BooksIIII Wants Graffiti Artists to Take Back the Streets

Originally a manufacturing plant for the RC Cola company, the abandoned building visible from I-95 has served as a concrete canvas for graffiti artists over the past two decades. The walls surrounding the plant have displayed some of Miami's (and the world's) most notorious graffiti artists, including Crook and Crome. For Art Basel this year, both the interior and exterior are being completely reworked by Primary Flight, an Art Basel project which will display the work of over 100 artists from across the world.

We spoke with BooksIIII, who along with renowned bomber Typoe, founded the project. Below he shares his thoughts on Art Basel, graffiti vs. traditional art, and retaliation.

New Times: How did you get involved with graffiti art?

BooksIIII: As with most things, it started with a girl. I thought if I painted an entire underpass she would let me slide. It worked.

How has the perception of graffiti changed in the past 20 years?

Immensely. I mean, the same vandals the majority once described as the plague of the urban landscape are now turned to as influencers of the popular culture. These same vandals are collected by the world's greatest museums and collections.

What do you have planned for Art Basel?

We are going to paint the town red. With more than 100 artists coming in from different parts of the world, special events and projects happening throughout the city, and our new space in the Design District, Primary Flight is expanding street art into more communities and to a higher power.

Why the RC Cola plant property?

It's not just about the RC Cola plant. It's about the desolate, blank, urban landscape raped by contemporary advertising. The streets belong to us so we are taking them back, transforming them into something meaningful and relevant to our generation. We want every wall, every building, every underpass, every park bench. This is community development and public art and its finest.

What kind of impact or difference do you feel the Primary Flight work has on the neighborhood or the city?

We make immediate changes. Through us, there is no board, no approval system. Change happens now. The neighborhoods we paint in appreciate what we do, and we create for us, for them. It creates a sense of pride for the community: Urban beautification.

Do you think that graffiti will ever be considered equal to, let's say, impressionism by the art world?

Why would we want to compare? Graffiti/street art is so much more. It is different. It is by the people, in the streets, judged by a panel of our peers. It is here today and gone tomorrow. It has a shelf life, it is an art movement that is specific to all regions of the world that changes more and more over time. It is an organic art form, the rule is that there are no rules. Try teaching that in a college course.

What's your opinion on artists who go over other artist's work without permission?

Retaliation is a bitch.

What's your take on Art Basel?

The Greatest circus in the world. I love it.

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Ily Goyanes
Contact: Ily Goyanes