Artist Jeremy Wagner doesn’t need hip hop mogul Damon Dash or producer Swizz Beatz to validate his work. But it never hurts. After showing at the January grand opening of Dash’s gallery DD172 (a space supporters claim is the last defense against the “wack world”), the buzz over Wagner’s signature steel panel paintings spread beyond the inner sanctum of hip hop’s art-loving elite.
Rooted in the strong iconography of New York City, the Brooklyn artist’s unique metal canvases layer charcoal, rust and enamel, creating unexpected moments of abstraction. The goal, Wagner says, is to “highlight the beauty in the special poetics of the mundane.”
For his next show, the RISD alum plans to keep pushing the envelope—turning iconic imagery on its head through the distortion of space and perspective.
Here, in his Greenpoint studio, Wagner creates his latest series of paintings on steel, inspired by landmark architectural structures including Coney Island’s renowned Wonder Wheel. Watch the above audio slideshow for a behind-the-scenes look at his process.