Gaia’s work looks like Swoon’s, Dennis McNett’s, a little bit like Elbowtoe’s, and now Yote.
Looking through Gaia’s sketchbook you might also find that the work has aspects of Albrect Durer , Raimondi, Lucas Van Leyden, Hendrik Goltzius, zoological prints, the Farmer’s Almanac, and some of the flat files at Kentler International Drawing Space in Red Hook. I bring this up because sometimes devoted fans of one street artist fall into spasmodic revulsion when they discover a similarity in style in a newly arrived one.
It reminds me of the David Bowie fans who were furious when hordes of musical New Romantics, abetted by the arrival of MTV came on the scene in the early 1980’s, seemingly stealing the alien-androgyny aesthetic and asymmetry of sounds that Bowie had trailblazed in the 1970’s. Oh the outrage of the devoted, defending their Glam-God from the arrivistes!
As if David Bowie needed anyone to defend him. Check your iPod for the long list of Spandau Ballet songs you’ve been listening to? How about ABC? Tears for Fears? Kajagoogoo? Duran Duran for that matter? Meanwhile David Bowie is still God.
Luckily for Gaia, the hunger to learn and expand creatively also runs unbridled, and it’s not likely to be hindered in the near future. It’s mid semester at art school and Gaia cuts across campus and through a maze of hallways, staircases and backdoors like a rabbit on the loose in a field of clover.
The excited street artist has a visitor from Gotham, where the Gaia domestic animal kingdom has been stampeding periodically on the streets, and the chatty artist is eager to show new work that incorporates the metaphor: sculpture.
The rooster is the top of a boxed container, fired to a dark glistening finish, with a couple mistakes in glaze that may have dripped from a classmate’s project in the kiln. Nonetheless the rooster is going to be traveling to Brooklyn soon to be in a group show. It’s enthralling to see this third dimension added to the lino-printed black and white images that are normally associated with Gaia.
Then we look at another project, a small columnar statuette with animal head and human limbs with a glaze that is more like lumpy oatmeal than the originally intended porcelain finish. Mistakes of glaze don’t faze Gaia for some reason and while we talk the other students are working in the lab on bowls, urns, vases.
Gaia’s also making a cast from parts of a milking machine, the apparatus that is affixed to the teats of a cow to extract the days’ production of dairy. It’s from a class about symmetry and mass-production, or some similarly post-modern topic. Have you seen a cow with those milk-sucking tubes attached?
This is the first half of a two part article and interview with street artist Gaia.
Click here for Part II