If you are not already aware of the signs posted by “CRAIG” of Windsor, Australia, this picture alone will probably be enough to pull your attention in. If you are familiar with these signs, please DON’T GO ANYWHERE! There are some important updates and info that you should definitely know about. Sorry, CRAIG worshipers and fan club members, this “renegade” and “artist” is what is commonly referred to as “a biter” here in the states.
Last month, signs like the one to left began gaining popularity after they were masking taped to poles and other public surfaces around the Melbourne suburb. The signs, which became increasingly awkward, had locals questioning their legitimacy and helped the anonymous poster’s popularity blow up like the World Trade. Sites like FunnyorDie.com blogged about the “artist” and even Time Magazine recognized the phenomenon. Facebook fan pages sprouted up as quickly as the signs themselves and have already grown thousands strong. This shit is spreading like AIDS fire and there still appears to be no end to the growth in popularity.
Hopefully, with the latest revelations, the excitement will die down a bit. There have been endless acknowledgments, articles, and comments referring to how “original” and “creative” Craig seems to be. I’ve read them and thought the postings were a great idea myself… at first. Hell, I still feel that they are, but I’m just not that impressed with the Aussie who has garnered so much recognition for them. The internet is an amazing source for content and information, yet people still abandon research and cross-referencing for immediate and instantaneous gratification. Even, so-called “legitimate” news sources often take the latter approach. I, on the other hand, felt prompted to delve deeper and, within 20 minutes, realized that CRAIG had stolen this concept from the beginning by taking a huge bite out of the big apple and the work of New York artist/writer Todd Lamb. Why more have not chosen to promote this information with an equal number of posts, is beyond me.
(Please don’t ask what Banana Big M’s are; this is from Australia)
Posted @ a subway stop in NY by Todd Lamb, last year
Obviously, the similarities are a little more than suspicious. Here are more examples:
(Top photos from last month, bottom versions are originals from last year)
An Australian paper called The Age originally ran a piece on CRAIG and the street art. Later, after finding out about the true origins of the work and speaking with Todd Lamb directly, they posted follow up piece in their Diary section to clear the air. Of course, not as many people were as interested or willing to spread this lesser exciting information.
Lamb was quoted as stating the following to the paper:
“Craig is an unoriginal person who plagiarises people’s art and writing.”
The New York artist also managed to track the plagiarist down, via online means, and received an email containing the following quote:
“Hi Todd, indeed the idea for it did come from your web link. I loved them and decided to expand on it. I didn’t realise that it was actually you since the name on the signs was Chris and your name is Todd, otherwise I would have asked permission. Sorry for offending you.”
Indeed, he did take it further and brought enjoyment to thousands. However, I still feel there is great importance in making sure that the real artist gains the recognition that he deserves. Regardless of if you enjoyed these pieces, or the 8 others from CRAIG (provided in gallery below), they are still extremely derivative by nature and origin. Todd Lamb posted his signs in New York and were, no doubt, somewhat lost among endless other works and exhibitions in the bustling city. Hopefully, if anything, the situation will help to encourage those in less prominent cities to take their art to the streets with the realization that some level of acknowledgement and success could still be attained, without having to relocate to a larger metropolis. The postings further display alternate means of utilizing and presenting street art. At this point, it is more original than most of the standard graffiti on the streets and less invasive or threatening (aka: more widely accepted by the community) than works by artists like Ron English or Mark Jenkins.
Sorry, about your fallen god but “No Virginia, ther isn’t a Santa CRAIG!” The good news is that Todd Lamb is, by no stretch, a one note (pun intended). By knowing who the original mastermind is, all you CRAIG fans can turn to checking out his work and know that he will have more up his sleeve to offer in the future.
Mr. Todd Lamb created this video for the Monkeybacon song “Trouble at Party Time Lake“
Most recently (March 20th), while the CRAIG hype was really gaining ground, Todd Lamb appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon to attempt to break the record for sitting on the most Whoopee Cushions in 30 seconds without cracking a smile (results are still pending).
Peep these hype Todd Lamb related links:
(click photos to enlarge)