Martin Whatson

Martin Whatson (1984) is a Norwegian street artist best known for his calligraphic scribbles in  grayscale voids. Over the past decade, Martin has developed an unmistakable aesthetic combining  abstract movement with figurative stencilled compositions. His works can be seen to mirror the rise  and fall of the streets, as he symbolically recreates the urban environment, then vandalises it to  reveal his vibrant transformations.  

 

Growing up in Oslo Norway, Martin was an active part of the emerging graffiti scene of the early  90’s which at the time maintained zero tolerance. The physical architecture of the city was a  constant inspiration, the elaboration and destruction of each generation contributing to the urban  infrastructure. The same deconstructive processes can be seen in his creative influences of Jose  Parla and Cy Twombly. In the early 2000’s, this interest in layers became more literal with the  introduction of stencils into his work.  

 

With as many works on walls as on canvas and paper, the relationship between vulnerability and  strength remains constant in each work. Delicate and organic characters feature; butterflies,  ballerinas and animals all rendered in empty grayscale space. Almost stylised, these minimal figures  are constructed of a few layers of hand-cut stencils. The ashen tones of the compositions and vacant  backgrounds are reminiscent of his alternative canvases, the concrete. True to form, no gray space  stays gray for long in Martin's presence. Whether immersing entirely or embellishing a detail, the  images disappear beneath expressive, spray-painted strokes of assorted colours and textures.   

 

Martin's work features festivals, projects and walls globally. His original work can be found in  private collections and institutions with solo exhibitions featured in cities from Tokyo to LA,  London to New York.  

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