Meet Jason Eppink, urban alchemist. And meet him this weekend. You may not know Eppink, but you’ve seen his unauthorized, pixelated LED screens on MTA subway entrances over the past couple years, and he’s initiated a spate of other public art pieces that take plain old graffiti to infinity and beyond.
Eppink will host a workshop this Saturday as part of the Conflux art and technology festival, which has graced New York since 2003 thanks to Glowlab. The annual shindig salutes the creative exploration of urban public space; to wit, Eppink’s tutorial “Adventures in Urban Alchemy” on September 19 includes a classroom theory section plus a brainstorming, street-pounding jaunt through the East Village. What Eppink has in droves is a contagious enthusiasm for the city as creative playground. The Web site for the Pixelator, shown above, even includes instructions for a DIY automatic art machine.
Other engaging pieces include Total Crisis Panic Button, in which L.A. street signs are made a little more, ah, relevant, and Take a Seat, a simple but effective public furniture project for the subways of Gotham.
A little background: Jason Eppink was trained as a filmmaker in Los Angeles. After deciding he didn’t want to run coffee for the next decade, he hosted a public access television show, made a few art films, dabbled in viral video, then moved to New York where he’s now a curator at the Museum of the Moving Image. His interest in film, programming, and open source code has translated to a body of work that mashes together guerrilla street art, harmless pranks, and interactive sculpture, essentially all the things that make walking around a gritty urban block entertaining.