Behind the Scenes with John“CRASH”Matos

Joanne Artman Gallery
Nov 8, 2018 6:32PM

It was a busy week as we prepared for Concrete Jungle, featuring new works by Bronx, New York artist John “CRASH” Matos! A pioneer of New York City’s graffiti movement in the 70’s, CRASH is cited as one of the first graffiti artists to spray paint on canvas. Renowned for pushing the boundaries of graffiti as a medium, we had the distinct pleasure of watching CRASH work in person as he spray painted one of JoAnne Artman Gallery’s walls.

Beginning the process by preparing his work area, CRASH covers the gallery with plastic wrapping to protect the floors, opens the front door for ventilation, and unpacks a rolling suitcase filled with spray cans.

Next, CRASH begins to plot out the size and height of the new art installation by spray painting over a grated pizza plate. A consistent motif throughout his paintings, small colored dots provide a shading effect reminiscent of early comic book illustrators and the work of Roy Lichtenstein.

After preliminarily marking the scale of his painting, CRASH begins carving out his artistic signature, a woman’s eye. Known for dynamic compositions filled with abstracted shapes and familiar objects, some of CRASH’s favorite imagery includes bubbles, action streaks, and of course, the emphasized eye. Only blocking out the shape of the lid and iris, he refrains from shading and outlining until later in his process.

Carefully and strategically layering each element, he manages to never lose a sense of spontaneity. Considering opacity of color and which components are in the foreground or receding to the back, CRASH defines forms and space before going back to add definition and color.

Continually expanding his explosive marks and lines to extend past the corners of the wall, CRASH’s bold color, crisp lines, and tightly collaged visual elements bridge the gap between instant recognition and abstraction.

Concluding by signing the finished painting, an authentic addition joins JoAnne Artman Gallery’s collection of recent works by John “CRASH” Matos.

Concrete Jungle Featuring John “Crash” Matos

Artist reception tonight, Thursday, November 8th, from 6:00-8:00 PM

JoAnne Artman Gallery, New York

511A West 22nd Street

New York, NY 10001

Joanne Artman Gallery