THE GRAY SIDE BLOG

‘13 Liners’ is an exhibition highlighting the work of 13 of the finest local tattoo artists. This year is the 4th Edition of the group show, previous editions have featured silkscreened works on paper, screen printed works on wood, and original works of the artists, respectively. In this edition the 3D realm has been explored for the first time. Each artist was given an identical set of 3D printed “praying hands” based on the classic religious tattoo image. The hands were painted a flat grey and came with the simple brief to create an artwork using the hands in whichever way they chose. The artists were also asked to submit an A2 artwork to accompany the hands. No overall theme was set so as to allow for complete creative freedom and the result clearly demonstrates the individuality of all the artists. Thirteen tattoo artists all with the same starting point…

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The world of an artist is one where the benefits gained match that of the time put in. Tyler B Murphy spends much of his time trying to figure out two things. Firstly it is how to gain the skills necessary to make the best art that he can. Secondly he investigates all ideas, concepts, opinions and theories, on who is trying to gain control of this physical realm we inhabit and to what end. The first is very much a “feet on the ground” pursuit while the second is a “head in the clouds” state of mind. He is never totally in either one of these states, rather each one endlessly informs the other. With the gaining of skills comes the desire for more knowledge, and likewise an increase in knowledge creates the need for more abilities. The quest is unrelenting and perpetual. Tyler shoots photographs on film along…

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MEIN163 is undoubtedly one of the most prolific graffiti artists to call Joburg City home. MEIN, aka Chowmein, is most well-known for his iconic noodle boxes that pop up across the city on street corners, highway spots and other seemingly neglected spaces, however these are simply the garnish on top. Highly proficient in all aspects of graffiti, from tags to elaborate murals, MEIN is an innovator of letter style. His work is undeniably distinctive and a clear reflection of the influences he draws from skateboarding culture, the city and the people that inhabit it. Observing his paintings the viewer is led to reimagine letter forms through the shapes and forms commonly found in the urban environment the works exist in. Hard crisp edges, architectural structures, skateable objects, and hues of grey are recurring elements found across both his street and studio work. Similarly whether for the public space or gallery…

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Rekso is a name familiar to any South African graffiti enthusiast. Based in Johannesburg and painting actively for the last 15 years he has earned the respect of his peers with his unique bold style of colourful characters and meticulous execution. Whether on his own or with fellow Quest Crew members, his paintings jump off the walls they inhabit and capture the attention of any passerby. Starting at a young age drawing cartoons and copying comics he refined his drawing abilities into his teens at which point he discovered graffiti. This new medium allowed him to explore his creativity and put him on the path to becoming an artist. He studied graphic design and worked as a creative and illustrator in the advertising industry before persuing his passion for tattooing. In 2015 he joined the prestigious 1933 Classic Tattoos in Braamfontein where he is a resident artist. Rekso introduces art…

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Pasop, meaning ‘beware’ or ‘watch out”, is an Afrikaans word in origin however it crosses the language barrier for most people living in South Africa, regardless of their ability in Afrikaans, it’s meaning is very clear. The reason for this familiarity is that the most common place one would see the word ‘pasop’ is on “Beware of the Dog” security signs, “Pasop vir die hond” in Afrikaans. These signs, in various shapes and sizes, adorn the gates of residential and commercial properties and are meant to signal to any criminals that there are one or more dangerous dogs on that property who do not take lightly to unwelcome guests on their turf. The layout and graphics may vary but the contents of the signs are always the same, the text “Beware” or “Beware of the dog” in one or more languages accompanied by some sort of graphic of an aggressive…

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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…

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