Much of the buzz around Gajin Fujita these past eleven years (his first solo show was in Vegas in 1999, with an LA opening shortly after in 2002) has been gleeful gambling about whether this new-comer was burning too brightly to last. With his excessively desirable East-West mash-ups of erotic imagery overlaid with the graffiti street aesthetic and backed with a prodigious technical skill and bravado, Fujita excited more slavering than a Kogi truck kimchi quesadilla. His first show in Los Angeles in five years does not disappoint. As one might have hoped, Fujita has gone beyond facile dabbling of combining glossy decorative screen painting and graffiti to a place where the anger-fueled tagging ethic meets hell-bent samurai warrior and writhing sea serpent. Gone are the static, careful compositions of love-making; in its place are the forceful, messy contortions of struggle. In “High Voltage,” the dragon nearly thrashes off the panel with stylized blood spurting in at least two spots. The images too, have ripped free from context and float on exuberantly tagged backgrounds (LA Louver, Venice).
An older work for comparison. The work above is called CA (California), 2006-2007. The sexier ones are often more interesting, but I didn’t want to risk being censored.