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JOHN BREINER 

 

Born in New York in 1980...

I grew up during the Pre-internet golden era of Comic Books, Garden Gnomes, building wooden jump ramps and being home when the street lights came on.  

 

As a teen discovering D.I.Y cultures like Skateboarding, HIPHOP, Graffiti DJ-ing had a giant effect on me and crafted me into the artist I am today. Wether it's painting or running a business the lessons learned alone during long hours of creating as a youth are reflected today in my work pushing forth originality, a work ethic & authenticity born of past times. 

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Painting in the tunnel- Spring 1999

Upstate in Poughkeepsie was the training ground growing up but In 1999 I made my way down to NYC to attend The School Of Visual Arts in Manhattan. There I met a like minded posse of Artists, Writers, Filmer's & Designers as we rode out the end of the 20th century. Still rocking Walkmans and taking photos of the streets and parties, before the Cell phones...Man it was a great time to be young in the city.. 

 

During those years I began to expand my creative horizons beyond letters and walls as both teachers and fellow artists pushed me to develop my artistic vision. At first I couldn't paint a blank canvas. There was just no interest or excitement. Eventually a chance encounter with the book "fahrenheit 451" lead me down a new path. I began to salvage old books and paper from anywhere I could find them. 

 

 

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PPOW GALLERY- Spring 2003 - SOHO 

My interest began to shift as I appreciated the yellowed or brown ancient paper surfaces more and more. I began to see a link between the layers of paint on the walls I grew up painting vs the layers of surface of the paper. Water damaged, discolored or moldy, even better! I began working off life's natural marks and then adding my own to them.  It all began to click. 

"Untitled" book. Acrylic ink - 2003

Around the same time as the old paper naturally came the books. I began to salvage books I would find as a way to first get a hold of old paper then I began to see the beauty in their format and design. This was during a changing of an era and books were starting to become a thing of the past. Everywhere I looked in my then Bushwick Neighborhood I found books. On the ground, in the hallway of a random building during a house party, in the garbage and from vendors on the corner. I was becoming obsessed with Old books and paper. I was also delighted at the prospect of never ending materials that were almost always exclusively free or a buck. I then began to use a mixed media approach incorporating print making techniques to emulate the indelible ink once used on these vintage surfaces. I began to embrace the book as way to communicate to my current audience. After all I only worked on the end pages where some will go to read the summary of the book. I also removed the pages so theres no width to scare anyone off.. And Lastly a picture is worth a thousand words. I updated an ancient form of communication into a modern one. People began to appreciate the book when I reworked it. It was a play on the changing of an era, It also was a commentary on peoples laziness ( myself included ) when it came to reading. When i took the book apart and replaced it with only images, they embraced it again. A modern solution for a modern society. However the biggest draw ( aside from the sporadic nature of finding the surfaces ) was that it was now telling my story. 

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Solo show at SCOPE ART Miami - Dec 2004 

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"Horse Power" Acrylic in paper - 2004

For the next decade plus I would go on to create hundreds of works on old paper, books and found wood. My art would be shown on almost every continent in countless exhibitions, placed in various Art collections and has been published numerous times. My work has also been featured in SCOPE ART, FOUNTAIN, ART BASEL Switzerland, The VENICE biennale, The ISTANBUL biennale, The COMMON WEALTH Games ( Australia ), The Beijing Art Fair, The Jeju Art Museum in South Korea, Invisible Tattoo NYC, SENSEI Gallery (NYC), PANDA ( NYC) Mighty Tanaka Gallery, Archilesi & Homberg Fine arts, AO5 Gallery ( Austin ) and many more. 

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The Mildred I. Washington Art Gallery 

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Art on 5th - Austin Texas -2016

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Art Basel, Switzerland - 2011 

As A Curator...

In 2003 I had tired of waiting on others to do it, and began to show my friends work. At first it was just a way to have a captive audience to DJ for, but it quickly became clear that we were producing ground breaking art shows. Under the name "Grand Champions Forever" and With 30 plus artists ( under my instruction, each making their own flyer ) plus 3 bands, it wasn't too hard to pack the room out.. Our first show in March 2003 located at Office Ops ( 57 Thames st, Bushwick ) clocked 700 plus visitors with another 300 outside. That was the first big art show of Bushwick in the 2000's and word spread through out the area. For months after the bodega owners would ask " When are you doing another show? They had literally sold out of their entire beer stock those nights..We followed up with the Sequal in May of 2004 and finished off the legacy with the final GrandChamps show in October 2009 at Skewville's gallery Factory Fresh located on Flushing Ave. To this day there are still Wispers of the legendary art shows that set off the neighborhood for good or bad onto the path of becoming an Art Capital. Still there not doing it like we did..

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Capital Walls Project - Albany NY

By 2013 I had become restless with making indoor "Studio" work and once again hit the streets returning to my roots of directly painting on the walls. This coincided with the explosion of cities across the world now accepting murals and public art in an unprecedented manner. I began to use my background in mural painting to not only paint walls but to work as a curator / art director and adviser for numerous projects and Mural festivals such as O+Positive ( Poughkeepsie) The Underpass Project (Poughkeepsie) , WellingCourt Mural Festival (Astoria ) and working directly with the NY Department of Transportation as Well as the Poughkeepsie Department of Sanitation on various projects. 

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Working as the Art Director for O+Positive  for LADY PINK & Smiths wall. - 2018 

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"The Grand Champions Forever" above  May - 2004 - below March 2003- Bushwick Brooklyn

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Painting for O+Positive Festival - Kingston NY - 2016 

By 2017 I had once again switched my focus as I founded and became the director of Clinton Street Studio a contemporary Art gallery located in Poughkeepsie NY. I curated 2 years of shows that were all loved. I took a break as coincidently the pandemic set in. 

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Clinton Street Studio - 4 S Clinton st, Poughkeepsie NY

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Opening Night - December 2017 

2022..

Currently I'm taking a break from running the gallery to focus on my own art work as well as my newest prursuit as an independent book publisher and archivist. My first book "Power Kingdom" a 224 page look at the lively graffiti scene in Poughkeepsie NY during the 1990's up until today sold out within the first month. With more books planned based of my photographic archive as well as collabs with other artists.

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These days I'm currently living in the Hudson Valley, painting murals, occasionally DJing, creating works on paper and working as an archivist and advisor for several creative projects.. Please feel free to reach out with your project or if you have any questions drop me a line.