Rene Gagnon found his true calling when he was an adolescent boy. He started drawing when he was two years old, and since then, never stopped expressing himself in color and street culture. When he discovered hip hop and rap subculture he started drawing graffiti on notebooks and school book covers. He was influenced by movies and music and has been active on the scene since the 80s. Gagnon defines his style as contemporary, post-graffiti abstract expressionism mixed with graffiti art. He paints graffiti using stencils, but he also draws, illustrates and works with wheat pasting in the Massasuchats area and all the way to New York.
Rene Gagnon was born in 1971 and knew at an early age that he wanted to explore and define his artistic identity through street art. When he was young he met another graffiti artist named Ster and he started learning new techniques and worked on different styles. Gagnon’s alias was called SNO and under that name he started exploring the rebellious nature of urban street art. In more mature years he started reflecting on the bare nature of street art and realised that in order to really express his soul he needs to incorporate different techniques. To overcome his teenage fame he started mixing expressionism with urban art and developed more subtle and elaborate fusion of styles. He worked with spray paint, stencils and wheatpaste on the streets, and in his studio he mixes all of it with more elegant techniques such as painting.
The street philosophy of graffiti art still suffers from the stereotypes such as vandalism and rebellion without a cause. Also, many street artists have sunken deep into the subculture, so there is a constant struggle to fight for dominance. Gagnon is matured and evolved as an artist and being backed up with his amazing talent he had managed to overcome the limitative label. His transcendence moved him from the streets into the college and he graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, with BA in Fine Arts. After years of working as a freelance illustrator and designer, he took a job as a high school teacher of Visual Arts. In his artistic exploration, he managed to master the various techniques of screen printing, painting and color mixing all by himself.
Gagnon’s art is personal, intimate and yet universal in its metaphorical power of transferring ideas. Everything he makes is a product of personal beliefs and formed opinions on various political, socioeconomic and cultural issues. Finding his place between classical graffiti art and advanced painting, he uses every one of his pieces as a token of self-exploration and a utility to discharge his emotions. He uses pop culture references such as classic Hollywood stars and motives from the Star Wars franchise and even takes his turn on an urban version of Picasso. Sticking to the mantra that in order to be successful one must do what he loves, Gagnon found his inner voice in painting, abstract art, and in making his personal statements visible in his unique fusion of post-graffiti urban expressionism.
The artist is represented by Street Art Anarchy.
Featured image Rene Gagnon – Street Art 158
All images copyright of Rene Gagnon
|2014||The Force is Shaken||Castor Gallery, Manhattan, New York, USA||Solo|
|2014||HI! My Name Is...||MECKA Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, USA||Solo|
|2012||Between Here & All Knowing||The Black Book Gallery, Denver, Colorado, USA||Solo|
|2012||TOKYO LOVE SHOW||Space O at Omotesando Hills, Tokyo, Japan||Group|
|2011||Retrorespect||Gallery 3, Reno, Nevada, USA||Solo|
|2011||Post-Graffiti Abstract Expressionism||Gallery 3, Reno, Nevada, USA||Solo|
|2011||Urban Expressionism, Truman State University Art Gallery||Kirksville, Missouri, USA||Solo|
|2011||Urban Flowers||The Black Book Gallery, Denver, Colorado, USA||Solo|
|2011||Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York Stories||C.A.V.E. Gallery, Venice, CA, USA||Group|
|2011||Sea No Evil||Sea No Evil, Riverside, CA, USA||Group|
|2010||From the Street to the Cube||941Geary, San Francisco, CA, USA||Group|
|2010||Love Conquers All: Art For Equality||THINKSPACE Gallery, Culver City, California, USA||Group|
|2009||HOOD||Narrows Center for the Arts - Renaissance Gallery, Fall River, Massachusetts, USA||Solo|
|2009||BIG ISSUE Charity Show||Black Rat Press, 83 Rivington Street, London, UK||Group|
|2009||CUT COPY A Stencil Show||T&P Fine Art, 1143 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA||Group|
|2008||Glass & Paint (2 Person Show)||DeBlois Gallery, Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI, USA||Group|
|2008||Street Art: In & Out||DeBlois Gallery, Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI, USA||Group|
|2008||London, New York, Bristol||POLLOCK Fine Art, 58a King Henrys Road, London, UK||Group|
|2008||Electric Walls & Windows||Open Space Beacon, 510 Main Street, Beacon, NY, USA||Group|
|2008||INSIDE OUTSIDE||Carmichael Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1257 N. La Brea Avenue, West Hollywood, CA, USA||Group|
|2008||CLASH of Styles - Kenji Nakayama and Rene Gagnon||38 Cameron Gallery, Cambridge, MA, USA||Duo|
|2007||Xpressioniti - The Next Level of Urban Scrawl||Cherry and Webb Gallery, 203 South Main Street, Fall River, MA||Solo|
|2007||NUART - A Celebration of Urban Contemporary Art||Rogaland Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, Norway||Group|
|2007||FOUND||The Leonard Street Gallery, 73 A Leonard Street, London, UK||Group|
|2007||Newspaper 2.0||GOOD Magazine, 10 W. 56th Street, New York, NY||Group|
|2007||Art As Process||Lynn Art's Inc., 25 Exchange Street, Lynn, MA||Group|
|2006||New Paintings by Rene Gagnon||AS220, 115 Empire Street , Providence, RI||Solo|
|2006||Full Circle - Abstract Graffiti Expressionism||SPACE 200 - Alternate Currents , 200 State Street , Boston, MA||Solo|
|2006||Wooster on Spring Street||11 Spring Street, New York City, NY||Group|
|2006||Said and Done Collaboration||Antisocial Gallery, 2425 Main Street, Vancouver, BC||Group|
|2006||Large Works - Small Works||Gallery 181, 181 Canal Street, Lawrence, MA||Group|
|2006||Spring Group Show||The Gallery at 38 Cameron, Cambridge, MA||Group|
|2003||Reflection, Reaction, Reconstruction||Narrows Center for the Arts - Renaissance Gallery, Fall River, Massachusetts, USA||Solo|
|2002||Bristol Community College Faculty Show||Grimshaw Gudewicz Art Gallery, Fall River, Massachusetts, USA||Group|