Spray Painter

Graffiti artist shows off traditional forms in 'Lalo Land'

When his flow of inspiration is lacking, Cota is usually at home in his studio, preparing backdrops to be used later. Scattered around his backyard are paint-splattered easels; one has a primered 4-foot-by-4-foot canvas covered with X-acto blades, Sheetrock, razors, a thin cleaver and keys glued on for texture. It's been sprayed with hues of yellow and magenta, dripping in places.

He doesn't know what else will end up on the canvas -- maybe a self portrait. "I haven't seen anything on it yet," he says, staring at it passively. "I just have to let the paint tell me."

Cota's use of razors and the like as texture isn't the only technique that's unorthodox. He uses spray bottles of water along with the spray paint -- the water both rejects the paint and slows its congealment. It can also create a glassier smearing effect that's documented in "Lalo Land" on a series of four skull paintings on matching cabinet doors, two in yellow and green tones, and two in red hues.

Lalo Cota: "I've always had a fascination with sculpture."
Craig Macnaughton
Lalo Cota: "I've always had a fascination with sculpture."


Continues by appointment only through Saturday, January 6. Friday, January 5, the show is open for free to the public during the First Friday Art Walk. Call 602-254-6397 for details or to schedule an appointment.
Thought Crime Gallery, 1019 North Central

"I'm still experimenting, still looking for what I really want to do," Cota explains when asked about his artistic future. "I know what I want to do right now, but all my stuff is real simple. Instead of doing a page in a book, I want to do a whole book that's a story from beginning to end."

Although Cota's determined to follow the path that he strikes in "Lalo Land," he doesn't plan to exhibit in installations such as this regularly. "I've been having a good time, just because I'm into the pressure," he says. "The pressure gives me ideas that I've never had before. But I'd like a year in advance to come up with stuff. If I can do this with a little time, imagine what I could do with plenty of time."

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