Friday, March 30, 2007

OBEY & W.K. Interact

After an unforgettable trip a month ago, I'm back in Tokyo this weekend. I'll spend the next three days looking at art and walking around. At night, my sister and I will be dancing in a club, preferably one that's packed and sweaty. Today I hit up Shibuya first, walked around for four hours, and got to four museums. In between, I spent a while in Yoyogi park, one of Tokyo's best cherry blossom viewing spots. The weather/day was perfect.
Called the "East/West Propaganda Project," this exhibition is on display in Tokyo Wonder Site in Shibuya. Shepard Fairey aka OBEY lives in LA and attended Risdee. It was there he started doing his iconic sketches of the French wrestler AndrĂ© Roussinof, known as "AndrĂ© the Giant." He took his drawings to the streets of LA and adapted the message "Obey Giant." The characters in his drawings today are politicians, policemen, and activists. Not surprisingly, the "obey" message is a call–in form of sarcastic propaganda–to do the exact opposite. One of his works is a picture of a menacing policeman with the quote, "I'm gonna kick your ass, and get away with it." He founded the magazine Swindle and is own apparel line Obey Clothing.
W.K. Interact is from France but has lived most of his life in NY. Early on, he showed an interest in depicting the moving body. In high school he would watch the dance class, sketching the dancers in action. His obsession with capturing the fluidity of body movements is prevalent in all of his work today. In a few wall-scale paintings I saw today, bike riders were flying by, the last half of their body blurred by the motion. It looked as would a low-shutter speed photograph.
Of the two, I preferred W.K.'s stuff more, if only because OBEY's tri-color, stationary prints looked lifeless next to Interact's dense, moving compositions. Yet, neither artist was really impressive. Maybe I set my hopes too high. Or maybe these artists are suitable for this environment. Perhaps their stuff only makes sense in its original context–on the street.

1 comment:

Jared said...

Really, really like your blog, looks like it's been awhile since you've posted. I think that's a shame because your pictures are beautiful. I put a link to your blog on mine, hope you don't mind.