“Prophets, Teachers and Kings” is a 2020 documentary by Snohomish’s John Carswell.

“Prophets, Teachers and Kings” is a 2020 documentary by Snohomish’s John Carswell.

Urban art gets the spotlight at a new Snohomish gallery

The Rosella Gallery features artwork featured in the “Prophets, Teachers and Kings” documentary through March 30.

SNOHOMISH — A new gallery here features one of the largest collections of street art in the United States.

The Rosella Gallery’s inaugural exhibit is titled “Prophets, Teachers and Kings” and features the artwork from the 2020 documentary by the same name. An artists’ reception featuring demonstrations by Evan Peterson and H-Type is 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 25.

Gallery owner John Carswell, of Snohomish, wrote and produced the award-winning documentary “Prophets, Teachers and Kings: Under the Influence of LA Street Culture.” The film, directed by Devin Rice, profiles the 200-member graffiti group based out of Los Angeles.

“It follows the artists of the Under the Influence crew from the dark alleys of LA to the pastoral farmlands of Snohomish as they paint the largest collaborative urban art piece on canvas in the world,” said Carswell, who is the founder and CEO of Northland Contractors in Snohomish. “‘Prophets’ chronicles their rise from juvenile delinquency to urban art infamy in the underground world of graffiti.”

The city of Snohomish obtained a grant to exhibit the work during Kla Ha Ya Days last year, but due to COVID restrictions, the event was cancelled.

“This is a much smaller scale exhibit — but exciting none the less,” said Wendy Poischbeg, who helped organize the city’s cancelled event as well as Rosella’s inaugural show. “Please come by and say hi, watch a couple of artists in action and support a new venue.”

“Prophets, Teachers and Kings” will be up through March 30. The exhibit features 20 works by Skill, Blacklight King, Thret, Mynas, Miles, Emer, Fakes, Swan, Sike, Kid Krael, Joker, Gaso and more.

Carswell owns all of the work featured in the documentary. He said his entire collection — known as the Dog Town Collection — will be the focus of the Rosella Gallery. “I don’t want to give actual numbers, but it’s massive,” he said. He collects graffiti by artists from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, New York, Seattle, Miami and Mexico.

He opened the gallery in January in the Northland Contractor’s building off First Street. His offices are upstairs; the gallery is downstairs.

“I’ve been collecting urban art for about a decade,” he said. “I opened my gallery with the mindset of being able to sell urban art from a lot of street artists and be able to essentially sell their art to help benefit these struggling artists.”

Carswell invites the group Under the Influence each Fourth of July to his home, southwest of Lord Hill Park. In 2019, about a dozen artists painted a mural on a 105-foot long, 10-foot tall canvas. The documentary was filmed during that visit.

“I have artists at my house year-round, painting for me,” said Carswell, who grew up in Santa Barbara, California. “Me being from Southern California, I really concentrate on the West Coast artists. After all the years I’ve been doing this, they’re like family.”

He named the new gallery after his wife’s maiden name — Rosella is from a prominent Italian family in Seattle. John and Abigail Carswell’s daughter Gloryanne “Baby G” Carswell manages the gallery. The UTI artists gave Gloryanne the nickname Baby G when she was a girl.

Evan Peterson, of Seattle, a figurative painter who works in several mediums and is known for his reverse glass paintings, is the gallery’s featured artist for February. Don’t miss his mixed-media painting “Kings of Heart” on display.

In addition to the Rosella Gallery, Peterson’s work has been shown at the Newport Visual Arts Center in Newport, Oregon, the Robert Madsen Gallery in Seattle, Beppu Wiarda Gallery in Portland, Oregon, Enso Gallery in Half Moon Bay, California, and the Schack Art Center in Everett.

Peterson’s style is inspired by the late Rick Bartow, a Native American artist from Newport, Oregon.

H-Type, from Snohomish, also will be demonstrating his work on Feb. 25. His style is a mix of graffiti, calligraphy and fine art.

A graffiti artist for about 30 years, he has murals all over the U.S. Most recently, he painted a mural at the Grill and Chill event held in Everett last year. A member of the graffiti group Graffaholeks Northwest, H-Type painted the mural that is near Big J Mini Mart, at 1806 Broadway.

“Johnny and I share the same passion to push street art and graffiti into the mainstream, because they’ve always been the black sheep of the art community,” said H-Type, whose work is showing at Zamarama Gallery in Everett right now. “Not until five or six years ago has it been recognized more. It’s not just scribbles on the wall — it’s an art form.”

The film “Prophets, Teachers and Kings” has not yet been released, but you can watch the trailer via Vimeo.

“Some of the greatest art in the world from the most talented artists on the planet will never be seen by the public,” Carswell said. “That’s just amazing to me. It really gives you a peek inside a world that nobody gets to see.”

Sara Bruestle: 425-339-3046; sbruestle@heraldnet.com; @sarabruestle.

If you go

The Rosella Gallery, at 902 First Street, Snohomish, is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Showing through March 30 is “Prophets, Teachers and Kings,” an exhibit of street art from the internationally acclaimed documentary of the same name. An artist’s reception featuring demonstrations by Evan Peterson and H-Type is 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 25. Go to www.therosella.com for more information.

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