Once Street-Art Rivals, Now Gallery Stars: POSE and KC Ortiz Explain Their Joint L.A. Show

POSE, "Day," 2011
(Courtesy the artist)

They began on the streets as graffiti rivals, but today are the best of friends. There's no doubting that POSE and KC Ortiz make a unique pair. 

POSE is the ambassador of Chicago’s urban scene, revered for his signature collage style that combines pop culture, graffiti, fairy tales, and hand-painted signage into a vibrant neon palette. KC is an ex-graffiti artist and now an award-winning photojournalist who travels to places such as West Papua and Burma, gaining the trust of the local people and bringing their pictures and stories to a global audience. 

Together, POSE and KC’s work reflects the Chicago art scene and the world beyond, and is displayed side-by-side in the just-opened exhibition, "White Wash." POSE’s work for the show takes on Chicago’s strict buff policy, while KC’s work shedds light on suppressed peoples and cultures. The exhibition opened at Los Angeles's Known Gallery on November 19 and runs through December 10.  

Roger Gastman is a curator and author specializing in the history of graffiti and street art. Most recently he is the co-author, with Caleb Neeson, of 'The History of American Graffiti' (Harper Design, 2010), and co-curator of 'Art in the Streets' at the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art.

To see a selection of works from "White Wash" accompanied by comments from POSE and KC Ortiz, click on the slide show.