Haphazard presents "Where to Draw the Line", a body of work made at a threshold. It is conceived at both a time and space "in between": in between the formal economies of the art market and the outlaw banditry of graffiti, in between the professionals strategies of the working artist and the guerrilla tactics of the tagger, in between public spaces and fora and private property and privacy, in between the uniform surfaces of blank canvas and the raw materiality of found urban surfaces. This threshold is materialized with a constructed portal to serve as a visual vernacular of the urban art form. This threshold remains as a site of struggle and the struggle is resolved only through craft: through the exploration of media and technique in service of the communication and interpretation of experience, both past and present.
“Where to Draw the Line is simply a question of where I bridge the transition between formal practice and graffiti. What material, motifs, and or influences I bring into one or the other. For instance, the use of raw canvas on the front of the surface which is influenced both by a time where I was told that the artwork ends where the raw surface begins, as well as my personal sense of understanding. The interaction between the painted surface and the unpainted surface, and the way both work and compliment each other. It is more important to me that there is visual form and specific color placement rather than actually having a narrative. There are elements that I am trying to interpret in my graffiti that I am also trying to put into context in my paintings. When I am painting, I want the material to look like I’m actually painting and for me to work with the material rather than try and control it. I’m not trying to make the paint do something that it does not want to do. There is the interaction with the raw and the painted that plays a big part in my work. I want each piece of work to show that there is motion in these surfaces. I also want my characters and figures to represent what is relevant to today, my current life and past life. I want these simplified forms to resonate in my graffiti whether it is water drops, or these highlights, windows or the Halo. These are all shapes and forms that I want recurring in my paintings.”
Self-taught, the artist Kristopher Raos, makes work of a particular contemporaneity. Raos began as a graffiti artist, and he continues to employ an intuitive sense of composition both within his public and private work. The work displayed here, however, illustrates his interest in the precise techniques associated with a wide array of media. Material investigations—of forms, colors, textures, and their juxtapositions—are in fact the basis Raos' exploration of themes generated from his memory of his siblings' and his childhoods as well as his experience of everyday life in Los Angeles.
WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE by Kristopher Raos