Audio Canvas 3 @ Crewest Gallery

Despite the fact that a lot of graffiti and street art is made with mostly the same medium, the style out there are probably more varied than any artist’s given spray paint can palette.

Crewest Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles is yet another gallery showcasing some memorable, exciting pieces from street and graffiti artists. One of their current shows called “Audio Canvas 3” revolved around live music and art. The opening night featured DJs spinning while artists did their stuff.

When you first venture forth into the exhibition, the first thing you’ll probably see is this piece…

The piece is by artists SER @ USE. It’s quite large and is mixed media – the smaller LA square are actually smaller individual pieces of paper. I especially like how a lot of the pieces liked to show off the fluidity of the spray paint, letting it drip in certain places for more effect.

In fact a lot of the pieces were about going beyond just the canvas, something street and graffiti art is definitely good at.

Take this untitled piece by Vyal, for instance. It’s on a canvas but the piece comes to life and extends onto the walls next to the canvas. So basically, it’s so artistically complex that it can’t simply be confined onto a canvas’ surface.

I’m not sure if those are meant to be bubbles or just bubble-like figures but check out those details! Vyal obviously knows where to put shadows and whites to create a realistic look.

The best part of the show was how different the styles of all the artists were. The owner of Crewest, Man One, actually had a piece in the show called “Reaching Up.”

I asked him to tell me about his piece and he basically explained that the figure is part of a series where he paints graffiti spirits. The background of the piece is made up of tags, which represent the negativity of the city. Basically, the spirit is rising out of this negativity.

The figure is reaching (thus the title!) for the cap of a spray paint can; Man One explained that he did this in order to say that graffiti art can be an escape from the negativity of the city.

Neutra’s work was also visually interesting though more playful.

This piece is interesting because it also plays with the way that canvases are set up. Some of them are on canvases even though the majority of the piece is painted directly on the wall. In “Ice Cream,” Neutra sets it up so that there is a pedestal on the wall and a canvas mounted on top in a clever mesh between the wall and the canvas.

The way in which the colors were blended in this piece was quite captivating, even when Neutra chose to use common, everyday subjects.

Another interesting part of the exhibit were the works of Black Light Kings, a duo made up of street artists Axa and Pops. Basically, a black light is shone on the piece at night for a cool viewing experience. But the piece are visually captivating even during the day.

There were also works from artists AISE Born and Robert Vargas, who also had their own distinct styles. AISE’s work used a dark background and contrasted it with brighter colors.

Vargas’ work on the other hand, used lighter colors. I liked the way that he created shadows and let the lines of his work show.

Overall, the show was quite diverse and exemplifies the versatility of street and graffiti art. It’s also a sure sign that street/graffiti will only keep developing. “Audio Canvas 3” is up until Jan. 29 so check it out if you can! Sound off in the comments about the artists, street art, galleries and anything and everything in between!

Getting Cryptik

If you’ve ever been to Little Tokyo, you know how bumping it is on any given weekend. But the one place you should definitely check out, that won’t require you spending tons of money, is Hold Up Art. It’s a fairly new gallery that shows some awesome, intriguing contemporary art. The people there are super friendly and every show is different.

This past Friday there was a closing reception for the work of a painter and street artist named Cryptik and his show “Sacred Syllables.” He’s got a very recognizable style and I’ve seen his stuff on the street, too.  The show’s unfortunately over now but make sure to check out his site and swing by Hold Up to see some awesome stuff. I snapped some pictures of the show – not only was the art itself mesmerizing but the set-up was ambitious and made the show all the more memorable. The calligraphy you see everywhere is his own creation, influenced by everything from cholo writing to Sanksrit texts. The best part was that this writing was on plenty of surfaces, from candles to leaves. You might not be able to read it per se but it’s visually complex and only more captivating because of its mysterious quality. Check it out!