Poster Boy

The 27-year-old Brooklyn artist was arrested on Saturday.

A rising star in the underground scene, the artist known as Poster Boy was arrested at an event in SoHo on Saturday. The 27 year-old Brooklyn resident was apprehended by plain clothes officers who were tipped off to the artist’s presence by fliers advertising the event. The arrest marked the culmination of a months-long search for the elusive subway artist. There’s only one problem. The man officers arrested, Henry Matyjewicz, isn’t Poster Boy. A source quoted by the New York Times claims that Matyjewicz is a legal artist whose role is to propagate the ideals of the Poster Boy movement. “Henry Matyjewicz,” insists the source, “is innocent.” For those who haven’t heard of him, Poster Boy is an anti-consumerist guerilla artist commonly hailed as New York’s answer to Banksy. But unlike the enigmatic Brit, Poster Boy attacks consumer culture head-on, targeting the myriad advertisements that litter the city’s subway tunnels. Wielding a razor blade and a wit equally as sharp, the artist removes and recombines elements of self-adhesive posters to create subversive “mash-ups” of corporate ads. After spending a few minutes with Poster Boy, an ad for the film Iron Man reads Iran = Nam and a Puma spot featuring Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt is fitted with the slogan McEndorse the World. And though his work has drawn considerable attention and praise since appearing on the scene nearly a year ago, Poster Boy has no intention of capitalizing on his fame. “I want people to know that this can exist,” he says in a documentary produced by People We Love. “An artist can make art that doesn’t have to be justified through an institution.” Unlike other street artists that have assimilated into the mainstream, for Poster Boy there will be no copyright, no authorship, no galleries and no private collections. As an artist, he claims, he is uninterested in “making things for bored rich people to hang above their couch.” Sources close to the artist maintain that there are, in fact, multiple “Poster Boys” presently engaged in the project which would explain why Matyjewicz took the fall in SoHo on Saturday. As all culture jammers know, any viable movement must transcend the individual. When it comes to Poster Boy, I hope he inspires legions.