("U.F.O." tries to share his side if the story with some of the authors of U.F.O., many sides were shared, no minds were changed)

Did you hear about the new U.F.O. book? U.F.O. as in the NYC graffiti artist (examples of his work here). Well there's a new book out from Powerhouse, aptly titled U.F.O., featuring tons of images of his work. The book busies itself with diagrams disecting his pieces, how-to guides for classifying different U.F.O.s, and then relates it to Aboriginal cave drawings and other such intellectual waxations. The only catch is not only did U.F.O. have nothing to do with the book, but any feedback from him was actually refused by the authors (they claimed it would taint the project). From what I can discern, it's some sort of super-intellectual disection of the authors' pursuit and attempt to understand U.F.O. in lengthy Chelsea-artspeak. Urban antropology is a term they use to describe it. While I can understand this sort of over-the-top approach to creating something fictional and seemingly exciting and interesting, I have a hard time accepting it being done on the back of an artist who has spent YEARS creating art in public space with no interest in any acclaim whatsoever. It cannot help but be exploitative, even though I beleive the authors' contentions that there was nothing malicious about their intentions. It was not malicious, just selfish and near-sighted, but not ill-intended. And it probably doesn't hurt that the exploited subject has no option of legal recourse due to his fugitive status. But whatever, they made their book, Powerhouse published it, and that's kind of the end of the story. As in the conversations I witnessed (and participated in) at the book launch party between U.F.O.'s people and the authors, no minds are about to be changed anytime soon. Although it was good to hear the other side, even if it didn't make a lick of sense sometimes.

You should check out their webpage about the book, read about it and see what you think. Click on the link for the "U.F.O. trailer" for a weird little hunt-n-peck video searching for U.F.O. with flashlights.

Combustive Motor Corp



I never officially wrapped up that little cover song streak I had going, with Halloween getting in the way and all. So here's my final cast into that hole, for a bit anyway (who knows around here). And so here's Man Man's take on Miss Etta James.

• Man Man - I'd Rather Be Blind

A band's place in myspace.

For more research on U.F.O.'s, gather up some books on the subject. Amazon promos might come in handy.


  1. As Homer Simpson said "There's no money in your childish vandalism". I don't think he meant this, but the fact remains, If you put something out there for free you're gonna get screwed.

  2. You, sir, are a moron. The book is obviously sending up such "artspeak" and has made a rather banal graffiti artists unheard of junk into something that is humorous, satiric, and intellectually interesting.

    Your assertion of the Intentional Fallacy was refuted nearly 50 years ago in art criticism. I suggest that you shut down your blog (having an opinion doesn't equal having anything of value to say) and pick up a book.

    PS. Exploitation is not possible when someone is already doing their work for free.

  3. IF CMC is "exploiting" UFO then Warhol "exploited" the Campbell's soup can designer and James Joyce was "exploiting" Homer.

    If UFO doesn't want his art interpreted and expounded upon, he should hide his sketch book under his mattress along with his silly hat and rasta wig.

  4. yo man, I don't know about the warhol shit or the homer Simpson shit, but ain't you doin the same bull shit when you put yo text on someone elses property?

    You Fukin someone elses work and you messin with someone elses life.

    You using graffiti is some bull shit too, when you just some suburban wigger, just like most of the other "art star" graffiti artist in new york.

    honkey please, don't you try to be some bush nigga when you just a boy to start with.

    Wake up playa, cause all yo hatin' aint helpin yo shit at all.

    That just some bs right there.

    If I was you I would try to make sure i got some shit out there myself that was riding on their shit.

    If you wanned to be 'real' anyway you would have shown yo face to start with.

    I signed for real if you want to come lookin, I got no fear for some poser from white plains or where ever it is you from.

  5. You Anonymouses missed the point (maybe you should take Beardsley a little closer to heart). I didn't say the book was bad or wrong, I said it was a shame it had to stand on the back/shoulders/whatever of another artist's large body of work. We all know they wouldn't have gotten away with using so many unauthorized reproductions of a more established artist's work (who could afford a lawyer). However there is a solution: create a fictional graffiti artist to analyze and fiddle with. Take it to another level.

    Exploitation is possible because the book could not exist without it's use of U.F.O.'s work. Maybe next time they can try working with the artist on some level instead of pretending he doesn't exist, or isn't a real person, or doesn't matter. Not that they have to change the book, but on a personal level.

    And yes, Warhol did exploit the Campbell's soup can designer a bit. But I will say there is a distinction between a design that becomes a common commercial/household item and a unique work of art, even if it is on the street instead of some uptight gallery. James Joyce did not plagerize Homer.

    If I shut my blog down, who would you have to leave snotty comments to?

    Oh and "seabass", if you are a real graffiti artist you may have heard of such a thing as the police, and you may know that they like to arrest graffiti artists and put them away for a long time. So it may occur to you to obscure your identity when identifying yourself in public to avoid capture and prosecution. It's a thought.

  6. Does it anyone find it slightly ironic that a supposedly subversive artist starts whining about intellectual property rights when he respects no ones ACTUAL property rights?

  7. The artist DOESN'T matter not to this book. You seem to be confused as to the subject and seriousness of the book. I took a look at it and the book is one that clearly states that it is about the authors' own way of making sense of the art. Art is art because it is open to interpretation. Otherwise the graffiti artist should just stand there with a sign stating what the supposed meaning of his tagging is and forget the tagging all together. What Combustive has done is make their interpretive speculation into a work of art that stand on its own.

    You assertion that the artist is being exploited is pure nonsense. He has no right to fascisticly determine the meaning of his art and close off all other interpretation. He is a criminal and has no more right to be remunerated for his work than the wifebeater wearing drunk on COPS should be paid for his acting work when he stumbles down the stairs with his ass-crack showing.

    It is quite obvious to me that the writers of this book avoided talking to UFO precisely because of those like you whose simplistic, fascistic, and simpleminded view of art would make their artistic critique subordinate to the stated meaning of a google-eyed vandal who should be arrested and fined for his defacing of public property.

  8. Wow, a decent comment. Intelligent, clear, and no name-calling. I'll try one more time to repeat myself though. It is not a bad book, it is not an uninteresting book, it is actually an good idea, it is just a bummer that they snubbed the artist in the process.

    "Maybe next time they can try working with the artist on some level instead of pretending he doesn't exist, or isn't a real person, or doesn't matter. Not that they have to change the book, but on a personal level."

    And at no point did I (nor U.F.O. to my recollection) claim that his work was being misinterpreted, misunderstood, or misanything. It was more just about publishing a book chock-full of his work without any consideration to the artist. And they avoided talking to him (except to ask for photos) because it would "taint the project."

    And for such a criminal, there seems to be a lot of appreciation. I don't see books on COPS criminals coming out or having flickr sets dedicated to them by fans, and that shows been around for a loooooong time.

    I'm kind of surprised there's so much hating going on here. It's not like he's demanding money, or that the book be stopped, or suing them. It's pretty much just a "Wow, that kind of sucks. Wish they had done it a bit differently." And we end up with people spitting moron in my face and telling me to hang it all up. A bit much.

  9. What's funny is that he has painted the same imagery for years, and he really hasn't gotten any better. So many of these gay ass graff artists just do the same shit over and over, and don't evolve.

    On the other hand, I give credit where credit is due. The kid gets up, worldwide even. And in some circles thats the name of the game. Maybe he doesn't even care about style or painting clean, just a grimey cat who bombs for the joy of getting up. I can appreciate that too.

    The book seems very intelligent. I personally am suspicious that this whole thing is a hoax / publicity stunt, in which case UFO is a genius.

  10. This book is toilet paper. I enjoy art books and this one has no merit.
    Not only did the authors put themselves in the book (classic mistake) they were signing autographs on U.F.O posters at the book signing. This just seems like a case of people using people to get a name.
    The public domain debate and legality aside, these designers made a poorly designed, one sided, and uninteresting book that ends up being a diservice to the UFO legend. Jockers, hangers on, leeches, parasites...call them what you will but defending them seems a little uninformed. +ian

  11. I don't think its outrageous at all that they didn't include him in the book. You don't write an interpretation of someone's work only to have the creator of the work turn around and say "no, no, this is what I really meant." Art is all about interpretation right? About each of the viewers' individual right to their own interpretation.

    There's really no reason to repeat this, as the above comment pretty much summed it up. I do think the book would have lost all integrity had the actual artist been brought on board.

    On a related note, some people I know in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans were actually a little bummed to hear that these little space alien things popping up were done by some guy from NY. They've lived there all their lives and couldn't help but wonder how an outsider could sully up their neighborhood when they'd been working so hard to get it back together following the storm. Nice one UFO!

  12. those dreads are as real as this text. hes tall and skinny and rides a 6 speed bike

  13. its funny...how many people are haters.....and the ones that hate...dont do shit.........but critique everything and pretend they are important......this cat kills NY and beyond....mad love....steady bombing...

  14. i understand 100% why he would confront them and be angry at the situation, being a writer myself, ofcourse he's not mad about the book
    he's probly not happy with the bullshit they say, and ways they describe his style, i would be too, how's some art school dick head gunna know why i rocked a 9 foot stomper on the side of a duane reed?

    it just makes no sesne to not have the man some-what involved in a book based on him
    that's like me making a book on obamma about obamma
    but i never did any real research about his history, and i for one would be especialy pissed that they wouldn't even let me chose what flicks make the book?
    who's to say they're not putting my unfinished, or just allaround lacking work in the book? and call it a u.f.o?

    anyone taking the publishers side is not seeing it for what it really is, its not about exploitation, its about a dude having no control over something that has his name sprawled allover it,
    if it says one wrong thing it could make some little hater kid run around taking out all of u.f.os shit
    there's soo many reasons why this shit isn't cool that i need to stop O_o

  15. I saw U.F.O walking around Queens one day and tried to talk to him. He was dismissive and a dick. You should have thought of it first U.F.O. but instead your too busy making crap black and white drawings.