|Spray Power Speak Pride
By Jaime Cortez
Sometimes graffiti is a scar that rips raw and ugly across a wall.
Sometimes it is an insane, gorgeous flower that erupts full-grown in the darkness.
Sometimes it is territorial pissing.
Sometimes it saves an artist’s soul.
Sometimes people die for it.
Sometimes it is the last democratic political platform.
Sometimes it is shameless self-promotion.
Sometimes it wrestles with corporate advertising for the visual landscape.
Sometimes artists get arrested for it.
And sometimes artists are invited into galleries. It is a risky proposition for both the galleries and the artists. Graffiti is by nature an anarchistic art form whose very existence sets up a challenge to the idea of art in a gallery. And however funky a gallery might think it is, it must still maintain a certain level of formality and process in mounting a show. A gallery exhibit of graffiti stretches the artists and the gallery in unaccustomed directions. The marriage of the two is by nature uneasy.
Despite this, I see that graffiti is an integral part of the urban landscape in the Mission and beyond. Graffiti is an art form practiced by artists of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, but it has had a tremendous impact on many Chicano/Latino arts including tattoos, low riders, rapping, break dancing, pinto arte (prison art), cartooning and studio art. Also, it is beautiful.
For all of these reasons, graffiti is of great interest to us at Galería, and this is why we are so excited about SPRAY POWER SPEAK PRIDE. We are especially proud of the strong presence of both female artists and artists from rural backgrounds. We give thanks to our new staff member Gigi Otalvaro for her leadership in putting together this show. We also thank Greg Morozumi, Eric Norberg and Paul Flores for their insight, ideas and contacts.
We give special thanks to the amazing artists of this show. Thank you for working so hard and electrifying our walls. We’ve learned a lot from your work and your words. When this exhibit is over, these artists will continue doing graffiti. They are their own private superheroes, stepping into the night with secret identities, a burning mission and the power of transformation at their fingertips. Suerte.
Gina Osterloh, Lucha (Cristianne Dugan-Cuadra), Isis Rodríguez and Jocelyn Super Star 2000, Esa, Ire, Enigma, Kajmear, Topa, Thous, LMA, Yve1, Ahoy, and Chesperito, with trip hop by Kali+Elitria, rap by Phame and music by Somuchsoul.