Being a city-slicker means a lot of things. It means mastering the trains, avoiding the green line on major holidays and of course, never leaving the house with out sunglasses, headphones and the full intension to enter tunnel vision mode whilst walking at speeds teasing five or six miles an hour.
True, a lot of what’s in between point A and B is concrete, taxi cabs and the occasional Dunkin’ Donuts; however, peel back those eye lids and Boston street art greets city folk around every corner.
For many graffiti and street artists in the city, public space is here for the taking. Free expression and guerilla art has recently boomed in Boston and across the globe with the release of various documentaries including Beautiful Losers and more recently, Exit Through the Gift Shop.
For street artists including Ian Sanity, art is meant for the streets, not the galleries.
“I want the streets to be a gallery,” says Ian Sanity, Boston street artist.
Originally from small town Maryland, Ian moved to New England to pursue his BFA from The Art Institute of Boston. Yet, the art surrounding him in the classroom wasn’t nearly as inspiring as what he experienced in the streets.
“The more I was in school, the more I realized I wasn’t into traditional art.”
Ian’s natural proclivity for rebellion and mischief organically drew him toward Boston legends like street artist Golden ‘Stash and others.
With Golden ‘Stash as his mentor, Ian learned the basics of “stickering” and began his blossoming guerilla art career as “INC”.
INC, Ian’s earliest work, was very influenced by and mimetic of Banksy’s political, tongue-in-cheek wit; yet, as time passed and Ian came more and more into his own artistic identity, he was able to create characters, meanings and messages of his own.
“We all started as toys,” said Ian. “Let’s be honest, no one starts perfect. Basically everything I do is a big old experiment.”
Today, Ian’s iconic head peppers public space everywhere. Long and slender with two half open eyes, the iconic head is always looking directly at the audience, inviting the viewers to see the world from Ian’s point of view and to take a step outside of their daily routines.
“My goal in life is to bring more art into the world. I just imagine such a peaceful world where people are expressing themselves freely in public space. I mean, that’s what public space is for.”
As a self-proclaimed “junkie for art,” Ian Sanity spends many of his waking hours working as an ambassador and advocate for DIY arts. Last summer he helped run The Guerilla Gallery, which advocated open space and display of art from all over the community.
“Art galleries are so boring. There’s a breaking point for everyone when you realize that you’re an artist and not just tagging shit. It’s public space, that’s my space, that’s why it’s called public.”
Today Ian Sanity has two shows on display. One at Cafénation, in Brighton Center, that runs until April 1st and another at The Flying Dutchman, a DIY space right on the border or Allston and Brighton.
With over 7,000 stickers all over Boston, Ian Sanity anticipates the further growth of street, graffiti and DIY arts, “the art of the future.”
Loving, living and breathing art, Ian Sanity has hit a stride that is not slowing down anytime soon.
“No matter how hard Boston tries, graffiti is not going away. If we keep going, we can be the next graffiti mecca.”