Baku exhibit shakes up Norman Rockwell scenes

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Most recently, you may remember Charlotte native John Hairston Jr. teaming up with Antoine Williams for "Rhymes for Reason," a massive and very impressive mural (See it here) in the gallery of UNC Charlotte’s new Center City Building.

Hairston’s vibrant comic-influenced paintings — last year his solo exhibit was devoted to X-Men — and those inspired by renowned artists are generating quite the buzz around town.

Neo-expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat served as a muse in another past showcase and his latest exhibit Jago Rockwell: A Tribute to Norman Rockwell at Baku Gallery, gives an edgy thrust to Rockwell’s Americana staples.

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“I wanted to do whatever I could with how I paint to attribute to him. So much of his style, I’ve already appropriated in my own artwork,” Hairston says. “I wanted to put the same schematic elements from the work that he does and add my own touches.”

The exhibit is comprised of 15 works, two of which are to be painted live — one on opening night (Nov. 4, from 6 p.m.-10 p.m.) and the other on NoDa’s next gallery crawl (Nov. 18). Most of the pieces stem from Rockwell masterpieces, recreated and tweaked by Hairston.

“I’ve taken some of the same poses that he’s done in his work, be it like “The Problem We All Live With,” or those with clowns and little boys. I’ve taken my characters that I’ve used time and time again and I’ve replaced the characters that he’s created and worked with, with them," Hairston says. "So you get this thing that’s kind of familiar, but kind of weird and different. It has its own special context in my life.”

For more on Hairston, visit www.allcitystudios.com. Exhibit continues through the end of November. Baku Gallery, 3200 N. Davidson St., Charlotte.

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