Into text: Shepard Fairey
I have known Tavar Zawacki’s art for more than 15 years. I initially knew him by his street name, 'ABOVE'. Tavar impressed me with his dedication to mastering the most essential aspects of street art: widespread coverage, recognizable iconography, and impressive placements on the street in terms of risk and visual impact. It seems to me that two years ago Tavar Zawacki had pushed his anonymous ABOVE concept to the pinnacle of what is possible and respected in the street art world, and decided it was time to expand his parameters and evolve, stepping into the sunlight by using his birth name and evolving away from just his long-present arrow icon. However, Tavar did not abandon the fruits of his years of graphic mastery in form and color, he simply chose to apply them in broader, more ambitious, and more sophisticated ways.
The recent works in the street and the studio leading up to his Shape shifting exhibition are the most visually dynamic but seductive pieces of Tavar's career. Sometimes the fundamental ingredients are there, but it takes the subtle moves to yield sublime alchemy. Tavar’s newest works embody power and beauty in elegant harmony, but especially the pieces that utilize trompe l’oeil push beyond design based art to create a provocatively surreal 2D/3D dialogue that distinguishes them. Tavar’s 2D/3D dialogue extends to three-dimensional pieces using gradients to mimic light play on reflective surfaces and cast shadows. Tavar has evolved and in the process developed a truly distinctive, powerful but luxurious, visual language.
Shepard Fairey. November 2018