SUBCULTURE FAME – A Review

24 Aug

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By STACEY HOLZER

A few unlikely places found me this week in exploration of art and subculture.   At my first stop, the Roller Derby Championship, the Burlesque Brawlers took on the Spindletop Rollergirls.  Next up a tour of graffiti art that ended in a dialogue with Slokeone near a wall on Crawford and Elgin.  

What these two have in common is a subculture that reinvents itself by renaming its participants in a quest for fame.  Rollergirls with names like Prozac Princess and Claudia Van Damage succumbed to Death by Chocolate.   A visual experiment that brings out the rough, sexy, woman in all, this too in a city where one can experience fine dining within just a few blocks.  

The morning after, I met up with Slokeone – the leader of the pack, so to speak or at least the leader of what has become a statewide tour of graffitti art with artists travelling from all over the country to participate.  Graffitti art is from the street and in a conversation    with Slokeone, he shared his experience.  From the street without much, Slokeone discovered the hidden intrigue of dressing incognito, sneaking out into the night and creating a “piece”

It’s all about the letters and your name, over time the goal becomes to gain can control, keep clean lines, and make the piece an expression of who he was, taking it all city.   “Piece” is short for masterpiece. The image has to look impeccable from wherever you stand.  A place is staked out and sought after for location, activity in the area and image.    His work has no gang affiliation and he realizes this is vandalism if done illegally but it is still an art form, from the street, and has become for Slokeone a stepping stone to life as a positive mentor for kids with nothing else.  

After getting caught and getting older, Slokeone used his experience and his love of art to begin exhibiting his work in galleries, organizing a tour, and teaching young people there is another outlet of expression.    Touring the country Slokeone has had the opportunity to paint in many cities.  From that experience he developed a realization that his work shares a common element with more formally trained visual artists. The fade, highlighting, color play and dimension are aspects of every quality “piece” that goes up.  Ultimately a quest for recognition is what motivates graffiti art. 

For a person who is generally misunderstood or ignored by society, Slokeone is the first to give credit to the communities he empowers, the artists he works with, and God.   Overall he has done more to raise awareness and provide disadvantaged communities with a positive form of expression than many I know with more resources and connections.  Hats off to Slokeone and his krew for taking art, passing it on where many said there was no way to do so.   Graffitti art from the Pieced Together 09 tour can be viewed www.flickr.com/piecedtogether09 or visit Aerosol Warfare at 2110 Jefferson Ste 113 Houston, TX 77003 (713) 503-5714.talk to Gonzo. Read more about Contemporary art and Public sculpture at www.visualseen.net

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