Urban Realism

Urban Realism
Instructor: Arjuna (AJ) Watson
Time: Wednesday, 6pm-9pm
Duration: 6 weeks
Maximum per class: 10
Price: $260

In this class students explore urban art using mixed media techniques and technology.

Materials not included.

About the Instructor:
Arjuna Watson did not go to art school. He does not have any fancy degrees. He is just a guy who paints. He always has been. His career started in 1985, in Melbourne Australia, as a rebellious 13 year old trying to leave his mark spray painting walls and trains and outrunning the authorities.

He joined the local graffiti crew, Crims Insane (CI) and, together they went on a campaign to get as much of their art into the public arena as possible. They recognized that their street art had as much power to persuade as large branded companies spending millions a year on advertising. He embraced the fast-paced and adrenaline fueled lifestyle of a Melbourne Graf artist. His illegal career abruptly ended with an arrest and an ultimatum from his mother. He promised her that he would stop. He moved more into the mainstream when mentored by Australian artist, Craig Foster who exchanged hard labor for life drawing classes. Graffiti was gone, replaced by an urge to capture images in a more realistic way put with the bold style of a street artist.

His art was briefly overshadowed by a fanatical obsession with rock-climbing and sailing.
In 1997 he visited his estranged father in Trinidad, determined to re-establish a relationship lost when he had moved to Australia at the age of 5. In Trinidad he used his sailing experience to secure a job doing sailboat deliveries and eventually sailed into Nassau Harbor in 1998, where he met his future wife, Gillian. After relocating to Nassau and marrying that summer, he quickly immersed himself in the lifestyle of his new home, including visiting the studios and art shows of many of the local Bahamian artists. He felt the urge to paint again and opened his first show, Decypul: a collection of urban images, in Nassau in early 2006. His first collection was made up of monochrome stenciled images and officially ushered him onto the Bahamian Art Scene.

Since his first showing in 2006 he has had yearly shows and collectors of his work have watched his style gravitate more towards the human form and, most recently intricately detailed portraits using a bold, strong color palette. He enjoys painting on a large scale and still manages to throw up images (though now by invitation) on random buildings around town. He prefers to paint with enamel but has recently begun to experiment with the more traditional oils, which he treats with his usual irreverence and steadfastness.