International Street Artists Converge on El Paseo

CODA Gallery presents a limited-engagement exhibition of renowned street artists and muralists to the street through March 17.
Story By: Julie Pendray
Artwork courtesy CODA Gallery

Swirling monochromatic lines and splashes of color by German artist KEF! — whose installation was commissioned for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar — are presented with work by other world-renowned street artists in a show called Burner at CODA Gallery, on view through March 24.

The Berlin resident’s work has also been shown in Europe, Asia, Israel, Guatemala and Louisiana. At CODA, his pieces appear in a limited-engagement exhibition alongside work by: a graffiti crew known as 123Klan; political activist Banksy; American painter Dalek, best known for his Space Monkey character; Belgian painter Cee Pil; Magnus Gjoen, whose creations draw on history and allusion; Australian artist James Reka (Reka One), who enjoys painting in abandoned locations around the world; French painter and performer Henri Lamy; and California’s large-scale multimedia artist Shane Goudreau. The works at CODA are available for purchase, and the public can also make viewing appointments.

123Klan, also known as Scien and Klor, based in Canada, say they’ve been doing their art for two decades “in the hip hop galaxy and beyond.” They’ll be at CODA for an artist reception Friday, March 17, from 3 to 6 p.m.


"Mix Mash Up Orange" by 123 Klan


"Mount Sumeru #1" by KEF!

Meanwhile, Simon “KEF!” Rohlen aims to have his work emanate what he believes the world needs — peace. “I want to bring harmony and serenity,” the artist shares. He draws on Buddhism and a love of nature for his meditative artistic process. “Nature makes me calm. Nature can be chaotic, for example, when there are leaves everywhere in autumn. But, still, there is calm. For me, the joy of painting is absolute freedom.”

Part of what makes his work unique, he continues, is that he never went to art school. “I’ve never gone by the rules. I mix my paints however I like.” His World Cup piece, “Posts for Qatar,” included a desert rose motif, along with the colors of the German and Qatar flags.

Rohlen says he found his moniker, “KEF!,” in a book, and, to him, it translates as “scar.” He thought that was fitting because it refers to something indelible on the skin and on the mind. He added the exclamation mark for emphasis because when he was a young teen tagging on the streets, he had to make speedy getaways. He later began working on canvases and then graduated to street murals in London. Rohlen’s efforts have now been seen in the design of interior spaces, such as Urban Outfitters stores in Europe, as well as on beaches, at festivals, in a hotel, and even on a Porsche. He’s looking forward to joining other artists from around the world to create harmony together, he says, and is intrigued to see the California desert for the first time.

CODA Gallery, featuring an eclectic collection of contemporary art, has been an El Paseo landmark since 1987 and was named California’s Best Gallery by American Art Awards (2020) and Best Gallery in the Desert by readers of Palm Springs Life.

"Calm Transition #10" by KEF!


"Fountain of Youth" by Reka One