New Book Stay Up Documents Houston Street Art

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."

"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.

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