More ways to bring the energy of graffiti indoors

Lek, Sowat, Liard, Larbi Cherkaoui and Nour Eddine Tilsaghani. Photo by Louis-Brisset.
Lek, Sowat, Liard, Larbi Cherkaoui and Nour Eddine Tilsaghani. Photo by Louis Brisset.

A note from the editor: I expected some people to object to my recent post about The Wa, but I’m glad that Sowat used it a chance for discussion. He emailed me after reading my post to let me know about a recent show of his where he, Lek and Arnaud Liard tried to bring of bit of graffiti’s spirit to a gallery setting. I thought his argument and the whole idea of the show was interesting, so I asked him to contribute this guest post about the project. – RJ

A few days ago, one of RJ’s post titles made me cringe. Documenting The Wa’s work, he wrote, “The Wa brings the street inside, but not in that cheesy ‘I’m a street artist painting on canvas, therefore I’m bringing the street inside’ way”

I was just back from a three-week residency in Marrakech with Lek and Arnaud Liard, organized by David Bloch Gallery. Except for Soccer slogans, Graffiti and Street Art, let alone muralism, seems to be relatively new in Morroco, which in itself was exciting. In addition to painting murals in the Medina and New Town with Local artists Larbi Cherquaoui and Nour Eddine Tilsaghani, we had put together a show with Lek and Arnaud Liard, called ‘Contraband’. Despite our own harsh views on the subject as teenage graffiti writers, most of this show was constituted of canvases… Had we done something cheesy?

Photo courtesy of Sowat
Sowat on the left and right. Liard in the center. Photo courtesy of Sowat

Just like a lot a artists around us, from day one, our main motivation in accepting David Bloch’s proposition, was to find creative ways to keep in touch with 20+ years of writing freely around abandoned buildings when transitioning to the coded atmosphere of a white cube. How could we apply what Graffiti had thought us in this brand new territory?

Continue reading “More ways to bring the energy of graffiti indoors”

Bom.K talks about his latest solo show “Confusions” at Known Gallery


With more than 15 years of putting up work in the streets of Paris, Bom.K had his first ever solo show about a year ago in Paris at Galerie Itinerrance. Recently, many have been excited over the opening of his second solo show Confusions at Known Gallery in Los Angeles. Fellow Da Mental Vaporz crew member Sowat described Bom.K in the run up to this show: “Haunted by the visions he sees while lurking the city, by the faces of those he bumps into at every street corner, on each train he rides, Bom.k has spent years completing an imaginary bestiary, full of the hellish creatures that surround him. Like Jerome Bosh, Chris Cunningham or Hans Ballmer, the human body and the deformation of the flesh are one of the major themes of his work.” I asked Bom.K a bit about Confusions and his work in general. Confusions opened on January 11th and closes today, January 25th.


Caroline Caldwell: Much of the work in this show involves human disfiguration and almost nightmarish reconstructions of flesh. What inspired these pieces?

Bom.K: Most works made for the Known Gallery where produced in an instinctive manner and with the always present concept of shocking the viewer.

I am always amused by manipulating the human body. I love creating figures that can’t really exist nor be imagined. My works are nothing but the smallest fractions of images that goes through my mind everyday in full speed.


Caldwell: What about Confusions are you most excited about? 

Bom.K: ‘Confusions’ was the perfect word to describe what was going through my creative process before starting to work on this show. I found myself forced to take a step back to see a wider picture of I wanted and what I had to do for this show to be really satisfied. First days of a new production are always doubtful or stressful but eventually confidence leads the way.


Caldwell: Can you talk a little bit about your sculptures? How did you get started creating your work in 3D?

Bom.K: This is all a little bit new for me. I started working on an ‘Aerotik’ model for my show at Galerie Itinerrance (April 2013, Paris) which led to a second model we should be releasing quite soon. It’s a new direction that I’m very excited to explore and evolve.


Caldwell: This is only your second solo show, though you’ve exhibited on the streets of Paris for years. How has working on your latest solo show felt in comparison to the previous one?

Bom.K: I consider myself very lucky to have had my shows with galleries that gave me total freedom of creation. I’m quite aware that gallerists takes risks with me as my works doesn’t exactly address the general public and this is something I appreciate and respect them for.

Just as the show in Paris, the one in LA confirmed for me that are many more art enthusiasts and collectors than I ever thought out there, that know my work very well. Talking and sharing ideas with these kind of passionate persons encourages me a lot.


Photos by Gro Sly

Weekend link-o-rama

"Modern Tulipa" by Ludo
“Modern Tulipa” by Ludo

Bit of a shorter link-o-rama this week. I’ve been with my parents in Colorado, trying to get some work done on my upcoming book. The hope is that Viral Art will be released for free online in mid-June. There’s still a fair bit of work left to do though. Anyway, the links…

Photo by Ludo

Weekend link-o-rama


Happy reminder that we’re less than a month from Christmas…

Photo by Hyuro

Mausolee: Sowat and Lek’s abandoned supermarket

Mausolee is the latest street art/urban exploring combo project to emerge. Like The Underbelly Project or The Ghostvillage Project, Mausolee is the takeover of an abandoned space by graffiti art. Mausolee was put together in an abandoned supermarket outside of Paris by Sowat (of the DMV crew) and Lek, who found the last in the summer of 2011 and have since taken 40 artists to paint there.

This week, Sowat and Lek will be unveiling (through documentation) the space this week in Paris from April 12th-14th.

More photos and more info at Arrested Motion.

Photo by S.Butterfly

So many shows about to open

Bom.k and Sowat of Da Mental Vaporz

There are so many interesting shows opening in the next week or two that I thought I’d just throw them all together into one post. Here’s what I think looks worth checking out:

  • Yesterday, the Museum of Sex in New York opened a show that sounds absolutely awesome called F*ck Art. It’s on through June 10th and features artwork by Aiko, El Celso, Lush, Mode2, Cassius Fouler, Miss Van and many more.
  • Love & Hate is a group show opening at StolenSpace this week and runs through March 4th. D*face, Dan Witz, Ronzo, Word to Mother, Jeff Soto, Eine, Charles Krafft and others are included.
  • Chris Stain, Veng and Taka Sudo will be showing together at C.A.V.E. Gallery, beginning February 11th. Brooklyn Street Art has a preview of Chris’ work.
  • Zes and Retna are together at Known Gallery in LA. LA TACO has the info.
  • Nick Mann aka Doodles, Brett Flanigan, Craig Rodgers and Dan Bortz are collaborating with one another in Oakland, CA.
  • Another collaborative group show will be in Da Mental Vaporz‘ (Bom.k, Blo, Brusk, Dran, Gris1, ISO, Jaw, Kan, and Sowat) show at Melbourne. That show, Le Venin, will be at RTIST Gallery from February 16th through March 4th.
  • All Talk at Pandemic Gallery will include Aakash Nihalani, Cassius Fouler, Gabriel Specter, Jesus Saves, NohJColey and others and runs from February 17th through March 11th.

Photo courtesy of Da Mental Vaporz