Talented subway ad-remixer Poster Boy came out of the shadows twice this weekend: He outlined his past for the Guardian and showed much of his face in a new YouTube video.
Poster Boy let the Guardian tag along for some of his work, and mentioned that the NYPD Vandal Squad is squeezing his friends for information with which to hunt him down.
As a teenager "from an East Coast inner city," Poster Boy dabbled in less awesome forms of crime:
"I'd get high and steal cars," he recalls, "but my family and friends thought I was successful just in the fact that I didn't get anyone pregnant, I didn't get into drugs and I was keeping out of jail." Fired up by community college figure-drawing and philosophy classes, he got into art school in New York, where he worked on hand-me-down canvases and stole food to get by.
He began messing with posters out of curiosity and a lack of other materials: "At first, it was just something to keep me occupied while waiting on the subway." When he realised they were printed on self-adhesive vinyl, making them giant, re-stickable stickers, he saw there was fun to be had.
These days, the artist is thrilled that copycats have joined him in remixing "force-fed" advertising — even the 16 year old who flipped him off when Poster Boy gave a thumbs-up to his work.
Perhaps the chance to inspire — or build his reputation, or to simply explain what he's doing — is behind the aritst's increasing visibility. In addition to the Guardian piece, videographer Keith Haskel uploaded an interview with Poster Boy this weekend