Martin Sobey

I wrote the following article for a local publication called aXis Magazine a little over a year ago, during Rock Walk (the visual arts portion of the Florida Music Festival) which I curated and coordinated for a few years. I've decided to repost it here for many reasons. To continue to get the word out about Martin Sobey's cutting edge work, which continues to evolve on the streets of New York City; because I often think about how much his installations inspire me; because sadly, no one outside of Central Florida probably ever saw this article. To ensure that the article in its entirety makes complete sense, at the end of the blog I posted some photos of how some of the work I installed for Martin at Rock Walk 2008 turned out.


Quantum physics and street art are not two easily correlated topics, generally speaking –until now. New York City based artist Martin Sobey’s cornerstone body of work, which he often refers to as ‘photography graffiti,’ is specifically rooted around the fundamental branch of physics that ultimately explains light. Sobey is particularly intrigued by the fact that light and sound both travel in waves – which made him first question what music looks like. “Music has been a huge influence for me and I am always listening while making art,” explained Sobey. “It seems, at least in the creative fields, that music and light can share the same space.”



Through the use of Christmas lights, neon and black lights, filters, metals and plastics, Sobey takes striking photographs. He assembles them together in patterns to culminate large scale works – some up to 30 feet long. But here’s the real kicker; he then attaches the pieces to varying public structures like poles, ventilation shafts and walls. In his latest works he has been placing pieces in extremely high-traffic areas on purpose – like in the middle of a sidewalk in Manhattan, a puddle or a gutter – just to see what kinds of wear will occur. “The deterioration of the materials can be quite interesting and aesthetically powerful, and shows the true boundaries of the materials I work with,” said Sobey. The whole idea behind this theory is that everything starts out new and over time it eventually becomes featureless debris in the environment. So when will people stop looking and how long the piece will last before someone removes it, whether it’s a police officer or a teenaged kid stealing it for his bedroom? These are some questions that drive the veracity of Sobey’s work.




Perhaps the most intriguing part of Sobey’s newest pieces, which will be viewable in this year’s Rock Walk, is that he did not install the work – I did it for him. “Part of the fun for me is the unexpectedness of it,” Sobey explained. “It becomes a found object for me, too.” Although it’s HIS art, it’s being displayed through someone else’s perspective. He’s giving me the inspiration to build his public street art for him nationally – though that’s not quantum physics it may be just as forward-thinking.






 All PhotoCred, except the last 4 photos = Martin Sobey.

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