Rosemarie Fiore

Tom’s Adam Neate post reminded me of Rosemarie Fiore’s prints made with fireworks. Her site’s well worth a look as she seems to be that rare breed of artist, who manages to be truly creative within a wide range of styles, media and influences.

The Gunflakes and Evel Knievel pinball machine prints are definitely worth a look, but make sure you check out the subway window prints.

Images of MTA trains speeding past dimly lit platforms, literally covered in bright murals are iconic of New York. Whichever side of the art/vandalism fence you choose to sit on, it’s inarguable that this is one of the images the word graffiti evokes. Similarly, it’s hard to ignore the substantive artistic legitimacy of both the work and the movement itself, specific cultures within the art world rarely last for more than a couple of decades and tend to be exclusive. Graffiti is accessible and honest. It’s an open playing field in which its participants have free reign to create their work, instantly relinquishing ownership upon its completion, the finished piece sent off to loop the city.

For the past 30 years the MTA and various city bodies in New York have been on an unending campaign to eradicate graffiti. Operating under the assumption that writers will be deterred if they know the result of their work will only be visible for a few days. One of the results of this saw writers begin marking the carriage windows, scoring their names instead of painting them. In response to this the current rolling stock is about to complete a specialist glass refit to make marking the windows impossible(writers are now using acid pens).

This is what makes Fiore’s prints so important. There are countless galleries that document the work on the outside body of the cars (149 st is one of my favourites) but few to none devoted to window etching. Fiore’s print documents an equally important and prolific part of the culture that saw the rise to mainstream acceptance of writers such as Futura 2000, Zephyr and Revok. Printing the images on the window forces us to look at a form of vandalism inside the carriage, with the same reverence and artistic considerations we willingly apply to damage done on the outside.

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