Rene Gagnon

United States 1971

Street Art, Graffiti, Painting

Rene Gagnon
Rene Gagnon
United States
September 9, 2013
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

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 - Learning to Read (left), 2007, Dez (right), 2011
Rene Gagnon – Learning to Read, 2007 (Left) / Dez, 2011 (Right)

Spraypaint, Stencils and Wheatpaste

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 artist worked with spray paint, stencils and wheatpaste

Rene Gagnon - Cash Rules Everything Around Me (left), 2008, 50th Aniversary Graffiti Soup (right), 2012
Rene Gagnon – Cash Rules Everything Around Me, 2008 (Left) / 50th Aniversary Graffiti Soup, 2012 (Right)

Transcending the Label

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.

Everything that Gagnon makes is a product of personal beliefs and formed opinions

Rene Gagnon - Americas got Narcissism
Rene Gagnon – Americas Got Narcissism

The Evolution of the Artist

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.

Rene Gagnon lives and works between Los Angeles and New York.

Featured image Rene Gagnon – Street Art 158
All images copyright of Rene Gagnon

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2014The Force is ShakenCastor Gallery, Manhattan, New York, USASolo
2014HI! My Name Is...MECKA Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, USASolo
2012Between Here & All KnowingThe Black Book Gallery, Denver, Colorado, USASolo
2012TOKYO LOVE SHOWSpace O at Omotesando Hills, Tokyo, Japan Group
2011RetrorespectGallery 3, Reno, Nevada, USASolo
2011Post-Graffiti Abstract ExpressionismGallery 3, Reno, Nevada, USASolo
2011Urban Expressionism, Truman State University Art GalleryKirksville, Missouri, USASolo
2011Urban FlowersThe Black Book Gallery, Denver, Colorado, USASolo
2011Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York StoriesC.A.V.E. Gallery, Venice, CA, USAGroup
2011Sea No EvilSea No Evil, Riverside, CA, USAGroup
2010From the Street to the Cube941Geary, San Francisco, CA, USAGroup
2010Love Conquers All: Art For EqualityTHINKSPACE Gallery, Culver City, California, USAGroup
2009HOODNarrows Center for the Arts - Renaissance Gallery, Fall River, Massachusetts, USASolo
2009BIG ISSUE Charity ShowBlack Rat Press, 83 Rivington Street, London, UKGroup
2009CUT COPY A Stencil ShowT&P Fine Art, 1143 South 9th Street, Philadelphia, PA, USA Group
2008Glass & Paint (2 Person Show)DeBlois Gallery, Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI, USA Group
2008Street Art: In & OutDeBlois Gallery, Bellevue Avenue, Newport, RI, USA Group
2008London, New York, BristolPOLLOCK Fine Art, 58a King Henrys Road, London, UKGroup
2008Electric Walls & WindowsOpen Space Beacon, 510 Main Street, Beacon, NY, USAGroup
2008INSIDE OUTSIDECarmichael Gallery of Contemporary Art, 1257 N. La Brea Avenue, West Hollywood, CA, USAGroup
2008CLASH of Styles - Kenji Nakayama and Rene Gagnon38 Cameron Gallery, Cambridge, MA, USADuo
2007Xpressioniti - The Next Level of Urban ScrawlCherry and Webb Gallery, 203 South Main Street, Fall River, MA Solo
2007NUART - A Celebration of Urban Contemporary ArtRogaland Kunstmuseum, Stavanger, NorwayGroup
2007FOUNDThe Leonard Street Gallery, 73 A Leonard Street, London, UK Group
2007Newspaper 2.0GOOD Magazine, 10 W. 56th Street, New York, NY Group
2007Art As ProcessLynn Art's Inc., 25 Exchange Street, Lynn, MA Group
2006New Paintings by Rene GagnonAS220, 115 Empire Street , Providence, RISolo
2006Full Circle - Abstract Graffiti ExpressionismSPACE 200 - Alternate Currents , 200 State Street , Boston, MASolo
2006Wooster on Spring Street11 Spring Street, New York City, NY Group
2006Said and Done CollaborationAntisocial Gallery, 2425 Main Street, Vancouver, BCGroup
2006Large Works - Small WorksGallery 181, 181 Canal Street, Lawrence, MAGroup
2006Spring Group ShowThe Gallery at 38 Cameron, Cambridge, MAGroup
2003Reflection, Reaction, ReconstructionNarrows Center for the Arts - Renaissance Gallery, Fall River, Massachusetts, USASolo
2002Bristol Community College Faculty ShowGrimshaw Gudewicz Art Gallery, Fall River, Massachusetts, USAGroup