This Saturday, July 27, former Juxtapoz featured artist, Mike Ballard aka CEPT, will open a new solo show, Mind In Transit, at Known Gallery in Los Angeles. We had good friend Roger Gastman interview and say a few kind words about the UK-based CEPT, who will be celebrating his very first United States exhibition.
RG: First off, I want to make sure people reading this know your history – you didn't just get into graffiti and art last year because it was trendy right?
I've been writing since 1986, after seeing Subway Art. I became obsessed and just wrote and wrote, travelled, met a lot of good people, and just kept painting, trying to get better and do more. I had was already into drawing…but graffiti changed everything,
RG:You have been making a living as an artist now for several years in the UK – what made you decide to take on America?
I've been wanting to do a show here for a while, and have been doing a lot of shows in in the UK, so it was just a matter of timing, and getting some new work together. Of course it’s good to take your work to new audiences. I wanted to come here and let people know how I do, and to see the new progression in my work. I never want to stand still for too long, I'm always thinking to push my stuff forward and try and take it next level. And LA is a super fresh place, and Known Gallery is a great space also, so I'm stoked to be showing here.
RG: Seems like you have been enjoying LA a lot so far? What are a few of your best experiences to date?
Yeah LA is off the hook, it's been 16 years since I was here last. The best time back then was getting to paint Motor yard with AWR. Now this time round, it's just the whole LA vibe, everyone seems more chilled and happy, the weather is great, and those Californian girls… wow, The Beach Boys weren't lying bout that.
RG: You work in several different mediums – and for this show made some kick ass pieces from many. What did you make and why?
I'd been working a lot lately on new oil paintings in London and really wanted to show them, so I brought them with me and some new collages and prints. I brought these works with me as I think it showcases the range of styles that I'm working with. It shows where my work is heading to, definitely more oil paintings and figurative stuff, I have a long way to go with them, but I'm happy with the way things are progressing. It's at the other end of the scale from painting graffiti, in terms of time, mixing, fades etc, a new discipline. I wanna’ learn new stuff.
RG: You have a series of 20 screen prints, all different colors – of some hippie yoga thing. I have gotten past that and think it’s pretty good looking. Have you turned into a hippie?
Haha, you like that one right. No I'm not a hippie, I do yoga, but that doesn't make me a hippy. It's good for you, keeps you strong, in shape and flexible. These prints are a brand new set I made for LA, they're like some tripped out psychedelic poster. I love the image, I just remixed it with some funk.
RG: Why should people come out and see the show and just not watch it on Instagram?
People should take there heads out of there fucking phones and live life properly, not through pixels, come and see the work in the flesh and up close. Instagram is never going to do any paintings justice, and Known Gallery is a huge space so you have to see the work laid out and in context. You can't feel the vibe through your phone.
For more information, visit KnownGallery.com. The exhibition runs through August 10, 2013. Mind In Transit Featuring CEPT & THANK YOU X opens this Saturday July 27, at Known Gallery. Hours are 8-11pm. REMIO and DUEL are in the project rooms. Be there.