Straight from the streets
The Toyroom Gallery advertises that it specializes in art from the streets. But what does that mean? If you see the gallery’s new show, it may become clear. The gallery is packed with art by two painters, Pete Bettencourt and Skinner. Skinner is into art from comic books and seemingly any pop-culture image that features robots, monsters or other freaky kinds of characters. The quality of his work really stands out; the paintings, skillfully executed and meticulous, evoke a mind that won’t let the body sit still. Bettencourt seems a little less frantic but has equal skill. His paintings are graffiti-based with politically charged text not unlike the works of Barbara Kruger. They also draw an influence from Keith Haring. But wait a minute, that sounds a little too academic—not like street art. Well, that’s where the problem of separating street art from academic art lies. The truth is that quality work is quality work regardless of where it comes from.