Omg I loved this artist talk.
As I usually do when I share my thoughts on art I will preface this by saying I’m no expert on art and pretty much just an onlooker but art is made for onlooking SO WHO’S THE EXPERT NOW?!
This talk was held at &co in downtown Jersey City, of which I have heard great things but have never experienced these things for myself. But It was in fact great! When you walk into the lobby it smells so nice. I can’t describe the smell besides that it smells like Kanibal and I love Kanibal so I instantly loved it here.
It’s next door to Kanibal in the same building. DOES THIS WHOLE BUILDING SMELL LIKE THIS WHAT IS GOING ON?!
The gals at the desk downstairs and the desk upstairs greeting people were very friendly and since I always feel super awkward walking into new buildings I was grateful for this. I was also offered a day pass which I forgot to take DAMMIT so now I have to go back for another event or something to secure this day pass because it seemed like a super cool place to hang out and get some work done.
But also there was art! They had a bunch of Ru8icon1’s art up there and also a mural he made of a goldfish that matches one of the paintings I saw at his show at Deep Space a couple of weeks ago. He said he just made the mural recently and I thought it looked BADASS.
They also had some other art around that I’ve seen at Deep Space I recognized like Keith Garcia and Kilroy Savage and I was glad to see it. It was like seeing some old pals and I liked that feeling. Maybe I know something about art?!
Speaking of pals the Deep Space crew was there to oversee things and be gracious hosts and also sell T-shirt’s and other sweet merch and I got a bright yellow T-shirt and I can’t wait to wear it.
Snackies and wine/beer were provided by Frankie but I got there too late for the snackies and I was sad. I love the dips and bread things that Frankie does. Their bread for dipping is different than all bread anywhere else in town and I don’t know if it’s Australian or if it’s just special but either way I love it and I’m sad I missed out. It was my fault! For having a job. Where I work until 7pm. I’m sorry snackies. I did have a beer served in a can which is my 100% favorite way to be served beer so that was a real highlight.
Now for the talk! Ru8icon1 took us through a fascinating and enlightening presentation and slideshow of some of his work over the last 5 years. I’m not being rude with these sassy adjectives it actually was really interesting and he was a skilled and comfortable/casual/conversational public speaker/storyteller and kept things moving at just the right pace so high fives to him.
First slide, gal with a goldfish balloon! I like the use of the goldfish obviously because I love animals and any reference to any animal in any piece of art. He even mentioned, “Animals are always a great stand in for people because we associate certain characteristics with them.” Like tigers are fierce, mice are meek, etc. AND I FELT SEEN AF.
He talked a little bit about why he was inspired to use the goldfish in some of his work and mentioned that keeping and watching goldfish is peaceful. I thought about that for a second and was like omg I never thought about that. Looks like I need to get some goldfish in my house ASAP. He also spoke about goldfish as a metaphor, I believe something to do with growing to adapt to their environment. Which, also cool as hell, biologically for the goldfish and metaphorically for the rest of us.
Speaking of creatures there were also quite a few tigers and also roosters in the work he showed. One piece on a wall he showed us a photo of with two roosters back to back said “Acorda/Desperta” and he explained that both mean “wake up” in Portuguese and one is just regular wake up and the other is like “wake up!” In an existensial way or at least that’s how I interpreted it. Also I hope I wrote those words down correctly. Also I loved that one because birds and also two words that mean the same thing but different things. Wowza.
One thing I learned in this talk that I didn’t know about or think about before was the concept of “free walls.” FREE WALLIN YOU GUYS. JK that was rude.
But he talked about how these free walls are available where he resides in Barcelona and street artists can paint on them and then they just get painted over pretty regularly but it’s cool because people use them for practice and to hone their skills and for free. And making these free walls available keeps the street art in a spot where it’s ok to be and no one is bothered and people aren’t doing drastic maneuvers to get to these locations to try to paint stuff and they can just paint and practice in peace.
He showed some of the types of designs he started practicing on these free walls and they were mostly black and white and painted with rollers and in more of a loose style.
As his style evolved he added more colors and it got a little less loose but it was still loose but in a good way. Loosey goosey, baby.
His current exhibition at Deep Space has a number of paintings that “take a static image and make it dynamic.” There are transparent layers of an object in action and they show different movements of the object. I think that describes it okay? So like a plane landing at the different stages or planes flying or a tiger (a tiger, yesssss) at different spots in the room and since it’s kind of transparent it’s understood to be the same object but just moving around. It’s a fun brain trick and I enjoy it.
My most favorite part of his presentation was when he talked about his work with the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program in North Philly – a “temporary mural laboratory” in the Kensington neighborhood. He mentioned it was something he had been thinking about and would have loved to do, and he happened to be in the right place at the right time to give his “elevator pitch” to the right gal and he was given the opportunity to live in the neighborhood with one of his collaborators for a summer and get to know the neighbors and make some organic, thought provoking, interesting street art based on his experiences. Dubbed #ktownlab, it looked like a really cool project and I was pumped AF that he shared it and his experiences with us.
He spoke about meeting people in the neighborhood, befriending the local “wheelie kids” (and painting an awesome mural of them in motion that was originally planned to be horses running on the side of a bodega), homeowners, and drug dealers. Even an art novice like me knows that art does have a way of bringing people together, and there seemed to be a ton of evidence of that in his stories about Kensington.
At the end during the Q&A period, he was asked what his ultimate “dream” is, and he talked about wanting to do the #ktownlab experiment in a ton of different neighborhoods that needed it across the world. I THINK THAT SOUNDS BADASS PLZ DO IT.
He also fielded a question about when his art gets painted over, and how he feels about that. He showed us quite a few paintings that he said were no longer there. A lot of the no longer there ones were in Jersey City, dammit! I should have asked if any still remain. Anyway part of what he said in his answer was “It’s the streets, it’s got its own life.” And I liked that. Also I didn’t like it at the same time because personally I like permanence and structure and being able to rely on shit and I wanted to go look at it but I did like his flippant, cool as a cucumber approach to it. And his acceptance of and apparent peace with inevitable change And I wished that I could accept change in such a way. Perhaps someday my friends.
The closing of his show at Deep Space gallery is tonight, 6pm-10pm, 77 Cornelison Ave in the Happiest Place on Earth (Jersey City!) and he’s going to do his talk/slideshow at 9pm. Don’t miss it! It’s cool!
I had never been to an “artist talk” like this before last night and I loved it! As I’ve said previously I often have trouble understanding art or making my own thoughts about it unless I have some context or a prompt about what the artist is trying to say, so it was super fun for me to look at his art and hear his ideas and really get my brain wheels turning.
Ugh I miss school so much. Someone pay for me to go to grad school. Thanks.
Do you like artist talks? Do you know of more I can attend?! Let me know!