They say the eyes are the windows to the soul... but whoever said that must not have ever tried internet dating.
"Kintsukuroi" is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise. There is beauty to be found in mending what is broken. Remember that.
PostSecret creator Frank Warren came to the show last night. I taught him the power I've been developing over the past few years: LASER EYES! (That's a red eye photograph joke). Frank wrote the foreword for my book and I continue to find inspiration from his project and the bold honesty of the anonymous confessions. Get his newest book "The World of PostSecret" now or I'll zap you with my LASER EYES!!
ArtAndSeeking.com just posted a video of me on their website putting this piece up (a while back) and chatting a bit about why I do what I do. The host interviews quite a few other great artists that each drop some serious knowledge, so I recommend you watch those as well.
"I hope it is true that a man can die and yet not only live in others but give them life, and not only life, but that great consciousness of life."
- Jack Kerouac
You always were a litter bug.
The story of my life.
I got more than a little wet putting this one up. The water isn't super deep- went up to about my mid calf next to the wall itself- but further in it sharply gets deeper- I noticed this... a bit too late. I fell in and when I managed to get back up- soaking wet, I looked around to see if anyone noticed- there was a photographer who was taking a headshot of a guy. Both were laughing at me. I sort of shrugged and said "I shoulda seen that coming." After I finished with the piece, a kind homeless man offered me some antibac. It's moments like this that make me laugh when people ask me what it's like being a "cool street artist."
The piece itself says "But only now do I see that life is like constructing a staircase... You can only build one step at a time."
Not to get too preachy- this is a lesson for me too... But it's easy to forget sometimes that the people on the cover of those magazines at the grocery store aren't just two dimensional characters whose failures and flaws exist merely to entertain us. As though their real lives are just extensions of the entertainment they create. Whenever we stop considering the true humanity of someone, a little bit of our own humanity is lost along with it.
Hey, I like yoga- don't get me wrong, but some people LOVE yoga. Like... Really love yoga. Like, if yoga was a band- they would wear the shirt for Yoga AT the Yoga concert- and they would tell everyone how they were into Yoga before Yoga was cool- and they would wait for Yoga outside Yoga's concert venue, hoping to get an autograph and a photo with Yoga- but when Yoga showed up, they got overwhelmed and just started screaming and crying and fainting. I admire that level of devotion to anything as long as it doesn't come with a pamphlet and a long speech by a person with crazy eyes about how "a lot of people say it's a cult, but it's not a cult" before explaining how I can join their cult.
Shine on you crazy diamonds!
"Your memory is a monster; you forget - it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you - and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!"
- John Irving
When I was younger I could fit all my dreams into one word: Someday. That wonderful day when everything would be as I imagined it to be. It wasn't a question of if, it was a question of when and it was always there, sitting on the horizon, waiting for me. But as I've gotten older, the idea of "someday" has changed for me. I don't see things in the distance any longer. I don't rest in the comfort of something I'm sure is waiting for me in the not to distant future. These days I live more in the present. I find satisfaction in the gifts of the moment. I think this makes for a much more balanced and happier life. And yet I miss the potential of childhood- when you had a million paths to a future that you need only pick a direction. I miss the vague and mystical notion of destiny and wonder and the safety of all the time in the world to find your way. I miss the silly idea that you could imagine this other person- someone who looks like you, sounds like you- but isn't you. It's the better version of you that lives in Someday. It's the version that's cool and successful and clever and wise. The version whose words seem scripted and people admire. The thing is- Someday still exists- the future is always there and we never stop having the potential for greatness- the trick is remembering that we have to make peace with who and what we are today. Maybe I'm too old to think about life the way I did when I was 12, and while I may miss that naiveté, I'm doing my best to appreciate right now.
Being that it is Martin Luther King Day, I felt it was right to repost the following blog...
In the background of this poster is a piece of a letter written by Martin Luther King from his jail cell after he was arrested in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. In it, he defends his belief in nonviolent protest as well as one's moral responsibility to break unjust laws.
Here's some more background...
"The Birmingham Campaign began on April 3, 1963, with coordinated marches and sit-ins against racism and racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama. Circuit Judge W. A. Jenkins issued a blanket injunction against "parading, demonstrating, boycotting, trespassing and picketing". Leaders of the campaign announced they would disobey the ruling. On April 12, King was roughly arrested with Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth and other marchers—while thousands of African Americans dressed for Good Friday looked on. King met with unusually harsh conditions in the Birmingham jail. An ally smuggled in a newspaper from April 12, which contained "A Call for Unity": a statement made by eight white Alabama clergymen against King and his methods. The letter provoked King and he began to write a response on the newspaper itself. King writes in Why We Can't Wait: “Begun on the margins of the newspaper in which the statement appeared while I was in jail, the letter was continued on scraps of writing paper supplied by a friendly black trusty, and concluded on a pad my attorneys were eventually permitted to leave me. The "Call to Unity" clergymen agreed that social injustices existed but argued that the battle against racial segregation should be fought solely in the courts, not in the streets. They criticized Martin Luther King, calling him an “outsider” who causes trouble in the streets of Birmingham. To this, King referred to his belief that all communities and states were interrelated. He wrote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly… Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider…” The clergymen also disapproved of the immense tension created by the demonstration. To this, King affirmed that he and his fellow demonstrators were using nonviolent direct action in order to cause tension that would force the wider community to face the issue head on. They hoped to create tension: a nonviolent tension that is needed for growth. King responded that without nonviolent forceful direct actions, true civil rights could never be achieved. Against the clergymen’s assertion that the demonstration was against the law, he argued that not only was civil disobedience justified in the face of unjust laws, but that "one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."
This is not to say that I feel street art comes anywhere close to being as vital a rebellion as the civil rights movement, rather just as an illustration of something bigger. That there will always be resistance to re-shaping the world in any way. If you want to make a difference, you can only do so by pushing through those who will try to dissuade you, be it with indifference, mockery or aggression. In this day and age it is important to look back at history and see what kind of difference a positive, non-violent- yet unwavering quest for change can create.
There are people out there who aren't interested in anyone altering the status quo. This is true in cultural issues as well as individual ones. If you want to change the world at large- or just your own world, life or circumstance, don't wait for someone to give you permission.
There's a pretty cool 10 page interview/article on my work in the latest issue of Elison Magazine. The issue's theme is youth and nostalgia- something I am pretty much fixated on. In fact, I'll say something that's going to sound pretty controversial... I'm not sure if they've ever made a video game better than Super Mario Brothers 3 for the NES. You can have your BioShock and your Grand Theft Autos- me? I rarely feel as free in real life as when I make Mario fly with a raccoon tail. Which, by the way- still doesn't make sense. Raccoons don't fly! Or do they???
Read the full issue HERE!
January 4th is my birthday- I figured this was a good message to remind myself of- no matter what this meter says!
I am aware that this is an ironic statement coming from a street artist- and yet it's one I've tried to consider from time to time. One of the reasons I've embraced a black and white esthetic is that stands out in contrast to the myriad of colors that many advertisers employ to grab your attention. I find this same sentiment to be true within social settings- especially when seeking romantic connection. The more you can genuinely shed desperation, the more you stand out.
As the saying goes in A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Looking back at what 2014 held, there’s been a lot of monumental moments. It was a year of accomplishments that I’m super proud of, new friends, new chapters, fresh starts and memories I’ll hold close for a long, long time. On the other hand, it’s also been one of the most challenging years of my life. Close to the start of it, my wife and I suffered a miscarriage for what would have been our first child. It wasn’t planned but we were excited nonetheless. I wish I could say that the disappointment didn’t dampen the rest of the year but it did. I don’t say this in hopes of receiving sympathetic words, and honestly I’ve neglected mentioning it to avoid such a well-meaning but uncomfortable exchange. I bring it up now because I know a lot of you guys have had tough years too. Many of you have suffered blows I cannot imagine and are still recovering from them. While I’m right there with you in wanting to just say “so long 2014 and good riddance, you lousy bastard!”, I know that there are many things about this year we should hang on to. Not just the pleasant experiences but the lessons we’ve acquired from the unpleasant ones. That said, there’s a hell of a lot of emotional crap to jettison and I for one am happy to lighten the load a bit for 2015. I hope you’ll join me. Happy New Years, friends. To a better, brighter world. I wish you a hope that infects even the darkest parts of your heart. And mine too. Cheers.
Posted this on Christmas Eve. The background is made up of children's "when I grow up" drawings. I had a blast drawing them. My personal favorite says: "when I grow up I WILL be Batman!" - a dream I still hope to one day realize.
A little rainy day poem. I pasted this up a couple weeks ago- right before the rain started. It's almost certainly gone now. I enjoy the sky in this photo. It looks a bit ominous and foreboding... And yet- there's magic in there- you can just tell.
"I am not bound to win, but I am bound to be true. I am not bound to succeed, but I am bound to live by the light that I have. I must stand with anybody that stands right, and stand with him while he is right, and part with him when he goes wrong."
- Abraham Lincoln