Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rising Star: Vandal Expressionism Creator, Joseph Meloy

Inspired by the Abstract Expressionists of the 1940s and 50s, as well as the 80s graffiti he encountered as a kid growing up on NYC's LES ("In grade school I was obsessed with Cost and Revs,"); the posters he'd tear down as a Bronx Science teen in the 90s artist Joseph Meloy coined Vandal Expressionism, his understanding of defacement and re-appropriation as a hieroglyphic and often cryptic language "of scribbles." 

"Tic-Tac-Toe Paskettios" ©2011 Joseph Meloy

"Being in the 90s on the Lower East Side, I always had my eye on something in the street. I was 16, 17, doing my thing, and graffiti or posters or even just the natural habitat of life in the street would catch my eye," explains Meloy (cue soundtrack to the movie The Wackness. Amidst the angst teens growing up in NYC's odd transition from 80s grittiness to 90s sanitation, Meloy was still attracted to the dopeness. 

"Back then," he says, "I didn't exactly know the meaning of everything I saw, I just knew I wanted something to do with it. I didn't just want to collect these posters, stickers, and shit, I wanted to make them."

Vandal Expressionist, Joseph Meloy, photo courtesy of 
A decade later, he favors “l' écriture automatique” — a Surrealist technique that's "not as pretentious as it sounds." Meloy's work is automatic and highly associative — including Biblical, historical, political, as well as pop signifiers. "When I consider the element of 'pop' in Vandal Expressionism, it's more of a sensibility of wanting to make art as a commodity that appeals to a wider swath of the population. All that l' écriture automatique stuff just means I use a loose unconscious method to conjure up my line-work and subject matter." He shows me. We're packed in tight at the bar in Epstein's, but he picks up a pen and snatches my Moleskine. "See?"

"Cosmo"  ©2011 Joseph Meloy

"Untitled (Gorilla Face)" ©2011 Joseph Meloy
He hands me back my notebook and says, "You don't mind right? I mean things that are used, destroyed, scratched or scribbled on make up a language of their own."


"Invasion" ©2011 Joseph Meloy

He's one of those dudes that takes his shit really seriously in an earnest more than hispster kind of way. He's even got a manifesto: i.e. 

Vandal Expressionism is intrigued by toying with sense of scale.

Vandal Expressionism lets the seams show.

"My paintings are only so big because my apartment is only so big. I need space. I could make my paintings huge if I had more space."

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 8-11 PM
Le Salon D'Art 90 Stanton Street, NYC
Art and paraphernalia for sale. 10% of proceeds from art sale directly benefits Japanese Tsunami Relief Fund.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blow-Up Art ... incredible, really, what it says about structure ...

Matt Sheridan Smith’s “Soft Futures (price has no memory),” part of the 2011 winter’s art installation Total Recall at MetroTech in Downtown Brooklyn.

I felt myself being propelled into a world very much like the one laid out in front of me by French artists. I took one last look at the city of little domed cubes. Blow-up houses, an engorged cathedral  – what a concept. I wondered if this girl, decked out in PVC pants, chain-link jewelry, and plastic high heels, was for real or just full of hot air. 

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rising Star: Style Seeker, Charity de Meer for Rebel Glam

© Charity de Meer 2011

“Why aren’t I famous yet?” mistress of style, Charity de Meer asks me over crème brulee at Smith Street’s Bar Tabac. “What’s going on?!”

Since 1998, the native Floridian has been documenting images – everything from editorial/backstage fashion to pet portraits to Taylor Swift “when she still had her baby fat.” De Meer, still shooting fashion, commercial, and portrait work – “I only use available light, so when I show up, people are always like, where’s your equipment … and I point to my camera,” her most recent undertaking is her style blog, What Charity Wears. All of her projects fall under her brand (though she probably wouldn’t use the word “brand”) Rebel Glam. Her explanation of the moniker: “I asked the Brazilian husband of my make-up artist what he thought of my photographs. Because he barely knew any English, I appreciated the care with which he chose his words, and knew he had to be onto something.” Beautifully macabre; a mix of couture and road kill, creepy and elegant, de Meer’s photographs capture something predatory, partly because as a style seeker, she’s “always on the hunt.”

© Charity de Meer 2011

For years, she’s found freelance work as a fashion photographer, frequently flying between FL and NYC so her clients, including the New York Times and WireImage thought she lived in Manhattan. In June of 2010, she made it official, moving to Bushwick and joining finalist in the 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, Gary Graham and his team as a retailer in both the flagship Tribeca store, and at the ABC Carpet & Home outfit.  “One of my nerdy hobbies is that I enter sweepstakes. I’ve won a trip to Vegas, a Tiffany necklace. I made it two years in a row as finalist in W Magazine’s Individual Style Contest, and both times I was wearing Gary Graham. I emailed Gary, and he was like, ‘You wear it well.’ So I came and starting working for him.”

Not all of her working experiences have been as serendipitous. “I got in trouble with WireImage because I was supposed to be shooting Danny DeVito promoting his Limoncello Premium Lemon Liquor, which I had already done, so I asked Rhea Perlman to take a picture of me and Danny DeVito. She did, gladly, but WireImage didn’t like it so much. They docked my pay! But the photo is totally worth it. I like to hope things work out my way; I’m not a rule breaker, I mean well.”  

© Charity de Meer 2011

Charity de Meer’s Spring Picks  
  •       Keeping a high-low brand mash-up (i.e. Gary Graham/Conway; Alexander Wang/Target; Phillip Lim/H&M)
  •       Neon (something small, like a neon bra peeking through or neon anklets -- J. Crew has good ones)
  •       Joan Jett black mullet cut
  •       Jessica Kagan Cushman Nantucket Bangles
  •       Kelly bag in a crazy color
  •       Textured stockings
  •       Layered-on costume jewelry

Charity wearing Jessica Kagan Cushman Handmade Resin Nantucket Bangles

Gary Graham's FRT'11
Charity de Meer’s Spring Look Inspirations

            A beautiful girl in the woods, her dress ripped

Thrifted locket, with an 18k gold razor blade from eBay and fox claw from Odette NY
            Ultra-posh hotel as backdrop for with a girl in tutu   

© Charity de Meer 2011

         Owl heads. Always. 

 Contact Charity de Meer at