I first heard of Poesia/Transcend as a writer that connected with my crewmate, Raevyn/TWS. In 2011, I finally met Poesia and we joined forces to host the 1AM SF Gallery Fast Forward show last year. Later in the year, I supported Poesia with the production setup and painting of Graffuturism.com’s installation “In Situ” at Miami Art Basel.
After that great event, I slated Poesia for The Composite Knowledge that I’m curating for the 1AM SF Gallery. The show also headlines with Jaybo Monk and Sam Rodriguez. I’ll be interviewing Jaybo in my next blog entry.
MB: Almost a year has passed since our last conversation on movement of Graffuturism. How do you think you’ve evolved over this past year?
PT: Not sure, I think in more in terms of our culture rather than in terms of Graffuturism. I think our culture and the artists in it are really at a great level. We are starting to really make some noise and changes on a large scale. Our genre I think has passed that cliche’ status of being cool or trendy, I really see more and more everyday that we are actually changing the landscape of cities globally. If the art world can’t see that, then they are just ignoring the inevitable.
To me its no longer about only the transition from graffiti into fine art. It’s about the changing of the guard, so to say. Transition implies we are changing, I think we are making them adapt to what we are doing. That is extremely important to understand. People need to take a look at what was going on 5 years ago and look at what the landscape was in most cities around the world.
Fast forward to today – Now look at our globe’s metropolitan cities. Our murals are taking up more and more real estate. We have gone from small legal yards and abandoned areas to painting whole buildings. We are taking on main street on our terms. Our murals are competing with architecture now, and with lower budgets, we are doing more. Our ability to move faster and work with less red tape our public art is spreading. We might not be receiving six figure grants (hundreds of thousands of US dollars) to paint, but that is not stopping us. Its a new day.
MB: I’m diggin your new style of what I call the “expressionistic squiggle curves.” It is so different from your work from last year. I can feel the action painting of Jackson Pollock & movement in each stroke. How did you conceive of this new style?
PT: It’s something that came about subtly in some of my older work, while I was working in a more geometric style, I started to rebel against it during the paintings. I would intentionally make random markings over my straight lines in order to create some imbalance or texture. As I finished the paintings I was always drawn to those parts of the paintings where I could see remnants of those marks. I sorta knew it was time to move on and listen to my instincts. So, I set out to work without lines all together and paint with randomness instead. These abstract paintings are just another way of talking in a language people can understand. The same way my master painting series of works were painted to relate to representational imagery in my “More Force than Judgement” Show at Anno Domini.
Abstract paintings are an accepted style of art as much as painting the figure is. People think that because they are abstract they are non representational. I think its the opposite, and I use that conceptually as well. Its something that we don’t really think about, for example. While I was painting the recent mural for the show off 6th st at the gallery the neighborhood people walking by ranging all races and classes understood my wall more than most of my peers do. People walking by with no clue about art, graffiti or art history related more to the abstract mural I was painting then I have experienced while painting a traditional graffiti piece. I heard comments like “Oh, hey this is modern art. Love it!” and so forth. The shock value of modern art and abstract art in the 50’s has assimilated itself into our world. Everyone knows modern art and Pollock, when someone sees scribbles on something it is already associated to the world as modern art. Thoughts and conceptually focused ideas sometimes serve as the best inspiration for a change in style. It’s this same reason why I still say graffiti is the only true abstract art left. People still don’t know what to make of it.
MB: I know what the philosophy & theory behind your blog & movement of Graffuturism.com. Can you hit me with an explanation on what Graffuturism is all about?
PT: This is a tough question because It really isn’t about anything yet. It’s a start to the possibility of something and a direction for some of graffiti artists who attempt to transition into fine art. It is also about the evolution and progression of our artform. I feel we are at the pinnacle of change in our culture and without communication and proper documentation it will get lost in all the noise that is reported on out there. This is one of the reasons why for the features I write about that talks about these issues, I ask the writers to explain in their own words. What the evolution of our culture means to them personally is more important than what any one person tries to define.
I am not the source only one person that understands that we need to build a dialogue. Without proper discourse we will be swept into the pile with the rest of contemporary art. Or worse be written off as just graffiti vandals. We are so much more than that and people need to pay attention. This new Graffiti Avante-Garde that is forming will become a powerful force in the art world for decades to come.
MB: Why do you think The Composite Knowledge show is important?
PT: I think it’s important for San Francisco and a starting point for future projects. San Francisco has some amazing graffiti history and established world renown graffiti artists that have made the transition. What it also has is a very strong style of art. I don’t think a lot of people want to admit this or see that it has become predictable at times. I love this city but it is hard to see so many of the same styles grace the galleries for the last decade. There is tremendous talent locally and Internationally and the scene is changing in our culture. Important graffiti work is taking place throughout the world and we are at a high level of activity right now. I’m not ‘diss-ing’ any of what San Francisco has accomplished. This has been a mecca of art and creativity for decades. I just personally feel like some of galleries are missing the importance of the current movement of graffiti. Graffiti has grown up and stood up also. 1AM SF Gallery is able to see this vision with you and take a chance on the artists in The Composite Knowledge show. The The Composite Knowledge is an important show that I feel will be the first step of many towards bringing some relevant graffiti exhibits to San Francisco.