“What I like about street art is when it’s kind of transgressive and illegal and you get to do shit wherever you want without having to ask for permission,” Judith Supine tells ANIMAL in the video interview above at a Brooklyn warehouse where’s he’s busy prepping for “Golden Child,” his new solo exhibit. “What I don’t like about street art is that general look or feel of it which is fucking boring.”
A lot of street art is derivative, but Judith Supine’s work stands out — images blown up out of magazines that Supine finds in the trash; collaged until the faces morph like funhouse reflections; riddled with psychedelic flourishes and day-glo green and hot pink highlights. He takes those images and glues them to walls, doors, and even bridges.
Dreamer (2009), Judith Supine, Williamsburg Bridge (Photo: Steve Duncan)
Hailing from Virginia, but firmly transplanted in New York, the thirty-something year-old anonymous artist has been putting up his distinct work since the mid-2000s and now, for the first time ever, he has decided to show his face. ”It’s probably not a good idea,” he jokes, then clarifies, “Nah, I don’t think it matters really. The shit I’m doing is like jaywalking.”
Supine divulges how his parents pressured him into making art as a means of communication, since he didn’t speak until he turned seventeen. In his household, it was more important than school work.
“My only idea of success is not working,” he says. “I was a janitor and I kept getting demoted.” As he came up as an artist, he was still not satisfied.
The Floating World (2010), Judith Supine, Thailand (Photo: Patrice R)
Once, at his first art fair in Miami, Supine got so fed up with the what he perceived as his place in the art world that he left. “It was fucking disturbing,” he recalls. “So I went to Thailand with a prostitute. I lived in a boxing camp.” He spent some time there, but after getting knocked out by several 16-year-old opponents, he decided to come back to New York and make art again.
He may be showing his face, but he still won’t tell us his name. At least, not his own. ”Judith Supine is my mom’s name,” he says. “I’d make collages and glue it to people’s front doors. And it was very much like oh, it would be funny if my mom got arrested for doing something I’m doing. I didn’t intend to be doing this shit as a middle-aged adult.”
Watch our video interview above for more insights into Judith Supine, his eclectic work and the time he got stuck in the middle of the East River trying to “install” a floating sculpture featuring his dad “as a sexy swimsuit model.” Catch his show at the Mecka Gallery, opening March 29th.
Judith Supine, Williamsburg (Photo: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)
(Video: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)