Within this 12-year run, minus a few distractions, ANIMAL has afforded me an unprecedented opportunity to throw art parties, get a tiny bit of free shit — we totally should have asked PR firms for more stuff — and most importantly, promote hundreds and hundreds of artists. Although I like to think of ANIMAL as multifaceted, we often got pegged as a street art site. That was fine by me, since I always thought the scene needed a critical voice. Despite its surging popularity, the current state of street art is just getting boring, — and, seriously, waaaay too white.
But here are some of my fondest memories: touring Ground Zero with journalist Diane Sawyer on the night of September 11th, profiling NYC street art/graffiti king COST (as well as TRAP, Plasma Slugs, HAELER, and SABIO), covering the unrest in Egypt, showing boxing coach Eric Kelly torturing Wall Street Types, explaining why so many Russians have so many dashcams, putting up the “Rap Quotes,” interviewing the “Hipster Grifter,” making Jimmy McMillan a campaign anthem, asking a BMX champ to ride a Citi Bike, following Banksy around for like a month (and publishing an account of his first show ever in the city), documenting the installation of the Edward Snowden bust in Brooklyn, shooting SABE teaching porn star Carter Cruise how to do graffiti, searching for Black Santa, and always, pranking those megalomaniacal warmongers at the New York Post.
I also managed to infiltrate the mysterious 190 Bowery, breach a police line during the raid on Occupy Wall Street, where I documented the destruction of the People’s Library, evidence that was later used in part by super lawyer Norman Siegel to win a settlement against the city. Or there was that time those cops threw out their anti-terrorism manuals into city trash cans right outside their stationhouse? The NYPD’s spokesperson called me a “dumpster-diver” when I published it. I’d still rather be called that than “NYPD spokesperson.” #ACAB for life.
Here are the main misfits who helped me make ANIMAL better over the past few years and tolerated me being a stubborn goon longer than they needed to:
Marina Galperina, who now runs the best site ever www.hopesandfears.
Then there’s Aymann Ismail, one of the most fearless photographers and best video editors in the game. He’s the guy you know will never run away from anything, even if it’s like 1,000 feet in the air or he’s about to get beatdown by Arab extremists.
Poached by Gawker a little over a year ago, Andy Cush did great work and was ANIMAL’s third longest survivor. Not only was he a good journalist, but also a great sound engineer, who could mix puggles squealing over death metal and make Rob Ford bounce in a dancehall reeeemix.
I can’t forget our graphics guru Michael Weinfeld! He was in the mix since day one when we were first putting the magazine together and never stopped contributing. I also salute designer Nate Cepis, and founding pigeon editors, Allison Bagg and Michael Immerman, both of whom were great at making videos as well.
And the record spins on…
(Photo: Aymann Ismail)