DON’T HATE, COLLABORATE!
Street art encompasses a variety of techniques from markers, stickers, hand drawing, stencils, brush painting, aerosol painting, sculptures, and wheat paste posters. The artists all take the time, energy, and great risks in putting their work out onto the streets under harsh public scrutiny. Street art is constantly evolving and new mediums will be embraced but the same goal unites all the forms– it’s all about leaving your mark. People are always trying to be new, different, innovative and creative. They are creating art for their own sake, as an extension of their feelings and emotions. Visually arresting and provocative works of art are created that offer a unique perspective and take on different meanings depending upon the reaction and interpretations of the viewer. Most artists do their work alone and because of the illegal locations of their work, it usually doesn’t last. Whether the work gets ripped or torn down, painted over by the public or by other artists competing for space, their work is often temporary. There is extreme competition on the street. Graffiti art, in particular, which is often viewed by the public as an eyesore and an act of vandalism, typically does not last on the streets. Even many of the artists themselves don’t get along. There is a lot of conflict or “beef” between individual artists or crews on the streets, which can occur accidentally or intentionally, and start from something as simple as someone putting their tag over someone else’s tag. There has also been a lot of friction between the graffiti community and street artists regarding the lack of respect and knowledge of history. With the increasing popularity of stickers as a form of street art, there is more opportunity for artists to collaborate. Stickers are small and easily shippable so that artists can exchange them, add to them and put them up all over the world. With the advent of the Internet, groups have formed such as stickertraders.com, which is a site that helps sticker artists get their sticker art to other artists around the globe and they receive others’ stickers in return. Artists can then have people put up their work in different countries and parts of the world they have never even traveled to. Artists can also meet up virtually or in person, exchange ideas, collaborate on joint projects, and trade stickers. The creators can post their work on their own site or photosharing sites such as flickr and have it travel the world virtually. A global exchange is happening which is unique to stickers because other forms of street art require the artist to actually paint, draw, or sketch in person. The collaborative process is not limited by age, race, sex, and cultural background and is a great way for artists to get together, bring new styles to the table and create amazing works of street art. With his pink Cadillac collaborations, Billi Kid pastes himself firmly into this street-driven timeline. He is standing out from the crowd and pushing things forward by not taking on the streets alone, but by collaborating with the very artists that would ordinarily be competing for wall space with him.
written by James & Karla Murray authors of Burning New York / Broken Windows
photos by BILLI KID Brand
My pink Cadillac is the perfect vehicle for collaboration. Other artists can send me their designs, characters or photographs, and I will place them behind the wheel. There is no issue about style; everyone’s image can work with mine. Whether it’s completely cartoony or photo realistic, we’ll make it happen. I will then print posters and integrate them into the environment. The reason I chose the pink Cadillac is simply because it is a perfect metaphor for friendship. When you lend a friend your car, it means that you hold a deep regard and trust for that person, that they are like family. It’s also a positive image, a cheerful display of different visions in the driver’s seat. Through collaborations with other artists, my work will take unimaginable directions, and in time, different meanings. I will open my door to new passengers, and who knows where the road will lead us. The message will be up to each viewer and everyone will see something different. Hopefully, it will brighten someone’s day. BILLI KID Brand www.billikid.com After asking around we found that Billi Kid is not alone in this idea of, “Hey, let’s collaborate and take each of our incredible ideas to another level.” I like working on collaborations with other artists because there’s no sort of direction or rules, it’s spontaneous creation. I get to work with people who have different styles and different techniques and I gain knowledge and hopefully we come up with a good end product. I think one of the reasons why graffiti artists and street artists have not gotten along is that many of the artists really aren’t aware of the history of graffiti and street art. They really have no clue and therefore don’t respect each other’s space. To me, if you are going to go BIG, then you really need to go find a neighborhood where you can go big and not go over other people’s stuff. That’s disrespectful and things get ugly from there. I’m not a spray artist. I’ve used spray paint but I prefer to draw. That works better for me. But when I do installations, I always work with the street that was there before me. Sometimes the work that is already there is good and sometimes it’s crap but I feel that I still have no right to go over it. If both graffiti artists and street artists worked together, they could really take their art to another level. They could create amazing pieces of work. CELSO www.elcelso.com I like to collaborate with other artists because the artwork that we create is instantly unique. An unsuspecting bystander might not have any idea that it’s a collaboration, but might be interested or lured to inspect an item based on one of the collab’ing artists’ styles. I love to see my work right next to another artist’s because it puts the work in a totally different light. It’s also a cool way of meeting people who care about the exact same kind of art and who appreciate another’s style. JSHINE www.flickr.com/photos/shizgenius continued...