GRAFFITI WRITERS ARE SEXY TROUBLE: 5 Vandalism-Chic Beauty Products To Take Home Instead

PLUS: What famous artist hates all my friends and why? And what is the coolest perfume ever?
Publish date:
January 11, 2012
shoppables, perfume, graffiti, packaging awards, M

Graffiti writers are fucking trouble and don't let anyone tell you any differently! I know this for a fact.They are all Peter Pans who prowl the streets at night (stopping at all the clubs downtown in between, of course) constantly making mischief and slapping stickers on street signs and scribbling on mailboxes and drinking beers on roofs and chasing girls and just generally acting up. And maybe selling a little bit of coke on the side, because they don't have real jobs.

I know this because they are my best friends, whom I see at the most devilish hours of the night, every night. My apartment doesn't feel like home until someone has buzzed at 5 am, dumped his filthy plastic grocery bag full of leaky, clanging spraypaint cans unceremoniously on to my kitchen floor, and settled on to my sofa with a 40 oz. of appallingly-smelling malt liquor.

So let's break this down. As far as I can tell, there are two types of graffiti writers who run downtown New York City: the first are the Party Boys (my friends Same, Remo and Shaun, for example) that coast on their downtown fame and go out every night without paying for anything.

They even have groupies: little graffiti writers who follow them around on the streets from club to club, though they rarely will get in themselves (not swag).

Alternately, there are the Careerists, who still are out bombing at night but who are actually making a living as trendy, in-demand artists doing creative things, producing work, who have shows in galleries (come to New York for a MIRF opening some time!), and studio spaces that they go to like offices. And so on.

Like, Fafi and KAWS are names that my beauty readers might recognize who have had similar career trajectories (amongst other things, they did products for beauty lines MAC and Kiehl's, respectively), but they're sort of "establishment" by now, and therefore old news. Okay, that's not true -- I'm particularly glamorized by all things KAWS -- but there are new fun people to be into, too...

The next big things are people like Curtis "Love Me" Kulig. And duh, MINT and SERF, a.k.a. the Mirf:

Mint, below, would have you know that he is not a druggy troublemaker, and it's true, he's the best person ever, and works like crazy. Check out his stuff here.

He and his partner Serf make money not only by selling art, but by collaborating with all sort of companies: everyone from Marc Jacobs to Nike to the Ace Hotel. And on and on.

But not matter what kind of graffiti writer a person is, he is always running from the cops or getting arrested, or having the Vandal Squad looking for him at his parents' buildings uptown or whatever.

Many of them been locked up for a few weeks or months; all of them have been arrested approximately a zillion times each -- even the more responsible ones of the bunch, like Mint, because sometimes it's just for dumb things like illegally putting up posters:

Now let me tell you a story. The big, most mischevious thing last year was when my friends took out artist Kenny Scharf (who deserved it) in a scandal that got a centerfold spread in my favorite newspaper:

See at the bottom? Those are my friends' tags. From the New York Post, "The War of the Wall" (January 22, 2011):

The aftermath of last month’s blizzard, chaos abounded: Streets went unplowed, garbage towered over sidewalks, New Yorkers were homebound, city officials lost their jobs. And graffiti writers “bombed” the city’s most high-profile piece of public art.

Under cover of snow, the taggers defaced Kenny Scharf’s colorful mural on the corner of Houston Street and the Bowery, “throwing up” their tags — Remo, Same, Ate, Shaun, Post — leaving giant, silver scrawls on the bottom half of the whimsical collage of brightly colored faces. The graffiti gang, known as BTB (Big Time Bombers), took advantage of the empty streets to quickly “rag” a work that took Scharf five days to complete.

“It really hurt me,” Scharf tells The Post. “It was a big diss.” [WAHH! -Cat]

Now before you get indignant about preserving the famous artist's mural masterpiece and why would anyone do that to a commissioned piece of city art that people loved and blah blah blah, remember that:

A) Kenny Scharf is a veteran (quasi-)street artist and "gets" it, okay;

B) The vulnerabilty of street art -- especially a piece by a big-name artist -- makes it more exciting than something in a gallery, because it is always getting fucked with by other creative derelict show-off types (this describes all graffiti artists), and thus it's always alive and changing with the city around it. You know? Protective plastic was eventually put over the Scharf wall, which made the whole thing lifeless and boring to me. The story ended; the wall died. Lame cop-out move. Booo, Kenny Barf! C) That said, cranky Kenny Scharf more or less started the beef that led to all this madness when he tried to get one of our friends kicked out of her art school (where he was obvs well-connected) for allegedly writing her name in marker somewhere in his huge, electric junk-filled loony tunes Day-Glo underground "Cosmic Cavern" space in Brooklyn, one night when we were at a party there filming this Team Facelift video (starring me and Same!):

Still not convinced that my friends aren't dicks for doing what they did? Continues the Post article:

Among graffiti artists, the wall is a concrete metaphor for the battle between art and vandalism, professionals and outlaws. [...] People pose for photos in front of them. Cars slow to see them. [...] But the graff writers don’t care how cool the murals are. It’s a turf war.

This is why I am so enthralled by graffiti! It's really like this big territorial game going on in the city all around you, with colors and words and danger and intrigue.

And it' The most bananas guerilla kind of art! It's like this crazy society with a secret hobo language left everywhere in code if you know what to look for. Kids are running around addicted to painting things! How do you not love it? And blizzard season is almost here. Whenever a storm hits New York and the visibility gets low outside and the city shuts down, I know my guy friends will be bundling up and vanishing from my life for 48 hours minimum. Isn't it sort of magical?:

snow photos by Shaun RFC

I think so.

Alternately, the most annoying thing about graffiti friends in your apartment is that they are always writing on your stuff! It's so disrespectful, They write on your health insurance forms and birthday cards from your grandma and $30 French magazines you just bought even though you shouldn't have. See what I have to do?:

Only the very créme de la créme get away with vandalizing my awesome things, and that's because they usually do so carefully and brilliantly. So even if at first I was all, "DID HE SERIOUSLY WRITE IN MY MADONNA "SEX" BOOK ON THE VANILLA ICE/NAOMI CAMPBELL ORGY PAGE?!", soon enough, I realized Same had done something fierce:

Graffiti writers are also always slapping their special impossible-to-peel-off (so they'll stay on stop-signs and mailboxes or whatever for as long as possible) stickers all over your kitchen cupboards and trash cans and things. I can't even.Okay, I'll shut up now. I could show you cool stuff my friends have done for hours, though...


If you don't have any graffiti friends of your own, look up and thank God -- because they are a handful. Besides, you can buy these lovely vandalism-chic beauty products instead! And they will always enhance your life, and never smoke dust in your apartment or catch tags on your Numéros or anything. SOLD!

1) Bond No. 9 Brooklyn Eau de Parfum

Bond No. 9 is of course just one of the most glamorous and fantastic niche fragrance brands in New York. Of all the gorgeous, star-shaped, New York City-inspired bottles of fragrance they've produced, this one, called Brooklyn, is my favorite, packaging-wise.It's so terrific-looking that I barely care how the "juice", as it's called in the industry, smells (though, incidentally, it smells awesome -- like citrus and leather). I just want the bottle in my apartment forever and ever.That said, the smaller bottle is $175 and the bigger size is $240. Fabulous isn't cheap, and especially not in stupid New York. But this is the sort of perfume you should be cancelling all of your movie channels for five months for. Who needs HBO and all that, really?

2) WODE PAINT by BOUDICCA Eau de Toilette

OMIGOD This stuff is so effing cool! God, how I worship widly creative beauty products with glamorous, edgy ad campaigns and all that -- so very rare in prissy beauty world.

This is sick (good-sick): perfume that comes in a spray can and comes out blue, splashes you sexily, it appears, to near you sort of masturbate with it, basically? If we are to believe this fierce ad campaign video, or go by the still below:

The best part? After the blue gets all over you, IT FUCKING DISAPPEARS! LEAVING ONLY THE SCENT BEHIND.


It's magic ink -- but it's perfume! Perfume that looks like spray paint! Oh, and as if this product could be any hotter, the fragrance itself was inspired by the smell of raw opium. Luckyscent says it smells like a wet stone. Okay!


The above are pillar candles that are made by this company in Williamsburg (and are sold through Etsy), the trendy industrial-chic neighborhood in Brooklyn where I believe my little Julie lives, as well as half the fashion magazine, leather-legging'd Julie-type foxes I know these days.

Each candle is named after a street in the neighborhood. They are unscented and they last forever, and look so pretty when they burn.

Individually they are $20; purchased in sets, they are $15 each. Again, they last forever. You will eventally need to buy those long matches in order to light them, just FYI.

Re-Surface also makes these cool lampshades (or at least I think they are cool):

You like? Or is it corny? Be honest.


I am usually not particularly one for Hello Kitty, really. I mean, of all the weird things for us to even take interest in, much less fetishize, like so many women do. Why? Hello Kitty is boring! She doesn't even talk, or have a face! She's a mute! Blotto! A vegetable! A void!

But even though, for these reasons, Hello Kitty is just...lost on me, I so sort of love this travel brush set. it's $25, though Sephora says its true value is $49 (whatever that means).

In truth, it's the description that really charmed me: "This set pays tribute to the daring artists who decorate Hello Kitty's favorite downtown sidewalks." Like my friends. Aw. WANT IT.

5) Urban Decay Deluxe Eye Shadow in Graffiti

When it comes to eye colors, pigment, and diving right into an ambitious attempt at urban packaging, these shadows from Urban Decay just can't be beat.

You may think you can't wear a bright green shadow but if you are A) blonde B) black C) Asian D) a redhead E) have blue eyes F) have a punky or pixie spirit or G) are awesome (and you know you are), you can actually pull this off.

Just use it as an accent color eyeliner that really pops (go to that link; it's a gorgeous look), and wait in the summer until you have a tan.

And there we have it! God, I am writing the longest articles these days! Sorry. I guess I'm feeling...passionate? Hmm.

Okay, so, Friday's giveaway is going to be GRAFFITI-related -- stay tuned! In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on graffiti and the Kenny Scharf drama and art and vandalism and all this. Or on the kind of guys you are always getting into trouble with. Discuss.

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