All posts tagged: C.A.V.E. Gallery

Mystery Revealed : Hellbent’s Jaw belonged to Sigmund Freud

The streets are covered with symbols and markings that have meaning to the maker, their peers, and to passersby. Depending on socio-political-geo-historical factors, you may or may not know what certain tags or images are meant to indicate and aside from gang indicia, no one seems particularly alarmed by this fact that street art and graffiti is often a nest of hidden meanings.


Hellbent (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

One such symbol that has often appeared on the street is the bottom jaw from Hellbent, rough and jagged, hovering above a bed of psychedelic or pastel floral patterns. If it happened once, you might think “Oh, it’s part of a series and I’ll figure it out when I see the other pieces”. In fact, no. It’s the one symbol that Hellbent repeats most often, and it is perplexing.


Hellbent (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

We finally got an answer from the artist regarding the genesis of the jaw when he was describing his current piece in the LA show “Street Art Saved My Life” and, while it sheds light on the background, somehow it raises more questions. In the story about this Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis, we postulate that the jaw represents our base animal qualities and our similarities to the ruthless animal kingdom, all the while acknowledging the ultimate fragility of a simple bone structure, and be extraction, us. Anyway, before we psychoanalyze it further and bore everybody in the room, here’s what Hellbent says:

“Sigmund Freud at age of 67 appeared in a clinic in Vienna because he had discovered some hard, smooth spots on his jaw. After the doctor examined him it was discovered that they were cancerous and the lesions had to be removed immediately. Since the hospital population at that time was at capacity, Freud was put in a makeshift room that he shared with dwarf. After his operation while his family was out, Freud began to hemorrhage and was unable to call out, while laying bleeding on the floor. If not for the dwarf roommate Freud would have surely died and with this I began thinking of the jawbone.


Hellbent currently on view at C.A.V.E. Gallery in the show “Street Art Saved My Life : 39 New York Stories” (Photo © Carlos Gonzalez)

The earliest images I was influenced by as a kid were the graphics on skateboards and punk albums. The image of the human skull was a constant in a lot of these images. It was a sign of rebellion and it seemed the embrace death, where society was much more concentrated on living. But as I grew up I noticed that a lot of people who where similarly influenced by these images began to bring the skull into the mainstream. Now you see cute skulls on Paul Frank baby clothes and such.
So to get away from this trend I began to concentrate on just the jaw bone as an image. The jawbone is what is used to communicate and form words with and the way we consume food to sustain life, an important part of the human experience. I have come back to the skull and separated it from the jaw; making it two unique images that are connected through this separation. I also use a lot of animal imagery on the streets, so the jaw bone represents the human element of this world…
Hellbent (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

Hellbent (Photo © Jaime Rojo)

I have been calling the new use of multiple floral stencils “Quilting”. I like the idea of taking all these used “scraps” to form something more tangible, something other than its self. Sometimes it makes up the border around the image and other times it is used inside of the image, giving it a cubist like quality. The colors in each of the patterns also play off one another, giving them a natural 3D quality (which is actually intensified with 3D glasses, as was discovered at my last gallery show at Mighty Tanaka) that further emphasizes this cubist element. The shapes seem to pull and push of the surface, but the image is still readily available to the viewer.”
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Chris Stain Talks About Giving Them Hell

It’s always cool to learn about an artist’s process and the story behind his or her work. Street Artist Chris Stain shares with you here where he gained inspiration for his gallery piece called “Give ‘Em Hell”.


Give ‘Em Hell, by Chris Stain, currently on view at “Street Art Saved My Life : 39 New York Stories”. (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)

“When I was a kid growing up in Baltimore we always played baseball and pretended we were Eddie Murray or Rick Dempsey when stepping up to bat. It wasn’t until later that I realized that a baseball bat could be used as an equalizer when the bigger kids thought it was a good idea to kick my ass for the fun of it.

This piece represents for me standing up for yourself and the things you believe in. The boy in the picture was originally photographed by Boogie. The background photos were taken by me during a trip to Baltimore. I hand cut the image out of rubylith and screen printed it onto an old table I used to work on. Then I hand colored it with thinned out spray paint and wood stain.”


From our interview with Chris for Juxtapoz:

“Born in 1972 and raised in East Baltimore, Chris Stain is a New York-based, self taught stencil artist and print maker influenced by social realism, the plight of working people, and skateboarder culture. His straight-forward portraits in urban or industrial settings harken back to the Depression, when bankers and masters of industry declared war on the blue collar and poor. With blunt realism and everyday protagonists, Stain encourages passersby on the street to draw direct connections between social and economic conditions of then and today.”

Read Chris’s answers to the Back Talk questions on Juxtapoz here:

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FUTURA Does a Piece Called “Brooklyn Street Art”

One of the many cool things about this LA experience is that artists took the charge of “Stories” in a variety of directions. The observation that we have had for a few years now, and the one we talked about to whomever we met last week, is that many of today’s street artists are telling personal or political or socially relevant stories with their work.


You’re looking at it! Futura’s piece called “Brooklyn Street Art” in the show “Street Art Saved My Life : 39 New York Stories” (photo © Jaime Rojo)

No stranger to experimentation and stretching his own creative boundaries, our most storied participant in the show of course is the graffiti writer and fine artist Futura. With a well documented career dating back to the late 60s and early 70s, the Brooklyn artist could easily be disinterested in whatever is happening on the street today, and no one would blame him. But rather than complacently re-telling stories about the past, you’ll find that Futura is just as engaged and inquisitive about others and about what is happening as ever.


Detail from “Brooklyn Street Art”, by Futura (photo ©  Jaime Rojo)

Futura’s mind is too alive, his wanderlust unsatiated, his sense of humor too sly to just lay back on his laurels.  In fact he pulled a fast one on us by creating a collage of stuff he pulled off of walls in Brooklyn! By peeling off stickers from other artists and pieces of  ads from walls in Brooklyn he re-created a piece of a wall or a door from 2011 and signed the back with his own tag.

A pretty edgy approach, and yet it couldn’t have been more appropriate – and timely as more of the scene than ever is pushed with stickers. One of the slaps he included actually is by another artist in “Street Art Saved My Life”! Can you identify it?


See the description of “Street Art Saved My Life : 39 New York Stories” here.

See all of the pieces from “Street Art Saved My Life” in Los Angeles

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Opening Shots from “Street Art Saved My Life” in Los Angeles

Images from the Show


The show in Los Angeles last weekend was a lot of fun, with 500 people flowing through C.A.V.E. Gallery to see studio work by some of the artists on the streets of NYC. What impressed us the most was the number of conversations we saw taking place with two or three friends gathered around a piece and discussing it and really taking it in. Marsea Goldberg, owner of New Image Gallery told us, “This is Los Angeles, we take art seriously”, and judging by the enthusiasm and knowledgeable people we met at the opening, in the back patio, and on the street, many Angelinos are interested in street art from the east coast. After comments about the dense and layered quality of the show, the next most popular topic was, “When are you going to do an LA street art show in New York?”  After we catch our breath. Thank you LA, and thank you all the artists who came out to make work on the walls.

Thank you also to photographer Carlos Gonzalez for shooting all the pieces in the show, which follows after this collage of opening night shots by Andrew Hosner from ThinkSpace, who was our partner with C.A.V.E. to make this show happen.

See a couple of links at the end of this posting for more pictures of the opening from Andrew Hosner and Karin Freda.


Adam Void (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Anthony Lister  (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Broken Crow (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


C215 (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Cake (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Chris Stain (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Clown Soldier (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Creepy (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Dan Witz (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


El Sol 25 (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


EMA (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Faile (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Futura (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Gaia (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Gilf! (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Hargo (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Hellbent (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


How and Nosm (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Imminent Disaster (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Indigo (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Kid Acne (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Know Hope (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Ludo (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Mark Carvalho (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Miss Bugs (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Nick Walker (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


NohJColey (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Other (AKA Troy Lovegates) (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


OverUnder (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Radical! (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Rene Gagnon (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Skewville (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Specter (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Sweet Toof (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Swoon (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Tiptoe (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


White Cocoa (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)

If you want to see pics of opening night on Andrew Hosner’s Facebook Page please go here:

To see Karin Freda’s Flickr page of photos from the show please go here :

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TipToe “Back Talk” Conversation



To introduce readers to some of the Street Artists in the upcoming show “Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York Stories”, BSA asked a number of the artists to take part in “Back Talk” with one of our most trusted and underground and sweet sources for modern art, Juxtapoz.

Today we hear from TipToe.

Something that annoys or frustrates you about people: “Obsessions with Warhol and people who don’t know the difference between ambiguous and arbitrary”


TipToe (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read “Back Talk: A conversation with TipToe” on Juxtapoz:

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Back Talk with Street Artist Radical!



To introduce readers to some of the Street Artists in the show “Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York Stories”, BSA asked a number of the artists to take part in “Back Talk” with one of our most trusted and underground and sweet sources for modern art, Juxtapoz.

Today we hear from Radical!

Artists you admire: “Henry Darger, Margaret Kilgallen (RIP), Barry McGee, Booker (Read More Books), Blu, Barbara Kruger, Robert Longo, C215, Chris Stain, Dondi White (RIP), Os Gemeos, Vrno, Gaia, Josh Keyes, the old Pottymouth Crew (Dwell, Oneunit, Mr. Prvrt), my grandpa, my professors, all of the people still going big these days.”


Radical! in Coney Island (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read “Back Talk: A conversation with Radical!” on Juxtapoz:

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Various and Gould say, “Street Art Saved OUR Lives”

Street Artists Various and Gould are showing one of the more entertaining pieces at the show on Friday – entirely in the vein of their fun-loving style. The difference now is they are using their own faces and creating a self portrait for the first time, called, “Street Art Saved OUR Lives”.

The wacky duo explain the new work this way,

“Our piece is a direct response to the humorous title of the show, approaching it in a personal way. Often asked about how we collaborate, the piece shows who is steering the wheel. As many other (street) artists, we have been trying to stay anonymous as much as possible in the past.


This has not so much to do with any kind of (il)legal activities, but the wish to let the artworks be in their right place. We think this gives the viewer the possibility to judge the artwork itself without the necessity to put it in context with the person behind it. Keeping your face out of things is constant work and nevertheless everything you do conveys a message.

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Creepy In Process on a Wall in LA

Australian Street Artist in Los Angeles for “Street Art Saved My Life : 39 New York Stories” is working on a few walls in LA curated by BSA.  Here are some process shots of a wall in Venice from Carlos Gonzalez and the artist himself.


Creepy sketches out the beginning of a new piece (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Creepy at the top of the ramp (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Creepy adds a lot of color and texture (photo © Carlos Gonzalez)


Creepy (photo © a passerby unknown)


Creepy shoots his own piece (photo © Creepy)


Seems like there is an extra “e” in there, doesn’t it? (photo © Creepy)

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EMA Talks about Brooklyn: “A Place Like No Other in the World”

Street Artist EMA has created a visual metaphor for her Brooklyn with her new piece for the show, “A Place Like No Other in the World”. reflecting the love and hard-won truths one gains from persevering in a place like BK.

She describes the piece this way,
“Figurative elements are set in an abstract, art deco-inspired background, incorporating a mixture of typography, 90’s hip-hop influences and a strong female figure looking scandalously decadent in the centre of the image.


Sinusoidal abstract shapes, rain drops and floral components unite the grotesque and the fantastic in a post-industrial setting – with Williamsburg’s iconic Domino Sugar factory forming the backdrop. As the factory seems to be in fire, the figures, proud and powerful hover on top of the letter B for Brooklyn – We rock hard.”


EMA in studio creating her piece for “Street Art Saved My Life : 39 New York Stories” (© Ema)


See Ema’s piece at “Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York Stories” opening at C.A.V.E. Gallery this Friday, presented by Brooklyn Street Art in collaboration with ThinkSpace.

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OverUnder “Back Talk” Conversation



To introduce readers to some of the Street Artists in the upcoming show “Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York Stories”, BSA asked a number of the artists to take part in “Back Talk” with one of our most trusted and underground and sweet sources for modern art, Juxtapoz.

Today we talk with OverUnder.

Something you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to:
“Dive out of a car before it flies off a cliff.”


OverUnder (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read “Back Talk: A conversation with OverUnder” on Juxtapoz:

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New Dan Witz On the Street, If You’re Looking

Don’t make love by the garden gate – Love is blind but the neighbors ain’t!

Looks like Street Artist Dan Witz has installed a large full length street version of “Hoodys Kissing” in this bricked alcove, but who will see it?  The artist has mastered the art of camouflage, plainly laying out his work where it can be seen with the bare eye.


Dan Witz newest addition (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Standing nearby and watching passersby for a few minutes gives ample evidence that we can be blind to the things right in front of us – and in a city that is full of loud noises, music, polluting cars, sidewalk vendors, and sexy summer fashions parading at you from all directions, can you blame us? Plus, I think that traffic attendant is putting a ticket on my windshield! “Wait! Sir! I’m just running in this drug store to get my Grandma some Doan’s pill for her knees! Please don’t give me a ticket, I was only in there for 2 minutes! Crap!”


See “Hoodys Kissing”, the painting by Dan Witz, this Friday when “Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York Stories” opens at C.A.V.E. gallery in Los Angeles. More info HERE.

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Hellbent “Back Talk” Conversation



To introduce readers to some of the Street Artists in the upcoming show “Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York Stories”, BSA asked a number of the artists to take part in “Back Talk” with one of our most trusted and underground and sweet sources for modern art, Juxtapoz.

Today we learn about Hellbent.
One reason you make art:
“For that feeling when you lose yourself, time slips away and you’re in it. It is the best drug and it keeps me sane(ish).”

bsa-hellbent-copyright-jaime-rojo-street-art-saved-my-life-5Hellbent (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Read “Back Talk: A conversation with Hellbent” on Juxtapoz:

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