A Happy Accident: Joe Suzuki launches in UK with Reem Gallery

'Happy Accident - Warhol / Basquiat'

Here at Reem Gallery we're always on the lookout for artists that bring a freshness to the market place and industry through their innovation, style and uniqueness. With Japanese-American Joe Suzuki, based in Los Angeles, we've found just that!

Joe creates vibrant, fun and clever pop culture orientated sculptures with a twist. Often starting with an every day object such as an actual Campbell's soup can or tube of paint, Joe combines other materials to reach his desired aesthetic titled the 'Happy Accident' series. Joe Suzuki gives us a further glimpse into his creative process:

'Mini Happy Face'

"I consider my work to be artifacts of my own particular culture, which is not the generalized Japanese American culture, but that which formed as a direct result of being a first generation immigrant. Through a long assimilation process, I found myself not fully belonging to either culture, but rather somewhere in between, which I began to call Japamerica.

In my peculiar culture, customs and traditons are born out of misunderstandings or idiosyncrasies, and myths and legends are often formed through the struggles of everyday life. I am fascinated by and curious about my culture's development and the affect it has on my identity. I see my art making as an investigation that captures and documents my ever changing, mutating, polyglot reality. My work is informed by my life, contingent on my ordinary, real world experiences as a middle class Japamerican dad, who is simply trying to make sense of it all."

Reem Gallery is proud to announce that currently we are the only UK gallery to work with Joe Suzuki, whose artworks are exhibited and represented in LA, New York, Montreal and Copenhagen. Further information on all available artworks can be found here. To discuss commission requests, please contact the gallery here.

King Samo Lives On! Basquiat Sells for $110.5 Million

Believe it or not, I can actually draw.
— Jean-Michel Basquiat

'Untitled' (1982) by Jean-Michael Basquiat rewrites the history books.

History was made at Sotheby's in New York with a single thunderous drop of a auctioneer's gravel that brought an end to 10 minutes of pure excitement for spectators and adrenaline pumping bids for collectors. The prize was the extraordinary artwork 'Untitled' from 1982 by African American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, with the lucky and delighted collector, Yusaku Maezawa, having to part with a cool $110.5 million for the privilege.

This sale was significant for a number of reasons. Firstly it's the highest sale amount an American artist has achieved ever at auction. Secondly by doing so the artwork and artist join a small handful of historically important personalities such as Picasso, Klimt, Renoir, de Kooning and da Vinci as artists who have broken the $100 million frontier; with this achievement only occurring 10 times previously.

Zaid admiring the sheer scale of Basquiat's 'Glenn' (1984), at the MoMA in New York.

Our personal joy at seeing an artist such as Basquiat join such accomplished household names of the art world stems from his history as one of the most original street artists from Brooklyn. From spraying his signature crown and SAMO© tag with phrases in the streets of New York to record breaking auction results, Jean-Michel's success fuels credibility for the urban art movement to receive historical recognition as well as appreciation as the current leading genre of contemporary art and cultural commentary. Although he is not alive today to see the world wide awe or critique of his artworks, thanks to the patronage of Yusaku Maezawa, King Samo Lives On!

Hitting Up London: A Day with Thirsty Bstrd

Earlier this week we had the pleasure of joining Parisian artist Thirsty Bstrd (Julien Surdeau) as he hit the streets of London spreading his global message: CREATE OR DIE!

It helps if a street artist can be agile.

While some viewers of the paste-up posters may see the phrase as provocative or alarming, it is a powerful message that has connected and resonated with audiences across the globe. Having placed works in the streets of Miami during Art Basel, then New York and Madrid earlier this year, the opportunity to broaden the exposure of the "Create or Die!" message in the sunny UK capital couldn't go amiss!

"I love London, particularly this area (Shoreditch and Brick Lane). It's full of fantastic energy, fun, life and culture. You can walk through the streets and see people creating art on the walls and expressing themselves freely," says Julien.

The 'Create or Die!' motif is a way of expressing a way of life for Julien and it should be no surprise how connected it is to his artistic name, Thirsty Bstrd. He yearns to voice himself through his artworks and like all artists pushing to establish their concepts he is thirsty for progress and momentum in all manners of life. It is this passion that has enabled him to showcase his artworks from Singapore to cheery Camberley via California.

Despite being a gallery owner that specialises in urban art, I've never actually been on a genuine "street art" excursion before. Experiencing the rush and thrill of placing posters up in broad daylight amongst crowds of camera snapping tourists, passers by and restaurant owners while additionally walking around with a broom and 2litre bottle of mixed wheat-paste as a van full of police slowly drives past is definitely one of the most fun activities around!

Thirsty Bstrd spreading the message.

The incredibly agile Thirsty Bstrd managed to place a healthy amount of works throughout the streets with not all locations shown here in our article, so get out there, find them and share your pictures with us: have fun!

After a few hours of hoisting our gallery featured artist into precarious locations, it was our time to fully experience the thrill with Julien handing us the honor of pasting up on a special site... under the famous Shepard Fairey and Invader mural wall.

It was great to share a day with Thirsty Bstrd and further understand his process and work as we launch the gallery exhibition 'The Spraycan Strikes Back!' which is on display throughout April. Further information on our Thirsty Bstrd exhibition can be found here.