The New Contemporary Art Magazine

Tag: graffiti

Street artists Pichi & Avo bring a blend of surrealism and classic urban art to walls across the world. Within these works, a conversation occurs between what we know as modern street art and iconography and styles of centuries far gone. The Spanish duo, in particular, has been referencing classical mythology in a slew of recent murals that have appeared in Miami, Hawaii, and New York.
Hebru Brantley (featured here) is well known for his pop-infused paintings and sculptures of child-like heroes inspired by Japanese anime and graffiti. Growing up in Chicago in the midst of gang culture, Brantley has expressed that "when all else failed, I could turn to art", turning his reality into a fantasy world. He is constantly looking to create imagery that evokes emotion and tells stories, particularly of youth. Having traveled all over the world to exhibit his art, he is now making his Pittsburgh debut with "I Wish I Knew How It Felt to Be Free".
Andrew Hem has been painting all his life, first as a graffiti artist in his teenage years and now as a full-time exhibiting artist on a worldwide scale. We first featured Hem’s art on the cover of Hi-Fructose Vol. 21 and here on our blog, a culmination of his travels and a haunting view of the world, which he fills with floating and wandering figures over diverse landscapes.
Matthias Gephart is a graphic designer and illustrator based in Berlin, Germany, who is revisiting his roots in graffiti in a project that incorporates his creative interests. "Stylewise, my personal background is the underground and alternative music scene, graffiti writing and Dadaist collage," Gephart shares. Since 2010, he has been transforming neglected spaces with his graffiti that combines graphic design and collage visuals, taking the idea of mural painting to the expanse of an entire room. He calls this project "The Magic Moment."
You may know Czech artist Jan Kaláb, aka "POINT" (used for his sculptures), aka "Cakes" (used for his traditional graffiti), and the founder of street art crew the "DSK". He is credited as one of the first artists to bring urban art into Eastern European countries after the borders opened up in the early 90s. Kaláb's work has seen an evolution since his abstract graffiti writing, where in recent years, he has translated his street art style onto canvas and hand-painted geometric sculptures.
Elements from Brazilian folk culture like kites, air balloons and the traditional apparel are the inspiration for Brazilian street artist Raphael Sagarra aka Finok's colorful body of work. The São Paulo based artist first entered the world of graffiti at a young age with the VLOK crew, which also included artists like Os Gêmeos and Nunca. In an email to Hi-Fructose, Finok explained that his new work is a reflection on "human positioning throughout life, and how we are always trying to see both sides of the coin in every situation".
Brisbane based Fintan Magee, featured on our blog, became a part of his hometown's graffiti culture in his early teens, but his strong interest in classical painting made him change his creative output. After years of mural painting in and around his homeland, Magee slowly built his international resume, and his surrealist figurative murals can be found around the globe. The images in his large scale murals, paper, and canvas works depict our everyday being through photo-realistic details, juxtaposed with less detailed, sometimes expressive, elements. Covering the relationship between man and nature, his paintings often tell stories of struggle, loss, migration, conflict, with an individual and global state of mind. Magee's upcoming solo show, "Water World", which opens on December 4th at Blackwoods Gallery in Melbourne, revolves around the 2011 floods in Brisbane.
Barry McGee (Hi-Fructose Vol. 16 and 25) brings the chaos and grit of the street into the energy of his art. He is well known for his multi-media work that borrows from 1940s and 50s advertisements, cartoons, tags and lettering from his graffiti days. His style is so eclectic, in fact, that McGee has chosen to exhibit under his various monikers like Twist and Lydia Fong, as in his 2008 exhibition at Ratio 3 in San Francisco. For his latest exhibition at Ratio 3, "China Boo", McGee remixes his most recognizable motifs.
The "Colorado crush" is a well known name among graffiti festivals, celebrating Denver’s vibrant art scene time and time again. Now in its sixth year, a new crop of incredible installations have hit the Denver area. Among them is Max Kauffman’s, in which the artist covered an entire house. "My work for the last few years has been going deeper and deeper into an architectural realm, inspired by concepts of house versus home, of sanctuary, of solace from the chaos of the world around us."
Berlin-based Japanese artist Twoone has been pushing his style further in recent months. As we saw in our studio visit with him, and again last month, he continues to expand on his hyper colored palette and materials, bringing his works to life as fluorescent light boxes. Opening on October 8th, Twoone will exhibit a new series at AvantGarden Gallery in Milan, Italy.

Argentinian artist Lucas Lasnier, aka "Parbo", creates colorful works spanning graphic design, painting, and large scale installations, but he began his career painting street art in Buenos Aires. Parbo is also a founding member of the Kid Gaucho artist collective, previously covered here. His recent works take influence from his roots in letter-based graffiti and stenciling combined with comics and Pop Surrealism.

Brooklyn based artist Ray Bartkus has toyed with the idea of reflections in his paintings, drawings and street art work, but not quite like this. When he was invited to paint a building along Šešupė River in Marijampole, Lithuania, the idea to paint it upside down was undeniable. "I never did anything with the reflection in the river before, but since the building was next to it, it was kind of an obvious thing to consider," he says.
Denmark based artist Rune Christensen tells stories in the tattoos and printed clothing of his decorated figures. As a self taught painter with a graffiti background, Christensen is well traveled and has collected his visual inspiration from all over the world. He sources his motifs from the iconography and textiles of cultures including Asian, South American, North African and Native American. Christensen's portraits of women, men and children are simple in composition and palette, yet complex is the depiction of their symbolism which has layered meaning.
San Francisco based artist Zio Ziegler (covered here) has an eclectic style; a few of his pieces portray Cubist figures, some more detailed than others, and then there are his more color-based paintings. His art is not cohesive, but rather reflects on his every day life's emotions and moods which flow between feelings of self awareness and bliss. He very much lives in the moment. Ziegler's current solo exhibition at Soze Gallery in Los Angeles, "The Psyche's Gestures," takes a look at these different sides of the psyche.
On June 20th, Howard Griffin Gallery in Los Angeles introduced "Journey Galactiko," a debut show by Broken Fingaz in the United States. For this show, the Isreali artists created a site-specific installation inside the gallery space, in form of a large 150 cubic meter temple. This type of monolith structure, which represents the show's general theme, was inspired by several months of traveling and working across India, along with their vision of modern Western society. With this show, the artists pushed their limitations by constructing a large sculpture using only wood and found materials and presenting a new kind of work.
Jeff Soto (HF Vol. 18) celebrated his first solo exhibition in Los Angeles since 2009 on Saturday night with "Nightgardens" at KP Projects/MKG. We recently discussed the exhibition with Soto in our studio visit here, where Soto shared his continued interest in landscapes: "Nightgardens" is an exploration of the magic and mystery in life coupled very loosely with the tradition of landscape painting. For this show I am using the concept of "nighttime" as a symbol of the unknown. I'm working on creating an imaginary world of magic, monsters and daydreams that exists in a different time and place, yet alludes to issues in our chaotic modern world."
Twoone, featured here, is a multidisciplinary Japanese artist currently living and working in Berlin perhaps most recognized for his animal portraits. His latest works, which he will debut in an open studio event, explore a range of new themes like psychology, anthropology, and the structure of nature, all inspired by his memories. We got to visit his studio ahead of the crowd last week, where we went behind the scenes of his process. At the moment, Twoone is experimenting with a new material - acrylic pieces that are displayed in a light box format. See more after the jump.
Australian artist Reka (covered here), now based in Berlin, has become recognized for the colorful and energetic aesthetic of his graffiti and paintings. The figures in his work have a variety of characteristics that are whimsical, yet bold and vigorous. His new body of work, "OLYMPVS," on view at AvantGarden Gallery in Italy, continues to mix contradicting styles. Inspired by scenes from Ancient Greece and its Mount Olympus, Reka's new pieces combine classical themes with a futuristic look. In poppy, vibrant colors, fragmented into Cubist compositions, he depicts bathing nudes, marble busts, and still life.
Miami based street artist Douglas "Hoxxoh" Hoekzema fills his murals with a burst of color and energy using abstract design. While they look like the work of a computer generated graphic, his designs are drawn freely by hand. As if subject to gravity’s pull, geometric circles and triangles radiate from their centers until they take more organic shapes. In his paintings, Hoxxoh often interrupts the design’s infinite nature as if to remind us of its flat dimension. Another way of looking at this interruption is like the stopping of time. Hoxxoh’s main concept, “Time Waits for No Man,” refers to his fascination with the properties of time, both its beauty and society’s obsession with keeping track of it.
Italy based street artist Teo Pirisi, known as "Moneyless", is constantly seeking to evolve his already abstract style of work. For his last major solo exhibition (covered here), he sought inspiration in geometrical shapes and patterns. These, he feels, are the fundamentals of life that at their core represent a multitude of possibility. As such, they appear throughout his graffiti writing, painting, drawings and found object installations. For his current exhibition, "Fragmentations," at BC Gallery in Berlin, Moneyless reduces this concept to its most simplified form.
Berlin based artist Jaybo Monk (previously featured here) is the architect of an abstract world in his paintings. Human figures, which he likens to "cathedrals", are split apart, masses of muscle and shapes swimming around the canvas that leave us feeling disoriented. Combined, they provide the backdrop for a landscape with no boundaries, a place Monk calls "nowhere". His current exhibition "Nowhere Is Now Here", which opened last night at Soze Gallery in Los Angeles, explores this concept of wandering, both literally and metaphorically.
We stopped by Urban Nation in Berlin last week to check out their latest project, M/7, in collaboration with Brooklyn Street Art. It is the 7th in a series named after Berlin's UN haus building, which we've been following here over the past several months. A portraiture show in essence, curators Jamie Rojo and Steven P. Harrington invited 12 Brooklyn based street artists to create a portrait of his or her particular "Person of Interest": Dain, Gaia, Don Rimx, Swoon, Specter, Esteban Del Valle, Chris Stain, Nohcoley, Cake, El Sol 25, Icy & Sot, Onur Dinc, Kkade, Nevercrew, Dot Dot Dot, and Anreas Engludn. This makes the exhibition a sort of cultural exhange program that brings together the artists with local residents of Berlin, and encourages them to consider their surroundings.
Revok is set to make his LA debut on April 10th at MAMA gallery space with his exhibition aptly titled "Revok: Los Angeles". His show already promises the vibrant, geometric forms that Revok has become known for, recently featured in the publication "Revok: Made in Detroit." On display will be 12 new paintings on assembled wood pieces, a sort of continuation of that series. Here, Revok explores new themes inspired by his newfound home in Los Angeles where he sources his materials.
Although he is best known for his humorous graffiti and imagery, Kenny Scharf has long been interested in more serious political topics. His solo exhibition "Born Again", opening this Saturday at Honor Fraser gallery, highlights his unique ability to make the mundane more fun. In his latest series, bright and colorful palette and wacky shapes are painted onto repurposed, found art. It's not all fun and games for the artist, who sees his comical approach as an act of defiance.
Photos by Birdman Portugese artist VHILS recently teamed up with Lebasse Projects to create two new murals located in LA's Chinatown district. The murals are part of their ongoing Contrast Series, which aims to build on the cultural value of local areas and honor their roots. In this behind-the-scenes video, VHILS comments on how images made for Chinatown's community have a broader significance. "This idea of creating by destroying is, in the end, inherent to all human beings... even the most beautiful poem destroys the white paper."
The colorful works of Hawaii native Ekundayo (HF Vol. 9) combine surrealism with influences from his graffiti days. His paintings sometimes lean on the nightmarish, as in his portrayal of anthropomorphic subjects in haunting scenes. On Saturday, he will debut a new series with "Collective Reflections" at Thinkspace gallery in Los Angeles. Ekundayo describes his solo as a "gift to that feeling I know we all connect to when reaching deep within ourselves." Check out our preview after the jump!
Kevin Peterson's subjects exist somewhere between a wintery city and sunny Houston, where the artist is currently based. Do a web search on his art, and the response is polarizing. Hyperrealism has become a controversial art form- most admire the excruciating detail, while others disagree with copying tags or photographs. Without question, Petersons' portraits of children in a graffiti-colored world are emotional and ironic. His current show at Thinkspace gallery, "Remnants", portrays his own fantasy-urban jungle.
"I think my aesthetic is kind of a mash-up: realism, graffiti, stencil art, and some moves inspired at times by abstract expressionism," shares Tim Okamura on his latest solo, "Love Strength and Soul". Now on view at Yeelen Gallery in Miami, his show is an exploration of the figure over the past 5 years. Previously featured here, Okamura's New York city women are a mix of traditional portraiture upgraded by personal symbolism and experiences.
With Art Basel Miami around the corner, international artists are now trickling in to Miami's local gallery scene. Puerto Rican street artist Alexis Diaz has returned with his solo show "SUPERFICIE" ("SURFACE"), now on view at Product/81 gallery in Wynwood. His large scale murals (previously featured here and here) are instantly recognizable for their colorful, hybrid animals. In recent months, motfis of raven heads with human elements such as hands or skulls are especially prevalent. Diaz's exhibition showcases a series of new paintings that mirror this dreamlike, or perhaps nightmarish, subject matter.
Argentinian artist Franco Fasoli, aka JAZ (previously covered here), created this large-scale mural for Color Walk Festival, Mexico last week. The piece coincides with an ongoing national protest. Known as the 2014 Iguala Mass Kidnapping, on September 26th, 43 trainee teachers were abducted and apparently massacred by military forces.

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