On exhibit through January 2024-


SERGE GAY JR. presents "Prince 2 Queens" a solo exhibition.


Prince 2 Queens is an homage to the story of Serge Gay Jr. and his family's migration from Port Au Prince Haiti to Queens New York, a tale of coming to America, this visual art show explores the experience of his family leaving everything behind to start over in a foreign land among a foreign people. Much inspiration for the show came from "A Daily Battle for a Normal Life," a memoir by Lorette Gay, Serge's mother, and further informed through many follow-up discussions with her regarding their family's migration from Haiti to seek asylum in the U.S. during an uprising in the 1980's. Starting over in a foreign land among people speaking a foreign language, it presents starting over in so many ways. Serge Gay senior was a decorated and accomplished designer, artist, and architect, who's credentials were not as transferable as his skills. He went to work driving a cab to support his family. Lorette would also work to make ends meet while raising their three children. The wealth they once had was well out of sight, and it would take decades to rebuild their family's sense of self, belonging in community, and healthful spirit. Another theme in the show strikes at the idea of ownership and wealth in the American sense. The idea that the United States was founded by a set of immigrants who wanted the freedom to hold deeds to property and build their own wealth like the aristocrats of old. It explores how cruel it is that this idea, the freedom of ownership, would be reserved for one set of immigrants and not any others. This is especially true among the stories lived out through the streets of New York City, a land of opportunity teaming with immigrants from past to present and future.


The dimension of time is presented through the use of a surreal style that blends past, present, and future tenses in its imagery. In addition to playing with timescale, the color pallet is used to imbue a surreal perspective and guide the discussion by highlighting certain aspects of each piece in the show. For instance, yellow highlights subjects of significance, green is used to conjure the tropics, like Haiti, and those brilliant colors are juxtaposed against the grit grey and muddy browns of New York. Red is used as a pop for attention, to grab the viewers' eye, and leave them wondering about the relationship to the subjects and time of each piece. Keep your sights open and let your mind's eye free to wander from Prince to Queens.


About the Artist: SERGE GAY JR. is an American visual artist and creative designer in San Francisco, California. He has always been an artist. It is a talent coursing in his blood. As a child, his drawing skills were instrumental in connecting with his classmates and teachers. Art was their common language because Serge and his family were recent immigrants to the U.S. from Haiti. The investment in Serge's art skills continued on from those early days. Beyond his informal self-teaching, formal studies and practice began as an adolescent at a Magnet Arts High School in Miami, Florida. Then on to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan, where he refined his illustrative skills and stirred his interest in history, especially that of the rich and the poor and the so-called civil rights that seem to keep them divided. After his formative college experiences both on-campus and off, Serge relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area in California to pursue an art career. In the decades and years since, his skill and experience have grown to span a prolific range of visual art engagements, including graphic design for commercial and small business use, art directing for recorded and live performances, solo and group gallery exhibitions, in-door and out-door event art, general commissions, and both public and private murals throughout the Bay Area. When working on art for himself, Serge infuses inspiration reflective of urban realities from coast to coast. Keen to the racial and economic challenges of our time, influenced by the culture of his homeland, and melded with his life experiences, his voice and the motivation in his work is crisp and clear. His aesthetic incorporates the grit of New York, the beauty of Miami, the wealth of Detroit, and the freedom of San Francisco. All of these places, in their own way, permeate the evolution of his work. When producing art for others, the acumen he demonstrates, the professionalism he provides, and the listening skills he uses are all at the ready to deliver. Serge's concern is for the project's outcome and meeting the client's vision for their brand or desired aesthetic. A trusted advisor on all things colorful and graphic, his expertise is sought out because he is dependable and he makes art that speaks and feels like no other. Serge owns and operates SergeShop, a graphic design and visual arts company. He is also a freelance visual art director working with film and video production design teams in Los Angeles, California. One of the major projects he worked on, with longtime collaborator and film director Matt Stawski, yielded a Grammy nomination for best short-form music video. They continue to collaborate on ongoing video and film production projects. Additionally, above and beyond producing murals and other visual art that amplify LGBTQIA+ voices, Serge has taken action on behalf of a broader sense of community, having served on the board for the Friends of Harvey Milk Plaza and separately having produced projects with local community benefit districts, the California Health and Human Services Agency, and the United States Consulate working in partnership with the State Department of Cultural Affairs, plus many other organizations.


Written by Michael Piscitelli