Both based in Berlin by way of Australia, Two One and Reka (see our recent studio visit here) are exhibiting together at StolenSpace Gallery in London in two concurrent solo shows: Reka’s “Trip the Light” and Two One’s “The Hunted Hunter’s Head.” Inspired by the graceful movements of dancers from a young age, Reka (whose mother was a ballerina) presents a series of paintings that pay homage to the fluid, abstract shapes the body can make. His Cubist-inspired paintings might have one imagining a toe-tapping soundtrack of jazz or even the swell of a symphony, but Reka tempers these allusions to older, more traditional art forms with gritty paint textures that evoke his graffiti roots.
Currently on view at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City is “Cruel Summer,” an extensive showcase of artists with ties to the international graffiti and street art scenes. The show is curated by Roger Gastman, a graffiti writer turned filmmaker and author whose extensive credits include consulting producer of Banksy’s Exit Through the Giftshop and co-curator of the major street art exhibition “Art in the Streets” at LA’s MoCA. With humorous, playful works by Dabs Myla, Finok and HuskMitNavn, neon dreamscapes by Maya Hayuk and POSE and black-and-white flash tattoo drawings by Mike Giant, the exhibition demonstrates the broad scope of artists making their marks on the streets of cities across the world.
Bigger is better, unless you’re Slinkachu. The UK-based artist (previously posted on our Tumblr here) started placing his tiny figures around London back in 2006. Slinkachu sources these from a company that supplies model train products, and vintage 1960s toys, which he embellishes for his own purposes. He’s a big fan of artist Chris Ware, whose works also tend to use a vivid color palette and are full of meticulous detail. When we say tiny, we mean barely a centimeter high. Slinkachu has to use a magnifying glass to add details to his little people. If it wasn’t for his compelling photo series, they would be left completely undiscovered to passersby. He has photographed these humorous, miniature scenes all over the world in places like Cape Town, Doha, Berlin, and New York, to name a few. During the course of documenting his work, Slinkachu began to question: Just what happens to art that’s been abandoned on the street?
Polish-born urban artist Adam Klodzinski, aka #SOAP, paints large scale aerosol graffiti that looks uncannily like photographs. The only giveaway is his unique signature. It’s not a tag, but a stylized mini self portrait lovingly called “Little Adam” painting the work. #SOAP has been experimenting with this style since 2006 and will finally hold his debut solo show “Four Elements” at the London Westbank Gallery on June 11th. Influenced by Hip Hop and Pop Art, the exhibition incorporates the same photo-realism, Surrealism and 3D lettering inspired by his graffiti peers and Salvador Dali. Take a look after the jump!
Jessica Hess often tells people she paints landscapes, but “landscape” doesn’t quite sum up the documentary function of her work. Her oil paintings are not about the buildings and the trees, but rather an ephemeral, fragile moment: when graffiti gets put up on city walls. The future of a piece of graffiti is unstable — it could be buffed or tagged the next day. Its longevity is unpredictable. Hess memorializes these ephemeral artistic expressions, choosing broken-down, tagged-up locales that inspire her in her daily surroundings in Oakland and San Francisco. Curator Ken Harman shared a story about how a group of people were moved by Hess’s work when they saw the tag of their deceased friend in one of her paintings — an insignia that had heretofore been eradicated from the walls on which it was painted. His presence lives on in her work.
Los Angeles based street artist Bumblebee Loves You colors the urban landscape with stencils of children that deliver an important message. Why take the namesake of a bee? This little insect has been attributed to human survival and development because of its role as a pollinator. The bee’s endangerment due to pollution, urbanization, and other factors could mean devastation. Bumblebee Loves You began with hanging paper mache beehives in phone kiosks, pointing to the link between rising cellphone usage and change in bee migration. Since then, his work has developed into a range of paintings, sculpture, and installations with a social and environmental focus. By telling his personal coming of age story for anyone to see, Bumblebee reminds us of the value of innocence, away from industry and technology.