Aleksander Betko is an artist whose contemporary appeal is firmly-and poignantly-rooted in the New York City of decades past. Born in Poland in 1976, his family fled the political unrest in that country when he was four years old, settling in Queens. Betko subsequently spent his youth immersed in the city's dynamic culture, both established (museums, art mentors) and underground (the 1980s punk scene, street performers). Those influences constantly linger in his work today.
But it wasn't until he finished art school at SUNY Purchase at the age of 20 that Betko made his way to Brooklyn, and "was in love right from the start," as he puts it. It was here that he developed his artistic polish, producing works that evoke moments of solitude and otherness within the kinetic rumble of New York. His most recent show, at the Dacia Gallery last summer, presented a series of intimate portraits of creative New Yorkers caught in various moments of contemplation and brought a good amount of well deserved attention to his work.