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Judge less, create more: The POSE interview

Artists

Judge less, create more: The POSE interview

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  • Having cut his teeth on the streets of Chicago Jordan Nickel AKA POSE has carved a unique lane for themselves in the contemporary art canon. Through his ground-breaking, vibrant street-art and mural work he's gone on to inspire a generation, his unique take on graffiti and pop-art seamlessly blurring the line between fine-art and street art while pushing the boundaries of what graffiti can achieve.
    Ahead of his debut UK solo show at Helm, we caught up with the veteran artist to discuss his influences, his recent collaboration with the Chicago bulls and the meaning of his upcoming show; Signal.
    Photo: POSE - Brand partnership with Adidas
    Can you explain the significance of the word 'Signal' in relation to the show?
    For me 'Signal' means when I'm lost and I'm looking for a sign of where to go, what am I looking for? I'm looking for a signal and where I'm at in my career right now is that I'm accepting that my signal, my compass, my directional arrows are always just pointing towards 'grow or die', create, create, create, judge less, create more. It's kind of like this reaffirmed belief in unconscious narratives that have to come out and be expressed, it's my way of processing life on this Earth and sharing that with whoever wants to participate.
    Photo: POSE - Bodacioussss exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art Denver

    How did you get started doing graffiti? What were your biggest inspirations when you first started?
    The first time I saw graffiti when it called my name was some time in the late 80's and I just remember the immense power I felt experiencing this huge living, breathing, bold, lawless, completely vital thing in front of me out in the wild. As a kid who felt powerless it was insanely attractive, insanely beautiful and mysterious in all forms and to be honest I think I'm still chasing that.
    Where do you see graffiti culture going? How do you feel the scene has changed since you started?
    If I can see graffiti today with true newcomer pee-wee eyes like I've never seen it before and I'm just seeing it in 2024... It's insane, it's explosive, it's on fire, if I stay green and let go of my old attitude of “this is the way it was done in my day” or the way I came up and those fixed ideas kind of hinder me from seeing how alive and vibrant it is now. In terms of where it's going I have no idea, it's a perfect reflection of the question “where is society going?” It's an unchained response from human beings living in society today and I love that about it.
    You recently did an amazing collaboration with Chicago Bulls, how did that come about?
    Collaborating with the Chicago bulls, probably just a by-product of me being from here, I cut my teeth here, grew up as a kid huddled around a little tv screaming at the top of our lungs with kids from the neighbourhood watching Michael Jordan and the world-champion Chicago bulls in a total hay-day, the dream-team, the golden era. I'm not even a sports guy but I found out it was my calling card, no matter where I would go in the world I would say where I'm from and everyone would get that same sensation so I tried to use a lot of that, bring that sensation into collaborating with them and I'm looking forward to doing more with them in the future.
    Is there anyone that you'd like to collaborate with in the future?
    Because of graffiti and the way that we came up I've actually gotten to collaborate with so many of my heroes and artists that I admire whether they be guys in my crew or people that I came up with, so if I was looking to collaborate with someone in the future and really change things up I would probably look towards music or video or new media... I was lucky enough to do this Q&A and talk with Questlove in front of an audience, he's so brilliant and him walking me through how J-Dilla used to compose music resonated a tonne with me, it's been this well that I haven't really drawn upon so I would probably be looking to work with someone within music.
     
    POSE's UK debut solo exhibition Signal will be on view at Helm between 14.03.24 and 21.04.24. Read more here
     

    Photo: POSE

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