Reka One /   James Reka

Australia 1983

Street Art, Painting

Reka One
James Reka
March 7, 2016

Sometimes words are just not enough to say what must be said. Sometimes we must let our deep subconscious mind speak for us. Reka One, aka James Reka has found a way to bring the depths of his creative mind to surface, forming a new, recognizable style of street art. Uniqueness, cleanness and the fact that it isn’t necessarily on the street are making his street art stand out. Mediums to work with are like his inspiration, almost unlimited. Murals, photography, graphics, found and often rusty objects, and even the recent transition into painting, all of them are far surpassing the ability of words to express what’s deep inside.

Reka One - All Seeing Eye, 2014
Reka One – All Seeing Eye, 2014

Style Difficult to Categorize

It is difficult to place his style into just one category, for Reka combines surrealism, abstraction, and street art, expressing himself through bold colors, dynamic movement and strong lines. Working for various clients and the years spent roaming the street allowed the artist to improve his skills and experiment with various mediums. He is influenced by pop culture, illustration and cartoons, and his style could be described as logo design background, heavily influenced by the Pop-Art. In the recent years, he’s been making a slow transition into the studio, admitting that painting is his passion. But, since he is still young, and the streets are strong within him, he simply can’t forget where he came from. The energy and passion are still there, and it’ll be a number of years before he definitely replaces the street with studio work.

His street art that is clean, unique and not necesarilly on the street

Reka One - Atrium, 2015 - Submerged, 2015
Reka One – Atrium, 2015 (Left)/ Submerged, 2015 (Right), photo credits Mathgoth Galerie

Abandoning the Anonimity

Reka earned his BA in Visual Communication & Design from RMIT University in Melbourne in 2006 but considers himself a self-taught artist. It’s been a long journey, starting as a thug, a vandal, with the main goal being to tagg someone else’s property with your name. That rush and the need for anonymity disappeared, and it was a conscious decision. When the galleries get involved, the need for a personal element is born as the artwork needs to be connected to a name, a real name. Only a few artists had avoided this, with Banksy being the most famous one. Reka’s work is widely recognized, and the National Gallery of Australia has acquisitioned some of his pieces, confirming his status as one of the leading contemporary artists in Australia. He’s also exhibited throughout the Australia, Europe, and the United States.

It was a conscious decision to abandon his anonymity

Reka One - 3am Femmes, 2013 - Stag Beetle, 2014
Reka One – 3am Femmes, 2013 (Left) / Stag Beetle, 2014 (Right)

Don’t Forget Your Past

Change is a part of life. James Reka embraced this fact and used it to hone his skills, to discover more about himself, about the art. The vandal he once was is fading away, and the studio artist is slowly being born.

Change IS a part of life, but don’t forget who you are and where you came from. For now, the artist is working in both studio and streets, and he’s been trying to keep them as separate as possible. The need to work is the streets is there, strong as ever. Energy and passion as well. Painting is another passion of his, and he always thought he would end up painting. Even if there’s no money coming from art, Reka would still be doing it, simply because it is fun and he’s enjoying it. Embrace the future, don’t forget the past.

James Reka lives and works in Berlin.

Featured image: Reka One – portrait, photo credits Hi-Fructose Magazine
All images copyright © the artist

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016MirageGalerie Mathgoth, Paris, FRSolo
2016Temps PerduGalerie Mathgoth, Paris, FRSolo
2016Pow Wow Hawaiicurated by Thinkspace gallery, Honolulu, HIGroup
2015OLYMPVSAvantgarde Gallery, Milano, ITSolo
2015Sans SitreGalerie Mathgoth, Paris, FRGroup
2015La FamiliaThinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, USAGroup
2015Paint-TingMichael Reid Gallery, Berlin, DEGroup
2015Reasons for SeasonsStolenspace Gallery, London, UKGroup
2014Trip The LightStolenspace Gallery, London, UKSolo
2014UntoldBackwoods Gallery, Melbourne, AUSSolo
2014Scope MiamiMiami Basel Art Fair / Thinkspace, Miami, USAGroup
2014Group showThinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles, USAGroup
2014Street LifeGalerie Wolfson, Aalborg, DenmarkGroup
2014ReduxInoperable Gallery, Vienna, ATGroup
2014Sinners & SaintsStolenspace Gallery, London, UKGroup
2014Pow Wow HawaiiThinkspace Gallery pop-up, Honolulu, HIGroup
2014Scope NYScope Art Fair / Blackbook Gallery, New York, USAGroup
20133am FemmesWhiteWalls Gallery, San Francisco, USASolo
2013James RekaGalerie Wolfsen, Aalborg, DenmarkSolo
2013Open StudioBackwoods Gallery, Melbourne, AUSSolo
2013EyesBackwoods Gallery, Melbourne, AUSGroup
2013Bricks and PiecesAble & Baker Gallery, Cologne, GermanyGroup
20137, 7th Anniversary group showStolenspace Gallery, London, UKGroup
2013KindredBold Hype Gallery, New York, USAGroup
2013PaperIntoxicated Demons Gallery, Munich, GermanyGroup
2013Knock it outBlackbook Gallery, Denver, USAGroup
2012Primary SuspectsBackwoods Gallery, Melbourne, AUSSolo
2012Natural: UnnaturalRoyal West Acadamy of Art, RWA, Bristol, UKGroup
2012HandsBackwoods Gallery, Melbourne, AUSGroup
2011Down Low Too SlowBackwoods Gallery, Melbourne, AUSSolo
2011Young & Free941 Geary, San Francisco, USAGroup
2011NGV studioEverfresh residency and exhibition NGV Studio (Federation Square) Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2011South of the BorderLo-Fi Gallery, Surry Hills, NSWGroup
2011Space InvadersRMIT Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2010Outside Infinity19Karen Gallery, Mermaid Beach, Goldcoast, QLDSolo
2010Exterior Motives: International Street-artCanberraGroup
2010Everfresh BooklaunchPLSMIS Gallery TokyoGroup
2010Street StudioNo Vacancy/Fed Square, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2010Mixed BusinessAmbush Gallery, Waterloo, NSWGroup
2010Street StudioBlack Rat Press Gallery, London, UKGroup
2010Everfresh Blackbook1000Pound Bend Melbourne, VICGroup
2010Space InvadersNational Gallery of Australia, NGA, Canberra, ACTGroup
2009Such Is LifeGreenwood Gallery, South Melbourne, VICSolo
2009Record TimeGorker Gallery, Fitzroy, VICGroup
2009King Brown #5?Gorker Gallery, Fitzroy , VICGroup
2009Contains 12 pcs.Gorker Gallery, Fitzroy, VICGroup
2009Suit UpNo Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2008Against The GrainWasteland Gallery, Perth CBD, WASolo
2008Tall OaksNo Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICSolo
2008Tall OaksChina Heights Gallery, Surry Hills, Sydney, NSWSolo
2008Drawing Machine 2?Greenwood Gallery, Sth Melbourne, VICGroup
2008No ComplyNo Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2008No ComplyRed Bull Gallery, Sydney, NSWGroup
2008Monster InvasionRuban Rat, Newtown, NSWGroup
2008Sideways, Charity Auction ExhibtionMTV Gallery, Sydney, NSWGroup
2008McCulloch Gallery, Studio Group ExhibitionMcCulloch Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2008Black & WhiteFamous When Dead Gallery, West Melbourne, VICGroup
2008Golden BrownBodhi Gallery, London, UKGroup
2008Red BalloonFamous When Dead Gallery, West Melbourne, VICGroup
2008No VacancyNo Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2008Kids TodayMTV Gallery, Sydney, NSWGroup
2008Everfresh at WastelandEverfresh Studio Exhibition, Wasteland Gallery, Perth, WAGroup
2007BackwoodsEverfresh Studio Exhibition, Wooden Shadow Gallery, Richmond, VICGroup
2007Back-upEverfresh Studio Exhibition, Hogan Gallery, Collingwood, VICGroup
2007Another ShowEverfresh Studio Exhibition, Hogan Gallery, Collingwood, VICGroup
2007KingBrown 3Paper Shadow Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2007KingBrown 3China Heights Gallery, Surry Hills, NSWGroup
2007No Comply 3Federatiopn Square, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
200712×12Ambush Gallery, Waterloo, NSWGroup
2007Plastic Pimps 2Central Station Gallery, Melbounre CBD, VICGroup
2007Street Art FeatureOutre Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2007Anniversary ShowPerSquareMetre Gallery, Collingwood, VICGroup
2007Street Art FeatureMucholoch Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2006100K MelbourneBus Gallery, Melbourne CBD, VICSolo
2006100K SydneyChina Heights Gallery, Surry Hills, Sydney, NSWSolo
2006KingBrownPer Square Metre, Collingwood, VICGroup
2006SelftitledThe Autopsy Gallery, St. Kilda, VICGroup
2006Its who you know, not what you know!Per Square Metre, Collingwood, VICGroup
2006InfiltrateWorkshop Space, Melbourne CBD, VICGroup
2006Letter HeadsAlphabet Exhibition, Wooden Shadow Gallery, Richmond, VICGroup
2006Prahran MissionRevolver Space, South Yarra, VICGroup
2006All City StyleRevolver Space, South Yarra, VICGroup
2006All City StyleChina Heights Gallery, Surry Hills, NSWGroup
2006Semi Permanent 06?Perth, WAGroup
2006Without ReasonChina Heights Gallery, Surry Hills, NSWGroup
2006Outside Over HereImp Gallery, South Yarra, VICGroup
2006Urban MythsBrunswick, VICGroup
2006Plastic PimpsBetula Gallery, CBD, VICGroup
2006ResistBrightspace Gallery, St. Kilda, VICGroup
2006Plastic PimpsChina Heights Gallery, Surry Hills, NSWGroup
2004Negative RealityEarly Gallery, Collingwood, VICSolo