At the beginning of this century, when the cost of living increased in the San Francisco Bay Area, and the city itself became beyond affordable, a migration of artists headed east about 9 miles to Oakland. Graffiti, street art, art walks, galleries and studios began to proliferate, so much so that Oakland became a hotbed of new and standout graffiti pieces recognized around the world. The style felt very Bay: characters mixed with political and social activism, punk aesthetics and squatter lifestyle mixed with skate culture, found object art and DIY shows. One of the artists to emerge with imminently recognizable style and audacious placement was  the anonymous artist GATS (Graffiti Against the System), who takes a signature character and applies it to found fragments and mixed-media works in his newest solo show, A Familiar Face, at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco.

"I’ve taken artifacts that challenge the ownership of public space and tied them together with a familiar face that I’ve been placing in hidden and not so hidden places between Mexico and Canada over the past 13 years,” GATS says of his newest show, where he paints on old skateboards (a presentation of GATS’ boards was a major installation in Juxtapox x Superflat at the Vancouver Art Gallery) , toys, ephemera found in the ruins of cities and other discarded materials. With character akin to the legendary boxcar graffiti work of Bozo Texino, GATS carries a lineage of train-hopping, bohemian and elusive artistry that feels increasingly special in a digitized world. This is art made from the landscape around us, discovering the forgotten, reviving history and ourselves. —Evan Pricco

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there will be no opening reception for the exhibition. A window installation will be available for self-guided, outdoor viewing through August 22, 2020. Please wear a mask and practice social distancing while viewing for the safety of our neighbors. For more information, additional images, or exclusive content, please email [email protected]