NAME: Karen Farmer
Location: Sydney Australia
Starting Date: (When I started doing art etc.?)
I have always created art, and make all types of art, and use whatever medium it takes to express the idea the most.
Because I love graffiti my current paintings are a way of commemorating graffiti as the highest and most honest form of art today and that the graffiti world and culture has been overlooked by the art world as vandalism or outsider art at best, so i translate the graffiti into an oil painting to honour it.
Influence: (who influenced you?)
Graffiti writers are artistically driven rebels, and I like that, who create social identity through their creative marks, so every writer, bomber…. street creatives.
Effect: (How do U think or want your work to effect people, world etc?)
There is a huge divide between street art and gallery and museum art, and the graffiti culture is mostly unknown and ignored by the art world. I want to remove the dismissive stigma of graffiti and create an acknowledgement of the work by memorializing the graffiti, and with the oil painting format , align it with the fine art scene.
Long run (where will I take it, be in a few years etc.)
In the long run I hope to see the people who have become legends within the graffiti world receive the same acknowledgement in the wider world for their important work that has helped shape a cultural identity….and I hope to go to New York to paint from life
new york city. grew up in manhattan tagging a little from ages ten-to-sixteen, but didn’t really have the personality for it at the time because i was so paranoid and quiet. except for biting styles lol. my sketchbooks from that time are a compendium of letters and styles that i bit from what i was seeing on the streets and on the subways. then i did other things for a while, college, work, proofreading, computer graphic prepress production, corporate identity information design. eventually i got bored, felt exploited, went freelance, and practiced art more and more. as i grew up, my personality became more outgoing and assertive as well, a couple of traits important to bombing. then when the twentieth anniversary DVD of Style Wars came out with the new interviews of all the legendary writers as they are today, it dispelled the myths and lessened the hero worship that made me feel it was all beyond me. i realized they were just human and that i had been much like a lot of them and might as well go for it now. so over the past ten years i developed as a writer and then finally went all city with tags from 2011-2014. not a very well rounded bomber yet, just a tagger so far, but i hope to step up my game along the way. i got time. not dead yet. at first when i tried to go all city, i kept a map to try to hit every neighborhood, but fell off after a bit. did pretty well tho, mostly walking except for some serious car missions every sunday for a few months with the homie Fade1AA during the winter of 2013-2014. much respect to a 25 year legend. also traveled a bit, and went car tagging in san jose for four nights and los angeles for six in 2012. car is best way for all out coverage. if i have a car i’ll just drive all night, jumping in and out of the car, in any neighborhood. easy to go all city with tags in a week or two. when i was in philly with a car for a month, an older writer blessed me with a comment on instagram that the work i did “was like a storm of tags.” i also did london for two weeks and paris for three in 2013, just walking though. in those huge spread out cities, it was just a drop in the bucket though lol.
i remember drawing that goofy pirate and bird on cereal boxes when i was really young and sending them in. didnt win. took an animation class when i was seven and only drew like fifteen cells for my final project so it really was more like a boring cartoon strip than an animated cartoon. but after we moved to nyc when i was ten, a friend turned me on to graff on the back of the seats on a bus during a school trip and i was hooked. i was the kid that took the stuff i saw on the streets home and sketched and drew and copied stuff to bring in and show my friends later. like i said above, i was paranoid and quiet though, so i never really hung out or got up enough to be considered a real writer. mainly just obsessed over styles in my sketch books. not very good, but the love was there. like that kid says to patti astor in Wild Style as they push her stalled car, “we are all graffiti writers!” i was just one of thousands of writers dropping tags occasionally.
Early writers: LSD-Om, Futura, Zephyr, Rasta, Revolt, Crime, Aztec, Terror161, The Rebels, Rolling Thunder Writers…
Later: Rammellzee, Easy, Ket1, Ghost, SpOne, Ja, Trap, Rambo, all my NYC and Philly homies, 907, TTYL, Cost, Revs, Mare139, Poesia, PantOne, Jurne…
Overall: Science, Baudrillard, heavy metal and punk, David Foster Wallace, de Kooning, David Lynch, John Zorn, ee cummings…
in terms of graff, the past ten years, i just wanted to impress and connect with all the heads. i knew because i was just doing a squiggly line with no letters or style, that i was going to have to do a lot of work. and keep doing it. so i pushed myself to get up constantly for a few years. i also started a zine called SIGNAL! to support the community and promote the writers i respected, my friends, and the history of graff. i didn’t want to be just taking, but giving as well. i feel good being a supporter as much as i like getting attention for my own accomplishments. i try hard to be unbiased, not get into beef or gossip, and understand each writer for what they have accomplished, what their unique voice is about, and how they express themselves on the street. it’s fascinating how you can know someone just from how they get up, where they tag, the tools the use, the spots they pick, the visual interplay of their tags or pieces with others.
in terms of general aesthetics separate from the formal elements unique to graff, like anyone else in any of the art disciplines in any time period, i’ve tried to find a unique bag of tricks that emphasize my strengths, creating my own vocabulary, finding my personal voice. i started with work by people i like, then pulled and twisted what worked for me in particular. i know my limits and my strengths pretty well by now, so i focus on what i am able to do and leave out the rest. for instance, like some people are better at characters than letters, i wasn’t good at either, so i just reduced my tag to a symbol lol. although i respect all visual voices, it was important to find my own.
part of that voice, in terms of this question, is rebellion, which is why i love graff. it is pure direct cultural rebellion and can even be revolutionary, as exemplified by people expressing themselves in other countries that are living that struggle on the streets daily. even here where we don’t have a war going on in our streets right now, when anyone breaks the law to make an unsanctioned mark on the streets, no matter the personal impetus, it is inherently civil disobedience, an expression of individualism, standing up to the system that is society’s laws and morés, a protest against the status quo establishment, a signal to alternative like-minds that we are here and support each other. these anonymous blips on the radar of the matrix mutate the system with fist-in-the-air molotov-metaphor protest resonance. these unsanctioned marks remind me not to be passive and complacent. these illegal aesthetic manifestations remind me that there are others who are pushing for freedom and redrawing the boundaries of our world. there are many ways for people to make this statement through politics, journalism, education, but as an artist with my certain personality type, who grew up in this time period, this form of aesthetic expression seems to be an instinctive behavioral mode that i was attracted to the first time a friend gave me a Niji to write with on the back of a seat on a school bus. when i was ten years old with a can of spray paint on the streets, i could not have explained my actions the way i do now, but that fact makes it all the more pure in motive and drive as a valid pure form of an innate human means of expression of our age.
no matter what i do down the line, i hope i am always guided by the inspiration of the pure act of writing graffiti itself. it’s so lame when someone does a lot of work, other things start happening, and then you never see them up again. i always want to remember the initial impetus, the excitement to get up, the feeling of the thrill of transgression, the expansiveness of going all city, spreading the message, connecting with others who i never met but felt respect for and community with, the power of initiating an anti-status quo visual virus creating resonant vibrations as a cultural change agent and alternative community builder like a grain of sand that irritates the inside of an oyster and causes the system to spit out a pearl. watching as other things sprout from this aesthetic action, everything that has happened in terms of having exhibitions, meeting like-minded artists to collaborate with on and off the streets, the reading and contemplation about what it all means, the theoretical underpinnings of my work now, the arts journalism, has been the result of being obsessed with the actual act of writing graffiti, and the drive to be a bigger and better graffiti writer. everything else followed out of that impetus. at first the impulse to get up was instinctual like when i was ten years old again, but over the past twelve years it has also become a lot of other things. i hope i always stick to what it’s really about, because if i change the focus then the gifts that writing graffiti have given me won’t be the same. the medium is the message so you gotta remain devoted to the original broadcast medium or the message will change. sometimes you see an artist or musician who changes over time and it makes you sad because the original energy and purity that was so fucking powerful in their work dissipates as they lose their focus and separate from what drove them in the first place. like watching as Metallica became more and more mainstream, even eventually calling themselves “hard rock” instead of “heavy metal” and their work became deflated and their focus became diluted. i mean, how much money and recognition from an audience that doesn’t really care about or understand what you are doing do you really need anyway?! i just want to become a better and better graffiti writer always challenging myself in that arena, and figure how to keep that as the central guidance system for everything else i am doing now and in the future.
i feel very lucky that the ekg pulse has had a cross over appeal without that being my initial intention. i just wanted to be part of the graffiti community and get some attention from the hardcore heads. i actually was scared that not even graffiti writers would like what i was doing. some don’t lol. but i guess maybe because i operate like a writer and am obsessed with writing and support the community with my zine SIGNAL! and my social media feeds, a lot of heads seem to accept and even like what i’m up to and can see that i’m not just a come-and-go street artist gallery type or a culture robber. for me, there’s nothing more meaningful than the pure instinctual act of making an illegal mark on a public wall and stirring shit up. there’s nothing like the joy or strength of graff. i revel in the power of the fucking tag! graff rules!
illegal aesthetic manifestations create an anti-status quo connection, communication, collaboration and community as they splice, transmit and mutate through the aetherial circulatory system ad infinitum. go all-city, all-universe, all-time-and-space: bomb the semiotosphere! revel in the power of the tag, the human mark, the identity avatar, the monitored action, the new millennium painterly gesture. we are the heartbeat of the city, the pulse of the populace, the voice of the people. david flinging pebbles at goliath.
photos from “EKG<heart>NYC: An All Hallows’ Valentine’s Eve Celebration of Misfit Love, Mutant Science, and Aesthetic Rebellion”. by “Katherine Lorimer aka @lunapark“
Name: Anthony “weird*eye*one”
Location: Currently living on the beach in Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey
I started doing art in the late 90s, and stayed with it, but I was doing it “under the radar”. I was leaving my art & my mark anonymously most of the time in the early years. In 2005 is when I started getting a little more serious about it and creating art under the name “weird*eye*one”.. Then I had my first solo show in 2009 in a little gallery space in Philadelphia. So it’s been 10 years, I’ve progressed, I got a following, painted a lot of walls, done more solo shows and my art has recently been exhibited internationally.
Comic book art and the old skateboarding art from the 80s & 90s, all that really cool illustration work that was under the Vision boards & Santa Cruz boards too. I’ve been looking at & admiring graffiti since the 90s and really liked the elaborate abstracted pieces more so than the tagging. I’ve always been influenced by abstract artwork on walls and in galleries and it definitely shows in my work a lot. Also the colorful illustration work of Alex Pardee, who I’ve been following when I first saw his work in an homemade zine over 10 years ago. I also admire the work of Victor Reyes MSK, his bold colorful abstract murals with all kinds of flowing organic shapes cutting through. I’ve been enjoying watching graffiti writers making the transition to painting contemporary art murals over the years too.
I’m never really sure how I want people to be effected by my work. I paint and create what I feel is important to me. I painted creepy faced and funny faced characters for a long time, and people liked them. Those characters were extensions of what I was feeling, my emotions. It was a way for me to speak to people through my art whether the character was on a giant wall outside or in a frame at a gallery. With my new work over the last 2 years, shifting away from the characters and doing more animal, nature influenced work, I feel I’m still sharing my thoughts & emotions with people who look at my paintings. I enjoy being outdoors, alone in nature, seeing the animals and hearing them and it really has gotten into my work the last couple years.
One thing that most people have gotten into the last couple years are my murals where I’ve transitioned into bold colorful abstract compositions, and going big when I can. I still like painting outside and inside of abandoned buildings. I’ve become pretty popular at one giant wall over the years that’s on a heavily used hiking trail. I usually paint it once (sometimes twice) during the warm weather season and it’s awesome to see how all the people react to it, they’re so happy that I’m giving them something beautiful to look at when they’re on their hike. It’s always a fun weekend to paint out there & see the effect my art has on everyone. I enjoy that more than someone paying me hundreds or thousands of dollars for one of my paintings. However, don’t get the wrong idea, I like the money too, haha..
Well 2015 is looking like it will be a big year for me.. I honestly thought how can I top 2014 with everything that happened, but this year is going to be good with 2 big solo shows lined up for July & November (November will be my first ever NYC solo show), some group shows here in the USA and Europe and Japan again. I will also be painting murals too and I got some ideas flowing in my head already for some fun walls. I’m also looking to do some collaborative projects as well, if time allows. I’m going to be pretty exhausted at the end after my November solo show for sure and will probably take a solid break through December & the holiday season!
The future future, well as I always say, I just want to make more art in the studio and on the walls outside, keep progressing my work, keep sharing my thoughts & emotions with the people who look at my art.
Website .. http://www.weirdeyedesigns.com
Instagram .. http://instagram.com/weird_
Facebook .. https://www.facebook.com/
Tumblr .. http://weirdeyeone.tumblr.com
Name: Ryan Seslow
Location: New Yawk, NY
Start date: It was in 1975 that I knew I was an artist. I made all of my friends by drawing cartoon portraits them. Still seems to go that way.
Influence: Old School Comic books from the late 1960′s and 1970s, Cartoons like Looney tunes, Hanna Barbera, Disney, and anything else that was on Saturday mornings TV from 1975-1985. Once I hit 11 years age Graffiti became my main artistic influence. Henry Chalfant and Martha Cooper’s Subway Art book was a huge influence. I drew every piece in that book for years! I also really loved Doze Green’s graffiti characters from that time as well. (And still do) I also love the work of Kurt Schwitters, Picasso, Barbara Hepworth, Matthew Barney, & Barbara Kruger to name a few.
Effect: I want my work to activate the creative potential of those who experience it. I want to show that there is always another way to experiment with materials, methods and subject matter. I want people to feel energized and inspired to take action and get busy!
Long run: Expanding, learning, sharing and expanding more to repeat that process. I love to collaborate with other artists and I have a new found love for curating and creating platforms for new ways that integrate technology and how exhibitions can be mounted.
@ryanseslow – instagram
Location: Jersey City, NJ
Start Date: 1978
Influence: Martha Cooper, Stephen Spielberg, Alfred Hitchcock, Tim Burton
Stanley Kubrick, Phillip K. Dick, Edgar Allan Poe, Tdee, Bjork, Wu-Tang,
Onyx, Nirvana, The Cure, Godzilla, Robotech, G.i. Joe, Tales from the Darkside,
The Twilight Zone, H.G. Wells, Jim Lee, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Bones
Brigade, Craig Stecyk and last but not definitely not least…. The G.O.D.
Effect: When I started documenting and shooting graffiti/street art I wanted to present
it in a way that everyone can appreciate. I feel that most graffiti videos tend to be aggressive
and though I love the rawness in them and find them completely entertaining I personally want to make videos
that one day I can show to my kids and my loved ones in general. I do my best to draw emotion
out of what I shoot. Art is very emotional and delivering videos this way makes people relate to
the passion, drive and sacrifices that one makes to paint in the way that some of these guys/girls do.
I guess in the end I hope I effect people in a positive way.
Long run: I want to continue to shoot and hopefully one day shoot every artist at least once.
Alexis has been producing a lot of great films lately. take a look at this one on legend JonOne
name- Kelly Towles
Location- Washington DC
Start Date- 90’s
influence- DC- Music, My Wife and Kid- artist that Influenced me in the start were Chuck Close, Egon Schiele, Twist, Pushead, Derek Hess to name a few.
Effect- Hopefully people smile. I think the harder you over think what people will think- you already have a roadblock stopping you in making works you enjoy to make.
Long run- Hopefully on this same path- I have been independently making art for awhile now- I can think of nothing else I love more- besides my fans.
Shout outs to RWK- DC and 202.
Name: Dave Webb Aka Davemarkart
Start date: Been painting for over 10 yrs.
been customizing for about 4 yrs.
Influence: My influences… Music. Don’t think I could create without it. Always been a fan of Tara McPhersons work… As well as Tim Burton.
Both artists work has always captivated me.
Effect: My “Fragile am I” character would be that character that I think might make people think twice. And realize we are all fragile and even a small break destroys the structure.
Long run: Would love more than anything to create full time. (I already do but I still have a 40hr day job as well) so that’s my goal to do this Full Time and this only. If nothing more because people appreciate the work I put into art. And Nobody gives a shit at the day job. I’m just a number.
Name: Gold Poo
Start date: Fall 2013 for this project but I suppose I’ve always been artistic.
Influence: As an artist and art fan there are too many people to name that influence me. In terms of painting poop I had really never seen it done before. So when I ran the idea of spray painting dog shit gold by a few close friends and got good feedback, I decided to actually run with the idea. It is great to have people in your corner making sure you don’t do too many dumb things. I can easily say I wouldn’t be doing this without the support of the people around me. I have really awesome friends.
Effect: First, I don’t want people to step in shit. So I hope they see it. Then, I hope people laugh. But it actually is a metaphor. People will all too often over value an item when in reality is just shit underneath.
Long run: I really don’t have a clue where this may take me, but I am having a lot of fun. My hope is to one day have a serious one man show where I’m forced to take this concept to another level. But until then, I’ll stick to playing in the streets.
Links: Twitter / Instagram