The Return of Mad One and Sticker Phiends
Mad One was a big part of both the local street and underground art scenes during a decade-long stint in the Valley from 2002 until 2012. And it was here that the influential Pittsburgh-born artist both furthered his craft and made his mark.
"I was doing graffiti back east but eventually came to Phoenix," he says. "When I got here, I noticed there was a pretty good graffiti scene going on, but I wanted to do something different, so I took the street art approach, if you want to label it that, and started making stickers and posters and stencil work."
Even after moving to Portland more than two years ago, Mad One had a desire to come back, if only for a weekend, and bring Sticker Phiends with him.
"I felt like taking a little two-year break from the Valley, but I felt like the itch and the passion was still within me. And people were constantly asking about [Sticker Phiends], like, 'Hey, when you going to do it again?' and stuff like that," he says. "It was artists and it was people that weren't even artists, just people who regularly attend the show to see the art and wanted another Sticker Phiends.
And although Mad One isn't considering moving back to Phoenix full time ("As much as I love coming back here to see friends and extended family, I just know it's not home," he says) the artist will continue to visit. In fact, he's already planning next year's Sticker Phiends show.
Mad One's "Cash For Banksy" Project
Besides toting a boatload of art work with him on his latest visit, Mad One also brought along several screen-printed signs and vinyl stickers for his newest project. It's sort of a satire and social experiment that concerns how renowned street artist Banksy (himself a practitioner of the adhesive form) has become commercialized commodity. Mad One created a series of signs as stickers declaring "Cash for Your Banksy" and advertising a Los Angeles-area phone number to call for anyone who possesses a piece made by the artist and is interested in selling it.
"So over in the UK, [Banksy] is everywhere: he's in galleries, he's on the street, and people are paying millions of dollars for his artwork. This is just a project where I wanted to see how aware people are and what type of people that call in and truly, genuinely think they have an original Banksy from New York or some people are just inquiring about the whole sign. Like, why are their signs for Banksy and what are you giving cash for?"
Mad One may not have been the first artist provocateur to come up with the idea (as artsy NYC-based prankster Hargo did similar stunts involving works by both Banksy and Andy Warhol), but he's one of the first to attempt to take it nationwide.
So far, Mad One says that the "Cash for Your Banksy" signs and stickers have appeared in cities around the midwest, northwest, west coast thanks to some fans and cohorts that have been interested in participating in the project. You'll also see a few in the Valley, including one by Cartel, since he nailed some up during his visit.
"I've put up signs myself, but I've sent people a package of signs and stickers and some posters and they'll go ahead and do the propaganda and we'll document it," Mad One says. He's also gotten some "interesting" responses left on the voice mail, which he says will also be documented for the project.