Update: This post should have been about Snyder’s lack of originality rather than a lack of creativity. As pointed out in the comments, Snyder has been drawing Doodle for many years. While perhaps creative, I still find much of Snyder’s work, particularly this piece, to be unoriginal. Maybe that’s worse.
Sure, Snyder’s best work was always a fair amount like something Banksy would or had come up with, but I tried to ignore that and find the positives about Snyder’s work. After all, how many contemporary stencil artists can say that they’ve never been a bit too inspired by Banksy at least once?
And then Snyder introduced a character into his work whom he named Doodle. Okay, the character looks like a stenciled version of Dran’s character whom Dran named Scribble, and they are pretty much the same character. Both are slightly mischievous young artists. Again, this alone was frustrating, but Dran isn’t particularly well-known outside of Europe, so maybe Snyder, who is based in LA, hadn’t heard of him. Maybe it was just a coincidence.
And then I saw the stencil by Snyder at the top of this post, which is actually one of at least two in a series of similar pieces. Again, I was reminded of Banksy and of Dran, even a specific piece by Banksy (the maid, shown above). But now another artist came to mind too: Saber. Revealing tags beneath the buff is pretty much exactly like Saber’s Ripped Tag series of canvases. Saber’s canvases are significantly better executed than Synder’s work, but the similarities are clear.
At first, I saw Snyder’s clear Banksy influence and I thought that it was a phase. I thought that he would eventually grow out of it and get his own style. Influences are one thing, but Snyder goes beyond that. As time has gone on, it is clear that Snyder has not only failed to develop a personal style, but he has perhaps even increased his reliance on the ideas of other artists.
This buff/zipper piece goes too far. It’s actually not a bad idea. But it is quite transparently 3 other artists’ ideas mashed into one with little original content added by Snyder.
As flattering as it may seem for artists’ to be inspired others’ work, at the heart of this issue is pretty simple: if you are going to take inspiration from others’ work or blatantly rip their ideas, then do it better and make it your own. Snyder has clearly done neither and that in itself is disappointing at best.