I met SP in a layup back in 1987. The RR train. I believe the train was parked between the Broadway and 36th Avenue stops. He was with his boys Dash MDC and Hush Sports. I was with my man Sate who would go on to be a drill sergeant in the US Army, in addition to living through multiple tours of duty in various Middle-Eastern conflicts. Anyway, that night, the cops raided the spot. Dash broke free and jetted to the Broadway station, bouncing on that old-ass wood that typically suspended trackworkers above angry New York traffic. Hush and SP got bagged though. Happens to the best of ‘em, happens to the worst of ‘em. Sate and me hopped on the train with our long bum coats on.
Greg “SP” Lamarche has come a long way from his days as a tunnel rat. Today, SP has transitioned his passion for letterforms into the world of fine art. There’s a real science behind what he crafts and it is a sharp reflection of what his eyes have witnessed as he made his way through the streets of the Big Apple. So open wide. Just try no to bite too hard. His new one man show, “Timeless,” just blasted off at the Joshua Liner gallery in NYC. Treat your eyes to something nice if you’re in the vicinity. Better yet, keep your eyes happy by purchasing his work.
You’ve been obsessed with letterforms since day one. Why have letters been such an important part of your work?
First and foremost? Years of writing graffiti. Spending tons of time designing and redesigning letters opened me up to the infinite creative possibilities and variations of letters, type, alphabets and fonts. Letters can be utilized in a vast array from ultra graphic to complete abstraction. Personally I enjoy the challenge of creating something completely new out of something so pervasive and universal.
Can you tell us about some of your influences, as far as people behind the letterforms who have inspired you, be it typefaces, burners or hand styles?
My first real interest in letters came from comic books and rock band logos. I spent countless hours emulating those logos on my notebooks in grade school. Once I got into graffiti people like Rab, Dondi, Lee, Mitch 77 to name a few, really opened my eyes, not only to complex letterforms but also the effectiveness of big, bold, block letters. Hand style played a big role in my early development and it is an important component to being a well-rounded writer. I feel very lucky to have witnessed some of the most amazing hand styles that came out of the late seventies and early eighties on the New York subways. Writers like KP, Sofine, Quik, OE and countless others really mastered their own distinct individual styles and that was something that I wanted to create for myself.
You’ve put together an amazing one-man show. Can you give us some perspective on where the sentiments behind it came from?
The exhibition is comprised of several different series of collage works that I have been working on over the last year and a half. The great thing about this show is that people will see a wide range of styles in one place and get a chance to see how all the works are all connected through materials, letterforms and of course graffiti. The exhibition also includes a site-specific wall painting that relates to the collages as well. It is exciting to translate some of the collage imagery to paint and a larger scale. I feel like I’ve come full circle in a way.