Monday, October 13, 2008

Poster Boy, Part II

The artist known as Poster Boy (discussed here) dropped me a line to say he was happy to see the dialog on that thread focused, in part, on radical dissent. He pointed me to an interview (Part 1; Part 2) in which he expands upon his process and objectives. This part in particular seems relevant to the ongoing dialog here:

Can you explain your choice to remain an anonymous/elusive artist of subversive street art?

I try to remain anonymous/elusive, contrary to what some people have said, for three reasons and one of them is definitely not because of Banksy. One, what I do is pretty illegal. Two, because of Cindy Sherman. Her work addresses issues of identity in and out of the realm of art. I’m addressing issues of identity through my many alias’s/personae. Poster Boy is just one of the identities that I show and create under. The last being that I don’t want just one person to be Poster Boy. I’m hoping this trend of poster art snowballs into a movement for many people. No authorship. No copyright.

What I also found very interesting is that the process was born out of economic necessity. The only materials costs Poster Boy incurs are for the $0.50 razors he uses. He's also clearly aware of the precedents for this work:
I’m not the first to mess with posters. I’ve always noticed torn posters and Sharpie art in the subway. I wanted to combine the two. By using the ready-made imagery/text I’m able to subvert these corporate advertisements and use them to my advantage. People have done subway poster art for years, but I definitely upped the ante in NY.
But perhaps the most intriguing, if not entirely clear to me, idea he offers about his work is in response to whether it's territorial...marking certain areas as belonging to him:
Territorial, yes and no. I don’t want the poster art to be territorial in the macho sense. It’s probably why I don’t sign any of them. I think fucking shit up is good. There is creation in destruction. I just want to reclaim the intellectual territory that the media has taken.
To my mind, Poster Boy is still working through a series of ideas, but doing so quickly, on his feet, and with a grand sense of humor. Humor, again, I believe, will be the key to the transitional artwork that leads us out of the current malaise. Humor and, perhaps, anger, but definitely humor.

Image above (from might not seem as obviously collaged if you don't know the original. This might be a good example of the pieces Poster Boy says don't get taken down right away because the MTA doesn't recognize they've been vandalized. Many of his alterations are remarkably unnoticeable without close inspection, leading me to wonder how many people leave the subway accepting his message, unquestioning it, just swallowing it, as we do so many other messages.

Labels: street art


OpenID whatisthewhat said...

What I find very interesting is that Poster Boy doesn't note the affichistes (Raymond Hains or Jacques Villegle) as sources of inspiration...

10/13/2008 11:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Vassl said...

LESTER BANGS: Gradually the humans learned to control the feedback, or thought they did, and the next step was the introduction of more highly refined forms of distortion and the artificial sound, in the form of the synthesizer, which the human beings sought also to control. . . .we see at last the fitting culmination of this revolution, as the machines not merely overpower and play the human beings but absorb them, until the scientist and his technology, having developed a higher consciousness of its own, are one and the same.

10/13/2008 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Cedric C said...

Thanks Poster boy for reading the comments.

I present apologies for those who sent bitter and bitchy remarks about your work. I guess that's how it goes on in the artworld, but keep up with it I'm sure you'll be able to weave yourself through.


Cedric Caspesyan

10/13/2008 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

Maybe it's a movement, The Train Is Coming. And With It, More Ads.

10/17/2008 05:51:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This guy is a real street artist. Obama's poster boy could take a lesson from him.

10/20/2008 12:45:00 AM  

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