THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW | Opening Reception
Two man show w/ Graffiti Legends, RISK & COOZ
Opening on July 7th 5pm – LateOn July 7th, 111 Minna Gallery proudly presents, “That Was Then, This Is Now.” The first major collaborative exhibition by Kelly Graval and Nathan Ota, aka RISK and COOZ, reunites these artists whose friendship began before they would respectfully become graffiti legends in the streets and revered artists in galleries and museums across the globe.
The art of RISK, which is currently on exhibition with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and the Pasadena Museum of California Art, receives further notoriety in collaboration with COOZ at 111 Minna Gallery.
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 eventually going into two different paths coming back together again with their newfound skills and maturity doing it again!
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. Risk majored in Fine arts at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles Ca. 1992. Risk is currently working on an installation for the Museum Of Contemporary Arts in Los Angeles.
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.
“That Was Then, This Is Now” is Risk’s and Nathan’s first full body of work together after collaborating on a mural last year for Hurley.
Tags: Kelly Graval, Nathan Ota, RISK and COOZ