September 3 - October 2, 2004
Opening Reception: Friday, September 3, 2004, 6-10 p.m.
7922 W. 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048
Sponsored in part by: SSUR/ Anthem Magazine / HUF /
Nievesbooks.com / UBIQ / Sandinista / II Step / ODG / Stacks.
Soundplates provided by Mason (UBIQ / PayerHaters)
Curated by Christopher Bettig
"Beauty, no doubt, does not make revolutions. But a day will come when revolutions will have a need for beauty." - Albert Camus, The Rebel
Four x four Gallery presents new works from east coast typographer, artist, and father, Kevin Lyons / a.k.a. Natural born in the exhibition, IT'S ONLY BUSINESS: Words That Define Me. Lyons graphically explores the semiotics of old school hip-hop through a series of typographically-driven installation pieces that illustrate and capture the colorful and dynamic wordplay that characterized his early influential years. The show reflects growing up surrounded by words and beats and the struggle to find a typographic equivalent. By displaying these combinations, he attempts to expose the process and methodology by which he developed his own style and humor and the conceptual basis behind the quirkiness and non-linear quality of his personal work. Tired of trying to convince the world that there could be a graphic equivalent to rap music, Lyons has resigned himself to taking all the qualities of hip-hop and using them as a platform to design and work from.
Again choosing to explode his patented daily hand-drawn to scanner to computer to printer techniques (known only in the business as "the skillz"), he elevates his methodology by increasing scale and size and subject upon a larger surface. Lyons recombines some of the very lyrics that helped lead him to a lifelong love for envisioning and pysically representing the spoken word. The show is to be read from top to bottom. Lyons states "Often I find myself overdoing something in order to to feel that it is better than something else. Overcompensating. Using sheer, overwhelming quanity of work to overcome any insecurity regarding the quality of the work itself. I often fight this urge. However, here in IT'S ONLY BUSINESS I fully embrace this idea and overcompenate to the nth degree."
The show is dense in linework and pays formal homeage to a few of his favorites including echoes of Cy Twombly and Kieth Haring and includes a personal challenge to legendary designer / art director Herb Lubalin. But it is the subject matter itself which takes center stage here. Lyons borrows and then recreates a master poem to himself - a list of toasting and boasting, flipping verbs, and shifting sentences. Fragments of his most formidable years.
After receiving his masters degree from CalArts in 1998, Kevin Lyons has worked for Nike, both in and out of house, has been Art Director of Urban Outfitters on two separate occasions and has been Art Director at filmmaker Spike Jonze's Girl Skateboard Company. He was also the original US Art Director for TOKION Magazine. He continues to maintain long-standing freelance relation-ships with Nike, Jordan Brand, Adidas, Stussy and Stussy Japan, Neroli Records, UBIQ, HUF, Redfive, Commonwealth Stacks, Sandinista, and longtime friend and collaborator NYC artist, SSUR.
A typographer, an art director, a designer, a teacher, and a father, in 2001, he was named as one of the "top forty designers under thirty" by ID Magazine. His work has been published worldwide from Thrasher to The Face to Relax to Lodown to Anthem and Refill, as well as shown worldwide including solo shows in Philadelphia, SF and Tokyo. He has also written articles for the AIGA Journal, as well as adressing the AIGA on two occasions including as a published recipient of its Fresh Dialogues Series. He also taught typography for two years at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Most recently Lyons was the Design Director at Stussy. This year saw the release of his own line of toys (UPROCK ANIMALS) through Sony Creative in Japan. He also produces two clothing lines; one for 2K called Atlantis, and the under under his personal namesake, NATURAL BORN. Both are distributed globally. Currently, Lyons maintains his own small experimental graphic project also under the namesake, Natural Born from Philadelphia where he lives and works with his wife and daughter drawing type and bumping Twin Hype.
four x four
otto design group