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ABOVE: Passport Hardcover – October 27, 2011
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ABOVE is just such an artist and for those who need some background that will likely result in obtaining this important book the following biographical data is quoted: `ABOVE (born circa 1981) has been creating public art since 1995. Above is an international street artist who keeps his identity concealed.[ Above is known for his multi-layer/full color social and political stencils, spinning wooden "arrow mobile" installations, and large mural "word play" paintings. Above started traditional graffiti of tagging freight trains in California in 1995. At the age of 19, Above moved to Paris, France where he started painting his trademark arrow icon pointing 'above.' Since 2001 Above has toured around the world, with each tour exploring a new medium or style of artworks. Above has made artworks in the streets of 90 cities in 50 different countries around the world. Above was born and raised in California by 'hippie' parents. He states that art and music were practiced and encouraged by both parents at an early age. At fifteen year old Above started spray painting the letters A-B-O-V-E on freight trains in California. Three years later Above transitioned from painting traditional letter graffiti to an arrow symbol that pointed 'above.' In an interview he stated that he thought it was useless to paint the side of a fast moving train with letters if nobody could read it. Above said he wanted something that could be seen and understood in a fraction of a second regardless of how fast it was moving. In 2001 at the age of 19 years old Above moved from California to Paris, France. At that time in Europe and in particular Paris, France there was a new movement called 'street art.' Paris was home to early pioneering street artists like Zevs (artist), Invader (artist), Stak, Honet, and Andre as well as Above. Above as well as the other Parisian artists were making new styles of street art that were heavily based on a character or artist logo instead of the former or traditional ways of letter based graffiti. In 2003 Above moved from Paris to California where he started his hanging wooden arrow mobiles which seemed to be the start of Above very frequent traveling and art tours.'
ABOVE:PASSPORT follows the vastly entertaining and significant ravels and stencil art through the following `tours': USA Tour 2004; European Tour 2005, South Central Tour 2007 -2008, the Cut It Out tour 2008- 2009, and the final Mash It Up tour which takes us to Havana, Cuba; New York City; Los Angeles; Portland, Oregon; Paris; Georgetown, Cayman Islands; Essen, Germany; San Francisco; and London. The images are often full page spreads and two-page spreads, are richly comical, politically charged, full of both anger and compassion, and are completely entertaining and spectacular to the viewer. There are comments from the artist and observers and fellow artists spread through the book at almost every location ABOVE pauses to create his highly individual art.
Brief statements by Shepard Fairey, FAILE, Wooster Collective - Marc and Sara Schiller and Tristan Manco open the book and as far as attempting to describe just what it is that ABOVE is creating, these terse comments help. Bravo to ZERO+ Publishing for bringing this wildly imaginative book and artist to our attention! Grady Harp, February 12