Saturday, July 2, 2011

Stick Em' Up


The Stick Em' Up event was going to happen at the Cameo Theater, but the Cameo was shut down due to fire code violations. The event was moved to an urban warehouse on John Young Parkway just south of Lee Road. The warehouse is used as a graffiti sweat shop. In the front room rows of spray paint cans were for sale. A robot designed by an infamous NYC graffiti artist named Chico was on display. In the back of the warehouse preparations were underway for a mad party. The large loading dock door was rolled open. The walls were painted black while some old graffiti peaked out above the darkness. In the corner of the room this couple lay comatose in the 69 position. Noel, a hug bear of a man, said, "I just threw them in the corner. That is how they happened to fall." I didn't know if I should believe him. Since I had arrived early, I couldn't resist sketching the couple. They are sculpted from found objects. For instance the women's pants are sofa cushions.

The bright magenta and yellow painting above the couple spells out something. I recruited several other people to try and read it for me but no one could. Other colorful urban art covered the walls. After the sketch was done, I drove up the street to a MacDonald's to get something to eat. I ordered a big Mac and fries but I didn't super size the meal. I rushed back to the warehouse just as it started to get crowded. People who entered the event got "Hello my name is..." stickers. Maisy May Mars and Travis Smith were outside behind a card table with their stickers on display. Stickers are quick, meaningful temporary works of street art that are designed to be seen by the masses. At this event stickers could be bought or traded. Maisy had "Radioactive Snail" stickers. Her stickers are found in cities around the world thanks to the Internet and an active artist community that has helped this artistic craze go viral. Maisy and Travis were selling stickers for just $1. Travis drew a hammer on a "Hello my name is..." sticker. I put it on my bag. I was tagged.

Artists spread out in the parking lot and started making art. I sat next to Maisy's table and sketched an artist as he spray painted intricate yellow circular patterns on a large sheet of canvas. People stood around and watched him as he worked. Inside the DJ started cranking up the volume on the rap and hip hop music...

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