In this week’s edition of FULL TILT FRIDAY, I wanted to explore the concept of “No Permission”. This is something I was introduced to years ago, and have overheard many street artists debating about here in Wynwood, arguably the Sistine Chapel of Street Art.
When I wanted a fresh perspective on this topic, I went straight to our friend and NYC Street Art Icon, Ricky “Rico” Heeraman. This dude has put in work (understatement) in and around the Tri-State area, so I knew he could help me shine a light on this concept. Here is the transcript of our conversation:
aic: “Rico, What does the concept of “No Permission” mean to you? Meaning…theres a tendency among street artists, especially here in the mecca of street art murals, Wynwood – Miami, to delegitimize murals from Obey, Ron English, etc. as not “real street art”.
The argument seems to be that because they were given permission to do them, it should be considered fine art, whereas real street artists don’t want to be told where/when they can create. In the “legit” street art community, their art should be fair game for any blank wall space, as a canvas to the world, so to speak.
Do you subscribe to the idea that true street art is at the sole discretion of where/when the artist wants to create, and that being commissioned essentially makes you just another paid mixed-media artist.?”
In His Own Words:
Ricky “Rico” Heeraman:
I’m from NYC; we have a verryyyyy different perception of “No Permission” where I’m from. Graffiti writers/artists go over anyone at anytime of the day. Doesn’t matter street cred or not. But that’s just the graffiti culture in NYC. We have that “we don’t give a shit” vibe. I have that same mindset to a certain extent. If it’s someone I don’t know or I don’t care about. My stuff will definitely go over theirs in a heart beat. But if I know that mural was done by someone credible such as NYCHOS, Ron English, Obey, Retna, etc. I would definitely respect it. Because I am also an artist trying to put beautiful murals on buildings. I’m more than just a graffiti artist. I believe those beautiful commissioned pieces should be left alone and untouched. However, I don’t think it takes away from that artist’s street cred, it just simply means that artist was given a paid opportunity to show off their skill set and work.
I do believe street art belongs anywhere in an outside environment, and on anything. There’s an infinite amount of canvases when it comes to street art. One thing we have to remember is that these muralists that are being commissioned were, and still are, graffiti street artists. I see both sides of the fence. I do my fair share of graffiti writing where it shouldn’t go. And then on the other hand I get commissioned by businesses to do murals for them. My street cred still stays the same because I’m still in the streets as a graffiti writer moving around and “getting up”. If anything, my street cred goes up because I’m getting my name out there and more known.
Editor’s Note: When in New York City, don’t miss Ricky’s work at Manhattan’s World Renowned Jue Lan Club and their famous Graffiti Alley.