Remi/Rough and Crash at Dorian Grey Gallery

Remi/Rough and Crash

Remi/Rough and John “Crash” Matos have collaborated on a series of paintings for an upcoming show a NYC’s Dorian Grey Gallery. The show, Flow, is a link between the very figurative and pop art styles of the earliest generations of graffiti artists and the very contemporary abstract graffiti movement. Crash, of course, represents that classic style. He was one of the artists bringing in pop art to the typographic roots of graffiti back when artists still painted the New York City subways. And Remi/Rough is one of the artists currently helping to continue graffiti’s transition from straight letters to wild style to complete abstraction. Both artists have pushed graffiti further, but in perhaps opposite (though complimentary) directions. I can think of few more interesting artistic pairings in graffiti, and I can’t wait to see more of Flow.

Flow opens January 16th and runs through February 23rd.

Remi/Rough and Crash
Remi/Rough and Crash

Three the hard way: Triple interview with Kofie, Joker and Derek Bruno

Augustine Kofie's studio. Photo courtesy of Breeze Block Gallery.
Augustine Kofie’s studio. Photo courtesy of Breeze Block Gallery.

A note from RJ: Augustine Kofie, Jerry ‘Joker’ Inscoe and Christopher Derek Bruno will be showing together this month at Breeze Block Gallery in Portland, Oregon in the show Three The Hard Way, curated by Sven Davis. I saw that lineup and was curious and excited for the show, but I knew there was someone out there with much more knowledge about these artists than I’ve got, so I asked my friend Remi Rough to write something about the importance of this show. He kindly obliged and offered to interview all three of the artists involved. Three The Hard Way opens on Thursday and through the end of November. Do check it out if you’re in Portland, and keep an eye on all four of these artists careers as they continue to take what they learned in graffiti and push beyond its boundaries. Here’s Remi…

Three artists, three very differing aesthetics and three extremely good friends of mine…

Two of these three artists also happen to be fellow Agents Of Change… I have shown work and painted alongside all of them at one point or another and I have work by all three hanging proudly in my home. This show is an important step for them all.

The work these three artists make is important! They are artists in the mid strides of their careers, producing work that signifies an intense shift from the street art or graffiti style that so many people seem to connect with.

It’s not simply abstract as some seem to call it. Their work is constructivist, minimalist and, in Derek Bruno’s case, verging on the sculptural.

Jerry 'Joker' Inscoe in his studio. Photo courtesy of Breeze Block Gallery.
Jerry ‘Joker’ Inscoe in his studio. Photo courtesy of Breeze Block Gallery.

Work like this is not mainstream. It swims against that with every fibre of it’s being. It struggles for a lager acceptance because people opt for the safety and reassurance of the obvious. This isn’t only the case with the viewers and art fans, it’s largely the case within the whole graffiti movement itself… But the fact that these 3 have managed to command the respect they so rightly deserve from the more traditional fraternity only goes to secure their places in the future of the art world.

I asked all three a set of tailored questions and asked them all to supply one image taken by Android phone. My thoughts were that in modern society we all have at least 3 points to make everyday and all use our phones as visual reference on a daily basis.

Christopher Derek Bruno's studio. Photo courtesy of Breeze Block Gallery.
Christopher Derek Bruno’s studio. Photo courtesy of Breeze Block Gallery.

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Tim Hans shoots… Remi/Rough


Remi has been a friend and an artist I’ve followed closely for many years, one of the artists putting some fresh energy graffiti with his abstract style, so I was glad that Tim Hans could meet up with Remi Rough at his studio in South London earlier this year and that Rhiannon Platt could interview Remi for our continuing series of portraits by Tim Hans. – RJ

Rhiannon Platt: For those who may not be familiar with your work, when did you start using spray paint?

Remi Rough: I did my first piece in 1984. Paint was different then, as were the styles, techniques and obviously the fan base, which hardly existed at all except in the younger generation.

Most of the artists, paint brands and the pieces themselves don’t even exist anymore.

It’s quite funny to think of something I was part of as a kid being considered historical now!

Rhiannon: And how has your work evolved since then?

Remi: It became a lot simpler. In the late 90’s and early 00’s I stripped back a lot of the chintz in my graffiti pieces and lettering. Colour, background and periphery became unimportant to me. I guess things continued to simplify and become more minimal from there. Now the colour has regained a key importance in my work and the line and shape is just a conveyance for that. As long as I can create a similar tension in my paintings to the graffiti pieces of my youth, then I’m doing something right I think.


Rhiannon: What does abstraction mean to you?

Remi: Abstraction is all about questioning what you see. Graffiti was and still is abstract right from the very beginning. The entire concept of Wildstyle is completely abstract. the fills, the outlines and the backgrounds. Taking basic type forms and abstracting them into a more stylised version of the original product is as about as abstract as it gets.

Abstraction is keeping your feet firmly planted in reality whilst your head is in the clouds of imagination.

Rhiannon: What keeps you going creatively?

Remi: Many things to be honest. Good coffee, amazing people (of which I think I’m lucky to be surrounded by a lot of the time), great art of any kind, good food, my family and most of all I guess I manage to find new challenges for myself on a constant basis.

Rhiannon: What projects are you working on right now?

Remi: I’m off to Detroit in November to work on a very large mural project, which I’m quite excited about as I’ve never been there before. I have also been working on a collaborative show with Shok1 and I have a couple of solo shows booked in for next year already. Lastly I have a new book available next month called #roughsketches it’s a huge book of sketch work dating back from 1996 until now. It marks my evolution into the style I work with now and has a good few hundred outlines in it. There’s only going to be 100 editions tho, plus 25 special editions! It’s my Seventh self published book and I personally think it’s my best one so far…


Photos by Tim Hans

Sunday link-o-rama

Jaz, drawing entirely with charcoal.
Jaz, drawing entirely with charcoal in Buenos Aires.

Had a quick holiday in New York City combined with a nasty cold to delay posting this link-o-rama, but I’m back so here we go…

  • Dave aka nolionsinengland has been a friend and also one of my favorite street art/graffiti photographers for many years now. I’m very excited to see that he’s now offering street art tours of London in addition to his street art photography workshops. There aren’t too many people who can take me on a graffiti or street art tour of London, but Dave has shown me around before and he still schools me every time we meet up. This guy knows his stuff, and regular reads of this site have seen his photos on here for years. I haven’t taken this tour of course, but from every experience I’ve had with Dave over the past 5 or so years, I cannot recommend him highly enough.
  • Another longtime friend whose work I’ve admired is Know Hope, so I’m overjoyed to see him getting some serious recognition in the UK with a solo show coming up at Lazarides Gallery’s Rathbone Place location. Like Os Gemeos, Know Hope make work that grabs me and sucks me in to his world, and that’s a rare and beautiful experience. The show opens August 2nd.
  • Banksy’s No Ball Games street piece in London has been removed from the wall and is due to be sold next year. The profits from the sale will be going to charity, but I’m curious if that means the profits for person who owns the wall, or if the group organizing the removal and sale are also forgoing any profits. The company that removed this wall is the same one that managed the sale of Banksy’s Slave Labour street piece earlier this year.
  • Very nice NSA-theme ad takeover.
  • Gold Peg and Malarky are showing together in Stoke on Trent in the UK on August 3rd. It’s not often that Gold Peg shows her work indoors, so this is a really special treat.
  • Faile are on the cover of the latest issue of Very Nearly Almost, so there will be launch events in both NYC and London. The NYC launch is July 31st at Reed Projects and the London launch will be 8th August at Lazarides.
  • This year’s Living Walls conference/festival line up has been announced. The festival (my personal favorite in the USA) will be August 14th-18th in Atlanta. Caroline and I will be there, as well Steve and Jaime of Brooklyn Street Art. I highly encourage you to make the trip out if at all possible. Artist painting this year include Jaz, Inti, Know Hope, Freddy Sam, Trek Matthews and many more. More info about the conference (including all the things planned besides the murals) here. Also, you can donate to the conference here.
  • Remi/Rough recently put together a book of sketches that you can read online. Most artists who have met me know that I’m always carrying around a blackbook, and that I love to collect sketches, so this project of Remi’s was a real joy for me. It’s really fascinating to see what’s going on behind the scenes with this work.
  • Caroline and I went to this show in Brooklyn on Saturday night. I was really impressed with EKG’s drawings. A few of them definitely reminded me of Rammellzee. Col’s screenprints on wood were also interesting as a change of pace for someone who I’ve always known as a master with spray can.
  • Have I missed something? These new Titifreak works for his upcoming show at Black Book Gallery look very different from the Titifreak I remember. Still great though. I hope I get a chance to see this show while I’m in Denver next month.
  • Surreal awesomeness from Dome.

Photo by Jaz

Baroque the Streets – A street art festival in South London

Nunca. Photo by RJ Rushmore.

While I was in London recently, I had the opportunity to tour the murals in Dulwich thanks to Remi/Rough. Dulwich is a part of South London, almost suburbia really, where you definitely wouldn’t expect to see world class murals, but a fair few have popped up recently. Most of the murals in Dulwich are thanks to the recent Baroque The Streets festival, where artists were invited to paint murals based on paintings in the Dulwich Picture Gallery. We already posted about Reka’s piece for the festival, so here are a few more pieces I found in this quite part of London. By far my favorite has to be the piece by Nunca, but there are a lot of strong pieces. Thanks again to Remi/Rough for showing me around town.

Conor Harrington
Conor Harrington. Photo by RJ Rushmore.
Phlegm. Photo by RJ Rushmore.
Phlegm. Photo by RJ Rushmore.

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Weekend link-o-rama

PAL Crew wall in NYC
PAL Crew wall in NYC

I’m in London this week, and next, so come and find me wandering around Shoreditch. Just a few links today.

Photo by Luna Park

Weekend link-o-rama


Today I’m finishing my exams and packing up my dorm. Sunday, it’s off to London. Can’t wait. Here’s what I’ve been distracting myself with this week:

Photo courtesy of Trustocorp

Carlos Mare, Remi Rough and more in Marrakech


David Bloch Gallery in Marrakech, Morocco has a show opening up this month with a group of really interesting artists. Unfolding includes work from Carlos Mare, Derm, Jaybo Monk, LX One, Remi/Rough and Steve More. These artists form part of the Agents of Change collective, and they all come from a graffiti background. Rather than resting on those laurels, the Agents of Change are now bringing the same intensity and drive for constant improvement to their fine art and murals that they brought to graffiti.

Unfolding openings May 10th and runs through June 8th.

Photo courtesy of Remi/Rough

Weekend link-o-rama


Back to school on Tuesday. Actually, I’m okay with that. And of course, it means more time blogging because it means more time procrastinating. Here’s some of what we missed this week while Caroline and I were on vacation:

Photo by Ankles

Moniker Art Fair 2012 is this week

Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada

This year’s edition of the Moniker Art Fair opens in Shoreditch this Thursday. This year, Moniker will be more focused than ever before on installations rather than traditional art fair gallery booths. Actually, the show will be entirely installations. Niels ‘Shoe’ Meulman, Ludo, Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada, C215, Remi/Rough, Ben Slow and others will be there.

Moniker opens on Thursday from 7-9pm, and will be open Friday and Saturday 11-7pm and Sunday 11-5pm.

More info on the Facebook event page.

Photo courtesy of Moniker Projects