So their is a particular special someone in my life who I think is sheer brilliance. Rolland Berry is his name, and I am so privileged to know him. He blows me away with his capacity to create. For instance, Billy Idol recently came to visit him to inherit some of his designs. Yes, below is Billy in Rolland Berry's clothes. So sexy. Also below are pictures of punk rock jackets Rolland collaborated and created with Shepard Fairey. Below is some of Shepard fairey's commentary on Rolland Berry. Shepard is an American contemporary artist, graphic designer, and illustrator who emerged from the skateboarding scene. He is known for being one the greatest "Street Artists" of our time. But I believe Rolland surpasses him entirely.
I recently collaborated with Rolland Berry on some amazing art jackets now on display at the Obey pop up store in NYC. I love Rolland’s punk art/fashion sensibility. It reminds me that I first became interested in stencil making and screen printing in the 80′s not as art techniques, but as ways to make home-made punk tee shirts. I still feel very strongly that tee shirts are a populist canvas for great art. Collaborating with Rolland on art jackets was a perfect bridge between the art and fashion that have shaped my life and that many people mistakenly put into disparate categories. My May Day art show, street murals, and the NYC Obey clothing pop up are all extensions of the same art project and philosophy.
I first met Rolland about 11 years ago when he was putting posters of his art up on the streets. One time I found a fresh spot he had pasted and near by an abandoned brush and bucket of glue. I was worried Rolland had been busted or at least forced to flee the scene in a hurry. After I got his number from a friend and called him to see if things were OK he told me “no I didn’t get busted, I was just done pasting for the day and didn’t feel like carrying the glue home.” This story’s suggestion of apathy or lack of follow through on Rolland’s part turns out to be the polar opposite of how he does things. Though he is a punk rocker, Rolland’s meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail conjure the oxymoron “punk rock master craftsman”. The hand studded details and screen printed and sewn patches are amazing. Check out these jackets in person if you can and maybe get a chuckle out of the irony of framed punk jackets and how gatekeepers of culture may define something as high or low culture figuratively or literally by how it is framed. Just like Duchamp would probably love if someone went into a museum and pissed in his urinal, these jackets are suitable as framed art but may be even better in a mosh pit.-Shepard