I don’t know much about art, but I know what I hate. I also don’t know an awful lot about graffiti either – my tagging career stalled through cowardice, a piss-poor handstyle and leaking marker pens annhilating my Karl Kanis. You see, I knew when to stop. Some people just don’t. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but while I’m a hip-hop fanboy, I quickly tired of talk of graffiti as a hip-hop ‘element.’ That’s constrictive bullshit. I prefer my writers to listen to Slayer or Grand Funk Railroad, rather than body-popping to the local legal wall and cloning DOZE characters. That said, I loathe…LOATHE, the new breed of ‘street art’ and those inspired to paint weak political statements on walls constructed from GCSE sociology and punchlines from last week’s ‘Have I Got News For You.’ Wheatposting your character in London’s hipster hotspots in the dead-of-night? Getthefuckouttahere. Grow the balls to do a throw-up you fucking coward.
Pochoir, this Cartrain kid …total trash. Kids are out there (misguidedly) risking their lives to make a name for themselves, and the industry shines a light on these jokers? Seriously, put the fucking stencils down. Some loser calls himself ‘The Decapitator,’ chopping the head off ads and he gets shine? Something’s gone terribly, terribly wrong. This clown doesn’t even have to watch for the third rail – all he has to risk is a papercut. But look? Do you see what he did to Shakira, he cut her head off, see? Beyond the physical attributes, Shakira is twenty times the maverick that this Decapitator clown is. Please people. Stop covering this bullshit. My associate Mr. Charlie Morgan hates it more than I do, but his reaction to the current explosion of drivel is unprintable on pixel or paper.
Galleries shouldn’t be the last refuge of failed writers. And to the people that went over Banksy’s ‘DIY Punk’ piece in Sutton, I salute you. That smug creation; tinpot satire mocking tinpot anarchists, needed some damage.
When it comes to graffiti’s ” real deal,” the likes of Futura earnt their current position through graft, innate skill, practise and good timing. Plus some serious wilderness years. Too many Futura disciples miss the point. Lenny is a great guy and an undisputed legend who deserves his king status, but his approach gets bitten. The copyists and sychophants leeching off his output should follow his mantra, the one that took distinctive imagery and letters to their current point, which isn’t imitation or dickriding, but artistic progression, and one old-school rule that should never have been relegated, quaint as it seems nowadays; no biting.
Those covering Futura’s work would benefit from highlighting the new breed of bombers alongside it, rather than generic muppets who want gallery space from the get-go. Everyone wants to be an art critic, but who’s got enough knowledge to actually criticise anything? I’d sooner see two extremes – prolific destruction or painstaking feats of fine art. I’m not interested in a middleground any more.
But I believe in e-karma. For every hateful outpouring, you’ve got to find something positive to wax lyrical about. This week I finally got round to picking up Tom J. Newell’s ‘Pictoral Showboat.’ That was actually the purpose of this blog entry. I got carried away. After seeing a little preview of Tom’s comic strip work, my interest was piqued by a sly little piece called ‘The Urban Arts Boom’ where he made his point intelligently without resorting to even a third of the above vitriol levels. A UK-based artist and presumed pop culture junkie, Tom’s a decent writer too. Most comic ‘zines fall apart on half arsed jokes, but Tom finds the balance.
Artistically, a spot of Charles Burns and the Hernandez Brothers is visible in the black and white penmanship…it’s like a Fantagraphics release with a British skate mentality – Santa Cruz, Captain Beefheart, DJ Premier, CAP, Mad Magazine and Crosby, Stills & Nash which could easily be the chorus of my very own ‘My Favourite Things’) are all in the mix. Plus there’s a rendering of Inspectah Deck as a duck. Check out Tom’s site here. I’m assuming issue one also acts as a C.V. of sorts, and I hope I see more of his work and a second issue in 2010.
On topic, you’ve gotta love YouTube. Goldie in full swagger mid ’80s mode, talking about his NYC visit and the then-status of some legends, “…but DEZ is thinking of coming back to do something, knowwhatImean?”
In 1989 there was a particularly acceptable use of street art – the World Street Art championships held in beautiful Bridlington. There’s plenty of phenomenal pieces of promo-only ‘Zulu Dawn’ documentary footage online, but these six parts are a great standalone. There’s Troop on the feet, Slick, Risk, lots of pale, windswept b-boys, Normski and people pompously trying to differentiate tagging and “aerosol art.” Fantastic.