Abstraction in Graffiti Art – Sat One

Sat One, Buried Horizons

Street art and graffiti, in particular, being its most common form, only relatively recently have undergone the transformation from paintings and works that were traditionally strongly associated with vandalism to worldwidely acknowledged art style. Notwithstanding that disputes about the place of street art in the art world still remain unsetteled, street art has been gaining more and more popularity and acnowledgement not only among the youngsters but also among established connoisseurs of art. Numerous street art festivals and yearly contests and exhibits mushroom and flourish, frequently getting support from authorities. Plenty of galleries promote collaboration with street artists, and, indeed, many graffiti and other works feel very comfortably within galleries’ exhibition space.

Most well-known artists whose works are exposed and sold to collectors at very decent prices commenced their careers unconsciously by starting painting on the walls of buildings and adjacent slums. Rafael Gerlach, also known as Sat One, was not the exception.

Sat One, Traces
Sat One, Traces

Sat One is a graffiti artist of German descent living in Munich. Rafael started his artistic development and evolution on the streets. Later, he graduated in graphic design and began to elaborate his artistic vision, not only dedicating himself to graffiti but restoring to other styles and techniques. His works range from small paintings on stones to huge murals, and from design to sculpture.

During his more than 20-year career Sat One succeeded in elaborating his own recognizable style that distinguishes his pieces from his colleagues’ works. It should be more сlosely referred to as graphic abstractions which base on graffiti and street art techniques. Observing his recent works, one may notice that in a certain sense he has stepped aside from subculturalism which is peculiar to traditional perception of graffiti works.

Sat One, Breaking Monotony, 10 x 20 m
Sat One, Breaking Monotony, 10 x 20 m

What also makes Sat One well-percieved and praised by gallerists, art collectors, and the public, is the multitude of issues he raises and represents through his work. Lately, Sat One took part in exhibition ”Unforeseen circumstances” in one of the Moscow galleries. For this exhibit Sat One along with his colleagues from around the world created works that illustrated their attitude to unpredictable events in our lives. The exhibition under such a title and the very fact that graffiti artists took part in it proves again that street art can be not only a reaction on social or political controversies. Discussing the unforeseen circumstances, their suddenness, and their role in our lives, street art proves to be suitable for deep and serious considerations about very personal and frequently delicate issues. And so, it is due to such artists as Sat One that graffities and street art keep winning respect and affection of audience.

Pictures: SatOne

Natalia Barinova