Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Q & A: Glendalys Medina

This months cover, K.K.W
I had wanted more on the cover,
but on the advice of others
I kept it simple.
Glendalys Medina @ The A.I.M
exhibition, Bronx museum of art,
of which she was a part.
Q & A: Glendalys Medina. By K.K.W

When it comes to interesting far out creations, daring deeds, she the one to call. After studying sculpture @ Hunter college, she went out into the world and began to cause serious creative damage. Glendalys Medina is one of the best.

SP: I noticed that you recently got back from L.A, was it work, personal, or both?

GM: All of the above, but mostly I just needed a fresh perspective, some rest ... my mind smiles brighter in the sunshine.

SP: For those who don't know, what is "The Shank"?

GM: Ahhh... The Shank....The Shank is a process of self-transformation using the elements of Hip Hop as its medium. As The Shank I am mastering MCing, Breakdancing, Graffiti and DJing by reproducing the work of prominent figures in Hip Hop culture. After acquiring an arsenal of different styles, I produce original work in order to realize my voice as an MC, my body as a Breaker, my name as a Graffiti writer and my rhythm as a DJ. I chose the word shank because of its slang definition as a handmade knife commonly made in prisons. The Shank was conceived as a gift allowing its recipient the opportunity to escape confinement, discover one's true self and recreate one's identity.

SP: Where's it at with "The Shank", currently?

GM: I recently developed a new tag for the writer in me...turns out I like stencils. Originally I was spray painting "The Shank" in 2007... mostly around Hell's Kitchen and in the Bronx, but that took way to long, it's a long name... so I shorten it to SK...using the first and last letters of Shank...But it never felt quite right...

SP: I remember this past summer you were speaking about "Taking your work to the streets", how was it the first time?

GM: I made a limited edition...25 prints of my new tag.. no name just shapes and it was time to get "up"... it was New Year's Day and I had never used wheat-paste before ...I posted it up and decided to start a blog as a video tag diary...I go out once a week aiming to hit the 5 boroughs in NYC based on the Graffiti concept of being "All City": The state of being known for one's graffiti throughout a city. Originally, this term meant to be known throughout the five boroughs of New York City through the medium of subway cars. In honor of that my first post was a train station in Brooklyn.

SP: Many other greats used "Street art" to get the word out, to be known, or for social/political reasons, what's your vector in all this?

GM: Wheat-pasting has a long history connected to activism... propaganda, advertisement and Graffiti as you said... What interest me is 'action' ... a whisper a gesture ... they are not permanent ... nor is that my intention when pasting... up until now tagging was practice... When I went out New Year's Day... that was my Art on the wall... that was my voice I put up. I've knocked on the revolving door of the 'white box' ... now it was time to cut out a new one ...

SP: What made you start-up the blog? was it only to promote your current "Street art" project?

GM: I think of it as my new door... A friend and colleague mentioned it to me as a forum ... a new avenue to explore and share The Shank. I was very hesitant...It would be a very different audience and required a lot from me... leaving me vulnerable and uncomfortable ... but I moved forward and came up with a very simple fun idea... interested in both posting out in the streets, documenting it after the if I just came upon my own tag/art as a viewer then posting it again... giving it to world with the potential to be global... that's a powerful thing... what 
started as a gesture soon becomes a sketch ... then a body of work. 

SP: Given that those of African/Hispanic decent(in America)are still not as...well represented of know for Art/fine art in most parts of the world, do you think its important for us to make contacts and exchange ideas through social networks?

GM: Absolutely! I am grateful every day that I am alive in this time... the reach one has to information and people is unparalleled in human history... but like everything in life it has the potential to harm ... it's all a balancing exercise.

One of 25 stenciled designs
of Glendalys Medina's "tag"

SP: Glendalys, thanks for a riveting interview, a pleasure as always. If you would like to know more, go to: or: "Art is the reason, art is the way"

Glendalys Medina, photo courtesy of the artist.
One of 25 stenciled designs
of Glendalys Medina's "tag".

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