Info / Bio

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James Reka – Melbourne, Australia

James Reka is a young contemporary Australian artist based in Berlin, Germany. His origins lie in the alleyways and train lines of Melbourne’s inner-suburbs where he spent over a decade refining his now-emblematic aesthetic. His character work has come to represent the beginnings of a new style of street art: clean, unique and not necessarily on the street (much to his mother’s joy). Surrealist, abstracted creatures emerge from the depths of Reka’s mind, communicating through strong lines, dynamic movement and bold colours. Theses figures haunt the laneways over three continents, clambering up brick walls and giving the urban environment a literal fresh coat of paint. Their personalities mirror those of their often-decrepit metropolitan context, opening a dialogue between the viewer and their surroundings.

With influences in pop culture, cartoons and illustration, Reka’s style has become known for its fusion of high and low art. This style emerged from his Pop-Art-influenced logo design background, featuring simple but striking lines and colour ways. Over time, the logos and symbols he created for clients evolved into more structured, animated forms and embraced variances of the different media he began experimenting with. These elements include murals, graphics, photography, and most recently, a move towards working with found objects, often sourced walking the train lines at night or exploring abandoned warehouses.

Through these origins, Reka has developed an incredibly diligent, almost obsessive attention to the technical proficiency of his work, and it has moved him towards producing ever-increasingly meticulously detailed pieces. His art sits somewhere between humorous and menacing, contrasting the two opposing feelings in a way that is unique to his vision. These pseudo-human forms are recognisable but isolating, playful yet eerie. This is Reka’s art: a paradox between sharp design and graffiti, held together with a fuse of passion and spray paint.

Recently, Reka has held solo shows in London, San Francisco, Denmark and Melbourne, has exhibited at the Royal West of England Academy (RWA) in Bristol, as well as pieces appearing in New York, Munich, Denver and Cologne exhibitions. On the streets, his characters adorn the walls of cities around the world from Japan to Milan and Paris to Brooklyn, Montreal to Berlin. Reka’s works have recently been acquisitioned by the National Gallery of Australia for their permanent collection, cementing his place as one of Australia’s most respected contemporary street artists.

 

Exhibition List

James Reka – reka@rekaone.com

EDUCATION

BA. (Visual Communication & Design) RMIT University, Melbourne (2002-2006)

Self-Taught Artist

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SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2016

MIRAGE Galerie Mathgoth, Paris (FR)

2015

“OLYMPVS” Avantgarde Gallery, Milano (IT)

2014

“Trip The Light” Stolenspace Gallery, London (UK)

“Untold” Backwoods Gallery, Melbourne (AUS)

2013

“3am Femmes” WhiteWalls Gallery, San Francisco (USA)

“James Reka” Galerie Wolfsen, Aalborg (Denmark)

“Open Studio” Backwoods Gallery, Melbourne (AUS)

2012

“Primary Suspects” Backwoods Gallery, Melbourne (AUS)

2011

“Down Low Too Slow” Backwoods Gallery, Melbourne (AUS)

2010

“Outside Infinity” 19Karen Gallery, Mermaid Beach, Goldcoast (QLD)

2009

“Such Is Life” Greenwood Gallery, South Melbourne (VIC)

2008

“Against The Grain” Wasteland Gallery, Perth CBD (WA)

”Tall Oaks” No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

”Tall Oaks” China Heights Gallery, Surry Hills, Sydney (NSW)

2006

“100K Melbourne” Bus Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

”100K Sydney” China Heights Gallery, Surry Hills, Sydney (NSW)

2004

“Negative Reality” Early Gallery, Collingwood (VIC)

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2017

“Pow Wow Hawaii” curated by Thinkspace gallery, Honolulu (HI)

2016

“Scope Miami”  Miami Basel Art Fair/ Thinkspace, Miami (USA)

“Entry Point” Fullerton Museum Center, California (USA)

“Nexus” Brand Library & Art Center, California (USA)

“Pow Wow Hawaii” curated by Thinkspace gallery, Honolulu (HI)

“What the Weekend is” Berlin group exhibition Urban Spree, Berlin (DE)

2015

“Sans Sitre”  Galerie Mathgoth, Paris (FR)

“La Familia”  Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles (USA)

“Paint-Ting” Michael Reid Gallery, Berlin (DE)

“Reasons for Seasons” Stolenspace Gallery, London (UK)

“Made in Berlin” Galerie Mathgoth, Paris (FR)

2014

“Scope Miami”  Miami Basel Art Fair/ Thinkspace, Miami (USA)

“Group show”  Thinkspace Gallery, Los Angeles (USA)

“Street Life” Galerie Wolfson, Aalborg, (Denmark)

“Redux” Inoperable Gallery, Vienna (AT)

“Sinners & Saints”  Stolenspace Gallery, London (UK)

“Pow Wow Hawaii”  Thinkspace Gallery pop-up, Honolulu (HI)

“Scope NY” Scope Art Fair/ Blackbook Gallery, New York (USA)

2013

“Eyes” eye themed group show, Backwoods Gallery, Melbourne (AUS)

“Bricks and Pieces” international group show, Able & Baker Gallery, Cologne (Germany)

“7” 7th Anniversary group show, Stolenspace Gallery, London (UK)

“Kindred” international group show, Bold Hype Gallery, New York (USA)

“Paper” international group show, Intoxicated Demons Gallery, Munich (Germany)

“Knock it out” international group show, Blackbook Gallery, Denver (USA)

2012

“Natural: Unnatural” international group show, Royal West Acadamy of Art (RWA), Bristol (UK)

“Hands” hands themed group show, Backwoods Gallery, Melbourne (AUS)

2011

“Young & Free” Australian Street-art show, 941 Geary, San Francisco (USA)

“NGV studio” Everfresh residency and exhibition NGV Studio (Federation Square) Melbourne CBD (VIC)

“South of the Border” group show, Lo-Fi Gallery, Surry Hills (NSW)

“Space Invaders” Street Art Exhibition, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

2010

“Exterior Motives: International Street-art”, Canberra (Space Invaders sideshow)

“Everfresh Booklaunch” and Exhibition – PLSMIS Gallery Tokyo

“Street Studio” Book Launch & Exhibition, No Vacancy/Fed Square, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

“Mixed Business” Semi Permanent Exhibition, Ambush Gallery, Waterloo (NSW)

“Street Studio” Book Launch & Exhibition, Black Rat Press Gallery, London (UK)

“Everfresh Blackbook” Book launch and exhibition, 1000Pound Bend Melbourne (VIC)

“Space Invaders” Street Art Exhibition, National Gallery of Australia (NGA) Canberra (ACT)

2009

“Record Time” Group Exhibition, Gorker Gallery, Fitzroy (VIC)

”King Brown #5? Group Exhibition, Gorker Gallery, Fitzroy (VIC)

”Contains 12 pcs.” Group exhibition, Gorker Gallery, Fitzroy (VIC)

”Suit Up” Playing Card exhibition, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

2008

“Drawing Machine 2? Group exhibition, Greenwood Gallery, Sth Melbourne (VIC)

”No Comply” Skateboard exhibition, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

”No Comply” Skateboard exhibition, Red Bull Gallery, Sydney (NSW)

”Monster Invasion” Group exhibition, Ruban Rat, Newtown (NSW)

”Sideways” Charity Auction Exhibtion, MTV Gallery, Sydney (NSW)

”McCulloch Gallery, Studio Group Exhibition, McCulloch Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

”Black & White” Ingenious Exhibition, Famous When Dead Gallery, West Melbourne (VIC)

”Golden Brown” Two Colour Group Exhibition, Bodhi Gallery, London (UK)

”Red Balloon” Print Exhibition, Famous When Dead Gallery, West Melbourne (VIC)

”No Vacancy” Gallery Opening Exhibition, No Vacancy Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

”Kids Today” Semi Permanent Group Exhibition, MTV Gallery, Sydney (NSW)

”Everfresh at Wasteland” Everfresh Studio Exhibition, Wasteland Gallery, Perth (WA)

2007

“Backwoods” Everfresh Studio Exhibition, Wooden Shadow Gallery, Richmond (VIC)

”Back-up” Everfresh Studio Exhibition, Hogan Gallery, Collingwood (VIC)

“Another Show” Everfresh Studio Exhibition, Hogan Gallery, Collingwood (VIC)

“KingBrown 3” Magazine Launch, Paper Shadow Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

“KingBrown 3” Magazine Launch, China Heights Gallery, Surry Hills (NSW)

“No Comply 3” Skateboard Exhibition, Federatiopn Square, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

“12×12” Group Exhibition, Ambush Gallery, Waterloo (NSW)

”Plastic Pimps 2” Toy Exhibition, Central Station Gallery, Melbounre CBD (VIC)

“Street Art Feature” Outre Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

“Anniversary Show” PerSquareMetre Gallery, Collingwood (VIC)

“Street Art Feature” Mucholoch Gallery, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

2006

“KingBrown” Issue 2 Launch Exhibition – Per Square Metre, Collingwood (VIC)

”Selftitled” The Autopsy Gallery, St. Kilda (VIC)

”Its who you know, not what you know!” – Per Square Metre, Collingwood (VIC)

”Infiltrate” Workshop Space, Melbourne CBD (VIC)

”Letter Heads” Alphabet Exhibition, Wooden Shadow Gallery, Richmond (VIC)

”Prahran Mission” Charity Exhibition, Revolver Space, South Yarra (VIC)

”All City Style ” Train Exhibition, Revolver Space, South Yarra (VIC)

”All City Style” Train Exhibition, China Heights Gallery, Surry Hills (NSW)

”Semi Permanent 06? Launch Exhibition, Perth (WA)

”Without Reason” China Heights Gallery, Surry Hills (NSW)

”Outside Over Here” Imp Gallery, South Yarra (VIC)

”Urban Myths” Street Art Exhibition, Brunswick (VIC)

”Plastic Pimps” Toy Exhibition, Betula Gallery, CBD (VIC)

”Resist” Remix Media Exhibition, Brightspace Gallery, St. Kilda (VIC)

”Plastic Pimps” Toy Exhibition, China Heights Gallery, Surry Hills (NSW)

COMMISSIONS, CURATED PROJECTS & MEDIA

2015

The Urban Contemporary Art Guide 2015 (Graffiti Art Magazine) – Featured Artist

Surface – Street artist portrait – Ginko press

Roskilde Festival (Denmark) – Curated Sculpture park

The art of the Mural – Schiffer Publishing

VNA magazine – Issue 30,  Artist feature

2012

Project 5 Live painting event and charity auction, Sydney 2012

FBI Radio – Artist talk/interview for Project 5 – 10am Sydney 11/03/12

Channel 10 – 7pm Project. Live painting coverage for Project 5, Sydney 7pm 09/03/12

2011

“Asian Wave 360” – Live painting collaboration, Seco Bar Shibuya Tokyo, Japan. December 2011

“Shibuya fm” – Radio interview for “Asian Wave 360” December 2011

“Elsewhere Mural”- Private commission, interior installation/mural in Bar – Surfers Paradise, QLD

“Lighthouse Mural”- Private commission, exterior installation/mural for Lighthouse charity organization – Richmond, Melbourne (VIC)

Live painting demonstration @ Metro Gallery  (VIC) – June 2011

“NGV studio” Everfresh residency and exhibition NGV Studio (Federation Square) Melbourne CBD (VIC)

“Madman Mural”- Private commission, exterior installation/mural for Madman organization – Collingwood, Melbourne (VIC)

“Live painting demonstration @ “Lost in Bass” Music Event – Neverland Complex (VIC)

2010

Interview on Triple J with Lindsey Mcdougall – Space Invaders NGA Street-art exhibition

“LTRHDS” Curated Alphabet Exhibition – ‘100Pound Bend’ Melbourne, February

“LTRHDS” Curated Alphabet Exhibition – ‘Red Bull Gallery’ Sydney, April

St Ali” Laneway/ Exterior Building Mural Commission – South Melbourne

“Fitzroy house”- Private commission, interior installation/mural – Fitzroy, Melbourne

2009

“Melbourne Ink” (Street-art documentary) – Featured Artist, screened at Federation Square, July 2009

2008

“RTR Radio” Perth Artrage Festival interview (21/10/08) Perth

”9am with David and Kim” (channel 10), Street art feature (23/10/08)

”Chupa Chups” Commissioned exterior mural, ACDC lane, Melbourne CBD

”R Wine Bar” Commissioned interior installation, North Adelaide

”Maid and Magpie” Commissioned Exterior mural, Adelaide CBD

”Prince Albert” Commissioned interior mural, Wright St. Adelaide

“Street Art Project” Commissioned workshop, City of Yarra, Napier st. Fitzroy

2007

“Suede Bar” Commissioned exterior mural, Smith st. Collingwood

“Dragonfly” Commissioned artwork for eterior mural, Chapel st. Windsor

“Rose Street Markets” Commissioned exterior mural, Rose St. Fitzroy

“Backwoods” Exhibition Curated Project. Wooden Shadow Gallery, Richmond

“Wine & Bar Expo” Commissioned for Live art installation, Melbourne and Sydney exhibition buildings

2006

“Publicist Mojo” Commissioned artwork for interior installations throughout the foyer and studios of the advertising firm.

”Letterheads” Alphabet Exhibition, Curated Project including launch of Wooden Toy’s “Vintage Issue”

“Red Bull Music Academy” Commissioned artwork for interior installations throughout recording studios.

”Uniform” Commissioned interior mural for retail store. Brunswick st. Fitzroy

”Rash” Featured Artist screened at Melbourne International Film Festival & ABC TV. Madman Distribution

2005

“Brahma” Comissioned artwork for A-frame on Truck

“Another Inch” Commissioned interior mural for retail store. Darlinghurst, Sydney

”Melbourne Fringe Festival” Commissioned Artwork for the exterior design of information booth at FedSquare

”Jade” Comissioned exterior mural for retail store. Balaclava

”Loreal Fashion Week” Commissioned for exterior artwork and murals. Greville st. Prahran

”GhostRider movie” Commissioned artwork and designs for sets and backdrops

“Big Day Out” Comissioned Live art demonstration at main entrance. Melb Showgrounds

2004

“Extra Classic” Commissioned artwork for exterior panels by World Square and Citylights. George rd. Sydney

“Space & Smart Car” Comissioned Live artwork for exterior of smart car. Space, Sydney

”Negative Reality” Exhibition Curated Project. Early Gallery, Collingwood.

“Big Day Out” Comissioned Live art demonstration at main entrance. Melb Showgrounds

SELECTED REVIEWS AND PUBLICATIONS

Front cover and artist feature – “Blank Canvas Magazine”, issue 1. 2011

VNA magazine # 14 – Artist feature. 2011

Broadsheet Magazine artist feature June 2011

Space invaders Book, Street art catalogue for NVA collection 2010­

“Everfresh: Blackbook” Artist/studio feature. Melbourne University Press 2010

“Empty Magazine” artist feature. Design is Kinky 2010

“High Fructose” Magazine – Artist feature 2010

“Wastelands Magazine” artist feature & front cover artwork 2010

“Street Studio” artist feature – Melbourne Street Art book, Thames & Hudson 2010

“Such is Life” M magazine, The Age July 26th ­­2009

“Writing’s on the wall for risque wine maker” The Advertiser (SA), June 11 2008

“Backwoods Review” Illegal Fame Magazine issue 4, November 2007

“SWB crew Feature” Stealth Magazine no.14, Febuary 2007

“Character Kings” Overspray Magazine issue 5, January 2007

“Reka interview” Acclaim Magazine issue 3, January 2007

“Reka interview” King Brown Magazine no.2, Mr Yok, October 2006

“Street Art Uncut” BOOK cover. Matthew Lunn. Craftsman House Publishers, Thames and Hudson Australia 2006

“Without Reason”. Elliot, Twisted Inc. productions 2006

“Graffiti down to a fine art” Maria Bervankis, Melbourne Leader, August 16 2006

“The Guild 2nd Ed: Outside Over Here”. Andy Sargent, Seven-Nine productions 2006

“Decked” Wooden Toy Magazine no.1, Timba Smits, December 2005

“Street Scene” Bill Craske, The Age (Melbourne Magazine Issue 10) August

2005

Cover design, Out4fame Magazine no.32, February 2005

“No Comply” Tattoos Downunder Magazine no.51, Nicole Reed, November 2004

“Melbourne” Stu Magazine issue 30, Qube Konstruct, October 2004

“Street Section” Artillery Magazine no.2, 2004

“Reka interview” Lucky Magazine no.18, Luke Canning, March 2004

“Conform no1: Australia Street Art”. Saskia Folk, Macmillain Publishers Australia 2004

“Sticker Nation” Dom Murphey, Blowback Magazine February 2004