Pop Iconography Meets Abstract Graffiti in “Unconventional Forces”

Located in east Santa Monica just south of the I-10, Buckshot Gallery has established itself as a gallery that attracts an array of acclaimed international street artists, including such graffiti luminaries as SEEN and BATES. This is in large part due to the influence of the gallery’s owner, Kelly Graval, himself a longtime bona fide visual artist known as RISK

Also: Studio Visit: Catching Up With Graffiti Legend RISK

Though the two don’t have obviously complimentary aesthetics, they both share a propensity for creating a visual language that pops in color and attitude, and both share an active interest in all the various manifestations of underground and popular culture. The result of their collaboration is a collection of mostly poster-like works that combines TAZ’s love for graphic iconography with RISK’s penchant for creating amazing, multi-layered color fields using a technique he’s dubbed “beautiful destruction.”

While other works level not-so-subtle criticisms of war and drugs (and perhaps the war on drugs), there is a foundational sense of play and experimentation throughout. There is no doubt that the mastery and mojo of both artists is present here. At their best, the works in Unconventional Forces simultaneously encourage and disrupt our collective nostalgia, taking well-known visual cues from our pop culture past and interpreting them through a unique street-art inspired lens. 

TAZ x Risk’s Unconventional Forces runs until June 4, 2016 at Buckshot Gallery (3129 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, CA 90405).