ANIMAL showcases a different street artist regularly in our feature, Scratching the Surface. This week, we profile ME, a master of parody. He has been making a name for himself by reappropriating logos to accommodate his two letter moniker and his current collaboration with fellow artist Clint Mario is killing the game. The pair have been doing ad takeovers at a frenetic pace.
Decade you were born in:
City you currently live:
Drugs or natural highs?
Yes, please and thank you.
How did you get your name?
One: I’ve liked Barbara Kruger since high school and always wanted a red bar to put out. Two: I was in line at [store] Supreme for the [Damien] Hirst deck release. As fast as the door unlocked, it quickly turned into a mob of people all like “me, me, me.” I looked up in disbelief and saw that big red banner waving out front. I thought, I am making a sticker of that logo minus the “supre.” People liked the sticker and I started seeing lots of other “ME’s” in logos. Then it was on the cover of Stickers: Stuck-Up Piece of Crap: From Punk Rock to Contemporary Art, so I just stuck with it as a moniker for art.
Why do you do what you do?
Since I was young, I really liked graffiti, even before I knew what it was. In the early 80s, I recall being intimidated and in awe of the trains when going into the city with Mom and Dad. I remember redrawing COST tags on my book covers in high school. I didn’t even know it was one person or even what it was, I just liked what I saw and it stuck with me.
Later I learned what it was and who did it and was blown away that one person (or two, REVS is awesome) could do all that. I wanted to participate and leave my mark where I had been. That grew into putting out art in different mediums. I like leaving something where I was, for myself, and others that notice those things around the city.
Then there is the challenge of putting out a piece. I am so nervous every time. It’s like the first day of school and Christmas Eve all in one. I love the feeling after a good mission.
How does your mother feel about your art?
She likes it. She has even put up a few of my stickers, to see what it was like. Once I yelled “cops” just as her sticker hit the pole. Pretty cool to see your mom play off some debatable activity. She is also one of the few people who has my paintings.
Are you making a living off your art? How’s that working out so far?
I have been making a living off my art since I was about 22. Sometimes it is hard to do what you love for money. I feel pretty lucky. There are worse jobs than mine.
Fuck the art world or embrace the art world?
Anyone who thinks they get to choose is disillusioned. The art world either fucks you or embraces you or fucks you while embracing you. And it may choose to do either one at anytime regardless of your current status.
Do you bring your smart phone into the bathroom with you? Why?
Yes, it is in my pocket. You never know what awesomeness you might find in a NYC bathroom. It’s good to have a camera for documentation.
Do you ever feel like giving up?
Two words: Abso Lutely! It is working past that feeling and getting something accomplished that feels good at the end of the day.
Suggest an artist to follow.
Clint Mario – He’s Everywhere!