Leonard Hilton McGurr, also known as Futura, is a contemporary American graffiti artist who started his career/ hobby on the street in the early 70s. On Monday, 25th March, he opened his latest show “Abstract Compass” during Art Basel week in Hong Kong. Upon his return to the canvas, he once again impresses us with his insight and proficiency.
Influenced by the blooming graffiti culture back in the 70s and the urge to express, Futura painted illegally in the streets of New York City. Compare to other graffiti artists who mainly focused on lettering, his distinctive abstract approach to street art stood out amongst all. By the 1980s he was exhibiting alongside acts such as Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Richard Hambleton and Kenny Scharf. Revered for his unique and radical approach to graffiti art, he is entirely self-taught in what he calls “the subway school.” But he has been associated with much more than just street art. The graffiti genius spray-painted backdrops live as part of the stage performance for British punk band The Clash’s European tour back in 1981, and has been a successful graphic designer, illustrator, and gallery artist ever since. He produced album sleeves and imageries for UK bands, while also designing collectible items and sneakers for streetwear brands such as Supreme, A Bathing Ape, and Levi’s.
Now an internationally renowned artist, the street legend is exhibiting in Hong Kong once again — the city that fascinates him in its vibrant liveliness and reminds him of his hometown New York. He has always taken inspiration from contemporary cities and architecture with geometric lines, as well as abstract expressionists such as Jackson Pollock. Futura’s iconic spray-painted atoms, stardust, and kinetic gestures create atmospheres and ethereal worlds of color explosions. His master of color, movement, and linear geometric forms has led critics to compare him to the likes of Kandinsky.
Co-hosted by Danysz Gallery and Hong Kong-based creative agency Unveil Limited, this dynamic new show entitled “Abstract Compass” features a selection of Futura’s latest paintings depicting his signature abstract symbology. As one of the first events in Hong Kong’s exciting art week, the exhibition opened on Monday, March 25th and is open to public until March 31st at Space 27 in Quarry Bay.