The Lincoln City Cultural Center has been spray painted!!!! The Northwestern Street artist known as “Gats” has transformed the downstairs of the Cultural Center with his signature mask designs. We invite you to celebrate and welcome this new mural on Saturday, April 30th and in honor of this selfless and talented artist we will be giving away 100 free burritos starting at noon.
Gats, or Graffiti Against the System, is a mysterious street artist known for the ubiquitous mask he paints across the country – especially in the mossy underbelly of the West Coast. Gats says the mask represents anonymity – the only way to survive in a society bent on police surveillance.
Few have ever seen the face behind the mask, yet Gats’ public art may be among the best known on the West Coast – and has won him international acclaim as an icon for graffiti.
Gats values anonymity – and for good reason. In addition to his print-making, indoor murals and gallery exhibits, he’s also been tied up in the controversy surrounding graffiti.
It’s only in the past few decades that graffiti has fallen into disrepute as U.S. police forces have stepped up their efforts to control public space and clear it of all public markings. This has been bolstered by the “broken windows theory” that facilitated the displacement and mass incarceration of poor communities – including their artists.
The majority of his work is done outside without permission or pay. He prioritizes making the artwork accessible. When it’s in the streets, everyone owns it and no one owns it. Everyone can enjoy it.
Most of his work is on the streets, under bridges, in abandoned buildings, on trains, in public restrooms, on dumpsters and now in the basement of an old school in Lincoln City now turned into an Arts and Culture Center!
Street art and murals have always played a significant role in political movements – Gats believes that political graffiti still plays an important role even though some argue that the internet meme has replaced the political poster. Street art establishes a presence in real life. You feel comfortable or uncomfortable in a space depending on what the graffiti says on the wall. It shows who controls the streets, and the streets are real. With social media algorithms showing you only your own opinion, graffiti is a way to pop that bubble.
Art will happen if we have to smash the pavement up and stack rocks. There are no limits to our creativity and our hunger for genuine experience. What is revolution if not the product of human creativity?
When asked about the infamous story of the Free Burritos, Gats explained, “Sometimes art and graffiti get overly serious, and you forget to have fun. For some reason, it just popped into my head that a newsstand full of burritos would make everyone very happy. Something about an everyday object that already says, “Free – Take One,” but then is full of something unexpected that you love just plastered a grin on my face. Can you imagine a world where everything operated like that?
At the time, I had $100 to my name. I walked in to the taqueria and asked, “How many burritos can I get for $100.” It was the best moment of my life. I felt like I was carrying a newborn child home. I didn’t have a dollar for food, housing or gas to get home, but I had faith that if I bought everyone a burrito, things would somehow work out.”
It is in honor of this artist and this selfless action by the artist to give away free burritos that the Cultural Center will be giving out 100 free burritos to welcome and celebrate this new Mural By Gats on Saturday April 30th.
The Lincoln City Cultural Center is at 540 NE Hwy. 101 in Lincoln City.- business hours: 10 to 4 Thursday through Sunday).
For more information call 541-994-9994, head to lincolncity-culturalcenter.org, or become a friend on Facebook.
PORTLAND STREET ART ALLIANCE BROUGHT THIS MURAL OPPORTUNITY TO LINCOLN CITY CULTURAL CENTER. PSAA IS A SMALL ORGANIZATION THAT CONNECTS STREET ARTISTS TO WALLS AND FACILITATES THE CREATION OF MURALS.