graffiti 101: John Fekner

John Fekner is a multi media artist from New York.  Fekner began with his graffiti career with the words: Itchycoo Park, spray painted on park in Jackson Heights, New York.  As he grew Fekner continued to focus on stencils that were fairly simple but were socially and politically potent.  His stencils were a running commentary on the social and environmental issues Fekner perceived around him.

By making use of minimalist type, Fekner has been able to utilize the buildings and objects that he spray paints as more than canvases.  His type functions both to comment on the objects he chooses as canvases and to make them a part of the artwork he creates.  Street art, specifically stenciling, today has deep roots in political and social action and commentary, John Fekner is one of pioneers of this movement and direction.

In his X Americana X series, Fekner sought out paintings of Americana, he then stenciled the paintings to show the environmental effects of American actions against the image of an idealized American world.  Furthering his social commentary John Fekner collaborated with a fellow New Yorker, Don Leicht to work on the Space Invaders Project and a piece titled “Beauty is Only Street Deep”.  The Space Invaders Project bore the words: “Your Space Has Been Invaded-Our Children are Fighting a Terrible War. Whole families are being sent to Battlescreen” to emphasize the commentary on the movement of media into the home.