Fun Urban Interventions By French Street Artist OAKOAK

Fun Urban Interventions By French Street Artist OAKOAK

The third edition of the Belgian festival Sorry, NotSorry took place in Ghent earlier this year. As part of the festival's culture program of events, a number of local, national and international street artists were invited to create work for the festival, redecorating some of the charming cities' walls and spaces.

Ghent has been on our radar for some time, with our Belgian friends championing the city and its street art and it was great to get the opportunity to explore some of the cities' new street artworks during our visit.

The city has a steadily growing collection of street art and murals and with the recent addition of new works created as part of the Sorry, NotSorry festival, Ghent is slowly gaining recognition as one of the must-visit European destinations for street art lovers and hunters.

Sorry, Not Sorry Street Art Festival with OakOak

The latest edition of the festival which took place over the last weekend of September saw a number of fun new urban interventions installed in the city by St.Etienne based street artist OAKOAK. The French street artist spent a week in Ghent in the run-up to the festival, exploring the city and the harbor area for locations for the new series of works he produced in the run-up to and during the festival.

For those not familiar with OakOak’s work, the street artists’ works are often site-specific either painted directly onto walls and surfaces or he makes use of multi-layered stencils to spray his pieces onto the chosen surfaces. Street furniture such as pedestrian crossing, road signs, electrical boxes, fencing to name a few are often transformed into fun humorous pieces sometimes with the addition of just a few lines.

We last caught up with the artist while attending one of Belgian other street art festivals back in 2018. On that occasion, Oak Oak collaborated with Belgian street artist Jaune on a number of street works as part of the annual Crystal Ship festival on the Belgian coastal town of Ostend.

During his stay in Ghent Oak Oak installed multiple artworks around the city only some of which we managed to find during our short two-day city break. But this leaves some pieces for us to seek out when we next visit the city.

The bigger street art pieces by the artist were not hard to miss and is often the case with some of his larger works they invite the public to interact with the pieces. Works such as the Simpson inspired version of Mo’s bar in Ghent where Oak Oak has transformed the corner of an old harborside building into a bar.

As we were in Belgium and they are known for their beers we all attempted to get ourselves a drink at the bar but were disappointed to find it was not serving,  presumably it had been drunk dry by the Simpson’s character Barney Grumble with a sign indicating the venue is now closed forever.

"Closed Forever" by French street artist OakOak. No beer at the bar, just as well we were not far from Bar Bricolage further along the harbor which was also the location of another of OakOaks stencil works.

oakoak urban interventions street art in Ghent. Big Bad Wolf Cartoon

Some of the artists' other works included the transformation of a canvas style trailer (pictured below) which was given a new lick of paint and say the addition of a cartoon style red car painted on the wall behind and a figure arms raised waving in a window painted onto the side of the trailer.

Another saw some of the wonky wooden fences surround the “Bar Bricolage” used by the artist to create a life-sized piece featuring the wolf from the children's story about the three little pigs, where the wolf attempts to blow their wooden house to the ground. (Pictured above)

Other smaller works saw the return of Jumpman from the original 1981 arcade version of Donkey Kong, later to be named Mario. He features in three works along the old harbor. The first sees the artist making use of the harbourside ladders giving one a bright blue coat of paint to replicate those found in the original arcade version of Donkey Kong games. 

The other two larger works see  Jumpman aka Mario reaching the end of the game's level. The third piece is a text-based work similar to those seen in the game informing us the Princess Peach does not need any help as she has rescued herself.  

Mooring bollards we’re repainted and transformed into what looks like the traditional toy soldiers with their red jackets and black hats watching guard over the moored houseboats. The pieces below were painted on both sides with a solider on each side.

oakoak urban interventions street art in Ghent. Toy Guard

Some works were super small and were no so easy to find, we did manage to track down one small wall work with a love heart pictured below with a little help and the face painted on an air duct was one work we stumbled upon while parking our bike to shoot the ‘Mario with the ladder’ work along the harbour.

One of the miniature street art works by OakOak in Ghent.

"Thank you Mario, but our princess just freed herself" by French artist OakOak.

OakOak Street Art Book

OakOak has recently released a new book titled "OakOak's Street Party: 2015-2019" featuring a photographic collection of his work created over the years. You can pick up a copy of the new book online on Amazon for £8.11.

Buy a copy of Oak Oak's book on Amazon here: "OakOak's Street Party: 2015-2019" *

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Oak Oak on Instagram — @oak_oak_street_art

Related Stories:
Street Artist Jaune and OakOak Collaborative Walls in Belgium

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