Hunter & Gatherer Egon Zippel at Orchard Windows Gallery in New York City, 2012

Christopher Hart Chambers, d’art International, Fall/Winter 2012:

During the last few years the streets of the world have been home to a new underground art movement, and like most things, the craze is perhaps most intense in New York City, where after all, street art was born some thirty years ago. Small, mass produced stickers bedeck almost every street sign, lamppost, any available surface whatsoever –mostly in downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn neighborhoods that girdle it – because that is where the artists are. Some stickers advertise music, stores, sneakers; anything. But many more do not overtly proclaim any message at all. They are art, their cryptic, anonymous messages open to interpretation, whether purely visual motifs or incorporating text as well.
Egon Zippel has chosen his favorites and honored them – maybe not to their makers’ liking: He has “immortalized” them by scraping them from their placement on the streets and re-affixing them to canvas. It is difficult to scrape the stickers from the streets in one clean piece; Zippel feels the weathered, fragmented effect confirms their authenticity. He experiments with different compositional strategies. Some canvases are devoted wholly to numerous repetitions of the same sticker, pasted all over like a fabric design, others incorporate several different ones in a sunburst formation.
The work straddles numerous fences and encompasses several categories: Painting, conceptual art, and collage all come into play as he vandalizes the vandals. Yet, Zippel has “immortalized” the stickers by scraping them from their ephemeral placements on city streets and re-affixing them to canvas. Weathered and tattered, fragmented and battered, he feels that their war-torn condition confirms their authenticity. With a multi-edged blade Egon Zippel has developed a new twist on urban archeology.

Excerpts from an Interview (NYC 2012, by Lin QUIK Felton)

LF: One has seen your work morph frequently and radically over the years. How do you view your creative self today?
EZ: I am a traditional HUNTER and GATHERER. I used to go for mushrooms and berries. Now it’s stickers.
LF: Is it painting or conceptual art?
EZ: Does it matter? I enjoy roaming and stalking the cacophonous streets, sometimes in the wee hours of Manhattan’s pre-dawn, equipped with my ever-trusty and sturdy ladder. I’m hunting tags and stickers that tumble and visually rumble across the borough’s urban crust.
LF: How do these new works take form and represent this reflection of man’s primitive nature to roam, stalk, hunt and gather?
EZ: I DEVANDALIZE and PRESERVE. To formulate my idyllic street harvest into art, I manipulate the tags and stickers as painting. Or to say it with simpler words: I’m having fun painting with the paint the city provides. Ah, and yes: too much is not enough!

Video THE DEVANDALIZER by Mike Hsieh, Bowery Pictures

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