Welcome to The Gray Side project, a new approach to the interaction between the artist and the gallery space.
Initiated and hosted by Grayscale Store & Gallery in collaboration with Curbside Print House, two organisations with strong roots in the local Graffiti culture, the Project focusses on a small collective of South African graffiti artists with strong identities and unique styles.
These artists, ranging in age and experience, have each in their own way made a significant impact on the developing Graffiti movement in South Africa. As part of their evolution as artists they are building on their graffiti foundations and taking what they have learnt working in the streets to explore a less familiar environment, that of the world of exhibitions, galleries and working in the studio.
The traditional art gallery is, by contrast, a much more sterile and muted space than the city streets, the struggle for a graffiti artist is how to effectively convey the energy and dynamism of graffiti on walls in the streets on to the white interior walls of a gallery.
The main objective of the Gray Side Project is to facilitate these artists in freely exploring this relationship between the streets, the gallery and themselves by providing them with a blank space and carte blanche on experimenting and engaging with that space.
The artists participating in the project are each given a two month period for their individual show, one month to install the work and one month for it to be viewed in person by the public, after which the work will continue to be viewable online. The Gray Side artists are encouraged to approach the show less as a textbook exhibition in a gallery and more as an installation that represents the artist they are.
The general public usually only see the final collection of work as it is exhibited, at The Gray Side Project the emphasis is as much on the physical and mental process of the artist as it is on the completed works. Often seeing how an artist works reveals more about them than their actual artwork does, there is a mystery about the goings on in an artist’s head and this project aims to give the viewer a bit of insight to this intriguing question.
The Gray Side invites you, alongside the artists, on this exploration of creative freedom.
GRAYSCALE Store & Gallery is an institution in the Johannesburg graffiti culture.
Established in 2007 by PCP Crew members Rasty, Curio and Angel, the store was opened to provide essential materials to the developing graffiti scene. Grayscale are official distributors for Southern Africa of Montana Cans, a superior quality spraypaint and art supplies brand manufactured in Germany.
Situated in Braamfontein on the edge of the Johannesburg CBD, Grayscale’s central location makes it easily accessible for graffiti artists and creatives of all kinds from across the sprawling city. The products are also available online and shipped across South Africa.
In addition to the Montana Cans range of spraypaint, markers, inks and acrylic paints, Grayscale stocks a wide range of art and hardware supplies needed for anything from painting canvasses to large-scale murals.
The store grew into a larger premises next door in 2010 and Grayscale Gallery was born. The gallery was set up firstly as a platform for young graffiti and ‘outsider’ artists to present their work in a gallery environment, and secondly to reach an audience of graffiti enthusiasts, curious art collectors and young first time buyers.
Over the years Grayscale Gallery has presented a wide spectrum of solo and group exhibitions with local and international artists. The works shown have included paintings, illustrations, sculptures, prints, photographs, and installations.
In 2011 Grayscale founded and hosted South Africa’s first international graffiti art festival, City Of Gold Urban Art Festival. The week long festival presents large-scale murals painted by local and international artists, exhibitions, walking tours, and film screenings. Six editions of the festival have been done.
Grayscale has evolved and matured alongside the artists and continues to do so with The Gray Side Project being the next step in this progression.
CURBSIDE Print House in an online print studio and gallery based in Johannesburg.
Started by two brothers, both with creative backgrounds and the same shared goal, to provide a platform for anyone to create high quality archival and exhibition ready fine art prints easily and affordably.
Curbside’s aim is to collaborate with young emerging artists by assisting and guiding them through the print process, informing them on different papers, inks and print options. They advise artists that are new to the medium on how to transfer works from original hand rendered artworks or digitally created works into an edition of prints that makes their art more accessible to a wider audience of buyers and collectors.
Through their online gallery Curbside presents the works of many of the exciting artists they work closely with, all the artworks are certified and editioned by Curbside and the artist.
Whether its a once off print or a whole series this platform has opened the door for everyone to create and own incredible pieces of art that can last a lifetime and more.
Curbside Print House guarantees only the highest quality inks and papers are used on their prints and that every step of the process is tailor made to best suit each order.
From print to packing the utmost care is taken to ensure the print is treated like the piece of art it is!
Curbside continually strive to in some way encourage artists and everyone alike to be inspired and create more freely.