City Glyphs - Robert Janz at Work
This article was posted by Martha Cooper 2 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, 22 hours, 55 minutes ago.
“Variations on ancestral glyphic art, echoes of our origins : active meditations on transience, exercises on emptiness” - Robert Janz
At 80, Robert Janz has been around longer than most of us but I only recently became aware of his work. I was able to meet him with a little help from Stikman who happened to bump into him a couple of months ago as they were both out and about doing their thing.
Janz has traveled and exhibited widely in both Europe and the US. He counts painting illegally on the Berlin Wall before it came down as an important highlight in his long career. His work is ephemeral. One series was created with just water on rocks, meant to be erased by evaporation. He maintains a collection of blogs at Janzwork explaining each project. On one he describes his painting as ” Variations on ancestral glyphic art, echoes of our origins: active meditations on transience, exercises on emptiness”
I’d been particularly struck by Robert’s “Glyffiti”, a series of bold, simply drawn animals around Soho. Painted over existing graffiti or torn posters in black and white the fierce little figures demanded attention even as they blended into their backgrounds. I’m always interested in process and materials so it was a special treat to have an opportunity to meet the artist and watch him in action.
Robert’s materials are basic: a couple of jars of paint, a few brushes, and rags carried in a shopping bag. He’s cautious about cops but paints in broad daylight. Once, when confronted by no less than three officers, he diffused the situation by simply wetting a rag and wiping off his freshly applied water-based paint. Robert is not an active participant in either graffiti culture or the streetart movement. He’s a completely original artist taking risks to share his work and enliven the city. Big up to Robert Janz!!
© Martha Cooper & 12ozProphet - Sunday March 03, 2013