These scratched pieces by GATS and Shark KTS KMX have a ghostly presence in this public bathroom, looming over you when you think you’re most alone. The clean scratches contain a subtle beauty; the pieces aren’t immediately eye-catching but the discovery is rewarding to a keen observer. I guess it felt a little weird to be taking photos in a bathroom but I am quite pleased with how this one turned out.
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.
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.
This piece by GATS has a certain subtlety. Rather than imposing itself over its environment, the work seems to interact with the surrounding space. The rusty red of this little driveway serves as a perfect background for the yellow paint; the drawing’s thin lines play off of the marble-like coloring. It’s interesting how GATS is able to translate his iconic characters into a variety of media–from murals to stickers to canvases–without making it look forced.
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be present during a wheatpasting session at Space Gallery in preparation for their upcoming show, Urban Osmosis. Curated by Spoke Art, the extensive group exhibition features several rooms of site-specific installations, wood panels, canvases and a wheatpaste free-for-all by many of the Bay Area’s most prolific street artists. If you’ll be in the City for New Years Eve, I highly suggest stopping by their opening night/NYE party for a drink and some intense visual stimulation.
This graffiti by GATS is so interesting to look at because of its hasty execution. The paint at the bottom dripped down a little, and I can imagine the work being spray painted on the fly. That looks like the vestige of a sticker by Ternip next to it. Both of them are really active on these streets, and it’s fascinating how their work morphs and manifests in different ways.
I’m back in Berkeley and back to posting, hooray. So, I walk past this wall every week on the way to a class and I was always sad that this row of wheatpastes by GATS, Beer is Good and Broke had been torn down–until now. As you can see, Broke added a new one in color. The spirit of street art lives, and it even sticks out its tongue in triumph.
I was wondering why this GATS character had such widely opened eyes (usually they’re squinting or sorta sleepy-looking) until I zoomed into the picture and realized that above its eyebrows, it says “There is no sleep… In a police state.” I really appreciate GATS’s wheatpastes because even though they have the same toothy, mask-like character, each one is clearly hand-drawn and has its own expression and proportions, etc. This one in particular is very pen-and-ink heavy; the shading underneath the eyes really does make it seem like this face has been awake for days. The teeth have cracks like crumbling stone pillars. Attention to detail makes all the difference.
Labor Day weekend is upon us. If you’re down to check out some amazing visual art and music (that has been featured on this blog), every day has its own artful offerings.
Friday: Oakland Art Murmur + First Friday After Party at the Express Gallery
Did you read that? Ras Terms is doing live art along with Brett Amory, Safety First and Eon75. The exhibit also features work by Gats, whose work I post here all the time. Click here for my review and photos on the Daily Cal arts blog and here for more info.
Then Saturday is Hoodstock, which promises lots of music and good times for $7 at Oakland Metro Opera House. There are two really cool posters by Beer is Good and Gats.
Lots to look forward to! What are you doing this weekend?
I like how this photo turned out, as if everything in the image is radiating out from Gats’s painting in the middle. It’s a one-eyed skull with three teeth, and it’s sick of yer bullshit (at least that’s how I interpret the figure’s blank stare). Gats does this skull character sometimes, but I see it much less frequently in his work than those mask-type faces and the other tentacled/bearded faces that are all over the place. In this piece, black paint is used to create the shadows on the eyelids, face and teeth. There was also another small one of these scrawled on a nearby pole.
I’ve seen some of Gats’s studio art and he always uses these characters (when working under that moniker), but I would be interested to see what other studio work he has. His graffiti concept is like the perfect ad campaign (forgive the comparison) in the sense that it’s repetitive and instantly recognizable. In repeating them again and again in murals and stickers, he has created a whole world, a whole set of personae out of these figures. Many street artists say they get into street art and graffiti because they want to create art that’s separate from the their own identity. That’s certainly the case for Gats’s work, which seems to occupy a universe of its own, all the while being a familiar part of ours.