These screen printed posters of a pallid teen by Impetus have been spotted around Berkeley lately. Luckily I got this shot earlier, because since then they have all been destroyed with angry scratch marks. The gold, purple and black color combination and the Ben-Day dot texture refer the work back to Pop art, which seems appropriate since the piece was probably silk screened. I can’t say I am a huge fan of the subject’s 2003-era emo haircut (I don’t mean to hate but I just can’t endorse that fashion choice), but this piece’s clean execution makes it a pleasure to look at nonetheless.
It seems attempts have been made to tear down this mixed media poster from the street, but so far they have (fortunately) been unsuccessful. Covered in lines and wrinkles and bulging out in unsightly places, these figures intimately coil their limbs around each other. Though a bit grotesque, their sexuality is comical and even somewhat endearing — the opposite of the glamorized version we’re constantly subjected to through advertising. Though it’s not obvious from far away, the piece actually uses real fabric for the woman’s undergarments. The detail adds a soft, domestic touch to the tough urban environment.
So, the economy obviously really sucks and has been really sucking for a while now. But lots of closed businesses means lots of blank space to beautify the neighborhood. Instead of letting these places fester away, artists can turn them into creative meeting spots of sorts. This is a photo of the second-most recent incarnation of the sticker/paste/tag gallery that started forming on the storefront of a closed candy store on my block. Local writers FOAM and 4Skinz added their tags but everything got buffed before I got an updated picture. GATS, Hugh Leeman, Nadya Voynovskaya, JOOS and I all had stickers up there, but only the photos remain now.
Shmooz brings a variety of unlikely media onto the street, adorning outdoor works with rhinestones and metallic pens. The work takes a literal approach to street art; Shmooz’s paintings and mixed media works appear to be set outside like an outdoor gallery display rather than conforming to their environment. As an artist it can be difficult to relinquish your work so freely, like the bird in this piece relinquishing its precious gems.
Enacting a strange naked dance or gymnastics routine or orgy, the characters in this mural have a provocative sense of humor. Their saggy body parts and self-satisfied facial expressions poke fun at a classic subject — the human nude. The clean spraypaint outlines inside the messier roller-ed paint creates an atmosphere of spontaneity.
Sketching incomplete figures and ghostly graphite silhouettes, Rachel Wexler uses cardboard and other humble materials as windows into emotionally charged situations. Unique yet universal, these faceless characters reflect scenarios that are both cryptic and familiar. Rachel is one of the featured artists of the “bARTering” art show. There is a facebook event for it now, come by on Saturday if you’re in the Bay.
Found side by side, these two large throw-ups by GATS and Attica make a perfect pair. The hand and the face are the only markers of identity revealed of these characters, shrouding them in a sense of mystery.
GATS and Attica both have prints going up in the upcoming art show “bARTering”, more info on the “Art shows” tab of this site.
A while ago I announced that I am curating a bartering-based art show on October 1, and the date is approaching fast! More info about the show can be found under the the “art shows” tab of this site. In the days leading up to “bARTering,” I will be posting previews of the featured artists’ work. Of course, all other artists and whoever else wants to is welcome to show up and bring their work to trade. Feel free to contact me with questions.
Oakland-based artist Lauren Napolitano will be sharing her surreal, elegant illustrations at “bARTering.” Check out a preview of some of her pieces below:
Ciao Bella (left) has been pasting these soft-featured, peaceful looking female faces around town. The symbol on the character’s forehead adds to the ritualistic and meditative quality of the work—the closed eyes incite curiosity. Schmoo’s work on the right, though—three words: What the hell? The painting combines tags, paint drips and figuration in an orgy of spontaneity and whimsy. The moods of the two works on this wall certainly contrast, but they make for an interesting combination.