We spoke to Fluke- the brains behind A’shop crew from Montreal, Canada- about his recent project combining art and engineering. In collaboration with HVAC manufacturer Lennox Air they created murals with Thermochromic paint that changes form every 7 minutes based on temperature. There’s a lot of exciting potential behind this sort of innovation and we wanted to find out more about it.
GSA: We see that you’ve been involved in street art from a very young age, was art always a big part of your life and what made you first pick up a spray can?
Fluke: Street art, specifically graffiti, has been a huge part of my life since forever. I’ve been doing graffiti since the age of 10, then into my teen years. I’ve been blessed enough to make it part of my entire livelihood and now a part of my business. Spray paint is the first tool you’re introduced to when you start doing graffiti. It’s always been the tool of choice and it’s clearly been the easiest tool to use when doing largescale murals in order to most quickly and efficiently accomplish what it is you want to do. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to art one of the things that motivates and inspires me the most is the scale. I like massive, large, impressive things. Spray paint was always just the way to go for me, to accomplish this quickly. With spray paint, I can bring these gargantuan murals to life.
GSA: Can you tell us a little bit more about how and why A’shop came about?
Fluke: In a nutshell A’shop is a team of several graffiti artists that have originally been working together for some time. We spent years painting together (legally and illegally) and after some time, we came to the conclusion that we were a talented, close crew of friends who needed their own space. We needed to endure the brutally cold Montreal winters by being productive all year round. We didn’t just want to have an easy, peak summer season, when walls are easily paintable we needed a space. At this time, the demand for more of our work and business was growing. More and more people wanted our artwork, which could only be made possible with direct and easy access to a large studio/workshop and a business to handle operations. So we decided to regroup into one brand, one crew. But ultimately, it was about having a space of our own. Our own stomping grounds. Rather than be under an agent or an agency or work for somebody, we decided hey why not do it ourselves? Let’s create our own brand and not depend on others to get our work done. Let’s get our own bread and butter. If there’s someone that’s gonna benefit from our artwork it may as well be us.
GSA: What brought on the idea for this event?
Fluke: This all stemmed from trying to a new and interesting way to play with hot and cold air. (That’s the result of titanium after all!) It came from trying to highlight the heating and cooling aspects of these Lennox machines in an interesting and creative way. As we start playing around with science and art, fusing technology, then breaking it apart, we finally began to understand and visualize how we were going to pull off this stunt. We quickly realized that this had to be more than just a video, photos, etc. We needed an entire showcase of this. We were so impressed by this and figured that everyone else would be as well. Especially considering the scale of these machines and these walls.
GSA: A’shop’s mission is that you advocate positive change to the community through art and the immersive nature of your events clearly shows this. How do you think this event will be received and what do you hope to achieve by it?
Fluke: The idea here is to innovate. Innovation is always key. In traditional muralism, we’re all used to viewing things in a very 2D kind of aspect. What I mean is that there’s usually one layer, making it very flat. For me, this technology was all about giving these artists the opportunity to explore and discover an entirely different layer and dimension to their artwork, as well as their capabilities. I guess you could think of it as writing a song. You can definitely compose a beat with just drums but once you start adding guitar and vocals, the song is more rich, more colourful. Ultimately, we’re hoping that this inspires other artists to explore and discover multiple, diverse dimensions of different types of artwork.
GSA: What was your favourite part of the event?
Fluke: The grand opening to the general public. No doubt. When I came outside and saw the massive line of people that went around the entire cityblock. It was just surreal. Three entire street corners of people just waiting, buzzing with excitement. Then, when I finally came in and saw the doors open and these thousands of people flood in, it just proved that it was all finally happening. For real. Then, myself and these thousands of all different kinds of people just jammed out to Toro Y Moi for the rest of the night, so for me that whole build up was the highlight of the night.
GSA: What is your future plan with engineering and art? How do you see the future of this collaboration?
Fluke: A’shop’s already got an entire year of projects lined up for us. But honestly, the moment I get back to Montreal, I’m going straight into the shop to start brainstorming about how we can adapt this technology to other things. I want to see where we can take this in terms of urban design, modern architecture, who knows? This is where my brain is really going. Now that we’ve done it on a self-contained structure, how can we bring this into everyday innovation and life? Maybe we’ll come up with entire temperature reactant buildings that change their colour/design according to weather, even seasons. Who knows? But I can’t wait to already get started.
Check out the video for yourself!
Article written by @kellymmackay