While we are surrounded by familiar images and clear-cut messages in common visuals such as billboards, in the right parts of town images wait for us to dissect them. In the grittiest of settings, Cryptik places images of beautiful calligraphy and visually complex figures like Gandhi. The artist’s works compose the “Cryptik Movement,” an art movement to shock people out of their everyday realities.
When my love for street art began to grow, I enjoyed exploring the streets of Little Tokyo. It’s not hard to find everything from stickers to wheatpastes there and it was in that same area that I stumbled upon Cryptik’s gallery show at Hold Up Art. The inside of the gallery was transformed by the artist – there were small stations with the tiniest of details thought out. Even abandoned-looking materials like large barrels were transformed by the artist’s calligraphy. I had seen Cryptik’s work on the streets and now understood that his vision was clear – the calligraphy flowed on any surface the artist chose, the complex figures such as his version of a Ganesha exuded a common energy. That was back in January and today I still love following the artist’s unique artistic vision.
Now, Cryptik brings that vision to paper with the release of his book Eastern Philosophy, published by ZERO+ Publishing. Cryptik will hold a signing in Costa Mesa this Saturday, October 13 so I chatted with him about the book, his art and new projects.
When a person stands in front of a Cryptik piece, they might react in a variety of ways. And to the artist that’s the real goal–getting a reaction. Cryptik shares:
I think if anything if I could provoke thought or make them question anything… just invoke a sense of curiosity. Maybe if they see it enough times maybe they’ll start to think, ‘Hey, what is up with this?’ or ‘Hey maybe I should look into this.’ And then you have these other people who think ‘He’s Buddhist,’ and see Hindu iconography, and think ‘What’s going on…’ and just starting a dialogue between me and public and between the public itself. I just want them to question things and their belief system.
That public dynamic carried over into the publishing of the book, which reflects the artist’s dedication to the public sphere. Cryptik explained:
I didn’t have any grand ideas of what I wanted the inside to look like it ended up being a showcase of the work thats in public which I was pretty happy about. It didn’t show gallery stuff like that, it was concise and showcased the public art which was important.
While he doesn’t admonish the gallery world, the focus of the Cryptik movement lies in the streets and the people moving around them. The artist stresses the importance of this idea:
I think those are the people I’m trying to reach. I’m not really trying to reach the people in expensive art galleries… With the movement in general I would like to capture a wider audience, even those people that don’t frequent art museums or don’t even like art. It’s really just putting it out there for the general public.
So what’s next on his agenda? Cryptik is currently painting the interior of FEED Body & Soul, a restaurant in Venice scheduled to open soon. Cryptik reflects on working indoors:
I kind of want to get into doing more interior stuff because I like the ideas of installation and creating that experience so hopefully I can paint motels and stuff like that. I might be painting a hotel out in Thailand in November so that might be fun to do – different things outside the realm and reach a different audience.
At the signing, the artist genuinely hopes to expose more people to his art and the movement. Cryptik shared:
I’m not expecting to sell my books. If you just want to listen to the music, even better [or] if you want to hang out and have a good time. Just because its in OC I don’t know if a lot of people will make their way down there but I’m hoping to reach a different audience down there that never even heard of the movement or seen any street art for that matter.”
Cryptik Book Signing
12 PM to 4 PM As Issued at The Lab
2930 Bristol St. #A104
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(949) 300 – 7118
Photos courtesy of Zero+ publishing & Pedersen projects.