Stinkfish, erased


Stinkfish and Buytre APC painted the above piece about two years ago in London. Originally, it looked like this. As you can see, it now looks mostly the same, except for the face Stinkfish painted. Was it the buff squad? No, that would be a strange buff. Was it that Stinkfish used a strange paint that faded much quicker than the rest of the piece? No. Did a vigilante come along and paint over the face because they didn’t like it? No. Well, sort of. Depending on your take on things.

Pochoir (aka Paul Stephenson) is behind the removal of Stinkfish’s work. In the gallery, Pochoir removes portions of old paintings that he buys at auction. Interesting stuff, right? Well how about on the street? For this piece, Pochoir painted acid onto the parts of the piece that he wanted to remove, and then used half a dozen different abrasive tools to get the paint off.

I recently met Pochoir and he explained to me how a lot of people look at his removal paintings and in their mind they can project an image of what has been removed back onto the painting. Makes sense. I look at this piece and I can imagine that there was a horse there once and what the horse looked like, even though I’d never actually seen the piece before Pochoir got to it. With the removal of Stinkfish’s portrait, I think the same effect is still possible. I can still imagine some sort of idealized version of Stinkfish’s work even though it’s gone.

So I really don’t know what to think of Pochoir’s work. In the gallery, I find it really interesting. It reactivates “dead” paintings. And street art is ephemeral, but should we embrace the intentional speeding up of that process? Or is that completely the wrong way to look at this since Pochoir’s erasure is also artwork too. I don’t know.

What do you think about Pochoir’s work?

Photos by Pochoir