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Wastedland 2. Andrew H. Shirley Corrals Counter-Culture in Detroit

Wastedland 2. Andrew H. Shirley Corrals Counter-Culture in Detroit

“The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.” Abbie Hoffman


 

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EKG Labs. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

PREAMBLE

At any given moment a counter-culture is developing before your eyes. Authoritarian governments know this. So do, as it turns out, lifestyle brands, sociologists, and PR firms.

Born of a genuine disaffection with the dominant culture as it steamrolls blithely forward, counter-culture has the ability to draw sharp contrasts into focus, expose secrets, challenge hypocrisies, redress inequality. It can also crack open a moribund mindset and give oxygen and sunlight and water to new ideas, new ways of being, alternate paradigms.

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UFO 907 & William Thomas Porter. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Counter-culture is essential to growth of culture, and while it can be shocking, disruptive, even painful at times, the wise know that the marginalized often lead the body politic toward a stronger equilibrium, a more perfect union.

Graffiti may not have begun as a subculture or a counter-culture, but virtually all of our recognized institutions steadfastly resisted it. Over time, they have become more open to suggestion, if with reservations and conditions. Eventually, everything is transformed by it in degrees.

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EKG Labs. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

DETROIT CHARTS THE MOVEMENT

May we suggest that when it comes to the counter-cultural aspects of graffiti and Street Art, Detroit is a fine example of being in multiple stages of acceptance and denial, with examples of the counter-culture all along the continuum from rejection to absorption.

During a recent visit we saw old-school Detroit graffiti heads with their elaborate pieces next to newcomer kids from other cities bringing a raw-graff anti-style. You could also find corporate lifestyle brands polishing their art-cool bonafides while gently intermingling with grassroots community-minded mural organizing.

Further up the financial ladder you’ll witness blue-chip collector/investors getting down in a gallery culture that supports marquee art names, and major institutions courting younger “edgy” artists who started their “careers” far outside the mainstream, often outside the law.

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EKG Labs. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Andrew H. Shirley steps carefully in many ways as he leads us up a cracked staircase of oil-caked concrete, piss-poor lighting and the occasional puddle of murk. Our ears are still ringing from the sounds of a busted muffler in his car and we’re mulling over the sight of his dashboard vitrine that seemed to contain bones, feathers, amulets and pop culture debris reflecting in a ochre filmed windshield.

On the way here to Lincoln Art Park, we have passed graffitied car carcasses, crumbling ex factories, and fire torched exoskeletons of houses – all which lead to this loading dock entrance of a building once owned by Ford, now run as a recycling plant and, as it turns out, an art exhibition gallery.

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Our ride to Wastedland 2. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“So there was 40 years of garbage and the whole floor was filled with it,” Andrew says, “I came in here and I had to unload all of that sh*t by myself”.

A native of the big D, the slim-framed Mr. Shirley has spent half of his 40 years outside of it; writing graffiti, pitching and creating art projects, promoting scenes, studying film making and custom bike-making… generally pushing the margins of cultural acceptability in a way that looks sketchy on a resume – but would make smart brands salivate, if they had the guts.

“This is the 20th anniversary of me leaving this town and I have been back several times with several different shows,” he says about the group exhibitions and events that feature what he calls ‘underground aesthetics’.

“This is the first big public project where I brought a lot of my friends from New York and included the artists and makers here in Detroit who I have come to know over the years – all under one roof and showcasing all of their talents.”

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Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

THE FILM

Also, a film screening.

It’s the debut of “Wastedland2” in the middle of this 7,000 square foot dark cavern with a small grouping of stolen church pews facing the screen. The original Wastedland was a smaller tale – a petri dish of ideas that expanded and took root in a showier piece of exploration and mystery with higher production values.

The seating area is orbited by mini-dioramas of characters and scenes featured in the half hour graffiti mockumentary. Here is a handmade shack by Adam Void that perhaps epitomizes a metaphorical outsider clubhouse mentality common to the graffiti game.

To stage left is a stuffed 6-foot tall Cranky Cat standing erect amid piles of spent paint cans, a fire extinguisher, and exhaust tubes leading nowhere. In the movie Cranky is a feral and grouchy/whining character who propels the drunken aerosol action forward with escapades of ex-urban painting and existential fireside conversation with Wolftits and Amoeba Man in their “Wizard of Oz”-like  pilgrimage in search of truths. There is no Dorothy and no Toto in the film, but the animal head masks are trippy and comical even in the darkest moments. Each graffiti artist, according to EKG, was asked to make a costume that mimicked their spirit-animal. Amoeba Man’s plastic-wrapped head mask is a tour-de-force.

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Standing silently in the center of the floor behind the seating area in the exhibit is the massive tentacled steam-punked multi-eyed orb made of wood and steel that gives physical presence to the elusive anonymous graffiti crew called UFO 907. He also is the films’ diety and the holder of the aforementioned elusive truths.

Behind him on the wall is another slatted and animated version of UFO – perhaps more similar to the wiggly UFO 907 character sprayed across hundreds of walls in NYC. This animated sculpture version has a reservoir of black ink that drips on the floor.

Wastedland 2 is a road trip without road, a therapeutic buddy film without saccharine, staged in a post apocalyptic terrain that is revealed as graffiti oasis. The hapless beer- and weed-fueled journey is pure youthful angst suspended in chemicals and many in the audience laughed in recognition at the head-banging frustration voiced about fundamental life questions by these furry characters.

Despite the obvious obstacles posed by frozen facial expressions, there is a warmth in the interactions. Of note particularly is the party scene of mixed genders and the stumbling awkwardness of Wolftits with a potential lady friend; this will be the first time you’ve seen the mating game portrayed quite like this.

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“Cranky Cat’s Hovel” with Cranky Cat. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“This piece played the character of God in the film,” Andrew says, pointing to the all-seeing sculpture. “You may have seen that it was actually in a field in upstate New York.”

Yes, we made the trip to the rolling hills of cow-country to see it twice in a field of gently waving weeds. Previously we saw it in the lobby of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Previous to that we saw it being carved, soldiered, and under construction in UFO’s studio in Brooklyn. Truthfully, it does seem rather god-like.

Andrew says he transported the hulking orb by truck from rural New York to post-industrial Detroit, which must have taken 9 or 10 hours if he crossed into Canada and squeezed between the Great Lakes of Ontario and Erie.

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EKG Labs. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

This old factory has definitely not been refurbished into a “white box” gallery space, and there are no guards. There may be a guard dog. The floors are occasionally flooded by a leak from a source that is hard to pinpoint, the lighting is so irregular as to appear incidental, and visitors should be careful not to bang their head on the soot-covered sculptures of clouds by artist DarkClouds that are affixed slightly above with stalactite-like ebony drips that could be solid or liquid.

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Dark Clouds. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

As you parse the floors and avoid the paint-peeling columns Mr. Shirley is narrating just ahead of you with an earnest voice that weaves in and out of range, dashing off to find an extension chord perhaps, or a ladder, or to find someone to come explain the muscular graffiti pieces on display in the adjoining passage.

 

GANGSTERS AND WHITE KIDS

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BRZM ISH/ SYW. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Presently a twenty-something guy named Zak Warman appears and walks us past 10 or so freshly wild and layered graffiti pieces each displayed in their own bay, each representing important players from the last couple of decades in the Detroit graffiti scene. Zak tells us says that the Motor City scene is characterized by two distinct styles and constituencies at the moment, and this show combines both.

“I guess like the ‘gangster graffiti’ and the ‘white kid graffiti’ would be the best way to put it,” he explains while surveying the lineup and glancing at the rest of the show. “You know, the people who were like born in the gutter here and the people who came here in their teen years who moved here and such.”

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YOGURT / DFW. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“There’s people here who would never have painted together but maybe it was just the way that I showed them or my proposal. I was like ‘let’s just set everything aside that’s happened over the years – this is about us it is not about you. This is about everybody not just about our own f**king personal graff beef.’ ”

“It’s like the first time that everyone has come together into one big family.”

Mr. Shirley jumps in to further describe the nature of the work and the creators. “It is very important in Detroit to be able to ‘piece’, ” he says of the verb ‘piece’ that describes the noun ‘piece’ – a large, complex, and labor-intensive graffiti painting.

“In some places having a good tag is that first staple and then you move up from that tag,” he explains. “But here, because of the amount of time and space that you have to develop your craft all of these dudes really regard piecing above everything else.”

He walks down to the end of the line to point at a painted work. “These guys at the end – PERU and ARMY – they were doing 10-color pieces on the streets, as was SEKT – before anyone else. These guys represent a span of time from the early and mid 90s into the 2000s.”  In most cities you don’t have that luxury of time to develop an illegal piece, but Detroit has a number of stories like this.

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PERU ARMY. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A common story around Detroit is that, due to de-industrialization, the collapsing economy and the shrinking municipal budgets in the 1990s and 00s, the police were only arresting people for felonies. Since graffiti was not a felony, the police would simply drive by while aerosol was being sprayed.

“It’s not a myth,” says Andrew. “I painted a water tower one time – it’s still here today.” He recounts a story where one cop sat vigil on a rooftop for hours watching him paint on the water tower, only to be replaced by another until finally the painting was done. “I think he was just making sure that I didn’t get hurt and that I was okay,” he says with a sense of wonder.

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SEKT EBC / DFW. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

PARTING FOG

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EKG Labs . Drake. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

It’s time to depart the Wastedland 2 exhibition and go to the streets in this run-down part of Detroit, where the art on the walls is roughly the same as the stuff we’ve just come to see.

It is unclear if this underground is simply about aesthetics, or if there is a deeper message. Maybe this is not a counter-culture after all, but a subculture.

As we stand by the elevated installation by artist EKG, dry-ice smoke billows out of a fully formed madman’s laboratory behind black curtains. Amid the visual field of blinkering orange light tubes and smoke that harken back to 1950s Sci-Fi movies, you see another character from the movie; the film’s box-headed admin assistant who robotically types out reams of black scrolls full of orange symbols to decode at a pivotal moment. This is an apt skillset to possess in an underground scene that is heavily coded and rife with implied and layered messages. A simple man of few words, EKG dubbed his character The Cyber Spirit Stenographer in The Court of The Overlord.

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EKG Labs. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

We consider the amorphous steam from the Cyber Spirit and wonder how porous the veil is between the mainstream and the outsider artists who fuel this scene. When does counter-culture become culture? We can’t say for sure.

“Detroit is a pretty good example of counter-culture becoming culture, actually,” replies Andrew H. Shirley to our inquiry. “There is this corporatization that happens and there are culture vultures on the corners and in the nooks and crannies in underground scenes of America and they are exploiting it for monetary gain.”  True. But there is also word-of-mouth that spreads the news and the willing, thrilling adoption of techniques and languages by the naturally inquisitive types whose brain synapses are electrified by discovery.  With shows like this does Mr. Shirley feel like he is aiding and abetting the mainstreaming of a subculture like graffiti and its D.I.Y tributaries?

“I’d like to pull back the curtains and give a little peek of it but I’m not trying to shine too many flashlights or provide too much of a narrative into the ‘hows’ and ‘whats’ and ‘whys’. I think it’s important for the common man to see that there is an alternative perspective because too often they are just inundated by the media that is controlled by the corporations – who are telling them what to wear, how to think, how to act, what to pray to, what to feel and how to live their life.”

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EKG Labs. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

SOME LAST WORDS ON FESTIVALS

He does have a little beef with mural festivals though.

He thinks his Wastedland 2 show deals a fairer hand to local artist communities. “This is kind of in contrast to what seems to be an international phenomenon of bringing muralists, many of them the same muralists, from city to city – developing a ‘look’ that is kind of becoming a blanketed look,” he says.

“Detroit has so many f**king artists and part of the problem for me is that there are a lot of these mural festivals that are two thirds or 75% or 90% international artists and 10% or 20% local artists. It doesn’t allow for the city to see what is really happening here. I wanted to have a show where the background and the forefront of the show was about what was happening here.”

“While I do think the mural festival is very important in bringing in outside influence and outside interest into the city, for me it is just as important, or more important, to really praise and understand the origins of these movements in Detroit. That’s why I have reached out and had the help of friends to get these artists into the show.”

That said, we’ll say that the Wastedland 2 event was heavily promoted by the folks at the recent Murals In The Market Festival and many of the international artists who participated in the mural festival were also in attendance at the Shirley curated show, the bonfires, and music events at the sculpture park – as well as the screening of the movie.

Of course we also saw Gen Y and even Gen Z there with backpacks full of paint, dangling their legs off the retaining wall that overlooked the huge bonfire — who seemed to disappear when the freight train that ran along the lots’ perimeter came to a halt. There was also a guy from the Detroit Institute of Arts and a local plumber who talked to us about building a tree house in his front yard. Maybe it is harder to define culture than we thought.

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Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Amy Smalls . George Vidas. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Amy Smalls . George Vidas . GEN2. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rambo . UFO907 . Ryan C. Doyle. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rambo . UFO907 . Ryan C. Doyle. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rambo . UFO907 . Ryan C. Doyle. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Rambo . UFO907 . Ryan C. Doyle. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Amanda Wong . Andrew H. Shirley. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Dark Clouds. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Wolftits popcorn making machine. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Adam Void. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Greg Henderson. Wastedland 2. Detroit, September 2016. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

 

Participating artists at Detroit Wastedland2, curated by Andrew H. Shirley include ARMY, BRZM, DRAKE, DONT, DYKE, ELMER, FOUR EYES, LIGER, MINCE, PERU, PORAB, REVEREND, SECT, SKWAT, TOUCH, TURDL, YOGRT and others from Detroit and also artists Adam Void, Amanda Wong,  Amy Smalls and George Vidas , Ben Wolf,  DARKCLOUDS,  EKG,  Greg Henderson,  Hugo Domecq,  RAMBO,  Ryan C. Doyle,  UFO 907,  William Thomas Porter,  WOLFTITS, among others.

Performers included The Unstoppable Death Machines, DJ Ihatejail.com (Crazy Jim from Wolf Eyes), Ishtar, Lt. Dan, and Dj’s Abacus, Prismviews, Black Noi$e, Abby and 100% Halal Meat


This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Next stop on the film’s multi-city launch: Richmond,Virginia on November 4.

Wastedland 2” and the accompanying show will feature new artwork from:  Adam Void, Amanda Wong, Amy Smalls and George Vidas, Andrew H. Shirley, Conrad Carlson, DARKCLOUDS, EKG, Greg Henderson, NOXER, RAMBO, Russell Murphy, Ryan C. Doyle, UFO 907, William Thomas Porter, WOLFTITS, and live performances from The Unstoppable Death Machines and Richmond’s DUMB WAITER and TOWARD SPACE. There will also be graffiti installations from local Richmond vandals and the 907 crew.

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UFO Crashes at Brooklyn Academy of Music

UFO 907 & W. Thomas Porter Unveil Giant Wood / Metal Sculpture With 34 Eyes

“I think this is the kind of art work that people can step up to and they won’t say “Why the f*ck am I looking at this? I could do this – my kid could do this! I wanna blow people’s minds. I want people to be awestruck by it,” W. Thomas Porter exclaims in a burst of unhinged bravado that a master metal worker and inventor can claim after 3 consecutive weeks of custom cutting, bending, molding, and welding a crash-landing space ship, a 3-D realization of the UFO 907 graffiti moniker on it’s head.

 

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

With the graffiti guy known on the street as UFO 907 as his master woodworking partner, Porter has crawled like a monkey inside, around, and on top of every inch of this metal-skinned vessel with 34 rotating smooth wooden eyes.  Standing inside a Brooklyn studio staring up at this audacious labor intensive sculptural blast-off of inspiration and technical handy-work, you can’t believe that this is the same UFO who jumped roofs and trains for years spraying a rapid flat version of this ubiquitous alien vessel.

907 Crew fans may also experience a mind-melt when hearing first hand the soaring descriptive narrative UFO lets loose about this brand new street piece, “It’s a symphony between wood and metal. Seeing the wood next to the metals – it’s almost like jewelry work, it’s like it’s growing up out of the earth like a flower. It’s totally looking like this flower that is blooming, this metal is blooming out of all of this wood. It’s fun, man.” A tough NYC street graffiti writer who sometimes get’s dragged into the uncomfortable position of being called a Street Artist?  Nah, UFO is just an artist now, and the usually shy guy is so ripped about this project he frankly doesn’t care about the label. It’s about the work.

 

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Introduced last night at a reception hosted by The Brooklyn Academy of Music, this UFO will house a stash of copies of Showpaper, a free print publication that lists and promotes events and DIY culture all around New York. Commissioned with funding from BAMart: Public, the “Brooklyn Shelf Life Project” is Showpaper’s hand picked selection of Street Art affliated artists collaborating as pairs to create innovative new versions of the traditional street kiosk. Curated by Andrew H Shirley, the eclectic collection of street explorers also includes Adam Void & Gaia, Cassius Fouler & Faust, Leon Reid IV & Noah Sparkes, and Ryan C. Doyle & Swoon.

 

A sketch to the side of this preliminary mockup shows the full scale of the piece by UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

A carpenter by trade, UFO 907 has been at it for 16 years but he didn’t try his hand at exploring his own graffiti tag in 3D till a few years ago. “It only made sense – I mean after over a decade drawing that stupid guy on the wall I began to wonder what he looked like in 3 dimensions…now I’m starting to wonder what the dude looks like in 5D!”

Porter says he started his path to metal work as a boy, tearing up old houses and rebuilding them with his father. “I’ve been making sculptures since I was 14, had no idea there was an art world then,” he says. Now that he is newly situated in his own Brooklyn studio, he’ll definitely be making more of his custom bike configurations (see his “F*ck Bike”) among other metal bending discoveries, “I’ve always been into material mashups,” he explains, “I started welding at 16, and metal became a gateway drug to all sorts of new possibilities.”

 

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

While touring through their respective studios, BSA had the opportunity to see the entire process of making the new sculpture for BAM, entitled “The End If the Beginning”. It was also good to talk with UFO 907 and W. Thomas Porter about how they teamed up, who the UFO character symbolizes, and what they’ll think if the sculpture gets vandalized on the street.

Brooklyn Street Art: When people think of UFO 907 on the streets, it’s a quick tag with not much detail. Don’t you think they would be pretty shocked to know how much time you put into a sculptural piece like this?
UFO 907:
I guess so. If there’s one thing I’ve learned all these years in the graffiti game is you never know what your going to get when you uncover the man behind the moniker.

I’ve always felt a kind of separation between my vandalism tendencies and my artistic urges. Sure my tags and retarded throwups can look artistic but it’s just a quick elementary thoughtless expression. I’m doing the macho getting up sh*t, pissing like a dog. But with my studio work I slow down to a f*cking snails pace, considering every detail, knowing each line of the brush/pen, each turn of the jigsaw, each stroke with the sander is injecting so much f*cking feeling and energy and power into the piece. So, if ya didn’t know, now ya know.

 

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: What part of this new piece are you most proud of?
UFO 907: I’m pretty excited to have the opportunity to work to such a large scale. I also always had a desire to fabricate a larger-than-life UFO piece and just love the idea of using metal. And of course I’m totally stoked to have the opportunity to be collaborating on such an intense piece with an artist and craftsmen I hold in high regard, W.Thomas Porter.

Brooklyn Street Art: The first time we saw a sculptural UFO it was with Ad Hoc Projects for a group show in Miami. The piece was called “Williamsburg Guy”. Was that the first time you did something like that?
UFO 907:
No, I have built a few smaller wooden UFO pieces before the “Williamsburg Guy” piece, and over the years I have messed around with some other materials to find the form I’m looking for.

Funny story about the first time we showed “Williamsburg Guy”;

The night we finished the piece I slapped together a crate and Doyle and myself threw the piece underneath the Chinatown bus, and took it down to Richmond Virginia for a group show we were involved in. If you know the size and weight of the piece that’s a pretty impressive feat. But it was free shipping! Go Chinatown Bus!

 

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © UFO)

UFO and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Since this is a vessel of sorts, and you have said your UFO tag is almost a self portrait, do you imagine yourself inside this sculpture looking out windows and swinging your 34 eyes in all directions looking at people?
UFO 907:
Not necessarily but I love that idea! At this point it seems less like being inside the sculpture – but more so I continue to see the UFO as an embodiment of my being. I have always seen the UFO as my self portrait, yes, but not in the sense of a photograph or painting of myself. It’s more like a window to my spirit energy and soul. The form, energy and idea behind UFO has continuously been evolving, morphing, and growing over the years. If it wasn’t it would be dead, right?

So, yes, I’m guessing at some point you might just find me sitting inside the mothership staring at ya’ll, plotting my next move. Ha ha HA!

Brooklyn Street Art: When you are making such labor-intensive carefully considered work and putting it out into the street, do you ever worry about it being vandalized?
UFO 907: Naw… that’s what happens to sh*t on the streets! I kind of secretly have a fantasy about a car running up the sidewalk and crashing into the piece. That would be pretty cool, as long as I get a nice photo of the piece pinned between the car and a brick wall!

Brooklyn Street Art: What has working with Thomas brought to your process?
UFO 907: I have been a fan of his work and his great craftsmen ship since I met him. I think I first met him the night me and Doyle were cramming to get “Williamsburg Guy” completed. Dude came through and he quietly handled shit, helping us get the piece done. Aces!

When I first heard that Andrew Shirley was curating this project, I told him I had to be on board and wanted Tom Porter as my partner. Tom has brought amazing metal work, which is not my craft but a material I love all the same, and he is a champ with the kinetics/mechanics helping us both bring our visions to life and adding many levels to the piece. As well Tom Porter is a perfect match with me with his boundless energy, obsessive attention to detail, grand positive visions, eternal positivity directed towards the project at hand. What a dude!!

 

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter. Inside view of the structure. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Brooklyn Street Art: Yeah, your skills seem really well suited for collaboration.
UFO 907:
Yup we both have brought what we do best to the table and all thing immediately fell into place, leading to a seemingly effortless symphony of materials and ideas.

Brooklyn Street Art: Thomas, when you think of the sense of balance this piece has to have, do you rely on lessons learned from building other projects?
W. Thomas Porter :
We set out on this project without any concept of limitations. We just decided what we wanted to get out of it and said, “F*ck it, it’s on”. I think that confidence comes from having been a builder and a bizarre mind forever. Everything I’ve done leads me to this moment. We have to come correct.

Brooklyn Street Art: Is it difficult to carry a demanding project like this across the finish line? Do you get tired of the detail work?
W. Thomas Porter:
I don’t think it’s easy to get anything actually “finished”. Starting things is easy but getting there can be war. We are up against a tough deadline, a limited budget, working for money, UFO and I both just started new studios…it’s been hectic. As for the details, I’m with the devil. Every detail is an example or the bigger picture; it’s the fabric, and the pattern, the feel and what you see.

Brooklyn Street Art: This is a collaborative piece using the skills of a metal worker and a wood worker. How did you achieve an organic feeling with such rigid and sturdy materials?
W. Thomas Porter:
It’s amazing to work with someone like UFO; Half man, half beast and all gusto. We both came to a similar place by working with our hands while our brains are off in the universe. It’s only a matter of time before that all explodes into space! I always loved wood and metal together, flesh and bone. In this case, I had to make steel feel like skin, and without a single straight line anywhere – it’s a challenge. I was blessed to have a dedicated assistant like Dagga to help plow through the process. Out of extremely limited means we came up with something greater than the sum of its parts.

 

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © UFO)

 

UFO 907 in the wild. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 in the wild. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter. The sculpture arrived to BAM in parts. Here is one half. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter. Inside view of the armature. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

UFO 907 and William Thomas Porter (photo © Jaime Rojo)

“The Beginning if the End”, 2012, by UFO 907 and W. Thomas Porter

Materials: Yellow Pine, Walnut, Plywood, Epoxy, Cold Rolled Steel, Hot Rolled Steel, Bearings, Ball Joints, Hardware, Wax
 

Assistants: Dagga Gaines, Kelsey Womack, Jumbo, Diego Guzman, Sadue 907, and Hest One

“Brooklyn Shelf Life” is Presented by SHOWPAPER and curated by Andrew H. Shirley. Newsboxes commissioned by BAM for BAMart: Public.

Go to http://brooklynshelflife.org/ to learn more about this project. Joe Ahearn, Managing Director

Go to BAMart: Public to learn more about this program.

Stay tuned to BSA as tomorrow we’ll feature the rest of the sculptures of “Brooklyn Shelf Life” by Leon Reid IV + Noah Sparkles, Cassius Fouler + Faust, Swoon + Ryan Doyle and Gaia + Adam Void.  Also you can visit the Showpaper Tumblr http://showpaper.tumblr.com/ for more images.

 This article is also published on The Huffington Post

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Please note: All content including images and text are © BrooklynStreetArt.com, unless otherwise noted. We like sharing BSA content for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit the photographer(s) and BSA, include a link to the original article URL and do not remove the photographer’s name from the .jpg file. Otherwise, please refrain from re-posting. Thanks!

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BAMart Presents: Public (Brooklyn, NY)

BAMart: Public

BAMart: Public

June 2012—May 2013

Selected Artists:

Glen Baldridge
Timothy Hull & Future Expansion Architecture
Ed Purver
Showpaper
featuring Adam Void & Gaia, Cassius Fouler & Faust, Leon Reid IV & Noah Sparkes, Ryan C. Doyle & Swoon, UFO 907 & William Thomas Porter

BAMart: Public’s inaugural year presents four proposals for temporary art projects or interventions that enliven BAM’s campus and the surrounding BAM Cultural District. Selected through a juried open call, the participants’ works will transform underutilized spaces that serve as ideal platforms for creative expression within the distric using a variety of media and generating new and exciting ideas about ways to introduce art and culture into urban public space.

Opening reception
Tue, Jun 19, 6—8pm
Peter Jay Sharp Building
30 Lafayatte Ave, Brooklyn

Free

Leadership support for BAMart provided by Agnes Gund, Toby Devan Lewis, and Donald R. Mullen, Jr., with additional support provided by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc.

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Pandemic Gallery Presents: “Paranormal Hallucinations” A Group Show (Brooklyn, NY)

 


Paranormal Hallucinations

Opening Reception: Sat. Dec. 17th 7-11pm

From graffiti and street art, science fiction and tattooing, to cartooning, fine art, master shading and pristine line work – Paranormal Hallucinations will twist your senses and flip your head around. With so many different styles converging into one gallery the outcome will be exceptional. Come witness the divergent beauty of 16 Artists with different backgrounds, all united through one common medium used in their works; Pen . Ink . Brush .

Official Website

Featured Artists:

CHARLIE MARKS  R.I.P

LLEW  payote

Deuce Seven

Egyptian jason

Matt CRABE

Josh and Amy Shandick

Mikey Big Breakfast

Conrad Carlson

G II

Ryan C. Doyle

Mikey I.T.

Tamara Santibanez

Othello Gervacio

Mike. P

Swampy

Curated by:
Safwat Riad

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Fun Friday 11.13.09

Fun-Friday

President Burning Man

Faster than a bike messenger on blow, the insurance company lobbyists are busy paying Senators to write the “Public Option” out of the new health-care legislation while the President packs his suitcase for a trip to meet China’s President Hu Jintao next week.

Before you start YUANING from intellectual incuriosity about the rest of the world (that is SO 2007), you have to see the art on the streets that is welcoming Obamau. If you’ve HUNG around Chinatown in NYC you know that cultural differences can produce quizzical results.

Watch those scissors!
Watch those scissors!

New York City school students come from homes speaking 150 different languages but every 13 year old kid will still crack up and fall on the sidewalk when they see this sign.

So, in another example of cultural differences, Beijing artist Liu Bolin will be showing his bronze sculpture of Obama next week featuring the president on fire.  But it’s a tribute. Because Obama is so, like, hot.

Never mind that various protesters around the world burned President Bush in effigy during his eight years in office as a sign of utter contempt.  In this case, the artist intends the fiery bronze sculpture as a big high-five!

“THIS IS WHY I’M HOT”

>if you can’t see the video click HERE

and in other Fun Friday News……

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Local Brooklyn Gallery supports Civil Unions

Jenny Morgan and David Mramor: “Civil Union” at Like The Spice Gallery in Williamsburg opens tonight

“I want to paint on your painting”

sdfklj
A true collaboration resulting from trading the canvas back and forth between their studios. “If I held your marks too highly I would be afraid to go over them” – Jenny

The aesthetic conversation on the street between artists are frequently intentional and many times disrespectful, falling into the category of beef or acrimony, or just obliviousness.  One puts up a piece, then it gets tagged, then it get’s wheatpasted, then someone slaps a sticker next to it, or a stencil upon it.  Maybe it’s collaborative, but not consensual.

A very interesting collaboration on view at Like the Spice Gallery opens tonight that clearly references the same conversations you can see on the street, but this time it’s fully consensual.

He had to throw on pearls and hat and lipstick just to be vulnerable with us
“He had to dress himself up in order to be vulnerable with us”- Portrait of New York performer Justin Bond

Recent grad school art classmates Jenny Morgan and David Mramor admired one another’s work when in studio together, and felt drawn to each other’s very different styles.  With his David gestural, abstract background and graffiti instincts and Jenny’s detailed realism portraiture, you would not think they could be complimentary – But clearly the results are stunning, wild, and wildly entertaining.

dfg“We’ll sit and look at our art for hours waiting for an answer”

Street art fans will reference Irelands’ Conor Harrington immediately, as he has built a jolting vocabulary of realism and punk chaos in his compositions.  What makes this show so much fun is the relationship it speaks of, as well as the process of trading a canvas back and forth until it is deemed complete.

Big Ups to Brooklyn powerhouse gallerist Marisa Sage for finding this eyepopping duo and listen to her interview with the artists to learn why this partnership works so well for them on Like the Spice’s first podcast.

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DISTANCE DON’T MATTER
– Swoon & friends @ SPACE Gallery

Last month Brooklyn street artist Swoon went north with friends to Portland, Maine to do an installation at Space Gallery.

Some have used the word “Breathtaking”

DISTANCE DON’T MATTER
SPACE Gallery, Portland, Maine
10.15.2009 – 12.18.2009
A collaborative art installation by Swoon, Monica Canilao, Conrad Carlson, Ryan C Doyle, Ben Wolf, Greg Henderson, and friends.

Visit http://space538.org/ for more information

Thanks to Inspire Collective for the heads up

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