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Roger Gastman - Tools of Criminal Mischief!

  • Graffiti can print
December 20, 2013
Ana Bambic Kostov is an art historian with passion for contemporary art.

The new release of Roger Gastman’s fourth chapter of the print series Tools of Criminal Mischief: The Cans IV – Krylon Edition is now published in the form of limited edition print. The series emerged as the result of an assortment of vintage photos of spray cans and was designed in June of 2013. The cans have been an ongoing collection for many years, said the artist in the interview for 1xRun. New print is available for purchase via 1xRun until December 31 only, for $50 print alone and the framed piece goes for $125. Prints are available here.

Tools of Criminal Mischief: The Cans IV – Krylon Edition

Graffiti cans print
Tools of Criminal Mischief
Graffiti cans
Tools of Criminal Mischief

The Idea

Where the idea for the project came from is best explained by Gastman himself in the above-mentioned interview: “I have a huge collection of vintage spray paint. The colors, the logos and the brand names have so many great things about them. Whenever people come over to my house, no matter who they are, they always want to ask me about my can collection and take pictures of it.”

Roger Gastman’s spray cans

“I have been collecting these cans since I was 14 years old. I’m 35 now! How many people have old spray cans like this in their home? It works for graphic designers and creative types, not just vandals, continues the artist illustrating the scope of the work, and further comments, You should buy this because it’s awesome. The colors, the logos and it’s not your normal art print. It’s the tools that were used to help create the art form of street art and graffiti.” For him this printed work has a deeper meaning, and the he describes it through a roar coming from the gut: “WOOOOOOOOOAAAAHHHHHH!” In the same interview, Roger Gastman continues to tell the story of his beginnings in the art works, his early inspirations and the music he listens to. “I suck at art, but I was always in art classes as far back as I remember. I got good grades, but I think that is just because the teachers felt bad for me because I sucked so bad. I remember in 6th grade I made a watercolor painting of Darby Crash for the cover of The Decline of The Western Civilization.”

Graffiti in DC

“Once I started to see more ‘real’ art I wasn’t that impressed. I kept going back to the rawness of street crap. When I was as young as 14 I started to travel the country and be inspired by different street work, notably LA and Chicago. Who inspires me now? My two dogs mostly. Like for reel? I listen to a lot of music. It’s mostly the same crap that I have listened to since I was a teenager. Early punk, hair metal, Revelation and Dischord stuff and a lot of EAZY E and the Ghetto BoyZZZ.”

Collaboration with other artists

Regarding the possible collaborations with living fellow artists, Gastman said: “I would like to make a rap album with ICE CUBE circa Death Certificate era. For the latter, it would be G.G. Allin. He had his head screwed on straight.”

Roger Gastman – The collector

Although he does not consider himself a collector, he did buy and trade for art pieces in life. “I have no idea what the first piece of art I bought was. It could have been early Shepard Fairey stuff or some early ESPO. I was always trading for stuff, but I know I bought that. I buy a lot of ephemera more than art. I have a problem with collecting things. The last piece of art I bought was something from AIKO. It’s a chick with big titties of course.”

Roger Gastman – Background

Originally from Maryland, Roger Gastman began writing graffiti as a teen. Evolving through his career, he became a founder and publisher of renowned pop culture magazines While You Were Sleeping, and Swindle  together with Shepard Fairley. He is the author of an array of books on graffiti art, such as The History of American Graffiti (with Caleb Neelon, published by Harper Collins in 2011). He acted as a curator of several influential art exhibits dedicated to street art, namely Art in the Streets at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA and more recently, the shoe Pump Me UP – DC Subculture of the 1980s at the Corcoran in Washington DC. Roger Gastman is credited for production of some seminal films, such as Banksy’s Exit through the Gift Shop, The Legend of COOL DISCO DAN and Wall Writers. Presently, he is working as a director of the documentary for Sanrio/Hello Kitty about the history and the impact of the brand.