Graffiti is a special form of art particularly because of not only its origin, but its acquired taste and story. Graffiti has surpassed artistic barriers, and has even grasped political attention. More often than not, society has placed a negative connotation on this art/movement, but I’d like shed some light on the beauty of it.
I had a very interesting conversation with a co-worker earlier this week about the arts; the definition of it, our own interpretations, our opinions of the LA art scene versus the Midwest and east coast (as he was from New York). He asked me if I was into the graffiti movement. He told me about a small gallery off Fairfax called the Known Gallery which features a collective of graffiti artists and their work. This weekend the gallery was hosting an opening night of an exhibit entitled “White Wash” by two artists, POSE and KC Ortiz. I decided to attend the opening night this past Saturday and I have to say I absolutely loved it. Prior to attending, I wanted to do a bit of research on the artists, so I could have an idea of the motives behind the art. In an article in Juxtapoz, POSE, a Chicago native, says that this exhibit “references society’s attempt to eradicate graffiti and stifle human expression” *(Duran). In the article, he goes on to explain his opposition on the “Graffiti Blasters” movement that Mayor Daley implemented back his native city to eliminate graffiti. He explains how his work is more than personal—that it represents the art, colors, and cartoons that illustrated the train lines he rode in Chicago as a child. He expressed how he refuses to let any city official or anyone for that matter eradicate his passion. His graffiti is derived from a very personal and very proud space, which made me even more intrigued to go and experience it.
Not your traditional gallery—a small intimate all white space fused in between a vintage shop and a restaurant, people gathered outside of the doors, most smoking their cigarettes and discussing their favorite pieces. As I walked in I definitely felt as if I walked into an experience. The walls were the purest white I’ve ever seen, which made the bright assortment of colors used in his work explode off of the walls. I didn’t know where to begin. The left wall was lined with POSE’s art on plexiglass, which is a shatter-resistant alternative to glass. The right wall lined with acrylic and spray paint art on rich clay board panels. The variety of art had a unique Marvel comic feel and drew me into the “action” of every panel. It was a very colorful expression and a beautiful rebellion in its own right. I appreciate this gallery because it stays true to the collective, exposing what some don’t even consider an art form; exposing the raw feelings, passions, and stories of these artists. Creating a space to showcase a true essence of what graffiti really is and everything it can and will be. The passion was just as prominent as the color and I recommend anyone check out this gallery. It was dope. Rebellious. Creative. Independent. Aggressive. Soulful. Intimate and Passionate. It was an experience that guarantees my return.
Exhibits at the Known Gallery at generally free. Check out the gallery here for more info: www.knowngallery.com . Three of my favorite works by POSE are shown below (prices range from $1,500 – $4,000):
* Duran, Amy. (2011, Nov. 20). In LA: POSE and KC Ortiz – White Wash at Known Gallery. Juxtapoz from www.juxtapoz.com.