Recap: Easy and Trap IF at Outlaw Arts
On Friday, Outlaw Arts held their reception for the show entitled “Next Level” which accurately describes the two New York featured artists Easy and Trap IF . The atmosphere was very laid-back with a crowd of both young and old folks. Free beer and fried chicken was served while old school hip hop tunes played in the background. Both Easy and Trap who have been writing for decades (Trap since 1979 and Easy since 1982) are highly regarded in the graffiti community for their superb style and having been apart of a limited set of writers who were bombing trains during the early to mid eighties. This show displays how they are taking their work from the streets to the receptive art world without abandoning their love for graffiti.
Trap’s pieces brought the hard streets to his audience through his use of unexpected materials (aside from a canvas) that included parts of a brick wall, wood, and pieces of metal shutters, materials that a writer would come into contact while out catching a tag. His works featuring his tags and throw ups on metal pieces were reminiscent of Bodega metal shutters that were a favored platform of new and established writers showcasing their latest styles. Another piece of his was a more intricate throwie on a piece of a brick wall which refers to more detailed works that skilled writers would accomplish on the street given that the spot wasn’t “hot”. Lastly, he had a canvas piece which had a ninja whipping a metal chain into the “Trap” tag. It seems to point out that he and other writers were ninjas because they came around quietly, got up and left without being seen.
Easy did a 180 on Trap’s approach, and instead brought the art world to the streets. His works featured bold tags that stuck out as though he had freshly sprayed them with the same fluidity he possessed while tagging walls on a run. His canvas pieces included explosive colored backgrounds with tags that either covered the entire piece or were placed on a corner as a finishing touch. For example, the large gold painted canvas with a yellow tag painted on top, with a black outline that took up the entire canvas. It forces to the viewer to trace the motion of the tag with with eyes and also made one think of where they may have seen this name before. In the painting collaboration with Karen Farmer, Easy adds a layer of anonymity by cleverly placing his tag over the face of the subject (keeping the subject’s and possibly his identity hidden). Easy also had a black skateboard deck (which resonated with some of the reception attendees) that featured his throwie in mint green paint. It represents a marriage between the two cultures which both served as release for people young and old, but they also faced negative connotations from others on the outside.