Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Artist and physician Chip Thomas, a.k.a. Jetsonorama pasted this work a few months ago on a friend’s trailer in Tuba City, located in Northeastern Arizona on Navajo Nation.
Jetsonorama has been featured on this site many times before, especially for the ongoing Painted Desert Project.
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Monday, January 28, 2013
When Obey’s works recently popped up around the city for a second time, the fervor of a national artist contributing to a blossoming street art scene was considerably more quiet. Compared to the first visit in April 2011 when posters appeared in Tempe in suspected promotion of the fourth annual StickerPhiends art show, there was less media coverage, less criticism from the art community, and less enthusiasm expressed by fans.
More important than the lack of excitement surrounding Obey’s works are the discussions they spawn. Do outside artists have a place in Phoenix’s mural scene, and if they do, is it appropriate for Obey to try and pass his posters as art when they’re also promoting his clothing brand? What many people do not know, but what is obvious to others, is that Shepard Fairey, the man behind the brand did not put these works up himself. What is commonly seen as his street art installations are more akin to guerilla marketing strategies carried out by a team of accomplices who promote his many business endeavors– including his clothing line.
In a 2012 interview for MadOne’s “StickerPhiends” zine, Fairey responds to questions concerning the relationship between his art and his clothing line.
A lot of people think I started doing the clothing line more recently, to like cash in on my street cred or something. I was actually making t-shirts the first week I made the original Andre the Giant has a posse sticker in 1989. I made five home screen shirts of the graphic to give to friends. And when I lived in Providence I screened shirts of all the same images I put up in streets and sold those to pay for all the vinyl and posters and everything [. . .]
So, I’ve asked three Phoenix artists to share their feelings on the subject. All of them have contributed to Phoenix’s mural/street art scene and have brought additional awareness to the benefits public art offers a city. Their answers reflect on how Obey’s work fits into the greater context of Phoenix, and ultimately, if they help to nurture or hurt a creative public art scene here.
“Obeys work that has recently been pasted up can be a reminder of a what a prolific and super active street artist/company can do when a profitable apparel/lifestyle brand and teamwork is involved. Broad trips to cities, wheat pastings, parties, etc. next city, same thing. marketing. I think the best way to look at it is as though it serves as a marker, or a reminder of what one guy started and now many follow. Do these images insult us because they are a reminder that we can go buy product online or walk to Urban Outfitters to get some Obey Shwag? consume this. This option, of course propels the option to look to the west and east for what is cool, instead of continuing to make our own here to offer up to the larger thing happening locally and worldwide. At one time, it would have been more impressive to see this type of thing here, but now a days, Phoenix has its own development happening, and more and more as each artist can look within themselves to find what it is they have to contribute to their city.
I think its great that the Ronad Reagan got some attention with a violin and some “stupid” spraypaint on it. That’s the spirit!!! These pastes are a like a hiccup in a way, since we have our own artists contributing to phoenix, in a healthy and skillful way that stands on its own. Little guy Phoenix is growing up but not old.”
“There’s an ugly but necessary whorish/commercial side to art and I think Shepard sending his posse is really a compliment to Phoenix. This validates our efforts for national notoriety and thankfully no one here wants our city to be a satellite scene for Los Angeles. We’ll keep being Phoenix no matter what. So, I think we should welcome out of towners but hit their cities back twice as hard!”
“As a young girl growing up in Southern California, seeing andre the giant pasted on the backs of stop signs and electrical boxes was my first exposure to street art of any kind. Even as a child I was curious about the image . . . who was the face of? Obey what, exactly? Who was putting these up and why? That being said, I think Shepard Fairey, among many many other graffiti and street artists alike, has done a lot to pave the way for artists today. Unfortunately, there are still ignorant people out there (even gallery owners!) who “like” famous street artists but look down on a young kid’s tag on the street . . . in my mind, tagging is the purest and simplest form of self expression, and an extremely important one.
As for Obey’s recent paste-ups in Phoenix . . . I myself have been guilty of sneering at his clothing brand . . .nobody said you can’t get rich, but it raises questions . . . does he use his profits to bring awareness to a cause or start up art programs for inner-city youth? Or is he just hoarding his money? I see absolutely no problem with an outsider coming to Phoenix and putting up art of any kind, as long as it’s done in a respectful way. Hell, the way I see it, I rather see an Obey poster than nothing at all on a blank wall . . . blank walls are something we have way too much of here in Phoenix. I love the fact that some of them got defaced, because it’s creating a discussion and forcing people to get off their asses and do something, even if they’re vandalizing someone else’s shit.
So to wrap it up, did Fairey send someone out here to put up posters as a way of promoting his brand? Maybe. But again, better an Obey poster than a blank wall or another McDonalds billboard. Are you pissed off that there’s Obey shit in Phoenix? Then stop whining and use that anger as motivation to do something better. Leave YOUR mark on the city and do something to make it a more beautiful place for us all.”
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
“Decipher”, Featuring the Artwork of Breeze With Photography by Niba DelCastillo, This Friday at First Studios
From the press release:
“Decipher is the exhibition that will focus on Thomas “Breeze” Marcus’ visual insights to large aerosol painting. These good-sized panels show magnified line work that feel like they were cut out of a larger mural and placed in this space. The new images from Breeze originate from graffiti, a world that has heavily influenced his artwork for over 15 years. Also, utilizing an inert traditional foundation Breeze’s interwoven forms closely resemble Native American (Tohono and Akimel O’odham) basket weaving. This combination profoundly impacts his style showing that he is amongst the distinguished muralists in Phoenix.
What is interesting about this body of work is the endless variety of designs. Slightly recognizable as letters yet not intentional, the organic layering of the lines gives a sense of perpetual movement. That energy, then, is illuminated with spray paint. The rich color selection amplifies the atmosphere within the black line. Here, Breeze gives the viewer a glimpse into infinity by “making something out of nothing”.
( . . . )
Niba DelCastillo is a photographer from Tucson that Breeze invited to participate in Decipher. He will portray a dozen pieces that document outdoor public murals and graffiti in Phoenix. These photographs will show the importance of these large-scale paintings and their relation to the community. Visual education better defines the artists and their murals creating a better understanding of our culture.
Friday, November 9, 2012
Photos by Q & Chip Thomas
The Painted Desert Project continues with new additions from Italian artists Pixel Pancho and 2501. Here are some initial photos of their work on the Navajo Reservation. Luckily they got there safely after running into some trouble due to Hurricane Sandy upon entering the states, and then narrowly escaping a fallen tree branch that crushed their taxi.
Some background on the project . . .
In the remote landscapes of Northeastern Arizona, international and local artists alike have come together for an ambitious endeavor dubbed, “The Painted Desert Project”. Organized by AZ-based Jetsonorama and Yote, it aims to put the spotlight on a region and people too often overlooked and misunderstood. By painting murals on food stands and dilapidated structures around the reservation, the farthest of which span 125 miles, they hope the millions of tourists visiting the Grand Canyon each year will be encouraged to stop and enjoy what Navajo culture has to offer. Artists involved in the project include Jetsonorama, Yote, Thomas “Breeze”, Tom Greyeyes, Overunder, Doodles, Gaia, Labrona, ROA, JB Snyder, Pixel Pancho, 2501, and more.
View more from our series on The Painted Desert Project
Monday, November 5, 2012
Photos by Billy Craven
Phoenix-born artist Joseph Sentrock Perez headed East to Chicago a few months back to attend Columbia College Chicago. Above are photos of work he has done since relocating. We’re fond of keeping tabs on Phoenix artists as they move around the country to showcase what skills Phoenicians carry with them when they go.