Crewest modernizes urban artwork
With all the urban artÂ displayed in museums and galleries, itâs easy to think that if youâve seen one street art show, youâve seen them all. But that would be a terrible misunderstanding.
Among the galleries highlighting the many styles of street art is the Downtown Los Angeles Crewest Gallery. The gallery is currently displaying âAudio Canvas 3,â an exhibition that showcases the talent of a few chosen artists and pairs their craft with live music. At the showâs opening, artists created their pieces while tunes were doled out by a nearby DJ. TheÂ white walls of the gallery became the canvases for colorfully explosive, exciting pieces.
Though not all the pieces are created straight on the wall, there are no reservations about going beyond the canvas.
Vyal Reyesâ piece, an untitled work created mostly on a vertical frame, comes to life as it flows onto the walls of the canvas. Itâs a highly detailed work with lots of energy and plenty of bubble-like figures. The work sticks to a limited color palette and creates the illusion of shining forms with expert touches of white. Though the swirling composition makes the piece look like something out of a dream, the bubble-like creations are deftly colored so that their shape is realistic. By letting the paint go beyond the conventional canvas, Reyes makes the piece maintain its street art edge.
Even the pieces that are on canvases manage to have a movement and emotional depth that would capture the attention of passers by.
Man Oneâs piece âReaching Upâ is not only aesthetically fascinating but also philosophically interesting. Man One, who also owns Crewest, created the piece with a narrative in mind. The vertical canvas shows a bright otherworldly figure reaching up for the top of a spray paint can, a symbol for how street art can lift you out of negativity. The work is part of a series of characters that Man One calls âgraffiti spirits.â The background of the piece, which is white, save for a few graffiti tags, represents the negativity the artist finds in the city and the âgraffiti spiritâ in the foreground rises from it all.
The figure is mysterious and slightly frightening. Man Oneâs use of bright colors against a gray background makes the spirit even more impactful; the colors are blended to create sharp contrasts, and small dashes of color are placed sporadically throughout to add variety, depth and shadows. Youâre hard-pressed to find any area that is exactly one solid color.
The exhibition also includes works from Black Light Kings, a combo made up of street artists Axa and Pops. During the day, the artistsâ pieces are complex and fascinating to look at, but at night a black light goes onto its surface and the pieces are transformed. Three pieces on the right show creepy, dark scenes including a skull face. To the right is a sprawling, highly detailed work with everything from a realistic human heart to a crazed jungle cat. The larger piece uses canvas and wall, but the three framed pieces include butterflies that are spray painted onto the wall.
But not all the show consists of dark matter. Max Neutraâs playful pieces are humorous and visually intriguing. Save for a few canvases, âIce Creamâ âÂ a smaller segment within the larger artwork â is placed directly on the wall, amazing viewers with its impressive size.
Neutra plays with the composition of the piece as a whole; he chooses to spray paint a small pedestal on the wall and mounts his piece âIce Creamâ on top. The ice cream cone itself is on a small canvas but is worth a closer look. The cone is actually three cones â a stack of pink, blue and black cones â that line up to create a visually fascinating image of a common object.
âEyeâ is a dazzling piece, especially considering its ordinary subject. The eye is created with multi-colored hues, and Neutra lets the colors drip down, adding a dramatic and interesting effect. His other works are equally stimulating, resembling bright images from comic book pages.
This group of artistsâ work creates a show that proves street art is continuing to grow. âAudio Canvas 3â might be a somewhat small exhibition, but it makes up for its size by presenting an impressive spectrum of art styles. When you drive away, you might even spot one of the works in its natural habitat.
Crewest Gallery is located on 110 Winston St. âAudio Canvas 3â runs through Jan. 29.