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Futura 2000 studio

Discussion in 'Style' started by The Hipster, Mar 18, 2005.

  1. The Hipster

    The Hipster Member

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004 Messages: 872 Likes Received: 0
    Contributing to the art scenery for over three decades, graffiti legend Futura helped spawn a visual legacy that brought an underworld culture to the front row of civilization. Formerly known as Futura 2000, he is one of New York's original graffiti writers who started tagging subway trains, buildings, bridges and other urban structures back in the late seventies. His search for an identity drove him to use unfriendly surroundings to manifest his existence. He spray-painted his tag on the subways for years, thus contributing to the creation of an exciting visual universe. Futura's work signalled the beginning of an emerging urban movement referred to as the "ghettover," which is the art of using the street as canvas.
    Years later, the controversy caused by graffiti still lingers. But ground has been broken and the lifestyle is beginning to be accepted by mainstream culture. The influence of the graffiti aesthetic has seeped into culture through clothing companies, advertising agencies, sneakers and slang. Today's society is bathing in street culture. Futura is a child of and a creator of these cultural changes. If you're familiar with his work then you know that his eclectic path (from tagging trains and rapping with the Clash to exhibitions in sophisticated galleries around the globe and creating graphic design, toys,clothing, sneakers) has brought him notoriety, wealth and a cult following among culture vultures. Besides his undeniable talent, this artist still strives for extraordinary status and keeps his research going from the maze of his Brooklyn studios.

    Come with us on a visit to Futura's studio, where we survey his vast collection of art, toys and collectibles, and check out the tools of his trade.

    tura's office/studio in Williamsburg, BrooklynA view of Brooklyn from Hope St.
  2. The Hipster

    The Hipster Member

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004 Messages: 872 Likes Received: 0
    ...Entering the Futura chamber...Collection of work by the artist
    Crammed "Warwork" by Lee Quinones, Futura and Bape
    Camo boxAlways ready to go
    The playpen station Favorite things in red
  3. The Hipster

    The Hipster Member

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004 Messages: 872 Likes Received: 0
    Krylon and Futura spray cans
    Left) Futura "Technique" figurine was a prototype for Umbrella, Film/Medicom (Center) Futura's "1000%" figure: prototype for Kubrick Toys (Right) Nick's Futura tattoo
    Left) Detail of "skeleton boards" for Deitch Gallery (Center) Futura/Medicom spraypainted "400%" figure (Right) A favorite cap, "Fumes"
    Detail of "Blu," spraypaint on metalAnother detail of "Blu," spraypaint on metal
    "Sony Plaza"Closeup of the "Sony Plaza"
  4. The Hipster

    The Hipster Member

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004 Messages: 872 Likes Received: 0
    James vs. Nigo" toys by Futura for Bape Studio camo installation: Baby Milo soldier & Bapsi can

  5. defstro

    defstro New Jack

    Joined: Jan 4, 2005 Messages: 6 Likes Received: 0
    Cool pics but I'm wondering why the Doze Green "Travela" figure is reffered to as the Futura "Technique" figurine?
  6. caffeine

    caffeine Member

    Joined: Mar 6, 2005 Messages: 503 Likes Received: 0
    Futura has his own paint brand?
  7. <KEY3>

    <KEY3> Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 24, 2004 Messages: 6,878 Likes Received: 2
    lego desk! nice!

    I think it was raven who mentioned that before.

    JUSTONE Member

    Joined: May 17, 2004 Messages: 478 Likes Received: 0
    did he buff the throwie outside his studio?
  9. Al Green

    Al Green Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 24, 2001 Messages: 8,561 Likes Received: 1
    is it a full desk? or is it just 3 walls around his lcd screen. btw i always wanted one of those lego stereos.. i wish there were more flics of his military equip.///camo and so forth.
  10. The Hipster

    The Hipster Member

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004 Messages: 872 Likes Received: 0
  11. The Hipster

    The Hipster Member

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004 Messages: 872 Likes Received: 0

  12. Al Green

    Al Green Veteran Member

    Joined: Mar 24, 2001 Messages: 8,561 Likes Received: 1
    ok.. thats pretty fresh.. i want to make one. the colors of some of the blocks are pretty interesting.
  13. Futura 2000 first show in Scandinavia opens April 1st 2005 at V1 Gallery in Copenhagen.

  14. The Hipster

    The Hipster Member

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004 Messages: 872 Likes Received: 0
    Year in Pictures

    Interview with Futura 2000
    Can you tell me how this exhibition came to be?

    Well, I'm friends with Patrick from Faile and I heard that this gallery was trying to get different artists to come out and I never been here before, so I was excited to come.

    Tell me about the pictures you are doing for this show?

    The show is called The Year in Pictures and I'm showing a bunch of photos, it's actually six pieces and like 25 photos per piece, and then there are going to be 20 drawings that I'm gonna do, collage stuff, and two canvases. So there'll be like paintings, drawings and photography. The photos are kind of an inside to my world during the last year, places I've been, pictures I've been taking.

    Can you please be a little bit more specific?

    Well, it's just general digital photos, that I've been printing our, nothing crazy. I'm not necessarily photographer, but these days, everyone has a camera, trying to document there life... you know, it's pictures


    Kind of a way to tell a story, perhaps?

    Yeah, kind of, I think the pictures speaks for themselves, really, like I said, it's pictures from every place I been to in the last year, which have been many places. It should be cool. I like to look at photos, and when you don?t know people. I think it's an interesting way to get an idea of who you or they are, a way, that my work doesn?t translate as well. I'm very much identified with my visual work, my characters,

    the work that people know me for, so I also wanted to show something, they didn?t expected to see.

    How do you keep reinventing your creativity?

    I don?t know if it's a reinvention so much as an adaptation to what?s going on around me. In certain points of my carrier, I've been exposed to changes and I've embraced them, rather than staying in one specific way. I'm always looking for new things to do anyway and inevitably because I'm an older person in this movement, I got there first. it's not my own fault, but 12 years ago or so, when all of this sort

    of technology started happening and new mediums became available, computing and stuff, I just sort of adapted to it. Naturally.


    How did you feel at first, working for these mayor corporations?

    Given the nature of what I first did with them, which was a charity-event where I ended up raising like 80.000$ for the New York City Coalition for the Homeless, the introduction to a big corporation, was cool, because it wasn?t all about money, it was taking there money and doing something positive with them. It really depends on who you?re working with, if they make it corporate or if they are cool about it. In the beginning I was a little careful about it, whether they where going to take advantage of me, but... I did a thing with CK (Calvin Klein) a year or two ago, with Espo and Delta, and they kind of took advantage of us, because they where so big, and we couldn?t control how many pieces they made and they made more, than they said they would do. But my relationship with Nike is really good and I have like five shoes I've made with them, so thats a cool gig.

    And you can still be free as an artist?

    Sure, they just let me do what ever I wanna do, basically, because they know that this art, if you will, is what the kids are gonna get of on. There are no restriction, they just want to exploit us to the ultimate, they just want to push it as far as it can go. it's a good team and I happen to know one of the presidents, so it's not like on a middle level where I'm just working with some people in an office, I'm looked after.

    What do you think of the street art, that has developed during the past, let?s say 5-7 years?

    I don't see it so much in New York, because it's not really there on any mayor level, but in Europe and other American cities, there are some sort of graffiti or street-art, it's a fine line now, what is what, but when the artists there get a chance to get a show, it's not the same anymore. There is a kind of legitimacy and illegitimacy of illegal work, it's there at the risk of the artist, arrest, bla bla, so There's a kind of cycle that goes on in the public space, which is good and it's obviously growing in the last decade, maybe to or three, since we started in New York? There's a movement!


    What do you think of the fine line between art, street-art, design, commercials etc?

    it's really all art. There are certainly beauty in a lot of things that people do, that aren't considered as being art.

    Do you consider yourself as being an political artist?

    Not really, I mean, I have my political views, but it's more in my words, what I say and what I write, than in what I create. I don't think I will use that venue or vehicle to be political.

    Did you use to?

    What I did back then, was more rebellious. I had more anger, why I was angry I don't really know, but my friends told me, yo, you should be angry, so I guess I was angry. it's interesting, I could go there, I could start to do that, now that I feel, I have more people looking at what I'm doing, then I could use that as a mean to express myself politically, but, we?ll see... I don't consciously do it. If I do it unconsciously, that's good.

    Because then it's just expressing a part of who you are...?

    Yeah, I mean, like coming out here... I could have done the pieces in New York, but I like to come to a place and just sense what is going on. A part of the collages is all these Danish papers. it's making the experience of being here, more natural, I'm working with what ever people have, it's not like, I need this and I need that, I don't need anything specific and I just do whatever I can under the given circumstances. I'll come up with something.

    Is that a common way for you to work?

    When I'm not a home, yes, I have a studio, where I work. But the nature of being a graffiti writer, I guess from the beginning, is like youre doing your work in a public space. Not really on a performance level. I don't want people standing there watching me necessarily, but I'm cool with just going to a place and just use the local resources, paint, what ever.


    So you are always inspired by what surrounds you?

    I look for that, yes, you know, yesterday I arrived here, and sort of tried to soak up Copenhagen, I don't know how that translate into my doings, but I have some feelings about it, I like to think about it, at least. I don't wanna be like, "oh, I'm from New York", I'm over it?, I really like to come here, it's nice. I've been all over Europe but never here. I also know when I come to a place, I don't wanna come back to, but I would like to come back here.

    Have you done any research on Denmark?

    Like I said, I'm barely here a day, but I have some time after the opening to check out some cultural touristic things, I would like to do that.

    What other sources of inspiration do you have? Like art fx?

    The thing is that the stuff I do is all part of my own universe, my iconography, my imagery, my sort of tool box of stuff, so I draw from that a lot. But I'm influenced by really everything. I just wanna be in some good energy as well, because it's hard to be creative, when you got problems or you are stressed out about something, so I try not to freak out.

    How strongly do you feel connected to the graffiti-scene today?

    I don't feel very strong at all, physically, I don't have any urge to go tagging, I don't do that anymore. Even in the life of a graffiti-writer, there are certain areas where you could'nt and should'nt do that. Like municipal buildings are kind of a taboo, because there's enough negative space that you can use, if you want to make it look better instead of being sort of vandal about it. But today I'm only connected to the writers in historic sense. Like if There's a school of graffiti that you can graduate from, then I'm a graduate. My name is listed as a member of that club, or what ever you wanna call it. I'm not currently out there, I don't have that feeling, I would'nt do anything illegal, because I would'nt wanna get caught. I would be into legal project and I'm working on some with other artists, I'm into collaborations, but it's gotta be the right place and the right artists.


    What about the contemporary art-scene, do you feel connected to that?

    I haven't had shows in a while, and I've been trying to make it as a commercial artist. People are into my work on some level, but I've always had a problem with galleries, I don't quite know if I wanna be in galleries anymore. it's something I did, I mean, I have a long list of exhibitions I've been doing, and I guess to a potential buyer, that might make an impression on them, but for me... I did all of that already, so in the new millennium, I'm looking for other things to do and rather than a legitimate show in a very serious gallery, I rather do something alternative, like one weekend only in raw space. Not so serious. That kind of serious art-world scene, is not my place. I don't think it would be amazing to have a piece in a big museum, I'm not ambitious like that and I'm not looking for that high artist label anymore. In the eighties I was part of a bigger scene, but I was just kinda following what everyone was doing, and finally I realized, that it was tough to compete in this world. We didn?t have the formal education, we were not really aware of art-history in general. When I first started painting, people where comparing me to different artists, whose names I never heard of. So, I'm great about this show and I'm excited about these guys here, they're really kinda fresh, and they're doing something really cool here, so it's more like supporting this whole scene globally. Like I said, for me it was just coming here, finally. Traveling is one of the better things you can do in education and awareness.


    How does it feel to be a living legend?

    I don't know, I'm not really comfortable with that, it's almost a joke with me and my kids, but I don't really think about it.

    it's okay, a lot of other people do...

    it's good, but they should'nt loose sleep. It's not something I concern myself with, because honestly I think I still have a lot of great things I'm gonna be able to do. I'm sure of that and I'm very motivated to keep going, I'm thinking "I almost got enough of money, so I could disappear", I'm gonna be here for a minute, a few more years, and I wanna get into try a film, maybe do a music videos, a commercial, get a one minute spot, 15 seconds, just try to get into the ground floor and see what happens. I have a good sensibility about imagery and the idea of sound and There's a lot of exciting things I wanna do, so I'm looking at where to go to next.

    Are you always looking for new areas to move into?

    definitely. I don't wanna get comfortable and just stay in one place. Also in my own journey, there are people who have been following me in some way, whether they have been inspired by what I've done or influenced to some degree, so I'm always aware of that, looking behind, and I also wanna change direction, so that everybody?s not on me all the time. So keep them guessing, that's what I'm doing and keep myself guessing!


    It seems like you have always had an ongoing fascination with the future? What do you think of the future now?

    It seems possible, I don't know. My kids are growing up, my daughter is going to be 15 and my son is 21 so I have young adult kids, and thats really exciting and we have a great interaction and that keeps me young. I just want to minimize the mistakes I make in concern of working with the big corporation.

    Do you see some main-themes that you are following?

    I like I'm on this long journey to something I really don't know what is, and I obviously don't feel, that I have gotten there yet. So even though people say, that I have done all these great things I don't feel quite personally fulfilled yet. I could kick back and be like, hey, check out my resume, don't you know who I am, but I still feel, that There's something in me, that hasn?t got out yet, which is encouraging. it's not that I'm not satisfied, I just think there's more

    What would you say, would be the main turning points of your career in the last 30 years?

    Probably in the early eighties, hooking up with The Clash, I think that was a mayor thing for my career as far as getting recognition. I worked with this very high profiled group and because they where very popular, people where accepting me as well, I was very fortunate to meet them and I think that helped a lot. Ultimately they broke up, and that wave was really short. I don?t know, the birth of my children, that sort of epic moments in my life, but mostly... launching my internet-site in 1996 was a big jump to me, realizing the worldwide audience that where kind of growing and being born at that time... working for Nike has been recently great.
  15. The Hipster

    The Hipster Member

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004 Messages: 872 Likes Received: 0


    Child of New York.
    Today that child has grown and has spawned children of its own traversing from street into gallery.
    Of recent, EM had the opportunity to interview offspring of one of Graffiti's finest.

    His name is Futura. Please join us.


    EM: Tell us where you grew up. What were your influences as a child?

    Futura: I was born in New York City. The ’64/’65 World's Fair (ages nine and ten) was my earliest memorable influential life experience. Multiple trips to multiple cultures, and in that period I probably went dozens of times between school trips and those with family and friends. My father getting mugged in Central Park is however one particular summer day to remember; in that one of the bad guys from a party of eight held my hand and gave me a lollipop. (laugh) I guess that influenced my fear of dentists…

    EM: What were your interests before you began doing graffiti?

    F: Being a kid, a daredevil, a class clown that studied hard. played alot of sports, baseball and hockey especially, loved speed skating. Worked at the YMCA with youth programs, was seriously into (Scouting) and (Chess). Babysat for everyone in my neighborhood and walked dogs before clean up was the law. As an only child I had a lot of imagination but no artistic interests.

    EM: New York subway culture had an important role in as far as letting names of graffiti writers known throughout the city. Today the medium has changed from subway to gallery. The United Graffiti Artists (UGA) were a grouping of graffiti artists who spearheaded this transition. Tell us about UGA and following do you find it a bit ironic that the very art which was initially met with public resistance, is today finding itself in public grace?

    F: The movement/culture pre dates any organized groups, and or - attempts to transition that movement/culture (to the public) which is of course different than (in the public). From the start, fame via anonymity, and rumor via gossip, created the underground heroes of the NYC subway system. But having said that, the United Graffiti Artists were the first (group) to emerge from the Mecca of the worldwide phenomenon.

    At that time, I was a pure fanatic. Almost groupie like and I didn't know anything (really) about galleries, museums, art or the "art world". The exposure to these spaces and such creative diversity would have a very profound effect on me. I knew a lot about graffiti but I was now learning a little about style.

    EM: Following there is this debate in regards to street art and fine art. In your opinion was and is street art fine art to begin with? And if so, what factors do you think came into play?

    F: A very interesting topic of discussion I am quite sure will historically change with time. In my day, during the first round of (talks), it was widely suggested that street art was (not) in fact fine art, and that was pretty much that. These days contemporary artists can offer more arguments as to where that line is actually drawn. I don't think about it too much, as my current strategy is to bypass and flank the (art world). I am not seeking their audience.

    EM: Tell us about the "Pointman" character. How did its conception come about?

    F: The genesis of these characters can be seen as far back as twenty years ago. Although primitive, they were emerging. But it wasn't until my work for Mo Wax and James LaVelle in ‘92, that they really started to take shape. What had begun as rough sketches had become the birth of the UNKLE logo and subsequently the (Pointman).


    EM: I understand that you derived your name from "2001 Space Odyssey." There is this theory that science fiction had much influence on what we define as street culture today due to the fact that many participants of it came from backgrounds with limited resources hence forcing individuals to look beyond the scope of reality. What are you thoughts on that?

    F: Really? There may be some truth to that. The name may be a direct (Stanley Kubrick) connection, but my favorite film of that genre would be (THX1138). I know that I'm from a (B Movie) generation of sci-fi films, which certainly inspired the likes of Lucas & Spielberg and many including myself. Seeing the men on the moon was a very big event when I was 14 and it still seems like some unbelievable concept today. How that effects what I am doing these days is unclear. the fact that we are now in (the future), I was so amazed by thirty years ago, makes the name (futura2000) obsolete. And the future now surely looks less romantic.


    EM: What is your opinion about art schools. Do you feel that it creates structure for them or that it limits the creative expression of one's vision?

    F: Schools (which I never went to) should be exploited for everything they can offer. The physical tools they provide, resources and technologies must be maximized. This approach assumes the individual is (already) creatively motivated and doesn't need direction which would cancel my ability to speak for those who do not.

    The (mode/model/mold) I have created doesn't fit anyone else, that's the beauty of (it) and them all. These questions/answers must be confronted on a person to person basis.

    What is the desire? The love? The hunger of/in each one of us?

    That is what is most important.

    No one should ever limit themselves or let others dictate what limitations should be.

    EM: You regard Phase II as a pioneer in lettering and spray-painting techniques. What was it in particular that made him a source of inspiration?

    F: For me (Phase II) just represents the (style) of my generation, past and present. As a (writer), as a (lyricist), as a (painter), as a (historian), as a (sculptor), among the huge talent pool that is the history of NYC graffiti, he still may be atop the food chain.

    EM: You have an immense following in Japan. The general public seems to be very perceptive to your art. What are your thoughts on Japan in regards to street culture.

    F: Everyone should spend 15 days in Japan. But then that's easy for me to say, I love it there! It's like my (other) life but I really love the juxtaposition of it all. The "internationally unknown" aspect of the mythology…I could stand at 42nd street and Broadway for 24 hours and never get noticed let alone, approached. But I couldn't last 24 minutes at Shibuya crossing without numerous photo and/or signature opportunities (bowing) arigato.

    EM: Surely you must have some interesting stories while painting. Would you care to share some with us?

    F: Well there was this other one time when Dondi, Zephyr, and myself were painting in Hong Kong. It was a vast office complex that was being renovated and we were invited over and asked to (decorate) the unfinished walls as they were doing construction and installing the electrical and plumbing fixtures. With all the activity going on around us, a major crew and huge fans dispersing aerosol fumes throughout the space, we took a break for the first class catering and champagne pouring which celebrated our arrival as "world famous graffiti artists," complete with local television media coverage. We often looked back and thought, how out of context that entire trip was, but in retrospect one of my all time favorites. Maybe it was the first glimpse of things to come? ‘Cause what we were doing certainly wasn't (graffiti) even though we "replicated the atmosphere."


    EM: I understand that Recon has three locations in New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo. Explain to us the concept.

    F: My personal contribution to the RECON collaboration is limited, (some art direction) and I would refer to Stash for any accurate data concerning that part of public affairs. But in theory; the idea has been to establish bases of operation from which our forces can engage in a (hearts & minds) campaign with the local population.

    EM: Recently you have worked with Nike on the Blazer shoe and I hear that you are working with Calvin Klein later this year on another project. Could you tell us a little about the process in doing such projects?

    F: The Nike (Blazer) event has been very well received, as evidenced (via) the secondary markets. But a lot of money went to a worthy cause and for that I'm very happy. The process was painless in that there were no hassles with either realization. As for (CK), well I had doubts, until I saw the final product. They really let us (ESPO), (DELTA), and myself, go off. I think our bottles represent how edgy big corporates are willing to go.

    EM: You used to be in the Navy, regardless you must have some strong sentiments about the current war being waged in Iraq.

    F: I will always support our young men and women as they come under fire in any armed conflict. However I do reserve the right to question their mission.

    EM: Do you find yourself expressing sociopolitical views in your art?

    F: Strangely I never did. But obviously since (9/11) which for me; was/is deeper than the current engagement, I can't avoid the influences.


    EM: You mentioned to me that your artwork is currently undergoing a rebirth of some sort; tell us what is influencing you today?

    F: As always (everything) and the desire to move forward with my work. Develop my skills, practice…Now it's moving media. Quicktime, Final Cut, digital video, soundscapes, shorts, spots, narratives and "shit like that."

    EM: On a lighter note tell us what you like to do on off days? How do you relax?

    F: I would certainly admit that what I do, (isn't) work. So I am always doing things I like to do. My life management is three fold: domestic/professional/personal. I am very relaxed at the moment. I like answering questions, but can you untie my hands?

    EM: (laugh) Don’t worry, in due time. If anyone were to visit New York, what spots would you recommend?

    F: Well “none of the places I know.” Seriously, check the view from Greenpoint and maybe take a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Try the (lobster) pan roast at the Oyster Bar, in Grand Central, (laugh) or maybe you'd prefer a lapdance at Circles in Queens.

    EM: And last: What is your motto in life.

    F: Avoid arrogance, complacency, and greed.