<body> Public Ad Campaign: The Profitable Nature of Wooster Collective?
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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Profitable Nature of Wooster Collective?

This post is meant for anyone who has followed Wooster for any of the past 6 years, or anyone who has been lucky enough to enjoy the unwavering force that is Marc & Sara of the Wooster Collective. It is also response to an article on Indy Media entitled "Commercial strategies of the Wooster Collective; appropriating a subculture for 5 years strong." I cannot say I do not in many ways agree with them, I can say I know Marc and Sara and they are well intentioned visionaries.

I have always looked down upon street artists that fail to see, and embrace, the political nature of their work. Often I am critical of those who have profited from the pursuit of commercially viable ways for their original ideas to exist. I gaze with simple eyes, desperate for the pursuit of truth and idealism. Along side this sits a quiet jealousy I rarely reveal. It is something I continually grapple with, and in the end something I continue to come back to in my analysis of street art works. I know artists must make a living off their work, but the sacrifice of ones ideas is not an acceptable way to strive for artistic greatness.

Street art, illegal public art, whatever you want to call it, holds an ideological promise far greater than other art practices for me. It has at the heart of its process a philosophy and determination greater than most studio arts. It is inherently a political act and is closer to protest than decoration as far as I'm concerned. If art is to fulfill its role as activism and provide anything worthwhile to society, it must challenge ideas and not merely postulate aesthetic values.

I began my street art career, naively, at the end of the year 2000. I was at best seeking stable footing for what I was doing as an artist at that time. I desperately attempted to make sense of the actions I was taking and the politics I was slowly trying to define. I found Wooster Collective early in my career, and their support as early as 2003 was invaluable. I have never seen eye to eye with Marc & Sara. The art movement they saw, and helped define, was never something I fully understood, yet it was always an inspiration.

Yes they have parlayed their incredible thirst for street art into a viable business that has supported them, as well as the artists who have been lucky enough to benefit from their foresight. Yes this may be sacrificial to a select few and their definition of public projects, as well as the purity they wish to attribute to the street art movement, but let us not forget, as I have not forgotten, that we are not all in this for the same reason.

My ideas could never have surfaced without graffiti, street art, the publicly absurd, and the random happenings so joyously created by all the artistic misfits in this world. Despite my ignorance of those before me, my access to what I consider incredibly deep felt street work, was largely made possible by the history Wooster created.

I despise Wooster for moving beyond the simple initial act of placing images amongst us, and yet I commend them for daring to present us with those initial images that allowed us all to look in the same direction. We don't need to revere Wooster as the definition of truth within the street art movement; in fact it would be a foolish move. But we need to respect Marc & Sara for audaciously building the archive of public communication that was the result of their simple interest in the writing that a rare few decided was worthy of the walls.

This is what I am reacting to....

VIA Indy Media

Commercial strategies of the Wooster Collective; appropriating a subculture for 5 years strong.

This article is in response to the show put on by the Wooster Collective this weekend at 11 Spring Street St.

The Shill of Marc Schiller or
A little background info on the Wooster Collective

Marc Schiller, Wooster Collective's co-founder, is the CEO for an advertising corporation. His company, ElectricArtists, works with other corporations including Warner Bros., Microsoft, and CNN.


The following is a description copied and pasted directly from the ElectricArtists website:

ElectricArtists is an innovative marketing services company that
develops and implements unique "community based" marketing campaigns.
Led by a team of seasoned marketing executives, ElectricArtists
fosters and nurtures relationships with a client's most influential
audience by providing the tastemakers with brand information that
triggers consumers talking to each other and spreading the word. Since
1997 ElectricArtists has seen 100% growth in PROFITS EACH YEAR while
serving a diverse list of blue chip clients in the global media and
entertainment sectors including Ralston-Purina, Levis, Sony Pictures,
and BMG Entertainment. ElectricArtists success has been given
extensive media coverage with features in Forbes, Time, Billboard,
Variety, ABC's World News Tonight, and others. The company has
expanded FROM its New York base with offices in Japan and England,
thus enabling ElectricArtists to develop and deliver GLOBAL MARKETING

Strategic Philosophy
By targeting the "ideal customers" and providing exciting brand
messages, from behind-the-scenes news to downloadable samples,
ElectricArtists converts fans into loyalists and ultimately, into
advocates. Meanwhile, clients gain valuable market research insight
and honest consumer feedback. EA manages the trust and credibility of
your brand so that your message is heard and believed above the
clutter. Yet, the success of our strategies has everything to do with
you. ElectricArtists considers our efforts part of the bigger
marketing picture-if the other marketing pistons are firing, our
efforts will be considerably more effective.


"Too much "space" in our urban cities is sold to advertisers and large
corporations. Street artists are trying to reclaim a bit of their
space, even if it means doing it without the approval of the people
who control that space."
Marc Schiller, co-founder of Wooster Collective

( http://training.sessions.edu/resources/interviews/interviews/marc_schiller.asp)


I mean it is just kind of incredible that so many graffiti artists and street artists
have gathered together to get on board with this man. On the one hand it makes loads of commercial sense to align yrself with Wooster, but how can it be considered in the vain of graffiti, or street art or anything but a marketing strategy?

Unless we think of the street artist as a
self-interested paranoiac who wants to be seen (but not seen) plastering the streets
with their wares. Who naively enters the market disgruntled by the value of production only to turn around and produce themselves. A somnambulist is a person who is too
awake in the morning to put on a McDonald's hat, but too asleep by the afternoon to stop flipping

Street and graffiti artists you are smart enough to feel disturbed
and want to change the commercialism of yr city, but you have
becomes beauticians in a competition with capital. If you do well you will be paid with the whip of laughter with murder on a garbage heap. Selling a look.

This is the recipe to extract profit.
Collectors, museums and street art vendors make money off playing the
art market with you. Of course a good collector will do their best to promote
their artist(s). Selling their look to prestigious corporations and collectors, exposing their work on a global level with a website will get the largest return value for the collector. A huge show.

If you bought into Marc Schiller's New York Times article, or the 7 step premiss, you have been sold more than just a paper.

The underground is important, you are important. This, look around, is the life blood of capital; where
the collector's money places bets; markers in a horse race, be new, and above the pace, you will pay off -- if not in the short term, in the longer term investment.

Magazines, books, T-shirts, stickers, curated gallery shows, over the Internet, in museums, or
through private purchase, the art needs to be bought and the artist sold. But everywhere it
is the same and the pockets bulge.
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