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Monday, April 1, 2019

Skyler Grey

Silent Riot, Skyler Grey
During my twenty-six years teaching art in a public school I encountered dozens of students with exceptional talent. I once exhibited about fifteen paintings and drawings created by my students at a local club. Three of the fifteen sold for modest prices (less than $50 each). It used to irritate me a little that the buyers seemed to be taking advantage of my students in purchasing pieces at a fraction of my judgment as to their value. But, learning to price one's work is part of learning to be an artist. Having said that, if talent and astute pricing were all it took to be a successful artist, there would be at least twice as many professional artists working today. Those factors are important, but the key element in any artist's success is promotion. In effect, I was serving as the promotor of my students' work, and apparently not a very good one. If I had been any good at promoting, I'd have used this aptitude in the promotion of my own work. Most accomplished artist could say the same. Los Angeles artist Skyler Grey is an accomplished artist, but beyond that he and his father have a knack for self-promotion that sees his work selling to buyers all over the world for prices ranging from $6,000 to $60,000. This from an artist who is only nineteen-years-old.
Where is Miss Piggy, Skyler Grey
Olive Oyl Chanel,
Skyler Grey 
If one were to categorize Skyler's work it would be Pop Art inspired by the street art movement combined to create beautiful but offbeat works. His work is colorful with some hints of darkness, and sprinkled with a few dashes of surrealism. Skyler prefers to think of his work as neither of the above but instead having a genre of its own. As the youngest artist ever to be internationally exhibited, at the age of sixteen, Skyler Grey is a rising star and one of the newest fixtures on the LA street art scene. After the tragic loss of his mother at age of two, he was subsequently placement in therapy that involved art and drawing. Grey’s father noticed his son’s incredible artistic interest, talent and creativity. Over the years, with his father’s encour-agement and continuous practice on various mediums, Grey has already transformed his talent into an ex-traordinary career. Although not formally trained, Skyler has educated himself by exposure to the arts and constant sharpening of his artistic skills. Influenced by artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, Grey has developed his own distinctive style and artistic concept. In addition to achieving early success as an artist, Grey has made strides in his community as well, being honored by Black Entertainment Television in 2014 at the 11th Annual 365 Black Awards which honors African Americans who have made positive contributions in the community.
Two of Grey's versions of Queen Amy.
Grey has been called "The Fresh Prince of Street Art." He began painting when he was ten years old, and had his first commissioned work at the age of thirteen. Rearranging pop cultural icons with bursts of vivid color, Grey’s works have been acquired by Hip-Hop artist The Game and pop singer Ashlee Simpson. One of Grey’s earliest and most widely-circulated works. Queen Amy (above, appropriating late singer Amy Winehouse as the Queen Elizabeth II), has appeared in galleries and private viewings worldwide (there are several different versions). His work has been exhibited at venues in London, Vancouver, Miami, Los Angeles, and Dubai. He was featured in the 2017 edition of Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 Art and Style.
Skyler Grey with a self-portrait,
Like most teenagers, Skyler Grey goes through the usual morning routine of waking up, checking his phone, watching TV and grabbing breakfast. But unlike most high school grads his age who are now hitting the books in college, Grey heads to his home studio in Los Angeles each day, flips on his favorite music and starts painting. His studio is always happy, always nice, and always creative with nothing sad, mad, or having weird vibes. Grey claims that’s the only way you can make wonderful artwork. His mixed-medium paintings are a blend of bold colors, 3-D textures and street art techniques. The paintings’ overlapping layers of colors and patterns reveal new discoveries the longer they are studied.
Mickeys Chanel Party Can in Midnight Black, Skyler Grey
At the center of Grey's work are images of famous pop culture icons such as Popeye and Mickey Mouse, as well as high-fashion logos like that of Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Grey notes, “These are things that bring you back to happy times. I like to make people happy when they look at my artwork." In 2013, Grey hosted his first solo art show and received his first commission from a street art collector in Switzerland. The only instructions to the budding artist were, “Just make sure I like it.” Grey studied the collector’s Instagram account and discovered he owned a tattoo and piercing parlor and was a huge fan of Disney. The end result shows the familiar Mickey Mouse with psychedelic eyes, round ear gauges and a chest tattoo. Grey said the collector was blown away.
Dreams of Warhol and Bowie in Yellow, Skyler Grey
More recently, the artist’s popularity has skyrocketed. His art is in high demand among top musicians like Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys, Sean "Diddly" Comb, and William L. Mack, Chairman of the Board, Guggenheim Museum. His paintings currently hang in Miami’s Avant Gallery, and his work has appeared in London’s Graffik Gallery as well as the Four Seasons Jumeirah in Dubai. Free from the daily routine of high school classes, tests and homework, Grey can now fully immerse himself in his art. He typically works on multiple canvasses at a time, carefully crafting each vibrant layer. His materials include spray paint, acrylics, house paint and, most recently, diamond dust for a bit of bling. Grey says it takes him roughly three to four weeks to complete a piece.
Today and Tomorrow, Skyler Grey
There’s a lot of things that set Skyler Grey apart from other artists. Mostly he has a look all his own. Every time he rolls out a new painting, you know it's going to be fresh. In 2018, Grey released a high-end line of jewelry art pieces in partnership with Jason of Beverly Hills. He also has plans for a musical album and would love to someday dabble in the acting world. In the meantime, his artistic talents continue to garner exposure within the art world’s most prominent spaces, such as the 2017 edition of Scope Basel with Avant Gallery and the sacred Wynwood Walls in Miami. Grey is an artist, but Skyler Grey is actually a brand. It's a brand likely to have incredible potential and staying power Today and Tomorrow (above).
Chanel Spinach Red, Black, 2016, Skyler Grey

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