Bell Run through the Gift Shop: an Interview with Beloit’s own Street-Wall Artists

This week The Round Table brings you an exclusive interview with Beloit’s most notorious, controversial, prolific street artists. You have seen their work at the wall and in the window of Haven. Keep your eyes peeled, your nose to the ground and you ear to the tracks for more of these elusive vandal artists.
Round Table: So, who are you? Not in the nominal sense, just in the getting to know you as (an) artist(s).
Esc: Personally I’ve been drawing most of my life and took formal calsses for a year or so. It wasn’t until this year at Beloit (I’m a freshman) that I got into street art and spray paint stenciling. I started making a lot of stencils just in my dorm room, banksy rip offs and such. It wasn’t for a while until Daft and I decided we should but up something on campus, which was the peace sign, then the guy and girl, and the girl in the window of Haven.

Daft: I have a computer art and design background and started doing street art in highschool as an out for my frustration with politics and public discourse. I met this guy in my dorm who knew his shit in graphical design and after imbibing a few beverages we decided that we should combine forces to terrorize campus.

RT: How did you make the stuff you have been posting around campus?

Esc: We do a lot of brainstorming in Commons and just when we walk around, that is where it really starts. After a solid idea there’s a lot of Google image searches looking for the right people / objects. Then comes a lot of tedious photo shopping during which we bounce ideas off each other to touch up the picture. We then scale it up and normally go to the library to print it all off, tape it together and then cut it all out. Once we have the stencil we spray it on to a bunch of newsprint bought down at the bookstore, then wait ‘til the weekends generally when we cook up some wheat paste and go out between 12:00 and 2:30 a.m.

Daft: First, we copy copyrighted media from the Internet. Then we draw mustaches and devil horns on it.  This process takes up most (all) of our homework time. Finally, we find the messiest, most permanent materials possible to recreate the image and slap it on a wall. Unfortunately, due to our limited resources, we have not yet been able to raise alarm or incur any serious monetary cost to the school.

RT: Why all the secrecy?

Esc: For me, personally, it is just easier that way. Sure, there are people who know that we are the ones doing this but there is no reason (for me anyway) to go around making sure everyone knows who we are. This is something I do because I enjoy it and enough to know people are enjoying it.

Daft: Because we want to take over the world, and we thought it would be a bad idea to ask for permission first.

RT: Do you have preferred hours of operation? And how long does each project take?

Esc: I think all of our projects have gone up Saturday or Sunday. For the peace sign, which was bigger, and more time consuming to put up, we did on Sunday night at 2:30 am and it took about an hour, maybe a little more to put it up. As for the two kids on at the wall and the girl in the window, we did both of those around 12:00 am and they took about 15 or 20 minutes each.

Daft: It takes us several days to produce any given piece. We usually perform about a hundred Google searches and accidentally cut ourselves with exacto knifes at least three times for each piece. It’s hard without adult supervision. One time I burned my hand on the stove, and that took a whole afternoon to bandage with Commons napkins and candybar wrappers.

RT: Who have you been influenced by (this can be in the world of street art or any kind of art in general or NOT art)?

Esc: For me a lot of my interest was sparked through street art and the exploits of Banksy. I think street art is a really awesome way to express opinions, and to just leave a mark somewhere. That being said, after I got into it whenever I finished painting a stencil all I could think was, “ I can do better, I can go bigger.” I just want to keep aiming higher and that is definitely a reason I’m still going with this.

Daft: I started seriously respecting ‘high art’ through the demoscene (formalized visual art in the medium of computer programming). I also was influenced by some artist friends who were exploring conceptual public art peeing on their stick sculptures and poems before gallery shows and offering free food with the claim that it’s poisoned, when it actually isn’t). I thought what they were doing was cool, and wanted to be like them.

That said, big ups to Banksy, the basketball team, Blek le Rat, Shepard Fairey, jerm9, Posterchild, █▀██▄█▀▀█ , Escif, the CutUp Collective, the London police, Os Gêmeos, Farbrausch, Fairlight, Plastic, and RGBA.

RT: What do you think you are accomplishing? Or what are you hoping to accomplish?

Daft: Well, I’ve successfully procrastinated and/or ignored my homework. I consider that my greatest accomplishment. For all my life I’ve dreamed of getting published in the Beloit College Round Table, so this is really great! Although we haven’t managed to figure out how to do serious damage to school property yet, we are currently working very hard on it and we’ll keep you ‘posted’.
RT: How long have you been doing this kind of art and what got you started?

Daft: I just wanted to draw a face on an electrical box that I thought looked like a pissed off Easter Island statue. That was a couple years back. It’s been downhill ever since.

Esc: I think I covered this already

RT: Will you continue if your identities are revealed?

Esc: Yeah I don’t see why not, as long as we’re not asked to stop there are plenty of people out there that are aware who we are, and it’s not so important who we are, just that its fun for us. Like I said before its just easier not to go spreading our names around.

Daft: I am already addicted and I will go into convulsions if I stop, so I don’t plan on it any time soon.

RT: Do you have a cool handle you go by?

Esc: Esc

Daft: Daft

RT: Right, dumb question. Do you plan on continuing for your entire stay at Beloit College?

Esc: As of right now, yes. That might change though down the road however for whatever reason.

RT: Is there anything else you want to tell the people of Beloit?



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