RISK and COOZ :: “That Was Then, This Is Now” August 20th – September 3rd, 2011 Opening reception: Saturday August 20th, 7-10pm
Culver City, CA- “That Was Then, This Is Now” is the first major collaborative exhibition by Kelly Graval and Nathan Ota, aka Risk and COOZ. The traveling exhibition reunites these artists whose friendship began before they would respectfully become graffiti legends in the streets and revered artists in galleries and museums internationally.
Risk and Nathan Ota collaborated together over 25 years ago when they were classmates in high school. After high school, they went their separate ways but reconnected once again through their mutual friends in the artist community. Two friends with similar beginnings have taken two very different paths are now back together again with new skill, understanding and maturity as artists.
The artists’ collaborations were initially revived when Nathan Ota invited RISK to join him as part of an exhibition with apparel brand Hurley at their corporate offices. The success of that show led to the commitment from both to continue their work together and launched the first stop of this traveling exhibit at San Francisco’s 11 Minna – a stalwart of the City’s arts scene.
For years, Nathan Ota has been pursuing new worlds, both dark and fantastic, to explore in his paintings. Ota has used his stand-ins – a blind bird, a drunk monkey, a one-eyed robot lost in the woods – to travel through dreamlands that hold fantasies and tragedies, even landing him in the unlikeliest destination – the world inside the artist’s own studio.
Nathan majored in Illustration and received his Bachelors degree at Art Center College of Art and Design, Pasadena Ca. 1993. Ota currently teaches at Otis College of Art and Design and Santa Monica City College.
In a career spanning 28 years, RISK has impacted the evolution of graffiti as an art form worldwide. Risk is one of the most prolific graffiti artists to date. Los Angeles based, RISK gained major notoriety for his unique style and pushed the limits of graffiti further than any writer in L.A. had before: He was one of the first writers to paint freight trains, freeways, buses and he pioneered writing on “heavens,” or freeway overpasses. At the peak of his career he took graffiti from the streets and into the gallery with the launch of the Third Rail series of art shows and later parlayed the name into the first authentic line of graffiti-inspired clothing - which led to the birth of the street wear genre.
Risk focuses on the traditional aesthetics of letter formation. He combines this with his unique deconstruction and color layering to achieve a visual texture of color and surroundings. Graval majored in Fine arts at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles Ca. 1992. The art of RISK is currently on exhibition in both the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Pasadena Museum of California Art.
LeBasse Projects 6023 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232 Phone:(310) 558-0200 Gallery Hours: Culver City: Tue – Sat, 12 – 6 pm
Interviewed RISK recently, for those interested head over [url=http://arrestedmotion.com/2012/12/interv iews-videos-risk-for-mocatv/]here[/url].
Arrested Motion: Also on the topic of the MOCA – it has been over a year since the historic Art In The Streets exhibition closed its doors. What impact, if any, have you seen it have on the public perception of the art form and has it changed your career path in any way?
RISK: The detectives harassed me relentlessly, arrested my crew mates, and cost me a lot of money. Also, Jeffrey Deitch got a lot of flack yet the all time high attendance record was broken and a whole new demographic was introduced to the Museum – no good dead goes unpunished…. I think it was necessary for everything that happened to have happened to elevate us to the next level. It had a great impact on the public – people are sheep, 1% are leaders and 99% are followers. It was very bittersweet to have critics and the public come forward to say Graffiti or Street Art is an new art form and it is here! Yet, we’ve been doing it over 30 years. It took a MOCA show to sway their perception. I am very grateful for Jeffrey Deitch being a leader, not a sheep. Deitch and co-curators Roger Gastman & Aaron Rose stood up and changed the guard so to speak. It helped not only me but graffiti artists as a whole. As far as my career path, nothing has changed but I believe a lot of the road blocks are gone and more easily overcome due to the “Art In The Streets” experience as a whole…