stencil

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.

Background Noise, Episode 25: Blek Le Rat by Matt Valerio

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 25, the focus is on legendary Parisian stencil artist Blek Le Rat.

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 25, the focus is on legendary Parisian stencil artist Blek Le Rat.

Parisian stencil artist Blek Le Rat is another artist that I'm absolutely honored to have on board for this project. For over 30 years, Blek (born Xavier Prou) has been doing his thing, putting up his signature stencil works in cities throughout the world.

photo by  Zerbi Hancok

photo by Zerbi Hancok

Long before Banksy became associated with stencils of rats, Blek was stenciling them throughout the streets of Paris, inspired by them because they create fear and are synonymous with invasion. Despite being known for this, they aren't the only thing he's incorporated into his art. He's done self-portraits, images of Warhol, Amy Winehouse and various homeless people, often life-size stencils.

Blek continues to go strong, still doing work in the street, despite some run ins with the law, and often has gallery shows. I checked out one of his shows years ago when I lived in San Francisco, and saw his impressive Ignorance Is Bliss show at Jonathan Levine Gallery last year here in New York.

His Background Noise covers a lot of ground in its short 33 minutes, and I'm impressed when someone can go right from Neil Young's "Old Man" into Rick Ross's "Hustlin". It gives me that much more respect for him.

photo by  vitostreet

photo by vitostreet

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

First concert?
Rolling Stones 1969, London - Tribute to Brian Jones


Last concert?
Scred Connexion


First album?
Sgt Pepper


Was there one album that made a significant impression on you?
Hendrix - Electric Ladyland


Who is your musical hero? Eminem

How important is music to your creative process?
It makes me forget that I am working

1. Wax Tailor - "The Games You Play"
2. "NTM - "Pose Ton Gun"
3. Eminem - "Real Slim Shady"
4. 2pac - "California Love"
5. Wax Tailor - "Que Sera"
6. Neil Young - "Old Man"
7. Rick Ross - "Hustlin"

9. Kevin Coyne - "Marlene"
10. Bob Marley - "Redemption Song"

 

Check out his mixtape below, download it here, or subscribe to Background Noise for free on iTunes. Be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes.

Background Noise, Episode 21: Stinkfish by Matt Valerio

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 21, the focus is on Colombian street artist  Stinkfish .

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 21, the focus is on Colombian street artist Stinkfish.

Photo via Stinkfish

Photo via Stinkfish

I'm still completely amazed that I was able to get Stinkfish for this project. I had initially thought it would remain a pipe dream after Miuccia Prada, heiress to the hugely successful Prada company chose a Stinkfish image to be prominently displayed on walls, models and handbags in their stores. Prada has an eye for art, and counts Cindy Sherman as a personal friend, on top of owning some very expensive Damien Hirst pieces. Now that she had Mexican-born, Colombia-raised artist Stinkfish in her grips, I figured he was untouchable. Until it occurred to me that there was a particular artist who had already done a Background Noise mix who might have a connection to him. Sure enough, he did and by the next morning, I had an email from Stinkfish waiting for me in my inbox, expressing his excitement in compiling some songs for me.

Stinkfish in Paris, 2012 (photo by Matt Bomarr)

Stinkfish in Paris, 2012 (photo by Matt Bomarr)

Stinkfish has been on the street art scene for years, and is best known for creating beautiful, psychedelic stencil art based off of photos he finds on his travels or photos he himself takes of random pedestrians, often choosing large public walls to display his work, and often using very bright and eye catching colors.

Now that I think of it, aside from the rare Stinkfish hand-painted stickers that popped up on my street this week (pictured left), I haven't seen any of his work here in NYC. I was thrilled to find a few great pieces of his on my honeymoon in Paris in 2012 though (the main image at the top here being one of them). I'm not sure if these were commissioned pieces or not. If they weren't, and he had to create these highly detailed pieces under cover of night in at high speed so as not to get caught, I commend him. Either way, it takes talent to put these beautiful works of art together.


What was your first concert?

Around 1996 here at my city Bogota (Colombia), a concert of local bands of ska and punk

Last concert/show?

The 5.6.7.8's

First album, tape or cd you bought?

King of Bongo / Mano Negra

Last album you bought?
Long time ago I do not buy music, may be the last one was Kill the cuentero / Odio a Botero

Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?

Many, just to name a few:
King of Bongo, Puta´s Fever and Casa Babylon / Mano NegraΚΕΦΑΛΗΞΘ / Ministry
Acorralar la Bestia / Actitud Maria Marta
El Circo / La Maldita Vecindad
Smash / Offspring
Armas pal Pueblo / Def Con Dos
El Día de la Bestia soundtrack / Compilation
Puro Eskañol vol.1 / Compilation

Who is your musical hero?
Unable to respond

photo via Stinkfish

photo via Stinkfish

How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Really important, the lyrics, the noise, the company. Walk around the city listening loud music its a perfect way to learn about the streets.

Check out the Stinkfish website here, and check out his amazing Flickr stream here

Stream his Background Noise mix below, download it here, or subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes.

And as always, like Background Noise on Facebook for updates on future episodes.

Background Noise, Episode 14: C215 by Matt Bomarr

My new "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 14, the focus is on Parisian artist    C215.

My new "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 14, the focus is on Parisian artist C215.

Photo by Matt Bomarr

Photo by Matt Bomarr

C215 is a very prolific Parisian stencil artist who has been perfecting his art for many years now. His subjects tend to lean towards those that are hidden from society: Homeless people, street kids, the elderly, etc. By doing this, he aims to bring attention to people that society has forgotten about. He doesn't stick to just those subjects though. He'll just as easily put stencils of cats and even his daughter (who is becoming a stencil artist in her own right) on the streets. All of his stencils are extremely detailed, down to every whisker or wrinkle on someone's face.

As usual, in my walks around New York City and Brooklyn, I stumbled on multiple pieces of his. They always made me stop and look close.  I've since seen his work in Opera Gallery in SoHo and on my honeymoon a couple of years ago, I visited Opera Gallery Paris where a very kind gallery employee pulled some of his pieces out of storage and let me photograph them.

Photo by Matt Bomarr

Photo by Matt Bomarr

He shows no signs of quitting any time soon. This guy will be around for a while.

Based on my interaction with him, music is DEFINITELY a big part of his creative process. When I asked for music, he sent a playlist containing over 50 songs, which would have made a roughly 5-hour podcast, so he gave me permission to whittle it down to fit my format. It's a beautiful collection of songs that I've already listened to a few times, and I'm excited to share it with you.

Check out more of his work here, or on his website.

What was your first concert? 
Antibes Jazz festival in 1984


Last concert/show?
A sound system in Kingston last week


First album, tape or cd you bought?
David Bowie lets dance in 1984?


Last album you bought?
Tabouley Rochereau


Was there any album that made a significant impression on you?
Dillinger - Cocaine


Who is your musical hero?
David Bowie


How important do you think music is to your creative process?
Its part of my life, so its part of my art

photo by Matt Bomarr

photo by Matt Bomarr

Stream C215's mix below or download it directly here.

Subscribe to the Background Noise podcast on iTunes, and be sure to like Background Noise on Facebook for updates.