Page 1

the artist maxy raissone de l’artiste

the artist maxy rai

issone de l’artiste

[above] max in front of his mural at perfect tommmy’s [right] big bertha blowz her stak as seen in the film blood brothers; bruce springsteen and the e street band [left]

the artist maxy and the “streetstyle” school of new york in the 80’s & 90’s “the artist maxy” (aka Max Singer) is nothing if not one of the brashest, most vibrant and challenging exponents of that genre of New York Art loosely known as “Streetstyle.” As its name suggests, Streetstyle was an anti-academic movement tuned into the Zeit of the streets and the clubs. In the New York of the early 80’s when this movement first hit it’s stride, this “Zeit” included a heady gumbo of music (hip-hop, punk and world music) and multi-cultural motifs (tribal iconography, graffiti and underground cartoons). While lesser known than his contemporaries Haring and

Basquiat, Maxy and his work exhibit much of the common set of artistic and cultural influences, attitudes and lifestyles that unifies this stylistically diverse genre. Like Haring, also a cartoonist, Maxy began his career as an underground cartoonist (for the Nola Express) and was heavily influenced by R.Crumb and the ZAP Comix artists. It was also in New Orleans that Maxy discovered and became enamored of Molas, (highly patterned and decorative Guatemalan folk tapestries) which also played such a large part in Haring’s iconography and style. It was there too that he fell sway to the predominantly Black Southern Folk art that so resonates in the work of Basquiat.

Maxy’s style, technique and iconography has many similarities to those contemporaries: in the use of line to separate areas of disparate color like Haring, in the spontaneous application of paint like Basquiat and, like both, in the use of outlandish cartoon and tribal icons. The themes of Maxy’s paintings include most of the material that Streetstyle loved to represent including scenes taken from black hip-hop street life, work inspired by the music of the moment, imagined patterned landscapes and highly decorative semi-erotic nudes. The Streetstyle artists also professed an almost philosophical distaste for the gallery scene, preferring to exhibit in ad hoc venues

and in the clubs and restaurants they frequented. Maxy arranged exhibits in such clubs as Heartbreak, 167 Varick, Perfect Tommmy’s and (later) Columbus as well as such well known music spots as the Knitting Factory and Tramps. (Also exhibiting at Snug Harbor Jazz Bistro and Peligro outsider art gallery in New Orleans.) All-in-all, while Streetstyle may have passed it’s “moment,” Maxy and its other exponents remain a refreshing counterbalance to the assembly line that much of contemporary art has become as well as reminders of an exciting period in New York art history. n —trv

the artist maxy: raissone de l'artiste  
the artist maxy: raissone de l'artiste  

the artist maxy and the “streetstyle” school of new york in the 80’s & 90’s “the artist maxy” (aka Max Singer) is nothing if not one of the...