Saturday, June 7, 2008

NolaRising Body Paint Photos

After a couple weeks of collaborating, this project came to life. It started as a comment left on one of my body paint photos from Rex saying that he should paint on a chick. Then I figured we could take that one (or two) steps further. Soon it turned into a full-on, four-way collaboration including some extremely talented people.

These photos are in response to the recent battle of Nola Rising vs Grey Ghost (synopsis after photos).

Rex as himself

Rex as Fred

Rex as Supersecret Ninja Writer

Statue: Jaggedsoul
Body Painting: Michael Dingler
Artist, Fred, Tagger: Michael Dingler
Lighting designer/technician/badass assistant: Max Prophet
View Large On Black
This little brainchild of mine was inspired by Mike Dingler's recent legal battle with the city of New Orleans, posed upon him courtesy of Fred Radtke.

For those of you not from New Orleans or not in the know, I'll give you a synopsis:

Michael "Rex" Dingler is an artist in New Orleans who founded Nola Rising, a project that creates signs that bear messages of hope for a floundering city and posts them around the city. They are usually brightly colored pieces of art that generally make people smile. Many other people joined the Nola Rising family and started creating art and helped him hang it around the city.

Fred Radtke is a generally hated radical vigilante who started Project Clean Sweep in New Orleans. His non-profit organization's goal is to wipe out graffiti in the city. He does this by smearing gray paint on any piece, bomb, tag, or sticker he sees. He's even been known to paint over flyers people have posted. Graffiti artists respond by painting over the gray blocks. Some have created stickers with stylized images of Radtke that read "Fred Radtke is a ticking time bomb" or "Fred Radtke is a criminal". Recently, someone started stenciling a photo of Fred's head with the text "Fred Sez" underneath him and an empty word bubble over his head so that taggers can voice their dislike for the violent "activist". His most recent endeavor: painting over Nola Rising artwork, which is in no way graffiti.

Late last year, he launched a personal vendetta against Michael Dingler and set out to "financially cripple" him. He got the city involved and Michael was cited on many different counts and faced a potential fine of $50k.

Instead of stopping his project, it brought more publicity to it and rallied more people behind him. The Nola Rising family grew and soon hundreds of signs were created. Benefit shows were held and money was raised for Michael's defense fund. A petition was passed around stating that Nola Rising was much loved art and not graffiti.

When the court date rolled around, Michael was ready and Radtke made a fool of himself in court. In the end, he was basically given a slap on the wrist and a $200 fine. He was told he couldn't personally hang the signs anymore. It was a small victory for Mike and Nola Rising, but we're sure Radtke's fight to stop his project will not end. The good thing is that this has raised a lot of buzz on Radtke's actions and the widespread dislike for him, and the numerous lawsuits raised by business and property owners whose properties he's illegally painted on, have come to light. I think New Orleans will soon see a stop to this villain.

I want to thank Rex Dingler, Max Prophet,and Jaggedsoul for all of their help on this project. Without them, this idea never would have come to life.

Here's links to the work of the collaborators on this project:

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