EINE X White Walls
February 28th, 2011 by Chloe Gallagher
British street artist Ben Flynn, aka EINE has been doing his homework in preparation for his White Walls solo show opening March 12th, entitled Greatest. Last summer EINE painted 26 shop shutter on London’s Middlesex Street with every letter from A-Z, revitalizing a dreary stretch of road with a technicolor alphabet. Now the artist is treating the city of San Francisco to their very own personalized alphabet, painting walls and shutters with letters around the city. Greatest will have its opening reception Saturday, March 12th from 7-11PM.
PR: ‘GREATEST’ is an art exhibition by the artist, Ben EINE, that will utilize both gallery and public space as a two-tiered platform for the artistís visual expression. EINE’S work is a large-scale study of the shape and structure of the 26 letters found in the modern English alphabet in varied typefaces, color configurations and word arrangements. In the public spaces of San Francisco, EINE will be painting each letter of the alphabet on various walls around the city. A further ten canvases of his work using spray paint, acrylic, and glitter will be on display at White Walls gallery.
In an effort to engage the community through the creation of public artwork, EINE will be painting the entire alphabet throughout the city of San Francisco over the course of several weeks on walls and shutters. This public execution of street art aims to offer viewers a more participatory role in the observation and evaluation of artistic creation. All members of the community from collectors and appreciators to first-time viewers are invited to partake in the dynamic program of events that surround this ambitious undertaking. White Walls gallery will be producing a schedule of live installations, a continually updated map of works as they appear around the city, a public artist talk, and an evening of film screenings related to EINE’S art. Rooted in the subcultural practice of graffiti, EINE moved into the more socially acceptable expression of street art in the early 2000s as a way to become a full time artist creating public works that were perceived as more legitimate. However, his fundamental art practice has essentially remained the same–he continues to paint words and letters on walls on the street. Letters either appear alone, on shutter fronts, or as words on walls such as ‘scary’, ‘vandalism’, and ‘monsters’ rendered in bright and amiable colors. In this way he turns negative words into positive ones. The contrast of jovial shapes and colors with dark sentiment is also a tongue-and cheek nod to the artistís furtive and taboo origins as a graffiti writer.
The street art component of ‘GREATEST’ is complimented by a selection of works to be displayed inside the gallery. These works are part of EINEís continual exploration of letters and words as his quintessential format for aesthetic inquiry. EINEís studio process involves a layering of stencils onto the primed and painted canvas. Re-envisioning basic Victorian typographical structure, he begins with vintage hand-printed wood block fonts, reworking and refining them until he is inspired to cut the final stencil. This working methodology marks the continual evolution of the font by the artistís hand.
In the early 2000s, EINE began a symbiotic collaboration with the street artist, Banksy. The artists worked and exhibited together for several years traveling to Australia, Berlin, Vienna and Denmark where Gallery V1 held the Banksy vs. EINE show in 2003. EINE also collaborated with Banksy on the famous Palestinian Wall project. In 2010 the Prime Minister David Cameron presented President Barack Obama with a piece of EINEís work as a gift. This diplomatic exchange between the world powers catapulted EINEís work into the limelight on both sides of the Atlantic. GREATEST will be EINEís first show in the US since his work was given to President Obama.
Ben Eine Greatest
March 12th – April 2nd
White Walls Gallery
839 Larkin St, SF