Opening on 1st of July 2011, 7-10pm, Scotland’s Recoat Gallery will host the UK’s first comprehensive “Graffuturism” Exhibition titled “Rudimentary Perfection”. The exhibition pulls together an impressive group of notable international artists linked by their innovative spirit & shared graffiti heritage. The project has been heralded as one of the finest of its kind to take place anywhere in the world this year.
Each of these artists has ventured down unique paths in their post graffiti output & each offers a radical take on expressive, figurative & letter-based abstraction. These works, while differing in approach & execution retain the sense of movement, assured marks & imperfect beauty of graffiti itself.
The birth of a movement? I will steal this line from a local Glasgow newspaper that was reporting on the upcoming show Rudimentary Perfection. I know this is and could be a controversial subject, and one that will be debated for some time to come. Not only debated by the artists involved in the show, but also those observers of our culture and art. Before i get into all the great and amazing times and the people that were involved in the show. I would like to address the issue of Graffuturism as a movement. I know its a long post but it is important for me to make all these points as clear as possible before moving on.
Graffuturism is a blog, yet it is also something more than that. I am an artist first utilizing the tool of a blog. I am not a blogger documenting art. I have my biases and I don’t always act as an observer, I interact with the documentation at times. I think this needs to be understood first in order to give some perspective on the site. Is Graffuturism a movement, is it a style, does it represent abstract graffiti, does it have an agenda as a whole? Yes, and No the duality of postmodernism has taught us this. There are no right answers, only actions that need to be taken first. Actions in my opinion are the only things that deserve any merit when talking about this subject. Actions are what brought this blog into existence, actions are what brought 10 artists from around the world to Glasgow without any major sponsorship. Organic is a word that comes to mind. When I am asked about Graffuturism’s relevancy as a movement I myself never know what answer I will say. It depends upon the day I am asked I guess. Today I will say not yet, but we definitely have a direction now. Graffuturism is definitely a direction. How far it travels is up to the artists and the observers that will attempt to understand and define it. If anything else I hope it is the start of a dialogue about graffiti’s evolution as an art form, amongst artists and its followers. I only hope that those that have the ability to articulate and understand what we are doing step up and join this dialogue sooner rather than later. Without proper discourse, critique, and documentation, movement or not it will lose its direction and be swallowed by larger entities like Pop Art, Pop Surrealism, and Street Art.
Post-Graffiti, Post Pop Art, Graffiti Art, Style Writing,Gothic Futurism, Urban Art, Graffiti, Street Art etc. etc. These are the labels that someone has already posted on the artists in the show and most of the artists that are our peers. The problem is that besides Gothic Futurism not one artist or group of artists have defined their own identity. When I started this blog there was never an intention to define anything, only loosely relate certain aesthetics and ideas together. Graffuturism might be a blog in internet terminology, but in my eyes it is so much more. When Mark Lyken came to me and asked me to be part of the show Rudimentary Perfection I was excited. When he explained to me that the intent of the show would be loosely based off the idea of graffuturism and some of the artists it showcased I was on board. Personally I felt Graffuturism was already defining itself organically, and the idea of a certain type of art had already taken place in my mind. Behind the scenes I have had numerous talks with artists, and legendary artists daily. We are continually talking about what is going on in today’s art scene and our culture’s role in it. We are grossly misrepresented and a lot of fault lies within ourselves. So when Mark asked about the idea, I seen it as a opportunity. I felt it was a natural progression for me to correlate the two. Graffuturism as a starting point.
This brings us to the Rudimentary Perfection show which was not curated by myself or the blog. It was curated and put together by Mark Lyken and Recoat Gallery. I had featured Recoat Gallery shows on the site in the Past and I had known Mark’s work for some time. What was more important to me was that Mark understood and honestly embraced what was happening with the site and its artists. Being that the show would be in Glasgow and that Recoat Gallery would be the first Gallery to attempt to pull together the idea of this show made it that much more special. After arriving in Glasgow and taking in the city and its people, I was excited that this would be the place that we would make history. This show regardless of the label you want to put on it, the roster of artists was impressive. To think that all 10 artists would be in the same city painting side by side, drinking and talking together I knew that this was going to be monumental. The ironic part, and I feel the best part of the whole experience was that this was not happening in New York, London, or some at some major Gallery. This show was taking place in Glasgow with amazing gallery owners Amy and Ali, and they got it. The city embraced us, and we embraced Glasgow. We all dropped our ego’s and agendas at the door, whatever was to be was to be. Although there were some rock star artists in the show they didn’t bring the rock star attitudes it was truly a humbling experience.
When arriving in Glasgow I had no idea what to expect. Flying in from Barcelona by way of Cannes I had been warned to bring a raincoat. Being torched in blazing hot weather the previous 10 days I was ready for a change. Luckily for us it sprinkled once or twice but for the most part the weather was beautiful. Scotland smiled upon us while we were there, allowing us to paint in dry conditions. We were greeted by Amy at the airport and waited for She One to arrive on his flight from London. Entering the city Glasgow seemed to be a nice contrast from the cities I had come from. Trading beaches and Sun for clouds and Epic churches. Glasgow felt like home for me right away. I didn’t feel so dirty with paint filled clothes from multiple days of painting walls. I could tell i was going to be able to be myself here a bit more and not worry about looking the part.
Recoat Gallery and Mark had been hard at work before our arrival securing all the artists walls around the city to paint during our stay in Glasgow. Do to traveling I didn’t have much communication with Recoat before my arrival. I had heard some artists were going to make it, and some might not make the trip due to lack of sponsors and money. I knew we had a couple of walls lined up, but didn’t get all the details till we arrived at the gallery. To my surprise, all 10 artists were making the trip and we would all be painting a wall in the city. I don’t know how they pulled that many walls together with such a short notice. I have no idea how all 10 artists made it also but they did. I guess we all knew what was at stake here, and you would have had to been dying or in jail not to make it. Jaybo Monk from Berlin,Morten Andersen from Berlin, Duncan Jago from Bristol, Nawer from Poland, Derm From Edinburgh, Mark Lyken from Glasgow, She One from London, Augustine Kofie from Los Angeles, Poesia From San Francisco Bay area, Matt W. Moore from Maine we had all arrived.
My favorite part about the show was not that we were all showing together at Recoat gallery together and that graffuturism was a theme. My favorite part was that Recoat Gallery allowed us to transcend the gallery walls and engage the people of Glasgow by doing what we love. Paint walls. The show and artwork was the icing on the cake and the celebration, the real meat and potatoes for me was the murals we painted and were able to share with Glasgow. Most artists will tell you being in the street 8 hrs a day painting you are able to find out alot about the city you are painting in. To me this was my favorite part of the trip. Big thank you to Recoat Gallery and all the Glasgow people that supported the show. Recoat Gallery put together a Map here of all the murals that were painted in Glasgow. You can also buy some of the artwork here.
There were moments, all of us will tell you when we just sat in silence taking it all in. As some said it was such a surreal feeling being in a room with people you only know by there artwork or a social media profile. For us to congregate and engage in discussion about ideas, art life and so forth was a memorable moment. I was able to talk to the artists face to face and ask them questions I could never ask over email or facebook. The whole experience will last a lifetime and every artist involved, Im sure feels the same way. I imagined the days when artists and graffiti writers benched together still, or met in cafes and debated art. In a time when we are more connected through the internet than ever, we are yet still so distant. It was refreshing to be able to share a genuine moment with 10 amazing contemporary artists who I admired. I could go on and on with some great stories but I think we will keep those for us and only hope that we will all be able to share more in the future.
This was for Mare 139, Haze, Futura, Greg La Marche, Graphic Surgery, Jurne, Barry Mcgee, Aryz, How and Nosm, Kidghe, Moneyless, Askew, Saber, Push, Revok, Reyes, Sever, Joker, Sueme, Kema, Remi Rough, 0.Two, LX, Antistatic, Pener, Proembrion, Preys, Mes, Delta, Zedz, Mode 2, Lek, Shok 1, Sowat, Geso, Jon One, Os Gemos, EKO, Roids, Aroe, Do-It, Smash 137, Vermin, Steve More, Kid Swiz, Retna, Replete, El Mac, Part2ism, Rammellzee, Shoe, Via Grafik, Persue, Orbit119, Transcend, GF, DMV, Old Crow and many many more. You could have easily been interchanged any of these with the artists involved. The size and quality of this list of artists is a testament to what we have become as an artform. You can bicker all you want about the term that you will stand behind, but the reality is clear this is a movement. Graffiti has and continues to evolve at a pace and size that far outpaces any other current artistic movement. The idea that came to me a year ago was more about this list of artists, and why more of them aren’t household names. The show Rudimentary perfection was a success, yet it is only the start of something larger. The faster we understand that relevancy doesn’t lie in a gallery or a blogs power the faster we will take action and seize this day. We are the truth