Art collective showcases street #STYLE

Up and coming Halifax artists exhibit their work with help from local umbrella promotional group

Art by Ben Kynock. (Photo: Beth Brown)

Three local artists are taking street style indoors tonight, at Alteregos Café on Gottingen Street.

Artists Alex Johnstone, Ben Kynock and Andrew Ross are showcasing their graffiti-inspired collections in conjunction with Red Umbrella Art Collective.

The show, which starts at 7 p.m., is titled #STYLE.

“Style is the element of graffiti that most interests me,” says Alex Johnstone.

Johnstone, who is self-taught, works mostly with acrylic on canvas, but incorporates other mediums, using wheat paste, permanent markers and spray paint.

“I want these works to look like they’ve been influenced by the street,” he says.

That’s where the idea for using wheat paste came from – to mimic wheat paste posters on alley walls and “Post No Bill” sites.

Some of his work features a character that looks something like a cyborg jellyfish.

“It’s something I can’t stop drawing,” says Johnstone.

Another work has bus transfer slips as a backdrop.

“They’re all paid for. Those are legit bus transfers,” says Johnstone. He saved up 75 to 100 of them over a couple of months.

Sharing art

Red Umbrella has been aggressively promoting the show, though it doesn’t make a profit. “Everything the artist sells they keep. I don’t take a cut at all. It’s all just to get their art out there,” says founder Gavin Quinn.

Quinn started the Red Umbrella Art Collective around two years ago as a way to promote his own art and the art of a friend who had similar street-style pieces. When other artists started coming to him to have their work promoted the project took off.

The collective hosts shows throughout the city to help promote low-profile local artists. It’s all volunteer and anyone can get involved.

The goal is “just to keep promoting shows, to keep making connections, to keep helping people. Helping people is the biggest part of this thing,” says Quinn. “We try really hard to do good for our artists.”

Quinn himself works mostly with spray paint on canvas. He does “gritty,” abstract pieces and also a little photography.

While each artist has a unique style, they express a theme that is edgy and vibrant.

“These guys put a lot of hard work into this show, and it paid off,” says Quinn.

They hope to have as many people as they can cram into the small north end café.

“Come out, bring some friends and have a few drinks,” says Quinn.

Red Umbrella is currently working on a show titled “Over Exposed.”