This week's artist makes a wide range of work outside the traditional gallery setting and goes by the moniker Buffalo. "It's a nickname given to me by some of my closest friends," he explains. "We valued sharing in experiences, space, food, and functioned as an egalitarian hedonistic group, whose goal was to seek the things in life which invigorate the spirit or soul." Buffalo describes his work as experiential, often utilizing visual phenomena like lateral inhibition or the Hermann Grid illusion. Freeing the work from an art context allows us to approach it with a fresh perspective, without bringing any baggage we might carry with Art. And in a town that consistently ranks as the most unhappy place in the country, bringing the joy of color and painting out into the public is a truly noble cause.
In 2017 Buffalo collaborated with Felipe Pantone as part of UNEXPECTED, an annual public art festival in Fort Smith, Arkansas. The project consisted of a series of skate ramps temporarily installed in a downtown parking lot. They were painted a high intensity gently gradiated rainbow, much like the Mac's spinning beach ball of death. There's a synergy between skateboarding and graffiti that's perfectly encapsulated here. "Although I'm not a graffiti writer, there's always been an unbreakable bond between the social world of skateboarders (vandals) and graffiti writers (vandals," he says.
In Untitled, above, we see a hard edged geometric painting in firetruck red, gray, and black teetering over the edge of a wide lake, trees standing tall behind it. It asks the question, "Who is art for?" In the context of nature, the artificiality of the color and geometry is heightened. The painting, a sort of optical illusion, is reflected back by the lake's surface as if paying homage to the most ancient optical illusion— water.
Grounded Figure A introduces neon to amp up the color and illusionistic depth of the shaped canvas. The painting seems to float in a glowing cloud of color— all hazy purple and turquoise. It lends the piece an otherworldly affect— like a hovering UFO in the night sky.
He’s got some exciting things in the works, so be sure to follow along on instagram @buffalawrt