Monday, September 16, 2013

Chor Boogie: Ushering Color to the World

This is part of a wall I saw in San Francisco 3 years ago on Market Street.
Street art is a pretty exciting phenomenon in many respects. Some of it is quite spectacular. With the exception of Banksy, most of it is unassociated with any specific artist. It's just out there being shared with the world.

A couple weeks ago I had an email forwarded to me about a street artist named Chor Boogie. His work looked interesting, but became moreso when I noticed a certain similarity between the pattern on this elephant's trunk and some pictures I took of a wall in San Francisco in the Tenderloin District. A little digging and I found his website, Modern Hieroglyphics of Chor Boogie. Sure enough, he was a west coast guy and did some time in San Francisco.

He was born Jason Hailey, and first held a paint brush at age five, a nice early age to get acquainted with the medium. When you think "street artist" you don't immediately connect this person to the formal study of art history, but in Chor Boogie's case he states that his inspiration has come from Da Vinci, Michaelangelo and Rembrandt as much as Van Gogh, Dali and the moderns. He then went on to take this sensibility into his encounter with the street arts, learning enough from his mentors Phase2 and Vulcan that he has been able now to make a name for himself.

His resume includes doing work for the China Olympics among other things. In addition to many locations in the U.S., his commissioned murals include locations in Mexico, Dubai, Australia, Brazil and Canada. He's produced work for a variety of high profile people including Jay-Z and Rage Against The Machine, among others.

He appears to be a young man on the move. And it's apparent from the image (above right) that he's interested in sticking around awhile. I used to wear a gas mask like that for certain jobs when I painted apartments years ago. Those paint fumes can fry brain cells.

It was this picture of a Singapore elephant that confirmed for me the connection between the wall in San Francisco I'd taken pictures of and Chor Boogie. Note the pattern at the wide part of the elephant's trunk. Note the Escheresque manner in which the various patterns morph. Keep it going, Chor.  

To see more of Chor Boogie's work, visit

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