'Goonsworld' takes over Helmholz

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MANCHESTER — It might get loud on Depot Street when Goons comes to town on Saturday.

Goons, an anonymous street artist originally hailing from Chicago and now painting on canvas in Vermont, will be exhibiting his self-titled show opening Saturday at 7 p.m. at Helmholz Fine Arts. The reception for his show, which will be on display for two weeks, is billed as a night of music and celebration featuring new works by the artist, and gallery owner Lisa Helmholz-Adams is encouraging guests to "dress in your colorful best and come to party!"

Goons, who now lives in Manchester, got his start in Chicago, covering the streets with thousands of stickers and life-size posters depicting a diverse cast of characters. The figures are colorful, and often sport a connection to rock and roll or popular culture. And while the characters are different, they share common characteristics — oversized eyes and outrageously large, toothy mouths.

"People can expect all different colors on huge canvas," the artist said when asked what visitors can expect. "As a car lover I've included Rolls Royces, Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Land Rovers throughout the collection. From the animal world I have everything giraffes to butterflies. And of course my signature characters doing all sorts of fun things! Where Keith Haring had his stick figures I have my red lips! Also I've include the landscapes of Vermont and the general vibe of the area. Mix everything together and it's work I'm sure the world has never seen before!"

Helmholz-Adams said a mutual friend told her about Goons a few years ago, and from the description of his work, she knew she had to see for herself.

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"I met Goons and went to his home and was blown away by his outrageous street art and loved it!" Helmholz-Adams told the Journal. "It reminded me of the expressive graffiti art in New York City and the cool vibe it sends. I knew then that I wanted Goons to come to Helmholz Fine Art and have Goons create 'Goonsworld!'"

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The creative energy was evident in his personality, she said.

"To meet him, I could just tell that he was bigger than life in how he works. His mind is always on, creating these unique characters with world famous lips. Everything has a reference, it's fun, it's expressive," she said. "It's a really happy, cool vibe, and why musicians and people in the arts especially love his work. He is constantly creating on anything he can get his hands on."

Helmholz-Adams said she is excited to bring the culture and energy of street art to her gallery on Depot Street, where it can be appreciated, and even purchased.

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It's certainly a change of pace for the gallery, a fact Helmholz-Adams acknowledges.

"I knew this would be a very different kind of art show, and one that people really needed to see and be a part of," she said. "It is about being who you want to be."

Goons has worked with major brands, including Wrigley's Gum and Red Bull. More recently, he created work on commission for the flagship store opening of Nike's Jordan Brand in Chicago. He has also worked with a number of rock bands and musicians on album artwork, animations and set designs, including punk rock band SWMRS (the drummer being the son of Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong). His exhibitions have included galleries in Indianapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and the Manchester Community Library in 2015 as part of two group art shows. He's been featured in Rolling Stone, Spin, and The New York Times.

Reach Journal editor Greg Sukiennik at gsukiennik@manchesterjournal.com or at 802-490-6000.


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