Houston street art is receiving more and more attention. It's the subject of a recent documentary film, our Flickr Pool is flooded with images weekly, and it's now the subject of a new book by a local photographer.
On October 15, David Elizondo will debut his book Stay Up: Houston Street Art, a collection of over 150 photos documenting a handful of the better-known local street-art figures, like Give Up, Ack!, Dual and 2:12. Elizondo got to know many of the artists personally, and the book includes photos of the artists in action.
We asked Elizondo how the project got started.
"In the '90s I think a lot of people were aware of Obey Giant, you know, Shepard Fairey's stuff, and I was pretty cognizant of that; I thought it was cool and all. Then in 2002 or 2003 I saw the work of Matthew Rodriguez, who was doing wheatpaste stuff around Austin. That's when I started looking around and getting interested. I was born and raised in Houston, but I hadn't lived here in a while. When I moved back in 2007, I started seeing [Houston street art], and it piqued my interest. I started documenting it."
On the allure of street art:
"I guess I have a little bit of a subversive element to myself, even though unfortunately I work a corporate job these days. There's always been something about subversive art and music that I enjoy. The fact that most of this stuff is technically illegal--there's that aspect. I like the idea that public space isn't just for advertising."
"The book is broken up into sections per artist. The initial photo that kicks off their section is a picture of them getting up on the street; doing their work. So I did meet with every one of them, and some of them have become good friends over the course of the last year or so."
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"I think Give Up's work is fantastic, very multi-dimensional. Oftentimes people's initial reaction to Give Up is: razor = kill yourself. But after seeing much of his work, and talking with him in depth, it's much more than that ... if even that. It's more metaphoric than anything. I think he wants people to take away what they take away."
Elizondo will have a imited number of artist-signed copies of Stay Up for sale at the official debut party Friday, October 15, 7-10 p.m., at War'Hous Gallery, 4715 Main. The event will also feature an exhibition of artwork by several of the artists represented in the book.