Martin Whatson

Description: Martin Whatson (Norwegian b.1984), ‘Still Life 2’, 2016, hand finished archival pigment print in colours, signed, dated and numbered from an edition of 75 in pencil, published by Graffiti Prints; sheet: 73.5 x 56.5cm ARR

Martin Whatson (b.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 2000s, this interest in layers became more literal with the introduction of stencils into his work. The evolution moved him closer to a simple yet effective aesthetic he believed could bridge the gap between the passion and spontaneity Graffiti held for him, with the fragility and transience of nature. This balance would come to define his creative approach.

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 Martins presence. whether immersing entirely or embellishing a detail, the images disappear beneath expressive, spray-painted strokes of assorted colours and textures.

Martins work features with 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.

Solo exhibitions
2018 – The Arctic tour – The Edge Hotel – Tromsø / Norway
2018 – The Arctic tour – Galleri Svalbard – Svalbard / Norway
2017 – REVIVE – Rex Romae Gallery popup – LA / USA
2016 – Affinity (collaboration with SNIK) – Modus Art Gallery – Paris / France
2015 – Old News – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2015 – About-Face – Blackbook Gallery – Denver / USA
2014 – Hide & Seek – Rex Romae – London / UK
2014 – Nationalteateret – Nationalteateret – Oslo / Norway
2014 – Square – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2013 – Transformed – Gallery Kawamatsu – Tokyo / Japan
2013 – Undercover – Reed Projects Gallery – Stavanger / Norway
2013 – The Beauty of Grey – MSA Gallery – Paris / France
2011 – What have i done? – Black Pop Gallery – Copenhagen / Denmark
2011 – Love Tour – Gallery Kawamatsu – Tokyo / Japan
Group exhibitions
2018 – Northern Exposure – Nordic Museum Seattle – Seattle / USA
2017 – Context ArtFair – Blackbook Gallery – Miami / USA
2017 – Unstoppable – Urban Nation – Berlin / Germany
2017 – Print retrospective – Galleri Bi-Z – Kristiansand / Norway
2017 – Fluorish – MESA contemporary art Museum curated by Thinkspace gallery – Mesa / USA
2015 – Context ArtFair – Blackbook Gallery Booth – Miami / USA
2015 – HOME – Reed Projects Gallery – Stavanger / Norway
2015 – Outsiders In – Reedprojects Gallery – Stavanger / Norway
2015 – Your kid can’t do this – aMBUSH Gallery – Sydney / Australia
2015 – I LOVE Kabul – Graffitiprints – Kabul / Afghanistan
2015 – Different Strokes – Hin Bus depot – Penang / Malaysia
2015 – 2 for 2 – Vertical Gallery – Chicago / USA
2014 – Scope Artfair – Blackbook Gallery booth – Miami / USA
2014 – ARTmageddon – Vertical Gallery – Chicago / USA
2014 – LA Contraband 2 – Riviera 31 – Los Angeles / US
2014 – Stencil Bastards 3 – Starkart Exhibitions – Zurich / Switzerland
2014 – Different Strokes – Bottleneck Gallery – New York / US
2014 – A-Laget utvalg ’14 – Summer – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2014 – Scope Artfair – Blackbook Gallery booth – New York / US
2014 – Scope Artfair – C.A.V.E. Gallery booth – New York / US
2013 – Juleutstilling 2013 – Galleri Bi-Z – Kristiansand / Norway
2013 – Buy, Work, Consume, Die – Reedprojects gallery – Stavanger / Norway
2013 – A-Laget utvalg ’13 – Winter – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2013 – Home sweet home – Bottleneck Gallery – New York / US
2013 – LA contraband – Los Angeles / US
2013 – About time – Galleri GEO – Bergen / Norway
2013 – The dirty art – Blankspace – Oslo / Norway
2013 – Moniker Artfair – Souled out Studios bunker – London / UK
2013 – True Colors – Shop 13 – London / UK
2013 – A-Laget – 10 year anniversary – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2013 – Bybildet: Redefinert – Oslofjorden Kunstsenter – Drøbak / Norway
2013 – Stencil art Norway – Reedprojects Gallery – Stavanger / Norway
2012 – A-Laget utvalg ’12 – Winter – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2012 – A-Laget utvalg ’12 – Summer – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2012 – Match Point – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2012 – Street Smart – Bergen Kjøtt – Bergen / Norway
2011 – Deflate the hype – Black Pop Gallery – Copenhagen / Denmark
2011 – A-Laget utvalg ’11 – Winter – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2011 – ULTRA 004 artfair – Gallery Kawamatsu booth – Tokyo / Japan
2011 – Young Art – Scandic Vulcan – Oslo / Norway
2011 – T&J Artwalk – Blomqvist – Oslo / Norway
2011 – A-Laget utvalg ’11 – Summer – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2010 – Punk’s Not Dead – Gallery North Gate – Tokyo / Japan
2010 – A-Laget utvalg ’10 – Winter – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2010 – Mattia Benefit – Naples / Italy
2010 – Strike the Street – Rome / Italy
2010 – A-Laget utvalg ’10 – Summer – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2010 – Totally, Pretty Dirty – Tokyo / Japan
2009 – A-Laget utvalg ’09 – Winter – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2009 – Dreams & Nightmares – Vancover / Canada
2009 – A-Laget utvalg ’09 – Summer – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2009 – Threesome – Nice / Nice Exhibitions – Hannover / Germany
2008 – Merry crunchmas – Opus underground – Manchester / United Kingdom
2008 – Inside / Outside – Carmichael Gallery – Los Angeles / US
2008 – The end is nigh – End Bar – Newcastle / United Kingdom
2008 – A-Laget utvalg ’08 – Summer – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2007 – Melbourne stencil festival – J-Studios – Melbourne / Australia
2007 – Urban art agenda #1 – Shed 4 – Melbourne / Australia
2006 – Vinyl killers #6 – The goodfoot – Detroit / USA
Publications
2016 – interview – Decompoz Magazine
2016 – Interview – Fluoro Magazine
2014 – Streetart Norway 2 – Kontur Forlag
2014 – Bærumsavisa – Interview
2014 – NRK National news – TV interview
2013 – Budstikka – Interview
2013 – TV2 national news – TV interview
2012 – Bergens Tidene – Feature on Streetart Norway 2
2012 – D2 – Feature on Streetart Norway 2
2012 – Magasinet KUNST – Streetart Special
2012 – Rogaland avis – Feature on the ONS project
2011 – Audi Magazine – Feature on how to buy art
2011 – Streetart Calendar – Wooster Collective & Tachen
2011 – Costume Magazine – Toms Charity event
2010 – Streetart Norway – Kontur Forlag
Projects & Festivals
2017 – NuArt Oslo – Oslo / Norway
2016 – Cities of Hope festival – Norther Quarter – Manchester / United Kingdom
2015 – Outdoor Festival – Caserma Guido Reni – Rome / Italy
2015 – NuArt festival ’15 – Tou Scene – Stavanger / Norway
2015 – Toms x NRC for Syria – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2014 – NuArt festival ’14 – Tou Scene – Stavnager / Norway
2014 – Memorie Urbane – Gaeta / Italy
2014 – Project M3 – Curated by NuArt – Berlin / Germany
2013 – NuArt festival ’13 – Tou Scene – Stavanger / Norway
2012 – Holzweiler Scarfs – Oslo / Norway
2012 – Commission – ONS – ONS fair – Stavanger / Norway
2011 – T-Shirts for Montage – Tokyo / Japan
2011 – T&J – Artwalk – Oslo / Norway
2011 – Tennis arena decoration – Riksanlegget for Tennis, Hasle – Oslo / Norway
2011 – Super City Bros – DogA – Oslo / Norway
2011 – Toms charity – Galleri-A – Oslo / Norway
2009 – Urban Paint festival – Bristol / UK