Music in Our Paint – Gray’s student in LA

A Gray’s School of Art student is set to rub shoulders with some of street art’s biggest names, after being asked to exhibit as part of a show in Los Angeles.

Third year 3D Design student Karl Porter (27), who goes by the name of EASI, will display his work in urban art exhibition Music in Our Paint, which looks to celebrate the link between music, graffiti and street art.

Opening on Thursday, May 8, in a venue in downtown LA, the exhibition is curated by well-known American artist Man One and is being held as part of Britweek, a programme of events showcasing UK creativity and innovation in California.

Karl’s work will be on display alongside that of Bristol-based artist Inkie, a contemporary of Banksy.

Karl, who flew to America on April 27, said: “It is a great opportunity being asked by Britweek to represent the UK in the States. I will be working with some very famous UK artists and am really, really looking forward to it.

“It’s been pretty hectic since I arrived and we have already started working alongside Man One in South Central LA to repaint a mural there.

“I am very interested in the cultural diversity and history of mural arts here and will use this as an opportunity to research and gain information on the subject.”

Karl initially struck up a friendship with Man One after working with him on a number of mural painting workshops for young people run in his home town of Derry, Northern Ireland and was later invited to join his graffiti crew COI (Continuing Our Invasion).

Karl, who set up his own youth workshop business last year called Urban Vizualz with friend Donal O’Docherty, said: “In the wake of the troubles there are stark gaps and cultural differences obvious in Derry and via mural arts and graffiti workshops people seem to lower their inhibitions and work better together.

“The graffiti aspect of our workshops is usually the most popular and the young people we work with engage with each other and forget about their backgrounds for a short time. It is an excellent opportunity for them to work collaboratively to complete a large scale creative piece of community art.”

Reflecting on how his own interest in the art form developed, Karl said: “Growing up in a post troubles climate, the politics of space was very prominent and there were barriers between communities – a young person growing up in Northern Ireland was defined by their community, where they came from and what school they went to.

“Everything was linked in with religion and I started painting graffiti as an escape from this. It was something that enabled me to paint in every area of the city, which when I was growing up was a big no-no if you came from a certain parts.”

Splitting his time between Northern Ireland and Aberdeen where he has also run workshops, Karl now wants to focus on building up his business.

He said: “All the hard work and running and fear have paid off as I now have travelled the world extensively through graffiti and in every country and city have made lasting relationships with people of all denominations and cultural backgrounds. I want to try and help youngsters, particularly in NI, and get them to look further afield rather than getting caught up in the barriers and borders that can hold one back, both personally and creatively.”

Release by
Jenny Rush

Communications Officer | Design and Technology

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