Askew One | Smoke Signals

March 15 2012 . 05:31pm

Askew One (Elliot O’Donnell) is a multi-disciplinary artist mostly renowned for his graffiti art paintings. Widely regarded as one of the New Zealand graffiti scene’s driving forces he has managed to remain at the forefront of the movement (both in New Zealand and throughout the world) whilst working tirelessly behind the scenes in a diverse array of projects.

Showing in March 2012, Smoke Signals is Askew’s biggest solo exhibition yet. A comeback after 5 years of struggling to identify a true style of canvas painting that best represents himself and his experiences as an outdoor artist, but within a confined indoor space. Said to be triggered by a ‘stroke-like’ event he experienced in 2011 called Call Fleming Syndrome, this newly found style was discovered five months later out of frustration whilst painting on a particular canvas at an art residency program (Fountainhead Residency, Miami), the moment captured on video.

A perfect blend of bold illustrative line work influenced by comic-books, the graphic power of the letter and his cynical yet patriotic slogans, with a mature taste of abstraction and finishing, these new paintings deal with his identity in New Zealand context but more specifically from the perspective of someone that grew up through the 80s and 90s. He cites the Americanisation of local culture during that era and growing up inner city as informing his aesthetic and creative direction. Four generations Kiwi but a mixed bag of European descent, Askew’s Smoke Signals show discusses the cultural displacement of all the people living on this isolated island at the bottom of the Pacific ocean.

With an abundance of achievements and experiences over more than 12 years in the graffiti scene which include a guest artist invite to Primary Flight – Art Basel Miami and taking out two consecutive ‘Write 4 Gold’ world titles as part of TMD crew (who remain undefeated), Askew is also versed in graphic design, illustration, photography, publishing, music and moving image.

As a finalist in the 2008 Montana Book Awards for his publication ‘Inform’ and going from strength to strength in moving image by way of graffiti documentaries (featuring Revok, Rime, Dabs and Myla) and music videos (for US artist Buff1 and locals David Dallas, PNC and Home Brew), Askew has proven to be a creative powerhouse package. A self-taught, self-sufficient one-man army with no formal art qualifications behind him, Askew is an artist schooled by life itself. Smoke Signals is one exhibition definitely not to be missed.

Askew One / Smoke Signals
March 16 – 22
The Australis Room
Australis House, 36-38 Customs St, Britomart, Auckland City

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