by Ariston Anderson
The Neo-Con Collective, made up of New York street artists Aakash Nihalani, Ellis Gallagher and Poster Boy, along with U.K. graffiti legend Zeus, hit up West Hollywood recently with a group exhibition of prints, photos and mixed media. Their shared technique of playing off what already exists in the urban landscape defines the group's work. While these tweaks to city sidewalks and walls tend toward minimal, the results are enormously impactful. And being as prolific artists as they are, itâs almost impossible not to see one of their pieces on most daily urban commutes though each has their own distinct style.
Aakash Nihalani works with isometric rectangles and squares, playfully highlighting the geometry of New York City. âMy work is created in reaction to what we readily encounter in our lives, sidewalks and doorways, buildings and bricks,â he says, âIâm just connecting the dots differently to make my own picture.â Nihalani's work pushes urbanites to draw their own connections between city lines whenever they encounter it on the streets.
Artist Ellis Gallagher chose a medium as unobtrusive and temporal as sidewalk chalk for his work, yet the results stunningly enhance pedestrian paths. By tracing the shadows of objects such as locked-up bikes, parking barriers, fire hydrants and milk crates, he points out the poetic qualities of daily life, once again adopting the streets as a gallery.
The only artist unable to make it to the L.A. opening, Poster Boy most likely skipped it because the last time he showed up at his own opening earlier this year, he was arrested by an undercover cop. With only a razor and glue, Poster Boy influenced an army of like-minded subway artists who take apart advertisement and rearrange them into satirical collages.
London artist Zeus, who came out of the traditional '80s graffiti school, since turned his calligraphy into sculpture, reflecting on both his street work and his formal training at the Chelsea College of Art. Installed throughout the gallery, his large-scale letters modeled after the Hollywood sign, ties the show together.
More images after the jump.
The Neo-Con Collective: Hollowood
Carmichael Gallery of Contemporary Art
Through 30 April 2009
1257 North La Brea Avenue
West Hollywood, CA 90038 map
tel. +1 323 969 0600