About 7 months ago, wheat-pasted art featuring musicians and actors started popping up on New York City's Lower East Side. With bright colors and a montage of photography, the work was discreetly signed 'The Postman Art'. People were curious: Who was behind the work? Where did they suddenly pop up from?
Here at SOLD we're on the inside track. I happen to know one of the people behind the work through a shared interest in street art photography, and knew 2 facts: their work is a collaboration of two artists based in the UK (my homeland), and one was pasting up on frequent NYC visits. Recently I got to accompany half of the duo as he pasted up their latest work around the city. It was early, dark, and rainy; but it was fun seeing the work go into place and seeing people's real time reactions.
Half of The Postman capturing a fresh Ewan McGregor on the LES recently. Photo: Sarah Sansom
After our outing, I followed up with 10 questions for the artists to answer together.
1. What’s your origin story?
We met through an interest in drone photography. After a short time we realized we both had an interest in art and especially street art. One of us had started playing about with double exposure art and imagery but on a different theme.
We both live in Brighton, UK, and with Brighton Pride 2018 approaching we discussed a collaboration. Using gay icons as an original theme just for a bit of fun at the festival. Combining drone imagery of our city over some great pop icons. After a hugely positive response we continued with the concept.
The Postman's first ever piece (left) and first large-scale piece (right). Photos courtesy of the artists.
2. How did your moniker come about?
It’s fairly simple, and I guess a bit tongue in cheek. But essentially we deliver art to the streets. Hence “The Postman”.
Work found on Houston Street, Rivington Street and Freeman Alley recently. Photos Sarah Sansom
3. Who is behind the work?
There are two of us. We discuss ideas, characters and projects. Some parts are done separately but in the end it’s a collective effort.
The style behind the work came about fairly quickly. At the moment we work digitally, but we are planning to start doing one off, hand finished pieces both for the street and for the gallery in the near future.
4. What part of the project do each of you do?
We are lucky that we both offer different skills. Which I think has been one of the reasons things have moved fairly quickly for us.
Bowie, Niles, Jimi and Elvis were among the first work in NYC. Photos: Sarah Sansom
5. How do you choose who to depict, and what goes into the image?
We are always looking for an image that expresses a story: the look in someone’s eye, a gesture or pose. You know when you’ve seen something that moves you. You trust your instinct and 9 times out of ten you’re right.
Sometimes we use a color palette that compliments a characters personality, and sometimes one designed to contradict this. There isn’t a formula. As soon as you think there is, an image never turns out right.
6. Do you put up all of the work yourself?
Yes so far everything has been pasted by us. Placement is an important part of the process. Street art exists within context. The wall or background is equally as important as the art. Especially for a paste up artist where the art is cut out. Its something that we feel is still an important part of the process and we wouldn’t want to pass over to anyone at this stage.
It’s also really fun deciding where to place an image. That’s part of our identity.
Jimi and Madonna in Wynwood, Miami during Art Basel 2018
8. Do you have any advice for someone putting up art on the street?
We have always agreed that the most important part of being an artist is the act of doing it. Not the final outcome. Art is a chance to apply yourself to something that makes total sense when you are doing it.
Nothing else matters when your submerged in your own, or other people’s art. If you can achieve that then you’re on the right path.
Above: The Postman art going up around the Lower East Side, NYC in January.
9. What’s the best part of doing this?
To work on a continually changing canvas. Any piece of art will look different from one wall to the next. The excitement of seeing a new piece go up on a wall is hard to beat. Then you put the same piece on a different wall and it looks completely different.
Also having people photograph, tag and post our work on social media is obviously a buzz. There is a sense of community with street art and it really feels like it brings happiness to a lot of people.
10. Any hopes and dreams for the future?
The plan at this stage is to make the best art we possibly can and see where it takes us. If you can focus as much as possible on that, the rest happens as it’s meant to be.
We are definitely interested in making hand finished one off pieces. We currently have work on show at Prescription Art in Brighton and prints for sale on Big Cartel. Getting more work in other galleries around the world would be a dream. And developing our style as much as possible.
But mostly just to keep enjoying what we are doing. Otherwise, what’s the point???