Friday, 22 February 2008
Vaseline Coated Spatz Thwarts the Splasher
For those who don't know this story:
Around this time last year a person or persons that came to be know as "The Splasher" began splashing paint on well known street artists work in New York's Williamsburg and Lower Manhattan. He or they would leave manifestos and so on saying that these people were sell-outs because they were basically becoming successful.
At the time I was working on a technology project over in Europe and followed this intriguing story because of the issues it brought up. The idea that if you put your work up on the street can you really be mad if someone defaces it? Does street art accelerate gentrification?
My thoughts on this subject were this: It's kinda mean to ruin someone's work,on the street or anywhere else in this fashion. I pretty much don't put my work up everywhere I travel simply because I prefer to put things in the right place at the right time where they might be funny or unexpected. I will say as I am part of the Mechanic's Plan I will be doing more street art for the reason of getting the message out. I have seen people rip down street art, contribute to it, as well as peel it of a wall and take it with them when they could. All that comes with the territory but just dumping paint over something just didn't seem right.
We all know that some believe that putting up street art may lead to big success and money. That's all good, but becoming well known and financially successful are by products of making art. You can tell an artist that is working to make a statement or one being clever from one that simply wants to be known or be provocative or shocking. The slasher seems like people i have meet over the years that call themselves artists by going to a gallery or museum with actors they instruct to say stupid things like "art is dead" or "slave work for the bourgeoisie". While these people are making a statement they believe to be profound, it really isn't. They never had to learn how to draw or paint or play an instrument, but want to join in on the art scene and participate as if they had paid the same dues someone that has been working on art their whole lives. They usually come from upper-middle class backgrounds and are actually the really annoying people that gentrification ends up attracting to cool neighborhoods. Being a 3rd generation person in a neighborhood under heavy attack by the gentrification monster I found the splasher to be silly, mean, and an agent of all the things he/they supposedly were fighting against. Banksy, Swoon and all the others getting some success as of recent have given people brightness or a good chuckle when their work appears out of nowhere on some street. That is what art is supposed to be about. It's great they get recognition and starting to make money. Why shouldn't they? Their stuff is good.
My reaction to the going ons concerning these events was the above piece that i put up in Paris, Lisbon and Berlin. Maybe one day I'll put one up in Williamsburg as I just found the hard drive it was on recently in one of my suitcases.