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Kelly "RISK" Graval - Solo Exhibition

  • California Museum of Art Thousand Oaks 350 West Hillcrest Drive at the Oaks (2nd Floor, between Macy's and Nordstrom) Thousand Oaks, CA, 91360 United States (map)

“Graffiti artist RISK - born Kelly Graval - is a pioneer of street art in Los Angeles” - Los Angeles Magazine

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Writing under the pseudonym RISK, Graval rose to prominence as the originator of a bright, colorful, west coast graffiti style. He pioneered “hitting up the heavens” and tagging freight trains to spread his name across the country. By the early 90’s, RISK could be seen all over Los Angeles. Steeped in the commercialism of American culture, success and fame were synonymous for a young Graval. Reflecting on his past, he said, “I wanted to be just like Coca-Cola.”

Graval’s mixed-media work follows in the rich tradition of Pop Art. Iconography from Buddhism, rock and roll, advertising, and cartoons figure prominently in his work. Working in neon translates his bright palette into light while painting on metal calls back to the many nights spent in the railyards of Los Angeles County. Graval’s work plays with visual and material juxtapositions to both draw in and push back on the viewer. Metal, lights, paint, grit, and shine are the materials of Graval’s practice and the materials of the city that raised him.