Of all the young artists we’ve met in the past few years, few have impressed us as much as Gaia. At only 20 years of age, the depth and level of commitment that Gaia brings to his work is remarkable. We’re pleased to share with you his A’s to our Q’s:
Hometown: New York City
Where do you now live?: Baltimore, Maryland
Where would you most like to live?: I’ll always love New York but Baltimore has such a kind and open atmosphere that I haven’t found anywhere else. But New York most definitely has the best spots.
What is your favorite thing to do on your day off from work?: Ride bike and peruse the local farmer’s markets.
What is your favorite color?: Red
Who (or what) do you love?: I love the excitement of a new project and of being apart of a community of artists who are united and bound by their passion for their work. I love the independence that my bike affords me. I love to constantly reconsider my beliefs.
Wooster: Who and/or what are some of your influences?
My peers and the people that I live with offer the most valuable critique that I could ever hope for. I am forever indebted to the dialogue we have established and the possibilities that they introduce to my work. My primary influences currently exist amongst the formative teachers, students and topics experienced in art school.
Wooster: What other artists do you most admire?
Of course, Swoon will always be an artist whom I deeply admire. The scope of her installations, street work, and social projects seems boundless. Kiki Smith’s exploration of the body, of humanity’s relationship with nature, the diverse media she employs is also a strong inspiration within my life. These two artists in particular were the impetus for my getting up in the streets.
Wooster: How would you describe your art to someone who could not see it?
My emotional relationship with the important people within my life is what inspires the content of my work. My art is deeply personal and cathartic. I try to maintain an honest articulation of both my frustrations and felicity in each piece. Whether it is the celebration of a burgeoning young boy who I once babysat or the valediction of a person who lives in my past, I want to express a feeling that can be fundamentally understood by the viewer. I am very interested in communicating these passions on the street and in an attempt to relate to others through the imagery.
I put my work up in order to reactivate a space and reconsider our modern notion of property and domain. By applying my work to a surface or installing an environment in an urban setting, I am establishing a new significance and understanding of a particular space.
Wooster: What other talent would most like to have?
I want to know how to weld, work with radio, wire electronics. I am actually teaching myself how to mold and cast a pig head as I am writing this interview for my collaboration with the brilliant fibers and installation artist Rachel Lowing.
Wooster: What do you fear the most?
When I began my first block nearly two years ago, it seemed an impossibly difficult endeavor to establish myself in the New York street art scene. It just didn’t seem feasible and I felt as if I was being left behind. There was a sense of urgency that I would simply remain in obscurity if I didn’t get up hard and consistently. But flickr gave me a palpable sense of who was paying attention to my pieces on the street and that there was a momentum that was building.
That original sentiment relates persists in what I fear most now, and that is to be forgotten. I so want to be apart of this unbelievable movement in contemporary art that exists on the street. I am afraid of fulfilling the belief that I am just “a flash in the pan” or the possibility that I be reduced to a trendy hype. I strive ever day to maintain a trajectory in my work that has longevity so that I do not turn out to be another burn out or maybe more applicably a one hit wonder.
My calling is with the interaction of people and right now I find that on the streets. I am forever beholden and thankful to the artists who have come before me and truly blazed a clear and focused trail for me to follow.
Wooster: What is your greatest ambition?
I feel like my work is fundamentally traditional in medium and subject matter. My pieces’ true function is when they are situated on the street otherwise they are relatively static. While there is an extensive and rich history of street art and graffiti, for it is arguably the largest and most accessible artistic movement in our history, I still believe that the streets are a pertinent genre and are extremely contemporary.
My greatest ambition would be to find a balance between my very formal practices of approaching fine art with pieces that function and are relevant in the real world. Each ambition fulfilled serves a platform for subsequent growth and opportunity.
You can see more of Gaia’s artwork on his Flickr page here.