The first time I saw Matt Siren's work was in Boston. I worked at a magazine in Back Bay and would take the Green Line back to my train. At the time, the city was refurbishing the Copley station, so a busted wooden overhang sheltered the stairs below. For about 3 seconds before it was pulled down, I saw one of Siren's ladies (sans moniker) next to a Goldenstash wheatpaste. On the train ride home, I wondered, "Who does that lady belong to?" Hence my excitement when his note popped up in my inbox.As a kid, Siren terrorized his parents' house, drawing all over the walls. Later on, he started noticing the change happening in his own neighborhood. "It was covered with graff when I was younger," he recalls, "and I'm pretty sure every kid in the neighborhood had a tag even if they weren't into graffiti." Magazines, trains, and books like Subway Art traversed borough lines and spread new styles and techniques. "The buff was pretty much nonexistent back then. Kids wanted to take their time on a piece. You couldn't help but be inspired as a young artist. I was personally influenced by graffiti characters and anyone who could do more than letters."
From the jump, Siren loved the rush of tagging. "I loved doing a late night run and seeing it the next day with the sun blaring on it," he reminisces. Rolling around with his crew, he tagged all through high school and college. "I liked being a part of a like-minded unit pushing the same message. My friends always had my back."
In early 2000, Siren transitioned from spray paint to stickers and posters. "I wanted to stamp my posters and stickers with my name," he adds. "Coupling 'Siren' to my first name sounded decent and kept my identity safe." At first, he obsessed over every little detail. The more he worked, the more he loosened up. "Adobe Illustrator opened up a whole new world to me in 2001," he says. "All of a sudden, I was able to finish up a piece with clean lines and simple shading. From there, I just kept getting looser, incorporating more layers including type. Hitting up North America's east coast, he's bombed everywhere from Toronto, Canada, to Tampa, Florida.
Getting up can be risky, but Siren is always up for the challenge. "I've received so much positive feedback and many messages of inspiration. It makes me happy and motivated to keep creating and putting work out there." The game has changed considerably since he first started, but Siren doesn't necessarily think it's a bad thing. "Graffiti has made its mark on society and is not being celebrated by the public much more now than ever before," he insists. He predicts people will go bigger, higher, and more permanent in the future. In the digital era, the street art community is better equipped to share and swap ideas than ever before. "The Internet is a huge force behind the popularity of street art today," he says. "Artists are connecting online, sharing thoughts and opinions, and trading art. It's an amazing phenomenon; it's defining the street art scene."
Thanks so much, Matt! For more info, check out his website.
Also, I woke up and found a link from my friend Will this morning. It's for Mudo, Blu's new animated film about street art. Definitely give this a look! Thank you, Wilhelm. :)
If you're in the CT area this weekend, make sure to stop by Manchester Community College for the annual Nikki's Run, Walk, and Roll. I'll be getting my jock on and eating some Great Harvest bread. No matter what you do, enjoy the weekend!