Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sexing the Paste

Black Mark's Women of Paste stirred Facebook debate about gender, identity and assumption.  I was willing my 'smart' phone to load the bloody notifications faster. For those who haven't followed the Fb thread, the comments on his post are equally compelling.  I can't fully articulate a position on the 'gendering' of street art because my position shifts daily and I would probably disagree with myself tomorrow.  I can't speak with authority about the history of women in street art either, but recommend Googling it and reading Street Girls: The rise of Female Street Art in Cat Fight Magazine.

In Fitzroy in my experience that admittedly commences in the 00's street artists have invariably bombed in waves.  Their methodology for the most part tends to be a combination of tagging, pasting, throw ups and pieces.  Capping and slicing is generally par for the course and as people know, right now, this a bit of a contentious issue. Gender calls are hard to make without making assumptions, and assumptions are impossible to uphold given that they rely on typecasting.

I am guilty of making assumptions about class, and maintain that those more financially endowed will have the capacity to produce pieces that those without will not.  However I don't believe money, gender or ethnography solely determine motivation, influence opportunity or affect the impression an artist makes. As Snyder observed when he visited us recently, Australia has developed its own culture outside of the American context, for example.

So getting back to Black Mark's question, why are women attracted to paste ups, I can't answer without getting an uncomfortable tightness in my throat, and without saying that (1) you cannot assume the gender of the artists to which he has referred, (2) you cannot assume that it is all that they do and (3) his selection is not a current depiction of who is doing what.

I mean no disrespect to Black Mark, for whom I have very high regard and with an uncomfortable eagerness I offer the following compilation of 'male identified' street artists who paste, un-gendered street artists who paste and chicks who do more than paste...

 Barek, above - whilst alas he resides so far away, his creatures have brightened Fitzroy when opportunity has arisen.  Below, whilst not currently proliferating, Flake with his offsider Durban Poison have pasted awesome large scale images
S-701-a and Ruskidd continue to do amazing things for us using amongst other mediums, the trusty paste up

Vandal Spruce once famously covered this building below in skulls.  He is joined by a few newer artists, such as Noican.  Gender not identified.

Above Precious Little, a Snyder

 Above, one of my all time favs Nufevah, below him Burg, gender not assumed

Below, a chick with an aerosol erection, and a hot tag

And below, perhaps the paste up artist of all street artists, Rone