‘Love’ – the message of the new mural in Novi Sad, painted on the renovated facade across the Egység Cultural Station.
This is the gift by Ben Johnston, world famous multimedia artist and designer, who wanted to leave a trace in Novi Sad after his residence in the city.
The residents of the building suggested their facade, which contributes to the whole environment, especially during various events in Egység.
Why love? Ben’s idea was to share positive message with everyday passers-by through his work.
The artist who travelled around the world and who finds inspiration in cultural diversities, visited Novi Sad for the first time.
‘My first visit to Novi Sad is really interesting. I like the city, I like the fact that everything is close. Being someone who, among other things, paints murals, I paid attention to buildings that are really beautiful, people are kind and open’, this is Ben’s first impression about the city.
He stayed in Novi Sad for one week within the ‘Artist in Residence’ programme (Plants AiR) that connects local and foreign artists within preparations of Novi Sad for the year of the European Capital of Culture title. In addition to this, Johnston participated in the PDP conference of creative media, where he held lectures and workshops.
‘I think designers here are very talented, the PDP conference is excellent. I listened to lectures and presentations, I met a lot of young people who have potential, I liked it a lot. It is one of the programmes that greatly contributes to the overall preparation of Novi Sad as the European Capital of Culture. Also, I like the idea that different artists, who come within the ‘Artist in Residence’ programme, have the opportunity to create in Novi Sad, present their work in communities, hold workshops, lectures and trainings and share their knowledge and ideas with local artists’, said Johnston.
It was the PDP conference that connected Johnston to residents who heard that he was in search for a facade for his mural, and ‘Novi Sad 2021 – European Capital of Culture’ was in charge of renovation.
He liked the Egység Cultural Station, where he spent most of his time, and added that this kind of spaces are very rare in the world.
‘I think it is great that there are spaces like cultural stations, especially for locals living in the area, it’s good that these spaces are open to communities, people can use them for a variety of activities and I see that the events are numerous, especially here in the Egység Cultural Station. I like that it is a comfortable place to hang out, it has a basketball courts, such spaces are really needed by every city. I usually saw one such space in the cities I have visited, but more than one, like in Novi Sad, two cultural stations, rarely’, said Johnston.
The ‘Artist in Residence’ programme is part of the ‘Novi Sad 2021 – European Capital of Culture’ project aimed at education and networking of local artists with foreign artists and organisations. Through this programme the ‘Novi Sad 2021’ Foundation supports artists from Novi Sad to implement outgoing residences, as well to give the opportunity to foreign artists to come to Novi Sad and exchange knowledge and experience with local artists.
For 11 years, the PDP (Print, Design, Photography) conference of creative media gathers designers, photographers and other visual artist, who educate audience in the field of creative media, and promotes students’ works and young authors via calls.