Poster Boy, Street Artist
from Gothamist by Jen Carlson
When we first heard of Poster Boy it was for his subway ad "mash-ups." More recently a video came out showing him work on a much larger scale, above ground, and promising it's a sign of what's to come. Earlier this week we tracked down the anonymous artist to ask him about his plans, ideas and why he does what he does.
Do you consider yourself a street artist? Amongst other things, yes.
Did you start with the subway ad "mashups" or had you been working on other canvases before? I started with hand-me-down canvases in art school. Appropriation art was the excuse I gave. Without trying to sound pathetic it all started with not having the space and money to make art the traditional way. After a while the canvas work didn't satisfy my ambitions. I felt I had a lot more to "say" and it was eating me inside. Then one day out of frustration and curiosity I started tearing down the ads.
Recently there was video of you taking down a billboard and a hint that bigger things were to come. What's next? I have something planned that, if successful, will make the poster and billboard stuff look trivial. However, the process will take a few months maybe a year or so. For now, just advert takeovers and more collaborations. For people who're interested in PARTICIPATING please email firstname.lastname@example.org
How hard is it to take down a billboard?! Cutting them down is easy. I use the same razor in the subway. Having the nerve and competence to climb up is something entirely different.
Have you ever been arrested? Yeah. Never for art related crimes though. What have I gotten away with? That's the real question.
What have people said to you when they see you altering the subway ads? I get a lot of, "Oh you're the guy that does the poster stuff", and, "Hey, did you do anything on the such and such line?" Most of the time people stare. On a good day I have Vandal Squad officers hounding me for autographs.
What is your overall goal? The overall goal for Poster Boy is to inspire others. I'd love to see people take up the Poster Boy model and create change within their environment. I'd like people to interact with art, media, and public space a little differently. Attaching a copyright to images and ideas is petty. I don't subscribe to the idea of originality either. Whether you believe information comes from the collective unconscious or plain ole history there's always a precursor to your idea. The creative process is more like a perpetual collaboration with our predecessors.
Please share your strangest "only in New York" story. While walking through the LES one day I approached your typical NYC movie set. Before turning the street to avoid the hoopla I caught Woody Allen staring at me. So, while walking, I stared back. This went on for about a minute. Right before I turned the corner I grimaced the way a five year old would. He laughed then I laughed. I thought it was kinda cool that I made Woody laugh. Usually he's the one making people laugh...that is when he isn't boning his daughter.
Which New Yorker do you most admire? Amy Goodman from Democracy Now. I don't trust news from anywhere else.
Given the opportunity, how would you change New York? Ban tv, deadly weapons, and advertisements. Make public transportation, school, healthcare, and internet free. Make all energy free and renewable. Oh, and maybe change the NYPD uniform from navy blue to hot pink.
Under what circumstance have you thought about leaving New York? If the MTA raises the fare again.
What's your current soundtrack? Charlie Parker, Dead Prez, Radiohead, Mos Def, old Beastie Boys, Chopin, and Santogold have been on heavy rotation lately.
Best cheap eat in the city. The Hare Krishna Temple on Houston & 2nd Ave. serves tasty vegetarian food to students for a small donation. For everyone else there's Oyama sushi on 1st Ave. & 11th St.
Best venue to see music. Central Park when the weather is right.