Ten Questions For Scoutpines

 
 
 

Continuing with our series about the people who, through their involvement, are a part of the Little Ghent Farm Community.

How would you describe your art, how long you been doing this and how did you get started ?     Currently, using salvaged and reclaimed materials as my canvas, I create contemporary American folk-art portraiture. I work on old wood and old metal using stencils and aerosol paints, latex & alkyd “house” paints, sign-paints, stains, markers and pencil. I prefer the aesthetic of these materials compared to more “traditional” ones and they can withstand the rigors of the outside elements. I usually create a few different versions of a piece. Some end up as non-permission street installations and some end up in art galleries. There is no gallery work without the energy of the street work feeding it. I have been doing this particular thing since 2001.

I had been fascinated with graffiti since I first went to Yankee Stadium as a kid in the late 70’s. Seeing those pieces in The Bronx, as my bus or train rolled through, absolutely blew my Upstate mind. I had always messed around doing little tags and such. Years later, when I was skateboarding and playing in bands, I started designing show fliers, t-shirts, record covers etc. It was just part and parcel of the DIY hardcore and punk-rock scene. I eventually wound up working for an independent record label in their screenprint division, which is where I met Chris Stain. He was a stencil/graffiti artist from Baltimore and we got along like peanut butter & jelly. Stenciling and screenprinting are, essentially, the same process and I took my production skills into a more fine-art arena with his guidance. He taught me the techniques of stenciling with aerosol paint.

“Scoutpines” .. what’s the story behind the name ?     I used to write “Rake” as my graffiti name when I was a kid. In 2001, when I met Chris Stain, he suggested that I write “Scout”. It is my older daughter’s name and it worked well, design wise, with “Stain” for graffiti pieces and other projects that we worked on together. They are both 5-letter, 1-syllable words that start with S. (As a side note, the master/apprentice relationship is an integral part of graffiti’s heritage. If you are fortunate, you learn the ropes from someone much wiser. Someone who can teach you the rules, codes and ethics as well as the necessary techniques.) Back then, most everything we created was under the Stain/Scout umbrella. “Pines” was a secondary graffiti name that I used if I had to be even more incognito than usual. I’ve always loved the word used in the context of ‘ to pine for’. Ultimately I went with Scout/Pines because I needed a username for instagram but, as an artist, it is just Scout.

Do you have a mission or purpose that your art helps to serve ?     I began painting and installing non-permission work when I was living in downtown Albany, New York. When I put up pieces on the street, it is meant as an offering to the folks that live in a particular neighborhood. I install them on blighted buildings or in boarded-up windows or doorways. The images and text that I use are meant to uplift and inspire. I want the marginalized and forgotten to know that they are not alone.

You’ve been involved in some projects around Little Ghent Farm, including finish painting and the chalkboard in our farm store which we love because it is about community, a sense of which seems a strong theme throughout your work. Why is community so important to you?     Let’s go with a Cesar Chavez quote here, as I believe he puts it beautifully. “We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community…our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.”

 

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Your thoughts on the farm chalkboard project? What was your inspiration ?     I was honored to be asked to paint the farm chalkboard. The sense of community that you have created is terribly exciting to me and I am grateful to be a tiny part of it. I have already met so many wonderful people there on the farm. I wanted the figures in the painting to be youthful, both boys & girls with different skin colors. I also wanted them all dressed in overalls to reinforce the agricultural nature of the farm and market.

What’s your working space like?     In the Spring, Summer and Fall it is a sweet old (unheated) 2-story barn/carriage-house behind my home. In the Winter, I am stuck in the basement. In that regard I have to follow the seasons and watch the weather, praying for Spring, just like a farmer.

A cool story about a some of your art ?     Many moons ago, Chris Stain and I installed an 8 ft. X 8 ft. painting of Sitting Bull that we created on the front of an abandoned gas-station in downtown Albany, NY. There was a substance-abuse treatment center nearby and a counselor who worked there told us that many of their clients (quite a few of which were homeless) had “adopted” this painting. They gathered in front of it. They diligently cleaned up around it. They protected it and they even prayed in front of it. Thinking about their reverence still brings a tear to my eye.

Dream Project? (maybe someone out there can make it happen!)     I want to live in Cuba or Mexico for a month and make as many paintings as I can to leave as a gift for the people there.

Sourdough Boule, White Tin Loaf or Focaccia?     Boule, without question. My mouth is literally watering just thinking about it. It’s so good it makes me mad.

How may people get in touch with you?     You can always swing by the barn in Chatham if the door is open and you see me in there. I will be showing at Time and Space Limited in Hudson, NY in the Spring of 2016. Via e-mail at scoutpines@gmail.com or you can check out my work @scoutpines on instagram.

 

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