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5 questions for: Garrison & Ray

February 7, 2005

I’ve been looking for Garrison & Ray since July, when I first came across their “Sgt. Guy Debord” riot cop on the Manhattan Bridge bike path. So when Garrison introduced himself at the And So Forth I was ecstatic. Together, Garrison & Ray make up Peripheral Media Projects, a culture jamming, apparel-making, bad-ass screenprinting collective. They put out a pretty diverse range of work, and are also getting ready for a show at Zakka in Soho this Friday, so the timing seemed right to send them a few questions:
How did you get started doing street art?
We started doing street art though our mutual interest in Adbusters magazine and wanting to be active in culture jamming. We were hyper-aware of the lack of image diversity in our public living space and sought to change that fact. Using the Adbusters black spot logo/anti-logo to alter, disrupt, obliterate, enhance the urban landscape of NYC was our first foray into reclaiming our visual environment.

Tell us a little bit about Peripheral Media Projects, how you got started, what your goals are, etc….
We met in graduate school, that was the kickoff. The more we hung out and talked, the more we realized we had many similar interests along the socio-economic-environmental-activist avenues and decided to be in action about our desire to create a different reality. This creation happened though an escalated level of commitment, connection, and contribution on our parts as a unit, with the world. Peripheral Media Projects is these notions made manifest.
We have many objectives/goals. One of the main ones is to stimulate independent critical thinking. There is no right or wrong but there are dualities and both sides should be represented. In our surroundings, we only see corporate advertising, messages companies are paying a boatload of money to put out there. We are inundated with advertising and it just keeps increasing. We are not saying our message is the right one and that others are wrong. We are merely expressing our ideas and understandings. It is up for the viewer to decide what they think. If people questioned answers and thought more, the world would be a dramatically different place.
Our vehicle for stimulating thought is via our images. Another goal is to continually grow our abilities and be a badass silkscreen collective that bases our work in activism, social consciousness, and the belief that connection is a cornerstone to creating a sustainable future.
We want to serve as a resource for others seeking to collaborate, produce, and create. We want to generate dialogue, strengthen community, and empower individuals to self-actualize.
We want to set up an international exchange where street artists from around the world spend time with one another, sharing experience, creating synergy, and increasing momentum.
What’s the process that goes into a piece like the Sgt. Guy Debord pasteup?
First comes the idea itself from within or without. The idea for the riot cop came from an artist mentioning it as something that we should do. We thought it was a great concept and went with it. Once the idea is in place, deciding on the image that best conveys the message we are trying to get across comes next. The image is manipulated and modified through many means, ranging from old school hand altering (cutting, pasting, painting in, whiting out, copier enlarging, etc.) to computer-based designs. The image is usually reworked again and again until we are happy with it.
Once it is there, we photocopy, computer output, or hand-generate the stencil. The size of the image is a factor in how the setup takes place. The Sgt. was shot in four screens, one each for the head, chest, midsection, and feet. It could be shot in one screen, which we would love to have the resources to execute it like that. Til then, it’s hardcore tiling. We have paper rolled out on a long table where we put the screens down and start from the top down.
You work in a lot of different mediums, doing street pieces as well as abstract paintings, and producing apparel — how do you balance these very different worlds?
It’s been challenging as far as balancing the whole time/energy aspects go. Both of us are loving the street art/postering/apparel facets right now and these are where we funnel most of our efforts at present. Much of the imagery we poster is incorporated into our clothing line, called Plan D.
We anticipate balancing out things down the road, where we spend more time doing our painting, but with all four burners going, the painting is on the back one right now. The activism and expression of our ideas on the street and as wearable art is what is fueling the fire.
Our work comprises all of these varied expressions as they mingle with and inform one another. They are a reflection of who we are and what we do. If any one of them were removed from the equation, that void would impact all the others in some fashion. Most of all, we believe having fun and enjoying what we do is paramount. If there is ever a day when that isn’t there, we can make a choice from there. Until then, we’re having a blast.
What’s next?

We want to get our imagery out there as much as possible. Our website, is almost complete. It will be up in time for our show at Zakka on Friday, February 11th. We’re pumped about that show, where we will put out our latest installation and clothing designs. It’s located at 147 Grand, between Broadway and Lafatette in Soho, 7-9pm.
As our work opens up to a larger audience we want to collaborate with people in all sorts of fields to create environments where people get together and exchange ideas, information, dreams, stories…
We have ideas for installations and big street art stuff we’d love to do. Basically we want to do whatever we can to facilitate and encourage relating with other human beings. It sounds simplistic, which it is, but so true, natural, and necessary. We weren’t put on this planet to be filed away in our homes, like a paper in a folder. Connection is fundamental to our existence. That’s what we have in store.
Thanks for your time and attention,
Garrison and Ray


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