Model Kendall Jenner's lucrative likeness was criss-crossed with red scribbles earlier this week by a graffiti-spraying drone. The imperfect scribbles, which blemished a massive Calvin Klein billboard at the corner of Houston and Lafayette in Soho until this morning, marked the first time a drone has been deployed for a "major act of public vandalism."
The man behind the drone was Brooklyn-based artist KATSU, who steered the flying machine by remote control early Wednesday morning. KATSU is well known for his graffiti, drone-art, and artistic indifference to private property. In 2012 he rigged a fire extinguisher to spray massive tags, and tested it on the side of LA's Museum of Contemporary Art. And about a year ago, visitors at the Silicon Valley Contemporary Art Fair gaped at his first small-scale drone paintings on canvas.
KATSU published a video of this latest artistic stunt, which reportedly took less than a minute.
In an interview with Vice earlier this month he explained,
Basically, drones have lowered in cost enough that they are attainable, so I got my hands on some DJI Phantom 2s, and I have been experimenting with the idea of using drones to accomplish the same things that drones are beginning to be used for in broader society, but in this case for crime, vandalism, art. I really want to look into the way that a person and a drone could connect. I thought, ‘I could go out into the city and spray paint using a drone wherever I wanted to, in basically unreachable spots and in unusable areas.’
Still, it's clear that human-drone collaborative art, especially on a large scale, has a long way to go. KATSU told Wired, "Seventy percent of the concentration is in maintaining this equilibrium with the two dimensional surface while you are painting." That doesn't leave a whole lot of room for precision and shading.
The Post saw little humor in the stunt, choosing to take the side of the billboard, which they describe as one of the city's "biggest and best known." Poor billboard, is NOTHING sacred?
A bystander/NY Post puppet added, "It looks like a mistake. It doesn’t seem like [KATSU] has a lot of experience. He messed up the billboard. Calvin Klein paid a lot of money to put it up there. I don’t think it’s a good idea."
It seems unlikely that this observer caught KATSU's solo exhibition at The Hole in January. And either way, we doubt that the artist who painted a portrait of Mark Zuckerberg with his own poop really cares what you think.
In ruthlessly-efficient corporate fashion, all traces of the drone have been obliterated. On the plus side, it looks like Calvin Klein was forced to replace the entire billboard.
Stopped by Lafeyette and Houston to see Katsu's first act of #drone #graffiti but it's already been replaced http://www.wired.com/2015/04/age-drone-vandalism-begins-epic-nyc-tag/
A photo posted by Jay Goldman (@jaygoldman) on