Pose Interview
POSE

AN INTERVIEW WITH

You might have noticed that our entry way looks a little different, thanks to an 80-foot installation completed by Jordan Nickel, otherwise known as Pose. Pose grew up as a young graffiti wall writer and, and much like Basquiat, evolved from street art to the high-end art world. His experiential installation, Sunshine and Its Shadow, greets MCA Denver guests with loud color and cartoonish nostalgia, giving off and an untethered youthful energy setting the tone for what lies ahead (inside the museum). Because we are a major fan of his, basically obsessed, we sat down with Pose himself to get the rundown on street cred, rule breaking, and #lifegoals.
Can you walk us through your artistic process for this installation? To spare you my usual lengthy conceptual framework explanations, as well as all the typical hubris and/or self-deprecation, I'll just boil it down to technical cliff notes. Also, I should make a disclaimer that this was based on processes I’m familiar with, but ultimately it was a new sort of experiment for me. Normally my installation process reads close to: “Went to wall, painted wall.” Per usual I started with a collage of various amassed ephemera. We then broke it down digitally and began a sort of digital painting process. From there we printed everything on coraplast using an industrial flatbed printer. Once printed, we cut the panels into various random sizes, then repositioned them to further abstract the composition and slightly alter the narrative. Lastly, I hand painted elements back on top of everything once the pieces found their final resting place. Basically it was one long game of “exquisite corpse,” or a massive (100’x13’) puzzle consisting of more than 60 pieces.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RULE TO BREAK? I'll preface with the best quote ever: “You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.” As a juvenile (or even young adult with juvenile/stunted/man-child/etc. mind) I broke every rule I could as often as possible and loved every second of it, but I think that was mainly about getting attention/filling a void and finding my place. Once I realized I wasn’t good at anything, I found solace in being “bad,” and became really good at breaking the rules. As I have become more comfortable in my own skin it’s more about attempting to continue this same recklessness but in a focused, mature way. (I know, sounds like a complete oxymoron.) From this point I focused a lot on breaking rules pertaining to societal norms, breaking rules within my own subculture of graffiti as well as art, which I feel is important, if not entirely necessary, for progression of a healthy subculture. Overall I think it's much more about making your own lane and not trying to artificially mold yourself into a preexisting lane. Rules definitely get broken along the way, but I also feel like the fight to be yourself is righteous enough that it balances out in the grand scheme of things.
FAVORITE RULE TO FOLLOW? Hmm ... that is a tougher question for sure. Again, this may sound a bit hypocritical, but I do actually have a moral compass, so basic rules that have to do with human rights, equality, and how you actually treat other human beings seem way more vital to me to follow than say rules pertaining to graffiti’s legality, or institutional standards.
Did going to art school hurt or help your street cred? Or is street cred even a thing? Great question. There are so many ways to go with this, I'm going to attempt to answer it straight. Street credibility in graffiti is a very real thing, and I fully subscribe to it and its ethos in that you have put in serious work in the street and have risked everything (livelihood, freedom, relationships, etc.). It means you've dedicated your entire life to this one thing and you've been a real contributor to this culture. Basically, you “put in work” or “did dirt/illegal activity.” It's slippery because if you haven’t fully subscribed, it's pretty difficult grasp the depth. So, when it's used outside of graffiti culture I'm not sure what it means … WOW, I just consulted Google and Urban Dictionary and they have some very different definitions of "street cred" listed as well. If you have a minute to go down the rabbit hole and have your brain turned into a pretzel, consult Urban Dictionary's various definitions. All of that aside, I'm sure getting a BFA in painting tarnished my street credibility, ha. No matter who you are or what you have done in graffiti prior, once you go to art school (no matter if you simultaneously juggle still painting large amounts of graffiti, making straight A’s to keep your scholarship, working a job, selling drugs, etc.) I can imagine you instantly become just another “art school kid,” and at the very least you can no longer claim to be a “self-taught” artist. It’s strange because in the context of graffiti there are so many things to discuss: How long does it last once you are done? How long do you chase it? Does it matter outside the graffiti world? The important thing for me is that whatever you are doing in graffiti must be true to you and your life. If you are doing something in graffiti because you “have to” do it you are missing the point. Behaving too appropriately within a subculture bred from misbehavior seems off, and if personal authenticity isn’t involved it kind of makes the credibility null and void.
DO YOU MISS YOUR WALL WRITING DAYS? Very much so. From tagging to showing your work across the globe, what's next for you as an always-evolving artist? Mainly to be just that—an “evolving artist.” Sounds simple, but at this point it's way more complex to find a harmonious balance of success and real artistic evolution. In terms of fanfare, travels, accolades, etc., while important at some point, they can be (depending on the type of work you make) a false sense of evolution. My “brand” might be evolving, but if the work isn’t I'm not content. That’s the aspect I want to find balance in. Now I'm very focused on continuing to develop progressive works that are guided by honest points of view and intuition rather than academic trends, sales, or popularity of older works (without losing anyone along the way or creating too large a gap in linear progression). Realizing how high and mighty that all just sounded, bear in mind this is more of a personal wish list, we'll see how it actually pans out. Also, in terms of exposure, I'm more interested in cross-pollinating audiences than I am expanding one specific audience. For instance, I'm way more interested in the challenge of speaking to and being able to reach vastly different audiences simultaneously. In today’s day and age I feel it's very important to be demographically bilingual. This proposes another interesting set of challenges: Can your work still hold real weight with a 15-year-old graffiti writer/twenty-something streetwear designer/40-year-old rapper once it's made its way into major collections and art institutions?
FEELING INSPIRED? COME TO THE MUSEUM AND POSE WITH POSE AND SHARE YOUR IMAGES WITH US USING HASHTAG:
#POSEWITHPOSE
You might have noticed that our entry way looks a little different, thanks to an 80-fot installation completed by Jordan Nickel, otherwise known as Pose. Pose grew up as a young graffiti wall writer and, and much like Basquiat, evolved from street art to the high-end art world. His experiential installation, Sunshine and Its Shadow, greets MCA Denver guests with loud color and cartoonish nostalgia, giving off and an untethered youthful energy setting the tone for what lies ahead (inside the museum). Because we are a major fan of his, basically obsessed, we sat down with Pose himself to get the rundown on street cred, rule breaking, and #lifegoals.
Can you walk us through your artistic process for this installation? To spare you my usual lengthy conceptual framework explanations, as well as all the typical hubris and/or self-deprecation, I'll just boil it down to technical cliff notes. Also, I should make a disclaimer that this was based on processes I’m familiar with, but ultimately it was a new sort of experiment for me. Normally my installation process reads close to: “Went to wall, painted wall.” Per usual I started with a collage of various amassed ephemera. We then broke it down digitally and began a sort of digital painting process. From there we printed everything on coraplast using an industrial flatbed printer. Once printed, we cut the panels into various random sizes, then repositioned them to further abstract the composition and slightly alter the narrative. Lastly, I hand painted elements back on top of everything once the pieces found their final resting place. Basically it was one long game of “exquisite corpse,” or a massive (100’x13’) puzzle consisting of more than 60 pieces.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RULE TO BREAK? I'll preface with the best quote ever: “You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.” As a juvenile (or even young adult with juvenile/stunted/man-child/etc. mind) I broke every rule I could as often as possible and loved every second of it, but I think that was mainly about getting attention/filling a void and finding my place. Once I realized I wasn’t good at anything, I found solace in being “bad,” and became really good at breaking the rules. As I have become more comfortable in my own skin it’s more about attempting to continue this same recklessness but in a focused, mature way. (I know, sounds like a complete oxymoron.) From this point I focused a lot on breaking rules pertaining to societal norms, breaking rules within my own subculture of graffiti as well as art, which I feel is important, if not entirely necessary, for progression of a healthy subculture. Overall I think it's much more about making your own lane and not trying to artificially mold yourself into a preexisting lane. Rules definitely get broken along the way, but I also feel like the fight to be yourself is righteous enough that it balances out in the grand scheme of things.
FAVORITE RULE TO FOLLOW? Hmm ... that is a tougher question for sure. Again, this may sound a bit hypocritical, but I do actually have a moral compass, so basic rules that have to do with human rights, equality, and how you actually treat other human beings seem way more vital to me to follow than say rules pertaining to graffiti’s legality, or institutional standards.
Did going to art school hurt or help your street cred? Or is street cred even a thing? Great question. There are so many ways to go with this, I'm going to attempt to answer it straight. Street credibility in graffiti is a very real thing, and I fully subscribe to it and its ethos in that you have put in serious work in the street and have risked everything (livelihood, freedom, relationships, etc.). It means you've dedicated your entire life to this one thing and you've been a real contributor to this culture. Basically, you “put in work” or “did dirt/illegal activity.” It's slippery because if you haven’t fully subscribed, it's pretty difficult grasp the depth. So, when it's used outside of graffiti culture I'm not sure what it means … WOW, I just consulted Google and Urban Dictionary and they have some very different definitions of "street cred" listed as well. If you have a minute to go down the rabbit hole and have your brain turned into a pretzel, consult Urban Dictionary's various definitions. All of that aside, I'm sure getting a BFA in painting tarnished my street credibility, ha. No matter who you are or what you have done in graffiti prior, once you go to art school (no matter if you simultaneously juggle still painting large amounts of graffiti, making straight A’s to keep your scholarship, working a job, selling drugs, etc.) I can imagine you instantly become just another “art school kid,” and at the very least you can no longer claim to be a “self-taught” artist. It’s strange because in the context of graffiti there are so many things to discuss: How long does it last once you are done? How long do you chase it? Does it matter outside the graffiti world? The important thing for me is that whatever you are doing in graffiti must be true to you and your life. If you are doing something in graffiti because you “have to” do it you are missing the point. Behaving too appropriately within a subculture bred from misbehavior seems off, and if personal authenticity isn’t involved it kind of makes the credibility null and void.
Mainly to be just that—an “evolving artist.” Sounds simple, but at this point it's way more complex to find a harmonious balance of success and real artistic evolution. In terms of fanfare, travels, accolades, etc., while important at some point, they can be (depending on the type of work you make) a false sense of evolution. My “brand” might be evolving, but if the work isn’t I'm not content. That’s the aspect I want to find balance in. Now I'm very focused on continuing to develop progressive works that are guided by honest points of view and intuition rather than academic trends, sales, or popularity of older works (without losing anyone along the way or creating too large a gap in linear progression). Realizing how high and mighty that all just sounded, bear in mind this is more of a personal wish list, we'll see how it actually pans out. Also, in terms of exposure, I'm more interested in cross-pollinating audiences than I am expanding one specific audience. For instance, I'm way more interested in the challenge of speaking to and being able to reach vastly different audiences simultaneously. In today’s day and age I feel it's very important to be demographically bilingual. This proposes another interesting set of challenges: Can your work still hold real weight with a 15-year-old graffiti writer/twenty-something streetwear designer/40-year-old rapper once it's made its way into major collections and art institutions? From tagging to showing your work across the globe, what's next for you as an always-evolving artist? Very much so. DO YOU MISS YOUR WALL WRITING DAYS?
FEELING INSPIRED? COME TO THE MUSEUM AND POSE WITH POSE AND SHARE YOUR IMAGES WITH US USING HASHTAG: #POSEWITHPOSE
POSE
POSE
You might have noticed that our entry way looks a little different, thanks to an 80-fot installation completed by Jordan Nickel, otherwise known as Pose. Pose grew up as a young graffiti wall writer and, and much like Basquiat, evolved from street art to the high-end art world. His experiential installation, Sunshine and Its Shadow, greets MCA Denver guests with loud color and cartoonish nostalgia, giving off and an untethered youthful energy setting the tone for what lies ahead (inside the museum). Because we are a major fan of his, basically obsessed, we sat down with Pose himself to get the rundown on street cred, rule breaking, and #lifegoals.
Can you walk us through your artistic process for this installation? To spare you my usual lengthy conceptual framework explanations, as well as all the typical hubris and/or self-deprecation, I'll just boil it down to technical cliff notes. Also, I should make a disclaimer that this was based on processes I’m familiar with, but ultimately it was a new sort of experiment for me. Normally my installation process reads close to: “Went to wall, painted wall.” Per usual I started with a collage of various amassed ephemera. We then broke it down digitally and began a sort of digital painting process. From there we printed everything on coraplast using an industrial flatbed printer. Once printed, we cut the panels into various random sizes, then repositioned them to further abstract the composition and slightly alter the narrative. Lastly, I hand painted elements back on top of everything once the pieces found their final resting place. Basically it was one long game of “exquisite corpse,” or a massive (100’x13’) puzzle consisting of more than 60 pieces.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RULE TO BREAK? I'll preface with the best quote ever: “You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.” As a juvenile (or even young adult with juvenile/stunted/man-child/etc. mind) I broke every rule I could as often as possible and loved every second of it, but I think that was mainly about getting attention/filling a void and finding my place. Once I realized I wasn’t good at anything, I found solace in being “bad,” and became really good at breaking the rules. As I have become more comfortable in my own skin it’s more about attempting to continue this same recklessness but in a focused, mature way. (I know, sounds like a complete oxymoron.) From this point I focused a lot on breaking rules pertaining to societal norms, breaking rules within my own subculture of graffiti as well as art, which I feel is important, if not entirely necessary, for progression of a healthy subculture. Overall I think it's much more about making your own lane and not trying to artificially mold yourself into a preexisting lane. Rules definitely get broken along the way, but I also feel like the fight to be yourself is righteous enough that it balances out in the grand scheme of things.
FAVORITE RULE TO FOLLOW? Hmm ... that is a tougher question for sure. Again, this may sound a bit hypocritical, but I do actually have a moral compass, so basic rules that have to do with human rights, equality, and how you actually treat other human beings seem way more vital to me to follow than say rules pertaining to graffiti’s legality, or institutional standards.
Did going to art school hurt or help your street cred? Or is street cred even a thing? Great question. There are so many ways to go with this, I'm going to attempt to answer it straight. Street credibility in graffiti is a very real thing, and I fully subscribe to it and its ethos in that you have put in serious work in the street and have risked everything (livelihood, freedom, relationships, etc.). It means you've dedicated your entire life to this one thing and you've been a real contributor to this culture. Basically, you “put in work” or “did dirt/illegal activity.” It's slippery because if you haven’t fully subscribed, it's pretty difficult grasp the depth. So, when it's used outside of graffiti culture I'm not sure what it means … WOW, I just consulted Google and Urban Dictionary and they have some very different definitions of "street cred" listed as well. If you have a minute to go down the rabbit hole and have your brain turned into a pretzel, consult Urban Dictionary's various definitions. All of that aside, I'm sure getting a BFA in painting tarnished my street credibility, ha. No matter who you are or what you have done in graffiti prior, once you go to art school (no matter if you simultaneously juggle still painting large amounts of graffiti, making straight A’s to keep your scholarship, working a job, selling drugs, etc.) I can imagine you instantly become just another “art school kid,” and at the very least you can no longer claim to be a “self-taught” artist. It’s strange because in the context of graffiti there are so many things to discuss: How long does it last once you are done? How long do you chase it? Does it matter outside the graffiti world? The important thing for me is that whatever you are doing in graffiti must be true to you and your life. If you are doing something in graffiti because you “have to” do it you are missing the point. Behaving too appropriately within a subculture bred from misbehavior seems off, and if personal authenticity isn’t involved it kind of makes the credibility null and void.
DO YOU MISS YOUR WALL WRITING DAYS? Very much so. From tagging to showing your work across the globe, what's next for you as an always-evolving artist? Mainly to be just that—an “evolving artist.” Sounds simple, but at this point it's way more complex to find a harmonious balance of success and real artistic evolution. In terms of fanfare, travels, accolades, etc., while important at some point, they can be (depending on the type of work you make) a false sense of evolution. My “brand” might be evolving, but if the work isn’t I'm not content. That’s the aspect I want to find balance in. Now I'm very focused on continuing to develop progressive works that are guided by honest points of view and intuition rather than academic trends, sales, or popularity of older works (without losing anyone along the way or creating too large a gap in linear progression). Realizing how high and mighty that all just sounded, bear in mind this is more of a personal wish list, we'll see how it actually pans out. Also, in terms of exposure, I'm more interested in cross-pollinating audiences than I am expanding one specific audience. For instance, I'm way more interested in the challenge of speaking to and being able to reach vastly different audiences simultaneously. In today’s day and age I feel it's very important to be demographically bilingual. This proposes another interesting set of challenges: Can your work still hold real weight with a 15-year-old graffiti writer/twenty-something streetwear designer/40-year-old rapper once it's made its way into major collections and art institutions?
FEELING INSPIRED? COME TO THE MUSEUM AND POSE WITH POSE AND SHARE YOUR IMAGES WITH US USING HASHTAG: #POSEWITHPOSE
POSE
You might have noticed that our entry way looks a little different, thanks to an 80-fot installation completed by Jordan Nickel, otherwise known as Pose. Pose grew up as a young graffiti wall writer and, and much like Basquiat, evolved from street art to the high-end art world. His experiential installation, Sunshine and Its Shadow, greets MCA Denver guests with loud color and cartoonish nostalgia, giving off and an untethered youthful energy setting the tone for what lies ahead (inside the museum). Because we are a major fan of his, basically obsessed, we sat down with Pose himself to get the rundown on street cred, rule breaking, and #lifegoals.
Can you walk us through your artistic process for this installation? To spare you my usual lengthy conceptual framework explanations, as well as all the typical hubris and/or self-deprecation, I'll just boil it down to technical cliff notes. Also, I should make a disclaimer that this was based on processes I’m familiar with, but ultimately it was a new sort of experiment for me. Normally my installation process reads close to: “Went to wall, painted wall.” Per usual I started with a collage of various amassed ephemera. We then broke it down digitally and began a sort of digital painting process. From there we printed everything on coraplast using an industrial flatbed printer. Once printed, we cut the panels into various random sizes, then repositioned them to further abstract the composition and slightly alter the narrative. Lastly, I hand painted elements back on top of everything once the pieces found their final resting place. Basically it was one long game of “exquisite corpse,” or a massive (100’x13’) puzzle consisting of more than 60 pieces.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RULE TO BREAK? I'll preface with the best quote ever: “You gotta break a few eggs to make an omelet.” As a juvenile (or even young adult with juvenile/stunted/man-child/etc. mind) I broke every rule I could as often as possible and loved every second of it, but I think that was mainly about getting attention/filling a void and finding my place. Once I realized I wasn’t good at anything, I found solace in being “bad,” and became really good at breaking the rules. As I have become more comfortable in my own skin it’s more about attempting to continue this same recklessness but in a focused, mature way. (I know, sounds like a complete oxymoron.) From this point I focused a lot on breaking rules pertaining to societal norms, breaking rules within my own subculture of graffiti as well as art, which I feel is important, if not entirely necessary, for progression of a healthy subculture. Overall I think it's much more about making your own lane and not trying to artificially mold yourself into a preexisting lane. Rules definitely get broken along the way, but I also feel like the fight to be yourself is righteous enough that it balances out in the grand scheme of things.
FAVORITE RULE TO FOLLOW? Hmm ... that is a tougher question for sure. Again, this may sound a bit hypocritical, but I do actually have a moral compass, so basic rules that have to do with human rights, equality, and how you actually treat other human beings seem way more vital to me to follow than say rules pertaining to graffiti’s legality, or institutional standards.
Did going to art school hurt or help your street cred? Or is street cred even a thing? Great question. There are so many ways to go with this, I'm going to attempt to answer it straight. Street credibility in graffiti is a very real thing, and I fully subscribe to it and its ethos in that you have put in serious work in the street and have risked everything (livelihood, freedom, relationships, etc.). It means you've dedicated your entire life to this one thing and you've been a real contributor to this culture. Basically, you “put in work” or “did dirt/illegal activity.” It's slippery because if you haven’t fully subscribed, it's pretty difficult grasp the depth. So, when it's used outside of graffiti culture I'm not sure what it means … WOW, I just consulted Google and Urban Dictionary and they have some very different definitions of "street cred" listed as well. If you have a minute to go down the rabbit hole and have your brain turned into a pretzel, consult Urban Dictionary's various definitions. All of that aside, I'm sure getting a BFA in painting tarnished my street credibility, ha. No matter who you are or what you have done in graffiti prior, once you go to art school (no matter if you simultaneously juggle still painting large amounts of graffiti, making straight A’s to keep your scholarship, working a job, selling drugs, etc.) I can imagine you instantly become just another “art school kid,” and at the very least you can no longer claim to be a “self-taught” artist. It’s strange because in the context of graffiti there are so many things to discuss: How long does it last once you are done? How long do you chase it? Does it matter outside the graffiti world? The important thing for me is that whatever you are doing in graffiti must be true to you and your life. If you are doing something in graffiti because you “have to” do it you are missing the point. Behaving too appropriately within a subculture bred from misbehavior seems off, and if personal authenticity isn’t involved it kind of makes the credibility null and void.
DO YOU MISS YOUR WALL WRITING DAYS? Very much so. From tagging to showing your work across the globe, what's next for you as an always-evolving artist? Mainly to be just that—an “evolving artist.” Sounds simple, but at this point it's way more complex to find a harmonious balance of success and real artistic evolution. In terms of fanfare, travels, accolades, etc., while important at some point, they can be (depending on the type of work you make) a false sense of evolution. My “brand” might be evolving, but if the work isn’t I'm not content. That’s the aspect I want to find balance in. Now I'm very focused on continuing to develop progressive works that are guided by honest points of view and intuition rather than academic trends, sales, or popularity of older works (without losing anyone along the way or creating too large a gap in linear progression). Realizing how high and mighty that all just sounded, bear in mind this is more of a personal wish list, we'll see how it actually pans out. Also, in terms of exposure, I'm more interested in cross-pollinating audiences than I am expanding one specific audience. For instance, I'm way more interested in the challenge of speaking to and being able to reach vastly different audiences simultaneously. In today’s day and age I feel it's very important to be demographically bilingual. This proposes another interesting set of challenges: Can your work still hold real weight with a 15-year-old graffiti writer/twenty-something streetwear designer/40-year-old rapper once it's made its way into major collections and art institutions?
FEELING INSPIRED? COME TO THE MUSEUM AND POSE WITH POSE AND SHARE YOUR IMAGES WITH US USING HASHTAG: #POSEWITHPOSE