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 will be a controversial subject, and also one that will be debated for some time to come. Not only will it be 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 people that were involved in the show, I would like to address the issue of Graffuturism as a movement. I know this is 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 point 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 I will answer. 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 involved in the show, and most of the artists that are our peers. The problem with this is that besides Gothic Futurism not one artist or group of artists have defined their own identity. When I started this blog there never was 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 first came to me and asked me to be part of the show Rudimentary Perfection, I was excited. When he explained to me the intention of the show would loosely be based off the idea of graffuturism and some of the artists that it showcased. I was on board. Personally I had already felt Graffuturism was 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 daily talks with our cultures legendary artists, and contemporary artists. We are continually discussing what is taking place in today’s art scene, and our culture’s role in it. We are grossly misrepresented, and a lot of that fault lies within ourselves. So when Mark asked me about the idea I saw it as an 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 of Mark’s work for some time. What was most 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 taking place in Glasgow, and that Recoat Gallery would be the first gallery to attempt to pull together the idea of this show. This made it that much more special. After arriving in Glasgow and being able to take in the city and its people, I was excited that this would be the place that we would make history. The show regardless of the label you want to place on it. The roster of artists was impressive. To think that all 10 artists would be able to be in the same city painting side by side drinking and talking together. I knew then that this was going to be something monumental. The ironic part, and to myself the best part of the whole experience was that this was not happening in New York, London, Paris or taking place at some major Art 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 the city of 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 involved the show, they didn’t bring the rock star attitudes. It was truly a humbling experience.
When first 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. 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 we waited for She One to arrive on his flight from London. Entering the city, Glasgow seemed to be a welcomed contrast from the previous cities I had come from. I would be 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. I didn’t have to worry about looking any part.
Previous to my arrival Recoat Gallery and Mark had been hard at work securing all the artists walls around the city to paint during our stay in Glasgow. Due to traveling I didn’t have much communication with Recoat before my arrival. I had heard that some of the artists were going to make it, and some might not be able to make the trip due to lack of sponsors and money. I knew we had a couple of walls lined up, but I 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 each be painting a wall in the city. I don’t know how they pulled that many walls together with such a short notice. I also have no idea how all 10 artists made it, 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 would all be showing together at Recoat gallery, or that graffuturism was the theme. My favorite part was that Recoat Gallery had 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 the city of Glasgow. Most artists will tell you that being in the street 8 hrs a day painting. You are able to find out a great deal 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 of us said, it was such a surreal feeling being in a room with people you know only by their artwork or social media profile. For us to be able to congregate and engage in discussion about ideas, art, life and so forth. This was a memorable moment. I was able to talk to each artist face to face and ask them questions I could never ask over an email or on facebook. This whole experience will last a lifetime, and every artist involved I’m sure feels the same way. I was imagining the past, the days when artists and graffiti writers benched together still or met in cafes and debated art. Ironic that In a time when we are more connected through the internet than ever before. 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 for you, but I think we will keep those for us. I only hope that we will all be able to share more of these moments in the future.
This was for Mare 139, Haze, Futura 2000, Greg La Marche, Graphic Surgery, Espo, Jurne, Barry Mcgee, KR, Aryz, How and Nosm, Kidghe, Moneyless, Lokiss, Askew, Pride, Saber, Push, Revok, Sean Barton, Reyes, Sever, Joker, Sueme, Kema, Remi Rough, Timid, 0.Two, LX, Antistatic, Pener, Proembrion, Preys, Chor, 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, Pho Grassi, El Mac, Part2ism, Rammellzee, Shoe, Via Grafik, Persue, Orbit119, Transcend, GF, DMV, Old Crow and many many more. You all could have easily been interchanged with any of the artists involved. The size and quality of this list of artists is a testament to what we have become as an art form. We can all bicker about the term that we want to be recognized with, or will stand behind but the reality is clear. This is a movement. Graffiti has and will continue to evolve at a pace and scale that will far outpace 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.