From street to the gallery, Yikes opens city ex­hi­bi­tion

The Press - - News - Jack Fletcher

One of Christchurch’s best-known street artists has hit the stu­dio in prepa­ra­tion for a rare gallery ex­hi­bi­tion.

Ja­cob Ryan, bet­ter known by his artist name Ja­cob Yikes, kicks off his solo show Bad Com­pany on Fri­day at Fik­sate Gallery, on Glouces­ter St.

His street art is fea­tured across the city, in­clud­ing a large blue piece on the side of the old Ry­dges Ho­tel car park, the ‘‘stairs to nowhere’’ near Cathe­dral Square, and an Alice in Won­der­land-themed piece on the side of Alice Cinema on Tuam St.

The 31-year-old Christchurch lo­cal talked to Stuff ahead of the show open­ing on Fri­day at 5.30pm. It will run un­til December 7.

‘‘There is def­i­nitely quite a tran­si­tion from my street stuff to the gallery. There are recog­nis­able el­e­ments, but it’s a dif­fer­ent art form in the end,’’ Ryan said.

Used to large spray-painted mu­rals, Ryan said his gallery work was about small de­tail and in­tri­cate imagery.

‘‘I am strongly in­flu­enced by an­i­ma­tion, par­tic­u­larly older stuff, from the 70s through to the 90s era,’’ he said.

‘‘I think of my style as car­toon sur­re­al­ism, a cross be­tween self­por­trai­ture and self-ex­plo­ration.’’

He ad­mit­ted his work can of­ten be ‘‘bizarre and quite dark’’, chan­nelling his own strug­gles with men­tal health.

‘‘I’ve never shied away from the darker el­e­ments to my own char­ac­ter. I’ve suf­fered from men­tal health since I was a teenager, and the way I work is my ther­apy for that,’’

‘‘I think of my style as car­toon sur­re­al­ism, a cross be­tween self­por­trai­ture and self­ex­plo­ration.’’

he said.

A ‘‘health com­pli­ca­tion’’ about a year ago meant Ryan was out of the stu­dio and off the street-art scene for a long pe­riod of time.

‘‘I’ve been hid­den away for a good year, but now I’ve got 40 orig­i­nals on show, which is a mas­sive amount for me, the most I’ve ever ex­hib­ited.’’


Ja­cob Yikes pic­tured by his work on the wall of Alice Cin­e­mas.

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