DogTown Collection

The DogTown Collection was founded with one thing in mind, Graffiti is the only art movement recognized as having its origin in the USA and it deserves to be recorded. Think about it, our only home-grown contribution to the art world and we erased it. When I say “art origins” I’m not talking petroglyphs or Kilroy or the examples of wall writings from history. I’m talking about 1970’s New York, ravaged by civil unrest. nameless teens in the projects watching the subways going by and seeing other kids’ names painted on them and thinking that someday some other kids would see their name, know that they exist.

Those teenage pioneers had no way of predicting that their juvenile delinquency would spark an entire sub culture that would grow, evolve, and become mainstream. That it would cross the oceans become a symbol of frustration and unrest in other cultures. No matter what your view on graffiti is, the fact remains that it is undeniably art. Just as Rock and roll was undeniably music. no matter what the critics of the times said.

The Hip hop / Rap culture has grown hand in hand with the graffiti movement giving even more validation to the statements expressed over the years in paintings. Despite all of the growth of the movement, some of the greatest art in the world from the most talented artists on the planet will never be seen by the public. Instead, it will live a short life in an alley until it is worn and eventually replaced, usually by something much less fantastic.

It was my dream to record as much Graffiti / urban art as I could on canvas. Starting with the early pioneers of New York and chronicling graffiti traveling across the country. To get art that had been painted and whitewashed but were recorded by photographs onto canvas. The west coast portion has become massive and represents the evolution of studies in letters and character development. The collection of early New York included names like STAY HIGH, SNAKE1, PINK, and CYCLE. Each canvas a replica of an actual historic piece. I am certainly not the first collector, and this is not even my original idea, but it is what I and many others believe to be the largest and most complete Graffiti / Urban art collection in the world.

My interest in graffiti stems back to the early 1980’s in Southern California where I grew up. Many of my Jr High friends were Chicano, that’s what they called themselves and they were very proud of their Mexican American heritage. They were family oriented, and I loved going with them on Sundays for cookouts in the park or time at the beaches. All of their families were huge and fun! During the parties the older brothers or cousins would begin to arrive in colorful or pinstriped lowriders. These guys were cool, they had old school tattoos, black and grey shaded peacocks, or cool symbols, they combed their hair straight back, wore different clothes, and spit shined shoes. Their girlfriends had huge hair and stiletto heels, big earrings, and lots of makeup. These guys had everything that a 7th grade boy could dream of. And they were nice, they played with the kids, they respected their mothers. But I could tell there was another side to them, some had been incarcerated, most were probably in gangs. They had other interests as well, like painting on the backs of freeway walls. Beautiful, colorful, wildstyle, or old English script. All done under the cover of darkness. Within a month it would all be gone, whitewashed. I remember thinking what a shame that all that time and talent would all be gone forever. I believe that is where my love for art began. As an adult I became a collector of traditional art. One day a friend of mine brought me to his house and showed me some graffiti he was collecting on canvas. It was incredible, but most of all I felt it was important. From that day on I focused all of my efforts on preserving Graffiti and Urban art.

It has been an incredible journey, full of new friends, fun, and sometimes frightening situations. Freight train painters, wall painters, and people that will paint on anything and everything. I’ve met famous artists before they were famous and lost some of the greatest talent the world was never going to see in one violent second. I have enjoyed access to many of the subcultures greatest crews and been alone in God forsaken alleys in the middle of the night looking for a specific artist. It’s been an expensive road of ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. These experiences have allowed me an opportunity now to educate. To show mainstream America what they have been missing. To shine a light on talented quality artist that many in the art world would prefer to stay in the darkness. It allowed me to open my gallery, THE ROSELLA GALLERY in Snohomish Washington to showcase this art genre, even though most of the exhibit is “display/ educational purposes only” and not for sale.

I guess when it is all said and done I want to be able to tell people –“look at what was right in front of you that you turned your back on!, but guess what here’s a second chance” Art will always be in the eye of the beholder ,it should elicit emotions , good or bad . The worst thing an artist can experience is indifference, they are pouring out their souls for recognition of their message .

Take a look at urban art without prejudice. Does it speak to you? Because it speaks to a lot of us.