Inside voices: Street artists go indoors for Sunset Park gallery show

Inside voices: Street artists go indoors for Sunset Park gallery show
Streets apart: You have seen Sofia Maldonado’s work on the streets of New York — now see it off the streets at Tabla Rasa gallery.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

They’re takin’ it from the streets.

On Aug. 16, famed New York City graffiti artist Alan Ket will launch “Outside, Inside,” a group art exhibition that features street artists from around New York City and the world — inside a Sunset Park gallery.

Ket first made a name for himself as a Brooklyn teenager spray-painting subway cars in the 1980s — an era when the graffiti and gallery scenes were worlds apart. Street artists who commercialized their work were seen as sell-outs, he explained, but now artists can work both inside and outside the studio without damaging their street cred.

“A huge change is that the graffiti world is more accepting of artists that are commercial artists or fine artists but still want to remain active in the streets,” said Ket, who has since gone on to become a successful artist and photographer.

With “Outside, Inside,” Ket is hoping to introduce audiences to the fine art that many street artists now also create.

“I personally love working with artists and supporting artists that are working both environments — in the studio environment and in the street,” he said.

He is also hoping to expose audiences to a much broader range of street art styles than they would typically find on the side of New York buildings and trucks.

“I think because New York or the movement is very saturated, people think everything is the same kind of thing,” he said.

To that end, “Outside, Inside” features three Chilean artists — Cekis, whose paintings explore issues of immigration and crossing borders, and a duo known as Aislap, who incorporate folk art and pop culture into their canvases.

New Yorkers might be familiar with Sofia Maldonado’s work from the 92-foot mural she created on 42nd Street in Manhattan in 2010, which ruffled a few feathers by featuring several scantily-clad cartoon women. But in “Outside, Inside,” the Puerto Rico-born artist also shows a different style, with elegant, brightly colored abstract paintings.

Even the local artists say the gallery show is an opportunity to introduce a new side of themselves to a New York audience. Brooklyn graffiti artist and graphic designer Queen Andrea said she hopes visitors will appreciate her self-described “crazy new visual directions.”

“I’m always actively developing new abstract paintings, which is a big departure from my beginnings as a graffiti artist and also a commercial graphic designer,” said Andrea.

“Outside, Inside: A detour from graffiti and street art” opening reception at Tabla Rasa Gallery (224 48th St. between Second and Third avenues in Sunset Park, www.tablarasagallery.com) Aug. 16 at 6–8:30 pm. Free. Show runs through Sept. 27.

Street view: From left, street artists Cekis, Sofia Maldonado, and Alan Ket will all exhibit work on canvases rather than bricks at “Outside, Iniside.”
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

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