LNY was in Baltimore recently to check out Open Walls Baltimore (exactly what Caroline and I are doing right now actually). He had quite a time while there and put up a couple of very Baltimore-specific pieces. Here’s what he has to say:
So I got a story to tell you and some pics to share, see I ended up making these drawings in Baltimore by randomly running into this group of urban horseback riders galloping down an East Baltimore neighborhood while visiting Gaia and Nanook. It was Sunday so what would be better than to go on a horse ride right? So I took some pictures and then made some work to later find out that they are part of this old Baltimore tradition of Huckstering, basically going around in a horse drawn cart selling vegetables. These guys are also called Arabs, which comes from the term “street Arab” as in an abandoned kid who roams the slums, and I was lucky enough to find a stable in South West Baltimore where horses are bred and taken care of by the community. All of which blows my mind because these guys were so happy and excited about my posters as I was about meeting them and discovering this otherwise invisible history of a city I am completely alien to. As I was putting the work up I got a lot of feedback from the neighborhood and they read the images in so many different ways that I had never even considered; we talked about resilience, beauty, vision, excellence, dead space, gold, bling and the efforts of Sowebo to rejuvenate the neighborhood from the inside. I feel totally overwhelmed by the way the work was able to engage and be fulfilled by having this conversation with the neighborhood. All of this thanks to Martha Cooper who introduced me to Sowebo and has been constantly engaging and documenting the area, these are her pictures and a lil clip I took of the spot.
Have you ever seen a street piece that, for whatever reason, made you really wonder “What kind of person does this?” Not everything I walk by captures me like that, but on rare occasions, something will be so provocative, unusual, outstanding, or even awkward, that I’m lured deeper than just what I’m looking at, toward piecing together the person behind it and what they’re all about. It’s pretty rare that I actually get to ask.
LNY is one of these artists where the back-story is as enticing as the art. While I cannot promise that this interview makes him any less of a curiosity, I can say that this is one guy worth checking out.
1. Describe one of your first experiences with street art.
I fondly remember getting buffed for the first time because It made the whole experience of working in public space come to life. Having someone buff your work is like a pat in the back begging you to keep going, like “try again man, try again”… that buff is still running to this day in Weehawken, New Jersey.
2. One reason you do it.
Easy; because I believe art is a powerful vehicle for change and a practice that can positively impact the world, myself, and those I work with. There is nothing else I would rather do with my life than this, there were never other options just random distractions. In the end I don’t really define what I do as street art or inside art or what not because the work sometimes doesn’t fit those categories so I don’t bother, and defining something does more to constrict than expand. Anyway, I’m just doing me.
Fourthwall Project in Boston has put together a show with LNY, Radical!, Tiptoe, Nanook, The Phantom, Geoff Hargadon, Zatara and Blackmath. Each artist in Street Wall will wheatpaste their work onto the gallery walls. Although the artist line up is great, the concept is the sort of thing that could really go either way and it’s impossible to say for certain. Hopefully it works out.
Photo by Radical and flyer courtesy of Fourth Wall Project
It’s 11/11/11, so I guess that’s a big deal to some people. That seems so arbitrary to me, since our calendar is pretty arbitrary to begin with. Besides, it’s really 11/11/2011. A few years ago, 11/02/2011 was much cooler. In my social sphere though, 11/11/11 seems like an excuse to throw parties, so maybe I shouldn’t complain. While I was thinking about the ridiculousness of this date, here’s what almost passed me by this week in art:
A tribute to Robbo has been painted on the wall where he and Banksy feuded. It looks like it’s by Banksy, but there’s been no word from his camp or any other artists claiming responsibility. Last we heard, Robbo was still in intensive care at a hospital due to the injuries he sustained back in April.