We recently returned to London from the street art festival the Crystal Ship Festival now in its fourth year on the Belgian coast in Ostend. For us, part of the enjoyment in visiting street art festivals is getting introduced to the work of street artists new to us be they local or international.
While most street artists are online using image sharing platforms such as Instagram, for us you can’t beat seeing the work in person and in some cases depending on our arrival, interacting with the artists and seeing their work unfold over a number of days.
At this year’s Crystal Ship festival, one such artist was Leon Keer, a Dutch artist who specializes in 3D and 4D artworks. Keer also who happens to be one of the world’s leading artists in anamorphic street art be they work on walls or 3D chalk murals on the pavements.
We are sure many of you like us will have seen some of Leon’s distinctive work online but may not have linked the name with the artists. Some of his most iconic 3D street artworks have been shared and re-shared thousands of time online and you are sure to have seen the image of the larger than life 3D street art gummy bears chalk paintings painted along the boardwalks in Malta.
For the Crystal Ship festival, Leon Keer was invited to paint a mural with the assistance of artist Massina along a huge 22 x 7-meter wall located on the other side of the city harbor in Ostend.
Over several days the two artists worked on the wall enduring freezing temperatures exposed to North Atlantic winds as their harbourside located along the Ostend coast.
With a free ferry service crossing the harbor in 5 minutes throughout the day from the city center, we availed of the service to visit the artists at work on a number of occasions over the few days we spent in town checking on the daily progress on the mural as it began to take shape and the 3 dimensional aspects of the work began to unfold.
The view of Ostend harbor while crossing on the free ferry, the crazy looking ship in the photo is a
Offshore Jack Up Installation Vessel that transports the towers and blades to the offshore wind farms. The four legs allow the boat to lift itself above the water to allow for stable working conditions when installing the wind turbines.
Dutch artist Leon Keer takes a break to have a quick chat to us about the work he created for the festival and some of his other recent projects.
With such a large scale wall Leon Keer takes a break from painting to check the mural with his phone to ensure everything is aligned and the 3D effect is working.
For the Ostend trompe l’oeil mural, Leon Keer has painted three larger than life delft blue vases. Rather than the traditional imagery we are accustomed to seeing portrayed on delft, Keer has decorated each of the three blue vases with images which depict a different story on the effect of climate change.
According to Keep, the title of the piece, FRAGILE, refers on the one hand to the vulnerability of our planet and on the other to the fragility of the ceramic.
The completed mural by Leon Keer photographed directly in front of the wall pictured above. As with most of the artists work there is a magic spot where you need to stand for the 3D effect to be visible. A couple of steps to the left of the wall and as you can see in the picture below, you can instantly see the difference this makes.