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Crewest gallery to close after a decade of showcasing street art

By Hayley Fox
Published: Monday, December 17, 2012, at 10:42AM

A photo taken during the "Mission Accomplished" series in May of this year. This mural on the outside of Crewest was made by Man One.

Crewest, recognized for showcasing graffiti and street artists in a gallery setting, will be closing its doors after more than ten years; six of these were spent in Downtown on Winston Street.

Man One, the Crewest gallery director and an internationally recognized street artist and muralist himself, said he's closing the gallery so he can focus on his own work. He wrote in an email that, "it was becoming too much of a struggle to keep doing quality shows month to month and still be able to travel and do my art." Man One said he spent most of his time "curating, hanging and selling" for the Crewest gallery, and less than 20 percent of his time painting his own work.

"Obviously if we were making a million bucks a month then maybe we could afford to do things differently," he wrote, "but I'm a hands on type of person and even with help from my partner and others, the vision I have for the gallery was evolving and it only felt natural to end it now while we were on top of our game."

Crewest started in Alhmabra 10 years ago, selling specialty spray paint and showing graffiti art out of a 700-square-foot shop. In 2006, the shop moved to a larger space in Downtown and has hosted monthly shows featuring everything from Sharpie markers to stencil work.

Since then, "so much has changed [in DTLA] I don't know where to start," said Man One. In addition to the popularity of the Downtown Art Walk, L.A. as a whole has seen a proliferation and growing acceptance of public art.

"There is more public art in Downtown proper, and surrounding areas as well, thanks to the explosion of street art and those who have embraced it including building owners and developers," Man One wrote.

In May of this year, Crewest celebrated their 10-year anniversary with a show dubbed "Mission Accomplished" which featured street art in different incarnations. It included paintings and drawings, photographs and sculptures.

"We played a big role in making this [street art] an acceptable art form within the gallery circuit," Man One told Blogdowntown in May. "Ten years ago there was no spaces available to show this type of work."

Man One said although he won't be opening a new gallery, he is scouting for spaces to set up a studio of his own in the new year where he can focus on his own art work and paint full-time. He hasn't settled on a location yet but is hoping to remain in Downtown L.A.

Crewest is hosting one final exhibit called "L.A. Enhanced" -- an iphoneography series featuring multiple street artists and photographers. The gallery participated in its final Art Walk last week and will close its doors for good on December 31.

But not before one last party: On December 29, Crewest will host their closing blowout including live art and live music.

"You can always expect something special," said Man One.


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