Background Noise, Episode 35: Chris Stain / by Matt Bomarr

The "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 35, the focus is on artist Chris Stain

The "Background Noise" podcast series focuses on the music that artists listen to when they work, what music inspires them, or just music they like. This week, in Episode 35, the focus is on artist Chris Stain

Gil Scott-Heron - photo via BrooklynStreetArt.com

Gil Scott-Heron - photo via BrooklynStreetArt.com

NYC-based artist Chris Stain celebrates the people's people. Like Parisian street artist C215 (featured in episode 24), Chris Stain chooses to draw attention to the lesser-known, the lesser-seen faces of the world. From innocent children to the hard-worn working class.

He's a former graffiti artist, taking inspiration from Beat Street in the 80s, writing the name SAVAGE, before moving on to calling himself STAIN. From there, he progressed into stencil art, a format he uses to this day. It's through his perfection of his stencil art that he's able to piece together the murals he does, projecting the stencils onto walls at night (with permission, of course), and using that projection as a base to build off of. He prefers this approach because it allows him a bit more freedom to experiment, as opposed to putting an actual stencil to a wall and doing it that way.

His murals will often be chosen to fit their surroundings. Stain always takes into account the neighborhood he is working in, and will do his best to portray something that will reflect that neighborhood and what he thinks the community will like.

Chris is part of the Pittsburgh-based artist cooperative Justseeds, a "decentralized network of 24 artists committed to making print and design work that reflects a radical social, environmental, and political stance." He's also currently an art teacher in New York City.

photo by Lois Stavksy

photo by Lois Stavksy

What was your first concert?
Dead Milkmen opened for Henry Rollins after Black Flag broke up 1986 or 87

Last concert/show?
CRASS when they played NYC with Steve Ignorant on vocals on the Last Supper tour

photo by Lois Stavsky

photo by Lois Stavsky

First album, tape or cd you bought?
Ozzy, Diary of a Madman on vinyl

Last album you bought?
The Roots...And Then You Shoot Your Cousin 

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
7 Seconds "Walk Together Rock Together", Minor Threat "Out of Step", Grandmaster Flash "The Message", CRASS "Christ The Album",  Rammellzee "Beat Bop", Husker DU "Zen Arcade", Gil Scot Heron "Winter In America", Miles Davis " In A silent way", CHet Baker " ALone Together", John Coltrane " A love Supreme", Rites of Spring " 7 inch", Embrace "Embrace", T-LA Rock " It's Yours"

Who is your musical hero?
Ian Mackaye not just for the music but overall as a person and his contribution to society in general. How important do you think music is to your creative process? Music certainly aids the process by taking me deeper into the emotions I am trying to convey in the work.

Check out Chris Stain's mix below, download it directly here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes. You can browse ALL the Background Noise episodes here. Check out Chris's website here.