Los Angeles-based artist Hijack is known for his thought-provoking works that often employ humour and irony to critique society’s socio-political matters to make his point. Emerging quietly in the night as notorious artists do, leaving his aesthetic observations across the city’s urban terrain for all to ponder
Born and raised in Los Angeles, the elusive artist has been involved in the city’s art scene for over a decade, forging a distinctive ilk fusing graffiti with fragments of pop art. Raising to prominence with his debut gallery show at London’s Mead Carney Fine Art gallery in 2013, which was well received, swiftly establishing his notoriety and stamping his name into the art universe.
I’m inspired by anything that impacts our society/culture, with some issues taking priority over others. I also like to keep things light, with a little tongue-in-cheek
Yet, his journey into the world of art started young; his father is the street artist Mr. Brainwash, leading him to be surrounded by some of the world’s most renowned street artists, like Banksy, Invader, and Shepard Fairey, and his been honing his craft ever since. Hijack’s earlier work focused on stencils; now, the artist is transitioning into the contemporary art world. Recently revealing a new series of works at his solo exhibition, “Think Outside The Frame“, a headline booth at Art Miami.
Internationally praised for bridging the distance between street and contemporary art, a prodigy in his own right and held in high regard by collectors with works that can be seen across the globe. He is an artist you should keep a close eye on. We managed to catch up with him shortly after his Art Miami solo exhibition.
Q: Hi Hijack! How are you doing? Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Please introduce yourself for those who do not know you.
Hijack: Hi, I’m Hijack. I am a Los Angeles-based artist breaking into the contemporary art world, working in various mediums ranging from oil to spray paint and enjoys painting on canvases, walls, and occasionally trash.
Q: You started your artistic journey as an underground street artist, stencilling the city of Los Angeles under the cloak of night. Can you tell us about your experience as an artist living in Los Angeles, how you started in the arts and how art has played a role in your life?
Hijack: I am L.A born and bred. My dad, Mr. Brainwash, is himself a Street Artist/Pop Artist, so I picked up his knowledge and expertise at a very young age by working alongside him at his studio. Art has always been part of my life. I was in grade school when my dad started filming Street Artists in their own element. This is the earliest I can remember art being in my life and the catalyst that would eventually lead me to pursue a career in the arts.
Q:Your work has a running theme that fuses fine art and street art elements to express your visual commentaries on social and political issues. Please tell us more about your artistic practice, what inspires you, and how you create your pieces.
Hijack: I’m inspired by anything that impacts our society/culture, with some issues taking priority over others. I also like to keep things light, with a little tongue-in-cheek here and there. I’m visually inspired by my city and the urban art and culture it has fostered. Sometimes a drive through my city can get those creative juices flowing.
Q: You grew up surrounded and inspired by numerous renowned street artists, including Invader, Banksy, and Shepard Fairey. In addition, you are the son of ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’ star Mr Brainwash, allowing you to observe some of the world’s most prolific and successful street artists’ creative processes first-hand. Has this experience influenced your practice and work in any way?
Hijack: There isn’t a formula to my process, but the constants include oil and spray paint. I experiment a lot in the studio; some days, I will work on woodcuts, and others on canvas. Sometimes I go outdoors and work on a mural; other days, I just sketch on my iPad. There is no telling how I’ll approach my next show.
Q: Your upcoming exhibition at the renowned Art Miami, “Think Outside The Frame”, takes up an entire booth showcasing a new body of work. Can you tell me more about this, what visitors can expect to experience and how this exhibition at Art Miami came about?
Hijack: Street art meets museum masterpiece – the dichotomies of life.
The street artists of the world do not have the platform that is necessary to jump-start their careers – this booth has been created to highlight this journey!
The high-end details and aspects of these masterpieces show the contrast of the beautiful yet overlooked community of street art. While simultaneously showing the intricacy and beauty of the contemporary arts with a twist.
“Hijacking” the contemporary field, this metaphoric character is the mind of us all – no matter what your background is, this character is the voice of reason!
This booth helps expand on the thoughts that street artists have, who may not have the platform. By placing these two styles of work next to each other creates a symbiotic relationship, creating a beautiful blend of both types of masterpieces!
The Graffiti side of the booth has an underlying rhetoric of conforming to societal norms to reach the same stature as the classics that are presented on the gallery/museum side!
To make these masterpieces feel a bit more accessible and relatable, the character has put their own spin on the classics. By reconstruing these pieces that have been around for years, there is more accessibility to the public.
The beauty in the eye of the beholder….
Q: The studio is the sacred temple of creativity. What are three things you can’t live without in the studio?
Hijack: Oil paint, spray paint, a canvas and coffee. Once these needs are met, I can begin to create.
Q: What’s next for Hijack?
Hijack: It’s been a productive year, and it seems like we’re finally putting the pandemic behind us. There is still a lot of division and tension in our society spurred on by the pandemic, but 2023 will be a year of healing. Lots of reasons to look towards the future. I’ve e been working on a couple of new paintings for the Palm Beach art fair, which will be hosted in March.
Q: Lastly, what does art mean to you?
Hijack: To enrich our lives and inspire us. Sometimes to teach us something, sometimes just to decorate a home or embellish a street, and even, more importantly, to give a voice to those who don’t have one.