_I have been making these posters for almost 30 years. They are often displayed in the front window of our house in Brooklyn so that people walking by can read them. The idea of using the street as a way of giving people an art experience really appeals to me. (I’ve worked at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery for the past 28 years and Keith Haring was a friend and an inspiration with his subway chalk drawings.)


I originally started collecting posters while living in Chicago. They were stapled to telephone poles advertising Blues bands on the Southside. They have beautiful visual appeal and after awhile I decided to have my own posters made. I contacted the company via their number at the bottom of the posters: Tribune Showprint. They turned out to be the oldest continual poster-making company in the U.S. Been in business for over 120 years.


Real old school flatbed press company.


I often order them in editions of 25. The text usually comes from things I hear in casual conversation. Some past hits included, “It’s nice out. I think I’ll keep it out.”


and “Poor me, Poor me, Pour me another drink,”


which prompted one passer-by to ring the doorbell and ask what time the bar opened.


The text in the poster below comes from a neighbor who was riffing on a previous sign, which came from something my dad wondered during the Gulf war:


“If Iraq attacks Turkey from the rear, will Greece help?”


Most people like the posters, and some people who ring my doorbell asking about them leave with one as a gift… if they are nice. Once in a while I do get a negative comment. One person was really upset with the “If Iraq attacks Turkey from the rear, will Greece help?” poster. They shoved a nasty note, which read: “Dear window sign maker, you should know that your sign is neither funny nor witty. It is offensive, homophobic, racist, and just plain fucked up…”. Oh, well you can’t please everyone, so F.Y.I.Y.C.T.A.J. Another woman was confused by it and thought it was making fun of Greek people, so I had to explain that it was a play on words and something my dad used to say.


I know a lot of people who would think it would be great if I did a poster using something they said and they’re always suggesting things. But most of the time when people say, “I’ve got a great idea for a poster!” it’s not. I usually just say, “I’ll think about it,” or “Maybe…,” or “Drop dead!” I don’t know exactly what it is that makes it poster-worthy, but part of it for me is that it has to be funny—not necessarily ha-ha funny, but odd, weird funny. My brother once threw away all my artwork that I was storing at my parents’ house when I was away at school. When I returned and found out about it, I confronted him and asked him why he threw out all of my stuff (neons, sculptures, books, paintings, drawings, prints…). He just looked at me, laughed, and said, “I gave you a retrospective at the city dump.” So that became a poster; and I thought, well, that was fucked up, but at least I got a poster out of it. The posters are not really very offensive; if anything they’re a bit naughty. My wife accuses me of being a bad boy a lot of the time; that’s the spirit of them: being a naughty, little boy telling an off-color joke. I love jokes. But more than that, it’s usually about family, trying to make sense of things—like the poster I made out of one thing my mother used to say when she was in High School in Oklahoma. She must have been a wild child, because it was, “Hurts so good, stop it again, quit it some more, pull it out deeper.”


And I’m like, “Whoa. Mom, you said that?” That one I don’t put up in the windows too often because it’s a little too sexual. But once in a while you’ll see it.