany, creating a mixture of contemporary painting with graphic fragments and surrealism. His work can be seen all over Europe as he’s an active participant in street art festivals.
Jana Brike from Latvia is an internationally exhibited artist. Her main themes are love, growth and exploration. Jana’s work is inspired by a feminine soul space, folklore, and mythology. She mostly uses traditional mediums like oil painting in combination with drawing, animation, sculpting, and digital art.
BustArt is an artist from Switzerland. Famous for cartoon characters with new skilful techniques that take icons out of their contexts, providing them with a broader sense in new compositions.
Boa Mistura is a multidisciplinary team from Madrid, Spain. With their roots in graffiti, they focused on developing their work in the public space, transforming the urban environment.