The self-declared “graffiti vandal” known for his signature skull icon and for using paint-filled fire extinguishers to throw up giant versions of his ubiquitous KATSU tag is getting his first solo show at The Hole.
In its announcement, the Bowery gallery describes Katsu as a “new media artist,” and promises that his works of sculpture, video, audio and painting will “examine the slippages and disconnect between humans and their tools, the future and the present, in our quest for self-realization.”
On display will be some of the drone paintings that The Hole exhibited at the Silicon Valley Contemporary fair in August.
Back then, a press release compared the drone art to Abstract Expression and to Cy Twombly’s automatic writing, and described how they were made: “Originally developing technology so drones could be programmed to write illegal graffiti, KATSU created the hardware and software to have a drone carry a spray paint can and a mechanism to press the can to emit spray.”
In an interview with Motherboard — accompanied by the above video co-produced with The Hole — Katsu described testing out the graffiti drone on Houston Street, and revealed plans to make the software open-source so that others could use the technology.
I was test-flying my drone down on Houston St. and these DTs—the undercovers—drove by in the cab, and they were looking at me and looking at this drone and going by at this weird six and a half mile per hour roll, and you could just see it on their faces that they were just really mesmerized and confused and scared and excited, all at the same time.
As an artist and a graffiti writer, I want to push to make the drone a tool that I can use, but it’s also a bit of a statement. You know, I hope that I put enough of the elements together so that I can release this thing soon, in all its open-sourcesness, to allow graffiti writers and other artists around the world to rapidly start experimenting and iterating this and start playing with it.
The exhibit at the Hole, “Remember the Future,” will run from January 8 to February 15, with the opening January 8 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.