brian tait: without a chute
june 5, 2015 – july 24, 2015
the little gallery
5917 maple st.
Artist Brian Tait is inspired by the act of manipulation. “Life is one giant improvisation, taking something and moving it another direction,” he said.
The 39-year-old artist began his career in the streets as an extension of the skateboard culture. “Skateboarding got me into art,” Tait said. “I’ve been skating for 28 years and doing graffiti for just as long.”
For many, graffiti is an unrestrained form of expression created by youth and gang members determined to leave their mark on the world the only way they know how. But Tait sees it as a form of graphic art. “Graffiti is all about the text,” he said.
It wasn’t until he was in his early 20s that he began making money through graffiti in the form of sign painting. He learned the trade working for a sign shop in Florida, eventually making his way to Omaha in 2001. He then worked for a handful of local businesses prior to creating his own company – The Sign Maker.
Tait has been self employed for 14 years, doing mostly commercial sign and installation work for companies like ConAgra and Bass Pro Shops while at the same time pursuing his own art that combines graffiti and typography with found objects, photography and color to create a new form of pop art.
His studio is located at Midtown Art Supply at 2578 Harney St., a facility he runs that serves as a combination studio, material warehouse, and rehearsal and performance space for local bands. “I’ve created a place where people come who don’t get a chance to interact with a diverse crowd,” Tait said. Judging by the homemade ramp, that crowd includes skateboarders.
“Without a Chute,” Tait’s one-man show opening June 5 at the little gallery in Benson, reflects the entire cycle of his creative process. It begins with small pieces that evolve into an assemblage of larger works and will include improvised art he’ll create opening night outside the gallery at 5917 Maple St. on Benson’s busy main drag.
The show includes photographs from a recent trip to Austin, Texas, where Tait was on tour with his band, Oh Merde. Moments were captured in photos that have been printed on paper and then manipulated by hand. “To me, the value of creating the work is part of a regional thing, where you’re at in that moment in time,” Tait said.