<body> Public Ad Campaign: Making a Name for Himself, With Just 3 Letters
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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Making a Name for Himself, With Just 3 Letters

I'm not a lover of graffiti in the same way I am street art, mainly because its use of public space can sometimes be abusive and neglectful. (although in my opinion this is often not the case) I have however thought that it is a symptom of a larger problem facing major urban centers that must be taken seriously. The problem is simply, how do we express our personal identity in a population of millions while simultaneously being bombarded by commercial identity at every turn. A recent article in the New York Times about graffiti artist BNE has some interesting quotes by the artist which I think are worthwhile noting as they explain the reasoning behind why some graffiti artists feel it is their right to take over a city with their scrawl despite it being highly illegal.
“This is my voice, and if you try to remove it, you’re shutting me up,” he said.
“I don’t see other graffiti writers as my competition anymore,” B.N.E. said. “Now I’m going up against the Tommy Hilfigers, Starbucks, Pepsi. You have these billion-dollar companies, and I’ve got to look at their logos every day. Why can’t I put mine up?”
Verifying that in fact BNE was competing on a similar level as multi-national brands, Mother had this to say...
“B.N.E. has single-handedly created a globally recognized and valued brand in the new social economy,” Mother officials said in a news release. “His presence in Flickr photo galleries and YouTube pages dwarfs that of many multinationals.”
NY Times Article: [Here]

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Blogger Tegan said...

“This is my voice, and if you try to remove it, you’re shutting me up,” this is an attitude that is really common in conservative areas. BNE is not an anarchist he is merely a capitalist who has caught the eye of some multinational corporation. I fail to see how the work of BNE has the capacity to educate people on public art practices. Unfortunately this NY Times coverage has the potential to blur the line for some people who feel that street art and graffiti are merely acts of public vandalism.

It takes an amount of courage and ingenuity to strike a presence in an over advertised environment. Artists, like the many who are listed here on Public Ad Campaign, use acts of subtly to emphasize their presence in public spaces. They are the ones we should keep an eye out for. Their thoughtfully executed work has a capacity to shock with calmness and wit as opposed to a visual shouting match.

Blogger Jordan Seiler said...

i do agree that BNE's work has qualities of vandalism but i like the fact that he explains his acts as a direct reaction to the other vandalism which haunts our public spaces. As far as subtly in street work, i find it much more interesting as well and for the viewer, a much richer experience. this does not mean that once in a while the decibel level must be turned up to talk at length about the visual blighting of our shared spaces. After attending the BNE show last night i do agree his message comes with a hint of irony as he is clearly about to profit greatly from his work. it was less an art show than it was a media event, much in the same way a corporate media event might taught some fresh ad campaign. alas the work is not perfect but at least it might hold a kernel of truth greater than the average scrawl. who knows. I am happy to hear you like the work of those listed on PublicAdCampaign as they are artists I feel very strongly about as well.


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