The Status Faction [T$F] have been a force of the underground Los Angeles graffiti/street-art scene for the last ten years. And when one of their members moved to Atlanta [GA] they took over that city as well. They are unique in the fact that each one of their paintings usually incorporates some form of performance – like the time they showed up to a party in full swat team gear and then painted a giant wall without anyone's permission. Or, the time they decked out an abandonded house to look like suicide scene and then left the door open for everyone to peek in. For T$F, it's not being the coolest, or the best, it's just about going out every single night, hand pulling every silke-screened poster, pressing spray tips with their fingers, and not being afraid to get grime. T$F is the stand against the computer.
During the turn of the millennium, we noticed a lack of Angelenos mixing street art with traditional graffiti. So, we abandoned most of our individual identities as artists to focus on promoting one unified name - The $tatus Faction. The soul of our goal was to form a collective where each member would be a jack-of-all-trades. A crew where everyone could do whatever they wanted, get away with it, be ever changing, and totally unpredictable.
We strive to make a point of not being pegged as one trick ponies, by constantly reinventing ourselves. We don't want T$F to become a repetitive brand like some of the other crews out there, which are basically t-shirt companies now. So, for us, it's more about putting our hearts into every piece we make and that's why we like it all to have a handmade feel to it. The imperfections and minor differences between each piece are what makes it human.
A big part of our art has to do with the process of physically creating it, which you can't get from pushing a couple buttons on your computer and hitting print. We mean, what would most street artists do if computers were wiped off the Earth? They'd be totally lost.
We think it's because we're not shy about saying what most people are thinking to themselves quietly. So, our messages are frequently graphic, politically incorrect, profane, and even sarcastic.
We love the idea of illustrating a woman with an oversized confidence and bright smile, juxtaposed onto an unhealthy body. Especially since it's such a reality most Americans face today, yet we always have to see thin and scantily clad women pasted onto the walls of L.A. And what's the message behind that? We mean, art doesn't have to be a vision of our ideal world all of the time.
Some T$F pieces have had a life of several years, but generally everything disappears rather quickly in Los Angeles. So, we've gained an acceptance of painting and then letting it go, especially since street art is temporary for the most part anyways. We also don't go around guarding our pieces because we're more about about building and creating, rather then protecting or destroying.
The majority of our experiences have been fun, but one that comes to mind was when we created a full scale suicide scene in an abandoned house. We had a mannequin stretched out in a reclining chair with a gun in his hand and blood and brain matter everywhere. His chair was facing a television set, which had The Status Faction projected onto it, and we left the door to the house ajar, so we can only imagine the faces people made when they entered.
It's a secret ingredient that we can't tell you about, but we can tell you that it makes our paste-ups basically impossible to tear down.
It's very different. When you paint a piece in Atlanta there's a lower level of risk involved, but also a lower reward. And there's literally only one officer on the graffiti task force.
One of our members is painting an illegal piece on a 650 ft wall, which would be impossible to swing in Los Angeles.
Listen, we've already been through the struggle of paying or dues, so now we figure we might as well have fun with it. Otherwise, it'll just become another chore.
Andrew Dice Clay,Rodney Dangerfield, Jeffrey Ross, Redd Foxx, Anthony Jeselnik, Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle.
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