NECKFACE Survives Better On the Street

photo by: niznoz
We first began noticing his ubiquitous scrawls and primitive-like spiny arrangements on E.23rd St. back a few years ago and thought for sure it had to be a SVA student mocking graffiti writers with his simpleton hand styles and super raw characters. Plus most of his original work was confined exclusively between Park Ave South and 2nd Ave in close proximity to the art school’s campus. One couldn’t help but notice the hairy arm or sharp chiseled tooth creatures that totally caught our attention and begun our fascination with artist-vandal known as NECKFACE.

Fast forward a few years, and now he’s done books, t-shirts, a whole slew of street bombings, and exhibits including this solo show in LA the past week, The Night After Halloween. After checking out some of the images from the show, we have to admit to still favoring his street work more than the sinister sculpture-installations. NECK’s ghoulish caricatures and puppet-like effigies aren’t as impressive as his 2 dimensional sketches and more importantly his passionately primitive street demons and concoctions.
Much of the allure of NECKFACE’s work is in part a byproduct of its hurried and sense of urgency look. When viewing from the prism of a cityscape canvas where the threat of detection lurks around every corner, his scrawls take on meaning, but the sculptures and installations basked in the safety of a white walled gallery space bathed in track lighting just don’t offer that same frightening charm. Unlike the problem with many graffiti writers face, his sketches still work, whether found in a gallery, or on the street, but the NECKFACE Halloween piñatas just doesn’t hit us the same way him battling Batman does.