I frequently fall into internet Rat Holes…
Yesterday I heard about an exhibit featuring paintings by Hip Hop Ambassador Fab 5 Freddy (Fred Brathwaite). It’s part of a group show called 3 Kings featuring Freddy, Lee Quinones and Futura 2000.
Rat Hole #1
While looking up the dates for the exhibit at Subliminal Projects on Sunset, I stumbled on Revok’s blog post accusing Fred of thievery for biting the writing style of Sever. In the entertaining rant Revok accuses Fab 5 Freddy of allegedly misappropriating Sever’s use of the letters “V” ,”E” and “R” in his work… Yes, the letter “V”. (Read on, if you’d like).
That dis’ was probably the best thing to happen to the show! I always say that without drama there’s no art, so of course I now need to go check this out. I’ll reserve judgement on the issue until I can see his work for myself. I will say this: Fab 5 Freddy was instrumental in introducing ME to Hip Hop (the man directed BDP’s “My Philosophy”!); for that he deserves respect, not ridicule.
Anyway, what really struck me about this exhibit was not the controversy over the letter “V” but the 3 crowns that Freddy, Lee and Futura 2000 tagged on the wall of the gallery. Looks more like they’re biting Basquiat to me…
While looking at WoosterCollective.com, I came across this beautiful tribute to the 3 Kings. But wait, not Freddy, Lee and Futura, 3 MORE Kings…
It’s funny how things come full circle. When I see a spray painted crown I ALWAYS think of Jean Michel Basquiat– so much so, that when I see Angelinos driving around with that Mammoth Mountain “M” crown on their car windows, I get perturbed. Thanks to Spike Lee, I still think the letter “X” still belongs to Brother Malcolm.
So can we “own” letters even in an artistic form? I don’t think so. Art is all about adaptation and transformation; taking something from nothing and recreating it into something beautiful, or shocking, or painful, or moving. New styles emerge and build upon the old. Is there room in the history books of graf for 6 kings? Absolutely.
2 thoughts on “6 Kings…”
You are completely wrong, & do not understand the graffiti world whatsoever. fab 5 freddy stole Sever’s work and passed if off as his own, actually arranging the images on a comptuer then digitally printing it onto a canvas. This is not “alleged”, or up for debate, freddy did it! A letter V, E, or R, etc done by Sever is unmistakable. Sever has developed a very specific unique style, this is a FACT it is not a matter of opinion. If you look at the photo evidence of this side by side and you still don’t see it then you are a complete moron. Your opinion is not valid.
Letterforms: First off, I never claimed to be an expert in the world of graffiti, this blog is a chronicle of my observations. Secondly if you read my post I said I’m reserving judgement. I’m not going to argue the artistic merits of digitally copying a writing style and incorporating it into another work. Some call that sampling (in the music world), and others call it biting. Either without proper credit is not cool-I get it. Perhaps you should take that argument up with Shepard Fairey or Patti Astor who curated the show at Subliminal Projects. I do know this; keeping this beef alive between Fab and Sever is going to be a boon to both of them if they play their cards right.