I don’t know what the fuck has changed lately, but I’ve been receiving a lot of emails with requests for me to post shit on the site. Help has been few and far between, so I’ve been getting backed up and don’t generally have time to check out someone’s myspace tracks or research some random bullshit that isn’t already on my radar. I do like receiving the requests, however, but far too many of these emails show clear evidence that the senders have absolutely no idea about Monster Fresh or about the type of material that we would even be interested in posting anyway. Nothing against anyone because, in thruth, we just don’t have the manpower right now and I haven’t even had an opportunity to look over most of the stuff. Who knows? Maybe there was actually an original idea hidden in there somewhere but, if you think that I give a fuck about the new David Gray release, then you are obliviously mistaken.
The other day I received yet another email from a stranger with a project, but this was different. Something in the message caught my interest immediately and prompted me to delve further. Now, I am only recommending the same of you. Take a moment from from what you’re doing, refocus your attention, and deposit these two terms into your memory bank:
1) “PaperMonster” and 2) “Dirty Pilot“.
I have heard the name “Dirty Pilot” before and am fairly positive that I’ve even visited the website but, for some reason, I have never completely absorbed what was going on over there. Site founder, Alan Bortman, has created something more than just an art website. DirtyPilot.com does feature merchandise, apparel, and other cool shit from a variety of artists, but the site also functions as an on-line gallery. I know that may not sound too impressive, considering to the general connotation applied to the term “on-line gallery“, in reference to websites, but this is much more than a series of images from a personal blog. If you’re anything like me, you’ve grown tired of hearing about amazing Art Gallery openings in NY, SF, LA, and other cities that are located nowhere near you. Without the burdens and limitations presented by existing as a physical gallery, Bortman has remedied such issues by providing a 24/7, globally accessible viewing space that allows for anyone to observe and/or purchase exclusive ,high-quality artwork in the, hopefully, pretentious free environments of their own homes. Past shows have featured works by such artists as, critically acclaimed grafitti artist, Ewok 5mh and living art/music legend, Daniel Johnston. Along with a brand new show by Johnston, DirtyPilot.com boasts another, equally impressive, virtual exhibit this week. The latter is entirely focused on the world of stencil art and was curated by an amazing young New Jersey artist that goes by the moniker of PaperMonster.
The, Puerto Rican born, PaperMonster is actually the one who initiated contact with us about the show. The sincerity and passion of his email, along with his brilliantly colorful work, is what drew me into the project immediately. The header image [“Whatever She Likes“], as well as the picture above [“Skin Deep“], are both examples of his work. Each of them are 24″ x 30″ stencil collages on canvas and will be featured in the upcoming exhibit. I immediately noticed Lichtenstein-esque Pop Art elements, mixed in with aspects of Parisian stencil art godfather, Blek Le Rat, but there was clearly more to it than that. Beyond the incorporation of comic strips and stencils, PaperMonster has created a collection of striking imagery that is all his own. At times, the work feels flat, yet layered and textured… chaotic, yet precise. Wild, frantic clusters of color are contrasted against solid, bold spaces, while Asian typography pops subtly in the background, like the Baroque patterned wall paper commonly found in a Western brothel. The style sounds schizophrenic and, in a way it is, but it also possesses a strange cohesion. It’s not unlike when the Ghostbusters took a risk and crossed their proton streams to enhance their powers as one solid force, or when all 5 elemental rings unite to project one powerful beam and manifest Captain Planet; the overall effects are much greater than the sum of their parts. It’s not supposed to be logical, as much as it is visceral and emotional, however, there was something cerebral triggered by PaperMonster‘s work. I found there to be a realization and a message being projected about the possibilities of the craft, as a whole. It was clear that, beyond the simple, pure intention to create something visually stunning, there is a driving force behind the artist that pushes him to experiment and take his medium in new directions. Hopefully, through his curating of the stencil-centric exhibit, PaperMonster will be able to further prove that there is more to the art of stenciling than many of us may all ready be aware.
The cleverly titled Friends With Knives runs from Friday, Sept. 18th to Oct. 18 and will showcase the work of 15 different stencil artists from around the world. While graffiti has been gradually fighting it’s way towards gaining more mainstream recognition, stencil work is having an even more difficult time attaining such acknowledgment; often being labeled as no more than a sub-genre. At first thought, a strictly stencil-based exhibit may sound too one-dimensional, but my feelings are that it will prove to be just the opposite. Displaying the various styles of the individual artists side by side should be the most effective method to present the differences in their techniques and the multitude of unique approaches in the field. Make sure to check out Friends With Knives; it’s free and you don’t have to adjust your schedule. It should prove to be a “must see” for anyone that wants to expand their knowledge of the genre beyond Warhol, Banksy, and Shepard Fairey and/or is interested in seeing what the future of stencil art has to offer.
Following statement comes VIA PaperMonster’s official site:
“Putting the show together along with DirtyPilot, I wanted to showcase a broad range of stencil art styles and techniques including photo-realism, pop, and political stencil works that emphasize the power behind stencil art. As a group I feel like we all have something very valuable to offer to the art world. We all work extremely hard and deserve larger venues to showcase our talents. Some of the artists name you will recognize right away and some you will want to keep a close eye out for in the years to come.”
Full List of Featured Artists:
PaperMonster (New Jersey)
Nathan Phaneuf (Georgia)
Dave Lowell (Austin, TX)
HAHA (Melbourne, Aus)