At our good friend Alex Pardee and the Zerofriends space in Oakland, California, Ricky Watts just opened a new solo show, Destination Unknown. You might remember Mr Watts' work, as it was presented prominently on the stages of the Outside Lands Music and Art Festival in the summer of 2012 in San Francisco.
A departure from his known works on canvas of fluid shapes in symmetric vibrant hues, and murals on large-scale public walls, Destination Unknown features Watts’ most meticulous work to date: detailed illustrations exploring the artist’s journey through imagination that manifest a world of endless possibilities. This exhibition draws from Watts’ real-life objects, events, and photographs, while conceptually merges both fact and fictional elements into mellifluent scenes of splendor and intrigue. Grand architectural schemes backdrop mise-en-scenes, where precious life wonders meet disparate happenstance.
Watts’ newest works demonstrate true dedication to his craft, producing a collection that emphasizes his technical approach to illustration and precise attention to detail. Watts created eight pieces over seven months, in a departure from his habitual pattern. He is a veteran of graffiti, giving way to an artistic process mandating you get in and out as quickly as possible. However, allowing himself time to treat each illustration a tour de force rather than the entire show itself the masterpiece, Destination Unknown yielded Watts less work than shows past, yet far superior in quality to anything he’s ever produced, he said. “Each piece has been a marathon—often taking weeks to complete—so the challenge to finish is exhausting, but crossing the finish line is very satisfying.”
The exhibition will be open through January 31, 2013.
ZeroFriends Gallery / 489 A 25th Street / Oakland, CA 94612