D*Face: When Art & Vandalism Meet In A Cement Kiss


I’ve always been fond of artists who bomb urban landscapes, or ‘drop’ their works—even & especially when
the artists continue these guerilla interactions with the public after achieving success [ a subjective term, I
realize: though in this instance, let’s skip the philosophical shit & stick with a more universal meaning…
namely, that of monetary success &/or a sense of notoriety ]
. One example that immediately comes to
mind is Shepard Fairey. Late one night back in 2004, while I was in New York during a promo tour
for the Pills, Thrills, Chills, and Heartache: Adventures in the First Person anthology, I was out,
lurking the East Village, doing a bit of my own sticky-vinyl [Ahem!] ‘beautification.’ Speaking,
you know, theoretically. I tend to aim high when engaging in such endeavors—meant both
literally & metaphorically, Jay Ess Why Kay—so the sound of my palm slapping metal [ the
back-side of a sign ] followed by a louder sound: that of my landing, visibly startled a
man who, incidentally, looked over the shoulder from his own activity: sticker-
plastering a pole. It was Shepard, out in the same 3 A.M.—doing his part to
to spread the message, so to speak—& we shared a chuckle of recognition.

Not because I’m some big-shot artist, obviously, but rather because I was a contributing editor for
Swindle magazine [ R.I.P. ] at the time. & here’s this guy—well, my boss, essentially—
& he’s out…Oh, I’m rambling. [ Besides, YouGetIt anyway, right? You.Get.It ]

London-based artist D*Face lists Fairey among his influences, which—on the tip of phenomenology,
billboard re-appropriation, & the mutual interest in California’s skateboard subculture—could be
considered a ‘given.’  Nonetheless, neither the antics of, nor the artwork produced by, D*Face
is derivative…at least not directly [ or rather: singularly ].

& from that mention of art & antics, let us hone our focus on
this bitchen custom-made tombstone:

Not a work to be taken lightly, huh?  [ Cue the canned laughter here, kplzthnx ]
Well, the eve of “Going Nowhere Fast”—D*Face’s solo show at the Corey Helford Gallery
he did a drop at  2728 N. La Cienega Boulevard in Century City.

All 400 pounds.

You’re following me, right? He left this amazing art piece for display, there on the street—knowing full well
that [ hello! Voice of Adult Reason on Line One] it would only be a matter of time until someone
came along, &…[ as far as I’m concerned ] ‘got lucky‘?

As has been cited, he also did two drops the night prior.

★ ☆ ★ Hollywood Boulevard, Walk of Fame ★ ☆ ★

Here’s a shot as the infrastructure of GENIUS is assembled:

A tombstone

at the star of one ‘Charlie Sheen.’


Is that excellent, or is that friggin’ excellent?

The other grave-marker?

This beaut, at the Santa Monica pier:

I can’t help but wonder where they are,
who has them now…

Did any of the individuals who ‘liberated’ the tombstones realize what they were taking?

If not, in what ways do you think their attachment to the objects might change
upon learning they’re worth something more than cool points
among the neighborhood kids?

¤ O R ¤

If so—meaning, if whomever [ allegedly ] happened to find this piece of  ‘found’ art is familiar with
the work of D*Face, do you think he/she was all “Jackpot!” about it?

Said another way:

This person wouldn’t technically be stealing, so shouldn’t we expect him or her to come forth?

In this city where it’s not just about Keeping-Up-With-The-Proverbial-Joneses
but rather eclipsing them, the ascent to superstardom [ in theory ] so incandescent…
Doesn’t  it seem incongruous for us not to have heard from a single one of these fortuitous beings?

AAAAAAAAAAH,   I T ‘S   A L L   G O T   M E   J U S T   S O

SpUNd face, frustrationOUT

I’ve spent hours on-line today, click-&-scrolling my way through re-blog after re-blog after re-blog
regarding the [ so-called ] drop; ditto, same re: last night’s openingopeningopening

& find it suspect that in all this media coverage,
there’s an irrefutable gap between what journalist Amy Duran [ via Juxtapoz digital, April 9th]
describes having taken place the eve of April 8th, in her statement

“Considering that both the Santa Monica Beach and the Charlie Sheen tombstone had been removed so
quickly I suggest making you[r] way out to see this piece in person before it’s gone.”

& coverage of the exhibition itself, which Jack In Shows [ via Daily Du Jour ] summates
“included a D*Face Oscar appearance, two of his new tombstone pieces,
three ‘dead’ celebrity impersonators…”



I’ve been wrong before, yet still—I’m of the mind that more than one form of the ⟣faux⟢ went on
in this scenario.

Mr. Dean Stockton, a.k.a. D*Face?  Seems to me that what he schemed is the opposite
of a ‘drop’…as in: “catch” would be a more appropriate term.

My theory: he used two gravestones, not three, & just “happened” to conveniently bring a writer along
for the ride.  The result?  Insta-PR, no need to add water. Unless, of course, a person
wanted to scrub clean the carbon stains from the night before…

[ photo submission I received after posting a frustrated tweet ]

Apparently, this image was captured while waiting in line for the opening: April 9, 2011

For the sake of clarity, please allow me to reiterate:
What I’ve presented is a theory, based entirely on speculation.
I was not present for any of the aforementioned events; hence,
none of my conjecture should be treated as fact.

However, within the scope of this hypothesis, I’ve gotta say: the name of D*Face’s show
resonates with new meaning, all things considered.

But why wouldn’t it?

The gravestones—testaments to bad behavior, on which “Going Nowhere Fast” was inscribed—went
[ well…] nowhere in this staged guerilla act, the [ theoretical ] Drop-Without-A-Drop.

I mean, when media is the medium an artist chooses to
make A Statement About The Media & A Celebrity-Obsessed Society—
yet that artist is playing the role of a guerilla artist; is “pretending to be” rather than being…

It’s fucking ‘meta': yeah, sure

Yet at the core of it all?  Chicanery, being ‘on the grift’?
Is a material-obsessed society really being challenged,
or the challenge really how much monetary gain can be filched from it?

All I have are questions.

But after reading over a hundred blogs with the same regurgitated, rarely & barely re-worded praise
I wonder: Am I the only one?

Whatever your take, D*Face is a fascinating subject about whom
the following additional reading I recommend:

[ Liz Ohnasien‘s interview with D*FaceL.A. Weekly ]

Till Next Time,

Comments (3)

  1. 5:01 pm, May 12, 2012DeeDee Clutter  / Reply

    I am not really great with English but I find this real easygoing to interpret .

  2. 10:16 pm, April 12, 2011twentythree  / Reply

    there were 6 gravestones made, three have been dropped in the city as the Jux articles mention, two are at the gallery and one remains to be dropped. The Charlie Sheen Star stone was knocked over at 9am (the photographer from the LA Weekly has footage of this taking place) and it was pushed to the side until about 7pm when a woman that lives across the street saw it and recognized D*Face’s name and had a homeless man assist her on a cart and drag it to her place. I have photos of all the stones before being dropped as well as photos of the broken stone that is now in the woman’s apartment in Hollywood.

    feel free to email me to see the photos.

  3. 2:52 pm, April 11, 2011Shannon  / Reply

    I’ll go read those articles. On first glance I like the tombstones although the Charlie Sheen one just made me shake my head a little. I don’t really care enough about Charlie Sheen to comment on the implications of the tombstone itself. Does that even make any damn sense?

    I would really like to look at one of these up close. I think living in Seattle added with the hours I work I am starved for this kind of art and when I do see pictures I feel jealous and want to be close to it and examine it without the filter of the internet.

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