Special Projects

Freedom Under Rough Years
February 24, 2015 - March 22, 2015
Collection of the artist. Photo © Michael DeFilippoCollection of the artist. Photo © Michael DeFilippoPhoto © Michael DeFilippoPhoto © Michael DeFilippoPhoto © Michael DeFilippoNicholas Gates. Photo © Michael DeFilippoNicholas Gates. Photo © Michael DeFilippo

Collection of the artist. Photo © Michael DeFilippo

Collection of the artist. Photo © Michael DeFilippo

Photo © Michael DeFilippo

Photo © Michael DeFilippo

Photo © Michael DeFilippo

Nicholas Gates. Photo © Michael DeFilippo

Nicholas Gates. Photo © Michael DeFilippo

Freedom Under Rough Years showcases the work of multi-talented local artist Nicholas Gates.

Through his work with dance, sculpture, and fashion, Gates celebrates the elements of hip hop, particularly graffiti and b-boying. He created his first sculpture, a piece mourning the death of his grandmother, during a ceramics class in high school. This sparked a passion for sculpting, and after its completion, he began a sculptural series representing figures from the golden age of hip hop. Sources as diverse as Michelangelo, graffiti, manga, and iconic hip hop album covers influence Gates’ work. He has completed a commission for Ice-T, and his artwork is in the collections of Jay Z and Kanye West.

Gates finished a sculptural commission in 2009 for the film Step Up 3D, released in 2010. This project created new opportunities for him when friends encouraged him to design a clothing line based upon his artwork. With the goal of promoting the idea that a young African American man from the inner city could produce art, he took the bright, colorful palette of his sculptures and applied it to the pieces in his new urban fashion line, Kid-N-Clay. It features unique takes on classic fashion staples, including five panel hats, letterman jackets, and button down shirts. Gates gradually began to integrate LED technology into clothing for performers at Hip Hop Foundation Fanatics, his dance studio. His current project is Techniride, an innovative new line of safety wear for cyclists, which fuses LED technology with sleek, attractive fashion.

PRESS

 4/20/15: Fox 2 Now — Nick Gates on his work and Living Like Kings >

Works Featured in the Exhibition

jayzwebNicholas Gates
Jay Z, 2002
Ceramic, paint, wood
Courtesy of the Artist
wetpaintwebNicholas Gates
Wet Paint, 1999
Ceramic, paint
Courtesy of the Artist
fatboyswebNicholas Gates
Fat Boys, 1992
Pictured from left to right: The Human Beat Box, Kool Rock-Ski, Prince Markie Dee
Courtesy of the Artist

cypherweb

Nicholas Gates
Cypher, 1992
Ceramic, paint
Courtesy of the Artist
beatstreetwebNicholas Gates
Beat Street, 1997
Ceramic, paint
Pictured from left to right: Lee, Crazy Legs
Courtesy of the Artist
blockpartywebNicholas Gates
Block Party, 1998
Ceramic, paint, metal studs
Courtesy of the Artist
bushbabeeswebNicholas Gates
Da Bush Babees, Y-Tee, 1996
Ceramic, paint
Courtesy of the Artist
bushbabees2webNicholas Gates
Da Bush Babees, Baby Face Kaos, 1996
Ceramic, paint
Courtesy of the Artist
hiphopgirlswebNicholas Gates
Hip Hop Girls, 1997
Ceramic, paint
Pictured from left to right: Pigtails, Red-T
Courtesy of the Artist
labelrepswebNicholas Gates
The Label Reps, 1997
Ceramic, paint
Pictured from left to right: Pointing, Peace Sign
Courtesy of the Artist
nogamewebNicholas Gates
No Game Jacket, 2009
Jacket
Courtesy of the Artist
hhffwebNicholas Gates
H.H.F.F., 2009
T-Shirt
Courtesy of the Artist
hoodieshirtwebNicholas Gates
Iller Hoodie, 2009
Jacket
Historic, 2009
T-Shirt
Courtesy of the Artist
dressleggingswebNicholas Gates
Iller Hoodie Dress, 2009
Shirt
Kid-N-Clay Leggings, 2012
Leggings
Courtesy of the Artist
glodrobewebNicholas Gates
Glodrobe Moto Jacket, 2010
Jacket
Courtesy of the Artist
cardiganwebNicholas Gates
Kid-N-Clay Five Panel Hat, 2012
Hat
S. Cardigan, 2013
Sweater
Illest Tank, 2013
Shirt
Courtesy of the Artist
bigplaywebNicholas Gates
B.I.G.-N-Clay, 2009
T-Shirt
Courtesy of the Artist
dfswebNicholas Gates
D.F.S. Jacket, 2011
Jacket
Fresh Till Death, 2009
T-Shirt
Courtesy of the Artist

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