Felipe Pantone's installation.

Life Is Beautiful 2016 Is a Visual Spectacle

From vibrant murals and installations to art cars and crime on canvas, the festival is awash with interesting sights to see.

Pantone. Anthony Mair

Pantone.

Felipe Pantone

At the cutting edge of street art, Felipe Pantone fuses typography with elements of graffiti while employing strikingly vivid color palettes and forward-thinking public-art concepts (think QR codes hidden in the work). Basically, if you don’t stop in your tracks to take in the Argentinean-born, Spain-based artist’s mind-blowing creativity, you definitely would also sigh at the Mona Lisa. And about those forward-thinking concepts, Pantone created his first-ever 3-D mural for Life Is Beautiful, giving even the casual art enthusiast reason to witness the profound artist’s work live. Experiencing a Pantone piece has been compared to seeing the future of art—why wouldn’t you want to sneak a peek of tomorrow’s visual wonders?

By  Mark Adams, Photography  Anthony Mair

life_is_beautiful_artists_by_krystal_ramirez_6_WEBKrystal Ramirez | Vegas Seven

Crystal Wagner

Crystal Wagner’s specialty is installations, which she favors for how they allow her to immerse viewers in space, texture and color in ways that two dimensions never could. Her unique organic forms and the large scale of her works distinguish themselves from more traditional gallery installations, and her piece for Life Is Beautiful spans the façade of an abandoned two-story motel on Seventh Street. Composed of chicken wire and nylon fabric, it seems to consume the black-painted building, like a neon parasite taking hold of its home.

By  Shannon Miller, Photography  Krystal Ramirez

Tristan Eaton

life_is_beautiful_artists_by_krystal_ramirez_12_WEBKrystal Ramirez | Vegas Seven

Tristan Eaton’s street-art roots will shine at Life Is Beautiful’s festival entrance, where his collage-style textures and pop images adorn the exterior of El Cortez. The work features fragments of Vegas—high heels and fishnetted legs, dice and poker chips, the corner of the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign—crowding the headdress of a muted showgirl. Just as the showgirl represents a narrative bigger and louder than her costume, Eaton’s mural does the same for Downtown Las Vegas. 

By  Shannon Miller, Photography  Krystal Ramirez

Fafi

fafi_life_is_beautiful_by_krystal_ramirez_WEBKrystal Ramirez | Vegas Seven
fafi_wip_by_cierra_pedro_WEBCierra Pedro | Vegas Seven

Known for her female characters the Fafinettes, French graffiti artist Fafi is the toast of the street art world. Playing with the physical stereotypes of the “fly girl,” (think big booties, boobs and lips), the women are so colorful they jump off their background, whether it’s a sweater worn by Drake or a large-scale urban mural. Fafinettes have become fashion icons all over the world, and this weekend they make their debut in Downtown Las Vegas.


By  Melinda Sheckells

Big Rig _ Anthony Mair 2_WEBAnthony Mair

Mike Ross

From the vibrant murals embellishing Downtown walls to costumed Cirque performers interacting with audiences on the streets, Life Is Beautiful is one massive selfie photo op. We’re thinking the #LifeIsBeautiful social media feeds will be dominated by one striking image though, as the music and art festival ushers in the installation of the Big Rig Jig.

A commentary on the planet’s irresponsible use of oil, the sculpture was commissioned by Burning Man and created by Mike Ross, an American artist known for large-scale works. 

By  Mark Adams, Photography  Anthony Mair

Breaking down the Big Rig Jig

2

Number of 18-wheelers used to create the sculpture.

25

Weight, in tons, of the sculpture.

Big Rig _ Anthony Mair 1_WEBAnthony Mair

18

Inches, in diameter,

of the wheels.

12

Number of screws anchoring the work.

3

Number of months it took to complete the sculpture.

8

Number of core crew members Ross commissioned to construct the piece.

42

Height, in feet.

2007

Year of Big Rig Jig’s debut, which was at Burning Man in Northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert.

And Don’t Miss

Buff Monster

Buff Monster

Buff Monster

Melty-pink, monster-like forms that resemble dripping scoops of ice cream are the signature of artist Buff Monster, who has collaborated with major brands such as Hello Kitty, Minions, Disney XD and Converse to create figurines, apparel and murals around the world. For Crime on Canvas at The Western, he used acrylic on die-cut wood to fashion a work called Self Portrait. This is the first time the artist is working in Las Vegas.

By  Melinda Sheckells

Shepard Fairey

shepard_fairey_wip_by_cierra_pedro_WEBCierra Pedro | Vegas Seven

Even if you don’t follow the worlds of street or fine art, you’ve seen Shepard Fairey’s work. It was virtually inescapable during the 2008 presidential election, when the Rhode Island School of Design graduate created an iconic image of Barack Obama, emblazoned with “HOPE”  in bold-face font, which plastered city subways, college campuses and any of CNN’s Obama rally broadcasts. Whether or not you believe our commander
-in-chief lived up to Fairey’s work, that image went on to spark debate (which some might say is exactly what art should do), inspire a host of viral memes and become part of our nation’s visual culture after being added to the U.S. National Portrait Gallery in 2009. While some consider the Los Angeles-based artist’s work to be superficially commercial, his distinctive style— which routinely features vivid color schemes and social commentary as subtext—is truly something to behold. In addition to creating a mural for Life Is Beautiful, Fairey is also part of the festival’s Crime on Canvas exhibit and its Ideas speaker program.

By  Mark Adams

Brandon Boyd

Incubus lead singer Brandon Boyd steadily made his way into the art scene over the last decade, but has been especially active over the past few years. The alt-rock frontman displayed work at Miami’s Art Basel in 2015, is currently exhibiting with Moby, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith and other musicians on a collaborative show in Orange County titled Rhythm, and has a solo exhibition at KM Fine Arts in Los Angeles in 2017. All this practice is apparent in his latest work. Sitting on top of a kaleidoscope of watercolor, the repetitive, free-flowing lines that Boyd describes as “elaborate doodling” to the Orange County Register express an exercise in meditation. And his shirtless women are as sexy as the shirtless musician himself. Read our interview with Boyd, who is exhibiting at Crime on Canvas,  at VegasSeven.com/BrandonBoyd.

By  Jessie O’Brien

Laura Kimpton

The typography of Burning Man artist Laura Kimpton comes to Las Vegas for the first time. Her LOVE installation is one of the most photographed works from the arts community gathering that takes place every year in the Black Rock Desert.

By  Melinda Sheckells

CraolaDyingToGetIn_10x12

Pop surrealist painter Greg Simkins, a.k.a. Craola, dipped his hands in many arty pies. He started off as a graffiti artist, was avideo game developer and recently created a stop-motion animated short, which is still making the rounds on the film-festival circuit. But painting is what brings him the most joy, despite pressure from deadlines and doubt he puts on himself. This may be what pushes the artist to constantly improve upon his complex works, each telling a narrative with animals and figures that bend, melt, mix and morph together into one flowing Mad Hatter’s dream. Experience it at Crime on Canvas.

By  Jessie O’Brien

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