Thursday, 12 November 2009
Aerosol Legend Chor Boogie Speaks 2 LSD on Recent Stabbing
Chor Boogie is a beacon of transcendental positivity in the streets and public spaces of our world, tirelessly offering up his soul and his talent to inspire harmony, creativity, insight and reflection. His astonishing creations have woven a world of healing colour and soaring imagery on all four corners of the globe and you would think, sown respect and wonder in the hearts of those lucky enough to engage with his work. You’d think….. Chor Boogie – pure heart and embracing spirit was stabbed twice this weekend as he worked on a 100 foot long public mural on the streets of San Francisco. He took some time out of his recovery to speak to us and we send him all our love, respect and positivity
So what happened
I was working on a 100 foot mural on Market Street, one of the main roads in downtown San Francisco, painting hard at around 7:15 in the evening, and I had my paints stacked up in the middle of the project wall so I could jump back and forth to grab cans when I needed them. Usually, it’s a busy street and so I generally keep an eye out as people are passing in case any of them tries to take anything, and so that night as a large group of people were forming near the middle I looked over to check everything was cool. I saw this girl scampering behind everyone else there like a little cockroach, grab a can and put it in her bag and I’m like ‘Whoooaa’. At first I thought it was just her, and I jumped off the ladder, stopped her and confronted her, but it turns out that she had three guys with her who I think were in some way related to ‘graffiti’. So as I pulled her up on it, she tries to deny it, so I grabbed her bag and that was when it started to escalate drastically. She hit me while I’m trying to wrestle the can away and then the guys piled in so it’s me trying to fight the four of them and as I say, it just escalated and turned seriously nasty and the next thing I know I’ve been stabbed twice….. deep..
Have you ever encountered anything like this before
No, this is the first time that something like this has happened to me, and I’ve painted in some CRAZY places all around the world - favelas in Brazil which get a pretty bad press and I tell you – the vibe was far cooler there .
Are you disappointed that they simply could not see the beauty and the love in the art
I truly am disappointed that there was no respect and appreciation for the art. But you know, I don’t think they even cared about that – it simply was not relevant to their reality and I think they were far more focused on the spray paint itself rather than what the spray paint can create. The thing is, it is pretty common for graffiti writers and taggers to have this kind of mercenary attraction to spray paint – it’s like candy to them and they are going try and steal it – that’s their whole motto.
Do you see this as the dark side of some people’s conception of what street art is all about
It is the dark side, but in some ways, it’s what graffiti is all about. There’s a balance to everything – a positive and a negative side, and I believe that I represent and energise the positive side of this medium. Saying that though, I don’t go by the term graffiti at all, I consider it spray paint art, because that is my tool just like oils or acrylics, but I do see that other s can blur the lines and what happened is the grimy street side to it which some people may want to glorify, but I’ve got a very different perspective on it with 2 stab wounds to prove it. These are my different perspective right here.
Do you feel in any way betrayed as all you were doing was giving to a community
I wouldn’t say that, no. I’m not going to play the blame game and I am most definitely going back to finish the project, but I do feel disrespected. And don’t forget, these guys were at least 20 – 25 years old, so we’re not talking about young kids here. They were grown adults, so they know better – or at least they should.
Do you wonder why, if these guys were into spray paint, they didn’t just come, watch and learn
Bottom line – they’re miseducated. I don’t think they have that mentality. I don’t even think that they paint with spray, create anything. I think they just go out and scrawl their name on walls and the creative process is just alien to them
Do you see this as an escalation of someone tagging badly over a beautiful piece?
Well that’s already happened to this piece and I fixed it, and I think that the word was put out by some of the locals on the street, but nothing else happened until now, and this was early on in the project. But what’s crazy, is that they intentionally, purposefully tagged an area that I’d put a lot of detail into - one of the retinas in the eyes, while there was all this other space around that they could have had their moment in and would have been far less destructive and far easier to retouch. But this was unquestionably the deliberate destruction of beautiful artwork…..so what can you say.
Can you even begin to understand that mentality
No. I don’t. If someone could explain the philosophy behind it to me, I might just at least see their perspective, but everything I’ve heard, everything I’ve seen points to destruction for destructions sake – plain and simple. But going back to core philosophy, there is a balance within everything, and this might just be the element of negativity that exists to anchor the positive side of this medium. But if you’re going to go out and intentionally destroy someone’s beautiful creation, well you’ve got some problems – some REAL problems. No matter what the medium is, spray, oil, acrylic, sculpture, if you’re going to go out and destroy something just because you can’t do it, or just because you have some searing negativity inside….there is definitely something wrong with any individual who is doing that. If you cannot find it within your basic world view to respect someone’s artwork, you are deeply lost. Whoever is out there damaging the work of others, whether it be through intrinsic human jealousy or ANY reason whatsoever– they need to take a good long look within themselves.
What has the support been like
Oh WOW. The support has been amazing. An outpouring of love from around the world and a lot of Facebook comments on stuff that I’ve been posting about what happened. People have been putting it up on their blogs and it was on the news the other day so it reached out to a lot of people. There’s going to be a press conference at the mural site on Saturday, bringing me back to the community, and sending out the message that I am coming back and I am still going to putting the love and the beauty into the community. The response has been wonderful – there’s a lot of love out there for the Boogie!!
Can something positive come out of this
Yeah absolutely – finishing the project despite the circumstances will be the ultimate positive. And I suppose if these guys get caught – they will suffer the consequences, learn their lesson and not be in a position to inflict their negativity on anyone or anything else for a while. Personally, I’m going to embrace what happened here and make sure that I take a lot of safety precautions the next time I work on a project like this. I’ve generally worked on my own up until now, but when I take my next steps – I will have someone there – either a friend or someone from the Arts Commission who backed this project from the start. They’ve offered me security if I want to work at night, but I’m thinking more toward starting early in the morning, putting in 8 – 10 hours and breaking for the day when it gets dark.
Will this change you or your art in any way
Definitely……. Crisis precipitates change….. I’ll only really know about the deeper impact and the influence it may have on my work when I start painting. I’m still running with the colour therapy aspect, and all my other styles, but I believe that it will have an effect on my style
It may sound strange, but are you feeling positive
Yes I’m feeling positive…with a little bit of anger… It’s something that I forgive, but that forgiveness and the healing process is going to take some time. I’ve got two holes in my body, so every time I look at them…….it’s emotional. But you know – I’m taking it good, taking it good, and I just want to get back out there and paint..