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“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.

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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.

Art Show tonight at Old Crow…

There’s an opening reception tonight at Old Crow Tattoo and Gallery for a new “conceptual exhibition” titled Stand Tall…  I plan to go, along with apparently hundreds of other folks (according to their Facebook page which has links for all 20 artists participating).  Yikes!  This is going to be packed.

Here’s their write-up…

Old Crow Tattoo and Gallery with curatorial support from Barrett Moore, has given simple but rigid parameters to the participating artists for this exhibition. Our hopes are to create an all inclusive visually dynamic result. Spanning the country, and at the same time the stylistic confides of aerosol art; the plan was to keep the conceptual execution at the essence each decision. These artists span the country, and at the same time the stylistic confides of lowbrow art. Each selected for his or her individual efforts, this show will also find grace within the group’s overall presentation. Standing Tall at 3ft x 9ft, each artist will be fully in control to install, hang and paint whatever they choose within this personal space. 10 of these columns will line each gallery wall independently. Around 10 o’clock The Chastities will be playing, the event is scheduled to last until about 11… which means it wont end till at least 12.
Photography from Scott La Rockwell so look swell… it’s going to be a gala.

Four G’s Magazine will be on site with the best Graff Magazine on the newsstands right now. Montana’s will be supplying us with the paint needed to make this happen. Give thanks to Art Now SF for continued support and creative focus.
Wine supplied by Steven Heimoff of the Wine Ethusianst Magazine
Organic beverages from Bionade
Musical Selections from Turntable Terry
Hope to see YOUUU ALL THERE.

And here’s an example of a collaborative piece done by two of the artists participating in the show… Desi W.O.M.E. and Ras Terms. The mural is located on the front of the old Parkway Theater… installed for their recent show at Woody’s Cafe across the street.

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