3.3.19, Sold's Mission: to go on a street trek with Captain Eyeliner, a rising star that has brought new life, characters, and messages to the street art world. To boldly go, where we hadn't gone before, read on for a bonus "story" to see how it turned out!
A Sold nominee as "One to Watch" for 2019, Captain Eyeliner has been on our radar for some time now. There's lots of Captains: Kirk, Marvel, America, Crunch, Kangaroo, etc. Captains command attention and make others stand up and take notice. This Captain is fairly new to the scene, but is probably one of the most consistent wheatpaste/sticker artists currently getting up in NYC today. We have definitely taken notice and wanted to go on a little exploration and learn more about Captain Eyeliner.
Captain Eyeliner's journey started with stickers like, "Smash the Patriarchy." A re-imagined Rosie the Riveter, Rosie-the-Shark, is showing us those sharp, knife-like teeth and is ready to "Smash the Patriarchy!" We were then introduced to the PSA Kitties with messages like "Dead Men Don't Cat Call" and "Publicly Shame Racists." "The stickers eventually became pasteups. The pastes grew from social messaging to weird ass, gnarly skull cats and pigeons for fun." said, Captain Eyeliner.
"It's got to have a twist or no one is going to look twice at it." said, Captain Eyeliner. "Finding the twist is half the fun of making the work."
When you're thinking of becoming a street artist, first you have to get up the courage to actually go out and do it. Then, you come up with a name; it should be original and memorable. In this case the Captain was given the name by a friend's child prodigy. The artist figured that kid is smarter than them and ran with it! From steering a ship (or star-fleet) to a favorite cosmetic product used by men and women (It's called guyliner, ya heard?) it's interesting to see how these two words come together, are redefined, and take on a new purpose. BOOM, just like that, Captain Eyeliner is born into the street art universe.
Captain said the very first time they put something up on the street it triggered a "happy chemical brain jolt." When people started posting the artwork on social media, Captain Eyelinerwas shocked and didn't expect such a great response. The pieces last a long time because for the most part, people agree. It's not all positive though, the negative reactions just prove why we need such a strong voice like this now more than ever in the streets.
"People have been overwhelmingly kind. Most people. I have had the occasional red-hat-wearing- incel-troll who needs to vomit their message at me or leave poorly spelled comments. I delete, block, and move on with my day." said, Captain Eyeliner.
"I loved street art years before I dipped my brush in glue. I was captivated by Shepard Fairey’s affect on the 2008 election." said, Captain Eyeliner. "When I moved to Bushwick I kept running into MythGDS’s (formerly MythNY) (@mythny) work and their messages would always brighten my day."
These messages are not a reaction to just our "current" political climate, because Captain Eyeliner sees that the game has been rigged for a long time and hopes that the more this "bullshit" is called out, the less comfortable people will be sticking their heads in the sand and will wake up and pay more attention.
One of Captain's latest pasteups is, "Climate Change Will Kill Your Baby." There is no time to waste with this issue. We can't let so-called "leaders" like Dianneosaur Feinstein and others care more about lining their greedy pockets from the fossil fuel industry rather than the condition of the planet that they're leaving behind. Decades of inaction have left us with only 11 years to avoid the worst effects of climate change. We need to keep fighting right now for ourselves and for future generations as well.
Captain Eyeliner wants to continue making interesting work and spreading important messages, but doesn't see profiting off of street art. Captain is worried that once money is involved it would stop being fun and the art might get stale. "The world has more than enough boring art. I'm sure I’ll change my mind, but for now I want to keep it low pressure." said, Captain Eyeliner. They also feel no need to travel and spread art to different cities.
"Here’s the thing: New York is the greatest city on earth. If I miraculously get a few days off, I want to spend it here." said, Captain Eyeliner.
[Fun fact:] Both cats and eyeliner have connections to Egypt and Egyptian art. It often depicts characters with heavily lined eyes and some thought if you wore eyeliner it protected you from the “evil eye.” More practically, eyeliner was used to protect the skin from the hot, desert sun. Cats were praised for keeping Pharaohs safe and for having "divine energy" and warding off evils. Bastet a.k.a Bast was the Egyptian goddess of cats who were considered sacred animals. Using cats for good to ward off evils...sounds like Captain Eyeliner's PSA Kitties.
Art should give you something to consider and make you think, it should agitate and educate. The Captain is an important voice on the street and sometimes it takes just one person to say these things are not ok. Another artist recently said, "art is my superpower." Captain Eyeliner is using their superpower and the wide open, limitless space, known as the streets to change perceptions and make people more aware. It's all coming from a good place and we hope more people pay attention to what this Captain has to say.
"I just want to keep spreading the good word. Make the art you believe in. Don’t worry if anyone else is going to like it. Pretend Instagram doesn’t exist. Create what you want to see and glue it everywhere." - Captain Eyeliner
This is a story of a Virgin Vandal, some circumstances and names may have been changed, to protect the (not so) innocent. The Virgin Vandal aka V.V. and their "partner in crime," met up with Captain Eyeliner one crisp, sunny, Sunday morning.
V.V. had all the supplies ready: glue: check, brush: check, pasteups..uhhh: check! Now what? Find a good spot to hit. Being the first time, the Virgin Vandal was nervous, standing there fidgeting and almost frozen. It was early morning in a populated neighborhood of Manhattan and time was of the essence! The Captain led the way, saying, “Let’s go, go, go!” The Virgin Vandal took the piece out, dipped a brush in glue, and also put on gloves, not because of fingerprints, but it’s a faster way to apply the glue...wax on, wax off…
There was a curious crowd across the way smirking and watching their every move, but the onlookers seemed harmless. Then a security guard seemed to have come out of nowhere! Standing there with arms crossed that guard’s body language was not exactly voicing their approval. The Captain thought this was our cue to move on. We gathered our supplies and walked with a little more pepper in our steppers and did a shake around the street. One piece down, but still had a few to go.
The group decided on their next spot. Captain Eyeliner with brush in hand, climbed and with laser focus got into the wheatpaste application zone and put up the next one right above some kitties previously pasted a few weeks back. The others acted as a lookout. Through the string of cars and taxis, was a cop ahead about to approach the group. The Captain was alerted and jumped down just in time! (wheeww, that was close!) Don't worry, Capt. has nine lives, just like the cats.
At this point, the group dodged security, cops, tourists and other passersby. They were feeling pretty good with a new found confidence, walked all over Manhattan and hit many more spots with their pieces. It turned out to be a successful and a little suspenseful Sunday spreading some art on the streets. A Virgin Vandal no more thanks to Captain Eyeliner.