King Amsterdam True King Experience 2.0
On Thursday July 2, Maurice and Lulu, owners of Vola Vida Gallery, hosted an art exhibition show in Manhattan, New York (East Village). It is in a low key area, made up of glass exterior doors, so one can’t help but to see all of the cool art that’s inside.
The gallery is just about a month old; June 4th was the first opening, and the True King Experience is only its sophomore show. Vola Vida Gallery lies between an East Village Deli, followed by an apartment and a pizza shop called, “Johnny Favorites.” There were about 29 canvases displayed on the white walls, which was brilliant because the vibrant colors on the canvases automatically stood out even from afar.
One of the best part about this gallery is that, the art pieces change every two weeks, the unpredictability of the art pieces after two weeks, is what makes this gallery so unique.
“This is the only gallery in N.Y.C. dedicated to only street art,” says Lulu. “East Village and N.Y.C. has tons of artists. We are so lucky here,” she continued.
The atmosphere of Vola Vida was very cool and calm; Rapper Fabolous “Lituation” played in the background, and some old school Hip Hop songs, which I was told were coming from Maurice’s playlist.
The mastermind of the majority of these art pieces were created by stencil artist, King Amsterdam, who is pretty much aware of how talented he is but still chooses to remain humble. He indicated within the last three months, he was able to finish all of those canvases that were showcased on the walls. Impressive. Also, his friends were given the opportunity to have their own canvas posted on the walls as well. Amsterdam said, depending on one’s talent he decides if he would give him or her a blank canvas, a black and white canvas, or a canvas with a creative background. Even his friend’s 6-year-old son has a canvas posted on the wall, but his piece is not for sale.
Artist Nicholai Khan, also has a canvas on the wall, a mickey mouse drawing for $600. Khan has painted for many celebrities like comedian/actor Tracy Morgan and New Orleans rapper Lil Wayne. But in most cases, these canvases would include a picture of a guy whose back is turned wearing a hoody with “K I N G” imprinted on it and a pair of baggy jeans, pointing to something in front of him.
When it comes to art, Amsterdam feels that people should get it right away. “I don’t like to explain sh*t to people,” he said. However, he does want his artwork to cause a reaction from his viewers.
“Art pieces are supposed to make you feel something,” he said.
When asked which of his own art piece was his favorite, he pointed to a black and white 10×8 “Sega Genesis” canvas which was spray painted with acrylic, and is worth $250. His other favorite, (which was also mine) was a piece titled, “Crash Test Dummy” 24×30 and it was done using spray paint, and it is worth $400. There’s also an art piece of American singer and actor, Frank Sinatra, 12 x16 worth $300 by Amsterdam and he did it with just spray paint as well.
How Amsterdam got his ideas when it comes to creating these beautiful art pieces, he says, “I only paint stuff that I have a connection to.” Although, he paints everything, he claims he does not like painting people anymore.
“Every stencil artists paints people. I want to separate myself.”
According to Maurice, these canvases can range from as low as $200 and go as high to $1500.
“There’s a lot of talents in the city,” says Lulu. “People are paying attention.”
And they are, if American art dealer and curator, Jeffrey Deitch made his way up to Vola Vida last week Sunday.
Quite frankly, if you are someone who loves and appreciate street art or even graffiti, Vola Vida Gallery is the perfect place for you (240 East 4th Street). This is a place where street art is giving great recognition as opposed to the ugly and nasty stereotypes that they are often being tied too.
“Art is not cherished anymore.” says Amsterdam. “People have no culture. We live in a cultureless world.”
With Sherley Boursiquot