It had been 36 years ago since the historic match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for the heavyweight title that was fought long and hard at Araneta Coliseum in 1975. Dubbed Thrilla in Manila, the epic bout had the two long standing rivals fighting fiercely for the belt and earning the victor a mall named after him. The mall became a de facto landmark for a brewing underground of old skool skaters playing hooky back in the 1980s leaving skid marks on railings and concrete steps and benches with mall guards on their heels quelling in vain the harbinger of anarchic hypertext that will eventually occupy blocks of the increasingly dense metropolitan Manila. From juvenile proclamations of being to anti-authoritarian self-righteous shout-outs, they all evolved into a symbiotic interplay of skin and structure surface and interface, landscape and context, text and meta-text in a parallel development of graffiti and street art culture here in Manila. Bouts are now fought territorially, on the perennially grimy surfaces competing attention with tarp billboards and civic sponsored public art, and tags and spray painted marks fiercely creep in in the frenzy of this hypertextualized city.
December 11 Sunday at Secret Fresh marks the reunion not between ferocious rivals but between long time collaborators to the city they keep coming back to where they have left their marks. Tilt and Mist, French graffiti artists based in France had been coming to Manila since 2004. Tilt’s trademark bubble fonts and Mist’s pointy-edged vivid tags had been spread out alongside the marks of local graffiti artists in Intramuros, A. Bonificao, San Juan, Cubao and in the wherewithals of rundown walls of metropolitan Manila which had been otherwise whitewashed or plastered by campaign posters or spraypainted over by other graffiti crew. They have also been collaborating with Movement 69, a small loose collective of local street artists composed of Whoop, A.lien, Tripp 69, Exld, Egg Fiasco and Nemo.
The exhibit Thrilla Manila will be featuring Tilt’s and Mist’s paintings and giclee prints incorporating Filipino icons with their graffiti style as what Tilt had done with the Philippine flag which was formed with Filipino text written in his bubble style font in such a manner that reinforces iconographic meaning with his interspersed bubble text, while Mist’s more abstract calligraphic style is a ponderous exercise on font as an organic form evolving into figures with distinct personalities.
Tilt and Mist’s collaborations extend beyond massive wall bombings to customizing art toys and an ice cream cart specially built for their exhibit at Secret Fresh.
Tilt and Mist is mostly identified with old school style graffiti .
Mist has been in the graffiti scene since the late 1980s and was part of the graffiti crew Control of Paris in 1992. With a formal background in design and a stint at a toy company, he has also developed his own character Debilz. His style, the ‘devil style’ is characterized by big outlines, vibrant hues, horns and pointy-limbed figures. His lettering likewise exhibits the same pointy features consequently having a life of its own and becoming characters themselves. He is being represented by Galerie Le Feuvre and Speerstra gallery in Europe. And spends most of his time in Montpeliier
Tilt is an internationally recognized graffiti artist originating from Toulouse in South France. A self-declared “graffiti fetishist”, he learned the trade in the streets and on trains as a youngster. In the time since he did his first tags on a skateboard ramp back in 1988, his ensuing career has been nourished and influenced by extensive travel. Inspirational journeys have seen Tilt exhibit and leave his mark as far and wide as the USA, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand,Laos, Taiwan, China, Canada, Philippines, Indonesia, the Maldives, and throughout Europe. He designed one of the watches collaborated on by Kidrobot and Swatch which was launched this year at Secret Fresh.
Thrilla Manila will open on December 11 Sunday at 6 PM and will be on view until January 3, 2012.
Secret Fresh is at Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan, MM.
Secret Fresh is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 2 to 10PM and Sundays from 1 to 6PM.
For more information about the show you may contact 570 9815 loc 7 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or check them online for updates through their website http://secretfresh.net/ or thru Facebook http://www.facebook.com/secretfresh or http://www.twitter.com/freshmanila.