Graffiti “artist” B.N.E in the NYT


The NYT just published an article on “BNE,” the man responsible for pasting the stickers bearing his moniker  all over Tokyo. It’s apparently his first interview with a reporter.

Interestingly, the reason BNE has granted this rare interview appears to be because he is in the middle of a promotional campaign for his work. That’s right, promotional campaign. A graffiti artist who you’re only familiar with because he obnoxiously plasters adhesives all over the mailboxes and utility posts of Tokyo has teamed up with an advertising agency to promote his “brand.”

<blockquote>”This weekend, B.N.E. was not spray-painting surreptitiously, but creating a sanctioned mural on a concrete wall in a temporarily vacant building at 595 11th Avenue, near 44th Street. It is part of an exhibition of his work that opens Thursday, sponsored by Mother, a Manhattan advertising agency.

“B.N.E. has single-handedly created a globally recognized and valued brand in the new social economy,” Mother officials said in a news release. “His presence in Flickr photo galleries and YouTube pages dwarfs that of many multinationals.””</blockquote>

Valued brand? Excuse me? That must be why the mayor of San Francisco issued a warrant for his arrest and put $2,500 on his head. I’m generally one to find viral/guerrilla marketing campaigns innovative and funny (even the ones which create a public nuisance) but this development is ridiculous. Municipalities spend money cleaning up after BNE vandalism, he shouldn’t be able to profit off of it.

I think I’d feel differently if his work was a little bit more innovative. He pastes the same damn sticker (or slight variation) everywhere he goes–that’s it. C’mon, even the Andre the Giant sticker has more quality than that!

Plus, the letters in BNE can be rearranged into my nickname, something all my friends never let me forget.

11 thoughts on “Graffiti “artist” B.N.E in the NYT”

  1. “Andre the Giant has a posse. This guy does not.”

    Exactly. He has an advertising agency. Albeit a cool one, but still.

    “Your nickname is “Neb”? Weird.”

    Thanks, Durf.

  2. Also Andre the Giant is cool. There’s nothing cool about an anonymous guy with a bland logo. It doesn’t even have the remotest bit of artistic merit, like a good graffiti tag would.

  3. The OBEY/Giant guy went on to do poster work for the Obama camp. What started as stickers on stop signs can lead to big things. Or so our friend BNE the vandalism artist thinks.

    For what it’s worth, there were (and maybe still are) variants on the OBEY/Andre stickers back when I was living in the RISD area. One of them was a similarly stenciled Barry White, with the catch copy changed to “Barry White gets the p_ss_” (I will let you play hangman with the letters I left out.)

    That sticker, as derivative as it was, is in my opinion better than BNE.

  4. They were still there when I visited Providence in April. Everyone there loves those things. But it’d probably be different if they didn’t know the artist went to RISD.
    I miss the quirkiness of Providence.

  5. “He goes through 10,000 stickers a month.”

    Perhaps the police can ask printers if they know of anyone ordering 10,000 stickers saying BNE every month.

  6. Ugh. I don’t see how they get off calling someone who makes a single bland logo with little to no variation and plasters it all over the place a “graffitti artist.”

Comments are closed.