Sept 23, 2011
“if you’re reading this, more than likely, you love my work or you hate it…or both. either way i have your attention.”
This is Camden Noir, a new (and fantastic) addition to DC’s street art scene, who now takes his work to the canvas. His style definitely has a recognizable language of imagery and symbols, and borders between haunting and ironic. I certainly won’t try to label his work, even though that’s what Camden’s into; labels, that is. The artist has recently published Label 228: A Street Art Project, which is a collection of work from artists around the world who have harnessed their creativity and unleashed it onto USPS mailing labels. After such a huge success with the first collaboration, Camden is already working on the second installment of his project.
We’re pumped to have Camden at our upcoming “Sundays with ArtSee” this weekend on September 25th at Busboys and Poets on 5th & K St. Beforehand, I wanted to have a chat with this wry-witted artist to find out more about him and what inspires his work.
ArtSee: What made you choose painting to express yourself?
NOIR: I’m not sure exactly. I started out drawing in like high school and then explored other avenues such as painting and screen printing.
ArtSee: Where do you get the inspiration for your art?
NOIR: My inspiration stems from other artists. There are so many people doing incredible things. So when I look at their work, it makes me want to create something just as beautiful. You’ve got artists like downtimer, angry woebots, josh taylor, daniel fleres, matt linares, sket one, robots will kill, mecro, mat curran, all doing incredible things.
ArtSee: Do personal experiences drive these pieces?
NOIR: To an extent yes. But for the most part no. i’ve had a couple bad breakups and you’ll see that in some of my work. I paint skulls instead of heads on the girls to signify that they are dead to me. Although I still think about my exes quite a bit (awwwwww gag).
ArtSee: Tell me something about the inception for your book Label 228: A Street Art Project.
NOIR: I would go to the book store and read books like “wall and piece” and “graffiti art” and other books with the street art theme. I always saw recreated priority mail stickers on stop signs and on walls and I realized that there were no books on the labels themselves. So I started a myspace in 2006 collecting artwork on priority mail labels to get underground artists known. Word spread pretty quickly and the book was published within 2 and a half years.
ArtSee: Where do you want to move forward with the next installment? Or is this a secret?
NOIR: I have started collecting labels for the second book. I don’t have a publisher but I have sent out about 25 emails to potential publishers. Artists that missed out on the first book are excited for the second installment. And this book will be 20 times better than the first one so keep an eye out for that.
ArtSee: What artists’ work in the book do you feel resonate with you the most?
NOIR: I love all of them to be honest. Everybody has a particular style they relate to and there are about 100 artists in the book that speak to me.
ArtSee: Any future plans for exhibiting your work or projects you’re particularly excited about?
NOIR: At this point, i’m trying to get as many shows as I can. The more shows I have, the harder it is for me to sleep all day. So if there are any gallery owners reading this…wink wink.
ArtSee: What makes you want to punch and/or hug something?
NOIR: I love this question. Ummmmmmmm. On 9/11, I wanted to punch every person chanting USA and waving their oversized american flags made in the great country of…china. But then again, I watched a documentary about the boats that came to rescue people on 9/11 and I was so touched by it.
Bringing the Art in DC to You,
Kendall E. Willey