Greg Lamarche has been contributing to Mass Appeal since way back, and his broad range of artistic gift has helped to define our voice. From his years of paying dues in subway tunnels, to his work as a successful commercial and fine artist, Lamarche also personifies the evolution of the culture. Former Mass Appeal photo editor Stephen K. Schuster kicked it with Lamarche in an effort to get the heart of the man some folks call SP.One’s art.
Yo G, thanks so much for sitting down with me. With the re-launch of Mass Appeal. I think it’s important to check in with people who helped to elevate the magazine from a graf ‘zine to the Mecca of urban culture that the publication eventually became…But alrighty, let’s get into it: I know that materials play a big role in your work. Your studio is full of materials, lots of them found I believe? Do you consider yourself a “hoarder”?
For a while I didn’t want to embrace the term “hoarder” but the truth of the matter is, I have accumulated an enormous amount of materials. The big difference is that people who hoard mainly collect things out of impulse, where as I collect materials that will eventually be used in my artwork, or at least that is what I tell myself. I have fun with it and as you can imagine it has been a long running joke when people see how much I’ve amassed over the years. That said, when there is an opportunity to get materials you have to jump on it because as time goes by it becomes more difficult to find the materials that I use. It’s not like I can just go pick them up at any art store.
The city plays a big role in your work. Do you think you’d still be an artist if you grew up in the country?
I feel that I would be doing something creative. I was drawing as soon as I could hold a crayon and my parents exposed me to art at a very young age. I’m not sure that I would have ever started writing graffiti if I had grown up somewhere else than New York City.
I’ve been trying to channel the energy and experience that graffiti gave me, but I feel like I’ve been falling short. Do you find similar struggles in your practice?
For me it has been a great source of inspiration and has given me a platform to be heard. There are many aspects of graffiti that are ripe for transformation and reinvention. Graffiti is a part of what informs my work but is not the only thing that inspires me. It is important to take that energy and create something new while continuing to move forward.
Do you feel pressure to maintain street cred?
Street cred is a part of the journey but as I get older I don’t feel any pressure about it. Check the resume, I got enough street cred to last me for quite a while.