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?




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:


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!


Document of Learning

Two blog posts in one day? I know, I’m a force to be reckoned with. The truth is, I don’t even know if I’m supposed to put this here, but really, what can you do?

To be frank, I am not that far from where I started in regards to information on my Eminent person. Five failed interview attempts, obsessive googling, and the watching of over two hundred YouTube videos has yielded me, with… not a lot.

I believe my biggest step was my speech. My original speech was honestly terrible. It was fact after fact, and as I rehearsed it I felt like I was reading one of my middle school speeches, works of writing that I never really felt proud of. So;

Obviously the answer here was to rewrite it entirely, about six hours before I was supposed to rewrite it. Yes, the majority of my speech was written at three am.

But, as I read it over, I liked it, it was something to be proud of. I have always been comfortable in the realm of fiction, inventing worlds and people to thrive or suffer almost independently, and this was as close as I could get.

I took a step to the podium, my eyes dark underneath from lack of sleep, my shirt wrinkled and a little dirty from the wicked fall I had taken on the way to school, I looked around me. My first thought was ‘This podium is a lot bigger than I thought’. So I spread my speech out over the surprisingly large podium, prepared to DO THIS.

And as I opened with that first line, with “I remember being a tree”, with the pitch and the tone just the way I had been planned, I knew I had them. I grinned, maybe even smirked, and kept going.

In my opinion, the whole thing went off perfectly, I mean I got ONE wish and that was from Mr. Albright, not to mention it being more of a star.

Sorry to sound like I’m popping my own collar here, I’m just really proud of the speech.

I don’t even know how many popped collars this guy is rocking but he is that many times cooler than you.

I feel more distant from my person now. I felt like he was jut next door before, but now I’m not so sure. Sonder has weakened in my mind and now I don’t know how applicable it is to my person. I’m a little sad about it, but I’ll keep watching Jimmy’s videos.

Now I guess I’m gonna go panic about my learning center. Cardboard!

Eminent Person – Jimmy Wong

For the Eminent Person project, I have chosen YouTube musician and actor James Wong, better known as Jimmy Wong. Initially, I was considering doing other musicians, such as Thomas Bangalter (One half of the French techno-house group Daft Punk), or even his brother Freddie Wong, a filmmaker, actor, and special effects technician who also operates primarily on YouTube. But in the end, I decided on Jimmy.

YouTube musician and actor, Jimmy Wong

On his main account, Wong does covers of popular music, as well as some original songs. He plays guitar, bass, drums, piano, and can sing acapella, allowing him to record tracks separately and then layer them together, effectively becoming a one man band for his solo covers. A good example of his skill is this video of an acapella performance of the Super Mario theme.

I picked Jimmy Wong not only because of his talent, but also because of his fundamentals and morals. Last year, he responded to a racist UCLA student complaining about Aisans in an ironic, sarcastic love song going out to the all-American girl. Where many would have surged into self-righteous anger, Jimmy simply made a joke of it, not stooping to her level. In 2011, Wong addressed the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. At the end of several of his music  videos (most having several hundred thousand views), he encouraged anyone to donate money on the Mario Bros. video seen above, a song which he performed solely to raise awareness, and funds.  He is a supporter of the LGBT community, accepting of all races, and, unlike many YouTube stars, is accessible. Despite having over two hundred thousand subscribers, Wong responds to many, if not all comments on his videos. Having actually spoken to him online, I have selected partially because I am confident that I can secure an interview with him.

I feel that choosing Jimmy as my eminent person relates to my word, sonder, because often, when an indivual is famous enough, they seem to be almost another species, like some sort of super-human so high above you that they seem completely unaccessible. Jimmy Wong remains humble despite his online following, and responds to most comments. It can be hard to remember that celebrities are still human (even if some are more plastic than flesh), that they have their own lives, obstacles. With Jimmy, however, I feel sonder, because his real life is so visible, and his videos are a window into his life, which is shockingly more like mine, than I ever would have thought.

Over the course of the next month or so, I’m looking forward to the project, no matter what the grade 10’s say!