In the art world’s recent obsession with Street Art, Pasadena Museum of California Art takes a closer look at the local level.
This Street Art Exhibition is not MOCA’s copy cat partner, though the buzz coming into the museum was all about that — MOCA did it first, MOCA did it bigger, MOCA had the controversy, MOCA had the press.
One thing that MOCA didn’t have that PMCA did, was local flavor. In a place like Southern California, with perfect weather, beautiful beaches, and tons of art and culture, the pride we have for our home is abundant. Our placement in street art has a very distinctive history, and our Southern California “wild style” is unique to this location. Street Cred at PMCA is a well-rounded exhibition covering some of the many different styles that contemporary So-Cal street artists use. Touching on painting, sculpture, aerosol, illustration, and installation.
Jeff Soto, an Fullerton native, makes inspiring paintings that combine both pop-surrealist qualities with traditional aerosol art.
His paintings speak to me in a personal way that brings up feelings of nostalgia and romance, with images of child-like toys, and bright energy bursts, his creatures, dissections, and narratives decorate my dark-eyed fantasies with his beautiful and creepy creations. Soto’s work was the initial attraction for this fandy red-headed writer, but to my surprise my focus switched from an individual artist investigation, to an emotional arts community appreciation.
In this exhibition, most of the artists show their work on panels, canvases, or in photographs. The only site specific installation was the exterior of the space. The giant mural that covered the entire front of the building, by RETNA was a beautiful sight in the picturesque old town Pasadena neighborhood. RETNA has made a name for himself with his clothing, graffiti, and murals all over the world. His murals are exquisite and interesting. Heavy on portraiture, this LA Native includes his compositional signature typographic decoration in many of the details of his portraits.
Other artists in Street Cred include Michael Alvarez, ANGST, AXIS, Chaz Bojórquez, CODAK, CRAOLA, DASH 2000, Ekundayo, EYEONE, HASTE, Paul SKEPT Kanemitsu, Alex Kizu, KOFIE, MAN ONE, MEAR ONE, Juan Carlos Muñoz Hernandez, Jose Lopez, Erick Montenegro, Nicnak, PUSH, RISK, Evan Skrederstu, REVOK, SABER, SHANDU, Jesse Simon, SINER, and ZES.
This exhibition was filled with interesting artworks and it also had an educational section that included of the defining terms that are prevalent in street art. The placement of work and walls was well thought out, and I must say, coming from an L.A. native, it was a very satisfying show. I would have liked to have seen more in the realm of wheat-pasting street art and stencil artworks, because they are tend to dominate the streets of Hollywood, but are still pretty new in comparison to some of the other styles represented.
The Clayton Brothers’ exhibition was a roadblock for anyone looking for the Street Cred show, forcing the viewer to walk through the highly manufactured, brightly-colored exhibit of their unnerving imagery, including the only interesting piece of theirs– a fake laundromat (that looks like it might have been influenced by the lovely Margaret Killgallen and/or Barry McGee)– right in the center of their space.
The wild style artworks of Street Cred make me proud to be from So-Cal, and I encourage everyone to take a closer look and truly appreciate the local flavor.
Check it out! www.pmcaonline.org