Street to Studio: Graffiti Influenced Art & Fine Furniture by Neil Carroll

Hall table handcrafted by studio furniture maker Neil Carroll.
Hall table handcrafted by Neil Carroll.

Grovewood Gallery presents Street to Studio, a solo exhibition of work by local artist Neil Carroll, featuring graffiti-influenced, mixed media art and fine furniture. The show opens on Saturday, July 13, with an artist’s reception from 2-5pm (free and open to the public). Street to Studio will remain on view through Sunday, August 18.

Neil Carroll is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art – where he studied painting and printmaking – and the Haywood Community College Professional Crafts Program in Wood. Skilled in many disciplines, Carroll has been a working artist his entire adult life.

Carroll first became inspired by graffiti and street art by one of his painting teachers, Moe Brooker, while attending the Cleveland Institute of Art back in the late 70s and early 80s. Brooker was from Philadelphia – where graffiti originated in the late 1960s – and his paintings were heavily influenced by the street culture at the time. As a student, Carroll made several trips to New York City, where the underground art form had spread. “At this time, the subways were completely covered,” he said. “This was the time of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. I loved it!”

Carroll started doing legal graffiti about 5 years ago. He has some large mural pieces in the Asheville’s River Arts District, including a rabbit spray-painted on the building that houses 12 Bones Smokehouse. When asked about the draw of street art, Carroll says he’s attracted to the layering, wonderful surfaces, color, and “the unfettered creativity that is produced without any need or hope that the piece is anything but temporary. It helps kill the limitation of hesitation. It’s had, and continues to have, a tremendous impact on the rest of my art practice.”

Mixed-media art by Neil Carroll

In Street to Studio, Carroll will showcase fine furniture, paintings and drawings (both large and small-scale) that have been heavily influenced by his graffiti art. His furniture offerings will include finely crafted tables, chests, and cabinets – handmade from domestic hardwoods and exotics. Carroll says his wood is sourced from all over, including lumber yards and specialty shops as well as dumpsters and old buildings.

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