<body> Public Ad Campaign: Posterchild Weighs in on the World
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Posterchild Weighs in on the World

Every so often, there is someone who I want to know more about. I ask them some questions and they answer them in the typical fashion. Sometimes I get great stuff, sometimes not. Other times I get detailed descriptions of how to change the world we live in and it floors me. Thank you so much to Posterchild for having the vision and the words to fully explain yourself.

Why do you create work in the public?

Man, that should be easier to answer than it is. I think maybe this
question was easier to answer when I was younger and just starting.
Full of manifestos and bluster and whatnot. Now there are so many more
caveats and complications and doubts. Or maybe they’ve always been
there, but they’ve had time to grow. ANYWAY, In brief, I work in the
public, because that’s where PEOPLE are. I want to connect and
communicate. The street is the first -maybe best- place to do that.

Why do you create work over/using outdoor advertising?

Because that’s what already in the public. It’s extremely aggressive,
everywhere, and often illegal. I throw my own 2 cents into the mob,
and I don’t see that as being particularily worse ( any more “illegal”
or immoral) than what these groups are doing already. In fact, I think
it’s much better. But is that two wrongs?

Tell us something about where you live and your relationship to your city.

I live in Toronto, and it is the greatest city and the worst city. I
love it. But I’m often frustrated by it. I feel like it has so much
potential and so many people working towards bettering it. Toronto has
been unusually blessed with a very large number of people who care so
deeply about it and work so passionately for it. We love the TTC even
though it’s underfunded, overcrowded, and runs despiteful, adversarial
ads that frame us and treat us like criminals.

How would you describe your relationship with advertising?

Complex. Advertising informs so much of what I do. Advertising is at
the core of graffiti and street art. Advertising is the genisis for
modern graffiti. Advertising begat graffiti which begat street art,
which both beget more advertising. I’ve never claimed to be a culture
jammer or ad buster. I don’t exist soley in opposition to
advertisting, and if it were to sweept off our street tomorrow, I’d
still be doing my thing out there. But advertising feeds me. It
provides near guilt-free surfaces to create work on. Many a discarded
box of wildposting posters has had their contents become a stencil or
a poster. I love to literally “Flip” and ad, and make my own work on
the back. It’s weird. I dislike advertising, but I’m disapointed when
I find a video billboard has been removed because it is the required
surface for creating art on, for creating my art with, and it is now
gone, you know? True, I just need to walk a few blocks to find a new
one, but still, working with advertising has made ads an interegal,
needed element of those artworks, and that can create a weird,
interesting conflict.

Having done both, is there a difference between working in Toronto or New York?

Yes. Many. I’ll need to do more work on NY before I’m ready to draw
clear distinctions. But there are differences to be sure. Every city
is different. You need to really get to know a city- you need a
healthier, stronger realationship with the city than I have with NY
before you can really work successfully- that is, like an insightful,
engaged local- within the cities space. You can still make work -good
work- without that engagement, but I think it could have a “tourist”
feel to locals.

Tell us one of your favorite moments working on the street.

Hmm. Maybe when a drunk dude came and used his drunken strength to
help TEETH and I get these heavy sheets of particle board in place so
I could screw them into the lil’ billboard we were taking over.
Crowdsourced labour!


If you could run a fantasy camp, what would it be?

Oh man. I guess I would run a camp for city commuters. I would make
all the car drivers ride bikes. You would have to surrender your keys
when you entered the camp. There would be a week of lessons (including
classes on bike maintenance and repair) and practice and fun rides
around the city and it’s parks. There would be history tours and
architecture tours and street art/graffiti tours and food tours and
other themed tours- campers could sign up for whatever tours sounded
interesting to them! And when the week is up, then it’s back to work-
but we keep your keys! After another week, you’d get your car keys
back at a reunion where everyone could share war stories of their week
of bike commuting, have drinks, and cement friendships! The camp would
provide bikes for anyone who wanted to take the camp, but couldn’t
afford it, and provide safe rides home after the reunion party for
anyone unfit to ride a bike or drive a car. We would form partnerships
with city politicians and corporate leaders, encouraging corporate and
civic groups of campers- and use funds (and awareness) raised by the
camp to push for more tax dollars for bike lanes, lockups, and
infrastructure, and less tax money going to support car culture.

Hell, that sounds good. Lets do it.

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