Sidewalk Surprise: Rainbow Baby BanksyHeather Watson

I was visiting my cousin recently (looking after these muffinheads while she and her husband and son went camping) and came upon this little treasure in her neighborhood by an emerging but sadly unknown young artist (I can’t quite tell if she’s written “Vanessa” or taken some kindergarten liberties with “Vancouver”) who I’m just going to call “Rainbow Baby Banksy”.  The art nerd in me got really excited to unpack this piece, so let’s get our Poppins on and dive in, shall we?

Starting with the note-perfect Fauvist color story evocative of early Matisse, I’m also immediately struck by the strong emotional compass inherent in the choice of warm orange for the figure’s core, especially as juxtaposed with the external-to-self heart motif – easily read here as “Mother Earth” – depicted in a nurturing green that also forms part of the main figure’s garments, and ergo ourselves. Although lacking discernable hands, each arm is drawn in a different shade of blue (one reminiscent of sky, the other a robin’s egg hue), a color full of optimism and potential, whether as a source of change-bringing wind, a literal giver of life (as air and water) or a metaphorical one (the robin’s egg representing pregnancy). At the bottom of the canvas, sharp horizontal divisions accentuate the figure’s feet, technically unshod but clad in symbolic ‘soul galoshes,’ cast in a luminescent purple that seems to hint at waves and moon cycles. Above this balance of earth and woman burns a star, equal parts healing light and destructive fire, equal parts eternal and temporal, an inescapable memento mori for both the subject and the viewer.

Rating: A++ Would Walk Past Again

Have you seen some amazing kids chalk art lately? Holla at me and maybe I’ll feature it here!

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  1. LMAO! Can you please write my art history papers for me? This was awesome!

  2. Heather Watson! My two favorite artists are Banksy and Matisse! I day dream about being Banksy when I grow up. And I am an elementary art teacher. So this post is pretty much the best thing I’ve seen. Ever. Holler to all the little Vanessa’s out there!

  3. ARRGH! I forgot to use the word “symbiosis”!! But don’t anybody try to register the Twitter name “@SoulGaloshes,” because that bad boy is already mine. ;-)

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