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Warehouse 1425 Serves Up One-Night-Only Art Party

35 Artists Transform 6000 Square Foot Warehouse

Above: Christopher Konecki is a San Diego artist who curated the art for Warehouse 1425.

If you’re a street artist and you’re handed a 6000 square foot warehouse, you don’t ask any questions, you just start painting. Warehouse 1425 (Friday, May 17 at 1425 E Street, 6:00 to 10:00pm) is a one-night-only art party.

That’s what happened to Christopher Konecki when the design company he worked for, Digital Operative, asked him to transform a warehouse in San Diego’s East Village for a client. Here's what happens when artists are given the space to create.

Evening Edition

Above: KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando shows what happens when artists are given a space to create.

Street artists not only want to redefine the kinds of spaces used for art but they also want their art to be viewed from a fresh perspective says Warehouse 1425 artist and curator Konecki.

"My vision was that people would get involved in this space and really experience the space to change it from a gallery setting, that’s kind of like a sterile setting we wanted to do something that’s really fun and energetic. We want people to come in here and be blown away by the art and also stay."

And explore. Konecki created an interactive sculpture for the event: "the sculpture itself kind of resembles a bird’s nest, sort of made in the same manner with found objects and wood, a lot of it was from inside of here. The audience is supposed to enter it, go inside and be isolated."

For the one night event, Konecki invited quite a few friends. "It took about a day on FaceBook. And the next thing you know I had 35 artists lined up and they came in here and they’ve just been destroying it, doing a great job. So I’m excited."

Artists like Katherine Brannock who is better known for her illustrations done with a ball point pen. She tackled a corner mural at the warehouse that takes advantage of the large space but doesn’t miss the small details.

"The first thought in my mind is I want someone to see it from far away and I kind of in a sense want to almost hypnotize them and pull them into the piece and get them to appreciate it a little bit more up close. It was a lot of fun tackling the space because of the different textures that the corner afforded…you’re putting your mark on it but you’re also trying to honor the space as well and like thank it for being so beautiful as is as raw materials and such."

Credit: Nicholas McVicker

Katherine Brannock working on her mural.

Brannock's piece flows with considerable movement: "The closer that you get to it the more the piece comes alive and you see more of the story going on and then the interactions of the different media that are used to make the entire installation. What’s fun about the more abstract element of the installation, a lot of people will say it looks like hair or it looks like seaweed or something like that but in my mind I don’t see it as anything more than just kind of an energy transfer, a way to lead your eye around a certain space. In a sense the little character here, you’re not really sure if it’s conducting the piece or is she swept up in it and is she in control or out of control or allowing herself to go with the current."

Joseph "DieKuts" Doucette also experimented with something different from his usual for Warehouse 1425: "This is a shack house hut that I built inspired by the paintings that I create. This time I decided rather than paint one of these things to create it 3-dimensionally. I come up from a spray painting background -- checkered legal history --however, I do like to paint on reclaimed wood panels. Every piece you see was hand selected. You could say by me basically driving around getting my Sanford and Son on throwing trash into the back of my truck. It gives all this wood that has so much character a second chance at life. You can’t get colors like these by staining wood or trying to reproduce it; the sun only gives it a certain silver fade that you can only catch here and there."

Artist Neko put up a mural on the front of the Warehouse across the street from a police station. That irony made him smile.

"We [Neko and Honkey Kong] painted the front of it plus it gave me the opportunity to put some graffiti across the street from a police station, which is kind of like a middle finger to the police station for me and I’m pretty happy about that. It's typical street graffiti stuff with some like playful typography, old like 70s elements."

Inside the Warehouse, Neko's wall welcomes people in with a signe that says, "Shanks for the memories."

"I made this like little prison house shank to cut the cardboard yesterday so that’s kind of cool. So I made like 6 or 7 shanks and then hung it on the wall, I made them from all the materials here -- nails and wood and tape -- and I took all the beer boxes from the ground and used those as like a wallpaper for it just to use stuff that was in the building and still in the building just some inspiration from jail and this building, probably because it’s across the street from a police station."

The artists not only get inspiration from the space but also from each other, says Konecki: "It’s actually one of the coolest parts about this process is that these guys get to come in here and learn. I feel like I’ve literally gone through paint school, college, like my post-grad was done in here watching Persue, watching Exist, we have one artist, Maxx Moses, he’s been painting graffiti for like 35 years. To watch him paint is like wow, really amazing."

When asked, Moses provided a demonstration of how to paint with a spray can and how to use the paint with as much control as a brush painter: "This is like a brush with air and it’s all about mastering how hard you press, how soft you press, how close you are, the type of cap that you have on, like what I just did was a fat cap so it’s actually spraying wide, I like painting with paintbrushes too there’s a whole lot of, there’s like this certain quietness with painting with paintbrush, this is loud and boisterous and aggressive, this will kick your ass."

As demonstrated in the mural he created with Glow for the event.

"This piece is a collaboration between myself and Gloria 'Glow' Muriel. Both of us are usually extensive users of color, we usually use a lot of color, and this time around I wanted to do something totally opposite. So the title of this piece is 'Color Blind,' because it’s just black and white. All done with spray paint. We did it like in one night, we blazed it from like midnight to 6:00am."

Credit: Nicholas McVicker

Maxx Moses in front of the mural "Color Blind" that he created with Gloria "Glow" Muriel.

Although CityBeat reported on some controversy regarding Warehouse 1425's similarity to something recently done by Parachute Factory, the artists all seemed pleased by having another opportunity to paint on large and unconventional canvases.

"This is good," says Moses, "Because this is San Diego and it’s good to get that edginess in San Digeo, you know what I mean? San Diego is a clean, beautiful place and it’s nice to have that urban edge in a situation like this."

Moses is one of 35 artists showcased at the Warehouse 1425 event tomorrow night. Konecki says all the money raised will go directly to the artists. But the fate of the Warehouse and all the art created on its walls is uncertain. Konecki would like to see it remain an innovative gallery space but that remains to be seen.

Here is the FaceBook event.

And here is a list of the 5 best movies about graffiti.

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