The Dutch duo Pipsqueak Was Here painted a heartbreaking memorial piece at the 4th edition of Kings Spray, a festival curated by Street Art Today. The artwork is now on display at the NDSM Urban Arts Square in Amsterdam Noord, together with the other installations made during Kings Spray.
Pipsqueak Was Here realized a beautiful stencil piece for Kings Spray 2019. Well know for their colorful stencils, which often represent animals, the duo painted a bear next to a child and titled the artwork “In loving memory of Kahuena”
Willem: For us Kings Spray was a very special time because we made a piece in loving memory of a good friend of ours, a life lost. It was the son of a very dear friend we know from the USA and it was nice to put his face in the size he deserves
At Kings Spray 2019 Pipsqueak Was Here put up the portrait of Kahuena, composing a powerful and definitely emotional piece. It was a special experience for the artists, who were still visibly touched by this loss. It was a great honor to have them with us this year!
Willem: “The animals in our work, in particular the bears, are not metaphorical placeholders for humans, but are actually what they are supposed to be, animals. The purpose of representing animals literally in our art is to fundamentally change the way we regard and interact with animals in the real world. As environmental worries have grown, the relationship between animals and humans has become more strained”
Recurring guest of Kings Spray festival, the duo Pipsqueak Was Here was founded in 2003. Their trademark, a girl and a bear, is a metaphor for man and his relationship with nature: ‘Sometimes you eat the bear, sometimes the bear eats you’.
Willem: “The logo we have chosen for Pipsqueak was here is a found object. On a trip through Maui we photographed an old traffic sign depicting both a boy with a fishing rod followed by a cat and a girl carrying her teddy bear followed by a dog. Underneath the words, caution children at play. It took a while before we realised how much this image meant to us. The words, caution children at play, seemed to refer to the way we as mankind deal with our environment. Stating we are children that play with the planet in a rough fashion. It is a warning that combines to be cautious with the soothing fact we are playing as children, young ones that need to be educated. The girl with the bear eventually became our logo and also an image we started using for many works”
Their meaningful observations on how the urban environment is prevailing onto the animal kingdom is never undermined by their colorful and playful approach. Often starting from a personal story, through art they magnify their ‘own little voices’ to encourage critical thinking by raising awareness. They often work on scrap wood and re-used materials, pairing their environmental message with an actual effort on minimizing their carbon footprint while painting.
Pipsqueak Was Here’s artwork is now visible on the newly formed NDSM Urban Arts Square in Amsterdam Noord.
Header photo by Paolo Giannotti
Watch the aftermovie of Kings Spray Festival 2019
Many thanks to our partners and friends: IJ-hallen, Aruba Tourism, Stichting NDSM, Montana Cans, Groove Proof DJ Bus, Old Boys on Vinyl, Papa Tio and all volunteers.