The subtitle of this book is misleading. It reads “Art Collaborations in New York City” which sounded really fascinating to me. But what it really is is graffiti artist collaborations. Still potentially really interesting, but not what I was expecting.
Given that this book is about graffiti artist collaborations in New York City, it strikes me that the potential audience for this book is incredibly slim, though it may have more interest from a sociology perspective than from an art interest.
We get a little background on each artist and each talks briefly about what it was like or what it means to collaborate. The book is lavishly illustrated with photos of the artists at work and their final collaborative project. This is interesting at first, but while the artist backgrounds may differ, it becomes repetitive as it doesn’t seem to bring about anything new.
I will also state that I have a little problem with the nature of the art itself. I’ve seen some incredibly beautiful graffiti art, and I would argue that in many cases, the graffiti enhances an area. But at its core, it’s still vandalism. We are reminded of this by the fact that some of the artists will not let their faces appear in the book. Whether it’s by hiding behind masks, or having the photos pixelated, some of the these graffiti artists can’t be identified.
Some of the final projects are really interesting. The collaboration of “Icy” and “Sot” is fascinating and powerful (especially given that they are not native Americans), and the collaboration between Dasic Fernandez and Rubin 415 shows how graffiti can really enhance a community and strike a powerful message. The collaboration between “bunny m” and “SQUARE” was more of what I was expecting to see … two distinct art styles colliding to make one work of art.
This is the sort of book that you might pick up and thumb through if you see it on a table, but it’s not the sort that I can give a high recommendation to run out and buy.
Looking for a good book? 2create by Yoav Litvin is an art/sociology book about collaborating graffiti artists and has some interesting art and artist perspectives, but doesn’t have a lot of appeal to those outside the New York City community.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
2create: Art Collaborations in New York City
author: Yoav Litvin
publisher: Schiffer Publishing
hardcover, 296 pages