We haven’t had such a frightening Halloween in years! – and we know we speak for many readers as well while we all look at the monstrous tabloid TV parade that is scaring the electorate. Boo!
Luckily we found some treats on the street! And a few tricks, but those are for our paid site, wink wink.
So here’s our weekly interview with the streets, this week featuring Bifido, Buff Monster, City Kitty, Dee Dee, Disto, Droid, Flood, Myth, Nychos, R2, REVS, RODA, Rusk, See True Fame, Sipros, Smells, Smith, Sweet Toof, and Texas.
Did you see the blue moon over New York Friday night? Looked to be more crimson actually. Welcome to August and the hot sticky band of dirty grit that comes with it. Escape from New York if you can, even if it is just on a lawn chair in a park. NYC parks have a lot of free movies this summer and a huge array of free concerts all through the remainder of dog days. Naturally there is great deal of artful expression on the streets available on your way to and from the venue, very dramatic in its own way.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring $howta, 52, Brolga, BustArt, Esteban Del Valle, Dain, Dasic, Don Rimx, Droid, JR, Julien de Casablanca, KFA, LMNOPI, London Kaye, Ron English, Rubin415, Sokar Uno, and Willow.
Here’s our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Aine, APC, Bast, Billi Kid, Dain, David Shillinglaw, Dee Dee, Dennis McNett, Droid, Enzo & Nio, Kaws, Li-Hill, Seazk, Stikman, and Wing.
Looking at a Modern Graff Travelogue Zine from the Rail Rider
You can’t get more personal than a zine – a hardcopy collection of stories, photos, drawings, writings, observations, screeds, poetry, meanderings all in one. The conventions vary from saddle stitched or creatively folded to the extreme of origamic configuration. It could be all fluorescent paper or have screened oaktag covers or be handmade paper with chunks of stuff floating around inside. Usually printed and photocopied, it may be off your home computer or it may studiously avoid modern convenience and the dulling effects of automative production methods, perhaps with highly individualized pieces of art or detailing.
We like the vehicle of the zine for its Luddite qualities, it’s air of hard won endeavor, hand manufactured and imperfect, and the graffiti zine as a category feels analog and authentic, even when it comes from a liar. If you want high-gloss and fancy concepts, go to the magazine store and marvel at the exotic/erotic spreads that have been art-directed into a sort of histrionic fun-house version of the world, but imagined by people with no roots and who can’t talk about anything. Pick up a graff zine and if you are lucky you’ll be challenged by it’s raw discontent and ravaging deconstruction of convention, possibly a bit of posing, and invariably enough rage to burn off a layer of conventional illusion. This is a generalization drunkly romantic, but we must aim high.
The New York graff writer Droid 907 has just released his new hand-held graff portfolio, Sex or Suicide: (you’re fucked either way) , a mainly black and white zine alternately jammed together (or carefully cobbled together, if you like) with shots from nice cameras, distorted phone shots, and others that were stored at the bottom of the sock drawer next to a tub of vaseline. Part of the 907 crew, this publisher and author gives you a romp through 20 pages that is earnest, disjointed and hard running, and you have an opportunity to balance on the handlebars while he drives, but he may take you into an oncoming truck.
Something about the verbal and visual distortions, the roughshod collages, the on-the-run docushots of graff works made in hidden places underground and on tracks and roofs, the rambling and audacious text stung and burned with emotion and a vain attempt at ordering the chaos – is endearing. Despite his copping a feral stance and outlaw bravado, the zine writer/ graff writer gives S.O.S. the feeling of a good-humored graff travelogue with occasional special guest stars, but in reality he stays home a lot because he feels like nesting right now. It has skipping verbal shots and paeans to pop culture and drugs and sexual curiousity all slapped together with graff walls – splicing the prose and laundry lists and spilling them into a typewriter, his thoughts truncated and distrustful, jolting and jokering, ultimately swallowed by a swoon.
BSA had the opportunity to speak with the circumspect Droid, who says he is currently on the road and in homes, lurking the East Coast from Maine to the deep south this summer. He gave us some insight into this new zine venture, but only enough to keep you wondering. We a pretty good idea who he is in love with, and he asserts that homosexuals find him very attractive.
Brooklyn Street Art:Is this like a blog, except on paper? And does that question make you wretch? Droid 907: I don’t consider the two to have much in common at all, no. At times they are both composed of words and images, but the analog vs. digital nature of the two make for a very different form of archiving/narrative experience, for both the author and reader.
Brooklyn Street Art:Can you talk about the process for creating text and how it is treated as commodity or object? One can see a comparison sometimes to automatic writing and the cut-up methods of William Burroughs. Droid 907: Most of the text came directly from unedited journal entries I produced on a typewriter I found in Detroit last summer. The “lists” came from documenting each “one liner” on every sticker I wrote. Literally, I have hundreds of pages documenting thousands of stickers from the last year or so. I Xeroxed the lists to cut up and make a bunch of collages, composing the cover of the book as well as some of the interior images.
I don’t create work with the idea of selling it. I make work with the intention of making art and archiving my work/ experience(s). In the past I have had friends pull off rack jobs at their schools or print shops and created all my previous zines for free. On this endeavor, I had to sell some copies to make back the initial cost of production. That didn’t change my approach, but it potentially raised the production value. That said, I’d just as easily go back to doing it on the cheap and/or free.
Brooklyn Street Art:How would you describe the intersection between zines and graffiti documentation traditionally? Droid 907: I’ve referred to this work specifically as a “brag-mag” of sorts. In past zines I have collaborated or tried to archive other writer’s graff with the intention of telling a broader story. With “Sex or Suicide” I wanted to focus on a more intimate relationship I have with writing. I think zines usually focus on an individual’s idea without compromising to an editor’s or publishing house’s agenda. By hook or by crook, graffiti doesn’t compromise too much of anything.
Brooklyn Street Art:As an artwork, Suicide or Sex is a compelling cavalcade of freewheeling handmade graphics, low-res photographic documentation, randomly styled powerful and mundane text intermingled, and deliberately anti-design design work. As a diary, it may be a cry for help. Discuss. Droid 907: There are both romantic interests as well as some dark aspects in my life that were deliberately revealed in the work. I’d say most graff zines concentrate on transgressive behaviors and illicit activities that are admittedly entertaining, but rarely do they try and reveal more humanistic qualities. I wanted to challenge the traditional approach to graffiti story telling by revealing some of my more vulnerable traits.
To find out more about the zine Sex or Suicide: (you’re fucked either way), please click HERE. It is also available in Williamsburg Brooklyn at Desert Island Books, at Reed Space on the Lower East Side in Manhattan and Atomic Books in Baltimore.
The audacity of the organically grown Street Art and graffiti wall, covered with styles and sentiments that are anybody’s guess, people painting whatever the heck they want. It may not be easy to digest, but maybe you’ll find part of it to be inspiring, or challenging, or eye opening. Or all three.
“One person did drive by and yell out the window, ‘This is awful!’ ” says artist Don Pablo Pedro as he lets out a belly laugh. “So that was fun, that was a good one. Other than that I’ve enjoyed it a lot.” He’s talking about the new wall still in progress in Bushwick Brooklyn that is taking shape without input from anyone but the artists. “Yeah there are no real rules, we’re just going out there and having fun. Not trying to do anything that is too important or anything,” says Pablo as he talks about his blue Jesus character with the chastity belt.
Usually this sort of work appears on abandoned lots where only few eyes will see it, not on this corner in the still industrial, intensely trafficked, sooty smelly occasionally ear-splittingly loud part of Bushwick. Here you are greeted by very aggressive truck drivers caterwauling by on 18 wheels like bats out of hell. If you are not alert you can be mowed down or choked by the gritty air along with growing numbers of desparados who have settled here in recent years as artists, students, and low-wage workers continue to migrate in search of affordable space to live and work.
Many of the artists painting on this wall come from different directions and backgrounds – graffiti, street art, fine art, painting, woodworking, screen-printing, sculpture – and many have worked collaboratively before. Smells is the curator, if for no other reason than there had to be some sense of order, and according to Don Pablo it won’t be finished until its completely covered. So far the collection includes work from Smells, Cash4, Droid, UFO, Gentu, Keely, Sadue, Don Pablo Pedro, Tony Bones…. “I think it’s still going to go on, it’s kind of a ‘progress wall,’ ” says Pedro.
“Now the wall has turned into sort of a more grimey wall, which I love about it. It’s my friends building and he kind of loves that too. It mirrors more of him actually.”
Does he find that passersby have a negative reaction to some of the content of his piece – the nudity, genitalia, the multiple additional boobs? “You know, I was hoping so! I have seen a number of people look at it and laugh, like some of the worker guys in the neighborhood.”
And for this neighborhood, if you call it that, community standards divine that this explosion of tags and characters is cool, not that some of these artists give a rats butt. “The neighbors are really nice. They know most of the artists – the people next door have the art materials place and they’re really nice too.”
For Don Pablo Pedro, it’s the genuine artistic freedom he is attracted to and as part of his own practice he finds that he’s still learning about doing collaborative work with others and how to work with rough walls – since his typical practice is on canvas and is done solo and in a studio.
“This is also kind of new for me because I’m working with other people’s art pieces around mine and also the little nuances in the wall; like when I was doing the Jesus figure there were these little weird nail things that were on either side of the door so I used them. Also there were like some little nipple things so I used them. And I think Smells liked using the thing for the vagina so it could sort of spray out. Smells piece is really good. I love that one, it’s really good,” he says enthusiastically.
Here’s our first collection for 2013 from BSA’s ongoing interview with the street, this week featuring 907, Smells, Bast, Bunny M, Captain Baby, Droid, Enzo & Nio, Jilly Ballistic, Mr. Toll, Paolo Pivi, Shin Shin, and The Migra.
The Superior Bugout is very stoked to present a really tight line up of amazing musicians / artists for this night, wednesday 10pm at the el dorado in brooklyn (976 grand st). come out and celebrate the new party holiday LEAP YEAR 2012!!!
and DJ DIRTYFINGER
with art walls by SMELLS / CASH4 / FADE AA / R2 / GEN 2 / UFO 907
“F*ck Art”, an undulating and adventurous group show by New York Street Artists opens its arms and legs to you at the Museum of Sex (MoSex) tomorrow and whether it’s the human powered penetrating bicycle or the glass bead encrusted dildo, it endeavors to satisfy.
Co-curated by Emilie Baltz (Creative Director) and Mark Snyder (Director of Exhibitions), the show selects 20 current Street Artists who have pushed notions of propriety into provocation on the street and it invites them to let it loose behind closed doors. Not that Miss Van needs anyone’s permission; her sensual role-playing painted ladies have been playfully preening on graff-piled walls and blue-boarded construction sites for much of the 2000s. Similarly the powerfully stenciled sirens by Street Artist AIKO have been bending over in high heels on walls all over the world with just a hint of the geishas from her native Japan for over a decade.
The “Fuck Bike #001”, a pedal operated plunging machine by William Thomas Porter and Andrew H. Shirley, has at its conceptual base an ode to the lengths a guy will go to reach his natural objective. The two artist met at a Black Label Bike Club event called “Ridin’ Dirty” in 2010 and later schemed together to make an entry for a bike-themed group show in Bushwick, Brooklyn that featured many Street Artists like DarkClouds, Ellis G., UFO, Noah Sparkes and Mikey 907. “I approached Tom with the idea of creating a kinetic bike sculpture which you could f*ck someone with,” remembers Mr. Shirley, “Tom is a very gifted artist and bike engineer, it took a few days for him to build our design.”
Visitors to the show are invited to mount the bike and take it for a spin. “This bike is more sculpture oriented, but still functions sexually. It’s also totally interactive,” explains Mr. Shirley, who has displayed the bike in cities in Europe and America, most recently at Art Basel in Miami in December. So the bike has gotten around and Shirley happily recounts stories of intimate encounters it has had with both genders. (See the very Not-Safe-For-Work film of the bike in action below.)
The street has certainly seen an increase of fairly graphic sex related Street Art in the last decade or so as people have become more comfortable with such themes and much of this show can often be seen throughout the city without the price of admission. Gay couple Bryan Raughton and Nathan Vincent have been putting large and small scaled paste-ups of sexually themed imagery as a Street Art duo called RTTP for about two years on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Short for “Reply To This Post”, the line-drawn torsos and spread eagles are all part of their collaborative Street Art project that explores the desires of men seeking men on Craigslist.
Describing the work, Vincent says it’s a process of lifting the mystery off of a just-below-the-radar Internet dating game – and pasting it on a lightpole. “Users post an ad with an image, title, and a short description of what they are looking for tonight. The photograph they post of themselves is drawn and titled with the ad’s title.” By putting these erotically based desires on the streets, Vincent thinks “they magnify those desires that often seem to live at the edges.” Says Raughton of the project, “We see it as an interesting way to take people private desires to the public street.”
In discussing the origins and underpinnings of a show like this, the co-curators reveal a more academic and sociological grounding than the prurient and salacious sauciness one might infer by a display of so much “F*ck Art”. We asked Baltz to give us a sense of the context for a Street Art driven sex show.
Brooklyn Street Art:What is your favorite part of curating a show like this? Emilie Baltz: Seeing the different interpretations and energy that each artist brings to their work is always the most interesting part of curating – with this topic, especially, it’s the fact that they are all pushing the limits of their medium by creating such provocative statements.
Brooklyn Street Art:While these pieces are behind closed doors available to a certain audience, Street Artists typically put their work out in the public. Do you think the work should change depending on the audience? Emilie Baltz: We don’t think it’s about changing the work, it’s about how the work changes the environment it lives in. Street art has a long history of revealing different perspectives on its surrounding environment and by placing this work in a museum it creates a certain energy and visual provocation that changes the relationship we traditionally have to the museum-going experience.
Brooklyn Street Art:Do you think there has been an increase in sex-related street art in recent years, and if so, why? Emilie Baltz: There definitely is an increase in sex-related conversations in recent years. It’s not that there is more content suddenly, it’s just that culture is actually ready to start talking about it now, rather than ignore it.
Brooklyn Street Art:We have noticed that themes of sex and sexuality are often quickly destroyed on the street, while other pieces remain for months. Is this a form of selective censorship by the public? Emilie Baltz: Street art is a dialogue. Its creation is about expression and commentary, and therefore can become a barometer of cultural consciousness (or unconsciousness). The intimate and emotional nature of sexual content can obviously elicit strong feelings in viewers, and, given that street art is an environmental medium, either you have to live with it or get rid of it. Sex walks a fine line between acceptance and rejection. Public response to this kind of art is potentially a mirror into how our society relates to the topic.
Brooklyn Street Art:What surprised you the most about putting this show together? Emilie Baltz: The enthusiasm from the public. People are genuinely excited to talk about sex in public space and it’s an incredible honor to be able to help facilitate that discussion.
A Street Art Occupation at the Museum of Sex in New York City, opens February 8 and will run through June 10, 2012.
Emilie Baltz, Co-Curator, Creative Director, F*CK ART
Mark Snyder, Co-Curator F*CK ART, Director of Exhibitions, Museum of Sex
Meghan Coleman and Alex Emmart of Might Tanaka Gallery in Brooklyn served as Chief Advisors.
Our weekly interview with the street, this week featuring Above, Animal Takeover, Buff Monster, Cash4, Cope, Dan Witz, Dasic, Didi, Droid, Earsnot, Food One, Irak, Joe Iurato, J.Robles, Jade, JT, Never, Pessimo, Sand One, Shiro, Sue Works, and Uno Entes.