22 Jun Charles Gitnick: A Kid with Guns
By Sarah El Khaldi
Many may think of art as a matter for connoisseurs, and many others would think gun-related violence is to be dealt with through the avenue of the law. Los Angeles 8th-grader Charles Gitnick thinks otherwise, and he is waging war against gun violence by getting weapons off the streets and into art galleries.
Charles’ career started with a sidewalk sale in Venice Beach, where he sold his first creations to curious yet inspired bystanders. From this point on Charles dedicated himself to his art, and he set to finding his personal style and technique with extraordinary diligence and focus.
Quoting Jackson Pollock as his main influence, Charles identifies with the struggle the genius painter of action art went through and his attempts to find the best way to express his personal and intimate self through art.
Charles has experienced the hardships of a struggling artist at a very young age. When he was just a boy he suffered the frustrations of lacking quality materials and having to work with makeshift frames and guns. But Charles saved his art sales revenue to purchase better quality paints, frames, and replica guns. Today he prides himself on creating high-quality pieces that will have a long-lasting impact on the art world.
The young yet accomplished artist was ten years old when the Sandy Hook shooting happened. He was profoundly shocked by the events. He had been working around the theme of guns for over a year but began questioning himself and his craft for a long period of time.
Charles emerged out of this crisis with a strong sense of his responsibility as a socially-conscious artist.
The relevance of his approach and his work around guns attracted media attention and Charles became an important voice – the voice of a child and the voice of an artist – in the public discussion around guns in American society.
Charles also identifies with Jean Michel Basquiat, stating “He was a grown-up artist who made art the way I first started to make art and the way I fell in love with art.” As a fellow artist, Charles appreciates the unconventional creative process of Basquiat: “I can do whatever in art that I want, and I feel Basquiat helped me make that possible for myself.”
Despite his young age, Charles has gone through an authentic maturing process as a creative mind and an artist. Reflecting on his earlier days selling art on sidewalks, the tween plastic artist appreciates his progress from the SoHo streets to the art galleries. Since 2011 Charles has been featured in the most renowned international art fairs such as Art Basel Miami, International biennial of Contemporary art in Argentina, and Art Monaco 2015.
“Quoting Jackson Pollock as his main influence, Charles identifies with the struggle the genius painter of action art went through”
“Charles emerged out of this crisis with a strong sense of his responsibility as a socially-conscious artist.”
“Despite his young age, Charles has gone through an authentic maturing process as a creative mind and an artist.”