If you’re not familiar with Supreme, they are a clothing company who seem, at first glance, pretty hip or whatever. Unfortunately, they are also known for being big fans of flypasting. Their advertising campaigns always seem to consist of photos of celebrities wearing their clothing. These adverts get stuck up in locations which also happen to be perfect for street art or graffiti (often times even going over street art or graffiti).
This practice has caused artists like Gaia to speak out against them or go over them. Recently, other street artists have picked up on this idea rather creatively. This most recent campaign has been a photo of rock legend Lou Reed. Within days of the campaign starting up, Faile were out changing around the ads to their liking. Now, another artist/artists (probably PosterBoy and Aakash Nihilani) have gotten involved:
Some pretty exciting news from New York. One of New York’s newest art galleries, Eastern District, is having a show with PosterBoy opening April 3rd. Information is limited at this point, with just a few lines on Eastern Districts website. The show is presented by Public Ad Campaign, a really cool blog. This show is going to be one of my first stops when I visit New York next month. I bet it is going to be amazing. Other than the piece photographed below, these should be PosterBoy’s first works in a gallery.
The New York Times and Public Ad Campaign have some news abut Poster Boy that, in hindsight, is not so shocking. The Poster Boy arrested on Friday might not actually be Poster Boy, or he might be one of many Poster Boys, or the guy who got arrested (Henry Matyjewicz) may have just been a willing stand-in for that night.
Yesterday The Gothamist reported that Posterboy was arrested on Friday night. Jim Kiernan, who was supposed to be photographing Posterboy on Friday, has been kind enough to give us his take on what happened.
The back story is that I started as a writer way back in the day. I dropped that a long time ago but never lost interest in all things street-related. I’m fully digging the Street Art movement that’s popped up in earnest over the last few years. I have many favorite artists but Poster Boy just really struck a chord with me. In my opinion he’s the latest branch of the family tree that begat Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. For real, I think he’s that talented.
Anyway I’m always documenting the underground. For many years I videotaped bands (mainly Punk Rock stuff but other genres as well). Mayor Guilani effectively snuffed out many of the venues that I used to shoot in and the NYC real estate market killed most of the rest. So what to do? Well, I picked up a still camera and have made that my thing for the last several years. Of course I’m still all about the underground, the offbeat, the artistic. So I decided to start shooting street art. Not all that original but fun and visual and very satisfying. I started seeing Poster Boy’s stuff underground and didn’t know who he was. After researching a bit I figured out who he was and started following him.
Long story short I contacted him and asked him if he was down for me to tag along and shoot while he did his thing. I sent him a few shots from a session I did with Chico L.E.S., an old school Lower East Side NYC graf muralist. He dug my stuff and we were supposed to hook up some time in February. Yesterday afternoon at around 3:30 my phone rings. I usually always screen everybody but I manage a literary fiction author on the side named Mike Guinzburg and I thought the number was Mike’s. He goes “you know who this is, right?” and I said yeah, Mike. “Nope, it’s Poster Boy man. I’m doing a collaboration with Ellis G., (the chalk artist) and Aakash for a ‘friendswelove.com‘ benefit. Can you grab your cameras and get down here in about an hour?”
Well, the bad news was that I was at work and my cameras were at home. I told him I’m try to borrow a camera and get down there. He gave me the cross streets and told me to call him when I was in the area. I couldn’t get my hands on a decent camera so I said fuck, bailed from work, bolted home and grabbed my gear. By the time I got downtown it was about 6:30 give or take. I tried calling him but got voice mail. Left a message, said fuck it and started walking around shooting street art (I was one block from where Banksy just put up on of his three big NYC full building pieces and there’s a ton of good spots that get hit). I walked around shooting for about an hour, called him again, left another message and then kept on shooting on the streets.
About half an hour later, I was freezing my ass off and my cell phone battery was about to die. I ducked into an ATM on the corner to get warm and to call him one last time. Again, voice mail. I told him I was going to bail and that we’d have to hook up next time. BUT, when I walked outside and there were a bunch of Ellis G. pieces on the sidewalk, including the exact address of the event (which I hadn’t known). While I was on the phone leaving Poster Boy a message telling him I was bailing, Ellis G. was hitting the sidewalk. If that’s not a sign I don’t know what is. Streets are talking, indeed.
So I went to this loft space on the 5th floor. There were collaborations and other pieces on the walls and a DJ spinning. I grabbed a drink and started shooting. Ellis G. came up to me to ask me who I was shooting for and I told him I was supposed to meet up with Poster Boy, etc. That’s when I found out he got popped. The cops had been trying to track him down for a while I guess and his name was on the benefit flyer and said he would be in attendance. They had a plainclothes cop on the street and that’s who nabbed him. Talk about bullshit. We’ve got major shit going down on the streets in NYC every day and THIS is what the cops are spending their time on? Unreal. It was definitely a bummer but Ellis and Aakash got right to work throwing up a tribute collabo for Poster Boy.
I was talking with PB’s cousin for much of the night and there was no update on his case or his bail or anything. I offered to personally post bail on him but we couldn’t get any info. I still don’t know what’s going on but I’m sure that all of this is just a speed bump. No way are the cops going to keep Poster Boy down. He’s got all of the right ideas and some of the purest artistic intentions I’ve seen so I’m sure we’ll be hearing from him again soon.
Thanks to Jim Kiernan for his help and for the photo at the top of this post. Hopefully Posterboy will be back out on the streets soon.
A few new videos with Posterboy have popped up recently. I’ve featured Posterboy on Vandalog before, but for those who don’t know, Posterboy is a New York artist who goes through the subway system ripping up advertising and creating mashups of the ads to change around the message. Recently, he’s also branched out into just ripping billboards down and collaborations with aakash nihalani.
It is long overdue that I cover Aakash Nilhalani on Vandalog. He’s been doing some really intersting work in New York for a while now.
Similar to Ellis G, Nilhalani doesn’t do anything destructive or particularly technically challenging (then again, I’m quite bad at geometry, so maybe I’m wrong), but he does create something simple that makes you look at it and challenges your expectations of what you’ll see walking while walking down the street.
This is part of Vandalog’s “Great in ’08” series, which will be running every day for the rest of the month. Check out previous posts here. Street artists from across the world have been offered one post to “gift” to one artist that they feel has been doing great work recently. Today it’s Poster Boy‘s turn.
Who is one artist doing really great work right now?
Update: Check out the other posts in this series here.
Unless you live in a strange world where time does not exist, we’re coming to the end of 2008. As my contribution to street art’s end-of-year/Christmas/Hanukkah/winter solstice activities, I’ve organized a series of posts which will run from tomorrow until the end of the year.
What’s so special about these posts? I’ve asked a number of street artists one question: “Who is one artist doing really great work right now?” and given them the chance to respond and “gift” a post to the artist or artists that they’ve chosen.
Starting tomorrow, and continuing for the rest of the month (or at least until Boxing Day), I’ll be posting one of these responses every day, along with photos of work by chosen the artists.
Here’s a small selection of the artists who will be sharing some of their favorite artists with Vandalog readers in the coming weeks: