When the NYC graffiti culture started blossoming under the ground in the early 1970s, Brooklyn was one of the key neighborhoods. Even today, it continues to support urban and street art through numerous initiatives, and to produce top-notch artists. With twenty five years of a rich, productive career, one of the more experienced creatives of the Brooklyn graffiti scene surely is RIME, also known by his other moniker, Jersey Joe. His vibrant wildstyle pieces can be found round the world, covering the walls from the East to the West Coast, France, Italy and Spain. Now, they will also cover some canvases, as RIME landed his first ever solo exhibition in the city of New York, and at a legendary venue too - Jonathan LeVine Gallery.
Like many graffiti artists of the time, RIME started painting early in his life, at the age of twelve. His writing style kept on developing throughout his whole career, influenced by cartoons and the life experiences he picked up on. The artist incorporated his courage and a sense of adventure into his art, creating improvised narratives that eventually depicted an entire set of unique characters, soaked in bold colors and graphic lining. RIME’s bubble letters and entertaining stories seem impeccably executed, revealing many layers lying underneath them. The main source of inspiration for RIME are social relationships, the erotic, dysfunctional and humorous stories taken from his everyday life, and depicted through a variety of symbols, text and figures. Thus, his works are never static or dull, as they engage the viewer and demonstrate the very essence of what it means to create graffiti, with great technique and an original vision.
With a rich history in the field, RIME’s debut solo show in NYC seems long overdue. Entitled Conclusions, it will present a new body of work by the artist. In the process of their coming to life, RIME appears to had turned away from his trademark cartoon characters, and has set his mind on figurative abstraction; which, however, still oozes with the artist’s recognisable graffiti drive. In his own words, he made art that is aggressive and abstract, ”the structure for an energetic open-ended story” that is the result of his following of own instinct - deriving from the spontaneity his street works are based on as well. It is all about fate and circumstance for RIME now, the delving into a kind of creation where there’s no space for fear.
As witnessed by his artworks, RIME is a vivid, genuine storyteller who doesn’t mind going against the establishment. He is also committed to staying true to his graffiti roots and the MSK crew, while exhibiting his works in galleries across the world. Conclusions, an exhibition of works by RIME, will be on view at Jonathan LeVine Gallery in New York City, USA, from February 20th through March 19th, 2016. The opening reception is scheduled for February 20th, from 6pm to 8pm.
All images courtesy of VIK NYC and Jonathan LeVine Gallery
Jersey City, United States of America