Mear One/ Kalen Ockerman

United States 1971

Street Art, Sculpture, Painting, Murals, Design

mearone.com

Mear One
Kalen Ockerman
Male
United States
1971
March 29, 2015

In a world burdened with problems, it seems easier to envision another plane of existence and escape there. Rather than spending your life in such a fantasy place, Mear One, an American graffiti writer, sculptor, and designer, suggests facing the cruel reality. Known for his often politically motivated artworks, he also addresses some deeper themes, such as humanity’s origins and existentialism. He’s a thinker and a storyteller who uses paint to express his thoughts about everything that’s around him. On the streets, Mear One aka Kalen Ockerman, is commonly associated with CBS (Can’t Be Stopped – City Bomb Squad) and WCA (West Coast Artist) crews.[1] As a graphic designer, he has a significant working experience, having designed apparel for Kaotic and Conart, his own Reform brand, and the album covers for Limp Bizkit, Alien Nation, Daddy Kev, Non Phyxion…

Mear One new graffiti live painted facebook live
Mear One – Exploring Earlier Futures, 2015 (Left) – The Awakening, 2015 (Right)

Stay Connected to Reality

It is easier to recognize a deeper purpose for creating when the topics are real. The artist’s spiritual and political beliefs consist of the idea that the subject matter should reflect one’s intellect. These thoughts are behind many of his works where he depicts his own philosophical approach to speaking about reality and humanity.[2] False Profits, his arguably most controversial work so far, brands bankers and other financial institutions as charlatans directly responsible for the economic breakdown. The piece is his own interpretation of the excesses, greed, and manipulation by the ruling class, and it makes him proud to use his art as the basis for confronting global human issues. As stated above, it’s much easier for Mear One to just encapsulate and package something like a post hip hop culture and re-sell it back to customers. Instead, he sees a very real opportunity to incite change and that is more inspiring than designs that are popular for the sake of fame and fortune. Acrylic on canvas and silkscreens are based on the mural he’d painted back in 2012 in East London, originally titled Freedom For Humanity. Done entirely in spray paint, the mural depicted a group of old, fat white man playing a game of Monopoly while sitting on the backs of the working class. Immediately, it drew a lot of attention since it was branded anti-Semitic, and after four weeks of debating, the local authority decided to remove the piece of the wall, thus silencing the powerful message it carried. This action only strengthened his resolve to send this message back into the world, and now, a couple of years later, he’s done it once again.

False Profits is his most controversial piece so far

Mear One 2016 live paintings new people youtube store link live facebook painted
Mear One – Garbage Island, 2010 (Left) – False Profits, 2016 (Right)

Beginnings and Inspirations

With an early introduction to the world of art, Mear One has been creating since he was just three years old. His mother was a fine artist who painted her dreams, the mandala. A true hippie from the ‘60s. She didn’t have any formal art education, so she didn’t impose that kind of restrictions on her son.[3] In sixth grade, he first saw graffiti while driving around with his mother, and around 1986, he decided to start writing his name on the walls. Unrestricted by education or any other creative chains, he slowly began to experience and explore his own artistic depth throughout the Los Angeles. This adventure turned into his life and he became a serious street artist. At first, he was inspired mostly by painter, especially those who take on behemoth projects like Alex Grey and Robert Williams. The list of his favorite artists also includes Salvador Dali, Leonardo da Vinci, Alphonse Mucha, M.C. Escher, Maxfield Parrish, Hieronymus Bosch, and Norman Rockwell. Nature itself is a powerful source of inspiration.[4] However, he no longer looks up the work of other creative individuals for inspiration, as it effects and influences his own work in a way that he doesn’t need. Instead, he turned to activists, shamans, philosophers, and books, since they seem to speak to him more directly, offering a deeper perspective but at the same time, allowing him to search for inspiration within himself as well as outwards to the reality that surrounds.

He is represented by C.A.V.E. Gallery.

Mear One lives and works in Los Angeles.

Sources:

  1. Anonymous. Mear One, Wikipedia [August 30,2016]
  2. Anonymous. Mear One Exposes The False Profits, 1xRun [August 30,2016]
  3. Courtland R. MEAR ONE, The Other Art Talk [August 30,2016]
  4. Anonymous. Meet Guest Judge MEAR ONE, Oxygen [August 30,2016]
  5. mearone.com

Featured image: Mear One – portrait (detail) – photo credits Tatiana Wills
All other images courtesy of the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2011Art in the StreetsMuseum of Contemporary Art, Los AngelesGroup
2011Street CredPasadena Museum of California Art, USGroup
2010Scope Art FairBasel, SwitzerlandGroup
2010Volta 6 Art FairBasel, SwitzerlandGroup
2010Los Angeles Art ShowLos Angeles, USGroup
2010Vox Humana: El Mac, Kofie, Mear One, and RetnaRivera & Rivera Gallery, Los Angeles, CAGroup
2010Street LegalRivera & Rivera Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USASolo
2009Mear OneCosmic Creations Tattoo and Gallery, Lake Tahoe, California, USASolo
2009Beyond EdenBarnsdall Art Park, Los Angeles, California, USAGroup
2009Culver City InvasionThinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USAGroup
2009Under the Influence: The Official Art Tribute to the Beastie BoysGallery 1988, Los Angeles, California, USAGroup
2008Steinweiss: A Selection of Tribute Pieces to Alex SteinwiessRobert Berman Gallery, Santa Monica, California, USAGroup
2008BLOC28 By Disney Artist SeriesLos Angeles, California, USAGroup
2008Pacific NorthfreshUpper Playground, Seattle, Washington, USAGroup
2008LA Vs. WarThe Firehouse, Los Angeles, California, USAGroup
2008Mear One Strikes Back1 AM Gallery, San Francisco, California, USASolo
2008Mearasma01 Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USASolo
2007LanguedocaliforniaGalerie Dominique Bagouet, Montpellier, FranceGroup
2007Battle of the Year 2007Le Zenith Sud, Montpellier, FranceGroup
2007Rendition: An Exhibition of Los Angeles Visual CultureScion Space, Los Angeles, California, USAGroup
2007Manifest Energy and RadiateUpper Playground, Portland, Oregon, USASolo
2007Mear One: Mental PaintdownVenice Contemporary, Los Angeles, California, USASolo
2006CarnivalSubmerged Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USASolo
2006Bergamot Invasion IICopro Nason Gallery, Santa Monica, California, USAGroup
2006Picks of the Harvest: Batch ThreeThinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USAGroup
2006Picks of the Harvest: Batch TwoThinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USAGroup
2006I am 8-BitGallery 1988, Los Angeles, California, USAGroup
2005Speaking in Tongues111 Minna Gallery, San Francisco, California, USASolo
2004Mear OneRobert Roman Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona, USASolo
2004Complacency KillsBlackmarket LA, Los Angeles, California, USASolo
2004Mear OneDistrict 3 Gallery, San Diego, California, USASolo
2004Mear OneNew American Casuals, Portland, Oregon, USASolo
2003GraffitemotionsDavid Lawrence Gallery, Beverly Hills, California, USASolo
2002Destroying Normality33 1/3 Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USASolo
1997Mear One01 Gallery, Los Angeles, California, USASolo