Pop Goes The Icon: Tysen Knight Celebrates Palm Springs with Public Art Work
09/21/2020 | specs+spaces staff |
We’ve seen artists use our product to bring outdoor beauty into office spaces, radically change the atmosphere of whole cities, and the city of Palm Springs recent collaboration with artist Tysen Knight is yet another way color and creativity can transform whole cityscapes.
What better way to beautify a city than to start from the ground up, which is exactly what Palm Springs has done with a a series of new public art initiatives. The city, in partnership with the Palm Springs Public Art Commission (PSPAC), invited artist Knight to paint ten benches in his striking colorful "pop-art-meets-street-art" style.
Knight is a street artist with a self-described pop urban art aesthetic, which relies heavily on his creative use of colors and a bold black outline style influenced by his childhood memories of seeing bright beautiful street art on subway trains and buildings. And while street art might be his most visible medium, Knight has also shown work at Modernism Week, highlighting his paintings on canvas. “My artistic style allows me to perfectly blend my public art and gallery canvas art into colorful and eye-catching artworks,” he stated.
Canvas Artwork by Knight
Part of that effortlessness lies in the versatility of the Dunn-Edwards paint products he uses. “ Aristoshield and Evershield are top-notch for wall murals and public art installations [...] and Suprema for most of my canvas
For his work on the PSPAC Street Bench pilot project, Knight took his Dunn-Edwards paint to the benches, dedicating each one of them to a Hollywood icon — fitting for a town which was playground for Hollywood’s bigger-than-life stars like Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor. “The colors, texture, durability, shine and versatility [of the paint] gave me the confidence and quality I needed to complete this art project successfully,” stated Knight. The artist transformed the benches into works of art featuring pop-style portraits of celebrities and artists such as Judy Garland, Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat and the king of Pop Art himself, Andy Warhol.
The artist feels his work, though unique to Palm Springs, is right at home in the burgeoning creative environment the city fosters. “I also love the direction the city of Palm Springs is going with their public art installations. The evolution of artistic culture blazes a path for artists of all backgrounds to make their mark on the city. I’m honored to be a part and on the forefront of this movement,” Knight stated.
The public bench art project drew such a positive outpouring of support that phases two and three of the project were greenlit, and the artist has become an integral part of the area’s creative scene by hosting a series of workshops at Palm Springs Art Museum, creating a custom mural inside the local Ryson Real Estate Office and investing in public outreach programs. He currently acts as a lead artist and mentor in a program for Palm Springs middle school boys called Boys Art Mentoring, “teaching young men life lessons and positive productive thinking through collaborative artworks.”
Interested in how Dunn-Edwards paint can work in both residential and commercial spaces? Check out a recent feature on artist James Stanford who painted a fantastical mural on the Neon Museum’s new building in Las Vegas.
All images courtesy of Tysen Knight
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