Street Art | Off Book | PBS

Street Art | Off Book | PBS

I like being called a street artist. I like to explore the street as a canvas for my work in many different ways. It’s about feeling a kind of surprise, like something is really alive in an otherwise dead space. What interests me is not only that physical existence of the object, but what happens around this object. It is all of the layers and all of the crackling and peeling paint and bringing life to those spaces. When I first started making art, I didn’t show in a gallery so for me it was crocheting something and putting it outside. Knitting is for pusses, I crochet. My medium is sculpture, yarn is just material. I don’t sketch or make patterns. I make them in my head. I mentally take you apart, make you flat. It is like I cut you (makes cutting sound) and then I crochet you together. Same thing on the objects. It’s hard to destroy something with my work. Even if I am making something in a gallery, I’m not destroying the object. It is hidden behind it. I feel every art work should have two levels. First is this visual aspect that can attract everybody. For example, my bull was, you know, big. Gigantic crochet pink bull. People are going to love it! But, there is a conceptual level to this piece. That’s why I did it in the first place. I received a post card with the image of Keith Haring in a black and white installation. In a way I was tired of people looking at my work only through color. I felt like I wanted to focus more on objects. Not explosions of rainbows. So I did the installation with the models standing in a Keith Haring pose. The artists’ work is a self portrait and I think in my work it’s even bigger and more visible because I use my own objects and experiences. This is my couch, this is my mirror. The bike from the gym that I go to. I went to these places and experienced them. That’s who I am. I was born in Connecticut, but grew up in Daytona in Florida. Then I ended up in New York. New York had a huge impact on me. I felt like just the landscape alone – seeing graffiti and seeing collage and the layering. The input of people. My first series that I ever made was prints on tracing paper. I just wanted to interact with those layers – the naturally occurring collage in the city. So I made these drawings on tracing paper because I wanted the colors and forms to show through. That was the idea and it just evolved from there. For one thing I just love portraiture and
I love to draw a human presence. I felt like I was drawing something that could be read as an xray of that person. Of their mind or their life. Of their experience. So you have this portrait but then you also have all that’s contained within their emotions within their body, within their narrative. This series is called the anthropocene extinction. It’s this moment that we’re in. We’re going through such a catastrophic loss
of species. Like over 200 species a day. The impact of human beings on the planet is
like totally unparalleled. There’s an image of a temple there’s
hundreds of drawings of various animals, there’s a demon which is kind of like the devouring principle. and there’s a woman who I had recently met
and lived nomadically in Australia. Her culture has died and her way of life
has now totally vanished. She was just kind of an amazing woman. I just wanted to myself understand it better and also try to communicate it. I’m certainly always thinking about
connecting with people and about opening perceptions. Trying to reaching an emotion and then have that moment of connection with people when they see it.
they see it. For me as an artist, I’m interested in the cycle of life. Int he end, it camouflages itself in the city. It becomes part of the city and then people sort of weave it in to their narrative about walking through the city. So much art always feels like it has to be really serious and conceptual and kind of untouchable for people. I don’t want to be this kind of artist, you know. I like humour. I like fun. And that is why I make my shows in a way that everybody can find something. It is about encountering something that you have a freshness when you stumble upon it. In that place and in that way. It is nice to know that people really want to be part of your work. That people are in to it, they are not afraid. I just let my thought process lead. I don’t try to ask too many questions about what is rational or what fits or if this new piece fits with the last piece. I just sort of let those impulses steer. I don’t stand for hours thinking ‘should I do black here or should I do white here?’ I just go for it. Construct a space for a certain kind of connection. For a certain kind of wonder. A certain kind of unlikeliness. Just things that you think that there isn’t room for or time for. In the life that we’re living. I want to explore something and people want to search for it. What it is, what it means. In a way, you change somebody’s life.

70 thoughts on “Street Art | Off Book | PBS

  1. I'd seen Swoon's work around the East Village for years and always wondered who'd done "IT"! And Olek is right, it's just like Willie the Shake said.."neither a borrower nor a lender be"

  2. this was a wonderful overview of street art at its most diverse and NEW. I was sad that no reference was made to SideWalk Sam a Boston based street artist who has been around for over 20+ years whose videos (some) are available through youtube – search sidewalk sam

  3. The example photo for chalk art at the end was for the University of Maryland Stamp All-Nighter! I talked to that dude, he was cool. go Terps

  4. Well, PBS, your other videos were quite thought provoking, you had insiders giving wonderful insight on their topics, but this seemed subpar. I didn't hear any comments that explained the very existence of street art like your other videos, I only saw artists talking about their specific shows and pieces. I'm sure both of those women are great artists, but I was expecting something a bit more.

  5. hipsters are so annoying. no one gives a fuck when you liked something. so you liked something a few months before it went mainstream… do you really think anyone cares ??

  6. It's actually true. The catch is, we have about the same number of new species emerging from the Amazonia Forest, South America, at the same time. The ecosystem is far too big and evolving far too fast for the human being to keep track of it. But whatever…

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  9. It says street art, but of course, PBS, gets the artsy, gallery artist. These people are honest artist yeah, but they should've interviewed a bit more of the extreme street artists, the kind that get chased by the cops, the kind that live in war zones, not the kind who can afford all these art supplies. I encourage art ya, but street art is obviously from the streets, it's an expression of the streets, the object is to say something loud to the public. You can't do that in a gallery.

  10. I'm impressed with PBS's coverage of street art. Olek is my fav yarn bomb artist. Is she the one that did the bull on Wall Street in NY?

  11. Even if I enjoy the art, nine times out of ten I can't stand listening to them talk. Most are way too pretentious and full of shit that I find myself rolling my eyes constantly.

  12. What a pretentious and entitled view of street art. Way to get it completely wrong, and support a culture thief at the same time, PBS!

  13. what is the meaning of this kind of art??? i dont see special feel of color or great idea …..i think this kind of art destroying the real one !

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