I think it was around 10:30 or more when I walked into the little dive bar on the corner of E7th and Avenue A. Before entering Niagara, a security guard with a missing tooth or a sizable gap asked me to verify my identity. I’m not sure if he or I was in luck but I whipped out my passport and there I was with bloodshot red hair and a cheeky smile. Making my way to the back of that crowded environment, it felt like an award-winning accomplishment once I got back there.
Outside of Smurfo U Dirty and his work, who painted pretty naked women at one of my events in the past, I wasn’t familiar with the others and I was eager to have a lasting experience. In a matter of moments, I was in the designated area where the art hung and it was really small. I remembered thinking “Is this it?” I didn’t truly get to see and focus on artist details but it was lively. To be honest, my expectations were really high. However, each showing artist had an interesting story to tell. Read along as you hear what the men of the night had to say about their inspirations and their favourite piece of the night.
“The theme of the show is about anatomy and my background is in writing and painting so, it’s about an anatomy of a narrative. These are like different story lines, and it’s bits and pieces of my everyday life. I work in fashion, which is why I have like Alexander Wang stuff and then, my background in baseball. That’s what it’s based off of. I’d say my favourite is: The No Future, No Past one over there.” — James Evans
“It’s a collection of instant images. Some of them polaroid. Some of them Fujifilm. the whole point was to kind of show that reality is transparent and fantasy is opaque. It’s stripping these images down to their like bare bones, to the transparency of the images. My favourite is probably the guy in the gold mask or the Donatella Versace, Naomi Campbell, Mario Testino one that just sold. The gloves is just to create another layer between the viewer and between the actual piece but also you get to pick them up. It’s like you can pick them up. You just can’t feel them. If that makes any sense. To counteract the instant gratification of instant pictures is that it creates this other layer of ‘wait this is mine but i really can’t get to it’ and I kind of like that aspect to it.” — Antwan Duncan
“These are just a series of pieces I’ve been doing for the last 2 years and it’s nothing specific, it’s just things that I see in my head, I guess I could describe it as. My favourite piece would have to be the one at the bottom. I guess the title of it… I titled it today. I had it sitting for two years is: Me, When I Look At You.” He says he thinks his current sense of humor made him title it the following. “This is my first art show, pretty much so I’m just chilling. I don’t know. I wanna keep it like, mysterious.” — 1000 Deaths
“Actually, the theme is anatomy so that’s why you’ll see a lot of skulls, and just characters and a lot of limbs. Just different parts of the body. I also tried to incorporate a lot of grafitti as well as cartooning behind the pieces. That’s why there’s a lot going on. As far as inspiration, I’ve gotta say I’ve been on Instagram and I’ve been seeing a lot of different artists from around the world. It’s kind of like a good hub to see artists from all over the states, as well as like London and Australia. I’ve kind of gained a great fan base of artists from all over the country so a lot of inspiration came from there for a lot of color ways and styles and stuff.” — Smurfo U Dirty
*All images provided by Philip May (Guest of a Guest). In addition, don’t forget to check out images of the night via this link.
For more about Gia Seo on Opening Ceremony, just click here.