Renowned pop surrealist Okuda San Miguel has yet again showcased his stellar talent on an abandoned structure– a 19th century castle in Loiret, France. If you jog your memory a bit, this is the same Spanish artist who was in the news for his Mona-Lisa style mural on a 19-storey Parisian building (located at 13th district). He has also undertaken myriad projects across the globe including Japan, Brazil and Mozambique.
The Valette Castle mural called “Skull in the Mirror” is based on the deep historical legacy of the architectural masterpiece such as the tumultuous Spanish Civil War. In the 30s, the local Republicans took over many castles and utilized them as shelters for war and political refuges.
In the 50s, this castle was reclaimed by Spanish citizens, who subsequently used it as a vacation camp. A couple of decades later, the structure doubled up as a school. Finally, in 1986, after a series of events that offered testimony to the history of the era, the castle was abandoned and remained derelict. Come 2002, and it was purchased by a private firm.
The now awe-inspiring pop surrealist design is part of a street-culture initiative LaBel Valette Festival, which is conducted annually by a group called Urban Art Paris. Art curators Ink & Movement and By Night Gallery congregated 100 city artists from around the world to reinvent the entire estate including the castle, dormitory structures and chapel.
Okuda’s creation was meant to pay homage to Renaissance art and classic masterpieces with a new wordly twist using psychedelic shades, busy geometric designs and surrealist icons. While the castle is covered with an eye-catching polka pattern, the two massive skulls flanking this structure are visible only on careful observation.
The LaBel Valette Festival is on from September 1-3, 2017.