The works I’ve been doing in the bus stops of New York and other cities are very different from the types of street art I’ve done in the past. It’s the first time that the work I’m presenting in the streets is protected under glass, just like the ads themselves. Usually when I paint or glue a painting on the streets, it’s physically accessible to the public. People can touch it or interact with it if they wish. When paintings are within these advertisement spaces, they’re inaccessible but on view.
I recently created a large-scale site-specific installation for Rice Gallery at Rice University in Houston, Texas. The gallery invited me to create a work of art for their annual Summer Windows project.
Basically, while the gallery is closed for the summer, they have an artist create an installation to be displayed behind the giant glass façade of the gallery. For my installation, I selected and scanned four fashion advertisements from magazines then had a billboard printer print them onto vinyl almost 16 feet tall apiece. I painted on top of the four advertisements and we installed them behind the glass of the gallery side-by-side. The completed piece measured over 44 feet wide. I really like the contradiction of these advertisements in a university setting, a place where education occurs, not outright commerce or a sales pitch. Interestingly, the gallery façade is just like the bus-stop shelter ad spaces. The paintings are presented behind glass for viewing but physically inaccessible to the public. The completed work is titled Crosstown Traffic, a reference to the street level advertising spaces from which we normally encounter such ads and to the subversive nature of the works.