FIRST LOOK: SCOTT CAMPBELL’S “THINGS GET BETTER” AT OHWOW GALLERY
Artistic chameleon Scott Campbell wowed an LA crowd with the opening of his new show at OHWOW Gallery in Hollywood last Thursday nite. Optimistically titled “Things Get Better,” the focus of the exhibition is a series of 18 beautiful new photorealistic black & white watercolor paintings of homemade tattoo machines that Campbell, perhaps best known until now as a world-class tattoo artist, encountered on previous trips as a visiting tattoo artist in Mexican prisons (yes, you read that correctly). Far from being a heavy-handed homage to tattoo culture, the large-scale paintings are instead a painstaking study of curious forms with abstract elements like curly telephone cords playing nicely against the angular and bizarre details of the handmade guns which are comprised of random everyday objects like ballpoint pens, hair combs, and plastic spoons. The fact that these objects—rendered by a tattoo artist—are used to make tattoos is almost irrelevant as the pieces primarily showcase Campbell’s incredible and increasingly rare photorealistic watercolor painting technique and discerning eye for composition. Far less literal and heavy-handed than his previous shows of laser-cut dollar bill sculptures, this new body of work sees Campbell coming into his own as a fine artist and poised to transcend his lowbrow art origins as he sets his near-term sights realistically on the “Capital A” Art World.
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