In early October 2012, graffiti artist KIDULT released the film 13-minute film Visual Dictatorship, which shows previously unseen footage of him graffiti blasting storefronts like Christian Louboutin in Paris (he's also done Supreme, Hermes, and Louis Vuitton) and pasting Kate Moss Supreme posters on the streets of Hong Kong.
There's also footage of KIDULT tagging the word "ART" on Marc Jacobs' Soho store in May 2012, an event he documented on his blog. Surprisingly enough, the same footage appears at the end of A$AP Rocky's new "Fashion Killa" video featuring Rihanna. Of the clip, A$AP Rocky told BET, "It's about art, the whole video—we wanted to base it off art. It's this famous/infamous tagger, KIDULT. We use his art, and we use her art for being a fashion killer, and made this conceptual video. Fashion is art." It's unexpected (up until that point, the video only shows clips of Rihanna and A$AP Rocky hanging out in stores and at a magazine stand), literal (if one sees KIDULT's work as defacing the store, he or his work could be considered "killing fashion"), and ultimately really cool in the way it makes us rethink the message of the song.
What both A$AP Rocky's video and KIDULT's film don't document is the aftermath of tagging the Marc Jacobs store in Soho, an event that repeated itself in June of this year at the Marc Jacobs store in Paris. After KIDULT started tweeting about the store cleaning up his "ART" tag, Marc Jacobs announced they'd be selling a $680 T-shirt with a photo of the painted storefront and the text "Art By Art Jacob$" ($680 unsigned, $689 signed). KIDULT responded by selling a similar T-shirt with the image and new text that said "Not Art By KIDULT" for $10. It was a heated exchange, and Marc Jacobs made a shirt again when Kidult tagged the Paris location in June ($686 unsigned, $430 signed). It seems like their feud, which may be a little more playful at this point, won't be ending anytime soon.
In Visual Dictatorship, KIDULT says, “This is a movement, love it or hate it.” He adds, “Don’t expect to see me work with these brands, it’ll never happen. My painting is a dictatorship. These brands can do nothing but suffer.” The video for "Fashion Killa" reappropriates his work in a way that makes us rethink how the song (which romanticizes a girl who wears designer clothing and knows how to dress) can be interpreted. Is being a "Fashion Killa" a good thing? That's up to you.
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