I’m starting a partnership with Masterclass, a streaming platform that offers classes on a wide variety of topics. Each month I’ll review one class and leave you a special link to try it too, because I believe you should keep learning new things in order to trigger new ideas and nourish your mind.
This month I watched a Masterclass on spray-painting and abstract art by graffiti legend Futura2000.
Leonard Hilton McGurr began writing his graffiti name Futura2000 in the streets of New York in the early 1970s, at the dawn of the subway graffiti movement. He pioneered the shift of the graffiti movement from lettering towards a more painterly, abstract style -a personal style that he keeps evolving ever since.
Inspired by Abstract Expressionist ideas, Futura2000’s radically distinct approach to train bombing resulted in whole cars covered with expressive, abstract painting -like the well-known “Break”, the first wagon entirely covered in Abstract Graffiti, whose evolution he recalls in this Masterclass.
What did I learn from watching Futura2000’s Masterclass on Spray-Painting and Abstract Art?
In the first few lessons, Futura shares the basics of aerosol art techniques and processes. We learn that even the studio-based style of action painting he does today has a physicality based on the unorthodox painting positions of graffiti writers. For example, while explaining can control techniques, Futura shares that his favorite can position is upside down, which implies painting a canvas from above.
He then moves forward to graffiti’s DIY mentality and the use of unconventional tools, a habit he brought from the streets to his studio. Futura’s studio practice is based on a free composition, details and colors; this Masterclass shows how he creates one of his iconic abstract canvases step by step.
Finally, Futura explains how to team up with a brand without losing your artistic integrity in a few lessons on Product Design based on the story of his signature figure ‘Pointman’, a robotic, sci-fi figure with an extended head that became a collectible toy. It was produced in collaboration with Bathing Ape, Nike, Levi’s and the Japanese Medicom, an experience that gave Futura the opportunity to create his own brand: Futura Laboratory.