Vertical Integration

By Tk Published on .

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The career of animation director Pat Smith, 30, who used to work on the MTV series Daria and Downtown, has taken an intriguing turn to guerrilla street art. He's placed more than 20 hand-painted plywood "Columns," as they're called, in downtown New York, bolted to signposts. After a bad red-tape experience in Boston in 1997 for a similar venture called "Hollow-faces," Smith has not sought permits or any sort of legal status for this series. "The pieces are about as passive as you can get, they're non-obstructive and they don't damage anything," he notes. "Columns" (the artist is seen here in his studio with some of the pieces) consists of what Smith calls "ambiguous" figures climbing atop one another - forms mutating into larger structures is a recurrent theme for Smith, seen also in his animated short Drink. If these particular interlocking humanoids recall the work of the late Keith Haring, "perhaps this is an elevated version of what he was doing," Smith suggests. "I don't see my work as graffiti at all, so that sets us apart. And I feel that my figures express a dynamic that he never used." Smith also sells "Columns" and will custom-create them to fit a space. Prices start at around $1,000.
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