Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Art, Advertising, Activism and Alchemy Video

Art, Advertising, Activism and Alchemy was a small lecture series presented at the Wonderland Arts space in Queens New York. I spoke in part about my own work, but also attempted to define some of the reasons behind why we as artists, working without authorization in the public, do what we do. As well, how these motivations might inform our process and create works which go beyond that of typical street art and graffiti to engage the public more directly and increase the health of our shared public spaces. You can see all 4 artist's talks [HERE] A big thank you to Jason and PosterChild for inviting me to be a part of this event.

As I was trying to get a clear projection of my thoughts for this talk, I wrote down what I wanted to say beforehand. I speak quickly in the video and therefore am offering the text and slide show as a download for your enjoyment.

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Monday, November 30, 2009

PosterChild Suggests A More Prudent Use Of Pay Phones In NYC

PosterChild is wrapping up his stay in NY very soon, but not before he gets out there and does a few more projects to make you think about the advertising that surrounds us and how it is altering our lives for better, or worse. His most recent project aims at making the viewer aware of the fact that the ubiquity of outdoor advertising does not have to be an entirely bad thing. In fact the millions of dollars that OOH advertisers are making off the space they are occupying in each and every one of our brains can be put to a better use than simply lining the pockets of media conglomerates. He writes...

"You know what I’d like to see? If they’re going to maintain, and even grow, the network of payphones as an advertising-revenue generating platform, then they should make all local calls free. That is the old “Contract” of advertising, after all: We shouldn’t have to be exposed to your damn ads if you’re not going to give us something back in return." More [HERE]

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

PosterChild's New York Sunsets

PosterChild is wrapping up an extended stay in New York and he is busier than ever bringing us creative content. PosterChild is a good friend and I love his work so I say this with the utmost respect, revealing the process often helps grab peoples attention but the tape used to hold these images to the advertisements bothers me.

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Art, Advertising, Activism & Alchemy-An Evening of Artist Talks at Wonderland

Art, Advertising, Activism & Alchemy-An Evening of Artist Talks at Wonderland, Friday November 20th.

After an intense and long conversation about the PublicAdCampaign project, street art, graffiti, advertising, and public space with a wonderful and interesting film producer this morning, I felt it was time to announce this upcoming talk at Wonderland. It will feature the work and words of three other artists who I greatly admire, including Jason Eppink, Posterchild, and Gabriel Reese. Along with discussing the PublicAdCampaign project, I will be talking about the larger goals I think we all share as artists working in public spaces whether we know it or not, and how those might inform our future as a collective community.

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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Super Hero Changing Station

Charlie beat us to the punch on this one...

VIA Urban Prankster

New York City has had a ton of phone booth art this fall. Lately it seems like you can’t go for a walk without seeing a great piece by an artist like Jordan Seiler. The above was done by Toronto’s Posterchild, who’s been hanging out in NYC quite a bit lately.

I love these unauthorized projects because they’re turning useless eyesores into art. There are certain city blocks in NY that have upwards of 10 public telephones. When is the last time anyone used a payphone? I understand their utility for those who can’t afford or happen to be without a cell phone, but really, do we need multiple phones on every corner? These structures are simply huts to cash in on advertising dollars, and they needlessly pollute the scenery of our streets.

Here’s a great NY Times article from 2007 that explains that pay phone advertising rakes in $62 million a year: As Billboards, Public Phones Always Work.

Also of note, you can see both Seiler and Posterchild, along with Jason Eppink and Specter, speak about their work on Friday, November 20 out in Astoria — details here.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

PosterChild New Work

What I believe to be Posterchild's first, and not last, phone kiosk install.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

PosterChild New Work

If this is any indication of what PosterChild's stay in New York will bring, I am very excited. Keep your eyes on the street as he is known to put up a piece every day.

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Monday, August 3, 2009

PosterChild Tells NPA What He Thinks Of Their Contest Promotions

Yesterday I went out with PosterChild, Jason Eppink, Steve Lambert, and Packard Jennings for lunch. Our talk inevitably surrounded upcoming personal projects, collaborative street actions and the age of the urinals at the Old Town Bar on 18th street. Posterchild was leaving for Toronto that evening and had one last project to put up before he left. Targeting NPA City Outdoor's pathetic attempt to convert their third party illegal advertisements into legitimate first party signs, he remade the typical sign that now adorns all NPA illegal signage in the city. This piece was made at the corner of 19th street and 10th avenue in the same location Walker Tieser was arrested during the NYSAT project.

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Posterchild Weighs in on the World

Every so often, there is someone who I want to know more about. I ask them some questions and they answer them in the typical fashion. Sometimes I get great stuff, sometimes not. Other times I get detailed descriptions of how to change the world we live in and it floors me. Thank you so much to Posterchild for having the vision and the words to fully explain yourself.

Why do you create work in the public?

Man, that should be easier to answer than it is. I think maybe this
question was easier to answer when I was younger and just starting.
Full of manifestos and bluster and whatnot. Now there are so many more
caveats and complications and doubts. Or maybe they’ve always been
there, but they’ve had time to grow. ANYWAY, In brief, I work in the
public, because that’s where PEOPLE are. I want to connect and
communicate. The street is the first -maybe best- place to do that.

Why do you create work over/using outdoor advertising?

Because that’s what already in the public. It’s extremely aggressive,
everywhere, and often illegal. I throw my own 2 cents into the mob,
and I don’t see that as being particularily worse ( any more “illegal”
or immoral) than what these groups are doing already. In fact, I think
it’s much better. But is that two wrongs?

Tell us something about where you live and your relationship to your city.

I live in Toronto, and it is the greatest city and the worst city. I
love it. But I’m often frustrated by it. I feel like it has so much
potential and so many people working towards bettering it. Toronto has
been unusually blessed with a very large number of people who care so
deeply about it and work so passionately for it. We love the TTC even
though it’s underfunded, overcrowded, and runs despiteful, adversarial
ads that frame us and treat us like criminals.

How would you describe your relationship with advertising?

Complex. Advertising informs so much of what I do. Advertising is at
the core of graffiti and street art. Advertising is the genisis for
modern graffiti. Advertising begat graffiti which begat street art,
which both beget more advertising. I’ve never claimed to be a culture
jammer or ad buster. I don’t exist soley in opposition to
advertisting, and if it were to sweept off our street tomorrow, I’d
still be doing my thing out there. But advertising feeds me. It
provides near guilt-free surfaces to create work on. Many a discarded
box of wildposting posters has had their contents become a stencil or
a poster. I love to literally “Flip” and ad, and make my own work on
the back. It’s weird. I dislike advertising, but I’m disapointed when
I find a video billboard has been removed because it is the required
surface for creating art on, for creating my art with, and it is now
gone, you know? True, I just need to walk a few blocks to find a new
one, but still, working with advertising has made ads an interegal,
needed element of those artworks, and that can create a weird,
interesting conflict.

Having done both, is there a difference between working in Toronto or New York?

Yes. Many. I’ll need to do more work on NY before I’m ready to draw
clear distinctions. But there are differences to be sure. Every city
is different. You need to really get to know a city- you need a
healthier, stronger realationship with the city than I have with NY
before you can really work successfully- that is, like an insightful,
engaged local- within the cities space. You can still make work -good
work- without that engagement, but I think it could have a “tourist”
feel to locals.

Tell us one of your favorite moments working on the street.

Hmm. Maybe when a drunk dude came and used his drunken strength to
help TEETH and I get these heavy sheets of particle board in place so
I could screw them into the lil’ billboard we were taking over.
Crowdsourced labour!

If you could run a fantasy camp, what would it be?

Oh man. I guess I would run a camp for city commuters. I would make
all the car drivers ride bikes. You would have to surrender your keys
when you entered the camp. There would be a week of lessons (including
classes on bike maintenance and repair) and practice and fun rides
around the city and it’s parks. There would be history tours and
architecture tours and street art/graffiti tours and food tours and
other themed tours- campers could sign up for whatever tours sounded
interesting to them! And when the week is up, then it’s back to work-
but we keep your keys! After another week, you’d get your car keys
back at a reunion where everyone could share war stories of their week
of bike commuting, have drinks, and cement friendships! The camp would
provide bikes for anyone who wanted to take the camp, but couldn’t
afford it, and provide safe rides home after the reunion party for
anyone unfit to ride a bike or drive a car. We would form partnerships
with city politicians and corporate leaders, encouraging corporate and
civic groups of campers- and use funds (and awareness) raised by the
camp to push for more tax dollars for bike lanes, lockups, and
infrastructure, and less tax money going to support car culture.

Hell, that sounds good. Lets do it.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

PosterChild Was in Town and I Didn't Talk to Him Long Enough

PosterChild collaborated on the NYSAT project, coming all the way down from Canada to participate. He just sent me these videos and it made me realize I had a chance to talk to this guy and I didn't take full advantage of the opportunity. The more I see of his work, the more I like what I see. It's a serious playful good time and I love it.

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Saturday, May 9, 2009

I AM And Posterchild Time Lapse For NYSAT

Posterchild came down from Canada to Participate in the NYSAT project that happened April 25th of last month. Him and I AM not only managed to grab several amazing locations, but to time lapse the whole process. Here are the fantastic results.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

LEETO Takes Advantage

I was tipped off that LEETO hit the big blank canvas PosterBoy provided a while back and sure enough when I went to the site he had. One may not agree with the content that was provided by LEETO, a quick "throw up" (used by graffiti artists when they are in a spot which is dangerous and don't have time to execute a more intricate piece), but one can't overlook the public interaction and communication happening here. It should be noted that the criminalization of graffiti by the city is responsible for LEETO's inability to carry out something more elegant and earnest in this situation.

I could not be happier with the direction this project has gone. It is a crystal clear image of how the public space should be used and for whom it should be used. Thanks PosterBoy and thanks LEETO for taking the time to talk to us through your environment. We are listening.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stained Glass-PosterChild

This is some truly far out shit by PosterChild who is a toronto based public artist collaborating with Jason Eppink and Steve Lambert of the Anti Advertising Agency. Not only does the work look stunning but the messages are clear, re-appropriation of public advertising structures only leads to good things.

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