Abstract street art project colours the walls of the Moda Hotel and Becker Gallery

granvilleonline.ca | March 3, 2011 | review link
Street art and abstract art intersect at the corner of Seymour and Smithe streets in downtown Vancouver with Unintended Calculations

Three days, four graffiti artists and two four-storey walls comprise the first component of Unintended Calculations, a local exploration and celebration of graffiti’s transition from fanciful lettering to high art.

Since Tuesday, the internationally renowned street artists have been tackling the walls outside of Moda Hotel on the corner of Seymour and Smithe streets downtown. The collaborative murals combine the individual styles of each artist in a showcase of graffiti-as-abstract-art on the walls of a 100-year-old historic building.

Unintended Calculations culminates on Friday, March 4, 2011, with the second component of the project: a private VIP opening of an exhibit at Becker Galleries on Granville Island, followed by the official public opening the next day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The gallery will display individual works of art by each of the four artists as they bring their street styles indoors for people to ponder the genre of graffiti as a contemporary art form. The exhibit runs March 5 through 26.

Unintended Calculations ‘a combination of luck and timing’

Curated by Vancouver-based street artist Indigo, Unintended Calculations began as a nugget of an idea in September 2010. Inspired by the works of four street artists she’d met and admired over the years, Indigo approached Los Angeles-based Augustine Kofie, Jerry Inscoe of Portland, London’s Remi/Rough and Vancouver son Scott Sueme to be a part of the project.

“They are all such talented and inspiring creative beings, and I was, and am, excited to help facilitate them working and showing together as a group,” Indigo says.

“My initial intentions were really just to gather the right individuals together to create something big and beautiful in a city that has so much potential for great things—and with the generosity of our sponsors and project partners, we’ve been able to make that happen.”

It was a combination of luck and timing that Indigo was able to secure an exhibit venue at Becker Galleries and find two outdoor spaces on the sides of Moda Hotel, which coincidentally was looking for artists to add a bit of flair to its exterior.

“It was, like so many things since we got started: just a matter of the right people getting in touch at the right time,” says Indigo. “They [Moda] were excited to see what we had to offer, and we were so excited to end up with not one but two huge walls right in the middle of downtown.”

Indigo takes graffiti from the street to the gallery

Unintended Calculations is a collaborative project showcasing street art and its transition from the construction of letters to more conceptual abstract art. While each artist has his own very distinct style, the pieces merge on the walls of the Moda and within the gallery space in a showcase of the techniques and aesthetics that make up the unconventional art form.

Indigo explains that both the murals and the gallery exhibit offer onlookers a chance to discover and explore the genre of abstract street art in two different settings.

“One of the things that I find most captivating about the work is that it leaves space for the viewer to draw his or her own conclusions, to take in what each artist has created and find something that speaks to them in a way that has less to do with content as it does with style, form and aesthetic.”

“While they come from a shared graffiti background, all four artists have very different interpretations of and approaches to abstraction, and the combination of their work existing on the same walls and in the same gallery creates a space for some really interesting dialogues to happen between artists, viewers and the works themselves.”

In recent years there has been a growing trend to mainstream graffiti artists as exactly that—artists. Indigo explains the importance of gallery exhibits as a way to engage different audiences.

“I think that for all of us involved, the work we do for exhibits is a really important part of our artistic practice, just as important as what we do on the street. And it’s great to be able to showcase both of those aspects in one project.”

She notes that while the two venues provide audiences with a deeper understanding of the artists’ work, “it’s also a really great opportunity for collectors and fans to be able to own a piece by these internationally renowned artists, most of whom have never before exhibited in Vancouver.”

Video: Watch Unintended Calculations on Grounded TV

Vancouver’s Grounded TV Network has been filming the progress of the murals and posting short documentaries on their site. Videos include various stages of the murals, interviews with the artists and the gallery opening.

Grounded TV Network is a web-based television network that features culturally and socially relevant content. Run by a group of artists and musicians, its web-based programs highlight positive change through music, art and social activism. Watch videos here.

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