Tag Archives: dead eyes

“the stylistic confides of lowbrow art…”

What exactly does this mean?

If you went to the Stand Tall exhibit at Old Crow Tattoo & Gallery on Grand Ave. last Friday night, you might have an idea, as that was the essence of their 20-plus artists show.

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Featuring approximately 20 artists – some local, some not – I expected the show to be primarily graffiti aerosol art, but was surprised to find a much wider range of mediums and styles.

Stand Tall references the tall, but narrow, space that each artist had to work with. The two main gallery walls were each divided into 10 equal segments, 3 feet wide by 9 feet tall, providing 20 slim slates to be adorned however each artist saw fit. Some hung traditional canvases (easier for the out of town artists), some painted directly onto the wall, and some created elaborate mixed media installations incorporating, paint, wood, paper, found objects, smaller framed works, and more.

It was almost too much to take in. And while there wasn’t much cohesion between the individual artists’ pieces (everything from classic expressionism to modern graffiti lettering to flat abstract blocks of color to collaged interactive sculpture), the confines of their equally sized individual spaces marching repetitively along the walls did provide a layer of unity.

old crow tattoo & gallery, graffiti art show at old crow

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Several of the pieces were collaborative efforts. I was able to speak briefly with one of the artists, Dead Eyes, who had worked on one with his co-creator Safety First. He explained that collaboration is frequent in this genre, as local street artists are a close-knit group who all know each other and interact with each others’ work.

I asked how much of the collage was put together from already existing works. He said only a small percentage, and that about 80 percent was created originally for this show, focused on themes similar to those exhibited in their street art… visible throughout Oakland.

I also spoke briefly with Desi W.O.M.E. whose piece was one of my friend’s favorites. Though created within the span of a single day, and simple in layout – spray painted directly on the wall with no mixed media or multiple pieces – it was complex in its content. Layers of imagery overlap each other… a man’s face, seemingly in agony, an aztec-styled skull, a graffiti-writing mask over the two – all obscuring, revealing, and interacting with parts of each other. I don’t know what it means, but it seems… deep.

I could probably do a whole post on each of these panels, but you should just go check it out for yourself…
Show remains up until May 5th. I believe gallery hours are by appointment only.

PS – you can get tattoos there too. duh.

Slap. Smack. Stick. Stuck.

So I came across a slew of stickers last weekend while shooting some buildings downtown for my upcoming Art Deco Days (please stay tuned). I’m throwing a bunch up while I collect my thoughts on deco architecture.  Most of these are one of a kind, hand-drawn or painted works. Enjoy…

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I’m particularly fond of these little x-ray men, where various organs and body parts are displayed in a see-through man portrayed in various colors and positions. They’re all over town, and I’m not quite sure why, but they always make me smile.

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organ guy stickers, xray man stickers, x-ray man stickers

Crude & Gats

So I’m a little late getting this one up… always so hard to catch up after the long holiday weekends… busy busy busy. And even though this is a new week, it’s the last day of the month and I really wanted to finish up the graffiti focus of last week with the stellar and ubiquitous work of a couple of local artists

“Dead Eyes” is the tag you’ll see on much of one guys work, but he’s a West Oakland artist who actually goes by the moniker “Crude”. I know this because my graf friends tell me these things. Thanks Endless Canvas!

He’s enough of an entity that KQED actually did a brief feature on him as part of their arts program Spark… you can check out the clip here.

I’ve featured his works before… I think the first one was a hand-drawn USPS sticker right outside my home. You can use the search feature to find all the other posts if you’re curious… He does lots of faces with a wide flat nose and thick lips. He embellishes many of them with more ornate elements reminiscent of African masks.

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In the shot below, the smaller sticker top right is his… it says “Dead Eyes”… duh. The sticker below and slightly left (with the beard) is the work of another artist named Gats (short for Graffiti Against the System). This is one of his simpler pieces… You’ll see a developing trend…

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Here’s another pair… Crude on the left (Army of One) and Gats on the right… This face with the beard seems to be his trademark.

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A lot of these works seem to be unique hand drawn stickers (rather than mass produced)… maybe that’s why one was ripped off below….

Dead Eyes Stickers, Crude stickers, West Oakland Sticker art, west oakland graffiti

This one below is the most detailed of Gat’s images that I’ve seen…. it’s incredible.

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Another Dead Eyes with a handful of other folks…

sticker art by crude, dead eyes stickers

And two more Gats…

wheat paste by gats, gats wheat paste

gats wheat paste, sticker art west oakland, wheat paste by gats


Same artist again… I’m runnin’ with it because I’m under the gun and headed out of town… Who knew this blogging stuff would be so time consuming?! Jeeeeezz….


This is the first one I’ve seen that’s titled. How does the title impact your experience of the image? What does it mean to you? Do you like it? Send me some comments. Pulleeeeezzz.

This one spotted outside Brown Sugar Kitchen on Mandela Parkway, which has the most delectable melt-in-your-mouth waffles you’ll ever taste. Chef/Owner Tanya Holland opened a couple of years ago in this very industrial neighborhood where few restaurant options existed, then or now. I’m happy to say this venture’s been a huge success, garnering various east bay awards and plenty of regular customers. As the name says, it’s a sweet spot!