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  • Sarah Sansom

HIMBAD and the 9th Wave: Show Review

Not all waves are the same, and not all waves are of water. Underneath the 9th Wave is an entrance to the underworld. Dare to walk this path less trodden?

Monsters inside monsters, some hidden, some in plain sight. Photo montage John Domine.

We stopped by “HIMBAD and The 9th Wave” by Himbad - the UK-based street artists’ first solo show in New York City.

HIMBAD's ability to develop amusing characters in environments inspired by ancient mysticism and Eastern mythology and seeded with elements of deviance, has made him an artist to watch, and connected him to many renowned street artists through collaborations and friendships.

I've been a fan since seeing his monsters in the alleys of Camden Town, London, so I'm thrilled to see a show full of his work here. In recent years he has painted at The Bushwick Collective, The New Allen, and JMZ Walls (see below). This year the artist has painted in Ibiza, Berlin, Japan and has been touring the US in support of this show.

Gallery owner Connie Byun, Exterior 'welcome' sign and canvases.

HIMBAD specialises in the sprezzatura painting method, taking inspiration from the moment and enjoying the journey each painting brings. He discards any preconceived ideas, preferring to take from the moment. feeding directly from the spring of inspiration.

Having only seen his street art, it was delightful to see his trademark monsters in such delicate settings, which adds depth to their meaning. The bioluminescent paint, which glows in UV light, and creatures within creatures were also surprising touches.

Paintings ranged from large scale canvases, medium-sized pieces on wood, and smaller pieces on wood or canvas. Signature 'For Get Pop Art' tees sticker packs are also on sale.

Mini 12 x 12' canvases, priced at $125 each. My favorite has sold!

Cheap Shop̶t, bioluminescent pigment, acrylic, paint pen and ink on canvas.

SOLD Magazine's own Sarah Sansom spoke with the artist as he prepared for his show;

Sarah Sansom: How does it feel to have your first solo show in New York City?

Himbad: This is my first solo show in another country, so it feels like progress! Being in NYC, said to be the home of global capitalism and propoganda, definitely inspired the ‘ForGet Pop Art ‘ gift shop part of the show (see above) as I see the recycling of popular culture in art as a global problem. SS: You created over 28 paintings in about a month. What was that like?

H: It is literally all I have been doing for the last 2 months. It all just melted into one long painting day. SS: Was there a theme, or something you wanted to convey in your work?

H: In Celtic mythology, a gateway to the underworld can be reached underneath the 9th wave. These works are an exploration of that world. I prefer to work on the subconscious if I can (the real underworld containing the fountain of inspiration) and not be too literal. SS: What do you call the creatures in your work?

H: There is another old Celtic legend: That of Bran, who was unbeatable. No one could defeat him and his army... until they learned his name. So some of them might not want their true identities to be divulged. But to not be completely mean, ‘Lmeow’, Dreamswise’ and ‘Apocolyptoad’ are a few of their names. You will have to keep an eye on my work to learn more...

The House of Finnegas, with close up.

U Turn, Meowl, I Told You Not to Drink That, Camo Malfunction & Fuck This. Beautiful wood texture showing through.

12 x 12" pieces on wood, Painting with lacquer and an example of HIMBAD's engaging titles.

SOLD also spoke with gallery owner Connie Byun about this unique show.

SS: HIMBAD has a unique approach to his work. How was putting his show together different?

Connie Byun:This show was very special because Himbad was the first artist residency at the gallery. I was lucky to witness the entire process of his work come to life. He created all of the 30 pieces here in New York and most of them at the gallery. The show naturally developed and we built the show together organically through everyday conversations and interactions.

SS: How do you think the written stories for each painting enhanced the work?

CB: I think the excerpts from the stories explains the depth of his paintings and also works as a portal into this dreamy world. The stories make the characters dimensional and gives it life beyond the canvas.

SS: This show and your last one with Adam Fu, used black light to show off elements that glow in the artwork. Do all of your shows feature this?

CB: No, not at all! I just try to create the best ambience through lighting, music and visuals to showcase the artwork and make it an experience for the viewers. These two shows coincidentally included artwork that reacted to black light really well. Once we hung Adam’s show, we saw how the lights made the artwork illuminate which was a nice surprise. Same with Himbad’s work but this time we collaborated with local Japanese artist to create customized LED light boxes. So now, you can take that ambience and effect home with you.

HIMBAD decorated the 3rd Ethos exterior: the man worked hard! R photo John Domine

HIMBAD sat down for an enlightening SOLD In the Spray Room podcast on April 18. Photo Erica Stella

Murals painted in May with Outersource on the Lower East Side, NYC


Murals painted with The Bushwick Collective, Brooklyn in recent years (no longer visible).

Monsters painted for The Real Art of Street Art in Camden Town, London


The show is open for three weeks at the Bushwick gallery. Stop by to start your own adventure...

Public exhibition dates: Friday May 25 – Sunday June 21

Purchase art from the show here

3RD Ethos Gallery, 154 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237

Gallery Hours:

SUN 12–8 pm

FRI & SAT 12–10 pm

TUE-THU 12–8 pm

Follow Himbad on Instagram here

Listen to Himbad's music technosourcery here

Follow 3rd Ethos for upcoming shows here

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