When I give a lecture or presentation, no matter how formal or informal the venue, a kind of stage hubris overtakes me- is that a thing? I will say and do almost anything to get a rise out of the audience, even a negative one. One time at a graphic design conference I was being interviewed onstage with a young, white, brush-and ink lettering artist- he had done many successful ad campaigns for Victoria’s Secret, Nike, Volkswagen, — big clients like that. The interviewer asked us both, “What affect would you say “the street” has had on your work?” The inky young man answered. “Oh, man- everything- Eklips, Chaka and Krush, man…they seriously rule. I’ve been, like totally into the East L.A. Graffitti scene since I was like- ten. They are like totally awesome, man. And look at these tatts- (shows heavily illustrated arms) that’s how I learned about true art, man.”

She turned to me. Laurie?

“Well, I come from an educated and cultured family, and I know the floor plan of the Metropolitan Museum of Art like my own backyard. My heroes are Matisse and Picasso, and I can honestly say the “street” has had absolutely no influence on me whatsoever. I enjoy a clean, white wall, and think graffiti and tattoos are vulgar. However, I do have pierced ears, -and a mole!” The audience stared back in silent horror and confusion. Why would that make me happy?