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Brooklyn Street Art

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SEE ONE Merges Graffiti and Street Art Abstractly with Flying “Shards”

Posted on August 30, 2012

New Video Debut and Interview with the “GEOMETRICKS” artist See One

A New York native, See One is a self-taught visual artist with a big imagination which was electrified as a kid in the city seeing graffiti growing up in the 1980s. Constantly drawing for hours on end as a child, he was also inspired by the characters, cartoons, and comic books of the time and he began creating his own world at a young age in sketchbooks and on walls. His initial pieces on the street were character-based and paid homage to that earlier New York traditional graffiti style, and he still likes that too.

Around 2009 See One began to experiment and develop a more abstract style for his works on canvas and on the street, using a recurring symbol that he now refers to as “Shards”. As his style evolved, a new world opened before him as his swift and swooping hand and arm movements produced fluid and jagged abstract graffiti patterns that fly and flow, evoking broken shards of glass that inhabit a third dimension, making the art pop off the wall. With this new practice, See One effectively opened a door for himself to combine graffiti and Street Art influences into one distinctive vision.

Beginning September 22nd new work by See One will be featured in the GEOMETRICKS show curated by Hellbent and presented by BSA.

See One. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have evolved through graffiti and more character based work in your painting to something that seems newly abstract. How is the experience different when working with more abstract forms and shapes?
See One:
It’s a totally different world.  All the rules that apply when drawing characters or environments are thrown out because none of it applies to the style. I’ve learned that my abstract work bends and breaks all rules that I try to implement. With each new painting the style grows and evolves and is far different from doing illustrations – It’s a wild style on its own.

 

See One. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Is it important to have a label for the kind of work you do on the street?
See One:
No, but I think the public’s need to give it a label is high though. People don’t know what they’re looking at when they see a wall or painting. My Shards are a hybrid of styles so it can be tough to put it in any certain category.  I don’t see a need to label it.  It should just be.

Brooklyn Street Art: How has the work of Jose Parla impacted you or inspired you? Why is he good?
See One:
Jose Parla is the man! Long before I started doing my abstracted works, he inspired me.  I always like the way he builds history in his paintings; Some of them literally look like uncovered walls from the 1980s, which I find fascinating. Now that I am doing abstract work he stills inspires me because we are both working in layers, texture and depth – in two completely different ways. Jose Parla is great at capturing the feeling of an era in one of his paintings and his eye for detail is amazing. I hope to meet him one day.

Here is the new video of See One at work on this wall –  produced and created by

 

See One started his engagement with graff and Street Art with a character he continues to dig. This week we found him  merging all his styles in Bushwick, Brooklyn. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Looking at the bending undulating flying shapes, or shards, in your work, a person could think that there is a mathematical equation happening, a sort of infographic. Does this style of painting feel like math to you?
See One:
I’m terrible at math! I think there is a type of visual math or “style equation” to my paintings in that certain parts of a painting need to be in the right place, or doing the right thing. I know it looks like a lot of chaos flying around, but there is a method to the madness. The colors have to be balanced and the composition and placement of each shard is also important. If the flow is off, the painting is off.

Brooklyn Street Art: What is your favorite jam to listen to when painting?
See One:
It always changes. Lately, I’ve been listening to Flosstradamus. It’s high energy dub-step. It’s what one of my paintings would sound like. I’ve been known to listen to cinematic soundtracks, hip hop, and some rock while working.  I’m a fan of instrumental hip hop mixes as well, anything that I don’t have fast-forward through is great.

 

See One. Detail. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: You have sited graffiti artist Futura as an influence on you. He is one of the original graff guys who bravely evolved his style and brought it into the gallery setting. Can you see yourself exclusively on the street or in the gallery?
See One:
Both. I couldn’t be exclusively in either. The streets are the biggest galleries in world and I think the streets are driving the art that is now getting into galleries. Being in a gallery is great – it allows the artist to have a platform to engage an audience and sell artwork. But the street is where the excitement over that artwork begins.

Brooklyn Street Art: You have participated in venues where you were painting live in front of an audience. How much of your process is improvisational, how much is planned?
See One:
It’s about 60/40. I like to have an idea of where I’m going even if I don’t know where I’m going to take it and just let it flow. That’s how my abstract style came out. I was painting life at a lounge, I sketched the profile of a cute girl I saw on the train as I was heading to the lounge. When I was there, I painted the profile and wasn’t sure what to with the other half of the canvas and these sharp jagged shapes came out and people loved it. Too much planning can ruin great art.

 

See One. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What would be the most perfect compliment someone could give your work?
See One:
If I’m walking through a show and watching people stare at my paintings and discussing my art and hear them wonder how it was done. The look of wonder and inspiration in someone’s eyes is exciting, that’s what you want to see in a good painting. Your eyes need to move and take in all that you’re seeing. If they also bought the painting, that is the ultimate compliment because something I made is now hanging proudly in someone’s home, office or business to be shared with their friends and family.

Brooklyn Street Art: When you create these grand swirling layered storms of strikingly hued shards, do you think of them as graff letters or shapes or waves of energy or something else?  Are they a mirror of anyone?
See One:
When I first started in this style I used to think of them as abstracted letters only because I could see something letter-esque in the shapes. But that really stopped me from keeping the style in the abstract realm of my imagination because I was putting the style into an already pre-conceived form of something familiar. While Shards are reminiscent of letters, they aren’t quite there yet.

Later, I realized that Shards are jagged alien forms of wildstyle burners in motion on a smaller scale. Imagine what a wildstyle would look like if it exploded in slow motion. Broken down beyond chunks of 3-D letters are blocks of colors ripped apart from each other into broken pieces. The fills, the outline, forcefield and most importantly, the energy of wildstyle is broken down in the molecules. Colors and shadows fly around each other, almost fighting for space amongst themselves..a sort of “get in, where you fit in” type of fight for the right place.  That’s what Shards are.

Brooklyn Street Art: How do you know when a work is finished?
See One:
It’s a feeling I get, I have to be visually satisfied with what I see. I set a high standard for my work and if I don’t see the finish line then I know its time for more coffee, because there’s more work to do.

See One. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

See One is one of the 11 participating artists in GEOMETRICKS

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