Last week, I was back home in Chicago. It was a quick visit, I spent a lot of time in Niles, since I was mostly there to see my parents and any other family that were available.
While in town, I was able to see a few friends as well. One friend, Anne Halston, lives in the north side neighborhood of Rogers Park. She took me to see some of the street art there. The first work is a very powerful paste up installation. The work is comprised of numerous small pieces of paper pasted to the wall. Each one has the name of a black person killed by the police. As you can see from the images, there are hundreds of pieces of paper.
The second set of images simply show the mural across the street from the first work. It is part of the Rogers Park street art mural series. Because I wanted to add the visual flavor of Chicago, I included the yellow concrete pillars of the underpass. It’s a colorful moment captured from an archetypical Chicago point of view.
It’s always good to be back in Sweet Home Chicago.
I was back at it for the first time since moving to Chattanooga. This time I needed to be sneaky.
The southern edge of Chattanooga city limits are along the border with Georgia. Across the border is the 14th Congressional District, where Marjorie Taylor-Greene is the representative and was up for re-election. She still won, of course, but I had to do my part.
There was no time for another poster. I adapted my poster design and created a new, second design. It’ll likely be a poster at some point.
In my opinion, there’s too many one-trick ponies in the Atlanta street art scene. Making the same old shit over and over again. The same drawing a million times. Greg Mike is just Atlanta’s most well known. THIS is what provided the initial spark that led to the creation of the Not so good sticker.
By placing these stickers here, I was taking my concept full circle. This was also a way to cover his work (just a little bit) after he had covered mine. Small time revenge haha. I’m sure these stickers were gone within two weeks. I don’t know because it was literally one of the very last things I did before leaving Atlanta. True story. I proceed to get two flat tires a moment later which delayed my dramatic high tailed exit out of town. Had to call on a friend for help, and left Atlanta the next day. This is why life is a comedy.
Another true story. I told a couple of friends how I wanted to make a sticker that said “Not So Good” and slap it on all the mediocrity surrounding me. The idea grew to be much bigger than my simple personal critique of the Atlanta street art scene. It was universal and could be applied everywhere.
Yeah, I got big timed. Greg Mike covered it up with some of his work. Guess, he liked the location too. Since I live nearby and could see what was happening, I walked up to him and introduced myself when he was painting his work over mine.
Nothing wrong with Greg Mike, Greg Mike is alright. He has as much right to put his work up there as I do. However, it’s not that simple. Here is a great spot that many people used over the last few years. Now it is changed. Because he’s a known commodity, the spot is now basically his. Others artists will now be reluctant to cover it up, even though they should.
This episode is all from the unwritten rulebook of Atlanta Street Art culture. I don’t belong. It’s OK. I’ve never fit into any club anyway.
The images below are a visual report of the destruction and regeneration and further destruction of the LIES street galleries. The slow destruction of this type of work is beautiful and has amazing mixed media potential. This documentation will be used in a future mixed media artwork series.
For months, I continued adding posters in these two locations on Wylie Street on a regular basis. Then I’d sit on my patio and people watch. During daylight hours, there’s a steady flow of people here on the Atlanta Beltline biking and walking path. These locations became my LIES street galleries and I had a lot of eyes on my artwork.
I documented their destruction extensively too. I plan to be use those images in a future series of mixed media paintings. See the visual report posts for details.
Street art in a space like this will get tagged, and should get tagged. It’s a part of the public space. No one expressing themselves creatively can claim ownership of these spaces. The slow destruction of this type of work is normal. In my opinion, the weathering and tagging adds to the visual appeal of the medium overall. I think it’s beautiful and has amazing mixed media potential. Makes the creative gears in my mind turn.
I’ve written before about where I live in Atlanta. It’s fast becoming a street art destination. I’d like to think I did a small part to spark the activity happening here. When I started working here, the Atlanta Beltline was yet to be constructed and the graffiti here had not been updated in along time. Today, there is constant action. New street art being added on a regular basis. That was not the case with this location (a metal, ridged wall) in 2016, when I started pasting up here. You can see pictures of that artwork here, here, and here.
Living across the street from your artwork has its perks. Not only am I on top of it in regard to my “principles of street art” battle (haha), I also get to see people stop and photograph themselves in front of my work. It’s uniquely rewarding.
On more than one occasion I’ve seen people film a scene for a music video right in front of my artwork. The video below is one example of this.
My final response to my graffiti artist nuisance was to make more posters, and paste up more posters. A lot more!
Living across the street allowed me to work with precision timing. As you can see from these photos, it was a lot of fun. A few total strangers stopped by to show support. Some of them wanted to get involved, including a Canadian citizen in full support of my message. We had to work fast, but I still had time to document the activity.
Here is my response to the message sent to me in the previous post. You might not agree with my point of view, but my guess is that most will. Regardless, I hope it provides context to why I would bother to respond in the first place.
You also might not agree with my sharp language, however I feel it is absolutely appropriate for this environment. For context, the Forward Warrior murals I refer to are spaces given to artists to make their work, a specific work. They are making art for the public space. For everyone. Taggers, at least the ones that are assholes, will often tag those pieces of art. These murals are art in a public gallery given to the community for all to enjoy. It is wrong to tag this work.
The space where I am working is public domain. No one can claim it. No one can dictate what type of media can be used either. Taggers can go ahead and tag it. They can do their thing, but don’t tell me I can’t be here. “The entitled tagger?” Makes me laugh out loud, because it’s super lame.
I’m not hiding or running away. I put my name to my words. I stand behind everything I wrote and posted.
Open Letter to Graffiti Artists (AKA Taggers)
It shouldn’t have to be said, yet here we are. You do not own the wall on Wylie Street, CSX does. Don’t be bitches when other artists use paper and paste instead of spray paint to communicate their message. Until CSX declares this wall to be for “graffiti only” you’ve got nothing to say. Tag it, that’s the nature of the beast. However, don’t declare it “graffiti only.” It’s laughable for a street artist to make such a suggestion.
I’ve been pasting up my art on this Wylie Street wall for over 5 years. In 2016, I had 150 feet of this wall covered at once. At the time, this was a stagnant location filled with old, weathered graffiti and lame ass tags. I was tired of looking at the same old stale shit. Graffiti artists have been tagging over my pasted up street art for years.
Now there’s an unwritten rule that this particular wall is only for graffiti? What a joke. Street artists intentionally avoid the structured gallery system and their rules. Now some want to subject others to their own version of arbitrary gallery rules within the public space???! Sounds like a bunch of bitchy establishment bullshit to me and any street artist worth their salt would know better than to utter such nonsense. Only the Forward Warrior murals are off limits. I do not paste on those, nor should anyone else. Yet that still doesn’t stop taggers from pissing spray paint on them too.
Pick up your damn trash! I regularly throw away empty spray cans tossed aside by street artists as I clean up as much of my mess as I can.
Spray paint artists and paste up artists, and slap (sticker) artists can and should co-exist in a public space such as this one right here.