John Fekner | the artist
The artist John Fekner
Born 1950 (?), New York, USA.
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John Fekner is a street and multimedia artist, who created hundreds of environmental, social, political and conceptual works consisting of stenciled words, symbols, dates and icons spray painted outdoors in the United States, Sweden, Canada, England and Germany.
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In the 70s, John Fekner was anonymously known for over three hundred environmental/conceptual works consisting of dates, words, and symbols spray painted throughout the five boroughs of New York. The Warning Signs project focused on pointing out hazardous conditions that dominated New York City and its environs in the 1970s. In the spring of 1977, Fekner created word-signs using hand cut cardboard stencils and spray paint. He began a relentless crusade concerned with social and environmental issues. Starting in the industrial streets of Queens and the East River bridges, and later on to the South Bronx in 1980, his messages were seen in areas that were desperately in need of construction, demolition or reconstruction. By labeling structures and emphasizing problems, the objective was to call attention to the accumulated squalor by urging city officials, agencies and local communities to be more responsible and take action…
In the 1970s, single words and short phrases began appearing on dilapidated buildings, highway overpasses, abandoned vehicles, and piles of refuse across New York City. Looking back today, the strong messages and style have a lot in common with street artist Banksy, who appeared on the scene a decade later…
John Fekner interview
In the 70′s, only a few artists were using the streets as way to reach out to people, communicate and ultimately make art. Accompanied by Don Leicht, his long time collaborator, John Fekner brought art and help to areas in New York that were in need at the time. Decay/Abandoned , Wheels Over Indian Trails,Post no bills, Post no dreams, etc were only some of the hundreds of messages John spray painted all over New York. What some might have called vandalism, some others saw as a welcoming statement, and some others saw as a sign that things needed to get fixed in the city…