A OLD STORY.
“Worst of the Worst” Graffiti Tagger Map Caught
Score one for the Mayor’s Anti-Graffiti Task Force: The NYPD arrested 34 year old Patrick McCormick, tag Map, yesterday. McCormick was on the NYPD’s 50 “Worst of the Worst” graffiti vandals list. The thing is, McCormick was arrested after smashing the window of an A train in front of a police officer, who was behind him. It was on Saturday afternoon, near the Beach 98th Street stop in Rockaway. The police suspect that McCormick was trying to destroy a rival’s tag, but the head of the transit bureau James Hall said, “He broke the window so we weren’t able to determine that for sure.”
Hall also revealed, “He’s going around scratching up windows by his own admission. During interviews with detectives he said he’s done 10 windows on the N train.” Hmm, maybe like the one pictured below? Anyway, according to am new York, McCormick was found with “nine cans of spray paint, six grinding rocks for scratchitti, three indelible markers, two pairs of gloves and a wax stick in McCormick’s knapsack.”
Now, the NY Sun reported McCormick’s police history which included a manslaughter conviction in 1989 for burning a homeless man (Hall said, “This particular guy has a history of violence in addition to his artistic endeavors. It’s a good arrest. It’s a really good grab.”). We asked a graffiti expert about the arrest:
Gothamist: Did you see that writer map got busted for breaking a window on a train, and it turns out that he had previous arrests for graf, and… homicide!
Graf Expert: Thats old news. Did it go into detail of his homicide arrest?
From what I gather, he was bombing subway tunnels many years ago, and was assaulted and raped (yes raped) by a bum in the tunnels. So map came back with a can of gasoline and set the bum on fire and burned him alive. True story.
Egads. Maybe City Councilman Vallone should use that in his anti-graffiti speeches.
I was looking through some of the pictures from the Ryan McGinley show, and I couldn’t help but notice that about 50% are of the young graf artist Sacer who I used to see running around LES with his on-again-off-again partner Earsnot. From about 2000-2002 you couldn’t go to an Alife opening or a Deitch Projects show without seeing them everywhere. It’s funny that I never noticed that they had a personal photographer in tow. I can’t think of any other graf artists that travel with that kind of entourage. I mean, guys like REVS are way too crazy to have someone tagging along with them, and most of the old school guys aren’t living that kind of lifestyle. I’ll say one thing for Sacer though- he sure has good hair. Another fact: I’m pretty sure the two of them were the first guys in NYC to consistently use glass etching fluid to catch tags.
Multiple sources tell us that Dash Snow—photographer, semen artist, graffiti writer, and embodiment of the downtown NYC scene—has apparently died of a heroin overdose, two years shy of his 30th birthday.
We got a tip this morning that Dash had overdosed last night. Earsnot, a.k.a. Kunle Irak, a fellow downtown artist and one of Dash’s best friends, posted this on his Twitter page this morning:
A separate source close to Dash confirmed to us this morning through an intermediary that Dash has died. It’s already popping up on Twitter, as well. We’ll let you know more details as we learn them. (Snow’s gallery, Peres Projects in Berlin, isn’t releasing a comment).
Dash Snow was most memorably profiled by Ariel Levy in New York magazine two years ago. He and his friends came up in the downtown graffiti scene, and branched out to find success in the art world, without ever losing their bizarre, drug-addled edge.
What makes the legend richer is that Dash Snow could very easily have lived a different kind of life, been a different kind of artist. Snow’s maternal grandmother is a De Menil, which is to say art-world royalty, the closest thing to the Medicis in the United States. His mother made headlines a few years ago for charging what was then the highest rent ever asked on a house in the Hamptons: $750,000 a season. And his brother, Maxwell Snow, is a budding member of New York society who has dated Mary-Kate Olsen. But Snow has concocted something else for himself. He has been living as hard as a person can-in and out of jail, doing drugs, running from the police-for a decade. He’s unschooled, self-taught.
The Irak crew, which Dash helped found, is now world famous. You can still see his “SACER” tags around the city. His fine art was somewhat less conventional:
Snow has been working with his own ejaculate a lot lately; his contribution to the Saatchi show was a piece called Fuck the Police, which featured sprays of his sperm on a collagelike installation of tabloid cutouts, headlines about corrupt cops.
Dash’s other items for sale included T-shirts and his coke, sold on Ebay. Whether you liked his art or not, you have to admire the fact that he was a unique dude. R.I.P.
He didn’t choose the name Optimist for no reason, his pieces really brings a positive feeling. Always with a humorous one-liner that seem thought up in the moment yet fits so well with the work. Optimist says, graffiti is the ultimate escape from problems but sometimes he gets so wrapped up in it he becomes nocturnal. An unhealthy cycle he feels consumes too much of his life.
How old are you and where do you come from?
I’m 26 years old. I was born in San Francisco, raised in Oakland and moved back to the city when I was 18. But i’m also Irish. I go there all the time to visit family and friends.
When and why did you start writing?
Probably when I was in 7th grade in Oakland. I would see graffiti on the desks at school and they would move all the desks around throughout the whole school. So sometimes I would see the same desk rotating classrooms and I thought that was cool and wondered if I wrote my name on a desk in science class I would see it again in some other class. So I tried it out and soon enough I saw that same desk again and that shit amazed me for some reason. Then I started writing my name on the desk in every class.
I started noticing graffiti on the buses on my way home from school and all over Oakland and the city. It was everywhere back then. Ever since then I haven’t been able to quit. its become a part of my personality. As a kid I would go to the yards in Oakland and look at all the burners and productions and wonder how the hell they did that shit, I wanted to do that too.
What was the scene like when you first got in contact with graffiti?
Amazing! People were killing it, Oakland Berkley and San Francisco were smashed.
It was hella inspiring even though I was not painting like them. I was hella young and was just taggin in the cuts and my mom was always paging me to come home so I didn’t really starting to get up until I moved out when i was 17 in 1999-2000. But back then you could get away with a lot more and I feel like graffiti was way more out of control back then. Spots were not played out and the paint was better. (not including Montana).Graffiti was more like a secret then it is now. There was no Internet and the only way you could see graffiti was if you went out and looked for it.
There was no way of knowing who was who unless you went to different cities. I only knew what was going on in the bay, and some New york history, that’s it. There were no graffiti stores, no movies, no pens made for graffiti, it was a secret and the only way you could learn about it was if somebody decided to teach you and let you in on the secret. Now it’s all blown up and almost commercialized, and its STILL ILLEGAL! That’s funny, it’s like weed, Hah!
You often write “heart dad” on your pieces, whats the story behind that?
My dad died. He was a major influence in my life, and I miss him a lot.
I’ve seen a lot of block letter pieces from you but you also have a sick wildstyle.
Do you prefer simples over colorful wildstyle?
It depends on the spot and my mood. Sometimes I Like to chill out by myself and get lost in a piece, and really think about what I’m doing and the composition itself, and the colors and style and funk. I think its a way to subconsciously work out my problems and vent silently and its the only thing I can paint off the top of my head without a sketch or a picture as a reference.
I do a lot of fine art during the day, in fact that’s all I really do during the day, and with fine art I use a lot of photography in my work, also tape, rulers t-squares, found objects, random pieces of paper and other tools. Everything is planed out in advance and carefully constructed. When I paint a piece, its all spontaneous, nothing is really planned except for colors. I cant do that with fine art. That’s why I love piecing so much, Its my only way to freely express myself at that point in time in life.
Other times I just want to paint something really legible and big and simple. and not really think, just paint and get my mind off the future and the past, it keeps me in the present moment and it doesn’t take as long as a piece. Plus I know everybody can read it, even normal civilian people, and i know that it might cheer them up cus it says some positive ass shit, feel me? How can you hate on optimism?
What other writers has been the most influent for your own development?
A lot of people, DREAM(rip), LEWSE, JAPAN, DRAMA, FIERCE, KRASH, KING157, CHEK, UDON, PLANTREES, AIDER, YEOL, BEATS, ELSE.
What crews and writers are you down with?
I’m in DE crew. and my crew IVP(4 pillars).
I’m down with all the writers I paint with, too many to mention.
Ever got caught?
Yes, that’s some shit I don’t like to talk about. I have been caught enough, put it that way.
Got any advice for the new upcoming writers?
your going to get caught. Don’t snitch and don’t stop. Shit is bound to happen.
And really think about why your doing graffiti, and choose your name very carefully,
write something that means something to you.
Any final words?
Interview courtesy www.graffiticreator.net
With guilty plea, Shepard Fairey agrees to ban himself in Boston
By John R. Ellement and Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
Shepard Fairey, the street artist who for decades has plastered his stickers and posters on buildings and street signs, issued an apology today and agreed to ban himself in Boston.
Fairey consented to a plea deal that will prohibit him from carrying stickers, posters, wheat paste, brushes, and other tools of the graffiti trade while in Suffolk County for the next two years. Under the arrangement, Fairey pleaded guilty to three vandalism charges and must pay a $2,000 fine to one of his adversaries, Graffiti NABBers for the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.
In a statement, Fairey apologized to the citizens of Boston for “posting my art in unauthorized spaces without the consent of the owner.”
“I believe in the importance of making art accessible through many avenues, and I will continue to advocate the use of legal public spaces for meaningful artistic expression and communication. Freedom expression is the bedrock of our democracy,” Fairey said. “However, I also believe it is important that people respect private property and do not use it without the authorization of the owner.
As part of the agreement, Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Adam Foss told the judge in Boston Municipal Court that they will dismiss 11 other outstanding vandalism charges against Fairey, who is best known for his “Hope” poster of President Obama, which was based on a news photograph.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Wiesner said in court that the “deal between the parties is one that serves everyone’s interest.”
Fairey at one time faced more than 30 charges in Brighton, Roxbury, and Boston municipal courts. Police arrested the 39-year-old Los Angeles resident in February minutes before he was scheduled to appear at a gala at the Institute of Contemporary Art, which is exhibiting his work.
In April, a Boston Municipal Court clerk-magistrate ruled that seven charges should not go forward because there was not enough evidence. Last month prosecutors threw out 14 of the other charges.
Fairey’s hallmark image is a black and white “Obey Giant” stencil, which is based on the likeness of professional wrestler Andre the Giant. The stencils began appearing on buildings and overpasses about two decades ago and one currently hangs on the outside of the Institute of Contemporary Art.
Fairey pleaded guilty plea today two vandalism charges from earlier this year. On Jan. 22, he put a sticker on the back of a traffic sign at Summer Street and Atlantic Avenue. Two days later he hung a poster on a condominium building at 86 Massachusetts Ave. The poster of his wife holding a gun was featured prominently in his show at the Institute of Contemporary Art. He had originally been charged with two counts of tagging, but prosecutors amended the complaint to wanton destruction of property. A guilty plea to tagging would have forced Fairey to lose his driver’s license for a year in California.
The third charge of defacing a building dated to 2000, when he hung a poster outside an Osco Pharmacy at 177 Brighton Ave.
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