Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Spam: Corporate Shit = Your Annoyance

Shepard Fairey was on The Henry Rollins show this past week, and while I think he's an ok dude, I think his art is just kinda eh. Though he does have a cool pic of Jay Adams:

I digress. The point Fairey (man, did HE get picked on as a kid) made that's worth echoing is the one about spam. Basically, why is it that he has to take shit for his graf when just because corporations pay all of a sudden their spam is legitimized, and moreover, we just accept it or shrug our collective shoulders.

Good point. One that Robbie Conal has been making for way longer than Fairey. And of course, the poster boy, Keith Haring.

But isn't it interesting that white dudes like Conal, Fairey and Haring are celebrated as art iconoclasts and even sometimes go on to commercial success, as Fairey admitted? Point: Graf is a staple where I came up, on the Old English tip and beyond.

The above is probably one of, if not the most notorious and steeped in East LA lore barrios: Cerco Blanco (White Fence). As a kid, I grew up near their arch rivals, Varrio Nuevo Estrada (VNE), but was always more taken with the lyrically named White Fence. Although I probably have it wrong, the way their name was handed down to me was that their founder was shot and fell over a white fence. My pops came up in Boyle Heights, steeped in White Fence.

And graf was everywhere in East LA. My favorite restaurant, Largo's Mitote, (RIP) had a back alley that was littered with spray paint way before it got going as "art" on the east coast.

Cholos - the prototypical/stereotypical "Mexican American gangbanger" - also had tats fired up decades before the current trend. Indeed, I remember being with Jerry Ortiz and going down to the Pike to get tatted. In the end, I chickened out because I just plain hated needles; as a kid I was always getting stuck because I had asthma and allergies. I hated needles.

But a cholo's placa isn't seen as art by the mainstream. And they certainly aren't getting on Hank's show.