Notebooks: The Blue Light Project – Take5

Take5 was one of the first street artists I became aware of, during the writing and researching of The Blue Light Project. He was doing a serie of these beautiful chief’s head posters and stencils in the neighborhood around my office.

Take5 Chief's Head
Take5 Chief’s Head – Contact the artist for prints at [email protected]

There were many more than the map shows, but this reflects my dawning awareness that right in the streets around my building, there was this artistic project going on.

Another thing that Take5 introduced me to, for the first time, was the idea of street art as a dialogue. That’s a polite way to put it really. All art is a dialogue in the sense that artists make reference to one another, to their influences in history and their contemporaries. But it’s rare in gallery art for artists to go into a gallery and actually start adding brush strokes to an original painting.

In street art it’s very common, as in the above example, where someone has added a thought-bubble to Take5’s Chief’s Head, turning it into political art.

To digress slightly, this dynamic can work the other way, as well. Here is piece of political art that has been altered to turn it into a different kind of political art. Here “ETA”, the separatist Basqe organizatin, becomes “PETA”.

This is not Take5 related, as I found this piece in Spain.

To return to Take5, it was important to see his work in Vancouver for the first time, as I was writing The Blue Light Project, not only to appreciate the dialogue that street art could be, and also to see the activity of a single artist, something that helped me first conceive of my street art character Rabbit.

It was also important for me to first realize the impact that the obsessions of a single artist could have on a street, a blank wall, the routine of another day.

Like many street artists that I was going to meet later, Take5’s work had the effect of stopping you, bringing you up short, breaking routine. We forget so much of what we do every day, all the grained in motions and transactions. I never forgot seeing something like this for the first time.

Rise Fly Land, it’s called. A piece by Take5 and Other. For a long time I thought I was writing a novel that would be called “Rise Fly Land”, in fact. Although the title changed, the influence of seeing Take5’s work stayed in the book.

If you like this work, consider contacting Take for a print at [email protected]