Pop, lock, and drop it—but with icons instead. In Freestyle Iconography, four visual artists masterfully wield pop icons and references as well as they do paints and resins. With both playful and rigorous intent, the artists take the popular symbols of today and re-wrap them into witty or critical dialogues within the context of both the art gallery and the world of media. Improvising in the studio like freestyle dancers, these artists ride the wave of the pop art movement with detritus of media content as their surfboards. “Cowabunga, dude.™”
Nelson De La Nuez is one of the most sought-after contemporary Pop artists practicing today. His striking, vivid mixed media artwork borrows motifs and messages from the language of wealth, power, fame, excess, taste, and access to cast a narrative about modern society. Listed on the “Who’s Who List of the Most Collected Artists of Our Time” list, his works are original, bold, and outspoken. Known to many as The King of Pop Art®, De La Nuez is an innate iconoclast, elevating themes from commerce, pop culture, advertising, and branding to provide commentary on our culture – showing us that the entire world is for sale – in a manner that is both ironic and aspirational.
Nicola Katsikis’s artworks are creative combinations of her own photographs. Each photograph adds color as well as depth to the artwork, revealing the materials the graffiti was painted on originally, or showing aspects of well-known places that have been previously overlooked. All of her work is applied to a wood panel and finished off with several coats of clear resin. The artist states, “I’ve always used the urban landscape as my inspiration, finding beauty where others may see grime. Graffiti is a natural expression of people’s feelings and emotions.”
Previously, vinyl records had one of two destinies: the charity shop box in the corner of the room, or the rubbish pile. Ben Riley’s art is warm, rugged, and elegantly simple like the vinyl he repurposes to create portraits imbued with the history and liveliness of music. Icons of music are recreated literally from the music form that made them. “I feel as an artist it is my duty to connect the viewer with the icon, to feel the mind, body, and soul – allowing the music to make the icon, rather than the icon making the music.” Each piece of vinyl is emotionally charged, some reflective, dazzling in different angles and lights, some reserved and soft.
German artist Thitz puts a new spin on the tradition of the artist on the Grand Tour: he paints city scenes upon paper bags scavenged in the places he visits. The bags are opened out flat for maximum coverage, and the paintings are executed with acrylics in energetic delineations of bird's-eye views of individual landmarks. With his bag art, Thitz takes Pop Art to the next level: he intensifies it and integrates it with everyday reality, art, life, and sensorial experience. His subjects and motifs are born of wide travels. The cities and places depicted can be immediately recognized, but they do not merely portray views. They are transformations into the colorful, lineal weave of Thitz’s art. The rich, infinitely detailed circumstances are translated into a vivid and diverse narrative tissue of line-like events.
Since the opening of Artplex Gallery in 2018, the gallery continues to be one of the world's leading art galleries specializing in high-quality, original contemporary art representing a broad spectrum of major international artists. Right at home in West Hollywood and within immediate proximity to its sister gallery Artspace Warehouse, Artplex Gallery is an expansive modern space that specializes in international urban, pop, graffiti, figurative, and abstract art catering to the visual impact.