Fra. Biancoshock Tags “Toy” in Milan

Maybe it’s just us, but Milan-based Fra. Biancoshock appears to deliberately flummox and beguile with his public interventions and performances: messing with security cameras, staging public funerals for countries with actors and a coffin, installing “flying garbage” bags near sidewalk cafes, providing sheets of bubble wrap for you to pop while waiting for the bus, installing a closed loop red carpet in a public square, and of course painting a large swastika made of Facebook logos.

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Fra Biancoshock. “Pulpits” Italy. January 2015. (photo © courtesy of Fra Biancoshock)

Today we find him openly dissing a graffiti writer’s work with a stencil, violating at least a few street “rules” that would seem to cross most national boundaries as they pertain to the Street Art and graffiti continuum.

  1. he goes directly on top of someone else’s work

  2. he calls them a name that means they have no style and do subpar work, among many additional interpretations

  3. he exacerbates the much discussed beef on the street in many cities between some graffiti writers and Street Artists – by putting a stencil directly on top of an aerosol piece.

Does Fra. Biancoshock have an explanation aside from wanting to get himself into a fight? He presents his action as a sociology experiment whereby he puts a spotlight on subcultural conventions that are being caught in a seachange of definitions, roles, and meaning thanks to a flooding of new participants onto the street – and that dang Internet that continues to rock and re-form so many scenes.

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Fra Biancoshock. “Pulpits” Italy. January 2015. (photo © courtesy of Fra Biancoshock)

“I know that this work can be misunderstood and that many people/artists may get angry about this work and its direct message,” he says. “For me this is just a provocative action which emphasizes that we are currently in a period of confusion between graffiti, stencil, muralism, street art and more. People entering the conversation are making false equations between these disciplines, and there are a lot of uniformed and competitive attitudes coming into play. In my opinion graffiti is graffiti, stencils are stencils and there is not war between methods because they are two different worlds, and graffiti does not belong to the same world as street art so there is no need to equate the two.”

“And now people are loving murals because they are pretty, because they decorate buildings. But most of these people don’t realize that much of today’s mural scene is a consequence of a previous period of graffiti – in fact every stencil or muralist is born thanks to the graffiti world. Ironically, graffiti is not a vogue right now; it’s vandalism, it’s for toys.”

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Fra Biancoshock. “Pulpits” Italy. January 2015. (photo © courtesy of Fra Biancoshock)

While you may agree with many of his points, it is hard to explain how this direct cross-out of another guys work is acceptable. We think he means to capture an attitude that he sees and to critique it – namely he wants to illustrate a false battle that denigrates graffiti writing and elevates Street Art.

And for the record, he says that doesn’t know Falt, the writer he has just gone over.

“So, I want to emphasize my personal apology to Falt for creating this piece without permission…I don’t know Falt. I simply found his piece in an abandoned area and I decided to make my intervention on it. I don’t consider Falt a toy and I don’t consider anyone a toy actually because I think that is not important what the style of letters or the location of the graffiti. I appreciate them all because I think that every graffiti piece is a moment of communication. Excuse me Falt!”

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Fra Biancoshock. “Pulpits” Italy. January 2015. (photo © courtesy of Fra Biancoshock)

 

We hope that clears things up, but it probably doesn’t. Stay tuned to see if Fra. Biancoshock gets his head smacked by a writer who does not care for his conceptual ideation.

 

 

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