The birth of the Graffiti Tag:
I believe a subconscious need to express oneself bonds artists of different eras together. Just as our instinct to hunt continues to impact the actions of modern man, our compulsion to paint, to create, to document our existence has its roots in prehistoric cave paintings. Contemporary graffiti artists satisfy that innate drive for self-expression by creating a tag unique to them, which they write over and over again. I have chosen "Nolani" as my graffiti tag (it was my Samoan name while serving in the Peace Corps.) In this painting, I explore the graffiti subconscious and its links to prehistoric cave art.
To achieve this combination of styles, I first painted the cave drawing (from Lascaux) and the cinder block wall. Like all my work, it is painted in acrylic on silk. I then covered areas with masking tape that I wanted to be seen in the completed painting. After taping, I covered the entire surface with gesso and painted the graffiti tag. When I removed the masking tape, the cave drawing underneath was revealed. To complete the illusion and to add depth, I added a shadow and highlight to all these cut-outs. So, two paintings for the price of one. What a deal.