I decided to do my blog post on SNIK’s Hold Fast Hope. They are a duo who use traditional graffiti stencilling and spray paint techniques when capturing frozen moments of symbolic beauty. Their entry to Aberdeen’s Nuart festival shows a girl being lifted by many tiny birds. Not only an impossible action but also dynamic. It is a rather ironic image as it seems environmentally natural and it is placed in an industrial city of oil. Sticking to their favoured techniques, stencils were used to layer the image creating its realism (8 in total), something which would have taken a lot of patience and time both when preparing in the studio and applying to the wall. As the girl is lifted in frozen motion by tiny coloured birds, it is a reminder that the small things in life can have a massive effect on everything. This image should be truly appreciated in real life as the realism and craftsmanship can only be seen up close.
SNIK, as a pair, are very conscious that their artwork is not stereotyped or specifically themed. Therefore, in many of their artworks, including Aberdeen, their subjects are anonymous. They prefer their artwork to be about the viewer, allowing them to make their own mind up about the narrative and, in turn, get lost within themselves. Aberdeen’s piece is placed directly by the harbour ad shows a thought process with regards to the shape of the building it is placed on. Thanks to the curvature of the wall, the figure, even though frozen, could almost be mirroring the bend as she is taken in flight by the birds. Combining realism and fantasy, the artwork relates to Baroque style painting while still having a modern photographic theme.
When I first encountered this piece, it reminded me of Banksy’s Girl with Balloon. Both are made with stencils and spray paint (although SNIK’s is far more realistic) and both address a fantasy world of flight. Both play with light and dark contrasts to add to their ethereal feel and mystery. Banksy’s original was placed on a bridge near stairs, contrasting the climb of those stairs to the airy image of the balloon. SNIK have also placed their piece next to a set of stairs, strengthening their similarities. Although Banksy is considered a political artist and SNIK try their best to be impartial, they both wish for the viewer to take a personal experience from their images.