Biblography

Well, here we are. I never actually made it this far last year because I didn’t finish my posts, but now here I am and it feels good. Also, happy birthday to me!

Here is everything I used over the course of this project:

Wikipedia article: The general wikipedia article for Banksy. This includes a general overview of his career, information on the possibility of his identity, notable artworks, technique, social and political themes, and his critics.

Banksy’s Webpage: Banksy’s website, includes photostreams of public arts, photostream of sketches and drawings, information about films Banksy has produced and directed, and Q+A.

Wikipedia article (Graffiti): General information on various types of graffiti, legality, etc.

Exit Through the Gift Shop: Film directed by Banksy, discusses works both public and private by Banksy and other street artists.

/r/graffiti: Subreddit about graffiti, less focused on art and more on ‘tagging’ (the act of painting your name or graffiti handle in public spaces. Interview source.

/r/streetart: More general subreddit of other types of street art such as stencil art, wheat paste, and 3D installations.

 

Art installation featured in ‘Exit Through the Gift Shop’, piece built by ‘Mr. Brainwash.’

Learning Center, Speech, Document of Learning, Night of the Notables Reflection?

My learning center was left to a very short amount of time because I’m dumb. As was my speech, as was most of my eminent project. That said however, I feel that with some help from my wonderful parents, I got everything done in time for the night, and despite my not being there, I heard everything went pretty well. So without further ado, here is the learning center construction!

My plan with my learning center was to get a locker bay and create a ‘back alley’ that Banksy had graffitied. I wanted to have the impression that it was Banksy’s final piece, so I wanted to make sure it wasn’t any old piece.Via StencilRevolution

For the text itself, I took a look at all of Banksy’s art that I could find, and eventually settled on a very simple piece of text he originally painted in Central London. It might leave some headscratching (isn’t graffiti illegal?) but in this work he is implying that graffiti is illegal, and thus does change things.

I also wanted to recreate the rat, a trademark image that is seemingly everpresent in Banksy’s art (it’s even in that one above), so that was another large component of what I wanted in my centre.

Another component of Eminent night I needed to produce was my speech. Because of my Metfest performance I wasn’t able to be at the night itself, so a lot of preparation had to go into my speech. I didn’t want to record it as a video, because Banksy isn’t much for being filmed anymore (after the catastrophe that was his documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop), so instead I opted for just audio. That left, however, whatever it was the audience was going to see while my speech played. Rather than a projection, I hired an actual person for a live performance. Emma M, a morning nine and my savior, accepted my request to be my actress, playing the role of Banksy, and I got to work on her props.

The idea of my speech was that Banksy was talking while working on his final piece. He was sick and tired of people trying to identify him, and so he is doing it for them in his final work. Here is the speech.

The next thing I made was the work of art ‘Banksy’ was creating as he spoke, which was a large banner. The intent of this was so that Banksy could identify himself and effectively burn himself as an anonymous artist, so he could move on. However, he is interrupted. My plan for this work of art was a large banner made to look like a regular wall like that of my learning center, that Emma would ‘spray paint’ as she spoke.

I first got the large piece of asphalt paper, and then added some mock brick work in white pastel. Then, I painstakingly cut out large stencils out of paper for every letter I was going to paint. After taping these onto my piece of paper, I needed to spray paint. Bare in mind this was approximately at 12:30 AM. I needed a large space with good ventilation, but it was very dark outside and my garage is not ideal for this sort of thing. So I did what anyone would do, I dressed in black and laid some tarps in my driveway, and channeled my inner Banksy, spray painting in the pitch black.

So here are some pictures of it, for those of you get that tingly feeling in your skull when something is oddly satisfying, you’ll like stencil before and after pictures.

Wax on…

 

 

Wax off!

This went on stage, and although I heard there was some difficulty with what I had set up, it ended up working in the end.

Overall, I believe that my Eminent 2014 project went quite well, all considered! I leave you with one final image, post-spray-paint-misadventure, with my dad and I, a real pair of criminals.

 

I actually got an interview!

If you recall from last year, my interview requests crashed, burned, asked me to tell their wives they loved her, and then convulsed wildly until their vital signs were zero. I believe this was because I was overly optimistic about securing an interview with my person himself and so did a pretty half-hearted job of seeking interviews from anyone else. In short, I was fishing with a line instead of a net.

This year however, my interview request was fired out to a potential audience of almost 60, 000 people, all who are knowledgeable or at least interested in graffiti. Where did I find such an audience?

graffiti

 

Reddit!

Now, last time I used reddit for a TALONS project, it was for in-depth to find a mentor. It failed miserably – but no worries! This years reddit request required much less commitment from another user, and with just one post:

graffiti2

The post received mild success and I actually ended up getting three offers for interviews. I fired off questions to all of them yesterday, and so far have gotten one set of answers back. I also tailored some of the questions based on the information they gave me. The first person is a graffiti artist themselves, who declined to be identified. My questions and their answers are below:

1. As a street artist, what do you think is the difference between ‘street’ art and more conventional art?

The main difference between street art and conventional art is obviously the venue. If it’s not in the streets, it’s not street art. Another difference is motivation. While fame/infamy is certainly part of it, street art mainly focuses on sharing your art with the world. Some people try to make money off of it, but it’s based in the idea of giving your art to the world with no expectations of profit or recognition.

2. What is your opinion on the illegality of street art and graffiti?

Marking property that isn’t yours is a crime. There is absolutely no question about it. But think about how many billboard you see a day. Did you ever agree to let Coca Cola plaster your city with their logos? If companies are going to put up their ugly advertisements (some of which are actually illegal) then I’m going put up my art.

3. Is the process of becoming eminent as a graffiti artist different than with conventional art?

Most graffiti artists remain anonymous for their own safety. With a few exceptions, few graffiti artists are going to give TV interviews about their work. Fame/infamy can certainly be achieved in graffiti, but you’re known for your work and whatever name you choose for yourself. In conventional art, celebrity can certainly be achieved. You can look at a picture of Andy Warhol and know who it is but you’re not going to find any art depicting Katsu.

4. Are you anonymous to everyone as a street artist? Why do you think that being anonymous is something so many artists do?

Anonymity is for security first and foremost. Graffiti is illegal and broadcasting that to the world can get you in a lot of trouble. An artist may also choose to remain anonymous to let the art speak for itself rather than making themselves the focus. My close friends and family know that I do graffiti but I don’t go around telling everyone I do it.

5. What are current trends in the street art and graffiti world? Is it expanding or shrinking?

Graffiti has always been around in some form and always will be. At its simplest, it’s writing your name or drawing a picture on a wall. There have certainly been developments (wildstyle, stencils, electronics) but it all goes back to that tag. I haven’t seen much of an increase in people doing traditional graffiti lettering but street art is certainly expanding. Not everyone is going to want to risk their life by painting in a train yard but anyone can grab a marker and some labels and make sticker. There are a lot of casual street artists who aren’t too serious about it but if you’re doing traditional graffiti, you recognize the risks you’re taking and accept that as part of your life.

6. Are there still original ideas in street art? Or have things started to be recycled?

As mentioned above, there have been developments. People are experimenting with materials other than just spray paint and markers. Things like yarn-bombing, 3D installations, and projection bombing are all pretty new and it’s cool to see what new stuff people can come up with.

I will update if or when I receive more interview answers!