You are on page 1of 128


0 7 4 4 7 0 9 9 2 1 6 5 0 1

0 74470 99216 5
Letter From The Publisher
Kenny Scharf
Before Street Was Art
Fab 5 Freddy
Patti Astor
Futura [2000]
Branding Graffiti
The London Police
EDition Of ONe Hundred
Business of Art Street
LoGan Hicks
Maxine Walters

NIck Walker
Ron Samuel and paula harrison

Ron Samuel

Managing Editor
jaMiyla P.

Creative direction, design and aesthetic

Maximillian Xavier+ Erin Tengquist

Art Issue Curator

stephen pang

Contributing writers
George Hernandez, Stephen Pang, malia sCharf

Contributing photographers
Lionel DElUY, Maximillian Xavier , Erin Tengquist

Archival/Photo Acknowledgements
Anita rosenberg, MichaEl MarKos, Martha Cooper, TATS crU

cover photo and feature

lionel dElUy

special thanks: corissa cooks , clinton cooks, daisy bennett, Dr. Wendell
Smith, brooke afkami, manny phillips, jean paul nataf, david lloyd,
Dominique Houtondji, Lucky
fox hall, fred brathwaite, abdul basir lumas, abdul hakim hicks,
and all the brothers buried alive. you are not forgotten.
Don Don and Richie Rich, soul tacos for survival.

Printed By:
Boss LItho
Stephen Pang is an LA-based, HipHop aficionado from
Bristol, UK who is a DJ, photographer and writer. He was
also a contributing curator for the world's first street style
exhibition at London's Victoria & Albert Museum. His blog
shares some of his ramblings.

Lionel Deluy
Lionel Deluy was born in the south of France,
where he was first introduced to photography.
He migrated to Paris and started his career as
an assistant at Daylight Studio, and Lionel
has since photographed the hottest celebri-
ties, most recently, Jessica Simpson, Jessica
Alba, AdriEn Brody, Kevin Bacon, Paris Hilton,
Orlando Bloom.. to name a

Maximillian Xavier

Creative Director, photographer and writer

who believes in the power of art to change,
and in you.
United we are culture and spirit.
Together we are what we will become.

George Hernandez

Raised as an army brat, I f eel privileged to have seen the

world from an early age. I attended 8 different schools
in my first 13 years of education. Army bases were
non- segregated communities, and we were all poor in
comparison to the general public, but we didn't care. We
lived in places like Panama and Germany learning bits of
cultures and languages that would later help form the
basis of my dynamic and charming personality.

Malia SchaRf
Malia Scharf is an independent filmmaker and actress
based in New York City. She is currently directing and co-
producing a documentary called, The Fun's Inside: A Portrait
of Kenny Scharf. Check out the promotion/fund raising
video for the film at
She will screen a short film at MOCA in The Art in the Erin Tengquist
Streets show in collaboration with Nathan Meier and
Kenny Scharf. While working at Arthouse Films in New It's time for change. I write. I take pictures...
York, Malia worked on The Radiant Child, about artist In the end, it will be a film, It's all art. You
Jean-Michel Basquiat. She is currently studying film at the Me. This.
School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. Free Bradley Manning

And Erin
Actual Photo the
Smell, LA
Thanks JIm
A rt
I first noticed graffiti in the bathroom stalls at my
s c h o o l w h e n I w a s s t i l l a r u g r a t . T h a t ’s n o t t o s a y i t
wasn’t in the streets then, but that was the first place
that I really took notice and, since then, it has played
a huge role in my desire to express myself.
In paying homage to the evolution of street art we
went back to the
beginning, getting the rundown from some the pio-
n e e r s l i k e Fa b 5 Fr e d d y [ B r a t hw a i t e ] , P a t t i A s t o r, K e n -
ny Scharf and Futura; and we chatted with some of the
newer kids on the block like The London Police, Logan
H i c k s a n d N i c k Wa l k e r.
From the Fun Gallery in 1981 to MOCA in 2011 - three
decades in the making - street art has become a global
phenomenon with record-breaking gallery showings,
with some ar tists and collec tors mak ing lots of money,
as well as the co-optation [some say] by the corporate
world. What started out as an illegal activity by ren-
egade types in the
inner-city in the South Bronx, is now respected in the
art world. Graffiti was born out of the same desire to
create something from nothing as rap music, break-
dancing and skateboarding. And a lifestyle was born.
I applaud and admire all the participants for their re-
lentless need to express themselves with no clear un-
derstanding that there would be compensation of any
sort for their illegal acts.
While putting this issue together I was awed by the
response that I received from so many people, the ex-
cment they shared with me, many of whom were col-
lec tors like Maxine Walters, who has been collec ting
Jamaican dancehall posters for more than a decade;
or Lionel Deluy (cover shoot photographer) who has
an original Banksy hanging in his studio; or cover girl
Lina Esco, who has an original TLP ( The London Police)
painted on the wall in her living room. Street art, its
patrons and the lifestyle it spawned are ubiquitous,
the world is our canvas, and I say ours because anyone
can dare to do it, anywhere, just don’t get caught...
Speaking of Laugh out Loud - How beautiful is cover
g i r l L i n a E s c o ? LO L s t a r a n d s t r e e t a r t c o l l e c t o r. T h i s i s
t h e a r t i s s u e b u t U N l e a s h e d i s s t i l l a m e n ’s m a g a z i n e ,
after all.
JR Street Art Venice 2011 Maximillan Shot by Erin Tengquist

Photo Courtesy Fab 5 Freddy

Story by Stephen Pang
If you Google
street art you will find no end of
r efer en ces. O n A m azo n a lo n e th er e a r e m o r e th a n 4,0 0 0 b o o ks
to choose from; or you could drown in over 45 million Google
s e a r c h r e s u lt s .

Photo Anita Rosenberg

Keith Haring, JFK - jr, and Fab 5 Freddy
The big shocker
of this particular event was
when we looked out of my
living room window at t h e
b u m s s i tt i n g o n ga r bag e
cans, and see Jeffrey Deitch
and D i e g o Cortez step out
of a cab. That's how I met Jef-
Patti Astor (on far right)
Steven Kramer opening - NYC 1981
Photo Michael Markos
I think it's good that
But, despite its visibility, street art is a
relatively new art phenomenon with its
artists having little or no formal train-

a new group of
ing or career path. How quickly street
art has been absorbed into pop culture
and recognized by art galleries and
institutions is a testament to its visual

artists have come in

potency and The Geffen Contemporary
at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary
Art) in Los Angeles, Art in the Streets

and found interesting

exhibit is the latest endorsement of this
prolific art form.
But where did this genre of art originate?
The term ‘street art’ was, arguably, first

ways to work on the

coined in the late 70s and used to cre-
ate a catch-all ‘super category’ for art
whose only commonality was that it

street. It definitely
was created and displayed in public
spaces, rather than behind the closed
doors of traditional art galleries. Public
art, in itself, wasn’t new. What was new

follows a continuum. was the acceptance of street art by gal-

leries, auction houses and museums.
In the late 70s, before Banksy, JR or

one thing couldn't

Shepard Fairey, there was no street art,
just aerosol graffiti. And it was a blight
on the inner city, no more so than in its

have happened with-

mecca, New York City. To the establish-
ment, the words ‘graffiti’ and ‘art’ were
rarely uttered in the same breath. How-
ever, something changed in the early

out the other. That's

80s. Out of that illegal graffiti scene a
few graffiti artists emerged who broke
away from painting subway trains and

the critical thing to

began exploring other venues for their
art and endeavoured to penetrate the
established art gallery world in Man-
hattan. This is the period when uptown

New York hustle met downtown Man-
hattan avant garde and two people who
were instrumental in creating this cul-

- Fab
tural cocktail and channeling its energy
were the graffiti artist, Fred Brathwaite,
aka Fab 5 Freddy, and East Village

queen, Patti Astor.
At the time, both were pursuing their
artistic goals in different circles, but
their entrepreneurial spirits and ability

to make things happen united them. In
1981, at a screening of Patti’s punk rock
art house film, Underground U.S.A.,
Fab 5 Freddy introduced himself to Pat-
ti. Little did they know that this chance
encounter would lead to the beginning
of the Fun Gallery, the first significant
Patti Astor (right) and Tina L'Hostky
NYC - 1981
Photo Michael Markos

street art exhibition space, and that it would be pivotal in developing the careers of so many of the world’s most re-
nowned street artists.
At the time, Fab 5 Freddy was making conscious moves to infiltrate the art gallery world and transform his graffiti
background into a career. “In the beginning in the 80s I was not trying to offer myself as a graffiti artist because I didn’t
see myself doing illegal graffiti when I was actually trying to make works on canvas. I wanted to be an artist and be in
that space and it was something I initiated on my own and after I connected with Lee Quinones [of Wild Style fame]
we had a big show in Rome in 1979 [at Claudio Bruni’s gallery].
“This is how I ended up on the downtown scene and meeting other art makers (Keith [Haring], Jean-Michel [Bas-
quiat] and Kenny [Scharf]) and who became good friends before the Fun Gallery jumped off…we thought [the East
Village] was a place where we could come together and make things happen.”
What Fab 5 Freddy and his peers had unknowingly created was the original social network. Instead
of college students, this network was made up of a ‘new pocket of energy’ of fresh, passionate artists who were just
coming onto the scene and were now rubbing shoulders with the likes of Patti Astor who was already well known on
the East Village scene for her underground films. “Our scene, at that time, was a lot more cliquish…it was really, re-
ally a small scene…and you hung with each other and we didn’t venture too far outside our realm.”
Patti Astor explains how unique the East Village was in the 70s and 80s and how it constantly reinvented itself and
never stood still, “…there were three separate eras to the East Village culture. When I got there [in 1975] the big thing
was going to [the club] CBGBs to see the local bands Blondie, Talking Heads, Television and Ramones. The next
thing was the filmmaking and Mudd Club era – I made my first film, Underground U.S.A., in 1976 - and that period
carried on through to 1981…when the art thing happened.”
At this time, the East Village scene was very white and HipHop had not yet percolated from the uptown neighbor-
hoods into Manhattan. Patti explains, “You have to give Fred [Brathwaite] credit as the main catalyst for enabling
HipHop to explode out of the South Bronx and penetrate the rest of the world. It seems unbelievable now, but at
that time no one downtown had heard about rap music, breakdancing or graffiti art….” However, the passion and
creativity was instantly recognizable and Patti identified with HipHop. “It was pretty easy to get, what we did have
in common was ‘we don’t have any money so we’re going to create what we can out of what we have.’ There’s not
much difference [between] making a $500 [budget] jungle romance super8 movie and hooking up your turntables to
a street light in the Bronx.”
It was this shared do-it-yourself mind-set that fueled the ‘accidental beginnings’ of the Fun Gallery. After Patti had
befriended Fab 5 Freddy in 1981, she met the graffiti artist Futura [2000] who shared a studio with Fab and Lee
Photo Courtesy Fab 5 Freddy
in Alphabet City
Pattti Astor on the seT of Wild Style with Henry Chalfant
East River Park - N YC - Octoer 1, 1981
Photo : Michael Markos

– so named because of avenues A, B, C and D - one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Manhattan at that
time. Futura offered Patti one of his paintings, but she decided against accepting it and instead asked Futura to paint
a mural in her East Village living room since that would be a proper gift that couldn’t be bought or sold. This mural
painting turned into a one-day art event with Kenny Scharf joining the party to customize the apartment’s appliances
as Patti made potato salad for guests. This display of bleeding edge street art wasn’t a formal curation or collaboration
of street art styles – it was just friends getting together and creating something out of nothing.
This was the first of many occasions that Patti attracted the attention of the art world. Patti recalls the day, “The big
shocker of this particular event was when we looked out of my living room window at the bums sitting on garbage
cans, and see Jeffrey Deitch (art buyer and now director of MOCA in Los Angeles) and James Curtis, better known as
Diego Cortez (curator, art critic and MVP of the downtown scene), step out of a cab. That’s how I met Jeffery”[Deitch.]"
PAtti Astor And Fab 5 Freddy
Patti Astor on the set of Wild Style with Fab 5 Freddy (Fred Brathwite)
East River Park - NYC - Octorber 1, 1981
Photo Michael Markos
Fred And ZephyR Next Page: Origninal Artwork for Steven Kramer Opening
Photo Anita Rosenberg NYC - 1981
Photo Michael Markos

Keith Haring Patti Astor at the Fun Gallery Patti ANd Fab in front of fun gallery
3 lower Photos Anita Rosenberg
After the first show, Patti Astor wanted a more dedicated venue and she heard
about a small 8-foot by 25-foot space on East 11th Street from her friend Bill Stelling, who then became her partner in
the Fun Gallery. This new gallery had no name at the time of the first show (by artist Steven Kramer) in August 1981. In
true democratic style Patti said that each artist could choose the name of the gallery for their own show. It wasn’t until the
second show that Kenny Scharf came up with the name that would stick…the Fun Gallery.
However, the Fun Gallery wasn’t the only edgy game in town in the early 80s. Speaking about Fashion Moda in the
Bronx and ABC No Rio in the Lower East Side, Fab 5 Freddy explains, “Just think about [them] as alternative spaces
which were opened up by some radical artists and activists…they were trying to set up an alternative to the established
art world that was doing boring, lame stuff.”
After several one-man shows (by artists Fab 5 Freddy, Kiely Jenkins, Futura, Jane Dickson, Dondi White and Arch Con-
nelly and Lee) and Rene Ricard’s article in ARTFORUM magazine, the Fun Gallery relocated to a larger space on East
10th Street in Fall ’82. Kenny Scharf opened in September, with Keith Haring showing in February ‘83. At its height, the
Fun Gallery attracted a record crowd of 800 people to the East Village.
Fab 5 Freddy Artwork

But, this was the beginning of the end of the scene.

By 1983 over 25 galleries had opened in a 12-block radius and the demand for space caused rents to skyrocket.
What began as the antithesis of the established SoHo galleries like Mary Boone and Leo Castelli was, increas-
ingly, starting to resemble them. This combined with the faddish nature of art collectors and unscrupulous gallery
owners made it difficult to keep the Fun Gallery dream alive. “We used to call them the art world barracudas…
the art advisors who were constantly looking for the next big thing.” In 1985, the Fun Gallery closed its doors.
More than 25 years on, Jeffrey Deitch’s move to MOCA has reunited the East Village clique who will descend on
the West Coast for the Art in the Streets exhibition that opens at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Museum
of Contemporary Art) in Los Angeles this spring. Deitch is at the helm, and is joined by author and producer,
Roger Gastman, and curator and film director, Aaron Rose. Patti Astor is co-curator of the museum’s 80s section
and Fab 5 Freddy joins her as a contributing consultant to the show. Patti describes the moment when the idea
for a celebration of the Fun Gallery became reality, “I had been pursuing Jeffrey [Deitch] for quite sometime to do
a Fun Gallery show in conjunction with my [yet to be published] book and finally he said ‘Let’s do it! Let’s have a
Fun Gallery within the [MOCA] show.’”
So, what can we expect to see at the MOCA show? Patti explains, “There are three rooms and I have a recre-
ation of the Fun Gallery façade. I have the front window of the building…it looks really beautiful. I unbelievably
got the same Jean-Michel Basquiat painting that was in the front window when we had the Jean-Michel show…
no one thought I’d be able to get that painting, including me!”
“The front room is the Fun Gallery original crew who are the artists who had one-man shows (Jean-Michel
Basquiat, Keith Haring, Zephyr, Kenny Scharf, Fab 5 Freddy, Dondi, Lee, Futura 2000, Kiely Jenkins and Jane
Dickson.) Then I have a Kenny Scharf Black Light ‘closet’ room and I have the Fun Gallery Old School room…it
refers to the pioneers of the artists who painted the trains [including Phase 2 and Blade.]”
Fab 5 Freddy reflected on the upcoming MOCA show and the artists who came after the 80s scene, “I think it’s
good that a new group of artists have come in and found interesting ways to work on the street. It definitely fol-
lows a continuum…one thing couldn’t have happened without the other. That’s the critical thing to understand.”

The Art in the Streets exhibition runs from April 17 to August 8, 2011 at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in
Los Angeles. It moves to the Brooklyn Museum in New York from March 30 to July 8, 2012.
Photo Coutesy Fab 5 Freddy
Fab 5 Freddy In front of Futura [2000] Wall
The Crystal Punch
ArtWork by Fab 5 Freddy

"Chips Galore" 2007

Oil Acrylic and Silkscreen ink on Canvas
b e t te r
now er
f u n ne r
"T.V. Starlacash" 2006
Oil Acrylic and Silkscreen Ink on Canvas
"Self Portrait with Cadillac" 1979
Acrylic on Canvas


I recently had the opportunity to watch my father paint a huge mural in New York City. It
was freezing cold outside. I think it was one of the coldest nights we had this winter. Bundled
up against the cold, I headed over to Bowery and Houston where I knew he would be painting.
I couldn’t believe how huge the wall was. I had seen it before, but on that freezing, below zero
morning at the crack of dawn, it seemed to be an almost impossible task for him to paint all
by himself.

When I arrived he was already there, pacing back and forth looking at the wall from the island
in the middle of the street. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful morning. I was lucky to
be there, and I felt as though I was a part of his art as I got to experience the amazing energy
being put into the wall. But I wasn’t there just to observe and enjoy. I was there documenting
the whole process. This was necessary for me to do not only for the film I am working on, but
for myself, as his daughter, as well as for him - his story, and for history. Even though I’d heard
it before, I asked him about the first time he did graffiti. “I met Basquiat in ‘78 and we went
around the city with markers tagging - he did SAMO and I did a mutated version of - George
Jetson’s son - Elroy.” He hasn’t lost that playfulness ever - it lives forever in him and his art.

As I stood there, what struck me the most was peoples’ reaction to the mural-in-progress. Some stopped
and admired it, curious to see what was going on and who was doing it. All kinds of people - and that’s
what I loved. Some of them stopped for hours in the freezing weather, others, just a few minutes, and
some walked by, huddled in their winter gear and didn’t notice it at all. The power of art struck me then,
the smiles on their faces, the comments they made. The pure and simple look of curiosity in their eyes.
"Super Sudsil" 1988
Oil & Acrylic on Canvas
"El roy Explanation" 1981

"Cumulonimbliss" 1996

"Juicy Jungle" 1983-4

"El roy Mandala" 1982

"I met Basquiat in '78

and we went around
the city with markers
tagging - he did SAMO
and I did a mutated
version of - George
Jetson's son - Elroy."
-Kenny Scharf
"Jetston extravaganza" 2009
ABOVE "Lokglob" 1989
"Love is Blue" 1987 NEXT PAGE
PREIVOUS PAGE "Junkle" 1992
"Donut Jamboree" 2005 Oil, Acrylic & Silkscreen Ink on Canvas
"Oil Painting"
"The Funs Inside" 1983

As the sun started to go down and the day got colder I watched, still just as engaged as
I had been hours before. I felt I had a purpose, a reason for being there. Not only for my father, but for me, and my need to
move forward as an artist, to grow. I got on to the scissor lift, and my dad would drive it up and down to reach the high spots
and then the lower ones. I felt as though I was on top of the world. I was hanging with my dad, overlooking Bowery and Hous-
ton, this huge intersection in lower Manhattan. It felt unreal. I got to experience something truly special. As he made a line,
creating one of his colorful, goofy, cartoony characters he smiled and said, “ Yes!” I replied, “ I love it.”“You bring me luck,” he
said, “you do, you bring me luck.” Hearing him say that meant everything to me. It meant so much more than just the words. I
care so much for him as a person, a father, and an artist…he’s an inspiration. At that moment, I felt that maybe I did bring him
luck. Kenny's art can make you feel a part of something - rather than a spectator.
"The All New Hot Dog" 2008

His art is hopeful and fun,

a perfect antidote
to all the crap that goes on in the world today.

His most recent show with Paul Kasmin had some beautiful, very relevant and political paintings in it. One of my
favorites was the Oil Painting, a direct commentary on the BP oil spill and all the other grief, terribleness and trauma
going on across our planet. He loves doing big things as he says “more, newer, better, nower, funner.” He started
tagging back in ‘78 with Basquiat and he’s never really stopped. The mural on Bowery and Houston was the first
of many more ‘big things’ that he has ahead of him. He recently finished a mural at MOCA in LA for the Art in the
Streets show in April. A history of street art will be surveyed as well as a re-creation of the Fun Gallery with cura-
tors and some of the old school crew like Patti Astor, Fab 5 Freddy and Futura. He has plans to do more murals, bigger
murals, anywhere he can - just for the love of it.
"Felix on a Pedestal" 1982

"When Worlds Collide" 1984

"Greenwormscape" 2008

"Perfecta Moodsky"1986 "Scoopy Reubens as Pablo Pickasso" (Paul Reubens) 2001

"Jungle Jism" 1985 "OOzolution" 1994



Photos: Futura
DIGITAL Post Work: Erin Tengquist
According to Futura
A 3 0 -year career for a graffiti ar tist is ra re.
It takes a special breed of talent and the confidence to take your art beyond the train yard, basketball court and
gallery to new platforms and levels of creativity to reach broader audiences.
Futura [2000] is one of the few artists who has constantly reinvented himself, always looking forward and rarely
looking back. UNleashed Magazine spent an evening talking with Leonard McGurr, aka Futura, at his home in
Brooklyn, ahead of his participation in the Art in the Streets show opening at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA
(Museum of Contemporary Art) in Los Angeles.
Futura’s graffiti career started in 1970 when McGurr invented his tag (a graffiti writer’s nom de plume), to represent
himself in the graffiti underworld and disguise himself from the authorities. “Coming up with the name ‘Futura
2000’ – there were a lot of things that I stole that from…The ‘2000’ was my inspiration and the name became
something I live by…and I [have] actually survived 30 years…”
In the 70s, what made Futura 2000 stand out wasn’t his catchy sci-fi tag - after all he was preceded by Paul Renner’s 1920s
typeface and Lincoln’s concept car of 1955. He stood out because he painted‘whole cars’– trains painted from top to bottom
– in what became his signature; abstract and emotional blaze of color. His 1980 painted train raised the bar and created
a new aesthetic in graffiti art. Futura lays out the milestones in his long career, “1980 I decide to BREAK with tradition and
discover the UNKNOWN. The ABSTRACT WHOLECAR painted over a three-hour period on a COLD NIGHT in MARCH would
ultimately become ICONIC. whoa. who knew.”
He made the transition to canvas in the 80s and shared a Lower East Side studio with Fab 5 Freddy. This is the period
that will be the essence of Futura’s installation at MOCA. “I have a fantastic painting from 1984, [a] kinda large important
painting - seven by nine feet. It was a large painting for its time. This particular painting I gave to my wife when she was
pregnant…in the summer of ‘84…that’s 26-27 years ago and it’s a great painting to have as a retrospective [of my work].
And I’m gonna match it with another piece that I haven’t even made yet. I’m gonna make it out there [Los Angeles]. It’s not
the ‘yin and the yang,’ but the ‘then and the now’.”
On the
On theimportance
importanceofof the MOCA
the MOCAshow, Futura
show, is very
Futura is clear.
very “It is great
clear. “It isthat Jeffrey
great that[Deitch]
Jeffrey has done this,
[Deitch] has because...people
done this, because... [will] want
to talk about
people [will] the
want history of the
to talk movement…[And]
about the history of the being selected as one ofbeing
movement…[And] the artists [at MOCA]
selected as oneisofawesome…this
the artists [atisMOCA]
probably the
is real recognitionisbyprobably
an American theinstitution…of the entire movement.
first real recognition by an American[Not just] individuals likethe
institution…of Basquiat
entireand Haring who had
[Not been
just] recognized.
individuals ” AsBasquiat
like an elder inandthe graffiti
Haring world,
who Futura
had alreadyis philosophical about what
been recognized. thean
” As exhibition
elder inwillthe do graffiti
for the street
art genre
world, as well
Futura is as artists’ careers.
philosophical “I’m not
about what looking at the show
the exhibition [todo
will say]for
in MOCA!’ It’s oneasaspect
art genre well ofas me as a person.
artists’ careers.It’s not
that important!
“I’m not lookingI’matsurethe to some[to
show of say]
thisinis MOCA!’
it! This isIt’s
‘oh, aspect
God dude I’m in!
of me as I’m gonna cash
a person. in on
It’s not this,important!
that ’ or whatever the
I’m sure to some of these kids this is it! This is like ‘oh, God dude I’m in! I’m gonna cash in on this,’ or whatever the
avoid it…but here it is.”
Earlier this year, fine
art auctioneer house,
Bonhams, sold one of
Futura’s installation pieces
painted live in 1983 while
he was on tour with the UK
punk rock band, The Clash.
The four by eight foot
painting sold for just under
$60,000. “It’s an awesome
price and it’s great for the
person who profited from
that,” said Futura, “I’m not
bitter [or asking] ’where’s
motivation will be. I’m grateful and I will represent myself very well.” my percent[age]?’ I don’t
“I think this show will inflate some peoples’ prices and that should be worry about those things
good for them. I’m grateful for MOCA and I’m excited, but I don’t see or play the numbers game.”
it as the defining moment in my career. I think it’s a great moment “I’m not a collector of my
for the movement…but how many people are in the space, literally own work, or for that matter
inside the show? How many kids who didn’t make it in the show are of fact, anyone’s work…
part of the exterior events? [Ask yourself] not who’s in, [but] who’s there’s only one painting in
out!” my apartment [and it’s] of
You have to understand Futura’s past to truly understand his point my kids. It’s not like I need
of view. He got recognition during the first gallery love affair with to be around my work…
graffiti art in the 80s. He exhibited in the Tony Shafrazi gallery in if there is some potential
1982 alongside Kenny Scharf, then again in 1984 with a solo show. business [from MOCA I
But he was given the cold shoulder after galleries and collectors will look at it], but I will
t turned their backs on graffiti art and moved on to more traditional, [continue to] be as stingy
e highbrow art. In response to that boom and bust era, he looked for and cheap with my own
d other avenues to channel his creativity. He reflected, “I didn’t want to work as I’ve ever been. Hey,
t be part of the movement 24/7…I diversified my creativity is how I see I don’t even have [any of] it!
t it. I did a lot of things with my talent and I wasn’t a one-dimensional So it’s hard to come by. Just
e player. [Now, with MOCA] the art world has come to me. I’ve tried to because there’s going to be
a rush on it doesn’t mean I’m going to fill it either…I’m never drawn by that [money], that’s not my motivation.”
As with many things, foreign collectors seem to appreciate the graffiti aesthetic more than at home. Collectors of Futura’s
work outside of America have been consistently supportive over the years, so why not move abroad like some of his
contemporaries? Futura explained how it was in the early 80s, “People like Jon One, Toxic, Quik, didn’t really expatriate
until ‘83/’84…First of all, I’m from New York so I’m not going anywhere, although I have been to 70 countries…and I
loved it. All the subsequent exhibitions were based on European interest in our work. [It came from] the people in France
who bought; the Dutch who bought a lot, as well as the Germans and the Italians. They all supported our art, whereas
no one in New York was supporting it, except for the high-end guys – Basquiat, Haring, Scharf. I sold some paintings; no
doubt, I had a moment, but no one was buying graffiti art with any consistency. I was never going to leave [New York];
but people left because that’s where the money was.”
In 1982, Futura visited France for the first time as part of the New York City Rap Tour. This was masterminded by journalist
Bernard Zekri who befriended Afrika Bambaataa (founder of HipHop’s influential Universal Zulu Nation) and
Jean Georgakarako (better known as Jean Karakos) the man behind French new wave record label, Celluloid Records.
This period is one of folklore, but it is clear that commercial interests had already infiltrated HipHop. Futura recalls that
time, “Prior to the tour, there was a French rush on our movement [HipHop] and it occurred with a few articles that
were done with [Fab 5] Freddy, myself and Bambaataa about this new phenomenon…it wasn’t called HipHop yet. The
creation of the records [I painted the sleeves] was all part of Jean Karakos’ marketing strategy.”
Talking about his work for Celluloid and the 1982 Celluloid release of his record Escapades of Futura 2000, “I did those
covers [for Celluloid] but those records were an exploitation event and I never got a dime, but I know that they cut a deal
with The Clash to get their music. That record was meant to happen as a cassette tape and it predates the [New York City]
Rap Tour by seven months. So, when I came back to New York I said to Fred [Fab 5 Freddy] ‘Yo, you gotta listen to this little
rap record I did…’ It was my homage to graffiti, but I never wanted that to be a fucking record…and Celluloid cut other
records (Fab 5 Freddy’s Change the Beat, DST’s Megamix II and Phase II’s The Roxy). All this record shit gets done prior to
this tour. Why? Because they have to sell something on the tour. At the time, I was totally manipulated, but I didn’t mind
because ‘we were all going to Paris!’”
“1985 the EIGHTIES peak; mid DECADE... those with skills and talent find new opportunities. those without; are trapped
in HISTORY. bummer.” Futura moved on to the next phase in his career. By the 90s, the fate that Futura firmly believes in
continued to push his brand of art internationally into other avenues. “…I met James Lavelle from Mo’Wax in Berlin. As
a result of meeting James, I met Hardy [Blechman of Maharishi for whom Futura designed a range of clothing]. A few
years later, I hooked up with the Tokyo ‘Harajuku’, über-cool set. Things were happening without any plan or forecast.
The gates opened up in Japan. Japan wound up being this place that supported me…and gave me opportunities that
I’d never seen before in America…I love Japan. And James was my key…as he was always in with those guys.”
By 2005, Futura saw the urban culture swelling in popularity.“2005 the MOVEMENT is not just GLOBAL it’s GARGANTUAN.”
When asked to elaborate, he added, ”I don’t just mean the art world. It’s the lifestyle and culture…street art, social
networking and blogs, in addition to all the consumer culture like Hypebeast and Freshness. No longer do we live in
niches; all the circles cross over each other. There’s the community of artists and designers and the ‘cool boy’ stuff. In ’05
it hit a curve, [and became] another movement that was bound to explode – it was too much – and now we’re in this
recovery period. I think the movement glutted on itself, it got too high on itself, fed off of itself and it got sick. I’m weary
of all that. I can be in it, but when I’m in it, I am never really believing it.”
In April, Futura travels to Los Angeles in preparation for the Art in the Streets show. “I’m looking forward to going to LA
just to check out the work on the street, ‘cause I’m sure there’s a ton. I think I’ve seen all there is to see in New York, which
is almost depressing.” As the MOCA show shines the spotlight on him once more, like many forefathers of a movement,
he’s protective of what he’s pioneered and outspoken about those who follow in his footsteps. Referring to the new
wave of street artists, Futura opines, “I take a lot of photos, so I’m aware of the new kids on the block. I don’t mean the big
timers like Twist, Swoon, Barry McGee or Shepard Fairey. I’m talking more about the people who haven’t made it yet.”
“It kinda makes me angry that artists who are out there today don’t get the historical perspective; they simply jumped on
a bandwagon that had gained momentum…happy to jump aboard and reap the benefits; and they don’t care about,
or respect the forefathers or pioneers. I claim some stake in the way it has all panned out 30 years later.”
Talking about street art, Futura says, “I like some of it, but I don’t get anything [emotional from it]. It’s very strange.
I get that in galleries also.” He continues, “It’s not just technical ability; it’s energy and emotion which I think certain
artists [need to] deliver which is beyond even the work. You [need to] get more of a feel for the person, and that’s hard
to translate with a lot of street art. It’s very cold, I don’t get a lot of warmth from it…”
Futura, the artist, is multifaceted and his work has seeped into every aspect of urban culture, but Futura the man is
very much centered around his family whom he considers to be his greatest achievement. “I’m proud of my kids –
they’re children of the globe, but Brooklyn is at the heart. My wife laid out the plan...If I need technical advice I call my
son, if I need the truth I call my daughter…”
So, what’s next for Futura? “I’d still like to make a movie…I’m still young enough to do a lot more interesting things…
that’s why I don’t like to reminisce, although this [MOCA] show makes us look back. It’s not what I do…I’m Futura, I’m
the guy who’s looking ahead. It’s no disrespect…I’ve always been that guy.”
Story By StepHEn Pang

Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Keith Haring. Each of these artists developed their own distinctive,
identifiable art style that turned every mural into an explicit branding exercise that the market-
ing textbooks describe as “the process of creating and disseminating the brand name.”

These brand messages, although not commercially motivated, are used to convey a thought or
idea to anyone willing to stop and look. Unlike art in museums or galleries, these images have
a direct impact because they surround us as we go about our daily lives – like ambient art.
Street art appeals to an influential, but elusive, demographic. Brands want to co-opt and har-
ness this energy and authenticity that street art brings with it. Each time a brand connects itself
to street art, it ironically, dilutes its value as a channel of communication.
To learn more about branded street art, UNleashed spoke with two leading players from both
sides of the fence. For the artists, TATS Cru of New York, a prolific “illegal” graffiti crew from the
80s that transformed itself into a pioneer of graffiti advertising murals. And, representing the
brands, UNleashed reached out to Scion, Toyota Motors’ diffusion car brand.
All Photos courtesy Tats Cru {Mayor Bloomberg 2010}
UN: TATS Cru is recognized as the graffiti mural kings and paints every year at the Graffiti Hall of Fame in Span-
ish Harlem. When did TATS Cru formalize itself as a mural company, rather than a graffiti ‘bombing’ crew?
BG183 (TATS Cru member): When me, Bio and Nicer started the [mural] business, we landed a Cola-Cola con-
tract. That was through Chico from the Lower East Side. He was also painting advertising a year or two before
us. He had Camel cigarettes and Cola-Cola. But, he couldn’t paint in the Bronx because we [TATS Cru] had that
territory. We were already doing memorial walls and mom and pop stores...

UN: How did working with brands affect TATS Cru’s approach to mural painting?
BG183: At the time, we didn’t know whether we were a sign company, an advertising company or artists-for
hire. We took every [commission] that came in. During that time, a lot of companies were doing graffiti adver-
tising, but real people who grew up with graffiti knew it was fake. So, why not hire a company like us [TATS] to
create a win/win situation? We were basically in advertising - a sign company. But we didn’t know that…we
thought we were bringing the graff’. When we got down with Coke it opened our eyes. We needed to think like
them. People are still buying Coca-Cola to this day, so there has to be a reason. In 1996, a year or two after the
Coca-Cola deal, we got [a contract from] ABC Carpet and Home, one of the biggest carpet stores on the east-
side. Even though we were working for Coke we were still broke…we didn’t know how to price the work…we
thought $1,000 was a good price.

UN: Why was graffiti popular with advertisers during the mid-90s?
BG183: Companies couldn’t put up billboards because they were getting defaced by vandalism and graffiti. So,
the way for advertisers to come into our neighborhoods…we had a gimmick. If you used us to make them, [ad-
verts] they didn’t get defaced. In the early 80s, TATS Cru had 12 members who fought with other graffiti artists
and stole their paint. We had the reputation that whoever messed around with us would get beaten up. So, no
one would touch our work, including our advertising work….so we could guarantee our work.
Although, I remember we painted eight adverts for Hummer. The two in Brooklyn, in the Williamsburg section
were defaced by activists – they wrote ‘Bush, Gas, Oil.’ It wasn’t an anti-graffiti thing, it was because…a Hummer
is a gas guzzler! They destroyed it, we fixed it, and they destroyed it!

UN: How did TATS Cru become the self-titled ‘mural kings?’
BG183: [The advertising murals] became a performance piece. As we painted, people would ask ‘Wow, how did
you guys paint that logo?’ At the same time it gave us a lot of skills in the graffiti game…not many can imitate
the work we do…there are only a few in the world.

UN: In the 80s there was the downtown graffiti art scene that Fab 5 Freddy, Dondi, Futura were part of. Where
was TATS Cru in that mix?
BG183: Those guys started in the early 70s, but we started in the 80s. They were already in the graffiti game
for seven or eight years and people like Crash and Phase were painting canvases. Our mission was writing our
name for fame, painting subways, getting chased by the police. Our focus wasn’t painting in galleries, but we
did go to some galleries back in the Bronx, like Fashion Moda. We were 16, 17 years old and had no fame, no
props. These guys already had books published, [like Subway Art with Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper.]

Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. launched the Scion brand in 2003 as a more youthful entry-level car - the median
age of a Scion driver is 30 - the youngest in the auto industry, with a whopping 72 percent of those owners
being Toyota virgins! Scion has consciously avoided expensive, mass-market advertising, preferring to build
favor and credibility using grassroots marketing, including employing the appeal of street art. To understand
how Scion integrates street art into its successful marketing strategy, UNleashed spoke with Jeri Yoshizu, Scion’s
sales promotions manager in charge of lifestyle and social media marketing.

UN: Scion refers to street art as urban art. Is there a difference, and if so, what? Do you distinguish between
street artists' media (graffiti/aerosol, wheat paste, stencils etc?) Does it matter?”
Jeri Yoshizu: We call it street art to not limit it to graffiti. It encompasses the large category that includes stencil-
ing, etc.
UN: How and when did Scion decide to build street art into its marketing strategy? How did the Scion Installa-
tion idea develop, and did the initiative change direction during planning and execution?
Jeri Yoshizu: We built it into the launch of the brand in 2003. It started as a simple exhibition at The Los Angeles
Auto Show. We had more than 20 artists painting on the Scion XB. It included David Choe, Kenton Parker, Saber,
Mister Cartoon, Revok, Krush, Dez Einswell and others. It was very successful and also initialized relationships
with artists that we have continued to work with for years.

UN: What is the appeal of street art for Scion? How does Scion balance the possible illegality of street art with
its own brand values?
Jeri Yoshizu: We focus on the positive aspects of art, and not only street art. We work in video, graphics, mixed
media, etc. The appeal is based on the types of artists who are making a life through art. We are not working
with highbrow artists, as that is not our target market's interest.

UN: How did Scion shortlist the artists chosen to participate out of the 100s of notable artists?
Jeri Yoshizu: [Requiring artists to be] positive and open-minded tends to shorten the list. We work with people
who want to make something happen.

UN: What do you think Scion brought to the street artists who participated in the initiative? What do you think
Scion gained from the collaboration with street artists?
Jeri Yoshizu: We gave them a paycheck. They have to pay their rent. Eat. Have a life. Scion's job is to make sure
that they feel good about working with a corporation, without feeling taken advantage of. This is key to our
initiatives. We know we are a corporation selling cars. I want to dispel any negative outcomes that can typically
result by supporting the artists and helping them to develop in the commercial area. Our gain is great relation-
ships while watching their careers grow.

UN: What are the marketing objectives? How effective has street art been for Scion's marketing objectives? How
does Scion track and measure effectiveness?
Jeri Yoshizu: Street art, and executing the Scion initiatives consistently, has brought brand recognition and a
positive reputation for the brand. I measure success through feedback from the artists.

UN: What's next for Scion and street art?

Jeri Yoshizu: Video.


Art - Erin Tengquist
The Business
of Ar
By Stephen Pang

Street art has its fans and detractors, but both were united in amazement in 2007 when Bonhams, the British
auction house, sold lot #299, an aerosol stencil painting on steel, for US$576,000. Of course, this was no ordinary
street artist. This was Banksy, and the painting was Space Girl and Bird, commissioned by the UK pop group, Blur.
Despite the above credentials, the estimated guide price was still 20 times less than the final hammer price.
This zealous bidding from an anonymous American buyer marked the beginning of the latest street art feed-
ing frenzy. A few months later, Bonhams followed up the record-breaking event with ‘the world’s first street art
auction’ featuring 100 works from both American street artists (Keith Haring, Faile, Shepard Fairey) and the Brits
(Banksy, D*Face, Eine). But, how do works of your favorite street artists end up on the auction block, and is it in-
evitable when art is treated like a commodity to be bought and sold for profit?
Space Girl And Bird
"The artist /gallery relationship
is about money.

as a business or a brand ñ
. " - MAGA A
Photo Courtesy A & o
$ $$ $
UNleashed spoke with two people in the know -Lainya Magaña, art cu-
rator, writer and principal at San Francisco-based art PR agency, Argot
& Ochre (A&O), and Nick Walker, one of the first wave of stencil artists
benefiting from this renewed interest in street art, and whose work
featured in the Bonhams auction in 2008.
The general public perceives the art world as civilized, orderly and slight-
ly intimidating. On the surface it’s made up of art galleries and auction
houses that specialize in art. But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In the
background there’s a complex ecosystem of art consultants, advisors
and agents. And they are all paid to create value for their clients, either
buying or selling art. When an artist or their representative is selling
the artwork it’s considered a primary sale, although it’s rarely referred
to as such. The distinction between this and a secondary market sale
is that the artist has no control with the latter; the seller is a private
owner/collector and could choose to sell through an auction house or a
gallery consignment exhibition sale.
“The artist/gallery relationship is about money. The problem is that
some artists don’t look at themselves as a business or a brand,” said
Magaña. “There are good galleries and bad ones…artists need to be
very selective as they need to think about longevity of career.” Nick
Walker recognizes the importance of the role a gallery plays in forging
his career, “I think it’s important to have a good gallery represent you,
especially if they are well positioned and respected. It’s also integral
that the gallery keeps an artist’s integrity intact and is not short-sight-
ed with an artist’s career. It takes a while to find the right gallery. You
could go it alone, but selling becomes a distraction and it’s important
to place paintings with the right collectors.”
And he should know. Today Nick Walker is a world-class stencil artist,
but he started his career in 1983 graffiti ‘bombing’ the streets of Bristol.
“In the early days I used to paint graffiti under the name Ego and I had
a t-shirt label called Magic Pudding Avenue from the beginning of the
90s. I would’ve liked to have kept it going, but I wanted to concentrate
on painting a lot more than chasing up stores for the money on t-shirt
The turning point for Walker’s career came in February 2008 when his
Los Angeles solo show sold out. Within days, across the Atlantic in Lon-
don, two of Walker’s works fetched more than five Keith Haring paint-
ings combined at Bonhams’ first ‘urban art’ auction. Speaking on his
experience of the art market Walker said, “When a painting comes to
market you’re in the hands of others and it’s just having confidence in
the auction house and the knowledge that they are branded and have
a good clientele.” He continued, “The nightmare scenario is when a
piece goes to a Johnny-come-lately auction house who displays art [in
a fashion] not that dissimilar to a car boot (trunk) sale and doesn’t give
a shit about an artist’s career.’ He gave an example, “After the Bonhams
result, another auction house in the UK jumped on the bandwagon and
consigned 14 pieces of my work for the same auction. Talk about being
made to feel vulnerable. The whole thing’s a double-edged sword.”
Photo Courtesy Nick WAlker
$$ $
A&O’s Magaña explains the favorable and unfavor-
able consequences that Walker refers to, “Sotheby's
and Bonhams are major businesses that thrive on the
secondary art market. It's inevitable. Collectors will
eventually tire of [the] work, or need to make a quick
buck, and want to sell their work. And why shouldn't
they? And why shouldn't someone else have a chance
at purchasing that work on the secondary market?
But it's not always so innocent. The secondary art
market is also where art is made into a commodity
- traded and inflated to a gargantuan level. The mar-
ket is dictated by those collectors who live at the top
tier of wealth and power and unfortunately an art-
ist's value is seen through the lens of commodity and
Now that Walker is established and has a following,
he is focused on his brand and taking some more
control of his business affairs. “I was never brand ori-
entated…I hadn’t read up enough on other artists.
It’s only over the past two years that I’ve been focus-
ing more on this…it’s more important now to focus
on branding because I have established a large group
of loyal collectors. I need to keep the machine run-
ning and coming up with fresh ideas to produce.”
Today, to satisfy demand from his collectors, he bal-
ances working with galleries and selling his art direct-
ly, “…I like to keep the sales of original works through
the gallery, but I prefer to have control of my print
editions. In the past I’ve released a few of The Morn-
ing After prints through a gallery where they deal Nick Walker
with the production side and admin for a percentage “The 21st century artist wants to use Facebook, they want to
[of the profits], but I’m now releasing the rest of the use Twitter and build their own community…do their own
series myself. I’m building a bigger team to work on sales… it’s totally possible now.” As former gallery director for
projects etc. and dealing with the whole production.” Upper Playground’s Fifty24SF and NOMA Gallery, Magaña has
Control is a theme that comes up a few times when some seasoned advice for artists looking to develop their ca-
talking with Walker. This is because, despite the suc- reer through galleries, “Weigh every decision against whether
cess elevating his career, he feels that he’s been held it will provide you with longevity of career. No matter how
back by others in the past. “My Mona Simpson print tempting, don't go for quick sales and don't raise your prices
sold out at [Banksy-affiliated] Pictures on Walls, but too rapidly. Research the galleries you want to show in and cre-
that was all they wanted to print of mine. I offered ate a business strategy with 6 month, 1 year and 5 year goals.
them The Morning After series, but Banksy wasn’t in-
terested in promoting these as he said it was too like “And remember, as Andy Warhol said, ‘Making money is art
something he would do. I disagreed, but Black Rat and working is art and big business is the best art’.”
Press was really keen to work with me, so it felt like Nick Walker
the perfect time to move on.”
And with the Internet there’s no reason why an art-
ist couldn’t take more control of their work. Magaña
calls this use of technology ‘Gallery 2.0’. She explains,
" The 21 century artist

wants to use Facebook,

they want to uSe
Twitter and builD their
own co m m u n ity...
do their own sales. it's
totally possible now ."
- M A G A ñA

A&O Public Relations
Snapple canvas first real stencil canvas painted in 1994.
It takes a while to find the right gallery. You
distraction and it's important to

London MOrning After
could go it alone, But selling becomes a
o place paintings with the right collectors. -
Are you a dreamer or a dream?
"New York State of Mind" by Martha Cooper

Edition Of
"Future in Her Eyes" by RETNA
By Stephen Pang

Edition One Hundred is an online art store that sells one thing very well - high quality, limited edition art prints. Only 100
of these exclusive art prints are ever printed, and each one is authenticated with a certificate.

Founded in June 2010 by Los Angeles resident, Cat Jimenez, Edition One Hundred’s mission is to combine art with charity “to restore the
economic power to the artists and collectors, while giving a percentage of all sales to charitable causes.” In the short time Edition One
Hundred has been online it has released prints by well-established, as well as unknown artists, such as, B+ (of Mochilla fame), Augustine
Kofie, Estevan Oriol, Miles Regis, Katie Shapiro, and Tasya Van Ree.

What makes this print store different from say, Pictures on Walls, is that each print is part of a curated, two-month exhibition and Edition
One Hundred donates 10% of the proceeds of the sales to each artist’s chosen charity.

To celebrate the Art in the Streets exhibition at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA (Museum of Contemporary Art), Edition One Hundred
has organized a pop-up show curated by Yesenia Cordona, featuring some artists in the MOCA show (Augustine Kofie, (aka Kofie One) Este-
van Oriol, RETNA, Martha Cooper and Doze Green).

The Door is Round and Open can be seen on April 13-14, 2011 at Edgar Varela Fine Arts Gallery, 727 S. Spring Street, Los Angeles CA 90014.

“L.A. Fingers” by Estevan Oriol

During my journey through the world of street art,
one name kept popping up.

The London Police.

I first became aware of TLP at an A-list ce- and hilarious…very similar to The Flight of
lebrity home when I caught sight of an in- the Conchords…without the obnoxious
tricate drawing on their wall. I couldn’t help songs.
but notice the free flowing nature of the
circle drawings (the lads) in the structured When they hit the stage in Dog Singers,
but extremely chaotic world. Not long af- dressed in late 1970’s clothing and wigs,
ter that, I was at the home of a major mu- they display more of their humor and wit
sic producer and again, there, on the wall while performing a collection of songs
were “lads living in a chaotic world.” Wow. I about dogs. “We’re more than two geezers
wondered whether this was a larger state- making art, it’s a way of life.” Dog Singers
ment about how they viewed themselves can also be found on YouTube, and as you
or whether it was a commentary on the watch the video you can see and hear the
state of the world. Who is TLP and where audience progress from “these guys are
are they coming from? strange” to “these guys are strangely funny.”

A quick look at their online presence, I asked those who have bought their art, reveals that they are how they interpret their drawings, and why
a team of two. Chaz, who draws the circle they chose to collect TLP. The aforemen-
characters (the lads) and Bob Gibson, who tioned music producer likes his piece be-
creates the structured world that the lads cause he thinks that the “lads” created the
inhabit. They’re English, but they live in world in which they choose to live. He went
Amsterdam. While their art is rooted in the on to say that the “TLP drawings are like mu-
streets, their work is now being displayed sic and life, if you don’t like the beat, then
in major galleries throughout the world change it.” And the “lads” definitely march
alongside other acclaimed street artists to a beat of their own creation. When asked
like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and why they relate to TLP, the A-list celebrity
Ron English. But as I learned when I spoke couple stated that the work resonated for
with them recently…yes, they are street them because they feel that we do live in a
artists but to narrow their artistic endeav- chaotic world, and the “lads” appear to be
ors to merely street art is to paint an inac- simply attempting to navigate through it.
curate portrait.
So Bob and Chaz what is the answer? Are
In February 2011, Chaz and Bob were in Los we all “lads” living in a chaotic world or do
Angeles as part of the Scion Art Tour, where we create the world in which we live, and
video artists were challenged to create if it is chaotic, is it only because we will it
non-narrative videos. True to their street so? True to their artistic, rebel spirit they re-
art roots, TLP’s vision was quirky, funny and spond, “How you perceive our art is more a
as some have opined, genius. This show reflection on how you perceive yourself.”
will be exhibited around the US in Brook-
lyn, Wichita, Minneapolis and Austin. Whether it’s drawing in a train station in
the middle of the night in Albania, or being
Their artistic vision can once again be seen commissioned to paint a block long build-
on film in the enigmatic, but completely ing in Miami; whether it’s singing the infec-
charming Brothers in Arms directed by tious and hilarious dog songs or directing
both Chaz and Bob, which can be found themselves in the self-made and self-depre-
on YouTube. The film follows them as they cating movies, TLP nurtures and maintains
create art for an upcoming show, as well as the rebel spirit that is rooted in street art.
reveals that TLP is a unique way of life, and, Thus, while you can take the artist off the
wacky as it seems, it is certainly very en- street you can’t separate the street from the
tertaining. Their banter and wit is neither artist. “We are more than two geezers mak-
cutting nor mean-spirited; rather it’s clever ing art, it’s a way of life.” - George Hernandez

We're more than two geezers

making art, it's a way of life
-the london polICE
THe london police
Photo: Tina Vila Chasmer
PosT Art: Erin Tengquist
logan hicks
Q. Stencil, HDR photography…what’s next? Film? Drawing? Sculpture?

A. Wherever my path takes me, I will follow. I am always looking to expand my vocabulary
and certainly sculpture and drawing would be something to consider. Lately, I’ve been
looking at installation-based stuff with video projections. The only problem right now is
that my thoughts are more evolved than my skills; I have to make the technology translate
the concepts I see in my head. I feel like I still have plenty to say with stencils and I see that
as being my primary medium for the immediate future, but I am happy to go where things
take me.
Q. I’ve read that you are constantly working. How has having a child
changed your priorities?
A. My kid changed my priorities immediately; and in a way his arrival has
also solidified my priorities. I’ve always been too stubborn to quit, and too
stupid to fail, so it made me dig my heels in and figure out a way to make
it all work together. I may need to go to bed and get up an hour or two
earlier, but overall things are the same. I don’t go out binge drinking with
causal acquaintances like I used too, but I think phasing that out of my life
is a characteristic of growing older. The arrival of my son helped me come
to the realization that I didn’t want to wake up with a hangover. I think my
art has improved considerably too. Now if I don’t work and stay focused
there are repercussions. If I don’t work, I don’t get paid: if I don’t get paid,
my kid doesn’t eat. I’ve never had a 9 to 5 job, so I have always been pretty
lax about when and how I work. Before he was born, I’d work 90 hours one
week, then not work for a month. I never had the structure of having ‘real’
jobs, and I think my work suffered because of that. It’s important for me to
be a great dad, and a great artist. The only way to do both is to keep your
eyes on the prize; show up every day, work your ass off, and make time
for what’s important. So in that sense, having a child has been amazing in
more ways than one.
Street art is just like every
other art out there. LOTS of
bad, unimaginative,
ill-planned, derivative art,
mixed with a few good pieces.
Q . Street art used to be considered a form of ‘rebel art’. Do you agree? And
if not, what would you now consider ‘rebel art’?

A. Somewhere along the way, I sort of stopped paying attention to the

labels. I am happy to let other people define it and label it. I was making this
point to a friend of mine the other day, actually. I can remember being in high
school and listening to punk rock all the time. I rocked the Mohawk, combat
boots, had the ‘punk’ attitude, and only hung around other punk rockers. I
couldn’t even fathom the idea of being friends with someone who didn’t listen to punk rock. The idea of hanging
out with someone who listened to classical, country, R&B, or pop was unimaginable. As time passed, I loosened
my grip on my choice of hanging buddies. Now I don’t think I have one friend who has the identical musical taste I
do. In a way artwork is the same way for me these days. There was a time where I wouldn’t open up a magazine
unless it had graff’, street art, or lowbrow culture in it. I had no interest in going to galleries because that was where
‘they’ exist, not me. But once you stop trying to convince yourself that you are so different from everyone else, and
you realize that you’re just another jackass trying to find his way through this world it allows you to see things for
what they are. Street art is just like every other art out there. LOTS of bad, unimaginative, ill-planned, derivative art,
mixed with a few good pieces. There really are only a dozen true ‘leaders’ in each genre of art. Everyone else is
following or still struggling to find themselves. Each time someone defines a genre, it fractures. It expands, it grows
and people move away from that genre; unless you were the one that started it. Definitions only exist for movements
that have happened in the past. By the time a genre, movement, thought, or idea becomes self -aware, it ceases to
exist. You can’t simultaneously do something and discuss its place in history while you are still doing it. Street art is
more approachable than other forms, but even now I see ‘street art’ moving from the streets to galleries. I gave up
trying to figure out what ‘this’ means, or what ‘that’ means. Ultimately, good artwork stands alone and transcends its
original purpose so the duty of any person who has respect for their craft is to do good work and tune out all of the
white noise.

Q . This may be where it gets weird. At first blush, your earlier work portrays urban landscapes, but I sense loneliness.
Even the work with people seems to express a sort of social disconnect. Then I saw the recent mural of your son, and
for the first time I sensed warmth and love in your work. Am I just fucked up or is there some truth to my perception?
A. You’re 100% correct. I’ve struggled moments of clarity where you notice this somewhat pretentious world of
with openly talking about my work on something - what someone is wearing, the art, it’s hard to remember that art can
an emotional basis because it feels couple kissing on the street, someone peeking have that direct emotional connection.
weird verbalizing my instincts. My at you from inside a store or whatever, and It’s hard to remember that art isn’t just
work is a visual marker of my path that moment - that slice of time - is what about making pretty pictures so you
through this life. A road map of my slows you down and you feel lost in the can have an art show and hang out
attempt to find my way. A reflection moment. That is how I approach my work. My with your friends. After that I did a
on my life, my decisions, my station experiences are universal. My struggles are stencil of my grandmother, who
in life. It’s one of the few things that the same as everyone else’s and I try to speak I’d never met. I gave it to my
will truly represent me when I am no about those experiences as a representation mom and I could see her
longer here. It didn’t become obvious of the human condition. My work is reflective tear up as though
to me until much later, but I started to more than narrative. In terms of that piece she was standing
notice that I was using architecture as of my son, that too came from a reflective in front of her.
a metaphor in many ways. Stairs were place. The inspiration for that came from a Getting
representing an ascent or descent to very good friend of mine in Paris who goes people
another state of consciousness. Doors by C215. When I first met C215 (Chris) he had t o
represented moving to different levels, tons of these amazing stencils. I was flipping
the city as a visual representation of through them and kept seeing images of this
how I think things must be in my head. particular girl. I asked him, “What’s up with
I remember looking at a map one day all the stencils of that girl.” Years ago, he
told me, he made some bad decisions

and seeing the streets and thinking
how they look like veins. I built on this in his life and it cost him full time
idea of the land as a representation custody of his daughter. He told
of a body. If you look at a time-lapse me that he does at least one
of any city street during rush hour, stencil of his daughter
it’s easy to think of each person as a each week so that she
blood cell coursing through the veins knows that she
of the street. It’s easy to see how the is always on
city itself is greater than the sum of its his mind. It
parts. A city is a living being like the floored
people who live within it. So in many me. In
ways I see the city as being parallel to
my own mindset, my experiences my
challenges. There’s tons of shit going
on, tons of activity and movement
and this continual clutter that
makes it almost impossible
to differentiate between
what’s going on
and what just
happened. And
you have
My work is
a visual down
and think
about things
marker of is amazing and
I wanted to do the
my path same thing for my son.
If I were to die tomorrow, I
want my kid to know that he
through was the most important thing in
my life. That stencil was my way of just
this slowing down and remembering what’s
important. Sometimes slowing down isn’t
such a bad thing and I am working on trying to
do more of that.
Dondi: style master general : the life
of graffiti artist Dondi White

Books By Andrew Witten, Dondi White,

Michael White
ReganBooks (2001)
At the time of his death in 1998, Dondi
had seen the majority of his work
destroyed -- scraped off, painted over,
or chemically removed from the steel
upon which it thrived. Within these
pages, however, it still speaks volumes.

Basquiat (Numbered/
Signed Edition)

Gerard Basquiat Author

Tony Shafrazi Gallery

This book has over 250

of the highest quality
Graffiti kings: New York City mass transit color reproductions as
art of the 1970s well as essays by art
By Jack Stewart historians, contemporaries
and friends such as Fab 5
Melcher Media/Abrams (2009) Freddy, Richard Marshall
Graffiti Kings is the definitive book on and Glenn O’Brien.
subway graffiti, the spontaneous art
movement that exploded throughout New
York City in the early 1970s. In this historic,
firsthand account, Jack Stewart recounts
how pioneering writers put their lives on
the line to grab fame from a faceless urban
landscape. Through Stewart’s personal
interviews with the artists and more than
275 full-color, previously unpublished
photographs, the complete underground
history of subway graffiti comes to life.

Kenny Scharf

Written by Richard Marshall,

Contribution by Ann MagnusonCarlo
McCormick and The Paul Kasmin Gallery
Rizzoli (2009)
As one of today’s most exciting artists, Kenny Scharf rose to
prominence in the New York art scene in the ’80s as part of a
dynamic and influential group of artists that included Andy Warhol,
Keith Haring, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. This complete new volume
covers Scharf’s illustrious career and his experiences and activities
in the downtown art scene.
Hip Hop Files: Photographs, 1979-
Author Martha Cooper
Photographer Martha Cooper was
at the right place at the right time to
document the people who created
the music, dance, and art that
became known worldwide. Cooper
followed people who would one day
become icons: the Rock Steady Crew,
Fab 5 Freddy, DURO and DONDI,
LADY PINK, and Afrika Bambaataa, to
name a few. Now, Martha Cooper has
the reputation of being the first and
foremost photographer of hip hop
Subway Art culture in New York City.
Anniversary Edition
by Martha Cooper and Henry
Chalfant Trespass. A History of Uncommissioned
Urban Art
Chronicle Books (2009)
Carlo McCormick, Marc and Sara Schiller,
During the 1970s and 80s, Ethel Seno
photographers Martha Cooper
Taschen (2010)
and Henry Chalfant captured
the environment and the Graffiti and unsanctioned art—from local
imagination of a generation by origins to global phenomenon
documenting the burgeoning In recent years street art has grown bolder,
New York City graffiti more ornate, more sophisticated and—
movement. Now 25 years in many cases—more acceptable. Yet
and more than a half a million unsanctioned public art remains the problem
child of cultural expression, the last outlaw of
copies later, their bestselling visual disciplines. It has also become a global
book Subway Art is available phenomenon of the 21st century.
in a large-scale, deluxe format
heightening the visual impact
of their classic images.

Wild Style – The Sampler

by Charlie Ahearn
Powerhouse Books, 2007
A big, beautiful tome to Wild Style – the benchmark
movie and chronicle of early HipHop culture – from
Charlie Ahearn, the writer/director himself! Wild Style –
The Sampler is a richly detailed book that goes into detail
about the art of the projects that spawned the culture
Wild Style portrays, as well as serving as a deep behind the
scenes guide to the movie and its aftermath.
The Best
Movie you
never see
The greatest street art film you’ll
never see

There’s a lot you don’t know,

the biggest film not mentioned
here has garnered lauded praise
inside of a story that is perhaps
not the clearest told of tales.
For 5 years Life Remote Control
was produced to be one of
the greatest coverage pieces
documenting a movement
in both art and culture. You
cannot obtain this film. There
is a website but only a sign-up
promising information about
acquiring the DVD. While on
set for one of the feature pieces,
I was told a story of obfuscation
that explored the idea of own-
ing action.
The story went from the
filming of the street art docu-
mentary of our generation to
the end where another film
was made by elements of the
production cannibalizing the
original piece.
This original piece was Life
Remote Control
The end product, the now
The most radical story never
told documenting the titans of
this genre.
The Universe of Wild Style
Keith Haring
Made in 1983, was the first HipHop motion picture. Directed
A documentary by filmmaker Christina Clause by Charlie Ahearn features Fab Five Freddy, Lee Quinones, the
about the artist Keith Haring. The legacy of Haring Rock Steady Crew, The Cold Crush Brothers, Patti Astor, Sandra
is resurrected through colorful archival footage and Fabara and Grandmaster Flash. The film is unique in that
remembered by friends and admirers like artists many of the actors’ roles were written to express their real-life
Kenny Scharf and Yoko Ono, gallery owners Jeffrey personalities. This movie is considered the classic HipHop flick,
Deitch and Tony Shafrazi. Through interviews with full of great subway shots, breakdancing, freestyle MCing and
collaborators and friends like the choreographer Bill rare footage of one of the godfathers of HipHop, Grandmaster
T. Jones, the film offers thoughtful reflection on a Flash, pulling off an awesome scratch-mix set on a pair of
man whose impulse, Jones says, “was to do the work ancient turntables. A must-see for anyone interested in
and live the life,” it is the passion and commitment HipHop music and graffiti at the dawn of street art culture.
we see in the artist himself that makes the most
lasting impression.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

or his
, sold
d into
at had

t also
e was




Jean-Michel Basquiat:
The Radiant Child

y New Video.

Beautiful Losers
A Film by Tamra Davis
itute a felony.

The Radiant Child

Directed by Aaron Rose, and co-directed by Joshua
Director Tamra Davis pays homage to her friend in this Leonard, celebrates the spirit behind one of the most
definitive documentary, but also delves into Basquiat influential cultural moments of a generation. In the
as an iconoclast. His dense, bebop-influenced early 1990s, a loose-knit group of like-minded outsiders
neo-expressionist work emerged while minimalist, found common ground at a little NYC storefront gallery.
conceptual art was the fad; as a successful black Rooted in the DIY (do-it-yourself ) subcultures of
artist, he was constantly confronted by racism and skateboarding, surf, punk, HipHop & graffiti, they made
misconceptions. Much can be gleaned from insider art that reflected the lifestyles they led. Developing their
interviews and archival footage, but it is Basquiat’s craft with almost no influence from the “establishment”
own words and work that powerfully convey the art world, this group and the subcultures they sprang
mystique and allure of both the artist and the man. from have now become a movement that has been
transforming pop culture.
Featuring interviews with Julian Schnabel, Larry
Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger, Tony Shafrazi, Fab Starring a selection of artists who are considered
5 Freddy, Jeffrey Deitch, Glenn O’Brien, Maripol, Kai leaders within this culture, Beautiful Losers focuses
Eric, Nicholas Taylor, Fred Hoffmann, Michael Holman, on the telling of personal stories. It speaks to themes
Diego Cortez, Annina Nosei, Suzanne Mallouk, Rene of what happens when the outside becomes “in” as it
Ricard, among many others. explores the creative ethos connecting these artists
and today’s youth.
Photographs by Lionel Deluy
By George Hernandez
I first heard the name Lina Esco when a friend of mine, a partner at one the country’s premier entertainment law
firms, mentioned that in his 12 years in the industry he had never experienced the level of the buzz generated by
new actress, Lina Esco. Once I met her though, it became apparent that the buzz is well deserved.

Lina Esco has graced magazines throughout the world as well as billboards in Times Square, New York. But that’s her
past life. Her first acting gig was in 2005 in the acclaimed indie film, London, starring Jessica Biel and Jason Statham.
Then came the recurring role in the short-lived CBS series Cane(2007), then Kingshighway (2010). She recently
finished a coming-of-age film entitled, LOL, starring alongside Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore, scheduled for release
sometime in late 2011. She is currently working w/Ethan Hawke & Tom Sizemore (pilot directed by Antoine Fuqua)
in the much-anticipated Fox TV series, Exit Strategy, scheduled for the Fox lineup of new shows this fall.

She is, however, much more than an actress. She is currently working on a number of scripts, and looking forward
to directing a mockumentary about sexual repression in America. Lina produced a PSA for the Academy Award-win-
ning Best Documentary of 2009, The Cove, entitled, My Friend bring awareness to the annual killing of dolphins
in Taiji, Japan.

what is your greatest fear?

that fear exists.
what trait do you most deplore in yourself?
my kamikaze tendencies.
what trait do you deplore in others?
what kind of art do you like?
i like street art because it reflects my rebel nature. i particularly identify with TLP (The London Police)
because ‘the lads’ appear to be enjoying life in a chaotic world.
if you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
i’d convert myself into a hybrid alien.
what is your current state if mind?
what is your most treasured possession?
unhindered liberty.
what do you most value in your friends?
are you happy with where you are in your life?
as long as I am here.
i understand that you are not presently in a relationship. are you comfortable with that,
or do feel more fulfilled when you’re in a relationship?
being single is nature’s way of forcing you to love yourself.
when and where are you most happy?
swimming with dolphins.
what is your favorite hobby?
swimming with dolphins.
what would best describe your political affiliation?
who is your hero?
i have two - Wikileaks’, Julian Assange and oceanographer, Sylvia Earle.
who do you most admire and why ?
Ric O'barry, because he’s trying to end the slaughter of dolphins.

what is your motto?

here is a test to see if your mission on earth is complete, if you are alive it isn't.

i've met some of your friends, and they all seem to be tremendously loyal what is it about you
that makes them that way?
truth is our glue.
being single is
nature’s way
of forcing
you to love

Maxine WalterS Posters

It wasn’t until a friend who was visiting Jamaica gave her a
hand-painted dancehall poster as a gift that filmmaker Maxine
Walters recognized the artistic qualities of the advertisements
she had seen hanging all over Jamaica her whole life. They’re
nailed to poles everywhere across the island, advertising dances
and concerts. Until then, she had taken them for granted. “Like
most Jamaicans, I’d seen them, of course; they were just there,”
says Walters. “But I looked at the gift and had an epiphany. ‘Wow,
I love this.’ Upon closer examination she realized the cultural val-
ue of the piece. “I came to appreciate that the poster was a fine
example of “intuitive” art; the work of “self-taught” artists. “The
very next day, I went out and started to collect. I was out there
climbing poles to get them down. I began to travel with a ham-
mer and a crowbar in my car.” As her tools indicate, these post-
ers are not made of paper. “I wait until the advertised event has
passed to take them down,” she jokes. Her collection features
primarily hard board posters several feet tall and wide, most of
which are handmade. Some are stenciled and others are hand
drawn. Some are carefully plotted and measured, while others
are lopsided, beginning with large letters and getting smaller
as the artist runs out of space. In general, shapes and colors are
employed both aesthetically and pragmatically, to separate
informational text and to draw the eye to the big picture. None
of these posters are signed by the artists, since the makers con-
sider them advertising, not art.

Maxine’s interest in the posters has baffled some ‘uptown’ Jamai-

cans. To them, the posters, which, by the way, are hung illegally,
are graffiti and litter; and some folks think she’s a little wacky
when they catch her wielding her hammer and crowbar, while
perched atop a pole.

She now has more than 1000 posters since she started in 2001;
and she believes that her efforts are preserving a vital part of Ja-
maica’s cultural heritage. They’re on exhibition at the Jamaican
Embassy in Havana, and that’s just the beginning. She says, “My
plan is to take the signs around the world as I promote Jamaican
street culture, and turn the world into one big fun-loving Dance-
Art Issue Part 2
New York
Shepard Fairey
T H E R E I S O N LY O N E B E L L A G I O . • 866.239.7111

You might also like