This past December in Miami I had the pleasure of meeting Andre Bathalon and Yan Cordeau of the Safewalls Project. They were referred to me by a trusted source, Ximena Becerra of Montreal’s Yves LaRoche Gallery, to come and have a chat/brainstorm about their project- which really just ended up with us making joke after joke, laughing uncontrollably, and my poor attempts at French, as they are also Quebecois.
Jokes aside, the project is really interesting. The premise to pairing Cirque de Soleil with artists is the long history of poster art with circuses. Starting way back in the 15th Century, traveling circuses have relied on heavily illustrated posters to allure curious visitors.The Safewalls Project updates the vintage poster by pairing it with cutting edge street artists from around the globe. Deriving their name from the reference to legal spots for street artists, the posters from the Safewalls Project will also be exhibited on a year long tour, with limited edition prints of each available. Each month a pop up exhibition with three featured artists will coincide with Cirque de Soleil performances. As the exhibition travels and, it will add three more artists, accumulating more and more pieces, growing in size as time goes on.
In the meantime, Andre and Yan are unleashed on the country, visiting cities from LA to Vegas to Houston, seeking the artists to be featured for each place. Thus far, the project has collaborated with artists Glenn Anderson, Jon Burgerman, Sweet Toof, SHAG, El Mac, Jason Limon, Frank Kozik, Chet Zar and Amy Sol, and are eagerly combing the world for their next collaborators.