The artist Gaia doesn’t just design pieces for museums or galleries. He makes the art of the people. Art that will have a place in the daily lives of commuters gazing out of train windows, or neighbors as they walk to the store. Large-scale pieces that quickly become integral to the communities where they appear.
This is a responsibility and challenge that isn’t lost on Gaia. He puts a copious amount of research into every project, to ensure his pieces will engage and speak to locals. And he deeply cares about these communities, about gentrification, and the political, social, and racial issues that neighborhoods are currently dealing with.
When I spoke to Gaia about his work, I discovered a man who was deeply thoughtful — often taking long pauses to collect himself as he mused on his connection to the places he works in, on creating provocative art that also satisfies people, and on the difficulties he faces as a large-scale muralist.