Hipfire Friday – CFYE, Street Art & Pudding

Hipfire Friday – CFYE, Street Art & Pudding

By Arden de Raaij

I don’t know if I’m just getting older or that I’ve been sniffing too much paint fumes but the years seem to pass by very quickly since we have ve started the CFYE platform. As we speak it’s already three years ago when we started with this project, though it feels like It was only yesterday when you could find Kaymir and myself in coffee shop Siberie in Amsterdam every other afternoon. That’s where we hung out to enjoy our tea, our J and to put the finishing touches on our world domination plans. And exactly around this time we decided to stand up and do something with our plans.

We had no idea where we were heading and the possibility of a crash ‘n burn was very present.

It was a bit like getting behind the wheel of a car, drunk, in a foreign country: We had no idea where we were heading and the possibility of a crash ‘n burn was very present. Yet here we are, three years later and more motivated and confident than ever in the believe that we can make a difference for both artists and the people that look for them. Along the way some fantastic people jumped on the bandwagon and we slowly sobered up. That doesn’t mean we now have a destination or that either one of us has a drivers license for this self-build vehicle, but fuck, it’s 2011 and nowadays it’s all about the self-taught anyway!

I and I

To be honest: we’re not a 100% self-taught in this media stuff, but our studies Media & communication mostly wanted us to use our powers for evil, not good. I guess surprisingly enough we developed some ethics along the way. And regarding CFYE, ethics first of all mean that we’re always looking out after the individual. We’re not a platform where multi-billion dollar companies can force their crap on people. There’s more than enough of that already.

 We happily flip burgers if that means we can focus on CFYE the rest of the day.

We seek out what inspires us and we’re looking to promote and share the thoughts and ideas of the person behind it. Of course, we’re not absolute idiots and do think that one can find a balance in doing what you love and earning a buck from it without being a total sell-out, but the truth is that we don’t find that important for this platform. We happily flip burgers if that means we can focus on CFYE the rest of the day. Luckily we don’t have to do that and have some other things going on, and who knows we might come across some projects that make some money for us and the artists participating.

But like I said, that’s not what’s important. What is important is I and I. No, it doesn’t stand for Jah lovin’ (or maybe that too, but you’ll have to decide that for yourself, haha) but for Inspiration and the Individual.

Inspiration also means that we care about the subjects and communities we became part of along the way, and that is something that is becoming more and more important. You see, when you start showcasing particular topics and stay consistent, no matter how little you know of the subject, you will eventually be perceived as an authority.

Blog about Pudding, be like us

Seriously, it’s incredibly simple to do. Do you want to be like us? I’ll give you a once in a lifetime offer for a foolproof 5 step formula to be a successful blog/online magazine/platform on any topic you like, and even on the ones you dislike. Now totally free! If it doesn’t work you’ll get your money back, guaranteed. In this tutorial we’ll use Pudding as an example of how to fulfill your desires in no-time.

  • Go to Blogspot or wordpress, make an ‘ilovepudding.blogspot.com’
  • Set it up, collect all the information on the internet you can find on pudding and put it on your site with links back to the source.
  • Start an ilovepudding profile/page on all social networks and connect with all the pudding lovers you can find to tell about your website
  • Connect with fellow pudding blogs and exchange links and articles
  • And for the final, but hardest step; make a blogpost on pudding consistently every day or week for 6 month.

I guarantee you that within months, maybe even weeks you will get e-mails from pudding experts, pudding lovers, people who make their own pudding, companies with a commercial interest in pudding, people with questions about pudding and invitations to pudding events. And for the icing on the cake, organize your own little pudding event and invite some international pudding heads.

 “what the fuck do you know, you’re not even out there making your own pudding!”

The downside of pudding

And when you consistently blog about pudding for a while, you will find that you develop a taste for- and maybe even a sense of ethics about –pudding. You might decide not to showcase any pudding that is created by major companies who don’t have love for pudding but just want to make money. You might even write a critical column or two about these soulless pudding factories. In the meanwhile, your slowly developed taste for quality makes you more selective when blogging about pudding. You only want to show the best of pudding on your blog and that means turning people down and telling them their pudding just doesn’t cut it for the site. It also means letting down some of your newly gathered pudding friends: the pudding creators that you featured on your blog a year ago, but in retrospective aren’t as good as what you can find out there nowadays.

This is the point where you’ll discover that people who make pudding are quite sensitive and don’t take critiques on their pudding very well. You might hear things like: “what the fuck do you know, you’re not even out there making your own pudding!” and “Isn’t my pudding good enough for your little fucking website anymore?”. This is when you know you truly became important for the Pudding community and you have an option to change the way people perceive pudding in general or at least showcase what YOU should think pudding should look like.

Now replace ‘pudding’ with ‘street art’ (‘crack’ or filthy words work really well too).

And there you have our situation at the moment. Now to be honest, If you don’t have a huge love for the subject you blog about from the start it’s almost impossible to keep it up. The formula is easy, but without love it’s almost doomed to fail. That’s why major corporations can never be as fucking cool as we are. The best thing they can do is borrow our coolness in exchange for a whole lot of cash, and they still wouldn’t be half as fresh.

Art on the streets

The point is that, regarding to street art, we’ve arrived at a point where we have a clear opinion on what it is or better yet, what it’s not. I’ve always perceived ‘street art’ as just those two words. Put those two together and you have ‘street art’ or how my mind translates it: ‘art on the streets’. I’m not going to tell you that street art is something well defined, not at all, nor do I feel the need to totally define every aspect of it. I just have the naïve thought that one part of the phrase ‘street art’ is very clear: The ‘street’ part of it. Let’s just say that if I’d buy a book about street art and found it to be filled with gallery work, canvas work and illustrations I’d feel cheated.

Street art at the novelty shop

But street art somehow means something entirely different to the general public. All of a sudden work sold on canvas by someone who never did something out on the streets is called street art. All of a sudden an illustration with Posca’s or everything made with a stencil is called street art. It seems like for a whole lot of people the technique has given definition to the words instead of the location, even though that’s so clearly described in the phrase. And then some of these people even have the nerves to say street art is dead because all they see is Banksy-like stencil works for sale everywhere. I guess the success of a few has blinded many, and influenced a lot of Mr. Brainwash type characters to over saturate the whole art world with ‘street art’. Fuck..

It’s almost insulting, that’s what it is. It’s an insult to the artists that truly do what they love out there without having the urge to define what it is they’re doing. And those are the artists I want to focus on, those are the ones that represent what street art is for me and the people who should ultimately define what street art is, if it should be defined at all.

So please, forget about what has become mainstream or conventional in such a short time, forget about what’s successful and forget about technique.

Street art knows no boundaries, no restrictions, no professionals nor amateurs. In the end it’s total creative freedom for everyone who wants it, and as such will always be relevant to the development of art.

Now go make me some pudding!

Picture by Greg Davaillaud