Camille Walala doesn’t muck about. Her art doesn’t do ‘small’. Even ‘large’ wouldn’t sufficiently describe the scale. Walala’s colourful shape-heavy compositions usually take up roads, streets or even entire facades of buildings, provoking a sense of cognitive dissonance to those walking through the monotonous grey of Britain’s streets.
People used to look up. Now people only look down. It’s either a phone screen, or a gesture of wanting not to be disturbed, like wearing a red badge at a traffic light party to show that you should not be approached. Usually we’re only snapped out of the daze by something that we don’t want to be - a person saying hello, or one of the multitude of bizarre incidents that seem to arise in urban areas daily.
Walala’s bright audacious personality flies in the face of that, as does her art. Bright and bold, in the same way as the intro credits were for a variety of 90s TV shows (Saved By The Bell comes to mind), the artist manages to juxtapose the dreariness of the built urban environment with the overwhelming positivity she suffuses through her large-scale public murals.
Gaining the attention of the public when her ‘Dream Come True Building’ - a playfully geometric-led design wrapped around the corner location of a Shoreditch office building - Walala has continued to build up her portfolio through similarly eye-catching and expansive pieces that fire up the public’s imagination.
Infusing a sense of kinetic joy throughout the cityscape, Walala doesn’t limit herself to facades, but paints roads, tunnels and designs interiors - opting for something that is entirely immersive over something sparking a passive glance. She wants people to be enveloped in her work, for it to form their world, not just act as a momentary punctuation mark in their day.
That these pieces are a part of the lived space, though, and not separate from it, is highly important to the way that Walala envisions each one's placement and role. Voicing her opinion that each intervention should be more than just Instagrammable spots for the highest bidder, the artist is conscious about the work that she creates and who it is made for.
Knowing full well the impact of her distinctive work leaves a significant mark on the urban landscape, Walala takes her responsibility seriously. Likewise, this impact is a large driver of the positivity that her work is able to elicit. Taking pleasure and pride in each work’s ability to transform a location - so too do her audience become transformed. No longer are people glued to their phone, or staring at the pavement, but glancing around in wonder, spurred on by Walala’s eye-catching art.
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