The Knockturnal - Exclusive: Al Diaz Talks Partnership With D'Stassi Art For Exclusive London Run

Boom, The Nockturnal, September 24, 2019

New York street art pioneer Al Diaz has taken his talents to London, with the release of two exclusive edition runs. Marking his first European release, the works are socially-charged and injected with Diaz’s trademark sharp wit. Diaz created the pieces in partnership with D'Stassi Art, an introductory service based in the UK capital; they represent something of an encapsulation of the New Yorker’s career.

Al Diaz spoke with The Knocturnal recently. Speaking on the new collection and his work appreciated while a story is told across the world through his collaborations.

 

The Knockturnal: Al, Tell us about the SAMO story and your involvement?

Al Diaz: The SAMO©… the story is a long convoluted one. JMB gave our often used slang word Same Ol’ a new purpose as the name of an imaginary religion/cult/product. I was a seasoned graffiti artist and I saw the possibilities it had as a JESUS SAVES type of graffiti campaigning so we began to spread it around as a private joke. Anticipating some sort of response.

 

 

The Knockturnal: Just a kid from New York, did you ever think your art would take you around the world?

Al Diaz: I am definitely excited about showing in London, I was there once for the Barbican Basquiat BOOM FOR REAL show and it has a very NYC pace to it. I like London and appreciate its rich history.

The Knockturnal: Similar to Basquiat. As a known street artist, how did you manage to create your own work without imitating?

Al Diaz: JMB [Basquiat] gave our often-used slang word, same ol’, a new purpose as the name of an imaginary religion/cult/product. I was a seasoned graffiti artist and I saw the possibilities it had as a ‘Jesus Saves’-type of graffiti campaign, so we began to spread it around as a private joke”.

 

 

The Knockturnal: Know for your variety in style, how does the Distassi Art differ from previous work?

Al Diaz: My current work deals mostly with present-day life on this massively screwed up planet of ours. The distinction between studio and STREET art should be more than obvious. Work that is created in a controlled environment.(studio) does not constitute STREET ART, although it may have elements, ideas & materials often associated with STREET ART. The Operative word here is STREET.

 

The two editions ‘Tolerate Civilization’ and ‘Because War is Just a 3 Letter Word’ has been released as runs of 20 archival pigment prints. The limited series presents a unique opportunity for lovers of New York street art to capture a slice of history. Priced at £425 they are only available through Distassi Art’s Spotlight store which can be found here.