Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday ProFile: Toasters

As humans, we often let fear limit our belief in what’s possible. The minute a person gets that knot in his stomach, it’s easy to think twice. However, fear can also serve as a great motivator. The guys of Toasters keenly understand this feeling and work it to their advantage. “We constantly feel unsafe but we are often battling ourselves,” they explain. “Nerves are positive; they keep you on your toes and talk you out of making that wrong decision. Complacency inevitably leads to trouble. We've been stopped numerous times by the authorities and always manage to sweet talk our way out of a corner.”
While other children viewed playgrounds as a play place, Toasters had more fun tagging up school buses. “In 1985, everyone at school had a tag,” they recall. “We were totally blown away by Style Wars and Subway Art. I remember leaving my mates house after watching Style Wars and thinking, ‘My life will never be the same again.'” Back in 1998, a beer and cider fueled party officially sparked the creation of the Toasters crew. The trio cut their teeth in Wolverhampton, and then roamed from Buenos Aires to Berlin plastering rooftops with toasters.
Toasters didn’t anticipate the fame that resulted from their ubiquitous stickers. They recall, “Back in 2003, we looked on in amazement as five daily national newspapers in Britain published articles about the Toaster image. They asked their readers if they knew who was responsible for it and what the image meant? We had extreme emotions of fear and pride. The project was as famous as it had ever been but we were gripped by a sense it was spiraling out of our control.” Since that moment, they’ve maintained the image but experimented with scale and position to take their simple toaster to another level.

In a sense, Toasters were almost ahead of the curve. “The phrase 'street art' makes me chuckle sometimes as that genre did not exist when we started getting the Toaster image up in 1999,” they insist. “We simply chose an image rather than a word as we realized it would be more conspicuous amongst adjacent tags on a wall. It would raise more questions than it would have answers which we found fascinating.”

Although the Toaster image is a constant, the crew never ceases to push the limits of what’s possible. “We want the Toaster to keep on gathering fame along with a versatility in how we produce it. It might appear on a wall, on a sticker, on a canvas or on a flag. It can go beyond 'street art' because as I mentioned earlier 'street art' did not exist when we conceived the project. The project is not just about 'street art'. We want to keep reinventing the image and show its durability within the oversaturated, logo heavy public spaces. There is also a need to portray the Toaster in its purest form and let it shout out that simplicity rules.”
From birdhouses to messing with city clean up crews’ buffing, the Toaster crew hit the streets relentlessly. Speaking about the future of street art, Toasters predict, “ Dirty fingers crossed, a lot of the undetermined and short term fame seekers will fall by the wayside as the highly motivated and talented will hopefully survive.”

Cheers, guys! For more toaster photos, head over to their website. Here's hoping the weather holds up over here and folks Stateside have a delightful three day weekend. See you Monday!

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