Back Talk: A Conversation with Specter

Juxtapoz // Thursday, 28 Jul 2011


Social scientist and Street Artist Specter uses paintings of people in your community to make the case with wheat-paste and a bit of sarcasm. Repainting sitters from photos shot on the street, Specter heralds and nearly deifies the everyday food delivery guy or homeless neighbor in oversized glory, carefully placing them on an abandoned lot wall or a rusted defunct piece of signage for a closed mattress factory. While the topic of displacement and gentrification is a favorite, he also looks for new ways to flaunt accepted convention like a recent campaign turning commonly accepted graffiti/Street Art “rules” on their head by “sidebusting” other artists work on the street with playful modifications that faithfully mimic the originals’ colors, materials, and philosophy. ~ Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo

1. One reason you make art:

It's what I want to do.

2. The last good movie you saw:

“Kansas City.”

3. Something you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to:

Be on the cover of Juxtapoz.


4. Favorite country or city visited:


5. A few words that sum up your philosophy on life:

I hate being in lines.

6. Something you want the world to know about you:

The carpet matches the drapes.

7. Something that annoys or frustrates you about people:

When they are ahead of me in line.


8. Something that concerns you:

Getting paid.

9. Artists you admire:

Revs and Espo

10. Favorite quote(s):

Ain't no half steppin'.

11. The first record or CD you ever bought? The last album you downloaded?

Guns and Roses. Raphael Saadiq.


12. Something you do when you’re procrastinating?


13. What is your most defining characteristic?

Red Hair.

14. What is your greatest fear?

Not being on the cover of Juxtapoz.


15. The moment you realized you were an ‘artist’:

When I was 28 and couldn't pay my rent.

16. Your greatest quality:

I'm tall.

17. Something you wish you could change or alter about yourself:

Less anger.

18. What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken and was it worth it?

Jumping off a 30 foot highway ramp. The cops didn't get me but, no, it wasn't worth it.


19. Something you wish you had known five years ago:

How many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

20. What do you hope to accomplish in the next five years of your life?

Buy a house and get married.

All photos © Jaime Rojo



You can see Specter’s work in the new group show, “Street Art Saved My Life: 39 New York Stories”

Curated by Steven P. Harrington and Jaime Rojo, founders of Brooklyn Street Art

In collaboration with ThinkSpace Gallery

Opens at C.A.V.E. Gallery, Friday August 12th 6-10pm

Runs until September 4th

C.A.V.E. Gallery