Monday, March 31, 2008


Many artists impose on themselves a moral system. Banksy only mounts shows in "warehouses, war zones, or places full of live animals" - a gallant policy which I respect. Neckface, my second favorite graffitist, regards his art with an almost opposite mentality, a mentality I respect equally; he tags billboards, puts on shows in numerous galleries, and designs T-shirts and shoe lines. Neckface seems to transcend a self-fragmentation that often occurs when artists engage in different mediums - take Johnny Greenwood, for example, whose Radiohead songs are nothing like his film score to There Will Be Blood - everything blends together in one continuous mode of expression. One could easily critique the graffitist for an old-fashioned organicism, but I wouldn't go so far. I think he just figured out a provocative, transmutable style - that of a 'very naughty boy' - and stuck with it. He can operate on a very small scale (this is the coolest shoe I've ever seen):

And a very large one:

The basic hypocrisy of a graffiti artist's work appearing galleries is the negation of graffiti's power: to evade the canonizing, self-affirming museum culture. At the same time, if someone can do both quite well, I say what the hell. Interesting tidbit: it's rumored that Neckface's cousin is serial killer Richard Ramirez - perhaps why his imagery is pretty morbid. A few more great tags:

Delta (Boris Tellegen) is another fantastic graffitist/gallery artist. Based in the Netherlands, he combines an industrial design background with a polished aesthetic. Two of his outdoor examples:

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