Saturday, September 11, 2010


Stay-At-Home was an idea I guess, or maybe it was something else. I remember when I started to venture out into the art world there was one obvious fact, there are less women in galleries than there are men. I do not believe that this is because there are more talented men than there are women. Nor do I believe it is totally associated with discrimination. Men are typically looked upon as the Alpha-Dog of the family pack, and hence even when married the male artist is probably given more time to focus on his work.

This probably rings even more true for parents of infants and children. Traditionally, the woman's role was limited to raising her children. While feminism has changed those expectations, many parents, men and women, still chose to stay home to raise their children. This is out of necessity, out of the desire to raise your children the “right way” whatever that might be. And while most parents are willing to sacrifice everything for their children, should anyone sacrifice their dream?

The second portion of Stay-At-Home is probably a reflection of personal questions that I, the curator, am asking myself on a daily basis. How does one maintain a dream while dealing with the realities of day-to-day life? Artists are at their core romantic beings in search of greater vision and understanding. What happens when life becomes so overwhelming and busy that your ideals take a back seat to reality?

So, while handling Trashed, my first art show based out of my house, I came to the realization that there is a certain level of joy one can extract from pursuing dreams in spare time. A focus comes upon you when you know you have limited time, and clarity of vision. The work is succinct and in many ways a different kind of beauty emerges.

Hence, the purpose of Stay-At-Home is to celebrate those artists who have kept their dreams tucked away for free moments. I am seeking artists who are full time, stay-at-home parents. This is not to be an insult, I believe creating art is work, not therapy, but, what I seek are people who have kept that drive and that hope that the world will take notice of their efforts and their vision.

This is a call to artists interested in Stay-At-Home. Please submit recent works to me with an explanation on how the experience of staying at home to help raise your family has become a compliment to the art you make. In addition, please let me know where you saw yourself at the age you are now, when you were just out of college and trying to make a go of it as an artist.

While trashed was a large collection of artists, on this project I am looking for roughly 4 to 5 painters and 1 sculptor to fill the space. 2 – 3 paintings per and they can be larger, but not enormous. Looking forward to submission.

Please submit to craig.a.platt at

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Importance of Sitting In One Place and Reading

There is a slight breeze. There are people all around. The trees sway gently, the air is growing cool in the shade, in the sun I can feel every corpuscle in my skin, the pink forming on me neck, the matted brown hair on my head hot to the touch. I am leaned over, right leg resting on top of the left, chin parallel to my chest and my eyes are moving from left to right at a solid marathoners pace. I am reading. My mouth slightly bitter from the drink I am enjoying. This is a true feeling of calm.

Recently while traveling to Italy I was reminded of something I had learned several years earlier while living in New York City. A time before text messaging, when I would sometimes leave my cellular phone at home, and just read. I would read in Union Square, in Washington Square Park, on a park bench along the Hudson River or on my lunch break while watching the boats from Battery Park. In Italy I sat in Piazzas with a cool beer and read. Dogs running wildly, little children playing in a fountain. I didn't worry about appointments or bills or what time to be back at the office. I read. I read for hours, while the sun set and the street lights came alive.

In my early twenties there could be a storm outside or a light flurry, the red of tail lights would trail through foggy windows. I would sit and devour words. There is this strange sensation when you sit and read. The mind becomes clear, at least for me. These ideas present themselves, big ideas, things you are afraid to think about when you don't want to be distracted. And then those ideas vanish and there's a peace that settles. And you keep reading and then the imagination really kicks in. A city or a nature reserve can materialize in three dimensions.

I find myself transported to the world I am reading about. And I read and read and read. And when I finish the book, or it's time to go somewhere, I feel something, what I imagine the skydiver feels after he lands and hits the bar for some conversation. An exhilaration and a clarity that I don;t normally feel. Also, a level of inspiration and understanding of the world. Or at least that's how I perceive it.

And here's what this really is about. Sometimes you want to have a conversation, an interaction, and the real life one's don't fulfill those needs. Well, sitting with a book at a cafe, in a plaza or a park, a hotel room or in bed, these are the conversations I need to have. It is sitting with like minded people, or with people I look up to. It's an opportunity to see new parts of the world, new perspectives, experience emotions and situations I may never experience. And most importantly it puts my own life in context. Helps to sharpen my intellect and my wit and to help me write. It's reading for me that inspires writing.

So when I talk about the importance of sitting and reading, what I mean to say is that sitting and reading is as important as breathing for me. I will never be normal, this I know. I will never be at peace. But, when I sit and read for an hour or two I feel more like myself than at any other time in my life. From the day I moved into an apartment on Calhoun Street in New Orleans and sat on the front portch swing and read Hemingway, to this weekend when I say on my lawn and tore into some Murakami. I have made my best friends in the world while sitting quietly and reading. Kerouac, Miller (Arthur and Henry), Hemingway, Ginsberg, Vonnegut, Bolano, Carver, WH Auden, William Carlos Williams, Thoreau, Joyce, Thomas Wolfe, Joseph Heller and Carson McCullers and so many more.

Reading on subways, reading in bars, reading over coffee, over whiskey, reading over rainstorms and heatwaves, snow drifts on large acreages. I love to read. And I love to sit quietly on any type of day and read, finding a gentle peace that can only wash over me at these times.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Pessimists Book Club -- An Incendiary Beginning to a Beautiful Intellectual Endeavor

The Pessimists Book Club started somehow, like so many things do in the digital age, with a suggestion sent into space. If you're on Twitter and you feel passionately about a subject, (be it art, sport, magic or bunny wrestling), you will inevitably find new friends who think about the same things. Hence when Jennifer Dalton, William (Bill) Powhida, Zachary Cohen, MuseumNerd (Name classified) and TheButcherBlog (name also classified) all decided to read a book together we started a book club. The Pessimists Book Club.

I was tired and I think the rest of us were tired with all the positivity in the world. I loved this, this is "genius," everyone should read such and such. Twenty best under forty, most likely to rewrite the bible because their prose is so divine. I might be exaggerating, but that's me, a man of extremes.

We started by selecting a book, a lot of suggesting went on and then Powhida suggested The Ask by Sam Lipsyte which to my knowledge didn't have a single review. So we read the book and began feeling out the rules, quotes from the book went up, ideas and feelings, impressions on the text. We all agreed it was a fast read, the humor was amusing and the characters were thinly written, the subject matter slightly boring and the depiction of women pretty darned awful. Lipsyte did not write artists well, and he didn't seem to understand that his shock and absurdity was hurting his ability to get the story across clearly.

Finally this morning we had a conference call on Skype, after 30 minutes of figuring out how to do it, and began what I found to be a very interesting and intimate conversation about books, art, ideas and how absurd is too absurd. We spoke about Lipsyte and then French novelist, poet, and provocateur Michel Houellebecq. We talked about George Saunders and why his form of absurdity is successful, what Lipsyte might've done differently if he were Saunders. We brought up Philip K. Dick and bad landscape painting. Everyone spoke and ideas lead to other ideas. It was an extremely pleasurable experience.

Now we have set some sort of foundation. Reading is time consuming and solitary and sometimes you want to discuss a book. There are options out there for Book Clubs, has one for fiction and one for poetry that I might participate in at some point as well, but for now i have The Pessimists Book Club.

So as for a mission statement or a description of what we're doing. I guess simply stated we're a group of intellectuals interested in dialogue. In order to focus our dialogue we will be using works of fiction, though I am open to poetry and non-fiction as well, as a spring board for discussion and discourse.

You can find us on twitter and the hastags will be #pbc #pessimistsbookclub #thepessimistsbookclub #pessimistbookclub. Also at the website: Where we will fine tune our discussions so you can observe.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Contact: Craig A. Platt

June 3, 2010

For Immediate Release:


Featuring: Jonathan Allen, Leticia Bajuyo, Jennifer Dalton, Jennifer Faist , Olympia Lambert, William Powhida, Garric Simonsen, Mark Venema, and Jeff Woodbury

We acknowledge that we are sending you this press release so that you the listings editor or critic can ignore it. We are not trying to change the world, nor do we believe wholeheartedly with sound mind that the art we are hanging is the best or most important art ever to adorn a wall here in Silver Lake, California. In fact, we're sure we saw a Ruscha and an Irwin in a window along the reservoir, a Hockney on our drives to day jobs and there is assuredly a Warhol out there somewhere too, probably up in the hill where people have medium sized houses with large listing prices and zero yard space. Make no mistake, what we're selling is, literally, trash.

But, that is a digression. Trashed seeks to answer the age-old question, what makes it art? We have reached out to artists across the United States and even up into Canada and found a collection of savvy painters, thinkers and craftsman who have happily handed over their trash to us, which we will be hanging on the walls, placing on the floors and leaning against furniture in our home. We can't afford a gallery space and if we could, then you probably couldn't afford the art. So please, before you arm yourself with your poison pen, remember we are doing this for the right reasons...oh, hell, whatever that means.

As explained to the artists when convincing them to join into Trashed: The show isn't meant to look clean or organized. It's meant to be studio trash, ramshackle and bare for the world to see and appreciate. Like looking at a skeleton or a gutted building. Simply put, the raw materials. The individual parts rather than the sum of those parts. The idea of failure resonates in everything we do as aspiring artists, but begging the question, "what is art?" Also begs the question, "At what point do we fail as artists?" Perhaps the artist will send art that didn't sell, or pieces they didn't think made the cut for a major gallery show. Or, maybe it's really trash, failed sculpture or collage, studies in color or maybe a notebook full of communist ramblings. Really, it's up to them to decide what the trash in their life is.

We will be holding an opening and closing reception and will be scheduling appointments with people interested in the art. The opening will be held on JUNE 12, 2010 from 6 - 10 pm at the gallery 2255 India Street, LA, CA 90039. Refreshments will be served. BBQ might be on hand as well, come find out.


Photos available by email

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why Los Angeles Is No Place For A Poet Anymore If It Really Ever Were

Poetry: the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.

Name the poets from Los Angeles who have left any long-standing impression on the form. There are not very many of them in my memory, Bukowski stands out, and make no mistake, Bukowski was an anomaly here. The landscape, the people and the culture of Los Angeles make it nearly impossible to write poetry.

I was looking through old notebooks a few weeks ago, from my time spent in both New Orleans and New York, and I found that I wrote poetry almost constantly. At bars, in backyards, subways and by the river. I wrote on public transportation and in bed. Now, in Los Angeles I find it impossible to write poems like I used to, and I have been trying to investigate why that is.

New York, Paris, Berlin, Rome, New Orleans and even San Francisco, these are places with a natural and consistent rhythm. It’s as if the collective energies of these metropolis’s converge into the consciousness of everyone and the poems feed from that energy. This is I attribute to the close quarters and constant feeling of connection with those around you that these cities provide. I am simplifying, sure, but I truly feel that Los Angeles may be the loneliest and happiest place in the world, all at the same time.

Los Angeles’s landscape is gargantuan. It covers 498.3 square miles, compared to other major cities, Manhattan = 22.7 square miles, Paris = 33.5 square miles, New Orleans is 363.5 square miles, but half of that is water and uninhabitable landmass. What I am getting at, is in these other cities all classes, colors, and ideologies are forced to come into contact on a daily basis. This is not the case in Los Angeles. Here we drive to work, to the store, to dinner. We eat in strip malls with people of similar income and similar color and beliefs. We eat at restaurants with one name that boast a “fusion” style meal, a melting-pot of cultures.

Let’s be honest, America was not meant to be a melting pot, it was meant to be a salad bowl, where flavors, colors and textures could co-exist in a harmony. We were not meant to all melt into some sludge of similarity. Hence, when I walk the streets of Manhattan or boldly spend 24 hours out and about in New Orleans, I come in contact with all walks of life, from the poorest man to the richest woman. In Los Angeles, I do not. I spend my time in bars and coffee shops with aspiring actresses, screenwriters and executives. These people not only seek fortune, but also fame. And the industry they seek it in lacks any motivation toward innovation, risk or being creative incendiaries.

Hence, poetry in Los Angeles is dormant, dead. And the poems that will inevitably flourish here are the shallow and lonely kind. A wish for intercourse with a model, a job on set, or paparazzi snapping photos outside an underwhelming bar. Whereas New York City’s poems are of echoing footsteps in late streets, the flicker of footsteps and the traces of hip hop playing from windows. In New Orleans it’s blurry bar rooms, sweat filled sexuality and the stinging sound of jazz. And in Paris it’s insomnia and politics. But, in Los Angeles, it’s Bukowski, drunk and alone with a whore, embarrassed by his face and longing for success, which he will only want to cover with more success.

This is what I began writing today, searching for poems and finding people at the table next to me bragging that they went to summer camp with a friend of Seth Rogens. Liking everything is failure. Failing is what people here perceive as success. Poetry is a bone cleaned of the meat that once held life and meaning. But to write and to do it well one must be in the rhythm of nature, hence when an individual lives his or her life against nature, they become detached and unable to find the natural movement of ideas and sentences. Once they become conscious of that, it becomes an escalating battle so frustrating that ultimately everything becomes so extreme that things seem hopeless. The poet, by this point exasperated, must remember that Nothing is a failure, everything is to learn.

Los Angeles, a poet’s town? Maybe not, but a poet living in this town, must work harder in his imagination or memory to transport himself to the locales that inspire him. Either that or he must move.

~ Craig A. Platt

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The National are America's Nostalgia, Sadness, Frustrations and Failures

Raymond Carver once wrote, “"What good are insights? They only make things worse." Listening to The National confirms that with a true American feel. We have spent nearly the last twenty years searching for a band whose sound and lyrical power could describe the modern American experience. Not since Nirvana has a band’s sound so completely encompassed such a large group of people.

Funny that no one really knows whom they are and that their music doesn’t play on MTV. There is a reason for that, see The National are not tailor made for the young generation. No, they are for the generation of people who have left their youth behind, the ones that search for meaning in the hours between leaving the office and falling asleep. They are the band for the foreclosed, the bankrupt, the failed in love and the stoic, softly glazed glance at a half of face hidden in a mirror behind a line of bottles.

With lyrics like, sorrow found me when I was young / sorrow waited and sorrow won and a little more stupid, a little more scared / every minute more unprepared. They insist on loss, late night, glaring lights, blurred vision and all in the deep textured baritone of lead singer Matt Berninger.

What’s more surprising is last night at The Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles they filled a big room. A big room there to hear them, the headliners and they philosophized about loss, love, liquor and long winter nights. And standing there wondering what all these upper middle class hipsters were doing standing around listening were finding in the music. With a literary scene that has become overly cute with meta-narratives and wildly imaginative investigations of eastern European family trees, I realized that people were still seeking out pure Americana. And then it hit me, The National are America's nostalgia, sadness, frustrations and failures.

They are instinctively an American band, two guitars and a piano. They have a violin and drummer whose hits shake the room. The lyrics are literary and dreamy. They are indeed about loss and love. They are about a search for something. And maybe, maybe just maybe, the iPod, Blackberry, laptop, interweb scene is a little lost on what their bodies, their minds and their words are for. Maybe, just maybe, they need someone to remind them how low they could sink, how important flesh and blood and hate and sorrow are. Because, in the lyrics and the albums they create a litany of broken desperation woven into an American night.

And I'll try to find somethin' on this thing that means nothin' enough, is the lyric that leads into the chorus of Lemon World off the new album, High Violet.

And the great American short story writer Raymond Carver wrote: "life was a stone cutting and grinding..."

Perhaps The National have more in common with the great American Literary Voices then they do with modern pop music. Troubadours whose songs transport us to rural areas rainslicked and lonely, a bar room drama unfolding in a lonesome and desperate American night.

~ Craig A. Platt


Sunday, May 2, 2010



Dear Art World,

I would like to begin by apologizing in advance for letting you down, unfortunately we lack the financial backing we’d like to have, we have a small gallery here at Bystander, we’re working out of home on this thing.

Even more offensive to you, Art World, we’re going to hang the show in our home. But let’s be honest, the artists we chose can’t always paint masterpieces, sometimes they have to create some trash, make some mistakes, and well, if you laugh at the art or call it trash, that’s okay, it’s the name of the damn show. And you know what, Art World, we don’t really give a shit what you think, because according to most of your superstars everything they do is art and sometimes when they’re together they can’t help “pooping out art.” Right Terrence? So here it is, Trashed, stripped down and honest for the world, or the six people who show up to see.

The art world is flush with clean walled galleries, relaxed dealers standing with arms folded in the center of it all happy to discuss the importance of a work, the social and political significance of a photoshopped hi-res photo of some woman’s cooch spray painted and a pregnant woman peeing in the woods, or some specific drawing of a city's subway system, a blurred abstraction of a bird-on-a-wire, and maybe some words painted in clever phrases over bars of primary colors. The artists are in the business of flying from Berlin to LA to NY then on to Venice, and so on, as I’ve overheard or been boasted to at Mandrake on La Cienega. So how does a scrappy aspiring writer with aspirations towards owning a gallery finagle a group of rising art stars to show their work in his house?

For several years now I have been what I believe could be called a non-card-carrying fringe member of the exclusive art world. What that means is that I have attended more galleries that I care to remember, have seen the rise of art stars, gone to MFA open studios and plenty of house parties inhabited by complaining artists in every corner. To say it is a world I am fascinated by would be an understatement.

When a friend of mine challenged me a year ago to stop talking his ear off about what I felt was good and bad, right and wrong and the things I characterized as self-indulgent about the art world, and to begin writing good, well thought out criticism. I took him up on the offer, albeit not as often as I should’ve, and in addition I created the account I use on Twitter and the name of this blog, Artbystander. In that process I have met enthusiastic and ambitious artists, critics and fans, too many to name. These people have been an integral part in enriching my daily life and I thank them all for it.

Now, with another conversation being had on a Friday night after I’d had a few whiskeys and my friend in New York a few Makers deep as well, I blurted out the idea of having a gallery inside my house. A good idea, we both agreed, but how does one find artists interested in participating?

At the start I was without direction. Just a guy who thought it would be cool to have an art show in my house. I would randomly post to Twitter that I was looking for artists. And I received several replies of encouragement, but no artists came forward offering up their work for me to shill from the walls of my Silver Lake residence. A second conversation with an artist friend who was cleaning out his studio projected us forward to Trashed, or our hashtag on Twitter, #trashed. It took a few weeks of posts, ubiquitous quotes from art world public enemies and heroes, but eventually people started writing me and all of a sudden I had a group show in the works.

When I lived in New York and spent an inordinate amount of time with two artists and their friends from Syracuse University, I became obsessed with sitting in bars and scribbling on paper placemats, bar napkins, scraps of paper, etc… We’d try to trade drawings for drinks, start conversations with women based on some Sharpie’d work on a napkin, an incendiary work about some fraternity looking dude squeezing some poor NYU girl’s ass, we’d draw up some date rape work and the waitress would laugh, take it and bring us a free pitcher of beer.

My friend would say that work was “trash,” but to me it was art. So when I heard he was cleaning out his studio throwing out scraps of notes and sketches I offered to take it all and hang it in my house as a gallery show. He was up for it and Trashed was born. Now we have artists from all over participating and I’ve written what some may call the TRASHED MANIFESTO:

The show isn't meant to look clean or organized. It's meant to be studio trash, ramshackle and bare for the world to see and appreciate. Like looking at a skeleton or a gutted building. The raw materials. The individual parts rather than the sum of those parts. The idea of failure resonates in everything we do as aspiring artists, but begging the question, "what is art?" Also begs the question, "At what point do we fail as artists?" Perhaps the artist will send me art that didn't sell, or pieces they didn't think made the cut for a major gallery show. Or, maybe it's really trash, failed sculpture or collage, studies in color or maybe a notebook full of communist ramblings. Really, it's up to them to decide what the trash in their life is.

Trashed will let people know it isn't all finished product. That work goes into the art. That we're studying, learning, and progressing as artists and people

We will be holding an opening and closing reception and will be scheduling appointments with people interested in the art. The opening will be held on JUNE 12, 2010.

Some ground rules for the art. This is all going to be living in my home, so nothing that will rot, invite insects; strong smelling items would be bad too. Art will be mounted on the walls and items may be placed on the floor as well.

No framing any of the “trash.” In fact, if it feels right we may collage it into one big piece or maybe not. I want this show to feel fresh and well, like trash. But, really to the artist it may be trash, but to art fans it is not and that is my goal, to give them a chance to own art.

Finally let’s introduce you to the artists participating in Trashed. As we receive materials I will post to the blog previews of the flotsam we receive. Trashed is:

Jonathan Allen: (

Leticia Bajuyo (

Jennifer Dalton (

Jennifer Faist (Jennifer Faist on Art Net)

Olympia Lambert (

William Powhida (

Garric Simonsen (

Mark Venema (

Jeff Woodbury (

Please welcome them all to the show. Most importantly the thing you should come away with when you visit Trashed and you see the work on display, is that this is Trashed, we aren’t saying we’re important or that you should stop and take notice of us. But, what we do say is that if you do decide to stop and take notice, well, you will be pleasantly surprised. Art isn’t just for people that own multiple homes, employ hundreds of people and drive European SUVs to polo matches on the weekends during the summer. No, art is for those sweating it out in beer halls and back rooms, believing in singular moments versus bodies of work. TRASHED and the art it contains is for those who find the holy in oily puddles, desperate kisses, blurred red lights in drunken diver bars. TRASHED is for you, the person reading this right now.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP: The World’s First Street Art Disaster Movie

It’s important to understand first that no one likes to be picked on. It’s not an assumption I am working on here; it’s the cold hard truth of the matter. As a result of the first statement above we can conclude that in fact everybody likes, or likes to think, that they are in on the joke. This is why Banksy has become so important to the art world and it’s fringe of collectors, skate-punks, skeptics and hardcore believers. Banksy not only attracts the avid art follower, but he attracts the person who could care less about art. He attracts the disenfranchised, the non-committal and the trying-to-be. And bringing us all into his circle without ever actually revealing his true self or speaking to any of his fans, in this he allows us all to both think we are in on the joke and makes us the punch line to his continuing prank on the world, specifically the art world.

“Exit Through The Gift Shop,” is a funny movie. It is exciting to see these street artists at work and to have an insider look at the art they create and put out into the world. The premise of the movie is simple enough, a Frenchman, Thierry Guetta, living in Los Angeles with his family becomes obsessed with his video camera filming everything in his daily life, wife, kids, job, car, parking lots, basically any and everything. On a trip home to France he begins filming his cousin who is the famous street artist Space Invader. After filming Space Invader’s exploits on the streets of Paris he becomes obsessed with not only Invader and his friends, but with the danger and life of making street art. He is not only passionate about documenting those who make the art, but with the visceral experience of posting said art it in obscure and sometimes dangerous locales. Upon returning to Los Angeles he begins filming street artists, one of them being Shepard Fairey. And he slowly becomes obsessed with the most secretive and elusive street artist of all, Banksy.

In Los Angeles Thierry is finally introduced to Banksy by Fairey, who is under the impression that all the tape Thierry is filming will someday become a documentary about the artists. Thierry for his part has explained that is his intention, though he has no idea how to make a film, the tapes are in boxes seldom labeled and if so done poorly. The elusive artist Banksy takes Thierry up on his offer to be his guide of Los Angeles’ prime wall space and they venture out into the night to tag the city.

Not to ruin this or write an entire summary, but at one point Banksy demands to see the documentary and Thierry, not wanting to disappoint his friend and hero, begins editing something together. When he believes it’s done he flies to Bristol to show Banksy and the reaction is poor. Clips of the film are presented in rapid-fire editorial style with explosions and sirens and static resulting in a disastrous piece of cinema verite. Banksy gently recommends that Thierry lend him the footage and go back to Los Angeles to put on an art show of his own so that he can work on his own version of the film. The alter ego Thierry conceives for his street art adventures is Mr. Brain Wash (MBW). MBW goes head on into the process, selling his business, hiring an army of artists, renting a former television studio and building the biggest street art show Los Angeles has ever seen. The result is an insanely successful art-show with Thierry becoming the heir apparent to Banksy and Fairey. A man with no artistic ability who appropriates Warhol into a street art aesthetic sells out his show, becomes a millionaire and gathers praise from collectors, casual fans and hipsters alike. That is the movie.

But, what is the movie really saying? Banksy is happy you like art and that you spend money on it. Banksy realizes that the chatter and recognition is fleeting and for the most part meaningless. Banksy wants you to know what a follower you are.

Banksy’s film takes on the convention, the pomp, circumstance and prestige of the art world and spray paints a red flag on its back. In “Exit Through The Gift Shop,” he turns a funhouse mirror on all of us who want to be on the inside. Those who want to create legacies and receive praise. It seems though that getting all of those things is as easy as collecting all your energies into one endeavor, pouring every cent and thought into it and simply taking what has been successful and appropriating it as your own.

Thierry’s endeavor into the art world is a screaming success, people at his art show lined around the corner, the same result of Banksy’s show a year earlier, with MBW having done nothing previously to warrant such attention. In fact, in less than a year MBW apparently materialized out of thin air and created a reputation as one of the edgiest and most brilliant living artists in the world. So, how did it happen? Or better, why? The hype machine, the fast food of it all is that Thierry, or Banksy, or whoever pulls the puppet strings, is showing us that anyone can be successful as long as they steal from other successful people. Either that, or as he mentions later, spend years working; learning, creating and maybe someone will take notice of your work. Or they won’t, what does it matter.

As we’ve seen with certain bloated artists who no longer make their own art, but instead hire an army of talented assistants to execute outlandish ideas that fan the egos and consciences of those conservative elitists who want to appear liberal and in on the joke, and spend their sometimes hard earned money to prove it.

Banksy appreciates your appreciation, but he also laughs at it.

The movie is a fun trip through the street artists life, a glimpse into their sense of humor and their penchant towards late night vigilantisms. It’s extremely enjoyable and most importantly a reminder that art is about expressing yourself and having fun.

~ Craig A. Platt


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fiction Writing, Art, Writing...And A Brief History


When I decided that writing was the profession I wanted to pursue I was, in my mind, late to the game. As a student in high school I was truant, disinterested and unsure where I fit in the world. I grew up in a small suburb of New York City without any mass transit to the city. I was trapped. My friends all had parents with similar backgrounds to my own, participated in sports and became fans of mainstream music. There was little discourse in my life regarding art, literature or the world outside of New York State.

I moved away to college in Colorado, which felt like an odd extension of my hometown, and I began to grow more shy and introverted. I had spent so much time trying to be popular, interesting and to fit in at all, that I had lost sight of my most prized possession, my mind. It was that first semester of college that I wore myself down trying to make it to every party, drunk and stoned and searching for friends who wanted to discuss something more than when a concert was happening or what sports were on TV. I found that in books, in silent dialogue between my eyes and the words printed on the page. I started with simple literature and eventually dug deeper.

After that first year of college I moved to New Orleans, which was a terifying moment of self-realization. I had for 19 years refused to have an identity and that had cause me so many nights of restlessness. Even worse, not having a personal preference or identity for that long opens you up to the type of personal criticism that could act as an agent counter to the development of personal preference. I found myself constantly being discounted by friends and elders as I took the road to discovering a voice of my very own. I remember that the first piece of art that spoke to me was THE LIVES AND TIMES OF ALLEN GINSBERG a wonderful documentary about the poet. Besides the title, what left the biggest impression on me was Kerouac. And the summer leading into New Orleans I read every book Kerouac wrote, grew an affinity for Port wine and trains.

At Tulane I read Thomas Wolfe, because Kerouac spoke of him constantly, and then I finally understood trains as the blood and tracks as the vains of old America. From there it was all the books by Hemmingway as I skipped every class that semester and then James Joyce for Christmas break. First, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and then Ullyssess. From there I hit Dylan Thomas and by then I was restless and typing constantly, not sure what I was doing.

Simply put, I thought writing was the practice of developing legend or myth. When I look back now, I believe that is indeed what writing is, as is art, music, and basically any artistic endeavor, even the ones I lack the capacity to describe with words. And maybe this shouldn't hinder you from your own opinions about art, but it was a very personal thing. I was an underdeveloped person and art was the place where I finally found my voice.


The thing about books and I learned this rather quickly. They are maps. They are maps to history, to the pyramids and the railroads. To religion, philosophy, love, alienation and ambiguity. I cannot put one book down without wanting to pick up another one.

I was cocky once, saying I had read every book worth reading, but now I realize that is nearly impossible. I am now of the belief that while I think my writing contributes to the greater picture of literature, that literature is an ocean and empty space is quickly filled in by the tide of words.

I read one thing which lead to another and another and have never been able to stop. History, fiction, poetry and essays. I read newspapers, websites, blogs, poems, art magazines. And books encompass them all. Everything can be found in a book. Nabokov has a story that describes a painting so well you would never want to see the actual painting. Regardless of what I try to convince you, I realize that everything is not connected, but there is a relationship occurring at all moments in time.

Tomorrow's Post Will be About Time.

To Sum Things Up

I write because of Calhoun Street in New Orleans. Because of the sound of trains, the burn of whiskey, the belief that love is holy and that a sensation can be summed up in a sentence like, the night was wet and humid, my mind was goopy and her breasts were pressed close to my chest in the Maple Leaf, Rebirth Brass Band playing a tune familiar to the way it sounds to enter a room and know that chaos will tackle you. My mind's mystery is the character of my friends and the way I see them all spread across the room dancing and sweating and finding something to break the silence of their bodies.

I write because I believe that someday I could be the reason you write. I write because I once was lost, and I am still lost and I may never be found, but from second line parade to boardroom meeting in my Hollywood office I feel sensitivity to the bum, the artist, the woman, the man, the drunk, the drip and the dream. I feel the earth shake at night and the sun shine in the day. Mostly, I feel guilt. Every moment is guilt.

Guilt: I should have read more. i should have written more. I could be painting, playing music, reading poems, feeling something stir inside me. I could be doing Paris on $2 a day, in Brooklyn with my best friend destroying a world.

The point is, I could be doing and I celebrate those who are. And here is the point of the night, for you people out there celebrating, complaining, being celebrated, being criticized. You are provoking some reaction. You are proving me right, I am done tonight.

Tomorrow I will discuss time and how it wants us all to die or live.