Murals

Murals/Public Work

Bob Moog

Free Tamil
Monk 
Free Tibet

Gandhi
frido kahlo

The Misfits
marilyn monroe and clark gable




Crazy Horse

Bush holding Obama Mask
Forever Tatoo

Bush holding Obama Mask
NW 24th st Miami 

Bush holding Obama Mask
The Arcade
Bush holding Obama Mask
Poland St Wharf
New Orleans 

Frida Kahlo
Miami

Girl Holding Gun
Miami

The Guitarist
Miami

Zapata
Desoto Lounge
Dead Pig
New Orleans



Tops
Asheville, NC








Sunday 

watercolor photo: Dustin Spagnola himself contemplates his work so far of Thích Qung Đuc at the RAD warehouses. I can hardly express the fierce tenacity that he and Ishmael have in putting up their art there - On it every day and standing back and adjusting, composing, creating, it's wonderful to see artists 'in the zone.'

New Work by Dustin Spagnola


Friday, May 25th.
7pm
Satellite Gallery
55 Broadway Street.
Asheville, NC. 


Riot photography is nothing short of dramatic. The figures are stretched and twisted, blood spattered, arms up and out, scared and ecstatic, and on occasion, limp. And it’s intensified when in black and white. 

Asheville artist Dustin Spagnola has taken such figures and cropped and pasted them, in black and white of course, onto an array of canvases for an exhibition at The Satellite Gallery aptly named New Work. A collection of protest imagery has been scattered across red, white and blue spattered canvases. It’s the antithesis of Toby Keith. But that doesn’t imply anti-patriotism. 

For those familiar with Spagnola’s work, don’t expect mass portrayals of the esteemed Civil Rights leaders and African-American cultural icons that he’s been painting for the past few years. He’s left those behind. 

The imagery and background styles are new for Spagnola. And for the fist time in years, the entirety of the show builds on itself. In other words, each painting lends itself to the next, rather than existing as a disconnected ideological dream-team consisting of Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X.

His backgrounds come in layers of red and blue smeared and sprayed with white. Stars occasionally appear in the corners, pulling together the show’s overarching motif: the American flag. The mix of colors behind a white fog screen create murky, tear-gassed landscapes that the figures actively move through. 

On most of the canvases singular figures occupy the lower third section, often popping up from the bottom. It gives many of the works a photographic element. One not tied in realism, but more to action shots depicting partial figures against the greater landscape. He’s effectively echoing the frozen moments of on-the-move foreground figures that we see in riot photography.

There are a few canvas awkwardly split fifty-fifty. Half up top, half on bottom — an artistic faux-pas. On a few, Spagnola’s stenciled in silhouetted cityscapes, such as Paris (there’s an Eiffel Tower). In “What’s Your Reason For Existence, Do You Believe In Anything?” he’s used the half-and-half split in conjunction with an oil rig, a separately reoccurring motif. The masked protest figure jumps across the canvas, but the background’s harsh line makes him hover rather than bind to the canvas. 

And if some of the figures seem familiar that’s because they probably are. 

The painted peoples are lifted from photographs of French student uprisings in May of 1968, late 2000 Muslim protests in Paris and London and the most recent conflicts in Syria. Bruno Barbey, a celebrated French photographer, took some of the most famous photographs of the ’68 student riots, which have been subsequently dissected and reclaimed onto Spagnola’s canvases. 

The centerpiece to this exhibition, and surely the show’s strongest work, “Striving To Be, With Bitter Ideals Of Justice” takes its lineage from the Syrian uprising. A solitary figure rises from the bottom of the canvas, Molotov cocktail in hand. Despite the police wrestling two Occupiers just to the right, this serves as the show’s most violent image. It’s still, almost quite, but not for long. The overlapping of colors creates dark patches against the white. And on this canvas, more so than the rest, Spagnola’s spray-bottle painting method closely mimics blood-spray.

Looking at these paintings, there’s no way to tell who these figures might be. Most have masked faces or are turned away from you. But they are all acting out for what Spagnola deems a basic lack of rights. 

But by no means is he advocating rioting in Asheville, “That’s not the point.” This work serves as commentary on the world’s current state of affairs, namely widespread political and civil unrest. Is there a middle ground? A compromise between violence and the non-violence that often lacks drastic results? “Maybe it’s art,” Spagnola suggests. 

And while talk rises of a possible revival of the American Occupiers’ own movement, these images of mass demonstrations see just out of reach, almost becoming utopian. 

“We are first-class citizen, living in our own liberal utopia, not just Asheville, but the United States,” Spagnola says, “and we can say whatever we want to, whenever we want without fear of being killed.” 

And these things are often heard, but just as often they fall on deaf ears.

Spagnola’s images allude to our desensitization to such protests. National papers give us pictures of mass protests outside of the Kremlin in Russia, bloodshed in central Africa and Greek anarchy while we watch videos of the Syrian uprising on the news, all from a safe distance. So when we pass by a rally in Pritchard Park, they often seem futile, and lack the seriousness that would propel them to gain national attention. 

Among the shows multitude of themes and subject are pigs, records and skateboards. The pigs speak for themselves, so we’ll leave it at that. The records and skateboards meld in with the street-style depictions of the protesters, but double as refuse put to good use: art. And in the window there’s a pyramid-shaped installation made from years worth of empty paint cans, buckets, spray-paint cans and trash. 

There’s also a large-scale painting of Illinois Representative Bobby Rush speaking on the house floor in March. Rush spoke in protest of racial profiling while wearing a grey hoody. And big surprise, other congressmen didn’t like it. Halfway through a two- minute speech the gavel starts and ultimately leads to the representative’s mic being disconnected. 

The Bush-Obama painting resurges once again, but this time as a fully-rendered collaboration painting with Chris King. Spagnola’s use of black and white paintings and cut-outs has been a long-standing point of contention for his foes. Can he paint? This painting serves as a proof that he can do so. But it’s not as striking as its black-and- white counterpart. So it doubles as proof that black and white, particularly in this case, is certainly better.

Review by Kyle Sherard

Review by Kyle Sherard

Dustin Spagnola's New Work

        
Riot photography is nothing short of dramatic. The figures are stretched and twisted, blood spattered, arms up and out, scared and ecstatic, and on occasion, limp. And it’s intensified when in black and white. 

Asheville artist Dustin Spagnola has taken such figures and cropped and pasted them, in black and white of course, onto an array of canvases for an exhibition at The Satellite Gallery aptly named New Work. A collection of protest imagery has been scattered across red, white and blue spattered canvases. It’s the antithesis of Toby Keith. But that doesn’t imply anti-patriotism. 

For those familiar with Spagnola’s work, don’t expect mass portrayals of the esteemed Civil Rights leaders and African-American cultural icons that he’s been painting for the past few years. He’s left those behind. 

The imagery and background styles are new for Spagnola. And for the fist time in years, the entirety of the show builds on itself. In other words, each painting lends itself to the next, rather than existing as a disconnected ideological dream-team consisting of Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X.

His backgrounds come in layers of red and blue smeared and sprayed with white. Stars occasionally appear in the corners, pulling together the show’s overarching motif: the American flag. The mix of colors behind a white fog screen create murky, tear-gassed landscapes that the figures actively move through. 

On most of the canvases singular figures occupy the lower third section, often popping up from the bottom. It gives many of the works a photographic element. One not tied in realism, but more to action shots depicting partial figures against the greater landscape. He’s effectively echoing the frozen moments of on-the-move foreground figures that we see in riot photography.

There are a few canvas awkwardly split fifty-fifty. Half up top, half on bottom — an artistic faux-pas. On a few, Spagnola’s stenciled in silhouetted cityscapes, such as Paris (there’s an Eiffel Tower). In “What’s Your Reason For Existence, Do You Believe In Anything?” he’s used the half-and-half split in conjunction with an oil rig, a separately reoccurring motif. The masked protest figure jumps across the canvas, but the background’s harsh line makes him hover rather than bind to the canvas. 

And if some of the figures seem familiar that’s because they probably are. 

The painted peoples are lifted from photographs of French student uprisings in May of 1968, late 2000 Muslim protests in Paris and London and the most recent conflicts in Syria. Bruno Barbey, a celebrated French photographer, took some of the most famous photographs of the ’68 student riots, which have been subsequently dissected and reclaimed onto Spagnola’s canvases. 

The centerpiece to this exhibition, and surely the show’s strongest work, “Striving To Be, With Bitter Ideals Of Justice” takes its lineage from the Syrian uprising. A solitary figure rises from the bottom of the canvas, Molotov cocktail in hand. Despite the police wrestling two Occupiers just to the right, this serves as the show’s most violent image. It’s still, almost quite, but not for long. The overlapping of colors creates dark patches against the white. And on this canvas, more so than the rest, Spagnola’s spray-bottle painting method closely mimics blood-spray.

Looking at these paintings, there’s no way to tell who these figures might be. Most have masked faces or are turned away from you. But they are all acting out for what Spagnola deems a basic lack of rights. 

But by no means is he advocating rioting in Asheville, “That’s not the point.” This work serves as commentary on the world’s current state of affairs, namely widespread political and civil unrest. Is there a middle ground? A compromise between violence and the non-violence that often lacks drastic results? “Maybe it’s art,” Spagnola suggests. 

And while talk rises of a possible revival of the American Occupiers’ own movement, these images of mass demonstrations see just out of reach, almost becoming utopian. 

“We are first-class citizen, living in our own liberal utopia, not just Asheville, but the United States,” Spagnola says, “and we can say whatever we want to, whenever we want without fear of being killed.” 

And these things are often heard, but just as often they fall on deaf ears.

Spagnola’s images allude to our desensitization to such protests. National papers give us pictures of mass protests outside of the Kremlin in Russia, bloodshed in central Africa and Greek anarchy while we watch videos of the Syrian uprising on the news, all from a safe distance. So when we pass by a rally in Pritchard Park, they often seem futile, and lack the seriousness that would propel them to gain national attention. 

Among the shows multitude of themes and subject are pigs, records and skateboards. The pigs speak for themselves, so we’ll leave it at that. The records and skateboards meld in with the street-style depictions of the protesters, but double as refuse put to good use: art. And in the window there’s a pyramid-shaped installation made from years worth of empty paint cans, buckets, spray-paint cans and trash. 

There’s also a large-scale painting of Illinois Representative Bobby Rush speaking on the house floor in March. Rush spoke in protest of racial profiling while wearing a grey hoody. And big surprise, other congressmen didn’t like it. Halfway through a two- minute speech the gavel starts and ultimately leads to the representative’s mic being disconnected. 

The Bush-Obama painting resurges once again, but this time as a fully-rendered collaboration painting with Chris King. Spagnola’s use of black and white paintings and cut-outs has been a long-standing point of contention for his foes. Can he paint? This painting serves as a proof that he can do so. But it’s not as striking as its black-and- white counterpart. So it doubles as proof that black and white, particularly in this case, is certainly better. 


New Work is on view at the Satellite Gallery, located at 55 Broadway St. Spagnola will also be hosting gallery talks each Thursday at 2 p.m. through May 13. A closing reception will be held May 18. 
New Work at Satellite Gallery 2012

This work is about the current state of citizenry and protest culture.  Oppression is a dominate force in our lives. I am opposed to using force or the threat of force to others. 
My work is process oriented. I layer paint. I use joint compound, latex paint, aerosol, markers, paper, and glazes. 
I believe it is possible to make the world a better place.

Thanks to:
Gabe Aucott, Wren Kelly, Jack West , Nigel Esser, Brooke Rettig, Bill Thompson, Vince Luca, Sam Antaramian, Nathan Lucas, Kyle Sherard, Erin Hurley, Chris King, Ted Harper, Colby Rabon, Sam Johnston, Asa McNeely, Katie Ryder, Jamie Hepler, Galen Bernard, Ish, Clay Kaminski, Eamon Martin, and Ashley Conley



 america, fuck yeah.
 whats your reason for existence, do you believe in anything?
 flag
 capitalism is, indeed, organized crime. and we are its victims.
 wolves
 whats your reason for existence, do you believe in anything?
 striving to be people, with bitter ideals of justice.
 so, where do we go from here?
 you tell me that i make no difference, at least im trying.
 like a trampled flag on a city street.
 flag
 like a trampled flag on a city street.
 your culture alienates me.
 bush holding obama mask
 you tell me that i make no difference, at least im trying.
 dead pig on flag
 senator bobby rush
 you tell me that i make no difference, at least im trying. 
records and decks...

Kyle Sherard and Rachael Inch

“They’re not murals,” Dustin Spagnola says. Spagnola’s pieces have been popping up on buildings all over town, but he calls them “large-scale public works,” a “middle ground between graffiti and corporate advertising.” They often tackle a single topic or portray one person within a tight range of color, usually black and white.

The Lexington Avenue Gateway is the type of mural you stop and look at for a while. Spagnola’s work is the kind that burns into your brain in seconds (hence the advertising aspect). The graffiti reference is thinly attached to the stock revolutionary figures he has put up in the past two years. His imagery is visually similar to Shepard Fairey-style wheat pastes and simplified graffiti forms, but otherwise, it could be called minimalism. And minimalism is effective in getting a point across. 

While hanging his work in 2010 at the DeSoto Lounge, Spagnola asked about the patio wall out back. After getting the go-ahead, he painted his first pseudo-mural, a portrait of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata. From there he began painting around town. The Prospect invited him to paint a mural (this one, which features Marilyn Monroe, definitely is a mural) on the side of its wall. Spagnola combined a few film stills from 1961’s The Misfits. 

He’s painted an image of Crazy Horse on Lexington Avenue, Bob Moog on Haywood Road and, more recently, the Bush and Obama mask painting, also on Lexington.

That painting, an image of President Bush holding a President Obama mask, is now on its third life cycle. It lasted for 24 hours at the Arcade, then a few weeks on Forever Tattoo. Back in December, during Art Basel, Spagnola traveled to Miami, where he painted the image on a 22-foot wall with an American flag background. 

Spagnola’s met some harsh criticism for the simplicity, content and the method of his work (he paints using projected, borrowed images). The work is often temporary, and when one gets painted over, Spagnola considers it part of the process. He keeps it simple: “It’s not always about the talent; this work is about using a space to flex an idea.”

Art Gypsy Tales featured interview

1) Home or Away?
Away
2) Who are you + What is your message through creation?
I'm Dustin Spagnola. I make large scale political portraiture.
My message is make the world better; there are other ways to exist. I express my own beliefs through what I do. It is possible to positively influence the outside world with imagery. You can teach people + ask them to question ideas.

3) Your first artistic encounter?
I've drawn for as long as I can remember. My mother always encouraged me to draw. I remember drawing on the walls in the stairway of my grandmother's house + sketching cartoons (Heman, Thundercats, G.I Joe...). I later moved to comic books. When most children stop drawing, I found myself doing it more + more. I didn't get in trouble for painting or drawing. I was quiet, staying inside. My mom didn't have to worry about me.

4) Where is your most inspirational place?
Inspiration might be the top of a mountain in a cow pasture in North Carolina or a beach in Florida.

5) What is the first step in your creative process?
The first step in my creative process is painting my surface white. Turning whatever environment into a blank + clean canvas.  I use walls as my primary medium. 
Currently the intent of my work is to affect the viewing audience. I'm not really interested in being considered by people who want to look at artwork + judge it on its artistic merit. I am much more interested in reaching the general public. I consider what I do to be the middle ground between corporate advertising + graffiti. I like to work legally. I like to reach people + influence them to consider my point of view.   

6) What are you working on at the moment? Any exciting future projects?
Recently I've been painting pictures of dead pigs. About to get new panels for upcoming body of work.


7) Your favorite work? Why? 
Most likely my Bush holding Obama mask in front of American flag (above). I've made a few different versions of this image. When I got to Miami this past Art Basel (Dec.2011), I ended up with this 22 foot tall wall, so decided to make a huge American flag. I feel like it was the missing piece to bring the image together.

8) Your fantasized collaboration (dead or alive)?
Ishmael was a collaboration I never thought I would get to do. But then met him, he ended up being the coolest + most humble person.


9) What is success for you?
Success is making art + having other people consider it. Affecting the outside world with imagery is amazing.

10) If you could pack only one thing in your suitcase, what would it be?
My jacket.

11) What would you imagine your last words to be?
 I don't have to do anything except breathe until I die. Everything else is my choice.