The editor of Vandalog street art blog recently published bold accusations regarding my art and my influences, specifically stating that I have “failed to develop a personal style” and that I lack creativity and originality. I admire RJ for putting his credibility on the line for the sake of personal expression, but in this case, he should have done your research.
Click HERE to read Vandalog’s post!
The evolution of my original style by SNYDER
While attending college in the SF East Bay Area circa 2002, I began putting sculptures in the local streets of Hayward. I instantly became interested in the idea of connecting unsuspecting passersby with art, both connecting them to my ideas, as well as to each other through discussion amongst themselves. At that time I was introduced to the aesthetic of stencils through Banksy’s work. I began studying his technique and the possibilities of stencil work, but never used the technique in the urban setting.
After graduating from college in 2004, I returned to San Diego and began implementing full scale stencils into the streets as a way to introduce art and creativity into an artistically bland community compared to the culturally laden streets of SF. I implemented dozens of pieces over nearly 2 years. Each piece of art was carefully placed with the goal of creating a relationship with its surroundings and historical relevance. Many got buffed, but I was adamant and continued preparing new pieces. So yes, Banksy’s aesthetics directly influenced my early stencil work.
Around 2007 and after years of hitting the streets, a large collection of used stencils began to pile up. I began experimenting with new ways of reusing these old stencils and flirted with a new technique. I wanted to create the hard edges from a stencil, but wanted more texture. After a series of experiments with different paints and surfaces, I discovered my signature drip technique. I began dripping layers of acrylic latex directly through stencils onto cardboard resulting in technique I call a “Painting Paradox”. It combines the wild, spontaneous and gestural drips with the restricted, premeditated hard edges of the stencil. I focused on this technique primarily on cardboard, and eventually on canvas, for the next few years. My first body of drip paintings was shown during a solo show at my Carlsbad based studio in 2008, with 2 follow up shows documenting my refined technique in 2009 and 2010. I created a short film documenting this process titled ‘Labor of Love’.
While still dripping paint on canvas, I began my experimentation with the idea of omnipresent art -the idea that art is in everything and all around us. I recognized that even our most mundane and overlooked possessions have artistic qualities and could be described in terms of the elements of art. I wanted to exaggerate these overlooked artistic elements and began dripping paint on disassembled appliances, furniture and toys, and reassembling them. These drip sculptures were first highlighted in my 2009 solo show and would implemented into the streets in later stages of my evolution.
At this time I had begun to slow down my street work. I dove deep into experiments with different types of paint, sheens and drying times. I invested a good 3 years primarily experimenting and only showing my work through my studio and Carlsbad local coffee shops. The years experimenting in my studio refined my technique, but I missed the streets. At this point I decided it was time to introduce my drip-through-stencil technique to the streets. Due to the fact that dripping paint on a vertical wall is nearly impossible, I began experimenting with dripping through stencil directly onto paper, which could be easily cut-out and pasted to walls. I introduced this new stage of my style evolution to LA in 2008 with pasted image of a Carlsbad homeless man, highlighted on unurth.com. Though this was a new aesthetic, I remained interested in the relationship between art placed in the streets and its surrounding environment. In these early pastes, I married the two through color.
In the years since those initial pastes in 2008, I have put up drip pastes in New York, Boston, Virginia, Rhode Island, Ireland, San Francisco, all over California and most recently implementing my first large scale Urban Pop-Up Gallery entirely in the streets of Australia and China over a 5 week street art tour.
I continued experimenting with the possibilities of dripping paint and evolved my drip-through-stencil technique from the restrictions of a flat surface to a combination of paste and installation. In May of 2011 I implemented my first drip paste installation into the Los Angeles streets. This was a large 3 layered drip piece of Van Gogh’s sunflowers. Along with these sunflowers, I included a hand crafted table cut in half, dripped and attached to the wall directly under the sunflower paste-up.
I enjoyed the 3 dimensional aspect of the installation combined with my drip and stencil aesthetic, but wanted to include the engagement of my art with the local community, ultimately encouraging urban exploration. In June 2011, I implemented my first community based art hunt in LA focused around a centerpiece drip paste and installation. This centerpiece titled Doodle’s Urban Garden, was my first introduction of Doodle in the streets outside of Carlsbad’s doodle hunts. Doodle was created by dripping acrylic latex through stencil onto paper and was pasted to a wall. A radio flyer wagon was cut in half, drip painted, reassembled and attached to the wall, along with a halved vase and drip-painted flowers on paper. The evolution of my drip technique grew with the implementation of 10 additional drip flowers hidden in the streets. An hand drawn Doodle illustration was awarded to the first community member to find and photograph the centerpiece and each of the 10 flowers.
Regarding the similarities between my Doodle character and the work by Dran, Vandalog has made astute observations, though his accusations are nothing more than coincidence. I have been creating large quantities of art my entire life beginning with over a decade of childhood doodles. These doodles included copying favorite cartoon characters at a young age and slowly evolved into a simple template accessorized to make my own character. This character remained in the pages of my childhood drawings until a few years ago when I began hiding renditions of him painted on cardboard in the Carlsbad village. Like the drawings I grew up doing in the margins of my school notes, on napkins and on restaurant places-mats, they were just doodles. Word of these hidden doodles spread and people began referring to them as Doodles and asked when the next Doodle was to be hidden. The name stuck.
Within the discussion of originality and creativity, both which Vandalog has accused me of lacking, I have implemented a series of 3 installations into the Carlsbad streets experimenting with art placed in the urban environment combined with the unpredictable variable of weather, both which have been described by others as highly creative and original.
Like other artists with very original styles, I was exposed to a style early in my career that very much impacted the beginning stages of my development. In my case it was Banksy’s stencil work. I studied it. I copied it and I used it to find my own way. As my combination of drip-through-stencil aesthetics, placement, and community engagement continues, I occasionally revisit past stages of my evolution including single layer stencils and my childhood doodle illustrations, though always conscious of placement and creating a relationship with the surroundings.
Next time you decide to attack someone’s art, style and conduct, make sure you sit down and do your research, because as a voice of a movement, your credibility is on the line.