Throughout his almost four decade career, John ‘CRASH‘ Matos’ work has engaged with urban environments on a huge scale – ranging from his early murals on the sides of NYC subway trains in the 70’s, to more recent projects such as a large mural commission at Miami’s Hard Rock Football Stadium. This November, a new body of work will be on view, continuing the conversation around the scope, scale, and environment, through a continued exploration of the spray paint medium, in the exhibition Concrete Jungle at JoAnne Artman Gallery.
Culled from classic pop culture, this new work is firmly in the present, but very much rooted within his identity as a Bronx-born graffiti artist, where he began bombing at age 13 in the train yards. Having come of age in the hip-hop fueled Bronx of the late 1970s, his distinct style made him an iconic part of the NYC visual landscape as one of a handful of writers who rose to prominence and mainstream popular culture. There, he pioneered a new age for graffiti in 1980 when he curated the pivotal “Graffiti Art Success for America” exhibition at Fashion MODA. In his new work he widens the scope in a gestural exploration of form and shape, with a continuously unfolding narrative that plays out over each surface, barely contained within the planes of the canvas.
Whether on city streets or gallery walls, concrete or canvas, CRASH’s works are instantly recognizable. His work is also part of numerous museum shows, and can be found in many permanent museum collections such as the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Brooklyn Museum (New York), Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art (Scottsdale), and Stedeljik Museum (Amsterdam).
Hear from the artist in “It Blurs the Lines” ~ A Conversation with John CRASH Matos.