Haas & Hahn Paint The Town

Artistic duo Haas and Hahn are painting the town red (and orange, yellow, green, blue…) with current project ‘O Morro’.

Jeroen Koolhaas, more commonly known for his illustrations for the New Yorker magazine and Dre Urhahn with a history in writing and art direction first joined forces in 2005 when filming an MTV documentary in the favela of Rio and São Paolo. Later in 2007 the favela or shanty towns of Brazil became setting for the first of Haas & Hahn’s community driven ‘Favela Painting’ projects. ‘Boy with Kite’ a 150 square metre mural imposed upon Vila Cruzeiro, Rio’s most notorious slum was created in collaboration with the local youth of the area, over a three-month period.

‘Boy with Kite’, Rio de Janeiro, 2007

‘Boy with Kite’ received international acclaim and is treasured by both the resident and wider community who see the painting and it’s idea as a point of pride. Following this success Haas & Hahn embarked on their second painting in the Vila Cruzeiro area. ‘Rio Cruzeiro’ is situated on a massive concrete structure (built as a preventative measure against mudslides) and covers 2000 square metres. The mural designed by tattooist Rob Admiraal depicts water, waves and fish in traditional Japanese illustration style, flowing over the urban landscape.

‘Rio Cruzeiro’, Rio de Janeiro, 2008

Community residents at work on ‘Rio Cruzeiro’, Rio de Janeiro, 2008

Now Haas & Hahn take on the third stage of the ‘Favela Painting’ project, entitled ‘O Morro’ translated to simply ‘The Hill’, the aim is to paint an entire hillside favela, transforming the area into an inspirational landmark visible from central Rio, an open air artwork spilling colour into the landscape while drawing attention to the bigger issue -the city’s bleak social situation. Santa Marta at the heart of Rio de Janeiro became the starting point for ‘O Morro’, here 34 buildings in the central square were adorned in colourful rays designed by Haas & Hahn.

‘Santa Marta’ part of project ‘O Morro’, Rio de Janeiro, 2010

Santa Marta residents were employed to participate in the month-long project and provided with training, equipment and supplies.

The result, 7000 square metres of street art and a hillside slum transformed into a colourful monument to the community. To find out more or to contribute to the ongoing ‘O Morro’ project visit Favela Painting.

VICE/VIRTUE x

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