We caught Shepard and his crew in the act of installing a gigantic new Obey poster on Waterbury & Scholes. Although his most recent interview didn't go so well Shepard, man that he is, stepped up to the plate to answer a few questions for the Bushwick Dream.
So why this piece and why here?
Well, I'm friends with Jay Leritz who is one of the owners of Yummus Hummus. He and I knew each other when we lived in San Diego. He told me that this building was an open spot and of course I noticed that there are a lot of musicians in this neighborhood and that there's this metal venue right across the street [Acheron]. And I DJ, and I've been doing this series as a tribute to the record cover format, the square format, so I thought this would make sense. And I also had the measurements and it worked, mathematically. So, yeah. You turn your limitations into assets. I always like to do big stuff outdoors, if I can. I think this is a good spot, I like this neighborhood.
What else do you have planned while you're in New York?
I'm in town until the 6th. I've done a little bit here and there, some opportunities have presented themselves and I have some other walls lined up, some in Brooklyn and some in Manhattan. Obviously some of my assistants from L.A. are here helping. I'd rather just have it be a surprise, have people stumble on it than say where it's going to be. Some things fall through and some new things pop up. But we're gonna be in public art mode right now.
What do you think about Brooklyn Museum pulling the plug on the Art in the Streets exhibit that they were planning to have this year? They said it was for financial reasons, but there's some suspicion that that wasn't quite the full story.
You know I don't know, I haven't heard anything other than that it was for financial reasons. I am friends with one of the curators there and she was really excited about doing it. And they've done other graffiti shows in the past, so I don't know, I don't see why this one would be more problematic politically than any of the other ones. I do know that it's an expensive show to put together, L.A. MoCA was barely was able to fund it, with sponsorship. So, it could be legit, who knows.
It's disappointing when you think of New York being a real birthplace, in a lot of ways, of the graffiti and street art movement. Even though of course it's expanded to a lot of cities around the globe. You know, it's an important place for the show to be seen and I hope it makes it to a few other cities, but it was a major accomplishment in L.A. and I'm happy for that.
I'm grateful for anything that happens that puts a good group of artists together and shows what they're doing. A lot of the commentary that I hear is, "Well, you know, what do you think about the de-clawing or de-fanging of street art by putting it in a museum?" Well, first of all, it's not street art in a museum, you fucking moron. It's art, it's just art. Street art is on the street. I'm so sick of that shit. You know, I still do street art, everybody that calls themselves a street artist should still do street art. Otherwise you're just an artist, but it's fine to use a lot of different platforms for art. You know, it's totally narrow-minded to say that art's only legitimate in galleries and museums, and it's just as narrow-minded to say it's only legitimate outdoors. Those things, anything that's about unhealthy boxes or categories that people want to put things in because they want to be a gatekeeper in that category--it's about them and their ego, it's not about a thriving dialogue about the power of art, so, fuck that shit!