Private Air New York

Summer 2016

Private Air New York Magazine

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Page 66 of 85 Private Air New York | Summer 2016 67 ART FROM RUSSIA & BROOKLYN WITH LOVE Their life has just the right amount of trash – and making art out of it is their forte. Two artist, Mint & Serf, one from Russia, the other from Brooklyn tell us how it all came together By: E.J. Webber Q: Tell us a little about why you have selected to work on large silk canvases? What influenced you if anything? Serf: Working on a large silk offered us the ability to juxtapose the harsh, uncertain visceral reality of our painting style against a smooth, soft controlled reproduction onto silk charmeuse. e silk in essence is the feminine, while the original paintings on canvas are the masculine. No matter how aggressive and or radical we may paint, we're still sensitive creatures. Mint: We live in an age of blurred lines where femininity and masculinity are not as clearly defined any more. It's great to be able to transition between mediums. We wanted to reproduce the work on silk since finishing the first few paintings in the Support, erapy and Instability series. Q: Can you explain a little of the technical process by which you bring about your art? Serf & Mint: e idea for this series is born out of spontaneity and aggression of graffiti. For a few years we tried to recreate or emulate the conditions and environment in which illegal graffiti and vandalism exist. We wanted to tap into the purity of aggression and chaos that graffiti really is. It's not about POP colored murals but the instability, uncertainty and the wild ride graffiti takes you on. Many whisky and coke fueled dusty therapy nights in the studio resulted in this series. Q: Do you always collaborate with each other? Who does what? Serf & Mint: We have collaborated for a long time which is not to say that we don't work on some solo, personal projects as well. Q: e concept of merging celebrity status with politics is not a new one, but you have taken it a step further with Richie Shazam. Why is his, and perhaps your, attitudes toward politics intrinsic to what it means to be American artist in 2016? Serf & Mint: With this election year, becoming so vigorously contested, I wanted to revisit this idea but with something radically different in mind. Something, that once again reinterpreted the idea of an American. What does it mean to be an American In 2016? We wanted something bold, aggressive and punk rock. A big fuck you to all of the bigots of our great country. A middle finger to everyone who hates minorities and won't acknowledge reproductive rights and equal pay for women. is is a celebration of individuality, masco- femininity and ethnicity. What is masculinity? What is femininity? Do we really even need to define those terms in 2016? Q: e concept for your new campaign is edgy and bold, playing off the magazine covers of the bygone George publication begun by the late John F. Kennedy, Jr. Do you see your work being even bolder than JFK's idea of interpreting contemporary celebrities to the likeness of George Washington? Serf & Mint: We'll let the readers decide what's bolder. But I do think that context is key here. George magazine existed almost 20 years ago and was introducing radical ideas of the time. We are reintroducing these same ideas. What does it mean to be an American in 2016? Q: Many people compare your art to street art and graffiti, is that at all bothersome to you? Serf & Mint: Anyone who delved into the life of graffiti (graffiti i refer to is the kind that is by its definition is illegal), has done so out of pure passion and appreciation for destructive behavior. It's a life choice that you make when you are young. It isn't bothersome for me, but i definitely think it is bothersome for the art world establishment. ere are only a handful of artists with obvious graffiti ties that have been able to penetrate the blue-chip minted gates of the art world establishment. Q: Do you place credence on the "shock value" of art? Serf & Mint: No, we place credence in honesty, uniqueness and sincerity of the work.

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