All Articles
All Articles

Ugly-Kid Gumo

Parisian street artist brings his gritty vision of Oz to NYC

by Nicholena Moon
on 23 June 2011
Series-Dead-Skin_Wall-Chips-From-Graffiti.jpg Dead-Skin-From-Graffiti-Wall.jpg

As rebels against not just art world norms but against conventions for public space, many see graffiti as by definition disagreeable. Artists like Ugly-Kid Gumo embrace that position, providing commentary through art that originated on the street. Gumo's raw, emotional figures and faces draw attention to the flaws and fallacies in our urbanized society by literally and figuratively staring straight at them.

UglyKidGumo-9.jpg UglyKidGumo-10.jpg

The 30-year-old Parisian street artist Nicholas-Gumo first became involved in underground public art while he was still in high school. Going on to graduate with a degree in fine arts from Paris' Ecole Supérieure des Arts Appliqués, since then he has taught art to children and dabbled in fashion design before turning back to graphic arts.

UglyKidGumo-3.jpg UglyKidGumo-4.jpg

Gumo's work emphasizes the cruelty of life in the city. "It's a constant questioning and reinterpreting the brutal code of the city, again, especially in the suburbs—its plasticity, or rather the abstract figurative aspect of it," he explains, continuing, "it depends on the moment, it depends on the music in the MP3. It's brutal, romantic as a dinner with black light."

Often the urban environment itself becomes the medium (like in his graffiti paint chips series, pictured top and below) with materials varying based on his location. When in Paris, the artist works mainly on the streets of the city, but while in NYC most of his process takes place in his studio location—even bringing in chunks of plaster from Paris to pursue his passion in the remote location.

UglyKidGumo-5.jpg UglyKidGumo-6.jpg

Oz, the mythical city created by L. Frank Baum and perpetuated by Judy Garland, figures as a driving force in Gumo's work. According to Gumo, attempting to understand the world around us is comparable to making sense of Oz. "These stories are actually metaphors for the social problems that plague the American society but which are transferable to every corner of the world or human lives. Oz is never far from us," he suggests.

UglyKidGumo-2.jpg UglyKidGumo-1.jpg

The mythical city is the only recurring thread in Gumo's work, as he prefers to work organically from a feeling, rather than basing it on an abstract idea. "When people ask me to describe my work, to explain which wave I'm close to, I just want to answer: I don't know. I'm honest. I don't have a strategy or a project study, only maybe with OZ. I was too bored at school because we needed to justify our reasons and explain our influences. I find nothing more annoying. The important thing is that we're here and together."

UglyKidGumo-7.jpg UglyKidGumo-8.jpg

New York got a preview of Gumo's collection,"Oz, le visage du mal," in a one-day gallery showing last fall, but his first solo show at Dorian Grey Gallery, curated by Marianne Nems opens tonight. It includes a wide variety of Gumo's work, ranging from spray paint on paper and acrylics on canvas to cardboard and mixed media. The reception tonight from 6-7pm will have a live performance, "Mask," by performance artist Blizard, and the show runs through 24 July 2011.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking
Loading More...