Pink tits, heavy metal and happy squirters: the swelling of Buff Monster’s empire
Buff Monster candy-coats LA with a sweet and sexy brand of paste-up street art and Pepto-pink gallery installations. Starting out as a graffiti kid in Hawaii, he was drawn to the glamour and seduction of LA to make his mark in the art world.
‘The buff’ is an inevitable fate for street art, but the Buff Monster is all-powerful. This very cheeky, super anti-hero appears late at night on the streets of Hollywood to flash his tits with a pink squirt and a ridiculously satisfied grin. Sticking around to greet peeps on the street, Buff Monster’s paste-up characters are naughty but cute bubble guys with tits for heads and a passion for squirting. Buff’s motto is ‘Pink is Power’ ‘cause so many very nice things are pink (like girls and ice cream). His soundtrack is the Slayer-class of dark heavy metal, full power (metaaallll!).
Buff Monster started out small around six years ago, his work appearing as hand-drawn characters on flattened spray cans nailed to street posts in Hollywood, the industrial and artist districts around Alameda Street, Venice Beach; New York and even roaming as far as Tokyo and Barcelona.
‘It was a warm night in January 2001 that the first Buff Monster spirit broke through to this world. I’ve been exploring their world and getting to know more and more of the great characters that come from Lollipop Land.’
Buff’s size and power grew to match the high speed drive-by pace of LA car culture; first covering grey junction boxes, and then flying with bat-like wings to loom on billboards and abandoned storefronts around Sunset Boulevard. His hand-screened and cut-out paste-ups are in the vein of artists like Faile and Shepard Fairey. His secret paste formula resists the buff, so the legacy lives on in the LA urban landscape.
‘I’ve been told by a collector that he can get everyone else’s posters off, but not mine. That’s how I like it.’
Buff Monster is a creature of glossy, shallow, tough-nuts LA. Like a bombshell starlet, Buff was discovered and invited inside to the spaces of elite galleries with glamorous associations. The Buff Monster empire is expanding. Shows with titles like Pink is Power, Wet Dream, One in the Pink, Lick it Up,
and most recently Happy Squirter,
give an idea of the raunchy tone and visual excitement of Buff’s graphic style and immersing installations. Shows at Gallery 1988, New Image Gallery and Corey-Helford Gallery in LA confirm Buff as one the art-stars of the west coast US underground art renaissance. A street-wise attitude, absolute passion for his work and a tight and seductive style has his fans with their undies in a knot and steamy under the collar.
Hot off the press are Buff Monster’s premier range of vinyl toys released through MINDstyle at the July ‘07 Buff Fest
was held at Munky King and Happy Ending
was insane. We had people in line since 11pm the night before. When the doors opened at noon, the line stretched all the way down the block. That was for the first event; later that day down the street we had another event with some very exclusive toys. The line there was so long that the neighbouring businesses called the cops...We had free hot dogs and ice cream for people. It was great. I’m happy when people are happy.’
Buff then spent the week meeting fans and signing autographs at the Annual San Diego Comic-Con. Comic-Con has become a major event in the vinyl toy calendar, with artists like Pushead, Luke Chueh, Joe Ledbetter and Mars-1 attending. All 120 thousand tickets sold out this year, giving some indication of how comic art, graffiti and street-inspired collectable fine art is hugely appreciated by people at large. This makes a lot of sense, and for Buff the element of clear visual communication with people on the street and transforming their environments positively is an important element of his art-style philosophy.
Buff Monster has a lot of fun playing with his images in different contexts. If you can get your hands on the sell-out holiday ‘06 edition of (XXX)
magazine, it features a twelve-page photo shoot directed by Buff. Buff’s pink power squirts images all over hot chicks. Girly posters are still available. Asked who he’d most like to ‘buff’, he says, ‘My favorite pair of tits is whichever ones are staring back at me’. At the Hotel Standard in LA he installed a painting within the front-desk display box as a backdrop to the scantily clad ladies who lounge there for the travelling ‘hipster’s’ visual pleasure.
For the full Buff experience you can book a stay in Room 303 of Hotel des Arts in San Francisco. The hotel features rooms with designer installations by street-art inspired artists. Buff Monster’s design is a super-size tit-monster squirting pink jets with the inscribed motto ‘Lick It Up, Bitch’.
‘… “Lick it up” is one of my catchphrases. It obviously comes from KISS, one of my least favourite bands. But for the hotel room, I needed to do something special. It was the first time I had done work in a context where I knew people (other than me) would be having sex. If I didn’t address that, it would be a big oversight. And the hotel didn’t like it and wanted to paint over it a bunch of times. But I think they realised that they make more money having my room there, instead of painting over it.’
Buff Monster also has a lot of good clean fun. These days he’s focusing on the design work and art shows, his success driven by self-discipline and by avoiding many of the vices usually associated with the famously debauched LA scene.
‘I am very lucky to live the life of an artist. I don’t take it for granted. I’m happy that my work makes so many people happy. But if you’re looking for a secret, it’s that I have self-discipline. My idea of partying or having fun is probably quite different from most. I don’t do drugs, and never have. I’ve never even smoked a cigarette. So that right there leaves me out of most parties. I drink on occasion, but not much. I find happiness in other things, which aren’t unhealthy or unproductive. My life is as happy and clean as my work is. And yes, groupies are great.’
Buff’s signature style and palette have become iconic. He has developed a strict palette of seductive pinks he mixes himself, counter-pointed with black, silver and gold. His backgrounds are often surreal orgasmic miasmas of squirt patterns. Buff Monster’s art shows feature limited edition prints along with finely executed character paintings on board, found metal and vintage porn. Wall drawings and installations are major components continuing to develop in his work.
Recent shows have featured hundreds of hand-printed helium balloons and bright pink and silver tit fountains.
‘The first one I did squirted milky pink liquid. Then the people at Hustler
magazine built another one for a shoot I did with them. That one squirted real milk’. Buff says the fountains were inspired by the monumental art-metal band Gwar. ‘I think Gwar for the most part is entirely unlistenable
… But their live shows are killer. I just love how much work they put into the costumes and how absolutely ridiculous it is for the singer to squirt green liquid 20 feet out of that huge fake cock. The whole thing is totally ridiculous, and for that, it inspires me.’
Go to www.buffmonster.com
for more info on the devious after hours world of Buff Monster and to get into collecting a fresh piece from the Pink is Power
LA art-empire. There’s a new video of his paste-up action in LA on the site, which is definitely worth checking out.
Before he bounced, Buff Monster shared a couple of gems for the peeps to contemplate. To those kids just starting to get their art story rolling, ‘Be patient and be smart and selective about what you do and who you work with.’
For everyone, everywhere across the world, Buff says ‘Fuck like a beast!’ Thanks Buff Monster!