word of mouth. “the timing was crucial and the response was tremendous,” he says. “We new graffiti artists wouldn't be in the Hamptons in August like other artists.”
The gorilla reference says Red Spot, is a parody on “guerilla” would be more descriptive of the exhibiting artists. “We decided to do a parody on it,” he says. “The whole Lower East Side is a parody of the art World.”
Artists in the Gorilla Show include: Lawren Hancher who specializes in painted food “fragments”; Linus Coraggio with his 3-D graffiti;” and Scot Borofsky and Robin Vanarsdol both of who work on large murals in the area.
TO TAKE THEM HOME
Hancher's multicolored wood fragments are done much in the spirit of Red Spot's masks and she deposits hundreds of them at various places in the city with the hope that people will take them home.
“They just sort of appear,” says Hancher as she places one of her fragments on a ledge near the Avenue B Gallery. “I like the ambiguity. I love street art but I'm not at the point where I can take a spray can and make it permanent.”
Linus Coraggio has an untitled 3-D graffiti piece composed of painted wood and metal attached to one of his favorite props, a city bus stop sign pole, directly across from the gallery. He has been bolting them to similar poles throughout the city over the last two years. His work is often removed by enthusiastic street art collectors but Coraggio says he bolts them to insure some degree of permanence.
“I always attract a crowd when I'm doing it,” he says. “I've been using a hatchet in case anyone gets too weird and I pretend I'm going to hit them but I never do.”
Scot Borofsky likes to think big and his “Pattern Walk” of 20 murals representing over a year's work on a dilapidated block near 6th St. and Ave. C is a good example
Pattern Walk is based on Borofsky's studies of Pre-Columbian art and its lower East side setting reinforces that theme. “They are based on things found in Columbian ruins,” he said last week as he stood beside a mural called “Monkey and the Mushroom,” “These are urban ruins.”
The “monkey and Mushroom,” like many such street scenes, has a modern message of its own with the monkey representing evolution and the mushroom and atomic explosion. “It represents where we assume we came from to where we assume we're going to end,” he says.
Several wall sections of abandoned buildings were left purposely untouched by Borofsky who hopes other artists will come in and compliment his work with their own art. “Wear your crash helmet and do something decadent,” he advises.
Wall murals are also the specialty of Robin Vanarsdol or R.V. Whose work centers in Soho. The Post Office loading bay on the corner of Greene and Spring Streets serves as a virtual gallery for R.V.'s themes and symbols are mostly personal and strive to convey his own life experiences and philosophy. A mural called “Corvette Anxiety,” for example, reflects on the artist's desire as a young man to drive fast in a new Corvette, in much the same way as today when he must paint fast to avoid arrest for vandalism.
Another mural called “bad Jet” (one of the most populart R.V. symbols) “represents the model airplanes I played with as a child,” he explained. “The airplanes never killed things but I killed things.” Next to Bad Jet is “Gunboat Waiting for Bad Jet,” a symbol of the artist “waiting for anything that attacks me.”
R.V.'s anxiety in his art work is perhaps representative of the paranoia experienced by many street artists who usually work in the dead of night with one eye over the shoulder. Almost everyone at one time or another has run into problems with zealous cops or irate building owners. Only last week, Borofsky was kicked to the sidewalk by a bouncer after spraying his “tag” on a wall near a local nightclub; Linus Corragio had to make a quick getaway on his oversize skateboard when a 3-D graffiti piece ran afoul of the law.
Red Spot says he's heard rumors that police are using B.B. Guns to discourage street artists but adds that, most of the time, work is allowed to progress as long as it isn't on those streets the police generally try to keep clean and if it “contributes to the neighborhood.”
Many of the artists in the Gorilla Show hold various daytime jobs while some are able to support themselves on their studio work. The motivation for street art ranges from a desire to take the non-gallery route to fame, like former street exhibitors Kieth Haring or Richard Hambleton, to a simple quest for artistic freedom with the widest public participation. (Haring has become known for the subway drawings while Hambleton, the creator of Soho's famous silhouettes has moved outward and upward into the art world). Street artists may be paranoid but the competition is stiff. R.V., for example has been working Mercer Street for years but find his work is regularly covered over by new artists looking for their own corner of the city.
“If you dont stay on the street you work doesn't stay on the street,” he says, gazing at the faded remains of a Bad Jet rendition. “If you can have a piece go for three years you're real lucky.”
THE VILLAGER, AUG.23, 1984
Unabashedly profound, subtle and shocking, assimilator of sacred symbols, his historical roots be in the art of ancient Greek, Asian and Latin American cultures, Electrical landscapes, mystical visions, pyramids, women, Bhuddas, and icons, these are the subjects of his haunting hieroglyphs, paintings. Mystical impulse, striving to find a contemporary voice? Or a prototypical “alternative” sensibility? Primary symbols are derived from nature. Ancient, persistent, indestructible. Known through his works among the ruins and remnants, graffitiste, he admits he's a notorious finder-keeper, combing the ground, watching the sky. Was a Contemporary Primitive.
-unknown writer and source
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THE VILLAGER, SEPT.13, 1984
by JAMES SHEEHAN
You've heard of Wingo, Zingo and Lotto, now there's Graffiti Pimples, the new game that gives you an education in street art and offers cash prizes at the same time.
Graffiti Pimples is the creation of artist Allen Daugherty, known to his friends as Red Spot. To play you must first locate one of Red Spots plaster masks which he has placed in numerous spots around the Lower East Side and Soho. When you find one simply smash it to pieces and get the money inside.
"I try to make at least four of them a week," says Red Spot. "I really want people to destroy them rather than take them home." Other prominant street art by Red Spot includes posters on the Lower East Side and in Soho depicting, of all things, red spots.
Red Spot's work, along with the street art creations of 50 other artists, is featured in the Gorilla Art Show at the 167 Avenue B Gallery through August 26.
Those who visit the gallery however, should be prepared for some hiking. The real show is on the streets of lower Manhattan where phantom artists have left their murals, sculptures and graffiti.
At the Avenue B Gallery visitors can pick up a guide with maps for each artist and get an idea of what's in store by brousing through the color photographs on the walls.
A GORILLA GAB SESSION
The show will continue after August 26 with part two beginning at the Avenue B gallery on September 6 with a "Gorilla Gab Session" featuring several artists speaking on their street work. The evening will also include videos of artists at work. Part three begins on October 4 and will feature the studio works of Soho artist Larmee who has done several large street murals in the area.
How did this Gorilla Show concept come about? Red Spot and artist Martin Hason who conceived the show, posted invitations to street artists around town and, according to Red Spot, things developed from there by
UNKOWN WRITER AND SOURCE