An Open Letter To Banksy, Chris Brown, Justin Bieber and Some Herb Who Still Thinks It’s 1974 Out Here
Don't quit your day jobs.
Again, I want to say thank you for coming to New York and doing the “street art” thing. Mayor Bloomberg got all worked up and the entire media game hopped onto your sac like that frog from the videogame Frogger. Classic game from the era when writers like Min and Bio were smashing the lines. As kids, we used to go to the arcades in the Times Square area—AKA “Forty Deuce.” Too bad you didn’t get to experience that New York. You could easily catch a Chinese star right in the forehead for looking at somebody sideways in that era. And if you woulda got caught doing what you do on the streets of New York back then, the cops woulda just put your ass in the hospital and they woulda called it even…maybe Pete Townsend would have visited you in the hospital (he’s had his own run-ins with NYC coppers: he once kicked one in the sac while on stage at the Fillmore East). But I digress.
I thought it was corny when Apple “writers” went over your valuable street art. Just a bunch of attention whores looking to come up off of your pimp game. SMH.
Listen: what you did had a lot of people on the streets looking at what’s happening on the streets. Now some people who do what they do on the streets don’t really care about what non-street people think about the art culture that exists on the streets and in the tunnels and what not. There’s no money in what they do, and for a time, there was no money in what you did. What you have done is amazing. I know I was in the press a lot when you were in town, but I know that the only reason why I got so much burn was because you were shaking things up. ‘Twas a great platform for the Write of Passage program and exhibition we created with Red Bull (which is open to the public on Saturdays up through November 23rd; 218 w. 18th street to be exact). Some folks in the press said that I was “irritated”—which was pretty funny. I’ve been a journalist for some years, and it was pretty interesting to be on the other side of the digital recorder, saying what I said and eventually reading how my words were processed. I wouldn’t have used “irritated.” I think a word like “disinterested” would have been more fitting.
Then again, I had to feign interest in an effort to spread the Write of Passage gospel to the world and educate folks along the way: what you do isn’t “graffiti” in the sense that folks in the writing community understand it to be (I realize that you know this), but the media will just lump everything together into one nice chunky sugar lump. Writers focus on words and letters and reimagining words and letters. You sometimes draw rainbows and umbrellas and so much more and you use stencils and that is awesome. Easy just writes his name everywhere, but there is something to be said for a classic signature/single hit. Ain’t no money in that, though.
I will say that I’m not particularly interested in what you have to say about the “ghetto” or the Freedom Tower—yeah, in this instance you can say I was “irritated.” Money: stick to making art and reserve your comments on such matters for you and your buddies at the pub on the other side of the pond. Better yet, come to Queensbridge or Bay Ridge talking any of that nonsense and watch what happens. In QB, the natives will give you a real taste of the “ghetto”, if that is what thrills you. You know what the term going “hand to hand” means? Oh no? OK—let’s fix that. The folks in Bay Ridge are very patriotic; they’re not happy with your greasy Freedom Tower talk. They will treat you like a Redcoat in 1777. Maybe some Redcoats from Queensbridge can show you a good time? Are you familiar with the modern day Redcoats? They also call themselves Bloods. You should check them out in their natural habitat. Burr-rappp! Burr-rappp! I-ight? Cheers, mate.
Some months ago, this scribe screamed on dancer/singer Chris Brown because he was trying to make it in the “graffiti” game. I hadn’t realized at the time that he was being schooled by West Coast OG Slick. Kudos for Brown for working with someone of Slick’s caliber. As I said last time, Brown has some paint control. And maybe now that he’s looking at jail time for being a jackass yet again (didn’t he paint a donkey?) Brown can really focus in on his letterforms. If he winds up doing that bid he’ll have plenty of time to brush up on his styles. Chris: while you’re chillin’ in protective custody, please study the masterworks of guys like Kel 1st and Kase 2 TFP—you won’t go wrong my N.
An editor here at Mass Appeal just hipped me to the fact that Justin Bieber is trying his hand with the cans. Bieber—we REALLY don’t believe you. Pull your pants up, put the pipe down and stop spending money on prostitutes in Brazil. When you are rich and white and you travel to foreign countries to exploit the women you are a like a poor man’s Christopher Columbus. At least my main man Chris has a whole holiday named after his ass. You will never have a holiday named after you (well, maybe in Singapore. Be careful with the prostitutes over there—you never really know what you’re getting into is how I understand things to be). Bieber: stay away from graffiti, stay away from street art and stay away from the streets in general. You ain’t about that life ‘lil homie.
Lastly, there’s a fellow New Yorker named Hugo Martinez. Hugo is important because he created UGA—United Graffiti Artists—back in the early 1970s. UGA was a guild for (graffiti) writers; Martinez created a studio for these kids, lined up gallery shows. Martinez was the first to say hey, what you kids are doing is ART. At the Write of Passage exhibition, we have two paintings from Snake 1 that date back to 1973 and 1974. Snake told me that he was the first so-called graffiti artist to sell his work on canvas. Banksy: you should cut Snake a big fat fucking check with lots of zeroes at the end.
Mentioning Mr. Martinez because I reached out to him through a friend. I was looking to pay my respects, and perhaps get him in the mix of some of the things we’ve got going on with the program, even though most sane people said I would regret reaching out to him. I believe that it is always good to give people the benefit of a doubt. My friend relayed Mr. Martinez’ message for me: “Kiss my ass.”
Hey Hugo—much respect to you, papa. You’ve made some really important moves on behalf of the culture. As far as me kissing your ass though, never that. That’s not my scene. Is that yours? If it is, no judgments. America is a land of many freedoms and if getting your ass kissed by men you don’t know floats your boat then I say NO TITANIC! Hey, I don’t really find you attractive like that, and this is just from the pictures I’ve seen from 1973. Still, I’m happy to share with the world that that is what you’re looking for from a man you’ve never met. Hugo Martinez wants me to kiss his ass! Hey Banksy: would YOU kiss Hugo’s ass? Nah. You’re too RICH. Keep getting’ money, my dude. It’s all love over here. Just keep the ghetto and the Freedom Tower out your mouth and we good.