Street Artist Ben Eine's New L.A. Show Caps a Year of Projects for Virgin and Louis Vuitton
Ben Eine, a former Lloyds of London agent who has met great success with a hand designed font named Vandalism, appropriately oversized and placed in illegal spaces (even on the façade of L.A. Weekly in 2011), hates to do solo art shows.
"It means I get all the attention," he tells L.A. Weekly in an alley late Friday night, as he prepares for his opening at Corey Helford's Circa Gallery the next day. "In a group show, I can aim for having the best painting in the show, but a solo show? I guess I'll always have the best painting -- and the worst."
CHG Circa is an adjacent gallery to the original mainstay, Corey Helford, located a few doors down. Bruce Helford and Jan Corey use the new space as a transformative modern entity, one that changes with the art that occupies it. It's a far cry from the architecture office it once was, and with the arrival of Eine's London train tunnel, art revolutionizes the room even further.
Eine's concept was realized by Hollywood set designers and officially tagged by DAME and OZER from the Seventh Letter for a little local flavor. It's a perfect backdrop for Eine's new work, "made bigger for America," quips Eine. "Because you have bigger houses."
Eine's new compositions for his new show, titled "Innocence," include greatest hits like Nothing to Lose, employing one of his signature Vandalism typefaces on a black lacquer canvas, and is similar to Twentyfirst Century City, the piece that was gifted to the Obamas from the British Prime Minister David Cameron. There is also some bright new work, never shown before, with works that show children and animals cut from 1940s antique coloring books that are finished in glow-in-the-dark paint. At the full-house opening night, the lights would flicker off at random, and it would become an entirely new show, as a majority of the paintings were hit in key places with glow-in-the-dark veneer.
This year has brought him success with Virgin Atlantic's "Gallery in the Air" exhibitions where passengers can buy art from their seats and a new Louis Vuitton design for their street art series of scarves. And this past weekend, in addition to his new L.A. show, he also got married in Malibu.
Eine reflected on his trajectory from train tagger to master screenprinter (he holds the Guinness world record for most colors in a screen print with 72) and a key player in the scene that made grafitti and wheat paste part of the contemporary art vocabulary today.
"When I first got arrested for tagging trains at 17, I never thought I'd be making a living doing art at 42 and having a painting in the White House," he says. " We were just doing it for fun. There were no galleries. Then other people in the scene that weren't artists helped with the business part, because no one else would do it for us. "
Ben Eine's "Innocence" runs through July 13 at CHG Circa, 8530-A Washington Blvd., Culver City. www.chgcirca.com.com Open Tuesday - Saturday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.