Ken Flewellyn. A realist painter fascinated by the intersection of diverse cultures, personal histories, and Hip Hop, Flewellyn creates portraits of women that challenge our assumptions about identity and cultural homogeneity.
Inspired by his lifelong love of Hip Hop and his coming of age as a boy during its golden age in the 80s, Flewellyn’s work has always been about music and its impact on his personal vantage point and outlook on the world. As a cultural form, Hip Hop emerged from a localized cultural moment only to evolve into a variegated and international form that would systemically embrace the freedom of appropriation, and the complexity of multiple voices. This idea of cultural heterogeneity has influenced recurring themes in his imagery and has shaped his belief in the positive power of cultural mash-up.
Borrowing motifs and inspiration from Japanese culture and aesthetics, a visual influence in his home since childhood, Flewellyn often depicts women in traditional Japanese garb, silks, and kimonos. The subjects, however, remain anonymous, visible only by hands, body, and gestures, seldom, if ever, are faces or individuals revealed in their entirety. The subject’s identity, as a result, is relayed by the presence of revelatory objects, tattoos, and accessories – external clues that point to something beyond the seen and allow for the aesthetic to prevail over individuation or the distraction of specificity. That being said, however, Flewellyn depicts real women based on actual people – friends, and strangers – anchoring his imagery in reality rather than unrealistic idealizations.
The juxtaposition of formal cultural garb and pop cultural accoutrements keeps the work fascinating. These tightly cropped compositions are always informed by the presence of Hip Hop imagery, whether in the form of boom boxes, tapes, gold chains or typography. Playful and energized with tactility and detail, they’re both sensual and contemporary – solemn and light.
NEW - Music on Walls - Interview w/ Ken Flewellyn
Playboy - 3 Black Artists on the Art World
Highlark.com - Discover Ken Flewellyn
Thinkspace Gallery - Stay Gold - Solo Exhibition - 2017
Thinkspace Gallery - Entry Point - Fullerton Museum of Art - (Fullerton, CA) 2016
Thinkspace Gallery - Pow Wow! Hawai'i - Honolulu Museum of Art School- (Honolulu,HI) 2016
Thinkspace Gallery - Stolen Space Gallery - LAX/LHR - (London,UK) 2015
Thinkspace Gallery - Beyond Eden - Multi Gallery Event(Los Angeles, CA) 2015
Thinkspace Gallery -Urban Nation Museum - "Rising" (Group Show) [Berlin, DE] 2015
Thinkspace Gallery - Innerstate Gallery - "LAX/DTW" (Group Show)[Detroit, MI] 2015
Long Beach Museum of Art - "Art Auction XVI" - (Group Show) 2015
Gauntlet Gallery - "3rd Annual 12x12 Exhibit" (Group Show) 2015
Thinkspace Gallery - "La Familia:10 Year Anniversary"(Group Show) 2015
Thinkspace Gallery - "Aqua: Art Miami" (Group Show) 2014
Thinkspace Gallery - "LAX/SFO" (Group Show) 2014
11:11 ACC - "The Bridge Between Us" (Group Show) 2014
Jeanie Madsen Gallery - "I HeART LA" (Group Show) 2014
Gabba Gallery - "Bright Ideas" (Group Show) 2014
Pi Gallery - "This is Happening(Group Show) 2014
Cannibal Flower - (Group Show) 2014
Cella Gallery - "Never a Dull Moment" (Group Show) 2013
Cannibal Flower - "Sound & Vision" (Group Show) 2013
Jeanie Madsen Gallery - "The Get Together" (Group Show) 2013