By Laura Smith.
Public walls are primordially famous for breeding the artists passionate about public discourse. Former Rock Steady Crew b-boy and contemporary artist Doze Green is no stranger to the ambitious language of muralism, graffiti and social art. In the late 1970’s Devious Doze honed his artistic street style expressions on the subway walls and streetcars of New York City. Skipping no beat, his work found its way off the clandestine tile and onto the canvases and walls of paying patrons. He’s been represented and showing regularly at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York City for over a decade, a 1xRUN muralist commissioned around the world and also fervidly posting on one of the most public forums for public art in this time, Instagram.
Green is wildly busy on his Instagram account @dozegreen, boasting an impressive 5 thousands posts and nearly 64 thousand followers. Imagine the classic white background of Instagram’s interface as a stand in for the white and blank walls of a gallery or urban wall and you’ll find a booming social viral graffiti, a vaster public than ever before. A viewer can endlessly scroll through Green’s videos and photographs of everything in his life. Anything from his intimate time with the evolution of figures on his canvases who are given abstract postures that exhibit strength, peace and power, alongside the profound posts of his devotion to the historic battle of the Native Americans in the fight against the North Dakota pipeline. Herein lies the thread of his longevity and intellectual weight in contemporary art: impressive and brave social and spiritual discourse.
Each apotropaic figure is outlined masterfully with “creative chaotic and intuitive brushstrokes” that effortlessly guide the eye through a flow of intimate experience. The figures are not always human; they are also spiritual beings, bodies and beasts of our imagination and essence. One more individual than the next yet united and activated on the page, on the canvas and on the wall by bold colors, bright hues and juxtaposed shades that oppose and compliment the decree simultaneously, catching you and declaring your participation in the fight of the metaphysical condition of culture and identity.
Within each composition, mural or canvas, there are graphic and rich geometric shapes standing out distinctly in respect to Green’s mastery in the art of the tag. The classic swoop creating silhouettes that may have been large letterforms sprawled on the subway and have evolved to frame intricate vignettes that tell stories of pain, strength, community and myth. These “biological entities,” as he refers to the figures don a style influenced from the Japanese Edo Period. The way Green layers his figures, finding repetitive textures and patterns while using a strong, soft line to define space, transitioning between monochromatic forms to bold and colorful compositions.
In all their glory, the rhythm of Green’s work wouldn’t be complete without other influences including cubism, calligraphy and graphic design. The carefully curated formal elements deliberately give importance to details in these magical dialogues.
Green’s most current work can be found on his Instagram account @dozegreen, however his work is available by 1xRUN and Jonathan Levine Gallery. In 2016 Green had a solo exhibition called Limbo at the Wunderkammern Gallery in Milano, Italy.