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This month’s cover model was so hot, we had to cover her up to avoid being sold in a plastic wrapper. Miss Amanda wears a ski mask last seen in a 1980’s TAB hold up by an unknown label. When she’s not looking ‘criminally’ hot in the pages of second-rate girls’ magazines, she’s doing what all young medical students do to learn more about the wonders of the human body: pole dance. Cover Image by Cheech Sanchez
C.O.P. #3 C.O.P. #3
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Above: from the book Street Play, 2005
Martha Cooper is the illest lady in the world. When you’re 67, imagine rocking an I graffiti t-shirt while you roll down the street looking for slap-tags to add to your collection. Plus, if anybody can lay claim to the word ‘veteran’, it’s MC: author of countless street culture bibles, Martha documents the raw creativity of the streets in a way those close to it don’t just respect, but adopt as some of their most enduring photographic icons. Loni Schick and Erika Jay caught up with Martha to talk about her latest book, why she loves tagging, and getting booted by a musk ox.
Interview Loni Schick & Eriks J Pictures Martha Cooper & Loni Schick 8
How would you describe Martha Cooper for somebody that does not know who Martha Cooper is? Oh dear! [laughs] Well, just a photographer who specialises in let’s say street photography. And who is interested in art… the art of everyday life. Art in everyday life, maybe. In 1980 you quit your job at The Post to pursue your freelance photography. When you were photographing graffiti, did you know that you were onto something special? Not this special. No, I did not know I was onto something that we’d still be talking about 30 years later. For sure. But it was special to me, and I felt like it was really important to document. I actually was thinking more along the lines of, Well this is going to disappear quickly, and I’m going to have a record of it. And I didn’t think it was going to continue, I didn’t think it was going to spread to anywhere outside of New York. So, I mean I knew it was special but not like, special for my life. Just special for them. Why do you think graffiti did take hold outside of New York? That is such a… I have a hard time answering that question. Because I had always thought it was a result of certain conditions, here. The fact that at the time the city was going bankrupt, they didn’t really have money to pursue the kids that were sneaking into the yards. The yards weren’t really guarded. The fences were kind of, you know there were holes, kids could cut holes in the fences, and they were never repaired so it was easy to get in and out of the yards. C.O.P. #3
And also the fact that New York is a centre for arts, so these kids had been exposed to art in school and there was a feeling that we’re not out in the country out here. We’re in a city that appreciates art, there are art museums, so I can understand why they would want to develop their own because maybe the kind of art they were learning in schools wasn’t appealing to them, didn’t really express them. But I never thought that it was gonna spread to countries that didn’t have a similar set of conditions. And at the time of course, without the internet, there wasn’t a good way of it spreading. I mean that’s, as it happened, what Subway Art turned out to do. It spread the culture ’cause kids could study the styles. Maybe they’d heard about it or maybe they’d seen a picture in a movie or a train going by. But, being able to actually study styles looking at a book helped spread the culture. But why other kids wanted to do it… have to ask them. What was it like rolling with the writers, going to the yards late at night? Well, that was kind of the last thing I did, it was sort of the final thing that I needed to do to complete the story. I had met DONDI and I had watched them draw in his room, like spend a whole day working on their piecebooks and I’d looked at trains and finally I’m like, You know, I need to go to the yards. So by that time I kind of knew DONDI because I’d spent time with him so it was a gradual thing that took place over a couple of years. So it was exciting, but I didn’t feel at risk from them, say, because I didn’t fit in or something. I felt like they would protect me and help me, and they did. www.chicksonpowertrips.com
When you were talking to other photographers back then and you were like, ‘Yeah I’m shooting graffiti,’ did they look at you like you were crazy? Yeah. Nobody really got it. I used to have a lot of arguments about it. Do you miss that period in the ’80s? Not really, no. I’ve done so many other things since then. First of all I’ve worked for these folklore organisations for so many years, one is called City Lore, and we do long-term documentary projects and I’m really enjoying working with mostly academics on these projects. I like working on projects where I have a particular goal, such as a book. And I don’t really miss that. I’m like, Onward. ‘The best shot I ever took, was the shot I never took’, is this true for you at all? Um, I miss a lot of great shots. No. I mean, when I look back on all the things I could’ve gotten, there’s so many things I missed. I really did, but no one thing in particular. When I think of all the hours that I spent in the South Bronx for example, and yet I didn’t really shoot the South Bronx, I didn’t shoot landscapes and buildings and trash… I was so focused on the trains. I felt like I could’ve done a better job of documentation in retrospect than I did. But, you know, the other thing was that I was shooting film. And, unlike digital, I used to think it cost me fifty cents every time I pressed the shutter, for the film and developing. So you can’t really spread out and do everything when it’s costing you so much money. Now I’m working on a project in Baltimore and one of the reasons I’m doing it is because I was thinking I’d like to do
a project that’s kind of a similar thing in a similar type of neighbourhood where I could make up for all the things I missed. And, go at it knowing what I know now, understanding what history is like, understanding how pictures that maybe aren’t great pictures when you’re taking them, can, if they’re the only pictures, suddenly be more interesting 20-30 years later. So I’m doing that in Baltimore and I have a digital camera so I can just take thousands of pictures you know, doesn’t matter how many. I don’t have to be like, ‘cha-ching, cha-ching’ as I’m shooting. So it sort of frees me up to just take anything, anywhere, whatever I feel like and I feel like I’m doing a much broader coverage of that neighbourhood. What’s your all-time favourite photo you’ve taken? You’ve seen the new, big Subway Art? The one on the cover I think is my favourite photo. Of DONDI. I think it captures the intensity. That’s my fave. You’re still in touch with the artists from Subway Art? Of those kids, I’m in touch with quite a few of ’em. For example MARE, you know my book Street Play? Well, he wrote the introduction for that. Because when he looked at these pictures he said, ‘That was my childhood.’ Although those pictures are taken on the Lower East Side and he grew up in the South Bronx, the Lower East Side looked like the Bronx back then and he had a really good recall of all the different things that the kids were doing. So in his introduction he talks about playing with hydrants and stuff like that so that’s why he wrote the introduction.
You’re from Baltimore, but New York seems to be your muse.
Above: kids using an old crib to make guns. Street Play, 2005
I’m looking for this kind of stuff in Baltimore but I’m not finding… I’m finding some stuff, but not as good as this. What was great about this was that the kids were making a lot of things. In this picture [from Street Play, see above], they’re taking this crib apart and turning it into guns, they’re taking the rungs from a baby crib and you can see he’s like, testing it. And there he’s using it. And I’m not finding kids making toys, the way I did back then. All your books seem to really focus on humans creating things. Yes that’s definitely my thing. Do you think people are still… If the kids are still being as creative? I hate to say they aren’t, and maybe they’re creative in different ways. But I’m not seeing the same kind of… And maybe they’re not allowed to play by themselves now as much because back then, you know, these kids could go out and probably not come home until dinner. I think we weren’t so aware of child abuse. There wasn’t AIDS. So they weren’t so concerned, ‘Is there going to be a needle that they might get stabbed with?’. I think these kids had more freedom than almost all kids do today, so that could be part of it. OK, this picture [from Street Play, see previous page], where they’ve finished making their guns, Shepherd Fairey just did a wheatpaste of. Shepherd Fairey uses you as inspiration?
People have always said, ‘OK, we understand these big beautiful blockbuster pieces but we don’t like this tagging stuff.’ And I’ve always been a fan of the tagging.
I had a show at his gallery in LA last year, Subliminal Projects. The show was called Street 10
There’s chicks that paint, and then there’s the chicks that paint that all the other ones look up to. JERK is the latter. A dedicated bomber and piecer from the city of LA, JERK gives us an insight into life on the West Coast: dodging gang bangers, keeping to yourself and crushing stereotypes like an empty can of paint. I’m JERK from Los Angeles. I represent GAW crew which was started by DUCE and TISTIK in 1989 in South Central Los Angeles. I started writing in the mid ’90s as a young teenager and began to take it more seriously later on. I have always had an interest in different fonts, art and also the subconscious impressions street bombing left in me. At the same time, staying out of that LA gang life were all factors for me starting to write. I grew up in LA so when people ask me how was it growing up in such a dangerous city, I really don’t know what to say ’cause for me it’s the norm. Gangs out here ain’t no joke so it’s just best to mind your own. Growing up in LA you began to see where the choice of joining a gang has led family members and the boys on the block and it’s never good. Joining gangs tends to limit meeting new people and where you go, they are more territorial. Graffiti is the opposite of all that, so for that reason making the choice between the two was easy. For the most part gangs don’t see graffiti writers as a threat. They got bigger problems but at best during an encounter you let them know you don’t gang bang and they will take your paint and let you know where you are and to leave. Sometimes the tense moment is that simple and other times well, not so, it really depends on a lot. Out here in LA we have these dumb asses we call ‘tag bangers’. Tag bangers basically try to play both sides of the fence: they want to write and be able to claim a gang when it’s convenient for them. Tag bangers fuck it up for all the real graf writers. Graffiti writers are a little more at-risk than the average bystander, but overall getting confused for someone else or the assumption you’re from another gang will get you shot. There are definitely certain sides of LA that not just anyone can paint. You either need to be from that area or know someone from that area to paint there. There are very few writers that can actually say they’ve gone all-city. Most tend to forget they never painted South Central, Watts, Compton, East LA, but they still want to claim all-city. To stay up in this town, you got to put in a lot of work considering how huge this city is. I would never say I made any sort of huge impact in the LA graf scene. If anything I’ve shown that I can do it just as good as the next one.
There is always some politician or city official trying to resolve the hot topic of the week to get a promotion. So if you have the drive for what you are doing then fear is not going to stop you. Call it luck or just being vigilant, but I’ve never been busted. There have been times when I think I’ve been spotted and usually at that point based on my gut feeling I walk away or finish what I am doing. I am not the most social person so I have generally kept to myself other than the few in my circle. I think that because I’ve generally been selective with whom I surround myself also plays a role on how I’ve not yet been caught. Mat Gleason and I were having a conversation once a long time ago and he said to me you always have to separate the artist from the person. That statement has always stuck with me. I think ’cause people forget to do that. You meet your favourite artist or what not and the meet is sometimes not what you expect. So because of that whole double-standard thing women tend to go through, when I first started writing I never really wanted to let people know I wrote JERK. For me being a woman in graffiti is simply a coincidence and not a crutch. Once I began I just wanted to do more. I just remember having fun running around the city, walking the LA River. Once I got into piecing my goal was always to get better. The competitiveness was with myself, not with others. When it comes to my art I feel as though if it evokes an emotion, then it has served its purpose. If there is a deeper meaning to my art I would not really care to share it.
Out here in LA we have these dumbasses we call ‘tag bangers’. Tag bangers basically try to play both sides of the fence: they want to write and be able to claim a gang when it’s convenient for them.
There are people that can say graffiti brought nothing but trouble, gaol and drugs and there are people that can say they don’t know where they would be without graffiti. As for me, graffiti has brought a focus and the opportunity to really explore progression in my graf and artwork. I have been able to be part a graf book or two and various art shows and a documentary in progress. In the end I paint ’cause it makes me happy and puts me at peace... Peace to all the GAW's around the world, HAVK, DUCE, and I2W crew. www.myspace.com/jerkgawz
Pretty much every dope chick we know lists TheBoobs as one of their all-time favourite sites, and if you don’t know, now you know! Featuring the kind of girl talk you’d normally never get to hear (boys!) and a gallery of perfectly formed boobs from all around the world, we just had to catch up with these funny betchez and ask them how their empire started, the virtues of fake vs real, and what ‘Can you put ’em on the glass?’ actually means... So, ladies, what the hell is ‘TheBoobs’?? Desboobs: TheBoobs, hmmm, it’s hard to really put us in a category of any sorts. Basically if you want to get down to the nitty gritty of it, TheBoobs is your daily online treat where you can read and gossip with all the attitude you want. We never censor ourselves on any issue, especially sex. We keep shit REAL. Where you from and how did you guys meet? Glossy: I’m from Los Angeles, born and raised, and Des and I have known each other for years, we were in an all-girl gang together. Desboobs: I’m from a lil’ hoodrat place called Pomona. I stomp all over LA though, that’s my city. I met Glossy five or six years ago. We were livejournal pals then became real-life pals when we had Brownbabies. So what do you guys actually do with yourselves? Glossy: Well, between nail appointments and writing on the blog, I’m also a make up artist, a C.O.P. #3
MILF and a Roseanne marathon-watcher. Desboobs: I’m a professional maneater. Oh yeah and I do fashion shit and I’m a freelance blogger/writer. What do TheBoobs LOVE? Glossy: Obviously, we love gossiping! Collecting unicorns, watching trashy reality shows, ’90s sluts, getting our nails done, lumpia [Filipino egg rolls] and girls with great boobs. Desboobs: We LOVE unicorns, like it’s semiunhealthy (we both have unicorn tattoos). Basically Glossy covered it when she said gossiping, it’s become one of our favourite pastimes. And the things they hate? Desboobs: We loathe doppleganger bitches. We also hate diets and fringe-anything.
Desboobs: When I first started doing it, I would just hit up my real-life friends with enormous boobs. I’d be all, ‘Hay wanna put your boobs on my blog?’ and they were down. Now girls find us! And it’s awesome! Sometimes Glossy and I will go scouring but we basically get covered in the boobs department. We enjoy all sizes too, ladies! That’s good to know! What makes you decide whether something’s blog-worthy? (Like your boy’s crazy/funny fan letter to John Mayer...)
We never censor ourselves on any issue, especially sex. We keep shit REAL.
You’ve got that regular segment, ‘You’ve Got Great Boobs...’ and then you always have some insanely hot chick featured. How do you find them? I bet they’re just sending pictures of ’emselves in by now huh.
Glossy: Something is usually blog-worthy if it makes us laugh hysterically or makes us so disgusted that we laugh hysterically too.
Desboobs: Most of my ideas stem from actual conversations with Glossy. We sometimes have hour-long rants and raves and DING DING DING—blog idea. Also if it makes me say, ‘What the fuck?’, then you better believe I’m going to write about it. That John Mayer love letter was hysterical and probably one of my favourite posts.
How do you feel about the fact you’re on Frankly, most dope chicks’ hit list as one of their allGlossy: Des will message me pictures or I’ll give time faveablogs? I mean dude, fucking INSA I don’t send her pictures of hot babes we either know hit you up... personally or have found randomly. We shit get to seeabout so many amazing pairs of boobs a day, it’s the Desboobs: I think it rules. I mean in the beginning had no idea that people would actually read the runway stuff teen boys dream about. Waking up to an Ishows site, let alone enjoy reading it. inbox of n00dz! Two thumbs up! in Milan or the www.chicksonpowertrips.com newest ‘it’
QUICK TITTY QUEST
We never censor I wish you’d make t-shirts. What’s your inspiration? ourselves on Glossy: What inspires me most any is just writing issue,Glossy: Everyone makes t-shirts these days. We should make bras or our own about the funny or awkward situations that have especially sex. brand of those chicken cutlet things that go actually happened to me! Or just about the things into your bras for enhancement! that I’m interested in. Frankly, I don’t give a shit keep about runway shows in Milan orWe the newest ‘it’ shit Desboobs: Bras yes, I think we are in need bags. There are so many other girly blogs out of a TheBoobs bra. REAL. there that cater to that, and I don’t hate them for it, it’s just not our thing. People come to TheBoobs to read about Lisa Frank collections and foot jobs. Desboobs: As far as inspirations, I just really enjoy people that are real. Things that are personable make the best stories I believe. We write about actual things that happen to us and it’s as if we say what girls have been wanting to blurt out the entire time. One guy said it best: ‘TheBoobs is great because it’s like peeking inside an all-girls sleepover.’
What are TheBoobs gonna do when they’re old?
Frankly, I don’t give a shit about runway shows in Milan or the newest ‘it’ bags.
Yeah, I think that’s why you have so many guy readers too! Have TheBoobs received offers to expand their empire? Glossy: We’ve got some top secret stuff in the works! Desboobs: YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT!!
Glossy: We’ll be wearing sequined hats, chainsmoking Virginia Slims and sipping mimosas pool-side, while we have our nails painted in million-dollar red. Desboobs: Plus our tits will still be banging. Last of all, I saw you clear it up once, but just for our readers’ sake: what does ‘Can you put them on the glass?’ mean?
Glossy: If you have to ask what ‘put ’em on the glass’ means, you definitely need more Sir Mix-a-lot in your life! Desboobs: On the glass, up against the shower door, putting it to work! www.theboobs.blogspot.com
What’s the best thing about a nice rack? Glossy: Triangle bikinis ! Desboobs: Pasties. Do you consider fak e ones just as loveable? Glossy: Only when the y’re attached to someone that looks like Lolo Ferrari! Desboobs: Of course . Tits or bust! Who wins out of sm all-but-perfect vs abundant-but-kind a-goofy? Glossy: Bigger is bette r. Desboobs: You said it Gloss. Who in the world ha s THE BEST titties? And the worst ? Glossy: Kitten Nativida d, hands down, has the best chi chis! Des, who has the worst boobs? Desboobs: Tori Spelli ng has the worst boobs. Sorry girl, but you a mess. Who makes the best bras for busty gals? Glossy: I really want to say Delta Burke because she has her ow n bra line now, haha... But I’ve never actually worn a Delta Burke bra, so in all seriousness I can’t fro nt on Victoria’s Secret—very sexy! Desboobs: I like Victor ia’s Secret, wish they didn’t cost you a fucking buttload though. It’s a recession , people. Favourite slang words for boobies? Glossy: ‘Fat boys’ is my new favourite, but mostly I call them boobs. Desboobs: Fun bags and dirty pillows.
KING OF THE URBAN JUNGLE. WWW.TIGERBEER.COM.AU
Dear Simone, I snuck into my boyfriend’s email and found some disturbing correspondence between him and some, ahem, ‘slag’. I would like to confront him about it, but I’m in the wrong for checking his email. What would you do? - Wanting to Get Mad and (Possibly) Even Dear Wanting to Get Mad and (Possibly) Even, Eh, who’s to say you’re wrong for checking his email? And you have probably been suspecting he was up to some shit for a while, haven’t you? Now, if I were you, I would log back in, hit ‘Ctrl + K’ on the message to mark it unread and then for a span of the next two weeks, I’d start acting a damn FOOL. First, tell him you’ve been having premonitions about him and some chick. Wake up in the
middle of the night crying her name and tell him some bitch you’ve never heard of is visitin’ you in your dreams. For more nighttime entertainment, go for a lil’ sleepwalk. Let that boy slut of yours bug out for a while as you arrange your magnetic fridge letters like you’re on the Soul Train Scramble Board. Colourful, cutesy phrases like ‘Cheaters get their nuts chopped off’ or ‘I get even’, shit like that. Be creative! Last of all, since two can play at that game, you should leave some disturbing emails of your own for him to find. Write yourself an email from the STD clinic saying that without immediate treatment, your genitals and those of your sexual partner may have to be amputated. Leave yourself logged in. Now, you stand a big chance of losing him, but like I always say, ‘On to the next one!’ because you don’t get nothin’ from cheaters but heartache n’ diseases! - Monie
Dear Monie, I’ve cheated on my boyfriend numerous times in the past three months. I am now pregnant and unsure of who the father is. My boyfriend believes the baby is his, and is excited. Do I tell him or not? - Preggo and Confused Dear Preggo and Confused, Find your ass in the greater Connecticut area. The Maury Show will sort your hot ass out. Or you could make it a game: take bets on whose it is. If you fudge the odds and bet the right way, it could be a nice little earner for everybody. Maybe then you can buy yourself some dignity. I wish you all the best and hope your baby isn’t born blind and riddled with gonorrhea. ‘Cause you’s one dutttty bitch! Don’t you never write my PO box again no’ mo! - Angrily, Monie
Dear Monie, Girl, I am so upset I can’t even breathe properly! I found out that my boyfriend of two years just married another woman and is expecting a child! The same woman that he left two years ago to be with me, mind you! I don’t know what to do! Please help! - Livid as Hell Dear Livid as Hell, First, get you an asthma pump, some Primatene Mist or something, chile, ’cause it sounds like you gearing up to depart from this here Earth. Now after you catch your breath, no pun intended, here’s what you do: get you a box, doesn’t have to be a big one. Visit the house of a friend who owns a dog. Now this part righ’chea ain’t for the weakhearted: you gonna collect some shit and put it right in that box. Yep. A big ol’ turd, and just like most of nature’s bounty, fresh is best. Seal it up, wrap it in some pretty-ass gift wrapping paper and in the wee hours of the morning, take it to where they lay their heads and set it on their front steps. Now, if you’re really gangsta, you can just drink you a nice, tall milkshake and shit on the hood of his car—show him how you really feel! Best wishes and hope you don’t get caught by the cops. But if you do, feel free to write me from prison. A good pen pal is hard to find! - Monie
Dear Monie, For the past five months I’ve been stepping out on my man of eight years. My new boo is wonderful! He has all his teeth, I don’t have to tell him to take baths, he brings me to nice restaurants like KFC for chicken dinners and Sizzler when I’m in the mood for seafood. And he’s so romantic, Monie! For our two month anniversary, he took me out to Wendy’s! I have never experienced treatment like this in all my life. Thing is, I can’t leave my main squeeze because he tells me he will kill himself if I ever leave! I really don’t want that on my conscience. What do you think, Monie? - Romance Versus Suicide Dear Romance Versus Suicide,
Bitch, I don’t know where to start with you! Ahem. Pardon me. I mean: ‘It seems you have quite a problem on your hands.’ *blankest stare EVER* Now, I know this clearly ain’t really a concern of yours, but Miss Monie just gots to know: what the hell are you doing with a toothless, funky bastard like that? Suicide my ass. Dirty mafuckas like that are dying a slow death anyway, what’s it to you if he puts himself out of his own misery? I’d even go so far as to encourage it. I am glad to see you have found a hygienic man to wine, dine and spoil you by giving you the finest chicken dinners in life. *wtf face* However, at the end of the day you must do what’s right for you – even if it means a mafucka bowing out on life. Yes, really. End the old relationship! Your new bun might be so damn pleased, he takes you to Friendlies! - Monie 30
More of the same well-cultivated goodness. Issue #4 out early 2011
Born, raised? Queens, New Yawk. First memories of graf? When I first got into graf it was around ’95, the FTR/MTA era. VE, DESA, GIZ, SN to name a few—they were killin’ it! I loved seeing it and I knew then I wanted to be a part of it. How’d it all start for you? Well the cliché answer is, I hung out with a lot of boys that wrote. Some made a name for themselves and some did not. But as I really got into it, it was an escape from the crazy childhood/ teenage years I was having. My life pretty much sucked during that time, haha. I always say when I had nothing I had graffiti. It’s a love/hate thing. Your throwie is super dope yet ultra simple. It’s a hard combination to get right. How’d you come up with that? Ahhhh, the infamiss JHEART. It was like in ’01 ’02? Me and my boy were ping-ponging ideas for a new throwie and he said, ‘What if you put your throwie in a heart?’ and I said, ‘What if I made the ‘J’ a heart?’ and voilà, the JHeart was born!
• Do your research. • Trademark and copyright yo shit. • Keep it humble, or you’ll become a target just to get knocked off ya high horse. • Keep it original: if you’re going to do a spin off, make sure it’s better and more about your design than theirs. • Don’t lose focus. • Don’t be an asshole.
How’d you meet Daisy?
Do you like living in NYC?
I met her back in maybe 2000 or 2001. We met through a mutual friend, whom we aren’t friends with anymore. Shout out to the silly bitch who introduced us! Daisy’s a crazy broad and an asset to have on my team. Our bond has strengthened in the last four-five years.
I LOVE living in NYC. It has so much to offer— history, inspiration, fashion, crime, walls—I will never leave. New Yawk is my muse. Even if it means living in a cardboard box due to the powers that be not wanting New Yorkers here anymore. They need to chill with the redevelopments and charging millions.
What’s ToughLove NYC about?
Where’s ToughLove going to be a year from now?
TLNYC is about being an individual and having an independent train of thought. It’s about not being afraid to speak your mind even if people don’t agree or they shun you for it. It’s about not needing to be what society wants you to be in order to be considered sexy, smart, or creative. It’s about throwing both your middle fingers up with a quick wink.
If I had it my way? It’ll be on girls all across the world, big tittie girls and all. And ten? You know the world’s supposed to end in 2012 right? Haha. Nah, I don’t know. Hopefully being bigger than any of us imagined. It’s vague right? Oh well. Stick around and you shall see.
Bridge x Amuse
You were featured in a Ron English show in New York. That’s a pretty big deal. How did it come about and how did it go? Yes, that was quite an honour and incredibly eye-opening. Ron English came out here to Australia for Semi Permanent in 2009 and the very charming Toby and Melika of 696 Gallery in Melbourne introduced us. Before we knew it, KID ZOOM and I were off to New York to be featured in his Nimbus Vapour exhibition. It was a first for both of us, and we were alongside such greats as Keith Haring, Basquiat, Banksy, Shepard Fairey and fellow Australian Anthony Lister.
Where did you grow up? I grew up around the inner-West of Sydney, first in Redfern with my hip, young parents then sleepier neighbourhoods like Stanmore and Marrickville. We had a rad house in Marrickville. It had a tree house with a tyre swing, my own clubhouse (shed) and later, an outdoor studio (horse stables) to practice my can control. Why not paint human characters?
I don’t find people so relatable. That’s weird. No, as I said earlier, many of my current characters are carried on from childhood, and honestly, as a kid I just didn’t care for drawing people so Wow! So who are these creatures and much. Strangely, I find it much more rewarding characters that you draw? to convey expression onto the face of something non-human. I found when Haha, they are people I I used to cry if I I was painting girls that I know. Really. I’ve been was constantly trying to coming up with characters missed Ren and make them pretty. I wanted and placing them in madeStimpy. My love for to paint awkward, goofy up scenarios for as long as expressions but every time I can remember. Some of cartoons has not them have grown up with waned one bit, I just I tried this with a female character, she would just me and I still use them understand them on end up scaring me. The today. I used to read a girl characters used to lot of books when I was a different level have animal companions, a kid, especially Grimm’s now. until one day the animals Fairytales, and watch a just took over. Anyway, my HELL of a lot of cartoons. I think that may have had an effect on my brain. friend DEB takes care of the girly side of things, I would talk to everything, especially animals and she’s better at it than me. and soft toys. These days, I often will base a character on a person I am either interested by, You’re known for turning the tables in this graf-on-chicks craze and painting on dudes. find abominable, love or admire. From what I can tell, most are down with it but there’s a small, vocal minority that don’t So you were a cartoon addict as a kid? GOD YES! I used to cry if I missed Ren and Stimpy. really get it. My dad would wake me up at the crack of dawn with a bowl of cereal when it used to be on really early weekday mornings. We would just laugh our arses off before school. I also loved Rocky and Bullwinkle, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Inspector Gadget, Super Ted, Danger Mouse, anything by Warner Bros and anything Disney (particularly Dumbo and The Aristocats). I also harboured a secret love for the Care Bears, which I think my parents may have found embarrassing. As an adult, my love for cartoons has not waned one bit. I still watch them as much as ever, I just understand them on a different level now. C.O.P. #3
Ha, yes! I’ve had quite a mixed reaction to that project! Most of the guys I’ve asked have been able to see where I’m coming from and the humour in it. It is, after all supposed to be funny, and it’s admirable of my subjects so far to allow themselves to be put in that position. It’s not easy, but that’s the point. On the other hand, I’ve also had a LOT of negative responses, there are plenty of over-inflated egos in graf (not that many of them are justifiable). Not surprisingly, often it’s these guys who are the first to jump at any opportunity to graf on girls. That’s the part that makes me laugh. I think that for a few guys, www.chicksonpowertrips.com
Bridge x Dboe
Bridge x Masto
painting onto someone’s body is a dominance thing. The thought of allowing some twentysomething, four-foot-nothing girl to put them in the hot seat is a little bit emasculating. What do you think about the graf-ongirls trend anyway? Some say it’s pure objectification, others pure art. What’s your take?
What paint do you use? I’m still learning and encountering problems with my methods. I started off using an airbrush for all the fills, but this made the boys really cold which wasn’t much good during winter. So I canned that and just started using paintbrushes and sponges. I’m too lazy to buy actual body paint, and instead just use regular acrylic paints. This means that the paint cracks off fairly quickly, which is also sped up by certain subjects’ apparent inability to sit still. The most useful tip I can offer, if one is not going to be arsed to buy body paint, is that mixing a flow medium into the paint gives it more elasticity and stops the surface from cracking too much.
I love it! Really, the main reason I got into this in the first place was because I liked the idea of painting skin, but I didn’t care much for the idea of painting girls. Body painting is by no means a recent innovation, it’s a very simple idea, and I don’t think we, as females, should be offended by men who can ‘recognise a good canvas’ as one of my friends put it. If you were an animal, TILT’s Bubble Girls books I’m not just dragging what animal would you were at the forefront of the dudes off the street be and why? graf-on-girls phenomenon, I think a fox. Probably here. They are but if you flip through his a Fennec fox to be books, you’ll notice all friends and peers more specific (minus of his subjects’ names, the HUGE ears—I have and I chose them occupations, ages and so very small ears). This is on are all listed. These because they possess because they are small girls have faces and he qualities I admire. and look really harmless, is careful to recognise but if you happen to be a that they existed before desert rodent you are going to be in so much shit. ‘His Highness’ rocked up and painted their bare They are kind of loners as well, not pack animals, bodies. That’s not so much the case now, and I which I can relate to as I am one who enjoys think that is where people are getting offended. solitude regularly. There are too many headless, nameless, graffedup, naked girls on the internet. I don’t find that Last of all, what’s coming up for you? offensive, I just feel it may be overdone. I’ve just been part of the C.O.P. co-curated So you’re not objectifying your subjects? Haha! Does it look that way? Well, it’s certainly not my intention. I view it as more of a collaboration: the model’s tag, track record, personality and painting style is just as important as the actual painting, if not more. I’m not just dragging dudes off the street here. They are friends and peers and I chose them because they possess qualities I admire. Some of my subjects are guys I used to paint with when I was younger, so essentially they taught me a lot of what I know. I think it’s fun for everyone involved too, we have a bunch of beers and a laugh and it’s all pretty relaxed.
Edge of Love group show at Strychnin Gallery in Berlin. I’ve got a range of skateboard decks on the way too, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. Thanks to some extremely motivated people at Westsyde Connection in Sydney, it’s finally happening. I’m currently working on a brand new body of work, which will be keeping me occupied throughout most of this year, and then I’ll be planning some more travel towards the end of the year. www.bridgestehli.com
Bridge x WATER
Published on Aug 23, 2010
A selection of pages from C.O.P. Issue #3. Released in August of 2010, C.O.P. Magazine Issue 3 is 112 pages of good stuff for girls who are...