Graffiti art by itself is fresh. Graffiti art in a gallery setting is dope. And graffiti art in a gallery setting with a historical/cultural/educational theme?
Off the chain.
Billed as both a “social action” and "cultural celebration,” Aero Soul Art 2 promises to be a powerful, visually-arresting exhibition of graffiti art – perhaps the finest such show ever to grace Oakland.
Opening Feb. 4 – the reception is from 5 to 11 p.m. - ASA2 coincides not only with Oakland’s monthly First Friday Art Murmur, but also with Black History Month.The celebration takes place at the downtown Joyce Gordon Gallery, 406 14th St. in Oakland.
Subtitled “Urban Hieroglyphics,” the show is being presented by the Bay Area Aerosol Heritage Society, along with local chapters of the Universal Zulu Nation, and features “artists from the African hip-hop diaspora painting for peace and radical change” as well as ending black-on- black youth violence.
What really elevates ASA2 beyond other ambitious art shows, however, is its list of invited and exhibiting artists of varying degrees, representing local, national and international fame. In addition to Bay Area-based “urban calligraphers” such as Refa, Toons, MadHatter, Spek1 and Kufu1 (all from the TCB crew); Kemrexx (TDK); Del/Phresh and Stare (BSK); Cuba (TF); and Trendie (KTD), the show also features visual artists Brett Cook-Dizney and Emory Douglas - resident artist for the Black Panther Party.
Southern Californian artists include Overton Lloyd (album art designer for Parliament-Funkadelic) and members of the RTN, WCA, UCA, TDF, KOA, L2S, DTK and SMD crews. From Chicago come Orko and Slang (FEDS). Dawud Anyabwile, the artist known for the Brother Man comic, reps Philadelphia.
From New York City, there’s Phade (TC5/Shirt Kings); Dooley-O; Gem7, Snatch, and Gnome (CWK), the crew who illustrated Just-Ice’s “Back to the Old School” album, Mantronix’ “Needle to the Groove” 12” and many other graf-laced designs for Sleeping Bag/Fresh records; Slave TF5 (you might remember him from the grafumentary Style Wars); and members of the YNN, TMT and MBT crews. From Senegal comes Docta; last but not least, from France (and other parts of Europe), there’s aerosol superstar Mode2.
If you’re into graffiti art, you’re probably drooling at this list - so don’t forget to bring your sketchbook. And even if you’ve never picked up a Pilot marker or can of Krylon, but simply love expressive urban art, this show is going to be the bomb. It essentially chronicles the history of graffiti, from lettering styles, to murals, to socially-conscious and culturally-conscious messages, with an eye toward spotlighting the historical context of the nationwide/international movement.
The opening reception, however, is just the beginning.
Beginning today - Feb. 2 - through Feb. 6, visiting artists will paint murals in inner-city areas with local aspiring painters. And, there are two panel discussions at the Gordon gallery: one on Feb. 5, covering the state of the art form and its cultural context from a black/African perspective; and another Feb. 18 on aerosol art and education.
Also at the Gordon gallery on Feb. 12, project coordinators Refa 1 and Kufu will host an urban calligraphy workshop. Refa also will be leading gallery tours throughout the month. On Feb. 7, Dawud Anyabwile will host a book signing and slide lecture at Ile Olemode school - a fundraiser to support independent African education at the school.
Lastly, a satellite exhibit showcasing young artists and including work by the TCB crew and art produced by students in art programs at San Francisco’s Juvenile Hall, kicked off Feb. 1 at Janina’s Posh Pieces Studio - 3824 Telegraph Ave. - where it continues until March 4. A Feb. 25 reception at the studio will include a panel discussion as well as a screening of the grafumentary “Urban Hieroglyphics 3.”
For more information: