GRAFFEATI: YOU KNOW…GRAFFITI ABOUT FOOD

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Arthur Bovino has a Food Graffiti Photo Project where he sets out to show just how food obsessed New Yorker’s really are. He offers up over 1,000 images of food graffiti from around the city to prove it.

From words like “egg yolk” spray painted onto bridges, to images of chickens inked onto the asphalt, he shows how our fascination with food is constantly on display.

Food 2 conducted the following interview with the artist:

Q: Why are we so food obsessed!? Do you think this is a recent trend, or something that stems from a history of food craziness?
A: This urge, this need to discuss food, com mu ni cate the best sources for it, the search for and con quest of it, is pri mal. The depic tions painted on dark cave walls– the tale of the hunt– aren’t dif fer ent in spirit from the “Best Of Lists” that go viral or are scrawled, sprayed, and painted in sub­ways and on store fronts.

Q: Is there a certain type of tag, a certain style or subject treatment that just makes you go ahh, like a good meal?
A: When a tag or mural stops you, makes you laugh, inspires you to photograph it in the best way to convey your excitement, no matter how strange you appear, when it makes you go, “What? Imitation Crab Meat!” Or, “A lobster? A lobster on a lamppost? Who is messing with me?” Those are my Blue Hill moments, my Da Michele Margherita, my pani cà meusa.

Q: Do the tags ever send you home to cook? Come across the words OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN, and bolt home put one together?
A: Ha. Good question. I haven’t been able to spend anywhere near as much time as I’d like cooking lately, so coming across tags for graffeatinyc.com hasn’t inspired much cooking. But it has definitely influenced my cravings. When you find tags like Sushi, Pizza, Soup and Pork for blocks in a row in the East Village, Kanoyama, Momofuku Noodle Bar and Artichoke start sounding pretty good, even when you have reservations elsewhere.

Q: What about ‘seasonal tags,’ or things relevant to, say, the fall (now that it’s the fall). Have you seen them pop up here and there?
A: You know the saying: “Don’t eat oysters in months that lack the letter R in their names.” Well, one food tag I’ve seen on both coasts since October began (New York and San Francisco) is Oyster. Go figure.

Q: Do you see this project extending into other, and varied documentations of our obsession with food? If so, where to next?
A: I’d love to talk to restaurant owners and chefs about their take on graffiti and the affect it has on their businesses, how they work with graffiti artists to do commissioned or permitted murals, like David Chang, or even the Chipotle in Chelsea. And of course, I’d love to talk more with some artists and taggers. I’d love to do candid restaurant photography in settings high and low, front and back of house. Customers, waiters, cooks, busboys, hostesses, bartenders, known and unknown, that could be fun. Of course, as someone who writes about food for a living for The Daily Meal, I’m always looking to find, eat, and shoot both the next undiscovered and most storied things

To see more food ‘tags’ from around New York City and check out Arthur Bovino’s work, visit his website at www.graffeatinyc.com. [Food 2]

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