On the corner of Swann Avenue and Tampania Avenue is the Swann Metro Center. It’s an average, two-story building with a host of rental space filled with dentists, salons, and pharmacists. It’s pretty much a run of the mill Tampa office space landmark, but if you turn enough corners, you’ll find yourself at 4D Studios LLC (no matter how much you’re convinced you’re breaking in through the loading dock).
It’s a Saturday night, and I’ve come out to see the exhibition, “Two Sides of the Same Coin” by local artist, and teacher, Adam Kitzerow. Already somewhat of an international celebrity (because, the internet), Kitzerow greets me with a smile and the full Sexy Mario getup synonymous with said fame. He’s half artist, and half nerd; a portrayal that fits well with his desire to question what makes something considered art. We pose for a couple suggestive photos with an inflatable banana, and then I venture on through the studio.
The space is one giant warehouse, and Kitzerow’s work has taken over about half of it. The other half is studio lighting, and a space covered in green-screen paint, with a pack of directors/actors chattering away lines. I am told that auditions for a commercial are running later than expected, so unfortunately, his video work could not be played until they had wrapped. As 4D Studios is a multipurpose workplace that caters to local actors, models, and singers, offering a variety of services to help facilitate such endeavors, it’s not uncommon for such things to come up. I guess that’s Show Biz!
Kitzerow’s work is an amalgam of sensibilities. He has split the space between his two selves; some might say the “high art”, and the “low art” selves. One corner features the Sexy Mario works that gave him his internet appeal, and the other half are his abstract paintings. The paintings vary just as widely as the split between his two personas. Some are circular tessellations of clean, glossy lines, while others are harsher, with thick, razor sharp paint.
Everything has a palette of saturated, Technicolor hues, and he doesn’t hold back on vibrancy. Each piece makes you want to touch it. Whether it’s the glittery layers of epoxy coating, or his attention to texture, his “high art” begs to be experienced through all the senses. Even the Sexy Mario work is bright and contrasted, as his photographed come hither stares pop off the white walls through glossy paper.
No matter what his medium of choice, his works display the enjoyment he finds in what he does. His two worlds collide in a fashion that could only come from someone with an obsession in pop culture and growing up on television and video games. The marrying of these two sides of the coin are a reminder to any onlooker not to judge what they see based on its cultural stigma, but to approach anything as having the potential to be art. For this reason, “Two Sides of the Same Coin” is exactly what it says it is, and doesn’t apologize for it.