We came across the work of Karlos Cárcamo last year and were drawn to the artists use of graffiti elements in an abstract setting. His hard edge abstract elements juxtaposed over the texture of a tag work in the visual as well as conceptual level. By covering up the tags Karlos is able to comment on the temporary state of our cultures artwork. Working in the realm of fine art Karlos is able to bridge graffiti and contemporary art with his paintings and sculptures. By focusing his inspirations on graffiti and hip hop Karlos is able to stay grounded in his own personal history, at the same elevating it with his knowledge of painting and sculpture. Below is a summary of his upcoming exhibit titled “Microphone Check” at Hionas Gallery in New York.


Hionas Gallery is pleased to present Microphone Check, a multi-media exhibition comprised of new sculpture, mixed media collage, and abstract paintings by Karlos Cárcamo. For this show the artist introduces the union of seemingly disparate forms, joining hard edge painting and graffiti tagging, sculptures that mimic the gestural three-dimensional movement of spray paint, and the constructed nature of city landscapes vs. hard edge abstraction. The resulting dynamic is one that evokes both the storied and respective histories of abstract art forms and urban culture.

The influence of music – old school hip-hop in particular – is evident throughout Cárcamo’s body of work. The artist’s process is very much a conceptual extension of sampling, in which a DJ mixes a variety of break beats, melodies, verses, and lyrics to achieve something utterly original. In the case of Microphone Check, Cárcamo mixes the high art forms of formal abstraction, Arte Povera and Pop art with subcultural art forms like graffiti, breakdancing, and hip-hop music.

For his Hard Edge paintings, a series that began in 2008, Cárcamo takes as his inspiration the graffiti tags of various figures from the late 1960s and 70s, including writers like Stitch One, Comet, Snake One, P-Nut, and DJ Kool Herc, all of whom have their names included in the titles, preceded by the ubiquitous “Hard Edge Painting.” In this instance, “Hard Edge” is both a reference to the popular post-painterly motif made famous by 60s-era artists like Ellsworth Kelly and Karl Benjamin, as well as the provocative and controversial practice of tagging public spaces. For each work, Cárcamo begins by tagging the canvas surface in his own writing style with a particular name then applying complementing layers of color, which partially conceal the underlying graffiti while allowing the fluid writing to dictate the placement of forms.


June 8 – July 7, 2012
Opening reception: Friday, June 8, 6-8pm