Eric Haze’s New Mathematics opened last Saturday at Known Gallery in Los Angeles. The exhibition shares the artist’s explorations within his own personal vocabular. The 35 paintings and 15 drawings included draw from his history in graphic design and grafitti, showcasing Haze’s brilliant handstyle and express an evolution in his experimentation with organic form.
Known for work with the Beastie Boys (and much more in music), as well as commercial projects with Casio and Nike, Haze is recognized for three decades of iconic design. On the occassion of New Mathematics, Complex connected with Haze to discuss his new works and what the future holds for graffiti.
Tell me about “New Mathematics”? What are the inspirations and themes of the new work?
“New Mathematics” represents a linear progression of the personal artwork that I have been developing over the last 5 years. Along with always carefully controlling the final results in my design and product based work, I also started challenged myself to create more organic artwork that revolved around a celebration of natural line quality, motion and the beauty of imperfection. Using type and certain recognizable icons as my first points of departure, I have continued working towards also synthesizing these elements with my love of abstraction and geometry.
My work has always been deeply rooted in balance and symmetry, starting all the way back with my original graffiti name SE3, which I created as more of a symbol than name with inherent meaning. In many ways, with “New Mathematics”, I have gone all the way back to this original essence.
But where some of my earlier fine artwork had been more reductionist in terms of it’s approach, this body of work incorporates much more complex dynamics, with certain algorithms having taken on a life of their own. Hopefully, this collection achieves a kind of transparency between all of the mediums I have always been involved in, while still clearly representing the direction of a new language I have now established for myself.
There are 35 paintings and 15 drawings in the show. How does medium shape your process? Is there anything different to consider when working with different tools?
Up until recently, I had kind of separated what was drawn as opposed to what what was painted. But, now as I become more comfortable within both languages, I am able to integrate my working process to clearly reflect the drawings within the paintings.
In some of the more layered pieces, the immediacy of the initial line quality is defined against the cleaner, more labored detail of the paint work.
Some of the paintings have also been left in their outline form only, where I wanted the purity of line quality to be understood on it’s own terms. The same is true for the drawings on paper, which serve as blueprints for many of the progressions that later become realized more fully in the paintings.
What’s it like showing in LA? Do you see the city’s reception to street art as a whole different after the MOCA show?
Y’know, I lived, worked and built my brand from LA for over 10 years before returning home to NY, so I have deep roots there and have always had much love for LA. Obviously, the MoCA show focussed a lot of attention to LA, and it was great to see so many of the true heads there celebrated for the great work they had been putting down for years.
I think the residual effects are definitely still in play there now, especially seeing a lot of leading east coast artists showing here this season too. it’s no coincidence that I planned my next major show out here either, knowing that this was becoming one of the important playing fields for artists within our movement…..
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