Chris RWK has been creating art on and off the street, uninterrupted since 1990. An international cult following has grown around “Robots Will Kill”, and it’s iconic character which has become somewhat of a mouthpiece for its creator. Having a continual presence in Chris’ work for the past two decades, the robot character has developed through multiple iterations to become the entity we see today.
I visited Chris RWK’s studio as he prepared for his upcoming exhibition “Greatest Hits” opening at 212 Arts on Thursday, May 16th. The show title comments on the tendency of artists to stay within their comfort zone and/or continue to capitalize on their “greatest hits”. Chris commented, “When I do a piece without the robot character people always ask ‘Where is the robot?’; It’s the equivalent of say saying, ‘Play Freebird!’”
Since the inception of Robots Will Kill, Chris has incorporated pop culture references alongside his mainstay character. In this particular body of work, comic book pages appear below the surface of a number of pieces with the robot acting as a window to what is featured on the page. By looking “through” the robot you are given a direct line into the artists mind. This technique seems to be an evolution of the messages written on signs, often held by the robot over the years.
Conversely, in much of Chris’ work, the unseen holds as much significance as what can be seen on the surface. Images and messages are buried deep within the art, never to be seen by the public. This process based, intentional obscuring of elements reminds us that just because you can’t see something doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
“Greatest Hits” by Chris RWK opens May 16 and runs through June 4th at 212 Arts. The gallery is open Thursday - Saturday from 3:00 - 7:00, Sunday 2:00 - 8:00 and Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment.