BOM.K | CONFUSIONS
Opening reception January 11, 2014 | 8-11pm
On view: January 11 – 25, 2014
Known Gallery / Main Room
441 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Born in Paris in the 7O’s, Bom.k discovered graffiti during his youth, as the southern suburbs he grew in covered themselves with the tags and throw ups of the movement’s first generation. With the help of a few school friends, he quickly initiated himself to the mystery of spray cans on his neighborhood walls until Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper’s Subway Art and Spraycan Art definitely converted him to the noble art.
After moving to the South of France for a few years, Bom.k returned to live in Paris and created the Da Mental Vaporz in 1999 with Iso and Kan. One monumental wall after the other, the crew continuously kept pushing the esthetical boundaries of graffiti, developing groundbreaking themes for the times, such as madness, life in the peripheral suburbs, social exclusion, fear and hate.
With the new century, the crew opened up to a new generation of painters in the 2000 years, welcoming artists like Jaws, Gris1, Brusk and Dran and more recently Sowat and Blo in its ranks. Together, the 9 members of this iconoclast collective traveled the world, England, Spain, Denmark, Belgium and Australia, to participate to numerous festivals, put together ambitious DIY shows and above all, paint whatever comes in there way.
In 2005, Bom.k started developing his style in the comfort of a studio, with the same aesthetical insanity and ambition than his exterior works. Armed with pencils, spray cans and loads of chemical products, he continuously vandalizes canvases that are as big as walls. Logically, his work is quickly noticed by galleries both in France and abroad – Europe, United States and Asia – who invite him to participate in both solo and group shows. Finally, his 2008 book ‘HB Blacktrace’, earned him a solid international reputation, making him one of the major names of post graffiti, illustration and contemporary art.
Today, Bom.k lives and works between Paris and the North of France.
Bom.k has always been one of a kind in France’s Graffiti scene. One only has to look at his drawings, canvases and walls to be convinced. Born and raised in Paris southern suburbs, self though by necessity, he developed his unique style in the streets and abandoned factories of his youth. Quickly, he set himself free from Graffiti’s traditional rules, to follow his own road and create a unique universe, full of distorted monsters, screaming flesh, hybrid sexual creatures, claustrophobic cities and hellish visions.
Beyond the themes he explores, what first strikes viewers when discovering his work, is the incredible dexterity with which he handles spray cans. No one is supposed to draw such thin lines with this rudimentary tool, just like no one is supposed to reach this degree of precision. Spray cans simply haven’t been invented for that. And yet, thanks to the days, weeks and years he’s spent locked in his studio, taming the cans’ pressure, carving minicaps in their plastic leads, Bom.k has managed to reach every artists holly grail: an original touch, a unique style, immediately recognizable by the public, that has earned him the respect and admiration of his pears.
Bom.k hates improvising. It’s quite the opposite. Everything he does is carefully planned as he can spend days sketching an idea, covering pages and pages of papers with pencil strokes. Each one of these sketch are done with the patience of a watchmakers, the delicacy of a goldsmith.
Like most classic painters, Bom.k spends his time looking for places to plant his easel outside of the studio. Unfortunately, what he sees then aren’t red flower shires or beautiful sunsets over the sea, but rather the more sinister aspect of life in the big city, its dirtier, grimier and dangerous aspects. From a background to the other, his paintings reflect what France has become as a nation, a desperate mix between menacing buildings, disillusioned gangs and clogged horizons.
Monstrosity is never very far in his work. As a matter of fact, it is at the center of his preoccupation. Haunted by the visions he sees while lurking the city, by the faces of those he bumps into at every street corner, on each train he rides, Bom.k has spent years completing an imaginary bestiary, full of the hellish creatures that surround him. Like Jerome Bosh, Chris Cunningham or Hans Ballmer, the human body and the deformation of the flesh are one of the major themes of his work. When one takes the time to look at them, it feels like you are not the ones observing them. It’s his creatures that are staring at us, like if they were ready to jump at our throats if we are foolish enough to come to close to his canvases to study them.
Thank god, the women Bom.k creates don’t exist. They are just fantasies, a mirage of his imagination. Just like his B-boys or his monsters, the idea here isn’t merely to try and reproduce realty but rather to explore their inhumanity. To elevate to the rank of pure beauty, the ugliness, sickness and abnormality of these lost souls. Their heads have disappeared, replaced by spray can nozzles. Their terrifying bone structures create flesh puzzles, like if Chernobyl had created sexual hybrids, both intriguing and fascinating. Despite the initial rejection they provoke, his hardcore creatures, stuck in abnormal pornographic poses, can’t help but create a weird sexual tension, repulsive, fascinating and attractive at the same time…
(author: Sowat, DMV crew member.)