FRED RADTKE IS NEW ORLEANS
Written by NOLAFugees Staff
Friday, 23 May 2008 07:47
Reposted from The Iron Rail Blog:
reappraising the effectiveness of mass mobilizations in general.
Monday, May 12, 2008
I'm tired of the bitching and whining about Fred Radtke , aka "The Grey Ghost." I'm tired of the cutesy t-shirts , tired of people moaning that he should be arrested, tired of the endless internet threats and letters to the editor. Fred Radtke is fucking amazing. Not only is he the best at what he does, but he represents a number of mind-blowing conceptual breakthroughs, bold steps forward in a long-stagnant "graf" scene.
Quik-print plastic signs stapled to a telephone pole, advertising 2 gold teeth for $150? SPLOOP! 'Lost Dog' flyer? SPLUPP! Cringe-inducingly earnest NOLA RISING folk-art? SPLAPP! Radtke is a machine, a marvelous, superhuman grey-paint juggernaut, and if you have any problem with what he does, up to and including his fondness for violently assaulting passers-by and threatening to shoot them, do you know what you are?
Jealous. You're a hater, nothing more. I understand your petty resentment; Radtke is the king of New Orleans, and you're nobody. I sympathize; you're living in his horizon-spanning grey shadow. It must rankle. But please, stop hating. If you're a graffiti artist or sign-maker or DPW employee, take a minute to appreciate just how massively outplayed you are.
Radtke doesn't creep around with a bandanna over his face, furtively scribbling, toting a clanking backpack. No, he's out in the sunshine, getting up right on front street all day err' day. You approach him, he pulls a gun on you, or maybe splits your head open. He's real gangster, and cowboy paints where he wants when he wants. Historic French Quarter facades, traffic signs, private residences, corner stores, churches, Radtke don't give a fuck. SPLOPP! grey paint.
Everyone knows his tag, because he's all-city in a way no-one else is. The cops don't bother him, the City funds him, the paint store welcomes his business. He's taken it to the next level. Authorities turn a blind eye to his work, because he's outsmarted them. He's gotten their blessing to establish his tag on every surface in every neighborhood, and by god, he doesn't half-ass it. He has subverted the 'buff' and made it his personal trademark. How sick is that??
NOLA RISING tried to fuck with him , and NOLA RISING got knocked. Fred Radtke is the face of New Orleans graffiti, and to me, he's much bigger than high-concept clowns like Banksy or whoever else populates coffee-table "street art" books these days. Radtke doesn't need words, doesn't need appropriated 70s underground-comix imagery, doesn't need scene cred or 'authenticity.' His tag is primordial, both pre- and post-verbal. His tag is an entire PALETTE... he is the color grey, bitches, and you all know it. He goes over everything. You can love him or hate him-- he's way beyond you-- but give the man the respect he deserves. He IS graffiti, he IS the king, and he IS New Orleans. Keep talking shit... Radtke's out painting.
--the mighty d-block
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