Written by Michael Ashman
A leisurely walk on the side of a building is only possible in our dreams and also in Keemowerks’s latest stencil artwork, “Sunday Stroll.” Four guys defy gravity as they walk along a building. We view from the safety of the street looking up at them in disbelief. They may look right at home on the outside of a building, however, it was not an easy process to put these guys there. Each layer of spray paint is a different stencil shape made by Keemowerks. Some of his paintings can have as many as 10 or more stencil layers. Although the process is long, sometimes taking 40 to 60 hours of stencil cutting and painting, Keemowerks has honed his skills over time and enjoys making this unique style of art.
Keemowerks’s primary medium is spray paint applied using layers of his own handmade stencils. The many stencil layers are transferred onto the surface with black and grey colors. The dark-colored tones bring out the details of the photographs he uses as templates for his works. Many times his stencil artworks become handmade, large-scale photomontages. This one combines a city building photo with another photo of a group of friends walking. The photos are edited together in the painting to make them look like they are strolling along the face of the building as if it was a sidewalk.
The artist pays close attention to the details and shadows of the building, which lends depth as lighter colors transition to darker ones. Bright exposure in the background gives the building some clear definition, while the dark electrical wires come into focus across the shadows on the wall. Keemowerks is familiar with details of buildings and architecture because he has received a BA degree in it from Woodbury University in Burbank, CA in 2005. Two other works currently on display at Thumbprint Gallery also use architecture elements but in a more conceptual way. A bottle of Mucho Aloha beer becomes the front of a bar in “Last Call.” The entrance of a two-story apartment fits into the shape of a spray can in “Cheap Rent.” Just like the other places, the building in “Sunday Stroll” is not just a building, but a sidewalk for the group of guys hanging out on it. It is an interesting perspective that is surreal but is grounded in the reality of the photos.
“Sunday Stroll” is on display at Thumbprint Gallery with various other new works by Keemowerks. The show “Werkaholic: A Solo Exhibition by Keemowerks” is open until July 7. The gallery is open Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1pm to 4pm. A second reception will be held on Saturday, June 22 from 6pm to 9pm, click HERE to RSVP.