Tagged: Billboard Liberation Front

42 Years of strange doings in SF/Oakland/Bay Area & Beyond. Please help me raise some $ for my once in a lifetime show

This November 17th. – general fundraiser at Pro Arts. Open to the public. Tickets available at:  Eventbright tix to fundraiser.

Limited Curated experience. 10 people max – Tour of artist studio and limited edition of 10 signed prints of Golden Gate Bridge 50th Anniversary : Tickets here: Eventbright tix to curated experience.

Link to Pro Arts FB page

 

Billboard Liberation Front action 1980. Collaboration between “Jack Napier” (John Law) & “Simon Wagstaff” nome de guerre for a well known local SF character.

JL neon piece for SRL “Doom”show 1994.

Pro Arts Gallery in Oakland is presenting a retrospective sampling of 42 years of pranks, neon art, “theater” performance art, stories, writings, and conversations with key collaborators of mine culled from me entire time here in Oakland, San Francisco and the outside world.

JL photo Golden Gate Bridge 1986

Natalia Mount, Executive Director of this landmark gallery in the very heart of Oakland, is curating the show and has been working with me to burrow and wade through my massive pile of poorly organized photos, video/film, documents, neon pieces and all sorts of material produce during my four decades of trouble making, experience design, artifact making, collaborative work and explorations.

JL as “Vito Lawtoni” in Don Herron’s The Fatty Arbuckle caper, 1980.

We need to raise a substantial amount of money in order to print huge photos, produce several finished videos out of mountains of raw footage, restore some neon sculptures and make some new, finance travel and accommodations for five (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 as of now, maybe more) of my collaborators (unindicted co-conspirators as they say) from over the years and to cover any number of other expenses. As usual, I am broke and in a hurry. I don’t drink, drug, gamble, womanize or waste money; it is just tough financially these days. Pro-Arts is experiencing the typical travails of most smaller cultural institutions and is underfunded as well. Moneys raised will all go directly to producing this show and to support this wonderful community based, yet influential gallery.

Kodachrome Magazine 2017 article on neon artists featuring JL

“Detroit” 2016. 28′ x 14″ x 10″ metal, glass, distressed matchbox cars, astro-turf, neon, opaque crystal ball. Like most of my work, this is a ham fisted metaphor! Various neon installations and sculpture here.

Please pass this link along and spread the word. If you have worked with me or enjoyed any of the products of the collaborations and (occasionally incognito) creative projects I have driven or contributed to or any of the transgressive cabals (my neon piece is at 1:44 & 2:00) or ridiculous pranks that may have benefited from my efforts, I really need the help and feedback now. I am not done yet; this show is just a retrospective of my first four decades here. With luck, we’ll have another one when I am 100 in 2058……

Oh, almost forgot, this is also my 60th B-day party.

 

LINK TO 42 YEAR ONE MAN RETROSPECTIVE AT PRO ARTS GALLERY JUNE 7TH TIL AUGUST 24TH, 2019

The First Billboard

IMG_1913 IMG_1912

One of the many ideas that avatar and co-founder Gary Warne sprung on his Suicide Club co-conspirators in the late 70’s was a scheme to commandeer two massive freeway billboards and to bend the ominous message to the confederated will of the Club. The Suicide Club evolved out of Communiversity, a free school at SF State in the 1970’s that was part of the free school movement of the 1960’s. Pranks and adventures were reflected in many of the classes offered. The Suicide Club first appeared in print and the world as a “class” in Communiversity in 1977.  This first billboard alteration was the inspiration for the founding of the Billboard Liberation Front a few months later. The BLF was to go on altering or “improving” the copy and images on giant drive-by advertising for thirty-four years, predating and presumably influencing later work by Shepard Fairey, Ron English, and other midnight advertisers. The BLF grew concurrently with the Cacophony Society and had members that crossed over the entire San Francisco underground arts scene.  Suicide Club stalwart Dan Spero made several audio interviews with Gary back in the early 1980’s before Gary’s tragic and untimely death at the age of thirty-five. The audio file below is Gary’s story of the first billboard hit, an event that spawned or encouraged a thousand advertising hacks to come over the next three decades. Chuck Palahniuks novel Fight Club (and the David Fincher movie) include a billboard hack inspired by Cacophony and the BLF.

Hearing Gary’s voice decades after his passing is quite a treat for me and for anyone else who knew this visionary prankster.