Black Book Gallery is back in action and honored to bring the work of Spanish-based artist El Pez to Denver for his first ever solo show in the USA. El Pez (aka Jose Sabate) was born in 1976 in Barcelona, where he learned to paint and started doing graffiti, quickly developing his own characters and the “Barcelona Happy Style” – his signature aesthetic, instantly recognizable by way of his grinning, giddy fish creatures, some with stars in their eyes. He is, in fact, known to friends as “the smiling fish” (Pez is fish in Spanish) and his artwork is full of joy and color, a celebration of the school of life. His unofficial slogan reads: “Smiling since 1999.”
“My [smiling fish] character is born from experimentation, comics, skapunk, freedom, LSD, marijuana; a character who smiles because he laughs at anti-graffiti laws,” Pez says. “He is free and
happy because he does what he wants (like me!).” Pez went from painting the streets to showing in galleries practically overnight, but the streets are still where his heart is; “Right now, one of my favorite places to paint is Miami. I love to walk around Wynwood during Art Basel week, hang out with friends, join the parties and festivals, paint walls, eat good food, exhibit my work and have fun everyday.”
Pez is, in a word, prolific, and his insatiable lust for life resonates across every scene (and smile) he paints. Beyond the building-sized murals Pez has painted across Spain, in his adopted home of Columbia, in London, Miami, Amsterdam, Oslo and elsewhere, he’s been included in a dozen major publications devoted to urban art, among them The Art Of Rebellion: The World Of Street Art, Graffiti World – Street art from five continents, and Carnet de rue, by JR. In 2007, as part of the K-Swiss Tour, he travelled across Asia painting walls, including murals in Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei. Pez has also been exhibited in numerous street art museums, at galleries in over 20 countries, and shown at art fairs such as the Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair. His “Barcelona Happy Style” has touched the lives of millions, spreading smiles worldwide.
2020 has been a historically difficult year so far, to say the least. Black Book Gallery is dedicated to
brightening and uniting our community through art, and has promoted cross-cultural exchange since we first opened in Denver over ten years ago. We believe that inspiration is more important now than ever before in our gallery’s history and we remain committed to sharing the work of artists whose creative visions continue to push the needle of human progress – and solidarity –
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