Take a walk past a few of the warehouses crowding the Al Quoz district and you might spot a glimpse of graffiti on the walls. The industrial district is home to a few of Dubai’s edgier art galleries, and also played host to a street art festival earlier this year. It was, therefore, a suitable setting for famed graffiti artists and close collaborators Pose and Revok to debut their first show in Dubai. Rolling Stone Middle East and Library Street Collective invited the artists to show in the Middle East for the first time, to a crowd of graffiti enthusiasts that had flown in from different countries just for the event.
The two are renowned in graffiti circles for enjoying an illustrious career, which includes their contribution to the famous Houston/Bowery wall, exhibits at Miami’s Art Basel, the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as exhibiting sold-out shows in L.A., New York, and Berlin. Jordan (“Pose”) employs imagery from advertising, street signs, and comic art to create eclectic montages of the human condition, while Jason (“Revok”) uses physical materials to represent the cyclical struggle of creating graffiti and having it painted over; the resulting body of work is abstract, geometrical, and vibrant.
Speaking to Style.com/Arabia, the artists admitted they only felt like they were in the Middle East once they visited the old part of the city. When asked if they felt inspired, they responded enthusiastically: “There’s so much honesty you see in the streets, whether it’s a little sign or a cargo post. You can bring all of that back into the studio.” Revok said he was a fan of Islamic architecture and the Arabic script, adding that he likes calligraffiti artist eL Seed’s work. With a career spanning 20 years in the relatively new field of fine-art graffiti, the duo advised young artists in the region to “not overthink” and to learn as they go along. Revok added, “To young people in the Middle East, I would say: ‘if you want to make art, just go for it. If you’re in the Western world, don’t make art…do something else. We have enough artists.’”