Todd James (a.k.a. REAS) is an internationally recognized artist who began his career as a child in the New York City subway system, and who remains one of graffiti’s best-known elder statesmen to this day. He is a co-creator of the seminal Street Market exhibition at Deitch Projects in New York, which was selected for the Venice Biennale in 2001. James’ work has also been shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Tate Museum in Liverpool, the Parco gallery in Tokyo, and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, V1 gallery in Copenhagen and Lazarides gallery in London amongst other venues. His recent subject matter—grinning aircraft carriers, lounging blondes, sneaky missiles, beleaguered tanks, and skulls wearing sailor suits— evokes a comic book sense of horror at the modern world and pity for those that live in it. Protest images marked out in cartoon outrage, filled with recycled advertising cast-offs and corrupted child scrawls, these large-scale works of gouache and graphite smash the distance between death and jokes and between the viewer and what he or she probably goes around trying not to know about the present state of things. James’ death-ink warplanes and battleships have a chunky authority that embed themselves permanently in the mind of the viewer, while his stealth bombers and cheering bikini models jostle for space with partying warships, creating a feverish mix of complex mayhem. Fires and floods of natural disaster are on every horizon, lets watch from a not- so-safe distance. These new works are psychologically and literally unstoppable: The situations they depict are in full swing and degenerating by the moment, and are deeply connected to the reality of our world today. Todd James lives and works in New York City.
He will also take another show to Don’t Come in Melbourne while he is in Australia.