Henry Matyjewicz, a 27-year-old Brooklynite, was arrested by NYPD’s a few days ago. He is known around the city and beyond as Poster boy, a street artist that for years have remodelled New York subway ads and billboards with a little razor, exerting a feisty but playfully intuitive critique of consumer culture. He works in a similar tradition as many other of recent years’ street artists such as Swedish AKAY, Polish M-city, or Swoon from Brooklyn. His cut-outs are literally live adbusting (or ‘subvertising’), while at times he has done it even in front of an audience, something which he might find more difficult to pursue in the future.
But the NY Times casts some mythological doubt-cum-Banksy glow to this matter, referring to an anonymous call they received from ”Henry”, part of the self proclaimed ”Poster Boy movement”, stating: There is no one Poster Boy, we are many. If this is true, the poster slashing will not halt for long, since ”Henry”-the-voice claims that Matyjewicz only plays a minor role in the movement at large. Future will tell, then.
The complicated story of art and graffiti have been debated over and out whence the complex theories often begin with the notions of cleaning, destruction or iconoclasm. Removing graffiti from the public space have been the main issue for graffiti artists and transportation authorities alike for four decades. Street artists have thus since the 1990’s pursued new forms of expressions beyond the spraycan, and slowly started to smudge the concept of simple removal of graffiti, which in turn have taken interesting forms of consumption critique.
A nice connection between the concept of iconoclasm and graffiti is graff critic Jakob Kimvalls essay in Swedish downloadable here.