Recently I asked, “Who is Spaceman?” This guy’s work has been showing up in unexpected places around town for a while now. Although I’m still not sure who the guy in the space suit is, the actual artist did come forward. And I had a chance to sit down with him at Boulder Coffee in the South Wedge. Among other things I asked him what he thought about people who call his work “trashy” or “criminal.” With the Geico Gecko watching us from the billboard across the street, he pointed to it and said, “Would you rather see a Geico ad at every four-way stop? I’m just trying to make people smile.”
For two hours we talked about his work, what motivates him, life in Rochester, keeping our waterways clean, philosophy, Tibetan monks, and other stuff. For obvious reasons he wishes to remain anonymous, so I’ll refer to him in this interview as “Spaceman Artist”. Here’s a taste of our conversation…
A few months ago this woman caught the attention of motorists on I-490 near downtown Rochester. The image immediately made me think of early works by Banksy or Shepard Fairey , artists who catapulted themselves into pop culture stardom by plastering their towns with often graphic and politically-charged poster art. I wondered, was this Rochester artist making a political/social statement? Or is this half-nude character with the peace sign pasty simply a random piece of visual titillation?
A few people on Facebook claimed to know the artist, but my attempts to track him (or her) down were fruitless. Then yesterday a friend* of mine spotted a similar image stuck to a 490/590 support column at the Can of Worms interchange…
After the Erie Canal was rerouted south of downtown Rochester, the Rochester
Industrial & Rapid Transit Railway (the subway) was built in
its place as a link between the five different railroads and interurban trolley
lines that served the Rochester area. As the industrial landscape of Rochester
changed, and highways replaced the railroads, the Rochester subway gradually
became a relic of a bygone era. In 1956 the subway was abandoned and much of
its route was converted into Interstate 490 built to connect Rochester
with the New York State Thruway (I-90). Read more about the history of the Rochester Subway.
RochesterSubway.com exists to help spark
public dialogue around how we can better connect the neighborhoods of Rochester
NY, surrounding communities, and their cultural offerings. Rochesters
future is written in her past. Let's rediscover it.