stylist co uk_the_writings_on_the_wall

Download Stylist co uk_the_writings_on_the_wall

Post on 27-May-2015




3 download

Embed Size (px)


An article about female grafitti artist



2. W W W S T Y L I S T C O U K X S T R E E T A R T Forget Banksy, Stylist speaks exclusively to the new breed of female street artists making a splash in the art world WORDS: LEE COAN ts the middle of the night in a scary corner of Queens, New York. And a stylish young woman is being attacked by a dog. But he isnt the first to take a bite out of Claudia one of the most unlikely women you would ever expect to find in a ghetto, at 3am, with a spray can in her hand. Previously, Claudia Gold has been chased by muggers, junkies, gangsters, obsessive fans, rival street artists and the police all in the name of her art. Why? Well, to her devoted fans (who include actresses Cameron Diaz, Scarlett Johansson and singer Santogold), Claudia is Claw Money, one of the biggest names in modern street graffiti. For years, Claw Money kept her identity under wraps, fearing a lengthy jail term. Behind the shroud of secrecy, however, was the story of a woman who has become known as a truly great street artist regardless of her sex a woman who some would say has been as influential as the UKs popular graffiti legend, Banksy. When I first went out to tag [when graffiti artists brand objects with their personalised signature] or the toughest corners of my neighbourhood, Claudia tells me in a rare interview, there were no cell phones, no other women; I couldnt have been more alone. I was completely isolated and in real danger. Id go out into the roughest corners of my city and everyone was out to get me the police, vigilantes, stalkers, security guards, other crews, criminals, that dog but all of that is why I think graffiti is actually so attractive to women, to be a girl going out into such a mans world, with everyone out against you and your art, it couldnt really be more romantic. From 1989 to 2005, Claudia as Claw Money painted thousands of claws across New York and beyond. People assumed I was just some big fat man, pawing at walls, she tells me. Not even my family knew what I was up to at night. Then, when celebrities started wearing T-shirts with Claw Moneys claw on them, the few friends who knew what she was up to started saying it was her moral responsibility to come out. They said I had to give girls a positive role model, says Claudia. At first I didnt get it, because its illegal, but now I do. Its about encouraging women to do exciting female things in such a male- dominated world. FROM THE STREETS UP Claw Money proved that girls could not only succeed in the world of graffiti, but command as much respect as their male counterparts. Where once the art world looked down its nose at graffiti and street art, elusive graffiti artist Banksy has revolutionised the scene. Sothebys sold a Banksy piece for more than 100,000 in 2008 while Damien Hirst is an avid Banksy fan describing him as, A surrealist who makes you think about the world in a completely different way. In the wake of Banksys and Claw Moneys reputations, a new generation of female street artists are bursting on to the scene. Today, smart new female artists like Germanys Neozoon, Brooklyns Swoon, Koreas Che Jen, Amsterdams Mickey, Barcelonas Miss Van and G R A F F I T I V S S T R E E T A R T WHATS THE DIFFERENCE? Graffiti artists tend to focus on laying claim to a part of their city with repeated tags/ imagery, whereas street artists are more about turning an urban landscape into something more eye-catching. WHERE CAN I SEE IT? Graffiti artists are more likely to hit the dangerous corners of a city; whereas street art often occurs in more fashionable, and arguably safer quarters. IS IT LEGAL? No. Neither street art or graffiti is legal. Keeping his identity secret might have helped create a hype around Banksy but its also kept the police from his door. WHAT ARE THE PENALTIES? Local authorities can give you an 80 on-the-spot fine. Larger fines, community service charges, ASBOs and even jail sentences are dished out to repeat offenders. I THE WRITINgS ON THE WALL 3. X W W W S T Y L I S T C O U K S T R E E T A R T Brightons (11-year-old) Solveig, are all being heralded as exciting new talent. One of the biggest names is the remarkable Koralie, a hugely acclaimed Parisian street artist. I think that like all other male jobs, women are getting into street art little by little, says Koralie, whose work has caused a huge stir both in her native France and in America, perhaps because it has such a fresh and unique flavour about it. Her often geisha- inspired pieces have an undeniably feminine feel, so much so, that when you see a wall vandalised by her (shes previously hit Paris, Brooklyn, London and Tokyo) you instantly know it could only have been produced by a very daring and smart young woman. artists, including Che Jen, Koralie, Claw Money, Miss Van, Nuria, Sasu and many more. Banksys 2009 Cans festival featured a large piece by the fantastic Swoon, and the current Made In Britain exhibition now on at the London Miles gallery features new artists such as Chloe Woodgate and Claudia Sabe. Perhaps the most exciting thing about the current wave of female street artists is their ability to bring something completely new to the table. While so many male artists are just trying to be the new Banksy by brazenly copying him, many female artists are doing truly original things. The anonymous Berlin crew known as Neozoon are unique, feminine and slightly bonkers. They use fur as paint, scrounging discarded fur jackets and turning them into lavish hairy street pieces. In their native Germany its becoming all too easy to miss the work of these hugely acclaimed artists as their pieces are stolen by fans within hours of them going up. We started in 2008, a member of Neozoon tells Stylist (refusing to reveal her identity even during our interview). The name refers to friends with different backgrounds but similar interests and ideas. We were always interested in the schizophrenic relation of humans and animals in the urban context. And by discovering that loads of old fur coats were put to one side in the process of clothes recycling we connected our interest, the material and the wish to work on the street to start Neozoon. DOING IT THEMSELVES Neozoons work has included such outlandish feats as installing a fake cage full of fur coat animals at the German zoos in Mnster and Magdeburg. Soon we have to clean out our working space, so a huge fur coat King Kong on a tower block wall would be great preferably in New York! Neozoons spokeswoman tells Stylist. However, Neozoon want to be known for more than being female. There are still more men working in public space, she says, but that doesnt bother us. Just about everything except for pie-making contests is male dominated. Why should street art be an exception? One aspect of the scene where the girls seem to be doing incredibly well is in their ability to turn their art into business. Since revealing her identity Claudia has turned her once-criminal art into a successful fashion label. Claw Money clothing and jewellery is worn by singers MIA, Kanye West and Rihanna while Claudia has been hired to make bespoke pieces for Vans, Nike and Adidas. NEXT BIG THING With all the excitement surrounding women in the street art scene, it has even been suggested by some that Banksy is a woman. I dont want to be sexist but I dont think Banksy is a woman, says Andrea Castano of the blog UK Street Art ( He has been painting for years, way before street art became prominent and popular so he was street painting in the minority. His messages dont appear to come from a womans voice, and I feel that they are on the whole very masculine. So not if its not Betty Banksy who has shaken up the traditional art scene will the next big name on the street scene to go mainstream be female? I got into graffiti, because I didnt feel like I was excelling at anything in my life, explains Claudia. I was mediocre at pretty much everything I did, at a time where so many of my male friends were going out tagging. I wanted to prove something to myself I thought if I can do this, something that someone like me shouldnt be able to do, I can do anything. I dont know if thats inspirational to other girls, but it was inspirational to me. C O L L E C T O R S W O R K From New York to the West Bank, here are some of the most iconic art pieces from around the world BLEK LE RATS RATS Paris The Parisian pioneer of stencil graffiti art is so influential that even Banksy has name-checked his work, saying Every time I think Ive painted something slightly original, I find out that Blek le Rat has done it as well, only 20 years earlier. FAB FIVE FREDDYS SOUP New York The man who linked graffiti to hip-hop and was immortalised in a Blondie song sprayed giant soup cans on a New York train in 1980. SABERS RIVER Los Angeles Its nearly a mile long, took nearly a year to complete, yet Saber still didnt get caught spraying his mural on the LA Rivers concrete sprawl. BANKSYS HOLIDAY SNAPS West Bank barrier In 2005, Banksy headed out to decorate Israels controversial West Bank barrier. He painted nine images including Balloon Debate (pictured left) and was told by an old man that they made the wall look beautiful before saying, We dont want it to be beautiful, we hate this wall. Go home. SHEPARD FAIREYS OBEY Rhode Island The man who became famous with the Barack Obama Hope posters made his name covering the cities of the world with a message to Obey. What began in Rhode Island spread across the globe. There is a big risk involved in the scene that traditionally women havent dared to take, says Koralie, saying that you need to do just that to succeed in street art. Being an artist is not really financially safe, you must bear ups and downs. However, Koralie has made money from her work, by turning her work into a brand