Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Getting Ready For "Shared Walls"

Fox 5 News Kyle Boatwright at The Machine Shop Gallery

After a six-month stint in jail, a notorious Imperial Beach vandal has turned his longtime criminal skill into an art form.

Convicted of more than 215 counts of vandalism, Kyle Boatwright is now using spray paint to create art.

"A lot of my artwork has life experience, things that I've been through," Boatwright said. "Some pieces will look sinister and that has to do with the hard experiences to get to the point where I am now."

Boatwright started tagging the Imperial Beach area when he just 14 years old.

He was arrested in March of 2010, was in jail for six months, and fined more than $85,000 for all the damage he caused throughout his seven-year criminal career. "It's not really what I'm trying to be looked at anymore," Boatwright said. "It was a wakeup call. It's not a lifestyle I ever want to be a part of."

When Boatwright, 23, was released in August a childhood friend offered him a road towards redemption.

"We've grown up together and I've seen the good art and the not-so-good art," said Chris Clements, owner and founder of The Machine Shop, an art gallery in East Village. "I said, 'Let's stop doing it on the street and at the same time bring it into a gallery and let people see it.'"

Clements opened his art space around the same time Boatwright was getting out of jail and Clements thought it would be a good idea to feature his friend's art.

"I think he was excited to see the stuff on the walls and have people respond the way they did," Clements said.

The art was apparently received well as Boatwright said some of his art has gone for more than $400.

"I thought, 'What are you crazy?'" Boatwright said. "Just a while before that everyone was looking at me like I'm this big criminal and a bane to society."

Boatwright said he originally got into graffiti as a teenager because he found it to be an outlet for his depression and inner-aggression.

Boatwright recalls sometimes spending all night out spray painting everything from sidewalks to freeway underpasses.

"I would spend hours painting and at least that time I was painting I was happy," Boatwright said. "I really needed a way to express myself."

Boatwright said he was drawn to the public nature of this type of expression.

"There's just something really raw about it that drew me in," Boatwright said.

Boatwright said he is determined to stay away from a criminal lifestyle and will use legitimate art to rehabilitate himself.

Ever since his teenage years, through his time in jail and even now as an artist, Boatwright has owned a sketchbook with many drawings that he bases his work from but the book also contains four words he is trying to live his life by: Do the right thing.

"I'm just trying to change my life and it means a lot to me," Boatwright said. "I constantly tell myself, 'Do the right thing.'"

Boatwright has put much of his work online.

Boatwright is scheduled to have a live show of how his work is produced at The Machine Shop. The show is set for Friday.
Copyright © 2011, KSWB-TV

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Union Tribune Kyle Boatwright Press

I.B.’s prolific tagger, transformed
After serving jail time for 218 cases of vandalism, 23-year-old is taking art classes, selling his work

By Wendy Fry

Saturday, January 22, 2011 at 12:01 a.m.
Kyle Boatwright, who lives in Coronado, started tagging on public and private property when he was 14. After an 11-month investigation led by a sheriff’s deputy, Boatwright was arrested in March, then released in August. Earnie Grafton • U-T

Kyle Boatwright, who lives in Coronado, started tagging on public and private property when he was 14. After an 11-month investigation led by a sheriff’s deputy, Boatwright was arrested in March, then released in August. Earnie Grafton • U-T

IMPERIAL BEACH — Sitting in a trendy Pacific Beach bar, discussing his paintings prominently displayed behind him, Kyle Boatwright talks about transformation.

Last summer, the tagger was sitting in a cell at the George Bailey Detention Facility in Otay Mesa after pleading guilty to 218 cases of vandalism and agreeing to pay $87,000 in restitution. Imperial Beach officials called Boatwright the most prolific tagger their city had seen.

Now his art is selling for more than $400 apiece and is showing at venues such as the TapRoom in Pacific Beach and the Machine Shop Gallery in East Village.

“He’s obviously really talented,” Machine Shop Gallery owner Chris Clements said. “Having a show and having his artwork be so well-received was just a push in the right direction to give him some confidence and keep him going.”

This time last year, Boatwright, 23, who lives with his parents in Coronado, was busy spray painting everything from buildings and sidewalks to freeway bridges under the moniker “Slow.”

He would often visit his work, mostly large cartoonish characters with exaggerated, colorful features, and watch from afar as city workers removed it.

“There were a couple times when I got pretty angry about them taking it down,” Boatwright said. “I liked putting a message out on the street and just seeing how people would react to it.”

Authorities weren’t pleased. Sheriff’s Deputy Zheath Sanchez, who led an 11-month investigation that included Imperial Beach Public Works Department staffers, said Boatwright’s efforts showed artistic skill but were nonetheless vandalism.

Soon after he was arrested in March, Boatwright found himself scribbling on scraps of paper in his jail cell.

“You know, I’d always heard all the stories about how bad it was in jail and everything. It was actually worse than anything I’d ever heard,” he said.

Boatwright said he began tagging public and private property when he was 14 to deal with depression.

“I had this incredible self-hatred that was really dangerous and destructive, and I couldn’t shake it,” Boatwright said. “I’m not sure even how it started it, but it just continued to get worse.”

He said he became addicted to tagging. Sometimes he would spend all night painting graffiti.

“And then I’d lay low for a while. And it kind of went on like that for years,” he said.

After pleading guilty and getting released from jail in August, Boatwright vowed to clean up his act. He began taking classes at the San Diego Art Institute last week. Today, he paints on a more traditional canvas. People are taking notice.

“He shows quite a bit of promise as a young artist,” said Jim McMillan, who with his wife bought Boatwright’s first piece on canvas. It looks like something you might see, well, on a freeway sound wall.

“We were quite taken with this one particular piece,” McMillan said.

Boatwright said his work represents “the craziness of living in the city and trying to bring art into the city and just trying to bring a little color.” His piece, “Hindsight,” a swollen purple and blue eye oozing with regret, reminds him of the fights he experienced in jail.

Boatwright has sold six pieces.

“Actually selling a piece and having it on a wall somewhere is really gratifying. It’s not getting painted over a couple weeks later.”

To see some of his work, go to


wendy.fry@uniontrib.com (619) 293-1743 Twitter @WendyFry

See the full article and video of Kyle Painting at The Machine Shop here: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/jan/22/ibs-prolific-tagger-transformed/

"Shared Walls"

The Machine Shop Gallery has a new show "Shared Walls" on Friday the 28th of January from 6:30p - 10:30p. Come out and support 10 local artist in a variety of mediums that will cover the gallery walls. Music by Dj Slowhand, live art by Kyle Boatwright and tables by Peter Perrecone and Urt Clothing.

Kyle Boatwright 10 News Press

Kyle Boatwright a regular contributor to The Machine Shop events and gallery shows received some great press on 10 news. Check out the link to see full article and related video. http://www.10news.com/news/26327213/detail.html?taf=sand

SAN DIEGO -- One of Imperial Beach's most notorious graffiti vandals has remade himself into a legitimate -- and legal -- urban artist.
In March, 23-year-old Kyle Boatwright was arrested and charged with 218 counts of vandalism. He had spray painted his moniker "Slow" throughout Imperial Beach. Boatwright was fined $87,000 and sent to jail.
"I just didn't realize how harsh the punishment would be," Boatwright told 10News reporter Joe Little.

Boatwright said he began tagging sidewalks, buildings and fences to escape depression and thoughts of suicide.
"I mean, I just fell in love with it just because of the way it makes me feel and the way I can just escape reality," he said.
Reality came crashing down when he was arrested. While in jail, he continued to express himself through art. Boatwright used a pencil to draw on envelopes and mailed them to friends. His fellow inmates also noticed his talents and paid him for his drawings.
"The first piece of artwork I've ever sold in my life was an envelope that I drew for a guy in there for a Reese's NutRageous candy bar," Boatwright said.
Fellow inmates paid him with bags of chips, soap and full meals -- items considered valuable in jail. Boatwright was released after six months behind bars and decided to grow his business, this time for money.
The former graffiti vandal put his spray paint to canvas and began selling them around San Diego. He has sold several of his urban paintings for several hundred dollars. He will also begin formal art training in 2011 to expand his skills.
"I thought he was talented," said Sheriff's Deputy Zheath Sanchez, who led the investigation that put Boatwright behind bars.
Sanchez tracked "Slow" for 11 months, and his arrest marked the biggest graffiti bust in the county at the time.
"If he's been able to channel his talent into positive means, I think it's fantastic," said Sanchez.
It's also great for taxpayers, as one tag can cost several hundred dollars to remove. Removing the graffiti will also be a problem for several cities in the future. Cash-strapped cities like Chula Vista are downsizing or eliminating graffiti abatement programs to save money.
Boatwright's message to taggers is simple: "If you have talent, make it work for you. Don't make it work against you."
He's also changed his moniker from "Slow" to "Sain" -- a reminder for Boatwright to stay away from his insane past and focus on his sane future.
To see some of Kyle Boatwright's art, go to www.kboatwright.com.

Urt Show at The Machine Shop

The Urt Clothing Show at The Machine Shop was a great success! We lucked out with a break in the weather and although Dougie and Ian had set up tents to protect the crowd from rain it luckily stopped the show. As the last Machine Shop Show this show has gone to The Tap Room in Pacific Beach and is featured in this months L.A.B. Thanks for coming out and go check out the Tap Room for some pizza and beer!